Bios

MBRS-IMSD Alumni Biographies 

JANET ABOU, (MBRS Mentor: Robert Pozos, Ph.D.); B.S. Biology, San Diego State University; M.D., Yale University Medical School; Internal Medicine Physician, Kaiser Permanente Health Care

 

marissa_aillaudMARISSA AILLAUD, (MBRS Mentor: Chris Glembotski, Ph.D.); B.S. Biology, San Diego State UniversityM.D., Stanford University Medical School;  Pediatric Resident, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, Stanford Hospital and Clinics;

 

 

 

CATHRINE AIVATI, (MBRS Mentor: Thomas Huxford, Ph.D.);B.S., Cell and Molecular Biology, San Diego State University; Ph.D. Student, Molecular Biology, University of California, San Diego and San Diego State University.

Cathrine was accepted into MBRS in July 2012. She began participating in undergraduate research in Dr. Tom Huxford’s laboratory in the Spring of 2011. She is worked in Dr. Huxford’s structural protein biochemistry laboratory on a component of NF-kB Signalling. NF-kB is a signaling pathway involved in the innate immune response. Improper activation of this pathway can contribute to unnecessary inflammation, cell proliferation, tumor formation, and autoimmunity. Interruption of this pathway is crucial for discovering new methods of treatment for those affected by these conditions. As a result, she investigated the oligimerization of IKK, a protein necessary for activating this pathway with the intent of discovering a mode of intervention. In Spring of 2013, Cathrine was accepted to the Molecular Biology Joint Doctoral Program at both San Diego State University and the University of California, San Diego. She looks forward to further pursuing her personal research interests in structural biology and signal transduction. Upon earning her PhD, Cathrine wishes to pursue a career in academia with the intention of inspiring others to engage and participate in scientific research.

ISABEL ALTAREJOS, (MBRS Mentor: Liz Klonoff, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; M.P.H., University of Illinois; Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, Morocco.

 

JEFFREY ALVAREZ, B.S., Biology, San Diego State University; M.P.H., San Diego State University; M.S., Psychology, Kansas State University; Ph.D., Psychology, Kansas State University

 

DANIELLE AUGUSTIN, (MBRS Mentor: Paul Paulini, Ph.D., and Forest Rowher, Ph.D.); B.S., Microbiology, San Diego State University; M.S. Microbiology, University of California, San Francisco; Ph.D., Microbiology, University of California, Berkeley; Scientist II, Clorox.

 

DANIELA BARAJAS, (MBRS Mentor:John Elder, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; M.P.H., Health Promotion, San Diego State University; Research Associate/Project Manager, University of California, San Diego

 

Headshot of Brittany BarfieldBRITTANY BARFIELD, (MBRS Mentor: Thomas Cole, Ph.D.); B.S., Chemistry, San Diego State University
Brittany Barfield joined the MBRS IMSD program August 2011. She is a chemistry major conducting resesarch in the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Cole. The Cole lab explores the development of organometallic chemistry of the transmetallation of organic groups between metals and boron compounds. Two major projects are currently being conducted: the migration of organic groups from organoboranes to metals, giving rise to new organometallic complexes based in part on groups formed using boranes and the transfer of organic groups from metals to boron, yielding new unavailable organoboranes. These projects show exceptional promise in advancing synthetic organic methodology combining the attributes of metals and organoboranes. Brittany presented “Fast Method for the Determination of Regioselectivities via 11B NMR” at the 2011 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in St. Louis, Missouri. Brittany’s poster was recognized for Outstanding Undergraduate Research in Chemistry and she was also invited to present her work at the 50th Anniversary Celebration for MARC/MBRS Programs at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), October 2012.

 

APOLLO BAYTAN, (MBRS Mentor: Constantine Tsoukas, Ph.D.); B.S., Biology, San Diego State University; Development Associate, Quidel

 

SENAIT BEKELE, (MBRS Mentor: Greg Harris, Ph.D.); B.S., Microbiology, San Diego State University; Clinical Laboratory Scientist; Scripps Health

 

JOYVIN BENTON, (MBRS Mentor: Thierry Devos, Ph.D.); B.S., Psychology, Arkansas State University; M.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; Ph.D. Candidate, Urban Systems, Rutgers University-Newark, New Jersey Institute of Technology

 

KARLA BLANCO, (MBRS Mentor: Thierry Devos, Ph.D.);  B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; Ph.D. Candidate, Counseling Psychology, Washington State University

Karla is a 5th year doctoral student in counseling psychology. Her doctoral degree has been funded through various assistantships at Washington State University. Currently, she is teaching a course to help undergraduate students to acclimate to the campus and to learn how to develop and write a research paper. Karla is completing her doctorate degree under the guidance of Dr. Brian McNeill. Karla’s dissertation focuses on examining Mexican Farmworker’s resilience factors, particularly as they progress in their acculturation process while living in the United States. Clinically, her intent is to address pathology from a multicultural lens to include existing cultural factors of clients in a therapeutic setting. As an undergraduate, Karla worked under the mentorship of Dr. Thierry Devos in his Intergroup Relations Laboratory. Karla has completed 3 publications, 8 presentations, and has chaired an international symposium. She attributes her success to the constant support from the SDSU MBRS IMSD and her mentors.

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BARBIE BOODRAM, (MBRS Mentor: Greg Harris, Ph.D.); B.S., Biology, San Diego State University; M.D., Medical College of Ohio; Practicing Physician, San Diego

 

bookerALEXANDRIA BOOKER, (MBRS Mentor: Vanessa Malcarne, Ph.D); B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; Ph.D. Student, Clinical Psychology, University of Missouri, Kansas City

Alexandria worked with Dr. Vanessa Malcarne and Dr. Georgia Robins Sadler for three years as an undergraduate, examining chronic illness health disparities in minority populations. During this time, she contributed to many ongoing research projects as well as developing several of her own. During the year prior to her final year at San Diego State University, she defended her honors thesis, “The Relationship of Cancer Knowledge, Health Literacy and Health Locus of Control to Screening in Hispanic Americans.” She also finalized a publication, titled “Evaluating Outcomes of Educational Interventions: a Ten-Year Review of Studies Published in the Journal of Cancer Education,” a literature review which examined how frequently proximal, intermediate and distal outcomes are measured in cancer educational interventions for the public. She will continue to research health disparities at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, while obtaining her PhD in clinical psychology under Dr. Jannette Berkley-Patton. She plans to become a professor in a four-year university and continue to research health disparities in order to benefit the public and try to improve quality of life for individuals from all demographic groups.

 

VELEKA BOYD IWUABA, (MBRS Mentor: Greg Harris, Ph.D.); B.S., Molecular Biology, San Diego State University. In the spring of 2014, Veleka received a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from University of Southwestern Texas, Medical Center, Dallas.

 

LATEEFAH BROWN, B.S., Biology, San Diego State University

 

CECILIA BROWNE, (MBRS Mentor: Constantine Tsoukas, Ph.D.); B.S., Biology, University of California, San Diego; M.S., Molecular Biology, San Diego State University; Ph.D., Molecular Pathology/Biomedical Sciences, University of California, San Diego/Burnham Institute; Research Scientist, Johnson & Johnson

 

PETER BURKE, (MBRS Mentor: Melbourne Hovelle, Ph.D.); M.P.H., San Diego State University, Graduate School of Public Health; Statistician and Software Implementation Analyst

 

JANET CALDERON, (MBRS Mentor: Vera Gutierrez-Clellen, Ph.D.); B.A./M.A., Wesleyan College; Ph.D., Speech Language and Hearing Sciences, UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program; Post-doctoral fellow University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; Associate Professor, Registrar, Florida Hospital, College of Health Sciences

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MISAEL CAMARENA, (MBRS Mentor: Robert Pozos, Ph.D.); M.A., Applied Mathematics, San Diego State University; Co-Chair, Department of Mathematics, San Diego City College

 

CHRISTINA CAMPBELL, (MBRS Mentor: Joseph Price, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; M.A., Ecological-Community Psychology, Michigan State University; Ph.D., Community and Ecological Health Psychology, Michigan State University; Post-doctoral fellow, Yale University.

Christina’s current research focuses on how the role of neighborhood ecology (i.e. socioeconomic trends, disadvantage, and protective factors) plays in the occurrence of juvenile offending. Her current and former applied research experiences have been used to inform local and court policies. During her final year at MSU, Christina earned the State of Michigan King Chavez Parks Award; this prestigious grant has funded her dissertation. She has presented over 40 papers at conferences and has 4 published manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals. She also has additional manuscripts in progress that will be submitted to journals this year. These manuscripts examine gender biases within court systems, sex offender risks and treatment needs, the correct classification of risky offenders, and understanding the role of neighborhoods play on time to recidivism. Her goal is to continue to focus on research that helps address social injustices and dispartities experienced by marginalized populations and informs policy. Upon completion of her Ph.D. in May 2012, Christina will conduct a post-doctoral fellowship at Yale University, to further expand her research and teaching experience. Christina’s ultimate goal is to pursue a career in academia at a major institution.

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BLANCA CANEZ, (MBRS Mentor: Greg Talavera, M.P.H, M.D.); B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; M.P.H., Health Promotion, San Diego State University; Family Tree House Project, Health Promotion

 

MANUEL CARRANZA, (MBRS Mentor: Bill Tong, Ph.D.); B.S., Chemistry, San Diego State University; D.D.S., University of Michigan

 

VERONICA CASAS, (MBRS Mentors: Stanley Maloy, Ph.D./Forest Rowher, Ph.D.);  B.S., Microbiology, University of California, San Diego; M.S., Molecular Biology, San Diego State University; Ph.D., Molecular Biology, UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program

 

ERNESTO CASTRO, (MBRS Mentor: Roger Sabbadini, Ph.D.); B.S., Cell and Molecular Biology, San Diego State University; Science Teacher, Los Angeles Unified District

 

MARIA CELERIDAD, (MBRS Mentor: Kathie McGuire, Ph.D.); B.S., Cell and Molecular Biology, San Diego State University; Associate Scientist, Celgene

 

 

Headshot of Gabriel ChaitGABRIEL CHAIT, (MBRS Mentor: Tom Metzger, Ph.D.); B.S., Bioengineering, San Diego State University; Fulbright Scholar; M.S., Yale University, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

Gabriel started the MBRS program September of 2008. He conducted interdisciplinary research analyzing the medicinal plant traditions of Peru. In the Metzger lab at SDSU he focused on the separation and characterization of compounds from known medicinal plants, collaborating with colleagues in Peru. During the summers, Gabriel traveled to Peru to participate in a large-scale effort to characterize Peru’s vast medicinal plant knowledge through ethnographic studies as well as biological assays. The study serves as a baseline of data on over 400 Peruvian medicinal plants and their preparations in order to demonstrate the importance of this knowledge that is in danger of being lost. Gabriel’s goal is to continue ethnobotanical research and obtain a Ph.D. in the Medical Anthopology field. Gabriel Chait earned his B.S. in Bioengineering and was selected for the prestigious Fulbright Scholar Program. He is currently in Northern Peru to continue his Ethnobotanical Profile research involving finding, planting, and conserving endangered species of traditionally used medicinal plants in the northern Andes. He is applying to Ph.D. programs in Medical Anthropology after his Fulbright ends for Fall 2012 entry.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” With this goal as a starting point, the Fulbright Program has provided almost 300,000 participants—chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential — with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

 


headshot of khanichi charles in lab KHANICHI NONA TAPE CHARLES,
(MBRS Mentor: Greg Harris, Ph.D.); B.S./M.S., Biology, San Diego State University; Ph.D., Genetics and Complex Diseases, Harvard University
ktape@hsph.harvard.edu

Khanichi earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biology from San Diego State University, where she performed research in lipid metabolism under the guidance of Drs. Skaidrite Krisans and Greg Harris. Underrepresented student programs at SDSU supported her early scientific endeavors in both domestic and international settings, which facilitated her advancement towards obtaining a doctoral degree. Upon admission to Harvard School of Public Health, she was awarded the Graduate Prize Fellowship, and is now a fifth year Ph.D. candidate in the department of Genetics and Complex Diseases. Under the advisement of Dr. Gökhan Hotamisligil, Khanichi explores the influence of lipid trafficking on systemic energy metabolism and overall nutrient flux in the context of metabolic disease. In addition to her research, she has volunteered as a teaching fellow in Drug Discovery and Design at Harvard Medical School, and has served as an executive officer in the Black Student Health Organization at Harvard School of Public Health. With a variety of supporting author contributions and one first author manuscript in preparation, Khanichi expects to graduate in December 2012. Upon a successful defense of her dissertation, Khanichi will seek positions in academia and healthcare consulting.

 

MARIA CISNEROS, (MBRS Mentor: Judith Zyskind, Ph.D.); B.S., Biology, San Diego State University; Research Associate, Digital Gene Technology, Inc.

 

ANNALISA CO, (MBRS Mentor: Judith Zyskind, Ph.D.); B.S., Biology, San Diego State University; D.P.M., California College of Podiatric Medicine, San Francisco; Resident, Northlake Me

 

Upper Body Shot of Adrian Contreras in LabADRIAN CONTRERAS, (MBRS Mentor: Anca Segall, Ph.D.); B.S., Microbiology, San Diego State University; Ph.D. Candidate, Biochemistry, University of California, San Fransisco, TETRAD

 

 

 

 

 

RUDY CONTRERAS, (MBRS Mentor: Judy Reilly, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; M.A., Education (Counseling), San Diego State University; Adjunct Faculty, San Diego Mesa Community College, Department of Psychology

 

JAZMINE CUEVAS, (MBRS Mentor: Emilio Ulloa, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; M.P.H., San Diego State University, Graduate School of Public Health

 

JASON DANIEL, (MBRS Mentor: Melbourne Hovell, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; M.P.H., San Diego State University, School of Public Health; Ph.D., Health Behavior, Public Health, UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program; Post doctoral fellow, Wake Forest University; Post doctoral fellow, University of Iowa.

 

QIANA DAVIS (WALLACE), (MBRS Mentor: Donna Thal, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; M.S.W., University of Southern California; Director of Retention Projects at California State University San Bernardino

 

MARYCRUZ DEAN, (MBRS Mentor: Donna Thal, Ph.D.); B.A., Communicative Disorders, San Diego State University; M.A., Communicative Disorders, San Diego State University; Speech Specialist, South Bay School District, Emory Elementary School

 

SONIA DELGADO, (MBRS Mentor: Jacques Perrault, Ph.D.); B.S., Biology, San Diego State University; Elementary school teacher, Los Angeles

 

ELAINE DEVILLENA, (MBRS Mentor: Judith Zyskind, Ph.D.); B.S., Biology, San Diego State University; M.D., University of California, Irvine; Pediatrician, Alvarado Hospital, San Diego

 

REX DOCTOLERO, (MBRS Mentor: Sandy Bernstein, Ph.D.); B.A., Interdisciplinary Studies, San Diego State University; P.A., Pacific University; Physician Assistant, University of California, San Francisco

 

Headshot of Danielle DoughtyDANIELLE DOUGHTY, (MBRS Mentor: Matt Anderson, Ph.D.); B.S., Physics; M.S. Student, Optical Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson

Danielle was accepted into the MBRS Program Fall 2010. As the first Physics female undergraduate, Danielle conducted research with Dr. Matt Anderson in the Department of Physics. Danielle’s senior thesis project was the experimental creation of the Devils Vortex Lens (DVL). This new kind of vortex lens contains a radial phase distribution that is determined by a fractal. The fractal is characterized by the Cantor Function, otherwise known as the “Devil’s Staircase”. The effect of using this fractal radially causes the vortex to come to a series of multiple focuses. The number of foci is dependent upon the step of the fractal in use to create the grating. The Anderson lab examines the foci and their locations and comparing it to the theory we have calculated. Through Danielle’s research with Dr. Anderson, she learned to use Coherent Optics, which is a scripting program used to create the phase gratings being used on the Spatial Light Modulator (SLM). She also learned how to use GIMP, a Linex program, to allow quantifying the data as the beam is propagating down the optical table; thus, providing an easier comparison not only what the foci look like theoretically and their placement, but also how fast they are coming into a focus and compare it to calculated theory. The Anderson lab looks at the S(3) of the Cantor Function with a wavelength of 800nm and have successfully compared it to theory with some amazing results. Their next step is to look at other wavelengths and higher orders of the fractal. This research is significant because a normal vortex will come down to one single focus and then keep propagating out while the DVL will come down to several foci before and after its main focus. This aspect of the DVL allows for the creation of 3D arrays of vortex traps that can be used for florescence microscopy at multiple depths. Also, because this is a vortex there is the added effect of edge sharpening that occurs as well. Danielle earned her B.S. in Physics May 2011. She is a M.S. student in Optical Science at the University of Arizona, Tucson.

 

Headshot of Erica EllisERICA ELLIS, (MBRS Mentor: Donna Thal, Ph.D.); B.A., Communicative Disorders, San Diego State University; Ph.D. Candidate, Speech Language Hearing Science, University of California, San Diego/San Diego State University Joint Doctoral Program; NIH F31 Fellow

Erica is a 5th year doctoral student and is also completing the requirements for clinical certification in Speech Language Pathology. Her research is focused under the guidance of Dr. Julia Evans. The Child Language and Cognitive Processes Lab focuses on working memory, word learning and word representations in children with and without language impairments. Erica is currently funded through UCSD’s Center for Research in Language NIH Training grant. Her dissertation focuses on online processing of implicit and explicit word learning and vocabulary growth and knowledge in late talking and typical infants at 18-24 months. Erica has one publication, two publications under review and another two manuscripts in progress. Her expected graduation date is May 2013. After Erica earns her Ph.D., she will apply for post-doctoral positions.

 

JUAN ESCAMILLA, (MBRS Mentor: Judy Reilly, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University

 

Headshot of EsquivelSTEVEN ESQUIVEL, (MBRS Mentor: Anca Segall, Ph.D.); B.S., Microbiology, San Diego State University; Ph.D. Student, Molecular Biology, University of Utah

Steven Esquivel is the first in his family to go to college, and he has made the most of his years at SDSU. While at SDSU, he worked in the laboratory of Dr. Anca Segall, where he’s researched the chemical kinetics of phage-lambda mediated site specific recombination. Through encouragement of Dr. Anca Segall, and Michelle Lopez he applied and was accepted for the NIGMS/NIH Minority Biomedical Research Support (MBRS) Program to help prepare him for graduate school. As an active MBRS research scholar, he received travel awards to present his work at multiple scientific venues. He will attend the University of Utah  next semester to pursue a doctoral degree in Molecular Biology, where he plans to study the evolution of host-pathogen interactions that compromise host immunity and their mechanism of action. After obtaining his Ph.D., he will start a post-doctoral position in plant molecular biology in order to prepare himself for his own research interests; the evolution and dynamics of host-pathogen interactions between humans, plants, and wildlife populations. Steven’s goal is to obtain a Ph.D. and become an independent scientist with opportunities to present future work at international meetings and explore exciting applications in life sciences. He hopes to eventually work as a mentor, researcher, children’s book author, and role model for minority students.

 

IRAIS ESTRADA, (MBRS Mentor: Melbourne Hovell, Mary Mulvihill, Ph.D.); B.S., Health Science, San Diego State University; M.P.H. Student, Health Promotion, San Diego State University

 

NANCEE EVANGELISTA, (MBRS Mentor: Greg Talavera, M.P.H., M.D.); B.A., University of California, Irvine; M.P.H., Health Promotion, San Diego State University

 

DARICE EVANS, (MBRS Mentor: Donna Thal, Ph.D.); M.A., Communicative Disorders, San Diego State University; Pre-kindergarden speech teacher, Lakeside Union School District

 

Headshot of Elsa FariasELSA FARIAS, (MBRS Mentor: Donna Castaneda, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology; M.S.W., San Diego State University

Elsa started the MBRS program in September 2008. She transferred from SDSU Imperial Valley Campus. She was a Psychology major and conducted research with Dr. Castaneda. Dr. Castaneda’s laboratory conducts studies in marital dissatisfaction and factors related with it, including depression and anxiety. Elsa’s contribution resulted in 3 presentations and she is currently working as a coauthor in the development of a manuscript. Elsa is a current Masters student in the SDSU Graduate School of Public Health (MPH) program and is working on a second Masters in Social Work (MSW). Elsa’s goal is to obtain a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and in the future, conduct research, teach in academia, and work one on one with people suffering from mental disorders.

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headshot of Gabriel FeeleyGABRIEL FEELEY, (MBRS Mentor: David Pullman, Ph.D.); B.S., Chemistry, San Diego State University; M.S. Student, Materials Science and Engineering/Ph.D. Student, Materials Chemistry, University of Washington

Gabriel joined MBRS in February 2012. He pursued studies in chemistry and conducted research under the supervision of Professor David Pullman. The Pullman Group is a physical chemistry laboratory specializing in surface and colloid science. Gabriel’s research probed the mechanism of silver nanoparticle formation using mass spectrometry and utilized ultra-high vacuum and cryogenic techniques. His poster presented at the 2012 SDSU Student Research Symposium (SRS), was awarded the Provost Award for outstanding poster presentation. Also in March he co-presented with fellow Pullman Group member and MBRS Scholar Alex Mendoza (Chemistry BS, 2012) at the 243rd National Meeting of the ACS in San Diego. In June 2012, Gabriel attended the 86th ACS Colloid & Surface Science Symposium at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. In August 2012, he presented his research at the 244th National Meeting of the ACS in Philadelphia. In October 2012, he returned to Philadelphia to attend the Ivy Plus STEM Symposium at the University of Pennsylvania. Gabriel was awarded the B.S. in Chemistry from SDSU in May 2013, and will attend the University of Washington pursuing a PhD in Chemistry. There he hopes to contribute to the development, fabrication, and processing of new electronic materials with possible applications to biosensors.

 

SENAIDA FERNANDEZ, (MBRS Mentor: Liz Klonoff, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology; Ph.D., Clinical Psychology UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program; Post Doctoral Program, Columbia; Community Initiatives and Public Health Sciences Program Officer, California Breast Cancer Research Program, University of California Office of the President

 

RONALD FIGUEROA, (MBRS Mentor: Judy Reilly, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University

 

Headshot of Erin FletcherERIN FLETCHER, (MBRS Mentor: Kelly Doran, Ph.D.); B.S., Microbiology, Minor in Public Health, San Diego State University; Ph.D. Student, Cancer Biology, Harvard University

Erin joined the MBRS program in June 2011. She was a microbiology major with a minor in public health, and conducted research in the laboratory of Dr. Kelly Doran. Erin’s project focused on using genetic mutants of group B Streptococcus in order to identify which genes were critical for the pathogenesis of bacterial meningitis in neonates. The findings were published in Cellular Microbiology in 2013. Erin received the 2012 American Society for Microbiology Undergraduate Research Fellowship, 2012 Sally Casanova Award, and 2013 Doris A. Howell CSUPERB Research Scholar Award for her contributions to this project. Erin graduated May 2013 with her B.S. in Microbiology. She entered the Biological and Biomedical Sciences doctoral training program at Harvard University, where she pursues a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology. Erin hopes to conduct her own translational cancer research as a principal investigator at an academic institution.

 

MELANIE FLORES, (MBRS Mentor: Donna Thal, Ph.D.); B.A., University of California, Santa Barbara; M.A., Communicative Disorders, San Diego State University; Speech Therapist, Tri-City Hospital

 

Headshot of Chris FowlerCHRIS FOWLER, (MBRS Mentor: Melody Sadler, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology; Ph.D. student, Clinical Psychology, University of Missouri, Kansas City
 

Chris Fowler entered the MBRS program in 2008. A Psychology major with an emphasis in Clinical Psychology and Statistics, Chris studies the formation of stereotyping and prejudice in groups and the implications for information processing at the Stigma and Emotions (STEM) laboratory with Dr. Melody Sadler. Chris is the founder and director of the SDSU Research Assistant Application Program (RAAP). His current research project is, “The Social Stigma of Schizophrenia from the Layperson Perspective.” His contributions have resulted in 9 presentations, and he is an author on 3 manuscripts in progress. Chris earned his B.A., in Psychology, May 2010 and is a second year Ph.D. student in Clinical Psychology at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

 

 

Kristen, Psychology MajorKRISTEN FROSIO, (MBRS Mentor: Nader Amir, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; Research Fellow, Oklahoma State University

Kristen joined the MBRS program in March 2012. She has graduated with a B.A. in psychology from San Diego State University May 2013. She currently conducts research in the Center for Understanding and Treating Anxiety with Dr. Nader Amir. CUTA focuses on comprehensive treatment of anxiety disorders such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Social Phobia, Panic Disorder, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Kristen’s projects focus on the effects of anxiety on cognitive task efficiency and neurophysiological properties of attentional components. Kristen’s goal is to obtain a PhD in Clinical Psychology and conduct research that investigates potential pre-clinical/clinical conditions, relative to attentional component deficits, that mark the development and maintenance of anxiety related disorders. Kristen is also working to conduct research on anxiety disorders within the Native American population. She hopes to contribute to the literature and to the Native American people. Kristen is a proud member of the Wichita Tribe. In August 2013, Kristen became a Psychiatric Research Associate for the Department of Psychiatry at University of California, San Diego. Kristen will begin the Clinical Psychology program at Oklahoma State University in the fall of 2014.

 

Galindo, CarolinaCAROLINA GALINDO, (MBRS Mentor: Fridolin Weber, Ph.D.); B.S., Astronomy, B.A., German, Minor in Math; San Diego State University; Ph.D. Student, Physics, City University of New York

Carolina joined the MBRS program in June 2012. She double majored in astronomy and German with a minor in math. Carolina has been working in Dr. Fridolin Weber’s lab for the past two years investigating the properties of massive neutron stars. Her goal is to obtain a Ph.D. in astrophysics and become a professor at a four-year university with her own research lab. She graduated in May 2013 and started her Ph.D. in Physics. Carolina became a postdoc employee with the Cancer Center Department at UCSD in 2013.

 

 

Headshot of Lemma GaromaLEMMA GAROMA, (MBRS Mentor: Chii-Dean Lin, Ph.D.); B.S., Statistics; Ph.D. Student, Biostatistics, University of Texas Health Science Center; T32 Recipient

Lemma transferred from Grossmont College to San Diego State University (SDSU) in the fall, 2007 to major in Statistics. He was accepted into the MBRS program in May, 2008. Lemma conducted research under the supervision of Prof. Chii-Dean Lin at the SDSU Statistical Consulting Center. Prof. Chii-Dean Lin’s research interests are spatial statistics, longitudinal data analysis and statistical modeling in clinical trials. Lemma’s research interest is, “Statistical Analysis of DNA Microarray Data.” Lemma earned his B.S. August 2010 in Statistics. He was accepted into the following Ph.D. programs: University of Pittsburgh and the University of Texas Health Science Center in Biostatistics. Lemma is a 3rd year Ph.D. student at the Univ. of Texas Health Science Center and is an NIH T32 pre-doctoral training grant recipient. His goal is to obtain a Ph.D in Biostatistics and work as a researcher in academia or national research centers.

 

HILDA GOMEZ-ZINN, (MBRS Mentor: Donna Thal, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; M.A., Education Counseling, San Diego State University; Counselor, Project Puente, Miracosta College

 

 

Headshot of Maricel GozoMARICEL GOZO, (MBRS Mentor:  Anca Segall, Ph.D.); B.S., Chemistry/Microbiology; Ph.D., Translational Medicine and Biomedical Science, Cedar-Sinai Medical School

Maricel’s research is conducted in the laboratory of Dr. Sandra Orsulic form the Women’s Cancer Program. Her research is focused in studying ovarian cancer tumor progression and metastases. Maricel’s expected graduation is December 2012 after which, she will be applying to several post-doctoral fellowship positions in laboratories focusing in understanding tumor microenvironments and tumor immunology.

 

DANIEL GUADARRAMA, (MBRS Mentor: Melbourne Hovell, Ph.D.); B.S., Biology, San Diego State University; Research Assistant, Memory Research Lab, UCSD and VA Medical Center

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JUAN GUTIERREZ, (MBRS Mentor: Judith Zyskind, Ph.D.), B.S., Cell and Molecular Biology, San Diego State University; Quality Assurance Specialist at SAFC

 

Headshot of Maria GutierrezMARIA GUTIERREZ, (MBRS Mentor: Tom Huxford, Ph.D.); B.S. Biochemistry;  Ph.D. Student, Immunology, University of Louisville

Maria is a former Bridges to the Future student and LS-AMP scholar who transferred to San Diego State University as a Biochemistry major from San Diego City College in the fall of 2008. Maria’s first MBRS placement was conducted under Dr. Ricardo Zayas in the Department of Biology. She gained significant training in Planarian Regeneration and learned the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in tissue regeneration, specifically, regeneration of the central nervous system, via a population of adult pluripotent-stem cells. Maria is currently working with the causative agent of meliodoisis Burkholderia pseudomallei basically studying host-pathogen interactions in an effort to identify potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of Bp infection. She started her Ph.D. at the University of Louisville in Immunology in the Fall of 2011.

 

VERONICA GUTIERREZ, (MBRS Mentor: Greg Talavera, Ph.D.); B.S., Health Science, San Diego State University; M.P.H, Health Promotion, San Diego State University

 

IRENE HALE, (MBRS Mentor:  David Lipson, Ph.D.); B.S. Biochemistry, San Diego State University

 

HANAA HAMDI, (MBRS Mentor:Bob Pozos, Ph.D.); Ph.D. Student, Rutgers University-Newark, New Jersey Institute of Technology, and University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Joint Doctoral Program in Urban Systems

 

KRYSTAL HERMAN, (MBRS Mentor: Karen May-Newman, Ph.D.); B.S., Biology, San Diego State University; M.S., Molecular Biology, San Diego State University;  Associate Scientist II, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson

 

GENARO HERNANDEZ, (MBRS Mentors: Roberta Gottlieb, M.D. & Allen Andres, Ph.D.); B.S., Cell and Molecular Biology, Minor in Honors Interdisciplinary Study, San Diego State University; Ph.D. Student, Biomedical Sciences, University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center

Genaro Hernandez joined MBRS in the Fall of 2010. He first started his research work by participating in the SDSU Bridges to the Future Program. He is a cell and molecular biology major and an honors interdisciplinary studies minor. He conducted research in the laboratory of Dr. Roberta Gottlieb at the Donald P. Shiley Bioscience Center working under Dr. Allen Andres‘ guidance. Here he conducted studies in biochemistry, cell biology, and physiology in order to better understand the molecular mechanisms underlying heart disease, autophagy, and cardioprotection. His senior honors thesis work focused on how statins, which are widely prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs, can protect the heart against failure by inducing mitochondrial autophagy. Aside from his thesis work, Genaro also worked on uncovering the molecular mechanism of mitochondrial autophagy during a heart attack, developing technologies to monitor mitochondrial autophagy, and the molecular mechanism of statin-myopathy. Genaro’s efforts have resulted in 12 presentations and co-authorship of 3 manuscripts. Genaro will start the Ph.D. program in biomedical sciences at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Genaro’s goal is to earn his Ph.D., conduct independent translational research, and mentor students in the future.

 

JESSICA HERNANDEZ COTTO, (MBRS Mentor: Chris Glembotski, Ph.D.); B.S., Cell and Molecular Biology, San Diego State University; M.P.H., George Washington University, Science Policy and Communications; Epidemiologist, National Institute of Drug Abuse

 

OBDULIA HERRERA, B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; M.S.W., University of Tennessee, School of Social Work

 

LORI HIPOLITO, (MBRS Mentor: Sanford Bernstein, Ph.D.); B.S., Biology, San Diego State University; M.S., Molecular Biology, San Diego State University; Research Associate, Genoptix

 

SHERI HUGHES-MIRANDA, (MBRS Mentor: Donna Thal, Ph.D.), B.A., University of California, Irvine; M.A., Communicative Disorders, Speech, Language, and Pathology, San Diego State University

 

ESMERALDA INIGUEZ-STEVENS, (MBRS Mentor: John Elder, Ph.D.); B.S., Animal Physiology, University of California, San Diego; M.P.H., Health Promotion, San Diego State University; Ph.D, Health Behavior, UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program; Epidemiologist, Early Warning Infectious Disease Surveillance Program, California Office of Binational Border Health – California Department of Public Health

 

TANYA INZUNZA, B.A., Communicative Disorders, San Diego State University

 

CHRYSTIAN IRAZOQUE, (MBRS Mentor: Peter Salamon, Ph.D.), B.A., Psychology and Japanese, San Diego State University

 

Headshot of Alyssa JimenezALYSSA JIMENEZ, (MBRS Mentor: Kelly Doran, Ph.D.); B.S., Microbiology; Ph.D. Student, Microbiology, UT Southwestern Medical Center

Alyssa Jimenez is a Microbiology major and former Bridges to the Future student who transferred from Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges. She spent the summer of 2009 conducting research at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and began her MBRS research fall of 2009. Alyssa’s SDSU IMSD and undergraduate honors thesis research was in the bacterial pathogenesis laboratory of Dr. Kelly Doran in the Department of Biology. Her current project focuses on researching the asymptomatic colonization of the female reproductive tract with Group B Streptococcus (GBS). Alyssa presented at the SDSU Student Research Symposium (SRS) and was awarded the Provost Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Research, spring 2010. She will also present her research, “Colonization of the Female Reproductive Tract by Group B Streptococcu, at the 2010 SACNAS conference in Anaheim, CA. Alyssa earned her B.S. in Microbiology. She was accepted at the following Ph.D. programs: U of Michigan, Washington University, St. Louis, UT Southwestern, U of Washington, Johns Hopkins. Alyssa started her Ph.D. at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas fall 2011 in Microbiology.

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Headshot of Jorge JimenezJORGE JIMENEZ, (MBRS Mentor: William Tong, Ph.D.); B.S., Chemistry; Ph.D. Student, Chemistry, University of California, Santa Cruz

Jorge Jimenez started the MBRS program in January 2009. A Chemistry major, and Physics and Math Minor, Jorge conducted research under Dr. Bill Tong. The Tong lab lab involves Analytical Laser Spectroscopy. The research is directed toward the application of novel nonlinear multiphoton laser spectroscopic methods in the development and understanding of new methods in laser analytical spectroscopy. Jorge has presented his research from the Tong lab at SACNAS, ABRCMS, ACS, CSUperb, and the American Biophysical Society. Jorge conducted research at the University of Chicago, Materials Research Center (MRSEC) and the Dept. of Physics (2011). He applied to Ph.D. programs in Chemistry fall 2011 and was accepted into the University of Illinois, Chicago, UC Merced and UC Santa Cruz.  After earning his Ph.D. in Chemistry from UC Santa Cruz, Jorge will pursue a research career in chemistry or chemical physics.

 

Headshot of Karina KangasKARINA KANGAS, (MBRS Mentor:  Diane Smith, Ph.D); B.S. Chemistry; Ph.D. Student, Department of Chemistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Ford Foundation and NSF Graduate Research Fellow

Karina graduated with her chemistry B.S. in May 2011 from SDSU and was the 2011 Outstanding Graduating Senior in the College of Sciences. She is a first year Ph.D. student in chemistry at UCSD. Karina started June 2011 and is a AGEP (Alliance for Graduate and the Professoriate) fellow and recipient of the Stanley Miller Award. Karina’s research entails the preparation, optimization and characterization of nanoscale, self-assembling probes aimed for cancer diagnostics and therapeutics. At SDSU, Karina was an MBRS Scholar (3 years), LSAMP, and Compact Scholar. As an undergraduate, she conducted research in the Cooksy and Smith laboratory. Karina’s contributions resulted in 15 presentations, coauthoring in The Journal of Physical Chemistry and The Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, and receiving the 2010 Quest for the Best Award. Karina’s goals are to obtain a Ph.D. in chemistry and become a professor. As a first year Ph.D. student in chemistry at UCSD, Karina also received the prestigious National Research Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship and the Ford Foundation Fellowship.

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Headshot of Jennifer VenegasJENNIFER KELIHER-VENEGAS, (MBRS Mentor: Nicholas Kellar, Ph.D.); B.S., Marine Biology; M.S. Student, Marine Biology, California State University, San Jose.

Jennifer started MBRS in the fall of 2009. She was a transfer student from Southwestern College and former scholar of the Bridges to the Future and MESA programs. As a marine biology major, Jennifer conducted research in the laboratory of Dr. Nicholas Kellar at NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center. Her research in molecular ecology was to determine the relationship of glucocorticoids with the reproductive success and population recovery of Arctic bowhead whales. During the summer of 2010, Jennifer conducted research in the Gulf of California related to the Vaquita (Phocoena sinus) through the Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Program under the supervision of Dr. Sarah Mesnick and faculty from Scripps Institute of Oceanography. Jennifer accepted a position in the Masters in Science program at CSU San Jose’s Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. The project she will work on is supported by a huge grant from the NSF involving a collaborative effort with multiple institutions including NOAA, Smithsonian Institute, UCLA, and SDSU. The goal is to evaluate “patterns of biodiversity” along a latitudinal gradient within the  Coral Triangle. She will conduct field work in Bali, Indonesia starting this June  and will have at least 2 more trips out to collect data. The Moss Landing team will focus on assessing invertebrate species composition and diversity. The NSF grant will provide financial support for a large percent of her tuition, will pay for her travel costs and expenses, and will support her to attend national conferences. She will apply for the Fulbright next, and apply to PhD programs after her Masters.

 

Headshot of Helen Kemp in LabHELEN KEMP, (MBRS Mentor: Bill Tong, Ph.D.); B.S., Georgia Institute of Technology; M.A., Chemistry, San Diego State University; Ph.D, Physical Chemistry, UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program; Senior Scientist, Proctor & Gamble

In 2002, Helen earned a PhD in Analytical Chemistry from San Diego State University and in Physical Chemistry from the University of California San Diego.  During her graduate program, Helen worked in the Tong Analytical Group focusing on nonlinear laser spectroscopy for ultra sensitive detection (sub-ppb) of analytes.  In this graduate school experience, Helen was able to combine her love of engineering and her love of chemistry as she worked on graphite furnace atomizers, ICPs, and an array of laser sources.  Upon graduation, Helen was employed by The Procter & Gamble Company where her first assignment focused on understanding the interaction between environmental factors and human hair.  Since joining Procter & Gamble, Helen has worked in Beauty Technology, Respiratory and Male Grooming supporting the innovation pipeline for brands such as Pantene®, Crest®, Gillette®, and Vicks®.  Helen led the early device development work in Beauty Technology which has resulted in both consumer products and point of sale units.  Helen also led the development of research partnerships with external experts.  She has collaborated with experts in these fields to design and field clinical studies and to develop new products and methodologies.  Since joining Procter & Gamble, Helen has authored several white papers and has patents in the areas of test methods, devices and new formulations.  Currently, Helen is a Senior Scientist in Research and Development supporting the Glad® Joint Venture.

 

ROBERT KOEHLER, (MBRS Mentor:  Diane Smith, Ph.D.); B.S. Biology, San Diego State University; Post bac program, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston

 

 

 

Headshot of CheyneCHEYNE KUROKAWA, (MBRS Mentor: Sandy Bernstein, Ph.D.); B.S., Cell and Molecular Biology;Ph.D. Student, Virology and Gene Therapy, Mayo Graduate Clinic, 

Cheyne Kurokawa joined the MBRS program in August 2011. Cheyne  conducted research in the laboratory of Dr. Sandy Bernstein in the Department of Biology. The Bernstein lab investigates the Molecular Genetic Analysis of Muscle Gene and Protein Function During Drosophila Development and uses the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, to explore gene expression and protein function in muscle cells. Defects in contractile proteins cause human cardiac and skeletal muscle disease. Therefore, it is useful to pursue an understanding of contractile protein function in an organism that is readily manipulated by genetic and transgenic means. Our integrative approach allows us to study muscle from the molecular level (using biochemical and biophysical assays), through the cellular level (using microscopy and fiber mechanical assays) to the level of whole organism muscle function. Cheyne co-presented the “Exploration of Expanded PolyQ-mediated Cardiac Skeletal Muscle Defects in the Drosophila Model” at the 2011 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in St. Louis, Missouri with SDSU MARC scholar, Raul Ramos. The poster was recognized for Outstanding Undergraduate Research in the Physiology category.

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TIEN LE, (MBRS Mentor: Anca Segall, Ph.D.); B.S., Cell and Molecular Biology, San Diego State University; M.S., Molecular Biology, San Diego State University; Research Associate

 

ANTOINETTE LINTON, (MBRS Mentor: Paul Paulini, Ph.D.); B.S., Biology, San Diego State University; Ed.D., Education, University of Southern California

 

MARIA LOPEZ, (MBRS Mentor: Dr. Lovato); M.P.H., San Diego State University; Public Health Department, New York City

 

MIRNA LOPEZ, (MBRS Mentor: William Tong, Ph.D.), B.S., Chemistry, University of California, San Diego; M.A., Chemistry, San Diego State University; Ph.D., Physical Chemistry, UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program; Senior Regulatory Affairs Manager, Illumina

 

YURIKO LOPEZ, (MBRS Mentor: Terry Conway, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; M.S.W., San Diego State University; M.P.H., Health Promotion, San Diego State University; Clinical Therapist

 

VICTORIA LOVE, (MBRS Mentor: Sanford Bernstein, Ph.D.); B.S., Cell and Molecular Biology, San Diego State University; Ph.D., Immunology,  Harvard University; Post doctoral fellow,  Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston MA; Senior Scientist, Pfizer

Victoria Love earned her B.S. in cell and molecular biology from SDSU in 1999 and her Ph.D. in Immunology from Harvard Medical School in 2006. Her dissertation was titled ” Cytotoxic T Lymphocyte Antigen -4 Regulates CD8+ T cells that Cause Myocarditis “.  Victoria recently left Pfizer in La Jolla where she worked on immunotherapy projects for 4 years as a senior scientist. She will begin a new position at a small Biotech in San Diego called AnaptysBio where she will continue research and development of novel biotherapeutic molecules. Before entering her PhD program, Victoria participated in the MBRS Program and worked in Dr. Sanford Bernstein’s lab at SDSU. She was also a MARC scholar and conducted research in the lab of Dr. Ann Feeney at the Scripps Research Institute. Immediately after obtaining her Ph.D., Victoria was a post-doctoral fellow at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston MA, working in the lab of Dr. Norman Letvin.

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DIANA LOZANO, (MBRS Mentor: Corina Van De Pol, Ph.D.); B.S., Electrical Engineering, San Diego State University; Ph.D. Candidate, Physiological Optics, University of Houston, Texas

 

ANNALEE LUCENA, (MBRS Mentor: Judith Zyskind, Ph.D.); B.S., Cell and Molecular Biology, San Diego State University; M.S., Microbiology, University of Florida;  Project Manager, Genoptix

 

Headshot of SoniaSONIA MACIEJEWSKI, (MBRS Mentor: Ralph Feuer, Ph.D.); B.S., Microbiology, San Diego State University;  Ph.D. Student, Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of California, Irvine

Sonia joined the MBRS program in May 2008. She was a biology major with an emphasis in Microbiology and did research on the coxsackie virus in Dr. Ralph Feuer’s laboratory. She has also had previous research experience in Dr. Diane Smith’s electrochemistry laboratory. Sonia has presented a poster at the 2008 ABRCMS conference and has given one oral presentation on her research in the Smith laboratory. She has also attended several science conferences and is currently in the process of becoming a coauthor on a manuscript. Sonia earned her B.S. in Microbiology May 2011. She started her Ph.D. program in Cellular and Molecular Biosciences at UC Irvine fall 2011, as part of their IMSD Program.

 

JO-AN MALAHY, (MBRS Mentor: John Elder, Ph.D.); B.S., James Madison University; M.P.H, Epidemiology, San Diego State University; D.P.T, University of Puget Sound; Physical Therapist, Sharp Rees-Stealy

 

GRACIELLE MANIPON, (MBRS Mentor: Sandy Bernstein, Ph.D.); B.S., Cell and Molecular Biology, San Diego State University; Pharm D., University of California, San Francisco; Pharmacist, Fresno, CA

 

EDWIN MANUEL, (MBRS Mentor: Anca Segall, Ph.D.); B.S., Microbiology, San Diego State University; Ph.D., Virology, Harvard Medical School; Post-doctoral fellow, City of Hope, Los Angeles; Staff Scientist, City of Hope, Los Angeles

 

Headshot of Alan MarquezALAN MARQUEZ RAZON, (MBRS Mentor: Luciano Demasi, Ph.D.); B.S., Aerospace Engineering, Minor in Mathematics, San Diego State University; Ph.D. Student, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles

Alan Marquez Razon joined the MBRS IMSD program July 2012. He first started his research work on June 2011 as a NSF STEM scholar. He is an Aerospace Engineering major with a minor in mathematics, and is conducting research in the Computational Aeroelasticity Research Laboratory of Dr. Luciano Demasi. The lab currently conducts research on the nonlinear geometrical behavior of Prandtl Plane or box wings in order to assess the different parameters which influence the buckling occurrence. Alan is the coauthor of the “Nonlinear Analysis of Prandtl Plane Joined Wings – Part I: Post-critical Analysis and Fundamentals” article which is currently “in press” in the AIAA Journal. His current research involves understanding the vortex lattice method which would be used to determine the dynamic instability of the Prandtl plane. Marquez’s goal is to obtain a PHD in engineering and perform research in a National Laboratory or University. After graduating on the Spring 2013 term, Alan Marquez Razon will continue developing his academic skills in the Mechanical and Aerospace doctoral program at UCLA starting on Fall 2013.

 

Headshot of Miguel Martin Del CampoMIGUEL MARTIN DEL CAMPO, (MBRS Mentor: Claire Murphy, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; M.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; Ph.D. Student, Developmental Psychology, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Miguel began the MBRS program in Spring 2008. He conducted research in the Lifespan Human Senses Laboratory under Dr. Claire Murphy. The Lifespan Human Senses Laboratory conducts research investigating the effects of Alzheimer’s disease on olfaction abilities. Miguel presented his research at the 2009 Student Research Symposium on olfaction thresholds and odor memory and how they are affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

 

 

JAMES MARTINEZ, (MBRS Mentor: Carol Macera, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; M.P.H., Epidemiology, San Diego State University; Ed.D., Health and Behavior, Teachers College, Columbia University; Epidemiologist, Los Angeles County, Department of Public Health

 

 

Headshot of Neri MartinezNERI MARTINEZ-ARANGO, (MBRS Mentor:  Emilio Ulloa, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology;  M.A., Psychology, San Diego State University, Instructor, San Diego State University PreMARC Program

Neri started the MBRS program in September 2008. He was also a Ronald E. McNair Baccalaureate scholar, a member of Psi Chi (Psychology Honors Society), SACNAS (Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in the Sciences) and served as the co-chair for M.E.Ch.A de SDSU. Neri is currently working with Drs. Emilio Ulloa and Audrey Hokoda in the Teen Relationship Violence Lab. His contributions have resulted in over 5 presentations and he is currently an author on one manuscript in progress. Neri is a Masters student in psychology at SDSU. His goal is to obtain a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and to conduct research among underrepresented groups.

 

 

Headshot of Suzanna MartinezSUZANNA MARTINEZ, (MBRS Mentor:John Elder, Ph.D.); B.S., Cell Biology, University of California, San Diego; Ph.D., M.A., Nutrition, Columbia University; Ph.D., Health Behavior, UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program; Post-doctoral fellow, University of California, San Francisco

Suzanna Martinez graduated in 1998 with a BS in Biochemistry & Cell Biology from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Suzanna’s interest in nutrition was the momentum for earning a Master’s in Nutrition Education from Columbia University in New York. She participated in health disparities research in the following: osteoporosis prevention in women, healthy eating in Latino children, and fruit/vegetable consumption in older adults.  Suzanna’s doctoral training was at San Diego State University/UCSD, under the mentorship of Dr. John Elder. She was interested in tying in her nutrition knowledge with physical activity. She researched physical activity (PA) in Latinos and culturally appropriate assessments of PA, which led to three publications and a published chapter. As a participant in the Minority Biomedical Research Program, Suzanna was able to receive training in structural equation modeling to strengthen her statistical skills. This method was employed in dissertation as she modeled correlates of physical activity in Latinos of San Diego County, which resulted in two publications. As a postdoctoral fellow at UCSD, Suzanna works on a study designed to understand how circadian rhythms relate to eating, sleep and PA, and subsequently how these patterns lead to obesity in Chilean adolescents. While providing expertise on PA, she examines health outcomes such as obesity, depression and breakfast consumption after short sleep.

 

TARA MARTINEZ, (MBRS Mentor: Kathie McGuire, Ph.D.); B.S., Cell and Molecular Biology, San Diego State University; Ph.D., Molecular Biology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; Post-doctoral fellow, Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

 

ADEUNICE MATA, (MBRS Mentor: Judy Reilly, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; M.D., Stanford University Medical School; Practicing Family Physician, Palo Alto, CA

 

JOEL MATA, (MBRS Mentor: Judy Reilly, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; M.D., Stanford University Medical School

 

 

OMAR MAXIMO, (MBRS Mentor: Axel Muller, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; Ph.D. Student, Developmental Psychology, University of Alabama, Birmingham

Omar joined the MBRS program in Spring of 2011 and started his research experience at the Brain Development Imaging Laboratory (BDIL) under the supervision of Dr. Ralph-Axel Müller. The BDIL focuses on the functional organizational changes that occur throughout childhood and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The BDIL employs a technique called functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which consists of large magnets to safely take images of the brain while a participant performs a specific task or during a state of rest in order to observe changes in hemodynamic responses as a result of these conditions. Other methods such as functional connectivity MRI (fcMRI), which looks at the coherence among cortical regions reflecting brain network organization and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), which looks at white-matter integrity are also used. The combination of these techniques could give us a better understanding of how the brain in autism works differently from typically developing populations, thus being able to explain the core impairments observed in autism and find biomarkers that could help us classify and diagnose people with autism by using fMRI. Omar collaborated in several projects, however his main project involved examining short-range functional connectivity using the regional homogeneity (ReHo) approach, which measures the temporal correlation of the BOLD time series of one voxel to those of its nearest neighbors, and density analysis, which is a local connectivity approach from graph theory defined for each voxel as the number of connected neighboring voxels within a radius to a reference voxel. His findings resulted in a manuscript, where he was given first authorship. Omar graduated in May of 2013 with a B.A. in Psychology and will be attending the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) pursuing a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology. His new laboratory at UAB focuses on assessing autistic populations using multi-modal imaging techniques such as fMRI, fcMRI, DTI, and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). The reason why Omar decided to pursue a doctoral degree was because he aims to encourage and mentor motivated students from disadvantaged and underrepresented populations to pursue a higher education, thus increasing the number of underrepresented students in the sciences.

 

ANNA-MICHELLE McSORLEY, (MBRS Mentor: Vanessa Malcarne, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; Ph.D. Student, Clinical Psychology, University of Rhode Island

Anna-Michelle McSorley was a member of the Community Outreach Research Team at The Rebecca and John Moores UCSD Cancer Center, as a student volunteer. Working under the direction of Dr. Vanessa Malcarne, she primarily participated in projects investigating health disparities in disadvantaged and underrepresented populations. Anna-Michelle contributed to various partnership projects between San Diego State University and University of California, San Diego, including the Breast Cancer Clinical Trial Education Program funded by the California Breast Cancer Research Program. This program aims to educate Hispanic and African-American women about clinical trials and emphasizes the importance of minority participation. She recently presented a research project entitled “Parental Influence on Health Locus of Control Beliefs in Children” at the Western Psychological Association conference in Los Angeles. This project investigated how parents impact health beliefs in their children. She will begin the Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology at the University of Rhode Island, Fall 2012, and her future goals include pursuing a research career in health disparities, teaching and mentoring at the university level. Anna-Michelle is the Outstanding Student in the Department of Psychology for Class of 2012.

 

Headshot of Alexandra MendozaALEXANDRA MENDOZA, (MBRS Mentor: David Pullman, Ph.D.); B.S., Chemistry; Ph.D. Student, Biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Alexandra was accepted into the MBRS program Spring 2011. An undergraduate senior in Dr. David Pullman’s laboratory, Alexandra has already presented at the 2011 American Chemical Society (ACS) in Anaheim, CA. Her MBRS project investigated the Influence of Chloride and Fluoride Ions on the Interaction of Amino Acids with Silver Nanoparticles. Due to their optical and antimicrobial properties, silver nanoparticles are being used in an increasing number of commercial and medical applications. Since their effect on the environment and living organisms is only partially known, probing their behavior in various solution conditions is important. The goal of this work is to study the interaction of amino acids with the nanoparticles and examine the effect of salts on this interaction. The principle issue the Pullman lab addresses is whether all sodium halides behave in a similar manner or if there is a specific ion effect. The Pullman lab monitored the aggregation rate using UV-Visible spectroscopy.  They plan to apply theirresults to the study of the interaction of amino acids with the silver nanoparticles. Alexandra was selected to participate in the highly competitive Graduate Preview programs at MIT, UC Berkeley, and CalTech.

 

ROSEMARY MEZA, (MBRS Mentor: Judy Reilly, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology; Research Assistant, San Diego State University

Rosemary Meza started the MBRS program in July, 2009. She is a psychology major and biology minor. Rosemary conducted research in the Developmental Laboratory of Language and Cognition with Dr. Judy Reilly. She assisted with two different research projects and presented one of them at the Student Research Symposium which won a Provost Award in 2010. She also worked with Dr. Pamela Moses investigating the Diffusion Tensor MRI Analysis of Cerebral White Matter Development After Perinatal Brain Injury. A perinatal stroke is a stroke that occurs in the last trimester or first month after birth. The stroke often results in lesions in the brain. In an adult, a stroke often leaves irreversible damage to the structure of the brain as well as a person’s behavior and ability to function. However, the developing brain is highly plastic and has the ability to reorganize itself. Currently, the Moses Lab is utilizing MRI-based Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) to assess the integrity of white matter bundles in individuals who has suffered a perinatal stoke. The purpose of this study is to understand the principles of plasticity after there has been obvious injury. Rosemary has been involved in creating scripts and processing the data, analyzing it in SPSS, and interpreting the results. This project has led to 2 poster presentations at the San Diego State University Student Research Symposium (Provost Award winner 2011) and the California Cognitive Science Conference. Rosemary is currently analyzing additional measures derived from DTI to better understand the state of the underlying white matter following a perinatal stroke. Rosemary plans to obtain a Ph.D. in Developmental Neuropsychology.

 

DANIEL MICHEL, (MBRS Mentor: Melbourne Hovell, Ph.D.); B.A. Psychology, San Diego State University; M.A., Student, Latin American Studies and Community and Regional Planning; University of New Mexico

 

JORGE MILLAN, (MBRS Mentor: Bob Pozos, Ph.D.); B.S., Kinesiology, San Diego State University; D.P.T., Physical Therapy, University of Southern California; Physical Therapist, Chula Vista, CA

 

ANABEL MIRANDA, (MBRS Mentor: Bob Pozos, Ph.D.); B.S., Biology, Universidad Del Turobo; M.S. , Biology, San Diego State University; Associate Scientist, GenProbe

 

Headshot of Hafsa MohamadHAFSA MOHAMED, (MBRS Mentor: Thierry Devos, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology; M.A. Student, Psychology, San Diego State University

Hafsa started the MBRS program in June 2009 as a transfer student from the San Diego Mesa College Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program. As a psychology major, she conducts research in the Intergroup Relations Lab under Dr. Thierry Devos where issues related to social identity, stereotypes, and prejudice are being investigated. Hafsa completed her honors thesis on Implicit Multiculturalism. This research focuses on issues related to social identity, stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination. The Devos lab explores how attitudes and beliefs about self and social groups operate outside of conscious awareness or control. For example, some of our work reveals that ethnic minorities (African, Asian, Latino or Native Americans) are implicitly conceived of as being less American than White/European Americans. Hafsa’s project looked at how multiculturalism can help mitigate this robust American = White effect. Hafsa worked with Dr. Devos for the past three years, and during the time, learned a great deal about experimental design, running various analyses and writing research papers. Hafsa’s research has earned the following honors: University Honors Program, 2009-2011; Dean’s List, Semester Honors: Fall 2009—Summer 2010 Honors Program, San Diego Mesa College; NIH/NIGMS Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program San Diego Mesa College; Dean’s List (2008—2009), San Diego Mesa College 2008 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) Outstanding Psychology Poster Presentation Award; Academic Achievement in Psychology, Awarded by the Committee of Psychology Teachers as Community Colleges of the APA; University Honors Program Honors Thesis; 2011 Parker Award for the Outstanding Undergraduate Paper, SDSU Department of Psychology.

 

ALINA MONTALBANO, (MBRS Mentor: Anca Segall & Paul Paolini, Ph.D.); B.S., Microbiology; Ph.D., Reproductive Cellular Biology and Biochemistry, UT Southwestern Medical Center; Post-doctoral fellow, Loma Linda; Post-doctoral fellow, UT Southwestern

Alina P. Montalbano earned her B.S. in Microbiology from SDSU and her Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center School of Biomedical Sciences in Dallas. Alina’s dissertation, entitled  “The Murine Amniotic Fluid Macrophage: Up-regulation of Classical And Alternative Activation Markers Prior To Labor at Term”, focused on the immunological mechanism by which surfactant protein A (SP-A), secreted by the developing fetal lung into amniotic fluid, serves to activate a unique fetal-derived amniotic fluid macrophage population causing there migration and infiltration of the uterus near term where they contribute to the inflammatory cascade that triggers the onset of  labor and fetal expulsion. Alina is currently a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Biochemistry and Obstetrics/Gynecology at UT Southwestern Medical Center and is a member of the Mendelson laboratory. As a former MARC and MBRS scholar, Alina gained invaluable research experience working in numerous laboratories including that of Dr. Anca Segall and Dr. Paul Paolini at SDSU and in Dr. Ann Feeney lab at The Scripps Research Institute before entering her PhD program.

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THOMAS MONTANEZ, B.S., Biology, San Diego State University

 

GINA MOORE, (MBRS Mentor: Judith Zyskind, Ph.D.); B.S., Biology, Spelman College; M.S., Biology, San Diego State University; Ph.D., Molecular Biology, UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program; Post doctoral fellow, UT Southwestern Medical Center; Post doctoral fellow, University of Washington, Group Health Cooperative; Owner, Isle Sanctuary Creative Artists

 

KAREN MOREIRA, (MBRS Mentor: Chris Glembotski, Ph.D.); B.S., Biology, San Diego State University; Ph.D., Cell Biology, University of California, San Fransisco, TETRAD; Research Staff, Stanford University

 

JEFFREY NELSON, (MBRS Mentor: Jennifer Thomas, Ph.D.); B.S. Biology, San Diego State University; Post-bac Medical Program; University of California, San Diego; D.O., Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM)

 

MONICA NETHERLY, (MBRS Mentor: John Love, Ph.D.); B.S., Biology, San Diego State University; M.P.H. Student, San Diego State University

 

VANJAH NORMAN, (MBRS Mentor: Judy Reilly, Ph.D.); B.S., Biology, San Diego State University; M.D., Medical College of Ohio; General Surgery Chief Resident, Medical College of Virginia; Practicing Physician

 

GENEVIEVE OBERMEYER, (MBRS Mentor: Sandy Bernstein, Ph.D.); B.S., Biology, San Diego State University; M.S., Toxicology, University of California, Riverside

 

Headshot of Uzoagu OkownkoUZOAGU OKOWNKO, (MBRS Mentor: Ralph Feuer); B.S., Biochemistry, San Diego State University; M.D./Ph.D student, University of Illinois, Chicago

Uzoagu A. Okonkwo joined MBRS in May 2008. She was a Biochemistry major and Classics minor. She conducted research in the Feuer lab at SDSU in viral immunology. Her research focuses on Coxsacckie virus which has been shown to cause diseases of the heart, pancreas and central nervous system. Uzoagu has participated on two projects. Her first project was the “Identification of a Cardiac Pathogen Responsible for in utero Death of a Fetus. Her current project focuses on using iCre CVB3 neurospheres labeled with green florescent protein to track the virus as the stem cells differentiate in vivo. Uzoagu earned her B.S. ini Chemistry/Biochemistry December 2009. She entered the M.D./Ph.D. program at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Medicine, Fall 2010.

 

Headshot of Joe OllarJOE OLLAR, (MBRS Mentor: John Love, Ph.D.); B.S., Cell and Molecular Biology, San Diego State University; Ph.D. Student, Molecular Pathology, University Wisconsin-Madison

Samuel transferred to San Diego State University in the fall of 2008 and started the MBRS program in June 2009. He is a biology major with an emphasis in cell and molecular biology and currently conducts research in the Love laboratory. The Love laboratory’s primary research emphasis is protein design and engineering. Samuel’s most recent research has been focused on identifying protein enzymes as candidates for use in bio-fuel production. Samuel’s academic goals are to complete his BS degree, then obtain a PhD in either virology or immunology and remain in academia as a tenured professor and research scientist. Joe earned his B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology May 2011. He interviewed at Albert Einstein College of Medicine Ph.D. program in Biomedical Sciences and the University of Madison-Wisconsin in Molecular Pathology. Joe started his Ph.D. at the Univ. of Mad-Wisconsin fall 2011 in Molecular Pathology.

 

LACY OLSON, (MBRS Mentor:Frank Guido, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; Ph.D. student, Psychology, Florida State University

 

NATALIA OROSCO, (MBRS Mentor: Anca Segall, Ph.D.); B.A., Human Development and Health Care Issues, University of California, San Diego; M.P.H., Health Promotion, San Diego State University

 

MELINDA OROZ, (MBRS Mentor: Donna Thal, Ph.D.) B.A., University of California, San Diego; M.A., Communicative Disorders, San Diego State University; Speech Pathologist, St. Jude Medical Center, Fullerton, CA

 

PHILIP OSBORNE, (MBRS Mentor: Robert Pozos, Ph.D.); B.S., General Biology, University of California, San Diego; M.S., Physiology, San Diego State University; Adjunct Faculty, Dept of Biology, San Diego City/Grossmont/Southwestern Colleges

Philip graduated in 2001 with a BS in General Biology from the University of California, San Diego and in 2004 with a MS in Physiology from the San Diego State University. Since finishing school he has been teaching Human Anatomy courses at various community college in San Diego.

 

MICHAEL OWENS, (MBRS Mentor: Jacques Perrault, Ph.D.); B.S., Cell and Molecular Biology, San Diego State University; M.B.A., Business Administration, San Diego State University; M.S., Virology, Harvard University; Consultant, Qualigen inc.

 

DAMARIS PADIN, B.A., University of San Diego; M.P.H., Epidemiology, San Diego State University, Research Scientist II

 

KONJIT PAGE, B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; M.S., Counseling, San Diego State University

 

ZENIA PALMENO, (MBRS Mentor: Audrey Hokoda, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; M.A., Education Counseling, University of San Diego

 

GILBERT PANGILINAN, (MBRS Mentor: Bod Pozos, Ph.D.); B.S., Kinesiology, San Diego State University; D.P.T., Physical Therapy, University of Southern California

 

DIONNE PANTON, (MBRS Mentor: Greg Harris, Ph.D.); B.S. Biology, San Diego State University

 

ANDREA PATAG, (MBRS Mentor: Judy Reilly, Ph.D.) B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University

 

Geraro Perez in LabGERARDO PEREZ, (MBRS Mentor: Constantine Tsoukas, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology, Holy Names College; B.S., Biochemistry, San Francisco State University; Ph.D., Molecular Biology, UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program; Post-doctoral fellowship, UCSD Moores Cancer Center; Research Scientist, Phage Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Geraro Perez earned his B.S. in Biochemistry from SFSU and his Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from SDSU and UCSD Joint Doctoral Program. His dissertation was titled “Transport of phage P22 DNA into the cytoplasm of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium”.  Gerardo is currently a Research Scientist at Phage Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in the Research and Development Department. Before entering his PhD program, Gerardo worked at UCSF studying human embryonic stem cells for 2 years as a Staff Research Associate, and then investigated signal transduction pathways in T cells as a master student at SDSU in the lab of Professor Constantine Tsoukas. Immediately after obtaining his Ph.D., Gerardo was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Diego Cancer Center working in the lab of Professor Tony Reid, MD, Ph.D.

 

Headshot of Giang PhamGIANG PHAM, (MBRS Mentor: Jessica Barlow, Ph.D.); B.S., Speech, Language, and Hearing/B.A., Spanish, University of Illinois, and Hearing Science; B.A., Spanish; M.A., Audiology San Diego State University; Ph.D., Bilingual Speech-Language Pathologist, University of Minnesota, Speech Language Hearing Sciences; Post-doc fellow, University of Minnesota; Assistant Professor, Department of Communication Disorders, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Dr. Giang Pham (formerly Giang Tang) is a postdoctoral research fellow working with Dr. Kathryn Kohnert on an NIH-sponsored study examining treatment effects for school-age Spanish-English bilingual children with language impairment. Her own research focuses on modeling developmental processes in language learning among bilingual children with and without language impairment, particularly children who speak Vietnamese and English. Dr. Pham completed her PhD in Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences at University of Minnesota, an MA in Speech-Language Pathology and certificate of Bilingual Speech-Language Pathology at San Diego State University and a BA in Spanish and a BS in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at the University of Illinois. She has worked with Spanish-speaking children in educational settings and has volunteered in Vietnam on multiple occasions working with children with communication disorders, their families, and related health and education professionals. She speaks English, Vietnamese, and Spanish fluently.

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VAN PHAN, (MBRS Mentor: Greg Harris, Ph.D.); B.S., Biology, University of Victoria, Canada; M.S., Cell and Molecular Biology, San Diego State University; Ph.D. Student, Biology, UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program

 

TRUNG PHUONG, (MBRS Mentor: Judith Zyskind, Ph.D.), B.S., Biology, San Diego State University; Research Associate, Arizeke Pharmaceuticals

 

NIA PRICE, (MBRS Mentor: Skaidrite Krisnas, Ph.D.); B.S. Biology, San Diego State University; Post-bac Medical Program, University of California, San Diego; Research Assistant, County of San Diego

 

FELIZZA QUINONES GUNDERSON, (MBRS Mentor: Anca Segall, Ph.D.); B.S. Microbiology, San Diego State University; Ph.D., Molecular Biology, University of California, San Diego; Post-doctoral fellow, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine

Felizza Quiñones-Gunderson graduated from SDSU in 2003 with a BS in Microbiology. While at SDSU, she worked in the lab of Dr. Anca Segall with the support of the Minority Biomedical Research Support Program. After graduation, Felizza took a staff research associate position at UCSD Moores Cancer Center where she worked in a pancreatic cancer lab. During this time, she decided to go back to school. Felizza graduated from UCSD in 2010 with a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology. she did her thesis work in the lab of Dr. Tracy Johnson and examined the role of histone acetylation in RNA splicing. Felizza is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University School of Medicine in the department of Microbiology and my work examines gene regulation of the pathogen Legionella pneumophila. The path to graduate school is difficult but very rewarding.

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CARLO QUINONEZ, (MBRS Mentor: Steve Dahms, Ph.D.); B.S., Biology, San Diego State University; Ph.D., Biology, California Institute of Technology; IRACDA Fellow, University of California, San Diego; Post-doctoral fellow, University of California, San Diego, Pharmacology; Principal Research Scientist, Autodesk Research.

 

JOSE QUIROZ, (MBRS Mentor: Kathie McGuire, Ph.D.), B.S., Cell and Molecular Biology, San Diego State University; Research Associate, Ligand Pharmaceuticals

 

AURORA RAMOS NUNEZ, (MBRS Mentor: Ralph-Axel Muller, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; M.A., Psychology, University of Houston; Ph.D. Student, Neuropsychology, University of Houston

 

LUZ RAMOS, (MBRS Mentor: Anca Segall, Ph.D.); B.S., Microbiology, San Diego State University

 

CHRISTIAN RENKEN, (MBRS Mentor: Terry Frey, Ph.D.); B.S., Physics, University of California, Los Angeles; Ph.D., Molecular Biology, UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program; Post-doctoral fellow, Wadsworth; Vice President, Life Sciences at Applied BioPhysics, Inc.

 

ADAM RENTERIA, (MBRS Mentor: Paul Gilbert, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology; M.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; Curriculum and Training Specialist, The Academy for Professional Excellence, SDSU Research Foundation

Adam Renteria graduated witha BA in Psychology from San Diego State University(SDSU) in 2006. After recieving a MA in Psychology with an emphasis in neuroscience in 2008, he went on to work as a research assistant and interventionist for an alcohol and drug prevention project through the University of California San Diego Psychology department. From 2009-2011 Adam taught a number of psychology courses at Mesa Community College, Southwestern Community College, and Palomar Community College. Currently he is employed as a Curriculum and Trianing Specialist for the Academy of Professional Excellence, a project of SDSU Reserch foundation and the SDSU school of Social work. 

 

ERRIN RIDER (FONTAINE), (MBRS Mentor: Jacques Perrault, Ph.D.); B.S., Cell and Molecular Biology, San Diego State University; Ph.D., Virology, Harvard University, Post-doctoral fellow in Public Health and Clinical Microbiology at California Department of Public Health

 

ANA MARIA ROCHET-CANABAL, (MBRS Mentor: Robert Pozos, Ph.D.); B.S., Industrial Engineering, University of Puerto Rico; M.S. Biostatistics, San Diego State University; Process Quality Engineer and Consultant

 

Headshot of Andrea RodriguezANDREA RODRIGUEZ, (MBRS Mentor: Douglas Grotjahn, Ph.D.); B.S., Chemistry, San Diego State University; Ph.D. Student, Chemistry, UT Southwestern Medical Center

Andrea was accepted to the MBRS program in Fall 2009. She is also a Ronald E. McNair scholar. She majored in Chemistry with an emphasis in Biochemistry. Andrea conducted research under Dr. Grotjahn, an organic chemist. She worked on two research projects and her projects resulted in four presentations. Andrea’s senior project was “Optimized Nanoparticle Vaccines for Prostate Cancer.” Andrea went directly to a Ph.D. in Medicinal/Organic Chemistry and her future career goal is to become a professor. Andrea started the Chemistry Ph.D. program at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Fall 2010.

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ARIEL ROMANO, (MBRS Mentor: Carl Carrano, Ph.D.); B.S., Chemistry, San Diego State University

 

Headshot of Octavio Romo-FewellOCTAVIO ROMO-FEWELL, (MBRS Mentor: John Love, Ph.D.); B.S., Biochemistry, San Diego State University; PREP Program, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Octavio Romo-Fewell was an undergraduate who majored in chemistry with an emphasis in biochemistry, and completed a minor in biology with an emphasis in cell and molecular biology at San Diego State University (SDSU). Octavio has participated in other SDSU programs such as the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP), the McNair Scholars, the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) honors program and the UCSD STARS summer research program. Octavio became a scholar of the Minority Biomedical Research Support / Initiative for Minority Student Development (MBRS/IMSD) honors program in Fall 2009. His research involved protein design in the laboratory of Dr. John J. Love. Octavio earned his B.S. in Biochemistry May 2011.

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Headshot of Marco SalazarMARCO SALAZAR, (MBRS Mentor:  Sandy Bernstein, Ph.D.); B.S., Microbiology, San Diego State University; M.D./Ph.D.Cell Biology/Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine; Chief Resident, Urology, University of Washington

Dr. Salazar earned his B.S. in Microbiology from SDSU where he graduated with honors (Cum Laude) and was the Outstanding Graduate in Microbiology. He completed his MD at Yale University School of Medicine, as well as his Ph.D. in Cell Biology under Dr. Pietro De Camilli. His internship and residency training was in Urology, at the University of Washington, Seattle, as well as his fellowship in Urologic Oncology. He has hospital affiliations with Swedish Edmonds Hospital, society affiliations with the American Urological Association and Phi Beta Kappa. Dr. Salazar’s clinical focus is on Prostate cancer, Bladder cancer, Kidney cancer, Testicular cancer, Robotic surgery, Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and Kidney stones.

 

BRENDA SALUMBIDES, (MBRS Mentor: Skadrite Krisans, Ph.D.); B.S., Biology, San Diego State University; M.S, Biotechnology, Johns Hopkins University; Research Associate II, Cedars Sinai Medical Center

 

FLOYD SARSOZA, (MBRS Mentor: Sandy Bernstein, Ph.D.); B.S., Biology, San Diego State University; Lab Manager/Staff Research Associate, University of California San Diego, Dept. Neurosciences.

 

KRISTINE SCHROEDER, (MBRS Mentor: Douglas Grotjahn, Ph.D.); B.S., Chemistry, Minor in Computer Science, San Diego State University; Ph.D. Student, Chemistry, University of Washington

Kristine joined the MBRS-IMSD program in June 2012. She majored in chemistry with a minor in computer science. She began her research experience in June 2011 in the laboratory of Dr. Carl Carrano. The Carrano group investigates the relationship between harmful algal blooms and the iron/boron metabolism in phytoplankton, and the bacteria that are symbiotic with them. In March 2012, Kristine presented her research “Regulation of iron-transport related genes by boron in Marinobacter algicola DG893” at the 243rd ACS National Meeting. Kristine worked in Dr. Douglas Grotjahn’s laboratory, whose research focuses on the development of novel organometallic catalysts for utilization in clean energy production, healthcare, and nanotechnology. Under the guidance of Dr. Grotjahn, she worked towards developing a safer and more environmentally friendly metal-free catalyst for bio-diesel production. Kristine’s goal is to obtain a Ph.D. in chemistry and continue conducting research as a university professor.

 

Headshot of KarenKAREN SCHUERENBERG, (MBRS Mentor: Tom Huxford, Ph.D.); B.S., Cell and Molecular Biology, San Diego State University;Ph.D. Student, Biochemistry, University of California, San Diego

Karen joined the MBRS program May 2008. Karen conducted research in the laboratory of Dr. Tom Huxford in the Department of Chemistry. The Huxford lab uses knowledge and experience in the area of protein structure and function to determine the chemical mechanisms employed by interesting biological factors. Karen’s research resulted in three presentations and she has one manuscript in progress. She finished up her MBRS appointment with her project, “Purification and expression of a viral coat protein for use in micro array cancer screening analysis.” Karen earned her B.S. in molecular biology May 2009. She is a 2nd year Ph.D.student in Biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

 

 

VICTOR SEGURITAN, (MBRS Mentor: Anca Segall, Ph.D.); B.S., University of California, San Diego; M.S., Computational Science, San Diego State University; Ph.D. Student, Computational Science, SDSU/Clairemont College Joint Doctoral Program

 

GABRIELA SIMON-CEREJIDO, (MBRS Mentor: Vera Gutierrez-Clellan, Ph.D.); B.S., Neuroscience and Behavior, Columbia Univeristy; M.S., Speech Language and Pathology, Teachers College, Columbia University; Ph.D.,  Language and Communicative Disorders, UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program; Assistant Professor, University of California, Los Angeles, Speech Language Hearing Sciences

Gabriela Simon-Cerejido completed her Ph.D. in May 2009 from the joint program in Language and Communicative Disorders at San Diego State University/UC San Diego. She participated in the MBRS program of SDSU. She is the first person in her immediate family to graduate from a doctoral program. Her area of research and expertise has centered around language development and disorders in monolingual and bilingual children. She previously received her master’s degree in Speech and Language pathology from Teachers College, Columbia University and her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience and Behavior from the School of General Studies, Columbia University. Gabriela has worked in the discipline as a Speech-Language Pathologist and she is certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Gabriela is currently an Assistant Professor at California State University, Los Angeles. She teaches both undergraduate and graduate students in the department of Communicative Disorders. She was also invited to teach a course for the CSULA doctoral program in Special Education. In addition, Gabriela has been a faculty member of the Institute for the Bilingual Extension, Teachers College, Columbia University, and is a cross institutional guest lecturer for the University of Southern California (USC) University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities /CSULA Minority Partnership. Her advice to anyone who wants a career in behavioral sciences is to enjoy the challenge!

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CHRISTOPHER SIRONDA, (MBRS Mentor: Karen May-Newman, Ph.D.); B.S. Mechanical Engineering, San Diego State University; Officer, United States Navy

 

LAWRENCE STITT, (MBRS Mentor: Karen May-Newman, Ph.D.); B.S., Biology, San Diego State University; M.D., Meharry Medical School; Residency, Wayne State University; Obstetrician/Gynecologist, University of Maryland Medical Center

 

Headshot of Chemen TateCHEMEN TATE, (MBRS Mentor: Jacques Perrault, Ph.D.); B.S., Biology; M.D., Chicago Pritzker, School of Medicine; Assistant Professor, Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, Indiana University, School of Medicine

Dr. Tate earned her B.S. from SDSU in Biology and her M.D. from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago, IL.  She completed her residency in OB/GYN at Loma Linda University (program year 1-2) and was a resident physician in obstetrics & gynecology (program year 3-4) at Indiana University, Purdue University in Indianapolis, Indiana. She is board certified with the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Tate is now Assistant Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology Division of General Obstetrics and Gynecology

 

ANDREA THORNQUIST , (MBRS Mentor: Shelli McAlpine, Ph.D.); B.S., Biology, San Diego State University; M.A., Education, University of California, Riverside; Science teacher, Gompers

 

ANTHONY TORRES, (MBRS Mentor: Sandy Bernstein, Ph.D.); B.S., Environmental Health; M.P.H Student, San Diego State University; Environmental Health Specialist III, County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health

 

Headshot of Joe TorresJOE TORRES, (MBRS Mentor: Roland Wolkowicz, Ph.D.); B.S., Cell and Molecular Biology, San Diego State University; Ph.D. Student, Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Joe started the MBRS program and began working in the lab of Dr. Roland Wolkowicz in June 2008. He majored in cell and molecular biology and graduated in May 2011. The Wolkowicz lab researched Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). Joe used retroviral technology to express a random peptide library in the nucleus of T-cells to search for novel antivirals for integrase and other viral proteins. Joe’s goal is to obtain a Ph.D. and continue to conduct research in the biomedical field. Joe started his Ph.D. at the University of Mass, Amherst in Molecular and Cellular Biology Fall, 2011.

 

KIEN TRINH, (MBRS Mentor: Sandy Bernstein, Ph.D.); B.S., Biology, San Diego State University; M.S., Molecular Biology, San Diego State University; Ph.D., University of Washington; Post doctoral fellow Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Washington; Research scientist II, University of Washington.

 

JUANA VAQUERO, (MBRS Mentor: Vera Gutierrez-Clellan, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; Ph.D. Student, Educational Psychology, University of Texas, A&M

 

PAUL VASQUEZ, (MBRS Mentor: Bob Pozos, Ph.D.); B.S., Biology, San Diego State University; Pharm D., University of Southern California

 

ERIC VAZQUEZ, (MBRS Mentor: Terry Frey, Ph.D.), B.S., Physics, San Diego State University; Ph.D. Candidate, Physics, Columbia University

 

ADRIANA VILLASENOR, (MBRS Mentor: John Elder, Ph.D., Dr. Barnett-Conner); B.S. Biochemistry/Cell Biology, University of California, San Diego; M.P.H., San Diego State University; Ph.D., Epidemiology, University of Washington; Post-doctoral fellow, Moores Cancer Center, University of California

Adriana Villaseñor received a BS in Biochemistry and Cell Biology from University of California, San Diego in 1995 and a MPH (concentration in Epidemiology and Biostatistics) from San Diego State University, School of Public Health in 2005.  During her graduate program, Adriana worked for San Diego State Research Foundation in the areas of cardiovascular disease prevention, worksite wellness, and tobacco prevention and cessation for minority and underserved populations in San Diego County.  Subsequently, she was employed by the U.S. Naval Health Research Center as an epidemiologist, from 2004-2007, with a focus on improving the health of U.S. military personnel.  In 2007, she entered the University of Washington, School of Public Health, to study Epidemiology and completed her PhD in 2011. Her dissertation research focused on the prognostic effects of vitamin D, body composition phenotypes and genetics among cancer patients.  Currently, Adriana is a post-doctoral fellow for the Transdisciplinary Research Energetics & Cancer (TREC) initiative at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center. Her research is focused on how modifiable lifestyle factors can impact one’s metabolic environment, and how modifications to this environment can impact cancer prognosis.  The advice Adriana would give regarding the graduate and/or professional degree experience is the understanding that you are in charge of your education, failure is the best teachable moment and one can never have too many mentors.

 

FEION VILLODAS (GILLIS), B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; M.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; M.P.H., Health Promotion, San Diego State University; Ph.D. Clinical Psychology, UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program; Post-doctoral fellow San Diego VA Hospital

Feion Villodas is a first generation college student who is very familiar with the SDSU campus as she earned her BA, MS, MPH and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. from this University. Over the MANY years at SDSU she participated in the COR, McNair, and MBRS Programs. Feion’s research interests include alcohol use among African American populations and statistical methods. She was awarded a F31 Pre-doctoral fellowship by National Institutes Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism during her second year of training. Feion’s dedication and hard work have resulted in eight publications and several presentations. Feion is currently an intern at the Palo Alto VA and provides treatment to veterans who have been diagnosed with PTSD and comorbid substance disorders. She will begin a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the San Diego VA in September. In addition to conducting research and therapy, Feion enjoys relaxing with her husband Miguel Villodas who is also a JDP student. Feion is very grateful for all the support she has received from Michelle and the MBRS program.

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MICHAEL VIRATA, (MBRS Mentor: Robert Zeller, Ph.D.), B.S., Biochemistry; University of Nevada, Las Vegas; M.S., Molecular Biology, San Diego State University; M.B.A., Business Administration, San Diego State University; Ph.D., Molecular Biology, UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program; Research Scientist II, Illumina

 

RICHARD VIRGEN, (MBRS Mentor: Jacques Perrault, Ph.D.); B.S., Cell and Molecular Biology, San Diego State University; Ph.D., Virology, University of California, Irvine; Post-doctoral fellow, University of California, San Diego

 

ASHLEY WARREN, (MBRS Mentor: William Tong, Ph.D.); B.S., Chemistry, San Diego State University; Ph.D. Student, Optical Science, University of Arizona, Tucson

Ashley was accepted into IMSD-MBRS program June 2009. She was a transfer student from Cuyamaca College and a summer 2008 SDSU BRIDGES to the Future program participant. She was a Biochemistry major and conducted research in Dr. William Tong’s laser spectroscopy Laboratory at SDSU. Ashley’s project investigated Early Detection of Diseases Using Ultrasensitive Multi-Photon Laser Methods. Nonlinear multi-photon laser wave-mixing spectroscopy is presented as a highly sensitive absorption-based detection method for a wide range of biomedical applications including early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Laser wave mixing offers inherent advantages over other optical methods including parts-per-quadrillion or zeptomole level detection sensitivity, small probe volumes, small sample requirements, compact portable detector designs, and high spatial resolution that is suitable for analysis of proteins in single cells. Through her research in Professor Tong’s Laser Lab, she learned to build and optimize sophisticated laser and optical systems for the analyses of a wide range of analytes. Currently, she is optimizing a detection method for characteristic biomarkers of AD and cancer that will allow the detection of AD and breast cancer proteins with having to tag the proteins before analysis. Ashley has presented her work at SACNAS, ABRCMS, ACS, NOBCChe, CSUPERB, and UA-CIAN oral presentations. During the summer of 2011, Ashley conducted research at the Integrated Optics for Undergraduates (IOU) Summer Undergraduate Research Program sponsored by the National Science Foundation’s CIAN Research Center at the University of Arizona (2011). During her ten-week program, she proposed a new method to detect carcinogenic solutions via liquid-core optical fibers. She accepted the offer from the University of Arizona, Optical Sciences graduate program for Fall 2012. She is overwhelmed with excitement and joy to participate in the UA graduate program. At the university she will have the opportunity to continue outreach to the Native American youth to encourage future promising science researchers, who will make contributions to the scientific community.

 

SAMUEL WATERS, (MBRS Mentor: Constantine Tsoukas, Ph.D.); B.S., Environmental Health, San Diego State University; Ph.D.,  Immunology, University of Virginia; Post-doctoral fellowship, National Cancer Institute; Assistant Professor, University of Columbia, Missouri, Biological Sciences

 

Headshot of Jean WerleJEAN WERLE, (MBRS Mentor: Miriam Bennett, Ph.D.); B.S, Chemistry, San Diego State University; Ph.D., Student, Chemistry, University of California, Santa Cruz

Jean started the MBRS program in June 2008. She was a transfer student from Cabrillo College. As a chemistry major she conducted research in the Bennett laboratory. The Bennett laboratory works on developing a synthetic route for making quantum dots, to be used as biomedical imaging agents. Jean’s contributions resulted in 3 presentations and she is currently an author on one manuscript in progress. Her MBRS research project was, “The Biomedical Imaging Potential of Colloidal Indium Nitride Quantum Dots.” Jean earned her B.S., May 2009 and was accepted into Ph.D. programs in Chemistry at the University of California, Santa Barbara and the University of California, Santa Cruz.

 

 

FELISE WOLVEN, (MBRS Mentor: Anca Segall, Ph.D.); B.S., Cell and Molecular Biology, San Diego State University; M.S., Molecular Biology, San Diego State University

 

Headshot of Danita WynesDANITA WYNES, (MBRS Mentor: Alan Litrownik, Ph.D.); B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; M.A., Psychology, San Diego State University;  Ph.D. Student, Counseling Psychology, Louisiana Tech

Danita joined the MBRS program in June 2009. She was a Psychology major and conducted research at the San Diego site of the Longitudinal Studies in Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN). LONGSCAN is a consortium of prospective research studies focused on the etiology of child maltreatment and its impact on the developmental process. Danita’s contributions have resulted in 2 posters and she is currently an author on one manuscript in progress. Danita’s goal is to obtain a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and in the future, conduct research in the development of aggression and teach in academia. She is a current Masters student in the SDSU Department of Psychology under the mentorship of Dr. Emilio Ulloa.

 

ANITA ZAMORA, (MBRS Mentor: Anca Segall, Ph.D.); B.S., University of California, San Diego; M.S., Molecular Biology; M.S., Nursing, University of California, San Francisco

 

Headshot of Roberto ZamoraROBERTO ZAMORA, (MBRS Mentor: Claire Murphy); B.A., Psychology, San Diego State University; Ph.D. student, Clinical Psychology, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa

Roberto Zamora started the IMSD program in June 2008. He earned his B.A. in psychology May 2011 and conducted research in the Life-Span Human Senses laboratory under Dr. Claire Murphy. The Life-Span laboratory conducts studies on the latencies and amplitudes of olfactory event-related potentials in aging and how they may be used as a promising assessment tool for Alzheimer’s disease. Roberto’s project contributed to an NIH-funded project on event-related brain potentials (ERP). The aim is to use olfactory ERPs to discriminate persons who do and do not have the Apolipoprotein E4 allele, which is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.  Having mastered the protocol, Roberto learned electrode cap placement and monitoring of the program that records the event-related potentials during encoding and retrieval of odor memories in a recognition memory task.  Running more than 20 participants, his research contributions resulted in the second authorship on a poster at the American Psychological Association Conference in August.  In November of 2010, he was first author on a poster presentation on ERPs in older adults at the Society for Neuroscience meeting here in San Diego. Roberto also presented a portion of this work as an oral presentation at the Quantitative Training for Underrepresented Groups at the University of San Diego in August 2010, as well as contributed to a publication based on the SFN presentation: Adiposity measures predict olfactory processing speed in older adult carriers of the apolipoprotein E E4 allele  (in Clinical Neurophysiology).   / Roberto is enjoying being a Ph.D. student in Clinical Psychology at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa and returned to SDSU in December of 2011 to mentor current behavioral science students on track for graduate school. His goal is to pursue a faculty position, teach, conduct research and encourage others to pursue a higher education and a career in psychology. Special thanks to the NIH-NIGMS for funding Roberto and to all of the faculty/staff who mentored Roberto during his undergraduate training.

 

GLORIA ZARATE, (MBRS Mentor: Dale Chatfield, Ph.D.); B.S., Chemistry, San Diego State University; M.S. Organic Chemistry, University of Connecticut

 

Headshot of Alexis ZukowskiALEXIS ZUKOWSKI, (MBRS Mentor: Greg Harris, Ph.D.); B.S., Cell and Molecular Biology, San Diego State University;  Ph.D. Student, Biomedical Sciences, University of Colorado, Denver

A former Bridges to the Future participant, Alexis was accepted into the MBRS program in the Fall of 2008 upon transfer from Grossmont College. As a Biology major, emphasizing in Cell and Molecular Biology, she conducted research in the Drosophila laboratory under Dr. Greg Harris. This lab focuses on the role of sphingolipids in human diseases using Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism. Alexis’ MBRS independent project was “The Analysis of Ethanol Sensitivity, Tolerance, and Metabolism in Drosophila Sphingolipid Mutants”. Her future ambitions involve earning a Molecular Biology PhD, to conduct research regarding vascular anomalies, and learning something new everyday. Alexis studied abroad in Korea after earning her B.S. in Molecular Biology May 2010 and is currently applying to Ph.D. programs fall 2011 for fall 2012 entry.

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