CSUF Science Majors Are Finalists for Research Awards

CSU Biotechnology Symposium Jan. 7-9 in Orange County

Cal State Fulleron graduate chemistry major Eric Yik, who also holds a B.S. in biochemistry from CSUF, is pictured with Edward Pushkarev, an undergraduate majoring in biological science. Both are finalists for a statewide research award.

Cal State Fulleron graduate chemistry major Eric Yik, who also holds a B.S. in biochemistry from CSUF, is pictured with Edward Pushkarev, an undergraduate majoring in biological science. Both are finalists for a statewide research award.

Five Cal State Fullerton student researchers are finalists for top awards from the California State University Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology.

Award winners will be announced Jan. 9 at the 28th annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium at the Hyatt Regency Orange County in Garden Grove.

Biological science, chemistry, biochemistry and computer engineering students and faculty members will be among attendees at the Jan. 7-9 symposium. The event brings together more than 400 CSU student participants, along with faculty members and administrators, and biotech professionals working in academia, government and industry.

This year, a total of 264 research posters from 21 CSU universities, including 40 research posters from CSUF, were accepted for presentation, representing the work of 158 faculty-led research groups from all over the state.

Award Finalists

CSUF biology graduate student Kevin Chiem (B.S. biological science ‘12 ) and chemistry graduate student Eric Yik (B.S. biochemistry '14) are among the CSU finalists for the 2016 top master's-level accolade — the Don Eden Graduate Student Research Award. El Monte resident Chiem works in the lab of faculty mentor Marcelo E. Tolmasky, professor of biological science, and is studying strategies to prolong the useful life of existing antibiotics, to which bacteria are becoming resistant.

Yik of Lakewood, mentored by Christopher R. Meyer, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, is investigating a critical enzyme in the starch biosynthesis pathway in plants and bacteria that has the potential to dramatically increase the yield of biodegradable and renewable carbon for biofuels and a number of other industrial uses.

Both students will give talks about their research projects during a 2-5 p.m. session Saturday, Jan. 9. Details about the award and 

statewide competition are available online. See a related video at this link.

Undergrad Finalists

Three more CSUF students are finalists for the CSU's 2016 top undergraduate research honor — the Glenn Nagel Undergraduate Student Research Award, which fosters excellence in undergraduate student research in biotechnology-related research, covering a broad range of topics in cellular, molecular, chemical and physical studies of the life sciences.

The finalists are:

·       Mansour Dughbaj of Hawthorne, a biological science major and scholar in the Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) program. Mentored by Melanie A. Sacco, associate professor of biological science, Dughbaj is studying select protein interactions to identify viral mechanisms in a plant-pathogen system to protect plants from viral infections.

·       Edward Pushkarev of Los Angeles, a biological science major, also guided by Meyer, is studying a critical enzyme in the starch biosynthesis pathway in plants and bacteria that has the potential to dramatically increase the yield of biodegradable and renewable carbon for biofuels and a number of other industrial uses.

·       Julianne Truong of Corona, a biochemistry major mentored by Nicholas T. Salzameda, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, is studying ways to synthesize new compounds to stop West Nile virus infections. She is a scholar in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Research Program.

This group of finalists will present their research during student poster sessions from 8-10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 8, and 9:30–11:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 9.

Details about the award and competition are available online. See a video about the award and its namesake, the late Glenn Nagel, the 1986-87 recipient of Cal State Fullerton's Outstanding Professor Award here.

The Hyatt Regency Orange County is located at 11999 Harbor Blvd., Garden Grove. For the complete program, visit online.  

More information about the symposium is available online.