Students Gain Biotech Insights at Annual Symposium

Students and Faculty Members Present Research, Meet Colleagues at CSU Biotech Symposium

Students Gain Biotech Insights at Annual Symposium

Johann Zaroli and Minh Pham, student researchers in Dr. Miri VanHoven's laboratory, collaborated on research presented at the 24th Annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium (CSU Public Affairs photo).

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

Faculty members and students interested in biotech converged on the Santa Clara Marriott Jan. 5-7 for the 24th Annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium, presented by the CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB).

“Due to the proximity of the meeting, it’s not surprising that SJSU had the largest number of participants among all CSU campuses, about 56 out of 600 attendees,” Associate Professor of Chemistry Daryl Eggers said.

“Another item worth noting is that SJSU has received more research funding from CSUPERB over the past three-year period than any other campus!” Eggers added.

Eight finalists for the Don Eden Graduate Student Research Award were selected from among the 23 CSU campuses, including Johann Zaroli, Biological Sciences ’13. He presented “Understanding the molecular mechanisms that mediate axon outgrowth termination in C. elegans,” which looked at factors that control neuron length, work that could help advance spinal cord repair.

Nine finalists for the Glenn Nagel Undergraduate Student Research Award were selected from among the 23 CSU campuses, including Ngoc-Han Tran, Biological Sciences ’13, who presented “Optimization of hybrid P450 enzymes activity for the light-initiated selective hydroxylation of substrate C-H bond.”

Ngoc standing in front of her poster.

Ngoc-Han Tran, a student researcher in Dr. Cheruzel's laboratory, also presented at CSUPERB (Ishraq Alsadhan photo).

Next year’s conference will feature finalists for a new competition, the Early-Stage Biotechnology Commercialization Challenge, which will help students pickup entrepreneurial skills as they develop a life sciences idea into a commercial product.

The symposium — designed to broaden exposure to cutting-edge biotechnologies, product-focused innovation and the spectrum of career paths available in the life sciences — also offered students and faculty members opportunities to meet colleagues and mentors.

Eggers, the CSUPERB Biofuels Taskforce chair, moderated a panel discussion on “Biodiesel Fuels from Local Agricultural Waste Products” and “Chemical Education and Green Materials.”

Assistant Professor of Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging Kasuen Mauldin and Assistant Professor of Chemistry Lionel Cheruzel moderated roundtable discussions on work-life balance and “Where Will a Graduate Degree Take Me?”

Eggers, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Miri VanHoven, and Professor of Chemical and Materials Engineering Guna Selvaduray lead SJSU’s CSUPERB team.