Monthly Archives:: December 2015

BioPhysical Society invites undergraduates to participate in “Colleges in the Community Day” February 28, 2016

Posted by & filed under eSTEM, Opportunity, PCC News, Uncategorized.

Colleges in the Community Day

Sunday, February 28, 2016 11:30 am–5:00 pm
Los Angeles Convention Center

This full day of activities for local college students and their instructors kicks off with an Undergraduate Student Pizza “Breakfast” where participants will have an opportunity to socialize and network with their peers and members of the Biophysical Society’s Education Committee in a fun and relaxed environment. Next, students will have a chance to win prizes during a scavenger hunt designed to promote learning and interaction with researchers. Undergraduates will also have a unique opportunity to ask graduate students, post-docs, and leading biophysicists about training and career opportunities in biophysics and related fields during this interactive Q & A session – come prepared to find out about the course of study that biophysicists undertake, what it means to be a biophysicist, and how biophysicists make important discoveries. Finally, students will have access to an exclusive tour of the exhibit hall where they will view special demonstrations featuring cutting edge instrumentation producing breakthroughs in structural biology and other areas.

Local undergraduate students within a 50-mile radius of the Los Angeles Convention Center who are not presenting an abstract or listed on an abstract being presented at this meeting may register for this event and gain FREE access to all Annual Meeting sessions on Sunday, February 28, 2016.

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: February 5, 2016 Space is limited, pre-registration is required.

Family Name:____________________________________ Given Name:________________________________________ College/University: ____________________________________________ Department: ___________________________ College/University Street Address: _______________________________________________________________________ City: _________________________ State/Prov: _________ Zip/Mail Code: ____________ Country: _______________ Email: _____________________________________________________________________________________________

How did you find out about the meeting? Professor (Name: _______________________________________ ) Univeristy Career Center

Society Member (Name: _________________________________ ) Other (Please Specify: ___________________________________ )

Please email or fax this form to the Biophysical Society.

11400 Rockville Pike, Suite 800, Rockville, MD 20852 • Phone: 240-290-5600 • Fax: 240-290-5555 • •

Congratulations to our eSTEM participants that were granted SCHOLARSHIPS by the PCC Foundation!

Posted by & filed under News, Student Success.

Pictured Here are: 


Anakani Ramirez                                                Joel Monroy                                                      David Cagan



Other Recipients Not Pictured Are:

Jennifer Portillo

Anthony Varela

Taline Marokosian



KSB Research Experience for Undergraduates

Posted by & filed under Internships, Opportunities.

KBS Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) PDF Print E-mail

Applications are now open, see below for 2016 project descriptions!
Check out these blog posts from REUs that worked on agroecology and algal ecology research at KBS!

KBS faculty, post-docs, and graduate students are passionate about  involving undergraduates in their research. REU positions give students an opportunity to conduct full-time research under the guidance of an experienced mentor.

This program is 11 weeks long and will run from May 23-August 5, 2016 (students are expected to arrive on-site by 5 p.m. Sunday, May 22nd and depart Saturday, August 6th).

REUs will work with their mentor to create and maintain a fully annoted dataset, collaborate to write a research proposal, present a professional research poster at the KBS Summer Undergraduate Symposium, and write a blog post about their research experience.

Check out our Summer 2015 Undergraduate Symposium Program to see the projects students presented on last summer!


  • $5000 stipend plus FREE room and board
  • Up to $500 to cover transportation to and from KBS
  • Up to $400 for research expenses

What are the benefits of an REU at KBS?

  • Join a dynamic group of students and faculty for an authentic field research experience
  • Learn the process of research: reading the literature, formulating questions and hypotheses, designing a study, collecting and analyzing data, and presenting the results as a research poster
  • Explore if a career in research is a good choice for you
  • Build references for your application to graduate school or other programs
  • Participate in professional development seminars tailored to help undergraduate students be successful in STEM disciplines

Summer 2016 Project Descriptions

A muddy matter: Nutrient and carbon cycling in mucky sediments in wetlands and other shallow freshwater ecosystems
: Dustin Kincaid (PhD Candidate) & Dr. Steve Hamilton (KBS Faculty)

Detecting the spatial variation of soil nitrification and denitrification: a multi-scale approach
: Di Liang (Graduate Student) & Dr. G. Philip Robertson (KBS Faculty)

From molecules to climate change: Nitrogen and carbon cycling at the ecosystem scale
: Bonnie McGill (PhD candidate) & Dr. Steve Hamilton (KBS Faculty)

Are Michigan soils protecting waterways from phosphorus pollution?
: Bonnie McGill (PhD candidate) & Dr. Steve Hamilton (KBS Faculty)

Eco-evolutionary responses of phytoplankton to global change
: Danny O’Donnell (PhD Candidate) & Dr. Elena Litchman (KBS Faculty)

The role of agricultural advisors in farm nitrogen decisions
: Dr. Adam Reimer (Postdoctoral Research Associate) & Dr. G. Phillip Robertson (KBS Faculty)

Pulling food out of thin air: The importance of nitrogen fixation in prairie grasses
: Dr. Sarah Roley (Postdoctoral Research Associate) & Dr. G. Phillip Robertson (KBS Faculty)

Building a better monoculture – how does diversity within species affect yield and ecosystem services?
: Dr. Karen Stahlheber (Postdoctoral Research Associate) & Dr. Katherine Gross (KBS Faculty & Director)

The role of soil microbes in restoration of diverse prairies
: Dr. Emily Grman (Faculty, Eastern Michigan University)

The ecological and eco-evolutionary dynamics of aquatic metacommunities
: Dr. Chris Steiner (Faculty, Wayne State University) & Mitra Asgari (PhD Candidate, Wayne State University)


***For Summer 2016 KBS is excited to partner with the Ecological Society of America (ESA) SEEDS program to offer two KBS REU positions through the ESA SEEDS SPUR Fellowship Program.  The following two (2) positions must be applied for directly through ESA SEEDS by using the link in the logo below.


Nitrogen in the environment and critical climate change impact
: Kate Glanville (Graduate Student) and Dr. G. Phillip Robertson (KBS Faculty)

Will work for fertilizer: Plant roots trade food to soil bacteria for fertilizer
: Dr. William West (Postdoctoral Research Associate) & Dr. Sarah Evans (KBS Faculty)


How do you apply?

Applications for 2016 REU positions will be open December 15th – February 15th!

What will you need?

  • Ability to participate the entire duration of the program
  • A PDF of your current resume
  • A PDF of your transcripts (unofficial is fine)
  • Contact information for at least one reference
  • A well-written statement of interest that highlights how this experience will enhance your learning and career goals

We encourage applications from from underrepresented groups in the sciences. You must be a U.S. citizen with undergraduate status to participate in the KBS REU Program.

If you have questions about the program or application process, please email




Joel Monroy, STEM Center Student Success

Posted by & filed under News, Student Success.

Former Members

Postdocs, Visiting Scholars, and Graduate Students:

1. Dr. Fengan Yu, Postdoc, Research Assistant Professor 2002-2006
PhD, Zhejian Agricultural University
Current: University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, USA

2. Li Xu, Technician 2001-2002
MS, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical University
Current: Henan University, China

3. Ravi S. Bojja, MS 2001-2004
BS, University of Hyderabad
Current: Max Planck Institute for Molecular Physiology, Dortmund, Germany

4. Yousong Ding, MS 2001-2004
BS. Peking Uinversity
Current: University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, USA

5. Suman Layek, 2001-2012
BS, University of Calcutta

6. Han Yi, MS 2001-2005
BS, University of Science and Technology of China
Current: University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, USA

7. Dr. Xiangcheng Zhu, PhD 2001-2007
BS, University of Science and Technology of China
Director of Microbiology Lab
Changsha Charisma Bioscience Co., Ltd, China
And: Department of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering
Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China

8. Dr. Kathia Zaleta-Rivera, Co-sponsored PhD 2002-2007
BS, CINVESTAV-IPN (National Polytechnology University), Mexico
Current: Department of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University, CA

9. Lorena Amaya Delgado, Visiting Scholar 2006
BS, CINVESTAV-IPN (National Polytechnology University),

10. Wanbo Liu, 2005-2006
BS, Peking Uinversity

11. Prof. Zhangcai Yan, Visiting Scholar 2005
Current: National Natural Science Foundation of China
Division of Microbiology

12. Ryan Gerber, MS 2005-2008
BS, Bethel College, N. Newtow, KS
Current: Research Associate at Pioneer Hi-Bred, Johnston, IA

13. Dr. Ting Lin, Visiting Scholar 2007-2008, co-sponsored PhD 2009
BS, School of Life Sciences, Xiamen University, China
Current: Faculty, Medical School, Xiamen University, China

14. Dr. Yaoyao Li, Visiting Scholar 2008-2009, co-sponsored PhD 2010
BS, School of Life Sciences, Xiamen University, China
Current: Faculty, School of Medicine, Shandong University, China

15. Dr. Wenyan Xu, Visiting Scholar 2009-2010, co-sponsored PhD 2011
Current: Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences

16. Prof. Mingzi Wang, Visiting Scholar 2011
Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou
Current: Associate Professor, Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou, China

17. Dr. Justin Huffman, PhD 2005-2012
BS, Pennsylvania State University, Altoona, PE
Current: Assistant Professor, Penn State University, Altoona

18. Dr. Wei Zhang, Visiting Scholar 2010-2012, co-sponsored PhD 2012
School of Life Sciences, Xiamen University, China
Current: Associate Professor, Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Bioprocess Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

19. Dr. Lili Lou, PhD 2007-2012
BS, East China Normal University, China
Current: Scientist, Celerion, Inc.

20. Dr. Yan Wang, Visiting Scholar 2010-2012, co-sponsored PhD 2012, Postdoc 2013-2014

BS, School of Life Sciences, Shandong University, China
Current: Associate Professor, The Ocean University of China

21. Dr. Peiji Zhao, Visiting Scholar 2012-2013
Current: Professor, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences

22. Dr. Liangxiong Xu, Visiting Scholar 2012-2013
Current: Associate Professor, South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences

23. Stephen Wright, MS 2010-2013
BS, Wayne State University, Columbus, NE
Current: Vatterott College, Omaha, NE

24. Dr. Yunxuan Xie, PhD 2008-2013
BS, Nankai University, Tianjin, China
Current: Lecturer, Tianjin University

25. Dr. Haotong Chen, PhD 2009-2015
BS, Tianjin University, China
Current: Postdoc, Edison Biotechnology Institute, Ohio University, Athens


Undergraduate Students:

  • Jacob Robinson (University of Nebraska-Omaha, NSF REU student, summer 2015)
  • Joel Monroy (Pasadena City College, CA, NSF REU student, summer 2015)
  • Molly Miller (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2014-2015, now at UN Med School)
  • Feng Chen (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2014-2015)
  • Crystal Elenbaas (Dordt College, IA, 2014)
  • Samantha Medema (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2014)
  • Feng Chen (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2014)
  • Yinghua Luo (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2013-2014)
  • Yufan Zhou (Beijing Forestry University, 2012, now at graduate school at UC Davis)
  • Jason Schrad (NSF-REU, 2011, now at Macalester College, St. Paul, MN)
  • Mike Roth (NSF-REU, 2012, now at medical school at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities )
  • Yurika Matsui (UCARE, now at the graduate school of Pennsylvania State University)
  • Matthew Zmudka (NSF-REU, now at the graduate program, Integrated Program in Biochemistry, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison)
  • Wenyu Qu (Vanderbilt University)
  • Andrew Marasch (UCARE, now at University of Nebraska Medical Center)
  • Joel Jorgenson (UCARE, now at Medical School of Northwestern University)
  • Chad Vogeler (UCARE, now at Thomas Jefferson Medical College at Philadelphia)
  • Bethany Calloway (NSF-REU)
  • Isis Arreguin (NSF-REU, now at the graduate school UNL)
  • Jeff Millet (NSF-REU, now at College of Pharmacy, University of Iowa)
  • Lucy Q Li (NSF, Washington University at San Luis)
  • Jayzonn Fu
  • Nate Hollman
  • Lizz Miller
  • Rachel Nelson

STEM Center BioChemistry Student Lands Research Opportunity

Posted by & filed under eSTEM, Student Success.

Going with the flow: Biochemistry student lands research opportunity


Keely Damara/Courier Michele Ramos, 22, a sophomore at PCC studying biochemistry sits in the Science Village patio garden at Pasadena City College on Friday, October 30, 2015. Ramos was selected by the BUILD PODER program to foster her research project on testing the differences between the water in her town of Hunington Park to that of Pasadena.

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“I was volunteer researching in Dr. Blatti’s lab where they were synthesizing non-toxic, organic paints—they were making them out of carrots, tomatoes and all kinds of algae,” said Michele Ramos, a 22-year-old biochemistry student attending PCC.

This was Ramos’ first taste of hands-on, scientific research. She came to PCC with her eye on the robust music program, even playing synthesizer in the band, and her only business in the Science Village was taking the courses necessary to study to become an optometrist.

“It started when I took my first general chemistry class here,” said Ramos. “My teacher was telling me, ‘Oh, I think you’d be really good in research,’ so then I started looking for opportunities.”

BUILD PODER, Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity, Promoting Opportunities for Diversity in Education and Research, afforded her with one of those opportunities.

The BUILD PODER program is an undergraduate research training program created by a group of CSUN professors with grant money from the National Institute of Health. The program looks to “increase representation of those whose health has been traditionally poorer to become researchers themselves” by giving minority students the support they need to achieve their educational goals through research opportunities in public health.

Ramos saw a flyer on campus, attended a workshop and applied for the opportunity to be paired with a mentor to help her with her research. After first pitching the idea of researching something in microbiology, Ramos took an interest in STEM Center co-coordinator Veronica Jaramillo’s research proposal in water quality as it piqued her interest in green chemistry.

“To be a BUILD PODER mentor, you have to write a proposal and so I wrote my proposal based on water testing, looking at the different socioeconomic areas and seeing the effect,” said Jaramillo.

Ramos lives in Huntington Park, located in south eastern Los Angeles County. She wants to know how the water quality in her town, which neighbors the industrial city of Vernon and sources mostly ground water, compares to that in Pasadena, which has more natural sources of water like mineral springs to supplement its ground water.

Though research has just begun, she plans on testing not only for water hardness, but for chemicals commonly added to disinfect and change the color of drinking water, like chlorine and other chlorides.

“What ends up happening is that the organic material inside of the water reacts to the chlorine and it creates byproducts and I’m not sure if these byproducts are bad for you,” said Ramos. “So, they might be adding too much to make the water look pretty but in reality they are creating other things.”

The BUILD PODER program also focuses on teaching mentors and their students about critical race theory and how it plays an integral part in how minority students make their way through the education system.

“I didn’t really think about the hardships that come with it,” said Ramos. “I’m first generation, my mom doesn’t speak English to this day and she could never help me, I’m pretty much on my own.”

But she said that the BUILD PODER program and other programs she is a part of at PCC give her the educational support that she lacks from home.

“I like how at PCC you do have a community—I’m part of STEM, I’m part of MESA and they really help you out,” said Ramos. “I can talk to them, my teachers, and they push me to get into internships, they push me to do research and I think that’s really great­.”

The National Science Foundation reported that in 2013, of all scientists and engineers working in their field, only 30 percent were women and a mere 10 percent were women who were also minorities.

“The further up you go, the less women you’ll see and minorities drop out,” said Ramos. “They really want to build you up to be a really strong person, to stand on your own.”

Jaramillo thinks that the program is a much needed opportunity for community college students.

“I really believe that it is essential for undergraduates to get more research experience,’ said Jaramillo. “Especially because at four-year schools I think they are doing a lot more of early research experiences, so I think that our students need to be on par with that.”

Ramos plans on transferring to CSUN next fall, but is already looking beyond earning her bachelor’s degree to possible graduate programs to help her achieve her new career goal of working in a research hospital lab as a principal investigator.

“To run the lab, you have to have that education,” said Ramos.


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