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Scholars Begin Stem Cell Studies

California Institute for Regenerative Medicine Funds Undergrad Research

Aug. 5, 2013

Incoming Bridges to Stem Cell Research scholar Regina Husman.

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Senior Daniel Hoa is researching how a certain drug regulates production of a protein called apolipoprotein E (apoE), a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. The research, with Nilay Patel, assistant professor of biological science, is evaluating the drug's effectiveness and identifying strategies to block apoE production, which could reduce the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

Junior Regina Husman is working with Maria C. Linder, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, on research to further understand how copper is transported in the blood.

And, senior Danny Nguyen, with Math P. Cuajungco, associate professor of biological science, is involved in research characterizing a protein that will provide greater insights to the underlying pathology of front temporal lobar degeneration, the second most common cause of dementia for those under the age of 65.

These are three examples of research projects being conducted this summer by students in Cal State Fullerton's Bridges to Stem Cell Research Program, a 14-month program supported through $2.6 million in funding from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

The new class of scholars — eight juniors and seniors — began research in June in the labs of faculty mentors in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. They also took a five-week course to learn essential research techniques in cell biology.

"It's a boot camp-like course for the students entering the stem cell program that will shape their knowledge and prepare them for hands-on research here at CSUF and at host-internship universities where they will conduct stem cell research," said Patel, who directs the program.

The coursework helps students become proficient with essential cell culture techniques, as well as selected techniques commonly utilized in the field of cell biology, explained Vlasta Lyles, lecturer in biological science, who teaches the summer course. "In addition, to improve their scientific communication skills, students generate several brief laboratory reports and give four presentations on stem cell-related topics," Lyles added.

The scholars will continue their research efforts on campus this fall and enroll in a selected set of biological science courses to further prepare them for their seven-month, paid internships, beginning in January. As interns, they work full time alongside stem cell scientists at UC Irvine, USC, CHOC Children's or Stanford University.

Alison Miyamoto, assistant professor of biological science and the program's internship coordinator, will also mentor students to develop their stem cell research projects so that they are prepared for their internships.

The 2013-14 scholars, all biological science and biochemistry majors, and their cities of residence, are:

  • Auriana Arabpour, Irvine
  • Sophia Hernandez, Diamond Bar
  • Daniel Hoa, Westminster
  • Regina Husman, San Gabriel
  • Danny Nguyen, Garden Grove
  • Edgar Perez, Garden Grove
  • Gurpreet Singh, Diamond Bar
  • Chloe Thomas, Anaheim

Last year's scholars, who completed internships in July, recently shared their research with the new scholars and offered advice and mentorship. They also presented their research projects at the CIRM Bridges Conference in San Francisco. The scholars, their cities of residence and where they completed their research are:

  • Krystal Carta, Garden Grove, UCI
  • Alfredo Guerrero, Norwalk, USC-Children's Hospital Los Angeles
  • Jeff Mackay, Fullerton, USC
  • Aaron Montgomery, Orange, USC
  • Judy Nguyen, Garden Grove, USC
  • Frank Ospino, Santa Ana, Stanford University
  • Dean Perusse, Covina, CHOC Children's
  • Dianne Salazar, Fullerton, Stanford University
  • Matthew Schroeder, Yorba Linda, Stanford University

For more information about the stem cell research program, visit the website

By: Debra Cano Ramos, 657-278-4027

Tags:  Academics & Research