Fall 2019 Lecture Schedule 


August 27, 2019

Enrique Cuellar; Admin Services Administrator - SLAC National Laboratory; Stanford University

CCI at SLAC Learn about how to find and apply for the Community College Internships at the Stanford SLAC National Laboratory.

September 3, 2019

 Stephen Fredericks and Nick Kapp; Faculty - Skyline College

September 10, 2019

Robert Tristan Sillona III and Valentia Carreno; Alumni - Skyline College

Want to know what a summer experience at MIT is like? Come hear about Robert Sillona and Valentina Carreno's internship with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Station One, a non-profit based in Boston. They will share out the research that was conducted, the companies they worked with, mentorships that were made as well as what a summer was like for two STEM-focused Skyline College students interning in Massachusetts.

September 17, 2019

Elaine Johnson; President - American Association of University Women

Learn about how the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Supports Local STEM Projects. This is a great opportunity for women curious about STEM to network with others!

September 24, 2019

Brandon Edgehill; PhD Candidate - University of California, San Diego

Brandon is a third year terminal master's student at University of California, San Diego pursuing his degree in Engineering Physics. He will be here to discuss his master's thesis on plasma mirrors. Plasma mirrors are devices that are used to improve the quality of laser pulses by only allowing the part of the laser pulse you want through. This is accomplished by acting as a high speed shutter that only reflects the laser at a certain point based on ionization and the accompanying electron density. This has been well studied in the femtosecond regime (10^-15 s) but not in the picosecond regime (10^-12 s). The focus of Brandon's work has been on characterizing the laser's focal spot in the 10s of picosecond regime after interacting with the plasma mirror for potential use and to lay the groundwork for use as a disposable focusing optic.

October 1, 2019

So-Yan Leung; Senior Technical Manager - Genentech

So-Yan Leung graduated from UC Berkeley with a BS degree in Chemical Engineering, and started working in the validation field of Biotech. She has worked with Genentech for almost 20 years. Her talk will be about validation in the pharmaceutical industry--what it is and how it is used to ensure the drugs we take are effective and safe.

October 8, 2019

Elena Georgieva; Lecturer - Stanford University

Elena is a researcher and sound recording lecturer at Stanford CCRMA, where she completed her M.A. degree in 2019. She works on research projects related to music information retrieval, sound recording, and amateur vocal expression. Elena is a singer, vocal percussionist, and vocal producer, and enjoys experimenting with vocal sounds to create fun and engaging pieces of music. She will visit Skyline to talk about a research project she did called HitPredict: Using Spotify Data to Predict Billboard Hits, which used trends in pop music hits from the 80's til today to look at how computers can predict a song's success.

October 15, 2019

Bryan Swartout; Instructional Aide - Skyline College

Bryan Swartout is currently an Instructional Aide II for Skyline College's  STEM Center. His higher education journey started at Lake Tahoe Community College before transferring to Occidental College where he completed his Bachelor’s Degree in 2013 (Mathematics Major/Computer Science Minor). He started working as a Graduate Tutor at Skyline College in 2014, which fueled his passion for education. He is in the final stages of completing his Master’s Degree in Mathematics from SFSU.

Bryan will present some of his former research projects about a logic puzzle/game called the Towers of Hanoi. All attendees will get a chance to play the game and gain some insight into Combinatorics and Graph Theory. Combinatorics, a branch of mathematics involved with counting, helps us understand the number of “moves” it requires to solve the puzzle. Graph Theory, a branch of mathematics involved with graphs/models, assists in visualizing the various strategies in solving the puzzle. Catch a glimpse into mathematical research where seemingly simple/innocuous questions lead to deep/insightful truths!

October 22, 2019

Kenyatta Weathersby, Emilie Hein, and Denise Hum; Faculty - Skyline College

Want to find out more about the growing fields of data science and data analytics?  Data Science has been named the Best Job in America by Glassdoor for four years in a row.  Come hear Prof. Kenyatta Weathersby talk about all things data.  Prof. Emilie Hein will talk about careers in data science and data analytics and how to get there.  And Prof. Denise Hum will talk about the data science pathway we are working on here at Skyline.

 October 29, 2019

Rod Regado, Jakarta Kumasi, Jonathan Kwong, and Jack Samman; Students - Skyline College

The Skyline Astronomy Club brings the amazement and awe of astronomy to Science in Action. With the conclusion to the club’s very first observation at the Sierra Mountains, they’re excited to present their experience in an environment that offered a breathtaking night sky free from the obstruction of light-pollution. From fascinating photos of stars and planets to the pure camaraderie between club members, this presentation offers insight into astrophotography and really just the typical activities of the Skyline Astronomy Club.

 November 5, 2019

Melisa Carpio; Global Technology Consultant for Cell Culture Technologies - Sartorius Stedim Biotech

Learn about the various exciting careers and opportunities for engineers in the Bio-Tech Industry. Melisa is a Global Technology Consultant for the Cell Culture Technologies department at Sartorius Stedim Biotech. In this role, she focuses on the growth and development of single-use bioreactors, including the BIOSTAT RM and STR product lines. She works to continually investigate opportunities for new product enhancements, collaborations, and applications. Prior to Sartorius, Melisa spent nine years working in industry doing cell engineering and cell line development at Genitope, MedImmune, and Takeda. She holds a BS and MS in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

 November 12, 2019



Wycliffe Aluga, Laleh Coté, Nicole-Marie Cotton, and Dan Zevin – UC Berkeley Affiliates

What are your STEM career options after graduating?  These UC Berkeley affiliates would like you to think beyond the usual tech suspects and recruitment pitches, and instead, follow your passions!

Aluga is a recent chemical engineering graduate now working for Culture Biosciences in South San Francisco.

Coté is a Ph.D. student whose research focuses on leveraging culture- and community-based knowledge to improve research experiences for STEM majors, with a special focus on community college, first-generation, and underrepresented students. She is also the Senior Internship Coordinator at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Cotton is a New Pathways Associate for the UC Women in Technology Initiative, a UC Berkeley 2018 Mentored Research Award Fellow, a Bill & Melinda Gates Millennium Scholar, and a Ph.D. Student in the African Diaspora Studies Program currently running a new student course titled Inclusive Pathways into Tech and Entrepreneurship.

Zevin has been in STEM and STEM education for over 30 years, and has been paid for all sorts of jobs, from birdwatching in Hawaii to getting people excited about the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. As Co-Chair for UC Berkeley’s Coalition for Education and Outreach, he will moderate the panel.

 November 19, 2019


Carson Alexander; Student - CSU Maritime

One of the requirements to graduate CSU Maritime Academy with a BS in Mechanical Engineering is the senior design project. An option for the senior design project is to join one of the solar boat teams that compete in the annual SMUD Solar Regatta. Cal Maritime has two teams competing, each designing their own boat. Each member of the team focuses on a specific part of the solar boat, and works on that part throughout the conceptual, design, and construction phases of the solar boat project. Each member has the responsibility to optimize the components to meet the design constraints of the annual SMUD Solar Regatta. The drive train and electrical system needs to be able to operate from the solar panels or battery bank depending on the race. Certain safety requirements must also be met, and the solar boat must pass a safety inspection before competing in the regatta. The presentation will contain some of the benefits of studying engineering at Cal Maritime, as well as the aspects of the senior design project.

November 26, 2019

HoTing (Michael) Lam; Student - Skyline College

A physicist and experimenter at heart, Michael will build and demonstrate how a Tesla coil works to learn about how and why Nikola Tesla was able to come up with such futuristic insights from 100+ years ago.

December 3, 2019

Dr. Jennifer Taylor-Mendoza; Vice President of Instruction - Skyline College

Dr. Taylor-Mendoza will join us in the STEM Center to discuss the conception of the STEM Center, its various uses, and the innovative design that makes it a one-stop shop for all students interested in STEM careers, or simply taking a course in the STEM fields.


Spring 2018 Lecture Schedule



March 12, 2018

Jasmine To; former Skyline College student, IND Safety Coordinator/Senior Regulatory Specialist; UCSF

Jasmine To attended Washington High School, then Skyline College for 3 years.   She then went on to Cal Poly and graduated in 2 years.  Her major was Animal Science, and she minored in Poultry Management.  She has been at UCSF since 2015, first starting in animal procurement. She will talk about how UCSF creates and has new drug candidates screened by the FDA.   She will also talk about the entry level position of Clinical Resource Coordinator.   If you are interested in drug discovery, med school, or wondering what you can do with your degree after college, this is the place to be. 

March 19, 2018

 Rocky Ng; Biotechnology & Chemistry Instructor, South San Francisco High School

"High School Science Teaching and Propionibacterium acnes Bacteriophages" Rocky Ng is a biotechnology and chemistry teacher at South San Francisco High School. He earned his B.S. in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2014. In 2017, he obtained his secondary teaching credential in biology and chemistry from the California State University, Long Beach. During his undergraduate and post-baccalaureate studies, he researched on Trichomonas vaginalis pathogenesis and Propionibacterium acnes/Mycobacterium smegmatis bacteriophages. He was able to isolate a novel bacteriophage from his own face, sequenced, and annotated the genome. Rocky is interested in improving high school student learning through student-centered science curriculum while fulfilling his commitment towards educational equity. Currently, Rocky is developing a high school independent research biotechnology curriculum that involves in isolating a novel bacteriophage from environmental samples.

March 26, 2018

Spring Break Holiday - NO LECTURE

April 2, 2018

Obi Okafor, Pharm D.; Postdoctoral Fellow, UCSF - Stanford Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation (CERSI)

Title: Pharmacogenomics: Your DNA + Medications

Pharmacogenomics is the study of how genes affect a person's response to drugs. This relatively new field combines pharmacology (the science of drugs) and genomics (the study of genes and their functions) to develop effective, safe medications and doses that will be tailored to a person's genetic makeup.

April 9, 2018

Edward Cox, MBA; Head of Partnering Quality at Genentech, a Member of the Roche Group

Topic: Using a science degree in the commercialization of biotechnology-based products

Skyline College alum (Life Sciences), UC Davis graduate (BS Biochemistry) and current Genentech employee Ed Cox will describe his career choices while working in departments that ultimately facilitated the commercial-scale distribution of medically important products.  Beyond leveraging a degree in science, Ed will give his perspective on other skills required for a successful and meaningful career.

April 16, 2018

Arabella Young, PhD; Postdoctoral Fellow, UCSF

Topic: Immunotherapy

April 23, 2018

Jose Ureta; QC Scientist, Genentech

April 30, 2018

Cory Padilla, Ph.D.; Metagenomic Scientist at Dovetail Genomics, LLC

Cory Padilla recently finished his Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology at Georgia Institute of Technology. His research employs a broad range of analytical techniques including isotopic chemistry, next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology and bioinformatics to explore the role microbes play in global chemical cycles and to describe the metabolic currencies that dive host-microbe interactions. Cory started his research as an undergraduate at UC Santa Cruz while getting a B.S. in Marine Biology geared towards microbial ecology and biogeochemistry.  Following UCSC, Cory held specialist positions in geochemistry at MIT/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. During his Ph.D. work at Georgia Tech, he assembled microbial genomes from various marine systems and discovered novel biochemical pathways mediating methane and nitrogen transformations. Cory recently started a job as a metagenomic scientist at Dovetail Genomics, LLC in Santa Cruz, Ca, to develop new ways to sequence and analyze microbial genomes.

May 7, 2018

Alexis Lainoff, Ph.D. Candidate; UCSF.

Alexis is a Ph.D. candidate studying how heads and faces develop and evolve at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She attended Berkeley City College for two years before transferring to UC Berkeley where she completed a bachelor's degree in Integrative Biology. Alexis worked as a research tech at both UC Berkeley and UCSF for four years before starting a Ph.D. program in Oral and Craniofacial Science at UCSF's School of Dentistry in 2013. For her dissertation work, Alexis studies a disease called "holoprosencephaly," which in its mild forms results in mild midfacial narrowing and in severe forms causes cyclopia (a single eye) in humans. Previously, she studied the development and evolution of the dentition and face in reptiles, with a focus on how turtles lost their teeth evolutionarily. 

May 14, 2018



Fall 2017 Lecture Schedule

August 28, 2017 First Science in Action Meeting for Fall 2017
September 4, 2017 Labor Day Holiday, No Lecture
September 11, 2017

The Great American Eclipse 2017

On August 19 to 21, a group of 15 students accompanied by faculty and staff traveled to the Linn Benton Community College in Albany, Oregon to view the Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017. Come hear about the adventure and the experiments that the students participated in. It was an amazing experience for all and they will share it with you! Light dinner will be provided. Please visit https://www.facebook.com/events/113813689330875/ to let us know you plan to be there!

September 18, 2017

Human Microbiota and our Growing Appreciation of its Impact on Health and Disease; Steven Weinstein, San Francisco State University

You are encouraged to browse the three articles below, and bring electronic versions or paper copies to the seminar, for an interactive discussion.  

Article 1    Article 2    Article 3    

September 25, 2017

The Path of a Biologic Drug: from research to manufacturing to trials to patients; Tim Tian, PhD - Biopharma Project Leader, Avantor/JT Baker, Inc.

Tim Tian's graduate education was in molecular and cell biology at UC Berkeley and his postdoctoral training was in immunology at UC San Francisco has been in the biotech industry for over 15 years, with recent 10+ years focused on bio-manufacturing as senior scientist, BD director & project manager.  Currently he acts as a technical applications manager for Avantor, a cGMP material supplier for biomanufacturing.

October 2, 2017 Research Talks and Participating in SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science); 
Carlos Segura, Miriam Valenzuela, B.S. and Josue Ceron, Former Skyline and current SFSU students
October 9, 2017 Daniel Bravo; Genentech
October 16, 2017

Christina Chu; Proto Biospace wetware, hardware and co-working space in San Mateo

Katie Charm; Hapax Science, A Co-working Community focused around Blockchain, Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence.  A new organization with a focus on technologies for the future. 

October 23, 2017

Harnessing the genome's autocorrect system to cure blindness and other disease with CRISPR-Cas genome surgery; Kathleen Keough, PhD candidate at UCSF 

Kathleen is current a PhD candidate jointly advised by Prof. Katie Pollard and Prof. Bruce Conklin at UCSF and the Gladstone Institutes. Her research aims to better understand our genome, particularly the noncoding part, using bioinformatics and genome-editing tools including the CRISPR-Cas system. Prior to graduate school, Kathleen earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biomolecular Engineering with a minor in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from the Milwaukee School of Engineering. During her undergraduate studies, she pursued research opportunities to develop mathematical models of microRNA expression as well as better understand platelet activation. After her undergraduate studies, she worked for two years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a public health associate, working to prevent hepatitis B and other vaccine-preventable diseases as well as to prevent outbreaks of other communicable diseases. Aside from research, she enjoys going to the beach with her dog, Frodo, rock climbing, mountain biking, reading, traveling, and trying to keep her plants alive. 

October 30, 2017

Understanding tissue formation during embryo development; Akela Kuwahara, PhD Candidate at the Developmental and Stem Cell Biology Program UCSF

Akela Kuwahara is a PhD student at UCSF in the Developmental and Stem Cell Biology Program. She studies how tissues form during embryonic development using mouse models and embryonic stem cell culture systems. Prior to starting at UCSF, Akela did her undergraduate studies at Humboldt State University and majored in biology. She is passionate about increasing diversity in STEM and helping undergraduates to become familiar with the scientific thought process and explore their future career paths.

November 6, 2017

Defining the stromal contribution to the aging niche in the lung; Nabora Soledad Reyes De Mochel, Ph.D.; Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Medicine and the Cardiovascular Research Institute UCSF


Soledad was born in Durango, Mexico and raised in California's central valley (Merced, CA). She completed her PhD from UC Irvine investigating the function of BMP signaling and dynamic transcription factor gene expression in preimplantation mouse development.  Her free time is divided between climbing, dancing salsa, and spending quality time with friends and family.​

November 13, 2017

Science in the Era of Big Data; Emilie Hein, PhD, High Energy Physics

Emilie Hein is a Physics instructor here at Skyline College. She grew up in France and earned a MS in Physics from the Universite Joseph Fourier in Grenoble in 2003, and a PhD in High Energy Physics from the University of California, Irvine in 2009. Her thesis was on the study of matter and antimatter asymmetries in particle interactions using the BaBar detector at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. More recently, her interests have been in data mining and machine learning applied to business, science and technology. She will share her journey from struggling with Physics in high school to earning a PhD in the field, and how she applies today what she learned along the way.

November 20, 2017

Veronica Romo; Biomedical Engineering undergraduate student and member of the SJSU Biomedical Engineering Society, San Jose State University

November 27, 2017 Lisa Razon, B.S.; Former Skyline student, Vector Laboratories Inc.
December 4, 2017 Kirk Lombard; Author of “The Sea Foragers Guide to the Northern California Coast”
December 11, 2017

Final Science in Action Meeting for Fall 2017; 
Meet the Climate Corps Fellows working on the Skyline College Campus

In response to the some of the most pressing problems society will face in the not-too-distant future, the world is on the verge of a major transition to a green economy. Not sure what that means? The final session of the Science in Action Fall 2017 lecture series will provide an overview of sustainability, actions Skyline is taking to advance it, and opportunities to get involved both on and off campus.

Alex Fuentes and Mary Thomasmeyer are Climate Corps Fellows working on sustainability initiatives at Skyline. By engaging students, faculty, and staff, they hope to strengthen campus’s understanding of environmental issues and implement changes that will make campus more sustainable. 

Spring 2017 Lecture Schedule

February 6, 2017 Steve Weinstein, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Director NIH Bridges Program; SFSU
Topic: Undergraduate Research Programs and Summer Research Internships
February 13, 2017 Mayra Pastore, Ph.D., Stride Postdoctoral Fellow; UCSF
Topic: Hormone Receptors' Role in the Development of non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Dr. Pastore was born and raised in San Salvador, El Salvador. She attended John F. Kennedy High School in Richmond, CA and obtained her B.S. degree in Biochemistry from San Francisco State University. Dr. Pastore obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in the Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology. She is currently an IRACDA- Postdoctoral Fellow at UC San Francisco where her research focuses on elucidating the development and progression of Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD is characterized by accumulation of excess fat. Due to the increasing obesity rate in the U.S. we have also observed increased NAFLD prevalence. NAFLD can progress to steatohepatitis, cirrhosis or hepatocellularcarcinoma, which has a high mortality rate. The incidence of NAFLD in women after menopause increases from ~40% to ~60% of all diagnosed patients, suggesting that estrogen plays a role in protecting women from developing NALFD. Dr. Pastore is an avid gardener and long-distance runner, having completed several full and half-marathons in the last few years.

February 20, 2017 HOLIDAY - No Lecture
February 27, 2017 Nate Perry, B.S., former Skyline student and current SFSU MS applicant
Topic: From Vegetables to Vectors:  A journey from Horticulture to Plant Biology

Nate Perry’s life has been full of transitions.  Starting with a bachelor’s degree in English, he spent ten years in the music industry, taught horticulture at a San Francisco non-profit, and is now making the leap to an advanced science degree.  He attended Skyline College from 2015-2016, and has worked in labs at UCSF and SFSU.  He will discuss the importance of networking, how to land a lab internship, and his current research with Dr. Zheng-Hui He (SFSU), in which he studies the role of UVB signaling and vitamin B6 in plant development.

March 6, 2017 Michelle Azurin, MPH, Diversity Outreach Coordinator; Diversity Respect Equity Action Multiculturalism Office UC Berkeley School of Public Health

Are you committed to addressing the health needs of your community? Learn about the ‘best kept secret’ in the health field – an area that encompasses science, culture, research, policy, advocacy, education, social media and much more – all with the overarching goal of helping people lead healthier lives! Also interested in medicine, nursing, dentistry or another health field? Learn about how getting an MPH will provide you with additional skills to be the best health professional you can be. Students with any undergraduate degree can be competitive applicants to graduate programs in public health; so all students are encouraged to attend. Come learn more about this amazing field at this special presentation by the D.R.E.A.M. Office from UC Berkeley's School of Public Health.

March 13, 2017

Egle Cekanaviciute, Ph.D., Stride Postdoctoral Fellow; UCSF
Topic: The connection between the microbiome and the development of autoimmune neurological disorders 

March 20, 2017

Jasmine To, former Skyline student, IND Safety Coordinator/Senior Regulatory Specialist; UCSF


Jasmine To attended Washington High School, then Skyline College for 3 years.   She then went on to Cal Poly and graduated in 2 years.  Her major was Animal Science, and she minored in Poultry Management.  She has been at UCSF since 2015, first starting in animal procurement. She will talk about how UCSF creates and has new drug candidates screened by the FDA.   She will also talk about the entry level position of Clinical Resource Coordinator.   If you are interested in drug discovery, med school, or wondering what you can do with your degree after college, this is the place to be.

March 27, 2017

Hector Gomez, B.S., Former Canada College student and UCSD Graduate; Current Research Assistant at Sandler Neurosciences Center; UCSF
Topic: Building the Brain, One Gene at a Time

  Hector Gomez attended Canada College and CSM.  He got his first taste of research (in summer 2014) as a participant in the Bridges Program, doing an internship in neurobiology at a UCSF lab. He subsequently transferred to UCSD  and gained further research experience in neuroscience as part of the McNairs Scholars Program.  Upon graduating from UCSD with a BS in Biochemistry and Cell Biology this winter, he has returned to the Bay Area to become a research assistant at his original UCSF lab, while he prepares for applying to medical school.
April 3, 2017 HOLIDAY - No Lecture
April 10, 2017 Lecture Cancelled
April 17, 2017 Camilla Sloan, B.S., Former Canada College Student and RPI Graduate; Current Technical Sales Specialist, St. Jude Medical
Topic: Engineering the Future: Biomedical Technology is right for you.
  Camilla Sloan is on a journey from community college to fulfilling her dream of making a real difference in the world of healthcare.  After high school,  Camilla attended  CSM and Canada College before transferring to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York State.  There, she graduated in 2.5 years with a degree in biomedical engineering with a concentration in biomechanics.  Since graduating this past winter, she has started working for Abbott, a llarge medical products company, as a Technical Sales Specialist.  At the same time, she is in the process of founding her own  medical device company. 
April 24, 2017 Lecture TBD
May 1, 2017 Corin White, Ph.D., Stride Postdoctoral Fellow; UCSF
Topic: Two Universities and Two Host-Pathogen Peculiarities: My Journey in Science
  Corin is an IRACDA (Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award) postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Joseph DeRisi's lab at the University of California, San Francisco. The DeRisi lab employs a number of omic and bioinformatic approaches to understand and determine the causal agent of various diseases. Corin has a general interest in host-pathogen interactions and is most intrigued by the following question: What genes are required on either side of a biological interaction in order for that symbiotic relationship to occur? Her current project involves work with the protist pathogen, Balamuthia mandrillaris, a free-living amoeba that causes a deadly central nervous system disease. Other projects involve using gene expression to determine a host signature for bacterial or viral infection and to characterize the viruses in patients with various respiratory complications. Corin is originally from Santa Clara, California and loves traveling, hiking, trying new things and Reebok Spartan races. In addition to biomedical research, she also has a passion for science outreach, mentoring and teaching and is enjoying the exploration of these career paths.   
Cancelled - Have a wonderful Summer; we'll be back in the Fall!

Fall 2016 Lecture Schedule

December 5, 2016

Robert Rustia, Biology Faculty
Topic: TBD

November 28, 2016 Xiaorong Zhang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at School of Engineering and the Director of the Intelligent Computing and Embedded Systems Laboratory; SFSU
Topic: Toward the Next Generation Neural Controlled Artificial Limbs
  Dr. Xiaorong Zhang has broad research experience in human-machine interfaces, neural-controlled artificial limbs, embedded systems, and wearable devices. She is a member of IEEE and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE).  She has served in the professional societies in various capacities including Associate Editor of the IEEE Inside Signal Processing E-Newsletter, Co-Chair of the Doctoral Consortium at 2014 IEEE Symposium Series on Computational Intelligence, Faculty Advisor of the SWE SFSU chapter, and Program Committee Member of various international conferences.  She received her bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering from Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China in 2006, and her master's and Ph.D. degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI in 2009 and 2013.
November 21, 2016 Miguel Angel Mata, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow; Stanford University
Topic: TBD
November 14, 2016 Yazmin Carrasco, Ph.D., IRACDA Postdoctoral Fellow; Department of Cellular Molecular Pharmacology, UCSF
Topic: From Mexico to the sec61 translocon
  Yazmin: I’m a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at UCSF. My research interests focus on understanding the molecular mechanism for co-translation translocation of secretory and membrane proteins using small molecule inhibitors. Secretory and transmembrane proteins are critical for cell-to-cell communication and have been associated to numerous human pathologies such as inflammation, tumor angiogenesis and metastasis. I did my Ph.D. at UT Southwestern in the field of natural products chemistry.
November 7, 2016 Liliana Cerna, Former Skyline College and current San Francisco State student
Topic: OspC: A key virulent factor of Lyme Disease
  Liliana, who hails from a small town in Calavares County, CA, began at Skyline College in 2013.  She got her start in research by participating in the Bridges to Baccalauereate program for two summers.  She enjoyed the experience and has continued in research after transferring to San Francisco State University. She is now funded by the NIH-RISE program and works in a disease ecology lab, studying Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a vector-borne enzootic disease transmitted and maintained by ticks and vertebrate hosts. Of particular interest is the highly polymorphic outer surface protein C (ospC) of the pathogenic spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. Her work aims to characterize the frequency and distribution of ospC genotypes in ticks and better understand potential host-genotype interactions in important mammal reservoirs
October 31, 2016 Rahwa Neguse, MS, MPA, Program Analyst, UC Global Health Institute; UCSF
Title: TBD
  Rahwa Neguse has a unique blend of skills and experience in the areas of health promotion and administration, nonprofit leadership, international service work, youth development, and college/career advising. Rahwa is interested in global health and plans to pursue and DrPH-Doctorate in Public Health with a focus on global maternal/child health research.  She is also interested in researching the intersection of poverty and health outcomes.  Ultimately, Rahwa plans to establish and manage health centers that provide high-quality healthcare services to women and children in marginalized communities worldwide.
October 24, 2016 Steven Weinstein, Associate Professor; SFSU
Activity: Reading and Discussion regarding Cancer Immunotherapy; Two related documents: Scientific Paper   and New York Times Article  
October 17, 2016 Justin D. Mclaurin, M.S., PhD student; UCSF
Title: How Signaling Circuits Generate Complex Cellular Behaviors such as Cell Polarity, Motility, Growth, and Differentiation.
October 10, 2016 Dr. Nick Kapp and Guests, Biology and Biotechnology Professor; Skyline College
October 3, 2016 Marco Mravic, M.S. and Elena Caceres, M.S., Ph.D. Students in Computational Biology; UCSF
Topic: Mravic - Engineering Biomolecule Technologies from scratch; from Laptop to Benchtop
  Marco Mravic is from the Greater Los Angeles (626), graduated from UCLA ’14, and does biomolecular physics & engineering work for his PhD at UCSF. At UCLA, Marco changed majors 5 times: from Math to Physics to Chemistry, (which were all too easy), then to Electrical Engineering (which was too hard), and ended up graduating with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. He paid for college through doing laboratory research concurrently, from purifying stem cells from liposuction for bone reconstruction to measuring the toxic mechanisms of truck exhaust. Now in his PhD, Marco writes software to design non-natural protein molecules atom by atom, which he then synthesizes and tests in the lab. He aims to use molecular engineering both to shake down controversial theories in biology & physics and to develop new biotechnologies addressing unmet clinical & industrial needs. 

September 26, 2016 Lillian Kenner, MS, Third Year PhD Student, Biophysics; UCSF
Topic: Redefining a Path to PhD: From High School Dropout to PhD
  In 2005 I earned my high school diploma after attending a continuation school to earn credits for the classes I failed, including Biology.  From there I went to community college in Santa Cruz at Cabrillo College.  It was there where my passion for the life sciences was realized with the help of teachers with a passion for the subject.  After graduating with my BS from UCSC, I began working as a research assistant in the lab of James Fraser at UCSF.  In the 3 years I worked in the Fraser lab I published papers, wrote opinion pieces on other's work, gave lab meetings, and learned to grow and shoot protein crystals at synchrotrons to determine their atomic structures.  From there I joined the UCSF Biophysics program as a PhD student.  Currently, I am in my third year studying protein complexes in the highly competitive and flourishing field of Cryo-Electron Microscopy, which was named the Method of the Year by the journal "Nature" in 2015.
September 19, 2016 David Piech, 2nd Year PhD Student, Bioengineering Graduate Program; UCB-UCSF
Topic: Brain-Machine Interfacing: Using neurobiology, engineering, and programming to create a new way to communicate with the world around us

David’s research activities focus on neural interface devices and brain-machine interface systems, with the goal of enabling wider adoption of these technologies through vastly reduced-risk in-situ neural recording and stimulation modalities.  Previously, he was a research engineer at a private invention lab and tech incubator where he contributed to research in metamaterials-based antennas (spun out as Echodyne, Inc). In addition, he led and worked on projects in close collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, including a microfluidic tool to aid in malaria control, a solar-thermal system to improve developing world vaccine accessibility, and emergency infection barrier improvements during the 2014 Ebola outbreak. He graduated with the B.S. degree from Duke University in 2012, studying Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. His research included work on a new microfluidic cell poration technique, a minimally invasive laparoscope, and a robotic bird to study the neurobiology of animal communication.

September 12, 2016 Melissa Clendenny; SFSU, Josue Ceron, and Roberto Carlos Segura; Skyline College
M. Clendenny; An Anti-16A Fab Binds to an Intracellular Domain of TMEM16A
J. Ceron; Evaluating Synthetic Promoters for Regulating Gene Expression in Model Bacteria
R. Segura; Defining the Relationship Between Vacuole Size and pH
August 29, 2016 Dr. Abdalla Darwish, Presidential Professor of Physics; Dillard University (View Full Bio  )
Topic: Polymer-inorganic nano-composite thin film for bio, chem, and light emitter sensors

The objective of this talk is to showcase the-state-of-the-art-laser educational and research facility in the physics department at Dillard University and tell the journey of building the department to be one of the top physics departments in the country producing more than 55% of African American in physics for the last 15 years.  In addition, to facilitate research projects to Skyline students who might be interest in summer internship and help to understand the various types of multidisciplinary research equipment and projects on the laser labs in the physics department...(View full description  )


Spring 2016 Lecture Schedule

May 9, 2016 SFSU Build Program Scholars 
Topic: Four Build Program Scholars discuss their program

SFSU undergraduates in a joint program with UCSF

Cynthia Perez (SF BUILD Scholar undergrad), Juan Castillo (SF BUILD Scholar undergrad), Edgar Velazquez (SF BUILD PostBac) and Saba Sohail (SF BUILD PostBac) are all members of the Health Equity Research (HER) lab. The goal of the HER lab is to link basic science to community health. Each of them is working on a different project in which they investigate how health disparities experienced by our communities affect our biology.

May 2, 2016 Karma McKelvey, PhD 
Topic: TBA

Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, UCSF


April 25, 2016 Amanda Woerman, PhD 
Topic: Neurodegeneration: When good proteins go bad

Postdoctoral Fellow, Prusiner Lab, Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, UCSF


April 18, 2016 Kamalini Ranasinghe, MD PhD
Topic: Alzheimer's Disease: A Network Disconnection Syndrome

Postdoctoral fellow; Memory and Aging Center; Department of Neurology, UCSF

Dr. Kamalini Ranasinghe received her medical degree from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka and completed her internship training in general medicine and general surgery. She earned her PhD in Cognition and Neuroscience from University of Texas at Dallas, under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Kilgard. Dr. Ranasinghe is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the research group of Dr. Keith Vossel at UCSF Memory and Aging Center. Her research centers on the network dysfunction of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Much of her work has been devoted to identifying the spatial and temporal characteristics of network dysfunction using MEG-imaging of the brain.

April 4, 2016 Yalda Shahriari, PhD
Topic: Brain-Computer Interface for Assistive Technology

Postdoctoral Scholar; Department of Physiological Nursing; UCSF

Yalda Shahriari is originally from Iran, where she got her early science training, earning a bachelors degree in electrical engineering.  For her masters degree work, she shifted her focus to biomedical engineering and bioelectrics.  She moved to Old dominion University of Virginia in 2012 for her PhD training  in biomedical engineering.  Since 2015, she has been at UCSF where she is focusing on brain signals recorded from behaviorally non-responsive patients, as well as animal models of psychiatric disorder.

March 21, 2016 Joyce Cueto Barroso
Topic: TBD



March 14, 2016 Kartika Palar, Ph.D.
Topic: Outside In: How Social Inequality Gets Under the Skin and Makes us Sick

Assistant Professor, Division of HIV, ID and Global Medicine; UCSF

Kartika Palar, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Division of HIV, Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). As a public health scientist, she uses both qualitative and statistical methods to understand social and economic barriers to health, and to help develop and evaluate programs and policies to address these barriers. Her primary focus over the last several years has been on intersecting issues of food insecurity, economic vulnerability and health, including HIV, diabetes, and mental health. Her current research program addresses the interplay of chronic disease, HIV and social determinants of health, and is funded by NIH, Kaiser and UCSF.

The following articles are relevant to Dr. Palar's research and will prepare you for her talk.

February 29, 2016 Melanie P. Matheu, PhD
Topic: When cells have a mind of their own: How cell movement supports immune responses

Postdoctoral Fellow; Diabetes Center; UCSF

Melanie Matheu is a San Francisco Bay Area native with a PhD in Physiology and Biophysics from the University of California, Irvine. Melanie is an expert in two-photon imaging of immune responses both in the lymph node and peripheral tissues such as lung, skin, and spinal cord. Melanie is currently a postdoctoral scholar at UCSF in the Diabetes Center, studying the movement of regulatory T cells and will be moving shortly to an Associate Director position at Adheren Immune.

February 22, 2016 Irene Acerbi, PhD
Topic: Using bioengineering tools to study how tumors and surrounding healthy tissue interact

Center for Bioengineering and Tissue Regeneration; UCSF

Irene Acerbi, Ph.D. is a biomedical engineer by training. After receving her B.sc. at the Polytechnic of Milano, Italy, she started her graduate training at Unit of Biophysics and Bioengineering (UBB) at the University of Barcelona, Spain, where she learned the nanotechniques of atomic force microscopy (AFM). Subsequently, Dr. Acerbi became a joint doctoral student with the UBB of the School of Medicine of the University of Barcelona and the Bioengineering Department at the Polytechnic University of Milano. After obtaining her Ph.D. in Bioengineering, she joined the Center for Bioengineering and Tissue Regeneration at University of California, San Francisco as a postdoctoral researcher in September 2010, and successfully applied the AFM technique on human breast tissue from prophylaxis mastectomy, pre-cancerous lesions, and invasive tumors. Dr. Acerbi's current research project is to identify high-risk populations for developing malignancy so that individuals can benefit from improved monitoring and treatment, sponsored by a three-year Post Doctoral Fellowship by Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Dr. Acerbi  recently published a research paper in the journal Integrative Biology and an image from her studies was used on the cover of the issue.  

February 8, 2016 Jose Ureta, BS
Topic: Luck Favors the Prepared

Senior QC Associate, Genentech

Jose Ureta is a Senior Quality Control Associate at Genentech and has been working in biotech  for nearly 15 years. Jose is a local guy, who went to CCSF, then SFSU.  Due to personal reasons, Jose left SFSU in 2001 just a few courses short of completing his degree.  Recently, he completed the remaining coursework to obtain his BS degree in Cell and Molecular Biology. Thus, he's the epitome of perseverance in terms of never giving up on his goal of earning a BS degree, even after leaving full-time school more than 10  years ago.  

February 1, 2016 Bridgette Clarkston, Ph.D.
Topic: Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs)

California State University, Monterey Bay

Curriculum Associate, Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center; Coordinator, Research Experience for Undergraduates program

January 25, 2016 Rebecca Belloso
Topic: Community College to UC Davis: My Educational Journey and Master’s Thesis

UC Davis Environmental Toxicology, Former Skyline College student

Rebecca attended both City College of San Francisco and Skyline College before transferring to UC Davis as an Environmental Toxicology major. While at Skyline College, she was actively involved with Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) and Society Advancing Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). After transferring, she joined the McNair Scholars Program at UC Davis, which assists underrepresented students pursue a graduate degree. Throughout her undergraduate career, she has participated in research at Skyline College, UC Berkeley, San Francisco State University and UC Davis.

Rebecca recently completed her Master of Public Health degree from UC Davis. For her master’s thesis, she worked with the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment to evaluate the California Medical Supervision Program. This Program requires that California medical physicians follow specific guidelines to ensure that pesticide handlers are being appropriately monitored to avoid harmful pesticide exposure levels. As a result, Rebecca traveled throughout California to interview medical physicians regarding their practices and assessed the Program’s effectiveness. Results found could lead to potential changes in the Program.

Fall 2015 Lecture Schedule

December 7, 2015 Benjamin Borgo, Ph.D.
Topic: Design of a biomolecular tool-kit for high-throughput protein sequencing

Global Product Manager, Agilent Technologies

Ben currently works in the biotechnology industry at Agilent Technologies, managing the development of new synthetic biology products. Prior to joining Agilent, he co-founded a start-up company focused on developing molecular diagnostics using nanopore-based technology. Ben attended Skyline College before earning a BS in applied mathematics from San Francisco State University, after which he moved to Washington University in St. Louis. At Wash U he received his Ph.D. studying protein engineering and design. Ben also earned an M.B.A. from Washington University’s Olin Business school.

November 30, 2015 Pamela Rios, BS
Topic: TBD

Former Skyline College student and current UC-Berkeley lab technician


November 23, 2015 Rene Mercado, BS
Topic: TBD

Former Skyline College student and current Ph.D. student, Department of Chemistry, UC Santa Cruz


October 26, 2015 Samuel Sakhai, Ph.D.
“Biological Embedding of Early Life Experience in the Rat”

Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Neurology, UCSF

Dr. Sakhai received his PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience from the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley in 2014. His dissertation focused on how early environmental variables, such as parental care or enriched housing environments, are capable of influencing brain and behavior in the rat. Currently, he is a postdoctoral researcher at University of California, San Francisco investigating how alcohol, by altering signaling factors involved in neuroadaptations, is capable of underlying the transition from moderate to excessive drinking. After completing his post-doc, Dr. Sakhai hopes to continue research and apply his work to inform public policy.

October 19, 2015 Allison Callow
“Climate Change and Policy: An Interdisciplinary Education ”

Current Climate Corps Bay Area Fellow and Sustainability Coordinator at Skyline College; B.A. International Relations with a minor in Environmental Policy from UC Davis

Allison Callow is Skyline College’s current Climate Corps Bay Area Fellow and Sustainability Coordinator and an emerging professional in the field of climate change and sustainability. She discovered her passion for climate change solutions through the lens of environmental justice at UC Davis and has since studied the relationship between community development, public policy, and science. Come discuss the relationship between science and policy and how we can act on climate change and hear about Allison’s experience at UC Davis and beyond.

October 12, 2015 Roberto Barrozo, Ph.D.
“Academia to Industry: Utilizing Science Outside the Lab”

Program Manager, Regulatory Affairs, Genentech

Dr. Roberto (Rob) Barrozo is a San Bruno native who started at Skyline College and transferred to SFSU. His initial goal was to go to medical school, but realized very quickly that this was not the right path. He returned to SFSU to work on his masters degree then to UC Davis for a PhD. After 10 years of research he decided to change fields slightly and is now working at Genentech as a Program Manager in Regulatory Affairs.

October 5, 2015 Andrea Burbank, MD
“Why Research is Like Fighting Forest Fires”

Postdoctoral Fellow; Center for Tobacco Control Research & Education Department of Medicine UCSF

Dr. Drea Burbank had a 9-year career fighting forest fires prior to attending medical school in an innovative rural-and-remote sattelite program in Northern Canada.  Her first research experience was with rehabilitated street children in Kampala, Uganda.  Come find out how why this background was perfect for her last project, an analysis of digital consultations on electronic cigarettes for clues to inform public policy.  Dr. Burbank is a postdoctoral fellow with the UCSF Centre for Tobacco Research and Education. 

September 28, 2015 Aaron Hardin, Ph.D.
"Understanding the effects of variation in regulatory DNA sequences"

Postdoctoral Scholar; Dept. of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences UCSF 

Dr. Hardin started at  Ohlone CC in Fremont, transferred to SJSU and that launched him into grad school at UC Berkeley.  He had no idea what he wanted to do his first semester at Ohlone, but got hooked on computer science because it helped him solve complex problems.  While at SJSU, he switched his major to bio and ended up minoring in CS. His current research is mainly in evolution and development with a heavy dose of computational biology.

September 21, 2015 Gabriela Monsalve, Ph.D.
“From Venezuela to California – How I Ended Up Working on Steroids”

Postdoctoral Fellow; Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, UCSF

Dr. Monsalve studies how glucocorticoids, naturally occurring steroid hormones, work to kill certain tumor cells. Aggressive blood cancers like lymphomas and leukemias are commonly treated with chemotherapy drugs, which includes glucocorticoids. Unfortunately, some patients do not respond to these steroids, which usually indicates a poor likelihood of survival. To improve the treatment of patients with steroid-resistant cancers, Dr. Monsalve studies how and where steroids are absorbed in the body. Examining how these hormones get into cells will both illuminate how they destroy tumor cells, and support the future development of treatment options for patients with hormone-resistant cancers.

September 14, 2015 Jonathan Z. Butler, PhD MDiv
"Triumph in the Face of Adversity: Reflections of an African American Male PhD."

Postdoctoral Scholar; Center for the Study of Adversity and Cardiovascular Disease [NURTURE] University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Butler is a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, San Francisco with expertise on the social determinants of health. His research focuses on the ways in which religion, chronic stress, socioeconomic status, and race/ethnicity can affect one's health.  He earned  his Master's in Divinity with a concentration in Health and his PhD in Sociology with concentrations in Medical Sociology and Social Inequality at Howard University located in Washington D.C. 

Spring 2015

Date Lecturer Bio Topic
May 11 Jorge Felipe Ortiz-Carpena PhD Student; Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program, UCSF U Can Stay Forever, Chapter 1: The Adventures (and Struggles) of a Grad Student in San Francisco
Apr. 27 Roman Camarda Graduate Student; Andrei Goga Lab, Biomedical Sciences Program, UCSF: 

Roman Camarda is a second year PhD student in the Biomedical Sciences Program at UCSF. Through the study of metabolism, he hopes to develop new strategies to treat cancer. Roman grew up in Seattle, and is the first member of his family to pursue graduate school in the sciences.

Cancer and Metabolism and Icebergs
Apr. 20 Kaitlyn Lucy, PhD Division of Gastroenterology, UCSF Metabolism in Microorganisms
Apr. 13  Rene Mercado  Former Skyline student and current UCSF student  
Apr. 6 Natalie Petek Former community college student and current 6th year graduate student, UCSF

Bacterial actin-like proteins:purification and characterization of self-assembly properties.


Mar. 30

(5:30 pm)

Rhea Kimpo, PhD Basic Life Science Research Associate; Dept of Neurobiology, Stanford University

Neuroscience:Optogenetic dissection of the contribution of an error signal in the cerebellar circuit to oculomotor learning

Mar. 23 Flora Rutaganira

Graduate Student; Kevin Shokat Lab, Biomedical Sciences Program, UCSF


Mar. 16 Miquella "Kelly" Chavez, PhD

Postdoctoral fellow; Klein Lab, Department of Orofacial Sciences, UCSF


Mar. 9 Jing Folsom

Assistant Professor; Biology, Skyline College

Coordinated expression ofbHLH25 and bHLH27 transcription factor genes contributes to Arabidopsis susceptibility to the cyst nematode Heterodera schachtii

Mar. 2 Steve Weinstein, PhD

Associate Professor, SFSU


Feb. 23 Vanessa Cota and David Ruvalcaba

Vanessa holds a bachelors degree in theater.  However,  she decided her true interests were in the sciences. Consequently, Vanessa returned to CCSF to take basic science coursework.  While there, she did a research internship with the Bridges Program. She is currently engaged in research in a Masters program at SFSU and plans to pursue a Ph.D.

David is currently a CCSF student who is nearing transfer to a UC school.  He  has done research in the Bridges Program for 2 years at SFSU and this  past fall, he presented his work at the SACNAS  research conference in Los Angeles.

Vanessa: C. Elegans Sperm  Proteins That  May Play a Role In Fertility

David: The role of motor proteins, Dynein and Kinesin-14, in Endoplasmic Reticulum reorganization during mitosis

Feb. 9 Justin Chen, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher, Stanford University

The Genetics of Splicing in Cancer

Spring 2014

Date Lecturer Bio Topic
May 5 Rahwa Neguse MS in Global Health, UCSF

Create Your Path

April 28 Patty Garcia PhD; Postdoctoral Scholar Radiation Oncology Department; Stanford University  
April 21 Luke Lightning PhD, Native American Scientist Entrepreneur

Perspectives on Life in the Tech and Biotech Industries after Academia

April 14

Aaron Mendez

PhD student, UCSF

Using Chemical Tools to Dissect a Cellular Stress Pathway

April 7

Larry Wigman

 PhD; Senior Scientific Manager of the Small Molecule Analytical Chemistry and Quality Control Group; Genentech

Protecting Patients from Genotoxic Impurities

March 24 Sky Feuer Third-year PhD student,
Sex and the Business of baby-Making: Long-term effects of in vitro fertilization on the offspring
March 17 Charles Morgan PhD student, Chemistry and Chemical Biology program, UCSF

Everyone is a Scientist: A journey on becoming a professional scientist and educator

March 10 Deborah Van Olst, Moon Choi and Brad Jacobson M.P.H. Epidemiologists
San Mateo County Health System
Why Epidemiology "Counts"
March 3 Jordan Berry, Adriana Garcia and Shawntel Okonkwo Former community college students and current SFSU undergrad researchers From Community College to Undergraduate Researchers and Beyond: Our Stories
February 24 Linh-Dang Vu-Phan Gaensler Lab, Div of Hematology/Oncology, Dept of Medicine, UCSF Stem Cells as the Cause of and Solution to (Some of) Our Problems
February 10 Melissa Quino McCreery Second year Ph.D. student in Biomedical Science at UCSF  
February 3 Naomi Kort Ph.D. Graduate Program in Bioengineering at UCSF / UC, Berkeley  
January 27 Saida Gracia Perez Global Health Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco