Archive for the ‘News’ Category

News from Elmer Lopez

Elmer Lopez is one of our own SFSU Biology alum who, like many of us, participated in Bio 230: Introductory Biology in Spring 2017. 

Additionally, Elmer was 1 of 16 pioneering biology majors who were selected for the Fall 2017 LEADS: Learners Engaged in Advocating for Diversity in Science effort, authoring multiple Scientist Spotlights that you can see at published with Elmer as author!

Over the years, Elmer has been doing great things since finishing his BS in Physiology from SFSU. He was recently accepted into the Dominican University Physician Assistant Program!

Alumni News: Jennifer Chinchilla

Jennifer Chinchilla, an SFSU Biology alum, was a pioneering SFSU SEPAL Spectrum Scientist, promoting the interest of middle school girls of color in biomedical science at both Giannini and Everett Middle Schools during her two years with the program as an undergraduate biology major.

Over the years, she has been doing many great things since finishing her BS Physiology from SFSU. She is a 2022 MD Candidate at Michigan State College of Human Medicine on the Leadership in Underserved Medicine Track. Last year, she was President of her school’s Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) and is now Policy Chair for the LMSA Midwest Region.

She was also involved involved in a quality improvement research project that focuses on evaluating physician perspectives and knowledge on using interpreter services. Since there are people that don’t know how to speak English fluently, strengthening the physician-interpreter relationship can further improve patient care and health equity, especially Limited English Proficiency (LEP) groups. You can read more about her involvement in this research study here.

These are just the many efforts she is involved in to promote access, equity, and social justice in health care as an emerging leader in her profession, with many more triumphs to come.

Alumni News: Christopher Canlas

One of our own SFSU Biology alum, Christopher Canlas was a SEPAL BIO 652: SPIKE – Science Partners in K-12 Education – student leader, as well as a SEPAL Resource Center Assistant! And like many undergraduates, he took BIO 230: Introductory to Biology, in the fall of 2010.

Needless to say, Christopher Canlas has been doing great things since finishing his BS Physiology from SFSU. He is a third year osteopathic medical student at Rowan School of Medicine in New Jersey. Having passed his board exams for both the DO and MD degrees, he is currently on track to graduate in 2022. Additionally, he is educating his community about health disparities faced by the LGBTQIA+ community and always giving back to underrepresented minorities in medicine through his involvement in HCOP: Health Career Opportunities Program. With resurfaced stigma against DO’s, he’s happy to clarify any misconceptions about DO’s that arise among our current students.

Alumni News: Tessa McGregor

One of our SFSU Biology alums, Tessa McGregor was a pioneering SFSU SEPAL Spectrum Scientist, promoting the interest of middle school girls of color in biomedical science at Giannini Middle School.

Needless to say, Tessa McGregor has been doing great things since finishing her BS Physiology from SFSU. After finishing her DDS at Columbia University, Tessa moved back to the SF Bay Area. She is currently the Director of the dental clinic at La Clinica de la Raza in Concord, which has many locations all over the East Bay. She is always looking to hire dental assistants/on-call dental assistants, which is a great way to get hands-on experience and connections in the field. She looks forward to hosting interns who are interested in dentistry/community health when it is safe again, post-COVID.

New Scientist Spotlights Website Helps Instructors Highlight Diversity in STEM

“The new Scientists Spotlight Initiative website aims to help teachers diversify their STEM curriculum. The project, led by Foothill College biology instructor Jeff Schinske and San Francisco State University biology professor Kimberly Tanner, is open to anyone interested in disrupting stereotypes in their fields and making sure students see their identities represented and valued in class.”

You can read more about it here on the Foothill’s college news board.

News from Rebecca Moore

San Francisco State University’s Bachelors of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology alumna, Rebecca Moore is celebrating her second year as an outstanding high school biology teacher at Castro Valley High School!

Rebecca was the top student in our Bio 230 course in Spring 2015. In addition to being an outstanding member of Team Bio 230, Rebecca conducted research as a prestigious Beckman Scholar in Dr. Joseph Chen’s lab.

After receiving her BS in Cell and Molecular Biology, she pursued her Single Subject Teaching Credential in Secondary Science Teaching with a specialty in Biology here at SFSU.

Since obtaining her credential in 2019, she has been a wonderful high school biology teacher at Castro Valley High School where her students are so lucky to have her as a mentor and instructor.

News from Matilde Miranda

Round of applause to Matilde Miranda, SFSU Biology BS Cell and Molecular Biology Alum, who just completed her PhD in Cell Biology at UCLA! A former student and outstanding member of Team Bio 230, who was a research student in the Burrus Lab, and an outstanding member of the SEPAL Lab, both working in the SEPAL Resource Center and participating in our Biol 654; SPIKE: Science Partner in K-12 Education service-learning course.
Matilde will be doing a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Emi Nishimura and her team at Tokyo Medical and Dental University in Tokyo, Japan on skin and hair follicle aging.

News from Stephen Kielar

Although times these days are hard, we somehow manage to thrive and have moments of success during this pandemic we are all experiencing. As one of our SFSU Biology and SEPAL MS alum, Stephen Kielar has been appointed Director of Education at Call of the Sea, a non-profit organization that provides educational programs on marine sciences for people of all backgrounds (you can learn more about them on their site here). Stephen has graduated with an MS in Marine Biology and ever since has sailed the world, spreading all sorts of marine science educations with other non-profit organizations.

Even with these tough times, nothing can stop people like Stephen spreading useful information and education in the sciences to promising young minds.

Brie Tripp


Research Interests
I am interested in learning from under-tapped student populations and ways to provide equitable experiences to these individuals in undergraduate science courses. By examining gateway courses designed to weed out these very individuals, I hope to make headway in reducing the “leaky science pipeline”. Related interests involve exploring the culture of science and ways to change the hierarchical nature and power structures that exist within science.

About Me
As a California native, I grew up in the central valley. I had the opportunity to receive my bachelor’s degree in biology at CSU Stanislaus. However, I would be remiss to ignore the first college I attended, Modesto Junior College, that changed my entire career trajectory. It was there that I fell in love with teaching science through an opportunity to assist several of my professors as a teaching assistant and tutor. I experienced the joy in helping students discover the beauty in science and the grit involved in overcoming academic challenges. This experience was coupled with amazing instructors that modeled that it’s not necessarily what is taught, but how it is taught that matters. Thus, I took the next step toward professorship and pursued my PhD in biology at Portland State University, where I researched how undergraduate students and faculty thought about and understood interdisciplinary science. I was also able to teach a myriad of courses where I witnessed the inequity that exists in science: who has access to science, who gets to be a scientist, and the barriers that exist in academic science culture. I now desire to be an agent of change within this culture, and aim to shift the landscape toward more equitable and inclusive platforms. When I’m not thinking about these important topics, you can find me backpacking unexplored areas with my dog, Rosey.

Article Announcement!

A new published article from the Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education has been released titled: Fear of the CURE: A Beginner’s Guide to Overcoming Barriers in Creating Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experience. This article has been conducted by two SFSU researchers, Brindan Govindan and Blake Riggs, and a researcher from UC Berkeley, Sarah Pickett. They discuss how exposing undergraduate students with courses based on research development skills is crucial for students who are pursuing a STEM majors. They also discuss barriers that arise from faculty to further teach these courses such as cost, time and coming up with a research topics for their students.

Read their article here