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CSUPERB Cites Stellar Biotech Efforts with Symposium Awards

CSU faculty to be honored Jan. 7-8 for outstanding research,
education, service to students

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(January 4, 2011) – Two explorers of life at the molecular level – one who searches for novel antibiotics and another who tracks the transport of brain signals through membranes – will be honored for outstanding contributions to biotechnology research and education Saturday, Jan. 8, at the California State University 23rd Annual Biotechnology Symposium in Orange County.

Howard Xu, a professor of microbiology at California State University, Los Angeles, will receive the Anthony Andreoli Faculty Service Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the development of biotechnology in the CSU.  An expert in antibacterial drug discovery, clinical microbiology, and bacterial genomics, Xu has been integral to the CSU's development of a Professional Science Masters' program in biotechnology.

According to Susan Baxter, executive director of the CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB), "Dr. Xu came to CSU with experience in the biotechnology industry, and he has inspired students to pursue life sciences careers, as well as made outstanding contributions to the development of state-of-the-art curriculum. He has also strengthened working partnerships between Cal State Los Angeles, nearby CSU campuses, and companies in the region."

CSUPERB, the symposium's organizer, will present its Faculty Research Award—recognizing outstanding scientific achievement in the life sciences—to Sepehr Eskandari, a biology professor at Cal Poly Pomona.

Eskandari examines critical transport molecules of the brain, particularly those involved in regulating signals by neurotransmitters. Supported by more than $2.6 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health since 2001, his research team has sought to examine transporter structures and their role in strokes and epileptic seizures, with an eye on drug interactions and potential treatments.

"Professor Eskandari represents the outstanding teacher-scholars we have within the CSU," said Baxter. "He is an incredibly smart, hard-working and creative scientist who has built an excellent publication record and a sustained, high level of grant funding, allowing him to involve Cal Poly Pomona students in his research program."

Pete Arnold, a candidate for a master’s degree in biology at Sonoma State, will receive the Crellin Pauling Student Teaching Award, which cites outstanding student teaching in a CSU biotechnology program. Arnold serves as a teaching assistant in the Biochemical Methods Laboratory at Sonoma State. He is also a laboratory instructional assistant in the Life Sciences department at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The awards to Xu and Eskandari include a $1000 prize; Arnold will receive $750.

CSUPERB’s Glenn Nagel Undergraduate Research Award and Don Eden Graduate Student Research Award—each with a $1,750 prize—will be announced at the symposium.

Eleven undergraduates, representing seven CSU campuses, will also be honored at the symposium as Howell-CSUPERB Research Scholars, each receiving a $3,000 award supported by the Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women's Health Research.

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