The life science and biotech industries account for a tremendous level of economic activity in California. In fact, a recent Biocom study reports that the state dominates the national landscape with the largest bioscience industry in the U.S., with more than 300,000 employees generating nearly $259 billion in economic activity in 2013.

California State University programs are preparing highly-skilled graduates for the high-demand field--ensuring California remains at the forefront of medical innovation and the world’s source for first-in-class treatments for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, vaccines, as well as neurological and many other illnesses.

Hundreds of CSU students, faculty, alumni, administrators and partners recently gathered at the 28th annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium in Orange County Jan. 8-10 to share how they are advancing innovation in the life sciences.

The symposium, organized by the CSU’s Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB), showcased the research of students working toward high-demand science, technology, engineering and math degrees.

This year, the event received 264 abstract submissions from 21 CSU campuses, representing research from faculty-led labs across California. Projects focused on topics ranging from how plants resist disease to antimicrobial resistance to identifying genes that contribute to autism or cancer.

The symposium is also a valuable opportunity for students and faculty to get out of their labs and classrooms to learn something new or meet potential collaborators. Current and future researchers had the chance to share best practices, network, and gain exposure to cutting-edge technologies and product-focused innovation. Student participants had opportunities to network with nearly 40 biotechnology industry professionals who served as speakers, mentors and advisors throughout the event.

Each year, CSUPERB honors and recognizes outstanding CSU faculty and students as part of the annual Biotechnology Symposium. CSUPERB’s annual awards were also presented to the students and faculty who reflect the best of research, teaching and service in the biological sciences.

Congratulations to the 2016 award winners:

The Don Eden Graduate Student Research Award

  • Lace Riggs (San Bernardino)

The Glenn Nagel Undergraduate Research Award

  • Rachel Flores (Long Beach)

Andreoli Faculty Service Award:

  • Amybeth Cohen (Fullerton)

Faculty Research Award:

  • Kelly Duran (San Diego)

Crellin Pauling Student Teaching Award

  • Kevin Chiem (Fullerton)
  • Kristine Teague (Humboldt)

Special Recognition: CSUPERB I-Corps Early-Stage Biotechnology Commercialization Challenge:

  • LaserClean (San Diego
  • Biliblu Biomedical (Sacramento)
  • OVON Inc. (San Jose)

Student research projects and more about the annual CSUPERB Symposium can be found here.