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CSUPERB Symposium Awards honor outstanding faculty mentors and impactful biotechnology programs




Each year the CSU's biotechnology community nominates faculty colleagues for system-wide CSUPERB faculty awards.   

Since 1999 CSUPERB makes two faculty awards at the annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium: the Andreoli Faculty Service Award and the CSUPERB Faculty Research Award.  Past winners are listed at the CSUPERB Grants Database (search on "Andreoli" or "Faculty").

The winners of CSUPERB awards are universally admired scholars, but they also have tremendous impact on CSU student career trajectories as mentors on research projects and as part of training programs. Nomination packages typically contain multiple letters from campus administrators, colleagues and off-campus collaborators. But it's the letters of support from students and alumni that make a big impression on CSUPERB selection committees each year. 

The 2017 Faculty Award winners are no exception.

Dr. Warren D. Smith, Professor of Electric and Electronic Engineering at CSU Sacramento, is the 2017 Anthony Andreoli Award Winner. Dr. Smith’s record of research accomplishments, important regional public-private partnerships, and ability to inspire bioengineering students to take on difficult and risky – but impactful – product design was recognized by the selection committee. As Sac State colleagues note, "The longtime Sac State professor...has several notable scientific breakthroughs on his resume...including a battery-operated fanny pack to track the movements of children with cerebral palsy and a device that would allow doctors to monitor bilirubin levels in jaundiced newborns without subjecting the infants to frequent and painful blood draws."

Within the CSUPERB community, Dr. Smith was instrumental in the design and development of system-wide entrepreneurship education programs (I2P®, now CSU I-CorpsTM) for faculty and student researchers.  CSU I-Corps programs open doors to inclusive, nationally competitive biotechnology entrepreneurship experiences for students across California.  Dr. Smith has mentored several Sac State I-Corps teams, including one that explored commercialization pathways for the bilirubin monitor under development in the laboratory.

Dr. Joseph J. Pesek, Professor of Department of Chemistry at San José State University, is the 2017 CSUPERB Faculty Research Award Winner.  Dr. Pesek was recognized not only for his outstanding research productivity and his dedication to students, but also his persistence in building on theoretical studies to commercialize high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) products. Dr. Pesek’s analytical chemistry research group at SJSU studies separation methods as applied to metabolomics and proteomics. 

Dr. Pesek "demonstrated an intellectual generosity, a willingness to share ideas and an unwavering commitment to scientific rigor that builds excellence in research collaborations at both a national and international level" (from nomination letter). Over his career, he worked with over 100 undergraduate researchers, served as the primary research advisor for 100 Master’s students, and hosted over 50 visiting scientists and postdoctoral fellows from all over the world. His group has published over 230 peer-reviewed papers and garnered $6.95 million in research grants. One nomination letter from a former student included this statement, “Dr. Pesek offers a great balance of human, academic and business intelligence. His passion, integrity and high work ethic exemplifies what every professor should be.” 

The American Chemical Society also honored Dr. Pesek this year with the 2018 National Award for ACS Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution, sponsored by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement.

The 2018 CSUPERB Faculty Award winners will be announced at the 30th Annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium, January 13, 2018, at the Santa Clara Marriott.


Caption for first gallery image below: The Pesek Lab Group, December 2016. From left to right:  
Weiming Guan (undergraduate) , Truc Phan (undergraduate student), Vivian Truong, Tina Nguyen (undergraduate student), Joshua Topete (graduate student), Margaryta Makhanov  (undergraduate student), Jesus Guido  (undergraduate student), Joseph Pesek, Maria Matyska-Pesek (Adjunct Professor and Lecturer) and Jacob Sanchez (undergraduate student).  
Other group members not pictured:  Terrance Chow, Doris Hong, Sunny Jarman, Dung Lam, Irene Lin, Yexi Mo, Cuong Pham, Natalie Villanueva, Seiichiro Watanabe, and Arlette Lopez  (all undergraduate students)