Investing today in tomorrow’s health: Howell Foundation presents the 2021 Howell-CSUPERB Scholars

Investing today in tomorrow’s health: Howell Foundation presents the 2021 Howell-CSUPERB Scholars

  • Topics of research include ovarian cancer, breast cancer, gestational diabetes and lung cystic fibrosis.
  • Research experience in the life of an undergraduate scholar critical to engaging and graduating students interested in careers in women’s health.

The Howell-CSUPERB partnership continues to launch careers in the field of women’s health.  Now in its 20th year, the program continues to fund promising undergraduate student research projects and is meant to get students involved in research experiences that are critical to determining their career path in women’s health.  To date, the Howell-CSUPERB Scholarship Program has awarded 230 scholarships totaling $670,000.

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As difficult as circumstances have been during the pandemic, we are always inspired when we have the opportunity to listen about the impact the Howell-CSUPERB scholarship will have on the career of our scholars.  The topics of research for this year include ovarian cancer, breast cancer, gestational diabetes and cystic fibrosis.

“Many of our scholars are first-generation college students from underserved backgrounds, so supporting these emerging scientists and their educational experiences also supports their upward social mobility as they progress toward their careers,” says Bianca Romina Mothé, Ph.D., interim executive director of CSUPERB. In fact, the great majority (>87%) of Howell-CSUPERB scholars go on to apply successfully for graduate degree programs and industry jobs. Each scholar will conduct faculty-mentored research projects during the spring and summer of 2021.

“There are numerous studies that indicate that students who do research as undergrads gain both professional and personal skills such as problem solving, communication and teamwork. Research experience also helps students clarify their career goals and prepares them for success in their graduate school environments.  Many of our students would not be able to participate in research unless we provide them with financial support, thus by offering scholarships to deserving students, we are helping to foster the interest of students in research careers and improve their ability to succeed in any career,” says Mandy Butler, Head of the Scholarships Committee for the Howell Foundation.

A strict protocol is followed in the choice of the students, including review of the students’ scholarship applications and quality of supervision during their research work by a mentor scientist, who specifically guides the student.  The objective is to propel the student’s knowledge and skills in ways that couldn’t be done in a classroom setting. It is the lifeline to the program’s success.

Congratulations to our 2021 Howell-CSUPERB Scholars

  1. Jennifer Anderson (Cell and Molecular Biology, California State University, Northridge

“Investigating the role of Nrf2 and DJ-1 in response to Glo 1 inhibition in breast, prostate and ovarian cancer cells.” Mentor: Daniel Tamae, Chemistry & Biochemistry

  1. Lillian Cooke (Biology, San Diego State University)

“Expression of the LAG-3 checkpoint inhibitor receptor in insect cells for structural studies.” Mentor: Tom Huxford, Chemistry & Biochmeistry

  1. Jesse Garcia (Microbiology, California State University, Chico)

“Investigating microRNA-375 in pancreatic β-cells as a potential regulator of proliferation and apoptosis.” Mentor: David Keller, Biological Sciences

  1. Hannah Heath (Nutrition, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo)

“Impact of pre-pregnancy lifestyle intervention on gestational diabetes prevention via improvement of metabolic markers.” Mentor: Michael La Frano, Food Science and Nutrition

  1. Maxwell La Forest (Molecular Cell Biology and Physiology, California State University, Long Beach)

“Dopamine-progesterone interactions in the regulation of positive feedback for ovulation.” Mentor: Kevin Sinchak, PhD, Biological Sciences

  1. Amanda Lee (Mathematics, San Diego State University)

“Using mathematical modeling and three dimensional reconstruction to predict pulmonary function in cystic fibrosis lungs.” Mentor: Uduak George, Mathematics and Statistics

  1. Kassandra Lopez (Biology, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona)

“Investigating the role of CD64 in the Neutrophil mediated killing of Trichomonas vaginalis via trogocytosis.” Mentor: Frances Mercer, Biological Sciences

  1. Esveidy Isabel Oceguera Nava (Biochemistry, California State University, Fresno)

“Development of Licochalcone analogue for triple negative breast cancer.” Mentor: Qiao-Hong Chen, Chemistry

  1. Anastasiia Reipolska (Biology, Molecular Cell Biology and Physiology Option, California State University, Long Beach)

“Regulation of ovarian metabolism during photostimulated gonadal recrudescence.” Mentor: Kelly Young, Biological Sciences

10.Ella Schwab (Biology, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo)

“Studying the effect of embedding knowledge while training neural networks to predict breast cancer subtypes.” Mentor: Jean Davidson, Biological Sciences


About the Howell Foundation:

The Howell Foundation advances women’s health by funding undergraduate and graduate research scholarshipsawarding grants to scientists who conduct research benefiting under represented women in the community, and supporting outreach efforts and events that promote health education and self-advocacy for the long-term health and well-being of women, their families and the community in which they live.

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