SoCalBSI - Bioinformatics Program

January 8, 2004
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 January 8, 2004

Margie Yu
Public Affairs Specialist 
(323) 343-3047



Cal State L.A. 
Office of Public Affairs 
(323) 343-3050 
Fax: (323) 343-6405

For immediate release:
Interested in Becoming a Bioinformaticist?

Los Angeles, CA – You might want to be a bioinformaticist and not even know it! If you are a college student, a program at California State University, Los Angeles, can help you find out if the new field of bioinformatics is for you. (For the record, bioinformatics uses computers to answer biological questions, and bioinformaticists research such issues as the molecular interactions between a drug and its target.)

Application forms for the 2004 Southern California Bioinformatics Summer Institute (SoCalBSI) at Cal State L.A. are now available online at

During a two-month Cal State L.A. program set for June 14 – August 20, 2004, students will receive intensive training in bioinformatics through the SoCalBSI.

“Bioinformatics is one area of science where there is a growing demand for skilled practitioners,” says the Institute’s principal investigator Jamil Momand, associate professor of biochemistry at Cal State L.A.

This is the program’s second year. Last summer, students from across the U.S. came to Cal State L.A. to participate in the training program. They came from Cal State L.A. (Dimitri Kosturos and Ali Mortazavi), UCLA (Linda Tsai, Kim Van Ngo, and Frances Tong), University of New Mexico (Karin Leiderman), University of Texas–San Antonio (Maribel Sanchez), Northeastern (Ronald Perez), Pepperdine University (Adam Wadsworth), Pasadena City College (Andy Wong), UC Santa Barbara (Helly Kwee), and Mount San Antonio College (Navapoln Ramakul).

In the first three weeks of the summer program, the students learned how to use software programs and received instruction in programming. This was followed by seven weeks of hands-on research at one of the following laboratories: UCLA, USC, Caltech, Protein Pathways, Los Angeles, City of Hope, ViaLogy, Pasadena; or BioDiscovery, El Segundo. As their graduation project, students presented their research to their laboratory mentors and SoCalBSI faculty. Students’ projects represented a spectrum of investigation, from research on cancer to evolution to the fundamental question of how the genes in our bodies are expressed.

Research mentors were Drs. Barbara Wold (Caltech), Bruce Hoff (BioDiscovery), Mateo Pellegrini (Protein Pathways), Magnus Nordberg (USC), Gary Larson (City of Hope), Tim Ting Chen (USC), David J. Robbins (ViaLogy), and Todd Yeates (UCLA).

According to the participants, the program was not all hard work. Students also had an opportunity to enjoy a beach picnic and an end-of-the-year celebration held in the new Golden Eagle banquet room on campus. At the end of the summer, the students returned to their home universities with an appreciation and understanding of this new field.

Momand notes, “Our highest achieving students from last year’s program will be offered a second summer session at SoCalBSI. Additionally, there will be 11 open seats for new participants for the 2004 summer program, with student stipends ranging from $6,000 to $7,000.”

For more information on the Bioinformatics Program at Cal State L.A., call Jackie Leung, coordinator, SoCalBSI, at (323) 343-2494.

WORKING FOR CALIFORNIA – California State University, Los Angeles: A comprehensive university at the heart of a major metropolitan city. The 175-acre hilltop campus is located five miles east of Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. Since 1947, Cal State L.A. has been a leader in providing quality higher education. Today, the campus comprises a faculty of internationally recognized scholars and artists, and more than 21,000 students with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds that reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Cal State L.A. is one of 23 campuses in the CSU system.

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