Congratulations to the 2016 Howell-CSUPERB Scholars!


Pictured above: Sima Chokr (Biology, California State University, Long Beach), Karl Liboro (Biology, California State University, Los Angeles), Brandon Strong (Biological Sciences, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo) & Alan Tran (Biological Sciences, San José State University).   Photo courtesy of John Zimmermann.


  • Howell-CSUPERB Students Present their Fields of Research during Foundation’s first Luncheon of the Year.
  • Scholars to Start their Research in Women’s Health in Spring & Summer 2016
  • CSUPERB and the Doris A. Howell Foundation:  Proud of our Scholars! 


Twelve CSU biology students will now have a unique opportunity to conduct research in women's health.  Receiving a total of 28 applications, the Howell Foundation, partnering with the CSUPERB program, chose students from 9 CSU campuses to receive scholarships worth $42,000.  The scholarship awards were announced in January, and each scholar will conduct faculty-mentored research projects during the spring and summer of 2016.

“The opportunity that the Doris A. Howell Foundation offers is time.  With our scholarships, students can now dedicate the time to conduct the required research to complete their studies; time that would otherwise be spent away from women’s health research” comments Dr. Carole Banka, Chair for the Foundation.   All of the students’ research projects are mentored by CSU Faculty.

A strict protocol is followed in the choice of the students, including rigorous review of the students' scholarship applications by the Scholarship Committee at the Foundation; and by quality of supervision during their research work through a “Mentor Program”, which has ensured the program's success.  Each student must have a qualified research mentor to direct and guide them.

The research subjects range from the most basic of life sciences such as cell biology to creating vaccines and testing altered immune reactions. Often the results of the student's research are presented at professional conferences or published in peer-reviewed journals, contributing to the community and the future of women's health nationwide through the advancement of cutting-edge scientific knowledge.

According  to CSUPERB, the organization partners with the Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research to fund promising undergraduate student research projects in topics related to women’s health. Together the Howell Foundation and CSUPERB recognize that research experience is critical to recruiting, training and retaining students interested in careers in women’s health research. Howell-CSUPERB Scholars show great professional promise academically and in research programs.

The results are inspiring.  According to the last CSUPERB report to the Board of Directors of the Howell Foundation, Howell Scholars are continuing on to careers in biomedical research and  healthcare.  89% of the 55 Howell Scholars who graduated between 2008 and 2014 were accepted into a graduate research program, medical school, professional healthcare program, or took a related job in the life science industry.

"For those considering donations to an organization that supports education, there is no doubt in my mind that the Howell Foundation poses itself as a highly successful organization", comments Christopher Northrup, who established a scholarship program in his mother's name.  "The way to get women's health and research in the map is by supporting those who will in the not so distant future be taking care of the women in our lives", he concluded.

We wish them all the success!   The Howell-CSUPERB Scholars for 2016 are (in alphabetical order):

1. Alyssa Bowlsby (Biology, California State University, Chico)
Award: $3,500 for the proposal titled “Formation of Dimeric Antagonists as a Novel Treatment for Chronic Myeloid Leukemia.”
Mentor: Carolynn Arpin, Chemistry & Biochemistry

2. Sima Chokr (Biology, California State University, Long Beach)
Award: $3,500 for the proposal titled “The OFQ-ORL-1 system mediates Tamoxifen and ICI-182, 780 facilitation of lordosis via GPER.”
Mentor: Kevin Sinchak, Biology

3. Karina Hernandez (Biology, California State University, Fresno)
Award: $3,500 for the proposal titled “The effect of bisphosphonate drugs on metastatic breast cancer in a 3D culture model.”
Mentor: Jason Bush, Biology

4. Sa La Kim (Biology, California State University, Northridge)
Award: $3,500 for the proposal titled “The Role of ITGA1 in Pancreatic Cancer.”
Mentor: Jonathan Kelber, Biology

5. Kelly Leavitt (Biological Sciences, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo)
Award: $3,500 for the proposal titled “Effects of hormonal contraceptive use on the human gut microbiome and specifically Escherichia coli: A pilot study.”
Mentor: Alejandra Yep, Biological Sciences

6. Karl Liboro (Biology, California State University, Los Angeles)
Award: $3,500 for the proposal titled “Effect of Bacteriocin-like peptide, pentocin TV35b, from Lactobacillus pentosus on Candida albicans biofilm formation.”
Mentor: Hyunsook Park, Biology

7. Brandon Strong (Biological Sciences, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo)
Award: $3,500 for the proposal titled “Point-of-Care Diagnostic Device for the Quantitative Analysis of Human Estradiol.”
Mentor: Nathaniel Martinez, Biological Sciences

8. Jason Thomas (Biology, California State University, Fresno)
Award: $3,500 for the proposal titled “The role of bacilithiol and thiol peroxidase against oxidative stress in Staphylococcus aureus.”
Mentor: Mamta Rawat, Biology

9. Alan Tran (Biological Sciences, San José State University)
Award: $3,500 for the proposal titled “An Investigation into the Effects of Sensory Activity on Neural Circuits.”
Mentor: Miri VanHoven, Biological Sciences

10. Cory Vierra (Chemistry, California State University, Sacramento)
Award: $3,500 for the proposal titled “Synthesis and Optimization of Hexavalent Glycodendrimers as Anti-HIV Agents.”
Mentor: Katherine McReynolds, Chemistry

11. Brandy White (Chemistry, California State University, Fresno)
Award: $3,500 for the proposal titled “Small Molecule Binding Sites Explored in Variable Heavy Chain Antibodies.”
Mentor: Cory Brooks, Chemistry

12. Kevin White (Biology, San Diego State University)
Award: $3,500 for the proposal titled “An in vitro Investigation on Proliferation, Survival, and Differential Potential of CardioClusters.”
Mentor: Mark Sussman, Biology

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About the Doris A. Howell Foundation:
The Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research is committed to keeping the women we love healthy, advancing women’s health through research and educating women to be catalysts for improving family health in the community.

The organization does so by funding scholarships to students researching issues affecting women’s health; providing a forum for medical experts, scientists, doctors, and researchers to convey timely information on topics relevant to women’s health and the health of their families through its Lecture and Evening Series, and by funding research initiatives that improve the health of under-served women and increase awareness and advocacy in the community.

To learn more about the Foundation, visit www.howellfoundation.org.

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