Professor Wins CSU Award for Faculty Service in Biotech
Cal State San Marcos biology professor Bianca Mothé has won the 2023 Andreoli Faculty Service Award, which honors California State University faculty who have demonstrated the highest level of service to the system’s biotechnology community.
Mothé received the award at the 35th annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium this month.
Her service is highlighted by leadership as interim executive director of the California State University Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB), a funding organization that supports diversity and mentorship in the fields of biotechnology.
“I have always focused on serving underrepresented students and ensuring that they have opportunities for career advancement, including work and further education,” Mothé said. “I was also able to step in as interim executive director of CSUPERB during the pandemic and work with committed and incredible faculty and staff. This award is a recognition of these efforts, and I am incredibly honored to have received it this year.”
Mothé also serves as director of the COMPASS (Creating Opportunities through Mentorship and Partnership Across Stem Cell Science) program, which aims to provide a diverse group of students with hands-on training and mentorship in the field of regenerative medicine. Under her leadership, the COMPASS program last fall received a nearly $3 million, five-year grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), which will fund stem cell awareness at three North County high schools; support 30 students for two years of training; and provide diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) training for research mentors.
In receiving the award at a ceremony on Jan. 13, Mothé was saluted by a former student, Sergio Ita, who’s a principal investigator at Thermo Fisher Scientific.
“I came to CSUSM as a recent Marine veteran, first-generation and transfer student,” Ita said. “At that fragile time, I had taken a course in immunology with Dr. Mothé. In one of those moments of clarity, I realized not only that I wanted to pursue this fascinating intersection of infectious disease and immunology, but that I wanted to work with Dr. Mothé.
“Bianca accepted me into her lab and taught me some of the most fundamental skills in molecular biology, genetics and immunology.”
Mothé is currently serving as a visiting scientist in the lab of professor Sujan Shresta, Ph.D., at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI). For Mothé, spending time at LJI is one part of bringing the wider biotechnology community together.
“As a scientist and educator, I want to create opportunities for underrepresented students to engage in cutting-edge science,” she said. “As a scientist, this involves staying connected and fostering collaborations with other scientists. As an educator, this involves exposing students and allowing them to immerse themselves in science.”
The Andreoli Award is named for late Cal State LA chemistry professor Anthony Andreoli, an advocate for providing opportunities in higher education for underrepresented and non-traditional students.
Brian Hiro, Communications Specialist
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