Campus: CSU Los Angeles -- March 15, 2002


Cal State L.A. Received Grant to Recruit and Prepare Students for a Research Career in Mental Health


California State University, Los Angeles has recently received a $1.3 million grant from National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to fund a new five-year program called Career Opportunities in Research Education and Training (COR) Honors Undergraduate Program.

Offered by the NIMH Office for Special Populations, the program will be under the directorship of Sonsoles de Lacalle, assistant professor of biology at Cal State L.A. The faculty mentors will be from the departments of Biology and Psychology at the University.

The mission of NIMH is to diminish the burden of mental illness through research. This public health mandate demands that we harness powerful scientific tools to achieve better understanding, treatment, and eventually prevention of mental illness, notes de Lacalle.
In connection to this mission, the objective of this program is to recruit students into research training that will lead to doctoral level or M.D. research careers in mental health. De Lacalle explains, of particular interest to the mission of the NIMH is ensuring the access of underrepresented minorities into careers in mental health, providing opportunities to close the gap in health status of underserved populations. The grant will also help to develop and strengthen biomedical, behavioral, neuroscience, epidemiology, prevention, and/or public health curricula and research training opportunities in order to prepare students for careers related to mental health.

A faculty member at Cal State L.A. since 1999, de Lacalle received her M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Navarra in Spain. Her expertise is in morphological and molecular basis of central nervous system plasticity and regeneration. She has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Neuroscience, Epilepsia, Progress in Brain Research and other research journals.

Last year, de Lacalle received a grant from the Army Research Office to set up a fluorescence microscopy core facility that will allow for new laboratory exercises in the Cell Biology curriculum and in the Biotechnology Certificate classes at Cal State L.A.

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