Public Affairs

CSU Firsts in Scientific Discovery

January 12, 2012
By Stephanie Thara

CSU Channel Islands Chemistry Professor Philip Hampton teaching a student about scientific techniques.Extensive research is behind every scientific discovery, and the CSU has created an environment where faculty and students can expand their skill set and make a difference in scientific research. With facilities filled with state-of-the-art equipment, CSU faculty have been able to make strides in the realm of science, such as developing novel approaches to disease treatments, providing in-depth insight about natural disasters and helping NASA discover new planets.

From CSUN’s DNA Sequencing Facility and Cal State East Bay’s Bay Area Regional Biotechnology Center to Fresno State’s Geosciences METRO Center and Humboldt State’s Marine Wildlife Care Center, the CSU maintains centers and facilities that encourage scientific innovation. Through major science grants and generous gifts from donors, the system has been able to fill its laboratories with the latest technology needed to cultivate breakthrough research. CSU laboratories are stocked with high-performance equipment, such as supercomputers, scanning transmission electron microscopes, solar telescopes and ultraviolet-visible spectromers.

With centers and institutions that foster comprehensive analysis, CSU faculty have made groundbreaking discoveries, including:

San Diego State BioScience Center researchers Edward Morgan, Joy Phillips, Marilyn Thoman and Kelly Doran have developed a new vaccine platform that could improve vaccine effectiveness and prevent viral, bacterial and fungal infections, as well as several forms of cancer.

San Francisco State biologists have been studying malaria among birds in Africa as a way to understand the geography of the disease, and their work has culminated in the creation of a new model capable of predicting where malaria is presently and where future outbreaks could occur.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Physics Professor Richard Frankel is part of an international team of scientists that discovered, documented and domesticated a magnetic, sulfate-breathing strain of bacteria from the wilds of Death Valley—a feat that will enhance the understanding of how bacteria make minerals and could aid advances in biotechnology and nanotechnology.

Sacramento State Physics Professor Vassili Sergan’s liquid crystal research has helped refine the clarity of flat-screen television during the last 16 years. He is currently working on a flat lens for eyeglasses, which would eliminate the need for bifocals and trifocals.

As Kepler deputy science team lead, San José State Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy Natalie Batalha assisted NASA in discovering its first planet in the habitable zone of another star.

David A. Ebert, program director for the Pacific Shark Research Center at the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML), and colleagues have identified four new species of deep sea sharks. The MLML is an entity that administers the Master of Science program for a consortium of seven CSU campuses.