Getting Off Campus: Upcoming Meetings of Note

Over the last 3 years, CSUPERB’s FCG and SPC have emphasized the need for faculty professional development on two fronts: 1) partnering off-campus and 2) cross-campus collaborations between academic affairs and student affairs.  The first is based on the belief that research PIs might have greater impact (and grant-getting success) by working with collaborators or community organizations off-campus.  The need for help in building better cross-divisional collaborations is rooted in our desire to improve student engagement and persistence in the STEM fields. Today I want to showcase two upcoming meetings that address these two CSUPERB goals!


The CSU I-Corps program, funded by NSF, purposefully sets aside funds to plug CSU-based researchers into surrounding regional innovation “ecosystems.”  As I said to a room of entrepreneurship educators last week at VentureWell Open 2017, “Several of our early attempts to organize regional meetings failed to lure even one academic biological sciences researcher off-campus despite pizza, beer, interesting topics, engaging speakers, or hip incubator venues. In biotech, the practice or habit of mind involved in talking with and listening to industry experts is extremely important.  Research-based product development is a highly partnered, decade-long endeavor. Identifying value-adding development milestones, de-risking strategies, and realistic paths to commercialization is something best learned alongside experts, typically found outside academia.”  PIs and students who participate in CSU I-Corps courses begin to build these networks, but diving into these ecosystems is important over the long haul if PIs want to develop solutions to health, nutrition and environmental problems.


Just this morning, David Shaywitz wrote a Forbes article (#goodread) that highlights “the translational gap so prevalent in medicine, the space between a promising idea (often captured in an academic publication) and one that’s been successfully implemented at scale.”  This gap is what inspired students to ask for entrepreneurship training back in 2010 and what motivates much of CSUPERB’s programming.


Next Thursday, April 6th, the Ignite22 one-day meeting in San Pedro (LA region) will feature posters and talks from CSUPERB, COAST and ARI investigators.


So we’ve been working with enthusiastic partners, BraidTheory, COAST‘s Krista Kamer and ARI‘s David Still,* to draw together academic researchers, entrepreneurs, industry and agency professionals interested in ag tech, biotech and blue tech next week!  Ignite22 intentionally gathers a multi-disciplinary mix of expertise to inspire solutions for the problems of the 22nd century.  I hope it provides an interesting excuse to get off campus!



If you’d like to attend to listen, learn and network – you can buy tickets at the Ignite22 website. Use the promo code CSUPERB22 to save $20 off the $50 registration!  Come with your research group and cheer on your colleagues!


Here is the list of researchers drawn from the CSUPERB, ARI and COAST system-wide communities who will give lighting talks at Ignite22 (there is a longer list of CSU poster presenters, as well):


  • Methods for the identification of novel cancer biomarkers and therapeutic targets, Jonathan A. Kelber, CSU Northridge
  • A neural-machine interface for the next-generation, neural-controlled prosthetic arm, Xiaorong Zhang, San Francisco State University
  • A universal quantitative chronometric paper-based point-of-use device, Nathaniel W. Martinez, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
  • A platform to identify drug targets of antibacterial compounds, Howard Xu, CSU Los Angeles
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Precision Agriculture using Multispectral/Hyperspectral Sensors and Machine Learning, Subodh Bhandari, Cal Poly Pomona
  • Converting agro-food waste byproducts to value-added food ingredients, Olive Yao Li, Cal Poly Pomona
  • Development of novel brewing yeasts by cell fusion technology, Choong-Min Kang, CSU Stanislaus
  • Towards a sustainable desal system with lower energy consumption and environmental impacts, Galen O’Toole (Achilli lab), Humboldt State University
  • An isolation chamber and system for monitoring stress and respiration in small marine organisms, Geoff Dilly, CSU Channel Islands
  • Next-Generation Fluorescent Hybridization Probes for DNA/RNA Sequence Identification, Byron Purse, San Diego State University


Secondly, I want to point community members to a new opportunity from EdInsights’ Student Success Network. If you were inspired by the “Achieving Inclusive Student Success through Purposeful Collaborations between Academic and Student Affairs” session at the annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium – this meeting is for you!  Deidre Sessoms (CSU Sacramento), Amy Sprowles (Humboldt State University), Stephen St. Onge (Humboldt State University), and Andrea Venezia (CSU Sacramento) worked together to pilot that January workshop.  I just finished working through the 29th annual symposium analysis based on the post-symposium surveys. Despite it being our first time out with the topic and workshop format, participants hung in there with us and reported back that they will remember the things they learned…but also had a thirst for more.  If you’re in this camp, I encourage you to pull together a campus team and apply by April 9th (next Friday!) for the one-day (May 12th) meeting.


Details are here (provided by EdInsights)


“Using Data to Support Student Learning and Success: Opportunities and Challenges in the CSU
10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Friday, May 12, 2017; optional networking breakfast from 9:00 to 10:00 am
Fresno State University – Henry Madden Library


Overview – Campuses across the country and within the CSU are using data in new ways to understand where students are facing challenges and how institutions can better support student learning, engagement, progression, and completion.


These approaches, including predictive analysis, hold promise for students. However, they also have the potential to exacerbate inequities if they are not implemented in thoughtful and appropriate ways. This meeting provides an opportunity to explore this topic through cross-campus, cross-role dialogue. Participants will:


  • Build relationships with CSU colleagues who are involved in campus-level efforts to strengthen data use to improve student success and equity.
  • Identify and share current successes and challenges related to using data.
  • Reflect as campus teams and apply lessons to individual campus needs and contexts.
  • Create a plan to strengthen ongoing efforts on their respective campuses.

Who should attend – Campuses are encouraged to send teams of up to five individuals, including at least one faculty member, one representative from student affairs, and one representative from institutional research. Travel expenses will be reimbursed by the CSU Student Success Network.

Register now – Space is limited. Registration is open March 27 through April 7.”


*WRPI holds their annual meeting that same day – if we try this again – they’ll be there!
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    About Susan Baxter

    I'm the executive director of CSUPERB and the editor of this blog. Over my career, I've worked with teams to formulate new herbicide products, to figure out how transcription factors work in combination, to discover protein targets for new diabetes treatments, and to develop software for human population genetics studies. I started a biotechnology career because a couple of companies in Richmond, Virginia, offered me summer internships. Since then I’ve worked in major corporations, small start-ups, research institutions and academia. Now I'm working with CSUPERB, funding promising CSU students and faculty, and supporting biotechnology education and research across the 23 CSU campuses. It is a personal mission of mine to smash the myth of "the right academic pedigree." Biotechnology changes so rapidly that it is extremely limiting to ask students to chart an exact career path, focus on a particular technique, or build a defined technical skill-set. My career advice? Stay agile by keeping your mind open, exploring your own interests, and working alongside excellent colleagues on hard problems.

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