CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI) students interested in learning about how biomedical and biobehavioral research is conducted can sign up for a hands-on summer class offered through Extended University (EU).

An Exploration of Biomedical and Biobehavioral Research (HLTH 490) will be taught by faculty members from Biology, Psychology and Health Sciences, and $300 tuition scholarships are available through a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“This is for students who have had little exposure to laboratory classes and are interested in bio-medical careers, to show them how research is done to understand health and disease,” said Professor and Chair of the Health Science Program, Sonsoles de Lacalle, MD, PhD, who developed the class with her colleagues.

Class of 2023 Biology major Nadine Zayyad plans to go to medical school, so she signed up for the three-unit summer course, which will count as an elective.

“It seems like it’s an intense program because it’s a short session,” Zayyad said. “Professors say you need to do research and I have not done research before, so I’m excited about it.”

Zayyad, 24, grew up in Santa Clarita before moving to Camarillo. Her desire to become a physician started when she was very young.

“I’ve always been really curious about cancer because I lost my grandmother early—before I started fourth grade,” Zayyad said. “She had stomach cancer and I saw how stressful it was to get this diagnosis. Then when I was in eighth grade, I lost my grandfather to lung cancer and dementia, so I’ve always had a personal interest in medical research.”

The medical condition the class will explore is Huntington’s disease, a rare, inherited disease that causes progressive degeneration of the nerve cells in the brain. Symptoms include memory loss, involuntary muscular activity, spasms, confusion and a host of other difficulties.

“We’ve chosen Huntington’s Disease because this particular disease has a genetic component, so it gives as a chance to explain how you as a researcher would investigate the cause and also treatments, all the way from the DNA to the behavior,” De Lacalle said.

“All the brain diseases are very interesting,” Zayyad said. “The brain is a very mysterious organ when compared to the rest of the body.”

The class will be offered three times with room for 20 to 22 students in each six-week session: once in the A session, which is May 31 to July 6, and twice in the B session, which is July 11 through August 12, 2022.

Every student enrolled in one of the classes will receive a $300 scholarship, which Zayyad says will come in handy as she faces the cost of medical school.

“I go to school and I work part time, so the monetary sum is greatly appreciated,” she said.

View the HLTH 490 info flyer (PDF, 3.8MB) to learn more about the HLTH 490 course. To enroll in the class, contact Dr. de Lacalle at sonsoles.delacalle@csuci.edu or visit: https://ext.csuci.edu/programs/summer-programs/.

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