Student Training

Harbor-UCLA LA BioMed Initiative for Minority Student Development

Since 1998, LA BioMed has offered graduate biology students at California State University Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) the opportunity to gain hands-on research experience through participation in graduate joint research programs made possible through the creation of the Initiative for Minority Student Development. LA BioMed provides a supportive, collaborative, and stimulating environment in which CSUDH graduate students can gain first-hand experience in basic biomedical research and clinical research with nationally and internationally known researchers. The areas of research interests range from molecular biology to clinical research studies of promising new therapies and drugs.

The program matches graduate biology students from CSUDH with mentor research scientists at LA BioMed. More than 60 LA BioMed research mentors are available to oversee research that affords students the opportunity to perform research protocols, which serve as the basis of their thesis. To facilitate a continuum of collaboration, LA BioMed mentors also serve as part of the students’ thesis committee along with CSUDH faculty.

Who is eligible to participate?

LA BioMed is committed to training physicians-scientists to be leaders in biomedical research. LA BioMed’s research training programs are funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences under their initiative for minority student development with the goal of facilitating an increase in the number of underrepresented minority students entering careers in biomedical science. As a result, African American, Latino, Native American, and Pacific Islander graduate students are encouraged to apply. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or resident aliens currently enrolled in a CSUDH bioscience graduate program who plan on pursuing a PhD. During the program, participants are employed as LA BioMed laboratory technicians.

The student body at LA BioMed includes medical and nursing students studying at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, medical residents and fellows-in-training, nurse practitioners, and radiologic technologists (as part of a CSUDH joint study program). LA BioMed is also host to the LA BioMed High School Summer Fellowship Program, and visiting researchers and academic affiliates from around the world. This research environment is supplemented by informative lectures by distinguished visiting scientists and physicians, grand rounds, and journal clubs. Practical courses are offered to supplement “on the job” experience, and provide strategic training in radiation safety, environmental hazards, library skills, bioethics, and information retrieval procedures.

Program director: Dr. Christina Wang. (310) 222-2503
Program Coordinator: Dr. Stewart Laidlaw. (310) 222-3624
CSUDH liaison: Dr. Laura Robles. (310) 243-3413

California State University Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) Program for Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (MARC U*STAR)

CSUDH’s MARC U*STAR program is funded by the National Institute for General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), one of the institutes of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The aim of the program is to increase the number of traditionally underrepresented minority students who enter careers in biomedical science.

The program, a collaboration with the faculty at LA BioMed, will enhance the academic experience of qualified undergraduate students (juniors and seniors) from CSUDH. This will involve two main components:

a) The Research Training Curriculum will be a core curriculum in practical aspects of biomedical science (handling radioactivity, working with animals, hazardous materials, library research techniques, ethics of scientific experimentation, etc.)

b) Opportunities to carry out limited research projects during breaks in the academic year with preceptors both at LA BioMed and CSUDH. As an adjunct to this, students will be expected to participate throughout the year in research related conferences and meetings.

Students will interact with established research scientists, as well as professionals involved in the daily realities of bioscience management. They will also interact with other members of established research groups at LA BioMed, and participate in research-related programs underway at LA BioMed.


All CSUDH junior and senior undergraduate science majors from underrepresented minority groups (African American, Hispanic, Native American and Pacific Islander), are eligible to apply to the U*STAR program. However, as an Honors Program, the competition for the limited number of positions is quite intense. Students must have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better. In addition, the application must include three letters of recommendation and a personal statement of 250 words or less as to why the student wants to become a U*STAR Scholar. Students may wish to include in this statement how being a Scholar will assist them in their future educational goals. Finally, they must be U.S. citizens or legal residents to be eligible.

Program Director: Thomas Landefeld, PhD. (310) 243-3389
Faculty mentors at CSUDH: Kenneth Ganezer, Leonardo Martinez, and Laura Robles
LA BioMed coordinator: Steward Laidlaw, PhD (310) 222-3624

CSUDH Research Initiative for Scientific Excellence (RISE)

The purpose of the MBRS Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) Program is to enhance the research environment at minority-serving institutions. The overall goal is to increase the interest, skills, and competitiveness of students and faculty in pursuit of biomedical research careers. The RISE Program provides flexibility in faculty and student development activities, it also provides an opportunity for development of the Institution’s research and research education capability. In addition, NIGMS recognizes that minority and minority-serving institutions are diverse in institutional environment and mission. Therefore, with respect to evaluation of the efficacy of program activities, the RISE Program requires that each institution set its own goals and measurable objectives that are based on its self assessment and that it identify anticipated milestones for achievement.

At CSUDH, the RISE Program supports the scientific development of 20 undergraduate and 5 graduate students and is under the leadership of Dr. Laura J. Robles, biology. RISE students are selected from the departments of biology, chemistry, physics and psychology. The undergraduates work in laboratories at CSUDH and at LA BioMed. Graduate students work with faculty in the biology and psychology departments. In addition to a research experience, students participate in a summer career development workshop at WWW computer workshop. RISE funds also support an academic year seminar series featuring minority scientists from throughout the country.

LA BioMed coordinator: Dr. Stewart Laidlaw. (310) 222-3624.

Bridges to the Baccalaureate Degree at CSUDH

The Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program at CSUDH was funded in 1998 by the National Institutes of Health to facilitate the transition of underrepresented minority students from community colleges to CSUDH. The program is designed to engage a select group of students in inter-institutional activities that include partnerships with a research-intensive institution. The mission of Bridges is to provide academic enhancement activities and biomedical laboratory training opportunities to the select group of students from Compton and El Camino community colleges. These students are engaged in year-long biomedical research training experiences alongside undergraduates, graduates and research mentors at CSUDH and LA BioMed. To promote peer mentoring, each Bridges student joins the “community of scholars” of CSUDH students at various levels and scientific interests. Our goal is to increase the quantity of underrepresented minority students in science who complete the baccalaureate degree and join the next generation of scientists. Bridges students take courses and participate in seminars, enrichment and social activities at CSUDH and LA BioMed.

Program Director: Thomas Landefeld, PhD
Campus coordinators: Ms. Katherine Lewis at Comptom Community college, Mr. Kenneth Key at El Camino College
LA BioMed coordinator: Stewart Lailaw, PhD. (310) 222-3624.
Academic Advisor: Dr. H. Leonardo Martinez

Medical Student Electives

Senior Medical Students from US and selected foreign medical schools are eligible to participate in an elective in Internal Medicine or Pediatric Endocrinology. The experience is much as described under the link to “ROTATION AND ELECTIVE”. If you are interested in applying for a student elective, please go to the Handbook for 4th Year Medical Students.