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February 2011

It would be impossible to turn a blind eye to the news from Sacramento regarding the proposed budget cut to the CSU system of $500 million. If not handled well, this reduction could have a serious impact on the economy of the state. We cannot improve our economy without an educated workforce especially in science and technology. Fresno State alone has an enormous regional impact of $484 million per year and $781 million statewide (Hanover Research, Washington D.C.). Despite the fiscal challenge ahead, the College is dedicated to continuing to provide our students with a quality education to ensure they graduate with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in tomorrow's technology-rich workforce.  Our vision is wrapped up in the needs of the region and the nation and the view that the value of university research is enormous and the benefit to our students without question.

 We are pleased to report the number of graduate and undergraduate students receiving funding for research in the College continues to increase. In January, Dr. Alam Hasson (Department of Chemistry) was awarded a $460,000 grant to establish the Chemistry Graduate Scholarship Program (GRASP). The program will fund a total of twenty Chemistry M.S. students over the next five years. The program will provide students with additional opportunities to develop critical thinking, presentation and writing skills to prepare them for entry into Ph.D. programs and the workforce.


At the undergraduate level, the Geoscience METRO Center, funded by a $1.4M grant from the National Science Foundation, currently supports 23 undergraduate student research projects. Many of these students presented their results on various aspects of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science at the International American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco in December.


The Science Undergraduate/Graduate research Experience Program (SUGREP) funded by donors has provided another 26 awards to allow undergraduate students to engage in research across a diversity of areas including climate change, green energy, biomedical research, air quality, autism, and water quality and modeling.

Dr. Lian Xie (North Carolina State University)
Dr. Lian Xie (North Carolina State University) presents at the NOAA ISET-CSC Meeting.


In November 2010, the College hosted the annual meeting for the Interdisciplinary Scientific Environmental Cooperative Science Center (ISET-CSC). Approximately fifty participants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Fresno State, the University of Minnesota, the University of Alaska Southeast, North Carolina State University, North Carolina A&T State University, City University New York and Fisk University attended the meeting.


The Center, funded by a $12.5M grant from NOAA, is a collaboration between seven academic institutions to provide research opportunities for students in atmospheric and environmental science, with an emphasis on students that are under-represented in these fields. Thirty nine undergraduate and graduate students from the Chemistry and EES departments at Fresno State have participated in research funded by the Center over the last four years.

Of special note, the College will celebrate the Centennial of Fresno State during the month of May. Events include an open house on Friday, May 13 and a nationally renown speaker to showcase the importance of advances in science to the general public. Specific details will follow shortly via e-mail and will be posted on the College web page.

Andrew Rogerson, Dean        Fraka Harmsen, Associate Dean


Program Highlight

Chem Article


"Phosphorus Flamethrower: A Demonstration Using Red and White Allotropes of Phosphorus"

was the feature article in the November 2010 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education.  The article, by Melissa L. Golden, Eric C. Person, Miriam Bejar, Donnie R. Golden, and Jonathan M. Powell, Department of Chemistry, examines the "difference in reactivity between red and white phosphorous" by means of an "easy, safe, and colorful" demonstration, valuable for students at the "high school through graduate" level (Golden, M.)  Read more . . Journal of Chemical Education 




Congratulations to Miram Bejar and Jonathon Powell for presenting their research posters on Phosphorus Flamethrower.

Miriam Bejar
LSAMP student Miriam Bejar presenting her research poster at a local meeting
Jonathan Powell
Jonathan Powell presenting our research poster at the 2010 National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco


Bush$1.2 million biomedical research grant focuses on farm worker breast cancer

A $1.2 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to California State University, Fresno's Biology Department will fund a new program to research the correlation between pesticides and breast cancer among Latina farm workers.

The grant creates the Cancer Biology Program, in collaboration with the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research in La Jolla.  More Information



TriBeta Biology Club Awarded $20,000 in IRA Funds.
"The theme for 2010-2011 is 'Ecological Conservation Is Our Destination'",  Adrina Shamlian, student club president explained.  The award will help fund an impressive list of guest speakers, including Baba TriBeta logoBrinkman, who will present "The Rap Guide to Evolution".  The award also provides funding for promoting conservation through local habitat restoration projects, trail building, cleaning up the San Joaquin River, and educating the younger generation about conservation with educational experiments at the local Discovery Center.

For a list of featured guest speakers sponsored by the Biology Department and the TriBeta Club, visit the 2010-2011 Biology Colloquium page at .

TriBeta is a society for students, particularly undergraduates, dedicated to improving the understanding and appreciation of biological study and extending boundaries of human knowledge through scientific research.  Alejandro Calderon-Urrea, Ph.D., Biology Department, is Faculty Advisor for TriBeta. Contact the TriBeta Club at


 Rick Zechman

Palmophyllum umbracola growing in the waters off New Zealand



Congratulations to Dr. Rick Zechman,

Chair of Biology who had an article

ran on the British Broadcasting Corporation, Earth News website  on his recently published article, "An unrecognized ancient lineage of green plants persists in deep marine waters." 



Computer Science


Shih-Hsi LiuShih-Hsi Liu, Yu Cao, Ming Li, Pranay Kilaru, Thell Smith, and Shaen Toner, "A Semantics and Data-Driven Biomedical Multimedia Software System," Journal of Multimedia, 5(4): 352-360, 2010.

Matej Crepinsek, Marjan Mernik, and Shih-Hsi Liu, "Analysis of Exploration and Exploitation in Evolutionary Algorithms by Ancestry Trees," International Journal of Innovative Computing and Applications, 3(1): 11-19, 2011.

Shih-Hsi Liu, Adam Cardenas, Xang Xiong, Marjan Mernik, Barrett R. Bryant, Jeff Gray, "A SOA Approach for Domain-Specific Language Implementation," The IEEE 6th World Congress on Services, pages 535-542, 2010.


SummerCampA two week summer camp will be held in July for high schools who are interested in computing and programming. The summer camp will focus on projects involving 3D animation programming and robotics programming. Please contact Alex Liu ( or Ming Li ( for more information.

A new summer course on smartphone programming will be offered during summer 2011. This course will expose students and working professionals new opportunities of design and implementation of programs in various smartphone platforms. Please contact Alex Liu ( or Ming Li ( for more information.



New National Science Foundation Funding Supports Undergraduate and Graduate Chemical Research

Chemistry faculty were recently awarded grants from the National Science Foundation totaling over $700,000 to support research within the department. Drs. Alam Hasson and Santanu Maitra received a three-year, $250,000 research grant entitled, "Mechanistic and Kinetic Studies of the Atmospheric Chemistry of Isoprene and its First-Generation Products." The project will investigate the impact of isoprene (a chemical emitted by many plants and trees) on air quality. Four undergraduate students will be involved in the research each year. The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is a partner in the project, and several students will have the opportunity to work alongside NCAR scientists in their research labs in Boulder, CO each summer.

Sean CampbellSamuel Hernandez






Fresno State students Sean Cambell (left) and Samuel Hernandez(right) in the Atmospheric Chemistry laboratory at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.


Dr. Alam Hasson was also awarded a $460,000 grant to support twenty students in Chemistry M.S. students. Each student will receive a $10,000/year scholarship for two years and a $1,000/year travel grant to attend and present their work at professional meetings. The program will provide students with additional opportunities to develop critical thinking, presentation and writing skills to prepare them for entry into Ph.D programs and the workforce.


Geoscience METRO Center Promotes Science Education and Careers

The METRO Center held a number of activities during the Fall 2010 semester to promote the Geosciences. The Center held its annual Open House on October 21, which was attended by approximately sixty members of the campus and local community. Fifteen undergraduate students shared their research projects on various aspects of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science during the event. The Center sponsored a workshop for middle and high school students during Earth Science week (October 11-14). Approximately 350 students participated in a variety of hands-on activities related to the common theme "Exploring Energy" during the week. The METRO Center also co-sponsored an informational meeting for High School and Community College counselors on October 29 to promote scientific careers and degree programs. The counselors had the opportunity to tour seven of the College's research laboratories, and learned about on-campus programs to support students in their studies.


The Geoscience METRO Center is funded by a $1.4M grant from the National Science Foundation. It currently supports 23 undergraduate students working with faculty from the Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Science and Geography departments.


Elizabeth DavidsonGerardo Torres






 Elizabeth Davidson (left) and Gerardo Torrez (right) present their work at the
 METRO Center Open House.

Earth and Environmental Sciences 


EESThe beginning of the Spring Semester is always a happy and energetic time on campus, but particularly in the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences. The days are beginning to get longer, the temperature is going up day by day, and there are dozens of Geology and Environmental Science field trips and seminars we look forward to this semester.

Springtime is high season for field trips in central California. Once the snow begins to melt in the Sierra, uncovering the rock exposures, geology students won't be far behind. The Spring 2011 semester has 2 four-day group field trips scheduled for the Highway 49 Gold Country for 3 EES  students and to Death Valley for Smittcamp Family Honors College students. Also, class field trips are scheduled for the Guadelupe Complex with Keith Putirka, the Tumey Hills led by Bob Dundas, and multiple field trips led by John Wakabayashi, and Chris Pluhar. Keith Putirka is also planning a research field trip to the Grand Canyon for graduate students in the EES department.

The Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences will also be hosting seminars and lectures by a number of off-campus guest scientists, including a seminar by Dr. Susan Schwartz from UC Santa Cruz on January 27, immediately followed by a seminar by Dr. Noel Finnigan, also from UC Santa Cruz, on January 28. Dr. Charlie Paull will be on campus for a seminar on February 4. Dr. John Bredehoeft, formerly from the U.S. Geological Survey, will present a talk on water issues on March 18, and Dr. Allyson Lyonger will be on campus on March 10. Dr. Becky Dorsey will visit the Department from the University of Oregon on Wednesday, April 20. She will present a seminar sponsored by the National Science Foundation's GEOPRISMS-MARGINS Program.

The Spring semester promises to be a busy and productive time for the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences. We are already planning for our departmental graduation ceremony and celebration in May to honor our graduating seniors.


                                                Student presented at science research at CSU conference


Elizabeth Davidson, a Smittcamp Honors College student at California State University, Fresno, presented her research of the Pacific sand lance on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011at the California State University Council on Ocean Affairs, Science and Technology (COAST) research reception in Long Beach.


Davidson, a senior Earth and Environmental Sciences major from Clovis, was joined by Dr. Gary Greene, a Fresno State Earth and Environmental Sciences adjunct professor, and Dr. Fraka Harmsen, Associate Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics.  More Info 



Teaching Proportional Reasoning Through Familiar Biology" in the Mathematics Teaching

LBurgerphotoOut of an interest in constructivist teaching practices for guiding pedagogy and establishing learning communities, Dr. Burger's work, exemplified in this recent publication, aims to meaningfully promote inquiry based learning in students using a 'Necessity Principle,' inspired by Piaget , Vygotsky, Harel and Feynman.   By designing lessons within a constant mantra of asking, 'why do the students need to know this?' --- lesson concepts and discussions are coordinated to allow students to encounter personally and socially meaningful problems where  mathematical justifications are necessary for restoring intellectual coherence encountered as a result of engaging content.  Vol. 104, No. 3 ˇ October 2010 | Mathematics Teacher


Mario Banuelos, Dhiraj Holden and Michelle Hoshiko 

Undergraduate mathematics students presented five posters at the prestigious joint national meeting in New Orleans, January 5-9, 2011, organized by the Mathematical Association of America and the American Mathematical Society. The following students and advisors attended the conference:  

  • James Tipton: advisor Dr. Carmen Caprau
  • Benjamin Wright/James Tipton and Michelle Hoshiko/
    Mario Banuelos: advisor Dr. Tamas Forgacs
  • Cristina Jimenez: advisor Dr. Carmen Caprau
  • Dhiraj Holden: a high school student who worked independently on his research

Congratulations to all these students and advisors for making California State University, Fresno one of the best represented universities in the entire nation!

Benjamin Wright
Benjamin Wright




Cristina Jimenez










Special congratulations to Cristina Jimenez for winning an award for having one of the best posters. 


                                                      Research on Medical Imaging Equipment 
Charles Tenney and Adam Egger
Dr. Tenney discusses gamma camera system designs with graduate student Adam Egger

Dr. Tenney's research concerns the development of equipment for nuclear medicine-the imaging of radiotracers in humans for the detection and characterization of abnormal or disease states. His current focus is on nuclear imaging of breast cancer, or molecular breast imaging (MBI).


X-ray mammography is highly successful at detecting breast cancer at an early, treatable stage. However, no screening method is perfect. A secondary screening method is useful when a mammogram is difficult to read, and for high-risk patients. For women with dense breasts, both conditions apply since the anatomy renders tumors less visible on x-ray images, and this tissue type is itself a risk factor. Molecular Breast Imaging is a type of radiotracer imaging of the breast using special-purpose cameras. The developers of this technique have developed a collimator-the image-forming component in the gamma-ray camera-with very high sensitivity so as to perform the test adequately with minimal radiation dose. Their collimator is of the well-known parallel-hole design, but other highly efficient designs are possible. In Dr. Tenney's laboratory, several such designs are under investigation. The goal is to develop a collimator system that will maintain or even reduce radiation dose, while also giving information on the depth of a tumor within the breast.  With current designs, this would require a tomographic system (like a CT scanner), which would be mechanically more complex and would probably require a larger radiation dose to the patient for a given level of performance. 

Professor Singleton, Ms. Razina and Dr. Myrzakulov
Dr. Myrzakulov, Ms. Razina, and Prof. Singleton discussing the nature of dark energy in the physics conference room.

Visiting Scholars from Kazakhstan
In the Fall 2010 semester two visiting scholars - Professor Ratbay Myrzakulov and Olga Razina - came to the Department of Physics from Eurasian National University (ENU) in Astana Kazakhstan. They visitors are being hosted by Dr. Douglas Singleton and the goal of the visit is to study different models of dark energy - the mysterious substance which has the very real effect of causing the expansion rate of the Universe to accelerate. [Experimental evidence for dark energy first came to light in 1998 and since its discovery scientists have been trying to determine the nature of dark nature which makes up approximately 75% of the "stuff" in the Universe]. Dr. Myrzakulov is the head of the theoretical physics department at ENU and Ms. Razina is a Ph.D. student at ENU. Their visit is funded by a Ministry of Education grant from the Kazak government. Dr. Myrzakulov will work in the Department of Physics for one year and Ms. Razina's visit is for four months.  


Other physics news:

Congratulations to Fresno State Physics graduate student Jussi Amaral for placing second place for the Margaret Burbidge Award (Best Experimental Research) for his talk at the 2010 American Physical Society's CA-section meeting.


Congraulations to Douglas Singleton for his paper that made the list of most cited papers for the

 journal International Journal of Modern Physics D (this journal deals with gravitation and cosmology). 



Martin ShapiroEach year, the Provost gives several awards to outstanding faculty who have made noteworthy contributions to the University as a whole. Dr. Martin Shapiro, Department of Psychology, received the 2010 Technology in Education award for "effective and innovative use of technologies as tools in the teaching/learning process." He will give an address on Wednesday, April 27, 12:00-1:00 pm, Madden Library Room 2206 entitled "Controlling Your Computer with Just Your Mind": Recent advances in brain-computer interfaces have allowed for the development of tools and programs used to record and display brainwaves. With some training, one can learn to control certain brainwaves and thus control computer software. This talk will discuss and demonstrate some of these new innovations. Dr. Shapiro is interested in risky decision-making in both humans and non-human animals. In 2007, he began the process of developing an electroencephalography lab in the department of psychology to investigate the neural correlates of risky decisions, confidence and gains and losses of reward. Recently, he and his students have been exploring new technologies for using brainwaves to control computer software. 

 Matt Sharps

Dr. Matthew Sharps has recently published a new book "Processing under pressure: Stress, memory, and decision-making in law enforcement." Described as a "ground-breaking new book, which delves into the critical relationship between human psychology, brain chemistry, and the unique, often life-threatening world of police work," this text demonstrates the importance and applicability of systematic scientific thinking and cognitive principles to the increasingly complex world of law enforcement.
  Ronald Yockey




Dr. Ronald Yockey recently released the second edition of his text "SPSS demystified: A step-by-step guide to successful data analysis." Used by many undergraduate and graduate students in our department, this text is a helpful and comprehensive guide to a software package commonly used in psychology to complete their quantitative data analyses.





Art Scientifique


First Annual Art Scientifique Show:

The Human Being


Artistic representation of what it means to be human -- genetically, anatomically, evolutionarily, psychologically, and culturally.


Sponsored by the College of Science and Mathematics, College of Arts and Humanities, and the Department of Psychology at California State University Fresno.


For more information please visit us on Facebook



        Monday, April 4 at 9:00am - April 29 at 4:00pm 

        Location Chris Sorensen Studio

        2223 S. Van Ness, Fresno, CA  

Science and Health Careers Information Center

Spring 2011 Workshop Series - "It's All About Planning!"


Students in the College of Science and Mathematics are invited to attend four scheduled events:

  • Time Managment: Plan to Succeed! Janene Avedisian, SupportNet
  • Career Planning 101: From Education to Profession, Aleta Wolfe, Career Services
  • Library DNA: A Plan to Unlock the Information Code, Vang Vang, Madden Library 
  • Advising Day: What's Your Plan? with CSM major advisors and a general education advisor on hand to meet with students and/or schedule an appointment to create an academic plan.
  • For dates, times, and places, visit our website

    The Science and Health Careers Information Center (SHCIC) provides information on health professionalSHCIC Center careers (medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, optometry, etc.), and programs and majors in the College of Science and Mathematics (CSM) (e.g., forensic science, environmental science, biotechnology, clinical lab science, high school science and math teaching, biology, chemistry, computer science, earth science, physics, and psychology). The Center's goals are to provide general pre-health and science program and career information, help students make appointments with college pre-health and program advisors, and guide students to the appropriate college and/or university support services.  

    Central Valley Café Scientifique
    Come and explore latest ideas in science, hear directly from scientists, connect with other science enthusiasts, and help us make science a part of Central Valley culture.  The goal is to add a bit of science to the regular roster of cultural activities in the great Central Valley of California! Just like Fresno's monthly Art-Hop and other artistic events you might be familiar with in our community, we provide the opportunity to savor some science. We invite you to come explore the latest ideas in science and technology, hear from local scientists (from Fresno State and other local institutions), connect with other science enthusiasts, and participate in making the Central Valley a place where science thrives.
    Following the tradition of the growing Café Scientifique movement, we meet in an informal setting, where non-scientists can engage in stimulating (and friendly) conversation about current scientific topics with researchers "in the know". 
    Meetings are the first Monday evening every month and meet at Fresno State.  For more information please go to our website, Central Valley Café Scientifique.

    Fresno State Centennial News

    Fresno State began its yearlong Centennial Celebration in April 2010, looking back on its first one
    undred years of growth, accomplishment and excellence in education.  We are celebrating the accomplishments of our alumni, staff and faculty, and admire the foresight of our founders in creating an institution of higher learning that has evolved to become a leader in education, research, innovation and service.


    We invite you to join the College of Science and Mathematics on Friday, May 13, 2011 as we celebrate the many accomplishments of the College.  We will be hosting an open house, free of charge, to anyone interested in touring our facilities and research labs, meeting our faculty, visiting our Planetarium, and catching up with old friends and colleagues.


    The Open House and Reception will be started in the Science II Courtyard and begin at 4:00 pm. 

                                                                     Invitations will be mailed in early April. 


    For information or to be included on our mailing list, please contact:  Teresa Zenteno at 559.278.3936 or

    For more information on the activities for the campus please visit the Fresno State Centennial website.