During the centre’s first phase, it awarded nearly 60 semesters of graduate scholarships and served over 100 graduate students active in the centre’s research, education, outreach and participatory goals, which include science events, center meetings, summer training modules, mentoring and the Like. Over 200 undergraduate students have also benefited from research opportunities and professional development workshops.
Funding for the second phase will last until August 2026 and will focus on three key areas or axes: protein metamorphosis and nanodevices; adaptive and reactive micro-scale assemblies; and adaptive cellular communication. This research the thrusts will be directed respectively by teachers Eva de Alba (bioengineering), Linda hirst (physical) and Kara mccloskey (materials science and engineering). Emphasis will also be placed on transversal research carried out through these axes.
Around 30 CCBM professors, 50 graduate students and 20 undergraduates are currently active in the center, with contributions from several staff members. These include the scientist of the CCBM project, Mourad Sadqi, Foundry of stem cell instruments Project Scientist David Gravano, Undergraduate Program Coordinator Petia Gueorguieva, and External Evaluator Professor Ayesha Boyce of Arizona State University. The center will hire another project scientist in phase II, focused on modeling and computation, as well as administrative and outreach staff.
In addition to research, the training of graduate scholarship recipients is a major focus. These fellows then share their experiences and mentor undergraduate and high school students, which helps recruit diverse and under-represented students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM ), an important area for the center and the campus in general. In the first five years, or Phase I of the center, it provided nearly 200 undergraduate students with research opportunities and professional development workshops. In the future, the management of the CCBM will build on this solid foundation by adding new scientific training modules.
“Research will remain the centerpiece of our agenda, given the critical role it plays in STEM engagement at all levels. We will continue our monthly hands-on workshops to prepare our undergraduate researchers for a wide range of professions, while also offering training modules focused on scientific writing. These will help them if they choose to pursue graduate programs as the next step in their career, ”said CCBM Undergraduate Senior Professor Sai Ghosh.
Another major focus of the center is to have an impact on the region by exposing under-represented students to STEM fields and potential career paths through a variety of programs.
“We are delighted that our center faculty, students and staff continue to host engaging STEM outreach sessions that serve the local community and beyond, generate interest in STEM fields and help expand the participation, thanks to the infrastructure offered by the Center, ”said CCBM Executive Director Carrie Kouadio.
In Phase II, the center will host the CCBM’s annual open house, which includes scientific lectures for the public, laboratory tours and demonstrations. There will also be a high school research program, one-week K-12 summer programs, school tours and teacher professional development workshops, as well as an initiative to develop STEM education, awareness and science communication resources. Programmatic and other updates will be posted on the Center website.
The Center’s growing understanding of the Principles and Mechanisms of Biology will enable its researchers to better design biological materials and devices for the benefit of humanity, while training and inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers to l ‘UC Merced.