Kidney Disease Screening and Awareness Program (KDSAP)

Jessica Wang, a member of the student organization Kidney Disease Screening and Awareness Program (KDSAP), had an opportunity to volunteer at the kidney screening event held by the organization on April 8th. Here is what she has to tell us about KDSAP and this event:

“KDSAP is a student-run organization that first started in Harvard. It aims to raise awareness of chronic kidney disease and educate the community on ways to prevent these diseases. What was once a small, somewhat inconspicuous organization grew little by little and eventually reached Berkeley as well.”

“On April 8th, the members of KDSAP provided free kidney screenings for a church community in Cupertino, CA. It was supposed to be the biggest screening held by any KDSAP chapter thus far. In preparation for this screening, I had numerous trainings and lectures, from how to avoid infectious disease transmission when performing tests on patients to how to take off examination gloves the correct way.”

“The screening consisted of blood pressure measurement, blood glucose measurement, BMI measurement and waist-hip ratios, urinalysis, and a physician consultation. We provided forms, both in Chinese and English, for the patients to fill out beforehand so the physicians could understand their health status. The screening went by smoothly; it would not have been possible without the club members, the doctors, and the welcoming church leaders who worked very hard to make this happen. With all this support, we were able to serve more than 100 patients that day.”

“What I got out of this experience is much more than merely knowing how to prick someone’s finger correctly or how to smile through sometimes stressful and exhausting procedures. Through this opportunity, my attitude has changed. I have learned that serving the community means treating them as if we are “washing their feet,” as the founder of this organization Li-Li Hsiao put it. In other words, those who serve the community are below the community in terms of pride and attitude. I saw what it meant to “serve.” I learned that having the ability to serve someone else is truly a blessing and a gift.”

KDSAP members with the church leadersA patient is registering and filling out forms before the screening. One of the KDSAP members is giving a blood glucose testing to a patient.

Denny Cha

Name: Denny Cha (Alum)

Major: MCB – Cell & Developmental Biology (Medical Biology & Physiology)

Graduation Date: May 2016

“I was part of an organization called VHIO (Volunteer Health Interpreters Organization) on campus. What they do is they reach out to underserved community where people have difficulty getting health care access mainly because of language and cultural barriers. While specifically working with Korean immigrants in the Bay Area, I perceived that there’s a lack of resources out there to help them. This really made me consider working in the healthcare field in order to help them receive the services they need. A lot of them actually have health insurances, but they don’t know how to utilize them. I want to be at the front line to help them out. For me, this was the big motivation that has led me to pursue medicine.”

“A process of applying to medical schools was much more intense than I had expected. I took a gap year because I didn’t want to rush myself. I am not a type of person who can multitask so I didn’t think I could manage academics, med school applications, and interviews all at the same time. Even so, I still think I rushed too much. My personal statement did not turn out as good as I wished it to be regardless of how much efforts and time I had put into it. No matter what, I wasn’t too happy with it. It requires a lot of time commitment. It took about a month and a half or maybe two to write my personal statement. I was slow on my first step, jotting down general ideas of what I wanted to write about for the first two weeks. For the remaining four weeks, I solely focused on writing and revising. I think it’s very important for pre-med students to keep in mind that you are really ready before applying to medical schools.”

“I think the really hard part is that there’s no right formula to get into a medical school. They look at each applicant in a different way, considering their backgrounds and many other factors. Application process is not fast; it will be a long process. I encourage pre-med students to be really persistent and not give up. If you are really passionate about medicine, you should go for it. It may take some time but you should really be persistent. Give your best. That’s all I have been doing for the past four years in Berkeley. Don’t be discouraged, but overcome it!”

*If you would like to read about Denny’s advice on letters of recommendation, please continue reading.*

Continue reading “Denny Cha”

Full Time Paid Medical Fellowship

Looking for full time work?
Apply for the East Bay Medical Fellowship/ Internship for a minimum 1 year FULL TIME position, with the possibility for a second year senior fellow position. This position is available only to graduating seniors and already graduated students. This is the 7th annual year of the fellowship with previous fellows attending the best medical schools in the US.
-4-6 positions will be available- starting summer/fall/winter 2017.
-Paid position with benefits commensurate with experience (ranges from $24,000 to $29,000)
-Medical assisting: See patients and help doctors with patient management in Pinole, CA (10 min from Berkeley)
-Increased clinical responsibility with ability
-Running a clinic from start to finish
-Assist and observe surgery 2nd half of fellowship
-TA a class in global public health at UC Berkeley
-1-2 years in duration of full time work
-Develop management consulting skills, understand the business aspects of medicine, billing and coding, front office operations, insurance plans and the health care system currently in the US, very useful later on as none of this is taught in medical school.
-Participate in international trips for research and humanitarian work. Previous fellows have gone to Mexico, Morocco and Macedonia with expenses paid
-write grants (previous fellows have received 5 grants and have applied for many more)
-Research leading to publications, IRBs, grant submissions
Expected to do research and publish papers but depends on initiative of student and interest in research
-Mentorship by surgeon who has been on 3 medical school admissions committees, is on faculty at 2 institutions, interviews applicants, and can aid in applications and getting into medical school. An ideal gap year before medical school.
-Guidance by the 4 current 2016-2017 fellows who will aid your transition and application to medical school.
-Scholarship to medical school provided based on performance and goals achieved during the fellowship
Typical schedule:
Monday: See and work up patients 730am to until work is finished,
participate in local anesthetic surgery
Tuesday: Surgery day/ research/ light clinic day/ and preparation for clinic- varies week to week 7:30 to 430pm,
Wed/Thurs: See and work up patients 730am to until work is finished come to lectures in Spring, leaving clinic early at 3pm.
Fri: Research day/ clerical work/ lighter clinical day- shorter day
Sat- Intermittent rare saturdays required for post op patient care, rounds, implementation of grants
Send CV, unofficial transcript, and 3 contacts,  to serve as references to by
April 5th, 2017. Answer the following questions in your cover letter:
1) Have you taken the MCAT? If so when? and what was your score? GPA?
2) What prereqs do you have left unfulfilled?
3) When are you applying to medical school? How many years off do you intend to take?
4) Are there any other languages you speak?
5) If you were a singer, who would it be, and why?

Professor Bordel

Name: Catherine Bordel

Profession: Lecturer of Physics 8A & 8B (Physics Dept. at UCB)

“I grew up in France, so I did all my education in France until I came to US to do postdoc. I didn’t have other experiences of what it’s like in other countries. It tends to be very general and open there after high school, so I followed that type of trajectory where you can go in many different directions like engineering, math, physics, and computer science. All those were possible for me, so it took me some time to figure out what I wanted to do. But it was not unusual at all. It’s actually very unusual, I think, that students would decide from their first year in college what exactly they want to do. Maybe that’s just a cultural difference.”

“After my third year in college, I had the opportunity to do a research internship in a lab. It was a project we all had to do as undergraduates; we spent half a day in one of the labs on campus once a week. We had a list of professors willing to take undergraduate students. I picked a spectrometry lab, which is actually far from what I did afterward. But it was a really nice first introduction to research, and the way of approaching problems was very interesting. I worked with a graduate student who was very experienced. I did some of the experiments with her and attended some scientific discussions as well. Although I couldn’t really understand anything and didn’t know what they were talking about, it was still a very nice experience to be able to work in a lab.”

“At the end of my fourth year, I had another great opportunity to be part of this special program where I could spend six months in another country for a research internship. I worked in the lab full time in the Netherlands. This experience was like magic! Although the prior research experience in the spectrometry lab developed within me a passion to continue research and pursue a career as a physicist, it was not until this time that I really confirmed what exactly I wanted to do. That was when I discovered magnetism, the field of research I am currently working on.”

*If you would like to learn more about Professor Bordel, please continue reading.* Continue reading “Professor Bordel”

Professor Garriga

Name: Gian Garriga, Ph.D.

Profession: Neurobiology Researcher and Professor (MCB Department at UCB)

“I am more of a developmental biologist. It’s interesting to study the development from a single cell into a complete organism, especially how the nervous system is put together into incredibly complex networks. When I started out, people didn’t know much about nervous system development, but it is now a much more established field.”

How did you decide to become a Bio 1AL Professor amongst other professions related to your field?

“I was always interested in science as a kid, so I studied biology when I was an undergraduate. But I didn’t really enjoy my undergraduate experience and didn’t want to be in school anymore once I graduated. So I did what I have been doing since high school and became a roofing contractor for a few years. I think I wasn’t mature enough at the time coming out of high school. I probably should have taken a time off before going off to college.

By luck and accident, I ended up going to graduate school and worked with an outstanding scientist. As a graduate student, I was trained in biochemistry and molecular biology, but changed fields as a postdoc, working in a developmental biology lab that used genetics to approach the problem of how the C. elegans nervous system developed. That’s when I started working on the problems that I work on now. Initially, I was mostly interested in research, and I still am. However, as time has gone on, I’ve become just as interested in teaching. I took on Biology 1A Lab with the goal of making it simpler. With Professor Terry Machen, we have simplified the materials and changed some of the labs to help students crystallize what they learn in Bio 1A lecture as well as to teach them experimental biology techniques.”

Full Time Research Position, UCSF

Dr. Lawrence Shiow from is hiring for full time position to work at UCSF in the Stem Cell building (Institute for Regeneration Medicine).  He is a physician-scientist studying newborn brain injury and is looking to hire a research assistant. You must have some experience doing undergraduate research, but the exact topic is not critical, as long as it is some aspect of cell biology, molecular biology, neuroscience, genetics, or immunology.  This is a perfect position for someone looking to go to graduate school or an MD/PhD program in 2-3 years.

We are looking to fill the position between now and July 2017.  Duties will include technical support for myself and other lab members, potential for an independent project, and supporting lab management.  Salary is dependent on experience and will follow a set UCSF salary scale.  Experience with sterile tissue culture, microscopy, mouse handling, molecular biology (PCR, western, cloning), histology, and flow cytometry would be highly favorable.

Please email me if you wish to apply.  Include the department from which you are graduating, your GPA, and the name/dates/contact info of the lab in which you worked.  Please include a cover letter and resume/CV in PDF format that includes 2 references, and your hobbies.  Put “SRA” in the subject line when you email me.

Lawrence Shiow MD PhD
Assistant Professor
Dept Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology
Broad Center for Regeneration Medicine & Stem Cell Research
Room RMB 900C
35 Medical Center Way, CA 94143

Research Associate Position at UCSF – PART TIME/SUMMER 2017

Availability: Summer/Fall 2017
Description:  We are currently seeking a highly qualified candidate as a research associate in the Multiple Myeloma Translational Initiative laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco.  The position will be under the direction of Arun Wiita, MD, PhD in the Dept. of Laboratory Medicine at UCSF.  We focus on studying bench to bedside applications in multiple myeloma, the second most common blood cancer in the United States.  We work in close collaboration with the clinical myeloma service at UCSF, one of the largest such programs in the country.  Your role will be conducting preclinical in vitro and in vivo studies of therapeutic compounds in myeloma as well as basic molecular biology relating to studies in this disease.  Techniques to be used include basic molecular and cell biology (cloning, Westerns, qPCR, etc.), cell culture, microscopy, and drug screening.  Additional techniques to be applied include RNA-seq and mass spectrometry-based proteomics, in which the Wiita lab has significant expertise.  The ideal candidate will be proficient in a highly collaborative environment, working with academic research groups and myeloma clinicians as well as with biotech industry partners.  This position is optimal for talented recent college graduates with the goal of attending medical or graduate school in two years.  Extensive opportunities are available for participating in abstracts and publications.  Candidates for this position should have a strong interest in directly improving patient care through their research, broadening their biology training with expertise in cutting-edge “omics” methodologies, and gaining experience in preclinical therapeutic development in cancer.
Qualifications: Qualified applicants will hold a BA, BS, or equivalent from a Dept. of Biology, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, or similar.   Strong prior laboratory experience as an undergraduate is required.  Experience in standard molecular biology techniques as listed above is preferred but not required. Experience with mammalian cell culture and/or in vitro drug screening is preferred, though not required.  Experience with “omics” techniques and associated data analysis are preferred, though not required.  A two-year commitment is required.


Applicant Instructions:
Well-qualified applicants should send a CV and two references to:
Arun Wiita, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor
UCSF Dept. of Laboratory Medicine

Volunteer Research intern Opportunity at UCSF (Mt. Zion Campus) – PART TIME

We are currently recruiting volunteers to assist in research projects focused on the development of “liquid biopsy” to characterize of tumor cells in the blood or bone marrow of breast cancer patients. The candidate will learn cellular and molecular biology lab techniques, design of sequencing (Sanger/NGS) experiments, and flow cytometry to analyze clinical samples.
Laboratory experience is helpful but not necessary. However, the candidate must have at minimum taken introductory courses in genetics and molecular and cellular biology. Students with an interest in computing, bioinformatics, and data management are highly encouraged to apply.
This is an ideal position to gain valuable research experience for B.S. graduates or graduating seniors who are planning to take a year off before entering graduate/medical/health-related professional schools. This position offers excellent opportunities for intellectual growth and training in cutting-edge genomics and cancer research.
Incumbent should be able to volunteer for a minimum of 20 hours/week. Note that the work involves exposure to chemical agents, blood, body fluids, and tissue.
How to apply:
If you are interested, please send an electronic copy of a cover letter and one page resume (as one PDF file) to The PDF filename should have your last name in ALL CAPS followed by _Park (e.g., MAGBANUA_Park.pdf). The cover letter addressed to Dr. John Park should outline your current interests and immediate career plans. Applications without a cover letter will not be reviewed. Please put “Volunteer position in the J Park Lab” in the subject line of the email.

Research Associate Position at UCSF – FULL TIME

We are recruiting a Staff Research Associate (SRA)/Specialist to assist with ongoing multidisciplinary cellular engineering projects. Our lab has pioneered the application of novel CRISPR genetic engineering technologies to primary human immune cells (Schumann et al., PNAS 2015). These new technical abilities have furthered our labs research into the genetic underpinnings of autoimmune disease and T cell biology (Farh and Marson et al., Nature 2015), as well as opened the door to novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies based on engineered human immune cells. In addition to cell editing, our lab integrates genomic analysis (e.g. ChIP-seq, ATAC-seq, RNA-seq), human disease genetics, and in vitro and in vivo studies of T cell function.

Working as part of a multidisciplinary group, the SRA will utilize various protocols to generate the molecular components, such as DNA constructs, necessary for specific cellular engineering experiments. Additional responsibilities will consist of functional analysis of engineered cells via Sanger sequencing, next-generation DNA sequencing, and flow cytometry. Strong organizational and communication skills are required. For exceptionally skilled applicants, opportunity exists to extend the SRA’s role to include isolation and culture of primary human immune cells, the design and completion of cellular editing experiments, as well as functional genomics readouts following editing. This position represents an excellent opportunity to gain exposure to basic laboratory skills as well as genetics and genome engineering skills in a dynamic, well-established functional genomics researchenvironment.
Required Qualifications:
* BA/BS degree and one or more years of recent, directly related laboratory work experience utilizing techniques or methods required by the position
* Experience with general laboratory techniques, especially basic molecular and cellular biology techniques (including but not limited to DNA and RNA isolation, PCR, gel electrophoresis, DNA assembly, bacterial transformation, mammalian cell culture, etc.)
* Excellent organizational and interpersonal communication skills (verbal and written)
* Willingness and ability to learn new methods and skills for changing research priorities
* Ability to work independently and as a member of a research team
* Ability to prioritize tasks, coordinate work tasks with others, and meet multiple deadlines
Preferred Qualifications:
* Prior experience with DNA sequencing technologies, including Sanger and NGS
* Prior experience in the design and assembly of DNA constructs (via restriction digestion and ligation, Gibson assemblies, Golden-Gate assemblies, etc.)
Payment is according to the UCSF pay scale. UCSF is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply. Please submit your complete application documents including CV and references to:

Research Assistant at UCSF/SFVAHSC Feeley Lab – SUMMER

UCSF/SFVAHC’s Feeley lab is looking for a talented, hard-working, self-motivated volunteer research assistants in this summer to help with muscle stem cell research.
The UCSF/SFVAHSC Feeley lab is an orthopedic translational research laboratory, located at the UCSF Mission Bay campus, along the shores of San Francisco Bay, just south of AT&T Park. The campus is within walking distance of a Caltrain station, as well as having free shuttles to Bart stations, downtown SF and other UCSF campuses.
Our group focuses on translational research on regulation of skeletal muscle stem cell differentiation. Specifically, we are interested in understanding how muscle injury patterns affect the stem cell populations within the muscle (satellite cells, FAP cells) in an effort to determine treatment strategies that would improve muscle function after orthopedic injuries.
Successful candidates will have opportunities to conduct in vitro and in vivo stem cell experiments under supervision. Those who are interested in orthopedic surgery may also have opportunities for clinic exposure at the USCF Orthopedic Institute. A full-time research associate position may also become available after the summer.

More information about our lab can be found at
Interested applicants should send a short introduction of your background and career goals and a resume containing GPA and relevant courses/experience to