About Us

In 2016, several faculty research groups from CSUN Biology and Chemistry/Biochemistry formed an interdisciplinary focus group called DECAFOG (DEvelopment and CAncer FOcus Group) that meets monthly trainee presentations and discussion. Out of these meetings arose a sense that there could be even greater synergistic value in organizing a one-day, regional meeting to highlight ongoing and ignite new interdisciplinary cancer research efforts within the California State University (CSU) system.

Thus, the CSU-ICM was established with generous support from ASCB, CSUN, CSUPERB and industry sponsors. The meeting is designed to be trainee-run with general oversight provided by faculty mentors (see below for bios).

Colleagues across the CSU system and from the NIH-funded SDSU-UCSD Cancer Center Partnership have expressed great enthusiasm for this meeting, and we hope that you will join us on November 6, 2018 for the inaugural event.

Questions pertaining to any aspect of this meeting should be emailed to csuicm@gmail.com.


Robert Güth, Ph.D. (Kelber Lab)

Robert obtained his Ph.D. in Biology from the NMSU in 2017 for work on cellular plasticity and trans-differentiation of muscle tissue in electric fish. His desire to understand cellular plasticity within biomedicine led him to join the Kelber lab at the Cal State Northridge, where he is studying the effect of stromal cells on cancer progression.

Sa La Kim (Kelber Lab)

Sa La earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from CSUN in 2017. She is currently a master’s student in the Kelber lab at Cal State Northridge. Her work aims to identify novel proteins for pancreatic cancer diagnosis and treatment. Upon completion of her thesis, she is eager to enter into a Ph.D program.

Saadman Ahmad (Tamae Lab)

Saadman received his B.S. in Biochemistry at the University of Hong Kong in 2015. He is now a graduate student in Biochemistry at Cal State Northridge. He is a member of the Tamae Lab where he studies the role of methylglyoxal detoxification systems in cancer.

Lisa Sorells (Rogers Lab)

Lisa received her B. A. in Humanities from the University of Texas, San Antonio and is currently working on her Masters in Biology. She is a member of the Rogers Lab and her work focuses on adhesion molecules and how they influence cell fate specification during very early development.

Samantha Hain (De Bellard Lab)

Samantha holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Cell and Molecular Biology from CSU Northridge and is working on her Masters in Biology. Her thesis project revolves arounds investigating the mechanisms involved in the transformation of normal skin cells into cancerous melanoma.


Jonathan Kelber, Ph.D.

Dr. Jonathan Kelber is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at Cal State Northridge. His lab seeks to characterize the molecular mechanisms and functions of genes that play critical roles in cancer and tissue regeneration. Their work integrates molecular/cellular biology, signaling biochemistry, animal models of normal development and disease, and microscopy imaging to answer questions in these fields.

Daniel Tamae, Ph.D.

Dr. Daniel Tamae is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Cal State Northridge. His lab is investigating glucose and hormone metabolism in cancer and interrogating the molecular mechanisms linking the metabolic syndrome with elevated cancer risk. His research utilizes analytical chemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology approaches to interrogate cancer metabolism.

Crystal Rogers, Ph.D.

Dr. Crystal Rogers is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at Cal State Northridge. Her lab studies the molecular mechanisms that control the formation of cranial neural crest cells and the process that neural crest cells use to leave the neural tube and separate from the other ectodermal derivatives (skin and central nervous system) using an epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT). Her lab uses both chicken and axolotl model organisms to study embryonic development.

Maria Elena De Bellard, Ph.D.

Dr. Maria Elena De Bellard is a Professor in the Department of Biology at Cal State Northridge. Her lab is interested in studying neural crest cell migration and developing new methods for studying this process in vitro. They carry out classic cell (e.g., normal and cancer cell migration, molecular signaling), embryology (e.g., live embryos and genetic manipulations) and the evo-devo experiments across early vertebrates including snakes, turtles, geckos, sharks, and rays.