Frank David Macabenta, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

Frank is a first-generation scientist who fell in love with biology while catching bugs in his yard in the island of Guam, where he spent most of his early life. After receiving a Bachelor's degree in Biology from the University of Guam, he pursued a Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey in Dr. Sunita Kramer's lab, where he studied embryonic heart development in Drosophila. He then moved to Los Angeles, California to work as a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Dr. Angelike Stathopoulos at the California Institute of Technology. While in the Stathopoulos lab, he investigated the genetic basis for collective behavior in Drosophila caudal visceral muscle (CVM) cells by applying a combination of classical genetics, genomics, immunohistochemistry, and in vivo confocal microscopy.

His current research interests involve identifying mechanisms underlying quality control in collectively migrating cells prior to and during organogenesis. He is especially passionate about providing underrepresented students with research experiences that will allow them to pursue careers in academia, industry, medicine, and science communication.

When he is not pondering the elegant dance of microscopic cells, he enjoys drawing, watching movies, and telling terrible, terrible jokes.

Paola Cabezas

Undergraduate Researcher

Paola is a second-year student in the Biology program, with a concentration in molecular biology (she is also considering a minor in Psychology). Her eventual goal is to attend medical school and study neurology and radiology. As an undergraduate researcher, she is looking forward to making new discoveries and expanding her knowledge of the biomedical field. In her spare time, Paola loves going to the beach, going to concerts, and listening to music.

Allysa Marie Domingo

Undergraduate Researcher

Allysa is a second-year student in the Biology program. Her main goals for the future are to be happy and healthy -- she believes that both are essential to her achieving even greater things later. As someone who enjoys detail-oriented handy work, she is excited about learning the technical and foundational skills that will help augment her laboratory repertoire. Her main hobby is billiards, and is currently learning how to do everything but straight away shots.

Riley Ross Moulton

Undergraduate Researcher

Riley is a transfer student from Cabrillo College and is currently in his first year at CSUMB. He is a marine science major and plans on getting a Master's and/or Ph.D. in Marine Science or Oceanography, with a future career goal of working in scientific diving (and possibly teaching at the community college/university level). He is looking forward to learning new molecular biology techniques (including understanding the effects of genetic mutations using microscopy) and learning how a research lab operates. In his spare time, he enjoys playing the piano or guitar and scuba diving -- he is currently enrolled in the Master Diver Certification course offered by the university's Research Diving program.