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 third-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.

Hailey Christian

Undergraduate Researcher

Hailey is a transfer student from Las Positas Community College, finishing her junior year at CSUMB. As a Biology major with a concentration in Molecular Biology, she plans on obtaining a Ph.D. or M.S. in Genetics or Immunology, with the eventual goal of pursuing a career in academic research or industry. She is excited to learn Molecular Biology techniques like PCR and continue to grow as a researcher. In her spare time she enjoys weightlifting, reading, and cooking.

Allysa Marie Domingo

Undergraduate Researcher

Allysa is a third-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.

Shigeto Motoki

Undergraduate Researcher

Shigeto is an international student from Japan majoring in Marine Science. He has worked as a teaching assistant for 3 semesters to support BIO210: Molecular and Cellular Biology and Animail Physiology, taught by Frank. He is interested in marine robotics, and wants to study marine organisms using biological data obtained through a combination of robotics and microscopy. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and playing games.

Riley Ross Moulton

Undergraduate Researcher

Riley is a transfer student from Cabrillo College and is currently in his second 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.

Jacqueline R. Schmidt

Undergraduate Researcher

Jacqueline is a sophomore majoring in Molecular Biology at CSUMB. She plans on continuing her education and earning a Ph.D, with the goal to pursue a career in academic research studying neuroscience. She is excited to continue her experience in laboratory work and broaden her skill set. Outside of the lab she enjoys exploring, spending time in the water, and integrating art into everyday life.