Sophina Taitano Receives Academic Prize, Accepted to Doctoral Program in Immunology

Senior Sophina Taitano, a Forensic Sciences Major with minors in Chemistry and Biology, was recently awarded Chaminade’s highest academic honor, the President Sue Wesselkamper Prize. She was one of two recipients in 2013.

Sophina will graduate Magna Cum Laude this May. A native Chamoritta from Guam, Sophina has been accepted into the Ph.D. program at the University of Michigan and will study immunology.

In 2011 she was accepted into the Endocrine Society’s Minority Access Program. This gave her the opportunity to complete two summers of research at mainland universities. Sophina gives a short description of the her areas of research in this clip:

Sophina has worked with mentors on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus researching cancer cell biology, and the University of California, San Diego researching hormones & the pituitary gland. Sophina has presented her work from both summers at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in 2011 and 2012.  She received the Presentation Award in the Cancer Biology category for an exemplary poster presentation at the 2011 conference.  She has also presented at the Endocrine Society’s meeting in 2012 and will present her latest research work there this June.

Sophina and other students in the life sciences receive assistance with research internships from professor Jolene Cogbill, Coordinator, Academic Enrichment and Outreach Programs in the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

After completing her Ph.D., Sophina plans to eventually return to Guam to enrich the science programs at the University of Guam to give the students greater opportunities for expanding their horizons.

Sophina is the daughter of Elizabeth Horne and Joseph Taitano and the youngest of six siblings.

The Sue Wesselkamper prize is made possible by the generous support of Henry and Charlotte Clark and is given annually to recognize and encourage student scholarship and build the tradition of the annual Na Liko Na’auao student scholarship day.

Endocrine Society Recognizes Biology Majors Alyssa Dixon, Maia Corpuz for Research


“Is this for real?”
was the first question in an email from Chaminade biology senior Maia Corpuz to her faculty mentor Dr. Jolene Cogbill.

Is this for real? – Maia Corpuz, Biology major and researcher

Corpuz received an email this week from The Endocrine Society, the nation’s premier scientific society for the study of endocrine disease (such as diabetes, reproduction, infertility, osteoporosis, thyroid disease, and obesity). She and Chaminade colleague, biology major Alyssa Dixon, were selected for the Society’s prestigious National Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Research.

Every year more than 20 Chaminade undergraduate science students (majoring in Biology, Biochemistry, and Forensic Sciences) participate in fully-funded summer research experiences at prestigious mainland institutions. Student researchers also perform research in Chaminade’s own program, which focuses on Pacific health disparities such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, pre-term birth and liver cancer. Our cutting-edge laboratory and research facilities and a sophisticated biomedical curriculum help to prepare students for future careers in the biosciences, forensic sciences, and medicine.

Alyssa Dixon, Maia Corpuz

Alyssa Dixon (left), Maia Corpuz (right) explain their research

Alyssa Dixon (left), Maia Corpuz (right) explain their research.

Awardees, topics, mentors, laboratories:

Alyssa spent last summer at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, and Maia travelled to University of California-San Diego Medical School.

Alyssa Dixon, Biology Major
Targeting Scr through drug combination therapy in Anaplastic and papillary thyroid cancer
Mentor/Project Lead: Rebecca Schweppe, Ph.D., assistant professor of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, & Diabetes at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Maia Corpuz, Biology Major
The Effect of Hypothalamic SirT1 Over-expression on Feeding and Reproductive Genes
Mentor/Project Lead: Nicholas J. Webster, Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for Research Facilities, professor of Medicine, and interim chief of Endocrinology at University of California-San Diego, Medical School

More about Biology and Biochemistry degrees at Chaminade