Core Research Facilities


SF BUILD Scholars begin their training by participating in three, two-week core-research rotations at SF State and one four-week rotation at UCSF, experiencing first-hand the research done in the facilities listed below. Following the rotations, students are accepted into labs at either SF State or UCSF to conduct independent research projects for the remainder of the two-year program. The Core Research Facilities at SF State are available for collaborations with researchers at SF State, UCSF and local communities.


Health Equity Research (HER) Lab


Lab Director: Dr. Leticia Márquez-Magaña

Lab Manager: Rebecca Mendez


Lab. The HER Lab is a state-of-the-art facility that uses biomedical tools and techniques to address questions of health disparities. Lab members collect and process genetic material, saliva, and hair to generate data, aimed at discovering how diseases are caused or worsened by social environmental conditions disproportionately experienced by underserved communities. DNA testing methods, including ELISA and quantitative PCR, are used to measure biological and environmental markers like cortisol, lead, and telomere length in saliva, hair, and blood. The findings based on analyses of these human samples are used to guide those working to reduce health disparities in the U.S.


Scholars. The HER Lab offers SF BUILD Scholars the opportunity to “give back” by conducting hands-on research in molecular biology relevant to underserved communities. Lab members teach students best laboratory practices, how to collect and analyze samples, best ways to formulate and address research questions, and how to present research findings at scientific meetings.


Collaborators. The HER Lab is available to the SF State community, as well as off-campus partners looking to investigate issues of health disparities.

Achieving Student Success and Equity in Teaching of Science (ASSET Science) Research Group


Group Director: Dr. Alegra Eroy-Reveles

Research Group. The ASSET Science Research Group designs meaningful learning experiences for students that connects STEM content to their everyday lives, builds communities, and affirms students’ altruistic values to help others. The lab also investigates the impact of these experiences on student retention in STEM fields. Researchers in the ASSET Science Lab have expertise in both science and non-science fields; including education, ethnic studies, psychology, philosophy, and health education. In this way, the group brings advances from diverse fields into the science classroom. 


ScholarsScholars engage in science education research in order to foster an inclusive and affirming environment for students in STEM courses. They are taught how to design, implement, and lead on-going projects involving interventions for STEM students. Alongside group members, they assist in developing relevant curriculum for lower division science and math courses, introduce them into the classroom, and use various methods of assessment to evaluate their efficacy. Scholars will be trained on how to write and submit research protocols for human subjects (IRB) review, methods of data analysis, writing of peer-reviewed papers, and presentation at professional meetings. (Note: SF BUILD Scholars will begin rotations in the ASSET Research Group in 2018.)


CollaboratorsThe ASSET Research Group is open to establishing on- and off-campus collaborations with those interested in testing interventions that aim to increase the motivation of science majors to complete their degree, particularly projects that affirm the communal values of students by relating to identity, self-efficacy, and/or sense of belonging. The group is part of the SF State Center for Science and Math Education (CSME), which serves as a bridge for the College of Science and Engineering (CoSE) and the Graduate College of Education. 

Social Innovation and Urban Opportunity (SOUL) Lab


Lab Directors: Dr. Antwi Akom  

Lab Manager: Aekta Shah

SOUL Research Coordinator: Tessa Cruz


Overview. SOUL is the first joint research lab between SFSU and UCSF.  The lab focuses on geospatial approaches to addressing biomedical research questions relevant to local communities.  SOUL researchers design and apply emerging technologies with our nation's most vulnerable populations.  Experts ranging from public health, medicine, ethnic studies and big data (large data sets that can reveal insights into human behavior and interactions), work with community members to advance biomedical research by technology. Our research projects range from the Geography of Homelessness, A Children’s Map of Oakland, to improving prevention and early detection of cancer. At SOUL we create projects that lift up local knowledge using participatory technology, clinical research, population studies, CPBR, and Big Data to empower communities, cities, and the world's most vulnerable populations.


Scholars. SF BUILD scholars are trained to use SOUL’s research methodologies including data visualization, participatory technology, Big Data, and community-based participatory action research (CBPR), which involves all stakeholders in the research process. SOUL for SF BUILD consists of seminars, workshops, and trainings that focus on geospatial approaches to biomedical research questions that address the 21st century challenges of health equity, health disparities, and health promotion. Scholars also receive mentorship from UCSF and SFSU faculty, faculty affiliates, and leading data visualization and Big Data industry partners such as Google, Aclima, and leading non-profits to ensure that students are exposed to a range of career options and ways to “give back” to their local communities.

Collaborators. SOUL is available as a resource to researchers at SFSU and UCSF who are interested in the labs unique approach to data visualization, Big Data, and participatory approaches to address biomedical challenges facing society. SOUL has a built a robust learning network that allows it to collaborate with community-based organizations, and  high-profile collaborators, including Google and Aclima, that allow it to bring cutting-edge technological innovations to campus and communities.


Pre-Biomedical (Population) Sciences Undergraduate Program (PUP) at UCSF


Program Director: Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, MD


Scholars. PUP serves as a fourth summer rotation for SF BUILD Scholars who take part in a tailor-made eight-week introduction to academic medicine and academic health sciences. SF BUILD scholars are introduced to the research and culture of UCSF, a top-notch academic medical center.  PUP for SF BUILD consists of seminars that focus on population sciences, especially the epidemiology and biostatistics needed to do human research projects relevant to underserved communities. UCSF Graduate students teach Scholars about social equity and climate change -- all through the lens of population science. The experience culminates with the presentation of capstone projects by the Scholars.