2021-22 PINC/gSTAR Graduation

On Wednesday May 25th, we reunited in person to celebrate the accomplishments of our PINC and gSTAR students. It has been a long and winding road for these graduates, but they kept pushing and earned their Computing Applications minor and Data Science and Machine Learning for Biotechnology certificate!!

The event took place at the Seven Hills Conference Center. We were very honored to host several instrumental members of the Genentech team, who we partnered with to develop the curriculum for our gSTAR certificate program. Of particular note was Marlena Jackson, Sr. Diversity & Inclusion Business Partner at Genentech. Marleana is one of the founding members of the gSTAR program and her contributions to the establishment and growth of the program cannot be understated. We also hosted a poster session where grads were able to showcase their research, and the whole event was capped off with an industry mixer! Students, grads, and alumni were all able to rub elbows with scientific and industry leaders from IBM, UCSF, Genentech, NVIDIA and more!!

New data science certificate aims to open doors to biotech jobs

Biotech certificate students get an insider peek into industry jobs

By Kanaga Rajan    Wednesday, June 01, 2022

The gSTAR program is only one year old, but the SF State-Genentech collab is already impacting students, faculty and industry

Want a job in biotech? The first step is to get into college and study science. But what’s the second step? Moving directly from the classroom to the workplace isn’t always easy, especially in a competitive field like biotech. 

Enter San Francisco State University’s Data Science and Machine Learning for Biotechnology Certificate (gSTAR) program. Designed by San Francisco State faculty and Genentech scientists, the program is tailored specifically to University undergraduates interested in industry. It launched in the fall of 2021, and the first students are already reaping the benefits, with several earning Genentech internships.

New data science certificate aims to open doors to biotech jobs

A new certificate program developed in collaboration with one of Silicon Valley’s biggest biotech companies will do more than teach San Francisco State University undergraduates about the interdisciplinary field known as data science. It’ll help them develop the skills they need to land jobs as data scientists.

Launched this fall, the Data Science and Machine Learning for Biotechnology (gSTAR) certificate program grew out of an already flourishing collaboration between San Francisco State and Genentech. Any SF State undergraduate student, regardless of major, is eligible for the certificate as long as they meet the program’s minimal prerequisites and complete six designated courses. The classes ground students in data science — an interdisciplinary field that gleans actionable insight from large volumes of data — while emphasizing professional development through rigorous mock interviews, elevator pitches and more.

August-September PINC Newsflyer

In this issue


Jason Hernandez • Henry Brown • Elizabeth Mathiasen • Chisom Obiorah • Catie Giske • Hannah Lee • Tracy Tjang • Phuong Phan • Fayeeza Shaikh • Susan Suski • Erica Tate • Harprince Pooni • Ingrid Mazariegos • Jose Verdin • Kamillah Felix • Sandra Khalaf • Pamela Caro Desilva • Robert Ruiz • Jessica Zepeda • Gineton Alencar •  Maricarmen Gonzalez Torres


My name is Faye and I’m a recent graduate from San Francisco State University. I obtained a bachelor’s degree in Cell and Molecular Biology with a minor in Computing Applications from the PINC Program. (Read more)


The PINC Summer Program is a part-time program where students work in teams with a peer-mentor. They learn coding skills as well as work on a research project with their mentor and a faculty advisor. At the end of the 9-week program... (Keep reading)

And more...

MAY 2021: Congratulations to the PINC Class of '21!

On May 21, 2021, we celebrated the 15 PINC students who finished their final CS class and who will all graduate with a Minor in Computing Applications!  

We are extremely proud of these students and what they accomplished!


The Graduates

Berenice Chavez Rojas Tony Zhang      Lorena Benitez Rivera Anneke Moeller Faye Orcales
Kiana Amaral Daisy Estrada Rojas Cary Ly       Amisha Dhawan Patra Holmes
Inderdeep Singh  Alennie Roldan Maxamillian Schneider Jessenia Suarez Gilbert Alarcon-Cruz


Graduation Speakers

We were excited to listen to the following speakers:

Dr. Ryan Hernandez from UCSF

PINC alum and current Ph.D. student at UC Berkeley & UCSF: Sita Chandrasekaran

MAY 2021: Scientific Spotlight w/ Berenice (PINC '21) by Dr. Pleuni Pennings

One of our PINC faculty, Dr. Pleuni Pennings, had the wonderful opportunity to chat with one of our recent 21' PINC Graduates, Berenice.

Read the full interview at


Pleuni: Hi Berenice, congratulations on graduating this semester! 
I know that you are starting a job at Harvard soon. Would you mind telling me what you’ll be doing there and how you found that job? Did your coding skills help you land this job?

Berenice: I’ll be working as a research assistant in a wet lab. The model organism is C. elegans and the project will focus on apical-basal polarity in neurons and glia. I found this job on Twitter! Having a science Twitter is a great way to find research and job opportunities as well as learn new science from other scientists. While I won’t be using my computational skills as part of this job, the research experience I have been able to obtain with my coding skills did help me.

APRIL 2021: Sita, a PINC Alumni, has received the prestigious Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans

Congratulations to one of our PINC Alumni, Sita Chandrasekaran for obtaining the prestigious PD Soros Fellowship for New Americans!

Below is a preview from the article featuring her (full article can be found at

Sita: "What the fellowship means to me: I feel humbled and excited to connect with current and previous scholars over our shared immigrant and New American experience! My experience with PINC at SFSU as a mentor and mentee showed me first-hand the importance of mentorship in science, and I hope to pay that forward as I move forward in my program."

SEPTEMBER 2020: New editorial by PINC Team in PLOS Computational Biology

The PINC team has released a new editorial in PLOS Computational Biology! This paper features both PINC faculty and our 2018 summer PINC mentors. Check out the publication under our "Publications" tab on the website. Congrats to all of the authors.

AUGUST 2020: Genentech, Inc. has graciously awarded the PINC program a $621,000 grant that will help develop a Certificate Program for students!

Genentech Inc. has awarded PIs Anagha Kulkarni, Ilmi Yoon, and Pleuni Pennings (PINC program) a $621,000 grant to develop a new certificate program at the intersection of Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, and Biotechnology. This student training program will be co-designed by Genentech researchers and SFSU faculty to align the curriculum with the technical needs of the biotech industry, thus empowering SFSU students with a highly valued skillset. Thank you, Genentech!

AUGUST 2020: The Genentech Foundation has graciously awarded the PINC program a $580,750 grant that provides scholarship opportunities for students!

This GEN-PINC grant will provide scholarships and mentor support to 10 PINC students starting this Fall of 2020. Selected students in the program will receive $4,500 for the whole academic year. 

Through the GEN-PINC program, scholarship recipients will have the opportunity to collaborate on projects with researchers from industries and other academic institutions such as Genentech, IBM, and Stanford. Through these projects, students will be able to strengthen their computational training, receive mentorships, and establish professional relationships in preparation for careers post-graduation.

Thank you to the PIs who submitted this grant (Anagha Kulkarni, Ilmi Yoon, and Pleuni Pennings) and Genentech for the generous award. We look forward to this partnership and collaboration.

May 27, 2020, we celebrated the 10 PINC students who finished their fifth CS class and who will all graduate with a minor in Computing Applications!  We are extremely proud of these students and what they accomplished! All students worked on a capstone pr

The Graduates

Johana Aleman, Andrea Guevara-Castro and Maria Flores worked on a project named “Hidden Figures” with Dr. Rori Rohlfs and Dr. Anagha Kulkarni and mentor Karuna Nayak. Watch their short video.

Adrian Choppa, Kaila Marie Gemenes, Natassja Punak and Imani Warren worked on a project to create a virtual reality game for the Tourniquet Master Training (TMT) by Stanford Technology Enabled Clinical Improvement Center. They worked with Dr Anagha Kulkarni and Dr Ilmi Yoon and mentors Jose Castanon, Ben Tingle. Watch their short video.

Hailey Garma, Austin Sanchez and Caroline Solis worked on a flow cytometry project with Dr Anagha Kulkarni, Dr Nicole Adelstein and Dr Shadi Toghi Eshghi (Genentech) and mentors: Erick Velez, Sally Mostafa. Watch their short video.


Graduation speakers

We were excited to listen to the following speakers:

Joy Branford from Genentech

Our dean Dr. Carmen Domingo, CS chair Dr. Arno Puder and Biology chair Dr. Laura Burrus.

PINC alum and current Ph.D. student at UTSW Alia Edington.

Original post found here.