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LOS ANGELES — Karl Liboro, a microbiology major at Cal State LA, has been honored with the Howell-CSUPERB Research Scholar Award.

Liboro is one of only 12 students in the California State University system to receive the award, which funds promising undergraduate research related to women’s health. The award is offered by the CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB), in partnership with the Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research.

“The Howell-CSUPERB Award will give me the funding and competitive edge necessary to continue my career and to continue working on projects that will not only help improve women’s health, but the health of all individuals,” said Liboro, an Honors College student who resides in Glendale.

Working with his mentor, Cal State LA Professor Hyunsook Park, Liboro will conduct research on vulvovaginal candidiasis, commonly known as vaginal yeast infection. The infection is primarily caused by Candida albicans, an opportunistic fungus. An estimated 75 percent of women will have at least one infection in their lifetime. Recurring infection can significantly affect a woman’s quality of life.

“Even though there has been strong emphasis on the importance of probiotics in preventing yeast infections, there are few studies to explain how probiotic microorganisms prevent these infections,” explained Liboro, who plans to pursue a career in biomedical sciences.

Liboro’s research focuses on the mechanisms by which bacteriocin-like peptides secreted by Lactobacillus bacteria inhibit the biofilm formation of Candida albicans. Park said Liboro’s research may help researchers understand the role of probiotic microorganisms in preventing recurring vaginal yeast infections.

Liboro received the CSUPERB Research Scholar Award during the 28th CSU Biotechnology Symposium, which was held at the Hyatt Regency Orange County earlier this month.

The symposium aims to make connections between innovative life science research and the impact it has on society, to highlight cutting-edge biotechnologies, and to inspire students for success in the global economy.

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