LABEST 2021: Pearl Cohen Poster Awards

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PhD students Sean Atamdede and Isaura Frost and undergraduate researcher Angel Ni receive Pearl Cohen Poster Awards at the Los Angeles Bioscience Ecosystem Summit 2021 (LABEST 2021).

LABEST, also known as the UCLA Bioscience Innovation Day, is an annual event where hundreds of researchers, biopharma companies, and startups participate. This was the first year that undergraduates were invited to compete. Over 90 participants submitted 3-5-minute pre-recorded poster pitches for the competition. The award winners were given the opportunity to engage with the audience in a live Q&A. 1st and 2nd prizes were awarded for seven categories – Cancer, Cardio-metabolism, 13T, Neuroscience, Precision Health, Rare Diseases, and Regenerative Medicine.

The Pearl Cohen Poster Awards are sponsored by the law firm of Pearl Cohen. Click here for a full list of all the award winners. 

Congratulations to the following Pearl Cohen Poster Award recipients!:

Atamdede%2C%20Sean SquareSean Atamdede – 2nd Place in Cardio-metabolism – Project: “A Role for SLC25A46 in Mediating Mitochondrial Dynamics”. Sean is second year Biochemistry, Molecular and Structural Biology graduate student conducting research in Professor Carla Koehler’s group. He is investigating how the mitochondrial protein SLC25A46 may play a role in coordinating the processes of mitochondrial fission and fusion across the two mitochondrial membranes and how deficiencies in its function may form the basis of several neurological disorders. Sean received his bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from UCLA in 2015.
Frost%2C%20Isaura SquareIsaura Frost – 2nd Place in Precision Health – Project: “SLIPS- Coated Rapid Deformation Device for Intracellular Delivery”.  A third year Bioengineering graduate student, Isaura is conducting research with Professor Paul S. Weiss’ group. The primary focus of her research is to develop novel technologies for intracellular delivery of biomolecular cargoes for gene editing (i.e. CRISPR/Cas9).  Isaura received her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Purdue University in 2015. 

Ni%2C%20Angel Sqaure 0Angel Ni – 2nd Place in Rare Diseases – Project: “Cell-matrix interactions in muscular dystrophy-associated cardiomyopathy”.  Angel is an undergraduate chemistry major conducting research in the group of Professor Rachelle Crosbie (Ph.D. ’94 Biochemistry, Reisler group) in the UCLA Department of Integrative Biology & Physiology. Her research focuses on probing how the extracellular matrix modulates cardiac fibroblast adhesion, proliferation, and remodeling behavior to find therapeutic targets for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.


The Los Angeles Bioscience Ecosystem Summit 2021 (LABEST) is the premier showcase for bioscience innovation in Los Angeles County. This event is a collaboration with colleagues from across the county to present promising academic research, entrepreneurial faculty investigators, as well as local start- up companies. It is intended to promote awareness of the growing life science entrepreneurial ecosystem in Los Angeles and to foster partnerships with the biotechnology and life science industry.

The conference was entirely virtual this year. Throughout the summit, faculty members presented the latest scientific breakthroughs, which will lead to the critical therapies of tomorrow. Leading bioscience translational research programs and start-ups will be showcased where Southern California Institutions have significant expertise, pioneering research and resource commitments directed towards developing innovative patient therapies.

Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry,