Gisele Giorgi, Ph.D.
Biosciences Department Chair
Microscopy Program Director
Gisele Giorgi is the co-founder of the department, chief instructor and inventor of the courses for MMP, and the Director of the department. She is a cell biologist who obtained a Ph.D from the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at U.C. Berkeley, then did a post-doctoral fellowship at Lawrence Berkeley Labs. She has a B.S. in Biology from Georgetown University and then worked in Carl Wu’s lab at the National Institutes of Health for several years. She has also done projects at a few biotech companies including Genentech. She has performed research in collective cell migration, wound healing, tight junction formation, nuclear actin, cystic fibrosis, the pH of the TGN, and co-cloned Human Heat shock factor 1. She grew up in Italy, is bi-cultural, and draws on her educational experiences there for much of her approach to education. She also had jobs working or volunteering on Capital Hill for Ted Kennedy, at the Smithsonian Naturalist Center, for Jesse Jackson and other presidential campaigns, for Greenpeace, Peace Action and US Pirg, and as a social worker at a womyn’s transitional housing facility in Minneapolis. She comes from a family of lawyers, artists and teachers: she met her first scientist in College. She had a hard time picking a career, but ultimately fell in love with biology and research. Science is full of awe, the work is creative, fun, joyful, puzzle solving, always changing, full of new discoveries, and endlessly fascinating. The outcomes can be tremendously powerful and deeply serve the planet. Plus, in science you get to use your hands and head both! Her Dad was a phenomenal teacher, so, as any good rebel, she was determined to never be a teacher. She fell into teaching almost accidentally (she needed it to get a research job and also to get healthcare!) and, go figure, loves it. She wholeheartedly believes in the open access mission of Community Colleges. Education is the most powerful way to subvert injustice in this country. She is passionate about providing career options, sharing the joy of science, increasing diversity and inclusion in science, helping each student find their path and grow in confidence, adding beauty and knowledge to the world. Plus, we gotta solve climate catastrophe! Now! As a teacher she is known for her enthusiasm, warmth, creativity, goofy/memorable metaphors, occasional dancing, for helping students find their path, and develop their potential and confidence, and for caring deeply about each and every student.
Professor Theresa Halula is an experienced mycologist, landscape architect and permaculture expert, who also teaches fungal cultivation at Merritt in addition to Microscopy and Genomics courses. She has a BFA in fine arts, decades of experience in project management at Oracle, experience with a wide variety of community based organizations, including ones that address climate change, social justice, and geriatric issues. She is an active participant on some exciting citizen science projects at Counter Culture labs, a graduate of the Merritt Microscopy Program, and an officer of the San Francisco Microscopy Society. She is passionate about combatting climate change, economic injustice, and innovative inclusive approaches to science. As an instructor she is known for her warmth, her sense of joy and delight in the wonders of science, her broad knowledge of a multitude of fields, her commitment to student success, and her enthusiasm for teaching.
Professor Feather Ives is an adjunct in the Biosciences Department and the Histotechnician (HT) Program Director. As such she is in charge of maintaining HT program accreditation and also of placing, preparing and supporting students in their clinical rotations and of certifying students for the ASCP National Board Exams. She is an alumna of the Microscopy and Histotechnician Programs. She is currently working on a Master of Public Health. Her public health foci range from the health outcomes for non-4-year-degree holding students who complete career education programs; basic needs security for all; Health-in-All-Policies; re-entry success for prisoners; and improving healthcare delivery for underserved and vulnerable populations. She is a 2020-2021 recipient of the American Association of University Women Career Grant to support her work implementing a food security resources program for The Richmond Promise which provides support and scholarships to college students who are from her hometown of Richmond, CA. She is also a recipient of the Trudy Larson Public Health Scholarship for her work as a board member with Charlotte Maxwell Clinic, which provides integrative cancer care to women with cancer living at or below the poverty line. She also has a sweet and stubborn 5-year-old daughter. You can visit her full bio on LinkedIn.
Yohannes Kidane, MS, HTL (ASCP)
Professor Angela Lane is graduate of UC Berkeley and of the Merritt Microscopy Program. She co-developed and teaches an innovative, successful dual enrollment program in genomics in collaboration with a local High School. She also teaches in the microscopy program and is active in our outreach programs, including Merritt Mentors (which works with students in High School classrooms in Oakland). As an Oakland native who was the only African American student in a class of 300 students in the department of Molecular and Cell biology at UC Berkeley, she has a deep understanding of the challenges and profound need to diversify science. She is currently obtaining her MS in Cell Biology at SFSU and plans to continue to obtain a Ph.D. in biology. She is passionate about the excitement of working in science and the profound impact science has on our world, and the pressing need for diversity in science. As an instructor she is known for her ability to reach and connect with all her students, to nurture their talent, to support their dreams, and for her organization, clarity, fairness, depth of knowledge and inspiring excitement for science.
Professor Daniel Michael is an Adjunct Professor who is a passionate educator and community builder who loves to mix two things together. His dad is Irish, his mom is Mexican. He grew up in Bakersfield California and went to school at UC Berkeley. He studied psychology but kept his feet anchored in business. He worked to help people with disabilities while selling their talents to local business leaders. He pitched the business case for reusing unneeded biotech equipment while developing a donation program for cash-starved science teachers. Now he is connecting students to jobs through teaching Bioscience. Bringing two different things together to create something better is not just for peanut butter cups. It’s the way he loves to work.
His independent consulting practice brought him to community college in the biotechnology education sector, assisting City College of San Francisco’s (CCSF) Bio-Link (Advanced Technological Education Center for Biotechnology funded by the National Science Foundation) to grow partnerships to strengthen and expand biotechnology technician education at community and technical colleges throughout the nation. He helped grow CCSF Bridge to Biosciences Program by: 1) Developing internships and job placement opportunities through partnerships with biotechnology employers 2) Enhancing Bio-Link Equipment Depot’s capability to dispense donated lab supplies to Bay Area educators 3) Developing pipelines for student displaced workers to transition to jobs in Environmental Monitoring through a Department of Labor Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant.
Through his connections with Bio-Link, he consulted for a group of community colleges (Irvine Valley College, Fullerton College, Santiago Canyon College, Santa Ana College) and local employers to grow and enhance the Orange County Biotech Education Partnership to collaborate on Tiered Biotechnology Certificate Programs.
After several years of growth, he worked to “spin-off” CCSF’s Equipment Depot into its own nonprofit, Bio-Link Depot, Inc. and became Executive Director where he worked with hundreds of science educators in the San Francisco Bay Area to assist them with equipment and supplies for their classrooms.
He has taught students at Merritt in the Bioscience Department as a lab instructor for Microscopy and Genomics and his wish is that students can mix two things together: Their knowledge in science and using that knowledge to make an impact in their community.
Dr. Candy Mintz started her career at Stanford as one of the few women, not to mention one of the few latina jewish students, in engineering, then obtained a PhD in bioengineering and founded and ran her own company. She was captivated by the advances in cell biology and returned to school to further her knowledge in the field with the goal of innovating the cutting edge, breakthrough field of 3D cell matrices. In her quest for knowledge she completed the CCSF stem cell program, the Merritt Microscopy Program and is currently working on a Masters at SFSU. She is working on science that will revolutionize tissue engineering and thus our understanding of biology, not to mention our ability to more effectively find cures for a multitude of diseases. She is a beloved microscopy instructor, known for her enthusiasm, boundless energy, riotous laugh, dedication to nurturing each student individually, organization, fairness, thoroughness, supportive cheerleading of student’s career goals, mentoring and guidance of her students. She is passionate about helping students reach their full potential and breaking barriers in science. She has been crucial to the Histotech Program by taking on the most difficult task of obtaining and maintaining the official clinical rotations that are necessary for certification in the field. She successfully obtained the full number of rotations necessary for accreditation, even creating ongoing rotation openings (which are unheard of in the field) by developing strong connections with Bay Area employers. She also has worked tirelessly to prepare and support students during their rotations and has helped many students obtain their dream jobs.
Professor Shirley Pan, Ed.D., is a very accomplished, experienced and highly regarded Histotech and Cytologist. She has 2 decades of experience in the field, a degree in cytology and has managed large clinical labs and currently runs six histotech labs for Dignity Health. She is passionate about developing the next generation of histotechs, she deeply loves the clinical work she does which is vital to saving lives, and she is committed to our wonderful, diverse, talented students. As an instructor she is known for her tireless attention to each student and each detail of the class and labs, her clarity, organization, fairness, her depth of both practical and theoretical knowledge in her fields, her instinctive guidance of each student in the class and in their career journeys. She has served as the education coordinator of the Histotech Program and is the former Histotechnician program director.
Dani Behonick, Ph.D.
Hank Fabian, Ph.D. Biosciences Department co-founder
Silvia Foppiano, Ph.D
Viktor Kharazia, Ph.D.
Greg Langland, Ph.D.
Robert Macey, Ph.D. former Genomics Program Director
Brian Rowning, Ph.D. former HT Program Director