Meet Our Team

Founders and Staff

John Matsui, Director & Co-Founder

2016 Valley Life Sciences Building

(510) 643-9768

I grew up in a low-income household in the flats of West Berkeley. Like myself, all of my friends came from families in which no one had gone to college. And the expectation was that neither would we. Today, I am here at UC Berkeley because of the help of caring mentors and a lot of hard work.

The reason I chose to start BSP is captured by the phrase “professional is personal” – where my personal background and experiences have driven what I have done professionally. As Director and co-Founder of BSP my commitment is to make biology at Berkeley accessible to all students with an interest. Through the BSP, my goal is to "level the playing field"  for individuals who, like myself, do not fit the historical profile of success and to help them become leaders in their future science-related careers. For more than 26 years, I have learned from over 3,500 program members how Berkeley can better train and support its undergraduate students in biology.

Dr. Caroline Kane

Caroline M. Kane, Co-Founder

Professor in Residence Emerita, Molecular and Cell Biology

PhD, University of California, Berkeley

Contact the Advising Office for Caroline's Office Hours

Born and raised in Ohio, I have combined social activism and biological science all throughout my career, and that continues into my retirement.  My graduate students, undergraduate researchers, and postdoctoral fellows uncovered many intricacies of how genes are selected to reveal their information in a regulated way.  Proper selection and decoding of genes is essential for normal development and good health. 

I have always had a passion for teaching, in and out of the laboratory, and for improving education at the college and precollege level.  Further, I have a strong interest in increasing diversity among professionals in biological sciences-related careers, and I continue to work ­at the local, national and international level to create positive change in education and increase representation in biology careers.  Equity and access to strong education opportunities are a major retirement mantra for me.  Biology Scholars Program students exemplify the best of working toward a better world for everyone, and it is my honor to continue to work with them at Berkeley and after their graduation.

Dr. Missy Soto Deputy Director

Missy Soto, Deputy Director

2075 Valley Life Science Building

(510) 642-6227

It is with great pleasure that I serve as Deputy Director for the Biology Scholars Program (BSP) because I believe in the power of BSP’s dynamic, strength-based approach to propel and transform a diverse national community of future scientific leaders.

I’ve dedicated my professional career to serving in research and administrative leadership roles locally, state-wide, and nationally, with programs and projects directed at institutional transformation and increasing equity and inclusion for students and faculty across the STEM fields. I am a first-generation college-going and former community college transfer student, also an undergraduate woman in science. As a result, it is immensely gratifying to dedicate my daily purpose to empower and support the success of UC Berkeley’s BSP students, and to all individuals who hold interest in pursuing science-related careers.

Further, due to my long-standing interest in culture and travel, I have engaged extensively in unique international experiences across Asia, North America, South America, and Europe. Undoubtedly, the influence of participating in such activities continues to permeate how I approach my personal and professional endeavors.

I earned my B.S. degree in Biology from the University of California, Davis; the M.E.S.M degree in Environmental Science and Management from the University of California, Santa Barbara; and the Ph.D. in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education from Michigan State University. I invite you to contact me at to share your thoughts or questions.

Brook Yu, Program Administrator

Brook Yu, Program Administrator

2022 Valley Life Sciences Building

(510) 643-4746

I knew that I wanted to work in education when I graduated from Cal as an English Major, but was not sure in what capacity. After graduating, I saved up and went backpacking for 6 months around Asia and then moved to Glasgow, Scotland. I started working higher education in Glasgow, and through moving around different positions, I discovered a love of working in programs that made access to higher education more equitable and fair for students from all backgrounds. I worked for programs that bridged the gap between college and university as well as conducting research within an admissions office, and learned about how narrowly success can be defined in the admissions process. During my time in Scotland, I earned a Masters Degree in Lifelong Learning and Development.

BSP's work is close to my heart. As a first generation college student, I was left to navigate the university world on my own, and remember how confusing, exhilirating, and chaotic it felt. It is exciting to be part of a program that allows me to exercise different skills and experience I've gained to contribute to the community. Please feel free to come by any time to find out more about me or to take a break. 

Karen Aguilar

Karen Aguilar, Program and Data Assistant

2075 Valley Life Sciences Building

(510) 643-5828

I am a class of '12 Integrative Biology major and I am excited to be part of the Biology Scholars Program staff! I was born and half raised in Honduras and lived in SoCal before coming to UC Berkeley. Attending UCB had a big impact on me so I am happy to be back and work for the community that helped me grow personally and intellectually. I previously worked in the medical and dental device industry in San Jose and later at UCB Extension in the online final exams department. I then transferred to the BSP and found an incredible community of students, staff and faculty.

The last couple of years after college have given me invaluable knowledge both about myself and the world of work. Balancing college and everything else in life can be very stressful but remember we are here for you so do not hesitate to contact us! Please feel free to stop by if you have questions or just want to talk, I'd be happy to share my experiences with you!

Some of my favorite classes include human anatomy and osteology. In my free time I like to dance Argentine tango, stretch, read, hike, draw and paint.

Go bears!

Emily King

Emily King, Research Coordinator

5188 Valley Life Sciences Building


I am fascinated by relationships of cause and effect. These relationships drive me to be an active scientist as well as an avid supporter of traditionally underrepresented students who wish to study science. In my research, I ask how physiological responses are controlled by the combination of an animal’s genome and the environment. In my outreach I constantly ask what is the effect of passionate, diverse mentors on the next generation of scientists and students. As a minority first-generation college student, I learned, through research and mentoring, that I can contribute to the outcomes that I think are most important in the field of science and the science community. As part of my journey toward that goal, I’m excited to join BSP as the Research Coordinator this year.

I earned my Bachelor’s degree in marine science from CSU Monterey Bay before beginning my Ph.D. in Integrative Biology at Berkeley. I was lucky enough to get undergraduate research training at marine stations around the country but I’m a Bay Area native and happy to be back.


Camila Moreno-Jimenez

Camila A. Moreno-Jimenez, Program Advisor

2018 Valley Life Sciences Building



I was born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico until I was 11 years old. My family and I immigrated to San Diego due to safety issues and in pursuit of better educational opportunities. I came into Cal as an undocumented, first generation, low income, womxn of color, uncertain of what my support system looked like. I was able to access spaces that encouraged me to embrace my intersectionalities, be an advocate for myself and others, and thrive beyond the oppressions of an institution that was not built for folxs like myself. I found institutional allies and networks of resistance which helped me graduate this past summer. While I majored in Anthropology, my work experience and career goals are based on counseling and student services. I worked with programs that focused on filling in the gaps that first generation, low-income and historically underrepresented students experience in higher education. I am currently applying for a Master programs in Higher Education and Student Affairs. My hope is to continue to make holistic, radical and intersectional educational environments accessible for non traditional students.


I am truly honored to be working with the BSP community, and I am excited to learn and listen to all of y’all’s narratives. From academic planning, financial literacy, self-care, to how to apply to graduate/medical school and beyond, I am here to support y’all! Let me know what y’all need!


Appointment link:


Yessenia Hernandez-Cruz

Yessenia Hernandez-Cruz

Peer Advisor

2018 Valley Life Sciences Building

(510) 643-4150 

Hi my name is Yessenia Hernandez-Cruz, I am a Spring 2015 admit majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology with a minor in French. Biology Scholars Program is the reason I am surviving and succeeding here at UC Berkeley. Inspired by you all I have been working hard, to earn this position and be able to serve you all as a mentor, companion, and friend. I am honored to be your 2018-2019 peer advisor.

I am from Ontario, CA shout out to all the (909) area codes. I come from a tight knit and very supportive family of six, through them is that I have shaped my passion for giving back to my community. BSP, you are my community and have become my family. I am involved in various spaces throughout campus, always with the intention to provide outreach for younger students. When I was a young BSPer I had mentors who helped shape my path, because of them I am here.

My hopes for this position is to help inspire you all to keep fighting- remember our success is our greatest act of activism. To my BSPers, I love you all! ❤️


Glendy Ramon

Glendy Ramon

Peer Advisor

2018 Valley Life Sciences Building

(510) 643-4150 

It is an honor to be part of the BSP staff this year as a peer advisor and I am very excited to meet and listen students’ stories and goals. As a first generation Latinx college graduate, I know how hard it is to find a support system and community at Cal, but by being involved in BSP since my freshman year I was able to find a family away from home and I hope to make it possible for others too.

I grew up in Escondido in Southern California, and was raised with both my Mexican and Guatemalan root cultures. I earned my B.S degree in Molecular Environmental Biology with a concentration in Ecology with the class ’18, with a goal of becoming a pediatrician and being involved with disadvantaged and unrepresentative communities.

I have participated in medical opportunities as well as biology research on campus. With financial support from others and scholarships, I was privileged to be part of internships and programs in both research and medical experiences in Guatemala, Peru, and Australia.

In my free time I like to explore the outdoors, dancing to cumbias, as well as spending time with friends and exploring the Bay area.