Post-Baccalaureate Program in Pre-Medicine

Post-Baccalaureate Program in Pre-Medicine

Program Objectives

The Post-Baccalaureate program at The Charles R. Drew University is integrated with the undergraduate curriculum in the University’s Department of Health and Life Sciences. Our students enjoy the same intellectual energy, faculty attention and laboratory facilities as full-time undergraduates.

Program Objectives
The program aims to develop critical thinking and test-taking strategies within a rigorous academic setting. Our program seeks to optimize each student’s likelihood of success through individualized programs of instruction combined with small class sizes and one-on-one attention. Post-Baccalaureate Certificate holders are able to:

    • Recognize physical, chemical, biological and biochemical foundations of living systems.
    • Synthesize and integrate scientific concepts and principles to develop evidenced based problem solving skills upon completion of the Post Baccalaureate Certificate program.
    • Implement verbal reasoning and writing skills to employ test taking strategies in the completion of professional health exams.
    • Interpret the social, psychological, and biological foundation of behavior and their impact on society in the context of health and well-being.
    • Demonstrate competency in the use of technology to obtain valid scientific information.

In accordance with the University's mission, the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program challenges its students to become leaders in their field and in society. Strong ethical values are fostered and developed.

Program Highlights

Small Class Size - Each year a new class of up to 40 students are accepted into the program.

PhD-Level Instructors - Classes are taught by PhD level, CDU/UCLA faculty with multiple years of teaching experience who are experts in their chosen field. 

Individualized Attention - Students will have the opportunity to work closely with professors in a small class environment. Students will also have ample opportunities to:

  • Interact with academic counselors and departmental staff
  • Advance communication and test-taking strategies through special workshops
  • Receive personalized academic advisory, career exploration assistance, and medical school interview preparation


Dr. Jorge N. Artaza, MS, Ph.D. Associate Professor, step II, Department of Internal Medicine, Department of Health & Life Sciences, CDU and Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

About: Dr. Artaza received his M.S. degree in Biochemistry and his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology, both from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), Argentina.

Specialty: Molecular biology, HLA Tissue Typing Hematology and Immunology.

Classes: Currently he is teaching, General Microbiology (HLS-230L), Human parasitology (HLS-460L), Immunology (HLS-405L) and Clinical Immunology & Hematology (HLS-444) at COSH.

Research Interest: Dr. Artaza’s research interests are focused in understanding the process of fibrosis, a leading cause of organ failure and inflammation worldwide. Understanding the mechanisms that lead or prevent fibrosis will allow easier and more practical therapies to ameliorate this Multi-System Pathology (MSP). He is also studying  the role Vitamin D on muscle and cardiac differentiation.

Fun Facts:  He  likes Dr. Who, Sherlock, Lord of the Rings and classic rock. His hobbies are soccer and tennis

Dr. Victor Chaban, PhD, MSCR is an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at CDU. Associate Professor of Medicine at UCLA, and currently is Co-Leader of the Educational Core of UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

About: Dr. Chaban received his Ph.D in Physiology from Bogomoletz Institute, Kiev. He completed postdoctoral training in Neuroscience at UCLA and graduate training in Clinical Research at CDU.

Specialty: Neurobiology, hormones, pain and autonomic nervous system

Classes: Currently he is teaching HLS 435 Neurobiology and HLS 250 Brain and Behavior

Research: Dr. Chaban’s work has focused on understanding how hormones like estrogen modulate the experience of pain. Using a mouse model, Dr. Chaban and colleagues showed that estrogen had a profound effect on the expression of pain receptors on primary sensory afferent neurons.


Monica G. Ferrini MS, PhD. Dr Ferrini is an Associate Professor both in the College of Medicine Department of Internal Medicine and in the College of Science and Health Department of Health and Life Sciences. She is currently the Chair of the Department of Health and Life Sciences.

About Dr. Ferrini received her Ph.D. in Physiology and a BS-M.S. degree in Biochemistry, from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), Argentina. She is the recipient of the 2015  CDU Academic Senate Outstanding Professor Award.

Specialty: cell biology, histology, biochemistry, anatomy and physiology.

Classes: HLS 310 Anatomy and Physiology. HLS330 Histology and Histopathology, COM113 Medical Terminology

Research: Dr. Ferrini research interest is to study the role of NO/cGMP in the amelioration of penile fibrosis associated with aging and nerve damage. She is an NIH funded investigator and has published more than 70 papers in peer reviewed journals in the fields of neurobiology and urology.

Fun facts: She also likes to watch science fiction movies, Downton Abbey, and Game of Thrones. Her favorite sport is figure skating.


Thomas R. Magee, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health and Life Sciences at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science.

About Dr. Magee received his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of New Mexico. His post-doctoral training at the Department of Biological Chemistry at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine.  He was an Assistant Researcher at  the Department of Urology and Assistant Professor of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor- UCLA Medical Center.

Specialty: Molecular biology, molecular signaling, fetal programming and embryology.

Classes: Dr. Magee teaches General Biology I and II, Introduction to Biology, Leadership Seminar I, and co-teaches MCAT capstone. He is also faculty advisor to the Pre-Health Society and the Critical Exploration of Academic Literature Club. 

Research: His current research at CDU is focused on fetal programming, in which children that are born underweight have a high risk of developing heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome as adults. He specifically is interested in how hypertension develops in these programmed individuals.

Fun facts: Dr. Magee has 3 dogs.


Suzanne Porszasz-Reisz, PhD, MSCR is an Associate professor at CDU and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

About: Dr. Reisz earned two MS degrees (in Biology and Clinical Research) and two PhDs (in Genetics and Molecular Biology). Over the course of her career, she taught in Budapest, Helsinki, and Los Angeles. She has research experiences in three medical universities, and she was invited as visiting scientist to France, Finland and the USA (UCLA).

Specialty: Molecular biology, muscle metabolism, genetics and biochemistry.

Classes: She teaches Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Human Genetics, and Clinical Biotechnology.

Research: Dr. Reisz’s research projects cover the areas of skeletal muscle atrophy, aging, and obesity. She has developed animal models to investigate these diseases. She is an NIH funded investigator and is co-investigator in clinical research grants. She is the author of 25 research papers in peer reviewed journals including Science, a book chapter, and a clinical research education movie.

Fun Facts:
She loves hiking, swimming and listening to music. Her favorite opera is Donizetti, which features Anna Bolena. Her favorite song is Imagine by John Lennon. Her favorite instruments are the drums and the piano. Most of all, she loves to teach and do research.

 Enrico Rodrigo, PhD., Assistant Professor, Department of Health and Life Science.

About: Dr. Rodrigo received his B.S. degree in physics from Caltech and his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Texas at Austin, after which he worked in the defense and semiconductor sectors as research physicist specializing in the detection of weak electromagnetic signatures and associated applications of artificial intelligence.

Specialty: Physics, black holes, wormholes, and math

Classes: Physics, Calculus I and II, College Algebra, Statistics and Biophysics

Research: His current interests include the medical applications of artificial intelligence and the quantum aspects of wormhole physics, the latter being the subject of his most recent publications.


Mr. Alan Khuu is a full time instructor in  the Department of Health and Life Science. He is  an Associate professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry at East Los Angeles College.

About: Mr. Khuu received his Master of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, UCLA

Classes: Chemistry for Allied Health Majors, Introduction to Chemistry, General Chemistry (HLS 140) Organic chemistry (HLS 210 AB/L) and Biochemistry (HLS 300)

Specialty: Biochemistry, Chemistry, and Biology

Research: Drug development and design