About ABE Greater Los Angeles Area

The Amgen Biotech Experience is an international education program funded by the Amgen Foundation. Additional funding and support are provided by New England BioLabs, the Orange County Biotechnology Education Partnership, LA/OC Biotech Center, the California Life Sciences/Biotech Initiative, the Foundation for Pierce College, Fullerton College, Pierce College and California State University-Channel Islands.

View the ABE-LA Fact Sheet

Our Team

Mahsa Khatibeghdami - Site Director

ABE-LA Site Director

Mahsa Khatibeghdami is passionate about introducing Biotechnology and the science world to students and providing various opportunities for them to explore their interest in science and technology.

Mahsa has joind ABE-LA team, having served as faculty at Saint Xavier University and the City Colleges of Chicago. Prior to that, she was a Senior Research Scientist at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she had the opportunity to manage laboratories and grants while conducting research in the field of cancer biology.

Mahsa obtained her undergraduate degree from University of Tehran, Iran in Microbiology. Later, she earned her master’s degree in Biotechnology from Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, IL. Since then, she has been sharing her research work by publishing scientific papers in the field of biology.

Grace Photo

Pasadena Center Coordinator/Lab Technician 

Grace Montgomery flunked retirement when she took on the job of scheduling and coordinating the ABE Kit Program.  While still teaching, she did the Amgen labs with her middle school students.  Now she takes an occasional class at PCC and makes sure that her 50+ schools and 90+ teachers have a smooth and positive experience with their kit and/or supplies.  

It would be impossible for her to do this without the help and support of her mentor Dr. Wendie Johnston, the mentors that assist on workdays and, her assistant Ranelle Buck.  

Jo Wu Picture

Fullerton College Center Coordinator

Dr. Jo Wu has been a Biology professor at Fullerton College since 1990.  She serves as the director of the OC Biotech Education Partnership and coordinator of science summer camps, and weekend research projects.  Her team of talented instructional assistants ensure that fun, hands-on training occurs at multiple levels for junior high, senior high and college students. Science Summer Camps give opportunities for students to gain lab experience and earn community service hours.  The ABE-FC distribution center relies on Jessica Wu-Woods to prepare reagents and equipment kits for Orange County teachers.

Jo earned a BA in Biology from University of Missouri - Columbia and a Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from University of California - Irvine. 


Karin Photo

Pierce College Center Coordinator/Lab Technician 

Karin Steinhauer worked for many years in the fields of quality control and public health microbiology as well as veterinary medicine. In 2005 after working for Pierce College as the Anatomy/Physiology technician, Karin began working for what was then called the Amgen-Bruce Wallace Biotech Program and has continued on as the Pierce Distribution center coordinator for the ABE program.  Her experience and expertise have led to her concurrent title as a "Master Lab Technician" for the global ABE program.