30 Grads in 30 Days: Farzaneh Tondnevis

Farzaneh Tondnevis (photo by Carolyn Lagattuta)

Name: Farzaneh Tondnevis

Age: 25

Majors: Biochemistry and molecular biology

Hometown: Tehran, Iran (since living in the U.S., San Jose, CA)

UCSC college: Eight

Favorite class or professor and why?

Biochemistry 100A and Psychology 1, the former because it was a great introduction to the field taught by an incredible instructor (Professor Harry Noller) and the latter because it gave me more insight about the psyche and mentality of human beings.

Most memorable experience at UCSC?

Getting the approval of my principal investigator to do undergraduate research in his phenomenal lab.

Favorite spot on campus and why?

The scenic view on Coolidge Drive, because it has an extraordinary view of the bay and the city and it calms me down and helps me relax.

How has UCSC shaped you?

My experience at UCSC has helped me grow into a more mature woman, and I have gained a better understanding of the importance of science and the value of scientists' work. Through taking different classes at UCSC from all different fields (major-related and general education classes) I now have a better understanding of the world. Most of all, I have gained a higher level of self confidence, and I know now that I can achieve whatever I aim for through hard work and determination.

What are your future plans?

Hopefully continue to do research in biochemistry and molecular biology, make fascinating discoveries in the field, and publish in well-known journals.

How did you choose your college, and how has your college affected your education?

I chose College Eight because my junior college professor, who got his Ph.D. from UCSC, advised me to do so, and I personally found the advisers and preceptors very helpful and friendly. I also loved the theme of the college, which is Environment and Society. I believe through talking to advisers at College Eight, I chose the right classes to graduate on time and I met new friends. The memories are going to stay with me forever.


I am graduating with a B.S. in biochemistry and molecular biology from one of the best universities in the nation. I came to the United States five years ago and started pursuing this degree two weeks after my arrival. I have been doing undergraduate research in the lab of Professor Harry Noller, who is known worldwide for his life-long research on ribosomes. I will submit my thesis on my research before the end of spring quarter.