Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Sun Young Jeong

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I am studying how birds time their reproductive systems in response to local environmental changes. For instance, the European great tit has expanded northward as temperatures have increased and these northern populations have delayed the timing of breeding, an advantageous adaption because spring conditions come later in the year with increasing latitude. It is thought that the delay occurs via an increase in the photoperiodic threshold to induce gonadal growth. We think that a delay in the activation of genes that regulate photoperiodic response in the northern population is responsible […]

Aaron Kamajaya

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CtrA is a central regulatory protein controlling cell cycle progression in Caulobacter crescentus. The active phosphorylated form of CtrA directly controls the transcription of at least 95 cell-cycle-regulated genes as well as binding to sites near the origin to prevent initiation of chromosome replication. CtrA consists of receiver domain and DNA binding domain. CtrA activity is regulated by phosphorylation and degradation. My project is to elucidate the degradation mechanism of CtrA. We hypothesized that there are specific amino acid residues on CtrA receiver domain that are essential for its proteolysis. […]

Yehuda Donde

I am working in a field of public finance that aims to develop a model indicating the optimal level of redistributive taxation in a given community. Assuming that public preference to redistribute income is determined by some combination of self-interest and civic altruism, the model must take into account the community’s various social, behavioral, and economic attributes. Using surveys, I will be gathering data on the effects of social factors, such as group cohesion, and behavioral factors, such as aversion to risk, on the tax policy decisions of kibbutzim – […]

Raymond Lam

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Neural Prosthetics is a newly emerging field with many potential applications for patients who have lost one of their five senses. At the core of this technology, electrical microstimulation of neurons is used to artificially generate and restore lost senses. For my project, I will be targeting the visual cortex, and developing a rodent visual model for microstimulation in order to explore stimulation patterns that mimic natural neural activity. The goal of this project is to develop a more safe and effective way to elicit visual response and perception in […]

Isabela Le Bras

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This summer I will be working in ion trap quantum computing. Quantum computing is an alternate form of computation that uses a quantum bit, called a “qubit”, in place of the binary system. My professor, Hartmut Haeffner, isolates ions in radio frequency traps to create qubits. This trapping must take place in an ultra high vacuum so that air molecules do not interfere with the ion. My project entails building RC filters for the ion trap that are compatible with the vacuum. These filters need to remove any radio frequency […]

Brittany Gabel

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International tourism provides tourists with a physical space that allows them to encounter new experiences, exotic places, and unfamiliar cultures. For the most part, these experiences abroad stimulate inter-cultural contact, which results in the formation of an ethnic relation between strangers. My research aims to identify the different affinities, misunderstandings, and stereotypes that can characterize this relationship in the tourist setting of San Jose, Costa Rica. I will study two groups: tourists from the United States who come to San Jose for short-term vacations and tour-guides from Costa Rica who […]

Lusha Liang

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In bacterial genomes, functionally related genes tend to be grouped together in operons, possibly to facilitate co-regulation and coordinated horizontal gene transfer. However, co-regulation and the formation of selfish gene clusters cannot explain the co-localization of regulators and their target operons. Yet this co-localization of prokaryotic transcription factor genes and their binding sites is widespread and is a driving force in the specific organization of transcriptional units on the chromosome. Thus in this study I will use the paradigmatic model of gene regulation, the lac locus, to address a fundamental […]

Abhiram Gande

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My research will focus on the effects of stress on neurogenesis (the birth of new neurons) in the dentate gyrus (DG) of the adult rat hippocampus. The hippocampus is essential for memory and learning function. Interestingly, chronic stress has been shown to decrease cell proliferation in the DG and reduce the effectiveness of hippocampuss memory function. My project will investigate one potential factor that may prevent stress-induced reduction of neurogenesis: controllability. Studies have shown that animals that can control the onset/offset of stress do not show many negative effects of […]

Eyal Mazor

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Although considerable scholarship has debunked neo-Malthusian myths of “overpopulation,” its specters and tropes continue to be invoked in environmentalist, anti-immigration, and ‘development’ discourses. However, little historical work has been done on the origins of these discourses. My project focuses on the genesis of a particular concept that raises specters of “overpopulation” — ‘human carrying capacity’– whose various conceptual, political, and historical blind spots I will seek to elucidate and contextualize, and whose textual origins in late colonial Zambia place it at the cusp of a scientific revival of neo-Malthusian thinking. […]