Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Nan “Chuck” Ye

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Bioconjugation reactions, the chemical reactions connecting two biomolecules together, have been heavily studied to chemically modify proteins, allowing the possibility of augmenting the biological activity of proteins with small molecules. This field of research is crucial to many pharmaceutical applications, such as drug targeting that requires the conjugation between drug molecules and soluble proteins. In order to install new synthetic molecules onto a protein site specifically and bioorthogonally, there is an increasing need for chemical strategies that can effectively attach synthetic molecules site specifically to proteins. However, many of these […]

Michelle Carney

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The zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) is a highly social passerine that heavily relies on vocal communication during social interactions. Over one third of its brain is dedicated to auditory functions. Vocal recognition has been studied previously in mated pairs of this species using a particular type of calls, the distance call. However, zebra finches communicate with a full repertoire of vocalizations. Here I am investigating whether they can discriminate voices of other individuals. More precisely, Im testing the capacity of zebra finches to discriminate between different emitters irrespective of the […]

Hoiyi Ng

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Although Random Matrix Theory has been developed for almost a century, its application in finance is underutilized. A random matrix is a Hermitian matrix with its entries drawn from a normal distribution with mean zero and variance one. Most of its interesting properties lie in the distribution of its eigenvalues. Not until recently has RMT been employed to estimate the profits and risks of financial portfolios. My project focuses on exploring new ways to manipulate current methods frequently adopted to maximize the profit of a financial portfolio given a certain […]

Flora Ting

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Determined Biochemical Benefits of Gene Therapy on the Peripheral Nervous System Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome (SLOS) is a hereditary disorder characterized by physical dysmorphia, mental retardation, and delayed growth. The principal cause of the disorder is a defect in the gene that codes for the enzyme 7-dehydrocholesterol reductase (DHCR7), resulting in cholesterol deficiency as well as the toxic accumulation of its precursor, 7-dehydrocholesterol (7DHC). The gene for this missing enzyme will be delivered via a viral vector to treat mouse models genetically engineered to mimic SLOS in humans. Since cholesterol is critical […]

Jason Yoon

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Through immune surveillance, the immune system can identify cells as self or non-self i.e. transplanted, cancerous, or pathogen-infected. Immune surveillance relies on antigen presentation to T cells. Some of these antigens arise from endogenous protein translation, through either conventional methods of translation or certain cryptic means of translation. Previous work done in the Shastri lab has shown that antigens may be generated through the usage of an alternate-non-AUG initiation codon and that this mechanism is distinct from the conventional AUG-mediated translation. This work has been done using one particular antigen-reporter […]

William Carpenter

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Currently, the lifetime of lithium ion batteries limits utility in applications like electric vehicles. As a battery is cycled, it experiences extreme potentials that decompose the electrolyte to form a layer, the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI), on the two electrodes. The SEI traps lithium ions and generates resistance, both of which degrade the battery over time. Research has shown that the addition of a compound known as a sulfone increases the voltage at which the electrolyte decomposes. This new voltage threshold is higher than the voltages seen in a battery, […]

Veronica Kim

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Normal female reproductive health requires the precise temporal coordination of the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis by the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Disruptions to circadian rhythms have pronounced negative health consequences, including an increased incidence of heart disease, obesity, ulcers, and cancer. Most relevant to the present studies, women with disrupted circadian rhythms exhibit pronounced deficits in ovulation and fecundity. My project investigates the circadian control of two, opposing neuropeptides that act upstream of the reproductive axis, gonadotropin-inhibiting hormone (GnIH) and kisspeptin. Our lab has shown that both of these neuropeptidergic systems receive […]

Jimmy Ng

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Discovered in 2004, graphene is a single atom thick sheet of carbon arranged in a hexagonal lattice. It is also the most conductive material at room temperature known to humankind and many believe it could replace silicon and change the future of computers and other electrical devices. Despite this, there is a long way to go before reaping the benefits of its potential applications. Because graphene is a relatively new material, scientists and engineers are still in the process of learning about its production, properties, and capabilities. For my summer […]

Helen Tran

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To infect host cells, Salmonella uses its Type III Secretion System to inject virulence factors necessary for pathogenesis. Understanding the movement of ATP in Salmonella will help us understand how this bacterial pathogen regulates its secretion of virulence factors and its communication with host cells. This summer, I am performing a genetic analysis on bacterial proteins involved in ATP secretion of Salmonella. After screening a panel of E. coli mutants for defects in ATP secretion, it was concluded that mutants were defective in ATP secretion when two subunits of an […]

Yechong Yu

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My current project is about reading performance across different methods of text presentation. The standard form of text presentation is by printed words on a page or screen in blocks of sentences and paragraphs. This way of text presentation is difficult for people who have diseases of the eye that hinder eye movement. One way to correct this problem is through rapid serial visual presentation, or RSVP, where text is presented one word at a time in sequence on a monitor. Do reading speed and comprehension improve when this method […]