Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Min Young Huh

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What is a laser? The current world perception of a laser is a strong intensified beam of light that is projected in a directionless way. But what if we could change that? What if we can shine a beam of light in 1 direction but actually have the light in the other without any physical interaction. We are doing 2 experiments. First using hydrophone to cause density differential to guide the laser; using the principle of total refraction. Secondly we will be doing an experiment where we process LED light […]

Lisa Du

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Cancer is characterized by uncontrolled cell growth, which is in part dependent on mTOR, a serine/threonine kinase that controls protein translation. Although mTOR is almost never mutated in cancer cells , mutations upstream of mTOR can influence the rate at which the cells grow. The Shokat lab has studied the effect of mTOR inhibitors in liver cancer cells, identifying the tumor suppressor kinase LKB1 as a potential modifier of mTOR inhibitor sensitivity. LKB1 has multiple targets with different effects on cancer cell behavior. Through pharmacological and signal transduction analysis, I […]

Christina Lin

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Ovarian cancer is one of the most difficult to study because of its extreme heterogeneity due to its increased likelihood of undergoing epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a progression towards malignancy. Cells undergoing EMT not only seem to evade detection, but also are resistant to chemotherapeutic drugs. I propose to evaluate the relative gene expression levels of selected epithelial and mesenchymal markers throughout phases of EMT. I will induce EMT in ovarian epithelial cells, SKOV-3, through introduction of either transforming growth factor (TGF-) or thrombin. The morphing phenotype can be evaluated via […]

Robert Potter

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AKT is a serine/threonine kinase that is critical in multiple signal transduction pathways that regulate cell growth, survival, and metabolism. Inhibition of AKT during Mtb infection of resting macrophages results in a decrease in Mtb burden. AKT may play a different role in IFN- activated macrophages, where it is required for full macrophage activation. AKT inhibition of IFN- activated macrophages leads to a decrease in RNS that may be due to changes in cellular metabolism. Aerobic glycolysis describes a cells preference for ATP derived from glycolysis rather than oxidative phosphorylation […]

Jifang Xiao

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Parkinsons Disease (PD) affects approximately seven to ten million individuals worldwide and is the result of the progressive degeneration of neurons within the brain. The neurological disease is commonly associated with numerous debilitating motor and non-motor features. Recently, transplantation of fetal midbrain tissues to the SN has been investigated to treat PD in humans. However, this therapy is limited by the fetal tissue availability, low reproducibility, and ethical issues. A solution for these limitations is to engineer DA neurons from hPSCs. We recently developed and reported a simple, defined, efficient, […]

Amit Akula

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The California Report Card (CRC) is a social media platform that collects public feedback on timely issues and uses a peer-to-peer evaluation network to filter for the most constructive and insightful comments provided. Already successfully deployed with over 8000 visits, the CRC has already indicated high public interest in disaster preparedness. My lab is working to create a new version of the CRC focused on disaster preparedness. We hope to use the CRC as a tool to foster public awareness and dialogue around earthquake safety and wildfire prevention. Since the […]

Meghana Eswarappa

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“Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease that places about three billion people at risk for infection yearly in tropical and sub-tropical regions worldwide. Infected individuals can be asymptomatic, or they can show clinical disease, including an acute debilitating fever (Dengue Fever) that can progress to life-threatening conditions of severe dengue, including Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS). The goal of this research is to investigate whether cell-free nucleic acids in patient serum can serve as biomarkers to distinguish between cases of mild and severe dengue disease. I will accomplish this by characterizing […]

Caitlin Lowe

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King Henry VIIIs split with the Catholic Church in 1534 brought about the social and political turmoil known as the English Reformation. This religiously tumultuous time period was made more challenging by a resurgence of the Black Death. In order to study the social, political, and emotional responses to the politically imposed mass religious conversion of England during the English Reformation, I plan to research Early Modern print books that involve the Bubonic Plague. I’m asking the questions, how can literature be used to express doubt in a society ruled […]

Jay Ramsay

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The purpose of the experiment is to understand why obese people are four times as likely chance of getting cancer as non-obese people. We believe blue berries contain valuable nutrients that are absent in obese people’s diets and cause cancer. This experiment will measure the effect that blue berry consumption has on DNA damage levels and mitochondrial efficiency. High DNA damage and low mitochondrial efficiency have shown to be influential factors for cancer development.

Annie Yau

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Axon polarity and migration are essential for the development of connections in the nervous system. The molecules that guide axons along the dorsal-ventral axis in the model organism C. elegans have led to the discovery of conserved molecules in mammals. Surprisingly, much less is known about how cells or axons are guided along the anterior-posterior axis. Two genes in C. elegans, sax-5 and sax-9, have been identified to have roles in axon pathfinding and extension in the anterior-posterior axis. Mutations in the genes show additional defects in migration and axon […]