Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Taylor A. Vega

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The brain, the seat of cognitive and behavioral control, and the mechanisms that give rise to these thoughts and behaviors are still widely unknown. My research aims at exploring the neural circuits that aid in our everyday decisions and behavior. Using electroencephalography (EEG) as well as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) we are examining neural oscillations in the alpha band (8-12 Hz) and its relationship in regulating the integration of information over large cortical areas, specifically in the fronto-parietal salience network as well as activity in the default mode network. […]

GeorgeAnn DeAntoni

Paleoethnobotany is an archaeological research method which allows plant remains surviving from the archaeological past to be studied and identified. In doing so, researchers can analyze plants that were used by Native peoples and deposited in sites pre-European colonization. Utilizing this methodology, past landscapes can be reconstructed as means to determine how Native peoples interacted with their surroundings, as well as to hypothesize about landscape change over time. Using paleoethnobotanical methods, I will systematically study recovered charred wood remains from a prehistoric, Central California archaeological site and create a charcoal […]

Richard Hakim

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How do our brains create the perception of pain? In order to study this question, researchers need a way of controlling the stimulus while looking at circuits in the brain. Unfortunately, inducing pain in animal models causes tissue damage and immune responses, which makes interpreting responses difficult. My current project seeks to develop a method of controlling the firing patterns of the neurons that sense painful heat. We employ the new and promising technique of optogenetics, which allows us to control the firing patterns of desired neurons using light. I […]

Olivia Dill

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I intend to look at three sets of botanical illustrations by three artists, all produced in Europe between 1585 and 1614 and all copied from the earliest of the three sets of illustrations, an album of watercolors by the French Artist Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues. The realm of botanical illustration is one which straddles the lines between art and science and as such these illustrations are ripe with assumptions about what artwork can do, how the artists related to the natural world and how to gain and communicate information […]

Zachary Lentz

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My research is centered around the mechanics of a bouncing fluid droplet, whose bouncing motion can be sustained indefinitely above a bath of the same fluid. This system has gained interest lately due to a mathematical similarity between the motion of these droplets and the behavior of quantum particles. My project aims to test the leading hypothesis for the dynamics behind the droplets bouncing motion through a thorough investigation of air viscosity.

Yaul Perez-Stable Husni

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Past attempts to define the prose poem as a genre depend on the oppositional status of prose and poetry, thinking then of the prose poem as a space for synthesis. However, because these accounts imagine stable definitions of prose and poetry, specific prose poems can only invokeand not reconfigurethose definitions. Through literary analysis, I will trace the development of the prose poem in American literature in the twentieth century, with attention to how individual literary texts rework the aforementioned opposition between prose and poetry, and how these texts in turn […]

Natasha vonKaenel

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In Argentina, during the economic meltdown of 2001, many factory owners fled the country, leaving hundreds of workers with no income and no clear idea of what lie ahead. In the months that followed, workers centered in Buenos Aires occupied their factory buildings and restarted production as a worker-owned cooperatively managed workplace. Some of these factories created Cultural Centers, hoping to make their factory a hub for the local community by providing health services, teaching classes, or holding art exhibitions or craft fairs. This research will focus on how an […]

Sung Won Han

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Glioblastoma is one of the most aggressive brain cancers. Recent studies have shown that only a subset of patients exhibit enduring response to anti-angiogenic therapy, which inhibits the growth of blood vessels, approximately half developing acquired resistance after initial response (anti-angiogenic factors include VEGF and bevacizumab). A key feature of anti-agniogenic resistance is the manifestation of a more invasive tumor, and it has been identified that tumor cell invasion is dictated by chemotaxis, cellular movement due to a soluble factor gradient, and haptotaxis, cellular movement due to molecules within the […]

Akash Dixit

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Dark matter is ubiquitous in this universe yet has not been detected directly. The leading candidate particles for dark matter are Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs). The Cryogenic Dark Matter Search utilizes measurement of ionization and phonons in order to discriminate between background particles and rare WIMP interactions. Achieving complete charge collection by the ionization readout is challenging due to trapping within the low temperature Germanium and Silicon detectors. The charge transport experiment will provide great insight into the phenomenon of charge trapping and this information will have wide implications […]

Shannon Leslie

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My research looks specifically at Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD), the most common cause of dementia in people under 65 years of age. This disease results in neurodegeneration in the frontal and temporal lobes often resulting in changes in personality, language, and/or behavior. Even at the cellular level there is evidence of FTD pathology. This disease exhibits lysosomal dysfunction and endosomal enlargement, indicating a possibility of an ineffective system of degradation in the cell. Furthermore, this disease is often accompanied by a genetic mutation of a secreted glycoprotein, progranulin, resulting in lower […]