Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Brett Garabedian

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Plant biomass represents the most abundant collection of polymers on this planet. As a dominant carbon sequestration system, an upwards of 150 billion tons of biomass is produced worldwide each year, but humans currently utilize only 2% of this resource. Thus, there is a large margin to accommodate recent interests in lignocellulosic plant biomass as feedstock for biofuels and other commodity chemicals. A major bottleneck in the generation of commercially competitive biofuels from lignocellulosic plant biomass is the presence of acetate throughout the plant cell wall as this chemical hinders […]

Alexander Flores

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During the middle ages the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus was wildly popular throughout Europe, and was translated into nearly every vernacular language. This non-canonical religious text contained a piece of theology that has fallen into obscurity, Christs harrowing, or descent, into Hell. In Middle English the Harrowing of Hell occurs as a narrative poem in three manuscripts, spanning the late 13th century to the early 14th century. A striking aspect of these poems is that they appear to straddle the line between what we consider poetry and drama. The poems […]

Cory Gerrity

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In Compton telescopes with crossstrip germanium detectors, interactions on the detector strip borders where charge is split between strips result in significant signal loss that degrades spectral resolution. Thus, modeling this charge loss mechanism is essential for making corrections and maximizing the resolving power of the instrument. Yet despite this, the mechanism is not entirely understood. My project seeks to model charge collection and transport in the detectors of the Compton Spectrometer and Imager (COSI), a balloonborne gamma ray telescope operated out of the Space Sciences Laboratory. The research hopes […]

Michelle Antonucci

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Vision is a vital sense that many people reply on to navigate through their daily lives, and yet people with amblyopia (commonly referred to as lazy eye) can have their vision and depth perception severely impacted by this condition. With my mentor in the Levi Lab, I sought to develop an effective treatment for astigmatism-related amblyopia and test it in a clinic trial. The treatment is a perceptual learning task where the patient looks at a computer that presents different orientations of a black and white pattern. The task of […]

Justin Fu

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Robots are typically deployed in highly controlled environments, but for robots to become usable in everyday situations, they must be able to learn to adapt to the environment. Reinforcement learning is a popular framework in robotics for teaching robots motor skills in unknown environments through a trial-and-error process. Recently, methods have been developed that allow optimization of high-dimensional control policies, which enables the use of powerful tools from machine learning such as neural networks to decide on which actions the robot should take and when. My project involves using various […]

Alexander Giuffrida

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The majority of matter in the universe is dark matter which does not interactwith light. In several physical models dark matter includes a dark photon (A’) which plays a similar role to that of the photon in the normal sector. In addition,recent experiments at CERN have confirmed the existence of the Higgs boson, a particle which mediates the Higgs field that gives other particles mass. Now physicists are proposing theories beyond the Standard Model which introduce additional Higgs states, with one of them (A0), having a lower mass than the […]

Eliel Anttila

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A worldwide abundance of glacially deposited sediments in early Neoproterozoic strata suggests the onset of a great global cooling event that began approximately 720 million years ago. Sometimes referred to as the Snowball Earth Hypothesis, this period of massive climactic change resulted in the propagation of glaciers at very low latitudes, and potentially covered the entire surface of the planet with ice. Determining the geographical, climatological, and biological changes that happened prior to the onset of this event can allow us to better understand the processes that led to such […]

Daniel Jeong

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Many recent studies have shown that the brains frontal cortex strongly modulates the information processed in the primary sensory cortices. A strong contributor of this modulation, each of the frontal cortical pyramidal neurons can project axons to multiple different brain regions (e.g., thalamus, midbrain, striatum, and other cortical areas) and therefore have fundamentally different roles. However, it is still unknown whether the frontal cortical pyramidal neurons innervating different targets receive inputs from overlapped brain regions or from segregated regions. My research will focus on the cingulate cortex (Cg), the frontal […]

Ruiyao Gong

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The Dazu Rock Carving is the only Buddhist cave site in China representing the development of Buddhist teachings during the Song dynasty (960- 1279). My research mainly investigates the Buddhist statues of Dazu site, with a special focus on Mahamayuri Vidyaraja, or the Great Peacock King at Baodingshan, Dazu. The Great Peacock King, a deity who can cure all evils in Esoteric Buddhism and who always rides on a peacock, is rarely depicted in other Buddhist caves. Dazu has three statues of him, however, at Baodingshan, Northern Mountain and Shimen […]

Renan Aparicio

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The prevalence of neurodegenerative diseases has reached an unprecedented level and is now a prominent threat to the health and wellbeing of our aging population. As a result, the demand for effective therapies has become of paramount importance. Studying proteins involved in neurodegeneration allows researchers to outline cellular pathways leading to disease, which in turn helps provide targets for drug molecules. Recently, scientists discovered a link between different neurodegenerative diseases and specific point mutations in triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2). TREM2 is normally expressed at the cell […]