Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Cory Berger

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Discovering how traits evolve or are lost is key to understanding the processes underlying biodiversity. Web-building is an ancestral trait in orb-weaving spiders, but several taxa have secondarily lost the ability to build webs. Among the long-jawed spiders of the genus Tetragnatha, there are species that exhibit a range of web-building phenotypes, including the total loss of web-building and the construction of reduced webs. My research will use Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) to investigate the silk organs of these species, which will provide a clear picture of the morphologies associated […]

Lauren Kelly

My research project reimagines the overland journeys of pioneers in the 19th century United States. In our cultural memory, Western Expansion is often remembered as brave pioneers striking out West for adventure or livelihood; however, this view pushes Native Americans to the margins of the story. As pioneer families traveled and settled in the American West, they instigated settler colonialism, displacing and murdering Native American tribes around them. My research will inspect the colonial ethos carried by white settlers, and investigate how they enacted this destructive colonialism on the Native […]

Andrew C. Lu

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Many tandemly repeated histone gene clusters exist in the Drosophila Melanogaster genome and are subjected to complex regulation during the cell cycle. However, the exact mechanism of this regulation remains elusive. Using a variant of the CRISPR/Cas9 system, we have developed a DNA-pulldown technique that, when coupled to mass-spectrometry, is capable of identifying bound proteins on a given promoter, enhancer, or any other regulatory DNA sequence. Applying this technique to the D. Melanogaster histone cluster, the pulldown samples interestingly showed an enrichment of a particular protein domain – LisH. Found […]

Danny Hutto

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In the spring of 1932, while attending Long Beach Junior College (LBJC), John Fante published his short story Eleven-Thirty in the campus literary journal, Edda. The story, bursting with cliches, depicts a young man, disappointed in love, at the brink of suicide. Critic David L. Ulin dismisses it as pure juvenilia and mostly overwrought. A few months later The American Mercury published Fantes story, Altar Boy. Aside from sharing Fante as the author, the two stories hardly resembled one another. The variation in the quality of the two stories suggests […]

Jacob Bjorseth

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The French New Wave, a cinematic movement which shifted the paradigm of narrative storytelling, was based on an engagement with radical social upheavals. By rejecting the literary, political, and societal standards and expectations of their era, New Wave directors were responsible for groundbreaking representations of modern social issues. In my research project, I am examining the ways in which two particular New Wave directors (Jean-Luc Godard and Agns Varda) interact with and comment on gender roles in their films. Both Godard and Varda employ subversive representations of gender which give […]

Sarah Barnett

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There is no doubt that finding a professed author in our surviving Middle English texts is both incredibly valuable and extremely difficult. An author, no matter his or her intentions, often cannot help but bring a rich array of individual complexities into their work. However, when an overwhelming majority of the surviving Middle English poetry we have today is expressly author-less, authorial intention becomes an aspect we can only speculate on without any real confidence. Without a name, the basis for determining many aspects of authorial voice has tended to […]

Tong Zhang

DNA transposable elements are mobile genetic elements that can move through out a host genome by the action of an encoded DNA transposase. The activity of several DNA transposases is significantly stimulated by DNA bending proteins, presumably promoting correct assembly of the transposase upon the DNA transposon ends (i.e. Mu transposase , RAG1/2, etc). While Drosophila P element transposase is well characterized, stimulation of the transposition reaction by DNA bending proteins has not been investigated. Here, I would like to investigate two Drosophila DNA bending proteins, HMGD and HMGZ, on […]

Jaewon (Jenny) Yoon

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Some thymocytes, or T cell precursors, have the ability to respond to self-antigens. If these thymocytes were to leave the thymus, they would develop into conventional T cells with the potential to drive autoimmune diseases. To prevent self-reactivity, these cells are often deleted from the repertoire through a process known as negative selection. Some, however, undergo agonist selection, which results in the development of lineages with protective and regulatory roles. One agonist selected lineage is CD8 intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs). There is little known about what promotes the development of CD8 […]

Chelsey Campillo Rodriguez

For decades, researchers have been experimenting with tools used for neural stimulation, modulation, and therapy. A greatly used and helpful tool includes optogenetics, which utilizes light waves to control cells expressing light-sensitive channels. While optogenetics is not an invasive recording technology, due to its dependence on visible light it cannot penetrate deep into the organisms tissue. The purpose of this project is to develop a wireless method similar to optogenetics which can overcome the issues optogenetics encounters. Rather than using light to manipulate neuronal behavior, an electromagnetic field will be […]

Annika Anderson

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Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is a set of genetically inherited neurodegenerative disorders that leads to degeneration of photoreceptor neurons and loss of vision. While onset of RP can be detected early, there are currently no treatments to prevent disease progression. Cellular reprogramming is a promising approach to replenishing photoreceptors after retinal degeneration. In zebrafish, Mller glial cells can dedifferentiate and reprogram into photoreceptor cells upon retinal damage. However, this restorative activity of Mller glial cells is limited in mammals. A CAS9 mediated genome wide activation screen offers the potential to identify […]