Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Faisal AlZaben

Profile image of Faisal AlZaben

Finding the causal genetic basis of a complex trait is a challenge of biology. Current methods, such as GWAS and QTL analysis, can identify associations between variants and phenotypes, but this is limited to analysis within the species being investigated and not species-wide traits. Through a novel approach named RH-seq (reciprocal hemizygosity analysis via sequencing), causal variants that underlie interspecific differences can be identified, including those that are the basis of adaptive evolutionary changes. I will be investigating the genetic basis of the relative thermotolerance of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (budding yeast) […]

Ryan Lehmkuhl

Profile image of Ryan Lehmkuhl

Machine learning classification is growing increasingly important for a variety of industries and applications, including medical imaging, spam detection, facial recognition, financial predictions, and more. As understanding of these systems advances, so do attacks which seek to exfiltrate information from exposed models. These models are often trained on confidential data and leakscan compromise user privacy. Additionally, users may wish to receive classifications on a modelwhile keeping their own input secret from the service provider. To address these concerns, I introduce the concept of secure prediction. Secure prediction defines a joint […]

Isabella Franchesca Shipley

Profile image of Isabella Franchesca Shipley

With well established evidence of the nuanced social and political aspects of environmentalism, it has become apparent that there is a need for a more compelling and holistic approach to discussing these issues. My research will document how art contributes to these conversations and explores the more human elements of environmental justice. The extent to which visual art can impact the formation of individuals’ opinions, motivations and curiosities with respect to the environmental movement will be explored through art practice. Informed by past works, this project will draw from art […]

Peter DePaola IV

Profile image of Peter DePaola IV

The current treatment for cholera infection is hydration with sanitary water and salts to replenish the nutrients and water lost through diarrhea. The World Health Organization estimates that 120,000 people die each year from cholera infection alone, with the majority of deaths in developing countries which have neither the infrastructure nor resources to treat patients. Current vaccines are ineffective; therefore, researchers are turning to alternative ways to stop the spread of cholera. While trying to understand a unique genetic island that Vibrio Cholerae uses to protect itself from viral infection, […]

Calvin Nguyen

Profile image of Calvin Nguyen

The Grove has become one of Los Angeless main attractions, housing a farmers market, an assortment of shops, entertainment, and picturesque features, and attracting over 18 million visitors a year–on par with the holy grail of Los Angeles attractions, Disneyland. Yet, despite its prominence in Los Angeles urban leisure, little research has been devoted to this space. The Grove presents such an intriguing place as it does much more to immerse its visitors than the average mall; for one, it claims and boasts historical roots in its design and presentation–the […]

Sijia Zhang

Profile image of Sijia Zhang

Directed cell migration and axon guidance are critical for the assembly and connectivity of nervous systems. How neuronal cells are able to establish precise connectivity is a major challenge in developmental neurobiology. Caenorhabditis elegans is an excellent model to address this question due to the simplicity of its nervous system and a well-characterized cell lineage. I will focus on the Hermaphrodite-Specific Neurons (HSN), which undergo extensive migrations during development. Proper navigation of the HSN growth cones, the structures that navigate through the nervous system to reach their targets, relies on […]

Sanika Ganesh

Profile image of Sanika Ganesh

Neuroplasticity describes how the brain learns from experience. A proposed type of plasticity, rapid homeostasis, may be necessary for stabilizing activity on a short-time scale across primary sensory-processing regions of the brain. A class of inhibitory neurons known as parvalbumin (PV) neurons are thought to implement rapid homeostatic plasticity, but the field lacks a mechanistic understanding of exactly how PV neurons may regulate plasticity. One way in which cells adapt to change is through varying protein expression. For example, recent studies suggest that neuregulins (NRGs) and tyrosine kinase receptors (ErbBs) […]

Joy Li

Profile image of Joy Li

One of the major hallmarks of cancer is the evasion of the immune system; thus, current cancer immunotherapies aim to modify the host immune system to specifically target tumor cells and repress tumor progression. Recent studies have investigated an immune pathway called the cGAS-Stimulator of IFN genes (STING) that is involved in the induction of an anti-tumor response. STING pathway activators, such as cyclic dinucleotides, (CDN) have been shown to result in stable regressions of established tumors. Currently however, researchers mostly rely on subcutaneous tumor models, which is a limited […]

Sylvia Targ

Profile image of Sylvia Targ

Largely understudied, small-scale fisheries are critical to coastal livelihoods in the global south, yet are poorly represented in conversations about development, food security, human rights, and gender equity. The creation of marine-protected areas and parks along coastal regions with marine biodiversity in mind has displaced the livelihoods of traditional fishers. I will be investigating reactions and adjustments to this displacement along the caribbean coast of Colombia.

Iris Morrell

Profile image of Iris Morrell

My research project will combine literary and historical analysis with feminist theory in order to engage with Heinrich von Kleists Penthesilea (1804.) One of his lesser-known works, Penthesilea retells the classical story of the queen of the Amazons in her battle with Achilles during the Trojan War. Simultaneously depicting grotesque sexuality and gendered battle between nation states, Penthesilea reveals the complicated understanding of womens power and liberation held by German writers in the immediate aftermath of the French Revolution. In my research, I intend to ask the following questions: What […]