Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Alexandra Weiss

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Compartmentalization lies at the heart of understanding cell biology. The eukaryotic cell is composed of organelles, each of which carries out a unique function. As the newly discovered complexity of the prokaryotic cell is becoming further understood, bacterial organelles are becoming an essential detail to comprehending how bacteria function. The Komeili group recently discovered a novel membrane-bound organelle called the ferrosome. It is hypothesized that the ferrosome may play a part in iron storage or bacterial stress response. Yet, the question remains: what is the function of the ferrosome? My […]

Nicolas Anderson

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1.1 billion years ago, Laurentia, the Craton which makes up majority of modern North America‚Äôs landmass, was rifting apart in the Lake Superior region and growing in the American Southwest. Both of these processes produce magma. As magma cools, the magnetic minerals within align with Earth‚Äôs magnetic field and these alignments can be used to determine the age of a rock (paleomagnetism). Similarly, small crystals formed within the magma can also indicate a rocks age (geochronology). There is a likely connection between the locations due to similar timing of emplacement […]

Eden McEwen

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The twinkling of stars and other astronomical targets due to the Earth’s atmosphere is a long-standing disadvantage that ground-based telescopes face compared to their space-based peers. Large observatories have used adaptive optics (AO) to correct for atmospheric blurring, producing nearly diffraction-limited images. Ground layer AO (GLAO) seeks to apply corrections to a wider field of view than traditional AO by selectively targeting lower atmospheric layers. My SURF project will look at the last three years of data from the ‘imaka GLAO experiment to characterize the instrument’s correction over a variety […]

Andy Chen

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The retina is the neural tissue lining the back of the eye that senses incoming light and relays this information to the brain, allowing for vision to occur. During development, “waves” of neural activity propagate across the retina, and to areas of the brain that receive retinal input. Retinal waves play an important role in establishing the organization of retinal inputs to the brain, but there is only limited evidence that they play a role in the development of the retina itself. I am exploring the role of waves in […]

David Pack

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Among all Asian American subgroups, Filipinx Americans have consistently shown to suffer from the highest rates of hypertension. Despite this alarming fact, little research has been done to investigate culturally sensitive interventions to help control blood pressure and reduce rates of hypertension in this specific community. The purpose of my research will be to investigate whether the development and implementation of a culturally tailored culinary intervention used to control hypertension, such as a heart healthy Filipinx recipe cookbook, is effective for encouraging dietary change and ultimately reducing blood pressure in […]

Ava Olson

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How do fictional cops enable and validate real police brutality? My research surveys a wide selection of procedural television from the 1950s to the present, examining each show in its context to understand the cultural, political, and sociological work done by narratives that cast police officers as “good guys” in a reality where that may not be the case. From standard procedurals like The Rookies to more modern, “progressive” programs like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, I hope to examine how television manufactures consent among the American public to justify over-policing and its […]

Orion Ning

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Quantum field theory (QFT) — a theory describing subatomic particles as excitations of fundamental ‘fields’ — has long been established as the de facto framework for modern particle physics, yet it remains a topic riddled with open problems. Interacting QFTs in higher dimensions, particularly 6D, is one such problem, motivated by string theory, a highly theoretical mathematical model attempting to describe all of nature. These interacting QFTs have Lagrangians (precursors to ‘equations of motion’) that can probe M5-branes, which are objects of fundamental interest in string theory. However, the Lagrangians […]

Novia Kayfetz-Vuong

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In Ecuador, the Epipedobates clade of poison frogs (Dendrobatidae) have speciated in different climate zones (Tarvin et al., 2017). Poison frogs are aposematic; they possess colorations and markings that serve to warn predators of their toxic defenses. Determining poison frog species can be difficult due to aposematism, as possessing different color and marking patterns does not necessarily indicate a separate species (Tarvin et al., 2017). Thus, genomic level studies are necessary to understand ongoing gene flow, i.e., the introduction of genetic material from one species to another through interbreeding. Advances […]