Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Connor Tumelty

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Epigenetic information refers to chemical modifications to DNA and histones that can be inherited independently of the genetic sequence of a gene. These modifications control the expression of the gene and can alter the organism’s phenotype. In nature, a number of epialleles (alleles with identical sequences yet different epigenetic states) have been identified and often contribute to vast phenotypic diversity among a population of organisms. It is currently poorly understood whether epialleles can be engineered within plant systems. If possible, this could expand the toolbox available to plant breeders and […]

Tiffany Tian

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Up to half of Wilsons disease patients suffer from sleep disorders, including poor sleep quality, REM behavioral disorders (RBD), and cataplexy. However, the neural basis of these symptoms is poorly understood. My project this summer is to determine whether the ATP7B-/- knockout mouse is a good model system for studying the sleep disorders manifested in Wilsons disease, especially in the context of neural pathways involving copper homeostasis. Using automated sleep scoring methods, we will quantify sleep signatures in ATP7B-/- knockout and wildtype control mice. The brain copper changes in recorded […]

Ryan Quan

Mitochondrial DNA Depletion Syndromes (MdDSs) are a set of diseases characterized by severe pathological effects on the liver and brain. These syndromes are implicated by low/absent levels of mitochondrial genomes, circular strands of DNA housed in the mitochondria (mtDNA) that encode for proteins important for respiration. Thus, maintenance of this genome is thought to be critical for cellular health. However, the mechanism behind the tissue-specific pathologies of these syndromes remains unclear. Recent evidence suggests that the essentiality of mtDNA for cell viability and division may vary across different conditions. Recent […]

Jasper Talwani

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In my research project, I will create a partial grammatical description of Highland Chontal, a highly endangered indigenous language of Oaxaca, Mexico, through collaboration with elder master speakers. I will use this information to produce pedagogical materials for use in classrooms where the language is being taught. I will also conduct a workshop to train Chontal language activists and speakers in linguistics in order for them to understand and be able to use these materials, in addition to other skills such as literacy in the language, language documentation methods, and […]

Divij Sharma

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Strong gravitational lenses (deflection of light into multiple images by gravitational field of mass concentrations like galaxies) have been used as cosmological probes. These techniques involve ratios of distances between the observers, lens, and source. DSPL systems involve two sources lensed by the same foreground mass concentration. They provide a unique cosmological geometric probe through distance ratios involving the source and lens. Cosmic acceleration has been described using a form of energy called dark energy. Previous work by my advisor has shown that the DSPL key distance ratio is nearly […]

Phoebe Wang

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Dengue virus (DENV) infects an estimated 105 million people every year. More than 500,000 of these cases develop into a severe form of disease characterized by leakage of plasma from the vasculature. If left untreated, these symptoms may progress to fatal outcomes such as hemorrhage, hypovolemic shock, and organ failure. Studies have suggested that DENV non-structural protein 1 (NS1) plays an important role in the pathogenesis of severe dengue through interactions with endothelial and immune cells. In addition, the Harris Lab has recently shown in vitro and in vivo that […]

Jordan Serrano-Guedea

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First-generation college students (FGCS) experience many unique familial, cultural, social, and academic challenges as the first in the family to pursue a four-year degree. Previous research has found that these extra stressors may place FGCS at higher risk for mental health problems, lower retention rates, and lower graduation rates (House and Kolb, 2020). Yet, findings in the literature on the impacts of first-generation status on FGCS mental health are mixed, and no systematic review exists on this topic to reconcile the varied findings. This summer, I will expand upon this […]

Diana Ramirez

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The livelihood of the Poblano community’s oral histories and traditions, “desde nuestros pueblos a los estados unidos” (from our pueblos to the U.S.), is telling of my community’s ancestral resistance. The survival of our heritage allows our families to build community and identity, a home in a country that rejects and displaces both our Mexican immigrant communities and ancestral knowledge and identities. My research project is a transborder study in which I will trace my Indigenous roots in Puebla, Mexico and construct a memoir of the oral histories of my […]

Hong Joo Ryoo

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My research asks what unification would mean in the realm of modern physics, and the nature of the current scientific paradigm. It could potentially induce discourse of a paradigm shift, a drastic change in how humans in general understand things. In addition, by viewing the information paradox from multiple lenses, we could better approach a solution and Grand unification of quantum gravity. Current research consists of solutions of the Hawking radiation paradox in the forms of mathematical corrections, firm beliefs from intuition, new theoretical scenarios, low-energy theories, and other theories […]

Le Sun

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How do political parties influence online posting behavior? Previous research attributed an individual’s utility from posting online to two major channels: contribution to public knowledge and identity boosting. In this project, I will develop a model of demonization that analyzes how a political party, using posts on social media as signals, interacts with its supporters via these two channels. Using a set of state-sponsored posts and comments about the 2022 Ukraine-Russia Crisis from Weibo, one of China’s largest social media platforms, I will test how topic distributions of the comment […]