Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Bradley Vu

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Methane is a significant target in efforts to combat climate change due to its high potency as a greenhouse gas. In the agricultural sector, cattle farming is among the highest contributors to methane emissions. Promisingly, the compound bromoform can inhibit methane production within cattle and reduce intestinal methane levels. Cattle ranchers have applied this process by feeding cows a red seaweed that natively synthesizes bromoform. However, concentrated, industrial seaweed farming can be costly and the practices used can themselves contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, a novel method of bromoform […]

Abby Wang

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Microbiome editing is an emerging field that enables the genetic modification of bacteria within complex microbial communities and is a promising approach to tackle many scientific and technological questions in microbiology. The Rubin Lab developed a plasmid-based gene-editing tool (DART), encoding CRISPR-associated transposons (CASTs) capable of making species- and site-specific edits in a bacterial community. While DART can efficiently make targeted edits in model bacteria, the editing efficiency remains low across phylogenetically diverse bacteria, thus limiting the range of targets for community editing. Our current research used a genome-wide mutant […]

Meisen Wang

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The physiological blind spot is a region in the visual field that corresponds to the location of the optic nerve of an eye. The optic nerve is a bundle of nerve fibers that connect the eye and the brain. Because there are no photoreceptors (light sensors) in the optic nerve, this region is “blind” in that the brain receives no visual input from this location. However, as we do not see a black spot in the periphery of our vision even with only one eye, the lack of informational input […]

Jillian Wilson

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Multipotent neural crest cells have the capability to differentiate into derivatives. By studying the gene regulatory networks that precisely control their development, we can discover how these networks are utilized in repair mechanisms and how they malfunction in relation to disease. Using the chicken embryo as a model organism, I will focus on cells that migrate into the heart and study the role of transcription factor Egr1 in their development. Egr1 is a BMP-responsive gene, but how is it regulated in the neural crest? I will look at the gene […]

Sonia Roedersheimer

Copper (Cu) homeostasis is essential for all organisms as it plays a role in redox and oxygen chemistry in many cellular processes. Cu content in the cell can be maintained through regulating its uptake, export, and distribution. Chlamydomonas, a single-celled green alga, is used as a reference organism to understand Cu homeostasis in organisms. Previous work led to the discovery of CRR1, a transcription factor, which turns on genes in Cu deficiency. Among its targets, CRR1 regulates the CTR family of assimilatory copper transporters. In low nutritional Cu, the transporter […]

Hong Joo Ryoo

My research operates at the intersection of computer science and Lattice Quantum Chromodynamics (LQCD), focusing on quantum computations of real-time three-body correlation functions in 1+1 dimensions. Our primary objective is to determine how quantum computing can effectively simulate three-body interactions that evolve over time within physically realistic quantum states. By implementing the finite-volume formalism, integral equation methods, and other computational techniques, we aim to lay the groundwork for future quantum simulations that operate in real-time and can be extended to higher dimensions beyond 1+1D within the LQCD framework.

Nathan Song

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Ultracold atomic lattices are a hot platform for quantum information. By addressing neutral atoms with resonant light in an optical cavity we can induce effects like Rabi oscillations, Rydberg blockade, and many-body coherent interactions. Precise control over such effects enables exploration of complex Ising models, exotic spin liquids, and phase transitions. With the lifetime of our atoms being ~500 ms, however, the gate time (effective light modulation time) of our setup remains a key hurdle. Building on work from Thompson’s group, this project will enable sub-25µs gates on a new […]

Sanoja Sridevan

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Angiosperms (flowering plants) are the most abundant type of plant on Earth. Their diversification and expansion during the Late Cretaceous greatly benefited insect pollinators, including bees. However, direct paleontological evidence of this important plant-pollinator interaction is scarce. This summer I will analyze an exceptionally preserved underground sweat bee nest (family Halictidae) from the Late Cretaceous Gulf coastal plain. I will perform and analyze micro-CT data to observe the nest morphology and contents in greater detail. Inside the nest, pollen pallets collected by the female bee to feed the developing larvae […]

Roma Nagle

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Structure determines function. This ground truth drives the exponential progress being made in biology. By understanding a molecule’s structure, scientists can harness its function for drug discovery, genetics, or even studying evolution. However, determining a molecule’s structure in the lab is not easy. Even with advancements such as cryoEM, there has been a significant push to computationally predict structures instead. This motivation is at the heart of my research in the Cate Lab. Can we use machine learning to predict the 3D structure of an RNA molecule from just its […]

Vivian Nguyen

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Over the past decade, CRISPR-Cas9 has emerged as an unparalleled tool for single-gene disease therapy. Yet, the vast majority of the genome is currently untargetable by Cas9 due to its strict requirement for a specific protospacer adjacent motif (PAM). While there have been attempts to engineer Cas9 with broader PAM recognition, these variants exhibit significantly lower on-target specificity and higher off-target activity compared to wild type Streptococcus pyogenes Cas9. To expand Cas9’s targetable genomic space without decreased on-target activity and increased off target editing, this research aims to engineer novel […]