Novalia Pishesha

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Current Bio: After graduation, Novalia completed a PhD in Biological Engineering at MIT. She is currently a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. Haas Scholars Project: The slower muscle regeneration observed in older people is due to the less supportive extrinsic biochemical make-up, which constitutes the microenvironment of damaged muscle, in older people as compared to younger people. Muscle regeneration involves an inflammation phase during which the immune cells partly architect the microenvironment surrounding muscle injury. Nova would like to decipher the mediator and pathways that might bridge […]

Jessica Nichole Pasqua

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Methylenetetrahydrofolate-reductase (MTHFR) is an enzyme involved in the synthesis of methionine, an essential amino acid. Due to MTHFR importance for cellular health, Jessica studies MTHFRs in yeast species Saccharomyces cerevisiae through analysis of paralogous genes MET12 and MET13. The Met12 and Met13 proteins are both MTHFR enzymes, however based upon biochemical results Met12 appears to be non-functional. Recently Jessica showed that Met12 has been non-functional for millions of years, since it also lacks function in yeast species Saccharomyces bayanus. Since yeast aggressively remove non-functional elements from their genomes, this result […]

Michal Karmi

The rising economic and environmental cost of fossil fuels will greatly affect our reliance on them for global food transportation in the near future. Michal will design crop plans for plant-based food systems in Israel and Ireland — regions with radically different climates — to determine the feasibility of maintaining a locally grown, healthy plant-based diet. This summer, she will conduct research in Israel and Ireland, collecting technical evidence of soil and climate conditions to determine what can be grown in each area, gathering historical data on plant foods grown […]

S. Zayd Enam

In this project we plan on using parallelized computation to build realistic sparse coding models for neurons in the primary visual cortex (V1). Sparse coding is a stimulus encoding technique used by V1 neurons that aims to minimize the number active neurons required in encoding any input image. Due to computational constraints, previous sparse coding models have been limited in their ability to match the biology of lateral geniculate nucleus projections to V1. Our models will allow us to better describe recorded biological data and provide further evidence that V1 […]

Katya Cherukumilli

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Since the early 20th century, global surface temperatures have risen 1.4F, with the majority of the warming occurring in the past three decades due to anthropogenic activities. Significant changes in sea level, ecosystems, and ice cover are predicted to occur as a result of increasing temperatures. Katya aims to understand ecological responses to simulated and natural climate change in a subalpine meadow at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. She will maintain a database for the longest-running climate manipulation experiment in the world and gather additional information about the species abundance […]

Laura Carolina Rodriguez-Adjunta

Salmonella is the leading source of food-borne diseases in the United States. Infection by Salmonella Typhimurium causesdiseases ranging from self-limiting gastroenteritis to life-threatening systemic infection, provoking around 1.3 billion cases every year worldwide. Moreover, no vaccine to prevent salmonellosis exists. Recently, 19 small noncoding bacterial RNAs (sRNAs) located in salmonella SPIs were discovered, of which IsrC is one of the newest forms. Bacterial sRNAs regulate the expression of their target genes in pathogenesis, essentially contributing to bacterial invasiveness. My research will focus on the interaction between IsrC and its predicted […]

Irene Steves

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Stomatopods, also known as mantis shrimp, are some of the coolest marine crustaceans. They are powerful predators (for their size, at least) and are concentrated in tropical waters all over the world. The stomatopod rostrum, a segment of exoskeleton near the eyes, ranges from a simple triangular shape to something that looks more like a crown or the curved top of a palace. This summer, Irene will be looking into the evolutionary motivations of stomatopod rostrum variation. She plans to determine the function of the rostrum and the reasons for […]

Brendon McNicholas

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Research in alternative energy has become increasingly urgent in recent years due to constantly increasing pollution and depletion of traditional energy sources. One of the most compelling devices in the field is the fuel cell, a means for converting hydrogen and oxygen into useful energy. To contribute to the advancement of the field of alternative energy, this thesis aims to further the characterization of an oxygen reduction catalyst for a PEM fuel cell. Literature has shown that certain first-row transition metal corrole complexes are active for catalytic oxygen reduction, and […]

Keng Lam

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Worldwide, we have more than 33 million people living with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). It remains a challenge to find the best prevention methods. Keng’s research compares two new biomedical prevention methods that have used ART (antiretroviral therapy) to prevent HIV transmission in discordant couples (one member is infected but the other is not). One method is PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), where the uninfected person takes antiretroviral drugs, and the other method begins ART in the infected member earlier than is clinically recommended to prevent transmission. The clinical trials data from […]

Michael Goldrich

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Genetic work with model organisms, such as fruit flies, mice, and zebrafish, has provided invaluable insights into the mechanisms behind human disease and development. One tool for creating these models is direct modification of the genome. Michael is optimizing the use of reagents, called zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs), in order to create specific and targeted modifications in the DNA sequence of a very genetically tractable system, the zebrafish. Using ZFNs, genes can possibly be directly targeted to express desired proteins, incorporate molecular tags, or can even be repaired by a […]