Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

May Wang

It has been difficult to isolate the neural activity linking a particular visual stimulus to the behavior it triggers. This may be due to variability in neural activity caused by factors such as pupil size fluctuations, and research has shown that pupil dilation reduces neural activity variability. May hypothesizes that pupil dilation prior to presentation of visual stimuli will improve the behavioral response of mice performing a visual contrast detection task. Using two-photon calcium imaging, May will examine the neural activity of mice performing the task while recording their pupils. […]

Selina Pacheco

Childhood family income is a powerful predictor of academic achievement and mental health. Here, we ask whether children living in poverty who beat the odds by succeeding academically are subsequently protected from–or more at risk for–internalizing disorders. Prior research indicates that high-performing children in poverty tend to have higher coupling between lateral frontoparietal network (LFPN; supports executive functions), and Default Mode Network (DMN; supports internally-directed thought); this is in contrast to research with high-income children, for whom this pattern of connectivity is linked to worse academic performance, and importantly, more […]

Ihab Elmasri

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Current processes for the production of partially oxidized alkanes constitute a large portion of the energy consumption of the petrochemical industry. The conversion of low cost and readily available alkane feedstocks to more useful unsaturated hydrocarbons and oxygenates while making use of cheap oxidants such as oxygen can circumvent the need to rely on the energy intensive and environmentally harmful processes currently implemented. Through the use of a Cu-MFI catalyst, Ihab plans on tackling this issue by synthesizing a collection of copper catalysts with various copper loadings. Varying the number […]

Sushil Bohara

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common psychiatric disorder characterized by intrusive anxiety-provoking thoughts and repetitive behaviors. Deep brain stimulation (DBS), an implantable neuromodulation therapy that can effectively modulate neural circuits in the brain using electrical stimulation, has emerged as an approach to treat severe cases of OCD. To address the current need for reliable biomarkers of OCD symptom response to DBS to inform the optimal brain targets for OCD patients, Sushil will evaluate functional MRI data acquired simultaneously to DBS in a cohort of patients with medication-refractory OCD to comprehensively […]

Verina Atallah

Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is an important viral cause of disease globally especially in immunocompromised persons. Current medications to treat HCMV infections (Ganciclovir) have a poor safety profile, and risk the potential to select for drug resistance. Antibodies and immune cells confer partial protection against HCMV; however, the contribution of other immune defenses such as the complement system remain poorly understood. In this study, Verina will employ a yeast-two-hybrid screen using an HCMV gene library to identify protein-protein interactions with human C1qBP, a multifunctional intracellular complement protein. Following identification, Verina will […]

Xitlaly Olivera

The process of mining gold has been proven to have detrimental effects on the environment. As foreign investment towards gold mining increases in Oaxaca, Indigenous people are left to face the long-term consequences of mineral extraction. Indigenous foodways are sacred, as food remains central to the reproduction of Indigenous culture. Xitlaly’s research focuses on the impact of ecological degradation, as a result of gold mining, on Indigenous food systems and potential cultural loss in Oaxaca, Mexico. Her research will entail a collection of interviews from local Indigenous peoples in Los […]

Luis Orozco Sanchez

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Outdoor Education (OE) is a critical component in aiding environmental literacy and improving the general health of our younger generations through fostering a connection to nature. However, studies have shown OE in America is predominantly made up of male and caucasian participants. OE would theoretically benefit youth from a lower socioeconomic background the most, as these youth are deprived of access to nature to a much greater extent, yet youth from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds remain underrepresented in OE. Research on OE’s impact on youth’s connection to nature based on socioeconomic […]

Eli Martinez

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Though many aspects of the criminal punishment system have been explored in research, this project aims to address a gap in analyzing the effects that penal supervision has on kin-networks, post-incarceration. Although there are more people than ever before subject to community supervision in our communities, little is known about how this affects family life, neighborhood dynamics, and society more broadly. The goal of Eli’s project is to better understand the strains being put on the kin-networks of individuals who are under the most widespread form of penal supervision; community […]

Natalie Rosas

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The term “multi-generational punishment,” was coined by Dr. Laura E. Enriquez in 2015, to name a “distinct form of legal violence wherein the sanctions intended for a specific population spill over to negatively affect individuals who are not targeted.” Natalie’s research aims to expand on existing literature by exploring the effects that legal sanctions have on undocumented parents in the realm of healthcare — how it impacts their own access, and the unintended consequences it has on their children regardless of their own legal status. Through long form interviews with […]