Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Di Lu

From reflex to philosophical reflection, the entire spectrum of neural activity relies on the mechanisms of neuron-to-neuron communication, or synaptic transmission. Thus any defects in this process causes catastrophic results in an organism. A mutant of the fruit fly gene Handel, involved in synaptic transmission, was recently isolated in the lab. The mutation causes lethal synaptic transmission disruption. This summer, I will use immunohistochemical staining methods to determine the general aspect of synaptic transmission that is malfunctioning. I will also use deletion, duplication, and recombination mapping to make considerable headway […]

Marcelo Aranda

Personal violence was an endemic problem for Early Modern societies, since both elites and the upwardly mobile acted according to codes of honor rooted in the past. Two cultures, Early Modern Spain and Japan, handled this problem in outwardly similar manners. While governments imposed strict penalties on personal violence, martial artists in both societies created systems of combat that addressed not only the immediate physical concerns of their students, but also their spiritual and psychological needs. By analyzing and comparing 16th century Spanish and 17th century Japanese fencing manuals I […]

Ashley Nicole Lipps

Age-related bone loss and osteoarthritis have been exhibited in several mammalian species, and both are especially common in humans. However, the etiology behind age-related bone loss is highly complicated and osteoarthritis is especially unstudied. Previous studies have relied on rodent models and have primarily investigated changes in BMD (Bone Mineral Density); however several weaknesses are associated with both approaches. I will be using Macaca mulatta, a similar species to humans with analogous bone remodeling processes in both cancellous and cortical bone. I will be using two methods: 1) histomorphometric analysis […]

Jacob Harrison Levine

The current conception of the hormonal regulation of mammalian reproduction purports that the anterior pituitary gland and the peripheral sex organs are controlled by a hypothalamic releasing factor (Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone: GnRH) which acts on the pituitary. Recent research suggests that secretion of hypothalamic releasing factor is itself tightly regulated by neuropeptides that are novel to this line of research. One such peptide, kisspeptin, also known in cancer research as metastin for its role as a metastasis suppressor, has been shown to be a positive regulator of the reproductive axis, […]

Nan Zhang

A common consensus in the political economy of development literature holds that countries whose production depends overwhelmingly on primary resources &Mac246; oil, diamonds, minerals &Mac246; tend to grow more slowly than their resource scarce neighbors, and also often fall victim to insidious politics and state weakness. In stark contrast to this consensus however stands Botswana, a country built on diamond wealth that has nevertheless managed to sustain the highest level of GDPpc growth of any nation in the world over the past 35 years. This project explores how Botswana was […]

Amy Marie Jimenez

For my senior thesis, I am studying potential neural abnormalities associated with dysfunctional emotion memory and regulation in Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). This study will help elucidate the role of emotion processing dysfunctions in the maintenance and expression of the disorder. I will be utilizing previously collected, un-analyzed data for this project. First, I will determine whether individuals diagnosed with MDD demonstrate preferential memory for negative events compared to healthy control individuals in a free recall memory test of emotional pictures. Then I will analyze electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings taken during […]

Jane Yu

We are studying the role that a gene called KST245 plays in joint formation in mice. Currently, little is known about the regulation of joint development in the field of skeletal biology. However, through our research we hope to advance the field and share information that may be important in treating poorly understood joint diseases, such as arthritis. Mice that lack the functional KST245 gene (KST245 mutants) show irregular cartilage growth and misplaced joints. By examining the differences between the KST245 mutants and unaltered mice, we hope to understand the […]

Bradley Allen Hunt

‘Comedy’–as a genre, term, and concept–receives relatively little attention and academic exploration when juxtaposed with more ‘central’ fields of literary studies. Comedy is considered ‘low art’ by some, simply ‘illegitimate’ by others, and even believed to be derived from sin itself by a few literary critics. By examining the early travel writings and letters of Mark Twain, as well as the contemporary television program “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” I attempt to determine from where the marginality of the American comedic voice originates, and what effect it has on […]

Margaret Ellen Ward

Hawaii may seem like a racial paradise: rates of intermarriage are extraordinarily high, residential integration is the norm, and it lacks a history of significant racist legislation or violence. However, from the point Hawaii became U.S. territory in 1900 until the present, race has served as primary form of social vision and division. Using 1900-2000 U.S. census data, my project will analyze how race influences the distribution of economic resources in Hawaii, and why this relationship has changed over time. In doing so, I will answer whether Hawaiis racial hierarchies […]

Mariana Horta-Cappelli

Since the 1980’s our country has been fighting a “war on drugs” that is aimed at the supply side of the drug economy. Domestically this effort caused our incarcerated population to grow much faster in the past 30 years than the total population. Consequentially, a growing proportion of children experience the negative externalities of a parent’s incarceration. My research question is “How have the ‘drug wars’ affected the children of the incarcerated in California?” I’ll focus on the challenges facing families touched by incarceration and the services available to them. […]