Jonathon Atkinson

Profile image of Jonathon Atkinson

Friedrich Nietzsche wrote that his was a nihilistic age, one in which the question why, in relation to issues of morality, ethics, and meaning, finds no answer. Using Nietzsche as well as Martin Heideggers writings as points of departure, I will consider the following questions, among others: In what sense might our age be understood as nihilistic? How did this come to be? What can or should be done to cope with this situation? In so doing, I will bear two considerations in mind: First, what it would mean to […]

Erik Petigura

Profile image of Erik Petigura

Oxygen is the third most abundant element in the universe behind hydrogen and helium. However, measuring its abundance in stars is surprisingly difficult. This is because oxygen transition lines are weak, hard to model, or contaminated with other lines. Recently, new techniques for measuring the oxygen content from stellar spectra have been developed. I will apply these techniques to the nearest 1000 solar-type stars and measure their oxygen content. The oxygen content in stars plays an important role in planet formation. Specifically, the ratio of carbon to oxygen is critical […]

Robert Bellerose

Profile image of Robert Bellerose

Biofuels have received much attention lately as the need for a renewable and carbon-neutral source of energy becomes increasingly important. We have assembled a biosynthetic pathway in Escherichia coli that produces butanol, a second generation biofuel, in six overall steps. However, there is a significant bottleneck at crotonyl-CoA reductase (Ccr) in the pathway that limits butanol production, which may be attributed to the observation that Ccr suffers from low solubility. The overall goal of my project is to carry out directed evolution of Ccr and generate a library of mutants […]

Roxanne Rajaii

Profile image of Roxanne Rajaii

Cell responses are mediated by signal transduction pathways that involve protein and lipid kinase cascades. One of the two essential PtdIns 4-kinases in the budding yeast (S. cerevisiae), encoded by the PIK1 gene, localizes both to the Golgi and in the nucleus and has an essential function in both compartments. Pik1 in the Golgi functions in regulating secretion from the Golgi to the cell surface, but the processes that Pik1 helps regulate in the nucleus are not well understood. In an effort to understand the essential role of Pik1 in […]

Sarah Carlson

Profile image of Sarah Carlson

This summer I will be exploring the origins of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender community spaces in the Bay Area. I am exploring primary sources such as newsletters and organizational records as well as doing oral history interviews with people closely involved in these centers. My study will span from the early 1950s, when many of the first homophile organizations opened offices in San Francisco, to the early 1980s, when local groups opened community centers throughout the Bay Area. Through this research, I hope to better understand the community wide […]

Joo Yeon (Jenny) Ryu

Profile image of Joo Yeon (Jenny) Ryu

9-cis-retinoic acid (9cRA) is one of the many derivatives of vitamin A. Although vitamin A derivatives are most known for their involvement in sight, they are involved in many physiological process such as the immune response, the development of many organs, and the maintenance of normal internal conditions like blood glucose. Normally, glucose levels are closely regulated by hormones of the pancreas such as insulin and glucagons. However in the case of diabetes, this tight regulation collapses. 9cRA has shown potential in correcting the hormonal imbalance characteristic of diabetes. How […]

Elizabeth Castle

Profile image of Elizabeth Castle

My current research takes advantage of the empathic, approach-oriented facets of compassion to investigate the broader concept of prosociality. My SURF project explores the neural basis of prosocial emotion by examining individual differences in dispositional traits in context of both central (with functional brain imaging) and peripheral (with measurements of vagus nerve activity) nervous system response to compassion inducing stimuli. The ultimate goal of my research is to identify both the dispositional traits that influence compassion, and the physiological factors that support prosocial behavior, and study how impaired compassion can […]

Stephanie Tjho

Profile image of Stephanie Tjho

Circadian rhythms, generated in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in the brain, are found in a wide range of organisms, and play an important role in the generation and maintenance of many biological processes. Chronic disruption of the circadian rhythm, as seen in flight attendants and other shift workers, has been found to be correlated with increased cancer rates. My project will examine the impact of jetlag on immune function, and use cell sorting methods to examine whether there is a change in the amount produced or time of production of […]

Chen Chen

Profile image of Chen Chen

One of the most surprising conclusions to emerge from whole genome sequencing projects in the last decade is that all animals have roughly the same number of genes. Initially, this seems contradictory to the idea that higher organisms have more genes to account for higher levels of complexity. However, one potential explanation is alternative pre-mRNA splicing, through which different exon combinations are incorporated into mature transcripts, thereby increasing the number of proteins encoded by a limited number of genes. Although there have been extensive studies in vitro concerning the biochemical […]

Connie Wang

Profile image of Connie Wang

My research project is designed to tease apart the contribution of circadian irregularities on reproductive performance. Circadian rhythms are essential for the maintenance of ~24 hour cycles in behavior, physiology, and neural function required for normal health. In humans, chronic or acute loss of synchrony between the circadian clock in the brain and the environment through shift work, jet lag, poor sleep hygiene, etc., leads to numerous health problems. Of great concern, many studies show that disruptions in circadian function lead to infertility, spontaneous abortion, and low birth weight in […]