Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Sarah Cohen

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Climate change, whether one believes in it or not, is an undeniably large presence in discourses about environmentalism, policy, and morality. Though the consensus among scientists about the reality and anthropogenic origin of global warming is solid, the general public is much less convinced. I am therefore interested in examining how an individuals understanding of the mechanism of the greenhouse effect is related to their political attitudes about climate change. To study this association, I will be running a survey project in “America’s Finest City,” San Diego. Once the data […]

Sivapratha Nagappan Chettiar

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Neurogenesis, the production of new neurons, occurs via the asymmetrical division of neural stem cells in specific regions of the mammalian and Drosophila brain. It is a highly regulated process as proper neuron type and number is crucial to allow the proper formation and functioning of the brain. In Drosophila brain, much is known about the pathways that regulate asymmetric cell division. However, little is known about the mechanisms that regulate its termination. In PTEN tumor suppressor gene mutants, neural stem cells aberrantly persist in the brain of adult Drosophila. […]

Robert Stevenson

This project is investigating conflicts in the representation of plant assemblages in the middle Pennsylvanian (Moscovian, 311.7 1.1 to 306.5 1.0 Mya) fossil record. Currently, the held belief is that the tropical lowlands of the Moscovian were dominated by swamp forests (coal forests) during periods of deglaciation. However, recent studies of the Baker Coal from the Cottage Grove mine of southeast Illinois show xerophytic (dry) plants sandwiched in-between layers dominated by the more common coal forest plants. This discovery infers that these floras may have been growing in close proximity […]

Hasan Dani

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The immune system monitors the inner workings of all cells of the body in its search for abnormal cells, whether they be infected or otherwise transformed. Every cell displays its intracellular peptides on its surface, and specialized cells of the immune system called T cells examine these peptides. The repertoire of peptides presented on the surface is a representation of the state of the cell; an abnormal peptide repertoire indicates an abnormal cell. An important part of the processing pathway that peptides undergo before being presented is ERAAP, an enzyme […]

Tyler Naman

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My research examines a current, multinational advertising campaign, analyzing in detail the campaigns appropriation of inclusive political rhetoric used by president Barack Obama, and what this reveals about American nationalism and global identity. Using multimodal discourse analysis and other more specific visual semiotic frameworks for decoding print and billboard advertisements, I will be analyzing advertisements marketed in the United States and Europe as part of this campaign. Since this advertising campaign relies heavily on the rhetoric of unity, and is multinational in its scope, what can this tell us about […]

Delane Sims

My summer research will take place in Washington D.C. the hub of senior based organizations such as AARP and the Department of Health and Human Services. My research will consist of examining specific health disparities that exist among African American elders that can cause them to fall into social isolation. While in a socially isolated state, many of these seniors can succumb to depression and even suicide. As more research is conducted on ways to identify specific health conditions among African American elders that lead to isolation, preventive measures can […]

Seema Desai

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My research focuses on peripheral nerve injury and treatment. Peripheral nerve injury requires medical attention when the severed ends of the nerve are further than a few millimeters apart. If the distance is small, the two nerve ends can regenerate and heal, but if the distance is greater (approximately a couple centimeters), then the two ends must be bridged by a nerve autograft or tubular conduit. My research specifically focuses on potential biomaterial fillers for tubular conduits, which can be modified to create an environment supportive of nerve regeneration. The […]

Dayoung Park

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Degradation reactions of alkyl radicals are of interest in combustion chemistry, planetary atmospheres, and the interstellar medium. However, the nature of their reaction pathways is not easily understood as the intermediates are highly reactive. My project will investigate the dissociation dynamics of a simple primary alkyl radical, 1-propyl, upon excitation at 248 nm using a detection scheme known as photofragment translational spectroscopy. Four distinctive product channels are assessed at this wavelength. A preliminary experimental work seems to indicate that the C-C bond cleavage is energetically the most favorable product channel. […]

Robert Schaffer

How effective are the endangered species laws in the US compared with those of other countries? Throughout the social science literature, scholars have noted that US courts have much broader powers of review over agency decisions than judges in other English-speaking nations, encouraging American interest groups to challenge agency rulings through the legal system. As such, in my project, I extend this comparative observation to pose a specific question: does the court-centric approach to policymaking in the United States provide for a more effective system of endangered species protection than […]

Meriel Melendrez

Coast Redwoods can grow over three hundred and fifty feet tall—well overtopping Sather Tower’s three hundred and seven. An individual Redwood might live in multiple above-ground micro-climates that can be especially noticeable on a sunny day: from low, perhaps shady to dry, hot, dizzyingly high-up. Macro-morphological features of their leaves (e.g. surface area and connection to the stem) have been demonstrated to correlate with such great height, suggesting that variable leaf structures work together with towering stature. What the stomata, pores, are up to meanwhile has yet to be as […]