Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Elaina Marshalek

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With a rapidly increasing amount of tropical forest threatened by logging and land conversion, there is growing concern about retaining species diversity, and in turn, ecosystem sustainability. My research uses methods from the Operations Research field to incorporate ecological considerations for strategic planning in multi-use tropical forest landscapes. While past research has primarily focused on identifying sites for placing permanent reserves, my research develops optimization tools to create algorithms that apply principles of ecological sensitivity to both reserve patterns and harvest scheduling at once.I am utilizing recent advances in numerical […]

Nare Janvelyan

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Metalloporphyrins are found in various different organisms ranging from humans to plants. Metalloporphyrins consist of a porphyrin macrocycle with a coordinated metal atom at their center. They are part of many biological systems such as chlorophyll, vitamin B12, cytochrome P-450, and hemoglobin. Synthetic metalloporphyrins are used as commercial dyes and catalysts in the design of solar cells, molecular electronics, and supramolecular building blocks. The metalloporphyrins interaction with light plays a critical role in many systems therefore it is important to characterize the molecules interactions with light. The goal of my […]

Dayna Stimson

My research focuses on the growing recognition that the scientific study of consciousness is lacking in one crucial element: a rigorous methodology for examining the first-person, qualitative aspects of conscious states. While neuroimaging and computational cognition have greatly enhanced our knowledge of brain function, we are no closer to bridging the explanatory gap. That is, how does neuronal activity create the deeply complex, subjective, and personal world that each of us experiences? Though conventional scientific study does not currently recognize introspection as a valid method of inquiry, I will examine […]

Angel Jung

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Increasing crop yields has always been a global issue. One of the largest studies of domestic hunger, Hunger in American 2010, reported, hunger is increasing at an alarming rate in the United States (Feeding America). My research this summer focuses on identifying a bHLH gene, ms32, which promotes fertility in maize (corn), the most widely grown grain crop. As the anther – the male reproductive organ in plants – matures during early development, five distinct layers are formed and required for meiosis to function properly. One of the five layers, […]

Kaiji Gong

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To judge whether an economic bubble would lead to a financial crash and to estimate the critical time of a crash are significant in financial areas. The Log-Periodic Power Law (LPPL) is an equation that describes how bubbles evolve and grow. By fitting the equation into a financial time series, it is possible to predict the event of a crash. The equation proves to be effective in predicting several financial crises, such as the one in 2008. My research will focus on extending the model to predict market behaviors after […]

Maria Pizzano

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Butterflies are known for the remarkable patterns and colors of their wings. There are precisely arranged rows of microscopic single-cell scales across the wing surface. The color of scales can result from either the biosynthesis of pigments within the scale, or from structural coloration (sometimes both). Structural colors, such as iridescence, are of particular interest because they originate from the interaction of light with complex nanostructures that are found within or at the surface of each scale. A remarkable example of iridescence is seen on the wings of the Gulf […]

Andrew Hwang

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Nitric oxide (NO) is a toxic by-product of fossil fuel combustion known to cause lung infection and respiratory allergies. The catalytic reduction of NO by H2 over noble metal catalysts (e.g. platinum, rhodium, and palladium) is an effective means to remove this environmental toxin; however, the reaction mechanism is poorly understood. We aim to develop a set of elementary reaction steps describing the reaction pathway by measuring steady-state reaction rates. We plan to measure isotopic exchange rates and kinetic isotope effects and perform in situ infrared spectroscopy to evaluate the […]

Sarah Covington

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From Homers Odyssey to Dostoevskys Crime and Punishment, the average American high school graduate has at least encountered a work of foreign literature in translation. Yet those students have not likely read the same translations of the works. Where the original language text is fixed, translations can differ wildly. Whats more, there are both British and American versions of Harry Potter; because of cultural differences from one English speaking country to another, there are translations of a book from one language to the same language. How much then, does culture […]

Andrew Levine-Murray

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The Castro District in San Francisco, California is frequently referred to as the Gay Mecca, a home for those of us who have been pushed to the margins because of our sexual orientation. However, demographics of and race relations within the Castro tell quite a different story, as people of color are largely absent or excluded from the community. Thus, my research question asks how queer people of color who congregate in the Castro neighborhood perceive their membership within the community. To answer this, I will conduct participant observation within […]

Michael Reeves

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Human Cytomegalovirus Virus (HCMV) may go unnoticed in people with healthy immune systems; however, this opportunistic pathogen can be life threatening to immunodeficient individuals including AIDS patients, newborns, and transplant patients. Nucleic acid molecules such as ribozymes are promising gene – interfering agents. This enzymatic RNA accomplishes gene-interference by targeting and cleaving a specific region of mRNA e.g., viral mRNA. In my research I will take advantage of the ability of Salmonella bacteria to enter human cells and transfer genetic material to host cells, leading to efficient expression of the […]