Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Robert Gleichman

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Currently, it is difficult for robots to manipulate deformable objects. This is because deformable object’s plethora of states make it is difficult for the robot to figure out what next action will get it closer to its goal. One solution to this problem is to use human demonstrations. The robot can currently tie knots when given a demonstration of a knot tying sequence. This is done by finding a transformation from the rope state at test time to the rope state at the beginning of a demonstration. This transformation is […]

Jessica Chan

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My primary work revolves around a eukaryotic pathway known as RNA interference (RNAi) where small RNA molecules regulate gene expression. As the main enzyme responsible for generating these small RNAs, Dicer measures and cleaves a diverse population of RNA molecules into mature fragments primed to control genes. The two main substrates are hairpin RNAswhich are cut into microRNAs (miRNAs)and long duplex RNAswhich are cut into small interfering RNAs (siRNAs). Although many studies have analyzed Dicers ability to cleave RNA, there are still many unanswered questions about how Dicer selects its […]

Arvin Javadi

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TRPA1 ion channels are a specific example of a protein class that help the cell interact and respond to its environment. TRPA1 channels have been shown to consist generally of six trans-cell-membrane segments with two ends, an N-terminal and C-terminal end, with the N-terminal end extending into the cell. This endo-cellular region consists of 16 structural repeats called ankyrin repeat (AR) motifs. Studies have shown that TRPA1 channels in snake cells respond more to heat than chemical stimuli, in contrast to similar channels in mammals. Past research has also shown […]

Catherine Nguyen

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Members of the Burkholderia genus are Gram-negative intracellular bacteria that are highly pathogenic to humans and animals. Some species are capable of manipulating the actin cytoskeleton in eukaryotic cells for intracellular movement, which promotes cell-to-cell spread and evasion of the host immune system. However, the mechanism of actin nucleation is not understood. This project will determine how actin nucleation mediated by the conserved bacterial factor Burkholderia intracellular motility A (BimA), which is required for actin-based motility, differs among three Burkholderia species. Identification of BimA motifs that are important for actin-binding […]

Fikreselam Habebo

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In 2009 the country witnessed a spate of suicides among foreign maids, and last year a 33-year-old Ethiopian woman [Dechesa] killed herself shortly after being filmed being beaten by a Lebanese man on a Beirut street. With increasing reports of immigrants and abuse of domestic workers in the Gulf countries, the conditions of these migrant women need to be closely studied. My research question asks: 1) How is domestic work in Beirut, Lebanon racialized and gendered and 2) How do Ethiopian domestic workers in Lebanon experience race? I will approach […]

YeeAnn Chen

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Cancer is a potent disease that occurs when cells acquire certain mutations that cause uncontrollable cell growth. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that have been associated in cancer development. In our research, we specifically study the tumor suppressive effects of miRNAs on B cell lymphoma, a type of blood cancer in the lymph nodes. We have determined that the deletion of mir-34a or mir-34bc (tumor suppressive miRNAs) accelerate lyphomagenesis. More recently, it has been shown that there is a homologous cluster of miRNAs, the mir-449 family, suggesting similar functions. […]

Bernard Kim

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Supercapacitors have emerged as an attractive option to augment batteries in small electronic devices by providing the large power draws over short periods of time that would otherwise reduce the cycle life and health of the battery. Printing provides a cost-effective manufacturing method for uniform process control of individual components as well as for total device integration. Although ionic liquid supercapacitors have been successfully printed, there exists much room for improvement at the electrode interfaces with both the electrolyte and the current collector. The porous electrodes interfacial structure must be […]

Nikolay Nichiporuk

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After the tragic death of Kitty Genovese, a woman who was stabbed to death in front of several neighbors, a scientific investigation was made into the bystander effect. Bibb Latane of Columbia and John Darley of Princeton were the first to study the phenomena. Latane & Darley (1968) designed the classic bystander research paradigm where a comparison between helping rates of individuals who witness a crime versus a group of people who witness the same crime. Across their studies, they have found that 75% of people helped when faced with […]

Christopher Hansen

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Dengue (DENV) is a mosquito-borne viral illness that is endemic to many areas around the world, including Central and South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia, and affects approximately 300 million people per year. The current gold standard in vitro assay uses cell lines such as Vero or BHK that are not natural targets for DENV and lack several important co-receptors and FcRs that modulate DENV infections. My project will test cell lines that express the major co-receptors involved in DENV infection and will develop a new, robust, high-throughput in vitro […]

April Choi

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Nor-1 is a protein that can promote death of CD4+ CD8+ double positive thymocytes, cells in the process of maturing into T cells. In the thymus, these double positive thymocytes undergo a process called negative selection, in which any thymocytes that recognize self-molecules that our own body produces are killed. This makes sure that our body mounts an immune response when it encounters a foreign pathogen. Failure during this negative process results in autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (the go-to disease whenever someone is sick in the episodes […]