Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Amy Clark

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A native English speaker will not, generally, be surprised to hear that the color pink is associated with love, or green with envy; we are naturally attuned to the color symbolism embedded within our own language. One challenge of working with the literary tradition of a reconstructed language like Old English, however, is that many such tacit symbolic resonances have been lost to us. This summer, I will analyze the contexts in which the Old English color words sweart, rad, and fealo appear in existing Old English literature, systematically tracking […]

Priya Kshirsagar

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An algebraic variety is a generalization of a solution set to a family of polynomial equations. De Concini and Procesi developed a canonical method of compactifying any symmetric variety. This resulting compactification, called the wonderful compactification, has many favorable algebraic and geometric properties. Alexeev and Brion developed a method of degenerating any spherical variety to a toric variety. Many tools, such as combinatorics, can be used to study toric varieties in great detail. Thus, my main goal is to develop and study toric degenerations of the wonderful compactification. Eventually, I […]

Kelley O’Dell

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Conversations about sexuality abound among the youth of Amman, Jordan, where same-sex sexual activity is permissible by government law, yet the general public is still very hostile towards the queer community. In such a stigmatized environment, queer identities are legal, but hardly publicly permissible. Nevertheless, clubs, cafes, and bars known for their toleration have emerged as hotspots for members of the local queer community. Through my research in Amman, I hope to experience the citys underground and public queer spaces, and explore how people interact both within and across them. […]

Wendy Tang

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This summer, I plan on studying the longitudinal effect of multiple sclerosis on patients who have different disease courses. Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system that is characterized by patterns of disability over time. Some patients experience a single episode of disability while others experience tremendous disability after onset. When treating a patient, physicians are uncertain how a patients disease will evolve over time. Since the beginning of the UCSF MS Epic study in 2004, patient data in the form of electronic medical records (EMR) have […]

Carson Quinn

The way that brain cells wire together to form circuits underlies almost every facet of mental function, whether that be memory, thinking, or sensation. In my project, I seek to better understand what happens on a molecular level that allows for these specific circuits to form. Specifically, I want to elucidate the role that the maturation of synapsesthe connections between neuronshas on the shape, structure, and connectivity of the neurons making up these circuits, and how experience drives these changes. I will do this using the zebrafish visual processing system, […]

Edgar Cook

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The debate over gun control has become an increasingly divisive political issue among Americans, so much so that both liberals and conservatives appear to be talking past each other. According to Moral Foundations Theory, such political schisms arise because liberals and conservatives hold different moral intuitions and respond to different forms of moral rhetoric. While the intuitive and discursive asymmetries between liberals and conservatives may seem insurmountable, recent research suggests that moral framing can actually persuade partisans to change their attitudes by appealing to their moral intuitions. Expanding on this […]

Aditya Vignesh Venkatramani

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Squeezed light is a quantum mechanical state of light with smaller uncertainty in a component of interest (i.e., amplitude or phase) than what is observed in classical light. This reduced uncertainty is equivalent to reducing noise in the component of interest, which thereby allows ultraprecision measurements. Parametric Amplifiers are devices that can generate squeezed light. Experiments have shown that these devices have some non-ideal behaviour, but there is insufficient data to rigorously characterize these non-idealities. This project aims at developing efficient and fast methods to quantitatively measure the squeezed microwaves […]

Katrina Olson

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Proper gene expression relies on the precise communication between promoters and enhancers. It is not well understood how promoters and enhancers work to ensure the expression of the right genes at the right time. I plan to create minimal functional promoters in order to find the smallest unit of the promoter capable of driving gene expression in Ciona intestinalis, a sea squirt. Currently, the promoters used are longer than the core functional promoter and therefore may contain other, unknown information. With a minimal promoter of about 100 base pairs, it […]

William Tokumaru

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A quantum computer applies the concepts of quantum physics to make near instantaneous calculations. It is perhaps the best method for creating smaller and faster computers and it is able to apply Shors algorithm to break even the strongest contemporary encryption. The method of trapped ions is able to create a quantum computer by manipulating atoms suspended above and shuttled between surface traps by means of an electromagnetic field. Engineering these devices relies on scaling them up to simultaneously control many ions individually. At the moment, a major challenge to […]

Winston Pouse

Dark matter makes up about 23% of the total mass energy in the universe, a significant portion compared to the 5% of ordinary matter (atoms). However, dark matter has yet to be directly detected. Science is thus pushing towards better detectors. Currently Dr. Sadoulets lab is helping develop Kinetic Inductance Detectors (KIDs). These detectors are easier to fabricate and provide uniformity in performance between detectors. I will investigate a few issues or challenges that need to be overcome to develop an effective sensor technology. Firstly, I will resolve a discrepancy […]