Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Apurva Govande

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A virus can have two distinct life cycles: lytic, which produces new virus, and latent, in which the virus remains silently integrated into the DNA of the host. The ultimate goal of a latent virus like Kaposis sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is to get its viral genes integrated into the host genome, and eventually produce viral proteins in order to generate more virus. These viral proteins interact with the host cell organelles and proteins in order to hijack host machinery for viral use. A KSHV viral protein, ORF68, interacts with and […]

Lawrence Bai

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Found in many species of bacteria and archaea, the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and CRISPR associated (Cas) proteins provide an adaptive defense mechanism against foreign invaders such as viruses and plasmids. By integrating segments of the foreign DNA into the CRISPR locus of the host genome, the bacteria remember the invaders and can subsequently produce CRISPR RNAs (crRNAs) to destroy the foreign DNA complementary to the crRNA. In particular, Cas9 plays a major role in using the short RNA as a guide to search for any DNA […]

Zhengzheng Hu

The Game of Chomp (also called Northeast) is a two-player game on a rectangular chocolate bar consisting of m-by-n squares. Players take turns eating chocolate squares on the board. If a player eats a square, they must eat all squares lying above (north) and to the right (east) of that piece. Whichever player eats the lowest left corner chocolate square (poisoned) loses (Gale). For my project, I am trying to apply Sprague-Grundy value from Game Theory and Young diagrams from Algebra to characterize winning strategies for Chomp or provide evidence […]

Nicole Greene

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By understanding how physiology, behavior and the environment all contribute to animal multifunctionality, we can better understand animal motion and translate these discoveries into new technologies in the fields of robotics, prosthetics and rehabilitation. Ghost crab (ocypode quadrata) burrowing is particularly valuable for understanding multifunctional appendage design. To access burrowing data (like forces produced by the crabs legs, the effect of the crabs motion and the importance of the crabs anatomical features) and systematically vary them, I am constructing a robotic model based on actual ghost crab appendages. Robotic models […]

Travis Bartley

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According to the 20th century theorist Mikhail Bakhtin, the distinguishing feature of the novel lies in its ability to incorporate multiple dialects and forms of language into itself and better mirror the diversity of language that naturally occurs in reality. In his argument for this theory, Bakhtin relies on a cultural analysis of the genres development and ignores the impact of technological innovation in media that may have crucially affected the development of the genre. My project seeks to analyze Bakhtins theory in relation to similar studies that incorporate the […]

Sandon Griffin

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Understanding the neurophysiology of sensation in mammals has been a major topic of research for over a century. My project aims to shed light on the neural circuitry underlying the sensory perception of body position, known as proprioception, by investigating its role in object localization. Our ability to proprioceive is mostly subconscious and facilitates several skills including typing on a keyboard without looking. As with other senses, specific sensory receptors that mediate proprioception, termed proprioceptors, have been identified. Research using whisking behavior in rats and mice as a model has […]

Rosella Bearden

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In Spring of 2011, prisoners inside Pelican Bay State Prison contacted prisoner-rights and anti-prison activist organizations announcing prisoners would be beginning a rolling hunger strike and that they needed support making sure their voices and demands were heard and acted on outside prison walls. The Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition (PHSS)- originating in the Bay Area and made up of grassroots organizations, family members, formerly incarcerated people, lawyers, and individuals- to amplify the voices of CA prisoners on hunger strike was formed. Though the hunger strike has ended, the demands […]

Mallika Lal

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Antibiotic resistance in the Enterobacteriaceae family, which includes Gram-negative bacteria E. coli and Klebsiella, has become a serious public health problem. Many bacteria of this family produce extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs), which are enzymes that can degrade most beta-lactam antibiotics. Therefore, carbapenems, a type of beta-lactam drug, are increasingly the drugs of last resort for ESBL-producing bacteria. However, an enzyme called Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC) threatens to render carbapenems completely ineffective, leaving few choices for treatment in patients with infections caused by KPC-producing species. In fact, the CDC has designated carbapenem-resistant […]

Aryan Haratian

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Four serotypes of the dengue virus (DENV1-4) circulate globally, causing more human illness than any other mosquito-borne virus. DENV infections can be both asymptomatic and symptomatic, resulting in dengue fever or the more severe and life-threatening forms of the disease, dengue hemorrhagic shock/dengue shock syndrome. DENV infections confer life-long immunity against re-infection with the same serotype; however, they may either protect against or enhance a subsequent infection with a different serotype. An important step in assessing this topic is the determination of the amount of anti-DENV antibodies produced by the […]

Marina Blum

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Measles was once a nearly ubiquitous childhood plague, a rite of passage with sometimes deadly outcomes. However, the disease has all but disappeared in the vaccination era – few people cross paths with the measles, few know anyone who has been infected. The veritable erasure of the disease from public life stems from widespread use of the measles vaccine, whose success effectively revolutionized societys relationship with measles from one of grudging resignation, to a near ignorance. It is the nature and details of this change in perception that I will […]