Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Yizhen Zhang

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Vision is one of the most important senses in vertebrates. In adults, photoreceptors in the retina convert light into electrical signals, interneurons modify these signals, and retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) integrate the signals and send output to the brain. In most newborn mammals, photoreceptors and interneurons are not yet fully functional. However, newborns still respond to light. How are they seeing? A RGC subpopulation are atypical photoreceptors that respond to light in development. These intrinsically photosensitive RGCs (ipRGCs) encode light intensity and send output to the brains centers for mood […]

Zachery Valdez

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As paradoxical as it may sounds, the deportation of American Veterans is a phenomenon that continues to affect our non-Citizen Veterans. My research will analyze and document the deportation and United States Veterans, in order to understand why these Americans are getting deported.

Holly Barnhart

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For SURF 2017, I studied a travertine fissure ridge in Bridgeport, California to characterize trace element partitioning between thermal spring water and travertine carbonates. I will further analyze this system to establish an empirical temperature-oxygen isotope relationship for regional paleotemperature reconstruction. For use in paleoclimate reconstruction, temporal changes in carbonate precipitation conditions and their effect on carbonate trace element and isotopic composition must be characterized. In my earlier study, bulk solids were analyzed to capture overall travertine system dynamics. Analysis of travertine fluids and instantaneous precipitates can reflect present conditions […]

Maria Ji

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Vocal learning is the ability to produce vocalizations using auditory feedback to guide learning. Vocal learning has been explored extensively in songbirds and humans, but never within a tractable mammalian model species. By using two approaches, mapping vocal motor pathways and identifying auditory networks, I aim to investigate the neural circuitry of vocal learning in Egyptian fruit bats (Rousettus aegyptiacus). From a systems neuroscience perspective, my research will reveal mammalian neuroanatomical underpinnings and build the foundations for a mammalian model system of vocal learning. My findings will elucidate the mechanisms […]

Jamie Shiah

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The endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) complexes encompass an evolutionarily conserved, multi-subunit machinery that mediates unique membrane remodeling and scission away from the cytoplasm. This requires stabilization of negative membrane curvature, as induced by the ESCRT complexes. Now, studies have shown that ESCRTs can also direct membrane budding of the opposite topology, akin to that of clathrin-mediated endocytosis by dynamin. Human ESCRT-III subunits, charged multivesicular body protein (CHMP1B) and increased sodium tolerance 1 (IST1), co-polymerize to form spirals coating the outside of membrane tubules to facilitate positive membrane […]

Yvette Yi-Chi Wu

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While languages like English use grammatical markers to signal plurality (like the -s in cat-s), languages like Chinese use separate words called classifiers. A classifier is a unit of measurement that allows the noun it describes to be countable, similar to saying three pieces of furniture instead of three furniture-s in English. Although Chinese has long been researched as a classifier language, most existing work has focused on Mandarin, overlooking the variations that exist among Chinese languages. By conducting research on variations in plurality among southern Chinese languages (including Cantonese, […]

Ariel Renner

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Nature has so often been used as a vehicle to express femininity, sexuality, and eroticism throughout literary history. However, when we speak of nature, there is often an overlooked ambiguity to the term that necessitates further explanation as to the sort of nature a given work focuses on. My research pays close attention to this ambiguity, as I will use a selection of Rochesters poetry, placing particular emphasis on A Ramble in St. James Park, to look at the way that Rochester both furthers this literary tradition and subverts it. […]

Kamran Ahmed

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The mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) is a protein complex that activates protein synthesis, modulates cell growth and proliferation, and regulates autophagy. Loss-of-function mutations in the TSC1 or TSC2 genes, which negatively regulate mTORC1, result in complex hyperactivity causing the syndromic neurodevelopmental disorder Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC). TSC patients have a wide variety of clinical presentations including high comorbidity rates with neuropsychiatric disorders in which the dopaminergic system has been implicated. Little is known about the impact of mTORC1 disruption on the dopaminergic system. Previous work showed that […]

Andrew Hong

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Prostate cancer (PCa) is the most common noncutaneous cancer in men and presents with a heterogeneous disease course ranging from indolent to rapidly progressive, fatal disease. Imaging techniques such as magnetic resonance (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) imaging are important for differentiating between these phenotypes and selecting appropriate patients for treatments. Although low zinc concentration in malignant prostate tissue has been identified as a biomarker for the presence of and aggressiveness of PCa, there is no method for imaging zinc biodistribution in routine clinical use. One solution is hyperpolarized […]

Nicholas Carey

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We are studying the eighth human herpes virus; Kaposis Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus (KSHV). This is a sexually transmitted virus that establishes life-long infections. KSHV does not cause symptoms in most people but is known to cause three types of cancer (Kaposis Sarcoma, Pulmonary Effusion Lymphoma, and Multicentric Castleman Disease) in immunocompromised people, such as those with HIV/AIDS. It is estimated that 20-50% of people with HIV are also infected with KSHV. KSHV has several regions of DNA called open reading frames (ORFs) that are completely unique and their role in the […]