Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Elena Slobodyanyuk

The physical organization of chromatin in the nucleus plays a crucial role in the coordination and regulation of gene expression. Long-distance interactions between DNA regulatory elements called enhancers and promoters are important for establishing cell type-specific gene expression programs. Dysregulation of enhancer-promoter interactions can lead to aberrant gene expression and thus promote developmental abnormalities and tumorigenesis. Yin Yang 1 (YY1) is a ubiquitously expressed transcription factor in mammalian cells that has recently been implicated in coordinating enhancer-promoter interactions, thus facilitating transcription activation during embryonic development. However, it remains unknown how […]

Natalie Petersen

Profile image of Natalie Petersen

According to a 2013 National Health Statics Report, 30% of American women discontinue using hormonal methods of birth control within their first year of use due to side effects. Conventional steroid-based contraception comes with a variety of side effects, such as anxiety, depression, and weight gain, and therefore creates a demand for non-hormonal contraceptive with minimal side effects. Sperm cells have a specific set of molecular targets, increasing the possibility of developing a contraceptive with high specificity and low side effects. Our preliminary data indicate that sperm motility and their […]

Catherine Jung

In normal pregnancies, cardiac output increases to accommodate increased metabolic demand. The fundamental mechanisms connecting changes in hormones to changes in gene expression in pacemaker cells are unknown. Understanding what increases heart rate in pregnancies could provide insight on preventing cardiovascular complications in pregnancies, and shed light on how the sinoatrial node (SAN) changes in response to physiological stress.This project will investigate heart rate changes in pregnancy by studying gene expression changes between pregnant, pseudopregnant, and non-pregnant mice. Pseudopregnant mice have the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy, but lack a […]

Nikko Sambold

Profile image of Nikko Sambold

Halogens, a group of atoms with properties not commonly encountered in nature, can introduce unique chemical properties to small molecules that can create important interactions with biomolecules. It is thus reflective that halogens are found in roughly 25% of pharmaceuticals and have been playing a larger role in the development of agrochemicals. Unfortunately, modern synthetic techniques for adding halogens onto these molecules use harsh chemicals and are not selective. This is a problem which halogenase enzymes, enzymes that can add halogens, with their ability to react in mild conditions and […]

Alicia Sidik

Profile image of Alicia Sidik

Indonesias governance of fintech remains nebulous and lacks the capacity to safeguard the integrity of data, algorithms, and platforms. Last year, reports surfaced of abuse by debt collectors, ranging from the dissemination of personal information, to intimidation, to sexual harassment. As a growing number of Indonesias unbanked turn to alternative lending platforms, these concerns are especially pertinent. I will be investigating the current regulatory frameworks governing peer-to-peer (P2P) lending in Indonesia. Situating these predatory interests that emerge from distributed innovation as products of market-driven tactics, I will examine the marked […]

Ethan Chung

Profile image of Ethan Chung

This summer, I will be looking into the natural phenomenon of wet-induced fingertip wrinkling and the possible dynamic benefits which could come with implementing and mimicking its main properties in a mechanical system. Similar to how tire treads can improve a cars efficiency and safety on the road during heavy precipitation and how shoe treads help prevent slips, the organic wrinkling found in water-saturated human fingertips can possibly provide analogous effects for a persons grip success with wet objects or underwater scenarios. However, this possible connection has barely been addressed […]

Diana Leslie Cornejo

Profile image of Diana Leslie Cornejo

Chronic stress has been shown to have lasting and damaging effects on an individuals physical and mental health. One of the avenues of life that stress can impact significantly is female fertility and reproductive success. Prenatal stress leads to lower birth weights of fetuses, decreased success rate of full-term pregnancies, and delayed development. Although studies have established the role in which cortisol, the main hormone released during stress, is secreted by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and plays an integral role in the neuroendocrine stress response, little is known regarding how […]

Samira Maboudian

Profile image of Samira Maboudian

In 2018, an estimated 50 million people worldwide were living with dementia. However, there is currently no single, universal cognitive assessment to diagnose dementia. Many of the tests and metrics used are either too simple or take too long to administer in a clinical setting. Some common diagnostic screenings are also hindered by questionable validity and low sensitivity. Issues with these screening tests cause problems in clinical trials because they blur the line between the actual effects of treatment and the effects of an unreliable or poorly quantified test. I […]

Ashley Rakuljic

Profile image of Ashley Rakuljic

Vocal learning is a phenomenon specific to only certain species of animals, most notably humans. Vocal learning is the ability for an organism to use auditory feedback to produce vocalizations via imitation and modification of sounds from another organism. It is a unique type of learning that once understood in humans can provide valuable insight into how to help those who may have various speech disorders. In the Yartsev Lab, studies about such topics are performed on the Egyptian fruit bat (Rousettus aegyptiacus) an organism that also shares this ability […]

Mohammad Saffari Doost

Because sleep makes up one-third of our lifespan, it is important to study its mechanisms so we can better understand its components and learn ways to curb consequences (e.g., cardiovascular disease and psychological disorders) related to insufficient or low-quality sleep. In mammals, sleep alternates between rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep. These sleep states are controlled by the neural circuits in our brain, which are mostly found in the hypothalamus and the brain stem. With regard to the medulla (also located in the brain stem), we know that […]