Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Leyla Namazie

During their formation, all rocks are exposed to Earths magnetic field. The subsequent magnetization of their individual ferromagnetic minerals preserves a record of the field at that moment in time. Described as a rocks primary natural remanent magnetization (NRM), this property allows us to observe changes in the Earths geodynamo over the course of history by comparing data with modern magnetic orientations. However, variations between a rocks paleomagnetic direction and the current magnetic direction may also be due to tectonic disturbances such as geologic folding, seafloor spreading, or crustal block […]

Elise Rio

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Listeria monocytogenes is a facultative intracellular pathogen that causes disease in immunocompromised individuals and pregnant women. Its life cycle is well characterized. The pathogen enters phagocytes of the immune system, including macrophages and dendritic cells. As seen from in vitro studies using macrophages, upon entry into phagocytes L. monocytogenes escapes the vacuole and grows in the cytosol thus avoiding phagosome-mediated killing. Mutants of L. monocytogenes in which the Listeriolysin O (LLO) gene has been deleted lack the ability to escape the phagosome into the host cell cytoplasm and are avirulent, […]

Andrew Liao

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Cell division is a highly regulated process through which organisms generate new cells. From a single fertilized egg, a whole organism is developed after many cell divisions have occurred. Since the majority of these divisions are mitosis, errors in mitosis can cause lethal embryos due to loss of genetic material. Therefore, it is crucial for a mitotic cell to propagate the genome faithfully. My research focuses on the machinery that distributes the genome during cell division. This machinery includes the kinetochore, the protein complex that connects chromosomes to microtubules during […]

Gwyneth Hutchinson

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Circadian rhythms are daily rhythms generated by all mammalian tissues that are critical to numerous physiological functions. These rhythms have far-reaching influence on the brain and periphery; therefore, circadian regulation of hormones is essential for normal functioning, and disruptions to circadian timing (e.g. irregular sleep patterns, nighttime light exposure, etc.) have detrimental health consequences. Labor and birth are reproductive events that exhibit a circadian rhythm by which human labor and birth tend to cluster during nighttime. Melatonin is a hormone secreted at night that is inhibited by light. We theorize […]

Antonia Bronars

Traditional robots are often ineffective in environments with rough and uncharted terrain. For this reason, robots are underutilized for applications like disaster relief, HazMat, CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive) response, and space exploration. The Berkeley Emergent Space Tensegrity (BEST) Lab is developing a tensegrity soft robot, designed to travel over rough terrain after surviving large impacts. The BEST lab robot would be deployed by aerial vehicle, then traverse the unknown area, sending back sensor data and arming first responders with previously inaccessible information. The existing robot moves via […]

Kirsten Young

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Tau is a microtubule-associated protein that ordinarily regulates cytoskeletal stabilization, but is abnormally hyper-phosphorylated and acetylated in neurodegenerative diseases classed as tauopathies. Although little is known about how tau becomes pathological, previous studies showed that the over-activation of the mTOR pathway could be implicated in tau pathogenesis. Multiple essential cellular functions are regulated by the two different mTOR-dependent pathwaysmTORC1 and mTORC2. These are distinguished from one another by pathway- specific proteins Raptor and Rictor, respectively. To understand which mTOR pathway is responsible for tau pathology, I will generate stable cell […]

Nicholas Pingitore

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On October 24, 1648, Europe signed The Peace of Westphalia. This marked the end of the Thirty Years War, one of Europes bloodiest conflicts, which claimed the lives of more than eight million people. But perhaps more importantly, The Peace of Westphalia is remembered as the birth of what political scientists, politicians, and even your morning paper would come to know as modern international relations: a system of states, in which sovereign and independent nations exist in a chaotic realm of constant competition, locked in a balance of power in […]

Cindy Chau

The presence of nutrients such as amino acids, glucose, or nitrogen and varying growth factors is hypothesized to activate the target of rapamycin (TOR) which initiates eukaryotic cell growth, development, and metabolism. Although TOR is extremely significant to plant cells growth and metabolism, little is still understood about TOR signaling within plants. As such, my project proposal investigates Asparaginyl tRNA synthetase 1 (NRS1) and its likelihood as an amino acid sensor that can stimulate TOR pathways and its importance for plant development. Comprehending how plants can sense the presence of […]

Clara Jimenez

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My research project focuses on three major works of twentieth-century African-American literature: Toni Morrisons Beloved and Alice Walkers The Color Purple. I seek to explore how the female protagonists at the center of these narratives embody chronic depression. My research intends to validate the trauma these women undergo, as well as delineate the coping mechanisms they create in response to the physical, sexual, and psychological subjugation they face. These characters are not only linked by the oppressive structures they struggle against, but also by their roles as daughters who experience […]

Zoe Merz

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Common cancer therapies, such as chemotherapy, have harsh side effects because they damage both healthy and cancerous cells. Therapies that deliver drugs directly to cancer cells eliminate this issue. Protein nanocages, coupled with cancer targeting ligands, are attractive drug delivery vessels due to their biocompatibility and reduced toxicity. One such protein nanocage is the MS2 bacteriophage Virus Like Particle (VLP) coat protein. This 27 nm diameter protein shell has shown promise for delivery applications due to its thermostability and high modifiability. To be used as a drug delivery system, MS2 […]