Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Davina Dou

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As a fellow, I will be working to develop a live-cell imaging platform to understand the mechanisms of the CRISPR-CasX endonuclease and its potential to be harnessed for gene-editing. More specifically, I will be looking at the length of the protein’s DNA binding and its rate of repair. My findings will provide a clearer understanding of CRISPR mechanisms in cells, and ultimately, how we could apply these interactions to treat human diseases in a timely manner.

Damian Kim

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During gastrulation in Xenopus, a specific group of cells located at the organizer, called Bottle Cells, undergo apical constriction and invagination, forming the dorsal lip of the blastopore. Immediately after, the neighboring cells involute inwards towards the anterior end of the embryo, forming the mesoderm and the archenteron. Although the behaviors of cells have been described, the genes that control the processes are only beginning to be discovered. The Harland Lab believes the process of Bottle Cells formation resembles aspects of cell invasion, metastasis, and immunological processes, so studying the […]

David Michael

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Approximately 785 million people worldwide lack access to safe drinking water. Though often ignored as a viable source of drinking water, Earths atmosphere contains 13 sextillion liters of gaseous water. In recent years, advances in materials science have bred a new class of materials, known as metal organic frameworks (MOFs). Upon judicious construction, MOFs can extract this watereven from low humidity air. Unfortunately, chemists interested in so-called water harvesting must comb through much literature in order to determine if a certain MOFs water sorption properties have ever been studied; to […]

Shaunak Modak

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Observations have demonstrated that almost all large galaxies contain a supermassive black hole in their centers. Although supermassive black holes constitute only a small fraction of their host galaxys total mass, their mass correlates strongly with features of their host including morphology and galactic structure, so they have long been objects of interest for astrophysicists. The mass of a supermassive black hole can be estimated through studying stellar orbits within the galaxy. However, especially in the most massive elliptical galaxies, these dynamics can be extremely challenging to model. One promising […]

Lucy Sandoe

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My project will try to address the possible hazards associated with the Mendocino Triple Junction, where the Pacific, North American, and Gorda plates meet. This project will use Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) and python programs to measure and model ground deformation in order to further understand the uplift that results from the intersection of the three tectonic plates. These deformation models are a novel approach to characterize whether faulting, aseismic deformation, or deeper mantle processes cause uplift in different parts of the region. From this characterization, this project aims to […]

Stephen Gee

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This project is exploring the tunability of helical van der Waals nanowires. These nanoscale wires are made of layers of Germanium Sulfide stacked on top of each other, similar to graphite being made of stacked layers of graphene. However, in these nanowires, there is a literal twist running down the middle, resulting in a double helix structure that produces unique properties. This Eshelby twist links the twist rate of the nanowire with a dislocation in the middle of the nanowire, and the cross-sectional area. Through modulation of the catalyst size, […]

Ladislao Rodriguez

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Have you ever heard of Joe Kapp? Aside from being a NCAA Men’s Basketball champion, the last Cal QB to play in the Rose Bowl and the head coach during “The Play” Kapp was a Latinx student-athlete. Joe Kapp and Latinx student-athletes, are easy to recognize anywhere they go because of the value placed upon athletics in society. For this reason, their ability to succeed or not in higher education impacts how people from Latinx communities view the potential of higher education. While Latinx student-athlete graduation rate is below the […]

Lia Keener

Squirrels are extremely agile, comprise the second-most diverse group of rodents, and have colonized a wide range of environments across five of the seven continents, making them an ideal group in which to study the evolution of arboreal locomotion. My graduate student mentor and I are interested in understanding how their form (morphology), how they move (kinematics) and how they learn and adapt (cognition) help them navigate the complex environments they live in. Our research will involve designing and building jumping setups, field-trapping of chipmunks, camping in the Sierras, animal […]

Jack Nelson

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Play is a central component of childhood development, yet previous research on play largely neglects the role of racism and prejudice in childrens play, and in the way their play is perceived by adults. Were left with all these unanswered questions: How do teachers impose their own values onto students play? How do teachers perceptions of play affect the way they regulate or police it? In what ways are certain groups marginalized, stifled, or supported through the treatment of their play? Drawing from observations in a preschool classroom and data […]

George Wang

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Herbivory is a key innovation that accounts for half of all insects and one-third of all living orders. It is believed that loss-of-function in chemoreceptor genes is the driving force behind the transition to herbivory in insects, but the underlying mechanisms are still poorly understood. One such chemoreceptor gene within the ionotropic receptor (IR) family, IR92a, mediates behavioral attraction of amines in microbe-feeding flies and mosquitoes through a population of olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs). I will investigate the hypothesis that in herbivorous flies, this chemoreceptor protein has diminished sensitivity toward […]