Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Yufan Zhang

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Neural network models have traditionally been viewed as a black box, with tremendous capabilities in a variety of domains, yet with inexplicable inner workings. Past attempts at analyzing neural networks include analyzing model results and learned weights in an effort to design explainable artificial intelligence, as well as early efforts to determine the full capabilities of neural network models. My project seeks to continue in this tradition by investigating the logic-building aspect of neural network models. More specifically, I aim to investigate whether a novel program synthesis neural network model […]

Xiaozhou Zhang

The perception of a stimulus is strongly influenced by the background surrounding it. In mammals, this figure-ground perception to identify stimuli from the environment is crucial for survival, such as detecting predators. My project aims to explore the neural mechanisms behind figure-ground perception, especially focusing on the role of vasointestinal peptide positive (VIP) and somatostatin (SOM) interneurons in the primary visual cortex (V1). To explore the mechanism, I will first develop a novel mice behavioral task that can accurately quantify figure-ground modulation. Then, I will use optogenetics to activate or […]

Luyang Zhang

The phyllosphere, the microbiome of the leaf surface, is a highly tractable model system, and is particularly adept for empirical studies on microbial ecological and evolutionary dynamics. One open question is how prior local adaptation on a plant host influences the efficacy of microbial biological control agents. Using an experimental evolution approach, in which changes in populations are measured over multiple passaging events, a naturally occurring, defensive phyllosphere bacteria, Pantoea dispersa, was evolved on tomato seedlings. Preliminary assays found that this bacterium has evolved increasingly negative effects on seedling health, […]

Emily Zhao

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  Understanding the genetic basis of organ regeneration remains a central challenge in the field of developmental biology. Teeth are a classic model for organogenesis, since many homologous ectodermal organs (e.g., teeth and hair) follow similar patterns of development and regeneration. Threespine stickleback fish are a powerful model organism for studying tooth regeneration in vertebrates because they possess the ancestral dental phenotype of polyphyodonty, in which teeth are continuously replaced throughout adult life. Past research has shown that Foxc1 regulates Bmp6, a gene important for viability, growth, and tooth patterning […]

Phoebe Wang

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Dengue virus (DENV) infects an estimated 105 million people every year. More than 500,000 of these cases develop into a severe form of disease characterized by leakage of plasma from the vasculature. If left untreated, these symptoms may progress to fatal outcomes such as hemorrhage, hypovolemic shock, and organ failure. Studies have suggested that DENV non-structural protein 1 (NS1) plays an important role in the pathogenesis of severe dengue through interactions with endothelial and immune cells. In addition, the Harris Lab has recently shown in vitro and in vivo that […]

Jordan Serrano-Guedea

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First-generation college students (FGCS) experience many unique familial, cultural, social, and academic challenges as the first in the family to pursue a four-year degree. Previous research has found that these extra stressors may place FGCS at higher risk for mental health problems, lower retention rates, and lower graduation rates (House and Kolb, 2020). Yet, findings in the literature on the impacts of first-generation status on FGCS mental health are mixed, and no systematic review exists on this topic to reconcile the varied findings. This summer, I will expand upon this […]

Diana Ramirez

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The livelihood of the Poblano community’s oral histories and traditions, “desde nuestros pueblos a los estados unidos” (from our pueblos to the U.S.), is telling of my community’s ancestral resistance. The survival of our heritage allows our families to build community and identity, a home in a country that rejects and displaces both our Mexican immigrant communities and ancestral knowledge and identities. My research project is a transborder study in which I will trace my Indigenous roots in Puebla, Mexico and construct a memoir of the oral histories of my […]

Hong Joo Ryoo

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My research asks what unification would mean in the realm of modern physics, and the nature of the current scientific paradigm. It could potentially induce discourse of a paradigm shift, a drastic change in how humans in general understand things. In addition, by viewing the information paradox from multiple lenses, we could better approach a solution and Grand unification of quantum gravity. Current research consists of solutions of the Hawking radiation paradox in the forms of mathematical corrections, firm beliefs from intuition, new theoretical scenarios, low-energy theories, and other theories […]

Le Sun

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How do political parties influence online posting behavior? Previous research attributed an individual’s utility from posting online to two major channels: contribution to public knowledge and identity boosting. In this project, I will develop a model of demonization that analyzes how a political party, using posts on social media as signals, interacts with its supporters via these two channels. Using a set of state-sponsored posts and comments about the 2022 Ukraine-Russia Crisis from Weibo, one of China’s largest social media platforms, I will test how topic distributions of the comment […]

Sydney Roberts

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This summer, my mentor, Caleb Dawson, and I will explore what Black students and staff members at UC Berkeley hope to gain from their pursuit of higher education or career in higher education. Over the course of eight weeks, I’ll be interviewing various students and faculty members to develop an understanding of what a quality education means to them. We’ll be exploring why Black students come to Cal and assume the responsibility of improving the student experience for other Black students. Additionally, well inquire if they would recommend Cal to […]