Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Shuangyue Li

Profile image of Shuangyue Li

Embedded within the intricate tapestry of cardiovascular diseases lies the cornerstone of vascular health. Arteries are vital conduits responsible for delivering oxygenated blood away from the heart and to the body. It is known that Notch signaling is crucial for the mature development of vascular identity and network, and previous research on loss-of-function Notch receptors demonstrates impaired artery growth and remodeling. Previous research at the Wang lab has shown that pan-endothelial constitutive expression of Notch4 causes enlarged arteries, but it cannot exclude the role of hemodynamic perturbations. My summer project […]

Anna Jacobowitz

Profile image of Anna Jacobowitz

Over one in five US adults currently live with psychiatric disorders. A third of which are unresponsive to antidepressant drugs, resulting in a large population still seeking effective treatment. Recent studies in the Kaufer Lab demonstrate that psychedelic therapy regenerates neural pathways in the brain and exhibits efficacy in treatment-resistant populations, offering a promising alternative. Within psychiatric disorders, there are few studies that examine sex-specific effects on behavior and physiology with psychedelic treatment. To understand this, my project asks the question: is there a sex differentiated pattern in neuronal activation […]

Tony Kim

Profile image of Tony Kim

Fatty liver disease is a global burden for public health, and is commonly associated with obesity and type-2 diabetes. Fatty liver mainly results from an impaired lipid metabolism in livers, showing reduced fatty acid oxidation and ketogenesis. However, the exact mechanism behind this phenomenon is not well understood. Our body begins producing ketone bodies by breaking down fatty acids during extended fasting, which are used as a substitute for glucose. However, one problem with studying ketogenesis is that ketogenesis is not well observed in hepatocytes isolated from an organism. A […]

Seul Ah Lee

Profile image of Seul Ah Lee

Animals, including humans, form associations between rewards and cues that predict them through the process of cue-reward learning (CRL). CRL has long served as an advantageous tool in evolution for acquisition of rewards such as food and mating. However, CRL can also be maladaptive in disorders such as addiction, wherein drug-associated cues drive compulsive drug-seeking behavior and relapse. Past and recent studies have found that CRL largely depends on cue-reward contingency, or how much the occurrence of rewards depends on the occurrence of cues. CRL is attenuated when contingency is […]

Kevin Li

Profile image of Kevin Li

Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) is a key epigenetic regulator complex that acts as a gene silencer to maintain cell identity, depositing the repressive histone H3 K27 trimethylation mark at target genes. Faulty PRC2 regulation is involved in developmental disorders and cancer development, but mechanisms that direct PRC2 activity to target genes are poorly understood. Recent structural findings show PRC2 binding through its catalytic lobe, but do not provide a mechanism to explain how PRC2 localizes to target sites in vitro without its catalytic lobe. To address this knowledge gap, […]

Viktoriya Georgieva

Profile image of Viktoriya Georgieva

With the current state of escalating climate emergency, generation of plants with improved ability to sequester carbon is of high priority. The Rieske subunit of the cytochrome b6f complex is a known rate-limiting step in photosynthesis. This protein, encoded for by the PetC gene, is found to increase photosynthetic efficiency upon overexpression in plants, demonstrating potential for increased carbon sequestration. However, due to current restrictions on GMOs, overexpression needs to be achieved nontransgenically to create a practical impact. Given that this has yet to be attempted, this project aims to […]

Heidi Huang

Profile image of Heidi Huang

CRISPR-Cas holds great promise for treating Huntington’s Disease, a fatal neurodegenerative disorder. Despite Cas9 RNP’s minimal off-target effects and transient activity, existing RNP delivery methods fall short, limiting RNP therapeutics’ in vivo applications. To address this, the Wilson lab has developed a reversible linker for enhanced RNP brain distribution and editing efficiency. Building on this foundation, my project aims to reduce cytotoxic peptide aggregate formation, which impedes editing efficiency, in Cas9 RNP buffers. Specifically, my research seeks to optimize CRISPR RNP buffer formulations with selected additives to minimize aggregate formation, […]

Tansy Chen

Profile image of Tansy Chen

Magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) are aquatic bacteria capable of creating a unique intracellular organelle, the magnetosome, that is the location of magnetic crystal biomineralization. They are important models for the molecular study of compartmentalization and biomineralization as well as possible vehicles for biomedical applications. In the model organism Magnetospirillum magneticum strain AMB-1, the magnetosome island (MAI) encodes genes responsible for the creation, alignment, and maturation of a linear magnetosome chain, which ultimately allows the cell to orient and travel along Earth’s magnetic field lines in order to simplify their search for […]

Brynn Brady

Profile image of Brynn Brady

The molecular basis of evolutionary change in morphology is not well understood. Although progress has been made linking genes to morphological phenotypes through genetic knockouts, little is known about how genetic variation underlies observed morphological differences between organisms in nature. Recent studies propose that changes in non-coding genomic regions that regulate transcription called enhancers explain most evolved morphological variation. My research will test the hypothesis that changes in an intronic enhancer of a known developmental gene, Bmp6, underlie evolved changes in tooth patterning in fish. I will perform genomic knock-in […]

Ekansh Agrawal

Profile image of Ekansh Agrawal

X-linked Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (X-SCID) is a genetic disease that predominantly affects XY individuals. It is caused by mutations affecting the IL2RG gene on the X-chromosome and occurs in roughly 1/50,000 to 1/100,000 births. The genetic disease itself affects the expression of the common gamma chain found in a variety of immune cell receptors such as Interleukin-2 Receptor (IL-2) and interleukin-7 Receptor (IL-7). This can result in low numbers of T-cells, Natural Killer Cells, and low B-cells causing patients to be increasingly susceptible to diseases. Without treatment, undiagnosed children typically […]