Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Rosa Lee

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Telomeres are repeats of DNA bases that cap the ends of chromosomes, involved in protecting our genetic information. Telomerase is the enzyme responsible for maintaining telomere length – when activated, it adds repeats to telomere ends. Consequently, telomerase activity is implicated in aging and cancer, carrying important therapeutic implications. For the past year, I have been working with a postdoctoral fellow, Kelly Nguyen, in the Nogales Lab and Collins Lab to characterize the function and structure of shelterin, a protein complex involved in recruiting telomerase to the telomeres. In addition […]

Dean Berkowitz

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Biodiversity is essential for providing ecosystem services to humans in addition to supporting ecological networks. While conservation efforts have prioritized protecting biodiversity hotspots in recent years, desert biomes remain undervalued, even as climate change threatens dryland ecosystems. For the past two semesters, I have worked on a project which seeks to better understand how environmental variables have shaped evolutionary processes underlying biogeographical patterns of native vascular plant communities in the Mojave National Preserve. This summer, I will learn wet lab techniques to extract and sequence genetic information from the specimens […]

David Reid

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The work this summer will entail laboratory analysis of prehistoric food remains, such as charred nutshells and fruit seeds, retrieved from archaeological soil samples, which will take place at the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature in Kyoto. We will also collect additional soil samples at the Jomon period Goshono site in Iwate Prefecture, and do museum research at the Saru River Historic Museum, Hokkaido.

Shivani Sundaram

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In my project, I will attempt to determine whether an isolated population of threespine stickleback fish from Scout Lake has undergone natural selection within a period of six years. I will do this by counting tooth number and determining if there has been a change in average tooth number across multiple generations. In addition, I will be investigating the different chromosomal loci and alleles that contribute to and determine total tooth number in several stickleback clutches. To do this, I will be genotyping their genomic DNA at these loci and […]

Oia Walker-van Aalst

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Under guidance from Professor Bowles and his graduate student (Ansel Klein), I will assist in quantifying soil health based on nutrient cycling and microbial activity metrics. I will assist in visiting 15 organic farms and subsequent field sampling of two fields per farm, taking soil samples using an auger and placing them in labelled bags to be brought to the lab for analysis. Specific field and lab measurements will include: potentially mineralizable N, POXC, total organic C and N, and microbial biomass C and N. The results will be analyzed […]

Zeltzin Angon

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I am passionate about working on issues of climate justice and climate change, focusing on synergies between the natural and built environment–specifically land remediation. Having previously created maps of farms located in Yolo County, this summer I will continue my apprenticeship by sampling and processing farmers’ soil in order to learn about soil health and farmers’ practices.

Naz Dundar

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This summer, I will be running laboratory and field experiments to understand what makes people willing to share their personal information with machines (or other humans). We are trying to understand whether things such as the mode of communication affect how humans build trust with one another or machines. Accordingly, one of the primary experimental manipulations we will be testing for is whether people are talking or writing with the other machine/human, how that affects the trust-building process and consequently how much personal information they share.

Audrey Litvak

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I have been working in the Nogales Lab through URAP this past academic year with graduate student Avinash Patel. Previous work within the lab has shown that the general transcription factor TFIID binds promoter DNA at two major points: the downstream and upstream regions. Our research aims to understand how the downstream contacts are formed and to discern what the protein components of TFIID are sensing within the downstream promoter. This summer, we will be continuing our research efforts to answer these questions using a combination of biochemical and structural […]

Henry Chen

This summer, I will work towards understanding why Jellyfish exhibit sleep-like behavior from a gene-expression standpoint. The frequency in which genes are expressed can give us insight into the biological mechanisms in many organisms. For the Cassiopea jellyfish, I intend to explore the genetic basis behind sleep by measuring how certain genes, specifically sleep-related genes, are expressed. So far, I have used cloning and sequencing techniques to confirm the presence of genes such as those involved in monitoring sleep/wakefulness, stress responses, and biosynthesis. Over the summer, I plan on building […]

Clarissa Baskin

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This project is a crucial part of the Past Imperial Foodways project in the McCown Archaeobotanical Laboratory at UC Berkeley. Over the past year, we have discovered that a major component of the diet in the early urban environment of Huari (capital of the Wari State of the highland Andes, South America) is the bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). This is a rare discovery in archaeological sites in the Americas, where we are certain that beans were important to pre-hispanic society, but because beans are typically valuable food that is soaked and […]