Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Apurva Prasad

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My research this coming summer will be a continuation of my work in the Theunissen Lab since Spring 2019 where I have been helping to uncover the different effects of lesions to auditory cortical regions of the avian brain. Specifically, my research scope focuses on analyzing and assisting in collecting data produced by operant conditioning of songbirds with and without these lesions. The hope is that these findings will provide greater understanding to auditory memory in avians, with implications for preference, memory capacity, and discrimination of different vocalization sets.

Shyama Yallapragada

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Relational reasoning (RR), the ability to consider abstract, generalizable relationships among various pieces of information, is a core component of reasoning and human cognition. In addition to evidence that indicates education hones reasoning, relational reasoning is shown to be an important predictor of academic achievement and other life outcomes. I have been working in the Bunge Lab (Building Blocks of Cognition) under the mentorship of professor Silvia Bunge for the past year. I have been quite passionate about learning more about different mechanisms of reasoning and how they play in […]

Mark Zerrudo

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This summer I will continue to provide curriculum design and classroom analytical work for the Writing Data Stories (WDS) project. The project aims to develop data literacies of students by integrating data analysis into the middle school curriculum. Centered around Dual-Language Learners, units will contextualize students’ lived experiences within scientific inquiries of climate change and nutrition. Through this exploration, students and teachers will have access to the analytical program CODAP, where they will construct their own stories and claims of data patterns.

Jamie Calma

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We developed a high-throughput seedling flood assay to identify wild species of tomato that are resistant against Pseudomonas syringae, a bacterial pathogen that causes disease in a broad range of plant species. The screen identified multiple accessions of wild tomato with varying degrees of resistance to the pathogen. We are characterizing and mapping the resistance phenotype in lines of interest, in order to identify the causative genes. Our work will identify new sources of genetic resistance to the plant pathogen in tomato.

Karin Garrett

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This summer I will be working on several projects examining the three forms of overconfidence: overestimation, overprecision, and overplacement. This phenomenon affects people’s judgments in daily life and has serious implications for the decisions people make and the outcomes they experience. This line of research raises an important epistemological question: do we actually know what we think we know?

Sum Ying Celeste Wu

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I aim to continue working on characterizing the Plekhg2 and Plekhg3 gene pathways in African Clawed Frogs (Xenopus laevis), which will aid our understanding in the gastrulation process. Gastrulation gives rise to the ectoderm and endoderm among other structures, and has a marked migration process where cells called bottle cells initiate the “caving in” that forms aforementioned layers. The genes of interest, among others that my lab mentor and I have worked on, are thought to either kickstart or sustain the bottle cell movement. We hope to use our recently […]

Lucas Bainbridge

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My research this summer will primarily focus on access to justice issues. This will be through the research, editing and publication of white papers on the impacts of changes in legal rules, class actions, the role of lawyers in improving outcomes for low income people with civil legal needs, and legal remedies for trauma stemming from racial violence and prosecutorial immunity. I will also assist on a new project on class action redemption rates and an NSF grant proposal to develop an integrated court data network on civil litigation. In […]

Samantha Ho

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This summer, I will be researching the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s efforts to uphold the rights of farmworkers, who have largely received inadequate protection from other federal agencies. I will be conducting research into specific EEOC farmworker-related litigation, including the role of third parties (e.g. public interest or grassroots organizations) in the EEOC’s successful outcomes. The goal is to identify why, exactly, the EEOC is apparently uniquely adept at handling these cases, and how the EEOC process can be replicated by other agencies.

Neha Simha

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The precise connections between gustatory receptor neurons (GRNs) in the fruit fly brain is not understood. My research seeks to better understand the connection between GRNs identified as water-sensing and GRNs identified as sugar-sensing. The relationship can be characterized on a behavioral basis with optogenetic activation or knockout experiments measuring the frequency of response to water and sugar stimuli. It can also be visualized by imaging fluorescently labeled dissected brains. This summer, I hope to continue collecting data with these approaches and explore other ways to fully understand the connection […]

Anoop Bains

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In light of COVID-19, the unhoused community has been rocked but this situation has also presented the unique opportunity to assess how pandemics affect the community. This summer research project will be specifically assessing the needs of unhoused youth in reaction to the difficulties COVID-19 has led to (loss of jobs, closing of resource centers, lack of support for the homeless, etc). I will be working on dissemination of a report regarding computer provider needs compiled during the spring, then putting together a crowd-sourcing survey to assess how unhoused youth […]