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Undergraduate Fellows

Group photo of USRP students.

Stanford undergraduate students seeking opportunities to do hands-on research, learn how to carry out experiments in the laboratory, and develop the skills to read and analyze scientific literature.  Learn more about the Undergraduate Summer Research Program!

Search Undergraduate fellows view the 2019 USRP brochure

  • Photo of Stanford student and Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant Kevin Jung.
    2020 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: undeclared
    Mentor: Kathleen Sakamoto, Pediatrics (Hematology & Oncology)

    “Repurposing Clinically Advanced Small Molecules for Diamond Blackfan Anemia Therapy”

    Diamond Blackfan Anemia (DBA) is a disease of childhood that results in the lack of red blood cell production. Current treatments for DBA have many short- and long-term side effects. The Sakamoto lab has previously showed that the protein Nemo-like Kinase (NLK) is abnormally active in DBA patients. Preliminary experiments from the lab have identified two molecules that inhibit NLK and can improve the production of red blood cells. Kevin will be conducting in-depth statistical analysis to further define the role of these two molecules in cell models of DBA, in the hopes of finding new therapies for this disease.

  • Photo of Stanford student and Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant Alexis Ivec.
    2020 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Materials Science & Engineering
    Mentor: Stanley Qi, Bioengineering and Chemical & Systems Biology

    “Using CRISPR-Based Systems in Epigenetic Screening for Advanced Gene Regulation”

    Developing CRISPR systems into tools for durably altering gene expression, such as silencing, could have many therapeutic outcomes. Directly editing the genome is challenging and may have unforeseeable implications. Employing epigenetic mechanisms that regulate gene expression could instead allow long-term silencing of genes without making irreversible modifications to DNA sequences. Alexis will be optimizing and testing a new technology within the CRISPR system that can silence genes in this way and developing a high-throughput screen to understand how to maximize silencing across a range of genes.

  • Photo of Stanford student and Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant Davey Huang.
    2020 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: undeclared
    Mentor: Carolyn Bertozzi, Chemistry

    “Modeling Sugar-Microbiome Interactions in the Gastrointestinal Tract”

    The microbiome plays important roles in shaping our overall health, but there is a limited understanding of how to alter and regulate it. The goal of Davey’s research is to investigate the roles that host sugars play in shaping the microbiome in the gastrointestinal tract. Using published human data linking host and microbial changes, this research will focus on the computational modeling of sugar-microbiome interactions.

  • Photo of Stanford student and Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant Lauren Hinkley.
    2020 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Human Biology
    Mentor: Hadi Hosseini, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

    “Prefrontal Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Metabolites in Mild Cognitive Impairment”

    Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is a transient state between the cognitive effects of normal aging and those of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The identification of a biomarker of MCI would be useful for tracking an individual’s development from pre-AD to AD. Lauren will analyze data on cognitive abilities and neurometabolite concentrations, hoping to establish whether there is a relationship between MCI, neurometabolite concentrations in the prefrontal cortex, and cognitive abilities. This work will add to a larger, ongoing clinical trial funded by the National Institute on Aging that examines the effect of long-term cognitive training on neurocognitive function in patients with MCI versus healthy older adults.

  • Photo of Stanford student and Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant Poojit Hegde.
    2020 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: undeclared
    Mentor: Ron Davis, Biochemistry and Genetics

    “A Machine Learning Approach to the Morphological Classification of Red Blood Cells for the Diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”

    Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a multi-systemic, debilitating illness affecting millions of people across the world, yet diagnosis remains difficult, and its etiology is poorly understood. Poojit will be inducing red blood cell (RBC) morphologies to train a machine learning classifier, in order to construct morphological profiles for patients and controls. These profiles will be used to develop a visual diagnostic for ME/CFS and better explain changes in RBC deformability and general cardiovascular differences in ME/CFS patients.

  • Photo of Stanford student and Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant Mohammad Gumma.
    2020 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Human Biology
    Mentor: David K. Stevenson, Pediatrics (Neonatal & Developmental Medicine)

    “A Novel Point-Of-Care Device for Measuring Total Bilirubin in Infants at Risk for Newborn Jaundice”

    Jaundice, which is caused by the accumulation of the pigment bilirubin, commonly occurs in newborn infants during the first week of life. Infants who are not treated in a timely manner may develop bilirubin neurotoxicity, eventually leading to long-term motor deficits and hearing loss. Mohammad will be evaluating a prototypical point-of-care device called FINDER, interpreting blood assays that measure relative bilirubin levels and then creating data plots to gain insight into the accuracy of FINDER as a screening tool for identifying infants who are at-risk for bilirubin neurotoxicity.

  • Photo of Stanford student and Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant Bryanna Godfrey.
    2020 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Human Biology
    Mentor: Melanie Hayden Gephart, Neurosurgery

    “The Effect of Tumor-Immune Interactions on the Systematic Tolerance of Triple Negative Breast Cancer Brain Metastases”

    Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) demonstrates high probability of spreading to the brain in cancer metastasis. The outcome of this process is often fatal, and there is a lack of FDA-approved therapies to help patients with these cancers. Immune manipulation has been associated with improved patient outcomes, but little is known about the immune interactions in TNBC. Bryanna will review clinical patient data and identify the best patients to use in this research to see how these interactions impact metastatic potential.

  • Photo of Stanford student and Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant Nicholas Gessner.
    2020 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Biology
    Mentor: H. Craig Heller, Biology

    “Sleep’s Significance in Memory Consolidation”

    Sleep – a recurring state characterized by physical quiescence and a reduced response to external stimuli – is a highly conserved behavior observed throughout the animal kingdom. While sleep’s function largely remains a mystery, an abundance of information corroborates its role in memory consolidation. Studies pioneered by the Heller Lab also implicate the circadian clock in memory formation, but the mechanism by which the circadian system modulates neural plasticity to afford the memory consolidation remains a novel research area. Nicholas will be conducting an exhaustive literature review of studies that might elucidate the relationships between circadian rhythms, sleep, and memory.

  • Photo of Stanford student and Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant Keely Fuller.
    2020 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: undeclared
    Mentor: Sharon Pitteri, Radiology

    “Proteins in Interstitial Fluid for Distinguishing Benign from Malignant Breast Tumors”

    Screening mammography, currently the most widely-used tool for early breast cancer detection, faces the major challenge of a high false positive rate. A more sensitive biomarker may be found through the proteomic analysis of interstitial fluid from women with mammography-detected lesions. Keely will conduct these proteomic analyses and pairwise comparisons of interstitial fluid collected from both breasts of women with a suspicious finding on a mammogram, to aid in the discovery of a novel biomarker for the early detection of breast cancer.

  • Photo of Stanford student and Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant Peyton Freeman.
    2020 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Bioengineering
    Mentor: Fan Yang, Orthopaedic Surgery and Bioengineering

    “Enhancing Bone Regeneration Through Immunomodulation Using Microribbon Scaffolds”

    Immune cells are key mediators in bone regeneration but remain understudied. Peyton will harness the capabilities of micro-ribbon scaffolds and address a possible hypothesis regarding immunomodulation for bone regeneration. Peyton’s research takes place at the interface of biomaterials, immunology, stem cells, and tissue engineering, and will have broad impacts on designing 3D macroporous scaffolds with immunomodulatory functions to enhance bone regeneration.

  • Photo of Stanford student and Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant Victoria Franco.
    2020 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Psychology and Spanish
    Mentor: Cara Bohon, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

    “Neural Correlates of Emotional Regulation and Cognitive Control in Adolescents with Binge-Eating”

    While the neural correlates of eating disorders are not yet fully understood, the body of research exploring the relation between patterns of neural structure and the function of binge eating in bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder is growing rapidly. Although the onset of eating disorders is typically during adolescence, there is a lack of research in this subset of the population. Victoria’s research aims to use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) tasks to examine the impact of cognitive control on emotion regulation, investigating the differences in functional connectivity within the prefrontal parietal network between adolescent females engaging in bingeing or purging and healthy controls. By exploring clinical implications and effective emotion regulation strategies, this work hopes to help those suffering from eating disorders.

  • Photo of Stanford student and Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant Sophia Fay.
    2020 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: undeclared
    Mentor: Maximilian Diehn, Radiation Oncology

    “Analysis of Circulating Tumor DNA in Lung Cancer Patients to Predict Patient Outcomes”

    Tumors release DNA into the bloodstream in response to therapy, which can be identified from routine blood draws as circulating tumor DNA. Sophia will combine molecular biology, cancer biology, bioinformatics, and clinical research to determine if changes in circulating tumor DNA during therapy can help to elucidate the biology of lung cancer treatment response and to predict patient outcomes.

  • Photo of Stanford student and Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant Dante Dullas.
    2020 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Chemistry
    Mentor: Lynette Cegelski, Chemistry

    “Probing Atomic Contacts Between Phosphoethanolamine Cellulose and Curli in E. Coli Biofilms”

    Bacterial biofilms are responsible for pernicious, prolonged infections: they promote the persistence of bacteria and reduce susceptibility to host defenses, antibiotics, and environmental stressors. Dante’s research will investigate the assembly and atomic interactions of specific unusual biopolymers responsible for the formation of Escherichia coli biofilms, using novel biochemical preparations and solid-state NMR spectroscopy analyses. This information will help him to investigate the mechanisms of biofilm inhibitors to better elucidate how to prevent the initial formation of biofilms and potentially eradicate preformed biofilms.

  • Photo of Stanford student and Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant Alanna Dorsey.
    2020 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: undeclared
    Mentor: Luis de Lecea, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

    “Investigating the Impact of Female Sex Hormones on Sleep”

    Women experience nearly twice the risk of sleep problems that men do, particularly during hormonal changes such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. By reviewing recent advances in the role of sex hormones in sleep, Alanna’s research will identify which aspects of sleep are most impacted by ovarian hormones and begin determining how this change in sleep relates to changes in brain activity. This will better elucidate how to treat women suffering from sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea, both of which can also increase the risk of metabolic and cardiac diseases.

  • Photo of Stanford student and Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant Ela Diffenbaugh.
    2020 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: undeclared
    Mentor: Lauren O’Connell, Biology

    “Review of Research on Epigenetics of Nicotine in the Neonate Brain”

    Although it is understood that breastfeeding while smoking passes nicotine to babies, it is not yet understood how that process alters brain development and function. Nicotine affects the brain by binding to nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs), which in turn upregulates the expression of nAChR subunits, which makes the user crave more of the drug. Ela’s literature review will focus on the effects of nicotine exposure and how that influences DNA methylation and genetics to regulate the expression of nAChR subunits, thus providing a better understanding of how nicotine alters the infant brain.

  • Photo of Stanford student and Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant Sid Suri Dhawan.
    2020 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Bioengineering
    Mentor: Thomas Südhof, Molecular & Cellular Physiology

    “Designing CRISPR-Mediated Homology-Directed Repair (HDR) Templates to Elucidate the Role of Synaptic Transmembrane Proteins”

    Understanding the logic that underlies synapse formation and specificity is integral to unraveling the molecular bases of our thoughts, memories, and behaviors. Synapse formation and regulation are orchestrated with high spatiotemporal precision in processes mediated by adhesion and signaling between transmembrane proteins. In his 2020 Stanford Bio-X research project, Sid will analyze a library of expressed neuronal transmembrane proteins and design repair templates to tag each protein using a novel CRISPR-based HDR strategy. In the future, these designs may be used to identify molecules of interest and track their localization at the synapse.

  • Photo of Stanford student and Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant Madeline Dailey.
    2020 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Biology
    Mentor: Aaron Gitler, Genetics

    “Investigating the Role of Ataxin-2 in the Nuclear Transport of Splicing Factors in Neurons”

    The goal of Madeline’s work is to understand the role of Ataxin-2 as a protein implicated in the fatal neurodegenerative disorder amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), especially in its interactions with another ALS disease protein, TDP-43. Recent findings suggest that when TDP-43 is overexpressed in rodent neurons, it can result in the mislocalization of a class of nuclear proteins called splicing factors. Madeline will utilize image processing and analysis techniques to examine the localization of splicing factors in the absence of Ataxin-2 in hopes of shedding more light on the mechanistic pathology behind ALS.

  • Photo of Stanford student and Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant John Butchko.
    2020 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Human Biology
    Mentor: Stefan Heller, Otolaryngology (Head & Neck Surgery)

    “Supporting Cell Heterogeneity within the Avian Inner Ear”

    Although hearing loss in humans is, in most cases, permanent, avian species are able to regenerate cells in their inner ear that are responsible for hearing, allowing for recovery from damage. Currently, the mechanism by which this is achieved is poorly understood. John’s project seeks to identify cellular markers capable of identifying cells that originated in the ear. Identification of these markers will aid in analysis of the cells involved in the regeneration pathway, with the aim of reproducing auditory recovery in the human ear.

  • Photo of Stanford student and Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant Hana Buabbas.
    2020 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: undeclared
    Mentor: Sarah Heilshorn, Materials Science & Engineering

    “Bio-Mimetic Recombinant Proteins for Peripheral Nerve Injury”

    Current therapies for treating peripheral nerve injury are severely lacking: as few as 50% of patients achieve full functional recovery. To address these limitations, the Heilshorn lab has proposed the design of a family of recombinant protein-based materials that can be optimized for bio-chemical and bio-mechanical signals. This summer, Hana will characterize and validate a new protein-engineered material for this family of hydrogels and fine-tune the protocol for its expression and chemical modification.

  • Photo of Stanford student and Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant Jules Brunello.
    2020 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Biology
    Mentor: Justin Du Bois, Chemistry

    “Expanding Access to Allylic Amines through C-H Amination”

    The Du Bois lab uses chemical methods to construct a library of nitrogen-containing molecular probes, which are designed to investigate the function and dynamics of sodium channels in neuronal signaling and neuropathic pain. Juliana’s research will focus on creating a method to incorporate nitrogen into molecules of considerable value to synthetic and biological chemists. These targets are difficult to access using currently-known methods: this new method has the potential to facilitate better access to natural products including antibiotics, antitumor agents in hormone-dependent cancers, and anti-HIV drugs.

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