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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

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Chemistry
    Mentor: Gerlinde Wernig, Pathology

    Desmoid-type fibromatosis is a devastatingPhoto of undergraduate student Tyler Shibata standing at the lab bench and taking small samples out of a container. low-grade soft tissue malignancy which infiltrates the surrounding connective tissue. Tyler will be analyzing β-catenin, one of the known molecular drivers of desmoid-type fibromatosis, and its relation to c-Jun, a protein which plays a crucial role in tumor development, using a c-Jun induced mouse model. This work will determine whether c-Jun and its mouse model can be used as a new and valuable tool for research as well as for patients and physicians.

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Biology
    Mentor: Marion Buckwalter, Neurology & Neurological Sciences and Neurosurgery

    Astrocytes have been implicated asPhoto of undergraduate student Sierra Porter standing beside a large microscope. important cells for the regulation of neuroinflammation after stroke. However, the precise signaling pathways by which astrocytes influence neuroinflammation are unknown. Using molecular biology techniques including immunoprecipitation, RT-qPCR, and RNA sequencing, Sierra’s project will elucidate how the astrocyte translatome—the body of messenger RNA being translated within the cell—changes after stroke.

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Chemistry
    Mentor: Rajat Rohatgi, Biochemistry and Medicine (Oncology)

    The Hedgehog signaling pathway Photo of undergraduate student Sara Frigui sitting at a large microscope.mediates communication between cells in both developing and adult tissues. Breakdown of this communication system can cause birth defects, cancer, and degenerative conditions. Sara will investigate how the Hedgehog signal is transmitted across the cell surface from the cell exterior to the cell interior, a step that is commonly damaged in human diseases associated with Hedgehog signaling.

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: undeclared
    Mentor: Julia Kaltschmidt, Neurosurgery

    The human body’s second brain, the enteric nervous system (ENS), is an autonomic nervous system Photo of undergraduate student Rahul Shiv in the lab using a long pipette near several lab equipment devices.that orchestrates digestive processes—especially peristalsis, the movement of the bowel. Rahul will study the impact of transcription factor ETV1 on impairment of peristalsis in mice mutants. He will use a gastrointestinal motility monitor to quantify differences in peristalsis between the colon tissues of new mouse strains in which ETV1 is deleted from specific ENS cell types, thus exploring the contributions of specific ETV-expressing cell populations to overall ENS function.

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

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

    Using micro-ribbon scaffolds, which promote robust stem cell-based bone formation, Omeed will Photo of undergraduate student Omeed Miraftab-Salo wearing a lab coat and sitting at a lab bench, using a pipette to move a solution.develop physiologically-relevant 3D in vitro models to mimic breast cancer-bone metastasis. He will study the role of breast cancer cells in promoting the destruction of bone tissue and elucidate the effect of bone resorption on breast cancer growth and invasion. Omeed’s summer project is at the interface of cancer biology, biomaterials, tissue engineering and orthopaedic surgery and will provide novel 3D in vitro cancer models, a powerful tool for enabling discovery of novel molecular targets to treat breast cancer-bone metastasis with reduced materials, time, and cost.

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Bioengineering
    Mentor: Andrew Huberman, Neurobiology and Ophthalmology

    Vision is a strong model forPhoto of undergraduate student Marlon Washington II sitting in a dim observation room, with images from a video feed and corresponding data on his computer screen. addressing the adaptiveness of behaviors and autonomic arousal. By gaining data from an established virtual reality environment that reliably evokes physiological and behavioral responses to the virtual presentation of heights, Marion’s goal is to formulate a function of human baseline arousal that can predict human defensive responses to heights. By applying the same function to the data from subjects with anxiety disorders, we can gain a quantitative understanding of human mental disorders.

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: undeclared
    Mentor: Jennifer Cochran, Bioengineering

    Prodrugs—drugs that are inactive when Photo of undergraduate student Jessica Frank in the lab, using a pipette and a small plastic tray full of tubes.given to patients but become activated at specific sites within the body—offer a promising solution to the problem of treatment-induced autoimmune side effects associated with cancer immunotherapy. To test cancer immunotherapy prodrugs, it is important to design a mouse model that accurately represents how the drugs will perform in humans. Jessica’s project focuses on creating a mouse cancer cell line that expresses the human proteins involved in prodrug activation, thereby allowing the Cochran lab to test cancer immunotherapy prodrugs for both efficacy and toxicity in vivo.

  • 2018 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Biomechanical Engineering
    Mentor: Michael Longaker, Surgery (Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery)

    Currently, noPhoto of student Jan Sokol at a lab bench, using a pipette. effective treatment for cutaneous scarring exists, and, thus, there is a paramount need for novel treatments capable of preventing or reversing scarring. Jan will seek to identify the stem/progenitor cells in normal human skin, and the tissue origins of human scar-forming fibroblasts. This will be a first step towards determining novel therapeutic targets against the molecular mechanisms underlying scarring, fibrosis, and regeneration after wounding.

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Human Biology
    Mentor: Joseph Wu, Medicine (Cardiovascular Medicine) and Radiology

    Sodium-glucose cotransporterPhoto of undergraduate student Emma Tsai sitting at a desk in front of a computer monitor displaying a large gray image of a stem cell. 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors are a promising class of diabetes medications that have been shown to improve the vascular outcomes of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. The mechanisms by which these medications improve vascular endpoints are not known. Emma’s project will use patient-specific stem cell-derived endothelial cells to investigate the potential of these inhibitors in reducing endothelial inflammation, a possible mechanism for why diabetic patients treated with these medications have improved vascular outcomes.

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Mathematical & Computational Science
    Mentor: Carlos Bustamante, Biomedical Data Science and Genetics

    The interpretation of genetic variantsPhoto of undergraduate student Emily Huang sitting in front of a computer monitor showing many lines of code. for human disease requires synthesizing numerous lines of evidence, from medical case studies to experimental results. Emily will quantify the performance of existing adjudication rubrics developed as part of the ClinGen Gene and Variant Curation Interfaces. By better understanding how medical professionals interpret genetic research, we can better inform the translation of basic research to clinical care.

  • 2018 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant and 2019 Student Mentor

    Home Department: Computational Biology
    Mentor: Anson Lee, Cardiothoracic Surgery

    2018 Research Project: The focus of Cody’s project is to develop algorithms that give insight into the mechanism of post-operative atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat). These algorithms will identify premature atrial contractions and the Photo of undergraduate student Cody Carlton sitting at a desk, holding a small device with numerous attachments, which is showing a heartbeat EKG-like reading on a computer monitor behind him.onset of atrial fibrillation, and detect other heart rhythm anomalies using data that has not been measured by current medical devices. These insights will help us guide our treatment and prevention of post-operative atrial fibrillation.

    2019 Research Project: The goal of Cody’s research is to develop a novel surgical tool that can precisely identify and treat sites of arrhythmia in patients. This surgical tool will be used to guide treatment of atrial fibrillation in order to reduce the debilitating occurrence of these dangerous heart rhythms.

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Biology
    Mentor: Shirit Einav, Medicine (Infectious Diseases) and Microbiology & Immunology

    Severe dengue is a major global health threat, but transcriptomics studies based on bulk samples Photo of undergraduate student Avery Muniz in the laboratory, using a long pipette to extract a sample. and/or single cohorts have not yielded gene setsthat are reliably predictiveof progression from infection to severe dengue. Avery will study the transcriptional dynamics of dengue virus infection by using a recently developed approach, virus-inclusive single-cell RNA-Seq, on single human peripheral blood monocyte cells. With this method, she hopes to decipher the roles of individual genes from a 20-gene set that has been validated as predictive of severe dengue. This work could contribute to the understanding of dengue pathogenesis and advance the development of a dengue prognostic assay.

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Chemical Engineering
    Mentor: Judith Frydman, Biology and Genetics

    Huntington’s Disease is aPhoto of undergraduate student Anthony Flores in the lab, with a pipette in one hand and a petri dish in the other, looking up at the contents of the dish. chronic neurodegenerative disease with no curative treatment caused by toxic insoluble protein aggregation within the nuclei of neurons. Anthony will be optimizing reagents that prevent protein aggregation but are limited by poor stability in physiologic conditions. Improvement of the reagents’ stability and cellular uptake with these chemical and genetic modifications could mitigate toxic protein aggregation and prevent cell death in Huntington’s Disease neurons.

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Biomedical Computation
    Mentor: Wendy Fantl, Urology

    High grade Photo of undergraduate student Alexis Lowber sitting at a desk in the lab, looking at cancer images on a computer screen.serous ovarian cancer tumor (HGSOC) is characterized by a mixture of diverse aberrant cells, which has inhibited the development of a curative treatment. It’s been hypothesized that the functionality and survival of specific types of cells residing in the tumors could be greatly dependent on the neighboring tumor, immune, and stromal cells, which could mean that these neighboring cells are possible new targets for treatment. Alexis will work with her mentor on implementing an imaging technology called CODEX to study the neighboring cells in HGSOC samples.

  • 2017 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant and 2019 Student Mentor

    Home Department: Biology
    Supported in 2017 by: Anonymous Donor
    2017 Mentor: Anthony Norcia, Psychology
    2019 Mentor: Thomas Anderson, Anesthesiology, Perioperative & Pain Medicine

    Photo of USRP student Jorge Delgado in the laboratory, having put a piece of monitoring headgear on Dr. Anthony Norcia.2017 Research Project: Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation (TACS) may offer a novel approach to treating amblyopia, or lazy eye, through activation of mechanisms in the brain that underlie its ability to change. Jorge’s project will examine the extent to which electrical stimulation of specific visual responses offers a potential treatment for lazy eye by first showing whether TACS can modulate visual responses in adults with normal vision.

    2019 Research Project: Focused ultrasound (FUS) neuromodulation has the potential to safely and non-pharmacologically decrease acute pain and the degree of and risk for the development of chronic postoperative pain. The specific aim of Jorge’s project is to optimize focused ultrasound parameters for persistent and reversible blockade of all nerve fibers in an ex vivo rat sciatic nerve model.

    Poster presented at the Stanford Bio-X Interdisciplinary Initiatives Symposium on August 24, 2017:

    Modulating Visual Sensitivity with Transcranial Electrical Stimulation

    Jorge Delgado1, Guillaume Riesen1, Molly Lucas2, Anthony Norcia1
    [Departments of Psychology1 and Neuroscience2, Stanford University]


  • 2018 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant and 2019 Student Mentor

    Home Department: Biology and Comparative Literature
    2018 Mentor: Alan Cheng, Otolaryngology (Head & Neck Surgery)
    2019 Mentor: Crystal Mackall, Pediatrics (Hematology & Oncology) and Medicine (Blood & Marrow Transplantation)

    Photo of USRP student Panos Vandris in the laboratory, looking at cells under a microscope.2018 Research Project: Damage to the vestibular system in the mammalian inner ear can result in debilitating imbalance. Panos will utilize a mouse model to better understand how reestablishing the system’s neural circuitry following injury allows for recovery of vestibular function, which can help with developing future therapies for patients with hearing loss and balance dysfunction.

    2019 Research Project: CAR T cell therapy has shown promise in the treatment of B cell malignancies, but the adoption of CAR T cell therapy as a standard of care for a wider range of cancer types is limited by factors including T cell exhaustion. Panos’s project will use synthetic biology approaches to assess a tunable CAR system that is resistant to exhaustion. A mechanistic understanding of exhaustion and the application of engineering principles to CAR T cell design will promote the translational potential of adoptive immunotherapy for cancer.

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Biology
    Mentor: Carolyn Bertozzi, Chemistry

    Protein glycosylation patterns in cancerous cells are uniquely different from normal, healthy cells. Emily will be focusing on MUC16, a glycoprotein that is a standard biomarker for ovarian cancer and is secreted into the bloodstreams of patients. She will be purifying enzymes that can selectively cleave glycoproteins into smaller fragments, facilitating mass spectrometry analysis to better map out the structure of specific glycoproteins and analyze their roles in cancer progression.

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: undeclared
    Mentor: Euan Ashley, Medicine (Cardiovascular Medicine), Genetics, and Biomedical Data Science

    My Heart Counts is a widely distributed iOS app, developed by the Ashley lab, for cardiovascular health research and intervention. This app has produced a vast amount of lifestyle, health, and gait data, which holds great potential to inform health diagnostics and interventional tools. To this end, Daniel will work on building machine learning models to infer cardiovascular disease risk from gait accelerometry and to produce widely distributable methods for creating individualized cardiovascular risk scores, in order to advance the field of personalized medicine.

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: undeclared
    Mentor: Nirao Shah, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and Neurobiology

    Male and female animals possess innate differences in social behaviors that are developmentally wired. These differences reflect the actions of a sexually dimorphic brain, driven in large part by sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone. Grace’s research aims to identify and understand how sex-specific receptor action may lead to sex-specific gene expression and subsequent sexual dimorphisms in development, circuit function, and behavior.

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: undeclared
    Mentor: Liqun Luo, Biology

    The function of a neuron is determined both by its physiology and connectivity, but the transcriptional regulatory mechanisms that coordinate these two features are poorly understood. David will perform a genetic study using the Drosophila model to discover important transcription factors and then find their mechanism in coordinating receptor expression and wiring specificity.

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