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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: undeclared
    Mentor: Wing Wong, Statistics and Biomedical Data Science

    Current bulk gene analysis methods cannot distinguish between subpopulations of cells in a heterogeneous sample, making it impossible to identify differences in the transcriptional profiles of varying cell types, and to the changing composition of cell subpopulations within a sample. The rise of single-cell genomics data allows scientists to differentiate gene expression levels of individual cell types within a heterogeneous sample. Miranda will use a matrix factorization method developed in the Wong Lab to couple different kinds of single-cell sequencing data in order to discover novel genetic regulators of disease and phenotypic variation between cell types. This work has exciting potential applications to all fields of medicine.

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: undeclared
    Mentor: Keren Haroush, Neurobiology

    Social prediction is central to successful social interactions, but the specific mechanisms underlying its execution remain unclear. Andrew seeks to bridge that gap by investigating how social brain regions in the non-human primate respond when they seek to predict the behavior of other individuals. These insights may help guide treatments in social behavioral disorders.

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Public Policy
    Mentor: Tirin Moore, Neurobiology

    Understanding the modulation and expression in the prefrontal cortex of adrenergic receptors, which are the targets of numerous hormones and medications, is key to understanding different cognitive processes like attention and working memory. Max will compare the expression of different classes of adrenergic receptors across different cell types and layers of the frontal eye field, a key area of the prefrontal cortex for these cognitive processes. Max’s project will help to understand the role of adrenergic receptors in cognitive circuits, which will have bearing on our understanding of conditions like ADHD.

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Computational Biology
    Mentor: Hunter Fraser, Biology

    “CRISPEY” is an efficient modification that uses hybrid RNA molecules to make CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technology high-throughput in a massively parallel and precise manner. Jiwoo’s project aims to modify this approach for mammalian cells in order to study polygenic traits, which are traits controlled by multiple genes, to reveal a deeper understanding of complex human diseases.

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Biology
    Mentor: Carla Shatz, Biology and Neurobiology

    Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is considered a neurodegenerative disease of the aging brain, with adult onset defined by cognitive decline and beta amyloid plaques. However, in mouse models of genetic forms of AD, high levels of soluble beta amyloid (Abeta) are present very early in development, when neural plasticity is needed to sculpt brain circuits. Kate’s research will examine if neural plasticity in the visual system is disrupted at these early ages, and whether a drug that blocks Abeta binding to an Abeta receptor in the brain can protect against disruption. These results could point to novel treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Public Policy
    Mentor: Lucy O’Brien, Molecular & Cellular Physiology

    The O’Brien lab studies how stem cells maintain homeostasis in adult tissues using the Drosophila midgut as a model. Andrew will be using novel molecular biology techniques to study how the rates of stem cell and progenitor cell terminal differentiation differ under various environmental conditions and genetic backgrounds. This research aims to elucidate how cells control their individual differentiation rates in an effort to maintain tissue homeostasis on a whole-organ level.

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Biology
    Mentor: Michelle Monje, Neurology & Neurological Sciences

    Optic Pathway Gliomas are brain tumors which primarily affect children. Their molecular mechanisms are not well understood, and current therapies are not satisfactory. It is hypothesized that the activity of retinal ganglion cells stimulates the growth of optic gliomas through a specific pathway. Jared’s research will focus on analyzing this pathway to work towards determining the mechanisms behind the growth of optic gliomas.

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Chemistry
    Mentor: Gavin Sherlock, Genetics

    Many human diseases are the result of large populations of cells adapting over time—key examples include microbial infection and cancer. Studying adaptation and evolution is critical to understanding these maladies. Sam’s research will use CRISPR-Cas9 technology to study homozygous and heterozygous cells’ mutations to better elucidate dominance in relationships and how mutations change across different environments.

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Bioengineering
    Mentor: Joseph Woo, Cardiothoracic Surgery

    Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death in America for both men and women, and while major strides have been taken for its treatment, ischemic cardiomyopathy eventually leads to heart failure in many patients. A novel research area is photosynthetic cyanobacteria, which have been shown to oxygenate the heart to treat ischemia and hypoxia, but their potential remains untapped in areas other than oxygen delivery. For Maria’s Stanford Bio-X summer project, she will be transforming the cyanobacteria Synechococcus elongatus to activate myocardial repair pathways, thus aiding the healing process of the heart and making the treatment more effective.

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Biology
    Mentor: Anthony Oro, Dermatology

    Sierra’s project will combine biochemical, cell biological, and structural biology techniques to better understand how protein variants transport cancer-promoting transcription factors into cell nuclei in resistant basal cell carcinoma. Sierra’s research will focus on elucidating the mechanism of how transcription factors interact with these proteins to navigate the complex environment of the nucleoskeleton and disrupt regular cell nucleus structure.

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Human Biology
    Mentor: Theo Palmer, Neurosurgery

    Infection during pregnancy has been linked to the development of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in offspring. Microglia—the primary immune cells in the brain, which are essential for synaptic pruning during development—are implicated in ASD. However, the precise effects of prenatal infection on microglial development and function are not well known. Catherine’s research will use a mouse model to explore the lasting consequences of early life events on microglial function and the mechanisms by which prenatal infections may contribute to neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders.

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Bioengineering
    Mentor: Manu Prakash, Bioengineering

    Clayton will be helping to develop a chip that attracts mosquitoes and collects their saliva for use in biochemical assays to determine mosquito species and parasite type. This chip will be used to gather data to aid in the mapping and modelling of vector and disease ecology.

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Chemical Engineering
    Mentor: Michael Angelo, Pathology

    Despite its large global burden, the human immune response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis remains poorly characterized. Tuberculosis (TB) infection results in the formation of organized immune cell aggregates, known as granulomas, at the site of infection in both clinically latent and active disease. Utilizing multiplexed ion beam imaging and computational methods for single cell analyses, Alea aims to elucidate the composition and structure of these granulomas in order to describe key immune differences distinguishing active TB from latent TB, which can lay a foundation for novel vaccine platforms and host-directed immunotherapies.

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Biology
    Mentor: Alfred Spormann, Civil & Environmental Engineering and Chemical Engineering

    Sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) have previously been associated with certain metabolic diseases of the human gut. SRB have been thoroughly catalogued from environmental settings, but despite ongoing research studying the health implications of SRB on the human gut, little is known about these human-specific bacteria communities. Rebecca’s research aims to better characterize these communities by using molecular biology techniques to identify sulfate-reducing bacteria species from fecal DNA samples, thus broadening and detailing our understanding of the sulfate-reducing bacteria community profile.

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: undeclared
    Mentor: Giles Plant, Neurosurgery

    Spinal cord injury (SCI) is devastating to patients and affects millions of people. However, current therapy development is limited because rodent models cannot represent some key human neural physiologies. By combining multielectrode arrays and a novel stem cell strategy developed in the Plant laboratory, Shawn will work on building a platform that characterizes long-term cultures of corticospinal neurons, allowing for analysis of their morphology, physiology, and function. This innovative, human-relevant platform will facilitate the development of new SCI therapies.

  • 2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Human Biology
    Mentor: Yanmin Yang, Neurology & Neurological Sciences

    Neurons rely on a highly organized microtubule structure that controls essential cell functions. Although impairment of this microtubule network is a hallmark of several neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s, we currently have a limited understanding of the molecular mechanisms by which microtubules are regulated. Brandon’s research seeks to further modern understanding of microtubule organization by characterizing the mechanism of action of Nemitin, a newly discovered microtubule organizing protein found in developing cells and in neurons. Identifying Nemitin’s mechanism of action will better allow for targeted therapies for neurodegeneration.

  • 2008 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Biomedical Computation
    Mentor: Charles Taylor, Associate Professor of Bioengineering and of Surgery

  • 2013 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Biology
    Supported by: anonymous donor
    Mentor: Yoon-Jae Cho, Assistant Professor of Neurology   

    Brianna is a rising junior. As a biology major, her interests lie in oncology and neuroscience. This summer in the Cho lab, she is investigating the effectiveness of optogenetic techniques in reducing tumor proliferation in medulloblastoma cells. In her free time, she enjoys watching Saturday morning cartoons, playing card games, and making music on her ukulele.

    Poster presented at the Stanford Bio-X Interdisciplinary Initiatives Symposium on August 26, 2013:

    Tumor Suppressive Effects of Optogenetic and Pharmacological Stimulation in Medulloblastoma Cells

    Brianna Balansay1, Yujie Tang1, Brian Nguyen1, Simone Schubert1, James M. Cook3, Sundari Rallapalli3, Frances Jensen2, Yoon-Jae Cho1
    [Department of Neurology1, Stanford University; Children's Hospital Boston2; University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee3]

  • 2013 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Chemical Engineering
    Supported by: Dean of Research
    Mentor: Beth Pruitt, AssociateProfessor of Mechanical Engineering

    David Ayala-Lindeman, a rising senior, is working in the Pruitt Lab this summer, fabricating arrays of polystyrene microposts that will be used to study the forces of adherent cells. He is a big soccer fan who is excited to go to Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He plans on co-terming in chemical engineering and then using his research experience to get a job in the nanofabrication and semiconductors industry.

    Poster presented at the Stanford Bio-X Interdisciplinary Initiatives Symposium on August 26, 2013:

    Development of Polystyrene Microposts for Traction Force Microscopy

    David Ayala-Lindeman1, Alexandre Ribeiro1, Beth Pruitt1
    [Department of Mechanical Engineering1, Stanford University]

  • 2013 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

    Home Department: Bioengineering
    Supported by: anonymous donor
    Mentor: Helen Blau, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology

    Kevin Aliado is a rising senior majoring in bioengineering. His research in Dr. Helen Blau’s lab focuses on analyzing the effects of candidate growth factors and various hydrogel niche environments on the dedifferentiation of myoblasts into muscle stem cells. He wants to go to medical school somewhere in California after his undergraduate career, and he also plans on getting a PhD in bioengineering eventually. In his free time, Kevin enjoys playing guitar, tennis, and video games.

    Poster presented at the Stanford Bio-X Interdisciplinary Initiatives Symposium on August 26, 2013:

    Promotion of Muscle Stem Cell Fate in Bioengineered Culture Environments

    Kevin Aliado1, Andrew Ho1, Helen M. Blau1
    [Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology Institute for Stem Cell Biology & Regenerative Medicine Department of Microbiology & Immunology1, Stanford University]

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