Yein Ra

The study of members of the bacterial genus Streptomyces is motivated by their impressive capacity to produce clinically-applicable secondary metabolites, including antibiotics and anti-tumor compounds. It has been widely observed that the production of these secondary metabolites and natural products by Streptomyces species can be increased when in the presence of other bacterial species. However, the factors that control secondary metabolism and its induction by interspecies interactions are still not fully understood. Through my research project, I will study a potential mechanism of secondary metabolism regulation in the model organism, Streptomyces coelicolor, particularly when in interactions with Amycolatopsis sp. AA4. Specifically, I will be exploring the role of proteins encoded by an operon conserved in Streptomyces species CvnA8, CvnB8, CvnC8, CvnD8, and Sco6939 that may potentially take part in a novel signal transduction pathway. My study will focus on CvnD8, a small Ras-like GTPase, and how this enzyme influence patterns […]

Dae Woong Ham

The current theory we are interested that is applicable in radiobiology uses a mathematically lacking model for specifically modelling dose and effect relationship. This lacking model is especially inappropriate for settings where the dose effect relations are highly curvilinear, which will seriously hinder many researchers from developing synergy theory, a concept of interest to many radiobiologists. We propose a better and more appropriate model to do synergy theory and modelling. My SURF research, which will build from the research I have already been doing with my mentor, will continue to explore deeper into the statistical validity and robustness of our proposal through various techniques. To get a little bit more specific, some of the things that will be validated is appropriateness of fit and parsimony of our variables through methods such as cross validation and building alternative models.

Joseph Maa

Bacteria live in complex and diverse communities ranging from marine environments and soils to the human gut. Improving our understanding of bacterial communities is dependent on deepening our knowledge of how interactions between species affect community function and structure. In one specific interaction, phages participate in these bacterial communities by lysing members and releasing nutrients to the environment. Previous work has explored nutrient sharing interactions on larger scales and research suggests that within marine communities, in algal and phytoplankton populations, viral-mediated cell lysis is responsible for the majority of nutrient turnover. However, although bacteriophages have been an ubiquitous tool in molecular biology for targeting bacteria and delivering DNA to cells of interest, few studies have looked at a specific mechanism by which nutrient cycling occurs by phage lysis. The Taga lab has developed a simple, genetically tractable E. coli co-culture which was engineered to reciprocally exchange methionine and vitamin B12. […]

Sarah Elisabeth Coduto

My research project is an analysis of queer childhoods. Taking as a starting-point Lee Edelmans notion of reproductive futurism, a term coined to refer to a cultural, political, and psychic investment in the figure of the Child who “remains the perpetual horizon of every acknowledged politics as the emblem of futuritys unquestioned value (No Future 3-4), I would like to consider representations of children who refuse the future we invest in them. Broadly, I am preoccupied with violent children those who spit in the face of the exhortation, Think of the children”; who use their nascent sexuality as a weapon; who fight to exist outside of capitalism, but cannot entirely cast off its chains; who beat and shoot and rape each other. Through synthesizing psychoanalysis, critical theory, and close readings of literary texts from various historical moments, I hope to better understand when the category of the child as someone […]

Hideyasu Kurose

Tragically, fascism has re-appeared in many forms and permutations throughout modern history. Although Japan and Argentina represent only two nations which have suffered this political epidemic, through studying these nations perhaps deeper deductions can ultimately be drawn about a contemporary political phenomenon which Albert Camus rightfully labeled an epidemic. Accordingly, my research will focus upon the literature of Japan and Argentina with the aim of discovering key commonalities which suggest vulnerabilities to what Emilio Gentile categorized as a political religion. Socio-historical theorists ranging from Hannah Arendt to Robert O. Paxton have characterized the foundation of fascism in the same manner as Gentile with slight variations in terminology which I will explore in my research. By juxtaposing Meiji-era Japanese literature with mid-19th century Argentinean literature such as Martin Fierro, I will seek to identify a trajectory toward such inevitable characteristics of fascism as atavism. Similarly, by comparing relatively more modern works […]

Lotus Lum

One million Americans suffer from Parkinson’s Disease (PD), a fatal neurodegenerative disorder characterized by neuronal death and motor symptoms such as bradykinesia and tremors. Unfortunately, there is no treatment that prevents, reverses or even delays PD. My research focuses on the protein called the Leucine Rich Repeat Kinase 2 (LRRK2), which is the most common site for mutations in PD. However, the mechanism by which LRRK2 causes PD is unknown. With the help of my lab at UCSF, I have uncovered that a sizable amount of intracellular LRRK2 is processed to a shorter ~160 kD version of LRRK2 missing its N-terminus. This exciting piece of LRRK2 biology has remained unknown because the protein is lowly expressed in most cells. This project will define the shortened sequence of LRRK2, determine how it is generated in the cell, and begin to test its cellular functions. Specifically, I will test the hypotheses that […]

Hien Nguyen

Advancement of lithium-based battery technology is extremely important as demand for safer and higher capacity batteries continues to increase. Commercial lithium-ion (Li-ion) technology has an inherit safety concern as the electrolyte mixture of ethylene carbonate, dimethyl carbonate, and lithium hexafluorophosphate is highly flammable. One way to address this problem is to switch to a nonflammable electrolyte while maintaining high levels of electrolyte performance. Performance metrics include conductivity, which is the reverse of the resistance to ion flow, transference number, which is a measure of the percentage of charge carried by a particular ion, and the salt diffusion coefficient, which tells how fast a molecule is moving with concentration gradient. All three metrics are needed to fully characterize an electrolyte. Electrolytes formed out of polymers are of specific interest as they are nonflammable. The newest class of polymer electrolytes include mixtures of perfluoropolyethers and lithium salts with fluorinated anions. Our project […]

Hannah Chi

Mitochondria often decline in function as a normal part of aging. However, mitochondrial dysfunction often has severe consequences and has been linked to neurodegenerative diseases, cancer and infection. Understanding the ways in which mitochondria recover when exposed to proteotoxic environments is therefore a crucial element in constructing better novel treatments to mitochondrial related disease such as Parkinsons. The mitochondrial unfolded protein response has been identified as a key stress signaling pathway regulated by the ATFS-1 transcription factor in the Caenorhabditis elegans model organism system. However, relatively little is known about the mammalian analog of this gene, ATF5. I propose to investigate the ATF5 genes three isoforms to uncover the differential roles of each isoforms upstream promoter. I hypothesize that these three promoters are differentially utilized to confer distinct responses under stress, and understanding these different cellular responses will reveal key insights into the mechanism behind mammalian mitochondrial recovery and, in […]

Susanna Ming-Yu Dang

Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell that are essential to the function of vertebrate immune systems. Lymphocytes include Natural killer (NK) cells, an important component of the innate immune system. NK cells function through families of stimulatory and inhibitory receptors, providing early response to viral infections and tumor development. In mice, Ly49 C-type lectin receptors make up the largest family of inhibitory receptors expressed on NK cells. NK cells require Ly49 receptor activity in order to discriminate between healthy host cells and infected or abnormal cells and respond accordingly. NK cells express on average one to four of ten Ly49 genes in an independent, variegated fashion (only subsets of NK cells express each given Ly49 gene). My project aims to learn more about what regulates NK cell variegated expression of Ly49a as a model gene for the cluster. Based on previous studies, I hypothesize that DNA elements acting […]

Sanyum Channa

Honeycomb iridates are a class of compounds that were theoretically predicted to be spin liquids, i.e. materials that lacked magnetic ordering due to their magnetic spin interactions. However, due to real-world deviations from theory, compounds like Lithium Iridate have been extensively studied to show fascinating forms of magnetism (like spiral and zig-zag orderings). Taking inspiration from this recent research, the goal of my project is to synthesize a new iridate – Ag2IrO3 (Silver Iridate). The motivation for this is to see how the metal, Ag, interacts with the underlying magnetism of the honeycomb lattice. Since the electronic energies of Ag are closer to those of Ir, it is possible that this material unlocks new energy interactions that will help further understand the way magnetism manifests in these materials. Once successfully synthesized, I shall use experimental probes such as magnetization and heat capacity to see signatures of these novel properties.