The Displacement of Oromo Farmers: A Critical Understanding of its Impacts and the Role of its Community Members

The further one reaches towards the outer fields of Oromo, the closer one gets towards the chaotic infrastructures currently in place. Since late November 2015, dozens of violent confrontations have emerged in towns across Ethiopia, merging into the central Oromia region, which is home to the largest ethnic group, the Oromo. Protesters are opposed to party members and their current master plan, being the fight against an urban plan. Most refer to such plan as the master plan, a new urban infrastructure development project in Addis Ababa (the capital of Ethiopia), that would weigh into the surrounding towns in Oromia. The protests are due to the fact that the Ethiopian government is currently displacing Oromo farmers in order to retain such land and utilize to their benefit, regardless of its impacts to the Oromo people, and the community surrounding that land. I will be studying the Land Rights currently partaking […]

...Read More about Iman Abdella
Humanities and Social Science

DT-MRI Visualization of the brains optical networks to understand MS Pathology

While researchers have not been able to fully characterize the pathology of multiple sclerosis (MS), conventional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) techniques have been the gold standard for the diagnosis and monitoring of MS (Guglielmetti, Lassmann). Using advanced MRI techniques, such as diffusion weighted imaging, and specifically spherical deconvolution tractography to image the brains neural tracts, recent studies have furthered MRIs predictive capabilities to leverage the brains connectivity to develop a composite MRI-based measure of motor network integrity that appears to predict disability substantially better than conventional non-network based MRI measures (Pardini). My research project would be to conduct similar analysis of the brains visual network: the white matter tracts underlying the parts of the brain associated with visual processing. Using data from the Human Connectome Project, I intend to develop a brain atlas of the visual pathways. I will then use this atlas to predict visual function in MS patients. […]

...Read More about Amit Akula
Rose Hills

400 Years Young- The Elizabethan Stage

400 years after William Shakespeares death, debates on Elizabethan staging methods remain fresh. My SURF L&S research will explore the unknown mechanics Elizabethan staging. I will specifically do so by examining Elizabethan era resources (such as actual, annotated rehearsal scripts from Elizabethan theatre companies) on Shakespeares Henry IV, Part I. Henry IV, Part I stands as an anomaly amongst other Shakespearean plays because it does not adhere to the conventional scene-to-scene structure that most of the other Shakespearean plays follow. Unlike most scholars (who almost exclusively study conventionally structured plays), I believe that closely examining a play with unique structure gives me the best chance to discover new information about the still uncertain methods of Elizabethan staging. Attempting to answer this question is relevant and necessary because major theatres and theatre companies (E.g. Shakespeares Globe in London) continue to emulate Elizabethan staging, yet unlike theatre companies from 1616, modern companies […]

...Read More about Peter Alexander
Humanities and Social Science

Detection of Intracellular Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen that most commonly causes infection in immunocompromised individuals or compromised epithelial surfaces such as the cornea. This infectious agent is the leading cause of contact lens-associated microbial keratitis, which sometimes results in vision loss or blindness. I am interested in the mechanisms through which P. aeruginosa causes infection. P. aeruginosa is considered an extracellular pathogen known to utilize a type-III secretion system, a needle-like macromolecular structure implemented by the bacteria to inject toxins into the cytoplasm of a target cell without ever entering the cell. However, it has been shown by the Fleiszig lab and a few other researchers that P. aeruginosa does not always use its T3SS to infect extracellularly, but can enter the cell making it more difficult to kill. I am specifically interested in developing an assay that quantifies how often P. aeruginosa enters the cell in order to gain insight […]

...Read More about Sarah Alsamman
L&S Sciences

Relationship between wear and nano-mechanical properties of Polycarbonate Urethane (PCU)

Polycarbonate Urethane (Bionate, PCU), a medical grade polymer, is utilized in the orthopedic industry as a load bearing system due to its superior mechanical properties and biocompatibility. However, adhesive/abrasive wear of polymers in vivo can lead to osteolysis (bone loss) and subsequent aseptic loosening of implants, severely limiting their overall lifetime. This study will instigate the surface mechanical properties, by using a nanonindenter by Hysitron, of Bionate 75D and Bionate 80A and determine a correlation between nanoindentation and wear properties. Understanding the relationship between surface properties and wear behavior can allow researchers to efficiently measure surface behavior.

...Read More about Sofia Arevalo
Rose Hills

Aspects of Historical Consciousness through the fabric of Akhavan Sales's Literature

Mehdi Akhavan Sales is regarded as one of the most celebrated contemporary poets in modern Persian Literature. My research aims to shed light on Akhavans viewpoint on history and historical consciousness along with its trajectory of development. Namely, I am curious to understand what form historical consciousness is manifested in and whether its development can be described as a linear progression, evolutionary or one marked by abrupt changes. This analysis will examine historical events as early as Irans 1953 coup d’etat (28 Mordad) to post 1979 Iranian Revolution while paying close attention to a selection of his works as sources of collective awareness: Arghanun (1951), Zemestan (1965) and Akhar-e Shahnamah (1959). Akhavans poetry is eclectic with its epic themes alluding to the style Ferdowsi, the free verse like that of Nimais poetry in the manipulation of rhythm and rhyme and yet being so descriptively symbolic. Because of his intellectual complexity […]

...Read More about Saman Arfaie
Humanities and Social Science

Topological superconductivity of Weyl Semi-metals

The search for superconductors began in the twentieth century as our understanding of quantum physics developed. In the field of condensed matter physics this search is pivotal. My research will focus on investigating the superconductive properties of certain group of semi-metals, known as Weyl semi-metals. These semi-metals are crystals whose low energy excitation was predicted by one of the solutions to the Dirac equation, the Weyl Fermions. I will mainly investigate different growth methods and superconductive properties of crystals such as Tantalum Arsenide (TaAs) and Cadmium Arsenide (Cd3As2). Further, exploring the behavior of these crystals under high magnetic fields would manifest some of their magnetic properties. Therefore, I intend to explore efficient methods of growing these crystals and analyzing their magnetic and electric properties under high magnetic fields, which would thus help us gain an understanding of their crystal structure and superconductivity.

...Read More about Arman Babkhani
Rose Hills

Specialization of the Human Mediator Complex: How Does This Happen?

Misregulation of cell differentiation often leads to pathological cell fate and frequently employs mechanisms that alter gene expression. There are multiple levels of transcriptional regulation. The focus of my research is one of the subunits of the Mediator complex, MED12 and its paralogue MED12L. The Mediator is known as a general transcription factor, and so it is not expected to specialize. Meanwhile, Dr. Darzacqs lab observed that upon specific knockdown of the MED12L gene (and not MED12), Human primary fibroblasts transdifferentiate into neuron-like cells, suggesting a unique function for this paralogue. In addition, MED12L is highly expressed in Human embryonic stem cells (ESC) and in tested cancer cell lines. By defining and characterizing promoters and enhancers for MED12L, this project aims to explain how the Mediator can be regulated in its composition, leading to differential transcription regulation of its target genes. It is important to understand how the Mediator becomes […]

...Read More about Maryia Barnett
Rose Hills

Electronic Transport in NbSe2-NbSe3 van der Waals Heterostructures

Today’s technology has allowed for significant advances in the fields of condensed matter physics and materials science. In recent years scientists have been able to consistently isolate high quality, atomically-thin layers of various crystals and compounds, beginning with graphene (a single sheetof carbon in a hexagonal pattern) in the mid-2000s. While there has been much research into the properties of single layers of certain materials, a rich variety of novel phenomena can explored in stacks of these layers, known as van der Waals heterostructures. The customization of these stacks and the ability to tune their properties make them an exciting test bed for both validating theories and improving electronic devices. Previous work in my lab has contributed to a good repository of metallic crystals, and I propose to construct heterostructures from thin samples of these crystals, starting with niobium diselenide (NbSe2) and niobium triselenide (NbSe3). Motivation for such research stems […]

...Read More about Joey Barreto
Rose Hills

Benchtop Characterization of Fetal Membrane Sealants

The field of fetal surgery, though it remains the best hope for expecting parents whose child might have dangerous complications, is impeded by the amniotic sac’s inability to heal following rupture. The Messersmith Group, in which I work, has proposed both a sealant, which draws inspiration from the chemical properties of the adhesive secreted by mussels to attach themselves to their surroundings in the underwater environment, as well as “presealing,” an innovative manner of delivering the sealant to the surgical area. This summer I shall be developing a benchtop method of fetal surgery presealing in order to accurately characterize candidate adhesives in a manner that reflects the failure mechanisms that would occur during surgery. Specifically, I will test this protocol on a selection of tissue samples to determine the tissue type and testing conditions that best replicate the the properties of the amniotic membranes.

...Read More about Sarah Bhattacharjee
Rose Hills

The role of miR-200 in regulating self-renewing cancer stem cells in Kras lung adenocarcinomas

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounting for nearly 80% of the cases. Adenocarcinomas are the most prevalent type of NSCLC among which Kras is the most commonly found mutation that correlates with poor patient prognosis. In our mouse model carrying this oncogenic Kras mutation allele and the inducible loss-of-p53 allele, tumor progression, histopathology, and molecular characteristics are similar to those of the human disease, allowing us to understand basic lung tumor biology and identify markers for early diagnosis. In this project, I will focus on studying the role of microRNA family miR-200 in lung cancer tumorigenesis and progression by loss-of-function experiments. There are preliminary results showing that miR-200s are downregulated specifically in lung tumor metastases in comparison to primary tumors in our Kras mouse model. Mice losing miR-200 developed lung tumors with larger size and higher tumor grade as well […]

...Read More about Claudia Chan
Rose Hills

Projective Representations of the Symmetric Group

Lately, we have witnessed increased interest in the study of representations of symmetric groups, and in particular, in their projective representations. In a classic paper, I. Schur introduced what are now known as Schur Q-functions in order to calculate these projective characters; combinatorial formulas for these characters are also available in the early works of D. Littlewood and A. Richardson. On the other hand, the Schur Q-functions admit a natural Hopf algebra structure paralleling the classical case of symmetric polynomials, and it is well known that the Hopf algebra approach is indispensable in understanding the classification of linear representations of the symmetric group. This summer, I will be investigating what new information can be extracted from the Hopf algebra structure on the ring of Schur Q-functions regarding the projective representations of symmetric groups. More specifically, by interpreting the multiplication and comultiplication operations, it is possible to study projective representations in […]

...Read More about Eric Chen
Rose Hills

The neural mechanism of in-group favoritism in rat prosocial behavior

Prosocial behavior is rooted in empathy, or the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. Humans, like many other animals, have been shown to process the pain of in-group and out-group members differently, reflecting strong empathic bias towards ones own group. Encouragingly, research suggests that positive social interactions with an outgroup member leads to increased empathy for the out-group. Previous research with rats in a helping behavior test has demonstrated that rats will perform prosocial behaviors, such as releasing conspecifics trapped inside a restrainer, and will do so specifically for in-group members. This proposal aims to study the neural mechanisms responsible for the social selectivity of this behavior. I hypothesize that oxytocin, a hormone that plays a large role in social bonding, plays a key role in producing prosocial motivation, through its effects on regions of the brain involved in motivation and reward. Preliminary work that I have […]

...Read More about Stella Chen
L&S Sciences

Interleukin-33 expression by astrocytes in response to neuronal activity

Astrocytes, the star-shaped glial cells of the central nervous system, are necessary for synapse formation, which makes the role of astrocytes in brain development particularly interesting as autism and schizophrenia are fundamentally diseases of circuit and synapse formation. Molecular communication between astrocytes and microglia, a second type of glial cell, is an emerging mechanism explaining synapse development and pruning in the central nervous system. Previous work in the lab has found that astrocytes secrete an immune signaling molecule called Interleukin-33 (IL-33) during brain development, and that this molecule acts as a signal to microglia to remove unwanted synapses through a process called pruning. Using mice as a model, I will test the hypothesis that astrocytes respond to the activity of neurons to regulate synapse pruning by increasing expression of IL-33. I will study this question by examining the visual and the sensorimotor nuclei in the thalamus, which receive input from […]

...Read More about Elliott Chien
Rose Hills

The Role of Gpr75 and RANTES in the Beta-Cell Response to Autoimmunity

Despite the growing prevalence of diabetes, the exact biological mechanisms leading to the onset of this disease still remain painfully unclear. Type 1 diabetes in particular is caused by an autoimmune attack to an individuals insulin secreting beta cells; this cell population cannot be regenerated and an adverse condition known as hyperglycemia ensues. The immune cells and chemokines present in the pancreas at the onset of this autoimmune response are of interest when considering this disease. Recent studies have suggested that the activity of a particular G-coupled protein receptor may influence the onset and progression of beta cell destruction. The goal of my project is to study this G-coupled protein receptors role in regulating beta cell function, as well as investigate any potential interactions between this receptors and the molecules of the immune system present in type 1 diabetes.

...Read More about Justin Choe
Rose Hills

Identifying correlations between transposable elements, genome size, and lifespan

Genome sizes vary greatly across many species and within species, though their biological significance is still poorly understood. Large amounts of eukaryotic genomes are composed of repetitive DNA, whose functions also remain ambiguous, and are often called junk DNA. These repeats usually exist in the form of heterochromatin, DNA that is tightly packed as a possible mechanism to silence or repress the expression of these sequences. A group of repetitive elements include transposons, or transposable elements, which can jump around to different locations in the genome, interrupting other genes and creating mutations. Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies serve as useful models to study these genetic features, because their genome sizes among different strains can differ dramatically. It is likely that flies with larger genomes have more repetitive DNA, and therefore causes heterochromatin to be less tightly formed. This dilution of heterochromatin may allow the upregulation and movement of transposable elements, which […]

...Read More about Emily Chong
Rose Hills

A Culture of Support: The Practice Strengths of Mental Health Professionals and Social Workers Who Identify as Survivors of Interpersonal Violence.

The purpose of my research is to examine the current status of trauma-informed mental health treatment and practices, and to explore emerging and best practices in the field. Of particular interest is the provision of services to victims and survivors of interpersonal violence (IPV) by mental health practitioners and social service providers who identify as survivors of violence themselves. This appears to be a new area of research as little in the way of literature is currently available on the subject. My data will be drawn from a questionnaire widely distributed to practitioners and providers working with IPV traumatized client populations, as well as from in-person interviews with the same. Both instruments have been developed to provide specific insight into how survivor-identified practitioners and providers approach, define, and treat issues of IPV-related trauma.

...Read More about T. Christopher Crandall
Humanities and Social Science

The effects of heating on the ejecta of black hole-neutron star merger events

Black hole-neutron star (BH-NS) mergers are remarkably exciting events to model, as they are a source of gravitational waves, same as those discovered for the first time by Advanced LIGO earlier this year. BHNS mergers are binary systems that consist of a black hole (BH) and a companion neutron star (NS), which under sufficient conditions, falls into the BH. After the merger of these two objects, an accretion disk typically forms around the BH and high-energy ejecta is flung out. Remnants of these mergers may power short gamma ray bursts and other electromagnetic signals. Studying these systems through numerical simulations can help better model, detect and interpret such events. However, simulations have proven to be quite complicated. The post-merger disk evolution which occurs in these systems require a wide breadth of physics and numerical techniques to model, as well as necessitate the use of supercomputers. My research will focus on […]

...Read More about Dhruv Desai
Rose Hills

Aspect in Matsigenka

Matsigenka is an Arawakan language spoken by about 10,000 people in and around southeastern Peru. The language is tenseless and utilizes a system of realis/irrealis contrast to encode temporal relations. In addition to this contrast, Matsigenka appears to employ the use of an aspectual system as another means of encoding temporality, though it is theorized to be void of proper aspect. To accomplish this, Matsigenka seems to contain two classes of morphemes which function with aspectual properties. My work this summer will focus in on these two sets of morphemes, and seek first to prove that neither are not full-fledged aspectual markers, and second to explain how they work together to form a full-fledged aspectual system.

...Read More about Michael Dohn
Humanities and Social Science

Identification of solid phases transition in BaFe2As2 using Resonant Ultrasound Spectroscopy

Superconductors are materials that exhibit the phenomenon of zero electrical resistance below a certain temperature. Some pure metals are superconductors, but only at very low temperatures. But over the last few decades some interesting materials have been discovered that super-conduct at high temperatures, up to about 200C. This is still far below room temperature, but if we can understand these materials it may be possible to engineer even room-temperature superconductors. However, many aspects of hightemperature superconductors are still unknown, including how the other properties of these materials are related to their superconductivity. For example, the ironbased superconductor BaFe2As2 undergoes a phase transition that changes its crystal structure. But there is debate whether this transition is related to superconductivity. Knowing exactly at what temperature the structural transition of BaFe2As2 occurs as a function of doping (chemical substitution) is an important part of answering this question. Resonant Ultrasound Spectroscopy (RUS) is a […]

...Read More about Kirk Duran
Rose Hills

Social Differences in Taste: Investigating Romance Reading

Formula fiction is a literary structure in which narratives within a genre are predictable, varying only in details, and therefore, rather than reflecting the real world, reflect a reality constructed by the formula itself. This allows works within a formula to appeal to readers’ emotional, as opposed to aesthetic, tastes. I am investigating the relationship between groups of individuals who read certain types of formula fiction (primarily romance), the emotional fulfillment specific formulas provide, and the social structures producing a deficiency of emotional fulfillment that causes readers to seek out those formulas.

...Read More about Maleah Fekete
Humanities and Social Science

NHE8 control on pH homeostasis in RPE cells

In the eye, Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE) cells are important in maintaining the health of photoreceptor cells. RPE defects can lead to early photoreceptor cell death which is linked to several vision disorders, including Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). The Gong Laboratory has previously linked the protein NHE8, a proton/sodium ion transporter mostly localized to protein secretory pathways, to retinal degeneration that is associated with RPE and photoreceptor cell loss. It is hypothesized that NHE8 mutant proteins lose the ability to exchange protons and sodium ions in intracellular compartments or vesicles, which would disrupt pH regulation and lead to the RPE cell defects. The goal of this project is to further investigate the role that NHE8 plays in pH homeostasis in RPE cells. I will be using primary cultures of mouse RPE cells (wild type and mutant NHE8) with a coupled fluorescent protein system sensitive to pH changes (mcherry/pHlourin) in order […]

...Read More about Ian Ferguson
L&S Sciences

Scanning Tunneling Microscopy of Covalent Organic Frameworks

In the past ten years, scientific interest has grown in the field of two dimensional self-assembled molecular structures because of their promise for flexible nanoscale electronic applications including single molecule sensing, improved photovoltaics, and organic light-emitting diodes. Covalent Organic Frameworks (COFs) are strong candidates for these applications by virtue of their mechanical and thermal stability, transparency to visible light, and ease of large scale production, which could potentially revolutionize electronics and alternative energy. Currently, two-dimensional COF synthesis is not well understood and relies heavily on trial and error, and there is little microscopy data available to resolve the structure of these materials at the atomic level. My research project will use scanning tunneling microscopy, which allows for atomic-scale resolution, to test candidate COF precursors in order to determine if in situ polymerization of ordered structures occurs on various metallic and insulating substrates using thermal activation. I will also perform scanning […]

...Read More about Patrick Forrester
L&S Sciences

Investigating the development of a subject's trained preferred retinal locus in response to a simulated central scotoma

Age-related macular degeneration is the number 1 leading cause of blindness in the world. Macular degeneration is a central retina eye disease that leads to the atrophy of photoreceptors in the macular region of the eye and causes vision loss. AMD patients develop a scotoma, a blind spot, in the central part of their visual system. Their fovea, located in the macular region, which gives the highest acuity and resolution of vision, also becomes degenerate. The presence of a scotoma is associated with an increase in the number of eye fixations and disorganized eye movements. Patients tend to develop a preferred retinal locus, or PRL, in their peripheral vision to replace their fovea as a reference point for eye fixation and saccadic eye movements. Patients can develop multiple PRLs for different tasks. This helps them to cope with central vision loss. However, the mechanism behind the formation of a PRL […]

...Read More about Tiffany Fung
Rose Hills

Critical Reading and Skepticism in Anglo-Saxon England

The common imagination casts Medieval Europeans as victims of an era without skepticism in which the average person accepted superstition as fact. My research looks into the Early Medieval period in England and analyzes how various kinds of readers approached, questioned, and subsequently either accepted or refuted incredible claims. By looking at textual evidence within accounts of miracle as well as items of dubious canonicity, the intent is to expose and understand the multifaceted belief system of the Medieval Christian: one which allows for degrees of truth in miracle, doctrine, and scripture. The ultimate goal is to learn when and how Anglo-Saxon readers would have engaged in critical reading. This opens the door for further study of the ways in which texts can be understood from a broader Medieval perspective, and there are also implications for literary criticism as a whole, especially regarding the epistemological origins of the reader as […]

...Read More about Nickolas Gable
Humanities and Social Science

Effects of Calorie Restriction and Mimetics on Protein Translation Rates In Vivo by a Novel Tandem Mass Spectrometric Method

Caloric restriction (CR), defined as under-nutrition without malnutrition, has been shown in a variety of organisms to increase maximal lifespan upwards of 70%. CR also been shown to have other health benefits not limited to reduced carcinogenesis, increased insulin sensitivity, and reduced cardiovascular disease risk. There are several theories as to how this works, but we still lack a fundamental, mechanistic understand of this phenomenon. Based on research that suggests hepatic proteome replacement rates may be a critical, predictive link between caloric restriction and increased life expectancy, I hypothesize that CR and CR mimetics will decrease global protein translation rates and that this can be measured in vivo by use of a novel tandem mass spectrometric method developed in the Hellerstein lab. This finding would have several potentially important implications: first, that the global rate of message translation is a modulatory process in mammalian tissues; second, that protein translation rate […]

...Read More about Chase Garcia
Rose Hills

From Home to Highway: Gender and the San Francisco Freeway Revolts

As San Francisco transformed into a hub of social activism in the post-World War II era, the longest protest against freeway construction of the 1960s exposed deep social tensions between the local government and its citizenry. While men notoriously controlled City Hall and local industry, housewives launched housing associations and sparked popular sentiment to fight freeway construction. My research asks how womens involvement in the 1951-1966 Freeway Revolts reflected or altered gender roles in urban San Francisco neighborhoods. How, and for what reasons, did women become involved in the Freeway Revolts? What impact did women have on the burgeoning neighborhood activism movement? I will use newspapers, government documents, and interviews to analyze the impact of womens freeway activism upon gender roles and neighborhood advocacy. By examining social movements in a non-homogenous lens, this research has contemporary relevance by providing a framework for local policymakers and activists to create more representative […]

...Read More about Justin Germain
Humanities and Social Science

Transcriptional Regulation of Telomerase

Human chromosomes end in a repetitive sequence called the telomere. The inability of the DNA replication machinery to fully replicate chromosomes results in progressive telomere shortening with each cell division. Critically short telomeres serve as a signal to stop cellular replication. In this manner, telomeres act as a buffer sequence to prevent loss of genetic information on the chromosomes; a process that is associated with cellular and organismal aging. However, telomerase, a reverse transcriptase, can restore lost telomeric sequence and increase the length of the telomere. In humans, adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells (hESCs) express telomerase but upon differentiation of these stem cells into somatic cells, telomerase expression is silenced. This leads to the progressive telomere shortening in the differentiated cells. Silencing of the telomerase enzyme is a result of transcriptional repression of TERT, the catalytic protein component of telomerase. Interestingly, in 90% of human tumors, TERT transcription […]

...Read More about Manraj Gill
L&S Sciences

HST/WFC3 Imaging and Multi-Wavelength Characterization of Edge-On Protoplanetary Disks

This summer, I will be conducting research on an astronomy project involving the data reduction and analytical characterization of several Hubble images of edge-on protoplanetary disks (dust around newly formed stars). This is a topic of interest since the study of pre-planetary systems lends clues to the still unsolved mysteries of the formation of planetary bodies, as well as life in the universe. Comparing high-resolution scattered light images of edge-on diskswith synthetic images from radiative transfer modeling is a powerfulapproach to constrain the disk mass, structure and dust content. By the end of the summer, I will have produced color maps across the visible band to identify and characterize wavelength-dependent properties of these disks. In turn, these will allow us to differentiate features that are related to the dust properties (opacity, scattering phase function) from those tracing the physical structure of the disk (in particular its vertical density profile). By […]

...Read More about Cee Gould
Rose Hills

Recombinantly expressed tobacco mosaic virus nanocarrier for chemotherapeutic applications

Current administration of chemotherapeutics lack specificity and have adverse effects to the body. Thus, to mitigate these effects, significant research has been done to attaching drugs to nanocarriers that range from gold to protein scaffolds. I will be working with protein based nanocarriers, derived from the tobacco mosaic virus to increase the efficacy of the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin. The protein is genome free, which makes the drug carrier a harmless protein capsid. By attaching the drug to the protein via an acid labile linker, the drug will be cleaved from the protein in acidic environments. This controlled release of the drug increases specificity towards cancer cells, as the environment around tumor cells is acidic. Furthermore, unlike other nanocarriers, proteins are biodegradable and can be easily excreted out of the body after delivering the drug.

...Read More about Kenneth Han
Rose Hills

Analysis of the TGF induced enhancement of procollagen I secretion

Collagen is the most abundant protein in mammals: it is essential for tissue development and homeostasis, and its dysfunction contributes to tumor progression. As a major component of the extracellular matrix (ECM), collagen is secreted by specialized cells such as fibroblasts. In the tumor microenvironment, transforming growth factor- (TGF) released by tumors can stimulate fibroblasts to produce more collagen, among many other proteins. In a recent study, when TGF was supplemented to cultured fibroblasts, transcription of procollagen I (PC1) more than doubled and so did the amount incorporated into the ECM. I hypothesize that, in response to increased synthesis, the secretory pathway is upregulated to more efficiently transport PC1 out of the cell, where it is incorporated into the ECM. I will measure the expression level of secretory proteins that are necessary for PC1 secretion by immunoblotting, and elevated expression would be consistent with my hypothesis. In a parallel experiment, […]

...Read More about Juliet Hemmati
Rose Hills

Unsupervsied Deep Multimodal Learning for Object Detection

Recent advances in the artificial neural networks have shown immense success in the computer vision field. While supervised learning tasks in object detection has shown to be a feasible task, the necessity of the supervision in the task is not observed in humans. Despite the fact that object Information is a unison of all senses, currently, object detection tasks are restricted to visual data. I will be researching on using multi modal data to tackle object detection in a supervised and unsupervised setting.

...Read More about Jacob Huh
Rose Hills

At the Threshold: A Critical Race Perspective of the Filipino Identity

Filipinos living in the Philippines today are made of of more than 175 ethnic groups, and are an amalgamation of its indigenous populations, migrants from neighboring countries and the descendants of distant colonizers. For my research, I will use a critical race and gender lens to examine Filipino Identity. What was the process of racialization for the indigenous peoples of the archipelago into Filipino nationalists? How do the colonial legacies of the country persist in the Filipino identity? How and why are Filipinos imagined as a mono-ethnic group? The framework for this research will derive from critical race and gender studies and a literature review of Philippine history, from pre-colonial times to the present. In the Philippines, I will access their national archives to gather data from governments censuses on how census categories arose and changed over time, I will conduct interviews from individuals who self-identify as having different Filipino […]

...Read More about Sy Bocalbos Jordan
Humanities and Social Science

Cell non-autonomous regulation of the unfolded protein response in aging

The epidemiology of disease is changing from acute to chronic. A majority of our research and public health efforts have been focused on eradicating infectious diseases when, in fact, chronic diseases are the leading causes of death worldwide. The mortality rate for chronic disease increases exponentially with age, and, with the increasingly aging population, chronic disease is a public health issue demanding urgent attention. Chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimers, result when the ability of an organism to maintain homeostasis diminishes. The unfolded protein response (UPR) is one of the multiple cellular stress response mechanisms responsible for alleviating protein damage accumulated through senescence and biological stressors such as pollution and pesticides. The molecular mechanisms of the UPR are not well understood. Through my research, I aim to explore the UPR in glial and neuronal cells. Using the genetically similar Caenorhabditis elegans nematode as my model organism, I will […]

...Read More about Nazineen Kandahari
L&S Sciences

Vertical Integrated Reactor for Photocatalysis

Building activity accounts for 25% of the world’s water consumption and 40% of the world’s energy demand. Much of the water comes into buildings at drinking quality and is used for all the water demand throughout the building, including uses that dont require drinking quality water, such as landscaping and toilet flushing. This leaves huge potential for water conservation by means of treating and re-using water from laundry, sinks, and showers. One known way to treat this water is by using titanium dioxide. Since the initial discovery of Titanium dioxides ability to absorb photons and break down long organic and synthetic molecules, scientists and engineers have tried to find the best way to integrate this technology into our current infrastructure. One of these opportunities is to integrate titanium dioxide reactors into building facades, providing treatment and recycling of lightly contaminated greywater right at the source so that water can be […]

...Read More about Dylan Kato
Rose Hills

Cancer Targeting Nanorods via Peptoid Mediated Antibody Bioconjugation

In 2012 alone, 14.1 million cases of cancer were reported worldwide and the disease claimed 8.2 million lives. The magnitude of these figures speaks to the complexity of the causes and mechanisms of cancers and the need to develop new strategies to better combat the disease state. Existing treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation can prove effective but are notoriously limited by a lack of selectivity which results in widespread damage to cancer patients’ healthy cells. Thus, there remains a large demand for effective therapies capable of ridding the body of cancerous cells while leaving surrounding healthy ones intact. To this end, my research aims to develop a nanoparticle modified with breast cancer-specific antibodies which will allow for exploitation of the nanoparticle’s optical properties to induce localized, cancer specific cell death. Addition of the antibody to the nanoparticle will be achieved via covalent bonding to a peptoid, a peptidomimetic polymer […]

...Read More about Andrew Kelleghan
Rose Hills

Electrophysiological Recordings of Sleep in the Fur Seal

Marine mammals, after centuries of convergent evolution, have evolved striking cognitive similarities to humans. However, due to the logistical challenges inherent in neurobiological studies with these creatures, our knowledge of the chemicals involved in fundamental behaviors remains limited. My study will examine the concentrations of glutamate, a major neurotransmitter, in concurrence with electrophysiological data (using surgically implanted EEG electrodes) across the varied sleep types exhibited by the northern fur seal. These sleep types include the bilateral slow wave sleep which is exhibited by humans (sleeping in both hemispheres) and the unihemispheric slow wave sleep which is exhibited by cetaceans (sleeping in one hemisphere at a time). The study will also examine the use of eye state and metabolism as alternative indicators of sleep stage in each hemisphere, which would not require the surgical implantation of electrodes (as in the electrophysiological study of sleep stage) and thus could lead to developing […]

...Read More about Jessica Kendall-Bar
Rose Hills

Non-Equilibrium Protocols for Optimizing Self-Assembly Yield

Self-assembly is the spontaneous organization of components into ordered structure, ubiquitous in materials science and biology. Many essential structures in biology, such as the ribosome or virus shells, organize themselves into ordered structures with surprisingly high efficiency. Despite progress, there is not a comprehensive theory to predict the most likely structure based on individual components in a self-assembling material. Moreover, many important examples of self-assembly occur far from thermodynamic equilibrium. In spite of this, modeling efforts have overwhelmingly focused on equilibrium properties of self-assembly. Aided by theory and computer simulations, my aim is to develop a quantitative understanding of the influence of non-equilibrium fluxes on molecular self-organization.

...Read More about Ramin Khajeh
Rose Hills

Role of endothelial rae-1 in NKG2D dependent tumor immunosurveillance

Cancer refers to a group of currently incurable diseases characterized by the unchecked proliferation of abnormal cells in the body, resulting in the growth of tumors. Today, cancer remains the second leading cause of death in this country. Most current cancer therapies are highly toxic and often only partially effective, highlighting the need for a greater understanding of this disease in order to inform new therapies. Immune cells, including natural killer (NK) cells, possess the innate ability to identify and destroy tumor cells via specific interactions between cell surface receptors and antigen in the tumor microenvironment, a process called immunosurveillance. However, some of these interactions between NK cell receptors, namely NKG2D, and specific ligands on non-tumor cells, can de-sensitize NK cells, allowing unchecked tumor growth. RAE-1 is one such ligand that appears to inhibit NK cells ability to eliminate tumor cells when it is expressed on non-tumor cells in the […]

...Read More about Alexander Kim
Rose Hills

Investigating Suppression Effects in Prediction Paradigms

We live in a world of noise and therefore, one of the most important functions in the brain is the ability to make predictions. Prediction is the result of using previous expectations of our surroundings to create possible interpretations of this noise. Because of the complexity of prediction, it makes sense that it has very complicated neural correlates in the brain. The literature shows mixed understandings of the neural mechanisms of prediction when paired with other factors, such as behavioral relevance. Some scientists argue that there is a prediction suppression effect, while others believe the opposite. In this project I will study the role of sensory adaptation as a result of making predictions using electroencephalography (EEG) while subjects perform tasks intended to isolate the mechanism of prediction. Because this study has not been performed previously, I hope to explain inconsistent findings in past experiments and achieve a conclusive understanding of […]

...Read More about Eena Kosik
Humanities and Social Science

Understanding how the -arrestin Rog3 plays a role in negatively regulating GPCR Ste2

G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are plasma membrane localized receptors found in eukaryotic cells. GPCRs are common targets of pharmaceutical drugs because they mediate cellular responses to hormones, neurotransmitters, and environmental stimulants and are also involved in vision, olfaction, and taste. An important aspect of GPCR biology is negative regulation, or turning off a pathway to avoid deleterious effects of constant signaling. One mechanism for this is internalization, bringing the receptor from the membrane into the cell. The mating pathway of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (budding yeast) can be used to study GPCRs; one of which is Ste2. Internalization of Ste2 relies on help from certain -arrestins, specifically Ldb19, Rod1, and Rog3. The mechanism by which Ldb19 and Rod1 function is known, but Rog3 has been suggested to be able to work through a different mechanism. I am interested in better understanding Rog3. This summer I will identify which residues of Rog3 are […]

...Read More about Rebecca Kuan
Rose Hills

"Their Finest Genre": the Moral Relevance of World War II in Contemporary Literature

World War II, one of the most significant global events of the 20th century, still has not faded from our societal memory. Specifically in the western world, this war has been moralized as an Allied victory against the grips of fascism, but recent representations of World War II events challenge these accepted moral perceptions. The representation of World War II in contemporary (post-1999) literature is not only unusual when considering that this literature was written over fifty years after the events being described, but also has potential consequences for the ways we perceive these events. My research asks, how do contemporary narratives based on the events of the Second World War change the moral relevance of those same events through sentimentalization or normalization? While sentimentalization tends to encourage the moralization of an event, normalization discourages it by rendering the event unremarkable. In my research, I will investigate these two concepts […]

...Read More about Alison Lafferty
Humanities and Social Science

Environmental and Social Effects of Agrochemical Use in Taichung, Taiwan

My research is an interdisciplinary study of the effects of agrochemicals on river ecosystems. I will be travelling the Taichung, Taiwan to conduct my study in an area which predominately farms various fruits and vegetables. I’m interested in looking at the environmental effects of the agriculture on river ecosystems by performing bioassement arrays and looking at macroinvertebrate concentration as well as water sample analysis for pesticides. To piece together my project, I will also be tracing a history of farming practices in Taiwan too see how they have changed due to the agrochemical revolution and to see why and how many public health issues such as excess chemical residue in food and other problems related to pesticide usage have arisen in the past fourty years. I hope with my study to be able to raise additional awareness to these problems in efforts to be able to find meaninful solutions and […]

...Read More about Kimberlie Le
L&S Sciences

Uncanny Narratives of Gendered Trauma in Oh Jung-hees "The Yard of Childhood"

According to the author herself, Oh Jung-hees 1981 short story collection (“The Yard of Childhood”) took the form of a novel sequence when she rearranged eight of her previously published stories by protagonist age. The sequence, however unplanned, elegiacally traces the compressed post-war development of South Korea in the 1950s-70sall through the anonymous coming-of-age story of an impoverished girl who becomes an alienated housewife haunted by her past. My research, then, engages in a close reading of Oh through the lens of literary trauma theory, examining how the psychological process of reparation re-presents traumatic memory as narrative memory. Im especially drawn to the interplay between Ohs use of linguistic and diegetic repetition, intertextuality, and the uncanny. By studying both Korean- and English-language secondary texts, I seek to not only critique the masculinist narrative of South Korean division literature, but to interrogate the assumed universality of eurocentric theoretical concepts.

...Read More about Julie Lee
Humanities and Social Science

Investigating the role of ANGPTL5 in the regulation of lipid metabolism

Obesity, as a result of excess triacylglycerol accumulated in white adipose tissues, is an established risk factor for many metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. Studying the lipolytic effects of proteins contributes to the development of anti-obesity and anti-diabetic agents that can potentially control adiposity and improve insulin sensitivity. Angiopoietin-like proteins (ANGPTLs) are a family of members that are highly involved in the regulation of lipid metabolism and glucose homeostasis. The exact physiological and metabolic functions of ANGPTL5 in humans remain unknown since no ANGPTL5 orthologous gene has been described in murine. Human genomic studies indicate the association of ANGPTL5 with plasma triglyceride level and BMI, suggesting a role in lipid homeostasis. This summer, I will investigate the metabolic functions of ANGPTL5 in adipocyte lipolysis in vivo using ANGPTL5-expressing adenovirus infected mice. I will also examine the inhibitory effect of ANGPTL5 on plasma lipoprotein lipase activity in vitro using […]

...Read More about Mei Lan Li
Rose Hills

Evaluating the Toxicity of Flame Retardant Compounds to Human Kidney Cells

Flame retardants are a diverse group of chemicals designed to slow down or prevent the spread of fire. Exposure to these compounds, however, is associated with adverseand often irreversibledevelopmental, reproductive and carcinogenic consequences. Despite the prevalence of flame retardants in the furniture, electronics, and clothing industries, little is known about their mechanisms of action at the cellular and molecular level. This project serves to define the chemical effects of flame retardants in classic human cell culture models. The first part of this endeavor will evaluate the toxicity of major categories of flame retardant compounds (organohalogens, organophosphorus, mineral-hydrates, borates, and retardant synergists) to human kidney cells. Kidney tissues are most susceptible to damage caused by flame retardants because they concentrate and eliminate bodily toxins from the bloodstream. In this study, both single compounds and combinations of multiple flame retardants will be tested to observe for different mechanisms of toxicity that arise […]

...Read More about Charles Li
Rose Hills

The Failure of a Universal Portugal: Race, Messianism, and The World

My work addresses various moments throughout the history of the Lusophone empire in which Portugal attempted to interpolate imperial subjects into larger universalizing political projects. In other words I investigate how difference was contended with and inflected in teleological narratives of prominent Portuguese figures, emphasizing the latencies, erasures, contradictions, and legacies of violence immanent within these political discourses. First, this iteration of the project hopes to focus on Jesuit incursions across Brazil in the late 17th and early 18th century, which sought to convert indigenous populations and cristaos novos to Christianity and, in doing so, usher in an eschatological Kingdom of God. Here, I hope to excavate the origins of concepts like sovereignty, property and race that remain operative in the lusophone context today. Second, I would like to interrogate secular-republican movements in early 20th century Portugal, which despite an apparent celebration of Moorish heritage, conclude with Portugal’s descent into […]

...Read More about Jacob Liming
Humanities and Social Science

An Analysis Into the Typical Years in a Refugee Camp

One of the great human rights crisis characterizing the turn of the 21st century is the drastic increase in the number of refugees worldwide. As of 2014 the UNHCR reported the number of people forcibly displaced to be 59.9 million people and pinpoints the number of years spent in refugee camps to be 17 years. The UN, NGOs, advocates and the international community have given great effort to meet this serious human rights crisis characterizing the turn of the century. However, the most commonly quoted statistic pinpointing 17 years as the average duration of protracted refugees has questionable origins. Although the statistic originated from a 2006 edition of the UNHCR report The State of Refugees, upon closer inspection the statistic can be traced to an internal UNHCR document in 2004 that surprisingly does not refer to camps at all and is only specific to the situation in 2003. Despite this […]

...Read More about Anita Lin
Humanities and Social Science

Teenaged Female Sexuality in American Film, 1980 - 2010

My summer research seeks to understand how American culture conceives of adolescent female sexuality through analyzing popular film. Looking at American teen films from the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, I will explore when, how, and by whom it is considered acceptable or problematic for teenaged women to engage with their sexuality. Once I’ve conducted a thorough film analysis, I’ll be able to explore what effects these cultural beliefs have on teenaged girls through collecting oral histories of young women in the fall. My finished project will tie these two pieces together, looking to uncover the relationship between our culture’s perceptions of teenaged girls and American teenaged girls’ perceptions of themselves, their bodies, and their sexualities.

...Read More about Sally Littlefield
Humanities and Social Science

Effects of Statistical Training on Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

My research project is a continuation of research already being done by the Berkeley Early Learning Lab that has sought to understand children with autism spectrum disorder’s (ASD) abilities to make statistical inferences. This ability is important because it allows typically developing children to make generalizations about the world and learn, and if hindered in children with ASD, could have cascading consequences in learning and development. ASD is a disorder that the world still does not know much about, therefore research is of the utmost importance to help develop better treatments, interventions, understandings, and lives for children and adults with ASD. My project takes this a step further to test if children with ASD show differences in their abilities to make statistical inferences when given a brief skills training. The results could have important implications for the ways we think about and treat ASD.

...Read More about Sulynn Miao
Humanities and Social Science

Arranging Atoms: Relating Crystal Structure to Dielectric and Piezoelectric Response

Throughout human history, advances in materials science have heralded new periods of technological advancement, from the stone to the modern silicon age. By harnessing newfound computational power, it is now possible to design materials on the atomic scale and accurately predict their properties, based solely on the knowledge of their structure and composition. Such flexibility has allowed for the systematic, high-throughput computational characterization of materials. Focusing on calculated dielectric and piezoelectric response, this study will investigate the connection between materials’ fundamental crystal structure and their overall performance. Over two-thousand distinct crystals will be analyzed using various statistical techniques, with the end goal of establishing criteria for predicting future high-performing materials based solely on their structure. Such criteria have the potential to greatly accelerate the discovery of stronger dielectric and piezoelectric materials, with large potential impact across many disciplines, most notably, integrated circuit development.

...Read More about David Mrdjenovich
Rose Hills

Relationships Between Lithology, Vegetation, and Landscape Evolution

The ability to understand and predict how landscapes will evolve enables us to mitigate the effects of natural disasters and to act as stewards of the land by taking appropriate conservation and restoration measures when necessary. Currently, the geomorphic transport laws that we use to express this evolution do not quantitatively consider variations in rock types and the vegetative communities that they host. This project aims to further our understanding of the role that lithologic heterogeneity plays in landscape evolution by mapping and characterizing lithologic variability at two sites in the Northern California Coast Ranges. By combining physical and geochemical analyses of rock samples with maps constraining the spatial extent of rock types, I will be able to investigate the influence of lithology on vegetation distribution, channel morphology, and hillslope relief.

...Read More about Colleen Murphy
L&S Sciences

Low Temperature Electrical Transport Measurements of Graphene Aerogels

Carbon-based nanomaterials have been the focus of a myriad of research endeavors within the field of Condensed Matter and Materials Physics for the past few decades. Certain allotropes of carbon, such as single-layer graphene, single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs), and spherical carbon fullerene, have been thoroughly explored in their electrical, thermal, and mechanical properties. These forms of carbon have exhibited extremely interesting physical properties, such as high carrier mobility, high tensile and elastic strength, and superconductivity. However, as recently as 2010, a new form of carbon has been discovered known as graphene aerogel, composed of the disordered arrangement of nanoscale domains of graphene. I am interested in studying the electronic behavior and transport characteristics of graphene aerogels of various pore-size distributions, both in its unaltered form and after intercalating the aerogels with alkali metals. The properties I will study this summer are both standard transport measurements and extrapolations from methods used […]

...Read More about Kevin Nuckolls
L&S Sciences

Understanding the neuronal basis of sleep in human using tauopathies as models

The purpose of my research is to investigate the neurobiological basis of sleep disturbances in humans using neurodegenerative conditions associated with signature patterns of sleep changes as a model. Alzheimers Disease (AD), Corticobasal Degeneration (CBD) and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) are the most frequent tauopathies, neurodegenerative conditions associated with accumulation of misfolded tau protein in selective brain areas. Despite coursing with neuronal loss and accumulation of misfolded tau inclusions, these conditions involve different brain areas and cause distinctive clinicopathological features. In all these diseases, patient experience disturbances in sleep/wake pattern from the early stages of the disease progression. My goal is to investigate the human Locus Coeruleus (LC), a pontine nucleus implicated in several steps of the sleep/awake regulation cycle. I will use quantitative methods to estimate the burden of tau inclusions and what kind of neurons are involved in AD, PSP and CB, and eventually attempt to correlate these […]

...Read More about Joseph Oh
L&S Sciences

The Effects of Singing on Speech in Geriatric Voice.

I am investigating the effects of singing on speech in geriatric voice. In my work as vocal coach I have perceived changes in students speaking voices alongside their advancements as singers. Scientifically, it has been noted that the voice undergoes many changes with age, most of which occur more intensely after 65 years of age in men and after menopause in women. Academically, I hope to build on existing research to discover more specifically what scientific factors of speech can be improved through singing. To this end, I am conducting an 8 week study at a senior center where I am teaching a group of seniors to sing and conducting a pre-test/post-test speech experiment, following which I will analyze the data for differences. To speak of long term benefits in working with elderly subjects, I see potential for the development speech therapies through singing. I also see a thread between […]

...Read More about Libby Perfitt
Humanities and Social Science

Determining the Regulatory Genes Involved in Interspecies Interactions

Due to the overuse of antibiotics, bacterial resistance has become one of the most widespread epidemics facing the world today. This, combined with a significant decrease in the production of antibiotics has created a need for new drugs to combat bacterial infections. Actinomycetes are a class of bacteria known to produce several secondary metabolites important in modern medicine. Recent innovations in Next Generation Sequencing have proved that Actinomycetes are capable of producing far more metabolites than previously thought possible. However, the mechanism through which these bacteria are prompted to produce these special metabolites is unknown. My project this summer is to identify the essential genes involved in bacterial communications through secondary metabolites. I aim to do this through with a genetic screen of the bacteria Streptomyces ceolicolor during an interspecies interaction. Then, using modern biological technologies such as PCR, transformation, and metabolomics I will be able to determine the essential […]

...Read More about Daniel Polyakov
Rose Hills

P.A.I.R.S - Portable Ambisonic Impulse Response System

The purpose of the P.A.I.R.S. project is to capture the reverberation of historic spaces using state-of-the-art technology for archival use, future research, experimental composition and performance, and implementation in virtual reality (VR). I intend to record an acoustic representation, or a sonic snapshot, of each space using a technology called impulse response (IR), which will output a collection of digital sound files. Using an ambisonic microphone, as opposed to a set of traditional microphones, allows these files to be decoded into any playback formatmono, stereo, 5.1, binaural, etc. Currently, no one locally is documenting spaces using ambisonics, and the only local IR online is of Alcatraz Prison which was recorded using an older stereo microphone technique. With this project I set out to know what the best practices are for recordings spaces using ambisonics, know what is the best software for convolving the IRs, and to be the first, and […]

...Read More about Andrew Rahman
Humanities and Social Science

Analyzing and Optimizing Data Collection on the Attacks on Health-Care Facilities in Syria

The Syrian civil war is approaching its fifth year of conflict and has been labelled the worst humanitarian disaster of recent times. Since the beginning of the conflict, the Al-Assad regime has systematically targeted health-care facilities and personnel as a weapon of war. In international criminal law, these attacks are a war crime and documentation is important to preserve evidence for purposes of accountability. Despite the increasing number of attacks on health-care systems in the twenty-first century, data on attacks are lacking and there is no standardized method for reporting attacks on health-care in conflict settings. The conflict in Syria has prompted several organizations to develop specific documentation methods to track, report and monitor attacks on health-care. My research involves aggregating and optimizing the different documentation methods. This includes local reporting, satellite imagery, and open-source data collection methods. Through analyzing different methodologies and their datasets, I will identify specific elements […]

...Read More about Sayaka Ri
Humanities and Social Science

The Elucidation of a Host Race Formation of Oak Mistletoe (Phoradendron leucarpum subsp. tomentosum)

Mistletoe is a parasitic organism that inhabits many different tree species in North America. One of the most common mistletoe species is the Oak Mistletoe (Phoradendron villosum) which inhabits a few different oak species in Northern/Central California. They grow in large green clumps and on the trees and produce white berries in the fall and winter seasons. These berries provide a large source of food for various frugivores during the cold winter months. Previously, they have been shown by Janis Dickinson (Cornell University) to be the only source of food for the Western Bluebirds (Silia mexicana) in Central California, and are essential for the survival of the species during these months. Thus, this mistletoe is an important source of food for animals during the winter. Since the mistletoe inhabits different species of Oaks I was interested to find out if these different populations of mistletoe species are actually host races. […]

...Read More about Justin Rigby
Rose Hills

Development of an Apparatus to Measure Relative Reflectivity of Teflon Samples to 175 nm Light in Liquid Xenon

The LUX-ZEPLIN dark matter experiment is currently investigating the use of PTFE (Polytetraflouroethylene) best known as Teflon, for the internal walls of its liquid xenon detector, due to its high reflectivity for 175 nm light. In order to streamline research and development of the PTFE to be used in the detector, a new apparatus is currently being developed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to quickly measure the relative reflectivity of multiple samples of PTFE against 175 nm light in liquid xenon. My goals for the summer are to aid in designing and building some of the aspects of this apparatus, including a sample rack that can hold multiple samples of PTFE, the photodetection system, and the xenon gas system.

...Read More about Logan Rudd
Rose Hills

Comparative functional analysis of endocytic membrane curvature-sensing BAR domain proteins in cancer and stem cell lines

Clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME) is a highly conserved cellular process responsible for nutrient uptake and membrane recycling in eukaryotic cells. After initiation, clathrin and adaptor proteins are recruited to form a clathrin-coated pit, which ultimately matures into a vesicle that is cleaved from the membrane by the concerted efforts of multiple proteins. Several of these endocytic proteins possess a conserved Bin-Amphiphysin-Rvs (BAR) domain, a protein element that can both sense and generate membrane curvature. One of the key proteins in mammalian clathrin-mediated endocytosis is sorting nexin-9 (SNX9), a protein involved in cellular migration and membrane association but has received less study in the context of endocytosis. In clathrin-mediated endocytosis, SNX9 regulates oligomerization-dependent GTP hydrolysis by the cleavage protein dynamin at the end of the endocytic event, a necessary event for the scission of the invaginated membrane into an intracellular vesicle. It is unknown precisely how the BAR domain of SNX9 affects […]

...Read More about Jordan Said
L&S Sciences

Beta-Catenin as a Mechanotransducer in Skin Morphogenesis

Despite a deep understanding of many of the molecular components involved in organ development, recreating complex tissues from undifferentiated cells has proven difficult in the field of regenerative biology. For instance, current skin culturing techniques in clinical settings fail in yielding operational hair follicles and sweat glands, creating problems for patients needing large skin grafts. A major reason for this is that cell differentiation in vivo is influenced not only by classically studied molecular signals, but also by tissue-level force interactions. This research aims to investigate the critical interface between cellular sensing of the physical environment and signal transduction in the experimentally tractable chicken skin. In particular, I will study a dual-function protein called Beta-catenin that has been shown to translocate from epidermal cell membranes to nuclei following tissue compression in feather bud morphogenesis. In analyzing the role of this mechanotransducer in signal transduction and cellular differentiation, I hope to […]

...Read More about Grant Schroeder
Rose Hills

Coloring Around Race: Bay Area Figurative Art and Racial Depiction

My research attempts to examine the roles of race, suburbanization, and region in the context of San Francisco Bay Area art production. Specifically, I will look to the artwork of David Park and Richard Diebenkorn, two members of the prominent Bay Area Figurative School. Bay Area Figurative art developed during the 1950s and 60s, a period of intense development in the Bay Area that coincided with increased migration of Black residents after World War II. However, these developments did not occur on equal footing. Home loan discrimination on the basis of race drastically affected the social and physical landscape of the Bay Area during an influx of Black migrants. Both Park, in his human figural paintings, and Diebenkorn, in his landscapes, utilize color as a way to simultaneously suggest race while eluding outright reference to the reality of racial difference and its socio-political consequences. Yet, conceptions of color cannot be […]

...Read More about Ryan Serpa
Humanities and Social Science

Developing a Mechanical Model for Self-Organization in the Mammary Duct

It is estimated that about 300,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016, making it cancers most common form. About twenty percent of these cases are classified as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), meaning that within the milk duct (ductal) of the mammary gland, cancerous epithelial tissue (carcinoma) has formed, and it is still localized to where it originally developed (in situ). At this stage, ductal carcinoma is not lethal, and a simple lumpectomy can often be performed to remove malignant tissue. However, if the cancer cells proliferate to a certain extent before any treatment is performed, they breakout of their local milk ducts, begin invading other parts of the breast, and eventually get to other parts of the body. The stage of ductal carcinoma characterized by this spread is simply called invasive/infiltrating ductal carcinoma (IDC). The remaining eighty percent of cancer case diagnoses conclude a patient has […]

...Read More about Saam Shahrokhi
Rose Hills

Synthesis and Reactivity of Actinide-Guanidinate Complexes

Organometallic transition metal chemistry is an important cornerstone of chemical research, as studies have led to the development of important catalysts and deeper understanding in the bonding of elements in the entire periodic table. Analogous chemistry with the actinide elements, however, has been relatively unexplored in comparison. Contributing to this lack of experimental work, this project aims to deepen the understanding of guanidinate-supported actinide complexes. Recently, I have synthesized and structurally characterized thorium(IV) and uranium (IV) guanidinate platforms. From these platforms, I accessed the first uranium (III) guanidinate complex. Interesting for its potential as a single molecule magnet as well as its high reactivity towards small molecules, this compound will be studied extensively.

...Read More about Angela Shiau
Rose Hills

Ectopic Kinetochore Formation and Endogenous Centromere Dysfunction due to the Over- Expression of CENP-A

Chromosome instability (CIN), a form of genomic instability, is a hallmark of many human cancers. However, the exact mechanisms contributing to CIN in cancers are not completely understood. The centromere, a unique chromosomal domain required for kinetochore formation and faithful chromosome segregation, is a plausible source of CIN as its misregulation has been implicated to cause neo-centromere formation, dicentric behavior, and chromosome bridges, resulting in aneuploidy, genome rearrangements, and micronuclei. The centromere is epigenetically established across cell generations by CENP-A, a histone H3 variant. As the molecular foundation of centromere chromatin, CENP-A is required for all downstream centromere factors and kinetochore structures to localize to the centromere including the constitutive centromere-associated network (CCAN) and KMN (KNL1 complex, Mis12 complex, and Ndc80 complex) network. In Drosophila, CENP-A overexpression causes milocalization, ectopic kinetochores, and thus, chromosomal missegregation. Uniquely, the overexpression of CENP-A in human cells leads to mitotic defects without neo-centromere formation. […]

...Read More about Andrew Song
Rose Hills

Structural Basis of Macrolide Sensitivity and its Impacts on Antibiotic Design and Use

With our overuse of antibiotics and the resulting decline in their effectiveness, it has become increasingly important to understand their mechanisms of action. Many antibiotics act on harmful bacteria by targeting ribosomal processes and disrupting the translation from mRNA to proteins, thereby interrupting gene expression. The cells abilities to function and reproduce are thereby disrupted, and we observe the desired effects of antibiotics rather quickly. Macrolides are a class of antibiotic that works in this way. The binding site for these molecules in prokaryotes is highly conserved in eukaryotes. With such a large similarity, it is not known exactly why eukaryotes are resistant to their effects. No prior research has found the structural basis that confers macrolide sensitivity to prokaryotes but not to eukaryotes. By probing the macrolide binding pocket in both, I hope to discover mutations that remove macrolide sensitivity in prokaryotes as well as those that confer it […]

...Read More about Daniel Srole
Rose Hills

Synthesis of a novel anthracene spacer for incorporation in supramolecular M4L6 assemblies

The catalytic profile of supramolecular hosts is analogous to that of most enzyme active sites and biological chaperones, which provide both entropic and enthalpic incentives for rapid and reversible substrate encapsulation into their hydrophobic cavities and catalyze reactions by stabilizing transition states. So far, the Raymond group has made significant advances in the study and further development of M4L6 tetrahedral clusters. These tetrahedral clusters are composed of four gallium ions which make up the vertices of the tetrahedron and six organic ligands which make up the edges of the tetrahedron. Each ligand is made up of a central aromatic backbone that gives the ligand rigidity and two terminal chelating moieties which bind to the metal centers of the cluster. Altering the chelating moiety and/or aromatic spacer of these molecules can lead to novel host structures with different catalytic profiles. Since the properties of the ligand structures will determine the catalytic […]

...Read More about Alexios Stamoulis
Rose Hills

Testing TES Bolometers at 100 mK

Cosmic inflation is a theory that expands on the Big Bang model of the early universe to explain some confusing astrophysical observations. A major next step for physical cosmology is to find direct evidence of inflation. Theoretical cosmologists predict that inflation left patterns in the oldest light in the universe, the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), so the CMB measurement community is attempting to detect and characterize these patterns with a new generation of CMB telescopes such as LiteBIRD and CMB-S4. In order to detect this pattern we need to develop extremely sensitive detectors. The satellite telescope LiteBIRD will use detectors called Transition Edge Sensor (TES) Bolometers, operating at a temperature of 100 mK, just 0.1 degrees above absolute zero. Over the next few years, we will be developing the detection electronics for LiteBIRD, and we’ll need to thoroughly test many prototypes. To that end, I’m working on a few different […]

...Read More about Leo Steinmetz
Rose Hills

Cycloprodigiosin Enzyme Discovery: Searching for the Gene Implicated in the Biosynthesis of a Novel Marine Natural Product

Cycloprodigiosin is a novel chemical compound produced by a number of marine bacterial species. One such species of cycloprodigiosin producing bacteria, Pseudoalteromonas rubra or P. rubra, is convenient in that it has had its genome fully sequenced. The gene(s) responsible for the synthesis of cycloprodigiosin from its precursor prodigiosin, however, are yet still unknown and have eluded researchers to date.In this project I will comb through the P. rubra genomic library in search of the enzyme(s) of interest. Gene knockout studies will validate which enzymes are responsible for the synthesis of cycloprodigiosin and further work could then be conducted to characterize any enzymes of interest.

...Read More about Parker Stow
Rose Hills

CRISPR/Cas9-mediated functional screening of proton pumps during development of the Xenopus mucociliary epidermis

Inhibition or mutation of transmembrane proton pumps is associated with human airway diseases, such as pneumonia and cystic fibrosis. However, the underlying molecular mechaisms remain poorly understood. A mucociliary epithelium lines the upper repiratory tract and clears the airways from inhaled pathogens. Inhibition of the proton pump gastric H+/K+ATPAse (ATP4a) causes defects in the mucociliary development through impaired canonical Wnt/-catenin signaling. Furthermore, other proton pumps were implicated in Wnt signaling regulation.I propose that proton pumps in general influence Wnt pathway activation and development of mucociliary epithelia. In my project, I will conduct a functional screen by knockout of different proton pumps using CRISPR/Cas9. Effects on the mucociliary epidermis will be analyzed by in situ hybridization and immunofluorescent microscopy. The frog (Xenopus lavis) embryos are used as a model to study vertebrate mucociliary epithelia because they possess a mucociliary epidermis and a fast development. My research will provide more understanding of […]

...Read More about Dingyuan I. Sun
L&S Sciences

Scleral Micro-RNAs as Potential Therapeutic Targets For Myopia

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a condition in which the eye is unable to focus distant objects correctly due to a mismatch between the power of the eye and the length of the eyeball. The outermost layer of the eye, the sclera, is responsible for maintaining eye size. Thinning of the sclera is a leading cause of ocular complications in people with myopia, and even low levels of myopia may increase the risk for other ocular pathologies. Our research focuses on the use of scleral miRNAs (small non-coding molecules within cells) as potential therapeutic targets for myopia prevention. MiRNAs bind to specific genes to regulate expression, and play numerous roles in physiological and disease processes. By understanding the interactions between miRNAs and genes in the sclera, we aim to prevent scleral thinning and the resultant elongation of the eye in myopia

...Read More about Ashley Tang
Rose Hills

Vitamin A Metabolism in Adipose Biology

In the Napoli Lab we study metabolism of Vitamin A, specifically the active metabolite all-trans Retinoic Acid and its role in adipose tissue biology. Retinoic Acid is an important factor for embryonic development, eye health, adipogenesis (fat cell development) and myogenesis (muscle differentiation) as well as the activation of many other genes. My project focuses on the activity and regulation of the enzymes involved in retinoic acid biosynthesis, specifically Retinol dehydrogenase 10 (Rdh10) which is responsible for the initial step, and how it influences the ability of adult stem cells to differentiate into adipocytes. Our hypothesis is that Rdh10 is critical for retinoic acid synthesis and therefore normal adipose tissue development in mice. To test this hypothesis we will isolate stem cells from adipose tissue from wild type and Rdh10 knockout mice and investigate their differentiation capability. Better understanding enzymes, such as Rdh10, creates opportunities for targeting genes for therapeutic […]

...Read More about Milena Tintcheva
Rose Hills

Plasma Spray AR Coating of CMB Optics

Studying the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) requires highly sensitive optical instrumentation. I will be developing antireflective (AR) coating for lenses to be deployed in Chile to study the CMB. These AR coatings lower reflective loss, help separate CMB signals from other interference, and increase the bandwidth of the signal from the early universe. I will be developing AR coatings using plasma spray, specifically high velocity oxy-fuel spray. This method superheats a material which is then jetted on a surface to yield a uniform surface coating. Parameters of the spray must be optimized to yield the desired refractive properties of the coatings. Furthermore, I will be working with plasma spray as a method of repairing a broken alumina lens. My research goal is to be able to fine tune the use of plasma spray for optical coatings.

...Read More about Steven Tran
Rose Hills

Molecular determinants of DENV NS1-mediated endothelial barrier dysfunction

Dengue virus (DENV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that causes up to 390 million infections every year, resulting in 96 million cases of disease globally. Infection with any of the four serotypes of dengue can result in inapparent infection, dengue fever, or severe forms of the disease associated with vascular leak leading to shock. DENV non-structural protein 1 (NS1) plays a role in viral replication and immune evasion, as well as pathogenesis. More specifically, DENV NS1 has been found to trigger permeability of human endothelial cells in vitro and systemic vascular leak in vivo. This summer, my research project investigates the hypothesis that the structure and glycosylation status of secreted NS1 (sNS1) affect its interaction with the endothelium and activation of signaling pathways leading to vascular barrier dysfunction, and that these functions are determined by specific amino acids of NS1. By modifying specific features of NS1 structure, I hope to define […]

...Read More about Edwina Tran
L&S Sciences

Characterizing Expression of CtBP Isoforms

Many factors come into play in the course of an organisms growth and development, one of which is the transcriptional coregulator C-terminal Binding Protein (CtBP). CtBP has been characterized in a variety of developmental pathways, including the TGF-beta and WNT pathways, and has been shown to produce growth abnormalities when studied in drosophila melanogaster. I plan to study transcription of drosophila CtBP by using fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). Although drosophila CtBP is encoded by just one gene, there are actually several isoforms of the protein that can each produce very different phenotypes when expressed. Because the protein structures of the isoforms are very similar, FISH can help us better differentiate the expression patterns, as well as determine if there are differences between the various mRNA transcripts that produce the same protein isoform. We hope to eventually see either spatial or temporal differences that may explain the phenotypic results. Characterizing […]

...Read More about Susan Wang
L&S Sciences

Biaspectual Verbs in the Russian Language

Aspect is very pervasive in the Russian language. One definition of aspect can be taken from renowned Russian linguist, Roman Jakobson: aspect deals with temporal values inherent in the activity or state itself. With the exception of a few, Russian verbs express imperfective and perfective aspect in pairs. Imperfective aspect is considered to be the basic part of the pair, working without special morphology whereas perfective aspect is achieved by means of prefixation. An imperfective/perfective pair such as chitat prochitat (to read to complete the action of reading) is a typical example of these Russian verbs. However, there exists a group of verbs that can express both imperfective and perfective aspect without morphological modification, that is, without any prefixation. These verbs are called biaspectual. A small minority of these verbs are of Slavic origin, but the vast majority are borrowings. My summer research will focus on looking at and analyzing […]

...Read More about Emma Wilcox
Humanities and Social Science

The Slippery Slope: How American Children's Literature at the Turn of the Millennium Prepares Children for the Nature of Evil & Adulthood

My project looks at American Children’s Literature from the 1990s-2000s. In this period, there is a remarkable shift in not only the tone of American Children’s Literature (turning away from moralistic and didactic traditions of the form), but in its popularity, gaining millions of adult readers. My research looks specifically at A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket (1999-2006), a series in which three orphans face all manner of horrific and absurd obstacles as they attempt to survive alone in a world whose true order and shape is beyond their comprehension, despite the fact that they are intelligent and noble and have pleasant facial features, as Snicket would say. The series attempts to serve as an inoculation for young readers against the misfortune and tragedy that may await them in the world, teaching them to grieve and function constructively when all seems lost and incomprehensible. My central question will […]

...Read More about Kristen Wilson
Humanities and Social Science

Exploring Joint Attention in Infants in Relation to Locomotion and Language

My research aims to examine the development of joint attention in infants. Joint visual attention (JVA) refers to the ability to share attention to a common object with another partner and is vital to an infants capacity to learn, as it facilitates various kinds of communication. JVA has been connected to both language and social-emotional development. My study explores two major issues in the development of joint visual attention. First, it investigates what brings about infants increased ability of responding to and initiating joint attention beginning the second year of life. Second, it looks at whether such changes are correlated to early language development.

...Read More about Jacqueline Woo
Humanities and Social Science

Class, Gender, and Parenting Patterns in Contemporary China

This study asks, do class and childrens gender shapes parents child-rearing patterns in contemporary China? Furthermore, how does different parenting styles affect the childrens psyche, such as confidence and sense of control? By statistically analyzing quantitative data from Chinese Family Panel Studies, I believe this research can contribute to the current sociological and China studies scholarships as it revisits Lareaus classic theory of concerted cultivation and accomplishments of natural growth and brings it beyond the US-centric sociology to China, where social inequality and class antagonism are becoming more and more visible. On the other hand, this study is concerned about the intersectionality between class and gender and therefore brings the issue of gendered parenting back into our picture. Following Berkeleys tradition of public sociology, this study attempts to generate not only theoretical implications about how class and gender norms are reproduced, but also empirical implications about how childrens well being […]

...Read More about Yuchen Yang
Humanities and Social Science

The Competing Goals of Visual Accuracy and Visual Stability

The visual systems astounding ability to create a stable view of the world around us is critical to our everyday experiences, helping us process what would otherwise be a visually chaotic world. One proposed mechanism for such remarkable perceptual stability is a phenomenon known as serial dependence in visual perception, which is thought to facilitate a systematic perceptual bias to make objects nearby in space and time appear more alike than they actually are. Through this misperception, the visual system seems to be sacrificing accuracy for stability. For example, movie viewers rarely notice that an actors stunt double is a different person and this misperception helps the viewer maintain a stable identity for the character. However, such a mechanism could quickly reduce accuracy to a level that is maladaptive the viewer still needs to discriminate between different characters. My research will investigate whether or not the mechanism of serial dependence […]

...Read More about Kathy Zhang
Humanities and Social Science

Understanding the Dynamics of the ALPHA Antihydrogen Trap

Due to its scarcity on Earth (and as far as we know, the observable Universe), very little is known about antimatter, partner particles of equal mass but opposite charge as normal matter. The ALPHA collaboration at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland is one of the worlds most advanced antimatter experimental sites. A cylindrical magnetic trap is used to trap antihydrogen atoms, in that the magnetic field generated by the coils surrounding the cylinder interacts with the atoms to confine them within the walls of the trap. Various experiments are conducted using the trap to probe the properties of antihydrogen atoms. The dynamics of an individual antihydrogen atom inside the magnetic trap are not yet fully known; a more comprehensive understanding will allow more precise experiments to be designed. I will use computer simulations to study the interactions between the trap and individual antihydrogen atoms under various trap parameters, in particular how […]

...Read More about Mike Zhong
L&S Sciences