Victoria Vo

All steps of female reproduction, including ovulation, fertilization, and pregnancy, rely on timed secretion of reproductive hormones. The release of hormones in our bodies coincide with our exposure to the natural light and dark cycle. In women with poor sleep hygiene and irregular work schedules, circadian desynchronization has been shown to negatively impact different stages of the reproductive cycle, leading to irregular menstrual cycles, decreased fertility, and increased miscarriage rates. Additionally, with the rise of modern technology, exposure to artificial light from laptops and phones at night poses an even more pronounced disruption to the circadian rhythm. In the Kriegsfeld lab we study how the brain’s master circadian clock (SCN) controls areas of the brain associated with reproduction. In my research project, with the guidance of my graduate student mentor, I aim to understand how specific SCN neurochemicals coordinate the activational state of kisspeptin and GnIH neurons to allow for […]

Kyle Zolkin

The environmental plastic problems that plague our planet have become increasingly threatening and an urgent need to solve this epidemic has arisen. Efforts to mitigate this damage have been made but recycling approaches are inefficient and do not eliminate microplastics and enzymatic plastic degradation is costly and diffusion limited. We have proposed a nanoscopic dispersion of enzyme in plastic complexes, creating fully functional materials that have programmable degradation and do not create microplastics. While these complexes are effective in eliminating microplastics, the mechanism in which they do so is still disputed. The characterization of this complex is crucial in understanding its mechanism and whether it can be tuned to cater towards different environmental conditions. By changing the plastic(PCL) matrix chain length, we add another tunable factor as well as allowing us to gather important information on the mechanism behind its binding and degradation. Insights gained here can provide a general […]

Marvin Miller

The primary objective of this research proposal is to examine the effect of aging on the lactate receptor GPR81 and metabolic inflexibility. GPR81 gets activated by lactate among the series of short-chain carboxylic acids and reduces intracellular cAMP levels that influence the inhibition of fatty acid transporter and lipolysis (Ahmed, Kashan, et al., p315). Metabolic flexibility is the cells’ ability to shift from one energy source to the next, for example, glucose to fat. With aging, there is a reduction in the ability to shift energy sources. The inability for old people to use fat as metabolic fuel is called metabolic inflexibility (Rooney and Paul, p1315). Therefore, understanding the role of GPR81 with aging is of importance. Hence, this research proposal seeks to bridge the gap of understanding the role of GPR81 and metabolic inflexibility with aging. The study will form the foundation for future researchers and scholars in the […]

Leonardo Lahijani

The visual cortex is composed of several brain areas that are considered to give rise to different aspects of visual perception, and it is thought that these areas work in conjunction to give rise to the experiential percept of vision. In this project, I will aid in investigating the neurological circuitry in primary and higher visual areas in the mouse visual cortex while they are presented with visual stimuli. I will be conducting research on past experiments regarding feed-forward and feedback circuits in the mouse brain, which govern the processing and flow of visual information. I will later work on training mice to perform visual perception tasks and analyzing the data generated from the imaging experiments. We believe that in doing so we will learn more about the patterns of communication between different visual processing areas, which is key to understanding not only the biological basis of all visual experience, […]

William Sheu

The mystery of dark matter and the nature surrounding the cosmic expansion rate (H0) are among the most fundamental questions in physics today. Dark matter outweighs ordinary matter (which stars and planets are made up of) by a ratio of 5:1, and yet much surrounding dark matter is unknown. H0 dictates the expansion rate of the universe, and yet the two current methods of measuring H0 are discrepant at a statistically significant level.Gravitational Lensing is a rare phenomenon that plays a critical role in addressing both of these problems. The matter in a massive galaxy acts like a lens by bending the light from another galaxy, if it is almost directly behind it, creating distorted images of the background galaxy. By training neural networks to both identify and model these incredibly rare phenomena, we can better understand the mystery behind dark matter substructures and may provide a far more accurate […]

Ethan Willbrand

The human cerebral cortex contains ridges (gyri) and indentations (sulci) that other species do not have especially in locations that are expanded in humans such as the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC). In PCC, there is confusion regarding sulcal definitions and nomenclature, which affects interpreting sulcal-functional correspondences. Recently, we reduced confusion by performing a systematic investigation of sulcal identification in adult human PCC (Willbrand et al., 2020). We discovered that a new shallow sulcus in PCC, the inframarginal sulcus (IFRMS), is a tripartite cortical landmark identifying a functional region involved in cognitive control and transitions in macroanatomical and microanatomical gradients. Here, I aim to build on this empirical foundation by addressing two main questions for my SURF project: Is the IFRMS identifiable in children? and Do morphological features of the IFRMS and surrounding PCC sulci develop from childhood to adulthood? As the IFRMS was only identified as a critical cortical landmark […]

Lucy Sandoe

My project will try to address the possible hazards associated with the Mendocino Triple Junction, where the Pacific, North American, and Gorda plates meet. This project will use Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) and python programs to measure and model ground deformation in order to further understand the uplift that results from the intersection of the three tectonic plates. These deformation models are a novel approach to characterize whether faulting, aseismic deformation, or deeper mantle processes cause uplift in different parts of the region. From this characterization, this project aims to estimate fault location and movement, leading to quantification of locking depth and earthquake potential on the faults. By analyzing the processes which cause deformation near the triple junction, I hope to gain a better understanding of the magnitude, location, and hazard of future earthquakes in this area.

Kameswari “Kamu” Potharaju

While it is well-established that the social determinants of health play a monumental role in patients management of their health, there is more to be learned about how a deeper understanding of the social and physical environment can be applied to shape beneficial interventions. Learning how a patients neighborhood affects their ability to visit the doctor in their area or have access to a caregiver can inform the design of technological tools that address these pain points along a patients journey to access quality healthcare. This summer, I will be working with the Lyles Lab at UCSF. My research will determine the interplay of individual, interpersonal, and neighborhood-level influence on diabetes self-management tasks for low-income individuals in San Francisco, through the lens of qualitative inquiry supplemented with geospatial analysis. Through my research, I hope to better understand how qualitative research on social and environmental factors can be translated to the […]

Blake Stoner-Osborne

Global change occurs at unprecedented rates within the Anthropocene and the drastic changes to coral reef ecosystems around the globe are unparalleled. Long-term ecological monitoring datasets from coral reefs in the Carribean and Indo-Pacific regions contain key information for assessing modern changes to tropical reef ecosystems. Abundant data on oceanographic conditions and organismal density hold the key to examining relationships between the biotic and abiotic factors that have changed coral reef community composition in the recent past. This project will use long-term ecological monitoring datasets from tropical islands in the Indo-Pacific and the Caribbean to investigate the impacts of changing water temperature, nutrient availability, and geomorphology on organismal community assemblages. These oceanographic and biological relationships have the potential to reveal key impacts of anthropogenic activity on these extremely productive, yet rather fragile ecosystems that support such a large percentage of marine life. This project hopes to investigate the effects of […]

Anderson Lee

This summer, I will be creating and analyzing a pangenome of cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria have long been of interest in the synthetic biology world because of certain traits, such as hydrogen and biopharmaceutical production. The pangenome will compare all of the genes of the sequenced cyanobacterial strains, not only allowing the construction of a phylogenomic tree but also illuminating which genes correspond to specific physiologies. Hopefully, this mapping will allow for optimization of biological processes through deletion of unnecessary steps, insight into which genes make some cyanobacteria filamentous, and enlightenment of the various functions of unknown genes.