SURF Conference 2021

Presentation Schedule

Thursday, August 19, 2021

9:00-9:15 am  Opening Remarks, Jessica Stewart, Director, OURS  

Block 1: 9:30-10:30 am  

  • Session 1A: Genetic Engineering
  • Moderator: Claire Hilburger
  • Samantha Lieberman

CRISPR-Cas9-Mediated Genome Editing to Reduce Levels of Cyanide in Cassava

Mentors: Jessica Lyons, Michael Gomez, Daniel Rokhsar, Brian Staskawicz 

  • Sara Smith

Targeted Genome Editing of Bacteria Within Microbial Communities

Mentor: Ben Rubin

  • Aleysha Chen 

Directed Evolution of MAAP to Promote AAV Secretion

Mentors: David Schaffer, Hyuncheol Lee

  • Tina Li

Learning from an Ancient Process: Using Gametogenesis Pathways to Rejuvenate Aging Cells

Mentors: Elçin Ünal, Tina Sing

  • Session 1B: Relationships of Environment to Biology
  • Moderator: Kayli Martinez 
  • Emmaline Jones

Comparative Primate Cognition of Red-tailed Monkeys, Ring-tailed and Crowned Lemurs

Mentors: Terrence Deacon, Trent Trombley 

  • Evan Juan

Investigating the Role of Dengue Virus Nonstructural Protein 1-induced NLRP3 Inflammasome Activation in Dengue Pathogenesis

Mentors: Eva Harris, Marcus Wong

  • Tara Najafi

The Impact of Basal Ganglia Lesions on Implicit Motor Learning

Mentors: Richard Ivry, Jonathan Tsay

  • Shuka Park 

Investigating Interactions Between the Circadian and Reproductive Systems in Female Reproduction

Mentors: Lance Kriegsfeld, Jeff Phumsatitpong

  • David Pack 

Exploring the Impact of Culturally Tailored Culinary Interventions: Reducing Blood Pressure Through Dietary Change Among Filipinx Americans

Mentors: Susan Ivey, Claudine Woo, Aileen Suzara 


  • Session 1C: Literary and SocioPolitical Narratives
  • Moderator: Brittany Johnson
  • Eva Hannan

Feminization of Labor in the U.S. Prison-Industrial Complex

Mentor: Marianne Constable

  • Ava Olson

Fictional Cops, Real Brutality: The Police Procedural as Propaganda 

Mentor: Christine Palmer 

  • Phee Marcial 

Catullan Journeys: Mapping Gender-fluidity in Trans*lation

Mentor: Kathleen McCarthy

  • Andrew Chan

Sylvia Plath’s Vision of the Sea

Mentor: Geoffrey O’Brien

  • Mallen Clifton 

Beyond the Screen: Examining Spatial Structure in Hypertext Fiction

Mentor: Clancy Wilmott


Thursday, August 19, 2021

Block 2: 11:00am-12:00


  • Session 2A: Investigating Genomic Impacts on Cellular Function 
  • Moderator: Claire Hilburger 
  • Elina Wells 

The Effect of the Histone 3 Lysine 27 to Methionine mutation on Regulatory T cell Stability

Mentors: Michel DuPage, Sebastian Fernandez

  • Novia Kayfetz-Vuong

Analysis of Gene Flow Between Neighboring Poison Frog Species in Ecuador

Mentor: Rebecca D. Tarvin

  • Anne Nakamoto

Investigating the Role of Transposable Elements in Fungal Plant Pathogen Genome Evolution

Mentors: Ksenia Krasileva, Pierre Joubert

  • Anne Chen

Generating High-Throughput CRISPR-induced Deletions in Drosophila

Mentors: Michael Eisen, Michael Stadler

  • Kenneth Trang

Characterizing the Role of Single Genes in the Assembly and Ecological Succession of the C. elegans Gut Microbiome During Larval Development 

Mentor: Michael Shapira

  • Session 2B: Environmental and Cosmic Data Analysis
  • Moderator: Jessica Stewart
  • Lilou Redon-Gabel

Using Low-Cost Sensors to Evaluate Community-Scale Air Pollution Trends

Mentors: Rebecca Sugrue, James Butler, Chelsea Preble, Thomas Kirchstetter, Claire Hilburger  

  • Julia Nicholson

Time Series Analysis of Groundwater in the Sierra Nevada

Mentor: Albert Ruhi

  • Eden McEwen

Wavelength Dependence of ‘imaka, a Ground Layer Adaptive Optics Instrument

Mentors: Jessica Lu, Mark Chun

  • Druv Punjabi

Assessing the Effects of Host Galaxies on Type Ia Supernovae Luminosities

Mentors: Alex Filippenko, Yukei Murakami

  • Noah Bussell

Synthesis and Characterization of Cu3N for the Electrochemical Reduction of CO2

Mentor: Jason Cooper

  • Session 2C: Topics in Geology and Geophysics
  • Moderator: Brittany Johnson 
  • Yueyi Che

Comparison of Glacier Vertical Thinning and Horizontal Retreat in Yosemite During the Last Glacial Maximum 

Mentors: David Shuster, Alyssa Abbey, Greg Balco, Greg Stock, Kurt Cuffey

  • Nicolas Anderson

Testing the Hypothesis of a Bifurcating Mantle Plume 1.1 Billion Years Ago with Geochronology and Paleomagnetism of the Southwestern Laurentia Large Igneous Province (SWLLIP)

Mentor: Nicholas Swanson-Hysell

  • Paolo Sanchez

Traces of Extinction: Geochemistry of Chicxulub Impact Spherules at Gorgonilla Island, Colombia

Mentor: Paul Renne

  • Allison Zau

Seismic Detection of Groundwater Aquifers in Critical Montane Meadow Ecosystems

Mentor: Matt Kondolf

  • Session 2D: Policy, Society, and Social Movements
  • Moderator: Mary Shi
  • Jonathan Kuo

Historicizing the Personal Belief Exemption to Vaccination in American History

Mentor: Elena Conis

  • Da Eun Jung

Korean Women’s Perceptions of Korean Abortion Policy Changes and U.S. Abortion Debate

Mentor: Laura Nelson

  • Annabelle Long

Marguerite Dice and Anti-communist Clubwomen

Mentors: Caitlin Rosenthal, Daniel Kelly

  • Ian Wong

Articulating a Hong Kong Identity: Evolution of Protest Tactics from Occupy Central to the Anti-Extradition Bill Protests

Mentor: John Lie


Thursday, August 19, 2021

Block 3: 2:00-3:00pm


  • Session 3A: Conflicting Histories
  • Moderator: Jessica Stewart 
  • Ivan Chavez

The Politics of Statues: Looking at the Toppled Statues of Golden Gate Park and their Meaning

Mentor: Pablo Gonzalez

  • Karah Giesecke

Disposability and Invisibility: American Menstrual Material Culture and the Advent of Disposable Period Products

Mentor: Sandra Eder 

  • Miranda Jiang

Consumer Culture and the Discontents of Westernization in French-Occupied Vietnam 

Mentor: Ethan Katz

  • Viktoriya Carpio

Indulgences and the Common People in Late Medieval England: A Tool of Devotional and Communal Solidarity?

Mentor: Jonathan Sheehan


  • Session 3B: The Molecular Basis of Human Disease
  • Moderator: Kayli Martinez 
  • Stacy Hu 

Understanding Circadian Control of Ovulation with Inhibitory DREADDs

Mentors: Lance Kriegsfeld, Savannah Bever

  • Alexandra Weiss

If These Membranes Could Talk: Uncovering the Function of the Ferrosome

Mentor: Hector Trujillo

  • Reshma Kodimerla

Longitudinal Characterization of the Healthy Versus Dysbiotic Vaginal Microbiome Prior to and Following Treatment for Chlamydia Trachomatis Infection Among Pacific Islanders

Mentor: Deborah Dean

  • Bradley Oh

Quantitative Characterization of Enlarged Perivascular Spaces in CADASIL

Mentor: Fanny Elahi

  • Gracie Richards

Comparative Metagenomic Analysis of the Endocervical, Vaginal and Rectal Microbiota among Chlamydia Trachomatis Infected and Uninfected Pacific Islanders

Mentor: Deborah Dean

  • Session 3C: Investigating Quantum Physical Principles
  • Moderator: Annabel Large
  • Orion Ning

Compactification of a Nonlocal 6D Quantum Field Theory Toward Exploring Anomalies

Mentor: Ori Ganor

  • Sulaiman Alvi

Quantum Machine Learning for High Energy Physics

Mentors: Norman Yao, Benjamin Nachman

  • Eric Li 

Acoustic Bandgaps for Improved Quantum Memory Coherence

Mentor: Alp Sipahigil

  • Aaron Kavaler 

High-order CFD Data Compression

Mentors: Per-Olof Persson, Andrew Shi

  • Session 3D: The Long Term Effects of Adverse Experiences
  • Moderator: Mary Shi
  • Elizabeth (Libby) McBride

Unplanned Pregnancies in Women with Histories of ADHD: The Role of Executive Functioning

Mentors: Stephen Hinshaw, Laura Henry, Phuc Nguyen

  • Zoe Zong

Temporal Dynamics of PTSD Symptoms and Social Reactions after Sexual Assault: An Idiographic Network Analysis

Mentors: Esther Howe, Aaron Fisher

  • Rhammses Del Rio 

The Effect of an Economic Recovery on Household Composition

Mentor: Sofia Villas-Boas

  • Jae Won Sim

“Han” (한) Grief and Divided Identity: The Role of Intergenerational Trauma and Cultural (Re)Connection in the Mental Health of 1.5 and 2nd Generation Korean American Young Adults

Mentor: Carolyn Chen


Friday, August 20, 2021

Block 4: 9:00-10:00am


  • Session 4A: SURF-SMART, STEM Investigations
  • Moderator: Jessica Stewart 
  • Genevieve Akponye

Melatonin & the Bird Brain: The Importance of Reproductive Timing

Mentors: Mattina Alonge, George Bentley, Devon Comito, Valentina Squicciarini

  • Jieyuan Kan

Remote Sensing of the Impacts of Megafires on Snow in San Joaquin

Mentor: Marianne Cowherd

  • X Sun

Investigation on Bending Behavior of Externally Carbon Fiber Reinforced Concrete Using Finite Element Method and Its Applications in Gridshell Architectures

Mentor: Yasaman Yavaribajestani

  • Samantha Kwan

Fatigue Effects in Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene 

Mentor: Bethany Smith

  • Jianhua Lim

Computationally Revealing Cell Elasticity Within a Micro-Stretching Device

Mentor: Andre Montes

  • Session 4B:  Topics in Molecular Environmental Biology 
  • Moderator: Claire Hilburger 
  • Blake Stoner-Osborne

Modern Day Jurassic Park: Using DNA Metabarcoding to Reconstruct Mosquito Feeding Networks Across California

Mentors: Natalie Graham, George Roderick 

  • Zachary Zollman 

Cuticular Compound Profiles in California Tetragnatha

Mentors: Ashley Adams, Rosemary Gillespie

  • Dan Willett 

Assessing Effects of Grassland Soil Amendments Through Remote Sensing

Mentors: Whendee Silver, Andrew Jones

  • Heidi Yang

Investigating the Role of Transposable Elements in the Adaptive Radiation of Hawaiian Tetragnatha Spiders

Mentors: Rosemary Gillespie, Natalie Graham, José Cerca

  • Session 4C: Deep Dive into Excitable Cell Types 
  • Moderator: Kayli Martinez 
  • Lilian Zhang

Electrophysiology of Pacemaker Neurons in the Upside-Down Jellyfish, Cassiopea

Mentors: Richard Harland, Michael Abrams

  • Allen Khudaverdyan

Heart on Fire: Molecular Crosstalk Between Brown Fat and the Heart

Mentors: Guo Huang, Xi Chen, James Lee

  • Ted Daniel B. Llera

Establishing The Mechanisms of AGS MANF in Neuroprotection and Regulated Cell Death Using CRISPR-Engineered AGS and Mouse Neural Cells

Mentors: Neel Singhal, Dengke Ma, Robert Beatty

  • Anushree Gupte

Understanding the Effects of Inactivation of Visual Cortex on Learning a Detection Task

Mentors: Hillel Adesnik, Hayley Bounds, Daniel Quintana 

  • Ilaria Stewart 

Neural Anatomical Changes Due to Knockout of Cell Adhesion Protein

Mentors: Angela Matcham, Xin Duan

  • Session 4D: Investigating Discrimination and Bias
  • Moderator: Mary Shi 
  • Owen Yeung

Investigating The Demand for Source-Checking

Mentors: Stefano DellaVigna, Zheng Huang

  • Lauren “Aris” Richardson

Agentic Storytelling: What We Tell Children and Who They Hear Succeed

Mentors: Juliana Schroeder, Aastha Mittal

  • Ockemia Bean

How Much Black Wealth is “Acceptable” in America Today

Mentor: Dana Carney

  • Michelle Soto-Melgar 

Crisis Codes: A Socio-Historical Analysis of Oyster Bay’s Day Labor Solicitation Ordinance 

Mentor: Jonathan Simon 

  • Olivia Nouriani

Eurabia and the Great Replacement Along the Fault Lines of Civilizations

Mentor: Emily Gottreich

Friday, August 20, 2021

Block 5: 10:30-11:30am

  • Session 5A: Growing and Characterizing Novel Materials 
  • Moderator: Jessica Stewart 
  • Gabriel Perko-Engel

Measuring Nematically Ordered Superconductivity with Resonant Ultrasound Spectroscopy

Mentor: James Analytis

  • Ruoyi Yin

Simulating NaCl Core-Exciton States and Transitions in Four-Wave Mixing (FWM) Experiment

Mentors: Stephen R. Leone, James Gaynor, Rafael Quintero

  • Wendy Wan

Heat Capacity for Ni intercalated TaSe2

Mentors: James Analytis, Nikola Maksimovic

  • Amoolya Grandhi

Disorder in an Antiferromagnetic Topological Insulator (MnBi2Te4)

Mentors: Sinéad Griffin, Paul Corbae

  • Rastko Nastic

Synthesis, Analysis, and Quality Control of Graphene Memristor Devices

Mentor: Michael Crommie

  • Session 5B: Investigating Proteomic Impacts on Cellular Processes 
  • Moderator: Kayli Martinez 
  • Lilliana Zar

The Effect of Pore Loop Mutations on Conformational Dynamics of the 26S Proteasome

Mentors: Andreas Martin, Erika M. López-Alfonzo

  • Xavier Tao

Expanding a Computational Platform for the Engineering of Chimeric Polyketide Synthases

Mentor: Tyler Backman

  • Andy Chen

The Influence of Spontaneous Neural Activity on the Development of Intrinsically Photosensitive Retinal Ganglion Cells

Mentor: Marla Feller

  • Amy Yan 

Dynamics of Branched Actin in Clathrin-Mediated Endocytosis

Mentors: David Drubin, Meiyan Jin

  • Session 5C: Topics in Bioengineering
  • Moderator: Claire Hilburger 
  • Owen Doyle

Tracking Changes in Neural Activity from Novel Brain 


Mentor: Rich Ivry

  • Joanna Veres

A Novel Computational Model For Bovine Intervertebral Disc Joint Level Mechanics

Mentors: Grace O’Connell, Shiyin Lim

  • Derek Ning

Hyaluronic Acid Hydrogels Promote Muscle Growth and Differentiation

Mentors: Kevin Healy, Anouk Killaars

  • Simon Han

Function and Structure of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Liver Organoids Self-Assembled in Microgravity

Mentors: Tammy Chang, Lydia Sohn

  • Session 5D: SURF-SMART: Cultural and Cognitive Investigations
  • Moderator: Brittany Johnson 
  • Zoe Carwin

Picture Comprehension in Toddlers 

Mentor: Rebecca Zhu

  • Jesus Duarte

Acoustic Perception of /d/ by English-Spanish Bilinguals

Mentors: Ernesto Gutierrez Topete, Mary Shi

  • Sydney Liang

Unspoken: Asian-American Literature and the Bay Area as Archive

Mentor: Maia Rodriguez

  • Audrey McClish  

Settler Colonialism and American Political Development: A Congressional Analysis

Mentor: Mary Shi 

  • Kara Smale 

Communities of Support for Indian Classical Dance in Singapore

Mentor: Aparna Nambiar

Friday, August 20, 2021

Block 6: 12:00-1:00pm

  • Session 6A: Genetic Analysis of Disease and Behavior 
  • Moderator: Mary Shi 
  • Justin Nelson

Investigating the Mechanisms Governing Kisspeptin Cell Activity in Reproduction

Mentor: Jacob Moeller

  • Diana Francis

Tracking the Expression of Sleep-Related Genes in the Cassiopea Jellyfish

Mentors: Richard Harland, Michael Abrams

  • Allison Rothrock

Genetic Analysis of Serpentine Adaptation in Mimulus guttatus

Mentors: Benjamin Blackman, Allison Gaudinier

  • William Lin

Identifying and Characterizing a Genetic Modifier for Cataracts

Mentors: Xiaohua Gong, Chun-hong Xia

  • Citlalli Vergara 

Steroidal Regulation of Kir7.1 as a Treatment for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Mentors: Polina Lishko, Monika Haoui 

  • Session 6BTerrains of Possibility
  • Moderator: Jessica Stewart 
  • Sam McGinnis

Museum, Map, Archive: Visualizing Queer & Trans Interventions into Colonial Technologies 

Mentor: Anneka Lenssen

  • Ryan Tuozzolo

Casar, Cazar, Casa: Sex as Apocalypse in Pizarnik’s El Infierno Musical

Mentor: Timothy Hampton

  • Sepanta Sarraf

Sasanian Subjects and their Faith

Mentor: Adam Benkato

  • Issac Engleberg

Greenfield Village and the Pedagogy of Urban Scale Models

Mentor: Peter Ekman

  • Session 6C: Computational Predictions
  • Moderator: Aileen Liu
  • Cynthia Zhong

Tonal Variations on “bu” in Mandarin-English Code-Switching

Mentor: Keith Johnson

  • Max Litster

The Inferred Reader: Computational Approaches to Narrative Understanding

Mentors: David Bamman, Matthew Sims

  • Kaarthik Vegesna

Mathematical Modeling of Actin Crosslinkers during Clathrin-Mediated Endocytosis

Mentor: David Drubin

  • Zaid Ahmad

Detecting Natural Selection with Ancient and Modern DNA Data

Mentor: Rasmus Nielsen

  • Emily Nguyen 

ReachSplitter-3D: Automated Behavioral Classification of Whole-Arm 3D Kinematics in Rats

Mentors: Brett Nelson, Kristofer Bouchard

Friday, August 20, 2021

1:15pm : Closing remarks, Jessica Stewart & SURF Staff