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The Amgen Scholars Program

2014 Amgen Scholars

Below are the participants in the 2014 University of Washington Amgen Scholars Summer Program.

Matthew Bates
Institution: Oregon State University
Faculty Mentor: Bo Zhang, Bioanalytical Chemistry, Electrochemistry

Matthew Bates is a rising junior at Oregon State University studying chemical engineering. Matthew is conducting his second summer of research in the field of electrochemistry, having worked at OSU last summer. He finds electrochemistry to be very interesting and plans on attending graduate school for a PhD in either chemistry or chemical engineering with a focus on electrochemistry. Outside of research, Matthew is a huge sports fan. He attends every home football and basketball game, and many baseball games at OSU. He also really enjoys playing and watching tennis, as well as reading in his free time.

Thomas Bearrood
Institution: St. Olaf College
Faculty Mentor: AJ Boydston, Organic Chemistry

Thomas Bearrood is a rising senior studying chemistry and mathematics at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. In the past year, he has interned as an organic chemist for 3 months at a pharmaceutical institute in Germany, as well as studied medicinal chemistry for 1 month in Jamaica. This summer he is working in the Boydston Lab in the chemistry department, synthesizing mechanophores and adding them to polymers. Outside of the lab, Thomas enjoys traveling, hiking, ballroom dancing, playing intramural sports, and hanging out with family and friends. After graduation, Thomas plans to pursue a PhD in organic chemistry.

Anastasiya Belyaeva
Institution: University of Maryland
Faculty Mentor: Lutz Maibaum, Chemistry

Anastasiya is a rising senior studying bioengineering and mathematics at University of Maryland, College Park. This summer, she is researching the effect of cholesterol on lipid organization using molecular dynamics simulations. In particular, she is interested in elucidating the mechanism of the condensing effect of cholesterol, as well as the transition of lipids from liquid disordered to liquid ordered state. Both research questions are important for understating lipid raft formation in cell membranes. Upon graduation, Anastasiya plans to pursue a Ph.D. in computational bioengineering, where she will be able to apply computational models to study biological systems.

Janella Bermudez
Institution: Gonzaga University
Faculty Mentor: Champak Chatterjee, Chemistry

Janella Bermudez is a senior at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. She is a Biology major and German minor. She has done research in Phage Genomics and currently works as a research assistant in a sleep research and performance center. This summer, she is working with Dr. Champak Chatterjee in the Chemistry Department, studying the effects of chemical changes on protein structure and function. More specifically, she investigates how long it takes to make a modified ubiquitin protein using an ultrafast intein. In her spare time, Janella enjoys spending time with friends and family, dancing, running, and drinking coffee.

Lauren Blair
Institution: Vanderbilt University
Faculty Mentor: Horacia de la Iglesia, Biology

Lauren Blair hails from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she will begin her senior year in the fall. Lauren is completing double majors in Neuroscience and Religious Studies, and enjoys the arts and science balance the two provide in her daily studies. At Vanderbilt, she conducts research in the psychology department, and is currently studying the impacts of hippocampus loss on cognitive performance in humans. This summer, Lauren is interning in Horacio de la Iglesia’s Biological Clocks lab. The lab analyzes the physiology and interactive effects of circadian, tidal, and numerous other biological pacemakers. Lauren is looking at mice with a channel mutation that mimics Dravet Syndrome, otherwise known as Severe Myoclonic Epilepsy of Infancy (SMEI), and analyzing their unique responses to light and shifts in circadian rhythm. Results gleaned from the study may provide insight as to particular brain areas affected in humans with SMEI, and subsequently lead to treatment development. Lauren enjoys reading Jane Austen novels, drinking tea, horseback riding, painting, and spending time at home with her family and dog Lucy.

Jameson Boslough
Institution: University of Montana
Faculty Mentor: Elhanan Borenstein, Genome Sciences

Raised in Helena, Montana, Jameson is entering his senior year at the University of Montana in Missoula (UM) working towards a degree in microbiology and a minor in climate change studies. Jameson has worked on diverse projects at UM including investigations into the relationship between autophagy and inflammation in particulate-exposed lung macrophages, the soil microbial response to herbicide exposure, and applied methods of microbial testing and detection. As an Amgen Scholar, Jameson is working in the computational biology lab of Dr. Elhanan Borenstein. This summer’s project involves creating methods for the analysis of metagenomic datasets at the taxonomic and functional level in terms of differential abundance between certain categories (disease states, for example). After graduation, Jameson plans on pursuing a Ph.D. in microbial ecology. While not studying or working in lab, Jameson enjoys the many opportunities for hiking, skiing, and biking that Montana has to offer in addition to frisbee, cooking, and ceramics.

Brianna Bourgeois
Institution: Louisiana State University
Faculty Mentor: Wendy Thomas, Bioengineering

Brianna is a rising senior at Louisiana State University where she is majoring in biological engineering. This summer she is working in the Thomas Lab where she is studying S.gordonii, which causes endocarditis, or infection of the heart valve. S. gordonii requires a shear force to bind to the platelets in the heart valves, and Brianna is using a microfluidic flow chamber to understand the bacteria’s binding mechanism. Brianna enjoys participating in outreach programs that allow younger students to learn about the wonderful opportunities in science related fields. One day, she hopes to obtain her Ph.D. and eventually become a professor.

Anna Bowen
Institution: University of Washington
Faculty Mentor: Gwenn Garden, Neurology

Anna Bowen is a rising senior majoring in Neurobiology and minoring in Mathematics at the University of Washington. During the school year, Anna is studying a neural circuit in the Central Amygdala implicated in appetite suppression and fear conditioning. This summer, she is working in the Garden lab studying cell specific degeneration in the cerebellum characteristic of spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7), a polyQ type neurodegenerative disease. She is currently intending to pursue a PhD in neuroscience, with a focus in computational neuroscience techniques and analysis. In her free time, Anna enjoys rock climbing, mountaineering, reading, running, and hiking.

Adan Codina
Institution: University of California, Santa Cruz
Faculty Mentor: Peter Rabinovitch, Experiemental Pathology

Adan is a senior at the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) majoring in molecular, cell and developmental biology. At UCSC he works in the Sullivan lab studying what host factors affect the titer of the intracellular bacteria Wolbachia, the pathogen responsible for African River Blindness and Elephantiasis. This summer, Adan is working in the Rabinovitch lab, investigating ways to attenuate the pathological effects of mitochondrial oxidative damage, which occur with age. When not in the lab he enjoys cooking, biking and watching comically bad movies.

Khrystyna Dilai
Institution: Clarkson University
Faculty Mentor: Jesse Bloom, Virology, Biology (Evolutionary & Computational)

Khrystyna is a rising senior studying chemical engineering at Clarkson University. Her research at Clarkson is developing nitric oxide nanosensors in the lab of Dr. Charles Robinson. Last summer, Khrystyna was at Louisiana Tech University studying ligand attachment to polyelectrolyte layers under the direction of Dr. Yuri Lvov. With the Amgen Scholars Program, Khrystyna is working with Dr. Jesse Bloom to develop a way to predict protein structural features using deep mutational scan data. When she’s not in the lab Khrystyna enjoys running, hiking and baking.

Chris Fu
Institution: University of Virginia
Faculty Mentor: Jim Pfaedtner, Chemical Engineering

Chris Fu is a rising fourth year Chemical Engineering student at the University of Virginia, with a minor in Chemistry. This summer, Chris is working in the Pfaendtner Lab working on molecular simulations to characterize the behavior of lipase enzymes in ionic liquids. After graduation, he hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering. Outside of Chemical Engineering, he enjoys playing tennis and running.

Emily Harasym
Institution: University of Scranton
Faculty Mentor: Matt Kaeberlein, Genetics, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology

Emily is a rising senior at the University of Scranton in Scranton, Pennsylvania. She is majoring in Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology with minors in English and Philosophy. This summer, she is working in the Kaeberlein Lab, which studies longevity in several species. She is excited to investigate the effects of the larp-1 interference RNA on the isp-1 (PS) strain of C. elegans, which exhibits slow development. After obtaining her undergraduate degree, Emily plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D and work with the medically underserved. Outside of lab, she enjoys horseback riding, reading, writing, petting dogs, and anagramming.

Jenna Johnson
Institution: Luther College
Faculty Mentor: Dana Miller, Biochemistry

Jenna is a rising junior at Luther College in Decorah, IA where she is pursuing majors in chemistry and biology and a minor in history. She hopes to pursue an MD/PhD in the future in order to be involved in clinical medicine and medical research. As an Amgen Scholar this summer, Jenna is working in the Miller Lab where she is using C. elegans to understand responses to hydrogen sulfide. The lab has found that hydrogen sulfide creates an epigenetic stress memory in C.elegans. Jenna is researching the mechanisms by which C. elegans maintain this stress and how this epigenetic stress memory changes the structure of chromatin at the promoter region of genes. Outside of the lab, you can find Jenna playing her violin, spending time with family and friends, or reading. Additionally, she enjoys drinking tea, listening to classical music, practicing taekwondo, and biking.

Austin Kim
Institution: California State University, Monterey Bay
Faculty Mentor: Trisha Davis, Biochemistry

Austin Kim is a senior molecular biology major at the California State University of Monterey Bay. He is currently working in the Davis Lab at the University of Washington researching binding interactions between kinetochore protein complexes in S. cerevisiae to better understand the nature of aneuploidy in cancer. His research interests include (but are not limited to), molecular oncology, angiogenesis, sphingolipid signaling, exosomes, and anything related to the biochemistry behind cancer.

Kory Kolis
Institution: Gustavus Adolphus College
Faculty Mentor: Maitreya Dunham, Genome Sciences

Kory Kolis will be a senior at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter Minnesota, where he is double majoring in biology and studio art. Previous research experience includes studying dosage compensation of four proteins in the kinetochore complex of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and studying the effects of habitat fragmentation on native flora in the great plains of Minnesota. This summer, Kory is working in the Dunham lab, and is searching for genes that are involved in cross species mating between Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Saccharomyces uvarum. In his free time, Kory enjoys hiking, fishing, camping, running, and reading, and is currently reading “A Song of Ice and Fire.” He is planning on attending graduate school but not before hopefully working for the conservation corps.

Alicia Lane
Institution: Georgia Institute of Technology
Faculty Mentor: Alex Paredez, Molecular and Cellular Biology

Alicia is a rising senior at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she pursues a degree in biology with minors in Spanish and cognitive psychology. Through the Petit Scholars program at Georgia Tech, she has worked for 2 years investigating the pathology of sickle cell disease as a result of dysregulated sphingolipid metabolism. As an Amgen Scholar at the UW, Alicia works in the Alexander Paredez lab in the Department of Biology interrogating cytoskeletal proteins and variable surface proteins in Giardia, the eukaryotic parasite responsible for giardiasis, to detail ancestral mechanisms of cell division and identify proteins available for therapeutic targeting. In her free time, Alicia enjoys cooking, reading, and travel, and has visited 23 states and 8 countries. Her future plans include attending graduate school to study neuroscience.

Malte Lange
Institution: University of Washington
Faculty Mentor: Xiaosong Li, Computational Science, Chemistry, and Materials Science

Malte is currently a rising junior at the University of Washington and majoring in Biochemistry. He has always been interested in pursuing a career in chemistry and mathematics and has found the combination of the two in Prof. Xiaosong Li’s Lab. He is currently researching on a computational project focused on nuclear dynamics in a quantum dot system, specifically the behavior of lithium ions in a zinc oxide quantum dot lattice which could potentially model battery systems. Malte is bilingual (English/German) and an avid soccer player and fan, playing in a local soccer league for the UW Club Soccer Team. He currently has three awesome brothers, two real brothers, and a Little in the Big Brother Big Sister Program.

Emi Lutz
Institution: University of Washington
Faculty Mentor: Suzie Pun, Bioengineering

Emi Lutz is a rising junior at the University of Washington. She is majoring in bioengineering with a minor in applied mathematics. This summer, Emi is excited to be in Dr. Pun's lab, where she is researching T cell targeting as a part of cancer immunotherapy. Outside of the lab, Emi enjoys camping, hiking, and drawing. After obtaining her bachelor's degree, Emi plans to pursue a PhD in a biomedical field.

Erik McEntire
Institution: Oregon State University
Faculty Mentor: Ying Zheng, Bioengineering

Erik is a senior at Oregon State University where he majors in bioengineering. This summer, he is working with Dr. Ying Zheng. He is researching the development of microfluidic devices using a collagen matrix and endothelial cells to simulate the vasculature of tissues. The devices will specifically be used as a tool to study various diseases and processes that are targeted in vasculature, including tumor cell signaling and metastasis, coagulation, and others. While in Seattle, Erik plans on exploring the city and taking advantage of the area to enjoy some of his favorite activities, including anything to do with the outdoors.

Nora Munger
Institution: Carleton College
Faculty Mentor: Matt Bush, Bioanalytical & Biophysical Chemistry

Nora Munger is a rising senior at Carleton College, in Northfield Minnesota, where she is majoring in Chemistry and Art History. This summer, she is working in the Bush Lab doing bio analytical/ biophysical chemistry with native mass spectrometry. Her project this summer is researching the relationship between folded protein structures in solvent and as ions in the gas phase, and how the mass spectrometer can manipulate these ions. She is interested in pursuing analytical chemistry as a way to understand works of art, using an understanding of their material in order to better preserve them and discover more about the processes of artists in the creation of the work. Having worked in past summers in laboratories and at the studio of an art conservator, she tries to balance a love of art and science. Nora has an adventurous spirit; she loves to explore cities and wilderness, eat great food, make art and music, and discover new things.

Jason Ross
Institution: University of Illinois, Chicago
Faculty Mentor: Judit Villen, Genome Sciences

Jason Ross is a rising senior studying biology at the University of Illinois at Chicago and will be graduating in the fall of 2014. At his home institution, Jason studies virulence factors associated with the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. As an Amgen Scholar, Jason is working in Dr. Judit Villen’s lab and is using mass spectrometry to identify upstream kinases involved in regulating the protein Ubiquitin, a key regulatory protein found in nearly all tissues of eukaryotic organisms. Jason is from Chicago, Illinois and is a huge Cubs and Bulls fan. In his free time, Jason enjoys spending time outdoors, running, and cooking.

Rachel Rowlands
Institution: Juniata College
Faculty Mentor: Rheem Totah, Medicinal Chemistry

Rachel is a rising senior studying Chemistry at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa. At Juniata College, Rachel focuses on refining the methodology used in the synthesis of vinyl and aryl triflates. This summer, Rachel is excited to be looking into the mechanism of regulation for Cytochrome P450 2J2, a protein predominantly expressed in the heart. Having spent the first part of the summer in China, Rachel hopes to continue her exploration of East Asian culture by venturing to Japan in the future.

Katie Smiley
Institution: University of Portland
Faculty Mentor: Mike Regnier, Bioengineering, Physiology & Biophysics

Katie Smiley is a rising senior at the University of Portland, majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry. At University of Portland, she serves as both a chemistry and biology lab teaching assistant. This summer, Katie is working in Dr. Michael Regnier’s lab, which focuses on heart and muscle mechanics. She is characterizing a single point mutation found in cardiac troponin I, which has been identified to be implicated in familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and she is testing its functions in solution. In her free time at school, she has captained the University of Portland Women’s Club lacrosse team to two consecutive division titles.

Mark Svet
Institution: UCLA
Faculty Mentor: Jens Gundlach, Physics

Mark is a rising senior at UCLA where he is pursuing a degree in bioengineering. In Los Angeles, Mark does research within the biomechanics laboratory at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, primarily focusing on spinal surgery. This summer, he is working in the Gundlach laboratory in the Physics department focusing on utilizing nanopores to sequence DNA. Mark plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D, and in his free time enjoys skiing and running.

Nicole Werwie
Institution: Chatham University
Faculty Mentor: Hannele Ruohola-Baker, Biochemistry, Institute for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine

Nicole is a rising senior at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania majoring in molecular biology and minoring in political science. While at Chatham University, she has been conducting synthetic organic chemistry research to develop a novel inhibitor molecule of the Wnt signaling pathway that could have potential drug implications in combating the uncontrolled cell growth of certain cancers like leukemia. This summer at UW, Nicole is working in the Ruohola-Baker biochemistry lab, researching the patterns microRNA expression during cardiomyocyte maturation and the effects of up-regulating or down-regulating certain microRNAs. Her future plans include pursuing a PhD in biochemistry/cancer biology and working with non-profits to help with medical care access in Central America. Outside of the lab, Nicole enjoys running, hiking, traveling to new cities, and taking photographs.