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HHMI EXROP

HHMI EXROP Student Profiles

2013

Aspen Gutgsell
Institution: New Mexico State University
Faculty Mentor: Randall Moon, Pharmacology, Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine

Aspen Gutgsell is majoring in biology with a minor in biochemistry and chemistry at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico. At her home institution, she is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Research Program. This program allows her to study drug sensitive mutants of class 5 kinesin proteins. This class of proteins are necessary for mitotic division and have applications in cancer research. This summer, Aspen is conducting research in Dr. Randall Moon's lab studying tissue regeneration and immunity in zebrafish. She hopes to become a biomedical researcher in academia and plans to attend graduate school in the Fall of 2014. In her free time, Aspen enjoys hiking, painting, cooking, kayaking, sewing, and spending time with family and friends.

Guillaume Urtecho
Institution: University of California, Davis
Faculty Mentor: Stanley Fields, Genome Sciences and Medicine

Guillaume Urtecho is a rising senior from UC Davis and is majoring in genetics. Although his research is usually in plant biology, he spent the summer working with yeast under the guidance of Dr. Stanley Fields. His project goal over the summer was to enhance alcohol tolerance in yeast, an organism often used in biofuel production. When he's not pipetting, Guillaume enjoys playing guitar and going on low-intensity hikes. After graduating, he plans to enter a PhD program and pursue his interest in genetic engineering.

2012

Diego Castro
Institution: Trinity University
Faculty Mentor: David Baker

Diego is a rising senior at Trinity University majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with a minor in Computer Science. His research at Trinity focuses on the relationship between lizard display behavior and its associated endocrine mechanisms. This summer he is working in Dr. David Baker's lab in the Department of Biochemistry. Diego's summer project focuses on experimentally testing variations of a de novo designed serine hydrolase and optimizing the protein's catalytic properties. In his spare time, Diego enjoys running, swing and salsa dancing, reading, and playing soccer.

2011

David Angeles Albores
Institution: Cornell University
Faculty Mentor: David Baker

David is a rising junior studying Computational Biology at Cornell University. His research experience includes aiding in the construction of high-accuracy protein-protein interaction networks in S. cerevisae. At the University of Washington, he works in the Baker lab; his project is to help optimize and experimentally characterize binding modes for de novo protein-protein interfaces designed previously by computational methods. Outside the lab, he enjoys reading, writing and swimming.

Sabrina Dumas
Institution: University of Arizona
Faculty Mentor: Tamir Gonen

Sabrina Dumas, who is originally from Trinidad and Tobago, is studying Nutritional Science and Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Arizona. As a freshman, Sabrina's main career goal was to be a Dietitian. Then one day in her second semester of college, her chemistry teacher mentioned a new Biotechnology Instrumentation class that was combined with a summer internship in a research lab. Sabrina decided to enroll in the class because: 1) she was curious about how scientific research could be applied to her Nutritional Science degree and 2) she was intimidated by conducting experiments and thought that doing more lab work will help her get over this fear. It has been 3 years since her first research experience and she has not only developed a love for bench work, but has also added Molecular and Cellular biology as a second major to better understand the science behind nutrition-related health conditions. She now wants to be a Research-Dietitian and hopes to start her PhD in Nutrition in the Fall of 2012. Sabrina's summer research project for the Amgen program involves studying the structure and function of the GLUT1 membrane protein in Dr. Tamir Gonen's lab. When not studying or working in lab, Sabrina can be found watching a movie on her computer, shopping online or exercising.

Daniel Mendez
Institution: California State University, Fullerton
Faculty Mentor: Stan Fields

Daniel Mendez is a rising senior at California State University, Fullerton majoring in Biology with a concentration in Cellular and Developmental Biology. He is conducting research at his home institution under a two year research scholarship funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute where his project focuses on gene expression profiling of several Wnt receptors in mouse embryonic stem cells undergoing neural differentiation. This summer, he is working in the lab of Dr. Stanley Fields in the Department of Genome Sciences. His project currently focuses on studying protein-sequence function relationships in the WW domain using phage display in conjunction with high-throughput sequencing. Daniel is considering a career in veterinary medicine with a specialization in zoological medicine and neurosurgery. He is also considering in obtaining a Ph.D in a biomedically related field such as regenerative medicine. Some of his outside interests include church, travelling, cooking, paintballing, camping/hiking, playing guitar, going out to punk shows, humanitarian activities, reading politically philosophical books, spending time with family and friends, and running with his Siberian husky.

Tigist Tamir
Institution: College of William and Mary
Faculty Mentor: Randall T. Moon

Tigist Tamir is a rising senior at the College of William and Mary studying Biology and Bio-Mathematics. This summer she will be working in Dr. Randall Moon's lab, in the Pharmacology department, on the relationship between mutation of Wnt5a and melanoma cell population number. In the future, she plans to pursue a PhD in medical research focusing on cancer and stem cells. Outside of academia, she participates in a hip hop dance group at her home school and enjoys visiting ethnic restaurants.