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Undergraduate Research Program

2012-13 Cohort

Moe Aoki - Law, Societies, & Justice, Sociology

Mentor: Jose Antonio Lucero, Jackson School of International Studies

UW research project
Looking at the Visceral: The Transmission of Affect in the Portrayal of Undocumented Immigrants

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance.
There have been claims that recent immigration laws, such as HB 56 and SB 1070, will improve the economy, reduce unemployment, and in a general sense, protect America. I am interested in where this staunch support of being this selective gatekeeping nation comes from when the United States often prides itself as being an immigrant nation. I decided to analyze Border Wars and Dreamers Adrift under the framework of affect theory to explore how current immigration discourse came to be. Affect theory provides an alternative explanation for the rising anti-immigrant sentiment besides the usual, “We do it to protect America,” “because the law says so,” et cetera.

What is the most challenging and/or sometimes frustrating aspect of your undergraduate research experience?
You have to do so much more than in your regular classes. You do not receive step-by-step instructions from your professors on how to do the research and write the paper. This will sound strange, but I did so much THINKING. It requires hours upon hours of reading, writing, getting confused, and thinking and writing all over again. It is something you have to build endurance for, and that process is very challenging and frustrating.

Michael Bocek - Biochemistry

Mentor: Suzie H. Pun, Bioengineering

Alex Catchings - English

Mentor: Sonnet Retman, American Ethnic Studies

UW research project
Postmodern Parody in Neo-Slave Narratives and History Rerendering

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance.
My research analyzes the neo-slave narrative, which is a slave narrative penned after the 1960’s. I read specific neo-slave texts that utilize humor and parody, and compare them with original slave narratives from the 18th and 19th centuries. I then use my findings to contrast the texts with history books to see how parody and pastiche can serve to create political mobility and agency in African American texts. The end results should glean perspectives on the pros and cons of academic history books and the black past.

What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research in your field?
Humanities research can be insular at times–particularly when you’re reading a large number of books and journal articles. The beauty of humanities research, though, is its malleability. You can and should craft your projects based around your interests, because sincere interest keeps you motivated to read and flesh out ideas. It also makes for keener papers–readers truly get out of your research what you put in.

Rebecca de Frates - Cellular, Molecular, and Developmental Biology

Mentor: Dong-Hui Chen, Medical Genetics

UW research project
Genome-wide Detection of Novel Mutations in Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
My research focuses on finding new mutations in families affected by hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP). HSP is a neurological muscular disorder that increases muscle tone causing stiffness, weakness, and movement issues, mainly in the leg muscles, that is passed down in families. We are using exome sequencing to find new genetic mutations that cause this disease that have not previously been identified. Our findings will potentially contribute to better clinical diagnosis of HSP and may lead to new drug targets.

What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research in your field?
Go for it! Undergraduate research is something that everyone should have the opportunity to experience. It gives you a chance to apply what you are learning and what you are passionate about.

Eric Do - Bioengineering

Mentor: Kim Woodrow, Bioengineering

UW research project
Developing nanoparticle-based antiretroviral topical microbicides for HIV prevention

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
Women who are not able to negotiate condom use with their male partners have no means of protection against infection against HIV. Microbicides are topical products that offer women a controlled prevention method. Since junior year, I have been working to develop nanoparticles that encapsulate antiretroviral (ARV) drugs with different mechanisms of action. Following this, I hope to gain a better understanding of unique drug-drug interactions by delivering these single ARV nanoparticles in combination.

What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research in your field?
START EARLY! One of the things I wish I had done was getting involved early. Visiting the URP drop-in hours would be a great place to start to gain a better sense of direction and see what kinds of opportunities are available. Setting up meetings with faculty members who have taught your classes and whose work interest you would work as well. By starting early, you have the opportunity to gain as much experience as possible and that way you can explore various opportunities to gain a better understanding of which fields pique your interest the most.

Kelsey Haas - Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

Minor: French
Mentor: Judit Villen, Department of Genome Sciences

UW research project
Characterizing Breast Cancer Cell Line Phosphoproteomes via Mass Spectrometry

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
Phosphorylated proteins are commonly involved in signaling pathways, and any abnormality in the sequential protein phosphorylation down these pathways can result in abnormal cell growth and development characteristic of cancer. We’re trying to identify the proteins that are phosphorylated in different subtypes of breast cancer to identify the signaling pathways that have gone awry. My goals are to identify common phosphorylated proteins to find a molecular signature for breast cancer, and to identify the phosphoproteins unique to each breast cancer subtype to find subtype-specific markers. From this information, future studies can be conducted to design a universal breast cancer protein inhibitor drug or subtype-specific protein inhibitors as forms of anti-cancer therapies.

What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research in your field?
In terms of biological research, starting is probably going to be the hardest part. There are so many different departments and labs at UW conducting research that it’s difficult to know who to talk to or where/how to start looking for positions. It can be overwhelming – but it’s more manageable if you take advantage of the resources around you! The Undergraduate Research Program and departmental advising are going to be your best options to help you figure out where to start.

Antonious Hazim - Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

Mentor: David MacPherson, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center

UW research project
Mouse Model studies on Small Cell Lung Carcinoma

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
My research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center involves working with Small Cell Carcinoma a highly malignant cancer most commonly associated with the lung. My work uses a mouse model to recapitulate the disease.

What is the most exciting and/or rewarding aspect of your undergraduate research experience?
The most exciting aspect of my research experience has been how life changing it has been for me. It’s amazing to know that the work I am currently doing is helping to make a difference on the fight against cancer. I have realized how vital research is and because of this, I have decided to pursue an MD/PhD.

Vicky Herrera - Biochemistry

Minor: Chemistry
Mentor: Horacio de la Iglesia, Biology

UW research project
Disruption of Sleep Impacts Hippocampal Memory Performance

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
We are seeing the effects that disputing sleep has on long-term memory performance.

What is the most exciting and/or rewarding aspect of your undergraduate research experience?
An exciting aspect of research is coming to lab everyday not ever being sure what might happen.

Angela Hess - Chemistry

Mentor: David Ginger, Chemistry

UW research project
Biosensing Applications of Silver Nanoprisms

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
I am testing the viability of using silver nanoprisms as a component in a sensor that could test for the presence of DNA sequences or certain proteins.

What is the most challenging and/or sometimes frustrating aspect of your undergraduate research experience?
Research, particularly in a field such as chemistry, can be incredibly frustrating. Failure is incredibly common, and success (particularly reproducible success) requires a lot of effort. Fortunately, such failure can act as motivation for developing or attempting new approaches.

Danee Hidano - Bioengineering

Mentor: Daniel Ratner, Bioengineering

UW research project
Using mannose-glycopolymers to specifically deliver chemotherapy drug Doxorubicin to cancer tumors

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
My research focuses on synthesizing carbohydrate-polymers that function as drug delivery vehicles capable of binding to cell receptors on specific cells. Drug targeting can be very advantageous because it reduces both the required dosage and toxic side effects associated with the drug. I am conjugating the chemotherapy drug Doxorubicin to these carbohydrate-polymers and exploring its use as a potential cancer treatment.

What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research in your field?
Try getting involved in lab as soon as you can, but don’t just rush into any lab that accepts you. Do your research and apply for lab positions that really interest you. Also, I highly recommend going to the Undergraduate Research Program’s drop-in hours to get advice touching up your resume, speaking with professors, and finding great opportunities!

Marcus Johnson - Global Studies

Minor: Human Rights
Mentor: Ben Gardner, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences

UW research project
The Multi Dimensions of Blackness: Cultural Hegemony in the US and Abroad

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
I am interested in how the concept of race and identity plays a role in how we perceive difference. Moreover, I would like to investigate how colonial powers such as the United States have shaped ideas of race and identity while maintaining colonial rule abroad.

When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?
This past summer (2012) I was a participant in the Summer Institute in the Art & Humanities. This opportunity allowed me to explore questions concerning race and representation. Why were my peers studying abroad and returning with the same preconceived notions of developing countries? Why were my college classmates representing people and places in the Global South as underdeveloped, religious radicals, uneducated, disease stricken, and confrontational? These questions have driven my interest in globalization, power, borders, and how a variety of people and institutions located in “the West” represent the Global South.

Tinny Liang - Bioengineering

Minor: Global Health, Chemistry
Mentor: Elain Fu, Bioengineering

UW research project
Development of a Prototype Paper-based Malarial Diagnostic Device

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
There is an inequality in the access to health care; diagnostic capabilities in laboratory settings cannot be used as is in low-resource settings, where millions of people die from curable infectious diseases. Current laboratory based diagnostic tests are too expensive and too complex for use in low-resource settings. The current method for diagnosis of infectious diseases suffer from reliability issues. Access to accurate diagnostics will save millions of lives and overall lead to better patient outcomes. My research focuses on designing diagnostic tests with the appropriate reliability and usability for low-resource settings using a new paper-based format.

When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?
I got involved in undergraduate research my freshmen year through searching through the list of openings on the URP website. I e-mailed professors whose research topics were intriguing but not necessary in my field, and ended up joining Professor Elain Fu’s lab in the Bioengineering Department. I got involved with the simple expectation of gaining experience applying classroom concepts to a real life problem, and have gone through a path of self-discovery as a result. Research has changed my perspective and outlook on how I, as an individual, can contribute to improving health and access to health.

Bryony Lynch - Biology

Mentor: Maitreya Dunham, Genome Sciences

UW research project
Characterization of Replicate Evolutions of S. cerevisiae Under Constant Nutrient-Limitations

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance.
Basically, we are trying to figure out how evolution works at the molecular level. We change the environment by limiting a nutrient and observe how the yeast evolve to cope with the change. In order to tell if the yeast have evolved to be better at using the nutrient in question, we compete them with an ancestor strain that has not evolved. The results of the competition tell us the answer. Additionally, we look for changes in the yeast’s genome by sequencing it and then match the changes to the change in fitness that we see.

When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?
I started as an undergraduate researcher in the middle of my Junior year. I knew I wanted to get involved because I wanted to use the experience to find out if research was going to be my career choice. During registration, I signed up for the URP’s class ‘Research Exposed’ just so I could get my foot in the door and see what kind of research was out there. A professor, who is now my PI, gave a talk about her research and I was greatly intrigued. I knew at that moment this research was the type of research that I wanted to do. I wrote a letter to that Professor and I was working in the lab the very next week. I now know that doing research is my calling and I am very thankful to the URP and my PI for helping me find it!

Amanda Montoya - Psychology

Minor: Mathematics
Mentor: Sapna Cheryan, Psychology

UW research project
Choosing a science class: How increasing perceptions of group work in computer science affects women’s interest.

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance.
We are testing, through experiments, if increasing group work in computer science classes might increase women’s interest in taking the classes.

What is the most exciting and/or rewarding aspect of your undergraduate research experience?
The most rewarding part of research is knowing that you are working to solve a problem in the world. For me, that is the underepresentation of women in computer science. After my presentation at the Undergraduate Research Symposium, I was contacted by many computer science teachers and departments interested in the implications of my research. As I am now in the process of submitting to a major journal, I continue to feel like I am helping others by making my research known, and someone else might use this knowledge to further assist in reducing underepresentation of women in computer science.

Marvin Nayan - Neurobiology, Biochemistry

Mentor: Jay Parrish, Biology

UW research project
Neuron Morphogenesis

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
The structure of neurons is important to its function. I used the fruit fly as the model organism to study which genes regulate the structure of these neurons. Results from my research can lead to increased understanding of many mental disorders.

Do you have an interesting story to share about your research experience?
One interesting fact is that most P.I.’s, contrary to popular opinion, are very approachable and always willing to help.

Cameron Nemeth - Bioengineering

Mentor: Deok-Ho Kim, Bioengineering

UW research project
Enhancement of Chondrogenesis of Dental Pulp Stem Cells on Hyaluronan Hydrogels with Nanostructures

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
Stem cells are known to differentiate into different lineages depending on external environmental cues. My work focuses on analyzing the effect of combining chemical cues derived from hyaluronic acid, a common glycosaminoglycan, and mechanical cues generated from a topographical nanopattern on dental pulp stem cell differentiation into cartilage cells.

What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research in your field?
Get involved early. Professors are always looking for eager and young researchers for their research. By starting early, you will be able to learn the skills you need to become an independent researcher and eventually get your own research project.

Derek Nhan - Neurobiology, Biochemistry

Mentor: Kyra J. Becker, Neurology

UW research project
Modulating the Immune Response Due to Post-Stroke Infection in an Animal Model

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
Stroke is the leading cause of long-term adult disability. Infections such as pneumonia following stroke have been shown to induce worse outcome in patients. My project focuses on understanding the consequences of this infection on the systemic immune response near the site of activity in the brain and spleen of a rat model. By monitoring this response, we can better develop targeted approaches to dealing with cerebral injury.

What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research in your field?
I would advise any student to meet with the professor of a course that they have found thought-provoking and intriguing, and discuss opportunities to conduct research in that discipline. Being involved in research could open doors to finding a potential area of study or career.

Helen Olsen - Geography & Public Health

Minor: African Studies
Mentor: Victoria Lawson, Geography

UW research project
Partnering for Health: Emerging Forms of Public Health Governance in Washington State

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
In this research, I use archival and ethnographic methods to examine the ways in which austerity measures enacted in the wake of the Great Recession have contributed to the emergence of new public-private partnerships in the field public health service provision. I argue that the emergence of public-private partnerships constitute a new form of health governance.

What is the most exciting and/or rewarding aspect of your undergraduate research experience?
For me, my work as an undergraduate research assistant has allowed me to grow as a scholar in ways I couldn’t have even imagined when I started. The work I have engaged in with my mentors has shifted the ways in which I think about poverty, health and the politics of access in the city of Seattle. The experience of working on a large faculty led research project inspired me to craft an independent senior research thesis project of my own, which I am currently working on.

Jose Pineda - Neurobiology, Mathematics

Mentor: Wenying Shou, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center

Amina Ramadan - Public Health, Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology

Minor: Global Health
Mentor: Victor Pineda & Mindy Farris, Pathology

UW research project
Genetic Determinants of Longevity in C. elegans

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
C. elegans are a type of microscopic nematode worm. It’s really easy to knock down particular genes in their genome by feeding them double-stranded RNA. When we do this, we can see how knocking down certain genes can either lengthen or shorten the lifespan of the worm. If we happen to know what role that gene plays, or what the protein it codes for might be doing, we can also make an educated guess as to how this lifespan extension happened, or what physiological “pathway” is being worked on by the gene.

What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research in your field?
If they are just beginning the process of looking for a research opportunity, I would say they should definitely work all their resources and keep at it. For every ten emails you send out, you might hear back from one or two labs, or you might hear back from all ten, but the important thing is to be confident that you will eventually find a great opportunity! If a student is just beginning to become involved with research itself, I would say to set aside enough time to be in your lab, and to be attentive and eager while you are there. There’s so much more than bench skills that you will learn from being an undergraduate researcher, like presentation skills, networking skills, and how to develop your patience and perseverance.

Jeremy Ridge - Mechanical and Electrical Engineering

Mentor: Eric Seibel, Mechanical Engineering

UW research project
Early Caries Detection Utilizing Ultrathin Scanning Fiber Endoscope (SFE)

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
Dental caries (the precursor to cavities) are one of the most prevalent diseases in the developing world, particularly in children. The aim of the project is to develop an inexpensive device to detect caries at a stage in which preventative therapies can be administered to reverse their effects before they become cavities. Caries can be reversed through the use of increased dental hygiene (i.e. taking better care of your teeth) and also through administering dental gels and other intraoral medicine. Once cavities have developed, the only thing that can be done is to remove and fill them (i.e. drill-and-fill).

What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research in your field?
There are many research opportunities in engineering here at the UW, and while research is not for everyone it can greatly enhance your knowledge and skill base beyond the things that you learn in the class room, and give you opportunities to participate in significant real-world work before you graduate. It can also be a lot of fun! So my advice is to look at what research is available and get in contact with those labs that do research in something that YOU find interesting or are passionate about. It can’t hurt to give it a try.

Guillermo Romano - Public Health, Biochemistry

Minor: Chemistry
Mentor: Dustin Maly, Chemistry

UW research project
“A Molecular Fishing Rod” – Synthesis of a tri-functional probe to profile kinase conformations in cell lines.

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
Cells need to have a way of responding to external stimuli and altering their phenotype in order to survive. Organisms, like humans, do this by processing the information through a central nervous system. Cells, however, lack such a system, and instead, must rely on the chemical composition of their exterior to modify their internal chemistry.

Small signaling molecules on the exterior of a cell (such as a hormone) may activate or inhibit cellular signaling pathways that relay external signals to internal machinery. This machinery usually activates a particular function (metabolism, cellular replication, DNA expression, etc). These pathways are largely regulated by a class of proteins known as “kinases,” which are responsible for phosphorylating enzymes (turning them on or off).

Understanding what shape (conformation) kinases adopt in a particular cell line could lead to a better understanding of the kinds of signals involved in disease. Specifically, this knowledge could be used to identify selective drug targets for cancer treatments or identifying off targets for a new treatment, thereby minimizing side effects.

My project is to create a novel tool that is functionally akin to a fishing rod. Instead of fish, I’m looking for kinases.

What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research in your field?
Things never work the way you predict. Know the science and be excited about the end goal, but love the process.

Maya Sangesland - Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

Mentor: Peter Rabinovitch, Pathology

UW research project
Analysis of Redox Status in Cardiac Aging and Cardiac Hypertrophy

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
Age is a significant and often overlooked aspect of cardiovascular disease. Age induced cardiac stress has been suggested to induce a shift in electron carrying molecules (redox molecules) which have been implicated in many of the functional losses associated with cardiovascular aging and disease. The purpose of my research is to examine how these molecules change as we age, and if these changes are somehow paralleled to the age-related decline in cardiovascular function. Ultimately, from this research we hope to better understand the processes involved in cardiac aging as well as to identify possible targets for attenuating cardiovascular disease.

What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research in your field?
Students interested in research should talk to their professors about what they do in their labs. A majority of professors really enjoy when students ask questions and are genuinely interested in what they do. And oftentimes if you are able to develop relationships with your professors in the classroom, they may offer you a position as an undergraduate researcher in their labs.

Heather Schneider - Biology (BS) and Psychology (BA)

Mentor: Matt Kaeberlein, Pathology

UW research project
Understanding Dietary Restriction as a Mechanistic Pathway of Longevity

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
We are looking for genes that have potential to extend lifespan under conditions with low food.

What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research in your field?
Do not be afraid to ask questions! Every researcher loves to talk to anyone who will listen about their research or the components involved.

Meera Shenoy - Microbiology

Mentor: Chetan Seshadri, Medicine – Allergy and Infectious Disease

Chen Shi - Electrical Engineering, Bioengineering

Mentor: Gregory Terman, Anesthesiology

UW research project
Studies Comparing Tolerance to Morphine-induced Respiratory Depression with Tolerance to Morphine-induced Analgesia

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
Morphine is widely known to be effective for reducing pain levels. However, increasing doses of opiates, in an effort to counterbalance the drug tolerance, may induce respiratory depression and even cause deaths. We hypothesize that the morphine-induced drug tolerance has a higher magnitude than tolerance to morphine-induced respiratory depression, so that the patients are more likely to develop respiratory depression as the opiate doses increase. This project, which aims to investigate the differences of the two tolerance phenomena in terms of both magnitudes and underlying mechanisms, is of great importance to patients who requires long-term pain management.

What is the most exciting and/or rewarding aspect of your undergraduate research experience?
The most exciting and rewarding aspect of my research experience is the publications, through which the research can be known by peers all over the world. In the past summer I participated in a summer research program at the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute. I was asked to develop an augmented reality (AR) display system that attaches to a surgical microscope for image-guided microsurgery. The project went well and finally I got a first-author conference paper, which is indeed a good reward for my research work.

Sreetha Sidharthan - Biochemistry

Mentor: Michael Lagunoff, Microbiology

UW research project
Delineating Viral Mechanism of KSHV-induced Angiogenesis

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
The Lagunoff lab studies KSHV, an oncogenic herpesvirus that is known to cause cancer in immunosuppressed patients. One of the hallmarks of KSHV-induced tumors is called angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing vasculature. The goal of my project is to understand how KSHV alters the host cells to induce angiogenic characteristics.

What is the most exciting and/or rewarding aspect of your undergraduate research experience?
I find presenting my work to be one of the most rewarding aspects of the undergraduate research experience. I love the challenge of explaining my ideas and conclusions to a diverse audience. Presenting my work has allowed me both to have a stronger understanding of my own project and to share what I do outside of the laboratory environment.

Gail Stanton - Biochemistry

Minor: Applied Mathematics
Mentor: Susan Brockerhoff, Biochemistry

UW research project
Mapping the ZVM10 mutation in the zebrafish genome

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
The ZVM10 mutation is a recessive mutation that causes early degeneration of the photoreceptors and results in blind zebrafish. The ultimate goal of this project has been to identify the gene that has mutated in order to enable further study of its role in vision.

What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research in your field?
1. Approach research opportunities with an open mind. Be ready to be flexible and give more than you might have initially intended to. Every “sacrifice” you make will be completely worth it.
2. Don’t plan on being involved in research in the short-term. The longer you are involved the more rewarding it will be.

Alex Taipale - Biochemistry (B.S.)

Minors: Applied Math, Bioethics, and Humanities
Mentor: James Mullins, Microbiology

UW research project
Mechanisms of Base J Insertion in Leishmania

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
Leishmania is a parasite common in the tropics that causes wide spread disease and death. Current drugs targeting Leishmania are inadequate and there is no vaccine. I study mechanisms of modification of Leishmania DNA. I do this by obtaining more information about where the Leishmania genome is modified by studying small segments of Leishmania DNA. Hopefully this will lead to future drug targets.

When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?
A friend of mine got involved with research when I was a Freshman. It sounded like she was enjoying it, so I looked into it! I perused the URP website and emailed professors whose research appeared interesting. I was lucky enough to reach out to a Material Science and Engineering lab that was enthusiastic about mentoring undergraduates, and I started volunteering there spring quarter of my Freshman year.

Keiko Weir - Neurobiology, Economics

Mentor: William Moody, Zoology

UW research projects
The Use of a Microfluidic Multichannel Array to Study Activity in Slices of Mouse Cortex

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
It is not well understood how all of the connections among neurons required for the brain to process information are established during development. It has recently become apparent that waves of spontaneous electrical activity spread across large groups of neurons during early brain development and that these waves of activity are crucial for correct development of brain circuitry. In my work in the Moody Lab I study how waves of spontaneous electrical activity propagate across the mouse cerebral cortex by using calcium imaging and recording extracellular electrical activity. My goal is to use a novel device (a microfluidic array) to understand the frequency and pattern of these waves.

What is the most exciting and/or rewarding aspect of your undergraduate research experience?
The most rewarding part of my undergraduate research experience was having my research published in a scientific journal and being able to present my work at a national conference (Neuroscience) this year.

Janson White - Biology (Molecular, Cellular & Developmental)

Mentor: Tony Krumm, Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine

UW research projects
Genetics (epigenetics)

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
I am looking at what Human DNA looks like inside your cells. By understanding what your DNA looks like we are able to analyze how genes are able to to be mutated. In the case of the Myc gene, we are looking for a loop in the DNA that can be associated with cancer.

What is the most exciting and/or rewarding aspect of your undergraduate research experience?
Undergrad research has many awesome perks, but to me the best is being able to network with sooo many interesting people. Whether it’s working with a graduate student or a professor, everyone is motivated and inspirational.

Yue Xiang - Biochemistry, Cellular Biology

Mentor: Merrill Hille, Biology

Xiaohan (Thomas) Yan - Economics, Statistics, Applied and Computational Math Sciences

Minor: Mathematics
Mentor: Hendrik Wolff, Economics

UW research project
Gender Difference in Risk Aversion: Evidence from the Effects of SARS on Thailand Tourism.

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which broke out from February 2003 to January 2004 in several Asian countries, had negative impact on Thailand tourism during that period. Using time series data, I can measure the different risk averseness between genders, which is interesting to know to sociologists and economists.

What is the most exciting and/or rewarding aspect of your undergraduate research experience?
The most rewarding aspect of my undergraduate research experience is that it gives me an opportunity to explore my interest in time series analysis and helps me to decide my future degree/career goal based on that interest.

Alan Yu - Bioengineering

Minor: Applied Mathematics
Mentor: Dr. Joan Sanders, Bioengineering

UW research project
Prosthetic Liner Prescription Assistant (PLPA)

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
For amputee patients, prosthetic liners are used to improve comfort and safety by adding a cushioning layer between the prosthetic socket and the residual limb. Most prosthetists prescribe a liner from a small pool of liners that is used regularly, and the problem is that they limit selection since differences among liners are ambiguous, meaning they can only know about liners from clinical experience. The development of the PLPA serves the purpose to overcome this problem while acting as an accessible tool to teach practitioners of the technical versatility of liners such as observing the compressive, tensile, and shear properties. Our research involves testing many different prosthetic liners currently used in the market through a variety of materials testing while translating this data to meaningful information for prosthetists. Thus, a simple chart is developed for practitioners to improve their recommendations to fit a variety of amputee patients’ needs.

What is the most exciting and/or rewarding aspect of your undergraduate research experience?
Research is more than just a vehicle to find the connection of studies into a functional application in the real world; it is a jumping-off point to a wealth of opportunities. Learning to take initiative and risks within your lab will prepare you by developing a well-rounded research skill set, taking ownership of your individual project, and persevering through the difficulties that come with research, which are important life skills that will be used in the future. Orienting yourself through the research process takes time, but the amount of hard work you put into it always pays dividends in the long run. Since joining research even before taking a single UW class, I have received a variety of research scholarships, presented at conferences from Seattle to Atlanta, and joined other research opportunities all over the UW campus, something I could not have imagined of doing as a freshman. Through research, the willingness to work hard and persevere is the key to not only finding success in your field, but also for long term character development as a well-rounded member of society.