Undergraduate Research Program

WRF Fellows

2019-20

Manjari Anant- Bioengineering

Manjari Anant smilingManjari is a junior at the University of Washington majoring in Bioengineering. She started working in the Fetz Lab during the summer, under the guidance of Dr. Samira Moorjani. The lab studies movement-triggered stimulation (MTS), a use dependent movement therapy that shows large promise for improving motor recovery through strengthening cortical connections. Manjari’s research focuses on integrating theta-burst stimulation, which mimics the firing patterns of pyramidal neurons, with MTS to study its effect on neural connectivity in the motor cortex. Manjari would like to thank the Moorjani group for the support and research opportunity. She is honored to be a Washington Research Foundation Fellow and is grateful for the foundation’s support.

Mentor:

Samira Moorjani, Physiology and Biophysics

Project Title:

Closed-Loop Stimulation to Improve Motor Function

Makoto Eyre- Mechanical Engineering

Makoto Eyre in front of white background
Makoto Eyre has a background in architecture and design, and is currently studying mechanical engineering, with a focus on biomechanics, at the UW. His goal is to combine the two disciplines to produce habitats for humans in non-terrestrial environments (space architecture). This process has led him to a strong interest in bioregenerative life support systems and, more generally, integrating biological processes in engineered systems. Makoto started BioArchos as a passion project, and has since expanded it into two multi-department Capstones, pulling in contributors from bioengineering, chemical engineering, mechatronics, and biomechanics. The aim of this work is to produce a device that efficiently sequesters a significant amount of carbon dioxide from indoor air using the photosynthetic metabolism of Chlorella vulgaris. Makoto firmly believes that the technology developed for space exploration and habitation can and should bring benefits back home on Earth; and he seeks to develop BioArchos as a vehicle that can further illuminate this intersection. After graduation, Makoto plans to help drive the budding field of space architecture, and to nurture the growth of BioArchos into an entity that contributes to both terrestrial and non-terrestrial markets. Makoto is thankful for Dr. Vipin Kumar’s support through the development of this project as advisor, and for Connor Geiman’s strong contribution as co-lead. Makoto is extremely grateful for the support provided by the Washington Research Foundation, and is honored by the opportunity.

Mentors:

Vipin Kumar, Mechanical Engineering

Project Title:

BioArchos

Keyan Gootkin- Astronomy

Keyan Gootkin in front of Macbook
Keyan is a Junior in the Astronomy department. For the past two years he has worked under Professor Emily Levesque in the UW Massive Stars group. His research has focused on the mass-loss of a rare and important type of massive star called a Luminous Blue Variable. As part of this research he has had the opportunity to learn about rarely used types of data and analysis including asteroseismology, spectropolarimetry, and coronagraphy. As he prepares to submit his first first-author paper, he is transitioning into a new project where he will analyze the first coronagraphic survey of Luminous Blue Variables. During the summer of 2018 he spent three months in Greenbelt, Maryland, working as a Space Weather Forecasting Intern at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Summer 2019 he participated in the Washington Space Grant’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program. Next year, Keyan plans to apply to astronomy PhD programs so that he can continue to pursue astronomical research.

Mentors:

Emily Levesque (Astronomy)

Project Title:

Coronagraphy of Luminous Blue Variables

Parker Grosjean-Bioengineering

Parker Grosjean on hillsParker Grosjean is a senior majoring in Bioengineering. Parker joined the Stevens Lab his freshman year where he began researching methods to characterize and control the expansion of engineered regenerative tissue constructs. His research interests lie at the crossroads of biomedical informatics and regenerative medicine, where he hopes to elucidate and subsequently control the complex processes associated with the development and regeneration of tissue. His current project focuses on the development of easy-to-use software for quantitative morphological analysis of tissue to inform the development of next-generation tissue-based therapies and disease models. After completing his undergraduate degree in the spring, he intends to pursue a PhD in Bioengineering with a focus on biomedical informatics. He would like to thank his mentors Dr. Kelly Stevens and Chelsea Fortin for their continued encouragement and support. Parker would also like to express his gratitude to the Washington Research Foundation for their generous support of his research.

Mentors:

Kelly Stevens, Bioengineering

Project Title:

Developing Software for High-Throughput Quantitative Tissue Morphology Analysis

Alex Haugan- Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

Alex Kelley Haugan in front of leavesAlex Haugan is a senior studying molecular, cellular, and developmental biology with a minor in ethics. Her scientific interests center around development, neuroscience, and pathology. Aligning these interests with her passion for research, Alex decided to join the Reh Lab in the Fall of 2018. She has spent the last year studying stem cell-derived retinal organoids, a model system for retinal development. Over the past summer she was funded by the Institute for Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine to research the development of retinal ganglion cells in organoids. With the help of the Washington Research Foundation, and her mentors Dr. Thomas Reh and Dr. Akshayalakshmi Sridhar, Alex will eagerly continue to study ganglion cells and work towards a model for diseases like glaucoma. Outside of research, Alex is also a scholar lead for the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship and is pursuing departmental honors. After graduation, Alex plans to continue working in research and attend graduate school to earn her PhD. Undergraduate research has shown her that she can translate her passions for learning and helping others into a scientific career she is truly excited about. She would like to sincerely thank her mentors for their exceptional guidance, and the Washington Research Foundation for contributing to her research and the future of retinal disease treatment.

Mentors:

Thomas Reh, Department of Biological Structure

Project Title:

Rescuing Ganglion Cell Death in Stem Cell-Derived Retinal Organoids

Kyle Johnson- Electrical and Computer Engineering

Kyle Johnson in front of leafsTo save money for college, Kyle Johnson worked as a caregiver in an assisted living home after graduating high school, where he got to see the impact that technological advancements can have on his communities. This led Kyle to pursuing Electrical and Computer Engineering as a transfer student at the University of Washington. Kyle’s research experience in the Laboratory for Engineered Materials & Structures (LEMS) has challenged him academically, while also showing him the value in working with people from around the world. Kyle plans to continue his research on origami-based robotics in graduate school, where he also hopes to continue to grow as a leader. For Kyle, academic success is a tool that he plans on using in order to build more opportunity enriched environments within his communities.

Mentors:

Jinkyu Yang, Aeronautics and Astronautics and Hiromi Yasuda, Aeronautics and Astronautics

Project Title:

Leaf-out Origami: Tailorable Fabrications and Applications

Ben Magruder-Chemical Engineering

Ben Magruder is a senior studying Chemical Engineering. For over two years, Ben has been researching new materials for solar cells in the Hillhouse group, with an emphasis on non-toxic, earth abundant materials that can be developed without the need for expensive deposition equipment. Through this experience he found a passion for sustainability research, and now plans to pursue a Ph.D. with the hope to someday educate the next generation of engineers. Ben will also graduate with a minor in English, helping him develop language skills which he intends to use at his graduate institution and beyond to help improve education in written scientific communication. Outside of class, Ben has been heavily involved in the leadership board of his fraternity, Theta Xi, and you may also run into him as your Game Master at Quest Factor Escape Rooms. He would like to thank everyone in his research group for pushing him to become a more rigorous academic and researcher, with special thanks to Dr. Felix Eickemeyer.

Mentors:

Hugh Hillhouse, Chemical Engineering

Project Title:

Holistic Characterization of the Optoelectronic Properties of Bismuth Rudorffites for Photovoltaic Applications

John Mah- Applied & Computational Mathematical Sciences (Biological & Life Sciences), Biochemistry, Microbiology

Jon Mah SmilingJon is a senior majoring in Aplied Computational Math Sciences, Biochemistry, and Microbiology. Since winter 2018, he has worked with Dr. Jesse Bloom’s group at Fred Hutch on experimentally-informed quantitative models for protein evolution in viruses. Since summer 2019, he has also worked with Professor Kirk Lohmueller’s group at UCLA performing forward population genetics simulations modeling the effect of domestication on the distribution of fitness effects in canids. He is broadly interested in investigating both basic and medical questions regarding mathematical evolution, protein biochemistry, and molecular genetics. Outside of research, Jon enjoys performing with local musical theatre groups as a pit musician and serving as a teaching assistant for the Department of Microbiology. After completing his undergraduate degree, Jon intends to pursue a PhD in bioinformatics and eventually a career in research, ideally at a large academic or federal research institution. Jon thanks the Washington Research Foundation for their generous funding support, his wonderful mentors Sarah and Jesse for their guidance and expertise, and all past and present members of the Bloom and Lohmueller groups for providing incredibly kind and welcoming research environments.

Mentors:

Jesse Bloom, Division of Basic Sciences; Sarah Hilton, Genome Sciences

Project Title:

Identifying Sites Under Positive Selection on Viral Proteins

Hugo Pontes- Chemical Engineering, Biochemistry

Hugo Pontes in Mary Gates HallHugo Pontes is a senior studying Chemical Engineering. Hugo is interested in merging engineering tools to study complex biological systems. Aligning his interests of engineering design with research for neurological diseases in the Chemical Engineering department, Hugo decided to join Dr. Elizabeth Nance’s lab during his second year at UW. His project aims to understand nanoparticle diffusion in the extracellular matrix of the diseased brain microenvironment to be able to probe structural integrity of the brain. Previous work that Hugo did involves a project with Dr. Lilo Pozzo to understand the impact of Hurricane Maria in people who depend on power for their medical needs in Puerto Rico. His passion for helping patients has led him to work in these projects both from a public health point of view, as well as from a clinical perspective. As such, Hugo plans to pursue a Master’s in Public Health as well as a PhD in Bioengineering after college to continue working on research projects that advance healthcare from a global perspective. Hugo would like to thank everyone in the Nance Lab for the unconditional support, and he would also like to thank the Washington Research Foundation for giving him the opportunity to keep working in the research he has always dreamt of doing.

Mentor:

Elizabeth Nance, Chemical Engineering

Project Title:

Characterization of the Development of the Brain Extracellular Matrix in a Neurodevelopmental Disorder Model

Kimberly Ruth- Computer Engineering and Mathematics

Kimberly Ruth smiling in front of computerKimberly Ruth is a fifth-year senior double majoring in Computer Engineering and Mathematics; she is also in the Interdisciplinary Honors Program and is pursuing Departmental Honors. Her research interests lie within the broad area of computer security, aiming to make computer systems stronger by understanding their weaknesses. Since winter quarter of her freshman year, she has been an undergraduate researcher in the CSE Security and Privacy Lab, co-advised by Professors Franziska Roesner and Tadayoshi Kohno. Her current research focus is on the security and privacy implications of emerging augmented reality (AR) technologies. AR systems present novel challenges for security due to their tight integration with the physical world, and Kimberly enjoys developing system design principles by analyzing these new risks; her current work aims to explore and re-define access control for multi-user AR systems, considering the implications of one AR user’s virtual content affecting another. To supplement her research work and gain a broad perspective on security and privacy, she takes graduate-level security courses and seminars. Kimberly maintains a parallel interest in mathematics and has participated in the Putnam competition. After graduation, Kimberly plans to pursue a PhD in computer science and subsequently a research-based career in computer security, leveraging mindsets of both theory and practice to inform the design of future secure systems. Kimberly is grateful to her fantastic advisors for their outstanding guidance, to her family for their continuous encouragement, and to the Washington Research Foundation for their support of her academic endeavors.

Mentor:

Franziska Roesner (CSE); Tadayoshi Kohno (CSE)

Project Title:

Secure Content Sharing for Multi-User Augmented Reality Applications

Sairandri Sathyanarayanan- Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology

Sairandri Sathyanarayanan in front of fountaintsSairandri Sathyanarayanan is a junior studying Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. Her research interests lie in studying cancer metabolism and she joined Dr. Lucas Sullivan’s lab in the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to work in this field. Her project involves studying the importance of variations in the metabolism of a subset of neuroendocrine cancer cells and exploring their therapeutic uses. After graduation, Sairandri plans to pursue a career in research, continuing her work on cancer metabolism. She is grateful for the mentorship she has received from Dr. Sullivan and Madeleine Hart and to the Washington Research Foundation for their generous support with her research project. When she isn’t working in lab or isn’t in classes, she enjoys singing, running, playing the piano and reading.

Mentor:

Lucas Sullivan, Biochemistry

Project Title:

Understanding Mitochondrial Respiration Defects in SDH Impaired Cancer Cells

Irika Sinha- B.S. Biology (Molecular, Cellular, Developmental), B.S. Biochemistry

Irika Sinha in a libraryIrika is a junior double majoring in Biochemistry as well as Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. In the past, she has done research at Kaeberlein Lab in UW Pathology and the Ginger Lab in UW Chemistry. She joined the McGuire lab in summer 2019 and her project focuses on the therapeutic application of CAR-T cells for Epstein-Barr associated cancers. In the future she hopes to earn her Ph.D. researching neurodegenerative diseases. Outside of lab, she also tutors at C.L.U.E. and works at Suzzallo Library. In her free time, she illustrates for “the Daily”, rock climbs, and practices Taekwondo.

 

Mentor:

Andy McGuire, (Global Health UW), (Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, Fred Hutch)

Project Title:

Engineered CAR T-Cell Immunotherapy Approach for Epstein-Barr Virus-related Cancers

Benjamin Therrien-Environmental Engineering

Benjamin Therrien in front of shrubsBen is a senior undergraduate at the University of Washington studying environmental engineering. His passion for protecting the environment and creating sustainable solutions led him to pursue biotechnology research in Dr. Gough’s lab group. The main focus of Ben’s research is on adapting anaerobic digestion technology for remote wastewater treatment and biogas generation on Mount Everest. His current research project, in collaboration with the Mount Everest Biogas Project (MEBP), is to evaluate the effects of Mount Everest’s climate on anaerobic digester function and microbial community structure in order to inform the MEBP’s digester design. Ben plans to continue his research in graduate school, where he hopes to study biotechnology at the intersection of environmental engineering and public health. Ultimately, he wants to use community engagement and scientific communication to develop environmental biotechnology for traditionally underserved communities and decentralized settings. Ben is grateful to Dr. Gough for her invaluable mentorship and to the Washington Research Foundation for their generous support.

Mentor:

Heidi Gough, Environmental and Forest Sciences

Project Title:

The Mount Everest Biogas Project: Converting Waste to Energy in Extreme Climates