Undergraduate Research Program

WRF Fellows

2020-21

Manjari Anant - Bioengineering

Manjari Smilng for the cameraManjari is a senior majoring in Bioengineering, working under the guidance of Dr. Samira Moorjani in the Biophysics and Physiology department. Her research focuses on finding electrical stimulation-based therapies to improve motor function in people affected by movement disorders. She is currently researching how a novel stimulation therapy, movement-triggered stimulation, modulates cortical connectivity and downstream muscle activity. 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 for Motor Recovery

Juliana Bushnell - Public Health, Global Health

Juliana smiling for the cameraJuliana is a senior majoring in Public Health. She has been a part of the Hofstetter lab studying spinal cord injury since June 2019. Juliana’s current project is mainly focused on researching the development of neurogenic bladders following traumatic spinal cord injuries. She has been able to explore her passion of injury research through this project. In the future, she hopes to get a graduate degree and study injury prevention. Outside of research, Juliana works for the UW Alumni Association and UW Athletics. She would like to thank Dr. Zin Khaing, Dr. Christoph Hofstetter, Dr. Claire Yang, Jeffrey Hyde, Lindsay Cates, and Julia Bergquist for all their support and mentorship through her time with the group.

Mentors:

Zin Z. Khaing, Neurological Surgery, Institute for Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine; Christoph Hofstetter, Neurological Surgery

Project Title:

Early Use of Onabotulinumtoxin-A to Improve Outcomes of Neurogenic Bladders Caused by Spinal Cord Injury

Christine Dien - Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology

Christine smiling for the cameraChristine Dien is a senior majoring in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and minoring in Data Science. She is also pursuing Interdisciplinary Honors. Christine joined the Rasmussen Lab during her sophomore year and began her research by developing a bioinformatics pipeline to streamline the analysis of datasets in the lab. Christine has been using zebrafish to study the role of specialized skin cell types and neurons in the context of injury and subsequent regeneration. During her time in the lab, she has utilized the power of RNA sequencing analysis to study the transcriptional changes in these cells throughout their wound healing response. With the help of her mentor Dr. Jeff Rasmussen and the Washington Research Foundation, Christine plans to build off of the findings of her preliminary research with high resolution imaging to gain a holistic understanding of both the transcriptional and cellular, morphological responses to injury. After graduation, Christine plans to pursue a PhD in Immunology. She wants to continue to apply computational biology and bioinformatics techniques to answer her research questions. Christine is grateful for the support and mentorship from everyone in the Rasmussen lab. She would also like to thank the Washington Research Foundation for their generous support for her research project.

Mentor:

Jeff Rasmussen, Biology

Project Title:

Visualizing the Dynamics of Skin Repair and Reinnervation in Zebrafish

Jakub Filipek - Computer Science

Jakub in front of tree smiling for a cameraJakub is a senior undergraduate at the University of Washington studying computer science. He is most interested in interdisciplinary research, which has led him to research in quantum computing; an intersection of physics and computer science. He joined Professors Shih-Chieh’s group in the fall of freshman year, where he got introduced to machine learning and the basics of quantum physics. The current project, under the mentorship of Professors Shih-Chieh Hsu, Nathan Wiebe, and Alessandro Roggero, is focused on creating a hybrid machine learning system, which would use classical neural networks to scale down data so that it can fit in near-term quantum devices. This would allow a fair comparison of classical and quantum algorithms, as well as the more rapid development of quantum algorithms. In addition to research, he is taking graduate-level courses and seminars in machine learning to gain a better understanding of the field. After graduation, Jakub plans to pursue a Ph.D. in computer science, based around machine learning applications in other fields, hopefully including quantum computing. Ultimately, he wants to provide well-tested machine learning systems, which can reduce the barrier of entry and workload to these fields.

Mentors:

Shih-Chieh Hsu, Physics; Alessandro Roggero, Physics; Nathan Wiebe, Physics

Project Title:

Scaled QUantum IDentifier (SQUID) – Hybrid Classical Quantum ML Framework

Alicia Gim - Chemical Engineering

Alicia Gim smiling for the cameraAlicia is fifth-year senior in chemical engineering. Under the guidance of Profs. Jonathan Posner and Ayokunle Olanrewaju in the Posner research group, she is updating an antiretroviral diagnostics model based in probability theory. Outside of the Posner group, Alicia is studying Bayesian/Kalman sensor fusion in the student organization EcoCAR. Previously, she worked with the Drain research group at UW Global Health, Medicine, and Epidemiology as a CoMotion scholar, and with the Varani lab at UW Chemistry. Following graduation Alicia plans to gain diverse industry experience, then earn a doctorate degree through computational research related to process control, accessibility, and sustainability. Alicia is grateful to the amazing mentors she has met in the Posner group, Drain group, Varani lab, and at EcoCAR. She thanks the Washington Research Foundation for supporting her research interests.

Mentors:

Jonathan Posner Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and Family Medicine Ayokunle Olanrewaju, Mechanical Engineering

Project Title:

Automating and Optimizing a Probabilistic Model for Antiretroviral Diagnostics

Murtaza Jafry - Physics

Murtaza hikingMurtaza Jafry is a senior majoring in Physics. He is a student in the
Interdisciplinary Honors Program and is pursuing Departmental Honors in Physics.
Murtaza has conducted research with Professor Silas Beane since the summer after his freshman year studying applications of certain theoretical
models known as effective field theories in the context of nuclear
systems in physics. His current research interests lie in developing
and further studying effective field theories and different kinds of
quantum field theories in nature. Effective field theories provide a
novel and consistent mathematical framework that are capable of
explaining computationally different experimental phenomenon in a
straight forward manner. Murtaza’s current research lies in how such kinds of effective field theories can be used to deduce characteristics of quantum gases and other kinds of multi-particle systems. To supplement his research work, Murtaza has also taken numerous graduate Physics courses in theoretical physics to broaden his background in the field. After graduation, Murtaza plans to pursue a PhD in Theoretical Physics and subsequently a research-based career within Physics, specializing in topics from quantum gravity to elementary particle theory. Murtaza is grateful to his fantastic advisor, Professor Beane, for his
outstanding guidance and support throughout his research career.
Murtaza is also thankful to the Washington Research Foundation for
their support of his academic endeavors.

Mentor:

Silas R. Beane, Physics

Project Title:

Dimensional Crossover in Non-Relativistic Effective Field Theory II: Harmonic Confinement

Dylan Klavins - Mechanical Engineering

Dylan posting for the cameraDylan Klavins is a Junior majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a background in electromechanical systems and robotics. Dylan’s current research interests pertain to mathematical modeling of mechanical systems, and making technology democratic and sustainable. Since Winter of 2019/2020, he has been working in the Human Photonics Lab on the CoreView project, which aims to develop an automated core needle biopsy histopathology machine to reduce cost and improve accessibility of diagnostic tissue imaging. His current research aims to develop an engineering model for designing millifluidic devices that autonomously transport and manipulate tissue samples. Dylan would like to express his gratitude to the Washington Research Foundation and his mentors in the process, Professor Eric Seibel and research scientist Mark Fauver for the support they have provided for his research pursuits. After graduation, Dylan would like to take a few years off of school to work in an industry environment and pursue independent projects, following which he will attend a graduate program with a likely focus on control systems, applied physics, or mechanical engineering. Outside of research, he also works on the UW’s University Rover Challenge team in powertrain systems design, and enjoys metalworking, rock climbing, and billiards in his spare time.

Mentor:

Eric Seibel, Mechanical Engineering

Project Title:

Millifluidic Tissue Biopsy Manipulation

Hannah Lea - Biochemistry

Hannah smiling for the cameraHannah is a junior at the University of Washington majoring in biochemistry. Hannah has been a member of the Theberge lab in the UW Department of Chemistry for the past two years. She has had the opportunity to work on multiple projects and has worked with multiple collaborators. Hannah’s favorite part about research is how much she is able to challenge and expand her knowledge through problem solving, thinking of new research projects, and presenting her work to members of the scientific community. Her current project is measuring chemical signals between cells in whole blood using biologically-homing particles. She is excited to continue advancing this project and see the impact she can make in advancing knowledge about signaling that occurs in the blood. After her time at UW, Hannah hopes to become a pediatric oncologist. She wants to combine her passion for medicine, working with children, and research to help patients and increase the research that is done on rare forms of childhood cancer. Hannah would like to thank her PI, Ashleigh Theberge, and all of her other mentors and members in her lab who have helped her to get to the point she is at and who gave her a chance to discover her love for medical research.

Mentor:

Ashleigh Theberge, Chemistry

Project Title:

Measuring Chemical Signals Between Cells using Biologically-Homing Particles

Millicent Li - Computer Science

Millicent SmilingMillicent is a senior studying computer science, pursuing departmental honors. Millicent is interested in building tools and systems specifically with a human-centered focus, like through healthcare and social computing. In particular, her interests lie broadly in natural language processing and human-computer interaction. She has been a member of the Ubiquitous Computing Laboratory since freshman year, advised by Dr. Shwetak Patel, where she is developing a multimodal silent speech interface for individuals with speech impairments. She is also a member of Noah’s ARK, advised by Dr. Noah Smith, where she is creating methods to debias clinical summarizations in text. After graduation, she plans to pursue a PhD in computer science with a focus on human-computer interaction, leveraging her insights from building technology for people to create systems that can improve the quality of life of those around us. Millicent is incredibly grateful for the endless support from many fantastic researchers and mentors, including Parker Ruth, Richard Li, Matt Whitehill, Shwetak Patel, Ana Marasović, Noah Smith, and many more.

Mentor:

Shwetak Patel, Computer Science

Project Title:

Multimodal Monitoring for Silent Speech Recognition

Keong Mu Jason Lim- Neuroscience

Jason in of stage with his arms crossedJason is a senior in the UW Honors Program, majoring in neuroscience and minoring in chemistry. He’s from South Korea but went to middle and high school in Puyallup, Washington. His interest in neuroscience stems from studying theology and philosophy in high school. However, as his interests slowly shifted towards applying science for clinical applications, he joined the Kaeberlein lab to study pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases in his freshman year of college. There, his past research involved studying the pathogenic relationship between mitochondrial DNA degeneration and Alzheimer’s disease. He is currently researching as the first author on the large-scale screening of genes that affect hypoxic rescue of frataxin deficiency in yeast. He has been part of the Stroke and Applied NeuroScience Center since sophomore year, where he studies the molecular pathophysiology of aneurysm development. Outside the lab, he works as the President of the Philosophy Society at UW and the Co-Founder of the Science Apprenticeship for Youth Program. He also enjoys playing soccer, lifting, and watching movies.
As an aspiring physician, Jason hopes to utilize these experiences to advance medicine by translating scientific discoveries into medical innovation. After graduation, he plans to obtain a medical degree in the US and Korea to serve the local community while collaborating with healthcare allies in both countries. He’d like to thank Jason, his mentor at the Kaeberlein Lab, and Dr. Kaeberlein for supporting his aspirations. He’d also like to thank the Washington Research Foundation for giving him the opportunity to start an individual research project he has always dreamt of doing.

Mentors:

Matt Kaeberlein, Pathology; Jason Pitt, Pathology

Project Title:

Large-Scale Screening of Genes that Affect Hypoxic Rescue of Frataxin Deficiency in Yeast

Yonas Meshesha - Bioengineering

Yonas smiling for the cameraYonas Meshesha is a senior studying bioengineering. Yonas joined the Posner research group and is now working on developing a cheap point of care diagnostic assay to assess adherence to HIV treatment plans and prevent further infection. After graduation he plans to pursue an MD with the goal of addressing health problems that disproportionately affect minority groups while creating accessible solutions. Outside of class, he is a teaching assistant in the bioengineering department and tutors at the Engineering Academic Center. In his free time, he enjoys lifting, with plans to compete in a bodybuilding contest, reading fantasy novels, and morning runs around U-district. Yonas is grateful to work with an outstanding and encouraging mentor like Dr. Ayokunle Olanrewaju, and to the Washington Research Foundation for their support in his research endeavors.

Mentor:

Ayokunle Olanrewaju, Mechanical Engineering

Project Title:

Measuring Antiretroviral Drug Levels In Near Patient Format

Chaoyang Tang - Bioengineering

Chaoyang posing for the cameraChaoyang Tang is a senior undergraduate majoring in bioengineering at the University of Washington. Started as a freshman over three years ago seeking answers to his future role in the medical world, he has been enrolled in a total of four research projects thus far. His current independent research resides in the field of tissue engineering, where material properties of either natural or synthetic origin are combined with our biology for better tissue regeneration and beyond. Specifically, with the guidance of Dr. Marta Scatena, Dr. Buddy Ratner, and Dr. Le Zhen, he is now modulating both macrophage expression at the material-tissue interface and pre-vascularization of poly(HEMA) scaffolds in an attempt to dampen foreign body reaction and promote tissue vascularization. It is believed that his research findings will be valuable in elucidating the correlations between macrophage polarization, material porosity, scaffold pre-vasculature, and in vivo tissue vascularization, which in turn holds promises in developing a cell therapeutics that improves the overall biocompatibility of foreign implants. Chaoyang would like to thank his three mentors for their continuous support. He is also grateful for the Washington Research Foundation that recognized and supported his efforts in developing regenerative medicine.

Mentors:

Marta Scatena, Bioengineering; Buddy Ratner, Bioengineering; Le Zhen, Bioengineering

Project Title:

Modulating Macrophage Phenotype and Scaffold Pre-Vascularization to the Tissue Healing of Sphere-Templated Poly(HEMA) Scaffolds

Yennhi Vohoang - Biochemistry, English

Yennhi smiling for the cameraYennhi Vohoang is a senior studying Biochemistry. In her third year, she started working with her current mentor, Dr. Daniel Yang, on a project centered around desmoplakin and cardiovascular disease. They identified a family that was positive for a pathogenic variant of the desmoplakin gene; this variant resulted in a nonsense mutation that resulted in premature truncation. Yennhi is currently investigating the mechanism behind this truncation mutation leading to arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy. She mainly works with induced pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes that were isolated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells. These patient specific stem cell derived cardiomyocytes have the potential to be effective models for arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy. After completing her undergraduate degree, Yennhi plans to pursue a PhD dedicated to researching the connection between desmoplakin and cardiovascular diseases. She would like to express her sincere appreciation for all her mentors as well as the Washington Research Foundation for supporting her research.

Mentor:

Daniel Yang, Cardiology

Project Title:

Elucidating the Mechanisms by Which Premature Truncation Mutations in Desmoplakin Lead to Arrhythmogenic Cardiomyopathy