Recent Projects and Mentors

2021 Senior Honors Thesis Students

Student Mentor Thesis Title
Baxter, Dana Dr Eric Tytell Internal vertebral morphology of bony fishes matches the mechanical demands of different environments.
Benites, Nina Mitch McVey SLX1 and REV1 Enhance D. melanogaster DNA Damage Tolerance
Blaise, Alyssa Richard A. Young and Alessandra Dall’Agnese Insulin Receptor Condensates are Altered in Insulin Resistance 
Brush, Hanna Elizabeth Crone More than it racemes: understanding nectaring behavior and preference in Puget blue butterfly females.
Chakraborty, Anirban Qiaobing Xu Assessment of Antigen-LC3^T50A fusion protein for targeting of antigen to MHC Class I presentation via rerouting from autophagy to proteasome processing.
Chien, Melanie Michael Levin and Douglas Blackiston Migration of multiciliated cells throughout development using a mucociliary organoid system derived from Xenopus laevis ectodermal animal caps.
Ghobrial, Mina David Kaplan Development of Skeletal Muscle Tissues & Neuro-muscular Co-Cultures in Collagen Gel Structures.
Jillian Armenia Sergei Mirkin  
Krishnamurthy, Manan Dr. Mitch McVey On the roles of Polq, Parp, and Rif1 in DNA Repair.
Larsen, Benjamin Catherine Freudenreich The Role of APOBECs in R-Loop Associated Chromosomal Fragility and Instability at CAG Repeats in S. cerevisiae.
Ling, Yingjie Lin, Yu-Shan Rational Design of Cyclic Peptide for Inhibiting Cancer Proliferation.
Shevzov-Zebrun, Anna David Kaplan Role of glutamate toxicity in neurodegeneration following traumatic brain injury in a human 3D in vitro brain-like tissue model.
Spencer, Leslie Colin Orians How does landscape context influence pollination by wild bees in coffee landscapes?
Wolf, Alexandra Elizabeth Crone Heterogeneity in Eastern Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) Movement.
Yin, Hannah Michael Romero and Nina Fefferman Modeling Stress in Vertebrates & The Nutrient Economies.

Spring 2021 Independent Research Students

Student Mentor Thesis Title
Ginga Sato Dr. Klaus Miczek Behavioral Hierarchy in Male Mice: Sweet Intake and Female Social Interaction.
Iyra Chandra Dr. Michael Levin  Designing Methodology to Investigate Individual and Collective Cognitive Anticipatory Responses in Ants (Camponotus sp.) 
Kate Bowers Dr. Michael Levin  Topic: How Xenopus tadpoles identify deformities in other tadpoles
Ming Gong Dr. Eric Tytell Effects of Longitudinal Body Position on Power Output of Red Muscle from Brook Trout (Salelinus fontinalis)
Rachel Xiang  Dr. Iris Jaffe Using in silico methods to examine atherosclerosis in preclinical models 
Anna Joseph Dr. Mitch McVey Sensitivity to crosslinking and fork stalling agents in FANCD2 mutant Drosophila melanogaster
Luana Machado Dr. Mitch McVey A gut feeling: Administration of Parabacteroides distasonis and its impact on intestinal barrier stability and inflammation in Drosophila melanogaster
Jillian Armenia Sergei Mirkin  
Celia Rubien Dr. Mitch McVey Uncovering a synthetic sickness in Drosophila melanogaster—the relationship between mutations in the genome and in the Polymerase Theta linker domain
Eleanor Matthews Dr. Philip Starks Impact of heat stress on brood emigration patterns in T. curvispinosus and T. longispinosus 
Mayura Thomas Dr. Michael Levin  Mapping chemotactic migration in Xenopus cranial neural crest cell collectives
Vaughn Rogers Dr. Alain Charest The oncogenicity of missense mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor gene (EGFR) and relevant implications for glioblastoma (GBM)
Lauren Cohen Dr. Catherine Freudenreich Draft title: Length-dependent contractions in trinucleotide repeat tracts in S. cerevisiae  
Hector Rivera Bermudez Dr. Klaus Miczek The effect of social Interactions on saccharin consumption
Katherine Wang Dr. Elizabeth Byrnes Impacts of early life stress on sex differences in reward learning and approach motivation in chocolate self-administration
Early maternal separation induces increased approach motivation for chocolate reward in adult male rats
Morgane Dackiw Dr. Zarin Machanda, Dr. Michael Reed “Primates in Peril”:  An Investigation into the Conservation of Wild Primates 
Katie Walsh Dr. Christopher Walsh Identifying copy number variations in Autism Spectrum Disorder with single-nucleus RNA sequencing
Alexandra Fong Dr. Zarin Machanda Investigation of the Effect of Maternal Rank and Age on Maternal Investment
Christopher Herbosa Dr. Amy Yee The Effects of a New Therapeutic for Triple Negative Breast Cancer in Mice
Riya Malhotra Dr. Catherine Freudenreich Characterizing the Role of Irc20
Caitlin Ball Dr. Jan Pechenik Impacts of thermal and desiccation stress on the survival and respiration rates of the intertidal snail C. fornicata 
Neal Chan Dr. Benjamin Wolfe Investigating the effects of bacterial communities on the fungus P. solitum
Julia Koh Dr. Michael Romero Analysis of the Attenuation of Stress throughout an Organism’s Lifetime
Sarah Lok Dr. Michael Romero Neophobic and Locomotive Responses to Chronic Stress in House Sparrows
Ashleigh Williams Dr. David Kaplan Comparing M Cell Yield and Induced Differentiation in Human Stem Cell-Derived In Vitro Culture Systems using Varying Growth Factor-Containing Culture Medias 

Fall 2021 Independent Research Students

Student Mentor Project
Grace Gong Jake Chen Effect of Irisin on Oral Cancer Development
Radhika Sharma Mary Wallingford Impact of Slc20a2 deficiency on placenta calcification
Jaymie Pietropinto John Yuen Dense in vitro murine adipose tissue formation in a hydrogel-sponge 3D culture system
Bella McKinney Olga Liaudanskaya (Kaplan lab) Identifying the effect of monocultural nervous system cells on the NLRP3 inflammasome
Hannah Pearl Candace Fleischer Diversity in Neuroimaging Studies According to Race, Ethnicity and Sex: A Systematic Review
Chloé Markovits Dr. Elizabeth Crone Impact of nesting status on site fidelity in Agapostemon virescens
Joel Rheaume Dr. Howard Weiner Effect of Protollin in Alzheimer’s Disease
Reina Ashizawa Dr. David Kaplan Identifying drivers of cost in production of cell-based meat using Manduca sexta and other insect cell lines
Eli Kritzer Hisashi Umemori The role of Smad signaling in midbrain dopaminergic neuronal dendritic growth and synaptic input in mice
Jonah Zuckerman Phil Starks Tentative: the effect of cue normalization onTemnothorax curvispinosus recognition systems
Ming Gong Eric Tytell Tail kinematics during upward and downward swimming in largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides)
Jaya Wetzel Phil Starks Tentative: the effect of chronic heat stress on Apis mellifera hive phenotype
Evon Wang Iris Jaffe Understanding Endothelial Cell Toxicity of Novel Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors Used in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Treatment
Mayura Thomas Dr. Michael Levin Dopamine induces embryogenic black aggregate formation during Xenopus laevis development
Rebecca Graham  Phil Starks Tentative: Changes in Honey Bee (Apis Mellifera) Nutritional 
Preferences Throughout the Life Cycle

2020 Senior Honors Thesis Students

Ada Huang Catherine Freudenreich Characterizing the Role of the Rad5 Family of Proteins in DNA Repair
Annie Phan Eric Tytell Integration of Multiple Mechanical Stimuli in the Lamprey Central Pattern Generator
Daniel Caron Barry Trimmer Peripheral neural pathways of nociception in Manduca sexta
Emma Sanders Catherine Freudenreich The Role of D-loop Synthesis and Progression in Trinucleotide Repeat Instability Through a Break-induced Replication (BIR) Model
Francesca DeIeso-Frechette Amy Yee, Mitch McVey Effects of the Cha1 Novel Combination Treatment on Tumor Properties and Immune Response in Triple Negative Breast Cancer
Grace Materne Sergei Mirkin Understanding the Genetic Mechanism of Variability of the AVPR1A Polymorphism, RS3, in Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Hannah Vigran Michael Levin Wearable Device and Pro-Regenerative Drug Cocktail-Mediated Limb Regeneration
Jillian Armenia Sergei Mirkin Investigating a Biological Role for Paranemic Crossover (PX) DNA in S. cerevisiae
Mackenzie Parmenter Stephen Fuchs Using CRISPR-Cas9 to Study the Effect of Repeat Variation on Azf1p
Madeline Bondy Colin Orians Branch dieback in Arabica coffee (Coffea arabica): Risk Factors and Recommendations
Maria Ostapovich Elizabeth Crone Effect of worker body size on bumblebee colony dynamics
Matthew Johnson Catherine Freudenreich The Role of the S-phase DNA Damage Checkpoint in the Relocalization of CAG Trinucleotide Repeats to the Nuclear Pore Complex
Max McCarthy Elizabeth Crone Phenological Trends in Wild Bees with Diverse Life History Traits
Michael Dente Benjamin Wolfe, David Kaplan A Study of Toll-Like Receptors in a 3D in vitro Enteric Nervous System Tissue Model
Rodolfo Estrada Michael Romero Studying the Stress Response across Tissues in House Sparrows; A Dive into the Rest of the Picture through the Lens of DNA damage

Spring 2020 Independent Research Students

Student Mentor Project
Abigail Kaplan Phillip Starks Impact of dietary protein on the size of hypopharyngeal glands in nurse honey bees (Apis mellifera)
Alyssa Blaise Richard Young Insulin Receptor IDR Phase Separates with Coactivator IDR
Ananya Pavuluri Mike Levin Revisiting Recapitulation Theory through Analysis of Head Morphology During Planarian Regeneration
Anirban Chakraborty Qiaobing Xu Dissecting the Mechanism of Nanoparticle-Mediated Intracellular Protein Delivery
Ashton Black Yongjie Yang Quantifying the specificity and efficiency of Eaat2-Tdt astrocyte reporter in Ai9f/f-ALDh1L1eGFP -Eaat2-CreERtransgenic mice
Caroline Hayes Kelly McLaughlin The role of Serotonin Signaling in Craniofacial Remodeling
Christopher Herbosa Amy Yee, Eric Paulson Cha-1: A New Drug Treatment for Triple Negative Breast Cancer
Claire Dunn Madeleine Oudin The role of proteases in triple-negative breast cancer metastasis, migration, and drug resistance.
Eli Strauss George Ellmore Caffeine vs cannabidiol in plant tissue culture and seedling  growth
Elizabeth Corn Andrew Camilli The role of Vibrio cholerae porin OmpU in predation by Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus
Ethan Brown Mitch McVey Allelic Replacement in REV1
Hanna Brush Elizabeth Crone, Rachel Bonoan Understanding adult butterfly nutrition in Icaricia icarioides blackmorei
Ishan Gupta Mitch McVey Investigating the BRCA2 and RAD51 Double Mutant Synthetic Lethal Relationship
Jacob Zuckerman Mitch McVey Understanding Replication Protein A’s Role in Preventing Secondary Structure Formation during Synthesis
Keya Viswanathan Abha Aggarwal The Effect of MCT1/4 Inhibition in Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer
Lauren Snow David Kaplan, Kyle Fish A novel approach to fat differentiation using fatty acids in synthetic meat.
Leslie Spencer Colin Orians Understanding resource allocation in coffee (Coffea arabica): Applying ecological theory to an agricultural system
Neal Chan Benjamin Wolfe Investigating the role of bacterial collagenases in inhibiting planarian worm regeneration
Nehalee Surve Catherine Freudenreich Investigating the role of helicases in Flex1 fragility
Nina Benites Mitch McVey SLX1’s Role in DNA Damage Tolerance
Sarah Shnayder Mitch McVey Interplay of the Gut Microbiome, Inflammation, and Aging
Serra Muftu Mitch McVey Elucidating the Function of POLDIP2 in Drosophila Melanogaster
Sharad Mahajan Madeleine Oudin Investigating the Role of Chemotherapy Treated Extracellular Matrices in Cancer Liver Metastasis
Yanchen Dong Sergei Mirkin GAA trinucleotide expansion in mammalian cells

Fall 2019 Independent Research Students

Student Mentor Project
Alec Tyminski Phillip T.B. Starks Seasonal differences of total protein, and amino acids within bee collected pollen
Alison Moky Mimi Kao and Gina Mantica Testing the Effectiveness of neurotoxin AF64A on Ablating Tonically Active Cholinergic Interneurons (TANs) in the songbird basal ganglia
Anar Kansara Christopher Dulla Interneuron development in APC cKO Mouse Model of IS
Anirban Chakraborty Qiaobing Xu Evaluation of why some lipid nanoparticles are better than others for delivery
Anna Kolchinski Alan Cantor Exploring the Effects of the Novel W284C Mutation in the FLI1 Transcription Factor
Anna Shevzov-Zebrun David Kaplan & Andrew Ford Optimization of an in-vitro 3D cornea model
Carl Schirmeister Bree Aldridge Developing a more precise and information-rich laboratory assay for antibacterial response
Claire Kerns Michael Levin The role of Actin in Planarian regeneration
Damanveer Singh Benjamin Wolfe Effects of Aquitalea Mutants on Planarian Regeneration
Eileen Liu Amy Yee & Eric Paulson The Effects on CHA1 Therapy on Triple Negative Breast Cancer
Emily Chu Catherine Freudenreich Investigating the Role of the Slx8 protein in Preventing Chromosome Fragility at Expanded CAG repeats that Stall DNA Replication
Finn McGarghan Mitch McVey Investigation of the Function of DNA Polymerase Theta in DNA Damage Tolerance in D. melanogaster
Gabriel DePinho Mitch McVey Modeling Chromosomal Translocations in D. Melanogaster
Ishan Gupta Mitch McVey Investigating the role of BRCA2 in double knock out flies
Kaili Chen David Kaplan and Natalie Rubio Mycelium as a potential scaffold for Cellular Agriculture
Lauren Romero Phillip T.B. Starks Adult-juvenile interactions in Fowler’s toads with a note on anti-predatory behavior
Lauren Snow David Kaplan Edible (FDA approved) differentiation cocktail for adipogenesis in synergetic meat model
Leona Tu Yongjie Yang Astroglial mRNA and protein translation dysregulation in Fragile X Syndrome Mouse Models
Lila Cart Klaus Miczek & Herbert Covington Fighting Females
Machlan Sawden Kevin Hart Role of Liver Sinusoidal Endothelial Cells in Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis and Inflammation
Makenzie Tomihiro Carol Kumamoto Interactions between Clostridium difficile and Fungal Colonizers of the Human Gastrointestinal Tract
Mallika Purandare David Kaplan Effects of Nicotine on Cortical Neuron Development in Rat Pups in 2D Setting
Melanie Chien Michael Levin Pro-Regenerative Cocktail-Induced Neurite Regeneration in Primary Cortical Neurons
Michelle Ysrael Michael Romero Validating Human POC devices to measure metabolites in house sparrows
Mina Ghobrial David Kaplan Development of Skeletal Muscle Tissues in Collagen Structures
Nathan Mitchell Michael Levin Differentiation of hiPSC via cell membrane potential modulation
Nina Benites Mitch McVey The role of SLX1 and REV1 in DNA damage bypass in Drosophila melanogaster
Paras Patnaik Zarin Machanda Paternity Investigation and Analysis of Father-Offspring Relationships in East African Chimpanzees
Paul Jin Michael Levin Effects of Physarum on Planarian regeneration
Radha Garvey Peter Juo Behavioral Characterization of lrp-2 in C. elegans
Raissa Li Qiaobing Xu Investigating pH-Responsive lipids for drug delivery
Sarah Shnayder Mitch McVey The Interplay of the Microbiome, Inflammation, and Aging
Serra Muftu Mitch McVey Elucidating the Functions of Poldip2 in D. Melanogaster
Tara Zhou Sergei Mirkin CAG repeat instability in quiescent yeast cells