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UC San Diego Amgen Scholar Profiles 2013

Name Home School Mentor Amgen Scholar Biography
Emily Abada
Robin Betz
UC San Diego Simpson Joseph Robin Betz is a senior at Muir College, UCSD, majoring in Biology-Bioinformatics.  Her project this summer was Kinetics and Affinity of Influenza NS1 and Host PABP1 Interaction.
Gabriel Cavin
Jenna Garafalo
UC San Diego Roberto Malinow Jenna Garafalo is a senior at Eleanor Roosevelt College, UCSD, who studies Cognitive Science with a Specialization in Neuroscience. Her project this summer was The effects of excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitter release in the connections between the entopeduncular nucleus and the lateral habenula.
Cindy Lam
Cindy Lam
UC San Diego Tim Brown Cindy is an upcoming senior at Eleanor Roosevelt College, UCSD, majoring in Cognitive Science, with a specialization in Neuroscience and a minor in Education Studies.  Cindy is interested in performing research at the interface between cognitive neuroscience and education.  Her project utilized magnetoencephalography (MEG) to characterize functional patterns of the brain in children during reading.  This study further examined individual differences in cortical activity and how they correlate to offline cognitive and academic measures.
Shawn Cho
Kevin Maxkwee
UC San Diego Audrey Dickey Kevin Maxkwee is a senior at Sixth College, UCSD, majoring in studies Biochemistry and Cell Biology.  His project this summer was Simulation of Huntington's Disease Phenotypes Using a Dominant-Negative PPARδ Mutant.
Megan Craig
Bryan McDonald
UC San Diego Chris Benedict Bryan McDonald is a senior at Eleanor Roosevelt College, UCSD, majoring in Human Biology.  His project this summer was Role of NK-dependent TRAIL-mediated Killing in Cytomegalovirus Control.
Michelle Fu
Andre Mota
UC San Diego Nigel Calcutt Andre Mota is a junior at Revelle College, UCSD, majoring in General Biology.  His project this summer was The Therapeutic Use of Atropine in Diabetic Neuropathy.
Ernie Hwaun
Ahna Neustadt
UC San Diego Boris Minev Ahna Neustadt is a junior at UCSD and is majoring in Biochemistry & Cell Biology. As a 2013 UCSD Amgen Scholar, she worked with Dr. Boris Minev at the Moores Cancer Center/Genelux on a cancer immunotherapy project involving nanoparticle vaccines. Her project aimed to develop nanoparticle vaccines that create a strong immune system response in cancer patients against malignant tumor cells in order to treat and hopefully rid patients of their tumors.
Aaron Kappe
Chiara Ricci-Tam
UC San Diego Joe Pogliano Chiara Ricci-Tam is a senior molecular biology major in the UCSD class of 2014.  Her project sought to use proteomic analyses to elucidate the underlying molecular mechanisms of antibiotic resistance in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).  The main goal of this project is to investigate the effect of sub-lethal doses of beta-lactam antibiotics on two isogenic clinical isolates of MRSA—daptomycin-sensitive (DapS) D592 and daptomycin-resistant (DapR) D712—in order to better understand the antibiotics’ modes of action and the clinically-important yet unexplained phenomenon of daptomycin susceptibility being synergistically restored in DapR strains when used in combination treatment with beta-lactam antibiotics such as nafcillin or Ceftaroline.
Yvonne Lee
Karen Samy
UC San Diego Robert Sah Karen Samy is a junior at Sixth College, UCSD, majoring in Bioengineering.  Her project this summer was Characterization of Local Shape of the Boer Goat Femoral Surface.
Russell Lewis
Neil Sapra
UC San Diego Michael Gilson Neil Sapra is a senior at Sixth College, UCSD, majoring in Computational Physics:  Applied Mathematics.  His project this summer was Thermodynamics of displacing water from binding sites.
Celine Liong
Adam Simon
UC San Diego Yitzhak Tor

Adam Simon is an upcoming senior in the 2013-14 academic year with a planned graduation date of spring 2014 in the major of chemistry, B.S., with departmental honors. His research focus during the summer was on the synthesis and development of novel mimetics of the 2-deoxystreptamine (2-DOS) core structure for the development of new potential synthetic antibiotics. The motivation for this project resides in that all antibacterial aminoglycoside compounds contain a 2-DOS core in their structure, and this motif is considered to be the pharmacophore of their activity. Adam's project was to design, develop, and optimize the reactions that yield the new 2-DOS mimetics and to test their efficacy as a potential antibiotic by their binding ability to their reactive sites in the bacterial ribosome.

Tiffany Loh
Karthik Sreedhara
UC San Diego Nissi Varki Karthik Sreedhara is a junior at UCSD ERC, majoring in Molecular Biology.  His project this summer was Differential Blycan Expression Patterns in Tissue of Mice and Humans.
Neil Raina
Carole Wang
UC San Diego Deborah Yelon Carole is a senior at Marshall College, UCSD, majoring in Biochemistry/Chemistry.  Her project this summer was Cytoplasmic and transmembrane domain analysis of novel protein Tmem2.
Eileen Shi
Josh Yang
UC San Diego Maripat Corr Joshua Yang is a senior at Revelle College, UCSD, majoring in Bioengineering:  Biotechnology.  His project this summer was Characterizing the Role of NETs in the K/BxN Mouse Model of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Alexandro Silva
Max Yang
UC San Diego Lawrence Goldstein

Max is an upcoming junior at UCSD, majoring in Bioengineering, with an emphasis on Biotechnology. Max's project focused on attempting to characterize the correlation between a point mutation in the ApoE gene and the increased risk of late-onset Alzheimer's disease. He uses a CRISPR/Cas system to precisely induce this point mutation in an otherwise normal induced pluripotent stem cell line. The resultant isogenic cell lines are differentiated into astrocytes and then subject to comparative studies examining phenotypic effects such as neuronal growth.

Mohammed Abdelrahim
Mohammed Ahmadi
Adelphi University Christina Sigurdson

Mohammed Ahmadi is a senior at Adelphi University in New York, where he studies Biology and Chemistry. Mohammed spent his summer investigating the molecular underpinnings for interspecies barriers to CWD prion infection using protein misfolding cyclic amplification. He was chiefly concerned with determining which single amino acid residues of the mule deer PrPC gene sequence may impart resistance to conversion by PrPSc.

Ambima Hammer Buzhyason
Sarah Baker
University of San Diego Fred Gage

Sarah Baker, an upcoming junior majoring in Biochemistry and Psychology, worked in the Gage Laboratory of Genetics at the Salk Institute of Biological Studies. Her project this summer included analyzing how the antidepressant fluoxetine affects dendritic spine growth and the role that the p11 protein may play in depression. She used confocal laser microscopy to take images of neurons in the hippocampus labeled with green fluorescent protein in order to complete this analysis.

Jerika Barron
Jerika Barron
Occidental College Stuart Lipton

Jerika Barron will be a senior at Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA, majoring in Biology with an emphasis in Cell and Molecular Biology. Through the Amgen Scholars Program, she conducted research in Dr. Stuart Lipton’s neurodegenerative disease lab at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. Their approach utilized an induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) model from a patient with a mitochondrial DNA mutation that causes dystonia and neuropathy.  Their aim was to evaluate the neuropathology of these iPSC-derived neurons, determine their susceptibility to oxidative stress, and attempt to rescue such defect using genetic manipulations and small molecules.

Jennifer Choi
Rachel Bisiewicz
Brown University Michael Sailor

Rachel Bisiewicz is a rising senior at Brown University pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry.  She conducted research for the Amgen Scholars Program under the direction of Dr. Michael Sailor.  Her project investigated the fabrication of polymeric photonic nanostructures using a porous silicon template.  Once formed, the nanostructures can be used in vivo as optical biosensors.

Karli Gillette
Matt Dent
James Madison University Seth Cohen Matt Dent is a  junior majoring in Chemistry and Biochemistry.  His project this summer was Using human carbonic anhydrase II to model active site residue interactions with metalloprotein inhibitors.
Brittany Goben
Ernie Doherty
Harvard University Yimin Zou Ernie Doherty is a sophomore at Harvard University, majoring in Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology.  His project this summer was Developing an Alternative Method for Peripheral Conditioning of Sensory Neurons.
Jia Guo
Erika Handly
Brigham Young University Christian Metallo

Erika Handly is an upcoming senior in chemical engineering at Brigham Young University. After her undergraduate education Erika plans to pursue a PhD in bioengineering with a focus in targeted drug delivery, tissue engineering, or cancer research. As an Amgen scholar at UCSD, she worked under Dr. Metallo on cancer cell metabolism. Her primary focus was the role of malic enzyme in the citric acid cycle and she is developing a full flux model to fully quantify the effect of this enzyme. The overarching goal of this research was to understand cancer cell metabolism to allow for the development of targeted cancer therapeutics.

Nina Gu
Daniel Long
North Carolina State University Robert Sah Daniel Long is a junior majoring in Biomedical Engineering.  His project this summer was Time-Dependent Lubrication Properties of Synovial Fluid and Proteoglycan 4 Concentrations Following Injury.
Daniel Holohan
Taryn Lucas
West Chester University Robert Sah

Taryn Lucas is an upcoming junior at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, majoring in Chemistry. Taryn worked in Dr. Robert Sah’s cartilage tissue engineering lab with the purpose of determining the concentration profiles of calcium and phosphate ions in a double diffusion system. Calcium and phosphate can react to precipitate hydroxyapatite, which can be used to cement cartilage to bone. This cartilage-bone construct has the potential to be used for implantation in bone defects for the knee joint. Taryn aimed to determine how hydroxyapatite formation differs when the double diffusion reaction is allowed to run for different durations.

Tyler Huelsman
Michael Martini
Middlebury College Benjamin Cravatt

Michael Martini is an upcoming third year at Middlebury College, majoring in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. During the summer, he worked in the lab of Dr. Benjamin Cravatt at The Scripps Research Institute, investigating the metabolic cross-talk between growth-signaling pathways and cholesterol homeostasis in a mutated, aggressive model of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) that is metabolically dependent on cholesterol for tumor proliferation. His investigations focused on achieving inhibition with LXR-623 agonism and oleanolic acid, and used specially designed sterol probes coupled with quantitative mass spectrometry to create an affinity-based profile characterizing the cellular protein-sterol interactome.

Norah Kooblesky
Veena Patel
University of New Mexico Fred Gage

Veena Patel is a rising senior at the University of New Mexico studying Biology, Psychology, and Statistics. She conducted her summer research with Drs. Fred Gage and Rebecca Wright at the Salk Institute. Their project investigated GABAergic inhibition in the hippocampus of the brain using human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) technology. This research was being conducted in schizophrenia patient and control hiPSCs with the aim of elucidating mechanisms of altered inhibitory signaling in schizophrenia.

Nithya Kubendran
Eugenia Salcedo
John Jay College-CUNY Peter Vogt Eugenia Salcedo is a senior majoring in Forensic Science-Molecular Biology.  Her project this summer was Identification of Proximal and Interacting Proteins of the class I Phosphoinositide 3-Kinase (PI3K).
Zachary Rotter
Calvin Schmidt
Rice University James Golden Calvin Schmidt is a junior majoring in Biochemistry and Chemistry.  His project this summer was Characterizing theophylline-inducible riboswitches in cyanobacteria.
Amanuel Tesfamichael
Amanda Woodcock
University of Washington Ratnesh Lal

Amanda Woodcock is a junior in the Bioengineering department at the University of Washington, studying at UC San Diego for the summer of 2013 with the Amgen Scholars program. She worked on measuring the changes of mechanical properties of membranes under the influence of amyloid proteins. Amyloid proteins are associated with many protein misfolding diseases, such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. These proteins are integral membrane proteins that are likely to change mechanical properties of the membrane. Amanda worked on creating a modified atomic force microscopy probe to quantify this change in mechanical properties of the interface.

Amanuel Tesfamichael
Victoria Wooley
University of California, Santa Barbara Doris Trauner

Victoria Wooley is a fourth year biopsychology major. This summer she was at UCSD’s Pediatric Neurology Lab under the mentorship of Dr. Doris Trauner.  Victoria researched the possible effects of gender differences on cognitive testing in children with perinatal stroke (infants who had strokes around the time of birth).