(Click student’s names for ePortfolio)

Kelcey Davis

Astronomy

Faculty Mentor: Kate Rubin

Kelcey was appointed to the MARC program in September of 2019. Her major is Astronomy, with minors in Physics and Mathematics. At San Diego State, Kelcey splits her research time between two major projects. She works with a 21-cm Cosmology lab at the University of Washington, modeling radio-bright foreground to help calibrate data. She started this work over the summer of 2019 with the HERA collaboration. She works closely with Dr. Kate Rubin on this project. In addition to her Cosmology research, Kelcey also works in SDSU’s Electro-Optics lab with Dr. Jeffrey Davis. They work with constructing optical systems by utilizing computer software to program Spatial Light Modulators which create optical systems that require no manual movement. 
Project Title: Constructing zoom systems with spatial light modulators Foreground modeling for 21cm Cosmology

Ruth Epstein *

Biology

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Elizabeth Waters

Ruth Epstein was appointed to the MARC program in July 2018. Her major is Biology with a minor in Honors. Ruth is currently conducting research in Dr. Elizabeth Waters evolutionary land plant laboratory. Previously, they studied the physiological breakdown of Boechera depauperata and Arabidopsis thaliana during drought stress. Currently, they are studying the effects of methanotrophic bacteria and methane on drought stressed B. depauperata and A. thaliana. Hopefully both species show improvement because methanotrophic bacteria will produce water with the addition of methane as its carbon source. She believes this research has broad implications in agriculture and plant productivity since many crops must adapt to varying abiotic and biotic factors. This summer, she is conducting research at Cornell University to understand the effects of maize mutant DDM1 on meiotic recombination. Following her undergraduate journey, Ruth would like to pursue a Ph.D in either plant genetics or plant breeding. She hopes to conduct research to improve crop outputs around the world that are facing extreme events due to climate change.
Title Project: Effects of methanotrophic bacteria and methane on drought-stressed Boechera depauperata

*Not federally funded


Deva Reign

Psychology

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Eileen Moore

Deva Reign was appointed to the MARC program in September 2019. His major is Psychology with a minor in Philosophy. Deva is currently conducting research in Dr. Eileen Moore’s Center for Behavioral Teratology, Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratory. Currently, they are studying the effects of Effects of alcohol exposure on brain development. Once completing his Bachelor’s degree, Deva would like to pursue a Ph.D. in Neuroscience and Behavior specializing in Neuropsychology.

Project Title: Center for Behavioral Teratology, Behavioral Neuroscience


Ernesto Millan Aceves

Chemistry

Faculty Mentor: Jeffrey L. Gustafson

Ernesto Millan was appointed to the MARC program June 2019. His major is Chemistry with a minor in Mathematics. Ernesto is currently conducting research in Dr. Gustafson’s organic chemistry laboratory. His project is on developing new methodologies for regioselective C-H functionalization, in hopes of advancing more accessible and efficient pathways towards synthesizing pharmaceuticals. Once completing his Bachelor’s degree, Ernesto plans to pursue a Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry involving biologically active or pharmaceutically relevant compounds.
Project Title: Regioselective Minisci’s via Photoredox Catalysis

Hanna Moon

Psychology

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Lisa Eyler

Da Yeoun (Hanna) Moon was appointed as a MARC scholar in September 2018. Her major is psychology, with minors in statistics and honors in interdisciplinary studies. She is currently working under Dr. Lisa Eyler in the Biopsychological Research on Aging, Inflammation, and Neuropsychiatry (BRAIN) lab. She is also currently working on a project examining neurocognitive abilities of children with binge eating disorder (BED) using the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) data under the supervision of Dr. Aaron J. Blashill. Previously, she conducted research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as a part of the REU Minority Health Disparities Initiative (MHDII) Summer Research Program (SRP), where she examined the relationship between health perception and hepatitis C infection in rural Puerto Rico’s injection network using social network analysis. This past summer, she took part in the Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP) at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor and completed a literature review on the contribution of white matter hyperintensities in Alzheimer’s disease. She plans on pursuing a Ph.D. in clinical neuropsychology where she wishes to continue examine the neural and psychosocial correlates of cognitive aging and neurodegenerative diseases.
Project Title: Neurocognition in Children with Eating Disorders

Chris Oyuela

Mechanical Engineering

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Khaled Morsi

Christopher Oyuela was appointed to the MARC Program June 2019. His major is Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Computer Science. Chris is currently conducting research in Dr. Morsi’s Advanced Materials Processing Laboratory (AMPL). Currently, his project is focused on creating Tri Hybrid Bioimplant Materials through implementation of foaming agents in hopes to improve material processing and properties. He plans to further his research of this field by investigating alternative implementation of cost effective nanotechnology. Once completing his Bachelor’s degree, Chris plans to pursue a Ph.D in either Micro Electrical Mechanical Systems (MEMS) or in material science emphasizing his research on the biomedical field.

Title Project: Processing of Tri-Hybrid Bio-Implant Materials


Ryan Tung*

Psychology

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ruth Carper & Dr. Annika Linke

Ryan Tung was appointed to the MARC Program September 2019. He is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Statistics, and is currently conducting research in the Brain Development Imaging Laboratory (BDIL) under Dr. Ruth Carper and Dr. Annika Linke. He is currently working on a project analyzing the neural underpinnings of anxiety in aging adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders using fMRI. Ryan would like to pursue a Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience, focusing on MRI research in neurodevelopmental disorders.

Project Title: Functional connectivity within the anxiety network is atypical in adults with autism and also shows distinct associations with anxiety symptom severity 
*Not federally funded


Viraj Upadhye*

Biology

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Christal Sohl

Viraj Upadhye was appointed as a MARC Scholar in June 2018. He is majoring in Biology with an Emphasis in Cellular Biology and minoring in Chemistry. He is currently conducting research in the Molecular Mechanisms of Disease Lab under Dr. Christal Sohl. His current research project involves studying the mechanistic properties of Isocitrate Dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) by creating various mutations of the enzyme and assaying it kinetically. IDH1 is found in >80% of lower grade gliomas and secondary glioblastomas, understanding its catalytic activity could lead to a better understanding of its role in cancer. This summer he was appointed to the Amgen Scholars Program at University of California San Francisco where he studied under Dr. Bassem Al-Sady. At UCSF he studied H3K9 methylation, a predominant phenomenon that regulates genetic suppression and helped build a tool to better study the phenomenon. Viraj hopes to continue conducting research at SDSU for the remainder of the academic year and apply to molecular biology and biochemistry Ph.D. programs this fall.

Project Title: Exploring the mechanistic properties of human Isocitrate Dehydrogenase 1 and its implication in human cancers via enzyme kinetics

*Not federally funded


Citlayi Villaseñor

Biochemistry

Faculty Mentor: Tom Huxford

Citlayi Villaseñor was appointed as a MARC Scholar in June 2018. She is majoring in biochemistry and minoring in honors interdisciplinary studies. She is currently conducting research in a structural biochemistry laboratory under the mentorship of Dr. Tom Huxford. Her research project involves the characterization of an anti-dsDNA antibody, 2C10. Due to its sequence homology to a previously studied metal binding antibody, we believe calcium increases the binding affinity of 2C10 to its antigen. Determining the binding mode of 2C10 to its antigen may provide valuable insight into the conservation of metal binding antibodies in evolution. In the summer of 2019, Citlayi participated in the University of Michigan’s Biophysics REU program under the mentorship of Dr. Arun Anantharam. She employed total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy to research fusion pores in pancreatic beta cells to better understand insulin secretion by exocytosis. Citlayi aims to earn a PhD related to neurobiochemistry studying proteins that are important for the function of the nervous system. After earning her PhD she hopes to continue researching in an environment with passionate individuals who are eager to find answers to fundamental biochemistry research questions that can be applied to improve the livelihood of our community.
Project Title: Characterizing 2C10: an anti-dsDNA antibody

Kara Whitaker

Physics

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Weber

Kara Whitaker was appointed as a MARC Scholar in August 2019. She is majoring in Physics with a minor in Interdisciplinary Studies from the Weber Honors College. She is currently conducting research under the mentorship of Dr. Weber into pulsar glitches and their relationship to quark deconfinement. After graduation Kara plans to attend graduate school to obtain her PhD.
Title Project: Pulsar Glitches and Solid Core Neutron Stars

Vinnie Widjaja

Biochemistry

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Sohl

Vinnie Widjaja was appointed as a MARC scholar in August of 2019. Her major is Biochemistry. Vinnie is currently conducting research in the Molecular Mechanisms of Diseases laboratory under Dr. Christal Sohl. In the summer of 2019, Vinnie and a team of other undergraduates worked on studying the effects of acetylation on the enzyme isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH1). IDH1 can be found in over 80% of glioblastomas, which often accounts for a fatal prognosis. For their research they hypothesized that acetylation would inhibit WT IDH1 activity. Understanding how acetylation can inhibit wild type IDH1 is instrumental for understanding and potentially finding future therapies for deadly brain cancers. She plans to continue her research using steady state kinetics to breakdown the individual steps of reaction pathways catalyzed by enzymes. She plans to do this with the development of future IDH1 mutants in order to better understand how IDH1 is regulated. Following her undergraduate career, Vinnie hopes to pursue a Ph.D in Biochemistry, and continue research in the field of cancer studies.
Project Title: The effects of Acetylation mimics on the catalytic efficiency of isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH1)