2019-2020 ARCS Northern California Scholars

The ARCS Northern California chapter is thrilled to recognize the work of our outstanding scholars for 2019-2020.

San Francisco State University

 

 

Jeshu Dastidar

Department of Mathematics, Master’s Program                                               

Jeshu received his Associate's degree in Mathematics from Queensborough Community College, CUNY and his Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from Queens College, CUNY, before joining the Master's program in Mathematics at SF State in 2018. As an undergraduate, he was chosen for the highly selective summer research program at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, where he completed a research project on computing roots of trinomials over finite prime fields. In his short time at SF State, Jeshu has already received a number of distinguished awards, including the honor of being selected twice for the ARCS award. He intends to pursue a PhD after finishing his Master's at SF State. Besides doing math, Jeshu also likes teaching and communicating math. In his free time, he enjoys trying new food, watching movies and shows, and traveling in the summer. 

Laura Hollander
Laura Hollander

Department of Biology (Marine & Estuarine), Master’s Program                                                         

Laura is a native of Savannah, Georgia, and attended the University of Georgia.  Since then, she has worked as a research technician for a number of projects related to coastal ecosystem health and restoration in the San Francisco Bay area and Southeast. Much of her research background has focused on coastal bird productivity and habitat, and from there, she has taken a special interest in enhancing resilience of coastal ecosystems, particularly tidal marshes, to the effects of climate change. Laura is currently pursuing an MS in Interdisciplinary Marine and Estuarine Science at the Estuary and Ocean Science Center in the Boyer lab.  For her thesis, she is investigating the relationship between marsh plant species diversity and community response to a sediment addition method intended to enhance marsh resilience to sea-level rise.  

Caitlin Kepple
Caitlin Kepple

Department of Physics & Astronomy, Master’s Program

During the past two years, Caitlin has worked on physics education research involving students’ sense of belonging in science labs and how the implementation of pedagogical training for graduate students may influence their ability as lab instructors to create an equitable learning environment. Her research interests include student retention from high school to college as potential STEM majors, and quantitative education research methods. Caitlin was recently awarded second place in the College of Science and Engineering 21st Annual Student Project Showcase in the behavioral sciences category. Outside of school, she enjoys amateur astronomy, fitness, and painting with watercolors.  

Emily Kossa
Emily Kossa

Department of Biology (Cell & Molecular), Master’s Program

While completing her degree, Emily also works as a research associate at a biotechnology company and as a graduate teaching assistant. The research she conducts focuses on antibody development, immunology, and oncology. Along with her research, Emily’s other passion is science education. Before beginning her Master’s program, Emily taught high school chemistry and biology. After she graduates, she hopes to continue sharing her excitement for science with future generations of students and scientists, by teaching college biology courses and continuing to research in a biotechnology setting.  

Van Le
Van Thi Bich Le

Department of Biology, Master’s Program                                                         

Van is an extremely intelligent scientist who has exhibited tremendous perseverance and resolve to be where she is today. She is the first female in her family to graduate from university and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Biochemistry. Her natural curiosity and diligent work ethic have enabled her to learn both computational and wet-chemistry laboratory techniques to address complex questions about how polyamine acetyltransferases adopt different oligomeric states. Additionally, her work is providing new insight into the allosteric behavior of a polyamine acetyltransferase thought to be important for biofilms in Vibrio cholerae, which causes the deadly disease Cholera and disproportionately affects underprivileged societies. Van’s work has been presented at a variety of local and national scientific conferences and she is currently co-writing a manuscript for publication. In addition to her research accomplishments, she has a perfect GPA, has been the recipient of multiple scholarships and fellowships (LSAMP, NIH MBRS-RISE fellowship, Bruce A. Rosenblatt CSL Scholarship), and has volunteered her time to teach both youth and elderly people about technology. 

Lisa Xie Paggeot
Lisa Xie Paggeot

Department of Biology (Marine), Master’s Program

Lisa has broad interests in marine biology and completed her BS degree at the University of Texas, Austin. She is currently working on her MS degree, studying how marine slugs can successfully remove the stinging cells from their prey in order to use them for their own defense. She has already received several research awards to support her research project and has made several public presentations featuring her research. She is a global traveler and has rich experiences in natural habitats around the world. Beyond her academic interests, Lisa is an avid Scuba diver and dive master and plays competitive sports, including soccer.  

Tyler Phelps
Tyler Phelps

Department of Biology (Ecological & Conservation), Master’s Program                                                         

When Tyler told his parents at eight years old that he wanted to be a marine biologist, they had no idea that he would end up diving to 500 feet and discovering new species. At the University of Hawaii at Hilo, he developed passions for fish ecology and technical diving while earning his BS in Marine Science. Tyler’s research has been conducted in a dozen countries, has won awards at symposia in Hawaii and from the American Academy of Underwater Sciences, and resulted in several scientific publications. He is also an accomplished diver with over 70 diving certifications, three textbook publications and serves on the international Training Committee for NAUI. Today, Tyler is an Ichthyology Graduate Researcher and Dive Officer at the California Academy of Sciences, Assistant Dive Safety Officer for SFSU, and business owner. 

Brandon Van Over
Brandon Van Over

Department of Mathematics, Master’s Program    

Brandon received his Associate’s degree at MiraCosta Community College, after which he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics at UC Berkeley, and continued to the Master’s program in Mathematics at SF State. He has received a number of distinguished honors since joining the program including, in spring 2019, taking first prize in the CSU Statewide Student Research Competition in the Graduate Division of Mathematics and Physical Sciences for his research on numerical semigroups, which was recently published in Semigroup Forum. Brandon has broad mathematical interests, including algebraic geometry, topology, number theory, and combinatorics, and he plans to pursue a PhD after completion of his Master’s degree. Outside of mathematics, Brandon’s interests include Russian language and literature, and comedy writing. 

Caitlin Waddle
Caitlin Waddle

Department of Mathematics, Master’s Program

After receiving her Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from the University of Chicago and a Master's degree in Education from Stanford University, Katie spent eight years teaching mathematics in the public school system in San Francisco. Driven by her intent to pursue a PhD and become a professor of mathematics, Katie joined the Master's program at SF State in 2018. In her short time at SF State, Katie has received a number of distinguished honors, including being chosen for the highly prestigious CSU-wide Sally Casanova Pre-doctoral Fellowship, as well as being selected to participate in summer programs at both Princeton and Casa Matemática Oaxaca. In addition to her research, Katie is also passionate about actively creating equitable mathematical spaces, both in the classroom and in the research community. 

Stanford University

Margaret Coad
Margaret Coad

Department of Mechanical Engineering
Ph.D. Program

Margaret's research interests are in soft and human-interactive robotics, human augmentation, mechatronics, design, control, and modeling. Her PhD research is on the development of soft, growing "vine robots" for search and rescue applications, and she also works on improving training of surgeons for robot-assisted surgery. She has completed an internship at Toyota Research Institute on soft robot modeling and simulation, and she was a selected participant for the 2018 NextProf Nexus Future Faculty Workshop. Outside of academics, she plays on the Stanford women's ultimate frisbee team and is an active member of the Catholic community at Stanford.

Isha Datye
Isha Datye

Department of Electrical Engineering
Ph.D. Program

Isha earned her SS in Electrical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her MS in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. As a PhD student in Eric Pop's group she is performing research on transition metal dichalcogenides, a class of two-dimensional (2D) materials, for nanoscale transistors and memory devices. One of her projects involves studying the effects of strain on the optical and electrical properties of 2D materials and transistors. She has also performed electrical and thermal measurements and modeling of resistive memory devices based on 2D materials. In her free time, she enjoys running, playing the violin, and traveling.

Amita Gupta
Amita Gupta

Department of Chemical Engineering
Ph.D. Program

Working in collaboration with labs in chemistry, genetics and virology, Amita researches inhibition of human pyrimidine biosynthesis and its potential as a broad-spectrum antiviral therapy. Additional research projects include identifying human drug targets of polyketide natural products for anticancer applications. Amita previously completed degrees in Chemical Engineering and Biology at MIT and internships at Pfizer and OrbiMed. Outside of the lab, she serves as a Biochemistry Teaching Assistant and Stanford Community Associate, and enjoys hiking, dancing, and traveling.

Heidi Hirsh
Heidi Hirsh

Department of Earth System Science
Ph.D. Program

Heidi’s dissertation research focuses on understanding the impacts of seagrass and kelp forest community metabolism on local seawater carbonate chemistry. Her research provides new insights into how these coastal habitats might protect calcifying organisms against ocean acidification. Heidi spent two summers studying tropical seagrass communities in the Republic of Palau. She is now investigating spatiotemporal variability in kelp forest biogeochemistry in Monterey Bay. Heidi has mentored seven Stanford undergraduate STEM students and enjoys sharing her passion for scientific discovery and ocean conservation.

Anne Hulsey
Anne Hulsey

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Ph.D. Program

Anne performs earthquake engineering research to support communities as they develop resilience strategies. She believes that public policy is the best venue for establishing community goals and that engineering research is indispensable to these endeavors. As part of her PhD research at Stanford, Anne participated in a project with the City of San Francisco to examine earthquake safety and recovery issues associated with tall buildings. Prior to enrolling at Stanford, Anne completed two Master’s degrees in Structural Engineering and in Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin. Anne is an active member of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, where she sits on the board of the Northern California regional chapter.

Alex Kendrick
Alex Kendrick

Department of Geophysics
Ph.D. Program

Alex first experienced the thrill of designing and conducting experiments in elementary school, participating in the local science fairs. Involvement with science fairs continued through high school, with Alex completing projects on a wide range of topics all of which allowed him to explore ways of measuring and monitoring natural systems. His fascination with science led him to major in physics for his undergraduate degree at Harvey Mudd College. For his graduate education at Stanford, Alex is combining his interests in physics and natural systems by using nuclear magnetic resonance to study groundwater flow in the Glacial Aquifer System of the northern United States, an important national water supply that provides water to 41 million people.

Lauren Lahey
Lauren Lahey

Department of Biophysics
Ph.D. Program

In the laboratory of Dr. Lingyin Li, Lauren is investigating the molecular and cellular mechanisms of 2'3-cyclic-GMP-AMP (cGAMP) as an immunotransmitter released by cancer cells and detected by innate immunity. In addition, Lauren hopes to identify regulatory mechanisms of cGAMP transmission and signaling. Previously, she worked in the laboratory of Dr. William Robinson at Stanford where she led identification of mechanistic biomarkers in autoimmune diseases and developed a multi­antigen diagnostic for Borrelia burgdorferi infection. Lauren holds a BS in Chemistry from Southern Methodist University.

Phil Saad
Phil Saad

Department of Physics
Ph.D.

Phil's work has focused on using insights from the field of quantum chaos to shed light on quantum gravity and black hole physics, especially in the context of simple toy models of quantum black holes. In recent work with his PhD advisor Stephen Shenker and Professor Douglas Stanford, Phil has helped to understand, in a simple model, some aspects of quantum gravity that address a deep mystery about quantum black holes: the finiteness of their entropy. Phil is currently continuing to pursue this line of research, exploring the consequences of the mechanisms uncovered in his recent work.

Aaron Sharpe
Aaron Sharpe

Department of Applied Physics, Ph.D. Program

Aaron’s research in an experimental condensed matter physics laboratory at Stanford focuses on studying the electronic properties of heterostructures of two-dimensional materials. Recently, he has investigated how electrons can become strongly correlated simply by controlling the rotation between layers of graphene-based heterostructures, yielding interesting electronic states such as superconductivity and ferromagnetism. Before coming to Stanford, Aaron completed his BS in Physics at Rice University in 2014. Aaron was previously awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship. Outside of research, Aaron in interested in basketball, photography, and music.

Nathan Stacey
Nathan Stacey

Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics, Ph.D. Program

Originally from Idaho, Nathan received his BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Utah State University where he was named the university Scholar of the Year. At USU, he was the Engineers Without Borders chapter president and led fellow engineering students in implementing clean water projects in Mexico. While in Utah, he also worked for Northrop Grumman and Space Dynamics Laboratory. At Stanford, Nathan works with Dr. Simone D’Amico in the Stanford Space Rendezvous Laboratory. Nathan’s research focuses on developing algorithms for autonomous asteroid characterization using multiple small spacecraft.

David Wilson
David Wilson

Department of Chemistry
Ph.D. Program

David began his chemistry career studying medicinal chemistry at Whitman College in his home state of Washington. At Whitman, David received the ACS Organic Division Undergraduate Award and graduated summa cum laude before moving to Stanford for his graduate studies with Professor Eric Kool. At Stanford, David designs novel fluorescent molecules to probe DNA repair pathways. These probes are then applied to topics in oncogenesis, DNA damage response, chemotherapy resistance and drug design. During his time in the Kool lab, David received the John Stauffer Memorial Fellowship in Chemistry. Outside of lab, David enjoys home brewing and studying the chemistry of beer and brewing. His projects include using alternative microbes beyond traditional Saccharomyces yeast to create unique and interesting brews.

University of California, Berkeley

Madeline Arnold

Department of Molecular & Cell Biology, Ph.D. Program

Madeline is interested in research at the intersection of engineering, molecular biology, and neuroscience. As an undergraduate at Carleton College, she wrote her senior thesis on protein degradation pathways in Alzheimer’s disease, which sparked her interest in neurobiology. While working as a Post-Baccalaureate Researcher at the National Human Genome Research Institute, she got a taste for translational research. She characterized mouse and zebrafish models of a rare genetic disorder, cobalamin deficiency type C, and developed a successful gene therapy. During her Ph.D. work she hopes to engineer new tools to study neurodegenerative or neurodevelopmental disorders, and investigate the molecular and cellular mechanisms at work in these diseases. Additional interests include drug discovery and synthetic biology. She loves teaching and mentoring students, and looks forward to participating in teaching and community outreach activities. In her free time Madeline enjoys swing dancing, playing the piano, and making pottery.

Louise
Louise Barton

Department of Integrative Biology, Ph.D. Program 

Louise began her research career as an undergraduate at the UNC Asheville, working on a multitude of projects. After graduating she worked at Archbold Biological Station, looking at the breeding system and fire dynamics of a pawpaw species endemic to Florida. During this time she also began assisting with a long-term plant-monitoring project off the Blue Ridge Parkway, which uses rappelling equipment to survey the endangered cliff dwelling Appalachian Avens. Most recently, she completed her Master’s degree at CU Boulder in Erin Tripp’s lab, studying altitudinal clines in the floral evolution of an herb endemic to South Africa; specifically, examining how altitude effects the interactions of this plant with its long proboscid fly pollinator. She is now beginning her PhD with David Ackerly at UC Berkeley, and will be focusing on plant responses across a heterogeneous landscape. Extending her passion for all things outdoors, she is most frequently found riding her bikes -- be it road, mountain, or motorcycle.

Vera Belaia

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Ph.D. Program                

Vera’s research interests include hydrology, numerical modeling, and climate change. She graduated Cum Laude from the University of Maryland with a B.S. in Civil Engineering with Honors in Engineering. She is a member of Chi Epsilon, the civil engineering honors society, and over the course of her undergraduate career she spent five semesters on the executive board of the Maryland Shakespeare Players, which included directing two full plays: Romeo & Juliet and Henry V.

Alanna Cooney

Department Mechanical Engineering, Ph.D. Program                               

After graduating with a BS in Mechanical Engineering, Alanna spent four years working as a project manager and HVAC designer specializing in mission critical facilities and high-tech workplaces. She then completed her MS in Mechanical Engineering. Her PhD work in Berkeley’s Energy and Multiphase Transport Laboratory focuses on superhydrophilic surfaces. Outside of research, she teaches a weekly ESL citizenship class for refugees, takes every opportunity to travel, and enjoys the friendly competition of her playing card league. Motivated by a passion for both research and teaching, Alanna plans to pursue a career in academia.

Brianna
Brianna Haining

Department of Plant & Microbial Biology, PhD Program

Brianna conducts research on the genetics of iron uptake in the subsistence crop species Setaria italica. Her hope is to one day identify variants that can be leveraged to increase the concentration of vital micronutrients in this and other cereal crops. Previous to UC Berkeley, Brianna completed an undergraduate thesis on the biogeography of the date palm at New York University Abu Dhabi. Outside of the lab, Brianna enjoys fiber arts, biking, and cooking elaborate meals.

 

Logan
Logan Horowitz

Department of Electrical Engineering, Ph.D. Program 

Logan graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Electrical & Computer Engineering from Cornell University. He has previously done research in analog IC design for The Molnar Group, and in robotics for the Collective Embodied Intelligence Lab. He has also worked at a software startup in Tel Aviv; as an electrical engineering intern for Lutron Electronics; and, was heavily involved with a team of students building electric vehicles while at Cornell. Logan is interested in working on novel power converter design, focusing on applications in renewables integration and implementation. Outside of work, he loves wrestling, climbing, running, ping pong, camping, biking, and reading.

Nicholas Karavolias

Department of Plant & Microbial Biology, Ph.D. Program                               

Nicholas has recently completed research investigating aluminum stress tolerance in the tropical japonica subpopulation of rice (Oryza sativa). He hopes to continue researching food crops in his pursuit of a Ph.D., working to improve the accumulation of essential micronutrients in grains of global significance through biotechnological approaches. Nicholas is passionate about addressing societal inequities. Previously he has completed a range of research projects in this vein, facilitated the opening of a grocery store present in a food desert, and founded a library that offers free loans of textbooks to students. His background as a first-generation American and college student has inspired his dedication to improving the quality of life for all global citizens. 

Karima Ma

Department of Computer Science, Ph.D. Program                                             

Karima is a member of the Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research Lab. She is currently pursuing ways to systematically design deep neural network architectures to make them reusable across tasks, computationally efficient, and humanly interpretable. Prior to joining Berkeley, she received her M.S. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University, where she worked on designing a domain specific language for expressing and answering questions about visual content. In her spare time Karima enjoys metalsmithing to make jewelry pieces and tackling bouldering walls with her friends.

Molly Nicholas

Department of Computer Science, Ph.D. Program                                             

Bangladesh to Berkeley, Clown Conservatory to Qualcomm, these have been some of the stops on Molly’s journey so far. Her research goals are exploring how theatrical techniques and methods may influence the fields of electrical engineering and computer science, and vice versa. This past year was a wonderful, whirlwind experience with Eric Paulos’s Hybrid Ecologies Lab. She jumped right into research in her first month, helping out a 3rd-year student with his work. They were lucky enough to win a Best Paper Award at CHI, the largest conference in their field, and presented their work in Denver, CO this past May. As she moves forward on her own projects, Molly looks forward to incorporating her experience as a puppeteer into her work with robots, textiles, and novel user interfaces.

Jared O'Leary

Department of Chemical Engineering, Ph.D. Program                                 

After graduating from Stanford, Jared worked for three years as a Systems Integration and Validation Engineer and Team Lead at Theranos, Inc. His current research project is titled "Stochastic Optimal Control of Self-Assembly Systems." Self-assembly is the process by which discrete components spontaneously organize into an ordered state, but is inherently stochastic, prone to kinetic arrest and variability in materials manufacturing. The goal of this project is to fuse concepts from stochastic optimal control theory and directed self-assembly to reproducibly manufacture advanced, defect-free materials with unique properties (e.g., semiconducting materials from quantum dots for biological imaging or photovoltaic cell applications). Jared wants to devote his career to solving these intellectually stimulating, and likely high-risk projects.

Reese Pathak
Reese Pathak

Department of Computer Science, Ph.D. Program

Reese is currently spending his summer, after graduating from Stanford with a degree in Computer Science, as a Research Associate at the Simons Foundation in New York. He is working at the Center for Computational Mathematics at the Flatiron Institute of the Simons Foundation. Current areas of interest include distributed and non-convex optimization problems as well as the estimation problems with deep ties to applied probability, such as matrix completion and community detection.

Alexander Reinking

Department of Computer Science, Ph.D. Program                                             

Alex's main research area is programming languages, specifically in program synthesis. His paper "A Type-Directed Approach to Program Repair'', which described a graph-based system for synthesizing Java expressions either from scratch or from a broken expression, won 2nd place at PLDI 2015. In the last year, he has worked to extend this system with deep reinforcement learning techniques to generate more accurate repairs, and drawn on text generation techniques from NLP to generate larger snippets of code. During the past summer he interned at MSR to extend the P programming language with new features. Alexander also spent two summers as a software engineering intern for Microsoft, where he worked on lntune, a cloud-based, enterprise, device management product.

Miklos Zoller

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Ph.D. Program

Miklos’s research interests include micro- and nano-mechanics. Mechanics is the study of how materials deform under various loading conditions, and he is interested in how knowledge of a material’s given microstructure can make better approximations to structural behavior at a macroscopic level. His current research is called “microsphere modeling” and involves approximating a polymer’s microstructure by a unit sphere with uniformly distributed orientation vectors in space. From here we can average the micro-scale deformations that are occurring via an energy functional to determine macroscopic mechanical behavior.

University of California, Davis

Evelyn Bulkeley
Evelyn Bulkeley

Integrative Pathobiology Graduate Group, Ph.D. Program

Evelyn Bulkeley is a dual degree (DVM, PhD) student in the Graduate Group of Integrative Pathobiology and is a member of the Meyers Veterinary Gamete Laboratory in the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis. Raised on a horse farm in Vermont, Evelyn is an avid equestrian, bringing a wealth of experience and applied agriculture to her research on horse sperm cell biology. Her research interests are in equine sperm biology and sperm cryopreservation, and she is actively engaged in developing an understanding of the biochemistry of horse sperm specifically as it relates to aging, infertility, and male reproductive pathophysiology.

Katherine Corn
Katherine Corn

Evolution & Ecology Graduate Group, Ph.D. Program

Katherine’s research integrates phylogenetic comparative methods, biomechanics, and her love of fishes to explore the macroevolutionary consequences of major ecological transitions. Suction feeding is the dominant mode of prey capture in aquatic vertebrates, but some of the 35,000 species of fishes rely on biting feeding modes, where the jaws make contact with the substrate during prey capture. Katherine’s research measures the implications of transitions to biting on cranial mobility of fishes and uses the largest vertebrate body shape dataset ever produced to explore how feeding mode affects body shape. Outside the lab, Katherine enjoys climbing, hiking, swimming, and drawing fishes.

Emmet Francis

Department of Biomedical Engineering
Ph.D. Program

Emmet began research as a sophomore Biomedical Engineering student, performing experiments exploring calcium dynamics in human immune cells (neutrophils) during chemotaxis and phagocytosis. This research has brought him great success; he has presented at three international conferences and co-authored three research articles. As a first-year Ph.D. student in the Heinrich Lab, he is currently building on his past research and developing an interest in computational modeling. Emmet’s long-term goal is to continue high-impact research and instruction as a professor.

Hilary Green
Hilary Green

Agricultural & Environmental Chemistry
Ph.D. Program

Hilary’s research interests stem from her passions for food and the environment through the lens of analytical chemistry. As an undergraduate she investigated the chemical compositions of secondary organic aerosol and oceanic oil pollution. Hilary’s dissertation focuses on ensuring the authenticity and quality of edible oils. Currently, she is developing a more time-efficient, cost-effective, and less-wasteful method to detect edible oil adulteration. She is also evaluating the chemical composition of avocado oils on the market in order to improve current standards for this oil. Hilary’s research is closely connected to the food industry and consumers; thus, she is broadly interested in improving the communication of scientific research to the public. Outside of lab, Hilary enjoys using her chemistry background for baking projects. She also loves to sing, play piano, and go on road trips.

Michael
Michael Huh

Earth & Planetary Sciences Graduate Group, Ph.D. Program

Michael’s research interests include understanding the delivery of water and other gases during accretion of the Earth, and the formation and composition of the Earth’s earliest atmosphere. The record of this accretion and the history of magmatic degassing is preserved deep inside the Earth. Minute amounts of gases trapped in volcanic rocks erupted at the bottom of the ocean provide a window into the deep Earth. By developing new methods to efficiently extract these rare gases, combined with the latest generation of mass spectrometers, Michael is reading the record of the assembly of our planet and its early atmosphere. Michael has previously worked in the oil and gas industry and as a laboratory manager at the Arizona State University where he helped build a new experimental petrology laboratory. Outside of the lab, Michael enjoys spending time outdoors and practices the art of kumdo.

Karlton Larson

MCI Physiology Graduate Group, Ph.D. Program

Karl’s research has focused on the neuroendocrine regulation of systemic metabolism and, in particular, on how a liver-derived hormone, FGF21, regulates systemic protein homeostasis. To date he has two first-author publications and has presented his work to leaders in his field at a Keystone Symposium. Karl is also active in the campus community and has trained multiple undergraduates from underrepresented groups and been a teaching assistant for Intro Physiology courses. He has served as a graduate student representative on both the Chancellors Graduate & Professional Student Advisory Board and the Orchard Park Housing planning committee as well as serving on the MCIP Education Policy Committee. He has been recognized for his academic and service efforts with the Irving I. Hertzendorf Memorial Award, the Barbara Horwitz & John Horowitz MCIP Award, and the Floyd & Mary Schwall Dissertation Year Fellowship. Outside of lab, Karl and his wife Chelsea, both transplants from Iowa, enjoy exploring the Northern California outdoors.

Lucy Luong
Lucy Luong

Department of Chemistry
Ph.D. Program

A first-generation college student, Lucy received her B.A. in Chemistry at Dartmouth College. As a Ph.D. student in the Balch Lab, her research focuses on gold chemistry. She works on synthesizing, crystallizing, and structurally determining gold clusters and gold(l) complexes. For the gold(l) complexes, she studies luminescent properties of complexes that exist in multiple crystalline forms that are sensitive to environmental stimuli. In addition to research, Lucy initiated and manages the Chemistry Peer Mentoring Program, which helps new undergraduate chemistry majors transition into college. She also enjoys mentoring her own undergraduate student in the lab.

Kelsey Lyberger
Kelsey Lyberger

Population Biology Graduate Group, Ph.D. Program

Kelsey’s interests lie at the intersection of evolution and ecology. Her dissertation research integrates field and lab experiments with theoretical predictions to understand how humans are driving evolutionary change in freshwater ecosystems. Her current research projects test the ways in which introduced predators lead to evolution in prey life history and whether the evolutionary effects of predation can be reversed. Prior to starting her PhD, Kelsey received degrees in Integrative Biology and Environmental Sciences from UC Berkeley, where she also worked as the assistant curator at the natural history museum. Outside of research, Kelsey is looking forward to continuing her participation in educational outreach programs and mentoring students.

Alex
Alexandra McInturf

Animal Behavior Graduate Group    
Ph.D. Program

In addition to her studies at UC Davis, Alexandra is also a visiting researcher at Queen’s University Belfast and a member of the Irish Basking Shark Project, a community research group. A National Geographic Early Career Researcher, Alexandra has also received support for her work from the Animal Behavior Society and Mohamed Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund. She currently represents UC Davis on the Scientific Steering Committee of SeaMonitor, an international research effort comprised of nine partner institutions designed to monitor threatened marine megafauna in the northeastern Atlantic. Finally, in addition to her scientific pursuits, Alexandra is also heavily invested in science communication. With degrees in both Biology and English, she has experience as a freelance journalist, maintains her own research blog, and serves as lead editor of the official blog of the Animal Behavior Graduate Group. She is currently working to obtain her certificate in extension and outreach from UC Davis.

Leanne
Leanna Monteleone

Department of Chemistry
Ph.D. Program

Leanna is a highly productive researcher working on several different projects related to site-directed RNA editing (SDRE). Her research has focused on RNA editing systems using adenosine deaminases acting on RNA (ADAR). In this field of research, a major challenge with directed editing systems are unwanted reactions at off-target sites. Leanna recently published a paper in Cell Chemical Biology titled "A Bump-Hole Approach for Directed RNA Editing." Leanna has given several talks and has participated in recruitment weekends, Gordon Research Conferences and outreach events. She received second place for her talk at the UC Chemical Symposium and is an active member in the Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology program. 

Amelia
Amelia Munson

Department of Animal Behavior Graduate Group
Ph.D. Program

Amelia has forged numerous collaborations to extend the reach of her research, which focuses on the effect of developmental experience on later responses to environmental change. She is currently working with a variety of species, including three-spined stickleback, Western mosquitofish and the intertidal snail Nucella lamellosa, to address this question from different angles. Her research has received support from the Jastro Shields Research award and an NSF EAPSI. Amelia is also dedicated to growing as a teacher and exploring creative means of scientific communication. She worked on a Course Redesign and Teaching Effectiveness (CREATE) Fellowship to create “flipped” small-group discussion activities for a large-format introductory biology class. Additionally, she creates illustrated animal facts for the official blog of the Animal Behavior Graduate Group and is currently creating videos which will be featured on SciAll, a vlogging platform for scientists. 

Thi Nguyen
Thi Nguyen

Department of Agricultural & Environmental Chemistry
Ph.D. Program

Born and raised in California, Thi is an aspiring wine chemist whose research currently focuses on wine aging and oxidation, particularly the roles of phenolic compounds and iron. He received his B.S. in Viticulture and Enology with highest honors from UC Davis and has worked at wineries in Napa and Mendoza, Argentina prior to returning to Davis to pursue a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry. While aiming for a career in higher education, he is also broadly interested in scientific literacy for all students. Off-campus, he enjoys drawing and exploring food, film, and music.

Mikaela
Mikaela Provost

Animal Behavior Graduate Group
Ph.D. Program

Mikaela’s research focuses on fisheries sustainability in a changing climate, understanding how economically important fishes respond to perturbations in the environment, and exploring how humans dependent on fishery resources adapt as fish move into new regions as ocean temperatures change. In her PhD research, Mikaela seeks to understand how different fish species respond to natural variability in the ocean without the influence of climate change or other anthropogenic influences. Mikaela’s passion for science communication has earned her multiple public speaking awards and her commitment to increasing diversity in STEM fields led her to chair the Graduate Group in Ecology Diversity Committee at UC Davis. Mikaela enjoys hiking, camping, and making fun-flavored ice creams.

Peter
Peter Sariano

Department of Biomedical Engineering
Ph.D. Program

As a biomedical engineering student, Pete leverages an engineering approach to explore unanswered questions in biology. His current research interest focuses on early innate immune-cancer dynamics to understand why some cases of pre-malignant breast cancer become malignant while others remain benign. He is an NSFGRFP scholar and is passionate about his work. Outside of the lab, Pete is dedicated to scientific outreach. At his baccalaureate institution, Pete led a project to design and build a one-handed Xbox One controller for an individual who lost use of his hand following an automobile accident. At UC Davis, Pete is a scientific outreach officer for his graduate student association and has helped organize and lead Design Challenge events for community college students, high school panel discussions, as well as undergraduate mentoring events.

Tyler Schlieder
Tyler Schlieder

Geology Graduate Group, Ph.D. Program

Tyler studied the generation of basaltic magma during his BS and MS at Oregon State University and Northern Arizona University, respectively. His current research integrates a variety of geochemical and petrological techniques to probe the pre-eruptive thermal and physical evolution of active silicic volcanic systems including Mount St. Helens, USA and the Taupo Volcanic Center, NZ. Recently Tyler was awarded the Geological Society of America’s Student Lipman Research Award for his proposed work on the Taupo Volcanic Center. Outside of academia Tyler is passionate about running, mountain biking, and music.

Stacey Seidl
Stacey Seidl

Neuroscience Graduate Group, Ph.D. Program

Stacey aims to improve our understanding of how attentional processing influences brain circuitry and communication. Specifically, she is interested in how attention can selectively process visual and motor input to help guide our cognitive and behavioral goals. Using both intracortical and scalp electrophysiological techniques, she is able to investigate network flexibility and its influence on sensory processing. Outside of the lab, Stacey is a strong advocate for diversity and mentoring in STEM, through participation in annual science outreach events (e.g., Neurofest and the Neuroscience Initiative to Enhance Diversity) and mentoring undergraduate students (e.g., Graduate Academic Achievement and Advocacy Program and Student Recruitment and Retention Center). Her long-term career goal is to become a research scientist combining both basic and translational research.

Harrison Jesse Smith
Harrison Jesse Smith

Computer Science Graduate Group
Ph.D. Program

As an animation researcher, Jesse’s focus lies at the intersection of theater and computer science. He primarily focuses on the ways in which people’s subconscious impressions of virtual characters can be influenced through nonverbal behavior modulation. In the past year, Jesse has presented work at a top graphics conference and human computer interaction conference and collaborated with the research teams of multiple virtual reality and augmented reality companies. When not in front of a computer screen, Jesse enjoys backpacking, cooking, soap making, and rock climbing.

David Yang
David Yang

Integrative Pathobiology Graduate Group, Ph.D. Program

David‘s research interests center on elucidating the pathomechanisms of neoplastic disease and how molecular interactions translate into phenotypic changes. These interests have led him to pursue a career developing a deeper understanding of key signaling pathways and molecular mechanisms in neoplastic disease such as lung cancer and lung fibrosis. His academic training and research experience have provided him a solid foundation in molecular biology, immunology, and biochemistry. As a graduate student working under Dr. Ching-Hsien Chen and Dr. Reen Wu, his research training is focused on the roles of signaling molecules in human lung inflammatory diseases and thus far has led to multiple articles as co-author, two first author articles, and a patent in application. Currently, his research is focused on the molecular mechanisms behind idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a particularly devastating interstitial lung disease.

University of California, San Francisco

Karsyn Bailey
Karsyn Bailey

Department of Bioengineering, Ph.D. Program                         

Karsyn Bailey is an MD/PhD candidate completing her doctoral research in the lab of Dr. Tamara Alliston at UCSF as a student in the UC Berkeley-UCSF Graduate Program in Bioengineering. Karsyn's research interests lie at the intersection of bioengineering and orthopedics, with a goal of reducing the disability associated with osteoarthritis by studying the underlying mechanisms of its development. Her current project focuses on the contributions of osteocytes, the bone-embedded cells, to joint degeneration through bone-cartilage crosstalk. For her work, Karsyn was awarded a Young Investigator Travel Grant to present at the 2018 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research Annual Meeting. Outside of lab, Karsyn enjoys running and tutoring high school students.

Ryan Boileau

Department of Developmental Stem Cell Biology, Ph.D. Program                          

Ryan graduated from the University of Oregon in 2014 with majors in human physiology, molecular biology, and biochemistry. There he first developed a passion for basic research in the life sciences, which has compelled him to pursue academic research. He is currently a second year graduate student in the lab of Robert Blelloch. The aim of his thesis is to determine the molecular mechanisms regulating enhancer dynamics using genomic and proteomic approaches. In his free time Ryan enjoys rock climbing, cycling, and eating excessive quantities of chips and salsa.

Derek Britain
Derek Britain

Department of Biophysics, Ph.D. Program                                 

Derek wants to understand the complex cell signaling transduction systems that underlie how cells make decisions. In his thesis work Derek is investigating the signaling network responsible for kinetic proofreading and antigen-discrimination in T lymphocyte activation, using a light-gated immune receptor and live-cell microscopy. Derek graduated in 2014 with degrees in Biochemistry and Bioengineering from the University of Washington, where he studied how yeast cells make polarity and mating decisions. Outside of lab Derek enjoys cycling and backpacking during the summer, skiing during the winter, and cooking and home brewing year round.

Amanda Irish

Department of Epidemiology, Ph.D. Program                                                             

Amanda’s research interests center around infectious disease epidemiology, particularly in the spatial epidemiology of vector-borne and zoonotic diseases. Her current research projects focus on using cutting-edge data sources and approaches (remote sensing data and machine learning algorithms) to help on-the-ground malaria prevention teams in sub-Saharan Africa improve the efficiency of their indoor residual spraying campaigns, which translates into preventing more cases of malaria. She was a practicing small animal veterinarian prior to transitioning into public health, and has gained some teaching experience through TA positions during her MPH and Ph.D. programs. Outside interests include travel, running, and art.

 

Jordan Kleinman
Jordan Kleinman

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Ph.D. Program                                                 

Jordan received her BS in Chemical Biology from UC Berkeley, where she worked in the Nomura lab. Her research there focused on the development of heterobifunctional small molecules to promote selective proteasome-mediated degradation and to expand the library of E3 ligase recruiting ligands. Beginning her graduate studies, Jordan is excited to continue studying and learning at the interface between chemistry and biology, toward investigating a variety of intriguing biological questions and developing as an independent researcher. In her spare time, Jordan enjoys cooking, hiking, reading, and playing board games with friends.

Elizabeth Levy
Elizabeth Levy

Department of Pharmaceutical Science and Pharmacogenomics, Ph.D. Program                                                                   

Elizabeth works on utilizing micron and nanoscale biomaterials to improve drug delivery strategies. Her main projects include enhancing oral absorption with hydrogel microdevices, nanoparticle-based immunotherapy for melanoma cancer, and pro-resolving nanoparticles to improve vascular patency. Elizabeth enjoys volunteering at Bay Area science festivals to inspire young scientists. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and rock climbing.

Christopher McGinnis
Christopher McGinnis

Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Chris graduated from Wesleyan University in 2014, and worked for two years before graduate school as a research associate in Lee Hood's lab at the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, WA. Since joining the Gartner Lab at UCSF, Chris has worked on developing two single-cell genomics methods: DoubletFinder and MULTI-seq. DoubletFinder is a computational technique that finds doublets in single-cell RNA-sequencing data by identifying real cells that preferentially co-localize with artificial doublets in gene expression space. MULTI-seq is a single-cell RNA-sequencing sample-multiplexing tool that dramatically lowers assay costs while improving data quality by tagging cells with sample barcodes using lipid-modified oligonucleotides. With these two projects completed, Chris is leveraging his experience in single-cell genomics to characterize dysregulated cell-cell interaction networks in multiple myeloma in order to identify novel therapeutic avenues. Outside of lab, Chris enjoys hiking, camping, pick-up basketball, and hosting dinner parties.

Tara McIntyre
Tara McIntyre

Department of Biomedical Sciences, Ph.D. Program

Tara’s research interests lie at the intersection of reproductive immunology and epigenetics, specifically dissecting the regulatory mechanisms that allow the uterus to both adapt, support and respond to the developing fetus. Her thesis work is focused on the uterine stroma, called the decidua. The decidua is a dynamic tissue throughout pregnancy, remaining quiescent throughout most of gestation and becoming activated later on to trigger parturition. She is interested in how the decidua switches from a state of quiescence to a state of activation, and how these states are epigenetically regulated. The ultimate goal of her research is to understand how these different decidual states and regulatory programs are involved in normal human parturition and the pathophysiology of preterm birth. Outside of science, Tara enjoys hiking, swimming and painting.

Manuela Richter
Manuela Richter

Department of Cell Biology, Ph.D. Program                                                          

Manuela received her BS in Biology from Stanford University where she worked on chromatin biology. She then spent two years as a scientist at EpiBiome Inc. before starting as a Tetrad student at UCSF in Fall 2017. She is broadly interested in self-organization and its mechanistic underpinnings. In her thesis work, she is asking how the cell sets the size of its internal structures. Specifically, she is using cell biological and biophysical approaches to uncover how the mammalian spindle sets its size to perform its function. Manuela is a NSF GRFP recipient, speaks four languages, and loves puzzles and the outdoors.

Daphne Superville
Daphne Superville

Department of Biomedical Sciences, Ph.D. Program                                                 

Daphne graduated from MIT in 2017 with a bachelor's degree in biology. Daphne has had a long-standing interest in cancer and spent her undergraduate years at the Whitehead Institute in the lab of Dr. Piyush Gupta, working on an anti-metastatic drug screen. During her time in the Gupta lab she was the first undergraduate to be awarded the Koch Institute Image Award. After graduating from MIT, Daphne spent a year doing research in the labs of Dr. Lih Feng Cheow at the National University of Singapore and Dr. Simone SchOrle at ETH Zurich. At UCSF, she will be joining the lab of Dr. Melissa Reeves to study clonal cooperation in squamous skin carcinoma metastasis. Outside of lab, Daphne enjoys traveling, photography, and hiking.

Ryan Tibble
Ryan Tibble

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Ph.D. Program     

Ryan is fascinated by molecular machines and how they utilize movement to perform critical biological functions. This interest originated during his undergraduate and master's research in the laboratory of Dr. F. Jon Kull at Dartmouth College, where he studied kinesins,-a family of proteins responsible for transporting cargo throughout the cell. Since coming to UCSF, Ryan has been working with Dr. John D. Gross to better understand how motions within proteins regulate gene expression and how the cellular environment can influence these motions. For his work, Ryan has been recognized as a UCSF Discovery Fellow and received a Genentech Predoctoral Fellowship. Outside of lab, he is actively involved in teaching and has volunteered with the Bay Area Science Festival.

Jesse Zhang
Jesse Zhang

Department of Bioengineering, Ph.D. Program                                                             

Humans are made up of trillions of cells, organized into tissues which make up organ systems. While it was previously assumed that there are a fixed set of cell types within each tissue, new techniques for looking at tissues at their most fundamental building block - the single cell - have revealed drastic differences between them. Jesse is building new tools that will help us further understand these differences, by developing platforms that combine existing single cell assays, which typically only look at one facet of the cell, to make multiple different kinds of measurements on the same cell. He is also passionate about scientific outreach, and has volunteered time to mentor undergraduate students, has given scientific seminars to a community audience, and has helped teach science lessons to elementary school classrooms.

University of California, Santa Cruz

Theadora Block

Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Ph.D. Program

Theadora studies how individual behavior can help inform the understanding of complex social groups. Her dissertation focuses on the behavior of golden-crowned sparrows and how individual behavior can explain social position and survival. She works on a local field system at the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, and greatly enjoys mentoring students and community members by involving them in the field research. Theadora has developed a rigorous program for interns, teaching them how to collect behavioral data from birds and contribute to a long-term scientific project. Leading this field research has helped her develop her research and teaching philosophy and she strongly believes in the importance of involving a diverse group of undergraduates in research opportunities.

Amanda Brambila

Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, Ph.D. Program

Amanda currently works in the lab of Professor Doug Kellogg where she aims to elucidate the mechanisms that control cell growth and size, with a long-term goal of helping to identify novel targets for cancer therapeutics. Amanda grew up in Tijuana, Mexico, and earned her BS in Chemistry with an emphasis in Biochemistry from San Diego State University. Amanda is committed to promoting awareness about issues that minority groups face, and to help fix the pipeline problem from science education to STEM careers. Throughout her career, Amanda has shown a commitment to mentoring the next generation of scientists and making an impact in the scientific community.

Katherine Dale

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Ph.D. Program

Katherine’s life (and career) has been driven by three core values: Environmental stewardship, intellectual diversity, and universal access to information. As a steward for the environment and a marine ecologist, she specifically works towards a future in which marine resources are harvested sustainably, we have an advanced understanding of the natural world, and humans are conscious of their impact on the environment. Her overarching research goal is to understand the mechanisms influencing the dispersal of fish in the eastern Pacific during their critical larval stage. Katherine is currently examining dispersal of fish larvae through a diverse set of tools, including morphology, genetics, behavior, and computer modeling.

Amanda Heidt

Department of Science Communication, Master’s Program

Throughout her academic career, Amanda has worked for the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, UCSC’s Long Marine Lab, and Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. She entered UCSC’s Science Communication Master’s Program to further her keen interest in communicating science to various audiences. In addition to managing the Moss Landing student blog The Drop-In and working for the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions as an Education Programs Assistant and Communications Intern, she recently completed a Science Communication Fellowship with KQED, where she wrote article for Science News and helped produce episodes of the award-winning 4k YouTube series Deep Look.

Josie Lesage

Department of Environmental Studies, Ph.D. Program

Josie studies the interacting effects of climate change and land management on ecological communities and uses the results to make science-driven recommendations for conservation and restoration. Her dissertation research focuses on the responses of grassland vegetation communities to shifts in temperature and precipitation throughout California. Josie is passionate about effective and inclusive science education and communication, especially to develop diverse scientific communities, and she has won multiple teaching awards. She has mentored incoming students in UCSC's Workshop for Engineer and Science Transfers, and writes the newsletter for the California Botanical Society. When she's not out counting and identifying flowers for her research, she can often be found doing it for fun.

Sam Mansfield

Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Ph.D. Program

Sam is a 5th year PhD student in the Computer Engineering's i­NRG lab studying how to improve healthcare with objective health measurements. He collaborates with UCSF's Roy Lab on the design of a Connected Health platform to prevent pressure injuries by automatically analyzing the pressure and mobility of a patient in bed. Sam won 2nd place and the People's Choice award at the 2017 UCSC Grad Slam on his presentation of his thesis in a compressed three­minute format.

Miguel Pinto

Department of Chemistry, Ph.D. Program

Miguel’s work in the Mascharak lab at UCSC has been very productive and gratifying. He has completed a number of projects, including work that was highlighted on the front cover of Chemical Communications journal. He is making progress towards the completion of several additional research projects and a literature review. The outline of Miguel’s research includes the design and construction of theranostic drug-delivery systems for the treatment of cancer or infections. Besides research, he actively participates in outreach programs, scientific presentations, and scientific training. His overall career goal is to obtain a tenure-track faculty position at a research-intensive institution.

Ariana Remmel

Department of Science Communication, Master's Program

Ariana has always been fascinated by the natural world. Growing up in Little Rock, Arkansas, she got to be curious about nature through science. Though she initially wanted to be a medical doctor, she found herself in love with chemistry research in college and then graduate school. But for as much time as she spent doing lab work for her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, her favorite part of science has always been sharing it with others. For this reason she is now pursuing her Master’s in Science Communication.

Elektra Robinson

Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, Ph.D. Program

Elektra is pursuing a PhD to develop the skills she’ll need to become a successful, independent researcher in the field of RNA immunobiology. Her thesis work in the Carpenter Lab at UC Santa Cruz aims to understand how long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are able to regulate our innate immune system. The innate immune system is the body’s first line of defense against invading pathogens. LncRNAs are a new gene class that have been recently discovered and studied through the development of Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS). These noncoding genes have been shown to regulate a variety of biological processes including the immune system. Elektra’s work aims to understand how lincRNA-Cox2 impacts host defense within the lung following bacterial (Streptococcus pneumonia) or viral (Influenza) infection. By understanding how lincRNA-Cox2 regulates host inflammation, we can better understand the mechanisms by which dysregulated inflammation causes disease. In addition, this knowledge could lead to the identification of novel targets for therapeutic intervention for infectious diseases. 

Heather Shaddox

Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Ph.D. Program

Heather is interested in using seismology as a tool to study offshore processes both below (slow earthquakes) and above (oceanic internal waves) the ocean floor. Her most recent project detecting oceanic internal waves seismically is taking her to the remote Dongsha Atoll in the South China Sea, where she is deploying terrestrial seismometers in conjunction with a project deploying oceanographic temperature moorings to detect internal waves. If successful, this will be the first seismic detection of oceanic internal waves, opening up the possibility of utilizing the global seismic network to construct broad spatial maps and long-term time series of oceanic internal waves which are key for climate models.

Tyler Smart

Department of Physics, Ph.D. Program

Tyler's research involves applying and developing advanced electronic structure methods which can accurately describe complex materials for renewable energy and quantum technology applications. Tyler graduated summa cum laude from Humboldt State University with a BS in Physics and a minor in Mathematics. During his time as a PhD student, Tyler has held various positions at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, including a Computational & Materials Science summer internship and an additional six-month student internship He has also been selected into the NSF Quantum Information Science & Engineering program, which involves ongoing collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory. His productivity has led to several high-impact peer reviewed papers, presentations at national conferences, and awards; including a GAANN fellowship (2016-2018) and an outstanding poster presentation at LLNL summer student symposium (2018).

Bryan Thornlow
Bryan Thornlow

Department of Biomolecular Engineering, Ph.D. Program

Bryan’s PhD project focuses on transfer RNA (tRNA) gene evolution. His discovery that tRNA genes have elevated mutation rates, published in PNAS, indicates that tRNAs play central roles in disease evolution. His second manuscript, on using machine learning to infer gene expression levels based on tRNA gene mutation rates, will be submitted for publication this spring. Currently, Bryan is developing a simulator of evolution that will enable testing of fundamental unresolved questions in gene family evolution. Each step in Bryan’s proposal develops a profound and innovative way to understand gene family evolution.

 

Natasha Vokhshoori

Department of Ocean Sciences, Ph.D. Program

Natasha's research threads marine biogeochemistry with ecology to unveil productivity of otherwise inaccessible ecosystems such as the deep-sea and the geologic past. For her dissertation work, Natasha has extended collaborations with archaeologists, ecologists and geologists to use archaeological shell middens to reconstruct nearshore productivity and shed insight on how climate regime shifts alter coastal food webs. In her first year, she received the "Future Leaders of Coastal Sciences Award" to begin this initial research. Natasha is also collaborating with the US Geological Survey to research deep-sea chemosynthetic environments in regions that may be impacted by deep-sea drilling in the near future. Natasha is advising two undergraduate students on senior thesis projects and is actively involved in her department. She is the Graduate Student Representative and is an energetic member in a student group that promotes oceanographic research and communication to the public.

Asher Wasserman
Asher Wasserman

Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics Ph.D. Program

Asher is an observational astrophysicist whose research interests lie at the intersection of galaxy evolution, globular star clusters, and dark matter physics. He uses spectroscopic measurements of the stars and star cluster systems to infer the spatial distribution of dark matter in nearby galaxies. Currently he is working on new techniques for measuring the photometric properties of extragalactic globular cluster systems to better compare with cluster formation models. When not struggling to figure out why his code isn't working, he can usually be found bicycling around Santa Cruz or hiking in the redwoods.