2021-2022 ARCS Northern California Scholars

ARCS Northern California Chapter is thrilled to recognize the work of our outstanding scholars for 2021-2022

San Francisco State University

ARCS Scholar Andrew Bays SFSU
Andrew Bays

Department of Geosciences

Andrew studies environmental change associated with the end-Ordovician mass extinction, specifically the stable isotopes and trace elements contained within dolomite. He presented his research results at the Geological Society of America National Conference in the fall of 2019, and was awarded the Thalman Award for academic excellence while an undergraduate at San Francisco State.

ARCS Scholar Jan Cajulao SFSU
Jan Mikhale Cajulao

Department of Biology (Cell & Molecular)

Jan’s work focuses on the viral G Protein-Coupled Receptor of the cancer-causing Kaposi's Sarcoma Herpesvirus. This receptor (vGPCR) has been shown to cause cancer, inflammation, formation of new blood vessels, and is required for the virus to replicate within its human host. Less known are the mechanisms that this receptor uses to signal within host cells. As he continues to optimize protocols and characterize the lab’s in vitro model system, Jan is monitoring the physical localization of vGPCR within host cells, and the impact of its expression on host genes important for metabolism and the formation of new blood vessels. In addition to his research interests, Jan is interested in community outreach as a member of the SFSU Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) chapter.

ARCS Scholar Shea Grady SFSU
Shea Grady

Department of Biology (Marine Estuarine Sciences)

Shea is currently a fellow of SFSU RIPTIDES, a marine science graduate program with an interdisciplinary approach including professional internships, workshops, and coursework that includes emphasis on communication and teaching skills. He is investigating the effect of ocean acidification on behavioral responses of the blue-banded goby (Lythrypnus dalli), an ecologically significant and prevalent California reef fish, via rearing L. dalli under varying Ocean Acidification conditions. He has developed a behavioral assay to compare gobies reared in normal pH vs. future OA conditions. Shea has previously worked as an ocean lifeguard and has conducted research on a marine station on Catalina Island.

ARCS Scholar Laura Horsley SFSU
Laura Horsley

Department of Geosciences

Laura plans to combine field-based mapping, computer modeling, and radiometric age dating to form her Master’s research and thesis. In August 2021 she led a group of four students to the Adirondack Mountains (New York) to map the area around Ledge Mountain at 1:12,000 scale over three weeks, supported by a U.S. Geological Survey EDMAP grant that will also facilitate publication of that work in 2022. Laura spent the 2020-2021 academic year reading background literature on the Adirondacks, learning a thermodynamic modeling program and working with a uranium-lead geochronology dataset for Ledge Mountain rocks. Laura was part of the undergraduate team that collected those age data for zircon on Stanford’s sensitive high-resolution ion microprobe (SHRIMP) in 2018 and will bring that project to a close with her Master’s thesis. A San Francisco native, Laura is also Head Coach for the club swim team at St. Ignatius High School.

Pooneh Kalhori ARCS Foundation San Francisco State University
Pooneh Kalhori

Department of Biology (Ecology & Conservation)

In her second year as a Master’s student, Pooneh has begun working on a collaborative project studying the population history of the Galapagos rail, a flightless bird endemic to the Galapagos islands which has had its population decimated by the introduction of goats to the islands for agriculture. As a part of the collaboration, she has access to genomic data that she has been using to infer the demography of these birds through the use of population genetic programs. The goal is to see if it is possible to detect a reduction in the size of these populations in the recent past, as well as potential gene flow between different populations of the species. She also plans to obtain Galapagos Yellow Warbler DNA samples and send them to be sequenced to begin her analysis of climate change adaptation. Pooneh’s outside interests include swimming, learning about different languages, and baking.

ARCS Scholar Ken Luu SFSU
Ken Luu

Department of Physics

As an undergraduate, Ken conducted research in a variety of topics in computational nuclear physics at San Diego State University where he graduated cum laude. He then had a summer internship at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) with the Parallel Computing School, where he studied the physics of fireballs and how they evolve over time. Also at LANL, he worked on the stability of molecules in the atmosphere of white dwarfs. At San Francisco State he will be working on 3D General Relativistic simulations of jets in black hole-disk systems. His research interest is motivated by the fact that computation can be used alongside experiments and theory to stimulate progress. Outside the lab, Ken enjoys rock climbing and learning guitar, with the goal of performing in front of a live audience.

ARCS Scholar Katherine Montana SFSU
Katherine Montana

Department of Biology (Integrative)

Katherine Montana is a scientist, advocate, and change-maker. While earning her B.A. in Anthropology and Integrative Biology with honors at UC Berkeley, she researched the genetics of potential environmental toxin resistance in frogs and the phylogenetic relationships of sea slugs. As a graduate student at San Francisco State and the California Academy of Sciences, Katherine is proud to conduct ground-breaking spider systematics research, reveal untold stories found in the Academy Library’s archives, and mentor other emerging scientists. Her research focuses on using genomic and morphological data to determine the phylogenetic relationships between spider species in the genus Lathys of the family Dictynidae, a group that has been understudied and whose relationships need resolving. She is honored to form community with other scientists, especially those who have been underrepresented in the field.

ARCS Scholar Lauren Nowak SFSU
Lauren Nowak

Department of Mathematics

Prior to entering the Master’s program at San Francisco State, Lauren taught mathematics at two Bay Area public charter schools serving high-needs student populations. During her first year at SFSU, Lauren excelled in her mathematics course work, while also earning a certificate in ethnomathematics from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. She is pursuing research interests in both mathematics and mathematics education. Her mathematics thesis research is in the area of matroids and graph theory, topics that fall in the intersection of algebra, geometry, and combinatorics. Simultaneously, Lauren is conducting a mathematics education project investigating the application of ethnomathematical principles to promote more equitable learning opportunities for students in entry-level undergraduate math courses. In addition, based on her outstanding work as a Graduate TA in entry level mathematics, Lauren was hired by the department to assist in planning and coordinating in the Early Start summer mathematics courses in summer 2021.

ARCS Scholar Luis Perez SFSU
Luis Perez

Department of Mathematics

Luis is interested in mathematical coding theory, specifically in researching the mathematics behind error-correcting codes, which includes topics in algebra and combinatorics. He has previously spent time learning about bounds on the goodness of codes through a computer science capstone during his undergraduate studies, and he aims to gain a better understanding of the algebra used in mathematical coding theory while at San Francisco State. In summer 2021 he continued his research, taught in the week-long early start to college mathematics course, and participated as a graduate mentor for a math REU program. Luis hopes to start working towards a Ph.D. in Mathematics starting in fall 2022.

ARCS Scholar Amy Wong SFSU
Amy Wong

Department of Biology (Marine Estuarine Sciences)

Amy‘s research interests lie in the interactions among species in the San Francisco Estuary. Two common zooplankton species, the copepods Eurytemora carolleeae and Pseudiodiaptomus forbesi, serve as an important food source in the diets of fish and fluctuate in abundance on opposite seasonal patterns. Amy will use high-throughput DNA sequencing to determine the diets of these two species to see whether similarity of diets, possibly implying competition, plays a role in the transitions between these two species. Amy has been awarded a COAST grant for her project. Before entering graduate school, she worked for the environmental consulting company ICF as a fish biologist, contributing to projects throughout the San Francisco Estuary. Outside of work and school, she enjoys making visual art and created a small business during COVID quarantine to fulfill her creative goals.

Stanford University

ARCS Scholar Katie Antilla Stanford
Katie Antilla

Department of Chemical Engineering

Katie is broadly interested in biomolecular engineering research aimed at medical and healthcare applications. She is currently working on three projects: (1) developing a giant magnetoresistive (GMR) biosensor assay for detecting mutations in circulating tumor DNA from non-small cell lung cancer patients, (2) prototyping a GMR-based on-chip real-time PCR system for point-of-care testing, and (3) discovering methylated cancer biomarkers using a new layered bioinformatics method and validating those biomarkers using targeted bisulfite sequencing. She has served as a TA for several Chemical Engineering courses and is a member of the Tau Beta Pi National Engineering Honor Society. Outside of research, Katie likes to participate in volunteer outreach activities, especially teaching science to younger kids, as well as play tennis, hike, ski, and do crafts.

ARCS Scholar Kevin Daniel Palacio Aris Stanford
Kevin Daniel Palacio Aris

Department of Biophysics

Kevin’s keen interest in biophysical problems led him to pursue a double major in physics and biology at the University of Florida, where he conducted undergraduate research in the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna laboratory and graduated summa cum laude. His thesis work in the Bryant lab uses single-molecule measurements to study the activity, specificity, energetics, and mechanics of CRISPR-Cas9 and related enzymes used for gene editing. These experiments will elucidate the role of supercoiling in coordinating Cas9 and Cas12a conformational checkpoints as they cleave their DNA targets. Kevin has additionally been involved in outreach and diversity efforts at Stanford since joining the community and continues to push for equal representation in science.

ARCS Scholar Julie Chang Stanford
Julie Chang

Department of Bioengineering

Julie’s research explores the mechanics of collective cell invasion through a 3D in vitro model of breast cancer. Specifically, she is investigating how cells use force to breach through the basement membrane barrier. Prior to joining Stanford, Julie earned her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Yale and interned in the Biochemical and Cellular Pharmacology group at Genentech. She was an NDSEG research fellow and NSF GRFP research fellow. Outside of lab, Julie works as a Graduate Writing Tutor at the Stanford Writing Center and enjoys rock climbing, hiking and playing video games.

ARCS Scholar Michael Gregory Chavez Stanford
Michael Gregory Chavez

Department of Bioengineering

Michael’s undergraduate work sparked an obsession with using synthetic biology to advance medicine, clean chemistry, cellular agriculture, and beyond. Now, his research aims to improve the reach and effectiveness of cell-based therapies by developing novel tools that control their phenotype. Utilizing CRISPR technologies, viral engineering, and receptor engineering, Michael not only builds more effective immune cells to treat cancer but also pushes cell therapies to overcome autoimmunity, infectious diseases, and ageing. Beyond his research, Michael enjoys communicating science to a broader audience through his podcast, Translation, and exploring the San Francisco Bay Area. He is featured in over 10 peer-reviewed publications and was awarded the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

ARCS Scholar Victoria Li Chien Chen Stanford
Victoria Li Chien Chen

Department of Electrical Engineering

Victoria’s research investigates the fundamental properties of nanomaterials for thermoelectric energy harvesting. Scavenging waste heat is an increasingly promising approach to fulfilling the world’s growing energy needs, and due to their unique physical properties, 2D materials are especially poised to make efficient thermoelectric harvesters. Therefore, a major aspect of Victoria’s project is to fabricate test structures and characterize these materials. One research focus concentrates on depositing and characterizing a 2D, layered material, hexagonal boron nitride, for eventual integration into other devices and systems. Outside of this work, she has gained additional experience through internships at Intel and Applied Materials, and also serves as the Atomic Force Microscope Instrument Manager with the Stanford Nano Shared Facilities. 

ARCS Scholar Laura Clark Stanford
Laura Clark

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Motivated by the problem of microplastics in the ocean, Laura’s research investigates how small, non-spherical particles are transported by waves. Her first set of experiments focused on how these particles settle in wavy flow. This work was published in 2020 in Physical Review Fluids. Currently, she is building an experiment to measure the dispersion rates of these particles in wavy flows. These results will be important for effective building models of microplastic transport in the ocean. Laura is planning a career in the academy once she graduates, and in contributing to solutions to California's complex water issues. She is a big fan of outdoor exploration and once paddled a kayak in a raging “once in 10 years” storm purely for the experience.

ARCS Scholar James Fahlbusch Stanford
James Fahlbusch

Department of Biology

James is a computer scientist turned marine biologist with a decade of field experience in some of the most remote and extreme habitats on the planet. James develops cutting-edge tag technology to understand how the world's largest whales find ephemeral food in a seemingly featureless ocean. These biologging technologies reveal fine-scale daily diaries of where and when whales feed in a deep dark ocean. James integrates this information using an array of remote sensing techniques to reveal previously unrecognized ecological patterns and behavioral responses to ocean dynamics. Such an approach is paramount for the conservation of these economically and ecologically important whale species.

ARCS Scholar Caroline Alexa Famiglietti Stanford
Caroline Alexa Famiglietti

Department of Earth System Science

Caroline’s research fuses data and models to evaluate the nature of uncertainties characterizing projections of land carbon uptake in the terrestrial biosphere, whose behavior strongly influences the magnitude of future climate change. Before Stanford, Caroline graduated summa cum laude from UCLA with a B.S. in Applied Mathematics and worked as an intern in the Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems Group at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She is the recipient of a Stanford Graduate Fellowship and a Future Investigator in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology (FINESST) award. In her free time, Caroline enjoys running, baking, and playing guitar.

ARCS Scholar Anna Makar-Limanov Stanford
Anna Makar-Limanov

Department of Chemistry

Anna is a first-year Ph.D. student interested in the synthesis of novel sustainable materials and is passionate about using chemistry to help tackle challenges facing humanity. She received her B.A. magna cum laude with distinction in Chemistry and Mathematics from Amherst College in 2020. At Amherst, she worked on metal alkoxide initiators for the ring-opening polymerization of cyclic esters. In 2018, she was a Center for Sustainable Polymers Summer Undergraduate Fellow at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Outside of the lab, Anna enjoys singing in choirs, knitting, hiking, and listening to podcasts.

ARCS Scholar Jedidiah Oliver Thompson Stanford
Jedidiah Oliver Thompson

Department of Physics

Jed’s interests lie at the intersection of particle physics, astrophysics, and cosmology. His research is primarily focused on discovering new ways to look for and test models of dark matter, with an emphasis on ultralight candidates such as axions and hidden photons. At the moment, his primary projects include a few different studies of how even very small self-interactions in a sector of dark matter can drastically affect its behavior and can thus have observational consequences. In his free time, he is a tour guide at the Stanford University art museums and enjoys flying small planes whenever he has the chance. 

ARCS Scholar Kevin Yang Stanford
Kevin Yang

Department of Mathematics

Kevin studies probability theory and statistics of random growth models with a focus on the Kardar-Parisi-Zhang equation. This equation is conjectured to universally describe the large-scale behavior of many random growth models but mathematical proof has been an elusive open problem. Kevin works to confirm this universality and has done so for a number of growth models associated to interacting particle systems. Outside of research, Kevin participates in the Directed Reading Program at Stanford to mentor undergraduates. Aside from math, he enjoys running, biking, and hiking.

University of California, Berkeley

ARCS Scholar Alanna Cooney UC Berkeley
Alanna Cooney

Department of Mechanical Engineering

After obtaining her B.S. 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 M.S. in Mechanical Engineering. Her research project in Berkeley’s Energy and Multiphase Transport Laboratory involves performing experiments to characterize the performance of thermal energy storage devices or "thermal batteries. These devices capitalize on the energy stored and released during solid-liquid phase change processes. By better understanding the performance characteristics of these devices, we can create models to predict how they would function in building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in order to utilize them to offset peak demand loads and run buildings more efficiently using model predictive controls. Outside of research, Alanna 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.

Cynthia “Abby” Harris ARCS Foundation UC Berkeley
Cynthia “Abby” Harris

Department of Molecular & Cell Biology

Ferroptosis is an iron-dependent type of cell death that results from the accumulation of reactive lipid peroxides. Cynthia (or “Abby” to most acquaintances) is looking into elucidating the participation of copper and potentially other redox-active metals in ferroptosis, with the aim of expanding our understanding of its mechanism and allowing the development of new ways to induce ferroptic cell death in cancer and other disorders. As an undergraduate, Abby conducted research on translesion DNA synthesis, an important DNA damage tolerance process in eukaryotes, and its relationship to chemo-resistance in cancer. She additionally pursued another side of cancer research as an intern at Genentech, where she worked on identifying novel drug targets. Abby loves claymation, carnivorous plants, and anyone with a good sense of humor.

Logan
Logan Horowitz

Department of Electrical Engineering

Logan is interested in working on novel power converter design, focusing on applications in renewables integration and implementation. Commercial air travel accounts for a large proportion of pollution and wasted energy all over the world, but new technologies are emerging which have enabled hybrid aircraft. Logan’s project focuses on the design optimizations required for a high-power-density, high-efficiency, high-frequency electric drivetrain. Outside of work, Logan loves wrestling, climbing, running, ping pong, camping, biking, and reading.

Nicholas Karavolias

Department of Plant & Microbial Biology

In his pursuit of a Ph.D., Nicholas is looking at drought tolerance in cereal crops with the goal of finding discrete gene targets for genetic engineering of monocotyledonous crops for improved water use efficiency. CRISPR/Cas9 mediated editing of genes involved in stomatal development in rice can improve water-use efficiency, and fine-tuning reductions in stomatal density may reduce water requirements without concomitant reductions in photosynthesis. As global aridification and erratic rainfalls threaten the food system, improved water-use efficiency and overall photosynthetic capacity are essential to safeguard food security and farmer livelihoods. Nicholas’s background as a first-generation American and college student has inspired his dedication to improving the quality of life for all global citizens.

ARCS Scholar Lourenco Martins UC Berkeley
Lourenco Martins

Department of Integrative Biology

From a young age, Lourenco always knew he wanted to be a biologist, having spent his childhood chasing after the bugs in his family’s backyard garden. Lourenco is interested in using genomics to explore how environmental factors, like climate, drive evolution in invertebrates. During his undergraduate career, he used bioinformatics to investigate the genes that allow diurnal fireflies to attract mates through pheromones. Lourenco is also a Latinist, having earned a B.A. in Classics alongside his Neuroscience B.S. at Bucknell University. When not in the lab, he can be found hiking and backpacking, perusing local coffee shops, and fighting for equitable and inclusive representation in the scientific community.

 

Reese Pathak
Reese Pathak

Department of Computer Science

Reese’s 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. Recently he has been working on algorithms for distributed optimization in large networks. These types of problems arise in many modern applications of statistical learning. After graduating from Stanford with a degree in Computer Science, Reese spent a summer working as a Research Associate at the Center for Computational Mathematics at the Flatiron Institute of the Simons Foundation.

Robin Peter ARCS Foundation UC Berkeley
Robin Peter

Department of Nuclear Engineering

Robin is pursuing research at the intersection of particle physics, quantitative biology, and humanitarian application. She is currently involved in projects in medical imaging, radiation detection, and radiation therapy. Her multidisciplinary interests stem from an eclectic mix of past research endeavors: memory device simulation with IBM Research, construction of a spark chamber, and studies in cuttlefish camouflage. During her undergraduate career at the University of Chicago, she was distinguished as both an Enrico Fermi Scholar in the Physical Sciences and as the Mary Jean Mulvaney Scholar-Athlete for the Class of 2020.

Sophie Ruehr ARCS Foundation UC Berkeley
Sophie Ruehr

Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management

Sophie’s graduate work is focused on the ecosystem-scale dynamics of water cycling. Using data from satellites, she studies the links between the carbon and water cycles over space and time to better understand how the terrestrial land sink may respond to climate extremes in the future. Her research has implications for both sustainable water management and predicting future climate change. In 2017, Sophie researched hurricane paleoclimatology as a Summer Student Fellow at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. In 2018, she received the Parker Huang Fellowship from Yale University to undertake an independent research project in Vanuatu, where she collected oral histories regarding cyclones and climate change. In her free time, Sophie enjoys playing jazz guitar, running, and learning Italian.

ARCS Scholar Rachelle Stark UC Berkeley
Rachelle Stark

Department of Metabolic Biology

Rachelle received a B.S. in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology from UCLA, where she utilized murine models to study the molecular mechanisms behind Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a severe muscle-wasting disease. She was awarded the Dean’s Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Research for this project. Additionally, Rachelle participated in a summer research internship in Dr. Jicheng Gong’s lab at Peking University in Beijing, China, where she performed experiments to detect biomarkers of recurrent lung adenocarcinoma. Rachelle enjoyed her molecular biology education but is also intrigued by the relationship between diet and disease, and therefore chose to pursue a Ph.D. in Metabolic Biology. In her free time she loves to cook, bicycle, and hike.

University of California, Davis

 Anna Adhikari ARCS Foundation UC Davis
Anna Adhikari

Molecular, Cellular & Integrative Physiology Graduate Group

Anna’s research interest is in translational science –exploring the connection between science and the people it is for. She seeks to study and understand the intricacies of the central nervous system and ultimately develop novel therapeutics to reduce the burden of neurological diseases of known genetic origin. She is key personnel on large ongoing collaborative projects between the Silverman Laboratory and the Institute for Regenerative Cures to treat Angelman Syndrome. The labs are advancing a novel approach in which blood stem cells are transduced ex vivo with a lentiviral vector expressing UBE3A, which after transplantation would engraft, secrete, and deliver therapeutic UBE3A into deficient neurons via cross-correction. Functional rescue of numerous Angelman Syndrome phenotypes when the subject mice were engrafted with modified HSCs as neonates and adults has been confirmed and the findings were accepted for publication in Human Molecular Genetics (Adhikari et al., 2021). Outside of the lab, Anna is an avid gardener and enjoys crocheting and hiking.

ARCS Scholar Peter Andrew UC Davis
Peter Andrew

Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology

Peter’s research interest is to better understand the processes that drive epilepsy. His current project is focused on understanding the role of neuroinflammation in acquired epilepsy following acute intoxication with organophosphate pesticides. He was awarded the 2020 Graduate Student Achievement Award by the Northern California Regional Chapter of the Society of Toxicology. Prior to UC Davis, Peter worked as a research technician at the AstraZeneca-Tufts Laboratory under Stephen Moss. When not in the lab, he enjoys biking and cooking.

ARCS Scholar Alena Casella UC Davis
Alena Casella

Department of Biomedical Engineering

Laney’s broad research interests are in the development of biomaterials to promote the clinical translation of engineered tissues. She aims to provide insight into the relationship between a material’s electrical and physical properties and how the interplay of these properties direct cell behavior. She is especially interested in using conductive biomaterials to promote nerve cell survival and regeneration in biologically challenging conditions. Currently, she is working to develop an electrically and mechanically tunable hydrogel platform to both direct cell behavior and provide more insight into the specific benefits of using electroactive materials for medical applications. Outside of the laboratory, Laney is involved in the Biomedical Engineering Student Association, where she has served in various leadership positions, and STEM for Girls, an outreach event that engages minority students in underserved communities.

ARCS Scholar Katherine Corn UC Davis
Katherine Corn

Population Biology Graduate Group

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 changes in feeding mode affect the evolution of body shape. She is an award-winning speaker, having won the Wake Award for Best Student Presentation in the Division of Phylogenetics & Comparative Biology at the Society for Integrative & Comparative Biology. Outside the lab, Katherine enjoys swimming, reading, and baking pastries.

Kalyn Diederich ARCS Foundation UC Davis
Kalyn Diederich

Department of Soils & Biogeochemistry

Kalyn’s dissertation work seeks to compare above and belowground ecosystem service contributions in perennial versus annual grain cropping systems in California. Furthermore, her work strives to advance our understanding of how soil microbes drive soil carbon sequestration and provide data regarding the potential mechanisms behind soil ecosystem services. She can typically be found managing plots at her long-term field experiment, coding in R, or preparing a talk for an extension workshop or conference. When she is not in the field or lab, you can find Kalyn walking her 18-year-old dog, reading personal narratives, or cooking.

ARCS Scholar Juan Flores UC Davis
Juan Flores

Molecular, Cellular & Integrative Physiology Graduate Group

Juan’s research focuses on the molecular signaling pathways that are involved in learning. His current work investigates the molecular and cellular mechanisms that regulate the ability of synaptic connections between neurons to undergo learning-induced changes. These studies will further our knowledge of the molecular mechanisms that govern learning and how we can leverage them to improve learning outcomes in disorders associated with learning deficits. It is hypothesized that saturation of plasticity is linked to the efficacy of spaced learning techniques, which have been shown to improve learning in models of neurodevelopmental disorders such as Angelman’s and Down’s syndromes. Outside of the lab, Juan is a dedicated father and husband and he enjoys rollerblading and playing tennis.

ARCS Scholar Hilary Green UC Davis
Hilary Green

Agricultural & Environmental Chemistry Graduate Group

Hilary’s research interests stem from her passions for food and the environment through the lens of analytical chemistry. Hilary’s dissertation focuses on ensuring the authenticity and quality of edible oils. She has published a faster and less wasteful method to detect olive oil adulteration as well as a work evaluating the chemical composition of avocado oils on the US market. She is now working to develop a method to detect adulteration in avocado oil, quantify toxins, and support standard development for avocado 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.

ARCS Scholar Carly Hawkins UC Davis
Carly Hawkins

Animal Behavior Graduate Group

Carly seeks to understand how birds choose their mates in an increasingly human-dominated landscape. In socially monogamous (but sexually promiscuous) songbirds, many mating tradeoffs are rooted in vocal communication, wherein females choose their mates in part by the quality of the male song. Carly uses novel bioacoustics technology to determine how individual male differences and the surrounding acoustic environment influence male mating tactics in white-crowned sparrows near Yosemite National Park -- adjacent to HWY 120, where birds must compete with traffic noise to hear each other sing. As a first-generation college student, Carly has a deep commitment to undergraduate mentorship on campus and in the field; she brings students to her field site each summer to get hands-on experience in field biology. Outside of academia, Carly loves to bake, go on hikes, and play with her sassy cat, Moop.

Michael
Michael Huh

Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences

Michael’s research interests include understanding the delivery of water and other gases during the 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 Arizona State University where he helped build a new experimental petrology laboratory. Outside of the lab, Michael enjoys helping his young son explore and discover the world.

ARCS Scholar Alison Ke UC Davis
Alison Ke

Ecology Graduate Group

Alison is interested in how climate and land-use change interact to structure tropical bird communities in order to understand which bird species are most vulnerable to global changes and how to conserve vulnerable species. Her career goal is to conserve wildlife to prevent extinctions in the face of imminent threats to biodiversity, such as climate change and deforestation. To reach this goal, she investigates how biodiversity can be enhanced in agricultural landscapes in the Neotropics. Alison collaborates with NGOs and other universities to conduct field research in Costa Rica, Colombia, and Ecuador. Closer to home, she created a nest box network in Davis parks to conserve local birds and serves on her graduate group’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force. Outside of academia, Alison is an avid rock climber.

ARCS Scholar Carter Loftus UC Davis
Carter Loftus

Animal Behavior Graduate Group

Carter leverages newly developed methods in computer science and computational physics to enable innovative research on the processes and outcomes of decision-making in highly-structured animal groups. Carter’s research interests began as an undergraduate at Cornell University, where he studied decision-making in honey bee colonies and graduated summa cum laude. Currently, he is using high-resolution thermal imagery, accelerometry and 3D laser scanners to determine how baboons navigate a complex physical and social environment when deciding where to sleep at night, and how this choice impacts their sleep quality. Carter received an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant and a Coss Wildlife Research Award to fund this project. As an active member of his graduate group’s Diversity Committee, Carter works passionately towards increasing diversity and inclusion in science.

Conary Meyer ARCS Foundation UC Davis
Conary Meyer

Department of Biomedical Engineering

Conary began pursuing bioengineering research in high school and has since engaged in numerous research projects including solar energy harvesting, exosomal drug delivery, and automated DNA cloning. These efforts resulted in numerous research-related awards, several papers, and a patent. Conary’s current research efforts are focused on the ex vivo synthesis of membrane proteins for structural determination, drug screening, and volatile small molecule sensing. He leverages high throughput microfluidic reaction generation and machine learning to rapidly test and model the performance of cell-free protein synthesis reactions to establish methods for predictive synthesis. Outside of the lab, he mentors local high schoolers, practices woodcraft, paints, and backpacks.

ARCS Scholar Tyler Schlieder UC Davis
Tyler Schlieder

Geology Graduate Group

Tyler’s 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. In order to investigate these topics, he integrates multiple chronometers in volcanic crystals, including Uranium-series disequilibria and diffusion modeling of trace element concentration profiles, with compositional information recorded within crystal and melt components of erupted lavas. Prior to beginning his Ph.D. work, Tyler studied the generation of basaltic magma during his B.S. and M.S. at Oregon State University and Northern Arizona University, respectively. Outside of academia, he is passionate about running, mountain biking, and music.

ARCS Scholar Annica Stull-Lane UC Davis
Annica Stull-Lane

Integrative Pathobiology Graduate Group

Annica is an MD/Ph.D. student completing her dissertation work in the laboratory of Renée Tsolis. Her experiences span public health, global health, microbiology, immunology, and emerging diseases. She came to Davis after undergraduate education at Oberlin College and an Emerging Infectious Diseases CDC Laboratory Fellowship. With a designated emphasis in translational research, Annica aims to bridge bench-to-bedside and has focused her graduate studies on better treatments for emerging multidrug-resistant Salmonella strains and SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development. Annica enjoys playing team sports and contributing to collaborative team science.

ARCS Scholar Micah Swann UC Davis
Micah Swann

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Prior to attending UC Davis, Micah worked as an environmental consultant in California. As a graduate student researcher, Micah has led lake field studies including hydroacoustic bathymetry surveys and physical/water quality data collection for a highly eutrophic lake. In his doctoral research, he is leading field data collection and development of three-dimensional hydrodynamic models for lakes in Northern Patagonia, Chile. These models will be used to simulate impacts of watershed development and climate change on water quality, using Lake Tahoe as a baseline comparison. He hopes his research will help guide sustainable, proactive lake management. In his free time, Micah enjoys backpacking, swing dancing, and flag trivia.

Max Vargas ARCS Foundation UC Davis
Maxemiliano "Max" Vargas

Neuroscience Graduate Group

Max has a passion for neuropharmacology and the development of next-generation medicines. Psychedelic science really piqued his interest due to the potential these unique molecules have shown for treating mental illness. Since joining the Olson Lab, Max’s research has focused on understanding the role of the serotonin 2A receptor in mediating the neural plasticity-promoting and therapeutic effects of psychedelics. He has been the recipient of several awards including an NIH Initiative for Maximizing Student Development fellowship and an NIH T32 fellowship. Outside of the lab, Max enjoys hiking and backpacking in the Sierra Nevada and is an active curator of vintage watches.

ARCS Scholar David Yang UC Davis
David Yang

Integrative Pathobiology Graduate Group

David’s research interests lie in the integrative understanding of the intersection of cellular signaling, immune response, and metabolic changes and the role these compartments play in coordination to drive fibrotic disease. Further, he is deeply invested in translational work; much of his work has been centered on discovering potential therapeutic targets and strategies. His current research is centered on applying integrative approaches to understand the role of macrophage cells, an important immune cell type, in initiating and promoting fibrotic disease. In addition to his academic pursuits, David is a co-founder of EffectorBio, Inc., a UC Davis-based start-up company.

University of California, San Francisco

ARCS Scholar Annamarie Bustion UCSF
Annamarie Bustion

Department of Pharmaceutical Science & Pharmacogenomics

One of Annamarie’s career goals is to improve drug-candidate investigations by bringing her growing expertise in pharmacomicrobiomics (the study of bacterial influence on drug disposition) to the pharmaceutical industry. In her current graduate work, Annamarie employs novel computational techniques to identify previously unknown bacterial enzymes responsible for drug metabolism in the human gut microbiome. Annamarie has received several honors during her time at UCSF, including the Dean’s Apple Award for Teaching, a Predoctoral Informatics Fellowship from the PhRMA Foundation, and a UCSF Benioff Center for Microbiome Medicine Trainee Pilot Award. Outside of her scientific research, Annamarie enjoys performing and choreographing modern dance, surfing, and serving on the editorial collective of Science for the People magazine.

Christopher Carlson ARCS Foundation UCSF
Christopher "Chris" Carlson

Department of Physiology

Chris received a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry with the highest honors from UC San Diego. He joined the Morgan lab at UCSF with a goal to understand complex mechanisms regulating the cell cycle through a biochemical lens. At the onset of the pandemic, he undertook a coronavirus-related project to understand how SARS-CoV-2 packages and unpackages its rather large ssRNA genome. The project has yielded several unexpected results and has been the focus of Chris’s studies for the last year. Outside of the lab, Chris enjoys running, hiking, reading, and walking around San Francisco.

ARCS Scholar Gauree Chendke UCSF
Gauree Chendke

Department of Bioengineering

Gauree is interested in applying principles of fundamental biology to design clinically relevant medical implants. Prior to joining graduate school, Gauree demonstrated expertise in using biomaterials for drug delivery and designing clinically translational devices for enhancing treatments used for Type I Diabetes. Her thesis work builds off her previous research, as she focuses on further understanding cell-material interactions, notably with the immune system. Specifically, Gauree has created an independent, niche project that explores how biomaterials can be designed to modulate the local immune microenvironment and promote tissue regeneration post-transplantation of material implants.

ARCS Scholar Cambria Chou-Freed UCSF
Cambria Chou-Freed

Department of Biomedical Sciences

Cambria graduated from Brown University in 2017, where she earned a B.S. in Neurobiology. There she studied transsynaptic tracing of neural circuits in Drosophila melanogaster. In 2018, she moved to La Plata, Argentina on a Fulbright Research Grant to study GPCR regulation of voltage-gated calcium channel activity at the IMBICE institute. Now at UCSF, she's interested in intracellular pH dynamics during the development of zebrafish neural crest, a conserved vertebrate embryonic type of stem cell that gives rise to diverse cell types in the adult, including peripheral nerves, craniofacial cells, and melanocytes. She is also very interested in teaching and mentors Bay Area high school students through UCSF's Brain Camp.

ARCS Scholar Jessica Cook UCSF
Jessica Cook

Department of Oral Craniofacial Sciences

After completing her B.S. in Biology at UCLA, Jessica began pursuing dual DDS/Ph.D. degrees at UCSF in 2018. Her project focuses on uncovering the subpopulations of fibroblasts within the oral mucosa and deconvoluting their roles in the efficient wound healing that occurs in the oral mucosa, a project with strong translational potential that Jessica hopes to apply in her clinical work. Jessica is also an NIDCR F30 recipient and a UCSF Discovery Fellow. In her free time, she prefers to be outdoors, either rock climbing, backpacking, or just relaxing and reading a book.

Jean Digitale ARCS Foundation UCSF
Jean Digitale

Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics

Jean’s research focuses on improving the quality of care in hospitals for pediatric patients. There is a lack of consensus around guidelines for pediatric extubation, resulting in variation in care that may potentially harm patients. The objective of this work is to create machine learning models using a large electronic health record dataset to predict when to extubate patients and to estimate how many ventilator days could be saved if such models were used in practice. Jean has a decade of experience working at the bedside as a pediatric nurse (primarily in the pediatric intensive care unit) and has also worked as a data analyst and research manager for cluster randomized controlled trials in Zambia. She is interested in epidemiologic methods, the intersection of machine learning and causal inference, and healthcare informatics. Her outside interests include theatre, photography, and travel.

 

Nicholas Elder ARCS Foundation UCSF
Nicholas "Nick" Elder

Department of Developmental & Stem Cell Biology

Nick attended Davidson College for his undergraduate studies, where he completed an Honors Biology thesis optimizing an optogenetic tool for expression in the C. elegans nervous system. At UCSF, he has found a home in the lab of Dr. Todd McDevitt at the Gladstone Institutes. Nick’s current research uses genetic engineering and human stem cell differentiation techniques to model interneuron populations, specifically V2a excitatory interneurons, at different levels of the spinal cord. This will allow us to better characterize regionalized neural populations and to produce neurons in vitro for the treatment of spinal cord injury and neurodegenerative diseases. 

ARCS Scholar Jessica Gaines UCSF
Jessica Gaines

Department of Bioengineering

Jessica conducted undergraduate research at Hope College developing computational models of single neurons and published a paper in the Journal of Computational Neuroscience. After graduating summa cum laude she worked as a controls engineer in the industry. Jessica is now applying this background to study the neural mechanisms of speech motor control for her dissertation research, using computational modeling, behavioral speech experiments, and MEG imaging. She has two peer-reviewed conference proceedings papers in the International Seminars on Speech Production. She is also involved with Expanding Your Horizons, a conference for middle school girls to promote interest in science and engineering, and is training for her third marathon.

ARCS Scholar Dominic Grisingher UCSF
Dominic Grisingher

Department of Biophysics

Dominic is interested in understanding how protein-protein interaction affects protein dynamics and applying this knowledge to engineering new proteins using computational methods. Dominic attended Arizona State University where he received a B.S. and a Master’s in Biochemistry with a focus in Medicinal Chemistry. At ASU his lab work focused on incorporating non-canonical amino acids into computationally designed proteins. During his free time, Dominic enjoys golfing, cooking, sailing, traveling, and exploring the San Francisco Bay Area.

Sarah Heater ARCS Foundation UCSF
Sarah Heater

Department of Microbiology & Immunology

Sarah has a long-standing interest in microbial genetics and molecular biology, especially with relevance to human infectious diseases. She is intrigued by how fungal pathogens sense the temperature of their mammalian host and is exploring some of these understudied human pathogens during her Ph.D. Specifically, she is investigating mechanisms of temperature response in the fungal pathogen Histoplasma capsulatum with the goal of uncovering a molecular thermometer that triggers cell shape changes and virulence pathways. Additionally, on the host side, she is characterizing the pulmonary immune response associated with Coccidioides immitis infection, which is a major health problem in California. Sarah has always valued teaching and has been an instructor in a variety of fields, including botany, math, philosophy, and environmental education. Outside the lab, she enjoys hiking, baking, reading, traveling, and volunteering.

ARCS Scholar Jordan Kleinman UCSF
Jordan Kleinman

Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology

Jordan received her B.S. in Chemical Biology at UC Berkeley, where she worked in the Nomura lab developing heterobifunctional small molecule degraders. Now a 3rd year in the Fujimori lab at UCSF, Jordan's research aims to tackle the problem of "undruggable" proteins from the other side of proteostasis via sequence-specific inhibition of nascent peptides at the ribosome. An enhanced understanding of this interaction will provide the foundation for a tool capable of inhibiting specific proteins on the basis of their sequence at the ribosome. Outside of the lab, Jordan enjoys various opportunities for mentorship, along with serving as a new student coordinator for her program's incoming first years. Her other interests include baking, hiking, kayaking, and puzzling.

ARCS Scholar Regan Volk UCSF
Regan Volk

Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology

Regan utilizes recent advances in proteomics to understand how the innate immune system changes in response to infection or cancer. She initially developed her interest in mass spectrometry-based techniques through her work at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and has applied the skills to her work at UCSF. Her current project aims to characterize a protein expressed by Borrelia which mimics the known ‘don’t eat me’ signal CD47, binding to the cognate receptor SIRP⍺, and preventing phagocytosis by macrophages. By further understanding this interaction, she aims to profile mimicry across other bacterial species and their implications in disease progression. Regan hopes her project can inform immunotherapeutic strategies for more effective treatments of cancer, as well as bacterial infections. Aside from research, she enjoys trying out new recipes, roller skating, and exploring the Bay Area.

Jiaxi (Jessica) Wang ARCS foundation UCSF
Jiaxi "Jessica" Wang

Department of Biomedical Sciences

Jessica has a longstanding interest in immunology, studying NK cell biology as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley where she received departmental awards in immunology and wrote an honors thesis, and doing post-graduate work with Lawrence Fong at UCSF in tumor immunity. She has co-authored publications eLife, the JCI, and JEM. Her graduate work in the Gardner lab is focused on defining the transcriptional and functional roles of the Autoimmune Regulator (Aire) gene in dendritic cells. Jessica has a passion for advocating for women and underrepresented populations in science, working for the Science and Health Education Partnership on community outreach, and volunteering in the UCSF ImmunoXX symposium. Her other interests include hiking, yoga, and dance.

University of California, Santa Cruz

ARCS Scholar Daniel Droege UCSC
Daniel Droege

Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

After graduating from UC Irvine, but before beginning his doctoral studies, Daniel worked for three years as a medicinal chemist at the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases based at UC San Francisco. There he gained invaluable experience in synthetic organic chemistry while working on brain-penetrating drug candidates targeting prion-related disorders (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease). At UC Santa Cruz, he is expanding his expertise to include bioinorganic chemistry. His doctoral work is focused on designing and synthesizing iron-porphyrin complexes and evaluating their ability to function as antidotes for carbon monoxide poisoning.

ARCS Scholar Neil Hardy UCSC
Neil Hardy

Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering

Neil is developing state-of-art brain-machine interface technologies that can help people suffering from neurodegenerative and neuropathic diseases. He has recently developed optical (wireless) bioelectric probes and demonstrated unprecedented high-throughput and subcellular resolutions sensing for the electrophysiological activity of cells. He has received numerous awards including the Regents Fellowship and the Chancellor’s Fellowship from UCSC. In addition to being an accomplished researcher, Neil has consistently received excellent reviews as a teacher and tutor in both physics and electrical engineering. Outside of academics, Neil enjoys climbing, surfing, and foraging.

ARCS Scholar Zachary Horton UCSC
Zachary Horton

Department of Statistics

Zach’s research interests include Bayesian nonparametrics, renewal process modeling, and functional data analysis. Currently, he is working on developing a fully nonparametric model for inhomogeneous renewal processes, with applications in seismology and linguistics. He has received various academic honors (both graduate and undergraduate), including merit-based scholarships and graduating magna cum laude. His work experience includes an actuarial consulting internship, several years of teaching assistantships, and a part-time research position in an investment firm. Zach enjoys exploring hi-fi audio and spending time with his wife and daughter.

ARCS Foundation Jessica Kendall-Bar UCSC
Jessica Kendall-Bar

Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Jessica is studying marine mammal neurophysiology. Her dissertation research explores new techniques for monitoring sleep in wild marine mammals. Previous electroencephalogram (EEG) studies revealing the unique sleep patterns of marine mammals relied on invasive methods and captive animals with restricted mobility. Jessica’s study establishes and validates the use of non-invasive EEG techniques, like those used in human sleep studies, to record sleep in free-ranging, wild marine mammals for the first time. Jessica is also a freelance artist and science communication strategist who creates data visualization animations, children’s book illustrations, underwater photography, and cinematography to accurately portray science and its role in preserving underwater ecosystems. At the interface of science and art, Jessica endeavors not only to make meaningful discoveries but also to convey those results broadly and creatively to impact diverse populations within and outside of academia.

ARCS Foundation Justin Luong UCSC
Justin Luong

Department of Environmental Studies

Justin studies the interactive effects of land management and extreme drought on ecosystems to generate data-driven solutions for restoration and conservation. His dissertation focuses on the responses of plant communities to extreme drought and long-term restoration success. Justin is passionate about mentoring diverse students in STEM fields. He has done so by independently running an undergraduate grassland ecology internship program since 2018. Through these efforts, Justin has helped four undergraduates obtain research scholarships for their senior theses, and has supervised about 120 undergraduate internships. When he is not identifying grasses and wildflowers for research, he enjoys searching for rare plants and the perfect sunset.

ARCS Scholar Jakob McBroome UCSC
Jakob McBroome

Department of Biomolecular Engineering

Jakob is focused on studying the evolution of chromatin interactions and nuclear structure, including the effects thereof on the evolution of transcriptional regulation and other elements of the genome. His work in this interdisciplinary field effectively requires expertise in both evolutionary genomics and chromatin biology. As a result of his scholastic and research performance in his first year, he was awarded a position on the Department’s NHGRI T32 Training Grant. In addition to his thesis work, he made impressive contributions to ongoing work in SAR-CoV-2 genomics. Jakob is clearly very committed to his own projects as well as advising and assisting others, and has displayed all of the components of a successful researcher.

ARCS Foundation Brittney Miller UCSC
Brittney Miller

Science Communication Master’s Program

Brittney is a graduate of the University of Florida’s Class of 2021, where she received Bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Journalism. There, she worked in both research labs and newsrooms – a background that cultivated   her rich passion for communicating science. Her environmental articles have been published in more than 65 publications nationwide, including the Associated Press and the San Francisco Chronicle. Upon graduation, she received the Outstanding Journalism Scholar award from the UF College of Journalism and Communications and a 2021-22 Taylor/Blakeslee Fellowship from the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. When she’s not reading or writing, Brittney enjoys cooking, photography and spending time outdoors.

ARCS Foundation Joseph “JB” Novak UCSC
Joseph “JB” Novak

Department of Ocean Sciences

Joseph measures molecular fossils to study relationships between climate, vegetation, and fire regime in Siberia. The goal of his research is to use this fossil data to predict how climate change will alter northern ecosystems and fire activity. Originally from Raleigh, NC, JB entered college skeptical of climate change. An introductory undergrad course led him to understand the real threat climate change poses to the planet, and JB is committed to using his research to improve our predictions of, and preparation for, the climate impacts from global warming. He is an outstanding student, with exceptional research preparation including two co-authored publications and one first-author publication. JB uses his studies in Geology, Biology, and Russian to research how climate dictated ecosystem composition and fire activity in Siberia during warm periods of Earth’s past.

ARCS Foundation McKenzie Prillaman UCSC
McKenzie Prillaman

Science Communication Master’s Program

McKenzie is interested in writing about neuroscience, bioethics, and science-art. Prior to her graduate studies, she worked at the Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was the volunteer blog editor for Art the Science. She also has an extensive background in scientific research, having studied adolescent nicotine dependence as a post-baccalaureate fellow at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. She holds a B.A. in Neuroscience and a minor in Bioethics from the University of Virginia. 

ARCS Scholar Amanda Quirk UCSC
Amanda Quirk

Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics

Amanda is interested in the dynamics and evolutionary history of disk galaxies. She is currently leading studies of the Triangulum Galaxy using the largest spectroscopic data set obtained with the Keck telescope and DEIMOS spectrograph. She has been awarded an NSF GRFP Fellowship and the Department’s Whitford Prize for this work. She is also dedicated to teaching and has participated in several education certificate programs, including being chosen as a Graduate Pedagogy Fellow. In addition to teaching on campus, Amanda is the co-director of the Project for Inmate Education program. In teaching and outreach, her focus is on increasing accessibility for students.

ARCS Scholar Veronica Rivera UCSC
Veronica Rivera

Department of Computational Media

Veronica’s research focuses on improving the well-being of platform-based gig workers by taking into account the goals and needs of workers. Her work has been published in ACM CSCW. Veronica  is also passionate about supporting undergraduate computer science education for underrepresented groups. She has worked to increase access to research opportunities for these groups within her department and has mentored 12 students in research herself. Veronica has received various honors including the UCSC Chancellor’s Graduate Internship, two CRA travel scholarships, and a Regent’s fellowship. She holds a B.S in Joint Computer Science and Math from Harvey  Mudd College.

ARCS Scholar Regina Spranger UCSC
Regina Spranger

Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Regina studies how organisms’ physiology interacts with the abiotic conditions in the environment. Her dissertation focuses on the acclimation potential of salamander physiology and how that affects their climate change risk. A large part of her research requires raising animals in laboratory settings, and she has created an inclusive program to mentor dozens of undergraduate research assistants. The outcome of her thesis will be a more accurate extinction risk model for amphibians that can be applied broadly as well as to specific conservation projects, and she has already started working with two local endangered amphibians to implement these models.

ARCS Scholar Clayton Strawn UCSC
Clayton Strawn

Department of Physics

Clayton is conducting research on the circumgalactic medium, the gas surrounding galaxies out to and beyond the virial radius of the galaxies’ host halos. He recently studied physically motivated definitions of the processes of collisional versus photon ionization of the medium, and the agreement between simulations and observations of the boundary layer between inflowing material streams and the surrounding outflowing hot low-density gas. Clayton is also working on a comparison between high-resolution galaxy simulations using different simulation codes with the same initial conditions. He has been involved in research in astrophysics, published several papers already, and also has a keen interest in theoretical physics. Clayton mentored two high school students in summers 2018, 2019, and (remotely, because of Covid) 2020, as part of UCSC’s Science Internship Program. He is also active in local affairs and is a founding member of the housing nonprofit Coastal Commons Land Trust, the first Community Land Trust in Santa Cruz County.

ARCS Scholar Jeremiah Tsyporin UCSC
Jeremiah Tsyporin

Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Over the past four years Jeremiah has made contributions to the study of brain cancer and neural stem cells. Currently, he is working on understanding the molecular and environmental cues that regulate the precise generation of the diverse cell types comprising the mammalian cerebral cortex, the region of the brain responsible for cognition and perception. In addition to research, Jeremiah has mentored seven undergraduate and four high school students in the lab and has been a TA for a broad range of topics in MCD biology. He also organizes monthly neuroscience seminars featuring Postdocs and graduate students from around the Bay Area.

ARCS Scholar Madison Wood UCSC
Madison Wood

Department of Earth & Planetary Science

Maddie was introduced to paleoclimatology and geochemistry as an undergraduate while studying global climate change during a Fulbright UK Summer Institute. Maddie’s research is motivated by her interest in the climate system; she uses geochemical signatures of seawater chemistry preserved in marine sediments to reconstruct past changes in the carbon cycle. Her current work uses marine barite to reconstruct the stable strontium isotope composition of seawater over glacial/interglacial cycles to determine whether high frequency fluctuations in the marine carbonate system are recorded. Outside of the lab, Maddie’s dedication to outreach and mentoring is illustrated by her time spent developing effective, inclusive teaching practices and serving as a peer mentor.).

ARCS Scholar Christina Yang UCSC
Christina Yang

Department of Microbiology & Environmental Toxicology

Christina’s research project has been to understand how Helicobacter pylori infection leads to disease, focusing on the bacterium’s ability to use quorum sensing as a way to modulate its numbers and, in turn, inflammation. She has published a first author review on bacterial abilities needed for growth in particular host niches, and a co-authored paper on metabolites H. pylori uses during infections. Christina is passionate about educational equity. This interest started during her undergraduate years working as a tutor and continued in graduate school to mentoring undergrads from groups underrepresented in STEM. In METX, she served as the graduate student liaison to the faculty, helping to communicate difficult realities to the faculty and promote a better working environment for all grad students.