Rachel Li

Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide and is one of the most common conditions for those over the age of 60. For this project, we aim to identify genetic modifiers that cause nuclear cataract formation in mice. We are also trying to understand the molecular mechanisms that are responsible for cataracts in hope of developing ways to treat it.

Zahra Ansari

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in the U.S., and one of the more common types of cancer experienced by South Asians. CRC incidence rate is rising for South Asians, however screening rates in South Asians remain relatively low. For the past two years, my research group and I have been organizing numerous health outreach events to disseminate information about the importance of colorectal cancer screenings in South Asian populations. This summer, I will be working to finalize a manuscript evaluating the accessibility and effectiveness of these outreach events. In the future, we hope to use this information to improve our outreach methods, as well as expand our research to include other South Asian populations (e.g. Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives).

Dayna Stout

The research project focuses on social, economic, and political changes that have contributed to the racial differences in marijuana use of adolescents during the past few decades. We are analyzing historical trends based off various nationally conducted surveys on adolescents marijuana use. With use of these surveys, and previous research, we are attempting to understand the underlying factors that contribute to the historical shift in marijuana use between African-American, Hispanic and White adolescents.

Maria Sandoval-Navas

My research focuses on Colorectal cancer screening in a Latinx church community. Colorectal cancer is a leading cause of death in the United States and the rates of screening for Latinxs are low. Thus, we are targeting this population, in order to address these two problems. I will be working along side Vicky Gomez, who has been working with this community for years. We have recruited members of the church who have either experienced or had someone close to them experience a battler or loss due to colorectal cancer. These participants created a digital story, a clip in which they share their experience during these times and the way colorectal cancer affected their lives. This is with the purpose to show their experiences to members of their communities and urge them to become screened because they can connect to the stories they are seeing. The overall goal of our research […]

Taylor Osman

This summer, under the guidance of my mentors, Professor Alison Gopnik and PhD student Mariel Goddu, I will be working with preschool-age kids to investigate how children select causally relevant variables in order to understand the world. Young children seem particularly good at recognizing, with very little evidence, what variables are casually relevant in a system, or in other words, what variables bring about some effect in a system. At preschools and museums, like the Bay Area Discovery Museum or the Lawrence Hall of Science, we have kids, with the permission of their parents, participate in studies that are engaging for them, like ones that center around turtles or magical wizards. Because children are often capable of discerning patterns before they are able put this understanding into words, we try to design studies that pick up on the amazing abilities kids have to understand the world — abilities that often […]

Nicole-Hadassah Valdez

I have been researching for the Fisher Center for the past academic year and am continuing on a new project. I am preparing an accepted paper for publication with revisions and furthering research on the integration of real and financial markets. Working off of N.N. Taleb’s “Black Swan”, the paper compares the boom and busts from 1800-1940’s to the recent 2007-2008 global financial crisis. The paper is solution-based and discusses possible remedies and strategies for the modern, global economy.

Kaitlin Allerton

The California Floristic Province is a biodiversity hotspot, and around 30% of its plant species are endemic, so this is a special place for botanical exploration. My mentor’s project studies the Evolutionary Ecology of Rock Daisies. Over the past year, through URAP, I have learned molecular techniques involving DNA extraction, ITS, PCR and gel electrophoresis. The URAP summer stipend award will allow me to continue with what I have learned this past year as well as gain new insights into the next stage of analysis: develop an understanding of phylogenetic relationships. One of the aims and impactful aspects of this research is to help inform conservation efforts.

Joel Rojas

As a research assistant for the Pacific Islander Task Force, I will continue to conduct quantitative data analysis on Maternal and Infant health data concerning mothers’ social demographics, health insurance, and health status. Our goal for this research project is to highlight the significant health disparities among Asian American and Pacific Islander mothers in the Bay Area counties of San Francisco, Alameda, and San Mateo through data disaggregation. My research not only shows the systematic causes of public health disparities but also inspires local and state departments of Public Health to effectively use our research to contribute in organizing and implementing government programs that address these public health disparities in the long run.

Robert Wang

Alternative splicing is a phenomenon that allows for a single gene to encode multiple gene products, contributing to the large diversity of proteins encoded by the genomes of more complex organisms such as humans. Genetic mutations that disrupt splicing mechanisms are among the leading causes of human hereditary disorders. However, current approaches for determining the effects of such genetic mutations on alternative splicing are not well defined. My project uses machine learning methods on genomic features to predict the impact of variants on human alternative splicing. These predictions may be used in various applications, from diagnosing genetic diseases to informing gene-editing experiments.

Lauren Tabor

I work within the Fleiszig laboratory, which focuses on Pseudomonas eye infections. This summer, I will be studying the role of specific genes within the pqq operon, an operon formerly known to be involved in ethanol oxidation. I will be exploring the unknown role of this operon in facilitating antimicrobial resistance when Pseudomonas is grown in tear fluid.