Fellowship Winners

URAP students who have worked with the same URAP mentor for at least two semesters are eligible to be nominated for the URAP summer stipend to continue their work for five weeks over the summer. Calls for nominations go out to mentors each spring.

Field Testing of RNAi-Based Technology "

Powdery mildew is the most common pathogen of grapevine. Many of the current fungicides used to control powdery mildew on grapevines have been standards in the industry for a long time, an are becoming less effective due to powdery mildew developing resistances. This summer the Wildermuth lab will be conducting vineyard field testing to test the efficacy of topical RNAi technology to control powdery mildew. My research for this summer specifically includes topical application of the lab’s RNAi technology, data collection, and the possible discovery of new RNAi targets for powdery mildew control.

...Read More about Michael Alexander

Ballistospore Dispersal In the Phyllosphere"

Yeast are an important part of the leaf microbiome. A particular clade of phyllosphere yeast is known to form structures called ballistospores, which use a catapult-like launching mechanism to disperse. This enhanced dispersal is thought to play an important role in shaping the assembly and ecological dynamics of the leaf microbiome. In my study, I aim to quantify the dispersal patterns of a common foliar yeast, Sporobolomyces nylandii, to model the effect of ballistospore dispersal in leaf microbial communities. In addition, I investigate how co-dispersal of yeast and various phyllosphere bacteria may occur via bacterial hitch-hiking on ballistospores.

...Read More about Anika Bansal

Berkeley Judicial Institute"

The Berkeley Judicial Institute (BJI) fills a long-standing need to establish an effective bridge between the legal academy and the judiciary for the primary purpose of promoting judicial integrity and judicial independence. The BJI also focuses on supporting and expanding innovation in education for and about the judiciary, and developing best practices for efficient case management and judicial administration. These goals are achieved through various events that connect judges, students, law school faculty, and other professionals, alongside research that helps educate the community.  

...Read More about Gabriella Biscocho

Comparative effectiveness of health coaching and technology interventions on patients with uncontrolled hypertension"

Our comparative effectiveness study is a randomized controlled trial examining effectiveness of student health coaching and technology interventions on patients with uncontrolled hypertension. Hypertension is one of the world’s leading chronic illnesses, is significantly correlated to cardiovascular diseases risk factors, yet lack sufficient research on effective interventions, especially in the field of health coaching and technology. This study, sponsored by the JTSSF foundation, has been going on over the past few years and we are aiming to work on the last cohort of baseline, 6-month, and 9-month survey datasets this summer. In addition to leading the data team on performing exploratory and comparative analyses, I am working with Dr. Ivey MD, MHSA, Morgan Vien MPH, and the team on our manuscript over the summer.

...Read More about Bocheng (Brandon) Cai

COVID-19 and shifts in Legal Consciousness "

This summer, I will be continuing my research on the project – Making Publics in Public Health. The goal is to intertwine my interest in public health and law. The research concerns how information about health and disease is created, how it is provided to the news media, how this information reaches general audiences, and how people respond to it. I am particularly interested in asking about shifts in legal consciousness during the pandemic, how laypeople people enact the law in their daily lives, and the use of written law to enforce mandates.

...Read More about Nicole Carrasco

NucScholar"

NucScholar is a framework in development that utilizes Natural Language Processing (NLP) to automatically retrieve, categorize, and recommend nuclear science papers. It aims to fully automate the workflow for nuclear science literature searches to improve efficiency in the nuclear data pipeline. In this effort, accurate and comprehensive categorization and labeling of nuclear research papers is crucial for recommendations to be specific and relevant. As such, my work involves implementing NLP techniques such as topic modeling and classification to efficiently label nuclear research papers.

...Read More about Char Juin Chin

Use of Design Thinking by Product Managers and their Teams"

Over the past two semesters, I’ve used unsupervised learning algorithms to cluster product manager (PM) survey responses to provide actionable insights about customer empathy. This summer, I will be improving clustering algorithms using BERT, a language model that provides context using surrounding words. I will be applying these new methods to study alignment between PMs and their teams by analyzing teaming responses across companies from different sectors. To examine the contribution of design thinking to the workplace, we hope to utilize these models to identify gaps between product manager and teaming alignment.

...Read More about Christopher Chou

Harvard/UNC Amicus Brief & EdX Course Development "

I will focus on two summer research projects. First, I will continue working on an amicus brief in the Harvard/UNC affirmative action case. This research opportunity allows me to dive into the history of the diversity justification for affirmative action. Second, I will continue to research the lectures and discussions among global equality experts to incorporate into Berkeley EdX MOOC courses, which will directly contribute to my learning of the diversity of world-wide views of scholars of comparative equality law, particularly on the global #MeToo movement.

...Read More about Megan Cistulli

Community Accountable & Low Impact Archaeology"

My research in the Bear Bones Lab focuses on collaborative archaeology that is stake-holder accountable with an emphasis in low impact remote sensing techniques that support community goals. Low impact methodologies are a high priority to many communities, particularly indigenous groups, these technologies allow them to have more control over their heritage. Archaeology has been a tool of colonialism, but through collaboration with indigenous groups we use it as a tool of social justice. I will continue to research remote sensing methodologies and engage with our tribal partners over Summer.

...Read More about Louis Curson-Mayorga

History Making at Fort Omoa, Honduras"

My task this summer is to put together the history of events that created the archaeological site that was excavated at the San Fernando de Omoa Fortress in Honduras. I will do this by working with the original records of excavation where students recorded their own observations and differences of buried soils of different points, color, and textures of the site. This will help to identify periods when building and burning of the town took place and when the conversion of the fort to a modern hospital in the twentieth century happened.

...Read More about Cristian Figueroa

Help-Seeking Cost Considerations in Children Age 2 to 4"

This summer, I will be continuing my work in the Social Origins Lab helping to conduct two studies that investigate whether children prefer to do something on their own or seek help if they have both options. In our first study, we have a room with two identical machines behind curtains, and we present children with a tool which they can insert into the machine themselves to get a prize when one of the curtains is open, or give to a helper to insert for them to get a prize when both curtains are closed. In our second study, one machine will have a cost associated with inserting the tool to get the prize, and we will investigate whether this perceived cost affects help-seeking behavior compared to the first study. Our aim is to investigate and compare this help-seeking behavior and determine whether it changes during development.

...Read More about Ella Grosel

Uplifting Sagas: The Top Half of Women's Liberation"

This summer I will be working with sociologist and writer Sarah Thornton on her upcoming book project, “Uplifting Sagas: The Top Half of Women’s Liberation.” Engaging with an intersectional study of feminist theories, deep dives into histories of world cultures and representations of the breast, and ethnographic interviews with a diverse number of figures from a variety of fields, this book endeavors to reveal the breast as an integral part of women’s liberation. I will be reviewing and transcribing interviews in addition to conducting targeted independent historical research to serve as an aid to the process.

...Read More about Snow Guilfoyle

Using the Endogenous Tagging of B-catenin in Zebrafish to Study WNT Signaling Pathways Implicated in Colon Cancer"

WNT signaling pathways are pattern-forming, cell signaling cascades that are significant drivers in embryogenesis, cell development, homeostasis, and tumorigenesis. They involve a major component, a protein called B-catenin, which is implicated downstream in colorectal cancer cell lines. This summer, I will be utilizing genome editing tools and live-organism imaging to study the endogenous form of B-catenin in canonical WNT signaling, by inserting fluorescent proteins into the gene, with the intention to quantify and further understand the protein’s roles in a live organism.

...Read More about Erin Hong

Use of Design Thinking by Product Managers and their Teams"

Design thinking is a popularized approach for product managers (PM) to innovate new products, consisting of various stages such as empathizing with users, ideating, and testing prototypes. Previously in the past two semesters, I used unsupervised learning algorithms to cluster data from PMs to identify themes in the “testing and experimentation” phase. This summer, I’ll be improving upon clustering algorithms from natural language processing using BERT, a context-sensitive, word embedding model. We will use these algorithms to conduct a data analysis to evaluate congruency across PMs and their teams. In conjunction with previous work, our goal is to understand the contribution of “design thinking” to how PMs and their teams formulate new products in the real world.  

...Read More about Nick Jiang

ATLAS Hardware Research & Development"

A major upgrade of the ATLAS detector is planned, with installation in the second half of this decade. The powerboards, a component of the planned replacement of the ATLAS tracking detector, are printed circuit boards built from a flexible polyamide core and loaded with SMDs and bare die components and chips. Together with Zhicai Zhang, we have developed a massive test crate that is able to perform electrical and thermal tests on 200 powerboards at one time. This summer, we will further develop the interlock system for this crate, and work on upgrading the ATLAS Inner Tracking detector (ITk).

...Read More about Samantha Kelly

Characterization of Small GTPase Regulator Plekhg7 on Xenopus"

Many birth defects arise from flaws in cell behaviors that drive normal tissue organization, such as prevalent cases of neural tube defects and craniofacial defects. We can point to several examples where a specific morphogenetic event is ultimately regulated by the expression of genes that encode regulators of small GTPases, particularly Rho. Plekhg5 is a member of the Plekhg family with a role in apical constriction during Bottle Cell formation (Popov et al., 2018). These cells are involved in the process of gastrulation and their shape is essential for their role during involution (Lee et al., 2008). We will be working on the ongoing characterization of another member of the family, Plekhg7. Preliminary data acquired this year in the lab suggests a role on the nervous system, especially eye formation and most anterior structures of the CNS, according to the spatio-temporal localization of its mRNA, as revealed by WISH. During […]

...Read More about Damian Kim

The History of Contraception and Abortion in the United States"

Recent political tensions have been threatening the validity of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 supreme court decision that have constitutionally protected abortion rights for nearly half of a century. However, reproductive justice concerns not only the legal right to not have a child but also the fundamental human right to sexual and reproductive autonomy. This project investigates the history of contraception and abortion in the United States and how the American experience of sexual and reproductive choice differs along racial, gender, and socioeconomic lines. This summer, I will assist the founder of UC Berkeley’s Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice, Professor Kristin Luker on her upcoming book on this subject. My tasks will comprise of synthesizing literature, reviewing research papers, and performing both qualitative and quantitative data collection. Our team also plans to resume collaboration with the Human Rights Center or continue working on other projects relevant to reproductive […]

...Read More about Yoony Lee

Exercise Metabolism: The Effects of Physical Fitness on Metabolism in Aging"

The body’s metabolism is highly regulated by the balance of energy derived from different fuel sources in the body. This summer, I will be investigating how age, physical fitness level, and gender impact metabolic flexibility and how lactate plays a role in the process. Subjects will participate in an exercise stress test and receive cardiopulmonary assessments, as well as biochemical analyses of muscle and fat. From this data, we hope to extract information about how fitness level affects the body’s ability to alter metabolism in response to available fuel during exercise.

...Read More about Kayla Lee

Developing Causal Relations"

For my project this summer, I am researching how children, specifically ages 4-6, form causal relations. I am trying to understand what leads a child to gather information through interaction with their environment, and how they learn to use the information that they gather to inform future decisions that they make. In order to do this, I am using virtual blicket detector, which is a machine which requires the presence of certain objects placed on top, which act as keys allowing the machine to turn on. Children, through interaction, investigation and play with the machine, are then asked which objects are used to turn the machine on, and whether the machine resembles one of two possible previously shown machines, which helps us understand their thought process while they play with the machine and gives us insight as to how their interaction with the machine informs their decision.

...Read More about Zane Levine

Alternants and Typos Effects on Chatbots' Perceived Humanness"

As chatbots become more prevalent in many industries today, it is important to understand how people perceive and interact with this new innovation. This summer I will be conducting a study exploring how the implementation of alternants (i.e. “ahh” and “hmm”) and typos affect chatbots’ perceived humanness. Some dependent variables I will be exploring include the perception of the chatbot’s warmth, perception of helpfulness, favorable impression of a company, likeliness of future use, and perceived competence. From this research, we hope to gain a deeper understanding of the implications of this technology on today’s society.

...Read More about Kwan Limbhasut