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.

Soil Health across Diversified Farms in Yolo County, CA"

I am passionate about working on issues of climate justice and climate change, focusing on synergies between the natural and built environment–specifically land remediation. Having previously created maps of farms located in Yolo County, this summer I will continue my apprenticeship by sampling and processing farmers’ soil in order to learn about soil health and farmers’ practices.

...Read More about Zeltzin Angon

Researching the Cellular Processes of Powdery Mildews"

This summer, I will be finishing up my year-long honors project. My project involves the overexpression of powdery mildew-secreted effector proteins in seedlings of its plant host. My mentor and I hypothesize that these effector proteins are causing a crucial process called endoreduplicaiton to occur in plant host cells, so my project allows us to test this hypothesis.

...Read More about Elizabeth Applegate

Past Imperial Foodways at the City of Huari (AD600-1000): Experimental Archaeology of Bean Identification"

This project is a crucial part of the Past Imperial Foodways project in the McCown Archaeobotanical Laboratory at UC Berkeley. Over the past year, we have discovered that a major component of the diet in the early urban environment of Huari (capital of the Wari State of the highland Andes, South America) is the bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). This is a rare discovery in archaeological sites in the Americas, where we are certain that beans were important to pre-hispanic society, but because beans are typically valuable food that is soaked and boiled, they do not preserve well in the archaeological record. In order to understand why we have found beans as a majority of carbonized plant remains at the site, we must engage in experiments of processing, cooking, and burning a variety of beans and taking Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) images for comparing modern reference beans and archaeological specimens. We intend […]

...Read More about Clarissa Baskin

Spatial phylogenetics of native vascular plants in the Mojave National Preserve"

Biodiversity is essential for providing ecosystem services to humans in addition to supporting ecological networks. While conservation efforts have prioritized protecting biodiversity hotspots in recent years, desert biomes remain undervalued, even as climate change threatens dryland ecosystems. For the past two semesters, I have worked on a project which seeks to better understand how environmental variables have shaped evolutionary processes underlying biogeographical patterns of native vascular plant communities in the Mojave National Preserve. This summer, I will learn wet lab techniques to extract and sequence genetic information from the specimens I collected during a field survey, which I will use to construct a phylogenetic tree of the plants in my study site. Additionally, I will apply geospatial techniques to analyze species occurrence data in order to determine the extent to which abiotic components influence the distribution of organisms within this ecosystem.

...Read More about Dean Berkowitz

Exploring the Urban-Rural Divide via Social Media Analysis"

I will distill Tweets from 10 different individuals and organizations that are recognized as leaders in the alternative food movement in regards to how they (or how they fail to) mention, portray, and discuss farmers and their contributions to the food system.

...Read More about Luke Birdsong

Health Effects of Identity Denial"

This summer, I will be piloting a study on the mental and physical health effects of identity denial among people with marginalized identities. I hope to analyze the effects of downplaying a visible marginalized identity and how this can have detrimental health consequences. I will also continue assisting graduate students and Professor Jacoby-Senghor with their various lab projects throughout the summer.

...Read More about Brianna Blair

Methyl Halide Pollution - Emphasis on Chloroform in Drinking Water"

This summer I will be studying chloroform pollution in drinking water around the UC Berkeley campus. Initial measurements of chloroform in water near campus indicate that while chloroform levels don’t surpass legal requirements, they may surpass recommended health limits. Therefore, I will spend this summer researching the extent of this pollution and evaluating the hazards in reference to previously established legal limits. I will expand on this by addressing how homeowners can most effectively reduce chloroform in drinking water through cheap methods, such as using Brita filters.

...Read More about Ryan Bowers

Quantifying Sleep-Related Gene Expression in Cassiopea Jellyfish"

This summer, I will work towards understanding why Jellyfish exhibit sleep-like behavior from a gene-expression standpoint. The frequency in which genes are expressed can give us insight into the biological mechanisms in many organisms. For the Cassiopea jellyfish, I intend to explore the genetic basis behind sleep by measuring how certain genes, specifically sleep-related genes, are expressed. So far, I have used cloning and sequencing techniques to confirm the presence of genes such as those involved in monitoring sleep/wakefulness, stress responses, and biosynthesis. Over the summer, I plan on building on this foundation by using quantitative PCR to understand how the expression of these genes may vary from a wakeful vs sleep-like state or from a rested vs sleep deprived state. By understanding sleep in an organism from an early branching lineage, such as the Cassiopea, we can have a stronger understanding of the primitive functions of sleep across animals.

...Read More about Henry Chen

Cloning of Putative Tardigrade Ice-Binding Proteins"

My mentor’s project aims to develop tardigrades (also known as water bears) as a model for physiological adaptations to freezing, specifically investigating molecular mechanisms for cold tolerance. One suspected mechanism that tardigrades may use is making antifreeze proteins that bind ice crystals to prevent their further growth. So far, several possible ice-binding proteins have been identified. I will be working on cloning the genes for these proteins into E. coli, where over-expressing the genes will generate amounts of proteins that, when purified, can be assayed to figure out if they do indeed bind to ice, and if so, how.

...Read More about Kylie Cheng

Trust and Technology"

This summer, I will be running laboratory and field experiments to understand what makes people willing to share their personal information with machines (or other humans). We are trying to understand whether things such as the mode of communication affect how humans build trust with one another or machines. Accordingly, one of the primary experimental manipulations we will be testing for is whether people are talking or writing with the other machine/human, how that affects the trust-building process and consequently how much personal information they share.

...Read More about Naz Dundar

Research Assistant in the California Archaeology Laboratory"

This summer I will be working on various projects in the California Archaeology Lab. The Cal Lab performs research on archaeological materials from various sites, predominantly in California. This past year I have been working on projects from sites in the Oregon Great Basin and on the Santa Cruz coastline under the guidance of PhD students Gabriel Sanchez and Michael Grone. This summer, I will continue working on the Santa Cruz projects in the lab and there is also prospect of working out in the field performing survey and excavation on the northern coast of Santa Cruz County. Archaeological projects like these uncover critical ancient tribal knowledge and practices that can help contribute to critical conservation efforts and local tribal revitalization.

...Read More about Kathryn Field

Historical Sociology"

I will be researching race movements in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s including the Civil Rights movement, the Black student movement, the Chicano, Native American, and Asian American movements of the late 1960s, and the white reaction to these movements.

...Read More about Bernard Gburek

Sustainable Groundwater Management"

Water is a precious resource in California and in many Western states, but it often hasn’t been managed as such. Impacts of overuse on surface water are easy to see, but groundwater, which occupies the spaces between pieces of rock and soil underground, is more easily overlooked. In 2014, California passed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, SGMA, which recognized the detrimental effects of withdrawing too much groundwater and set out a plan for local sustainable management of underground water sources, called aquifers. The research I contribute to aims to help groundwater managers implement SGMA by providing them with information about groundwater recharge projects already in place across the West. These recharge projects, which increase the amount of water returning to an aquifer, vary significantly in their scope, management, history, and physical and legal constraints. By analyzing each project, we can provide groundwater managers with different options so that they can […]

...Read More about Phoebe Goulden

Understanding Sports (NBA/MLB/NFL) Ticket Prices"

This summer I will continue the research I have been a part of since Fall 2017, primarily working on updating and refining the code used to gather and query data. Additionally, my group has been collecting additional data from a variety of sources to try and see how different factors ranging from weather and air quality to availability of housing affect consumer ticket value and how much of that ticket value we can attribute to each of those factors.

...Read More about Cheenar Gupte

Measurement of Degradation of Historical Sound Records Due to Physical Wear"

Even in the face of overwhelming digital documentation, the majority of audio in the historical record is still stored on physical sources. The Project IRENE team is working to save these valuable recordings using non-contact digital imaging and analysis. Wax cylinder recordings, produced between 1888-1902, were the first commercially viable recordings and often used to record inventors, scientists, linguists, and early musical recordings. This process of transcribing audio is exact and delicate, which has made the preservation of these mediums a difficult challenge. Wax cylinders are of particular interest for preservationists because the wax they are formed from suggests a greater susceptibility to wear. If using a stylus to physically playback these recordings could be to the detriment of the cylinder, perhaps alternate methods of sound recovery should be utilized instead. With the help of my mentors, Carl Haber and Earl Cornell at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, I aim to […]

...Read More about Melanie Hamaguchi

The Role of Lactate in Exercise-Induced Hyperventilation"

During Exercise, there is an increased demand for energy. To produce energy required to perform work and sustain physical activity, respiration must match the elevated metabolic demand. Although the signaling mechanisms is unknown for the acute ventilatory response to exercise, lactate is known to accumulate in the blood stream. To determine lactate’s role as a chemical signal, I will be conducting behavioral experiments to assay whether lactate and other metabolites play a key role in exercise-induced hyperventilation through activation of the carotid body. I will be doing treadmill experiments as well as whole animal plethysmography to assay lactate’s role in increasing ventilation.

...Read More about Homza Hireed

Individual and Social Decision-Making Across the Lifespan"

This summer I will be working on analyzing neurological data from consumer memory studies aimed at differentiating between and better understanding the neurological processes that occur during decision-making in the human brain.

...Read More about Siyana Hristova

Determining the Sex Ratio of Mosses"

This summer, I will be participating in both wet lab and dry lab research. While I extract and compile genetic data from moss samples, I will be performing statistical analysis and creating data visualizations for the genetic sex data of the moss samples. Further, I will be also attending the Botany conference in July to present on the undergraduate lab experience with data science and how to apply the principles of the discipline to botanical research.

...Read More about Jordan Jomsky

Field School at Nemea, Greece"

This summer, I will be continuing my work with the Nemea Center by helping on their ongoing excavation in Nemea, Greece. We will be excavating at the cemetery of Aidonia as well as doing conservation work and assisting in the museum. The artifacts at this site range from prehistoric to Byzantine periods, so it is really helpful for learning more about a broad range of history.

...Read More about Emily Kinnaman

Study of Lactate Supplementation on Recovery from Traumatic Brain Injury"

My project seeks to understand the major metabolic pathways such as gluconeogenesis and how they respond to lactate supplementation in rats that have been subjected to traumatic brain injury (TBI). I am specifically working on developing and running assays with the Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometer using isotope tracers to track important analytes as they progress through these pathways. This work will hopefully impact standard of care in individuals recovering from TBI.

...Read More about Anika Kumar