Haley Willis

The Human Rights Investigations Lab at HRC Berkeley is one of the first of its kind, working with Amnesty International’s Digital Verification Corps and three other partner universities to collect evidence of human rights abuses. My summer research involves continuing this process of discovering and verifying social media content, coming out of places such as Syria, to be used in human rights reports and legal cases. I work to verify social media users, identify weapons, and geolocate video and images found on the Internet that can be provided as evidence. I am also working to develop a guidebook and framework for other institutions looking to perform similar research with open source investigations in the future.

Roshni Patel

Phenylketonuria is an inherited metabolic disorder that affects 1 in 10000 newborns every year. Left undiagnosed and untreated, phenylketonuria can cause severe neurological impairment. My project uses machine learning methods on genotypic data to predict the phenotypic impact of genetic mutations. These predictions can supplement current methods used to screen newborns for phenylketonuria.

Alyson Kishi

The aim of this study is to quantify the relationship between stereopsis (the ability to see depth) and the ability to precisely grasp an object. We will present objects in a frontal view that minimizes other cues to their shape and ask participants to reach and pick up the objects while recording their hand movements. It is our hope that the study will illuminate our understanding of how stereopsis benefits manual tasks and provide a basis for therapies that improve binocular function and depth perception.

Cyrus Ruediger

Organisms are continually faced by a variety of external and internal stressors, which often both contribute to and are exacerbated by the aging process and associated pathologies. Our lab uncovered an age-dependent switch in the contributions of the C. elegans JNK protein KGB-1 to stress resistance, providing protection in larvae, but reducing resistance and shortening lifespan in adults. This switch is associated with age-dependent regulation of the longevity and stress resistance associated transcription factor DAF-16/FOXO. I am working to understand the protective effects of KGB-1 and the nature of KGB-1’s interaction(s) with DAF-16, with the goal of improving our understanding of how cellular and organism level stress responses change with age.

Adele Wallrich

The Urban Bee Lab creates partnerships with farmers to research ways that farms can attract native bees, such as implementing sustainable plant habitat, in an effort to supplement honey bee pollination. With colony collapse disorder decimating honey bee populations, it is crucial to study our native Californian bees, of which there are over 1,500 species. This summer, we are continuing to process and database our bee collections, assemble papers and deliverables, and do fieldwork at our agricultural/urban sites.

Amir-Ala Mahmoud

TLx1 and Nkx2.5 are transcription factors that are essential regulators of early spleen development. In order to better understand how conditions such as incomplete congenital asplenia, and other aberrations of the spleen develop, better understanding the effects of these transcription factors on development is necessary. In order to do so I am generating spleen cell lines from both human fetuses and mouse embryos that are deficient in Tlx1 and Nkx2.5 by conducting genome editing through the CRISPR-cas9 platform. Upon achieving this I will be able to understand specifically how these transcription factors function and their relationship to congenital disease.