David H. Nguyen

Activation of the proto-oncogene c-Src, a tyrosine kinase, is evident in major cancers such as breast and colon. C-Src activates substrates that serve important roles in controlling growth, survival and motility of cells. Activation of c-Src is known to cause transformation, the process by which normal cells become cancerous. David seeks to elucidate how v-Src, a viral constitutively active form of c-Src, regulates Protein Kinase Cz (PKCz), which is a protein involved in control of growth and survival. The Martin lab has shown that v-Src can tyrosine-phosphorylate PKCz and that it increases its nuclear localization and kinase activity. David seeks to (1) find possible PKCz nuclear substrates by co-immunoprecipitation followed by protein sequencing, and (2) look for up-regulation of the transcription factor responsive elements known to be regulated by v-Src using luciferase reporter assays on cells transfected with a nuclear-targeted form of PKCz. This work will culminate in an honors […]

Rahul Modi

Current Bio: Rahul is a private practice anesthesiologist. Haas Scholars Project: For his senior honors thesis in Psychology, Rahul will use functional MRI to study how the human frontal lobes integrate information in order to guide motivated behavior. It is well established that the frontal lobes play a critical role in short term (working) memory, a function that enables the online maintenance and mental manipulation of information. This study will build on current knowledge about the human frontal lobes to determine how rewards affect the interaction of the frontal lobes with supporting brain regions, and to draw clear conclusions about the regional specificity of reward processing in the frontal lobes. The results of this study will further our understanding of how rewards influence brain function and the neurological basis of motivation in human memory tasks.

Crystal Liu

The aim of Crystal’s project – the culmination of which will constitute her senior honors thesis in political science – is to discuss whether (and more importantly how) preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) should be regulated. Crystal will be traveling to Washington, DC to address whether the objections behind PGD can be practically dealt with through various types of regulation. By attending meetings for the President’s Council on Bioethics and analyzing their most recent report, “Reproduction & Responsibility: The Regulation of New Biotechnologies,” Crystal will be assessing the effectiveness of using government advisory committees to address the ethical implications of PGD. Crystal will also be interviewing experts from various backgrounds and disciplines to ask for their thoughts on the interim recommendations presented in the Council’s latest report, as well as their thoughts on how to address PGD from a policy-making perspective.

Gary K. Li

With an upsurge of homosexuals under the spotlight of popular culture, the inescapable visibility and representation of queerness leads to the crucial question of whether this ubiquity automatically denotes acceptance or even tolerance. Gary’s project, which will result in his Honors Thesis for American Studies, will delve headlong into the issues surrounding the representation of queerness in popular culture. Utilizing a wide array of theoretical texts including queer theory, popular culture, and advertising theory as his background, Gary will decipher and examine the sitcom Will and Grace and the reality series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, aiming to demystify mainstream medias self-aggrandizing creation of TVs gay heat wave: determining how alternative sexualities are in fact represented to the population and comprehending mass medias new infatuation with hitherto marginalized alternative sexualities.

Jin S. Lee

Why do we live? What is so profound about life that drives us to live? Western philosophy overwhelmingly suggests the answer to be reason. Like Nietzsche, I rather believe the answer has to do with our passions (i.e. emotions). I wish to substantiate this intuition by critically assessing Nietzsche’s main texts, as well as pertinent secondary texts. Based on these investigations, I propose to write an expanded honors thesis in Philosophy that will examine Nietzsche’s insights on the passions, the role the passions have in his overall philosophy, and the relationship between the passions and other important notions (e.g. will to power). The second phase of my project is geared toward moving beyond Nietzsche to examine other thinkers (e.g., Aristotle, Descartes, Spinoza, Hume, Wollheim, etc.) who have made significant contributions in this subject matter, and juxtaposing their thoughts to Nietzsche’s.

Jessica Stevenson-Stewart

Jessica will examine the travel writings and photographic works of Gertrude Bell, an Orientalist scholar who served British intelligence in the Middle East before and after World War I. Bells extensive imperialist project resulted in volumes of writings and photographs that document these archeological and diplomatic expeditions. Addressing how Bell used such representations to validate her scholarly authority, Jessica will study the problems of authorship peculiar to the photographic medium. Taking into account post-structural and post-colonial theories, Jessica will be asking how Bell utilized the mechanistic gaze of the camera to naturalize her own aesthetic judgments, and how her vision was informed by conventions of depicting empire. This project seeks to understand how Bells objective photographic images were used to substantiate her written rhetorical claims, and perhaps how in documenting the people and places of the Orient, Bell may have inadvertently left a trace of herself in these images.

Daniil Prigozhin

Dengue virus (DEN) causes the most widespread life-threatening arboviral disease in humans, with an estimated 2.5 billion people at risk worldwide. Despite the global morbidity and mortality, DEN specific vaccines and therapies currently do not exist, and both protective and pathogenic roles of the immune system in DEN infection need further investigation. The Harris laboratory has recently demonstrated that the interferon (IFN)-dependent immunity is essential and more important than T and B lymphocyte-dependent adaptive immunity in controlling primary DEN infection in mice. IFNs are proteins that are secreted by vertebrate cells. They act as intercellular mediators, and are best known for their ability to confer resistance to viral infections. Daniil will investigate how the IFN-dependent innate immune mechanisms resolve primary DEN infection in mice. Specifically, he will determine the major cellular sources of IFN-___ and IFN-___in T and B cell-deficient mice with primary DEN infection using a variety of immunologic […]

Andrew Pascall

With costly Superfund cleanups making headlines recently, companies have realized that the most financially prudent solution to dispose of hazardous waste is not to produce it at all. In order to reach this goal, new heterogeneous catalysts will need to be developed that have high selectivity and activity in non-hazardous solvents. Andrews project will focus on the Knoevenagel condensation, a reaction important to industries from food additives to textiles. Generally, this reaction is performed in an organic solvent, many of which are carcinogenic. Andrews research will focus on the design and production of imprinted silica-based heterogeneous catalysts that will catalyze the reaction in water, the most environmentally benign solvent known. He will attempt to determine the role played by factors such as the degree of hydrophobicity of the local catalytic environment in making a good Knoevenagel catalyst in water. His project will contribute to the growing field of green chemistry.

Kangying Connie Wu

Twenty-five years of reform in China have impacted virtually all corners of social life. During the Mao era, urban neighborhood mediation committees helped to resolve disputes and conserve social harmony and stability in the cities. Today, the physical and social structures of China’s cities have changed dramatically, raising questions about whether these remnants of the Mao era can continue to play the same role as before. Connie Wu’s research will explore this question by comparing the present role of the mediation committees in traditional, Maoist, and modern neighborhoods of Beijing. Connie will analyze how factors like history, spatial and physical layout of the neighborhood combine with residents’ social class and community ties to affect the residents attitude towards the mediation committees, and the role of mediators in shaping urban life. Connie’s research will shed light on the relationship among extra-legal bodies, social networks, and the development of China’s legal system.

Lorraine M. Wang

The ability of cells to respond to extracellular signals is mediated by signal transduction networks that almost invariably include a cascade of protein kinases. One family of protein kinases that is universally conserved in eukaryotes is called the p21-activated protein kinases (PAKs). The genome of Saccharomyces cerevisiae has revealed a closely related PAK-type protein kinase called Cla4. Cla4 is required for the proper assembly of a novel cytoskeletal structure that is essential for cytokinesis thereby providing an important checkpoint in the highly regulated cell cycle. Lorraine will be investigating the specific roles of each of the known domains in Cla4 in order to fully understand when Cla4 gets localized to specific subcellular destinations, which domains are responsible for this targeting, and when Cla4 commences specific phosphorylation of critical subcellular substrates. By clarifying the role of Cla4 in the cell cycle checkpoint pathway, Lorraine’s studies may provide valuable information for the […]