Lucian DiPeso

Pyroptosis is a poorly understood mode of cell suicide, one that functions as an alarm bell for the bodys immune system in response to infection. Though beneficial when properly regulated, the rapid immune response triggered by pyroptosis can, itself, produce disease and dysfunction. Pyroptosis has been identified as a possible contributor to cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and some neurodegenerative disorders. Understanding pyroptosis, then, could lead to novel treatments for a variety of human diseases. Unfortunately, despite ten years of research, uncovering how it precisely works has proven to be an elusive task. Lucian will use a novel microscopic imaging system he developed in order to characterize pyroptosis and rigorously test the fields leading hypothesis on how pyroptosis causes cell death.

Victor Chen

Actinomycetes, filamentous soil bacteria, have been the single richest source of medicinally relevant natural products, whose applications include anticancer agents, antifungal agents and antibiotics. However, actinomycetes still hold great potential for novel metabolite discovery. This is because the way they are typically grown in the laboratory fails to mimic cues in their natural environments that potentially induce the synthesis of novel metabolites. During this project, Victor will place actinomycetes in ecologically relevant contexts by reintroducing them to bacteria they would naturally encounter, in binary interactions, and subsequently analyze the metabolites produced. In addition, he aims to characterize the microbial community structure in root nodules and analyze their metabolites to discover possible mechanisms of interaction within the nodules. This project will incorporate genomics, analytical chemistry, and ecology towards metabolite discovery.

Maritza Cárdenas

Dengue virus (DENV) is a mosquito-borne virus with four distinct serotypes. Primary infection by any of the four serotypes may result in dengue fever or, in severe cases, progress to dengue hemorrhagic fever/dengue shock syndrome. Recent studies have challenged dogma in the dengue field by finding that serotype-cross-reactive neutralizing antibody titers in serum of children in a cohort study in Nicaragua increased marginally in the time between primary and secondary DENV infection rather than decreasing over time, implying re-exposure to DENV. Maritza will use a novel method the Quad-color Fluorospotto investigate whether homotypic and heterotypic boosting observed previously in serum is also seen in memory B cells obtained from dengue cohort participants from Nicaragua. Her work will have important implications for both natural immunity and dengue vaccine efficacy over time.

Geun Ho Ahn

Strain engineering is a ubiquitous technique utilized in the semiconductor industry to modulate and engineer the properties of semiconducting electronic materials. Various processes such as advanced high performance transistors, solid-state lasers, and integrated circuits adopt strain engineering to further optimize their performance. Simultaneously, two dimensional transition metal dichacogenides (TMDCs) have demonstrated their great potentials as the next optoelectronics and extremely scaled electronics; they can be scaled down to the atomic limit to be used for electronics. However, to date the merits of strain engineering have not been sufficiently employed nor explored in the field of TMDC-based scaled optoelectronics. Geun Ho aims to expand the strain engineering of TMDCs, and perform systematic experimental studies of strained TMDCs in order to optimize their optoelectronic performances.

Albert Kim

It is not yet known what causes autism spectrum disorder (ASD) on a molecular level, but recently, 65 ASD risk genes have been identified by a lab at UCSF. Albert is focusing on one of these genes, called Neurexin 1. He will be using CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing to knock out Nrxn1 in Xenopus tropicalis frogs and observing the phenotypic effects, such as increases and reductions in cell proliferation and differentiation as well as changes in regulation of other neural genes. Alberts goal is to illuminate the roles of this gene in healthy neurodevelopment to gain insight into how a mutation can lead to ASD. This research project will develop the groundwork for investigating other autism genes, taking us closer to defining the molecular biological etiology of ASD.

Dan Ferenc Segedin

In many materials, the application of an electric field leads to a separation of positive and negative charges, inducing a polarization in the material. In ferroelectrics, such a polarization exists in the material without the application of an external field. Analogously, the alignment of electron spins in ferromagnetic materials results in a magnetic polarization in the absence of an external magnetic field. Bismuth ferrite (BiFeO3) is a rare material in which both of these states exist at room temperature and are coupled: applying an external electric field can switch the magnetization and vice-versa. Using pulsed laser deposition, Dan will synthesize ultrathin films of BiFeO3 and aims to demonstrate reversible switching between the materials structural ground states; functionality that has the potential to be used in next-generation low-power memory storage devices.

Caleb Choy

Glioblastoma is the most common, malignant primary brain tumor with a median survival time of fifteen months. Single tumor cells escape surgical resection and become resistant to radiation and chemotherapy by spreading into microenvironments that support viability. Caleb is focusing on two specific proteins: CD44 (a cell-surface glycoprotein that directly links with the cell cytoskeleton) and Src kinase (involved in the upregulation of signaling pathways)both of which promote the tumors invasion. CD44 interacts with Src activity to control actin proteins that form microfilaments fundamental to cell shape, division, and motility. Caleb is determining whether CD44-mediated invasion (through direct linkage to the cytoskeleton) or Src kinase signaling is more fundamental to glioblastoma, an essential question toward deriving future therapies. Ex vivo experimentation will uncover the importance of this CD44-Src complex.

Jasmine Jan

Current Bio: Jasmine is a first year MS/PhD at Berkeley in EECS. Haas Scholars Project: One focus of point-of-care devices is to improve accessibility of essential diagnostic tools by utilizing miniaturized, accurate and low-cost optical systems. Printed organic optoelectronics are one such technology that have the potential to improve the optical sensing schemes of these systems. Because organic optoelectronics are processed in solution, they can be easily scaled for large-area manufacturing and roll-to-roll processing, leading to low-production costs. Jasmine aims to design a point-of-care device utilizing printed optoelectronics for fluorescent biomarker sensing and demonstrate the efficacy of this system on procalcitonin, which has been shown to be a useful biomarker for managing antibacterial treatment. Her goal is to demonstrate the use of printed optoelectronics for point-of-care applications as a cheap alternative to current optical sensing systems

Andre Lai

Characterizing the relationship between every cell type is necessary for understanding the human body and advancing human medicine. One major technological hurdle involves the ability to isolate, manipulate, and analyze individual cells in a high-throughput fashion. Existing methods are plagued by low cell capture efficiency and limited user control. For his project, Andre aims to design, fabricate, and test a novel microfluidic device that will address these limitations. He will achieve this by incorporating a multiplex design with layered architecture and integrated elastomeric valves to enable complete isolation, imaging, and processing of single cells from any given sample. This technology will be critical for studies of rare or precious tissue samples and will contribute vitally to the larger biomedical research effort to catalog and study every cell in the human body.

Caolan John

Since last decades discovery of graphene, scientists have searched for its magnetic cousin: a magnetic material that can be cleaved down to a single monolayer thickness. One relatively little-studied family of suitable materials is the transition metal selenophosphates, a class of layered, van der Waals-bonded semiconductor materials. Caolan aims to synthesize single crystals of two members of this family, FePSe3 and NiPSe3, in order to perform magnetization measurements in an effort to understand the role of selenium in determining the direction of magnetic ordering. These materials are exciting candidates for both fundamental research in understanding low-dimensional magnetism and magnetoelectronic device applications such as high density ultrafast magnetic storage.