Microfluidics and Alzheimer's Disease: A Device to Study the Amyloid Beta Protein

Current Bio: After graduation, Celia spent a year researching abroad at Imperial College London, funded by the Whitaker Fellowship in biomedical engineering. In August 2016, she started medical school at UC Irvine, and is expected to graduate in June 2021. Currently, she is taking a year off to do more bioengineering research, but eventually plans to enter medical residency for pediatrics. Her passion is both for clinical practice as well as finding engineering solutions to unmet clinical needs. Haas Scholars Project: Alzheimers disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, affecting over 5 million people aged 65 and older. The disease is defined pathologically by the aggregation of the amyloid beta (AB) peptide, forming abnormal clumps of protein in the brain. Understanding the environmental conditions that cause or inhibit the aggregation of AB is crucial for developing new methods of treatment and drug candidates for Alzheimers. […]

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Making Synthetic Chemistry Greener: More Sustainable Processes via Catalysis with New Transition Metal Compounds

Catalysis, a critical field in synthetic chemistry, reduces the release of hazardous chemicals into the environment by decreasing the amount of reagents needed for chemical synthesis on industrial scales. Laurens research will investigate more sustainable methods of conducting chemical synthesis via the study of a new class of transition metal complexes based on niobium. In addition to being more sustainable than many alternate catalysts, niobium costs much less than other potential transition metals. With the collaboration of the Arnold Lab, Lauren will develop catalytic reactivity with the aim of synthesizing unique catalysts for important organic reactions while simultaneously reducing the amount of hazardous materials generated in chemical research.

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Transition Metal Dichalcogenides: The Next Generation Transistor Materials

Transistors are the most fundamental building blocks of modern electronic devices. They perform various functions that range from logic operations to voltage regulations. Since their creation, researchers in the field have devoted significant effort to shrinking down the size of transistors, as transistor scaling provides many desirable benefits, including cost reduction and higher computational power per chip. However, the minimum feature size of modern transistors is already in the nano-scale range, and we are approaching a scaling limit that cannot be overcome with conventional transistor designs. Exploratory research is needed to develop new materials systems that can replace silicon, the most widely used material in transistors. Theoretical studies have shown that transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs) could be promising candidates for next generation electronics, and Louis aims to demonstrate their electronic applications experimentally.

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Cathodal Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation of Prefrontal Cortex: Examining Effects on Causal Learning

Children acquire complex knowledge about the world despite severely limited evidence available to them. While both children and adults use learned biases as a useful learning mechanism, children’s relatively small amount of prior knowledge results in fewer constraints on their hypothesis space as well as more open-minded approaches when considering possible causal relations. The prefrontal cortex of the brain is home to most executive functions that govern learning, yet the frontal lobes are the last area of the brain to fully develop. The eventual maturation of the prefrontal cortex builds and prunes neuronal synapses based on experience in an individuals life, thus constraining the hypothesis space of adult learners. Bridget’s research uses neurostimulation (tDCS) to lower activity in the prefrontal cortex of adults while they participate in a cognitive learning task to investigate whether this will reduce the biases of adults, allowing them to be more open-minded learners.

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