USciences Undergraduate Scholarship Recipients Showcase Summer Research Projects

By Brian Kirschner

Published on December 13, 2017

Students and Faculty

Sitting (left to right): Borna Novak BC’19, Navya George BMS’18, Timothy Little PhSci’18, Alison Bromley PH/TX’18, Nikita Jain PharmD’19, Leigh Kissinger DPT’21, Kent Pham BI’20, and Zachary Friar C’18. Standing (left to right): Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Zhihong Wang, PhD; Assistant Professor of Medical Sociology  Jessica Sautter, PhD; Provost Peter Miller, PhD;  Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences Anil D’mello, PhD; Faculty Mentor: Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences Isabelle Mercier, PhD; Associate Professor of Biology Bela Peethambaran, PhD; Chairman and benefactor Marvin Samson HonAlm’96, HonDSc’16; Professor of Physical Therapy Greg Thielman, EdD; Assistant Professor of Biology Matthew J. Farber, PhD; Associate Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry Alexander Sidorenko, PhD; and President Paul Katz, MD.

 

In celebration of their summer research projects, USciences faculty mentors and student researchers lunched with benefactor and board of trustees Chairman Marvin Samson HonAlm’96, HonDSc’16 on Dec. 4, 2017. The event was an opportunity to thank Dr. Samson for supporting the USciences Student Undergraduate Research Fund as well as to showcase the work that resulted from the funding.

“Without the USURF program, I would not be where I am today nor would I be the confident student scientist that I am,” said Alison Bromley PH/TX’18 at the luncheon. “The program instilled the values of research within my heart, challenged my weaknesses, my knowledge, and my thought processing to say the least. This program has laid the foundation for my future career, and I hope that other undergraduates have the same positive experience as I did and are encouraged to challenge themselves within the eight week period.”

USURF presentation

Associate Professor of Physics Roberto Ramos, PhD, (right) presents Marvin Sansom HonAlm’96, HonDSc’16 with a recognition plaque for his support of the USURF program that helped students conduct summer research.

 

In total, eight students received scholarships that were put towards furthering research in such areas as cancer treatments, physical therapy, polymers properties, and fertility issues to name a few. The USciences Student Undergraduate Research Fund supports students through the USciences’ Center for Undergraduate Research that is directed by Associate Professor of Physics Roberto Ramos, PhD.

The Center for Undergraduate Research connects undergraduates to the faculty mentors, meaningful projects, and funding required to gain a richer understanding of their disciplines beyond the classroom. https://www.usciences.edu/research/center-undergraduate-research/index.html

Pharmaceutical Sciences
Repurposing of Pimozide, A Neuroleptic Drug, For Treatment of Aggressive Triple Negative Breast Cancer
Alison Bromley
PH/TX’18: “My research focuses on the repurposing of FDA approved antipsychotic drugs for the treatment of aggressive triple negative breast cancer.”
Faculty Mentor: Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences Isabelle Mercier, PhD

Pharmaceutical Sciences
Evaluation of phenylalanine ammonia lyase activity in ethyl cellulose microcapsules
Timothy Little
PhSci’18: “My research is evaluating an enzyme called Phenylalanine ammonia lyase as a possible treatment in the management of phenylketonuria. Our goal is to eventually encapsulate this enzyme and give it orally.”
Faculty Mentor: Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences Anil D’mello, PhD

Chemistry and Biochemistry 
Synthesis and Characterization of Doubly-Responsive, Hydrophilic Polymer CORALs 
Zachary Friar
C’18: “My research explores the nanopatterning of surfaces with grafted diblock copolymers, and examines the responsive nature of the polymers. Grafting of coordinated responsive arrays of polymer islands allows us to control and alter the interfacial properties of a material.”
Faculty Mentor: Associate Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry Alexander Sidorenko, PhD

Biological Sciences
Studying sensitization of Acute Myeloid Leukemia cells to Doxorubicin® using anticancer compounds from Myrothamnus flabellifolius 
Nikita Jain
PharmD’19: “My research focuses on whether a plant extract, Myrothamnus flabellifolius (MF), will be able to sensitize Acute Myeloid Leukemia cells prior to treatment with reduced concentrations of chemotherapy drug Doxorubicin®.”
Faculty Mentor: Associate Professor of Biology Bela Peethambaran, PhD

Behavioral and Social Sciences
Social, environmental, and health system factors associated with infertility and treatment: Exploratory interviews for secondary analyses examining fertility
Navya George
BMS’18: “My research focuses on identifying important social, environmental, and health system factors in the field of fertility/oncofertility through interviews with healthcare providers.”
Faculty Mentor: Assistant Professor of Medical Sociology Jessica Sautter

Biological Sciences
Development of a selective media and methods of detection for Saccharomyces cerevisiae var. diastaticus in the brewery 
Kent Pham
BI’20: “My research focuses on the creation of a new media to detect brewing contaminants, with the goal of developing a technique for breweries to check their yeast stocks for contamination.”
Faculty Mentor: Assistant Professor of Biology Matthew J. Farber, PhD

Physical Therapy
The Effects of Kinesio-Taping and Electrical Stimulation on Upper Extremity Function in Patients status-post CVA 
Leigh Kissinger DPT’21: “My research deals with post stroke human subjects and whether a 12-week moderate intensity training period consisting of cardio, upper/lower extremity, and balance will result in an increase in BDNF-a neurotrophin that is known to help the body.”
Faculty Mentor: Professor of Physical Therapy Greg Thielman, EdD

Biochemistry
Optimization of BRAF FLAG and CFP, CRAF HA and YFP PCR Conditions, Assembly and Transfection into HEK-293 for Live-Cell Imaging 
Borna Novak BC’19: “My research focuses on optimizing the insertion of CFP and YFP DNA sequences into BRAF FLAG and CRAF HA, transfecting HEK – 293 and visualizing the expression of the proteins via microscope and METAFLUOR imaging software.”
Faculty Mentor: Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Zhihong Wang, PhD

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