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Summer Research Scholars

WISE RP Summer Research Scholarships

The WISE RP offers scholarships annualy to WISE RP students seeking to participate in research or internships for the Spring/Summer terms from any college. Recipients have a research/internship commitment of at least 30 hours per week for 10 weeks. The scholarship offers financial support for students to work and live in Ann Arbor over the summer. 

2019 Summer Research Scholars

Andra Campbell

Major: Biochemistry

Project Description: I am continuing my UROP project studying monarch butterflies. Specifically we are studying the genetic basis for migration in monarch butterflies because in monarch butterflies migration is not a learned behavior. We are looking at the correlation between diapause (reproductive pause) and directionality in a fall migrant monarch with the possibility that a single pathway controls both traits. This research helps with the understanding of the evolution of migration as very little is known about it as it is a very complex phenotype to develop evolutionarily. A side project will to be to develop a long range tracker to put on monarch butterflies for future experiments. This project will involve collaboration with engineering departments to develop a tracker that is able to transmit a large enough signal to track but is also small enough to fit on a monarch butterfly.

Summer Goals: I hope to explore what life as a full time researcher entails to help decide whether it is something I want to pursue in the future. I also hope to explore my scientific interests while helping make progress on the project. I'd also like to learn new scientific techniques and data analysis. Lastly, I'd like to start to get an answer to the question posed in my project as I am very excited to see what results because the topic is very interesting to me.

Lesley Escobar

Major: Chemisty

Project Description: Electroorganic chemistry describes an alternative to traditional synthetic methods that uses electric currents instead of toxic and costly chemical reagents to accomplish small molecular transformations. This process is a possible greener alternative for alcohol oxidation. The use of TEMPO (2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidinyl-N-oxyl), will act as an electrocatalyst for alcohol oxidation. Using the copper catalyst azide-alkyne cycloaddtion (CuAAC) or “click” chemistry we are able to covalently attach TEMPO to glassy carbon electrodes (GCE). These electrodes can then be used to electrochemically convert alcohols to aldehydes and nitriles.

Summer Goals: The initial goal of this project is to develop an efficient way to convert alcohols to aldehydes using TEMPO modified GCEs. Then we will focus our efforts on the nitrilation of benzaldehyde using the same electrodes. We will then investigate combining the two transformations in a single reaction vessel. Ultimately, we intend to use glassy carbon electrodes (GCE) covalently modified with TEMPO to convert alcohols and aldehydes to nitriles in a simple, green, one-pot procedure.

Sydney Jones

Major: Biomedical Engineering

Project Description: Many of the leading causes of blindness, such as diabetic retinopathy, cause vision loss due to the formation of new blood vessels. Early detection of diseases in the eye is a pivotal step for doctors as they try to determine specific treatment for a specific patient’s needs. The development of novel imaging system has enabled complex imaging to analyze various areas of the eye in depth, such as different blood vessels and layers of the eye. With the use of imaging systems such as Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) and Photoacoustic Microscopy (PAM), these systems have allowed researchers to study larger animals, such as rabbits, and gain groundbreaking images from these systems. This is imperative because the larger the eye is, the more that results can resemble that of a human eye. The purpose of this study is to use noninvasive methods (OCT and PAM) to analyze retinal vessels in the eye, and these images can be used to see cellular markers for onsite of an eye disease.

Summer Goals: Using this technique, we can find that our multimodal imaging system can visualize both anatomy including the retinal layers along with early detection of neovascularization through PAM. These results suggest that this real-time multimodal molecular imaging has significant potential to improve the care of patients with eye diseases, which is in line with our goals.

2018 Summer Research Scholars

Taryn Hayes


Taryn Hayes

Major: Neuroscience

Project Description: The goal of our research project is to investigate mechanisms of obesity-induced immune system activation and myelopoiesis in children and adolescents. Our study hopes to gain a better understanding of the specific inflammatory procresses that occur in overweight and obese children with type one and type two diabetes.

Summer Goals: I hope to gain some more knowledge in a lab setting. I have obtained all of my lab techniques from classes, so I am excited to gain new outside knowledge. In addition, I would like to gain more experience in a clinical setting before I attend medical school in the future. Finally, I hope that the results of our research project contributes to the prevention and treatment of diabetes and obesity.

Ariel Roy

Ariel Roy

Major: Environmental Engineering

Project Description: My research project centers on antibiotic resistance in wastewater treatment. Currently, there is some concern in environmental engineering circles that the way that we treat wastewater is promoting the genesis of antibiotic resistant microorganisms. However, the scientific research available on this effect is limited. My research project aims to quantify the amount of antibiotic resistance found in wastewater at different steps of treatment, as well as possibly track and analyze specific stretches of DNA associated with antibiotic resistance through the water sanitation process.

Summer Goals: My goals for my research experience are essentially to learn as much as I can and to be as helpful as possible in furthering the project that I'll be working on. I want to expand and improve my knowledge of microbiology and lab techniques. I also want to use this opportunity to better understand what a life in environmental engineering research would look like for me, to determine if I want to pursue a career in research.

Emma Schmidt

Emma Schmidt

Major: Public Health Sciences

Project Description: I will be joining the Bay Area Women's Center team as a Prevention Education Intern. My primary responsibilities will include becoming trained to answer phone calls from a crisis line, researching methods of intervention and prevention of violence and abuse, creating educational presentations on sexual safety and healthy relationships, and scheduling meetings to present my findings to the community. In the past, these presentations have been tailored and given to a plethora of different organizations and people in Bay County, ranging from interpersonal violence solutions for local businesses, to healthy relationships for middle school students. Specialty trainings, such as “Cut it Out,” have been given to employees and professionals working at salons, enabling them to recognize the warning signs of domestic and sexual abuse and refer their clients to safe resources. Furthermore, “Happy Bear” is a program for children from the ages of 4 to 7 that teaches kids the difference between good and bad touches, empowering them to learn and communicate about their boundaries. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work for, help, and educate the people in my hometown, leading to a safer and more knowledgeable community.

Summer Goals: There are many different paths that can be taken in the field of public health. One of the goals I have for my internship is to decide if I would like to continue doing community education and prevention in my future career. Another goal I have is to educate and help the women and children in my community as much as I can.

Paden Graham

Paden Graham

Major: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Project Description: My research this summer will allow me to expand upon my UROP experience. I will be looking at the effects that sepsis has on the immune systems of mice by doing hands on experiments.

Summer Goals: I hope to gain a more complete understanding on the field of research while learning how to follow new procedures and use advanced equipment.

Noella Holmer

Noella Holmer

Major: Cellular and Molecular Biology

Project Description: The purpose of this research project is to investigate the gene expression of certain fruit fly neurons that affect the development of areas of the brain that signal mating and courtship. The project focuses on various enhancers, sections of DNA that increase the probability of a gene being expressed. In this case, I will be focusing on a gene called fruitless that aids in the mating process of fruit flies. The project first involves having two genetically different fruit flies mate. This will be done with many genetic variants. Their progeny’s brains are then dissected and immunostained. Immunostaining uses different antibodies to bind and stain to certain proteins in the brain, resulting in these sections fluorescing a specific color. The brains are analyzed with a confocal microscope that detects this fluorescence to create a series of images that show the brain’s layers. The presence of certain colors demonstrates where specific genes are being expressed within the brain and potentially their function.

Summer Goals: My main goal for this experience is to gain a better understanding of what a research position entails and how research is conducted. I see this summer project as an opportunity to not only gain experience, but also a chance to determine if this is a career path that I would enjoy pursuing. I hope to learn new lab techniques this summer to form a foundation of skills that will be applicable to further research endeavors. I also hope to learn different ways to problem solve and brainstorm new ideas, as much of research is being able to try different methods and make necessary alterations as needed. As I do not know much about neurobiology, another goal of mine is to increase my knowledge and expertise on the subject. In regards to the project itself, my goal is to analyze thirty different fly crosses and determine if their gene expression is driving certain developmental aspects of the brain.

Jillian Genova

Jillian Genova

Major: Chemistry

Project Description: The Keane Lab investigates the structure of noncoding RNAs in order to help us further understand the functions that they play in biology. I am joining a new project that focuses on the characterization of pre-micro RNA structure by untiling physical techniques such as NMR spectroscopy.

Summer Goals: Through this experience, I hope to develop my interest in research and my engagement in the scientific community. With this opportunity I am able to explore an exciting and interdisciplinary area of research. I look forward to understanding the investigative processes of research as well as develop essential technical laboratory skill.

Ana Timoficiuc

Ana Timoficiuc

Major: Aerospacing Engineering

Project Description: I will be working on outreach throughout the summer, as well as one of the following: programming robots to mimic landing on an asteroid, or adding temperature sensors to include heat considerations in the control of a gyroscopically controlled cart. However, the research lab I am a part of also gives me the opportunity to explore other projects that include graduate student research on the effectiveness of batteries in the aviation industry (and the improving of them) and tinkering with kids toys so that your mind can control what happens when you tell it to levitate an object, among other exciting projects.

Summer Goals: It was January when I realized many people around me had started finalizing their summer plans. I didn’t know what I wanted to do or where to start until I saw the research award application from WISE. I had no experience with what research in the real world was–my main source of research “knowledge” coming from movies and on-occasion articles I’d read–but I knew I wanted to find out. I intend this research experience to be enveloped by a sea of growth: I want to discover what research means to me, what I value in the work I aspire to pursue, and how I manage my independence in the bounds set by my research and the summer scene of Ann Arbor. I also anticipate the Harry Potter-themed outreach I will be a part of as I will get more experience in the planning and importance of such events, and the valuable practice of working alongside professors and my professional peers.

2017 Summer Research Scholars

Hope Norris

Hope Norris

Elaine R. Feldman Scholar

Major: Neuroscience & Gender and Health, Class of 2020

This summer I volunteered in Dr. Sari van Anders’ social neuroendocrinology research lab. The lab’s research focuses on examining hormones and intimacy in social contexts, particularly concerning pair bonds in connection with the social modulation of testosterone.The main study that was running was for a senior student’s honors thesis. It was a series of interviews about how individuals may use a new diagram for depicting their sexualities and gender identities. I helped transcribe the interviews for that project, which was an extremely rewarding task because I learned a valuable qualitative research skill as well as listened to people’s life stories. It amazed me that participants were able to trust the researchers enough to share such personal experiences.With this study, I was involved with putting up posters to recruit for the study, setting up the testing environment, running participants through the study, and processing the hormone samples that the participants provided. It was an incredible experience to be able to help with so much of a research study, as I learned a lot about research practices, ethics, and problem solving when events didn’t go according to plan.Thanks to my experiences in the van Anders lab this summer, I’ve decided to pursue a senior honors thesis of my own when I am entering my senior year. I believe that the resources I have used during my research experience will not only benefit my research in the future, but will also benefit me during the rest of my time here at Michigan. 

Anna Li Aguirre

Anna Li Aguirre

Elaine R. Feldman Scholar

Major: Chemistry, Class of 2019

I have dreamt of being a scientist for longer than I can remember. From getting science kits every holiday and going to science camps whenever I get the chance, I can't get enough of it.When I declared chemistry major, I knew I wanted to be in a chemistry lab. This year, I joined an inorganic, organometallic chemistry lab where I design catalysts to functionalize different bonds that weren’t accessible beforehand. Being in charge of my own project, with guidance, of course, has been probably one of the mostfulfilling things I have done so far. It has been very stressful but also extremely rewarding.The Elaine R. Feldman Scholarship let me continue my research over the summer. This summer, not only have I been able to do and find what I really love, but I also got to learn a ton about grad school. I always had assumed I’d be getting my PhD, but now I know that it is really what I want to do. I've learned how to be a better individual. Research has taught me to be more focused and to not be afraid to ask questions. Research is my solace and my happy place where I know I can succeed. 

Lindsay Rasmussen

Lindsay Rasmussen

WISE RP Alumni Scholar

Major: Environmental Engineering, Class of 2019

I am very excited that I was able to stay over the summer, continue my research and build stronger connections. I would not have been able to afford living in Ann Arbor on my own, so I am extremely thankful!The research that I have been doing is for sustainable shrimp cultivation. Currently, shrimp farms release large amounts of ammonia which cause algal blooms. Our shrimp are in a recirculating tank, which reuses the same water. In order for the shrimp to survive (as they cannot live in large amounts of ammonia), the water goes through a bio-filter. In the future, I am hoping to take a closer look at the shrimp themselves and see what we can do to make cultivating them more efficient.Not only have I learned what goes into a research project, but I have also been introduced to many people in my area of interest. I am getting a major in environmental engineering and a minor in earth science, so this is a perfect fit for me.