The ENDURE Program wrapped up summer 2022 with a symposium on August 4, 2022 in the Eric P. Newman Education Center at Washington University in St. Louis. The conference showcased the work of the 14 undergraduate scholars who pursued cutting-edge questions in neuroscience for 10 weeks over the summer.
Each year, ENDURE Scholars nominate participants for Outstanding Mentor Awards. This year’s awards go to DBBS graduate student Nimansha Jain and Research Analyst Dr. Jo Etzel. In their nomination letters, students talk about why they nominated their mentors and what gifts they would like to bestow as part of the award.
Nimansha Jain was nominated by Carrie Lewis of the 2021 cohort: “Mistakes are always welcome and are the most fruitful moments of mentoring; I always felt safe asking Nimansha anything about science, graduate school, and life in general. I am so lucky to have her as my mentor this summer; I feel like I gained a fantastic role model and friend in science. The gift I would like to get Nimansha is adopting a quokka from the world wildlife fund.
“Quokkas are her favorite animal, and we always joke that she has one as a pet. There's even a picture up in the lab of a quokka that is named 'Quokka Jain'. This gift gives Nimansha the pet she always wanted in a way that allows them both to live their best life in their natural habitats (med school for Nimansha and Australia for the quokka).”
Dr. Jo Etzel, was nominated by K.G. Williams of the 2021 cohort: “Dr. Etzel has always been so respectful, approachable and personable, and open to fostering my interest in science and research: welcoming my numerous questions, and teaching via tasks and assignments to build research-related skills and gain experience problem-solving within the scientific method.
“I have been so gratified the last 3 years to be shown my passion for science through knowledge acquisition and guided in building the skill sets necessary to practice science. She has also made me feel welcome and integral to the lab despite being an undergrad in a predominantly white, heteronormative space that historically has made me feel out-of-place, small and disrespected. If I were to get her a gift, I would get two things to commemorate the Women's March we attended together and naturally also reflect her values and sound moral foundation.”
Learn more about the WUSTL ENDURE Program on the ENDURE Website.
This year’s cohort includes the following undergrads:
Dina Abdalla (she/her/hers), Junior, Washington University in St. Louis Lab: Dr. Paul Shaw, Bench Mentor: Erica Periandri: “Exploring the Relationship Between Sleep and Mitochondrial Complex II in Alzheimer’s Disease using Drosophila”
Shylyn Collier, Junior, University of Missouri-St. Louis (he/they), Lab: Dr. Jason Yi, Bench Mentor: Kellan Weston: “Proteasomal Liquid-Liquid Phase Separation in Neurons”
Fabrizio Darby (he/him/his), Senior, University of Miami, Lab: Dr. Erik Herzog, Bench Mentor: Maria Gonzalez: “Glucocorticoids synchronize daily rhythms in Glioblastoma cells”
Javier Cuenca-Kelly (he/him/his), Senior, University of Missouri-Columbia, Lab: Dr. Yehuda Ben-Shahar, Bench Mentor: Erik Nolan: “Determining the role of the eIF4H1 gene, a William-Syndrome factor, in sociability using Drosophila melanogaster”
Carrie Lewis (they/them/theirs), Senior, Mount Holyoke College, Lab: Dr. Dave Holtzman, Bench Mentor: Nimansha Jain: “Impact of TREM2 Agonist Antibody on Pre- and Post-Synaptic proteins in Amyloid Mice Seeded with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) Tau”
Justin Lopez-Roque (he/him/his), Senior, Washington University in St. Louis, Lab: Dr. Susan Perlman, Bench Mentor: Dr. Khalil Thompson: “High irritability modulates activation in
social learning brain regions in young children”
Rachel Membreno (she/her/hers), Junior, San Diego State University, Lab: Dr. Jeff Zacks, Bench Mentor: Dr. Maverick Smith: “The Impact of Attention to Event Segmentation on Memory in Healthy Older Adults”
Trinidi Prochaska (she/her/hers), Senior, Washington University in St. Louis, Lab: Dr. Cynthia Rogers, Bench Mentor: Dr. Rachel Lean: “Prenatal Cannabis Use is Associated with Decreased Bilateral Cerebellum and Left Lateral Orbitofrontal Cortex Volumes in Neonates?”
Catrina Reyes (she/her/hers), Junior, Washington University in St. Louis, Lab: Dr. Mayssa Mokalled, Bench Mentors: Dan Gibson: “Developing a zebrafish model to study GNAO1- associated neurodevelopmental disorders”
Maria Tello Borja (she/her/hers), Senior, Washington University in St. Louis, Lab: Dr. Ben Palanca, Bench Mentor: Mehdi Kafashan: “Correlating Central Positive Complexes and Depression: CET-REM Sub-study”
Tyara Thompson (she/her/hers), Junior, College of Wooster, Lab: Dr. Alexxai Kravitz, Bench Mentors: Dr. Wambura Fobbs & Alex Legaria: “3-day exposure to a high fat diet reduces motivation to seek a less palatable food option and may be associated with lower dopamine activity”
Isaac Toscano (he/him/his), Senior, Santa Clara University, Lab: Dr. John Cirrito, Bench Mentor: Dr. Rachel Hendrix: “Role of orexin in amyloid-β peptide production”
K.G. Williams (they/them/theirs), Senior, Washington University in St. Louis, Lab: Dr. Todd Braver, Bench Mentor: Dr. Jo Etzel: “Emotion Regulation, Cardiac Vagal Tone, and Heart Rate Variability: Data Processing Methods and Preliminary Data Analysis”
Justin Woods (he/him/his), Senior, Washington University in St. Louis, Lab: Dr. Ream Al-Hasani, Bench Mentor: Marwa Mikati: “T-cells modulate sex differences in the somatic symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal”