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Undergraduate Research Achievements

By graduation, ~70% of Biology graduates have engaged in research and ~80% participated in pre-health exploration/internship programs. While we have a number of courses designed to give students hands-on research, many of our students engage in faculty-mentored research before they graduate. We're proud of their hard work and are featuring it here to applaud them for their efforts. 

WashU's Office of Undergraduate Research hosts a symposium each semester where undergraduate researchers present their hard work.  This spring, 78 biology majors are presenting their research in pre-recorded videos. An additional 31 non-Biology majors participated in biology-focused research projects. They have been working hard in research labs across the Danforth and Medical School campuses. 

Join us in celebrating the hard work they have done to advance knowledge through their research. 

If you are a current or incoming student wondering how to get started, this is a wonderful opportunity to learn from presenters about their experiences and explore the different types of research available.

BioSURF Awardees 2022

Congratulations to the 2022 BioSURF Awardees!

See the list of awardees and their mentors and learn more about the program

Congratulations Undergraduate Presenters

The following students are Biology majors presenting in the 2022 Undergraduate Symposium: 

Steven Angtuaco
Creation of Database for Tet(X) Bioinformatics
Emma Anisman
Chronic imaging of the murine peripheral nerve through a skin-embedded optical window
Audrey Bochi-Layec
Investigating the Role of EpCAM Mutations in Epithelial Cancers: An In-Depth Study on Mutant Cellular Localization and MAPK/ERK Signaling
Mike Boeckman
Drug Discovery of REVERB Agonists for NAFLD/NASH Amelioration
Aileen Chen
OPiE2 expression in developing grasshoppers (Schistocerca americana)
Hanyu Chen
Requirement for Glutamate in Maintenance of Mature Cochlear Synapses and in their Repair Following Glutamate Excitotoxic Lesion
Keerthana Chintalapati
The Role of MRI Markers in Prognostication of Dystonia after Neonatal Brain Injury
Simon Dawson
The effect on the non-motile P. bonniea phenotype on its infection mechanism
Sam Fallon
IL1B Expression Induced in a Contact and MHCII-Dependent Manner by the Interaction of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infected Macrophages with Antigen-Specific CD4 T-Cells
Shayan Farhang
Variation In Terrestrial Arthropod Communities Across Seasons And Differently Planted Infiltration Basins
Trey Feldeisen
The Impact of Obesity on Outcomes in Acute Aortic Dissection
Kate Frauenheim
Wolf Spider Predation: Foraging with a chance of meatballs
Carol Ge
Correlation between Pseudomonas edibility to Dictyostelium discoideum and the abundance of its spontaneous Gac- mutants
Kevin He
Evaluation of Biomarkers in NF1-Associated Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor
Julia Hong
The Effect of Bacterial Thickness on Growth in C. elegans
Sana Jaleel
Maternal High Fat Diet Exposure Increases Expression of Fatty Acid Transport Regulators in the Placenta and is Dependent on the Maternal Microbiome
Michael Jia
Bidirectional relationship between Tau and Amyloid pathologies impacted by ApoE
Akhil Kesaraju
Characterizing Microbiome and Resistome Dynamics Between Dairy Farm Workers and Urban Controls
Zaid Khaja
How Do The Period Genes Affect Fetal Development And Pregnancy Progression?
Zachary Kidd
A New Method for Improved DNA Methylation Detection Using Nanopore Sequencing
Kellen King
Neurofilament light and white matter hyperintensities as biomarkers for cognitive function in Parkinson's disease
Alexa Kouvelis
Pharmacological characterization of delta opioid agonist signaling behavior along the β arrestin-1, β arrestin-2, and Gi signaling pathways
Shiv Lamba
Improving Home-Care Services for High-Risk Older Adults using Video Visits to Home
William Leidig
A Retrospective Study on Clinical Factors Associated with Improved Survival in MRI-Guided LITT for Recurrent GBM
Ethan Lewis
Investigating the Capability of the FGF Signaling Pathway to Promote Osteocyte Viability
Michael Lin
Visualizing the Effects of YSP2 Disruption on Membrane Morphology in Cryptococcus neoformans
Nathan Liu
Visitor Effects on Space Use of Grizzly Bears, Polar Bear, Banteng, and Western Lowland Gorillas During the COVID-19 Closure
Prasheil Mandava
Phenotypic Analysis of the Deletion of Expanded Binding Regions within the Drosophila Fat Cadherin Intracellular Domain
Priya Mathur
Strategy to Monitor Glucagon Secretion: A Novel Fluorescent Protein Technique
Evan Mutic
Lair1 expression during bone marrow-derived macrophage differentiation and infection
Yash Nayak
Sublethal Radiation Transcriptionally Modulates Immune Signaling in Leukemia Cells
Margaret Newberry
Exploratory Study of Microbial Communities and Genomes from Various Environments
Onyinyechi Onyeador
In Vitro MHC Class I Binding Validation of In Silico Predicted Follicular Lymphoma Neoantigens
Camryn Payne
Acute minocycline treatment modulates the immune and oligodendrocyte progenitor cell response and enhances long-term white matter injury repair after traumatic brain injury
Jessica Peiser
Identifying Genes Involved in Dictyostelium discoideum Predation Resistance
Bo Peng
The calcineurin pathway is critical for Orsay virus infection in C. elegans
Evan Polsky
Degeneration of the Intervertebral Disc Relies on Common Metabolic Pathways Despite Differing Models
Rachel Rhee
Untangling the effects of light conditions and the lunar cycle on the activity of wolf spiders
Namit Sambare
The Effect of Calmodulin (CaM) association on KCNQ1 (Kv7.1) Channel Gating
Eleanor Sams
Computational Modeling and Precision Genomics in CNV Disorders
Elizabeth Sapiro
Circadian rhythms change across murine maternal and fetal-derived tissues throughout pregnancy
Walker Sexton
The Dragon Man Revisited: Hominin Phylogenetic Inference with Rogue Taxa and Incomplete Datasets
Rachel Silverstein
The effect of Ralstonia insidiosa on immune function at the maternal-fetal interface
Gabriella Smith
Elucidating the Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Type I Interferon Signaling in Monocyte-Derived Macrophages Following Myocardial Infarction
Mingyi Suo
In vitro Effect of Staphylococcus aureus alpha-toxin (Hla) on Neutrophil Chemotaxis
Dora Tabachnick
Brain Activity Mediating Social Motivation in the Mouse
Medhavi Verma
Drosophila model for studying the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in glial cells
Kayla Wallace
Effects of Freshwater Acidification and Parasitism upon Rusty Crayfish Consumption Behaviors
Ava Wang
MR-Guided Brachytherapy for Locally Advanced Cervical Cancer, an Institutional Experience
Lewis Wang
Expression and Cytosine Deaminase Activity of APOBEC3A Isoforms
Sophia Xiao
Short-chain fatty acids recover neurogenesis and fear memory impaired by gut microbial dysbiosis after TBI
Kathryn Xu
Biologic Characterization of ABCA3 Variants in Lung Tissue from Infants and Children with ABCA3 Deficiency
Alicia Yang
Characterizing the Cytokine Signatures of CT2A and SB28 Mouse Models of Glioblastoma and Laser Therapy's Effects on the Tumor Microenvironment
Samuel Youkilis
Drug Discovery: Small Molecule Kinase Inhibitors Selectively Target Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 13
Justin Yun
Introducing Flt3-based Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) to Progenitor Cell Line Improves Survival and Differentiation into Dendritic Cells


Sarah Ash & Stephen Daly & Julia Gamache & Sneha Manikandan & Noa Miller
Isolation and Annotation of Novel Bacteriophage Rosepharie
Amanda Girardi & Angela Chen & Elena Cacchillo & Jack Klein & Josh Albert & Josh Wang & Kristen Edgeworth & Lauren Kang 
Kinetic Changes of Arabidopsis thaliana isopropylmalate Dehydrogenase Isoform 1 Resulting from a Point Mutation in the Active Site
Mustafa Mohammad-Amin & LaYow Yu & Grayson Derossi & Hannah Johnson & Harry Coons & Isabel Dashtizad & Shamika Bhandarkar & Rehan Mehta 
Kinetic Changes of Arabidopsis thaliana isopropylmalate Dehydrogenase Isoform 1 Resulting from a Point Mutation in the Active Site

The following students are non-Biology major working with Biology faculty and presenting in the 2022 Undergraduate Symposium:

Irene Antony
High-throughput identification of de novo gene regulatory mutations contributing to autism and intellectual disability
Rowan Behnke
The Phylogeny and Function of a Duplicate Squalene-Hopene Cyclase Gene
Ritu Dave
DDR2 regulates angiogenesis via HSP-90 modulation in ovarian cancer
John Georgiades
Characterization of new small-molecule inhibitors to the WEE1 kinase
Katie Jones
Only time will tell: Activity Tracking of Wolf Spiders
Hee Ra Jung
Whisker-Dependent Texture Discrimination Enhanced by Vagus Nerve Stimulation in Adult Mice
Jeevun Kansupada
Relating Neuronal Representations with Free Viewing Patterns of Rhesus Macaques
Adrian Li
Striatal microstructure and trait reward sensitivity in childhood obesity
Charles Lu
Analysis of Differential Gene Expression to Elucidate HOXA9 Binding Targets
Annabel Shen
Characterization of Skeletal miR-181 Expression in a miR-181a/b-1 Knockout Mouse


Andrew Chen & Kieran Hanley & Aidan Percer & Chris Park 
Isolation and Genomic Analysis of Phage Andris
Wanji Li & Mary Shang & Ethan Penn & Ethan Lofaso
Isolation and Annotation of a Novel Streptomyces lividans phage Triumph
Emily Oh & Lowell Finster & Nora Navid & Ayush Mishra
Isolation and Genomic Characterization of Phage Ponzi Singleton 
Braeden Rose & Anushka Viswanathan & Shreya Chilukuri & Murali Devanaboyina & Soumya Rao 
Investigating Pepperwood: An In-Depth Analysis of a Novel Bacteriophage
Mason Roth & Xenaira Arguedas & Nathan Pravda & Nathan Wohlstadter 
The Isolation and Characterization of the Novel Bacteriophage Success

Biology Hires Faculty Member to Coordinate Undergraduate Research Experiences

In 2022, Janet Goins joined the Department of Biology in a new hybrid position. She will be teaching and mentoring while also coordinating undergraduate research experiences. Learn more

"Participating in undergraduate research is a great opportunity to take what you're learning about in the classroom and actually apply it. Research facilitates a way for you to ask and answer complex questions rather than accepting what's already known. Sometimes you might not find the answer while you're an undergraduate here, but even just beginning to engage in that process is something that's valuable for anyone who's interested in medicine, biology, or anything in between."

―Gaby Smith Undergraduate researcher and Symposium participant