I have worked as an undergraduate researcher for two years in the lab of Dr. Alison Butler in the chemistry department at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), studying mechanistic bioinorganic chemistry, metallobiochemistry, and chemical biology. Here at the SENS Research Foundation, I have been working with derivatives of drugs which have been shown to solubilize cholesterol and/or harmful derivatives of cholesterol such as oxysterols.
Namaste! My name is Sumedh Anand Sontakke, and I am a junior majoring in electrical engineering at the College of Engineering, Pune, India. This summer, I will be working at the University of Oxford as a SRF Summer Scholar under the supervision of Professor Chas Bountra and Dr. David Brindley. My research project in the Brindley Lab will attempt to use machine learning methods to improve the pharmaceutical industry’s drug attrition rate.
My name is Alefia Kothambawala, and I am a rising junior at the University of California, Davis, studying Biomedical Engineering. When I came across the SENS Research Foundation, I was immediately drawn to the projects being researched. I noticed the unique way SENS scientists think about problems – preventing disease before they manifest – and wanted to contribute to this mentality. As a SRF Summer Scholar, I will be working in Dr. Evan Snyder’s lab to explore the relationship between Alzheimer's Disease, clozapine, and CRMP2.
My name is Tianhan Deng, and I am a rising junior at the University of California, Berkeley. I am pursuing a degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology with an emphasis on developmental genetics and a degree in clinical psychology. I have been particularly interested in the field of neuro-oncology and how genetic profiles of each patient can be used to develop personalized treatments. My summer project in the lab of Dr. Kahlid Shah aims to create the best model for lung-to-brain metastasis.
Hi, my name is Shil Patel, and I graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh in December 2016 with a BS in neuroscience and minors in chemistry and economics. Under the mentorship of Dr. Sharyl Fyffe-Maricich, my honor’s thesis examined the potential role of aberrant oligodendrocyte development as a leading cause of the symptoms in a neurodegenerative disorder called Rett Syndrome. This summer, I have joined Jeanne Loring’s laboratory at The Scripps Research Institute to explore stem cell treatment for Parkinson’s disease (PD).
My name is Jasmine Zhao, and I am a rising senior at the University of California, Los Angeles majoring in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology (MCDB) and minoring in biomedical research. Having the opportunity to work in different labs these past three years has not only increased my fascination with the applications of research in the treatment of diseases but also helped me develop as a young scientist. Currently, I am especially interested in fields such as regenerative medicine and developmental biology.
My name is Srinidhi Venkatesan Kalavai. I am a student at Boston University, majoring in Biomedical Engineering. As I grew up, a lot of my family were afflicted with age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease and cancer. Seeing the impact such diseases had not only on my grandparents but also on everyone in my family made me want to understand these diseases and contribute to curing them.
My name is Anja Schempf, and I am a rising sophomore at the University of Chicago, where I plan on double majoring in Biology and Molecular Engineering. I have always had an interest in the biological basis of aging, which is what initially drew me to the SRF Summer Scholars Program. I am intrigued with all of the different molecular changes that contribute to the overall process of aging. Aging is not one simple biological process but rather multiple processes occurring in the body which combine to produce the overall effect that we see as aging. I am especially excited to work with the SENS Research Foundation and further research these processes.
My name is Michaela Copp, and I am a rising senior studying Chemical Engineering at Vanderbilt University. For the past two years, I have been a member of the Neurovascular Engineering and Therapeutic Design lab under the direction of Dr. Ethan Lippmann, where I have worked to develop the genetic engineering tools necessary to better model neurodegenerative disease pathogenesis and determine the individual genes responsible for the highly-specialized barrier properties of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). This summer, I will be working with the SRF Mitochondrial Team under the guidance of Dr. O’Connor and Dr. Boominathan to establish a safe harbor landing site in the nucleus for the expression of engineered mitochondrial genes.
My name is Heather Tolcher, and I am a rising senior at the University of Texas at Austin. My interest in targeted therapeutics and age-related diseases was first piqued when I had the opportunity to see the progression of an experimental immunotherapeutic drug go from the laboratory dish to phase I clinical trials in cancer patients. I was able to witness firsthand how powerful new-targeted treatments can be in controlling disease and transforming the lives of patients afflicted with cancer. Since then, I’ve known that I wanted to be involved in the community of scientists who develop the novel, translational, and innovative therapeutics that are evolving the way we treat and perceive disease.
My name is Aashka Patel, and I am currently a rising junior pursuing a Biology degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I am interested in studying regenerative medicine techniques and their application toward neurodegenerative diseases. This summer, I will be interning at the Sanford Consortium in Dr. Evan Snyder’s lab under the mentorship of Cameron Pernia. My project this summer at the Snyder Lab will explore neuronal circuit connectivity of hiPSCs derived from Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) neurons.
I am Yujie Ma, a rising senior undergraduate student studying biological engineering at Cornell University. Since the beginning of my sophomore year, I have been a dedicated member of Professor Mingming Wu’s laboratory working on research pertaining to how the physical conditions of the local tissues affect breast tumor cell migration. This summer, under the guidance of Dr. Heinrich Jasper and Dr. Imilce Rodriguez-Fernandez at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, I will be studying proteostasis in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster.