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.
Welcome to the SRF Summer Scholars Class of 2017
My name is Celine-Lea Halioua-Haubold, and I am a rising senior studying Neuroscience at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin. I have re-joined Dr. Evan Snyder’s lab at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute as a 2016 SRF Summer Scholar to continue my 2015 Summer Scholar project, determining if Cholera Toxin B is a viable candidate for delivering secondary proteins to serve therapeutic purposes in neuronal cells.
I have just completed my third year of a Natural Sciences degree at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. As a SRF Summer Scholar, I will be investigating a diverse array of data pertaining to previously conducted clinical trials in search of variables that frequently correlate with success.
My name is Julia McCreary, and I am a rising senior at University of California-Berkeley. I am a Molecular and Cell Biology major with an emphasis in biochemistry. This summer, I am working in Heinrich Jasper’s lab at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging under the mentorship of postdoctoral fellow Imilce Rodriguez-Fernandez. The goal of my project is (1) to screen for additional candidate genes involved in regulating a novel mechanism used by adult somatic stem cells to deal with protein aggregates termed as the ‘proteostasis checkpoint’ and (2) to generate genetic tools to further understand protein homeostasis in these stem cells.
My name is Isha Bagga, and I am a rising junior at University of California, Los Angeles studying physiological sciences.This summer, I am working in Dr. Brian Kennedy’s lab at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging. Under the supervision of Dr. Chen-Yu Liao,I will be testing the ability of the natural polyamine spermidine to extend healthspan by examining its role in the induction of autophagy in an aging mouse model.
My name is Melissa, and I graduated this past spring from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor’s of Science in Neuroscience. This summer, I will be working on the SRF Oncology Team under the guidance of Dr. Haroldo Silva and David Halvorsen to validate existing Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT) pathway assays and identify new cell lines that could be used for ALT study.
My name is GiHun Choi. I am a rising senior at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the department of Biological Engineering. My project will be conducted under the mentorship of Dr. Wanlu Du in the lab of Dr. Khalid Shah at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital. It focuses on exploring the possible application of therapeutic mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) loaded with oncolytic herpes simplex virus (oHSV) to treat advanced melanoma.
My name is Martin Rodriguez, and I am currently pursuing a BSc degree in Biomedical Engineering through the Marquette University & Medical College of Wisconsin joint BME program. Under the mentorship of Dr. John Jackson at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM), my project will entail recellularizing thymic scaffolds and developing hydrogels with enhanced murine TECs, TM, and primary HSPCs for significant T lymphopoiesis outputs. I look forward to contributing intellectually and experimentally to these studies as I see how a multitude of white blood cell disorder therapies could benefit in the future from this study’s promising design.
My name is Ryan Leung from New Bedford, MA. I am a recent graduate of Tufts University, where I received my BS in Biomedical Engineering. This summer, I am working at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine under the supervision of Dr. John Jackson and Dr. James Yoo. My project aims to develop a functional bioartificial ovary capable of serving as a cell-based therapy for women who suffer from compromised ovarian function and disease-induced infertility.
My name is Elizabeth Batiuk, and I am a rising senior studying bioengineering at Santa Clara University. This summer, I will be joining the Mitochondria Team, led by Dr. Matthew O’Connor at the SRF Research Center. My project will focus on rescuing the function of a protein in a mouse cell line with a mutation in the mitochondrial gene, ATP8, an important subunit of mitochondrial complex V, which is essential to producing the chemical energy for the body.
I recently graduated from Rutgers University, New Brunswick with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering with a concentration in Tissue Engineering. This summer, I will be working with Dr. Anthony Atala, Dr. James Yoo, Dr. In Kap Ko, and Jennifer Huling at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine towards creating an implantable tissue construct that restores function to damaged or diseased kidney tissue.
My name is Dayne Martinez. I am a rising senior at Grand Valley State University where I am working to earn a degree in Biochemistry. This summer, I will be working in the lab of Dr. Jeanne Loring under the supervision of Dr. Andrés Bratt-Leal at The Scripps Research Institute. I will be generating dopamine neurons from patient-derived iPSC lines and analyzing them using several different methods in an effort to develop quality control assays that can be used to verify the purity of cells to be used for a cell replacement therapy graft.
My name is Wenyi Zhu, and I’m entering my 4th year at Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University. This summer, I will be working in Dr. Evan Snyder’s lab at the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine. Under the mentorship of Dr. Lina Mastrangelo, I will be investigating the effects of LRRK2 protein and PARK1 mutations on autophagy in the hopes of understanding more about the progression of Parkinson’s disease.
The 2016 SRF Summer Scholars Program has begun! Over the next few months, our Summer Scholars will tell you a little about themselves and their Summer Scholars project in their SRF Education Blog posts.
My name is Sumner Kilmarx; I am a rising junior at Dartmouth College where I am majoring in molecular biology. My current work at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging is based in the laboratory of Dr. Judith Campisi under the guidance of Dr. Marco Demaria. The goal of my project is to characterize the cellular response to chemotherapy, so we can better understand the senescent phenotype, including which factors the chemotherapy-induced senescent cells can secrete. We hope to discern chemotherapy drugs that do not promote recurrence of cancer.
My name is Rajan Choudhary, and I am an undergraduate at the University of Oxford. Currently, I am halfway through my medical degree. This summer, I will be working under the guidance of Dr. Andrew Carr, Dr. Marc Feldman, and Mr. James Smith to produce a systematic review on T-cell-based immunotherapy as a treatment option for cancer.
My name is Federica Sartori, and I am a third year cellular biology major at University of California, Davis (UCD), planning to become a research scientist in cellular or computational biology. I am excited to be working in the Brem lab at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging this summer. While interning in the Brem lab, I will use a combination of bioinformatic and experimental biology techniques to identify 3’ UTR length changes in cancer and understanding their mechanism and impact
My name is June Hope. I am a recent graduate of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, or as we like to call it, Cal Poly SLO. I graduated with a B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Cell and Molecular Biology and a minor in Microbiology. While at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, I am working in the lab of Dr. Gordon Lithgow under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Edgar. During my time here at the Buck I will be working to determine if there is a causal relationship between alterations in metals and increased protein insolubility as well as investigating if specific changes in metals can increase longevity in C. elegans.
My name is Natalie Friedricks, and this last year I graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences and a Masters of Science in Global Medicine. This summer, under the guidance of Dr. Matthew O'Connor and Dr. Amutha Boominathan, I will attempt to use gene therapy to rescue a protein complex involved in many mitochondrial diseases.
My name is Dee Luo, and I am a rising senior at the University of Pennsylvania working towards a degree in the Biological Basis of Behavior from the College of Arts and Sciences and a minor in Healthcare Management from the Wharton School of Business. This summer, I am working with Dr. David Brindley, Dr. David DiGiusto, Anthony Davies, and Kirk Trisler to investigate regulation strategies in regenerative medicine.
My name is Katie Manescu. I have completed a Bachelors of Engineering in Biochemical Engineering at University College London (UCL) where I will be returning to complete the final year of my Masters of Engineering in Bioprocess Management later this year. Under the guidance of Dr. Jeff Karp and Executive Director Brock Reeve at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, I will evaluate the therapeutic potential of extracellular vesicles against established and developing therapies, in particular cell therapy, in order to yield a comparable and informative appraisal to guide research and clinical endeavors.
My name is Celine-Lea Halioua-Haubold, and I am a rising junior at the University of Texas at Austin where I am double majoring in Chemistry and Neuroscience. This summer, I am working in Evan Snyder's lab at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. Under the mentorship of Anthony Orona, I will study the viability of using engineered neural stem cell exosomes to treat glioblastoma.
My name is Neal Nathan, and I am a rising junior at the University of California, Berkeley planning on double-majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology (with an emphasis in Neurobiology) and Public Health and minoring in Public Policy. At Evan Snyder's lab of the Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute and the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, I am working on a project that is evaluating the interplay between two proteins implicated in the pathology of Parkinson's Disease (PD).
My name is Brian Shing, and I am an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley. I am a rising junior and intend to major in Molecular and Cell Biology. This summer, under the mentorship of Drs. In Kap Ko, James Yoo, and Anthony Atala, I will be working on a kidney regeneration project. I will explore a novel delivery system that allows for efficient delivery of the secretome secreted from human placental stem cells (hPSCs) and evaluate the secretome’s effect on renal regeneration. This project could lead to novel therapies that could improve the lives of patients suffering from kidney disease throughout the world.
My name is Amanda Paraluppi Bueno and I am pursuing my Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science at the Centro Universitario Heminio Ometto, Araras-SP (Brazil). I came as an exchange student to study at University of Idaho, Moscow-ID, for one year through the Science Without Borders Program. This summer, under the guidance of Dr. Graça Almeida-Porada, Saloomeh Mokhtari, and Steven Greenberg, I will try to develop novel cell-based therapies that could provide a curative treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
My name is Blake Johnson, and I am a rising senior studying Human Physiology at the University of Iowa. This summer, I am working under the direction of Dr. John Jackson to generate thymus organoids capable of producing functional T-cells. The ability to generate a functional thymus outside the body would have a number of clinical applications, including rejuvenation of an aging thymus to boost the immune response in older individuals and development of tolerance in organ transplantation.
My name is Le Zhang. I just completed my Bachelor of Science in biochemistry & biotechnology from Michigan State University. This summer, I will be working in Dr. Jeanne Loring’s laboratory at the Center for Regenerative Medicine in the Scripps Research Institute. I will be analyzing the genomic stability of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and neuronal progenitor cells (NPCs), which are intended for cell replacement therapies for patients with Parkinson’s disease.
My name is Zeeshaan Arshad, and I am currently a first year undergraduate student studying medicine at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, UK. Under the mentorship of Professor Chas Bountra and Dr. David Brindley, my project will propose a model of open innovation in the translation process to address the problem of developing Alzheimer’s disease drugs.
My name is Ryan Louer. During my time at Purdue University, I earned a B.S. in biochemistry and minors in both French and entrepreneurship. This summer, I will be working in Dr. Anthony Atala and Dr. James Yoo’s lab under Drs. Myung Jae Jeon and Young Sik Choi studying ovarian cell therapies that will be able to produce natural levels of sex steroids that can be controlled by feedback mechanisms and, hopefully, produce viable oocytes.
My name is Jonah Simon, and I am a rising junior studying neuroscience at Brown University. This summer at the SRF Research Center Foundation, I am working on the Oncology team with Dr. Haroldo Silva. My project is to develop new high-throughput assays for quantifying activity of the Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT) pathway in human cells.
SENS Research Foundation is pleased to announce it has selected sixteen undergraduate students to participate in the 2015 SRF Summer Scholars Program.
SENS Research Foundation is looking for undergraduate students interested in conducting biomedical research to combat the diseases of aging during summer break of 2015.
My name is Sheri Zada, and I've just completed completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience and a minor in Bioinformatics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. This summer, I am examining molecular pathways implicated in diseases affecting the rudimentary structure of a human being, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
My name is Sophia Szymkowiak, and I am a rising senior at Yale University, working toward Bachelor of Science degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.My project is focused on generating in vitro ovarian tissue that can mimic the functions of the ovary to preserve or restore what might otherwise be lost due to disease or other medical treatments.
My name is Rahul Rekhi, and I am currently on a Marshall Scholarship at Oxford University, where I am pursuing an MS in Biomedical Engineering. This summer, I am working to synthesize and improve upon optimization tools to aid in the large scale production of cell therapies.
Abby Hawkins is a rising junior at the Indiana University of Pennsylvannia, where she is currently pursuing a degree in Biological Sciences with a minor in Psychology. Her Summer Scholar project is focused on the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) through regenerative cell therapy using mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs).
My name is Rebecca Jones, and I’m about to begin the final year of an undergraduate Biochemical Engineering, M.Eng. degree at University College London. My summer project involves a systematic review of the key translational challenges faced by tissue-engineered hollow organs with a particular emphasis on the current bioprocessing bottlenecks that need to be addressed in order to gain widespread clinical adoption.
My name is James Smith, and I have recently completed a degree in Biological Sciences from Oxford University, graduating with First Class Honours. My research at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute will focus on the manufacture and GMP-grade extracellular vesicles.
My name is Sebastian Aguiar, and I graduated in May 2014 from Pitzer College, Claremont where I majored in Human Biology and minored in History. This summer, I am studying the role of neuropeptides in C. elegans longevity under the mentorship of Dr. Jennifer Garrison at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging.
My name is Karina Liker, and I am a rising senior at Stanford University majoring in Human Biology with a concentration in Genetic Counseling and Diseases. My research project will explore the biological basis of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) with the hope of eventually creating a treatment for the disease.
My name is Summer Wang, and I am a rising senior at the University of Washington, where I am majoring in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and minoring in Chemistry. This summer, I will be working in the mitochondria group at the SRF Research Center trying to engineer mitochondrial genes to rescue cells with compromised mitochondrial function.
My name is Shruti Singh, and I am a rising senior at the University of Texas at Austin. I am majoring in Human Biology with a concentration in immunity and pathogenesis.This summer, I am working on a thymus regeneration project in Dr. John Jackson’s lab at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
My name is Ethan Bassin, and I am a rising senior majoring in Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. This summer, as a SENS Research Foundation (SRF) Summer Scholar at WFIRM, I am working on a whole kidney engineering project under the mentorship of Dr. James Yoo and Dr. Anthony Atala.
My name is Haben Tesfamariam, and I recently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology. This summer I will be working with Dr. Mark McCormick in the laboratory of Dr. Brian Kennedy at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging. I will be testing the role of recently uncovered translation-related genes in lifespan extension and determining whether any lifespan increase is dependent upon the nutrient responsive transcription factor Gcn4.
My name is Megan Harper. I am a junior double majoring in neuroscience and computer science at the University of Virginia. My project with the Campisi lab at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging will address the following questions: 1) Which chemotherapy drug or irradiation dose currently used for treatment of cancer patients induces senescence in the tissue microenvironment? 2) How does the phenotype of senescent cells respond to HIF-1a regulation and to different oxygen concentrations?
My name is Joi McLaughlin. I am a recent graduate of Duke University where I received a Bachelor’s of Art degree in Visual Arts with a Minor in Chemistry while pursuing a Pre-Medical School Curriculum. This summer, at the Buck Institute For Research on Aging, I will be working on a project in the laboratory of Dr. Heinrich Jasper examining the effect of unfolded proteins in fruit fly mitochondria on stem cell maintenance.
SENS Research Foundation is pleased to announce the start of the 2014 SRF Summer Scholars Program. This year, fifteen SRF summer scholars will be hosted by the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, the Harvard Stem Cell Institute / Harvard Medical School, University College London, the University of Oxford, the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and our very own SRF Research Center.
My name is Christine Wu, and I am a rising senior studying at the University of Pennsylvania who is working to achieve a Biological Basis of Behavior degree and a Creative Writing minor. At the SENS Research Foundation, I work in the OncoSENS department with Dr. Haroldo Silva. My project will study a specific pathway used by cancer cells called the Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT) pathway with the use of the ALT-associated promyelocytic leukemia (PML) nuclear bodies (APB) assay. The results generated by the APB assay will provide new data to better assess the potential of drugs for cancer therapy, particularly for tumors associated with the ALT mechanism.
Research Update by Julie Marco: Fibrin Provides Necessary Structural Integrity to Thymus Tissue ScaffoldsPosted by Greg Chin on June 05, 2014 | SRF Education
Research Update by Julie Marco: Fibrin Provides Necessary Structural Integrity to Thymus Tissue Scaffolds
SRF Education has chosen thirteen students to intern at six different institutions this summer. Our world-leading extramural host institutions include the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the University of Cambridge, the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, the State University of New York Upstate Medical University, and the Weizmann Institute of Science.