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.