News

• Student Accomplishments – May 2019

accomplishments-headingPlease join us in congratulating the UConn undergraduates named below for their significant research and creative accomplishments in spring 2019. Students: if you have an accomplishment to share, please do so using this online form.

AWARDS

Congratulations to Shaylin Cetegen ’19 (ENG), Eric Lepowsky ’19 (ENG), Leann McLaren ’19 (CLAS), and Hetal Patel ’19 (ENG), the undergraduate recipients of 2019 NSF Graduate Research Fellowships! They are among the 11 UConn students and alumni who won NSF Graduate Research Fellowships this year.2019 UConn Goldwater Scholars

For the first time, four UConn students have been named Goldwater Scholars in a single year. Congratulations to Berk Alpay ’21 (ENG, CLAS), Ariane Garrett ’20 (ENG, CLAS), Sam Markelon ’20 (ENG), and Saurabh Kumar ’20 (CLAS), pictured at right, who were recognized for their outstanding ability and promise, as well as their intention to pursue advanced study and research careers. Learn more about the awardees in this UConn Today article.


PUBLICATIONS

University Scholar and Health Research Program participant Brian Aguilera ’19 (CLAS) was a co-author on a recent publication from the Ghosh and Shapiro groups in the Center for Vascular Biology at UConn Health:

Ghosh, M., Lo, R., Ivic, I., Aguilera, B., Qendro, V., Devarakonda, C., & Shapiro, L.H. (2019). CD13 tethers the IQGAP1-ARF6-EFA6 complex to the plasma membrane to promote ARF6 activation, 1 integrin recycling, and cell migration. Science Signaling 12. doi: 10.1126/scisignal.aav5938

Patrick Briody ’20 (CLAS), Saurabh Kumar ’20 (CLAS), and Derek Pan ’20 (CLAS), all OUR Supply Award recipients, were co-authors on a recent publication based on research conducted in Dr. Joanne Conover’s lab:

Coletti, A.M., Singh, D., Kumar, S., Shafin, T.N., Briody, P.J., Babbitt, B., Pan, D., Norton, E.S., Brown, E.C., Kahle, K.T., Del Bigio, M.R., & Conover, J.C. (2018). Characterization of the ventricular-subventricular stem cell niche during human brain development. Development 2018. http://dev.biologists.org/content/early/2018/09/19/dev.170100

Four undergraduate researchers in Dr. Alexander Jackson’s lab – Eric Beltrami ’19 (CLAS), Brock Chimileski ’17 (CLAS), James Costanzo ’19 (CLAS), and Jacob Naparstek ’18 (CLAS) – were coauthors on this Nature Neuroscience article:

Mickelsen, L.E., Bolisetty, M., Chimileski, B.R., Fujita, A., Beltrami, E.J., Costanzo, J.T., Naparstek, J.R., Robson, P., & Jackson, A.C. (2019). Single-cell transcriptomic analysis of the lateral hypothalamic area reveals molecularly distinct populations of inhibitory and excitatory neurons. Nature Neuroscience 22, 642-656. doi: 10.1038/s41593-019-0349-8

Elliott Wilion ’19 (CLAS) co-authored an article based on research in Dr. James Li’s laboratory:

Wizeman, J.W., Guo, Q., Wilion, E.M., Li, J.Y.H. (2019). Specification of diverse cell types during early neurogenesis of the mouse cerebellum. eLife 8. doi: 10.7554/eLife.42388


EXHIBITIONS AND SCREENINGS

Spring 2019 included a series of art exhibitions and screenings by the following undergraduate students:

  • Flyer for Making Welcome: Space, Material, and Human-Centered Design
Olivia Crosby ’19 (SFA) – UConn IDEA Grant recipient
Making Welcome: Space, Material, and Human Centered Design

Kenny Glazer ’19 (SFA) – UConn IDEA Grant recipient
Moving Day

Lucian Hatfield ’19 (SFA), Regan Kilkenny ’20 (SFA), Christian Partenio ’19 (SFA) – UConn IDEA Grant recipients
The Color of You

Kat Folker ’19 (SFA) – UConn IDEA Grant recipient
There is Something in the Woods: A Short Horror Film

Isabella Saraceni ’19 (SFA) – UConn IDEA Grant recipient
Anonymous Is A Woman

Blue Wallick ’19 (SFA) – UConn IDEA Grant recipient
Prismatic: Reflections on Transgender and Non-Binary Experiences


PRESENTATIONS

American Astronomical Society Annual Meeting – January 6-10, 2019 – Seattle,WA

Aisha Massiah ’20 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
The Search For Galaxies That Host Multiple Type Ia Supernova

Joint Mathematics Meetings – January 9-12, 2019 – Baltimore, MD

Anthony Sisti ’19 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Option Pricing for the VIX and TYVIX Indexes using a Risk-Neutral Historical Distribution

  • Leann Mclaren presenting at the Midwest Political Science Association annual meeting.
    Leann Mclaren '19 (CLAS)
Plant and Animal Genome XXVII Conference – January 12-16, 2019 – San Diego, CA

Alyssa Ferreira ’20 (CAHNR) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Investigation of Strategies to Improve Annotation and Assembly of Conifer Genomes

Olivia Maher ’19 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Expression Analysis of Needle Abscission in the Deciduous Eastern Larch (L. laricina)

Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy – January 30-February 1, 2019 – Blacksburg, VA

Jillianne Garcia ’21 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Anti-“Weathering” Strategies

Emerging Researchers National Conference in STEM – February 21-23, 2019 – Washington, DC

Paulina Frutos ’19 (CLAS, CAHNR) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Study of Wetland Restoration Structures on Microbial Functionality

Eastern Psychological Association Meeting – February 28-March 2, 2019 – New York, NY  

Carly Danziger ’20 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Dyadic Worry Induced in a Laboratory Setting Increases Anxiety Between Friends

Christina Flores ’19 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
The EEG Mu Rhythm and Temperament in 6- and 12-month-olds

Jeffrey Hunt ’20 (CLAS) & Nathan Rivera ’19 (CALS) – OUR Travel Award recipients
Physiological Concomitants of Dyadic Worry Between Friends

Emmalyn Lecky ’20 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Cognitive Biases for Erotic or Cannabis Stimuli

Kimberly Morais ’19 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Can Discussing Worries Promote Anxiety Contagion?

  • Kimberly Morais presenting at the Eastern Psychological Association annual meeting.
    Kimberly Morais '19 (CLAS)
American Physical Society National Meeting – March 4-8, 2019 – Boston, MA 

Meagan Sundstrom ’19 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
How do Interactive Physics Learning Environments foster Intellectual Humility?

Society of Behavioral Medicine Annual Meeting – March 6-9, 2019 – Washington, DC

Mareyna Simon ’19 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Using Consumer-Grade EEG Devices to Measure Meditation Progress: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Northeast Writing Center Association Conference – March 30-31, 2019 – Danbury, CT

Alexandra Atherton ’19 (CLAS), Ethan Couillard ’22 (CLAS), Caitlyn Cubilla ’20 (CLAS), Donovan Davino ’20 (CLAS), Mia Dupuis ’19 (CLAS), & Nina Lupo ’21 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipients
Where Writing Meets STEM: Finding Meaning in a Multidisciplinary Academic Center

Connecticut Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Meeting – April 1, 2019 – Hartford, CT

Caitlyn Sward ’19 (CAHNR) – OUR Travel Award recipient
#EATINGFORTWO: What are People Posting About When They Use this Hashtag in Instagram Posts about Diet, Physical Activity, and Weight Gain During Pregnancy?

Midwest Political Science Association Annual Meeting – April 4-7, 2019 – Chicago, IL

Leann McLaren ’19 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
West Indian Diasporic Consciousness: The Case of Hartford, CT

Mary Vlamis ’20 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Torts, Judges, and Juries: Assessing Confidence in the Civil Justice System

Jessica Weaver ’19 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
The Feminine Touch: How Female Representation Affects the Legislative Success of Women’s Issues Legislation

Northeast Algal Symposium – April 26-28, 2019 – Salem, MA

Maryam Shahbadi ’19 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Diversity of Terrestrial Green Algae from Chile and Panama, with a Focus on Diplosphaera (Trebouxiophyceae, Chlorophyta)

Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting – April 27-30, 2019 – Baltimore, MD

Maryyam Ali ’19 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Risk Factors and Exposure to Violence in Pediatric Emergency Department Patients

Maria Antony ’19 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Family Perspectives on Accessing Community Resources to Mitigate Toxic Stress

Adrienne Nguyen ’20 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Impact of Undergraduate Research Assistant Program (URAP)

International Society for Autism Research Annual Meeting – May 1-4, 2019 – Montreal, Canada

Kathryn Allen ’19 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Are Variations in Narrative Language Reflected in Early Auditory Processing Via ABR?

• Congratulations, 2019 SURF Award Recipients!

SURF logo 2The Office of Undergraduate Research is pleased to announce the selection of 45 undergraduate students to receive SURF Awards in support of their summer undergraduate research projects.

Click here to view the full list of Summer 2019 SURF awardees.

Congratulations, SURF awardees! Your academic achievements, curiosity, initiative, and motivation were evident in your applications. You have an exciting summer of deep engagement with the process of academic inquiry ahead of you. We look forward to hearing about all you learn and discover!

We thank the faculty members who supported SURF applicants in a range of roles: mentors, letter writers, and faculty review committee members. SURF represents a collaborative effort between students and faculty. This program would not be possible without the support and participation of the UConn faculty!

OUR also extends thanks to SURF supporters in the UConn community. We are grateful to the Office of the Provost, the Office of the Vice President for Research, and to the Deans of the Schools and Colleges of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources; Engineering; Nursing; and Pharmacy, who all contributed funding to the SURF competition this year. Alumni, parents, and friends of UConn also helped fund SURF awards. This collaborative funding effort ensures that SURF supports a diverse array of undergraduate research endeavors. We are grateful to all of our program partners for making intensive summer research opportunities available to students seeking to enrich their undergraduate experience in this way.

Once again, congratulations to the recipients of 2019 SURF awards, and good luck with your summer projects!

Analyse Giordano '20 (CAHNR)
With her SURF Award, Analyse Giordano ’20 (CAHNR) will research whether biocompatible ceramic nanoparticles and nanotexturing can increase the longevity of implantable glucose monitors. (Carson Stifel/UConn Photo)
Isabella Ferrante '19 (CLAS)
Isabella Ferrante ’19 (CLAS) will conduct SURF-supported research in archives in the UK to understand how Shell Shock was perceived and understood after World War I. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

• Congratulations, Spring 2019 UConn IDEA Grant Recipients!

Congratulations to the 33 UConn undergraduates who have been awarded UConn IDEA Grants in the spring 2019 funding cycle!

The award recipients represent a variety of disciplines, from anthropology to animal science, and from biomedical engineering to art. They will conduct independent research, develop creative works in different media, and lay the groundwork for entrepreneurial ventures.

Click here to view the full list of spring 2019 UConn IDEA Grant award recipients.

Special thanks to the faculty and staff who supported student applications to the UConn IDEA Grant and to those who will be mentoring the award recipients as they complete their projects.

The UConn IDEA Grant program awards funding to support self-designed projects including artistic endeavors, community service initiatives, research projects, prototyping and entrepreneurial ventures, and other creative and innovative projects. Undergraduates in all majors at all UConn campuses can apply. Applications are accepted twice per year from individuals and from small groups who plan to work collaboratively on a project. The next application deadline will be in December 2019.

• 2019 Mentorship Excellence Awards

mentorship3

In recognition of the pivotal role that mentors play in supporting undergraduate research and creative activity, the Office of Undergraduate Research is pleased to announce the recipents of the 2019 Mentorship Excellence Awards. These awards recognize two faculty members – one in a STEM field, and one in a non-STEM field – and one graduate student who exemplify the ways in which outstanding mentors challenge and support their students, enabling them to take intellectual risks and achieve milestones they might not have initially envisioned being able to reach.

The 2019 Mentorship Excellence Awards were presented to Seok-Woo Lee, Charles W. Mahoney, and Elizabeth Knapp during the Frontiers in Undergraduate Research Poster Exhibition on Friday, April 12, 2019.


Seok-Woo Lee, Assistant Professor, Materials Science and Engineering
Professor Lee’s award was presented by Hetal Patel ’19 (ENG). The following text is excerpted from Hetal’s presentation remarks.

Hetal Patel presents plaque to awardee Seok-Woo Lee.
Hetal Patel ’19 (ENG) presents the award to her mentor, Professor Seok-Woo Lee.

When I started at UConn in the School of Engineering, I had set a benchmark by which I would define my success in the next four years, and that was to have a full-time engineering job ready before I graduated. In my first semester, I noticed many of the undergraduates do research, particularly in the honors community, and so I decided it would be a good idea to join a lab and to learn more about my field. I reached out to many professors and it was Dr. Lee who showed an interest in me joining his group. This is where my story took off. During our very first meeting, his passion for science, his care towards his students, and his immense positive energy became clear. In the last four years, this hasn’t changed a single bit. We have been meeting 1×1 every single week and his care and kindness towards me have been a steady source of motivation.

On the technical side, he has trained me to have a strong foundation and has taught me to be patient and think divergently because things don’t go as planned in research. He gave me projects that led to publication in high impact journals and also gave me the opportunity to present my UScholar work at one of the biggest Materials Science conferences. He always encouraged me to try other labs or internships and when it came to applying for graduate schools, he always said to aim higher. He has been a constant support when it comes to writing papers, thesis, posters, or applications, whether it was for UScholar, fellowships, summer programs or graduate school.

Overall, he has changed the trajectory of my career through his energy, passion, and care. I have exceeded all my academic expectations for myself in the last four years due to Dr. Lee’s immense commitment to mentor me. He has dedicated hundreds of hours towards me in a selfless manner and has worked far beyond his required duties for me to be here. He works so incredibly hard that it inspires me to work even harder.

To end, I am happy to say I will be heading to UC Berkeley this fall for my Ph.D. in MSE on a prestigious Department of Defense fellowship. Clearly, my goals and benchmark have changed, and I owe that to Dr. Lee. If I hadn’t met him I would have never thought of applying for University Scholar or have decided to pursue a Ph.D. Having him as my research advisor is the best thing that happened to me at UConn. Dr. Lee is the highlight of my day and his mentorship is the hallmark of my UConn career.


Charles W. Mahoney, Professor, English
Professor Mahoney’s award was presented by Lauren Cenci ’19 (CLAS). The following text is excerpted from Lauren’s presentation remarks.

Lauren Cenci presents plaque to awardee Charles W. Mahoney.
Lauren Cenci ’19 (CLAS) presents the award to her mentor, Professor Charles W. Mahoney.

Describing Professor Charles Mahoney’s extraordinary mentorship to me over the past several semesters in just a few short remarks is a difficult task. His passion for what he does is unmatched and very evident to anyone who has taken a class with him. I first met Professor Mahoney during my second official semester as an English major, during which I enrolled in his advanced poetry course on Lord Byron. I entered that course with little direction and confidence in myself as an English student but exited with a strong sense of purpose and a heightened awareness of English poetry. Professor Mahoney sees the best in each of his students and pushes them to strive to achieve this. He has high expectations of his students because he is aware of their potential and as such will not accept anything short of their finest work.

Charles is the chair of my University Scholar Project on the elegy, a genre of poetry that deals with mortal loss and mourning; I have completed two independent studies with him and am currently finishing up my thesis project this semester with his diligent guidance and feedback. The type of work I have pursued with Charles made me realize that I want to pursue a graduate degree in English and this fall I submitted applications to various universities. Throughout the summer, Charles read several drafts of both my critical writing sample and personal statement, provided in-depth feedback on both documents, and met with me on multiple occasions to discuss my progress. I most certainly would not have had the confidence to apply to graduate school had he not made me aware of my potential and research prowess.

Although Charles is very tough on his students and holds them to high standards, he is one of the kindest and most caring professors I have ever had the privilege of working with. It is rare to encounter a professor of his caliber, and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to work with him and grow as a student and a scholar with his guidance. Despite being an extremely busy individual, he has never made me feel as though my work is unimportant; each meeting and correspondence I have with him feels like a priority. This upcoming fall I will be attending graduate school, and I firmly believe that Charles’s exceptional mentorship has both gotten me to this point as well as thoroughly prepared me for what lies ahead.


Elizabeth Knapp, Ph.D. Candidate, Physiology and Neurobiology, Sun Laboratory
Elizabeth was presented with her award by Ekatarina (Katya) Skaritanov ’20 (CLAS) and Celina Caetano ’19 (CLAS), two of the undergraduate researchers who work under her supervision in the Sun lab. The following text is excerpted from Katya’s presentation remarks.

Ekatarina Skaritanov (left) and Celina Caetano (right) present plaque to awardee Elizabeth Knapp (center).
Ph.D. candidate Elizabeth Knapp (center) is presented her award by mentees Ekatarina Skaritanov ’20 (CLAS), at left, and Celina Caetano ’19 (CLAS), at right.

Over the past year I have had the absolute pleasure of working with Liz Knapp in the Sun Lab. Her intelligence, passion for teaching, and kind heart inspire me to put my best foot forward and not give up even when experiments don’t go according to plan.

I can confidently say that without Liz I would not be the scientist I am today. One of the most important lessons she taught me is that making mistakes only makes you a better researcher. After all, it is only through failure in the lab that one can develop patience and perseverance, which are key to successful research. I have witnessed Liz’s passion for teaching through how much she cares about everyone she works with. Whether she is at her computer making figures, or at the microscope doing experiments, I know that I can approach her with a question and get a thoughtful answer. No matter how busy she is, she will always make time to explain things in multiple ways to ensure you understand the logic. Liz does not only make sure that you understand WHAT you’re doing, but also that you understand WHY you’re doing it, which is imperative to leading a successful independent research project.

For a long time when I first started in lab I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. Even though I had my own project, I felt lost because I didn’t fully understand all the background and jargon behind my work. However, during one of our first sessions at the confocal microscope and probably without even realizing it, Liz raised my confidence and self-esteem by telling me that she was once in the exact same position I was in and that soon everything I feel like I don’t understand will naturally fall into place.

Liz, thank you for being the epitome of what a strong and confident woman in science looks like. Thank you for pushing me to be the best that I can be, and putting up with all my questions even when I ask you the same one five times in a row. Thank you for being a good friend, and most of all thank you for infecting us all with your love and excitement for science.


Congratulations to the 2019 award recipients! The Office of Undergraduate Research thanks the undergraduate students who nominated their faculty and graduate student mentors as well as the Peer Research Ambassadors who served on this year’s selection committee.

• Congratulations, Fall 2018 UConn IDEA Grant Recipients!

Congratulations to the 11 UConn undergraduates who have been awarded UConn IDEA Grants in the fall 2018 funding cycle!

The award recipients represent a variety of disciplines, from English to materials science, and from biological sciences to design and technical theater. They will conduct independent research, develop creative works in different media, and initiate programs that engage the University community.

Click here to view the full list of fall 2018 UConn IDEA Grant award recipients.

Special thanks to the faculty and staff that supported student applications to the UConn IDEA Grant and to those who will be mentoring the award recipients as they complete their projects.

The UConn IDEA Grant program awards funding to support self-designed projects including artistic endeavors, community service initiatives, research projects, prototyping and entrepreneurial ventures, and other creative and innovative projects. Undergraduates in all majors at all UConn campuses can apply. Applications are accepted twice per year from individuals and from small groups who plan to work collaboratively on a project. The next application deadline is March 11, 2019.

• Summer Research Opportunities Accepting Applications

Undecided about how to spend your summer? Consider an undergraduate research program or research internship hosted by a research institute or university. Many summer research programs and internships, including those listed below, are accepting applications through late February or early March. There is still time to prepare a personal statement, gather application materials, and secure letters of recommendation.

Nanotechnology for Health, Energy, and the Environment – Stony Brook University
Deadline: February 15, 2019

https://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/cie/reu/
This summer REU program is targeted towards undergraduates with an interest in the application of nanotechnology and nanomaterials to various societal needs. Undergraduate STEM majors who have completed at least one year of undergraduate study are eligible to apply. $4,000 stipend, free housing and a meal plan. Stipend $600/week for the 12-week internship period.

Robert Frederick Smith Internship Program – Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture
Deadline: February 15, 2019
https://nmaahc.si.edu/connect/osp/robert-frederick-smith-fund-internship-and-fellowship-program
Internship opportunities through this program focus on digital imaging, media preservation, digital preservation of personal and community objects, collections information management, and recording and preserving oral histories. Interns will be located onsite with the National Museum of African American History & Culture and offsite at select African American museums, museums of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and other institutions dedicated to preserving African American history and culture. 

Maryland Sea Grant REU Program
Deadline: February 16, 2019
http://www.mdsg.umd.edu/topics/research-experiences-undergraduates/research-experiences-undergraduates
Fifteen students are selected to conduct marine research on the Chesapeake Bay at one of two University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences laboratories. The program is designed for students majoring in marine science, ecology, environmental science, biology and chemistry. Preference given to students who are rising seniors. $6,000 stipend and housing costs are provided.

Summer Internships in Plant Health – Kansas State University
Deadline: February 18, 2019
https://www.plantpath.k-state.edu/undergraduate/reeu/index.html
The program is designed for students with an interest in plant pathology, horticulture, crop genetics, entomology, or agronomy. Students must identify the projects they are most interested in working on as part of the application process. This Research and Extension Experience (REEU) program is funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. $4,900 stipend, housing, and meals provided.

Microbial Friends & Foes REU Program – Cornell University
Deadline: February 21, 2019
http://cihmid.cornell.edu/reu-mff.html
Students selected for this REU program will work with faculty mentors in the Cornell Institute of Host-Microbe Interactions and Disease (CIHMID). The program provides training in the concepts and experimental approaches needed to understand microbial interactions with eukaryotic hosts. Stipend of $5,750, on-campus housing, and meal allowance.

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship in Oceanography – University of Rhode Island
Deadline: February 21, 2019
https://web.uri.edu/gso/academics/surfo/
The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships in Oceanography program is a 10-week research experience designed for science, math, and engineering students who will be seniors in Fall 2019. The program emphasizes the quantitative aspects of Oceanography; many projects involve fluid dynamics, marine geophysics, or numerical/physical modeling. $5,500 stipend.

Multicultural Academic Opportunities Program (MAOP) Undergraduate Summer Research Internship – Virginia Tech
Deadline: 5pm, February 22, 2019
https://maop.vt.edu/Undergraduate_programs/summer_research.html
This program provides undergraduates from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to conduct research under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Wide variety of academic disciplines; $3,000 stipend, free on-campus room and board. Applicants should be rising sophomores and juniors.

Analytical Studies Intern Program – Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute (MCI)
Deadline: February 25, 2019
https://www.si.edu/mci/english/professional_development/2019AnalyticalStudiesInternProgram.html
These 10-week summer internships offer undergraduates the opportunity to work on research projects with staff in MCI’s technical studies and research group. MCI is the center for specialized technical collections research and conservation for all Smithsonian museums and research centers. Applicants should specify preferred advisors (from the list on the website) in their applications.

Dangremond Museum Studies Internship – Connecticut Historical Society
Deadline: March 8, 2019
https://chs.org/support-ct-historical/volunteer/dangremond-museum-studies-internship/
This internship offer undergraduates the opportunity to gain exposure to and experience in the daily operation of a history museum, library, and research center. Selected interns will work closely with museum professionals to gain a deeper understanding of the museum, library and history fields. Interns must complete 250 hours of work. $1,700 stipend.

• Health Research Program – Opportunities for Summer 2019

Brian Aguilera with Prof. Mallika Ghosh
HRP student Brian Aguilera ’19 (CLAS) working with his UConn Health mentor, Dr. Mallika Ghosh, Center for Vascular Biology.

The Office of Undergraduate Research is pleased to announce the next phase of the Health Research Program (HRP). This program offers a pathway into undergraduate research for students with interests in health and/or the biomedical sciences. By facilitating connections between UConn Health researchers and UConn undergraduates, the program aims to involve more students in research at UConn Health.

For students interested in participating in this program for Summer 2019, here is the key information:

  • Summer 2019 opportunities are now posted on the HRP website. There are 31 opportunities that range from public health to biological modeling, biomaterials to neuroscience, genetics to psychiatry. The application deadline for these opportunities is 11:59pm on Monday, February 4, 2019.
  • All of these opportunities are slated to continue into the 2019-20 academic year. Continuation is contingent on satisfactory progress over the course of the summer and both student and faculty mentor interest in continuing the placement.
  • To be eligible for Summer 2019 HRP opportunities, students must plan to graduate no sooner than May 2020.

Further details and answers to frequently asked questions are available on the Health Research Program website. Students are encouraged to peruse the posted opportunities and begin preparing application materials for any placements of interest. We urge students to take care to consider the time commitment and schedule options involved in a given opportunity to ensure that they can accommodate these demands in their summer and academic year schedule.

• Additional Summer Research Opportunities – Apply Now

Interested in spending the summer engaged in an exciting research project? Although February is fast approaching, there is still time to apply for summer research opportunities in a variety of areas including those listed below with February deadlines.

Amgen Scholars Program 
The Amgen Scholars Program, a competitive summer program providing undergraduate students the opportunity to work full-time on independent research projects under the guidance of a research scientist, is hosted at thirteen institutions in the United States. Each host institution has its own application process; visit the links below for information on each institution’s program. The application deadline for all programs (except Caltech) is February 1, 2019. Applications for the Caltech program are due February 15th. Amgen research is conducted in fields including biochemistry, bioinformatics, biotechnology, chemical and biomolecular engineering, chemistry, immunology, medical pharmacology, microbiology, molecular biology, molecular genetics, molecular medicine, molecular pharmacology, neurobiology, neuroscience, pathology, physiological psychology, physiological science, statistics, and toxicology. Funding levels vary by program but most include a stipend (between $3,500 and $6,500), a housing and/or meal allowance, and travel expenses.


Summer Undergraduate Research Experience – University at Buffalo, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Deadline: February 1, 2019
http://medicine.buffalo.edu/education/undergraduate/sure.html
The School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences offers a summer undergraduate research program for students in their junior year (at the time of application). Offers extended to only 6-8 students; $3,500 stipend and housing provided.

Biomedical Engineering Summer Internship Program (BESIP)
Deadline: February 2,
2019
https://www.nibib.nih.gov/training-careers/undergraduate-graduate/biomedical-engineering-summer-internship-program-besip
This program, sponsored by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), is targeted at undergraduate biomedical engineering students who will be between their junior and senior years in summer 2019. This program is a subprogram of the Summer Internship Program (SIP). Students will participate in biomedical research projects under the direction of scientists at NIH laboratories in Bethesda, MD. 

UCSD MSTP Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program
Deadline: February 4, 2019
http://mstp.ucsd.edu/surf/Pages/default.aspx
The Medical Scientist Training Program at UC San Diego is designed for students interested in learning about a career as a physician-scientist. The program features an 8-week research project, weekly seminars, and a physician-scientist clinical shadowing experience. Students from groups underrepresented in health-related sciences and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds are encouraged to apply. $3,200 stipend and room provided. 

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program – State University of New York Upstate Medical University
Deadline: February 4, 2019
http://www.upstate.edu/grad/programs/summer.php
This 10-week summer research program is for students majoring in chemistry, biology, or a related field. Applicants should be between their junior and senior years (in Summer 2019) and have a strong interest in pursuing post undergraduate study. Students should be specifically interested in pursuing a PhD, MS, MD, MD/PhD, DNP, DPT, MPH, or PA. $3,500 stipend and housing provided.

Hartford Hospital Summer Student Pre-Med & Research Program 
Deadline: February 6, 2019
https://hartfordhospital.org/health-professionals/education/residencies-fellowships/summer-student-pre-med-research-program
This 10-week program offers pre-med students an introduction to research methodology, patient treatment, and ethical issues in medicine. Applicants must be pre-med students completing their junior year as of May 2019. $2,600 award for selected students.

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program – UT Southwestern Medical Center
Deadline: February 9, 2019
http://www.utsouthwestern.edu/education/graduate-school/programs/non-degree-programs/surf.html
The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program at UT Southwestern’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences is designed for students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. career in biomedical research. Applicants to this 10-week program must have completed their sophomore year in an undergraduate science degree program. $4,000 stipend.

Quantitative and Physical Sciences Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (QP-SURF) Program – UT Southwestern Medical Center
Deadline: February 9, 2019
http://www.utsouthwestern.edu/education/graduate-school/programs/non-degree-programs/qp-surf.html
The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program at UT Southwestern’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences is designed for students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. career in biomedical research. Applicants must be enrolled in a physics, computer science, mathematics, biomedical engineering, or chemistry degree program and have completed their sophomore year. $4,000 stipend.

Montgomery Summer Research Diversity Fellowships in Law and Social Science
Deadline: February 15, 2019
http://www.americanbarfoundation.org/research/Fellowshipopportunities/SummerResearchDiversityFellowshipsinLawandSocialScience.html
The American Bar Foundation sponsors a program of summer research fellowships. The summer program is designed to introduce students from diverse backgrounds to the benefits of a research-oriented career in the field of law and social science. Open to students who will have completed at least two years of undergraduate study by the time the fellowship begins. Selected students will receive a stipend of $3,600.

Building Diversity in Biomedical Sciences – Summer Research Program at Tufts University School of Medicine
Deadline: February 15, 2019
https://sackler.tufts.edu/admissions/nonDegreePrograms/BDBS
The Building Diversity in Biomedical Sciences (BDBS) Program offers a 10-week, mentored research experience for students interested in pursuing a PhD or MD/PhD.  Participants in the program also receive training in written and oral communication of scientific data and learn about careers in biomedical science through workshops. Stipend of $4,000, on-campus housing and travel expenses within the US are provided.

Materials Research Science and Engineering Center REU at Northwestern University
Deadline: February 15, 2019
http://mrsec.northwestern.edu/undergraduate-opportunities/
REU students will have the opportunity to contribute to a research project led by a center faculty member expanding their science and engineering experience. Students with an interest in nanomaterials and majoring in a science or engineering field are encouraged to apply.  Participants receive a $4,500 stipend, a travel allowance, and on-campus housing.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) Summer Student Fellowship
Deadline: February 15, 2019
http://www.whoi.edu/main/summer-student-fellowship
The Summer Student Fellowship provides undergraduates with an interest in ocean sciences, oceanographic engineering, mathematics, or marine policy with a meaningful first-hand introduction to research in those areas. Students who have completed their junior year prior to the start of fellowship period in summer 2018 are eligible to apply. Stipend of approximately $600/week for 10-12 weeks and institutional housing provided.

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences REU Program
Deadline: February 15, 2019
http://www.bigelow.org/education/reu/
This highly competitive, 10-week REU program pairs students with scientist mentors for a hands-on, independent research experience. Student applicants should have a minimum of one year of basic biology and at least one earth or ocean science course. Housing and $5,000 stipend provided.

Molecular Biology REU at the Ohio State University
Deadline: February 15, 2019
https://molgen.osu.edu/research-experience-undergraduates
This NSF-funded research program is hosted by the Departments of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and the Division of Biochemistry at Ohio State. Selected students will receive a $5,250 stipend and university housing. Students from groups historically underrepresented in the sciences are encouraged to apply.

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Internship Program
Deadline: February 15, 2019
https://serc.si.edu/pro_training/internships/projectmenu.aspx
This 10-week program provides undergraduate students the opportunity to work on independent research under the direction of a SERC mentor. Research areas include environmental chemistry, marine and estuarine ecology, molecular ecology, and terrestrial ecology. Stipend $550/week.

• Student Accomplishments – December 2018

accomplishments-heading

Please join us in congratulating the UConn undergraduates named below for their significant research and creative accomplishments in summer and fall 2018. Students: if you have an accomplishment to share, please do so using this online form.


PUBLICATIONS

Keara Frawley ’18 (ENG) was first author on a recent publication from Dr. Seok-Woo Lee’s lab and her paper is featured in the journal cover:

Frawley, K.G., Bakst, I., Sypek, J.T., Vijayan, S., Weinberger, C.R., Canfield, P.C., Aindow, M., & Lee, S. (2018). A Nanoindentation Study of the Plastic Deformation and Fracture Mechanisms in Single-Crystalline CaFe2As2. The Journal of The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society, 70(7). doi: 10.1007/s11837-018-2851-y

William Hunt ’19 (ENG) was a co-author on a recent publication from Dr. Kevin Brown’s (Biomedical Engineering) research group:

Brown, K.S., Allopenna, P.D., Hunt, W.R., Steiner, R., Saltzman, E., McRae, K., & Magnuson, J.S. (2018). Universal Features in Phonological Neighbor Networks. Entropy, 20(7), 526; doi: 10.3390/e20070526

Craig Mendonca ’18 (CLAS) worked in the Gene Therapy Center in Dr. Guangping Gao’s lab at UMass Medical School. Craig was a co-author on a recent publication from this research internship:

Wang, D., Li, J, Song, C.Q., Tran, K., Mou, H., Wu, P.H., Tai, P.W.L., Mendonca, C.A., Ren, L., Wang, B.Y., Su, Q., Gessler, D.J., Zamore, P.D., Xue, W., & Gao, G. (2018). Cas9-mediated allelic exchange repairs compound heterozygous recessive mutations in mice. Nature Biotechnology, 36. doi: 10.1038/nbt.4219

Kathleen Renna ’20 (CAHNR), an undergraduate in the Health Research Program, and Yue (Jacky) Yang ’19 (ENG), a 2018 SURF student, were co-authors on a recent publication based on research conducted with Dr. Ephraim Trakhtenberg at UConn Health:

Rheaume, B.A., Jereen, A., Bolisetty, M., Sajid, M.S., Yang, Y., Renna, K., Sun, L., Robson, P., & Trakhtenberg, E.F. (2018). Single Cell Transcriptome Profiling of Retinal Ganglion Cells Identifies Cellular Subtypes. Nature Communications, 9(1). doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-05134-3


SUMMER RESEARCH ACTIVITIES

Jiana Baker ’20 (CLAS) conducted research in Dr. Sangamesh Kumbar’s lab in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at UConn Health through the Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP) Summer Research Fellowship Program. Jiana presented her work “Novel Polymer-Nanotube Composites: Small Molecule Drug Delivery Systems for Peripheral Nerve Regeneration” at the HCOP poster session.

Claudia Fernanda Pena-Sulantay ’20 (ENG) spent her summer in Nove Hrady, Czech Republic, engaged in a research project at the Center for Nanobiology and Structural Biology (CNSB). Her work on the project “Structural and functional analysis of the yeast K+ translocation system(s) encoded by TRK1 and TRK 2 genes” was part of the REU program in Molecular Biophysics sponsored by Princeton University.

Tanya Miller ’20 (CLAS) engaged in structural biology research at the Laboratory of Structural Biology which is part of BIOCEV, the Biotechnology and Biomedicine Center of the Academy of Sciences and Charles University in Vestec, Czech Republic. She was supervised by Dr. Cyril Barinka during the 5-week summer program.


PRESENTATIONS

  • Jiana Baker presenting her research at the HCOP poster session.
    Jiana Baker '20 (CLAS)

Galaxy Community Conference-Bioinformatics Open Source Conference – June 25-30, 2018 – Portland, OR

Peter Richter ’19 (ENG) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Collecting Data for Association Genetics: Tripal Plant PopGen Submit Pipeline

American Society of Animal Science – Canadian Society of Animal Science Annual Meeting and Trade Show – July 8-12, 2018 – Vancouver, British Columbia

Lauren Engels ’19 (CAHNR) – OUR Travel recipient
The Effects of Poor Maternal Nutrition on Fetal Brain Development

Helenrose Iannitti ’19 (CAHNR) – OUR Travel recipient
Effects of Poor Maternal Nutrition during Gestation on Oxidative Stress in Offspring Muscle

Veronica Pleasant ’19 (CAHNR) – OUR Travel recipient
The Effects of Maternal Milk Production on Dairy Calf Growth and Health

SACNAS 2018 – The National Diversity in STEM Conference – October 11-13, 2018 – San Antonio, TX

Vinayak Mishra ’21 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Cellular Response to Biodegradable Stent in Vascular Bioreactor

Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Annual Meeting – October 17-20, 2018 – Atlanta, GA

Amanda Johnson ’19 (ENG) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Assembly of Compact Neurostimulator Circuit Board for Neuroprosthetic Applications

Alexandra Liberti ’19 (ENG) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Characterization of Tissue Response in Rodent Spinal Cords by Immunofluorescence Staining

Fawaz Mohsin ’21 (ENG & BUS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Vascular Laser Thermolysis of Blood Vessels Varying in Size

Society for Neuroscience (SFN) Annual Meeting – November 3-7, 2018 – San Diego, CA 

Skyler Sklenarik ’18 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Behavioral Biases in People at Risk for Problematic Gambling and Pornography Use

Nathalia Hernandez ’20 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Observational Learning in Rats: Effects of Number and Quality of Observations

Kyrstyn Jenkins ’20 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Evaluating Mechanisms of Reward Enhancement by Nicotine in Humans

National Council of Family Relations Annual Conference – November 7-10 – San Diego, CA

Kalea Coles ’19 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Child Birth Weight and Reading Skills: A Moderation by Race

SENTAC Conference – November 30-December 2, 2018 – Houston, TX

Anika Makol ’19 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Pediatric Nasal Burns During Operative Cautery; Are Aural Speculums More Protective than Nasal Speculums? – A Retrospective Chart Review

• SURF 2019: Program Updates

SURF logoWith the SURF 2019 application cycle underway, we would like to take the opportunity to highlight some updates and changes to this year’s SURF program. SURF continues to offer students from across the academic disciplines the opportunity to focus full-time on a research or creative project for 9-10 weeks over the summer.

Updates for 2019

New Application Management System

We are using the UConn Quest Portal, a new application management system powered by SurveyMonkey Apply, to collect, process, and review SURF applications for summer 2019. This new system will allow students to complete the various components of the SURF application in the most appropriate order for them and to make edits as needed prior to submission of their application.

  • Letters of Recommendation. As before, two letters of recommendation are required for the SURF application.
    • Student applicants must request recommendation letters through the application system by entering the name and email address of the faculty members who have agreed to write letters on their behalf. The system will send the recommenders an individual link for recommendation submission.
    • Faculty recommenders will receive an email from the Quest Portal on behalf of the student who is requesting a letter of recommendation. Both first and second recommenders will submit their letters through the portal by uploading a PDF file. Faculty who are serving as the project supervisor (1st recommender) will also be asked to answer a series of research compliance questions.

Application Reminders (See the full application outline here)

  • Budget reminders. Students should visit the Budget Policies and Samples page for detailed guidance about allowable expenses (now including maximum dollar amounts for expenses like poster printing) and examples of budgets that show the appropriate level of detail.
    • Student requesting stipend as part of a Plan A or Plan C budget should be careful to use accurate stipend language as noted on the Budget Policies page.
    • Faculty advisors of students conducting laboratory research: Please work with your advisee to ensure s/he has accurate information about the costs of lab supplies that can be procured through university purchasing channels and contracts.
  • Timeline reminders. Student should visit the Sample Timeline page for guidance on developing a detailed timeline. The SURF proposal timeline should clearly indicate start and end dates, the anticipated number of project work hours each week, and a week-by-week listing of planned project milestones.
  • Research Compliance reminders. Students and faculty should note that research compliance approvals are complex and take significant time. Please plan accordingly. While the necessary approvals are not required at the application stage, students should be aware that SURF funding will not be disbursed until all necessary compliance documents have been submitted to OUR, and that SURF awards will be rescinded if documentation is not received by the stated deadline. Both faculty and students are reminded to take care in reading the series of questions concerning biological materials as this category encompasses a wide range of items.

ESTA Requirement/Documentation of Safety Training

Students proposing SURF project work that will take place in a setting with hazards such as a lab, theater, or studio will be required to complete the Employee Safety Training Assessment (ESTA) with their faculty mentor to determine which safety training courses are required in order to work where hazards are present.

  • Student applicants will be asked about completion of the ESTA in the Research Compliance section of the application. We encourage students to complete the ESTA with their faculty supervisor prior to submitting their application.
  • Information on how to document completion of the ESTA and completion of the indicated training/registration for upcoming training is available on OUR’s Safety Training page.

SURF Mailing List. Students planning to apply for SURF can sign up for the SURF Mailing List to receive helpful application tips via email.

We look forward to another excellent set of SURF applications this year! The application deadline is Monday, February 4, 2019. We encourage all students to make use of SURF Office Hours to seek feedback on their draft materials and to ask any questions they might have about the program or the application. SURF Office Hours are scheduled for 1/22, 1/25, and 1/28. Full detail about times and location can be found in the sidebar on the main SURF webpage.

Photos of SURF recipients