2018 Cell Biology Research Scholars Program (CRSP) Scholars
Linh Chu - Haigis Lab
I am a junior at Gustavus Adolphus College, majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with minor in Management. I am from Hanoi, Vietnam. Upon graduation, I want to obtain a PhD and pursue biomedical science career, with the goal to help improve the community’s health conditions within my laboratory. I also love traveling, learning about other cultures, trying different cuisines and sharing my passion with people coming from different backgrounds in doing researches.
Chloe Le Moing - Chouchani Lab
I was born in Trenton, New Jersey and grew up near the shore. I attended a magnet high school specializing in biotechnology, where I conducted independent research projects and cultivated my passion for biological sciences. I’m currently attending Cornell University, engaging in research on the molecular nutrition of selenium and the functional genomics of antioxidant enzymes. I aim to pursue a PhD in cellular biology so I may go into professional research, a career which I have long aspired for. I would love to explore the field of astrobiology at some point in my time as a student and researcher, as well as gain experience teaching others about the joy of studying life science. My current interests include art, taiko, backpacking, and urban exploration.
Aislinn Mayfield - Van Vactor Lab
I am a junior biology major at Carleton College. My interests include cancer cell growth and regeneration as well as cell signaling in the central nervous system. In addition to my interests in cell biology, I also have a passion for visual art. My health-related externships and research experience as a TRIO McNair Scholar have sparked my desire to pursue a research-focused medical career. Overall, I hope to continue building my background in biological science and further develop my research skills. These experiences will continue to prepare me for a research-oriented career and further motivate me to become a medical researcher.
Olutosin "Tosin" Owoeymi - Harper Lab
I am currently a student at The Johns Hopkins University pursuing a B.S. in Molecular & Cellular Biology. I am a US-born, first-generation immigrant born to parents who immigrated to the United States from Nigeria. I was raised in Ellicott City, MD where my advanced science professors in high school first introduced me to the world of research. I have been deeply passionate about biology since my accelerated biology course in my first year of high school and have recently developed a strong inclination towards cancer biology. My passion for biology resulted in my matriculation to a university deeply centered around the importance of research where I could be introduced to a field that I had not previously explored. I have explored protein interactions between 14-3-3 and N- myc Down Regulated Gene1, the cause of prostate cell neurodifferentiation, and androgen treatment as a possible repair mechanism trigger at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins under the direction of Sushant Kachhap, PhD. In my research, I am particularly interested in discovering more common genetic causes of cancer as well as understanding how genetic abnormalities may disrupt different signaling pathways. Outside of the lab, I enjoy dancing competitively, educating other students on campus about African cultures, mentoring underrepresented students, volunteering as a patient advocate at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, and cooking.
Hayley Schultz - Moazed Lab
I am a junior at Vassar College majoring in Biology. I became obsessed with biology as a high school sophomore and still am. I’m particularly fascinated by epigenetics and cellular biology with a focus on human health. Ultimately, I plan to pursue a PhD and prepare to teach and inspire undergraduate students to pursue careers in Biology. My independent research at Vassar focuses on the function of miR-33 in pigmentation regulation in the AKT/insulin signaling pathway in Drosophila. In addition to my academic pursuits, I’m a member of the Varsity Swim Team and have a love for training and competition.
2017 Cell Biology Research Scholars Program (CRSP) Scholars
Milky Abajorga - King Lab
I grew up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and am a junior at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). I transferred from Clark University and currently study Biomedical Sciences and Biotechnology, and Molecular Biology. I am interested in molecular biology and hope to pursue a career in academia doing extensive research in molecular biology and genetic engineering. I am obsessed with p53 and find yeast and drosophila absolutely amazing for their genetic epidemic to that of humans. My prior research experience includes researching the chaperone protein, Hsp90, in Saccharomyces cerevisae to investigate the fitness landscape of the middle domain of this heat shock protein. I am also interested in public health and have traveled to Haiti and China to observe and participate in the administration of healthcare. I enjoys reading and dancing though my dancing skills are, to say the least, not exceptional. I also love traveling and indulging in various cuisines.
Ashwin Balaji - Liao Lab
I was born in Upland, California and have lived in and around the Greater Los Angeles Area my entire life along with my mother, my father, and my older brother, residing in the cities of Claremont, Upland, Rancho Cucamonga, and Rialto. I attended Saint Mark’s Episcopal School for pre-school through eighth grade and Damien High School. I currently attend Amherst College and am a member of the Class of 2019. Academically, I am most interested in biology at the molecular and cellular level, leading me to a major in Amherst College’s Biochemistry & Biophysics Program. I have also found interest in and involved myself in activities such as debate and mock trial. Outside of these academic pursuits, I enjoy many hobbies and interests such as golfing, fishing, working on and driving remote control cars, hiking, spending time at local beaches, and pursuing various musical endeavors. Music has been an especially large portion of my life. I began with lessons in guitar and piano at the age of eight and involved myself in many ensembles during high school such as the drumline and the concert band. Currently, I am a member of a Jazz combo at Amherst College, in which I play drum set. Beyond music at Amherst College, I also play with the Amherst College Men’s Ultimate Frisbee Team. My biography is not complete without mentioning my joy of spending time with family, especially my supportive extended family members also living in California. I always look forward to our frequent gatherings.
Kayla Ingram - Van Vactor Lab
I am a Chicago, Illinois native attending Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia as a MARC scholar/trainee, and a molecular/cellular biology major interested in pursuing a biomedical research career in neuroscience and education initiatives. I am a Illinois Math and Science Academy alumna where I completed and published research on the motivational factors of gifted and talented Black and Latino students engaged in STEM. I am currently doing biomedical research on the toxicity mechanisms of tau oligomers in Alzheimer’s Disease at Hampton University, and previously did summer research at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine on finding substrates of UBE3A with intentions of understanding Angelman Syndrome and related neurodevelopmental disorders. Ultimately, I hope to own a neuroscience research facility where I can provide nonconventional opportunities producing STEM and biomedical research education initiatives for underrepresented students.
In my free time, I enjoys basking in nature, learning and experiencing new things, admiring and engaging in all forms of art, reading books of many genres, conversing with friends, and volunteering as a tutor and mentor of underrepresented students.
April Lee - Haigis Lab
I am currently a junior at Cornell University completing a degree in Biology, with a concentration in Molecular and Cellular Biology. I grew up in Sudbury, Massachusetts where I attended Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, though I am currently residing in Alpharetta, Georgia. I first realized that I wished to pursue the field of molecular and cellular biology during my biology class sophomore year of high school. Since then, I have tried to be as involved in and learn as much about biology as I can, whether that be through taking interesting biology classes at college or spending the vast majority of my free time in lab. I have held two research positions prior to this program. One was in the Laboratory of Nanomedicine and Biomaterials at Brigham and Women’s Hospital where I conducted research on nanoparticles containing anti-cancer drugs. The other was part of my undergraduate studies in Cornell’s Department of Molecular Medicine using both classic molecular techniques and structural biology to analyze the function of various proteins. In this lab I’ve successfully purified, crystalized and obtained the structure of the active site-containing domain of an endonuclease, which revealed its catalytic mechanism. I was also heavily involved in solving the structure and mechanism of the DNA binding domain of another protein. I am very interested in studying the molecular mechanisms behind cellular functions and pathways, especially in terms of cellular aging and disease. When I am not spending my time in class or in the lab, I enjoy being an active executive member of Alpha Chi Sigma, a professor chemistry fraternity, and captaining the Alpha Chi Sigma intramural soccer team that I founded. I also enjoy playing tennis, basketball, softball and horseback riding when possible. I love cell biology and hope to continue to study and research it as much as I can!
Susana Najera - Harper Lab
I was born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico and immigrated to the United States at the age of 12. I a first-generation college student at San Diego State University double-majoring in cellular and molecular biology, and Spanish, with a minors in chemistry, counseling, and social change. During my time at San Diego State, I have joined 11 honor societies, been an active member of five campus organizations, and contributed countless hours to volunteer work with underserved populations. I have maintained a 3.94 GPA while conducting laboratory research at San Diego State, interning at the UCSD Medical Center, mentoring middle and high school students, and serving as a STEM ambassador for local youth. After graduation I plan to complete an M.D./Ph.D. program focusing on oncology research to prepare for a career teaching at the university level, while conducting clinical research in the biomedical sciences. I enjoy hiking, reading, and serving my community through mentorship, tutoring, and by providing free health care services through different on-campus organizations.
Nathaniel Rolfe - Shi Lab
I grew up in San Marino, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. I am the only child of two international bankers, one specializing in Asia and the other in Latin America. In elementary school, I became engrossed in baseball and developed into a Red Sox fan, due to my father’s roots in Boston. At the age of 12, my passion for baseball would lead to a slipped vertebra, which would have to be surgically fused. During my recovery from the surgery, I became immersed in physics, a passion that morphed into an interest for almost every branch of science. It was during my time spent in the hospital that I began to entertain the idea that I might one day become a medical researcher. As I entered high school, I returned to the baseball field while continuing my studies in science. In 2015, I began studying at Haverford College and joined Haverford College’s cricket team, the only varsity cricket team in the United States. While the undergraduate years are, undeniably, a time of change, my love for the natural sciences, and in particular for biology, has only grown during my time at Haverford, and cricket has proved to be an interesting alternative to baseball.
Preethiya Sekar - Salic Lab
I am a junior at Carleton College majoring in Biology with a minor in Biochemistry and South Asian Studies. My coursework and research experience in the biomedical sciences have affirmed my interest in the field of cancer biology. After college, I plan on pursuing some form of graduate studies focused specifically cancer biology. In addition to research, I am interested in studies concerning South Asia and making STEM more accessible to underserved populations. In my free time I love to run, play soccer, and knit.
Madeline Topf - Liberles Lab
My name is Maddie Topf and I am a junior at Carleton College. I'm from Ames, Iowa. In addition to being on the women's soccer team at Carleton, I play clarinet in a quintet and serve as a board member of a cooking club. I'm interested in cellular neuroscience as well as the brain-gut link. I love being able to see the stars at night.
Felicia Wranitz - Moazed Lab
I am a rising junior at the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in Biology and Anthropology, with a minor in Chemistry. Upon graduating I hope to pursue an MD/PhD. I am passionate about genetics and am currently doing genetics based fertility research at Magee Womens Research Institute in Pittsburgh at the Rajkovic laboratory. I am especially interested in gene regulation and epigenetics. This summer I will be researching in the field of genetics in the laboratory of Dr. Moazed as part of the CRSP Internship Program at Harvard.
I am the daughter of William and Theresa Wranitz who preside in rural Pennsylvania, and I am very involved in my community. I enjoy volunteering in my local emergency room, at local schools and library, and with the Special Olympics. I am a Girl Scout, and earned my Gold Award for writing a book of science experiments for elementary school children. I also received the Girl Scout Trail Blazer Award for my work helping to inspire girls to pursue their dreams and explore areas that interest them, especially in the sciences. In my free time I enjoy Polynesian dancing, and perform at luaus throughout my community; I even performed at Walt Disney World.
2016 Cell Biology Research Scholars Program (CRSP) Scholars
Breanna Titchen - Finley Lab
I am a current sophomore at Gettysburg College who is highly interested in Cell Biology, and more specifically, Cancer Biology. I am completing my BS degree in Biology, with a minor in Chemistry. I am very passionate about scientific research and intend to obtain my Ph.D. in Molecular Biology with a Cancer Biology concentration. In my spare time, I enjoy reading a myriad of novels, fundraising for cancer, administering fitness, teaching yoga, and running. My main goal in life is to study cells and cancer with hopes of helping others along the way.
Margaret Weber - Shi Lab
I am from Pittsburgh, PA and am currently a sophomore at Middlebury College. My interests lie at the intersection of medicine and research. I am fascinated by the complexities of biological processes including tumor growth, genetics, and infectious diseases. Additionally, I was fascinated to find aspects of research such as problem solving and reasoning to also be applicable to multifaceted global issues. My fascination in global issues has led me to present at a conference in Qatar, study the Holocaust in Poland, and implement a fundraiser to buy a solar panel for a school in rural Nepal. My travels and experiences have given me a unique view of the world and have influenced my desire to use my passion for medicine to help others. Next fall, I am hoping to travel to India, South Africa, and Brazil to study global health. My passion for both the sciences and international studies led me to a liberal arts college where I can pursue both interests through a Molecular Biology and Biochemistry major and a prospective South Asia Studies minor. Outside of the classroom, my hobbies include painting, charcoal drawing, hiking, and rock climbing