Student Honors Research: 2015 - 2019

Amherst's Biology Department has a long tradition of active research by its faculty and participation of senior majors and other students in this research. Biology majors who enter the Honors Program devote about half of their academic effort during the senior year to research, and the resulting thesis is often the basis of their first scientific publication.

Class of 2019

Amundsen, Irish (BIOL)
Advisor: Michael Hood
Density-Dependent Transmission in a Vector-Borne Pathogen

Cohen, Rachel (BIOL)
Advisor: Michael Hood
Coevolution as the Driver of Specificity in Host-Pathogen Interactions

Hollers, Augusta (BIOL)
Advisor: Sarah Goodwin
The Effects of Acoustic Experience on Mate Choice Plasticity in Fall Field Crickets (Gryllus pennsylvanicus) and House Crickets (Acheta domesticus)

Hunyadi, Jocelyn (BIOL)
Advisor: EthanClotfelter
Morphological Predictors of Escape Performance in the Rusty Crayfish (Orconectes rusticus)

Kim, Leah (BIOL)
Advisor: Jeeyon Jeong
Ferroportin 3: A mitochondrial iron exporter in Arabidopsis thaliana

Ro, Gabby (BIOL)
Advisor: Alexandra Purdy
Multiple modes of cAMP-mediated regulation of the acetate switch in Vibrio fischeri

Rosenberg, Katherine (BIOL)
Advisor: Caroline Goutte
Investigating a Possible Relationship between Germ cell proliferation and Apoptosis in C. elegans

Bello, Elisa (BCBP)
Advisor: Alexandra Purdy
Examining Nutrient-Mediated Transcriptional Modulation of Acetyl-CoA Synthetase in Vibrio cholerae using qRT-PCR

Brinkley, David (BCBP)
Advisor: Caroline Goutte
Visualization of γ-Secretase Components in the C. elegans Gonad

Cosme, Carlos (BCBP)
Advisor: Caroline Goutte
Generation of Functional Epitope Tagged Presenilins for Yeast Reconstitution of γ-Secretase

Doerr, Sophia (BCBP)
Advisor: Katerina Ragkousi
Lgl (Lethal Giant Larvae) serves a key function in the epithelial architecture of the Nematostella vectensis embryo

Park, Emily (BCBP)
Advisor: Jeeyon Jeong
PRC2-mediated H3K27me3 contributes to the FIT-dependent iron deficiency response in Arabidopsis thaliana

Zhang, Erik (BCBP)
Advisor: Marc Edwards
Investigating the Role of Dictyostelium discoideum PI4K2β Homolog in Cellular Motility and Signaling

Flaherty, Emily (CHEM)
Advisor: Alexandra Purdy
Defining the CrbR/S regulatory landscape in Vibrio and Pseudomonas strains

Yao, Hanqi (NEUR)
Advisor: Josef Trapani
Effects of Electrical Stimulation on Morphology of Hair Cell and Afferent Neuron Structures

Yevudza, Wisdom Elorm (NEUR)
Advisor: Josef Trapani
Recovery of Spontaneous and Evoked Spikes after Threshold Stimulation of Zebrafish Hair Cells

Class of 2018

Birkenfeld, Ben (BIOL)
Advisor: Caroline Goutte
Using CRISPR/Cas9 to Tag Endogenous Presenilins in C. elegans for Visualization

Chomentowska, Anri (BIOL)
Advisor: Jill Miller
Potential association between self-incompatibility and the establishment of interspecific reproductive barriers in Solanum (Solanaceae)

Kido, Allyson (BIOL)
Advisor: Ethan Clotfelter
Examining the Role of Pigmentation as both a Predictor of Stress Response and as a Response to Stressors in Convict Cichlids, Amatitlania Nigrofasciata

Nessen, Sarah (BIOL)
Advisor: Alexandra Purdy
Integrating nutrient and quorum-sensing regulation of the Vibrio Fischeri acetate switch

Sacks, Nathan (BIOL)
Advisor: Caroline Goutte
Genetic Analysis of a Negative Role for HOP-1 Presenilin in C. elegans

Stern, Zachariah (BIOL)
Advisor: Michael Hood
Exposure to and Consequences of Non-Endemic Pathogens

Sun, Natalie (BIOL)
Advisor: Ethan Clotfelter
The Effects of Blowfly Larvae (Protocalliphora sialia) on Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) Nestling Metabolism and Post-Fledging Dispersal

Venkata, Aneesh (BIOL)
Advisor: Michael Hood
Investigating Mating Type Disorders in Microbotryum silenes-inflatae

Weil, Sydney (BIOL)
Advisor: Rachel Levin
Exploring hawkmoth (Hyles lineata) preference in an evening primrose (Oenothera harringtonii; Onagraceae) Zhang, Jingwen (BIOL)
Advisor: Jeeyon Jeong
Understanding the role of FPN3, a mitochondrial ferroportin in Arabidopsis thaliana

Muzhingi, Itai (BCBP)
Advisor: Alexandra Purdy
Dissecting the regulation and environment-specific expression of Acetyl-CoA Synthetase in Vibrio Cholerae using qRT-PCR

Tsuyuki, Kaitlyn (BCBP)
Advisor: Jeeyon Jeong
The Iron Deficiency Response and the Possible Role of Histone Modification in A. thaliana

Isko, Emily (NEUR)
Advisor: Josef Trapani
Recovery of Spontaneous Activity of Afferent Neurons in the Zebrafish Posterior Lateral Line

Ramirez, Cristian (NEUR)
Advisor: Josef Trapani
Contributions of Optogenetic Channels to Sensory Adaptation in the Zebrafish Lateral Line

Ramy, Mohamed (NEUR)
Advisor: Josef Trapani
Contributions of Lateral Line Inputs and Synaptic Ribbons to Mauthner-cell Initiated Startles

Tourme, Oumou (NEUR)
Advisor: Josef Trapani
Examining Intensity Encoding in Larval Zebrafish Ear and Lateral Line system using the calcium sensor GCaMP

Class of 2017

Brown, Becky (BIOL)
Advisor: Jill Miller

The Effects of Polyploidy on Cell Size in Three Species of Lycium (Solanaceae), and the Relationship of Polyploidy and Mating System in Lycium carolinianum

Dick, Alexander (BIOL)
Advisor: Dominic Poccia
Enzymatic Depletion of Diacylglycerol Induces a Curvature Reducing Membrane Interconversion in the Endoplasmic Reticulum

Flores-Ramos, Stephany (BIOL)
Advisor: Alexandra Purdy
What’s Flipping the Switch? Investigating Regulators of Acetate Uptake in the Vibrio fischeri/ Euprymna scolopes Symbiotic System

Greenberg, Kimberly (BIOL)
Advisor: Rachel Levin
Phylogenetic Relationships, Dimorphism, and Ploidy in Lycium australe (Solanaceae)

Hallowell, Taylor (BIOL)
Advisor: Ethan Clotfelter
Differential opsin gene expression in Lake Xiloá convict cichlids (Amatitlania siquia) reared in restricted light environments

Kim, Kyung-Sik (BIOL)
Advisor: Caroline Goutte
HOP-1 presenilin deficiency causes a delayed Notch signaling phenotype that affects oogenesis in C. elegans

Landis, Henry (BIOL)
Advisor: Jill Miller
Allele Sharing Across Old World Lycium Species at the S-RNase Self-Incompatibility Locus

Liang, Jia (BIOL)
Advisor: Ethan Temeles
Aspects of Pollination and Reproductive Isolation in Two Hummingbird-pollinated Heliconias in the Eastern

Luizzi, Victoria Jean(BIOL)
Advisor: Michael Hood
Transitivity of Resistance to Similar and Dissimilar Pathogens

Nguyen, Duy (BIOL)
Advisor: Alexandra Purdy
Studying regulation of a virulence factor in Vibrio cholerae using genetic reporter assays and Hybridization Chain Reaction – Fluorescent in situ Hybridization (HCR-FISH) to label bacterial mRNA in Drosophila

Patsis, Amanda (BIOL)
Advisor: Rachel Levin
Elucidating the evolutionary history of Oenothera sect. Pachylophus: a phylogenomic approach to inference of taxon relationships

Voronina, Veronica (BIOL)
Advisor: Jill Miller
Resolving species-level phylogenetic relationships within Lycium (Solanaceae) using next-generation RAD-

Vu, Long V. (BIOL)
Advisor: Patrick Williamson
Testing a Model for the Substrate Path through P4 ATPases: Mutagenesis of Dnf1

Farthing, Alexandra Scott (BCBP)
Advisor: Caroline Goutte
CRISPR/Cas-9 Mediated Generation of a Null APH-2 mutation in C. elegans

Jiang, Joshua (BCBP)
Advisor: Caroline Goutte
Non-Redundant Roles of Presenilin Genes in the C. elegans Gonad

Liu, Winnie (BCBP)
Advisor: Patrick Williamson
Identifying Protein X using Haloperidol Sensitivity Test on Rcy1 mutants

Hansen, Christina (NEURO)
Advisor: Josef Trapani
Contributions of Lateral Line and Auditory inputs to the Larval Zebrafish Startle Response

Horwitz, Emily (NEURO)
Advisor: Ethan Graf
Characterizing the role of presynaptic Discs – large in active zone development.

Muhtadi, Rakin (NEURO)
Advisor: Ethan Graf
A structure-function analysis of Rab3-guanine exchange factor (Rab3-GEF) at the Drosophila melanogaster
neuromuscular junction

Short, Samuel (NEURO)
Advisor: Josef Trapani
Contributions of Afferent Neurons to Sensory Adaptation in the Zebrafish Lateral Line

Class of 2016

Bechen, Lindsey L. (BIOL)
Advisor: Rachel Levin
Floral morphology and patterns of gene expression associated with floral fragrance variation in Oenothera harringtonii (Onagraceae)

Black, Elizabeth C. (BIOL)
Advisor: Ethan Clotfelter
Effects of Blowfly (Protocalliphora sialia) Parasitism on Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) Nestling Condition, Parental Provisioning Behavior, and Parental Condition

Castellano, Claire L. (BIOL)
Advisor: Jeeyon Jeong
Characterizing the Directionality of Arabidopsis thaliana Mitochondrial Iron Transporter, Ferroportin 3, using Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model system

Lerner, Noah M. W. (BIOL)
Advisor: Michael Hood
Correlations of Resistance to Infectious Diseases

Liimatta, Kalle W. (BIOL)
Advisor: Alexandra Purdy
Modulation of Vibrio cholerae acetate metabolism and virulence in Drosophila melanogaster via posttranslational modification

Mazzotta, Alexandra R. (BIOL)
Advisor: Ethan Temeles
Resource Partitioning between the Sexes of Purple-Throated Caribs, Anthracothorax jugularis

Nam, David (BIOL)
Advisor: Caroline Goutte
Analyzing the Activities and Substrate Specificities of Different C. elegans γ-secretase Complexes Using a Yeast Reconstitution System

Solomon, Ruth Z. (BIOL)
Advisor: Caroline Goutte
Investigating Requirements for the HOP-1 Presenilin Protein in the C. elegans Gonad

Cochran, Shelton T. (BCBP)
Advisor: Caroline Goutte
The Interplay of 2 Different Presenilin Proteins Affects Germ Cell Proliferation in C. elegans Males and Hermaphrodites BCBP/Biology

Lemma, Abigail M. (BCBP)
Advisor: Dominic Poccia
Structural Role of Lipids with Different Degrees of Negative Curvature Endoplasmic Reticulum Morphology

Park, Chanyoung (BCBP)
Advisor: Patrick Williamson
Purification and Structural Characterization of DCDE50 Ectodomains; Completing a Molecular Model of Heterodimeric Structure

Flanagan, Christopher M. (NEUR)
Advisor: Ethan Graf
The Effect of Presynaptic Discs-Large Knockdown on Bruchpilot Localization

Ryu, Steven (NEUR)
Advisor: Ethan Graf
Characterizing the Effects of RIM Domain Deletion on Calcium Channel Accumulation at Active Zones in the Drosophila Neuromuscular Junction
Sommers, Thomas F. (NEUR)

Advisor: Josef Trapani
Evaluating Cellular Mechanisms of Sensory Adaptation in the Zebrafish Lateral Line.

Class of 2015

An, Juhyung K. (BIOL)
Advisor: Patrick Williamson Testing for a novel phospholipid translocase binding interaction: A haloperidol sensitivity screen.

Cesinger, Monica. (BIOL)
Advisor: Alexandra Purdy Feeding the quorum: An examination of cell-to-cell communication and metabolism in Vibrio cholerae.

Cobrinik, Dora L.(BIOL)
Advisor: Dominic Poccia Effects of SUV addition of phosphatidylethanolamine on membrane fusion in sea urchin cortical lawns.

DeSimone, Joely. (BIOL)
Advisor: Ethan Clotfelter
Examining the effects of blowfly larvae (Protocalliphora sialia) on tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) nestling condition and possible host compensatory strategies.

Diehl, Frances. (BIOL)
Advisor: Alexandra Purdy
Molecular signaling mechanisms of the sensor kinase CrbS in Vibrio cholerae.

Hollinger, Maile. (BIOL)
Advisor: David Ratner Molecular characterization of an rdea-fbxa- double mutant via quantitative polymerase chain reaction.

Kim, John. (BIOL)
Advisor: Michael Hood
Logistic linear modeling of enhancer module even-skipped stripe 2 in early Drosophila melanogaster development.

Leet, Donna. (BIOL)
Advisor: Caroline Goutte
Analysis of presenilin HOP-1 function in C. elegans gonad development.

Levy, Molly. (BIOL)
Advisor: Ethan Temeles Plant competition or pollinator competition?: Mechanisms of selection in a hummingbird-pollinated system.

Lobrano, Madeleine. (BIOL)
Advisor: Jill Miller Evidence of self-incompatibility in invasive Lycium ferocissimum: An exception to Baker's Rule.

Pettie, Kade. (BIOL)
Advisor: Patrick Williamson Spatial organization of predicted transcription factor binding sites in Drosophia ChiP peaks.
Ray, Charles T. (BIOL)

Advisor: David Ratner
Investigating the intersection between Protein Kinase A and the ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis pathway in Dictyostelium discoideum via the generation of a fbxA/pkaR double mutant strain.

Smith, Karen. (BIOL)
Advisor: Caroline Goutte The elusive role of C. elegans APH-2 in notch-mediated germ-line production.
Steinbrook, Eric A.(BIOL)

Advisor: Michael Hood Host resistance and disease risk in the anther-smut system.

Troconis, Eileen. (BIOL)
Advisor: Josef Trapani Intensity encoding in the zebrafish startle response evoked via optical stimulation of hair

Ulloa, Gabriela. (BIOL)
Advisor: Dominic Poccia The structural role of lipids with negative intrinsic curvature in endoplasmic reticulum morphology.

Vrtilek, Julia. (BIOL)
Advisor: Caroline Goutte
Comparing the effects of Hop-1 and Sel-2 presenilins on compromised notch signaling in C. elegans.

Stoddart, Ashleigh E. (BCBP)
Advisor: David Ratner
Examining the signal transduction pathway for activation of camp-specific phosphodiesterase in Dictyostelium discoideum.

Alsharif, Peter. (NEUR)
Advisor: Ethan Graf
Does Rab3 maintain the active zone composition of extended larval synapses?

Ordoobadi, Alexander. (NEUR)
Advisor: Josef Trapani Hair cell encoding of intensity in the zebrafish lateral line.

Rothman, Alissa.(NEUR)
Advisor: Ethan Graf
The role of RIM domains on calcium channel accumulation at the Drosophila neuromuscular junction.

Sylla, Mariame.(NEUR)
Advisor: Alexandra Purdy
Investigating the catabolite-mediated regulation of acetyl-CoA synthase and the acetate switch in Vibrio cholera.