Student Honors Research: 2020 - 2024

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 2022

Baird, Peter (BIOL)                                                                                        
Advisor: Caroline Goutte
Genomic Insertion of an Inducible Degron intoC. elegansAPH-1 and APH-2 to Allowin vivoProtein Depletion

Bloxham, Talia (BIOL)                                                                                   
Advisor: Alexandra Purdy
Concentrating the Search for the Signal of a Two-Component System in Vibrio cholerae

Case, Nicole (BIOL)                                                                                      
Advisor: Katerina Ragkousi
Investigating the Biochemical Basis of Dynamic Polarity Proteins during Development of Epitheliain Nematostella vectensis

de Pablo, Luis (BIOL)                                                                        
Advisor: Ethan Clotfelter
Shocking Results: Substrate Interactions in the Escape Response of Faxonius spp. Crayfish

Fernandes, Sophia (BIOL)                                                                            
Advisor: Katerina Ragkousi
Epithelial Specific Transgenesis of Nematostella vectensis via CRISPR-Cas9

Goldberg, Hannah (BIOL)                                                                             
Advisor: Rebecca Hewitt
Aboveground traits suggest role of belowground processes as mediators of growth responses to nutrient limitation at the white spruce tree line in the Brooks Range, Alaska

Gulow, Nick (BIOL)                                                                                       
Advisor: Ethan Clotfelter
Loser Effects and Initiation Behavior in Contests Between Crayfish Species

Jonas, Zachary (BIOL)                                                                                  
Advisor: Mona Wu Orr
Characterization of a Novel Pseudomonas aeruginosa Small Protein and Identification of Its Potential Interacting Partners

Lingen, Kathryn (BIOL)
Advisor: Marc Edwards
Outlining a Role for a Putative Type II Phosphoinositide 4-Kinase in Multicellular Development of Dictyostelium discoideum

Madden, Anna (BIOL)                                                                       
Advisor: Michael Hood
Correlated Resistance of an Endemic and a Foreign Fungal Pathogen in Silene latifolia

Mirow, Andrea (BIOL)                                                                        
Advisor: Josef Trapani
Multisensory Integration of Lateral Line and Auditory Inputs in Larval Zebrafish Startle Circuitry

Nelson, Eva (BIOL)                                                                                       
Advisor: Alexandra Purdy
Research in the Time of Cholera: Is the CrbSR Virulence Pathway Dependent on External Osmotic and pH Conditions in Vibrio cholerae?

Park, Aidan (BIOL)                                                                                        
Advisor: Jill Miller
Speciation in the face of polymorphism: An examination of polyploidy in Lycium austral

Zheng, Kelly (BIOL)                                                                                       
Advisor: Jeeyon Jeong
Investigating the effect of FPN3 on membrane trafficking and root iron homeostasis in Arabidopsis thaliana

Drebin, Harrison (BCBP)                                                                               
Advisor: Marc Edwards
Investigating the Physiological Role of Dictyostelium discoideum PikF: A Putative Class II Phosphoinositide 3-Kinase Functional Analog

Han, Bella (BCBP)                                                                                        
Advisor: Jeeyon Jeong
Unfolding the Interaction of FIT and bHLH39 with H3K27me3 during Iron Deficiency Response in Arabidopsis thaliana

Jeon, Jin (BCBP)                                                                               
Advisor: Katerina Ragkousi
Keratin homolog (“lamin-L(I)”) and Vimentin homolog (“lamin-L(I) X2”) enable Nematostella vectensis embryos under osmotic stress to withstand ectodermal rupturing

Johnson, Maja (BCBP)                                                                                  
Advisor: Jeeyon Jeong
Investigating the Potential Role of Ferroportin 3 in Mitigating Iron Induced Oxidative Stress in Arabidopsis thaliana

Lim, Birkley (BCBP)                                                                                      
Advisor: Caroline Goutte
HOP-1 Presenilin Reduces Notch Signaling in Caenorhabditis elegans Germline

Nyamaa, Atekana (BCBP)                                                                            
Advisor: Alexandra Purdy
Understanding Host-Microbe Interactions by Dissecting the Signaling Network of the Two-Component System, CrbRS, in Vibrios

Reyad, Amira (BCBP)                                                                       
Advisor: Mona Wu Orr
The Antibiotic Resistance Profile of Escherichia coli AcrZ Mutants

To, Steven (NEUR)                                                                                       
Advisor: John Roche
The Effects of the Actin Regulator Pod-1 on PAR-1 Kinase at the Drosophila NMJ

Wood, Izzy (NEUR)                                                                                       
Advisor: Sally Kim
Investigating the Role of Zyxin in the Regulation of Synaptogenesis

Zabinska, Julia (NEUR)                                                                                
Advisor: Sally Kim
Identifying the Role of the Zyxin-VASP Complex on Actin Regulation in Dendritic Spines

Class of 2021

Benson, Derek (BIOL)
Advisor: Ethan Clotfelter
Biomechanical performance and material properties of the claws and exoskeleton of Faxonius crayfish

Calderon, Stephanie (BIOL)                                  
Advisor: Michael Hood
Resistance Transitivity in Silene vulgaris to two necrotrophic pathogens

Hollers, Eleanor (BIOL)
Advisor: Thea Kristensen
Source-sink Dynamics and Impact of Human Density on Black Bears (Ursus americanus) in Massachusetts, USA

Hsu, John (BIOL)
Advisor: Joohyun Lee
Identifying Upstream Regulators of PRC2 in the Cold-induced Epigenetic Response in Arabidopsis thaliana

Jung, Eric (BIOL)
Advisor: Marc Edwards
Functional Consequences in Chemotaxis and Nutrient Uptake Processes in Dictyostelium discoideum Lacking Phosphoinositide 3-Kinase 4 (PikF)

Liu, Samantha (BIOL)
Advisor: Alexandra Purdy
Identifying signals and regulatory targets of the Vibrio cholerae virulence regulator CrbSR

Rothberg, Samantha (BIOL)
Advisor: Ethan Clotfelter
Choosing Between Six Degrees and Six Feet of Separation: Weather’s Influence on Social Behavior in Winter Flocks of Black-capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus)

Ugenti, Alicia (BIOL)
Advisor: Katerina Ragkousi
Using Tissue Reaggregation to Screen for Essential Epithelial Proteins in Nematostella vectensis

Yue, Lindsay (BIOL)
Advisor: Michelle Staudinger/UMass
Using Stable Isotope Analysis to Determine Variation in Seabird Foraging Ecology in the Gulf of Maine

Zhang, Samuel (BIOL)
Advisor: Ethan Clotfelter
Effects of Blow Fly (Protocalliphora sialia) Larvae on Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) Nestling Telomere Length

Grondin, Samuel (BCBP)
Advisor: Mona Wu Orr
Discovery of Novel Small Proteins in a Highly Virulent Strain of the Human Pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14

Neiditz, Hannah (NEUR)
Advisor: Josef Trapani
The Role of Nfe2 in Inner Ear Development and the Oxidative Stress Response in Larval Zebrafish

Paine, Isabelle (NEUR)
Advisor: Caroline Goutte
Comparison of Endogenous Presenilins in C. elegans: Two Alternative Subunits for Gamma Secretase

Schuldt, Braxton (NEUR)
Advisor: Sally Kim
Characterizing the role of zyxin in dendritic spine morphogenesis

Sele, Nisan (NEUR)
Advisor: Sally Kim
Signaling and dynamics of LIM and SH3 Protein-1 (LASP-1) in developing neurons

Class of 2020

Brooks, Jacqueline (BIOL)
Advisor: Thea Kristensen
Initial Density Estimates and Population Structure of the American Black Bear (Ursus americanus) in Massachusetts, USA

Burnett, Julia (BIOL)
Advisor: Jeeyon Jeong
Investigating the effect of APH-2 on germline stem cell proliferation in compromisedC. elegans gonads

Colwell, James (BIOL)
Advisor: Jill Miller
The Evolution and Maintenance of Gynodioecy in Diploid Lycium australe (Solanaceae)

Friend, Patrick (BIOL)
Advisor: Craig Albertson
Morphological Effects of the Inhibition of Normal Epigenome Function in the Craniofacial Complex of Metriaclima zebra

Gallegos Iraheta, Jennifer (BIOL)
Advisor: Jeeyon Jeong
The Role of Ferroportin 3 on Iron Homeostasis in Arabidopsis thaliana

Gendelman, Jacob (BIOL)
Advisor: Michael Hood
Evidence of Bipolarity and Loss of Specificity at the HD Locus in Microbotryum scorzonerae

Hong, Emily (BIOL)
Advisor: Katerina Ragkousi
Investigating the role of phosphorylation on Par-6 localization in Nematostella vectensis mitotic epithelia

Parsons, Elizabeth (BIOL)
Advisor: Jeeyon Jeong
Chromatin Remodeling as a Regulatory Mechanism of the Iron Deficiency Response in Arabidopsis thaliana

Phillips, Allan (BIOL)
Advisor: Caroline Goutte
Visualization of tagged γ-secretase subunits in C. elegans embryos

Raines, Kyra (BIOL)
Advisor: Joohyun Lee
The role of ArcAB and redox in regulating acetate metabolism in Vibrio fischeri

Schneider, Derek (BIOL)
Advisor: Jill Miller
Reproductive, phylogeographic, and ecological consequences of whole genome duplication: Evidence for polyploid speciation in Lycium australe (Solanaceae)

Ibrahimi, Sarah (BCBP)
Advisor: Alexandra Purdy
Exploring the Evolution of Bacterial Regulatory Systems: A Genomics Approach to UnderstandingCrbR/CrbS Function

Lopez, Amanda (BCBP)
Advisor: Katerina Ragkousi
Agglutination mechanism disrupts epithelial organization and lumen formation in embryos of the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis

Simoncelli, Ava (BCBP)
Advisor: Nidanie Henderson-Stull

Zhangxu, Kevin (BCBP)Advisor: Marc Edwards
Elucidating the molecular architecture of PI(3,4) P2 regulation in Dictyostelium discoideum one actin nucleator at a time

Auguste, Yohan (NEUR)
Advisor: John Roche

Barghout, Rana (NEUR)
Advisor: Josef Trapani
Contributions of Lateral Line Inputs to the Larval Zebrafish Startle Response

Ivenitsky, Anna (NEUR)
Advisor: Josef Trapani
Calcium Imaging as a Tool for Studying the Encoding Process in the Zebrafish Lateral Line

Kim, Min Kyung (NEUR)
Advisor: Josef Trapani
Using Calcium Imaging to Visualize the Effects of Lateral Line Ablation on Ear Hair Cell Activity in Larval Zebrafish

Kwon, Emily (NEUR)
Advisor: Nidanie Henderson-Stull

Verma, Ana (NEUR)
Advisor: Josef Trapani
Exploring inner ear phenotypes of Nfe2 Δ/Δ KO zebrafish larvae pre- and post-oxidative stress