By Maureen C. Curran
San Diego, CA, May 18, 2007 -- Nearly 30 undergraduates in 15 different majors have been announced as recipients of the UCSD division of Calit2's 2007 Summer Undergraduate Research Scholarships. In it's seventh year, this is the largest class ever: 29 students will work with 23 academic advisors from all across the UCSD campus.
While a wide spectrum of engineering and computer science fields is well represented, nearly half (14) of the awardees are majoring in other fields, from biochemistry and microbiology to music, visual arts, psychology and political science.
"In keeping with Calit2's multidisciplinary thrust, we encourage and recruit students from all over campus to participate," says Trey Ideker, chair of the Calit2 UCSD Student Programs Subcommittee, "This makes students aware of, and we hope interested in, the technical research done here." A complete list of awardees, their majors and advisors can be found below.
The ten-week program, which begins in late June, gives undergraduates the unique opportunity of being paid full-time student researchers actively involved in the research of their faculty mentor´s lab, hands-on work that is usually reserved for graduate students, senior researchers and faculty.
Biochemistry major Chien-Tze Jasmine Huang and Christine Pai, a microbiology major, will work Davorka Messmer, a project scientist at the Moores Cancer Center whose lab is investigating new ways of mobilizing the immune system to fight cancer.
"The two very talented students that are working with me this summer will be using various nanoparticles as carrier platforms to stimulate and target immune cells," explains Messmer, "The Calit2 scholarship will enable them to work on a new and cutting edge field where traditional immunology meets nanotechnology."
Messmer continues: "Furthermore, the interdisciplinary project will prepare them for future interactions and collaborations with bioengineers, chemists, biologists and physicians, which is becoming more and more necessary in science."
Bioengineering majors Man Nguyen and Seung Hyun (Chris) Kim will be working with their faculty advisor Robert Sah, a professor of bioengineering at the Jacobs School, as part of separate research teams. Each team is comprised of undergraduate students, graduate students, medical students, post-doctoral researchers, post-medical researchers and faculty from the School of Medicine.
"I look forward to advising Man Nguyen and Chris Kim in their Calit2 UCSD projects," notes Sah, "Each will be involved in the acquisition of a large amount of biological image data during biomechanical testing, and the application of modern information technology will be critical for analyzing and archiving their findings."
Advisors and scholarship awardees alike look forward to the summer. "I would like to thank Calit2 for giving us this wonderful opportunity to work and explore our areas of interest," says Man Nguyen, "I believe this will be a great preparation for me and other undergraduate students for our future careers."
The majority of the more than 140 undergraduates who have participated in the program since its inception in 2001 have been seniors. However, this is changing, as Ginny Scott, Calit2's administrative projects coordinator notes, "We have a growing number of underclassmen applying and participating. This year there are ten non-seniors, including three first-year students." Chris Kim is one of the freshmen awardees participating this summer; Man Nguyen is a junior.
The Calit2 UCSD Undergraduate Research Program has proven to have a strong positive impact on student's academic and post-graduation paths, with many finding it invaluable. The 2007 Calit2 UCSD Summer Undergraduate Scholars are: