Introducing the Calit2 UCSD Undergraduate Summer Research Scholars

Mabel Zhang, Calti2 Summer Scholar 2008
Including this year's class, 250 undergrads have been Calit2 Summer Scholars. Many students continue their research after the summer, staying on in their advisor's lab. For example, Mabel Zhang, shown here in Calit2's StarCAVE with her 2008 Summer Scholar project, continues to work with the Calit2 Visualization Group. For more on her project, see story link below.
[Click here for larger image.]

San Diego, CA, May 7, 2010 — Twenty-five University of California, San Diego undergraduates from 15 different majors will be spending the summer of 2010 in faculty labs across campus as Calit2 UCSD Summer Scholars.

They will be working on a wide array of projects, with research topics ranging from low cost solar cells, high order MIMO-OFDM systems, simulators for improving patient safety, cartilage degradation, and sound synthesis, to how society accepts museums and cultures of learning. Other projects involve a variety of cancer-related topics and visualization techniques and tools (both advancing and testing these tools, as well as using them to conduct research from new views and perspectives).

The scholarship program pays undergraduates to work as paid, full-time student researchers for a 10-week period during the summer. The students make a contribution to the research of their faculty advisor's lab, or work on a project of their own, the kind of hands-on research that is usually reserved for graduate students and senior researchers.

"Accessibility is a key aspect of the program," explained Ramesh Rao, director of the UC San Diego division of Calit2. "The professors, the labs, the facilities -- are all open to the students. There are many different approaches to scholarship and it's fascinating to listen to what people do and how they think. This program is designed, in part, to enable students to do that."

Summer scholars also participate in seminars which will help them chart their future path, whether it is graduate school, industry, or the public sector. This includes giving presentations on their work (and learning how to do so) a number of times over the summer.

Summer Scholars poster session
At the end of the program (usually during Welcome Week in the Fall quarter), a poster session highlighting the students' work is held.
[Photo by Richard Choi]

This is the tenth year of the highly successful program. Including this year's class, 250 undergrads have been Calit2 Summer Scholars. Many have successfully used their experience as a springboard to graduate school, as well as positions in industry.

"I am incredibly humbled and grateful to be part of the Calit2 summer program," said Alexander Vu, a 2010 summer scholar, "Many students whom I respect are Summer Scholar alumni and they have spoken highly about the opportunities that this program offers. I am very excited to meet and potentially collaborate with other student-researchers and learn about other areas of research." Vu is a junior majoring in Human Biology; he will be working in the lab of his faculty advisor Benjamin Yu (School of Medicine, Dermatology) on an "Investigation of Mammalian Organ Development through Global Epigenetic Changes of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells and Chromatin using the E1A Oncoprotein."

In keeping with its multidisciplinary nature, Calit2 encourages students from all academic majors to apply. There were 72 applicants from 23 majors this year. This was the highest number of applicants in the history of the program and a very competitive field. The acceptance rate was just 34.7%, leaving out many quality students and projects.

"There were so many excellent applicants this year," Rao noted, "however, we have a limited number of scholarships available. I would like to encourage those who did not receive one this year to try again next year."

Bill Hodgkiss, Summer Scholar seminar on grad school
Summer scholars participate in seminars which will help them chart their future path, whether it is graduate school, industry, or the public sector. Here, Bill Hodgkiss, Calit2 associate director and ECE professor, leads a session on graduate school.

Nearly half (12) of this year's scholars are majoring in the biological sciences or bioengineering (biochemistry and cell biology, bioengineering [including, biotechnology, premed], and human biology). Nine are majoring in six different engineering and computer science disciplines (aerospace, chemical, computer engineering, computer science, electrical, and mechanical). An additional five majors are represented: chemical physics, cognitive science, communications, interdisciplinary computing in the arts (music), and sociology. (One student is a double major: bioengineering: premed and biochemistry/cell biology, hence the total of 26.) This year's class has the most first-year students (at four) and the fewest seniors (just one) ever. Four sophomores and 16 juniors round out the group.

Their 24 faculty advisors are from 18 different departments at UC San Diego: eight from life and physical sciences disciplines, including three faculty from the School of Medicine; 10 from engineering and computer science fields at Jacobs School of Engineering, Calit2 and the Center for Advanced Computational Science Engineering; and six from a variety of social sciences and arts disciplines (anthropology, cognitive science, communications, music, psychology, and sociology).

Here are the 2010 Calit2 UCSD Undergraduate Summer Research Scholarship recipients, with their advisors and the titles of their projects.

Avinash Ananthakrishnan, Junior, Computer Engineering (minor: Cognitive Science)
advisor: Zhongren (Arnold) Cao, Calit2
Scalable and Energy Efficient Embedded Digital Signal Processing Implementation for High Order MIMO-OFDM Systems

Matthew Burns, Junior, Interdisciplinary Computing in the Arts, Music
advisor: Tom Erbe, Music
Multi-Resolution Discrete Wavelet Transform (DWT) for Sound Synthesis

Thomas Chew, Freshman, Bioengineering: Biotechnology
advisor: Shu Chien, Bioengineering
Effects of Shear Stress and Chemical Environment on Stem Cell Differentiation

Jennifer Choy, Junior, Biochemistry and Cell Biology
advisor: Wilfred W. Li, Center for Advanced Computational Science Engineering
How to Use NExCave and Tiled Display Wall (TDW) to Better Understand Molecular Dynamic Stimulations of H5N1 Non-Structural Protein 1 (NS1) Effector Domain (ED)

Ronnie Fang, Junior, Chemical Physics / Engineering Physics (minor: Biology)
advisor: Liangfang Zhang, NanoEngineering
Scaling Up of Lipid-Polymer Hybrid NanoParticles for Drug Delivery

Roger Huang, Junior, Aerospace Engineering
advisor: Jan Kleissl, Mechanical/Aerospace Engineering
Application of Total Sky Imagery to control energy storage on the UCSD campus

Suraj Kedarisetty, Junior, Bioengineering (minor: Chemistry)
advisor: Nathan Delson, Mechanical/Aerospace Engineering
Improve Patient Safety through the Development of Intelligent Medical Simulators

Daniel Lew, Junior, Bioengineering: Premed
advisor: Martin Haas, Cancer Center and Biology
BMI-1 Promotes Cellular Invasion and Drug Resistance in Head and Neck Cancer Stem Cells

Nicole Lim, Freshman, Bioengineering: Biotechnology (minor: Law & Society)
advisor: Joseph Wang, NanoEngineering
Smart NanoScale Devices

Kristian Madsen, Junior, Electrical Engineering
advisor: Deli Wang, Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE)
Vertical Nanowires and Heterostructures for Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting

Johanna McElfresh, Freshman, Cognitive Science
advisor: John Wixted, Psychology
Recognition Memory and the Dual-Process Theory

Emi Nakayama, Junior, Chemical Engineering
advisor: Jennifer Cha, NanoEngineering
A Mechanism Control the Size of Microbubbles for Ultrasound Imaging and Drug Delivery

Perry Naughton, Sophomore, Electrical Engineering
advisor: Deli Wang, Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE)
Low Cost Solar Cells using Simple and Inexpensive Spray Pyrolysis Technique (SPT)

Bryan Ransil, Freshman, Computer Science
advisor: Falko Kuester, Structural Engineering
Human-Data Interaction

Arvind Satyanarayan, Junior, Computer Science
advisor: Jim Hollan, Cognitive Science
Interaction Techniques for Large Wall Displays

Emily Schoenhoff, Sophomore, Bioengineering
advisor: Robert Sah, Bioengineering
Cartilage Degradation in Aging Humans - Collagen Network

Diamant Shaw, Senior, Communications (minor: Spanish Studies, Environmental Studies)
advisor: Olga Vasquez, Communications
Environmental Protection Hub of Innovation

Narisa Silver, Junior, Sociology (minor: African Studies, Economics, and International Studies)
advisor: Bennetta Jules-Rosette, Sociology
Receptivity of Society to Museums and Cultures of Learning

Patrick Smith, Junior, Biochemistry/Chemistry
advisor: Joshua Figueroa, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Photolytic Production of O2 from Water with a Single-Site Iridium Catalyst

Justin Tse, Junior, Bioengineering: Biotechnology
advisor: Adam Engler, Bioengineering
Directing Mesenchymal Stem Cell Migration with Matrix Elasticity

Alan Turchik, Junior, Mechanical Engineering
advisor: Tom Levy, Anthropology, Calit2
Camera Stablization for Aerial Photogrammetric Systems

Grant Van Horn, Sophomore, Computer Science
advisor: Serge Belongie, Computer Science and Engineering (CSE)
GroZi and Visipedia

Alexander Vu, Junior, Human Biology
advisor: Benjamin Yu, Dermatology
Investigation of Mammalian Organ Development through Global Epigenetic Changes of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells and Chromatin using the E1A Oncoprotein.

Christopher Wei, Sophomore, Bioengineering: Biotechnology
advisor: Kun Zhang, Bioengineering
De Novo Assembly of the Microbial Genome

David Yi, Junior, double major: Bioengineering: Premed and Biochemistry/Cell Biology
advisor: Weg Mendoza Ongkeko, Surgery
Identification of a Distinct Subpopulation of Cancer Stem Cells Critical for Metastasis and Tumor Growth in Human Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer

Related Links

Calit2 UCSD Summer Scholars website

Related Articles:
Summer Scholars Take 'Audio-Visual' Research to the Next Level