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2009 Undergraduate Scholars

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2009 Undergraduate Scholars
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2009 Undergraduate Scholars
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In 2009, 16 summer scholars came from 15 colleges and universities across the United States and Europe, where they studied fields such as chemical biology, biomedical engineering, physics, and computer science.


Caroline Becker
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Major: Cell and Molecular Biology
Janelia Mentor: Eric Betzig
Becker used photoactivated localization microscopy to image at super-resolution the histone proteins that help package DNA in condensed chromosomes.


Nicole Carreras
University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras
Major: Chemistry
Janelia Mentor: Loren Looger
Carreras worked to engineer and characterize a red protein-based sensor for deep-tissue imaging of calcium transients.


Daniel Ferguson
Grinnell College
Major: Biology
Janelia Mentor: Anthony Leonardo
Ferguson tested methods of improving the longevity of dragonflies by treating them with neuroendocrine regulators.


Jan Funke
Dresden University of Technology
Major: Computer Science
Janelia Mentor: Gene Myers
Funke worked on developing automated image-segmentation algorithms to help computers understand what is to be seen in electron-microscope images of the flatworm C. elegant and in brightfield-microscope images of neurons.


Xun (Helen) Hou
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Major: Biology and Physics
Janelia Mentor: Alla Karpova
Hou investigated the neural basis of social interaction by studying rats as they compete against a computer in a mixed-strategy game.


Johnny Hu
Harvard University
Major: Chemical and Physical Biology
Janelia Mentor: Vivek Jayaraman
Hu used a free-walking arena and a tethered ball configuration to examine fruit flies' behavioral response to polarized light, which might serve as an important visual guide for fly movement.


Teddy Kamata
University of Oxford
Major: Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry
Janelia Mentor: Bruce Baker
Kamata screened genetically modified fruit fly lines to better characterize specific neurons that process information during courtship.


Rachel Letteri
University of Notre Dame
Major: Chemical Engineering
Janelia Mentor: Luke Lavis
Letteri worked to synthesize small fluorescent rhodamine molecules that are brighter than existing labeling molecules to allow researchers using two-photon microscopy to better visualize neural activity in live brain slices.


Lor Moa
Gustavus Adolphus College
Major: Psychology
Janelia Mentor: Julie Simpson
Moa screened neurons in fruit flies to identify those that are needed to control feeding behavior.


Brandi Rollins
University of Mary Washington
Major: Physics
Janelia Mentor: Rex Kerr
Rollins analyzed images for an advanced microscope system to observe neural activity in the flatworm C. elegant.


Kelly Seagraves
University of Colorado, Boulder
Major: Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
Janelia Mentor: Roian Egnor
Seagraves studied the vocalizations of isolated mouse pups and the corresponding adult behavioral response, in an effort to better understand vocal communication between mice in a social context.


Eric Trautman
University of California Berkeley
Major: Chemical Biology
Janelia Mentor: Tim Harris
Trautman designed and built retroreflectors for tracing in-flight mechanics of dragonflies during prey capture.


Yiliu Peter Wang
Cornell University
Major: Neurobiology and Behavior
Janelia Mentor: Scott Sternson
In live mice, Wang combined optical and pharmacological approaches to dissect the contribution of neurotransmitter release by a group of neurons that regulate feeding.


Gloria Wu
University of California Berkeley
Major: Biochemistry
Janelia Mentor: Tzumin Lee
Wu mapped neurons in the fruit fly brain using florescent labels.


Shicong Mimi Xie
University of California Berkeley
Major: Physics
Janelia Mentor: Harald Hess
Xie implemented an autofocus function on the interferometric photoactivatable localization microscope (iPALM) and analyzed the spectral response of gold nanoparticles for their use as imaging fiducials.


Hong Young Noh
University of Cambridge
Major: Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering
Janelia Mentor: Dmitri Chklovskii
Noh studied the feasibility of "Compressive Sensing," a relatively novel sampling concept, as a method for the sparse reconstruction of neuronal networks.