Main Menu (Mobile)- Block

Main Menu - Block

2011 Undergraduate Scholars

janelia7_blocks-janelia7_fake_breadcrumb | block
2011 Undergraduate Scholars
node_title | node_title
2011 Undergraduate Scholars
node_body | node_body

Biafra Ahanonu   
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Major: Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Janelia Mentor: Vivek Jayaraman
Ahanonu built a 3D virtual reality arena for walking Drosophila to be used in future experiments that will simultaneously record from the brain during exploratory tasks.

"Spending a summer at Janelia has been quite amazing.  The people here have been incredibly helpful, from the group leaders to postdocs, grad student and others--the number of times I ran into someone by accident and came away with a new solution to a problem are too many to count.

We had a blast both on and off campus. I've learned so much this summer and don't regret for a moment spending time at Janelia, it has been truly wonderful. "


Halleh Balch
Swarthmore College
Major: Physics
Janelia Mentors: Eric Betzig and Luke Lavis
Balch worked on developing a method of microscopy with molecular resolution in thick samples using novel caged dyes.

"The scientists at Janelia showed me what collaboration could mean for research. To have access to a pool of knowledge far beyond a single lab or even single scientific discipline extends the possibility of your work and of the work of those around you.  This is the interdisciplinary environment Janelia creates in the labs, at the lunch table and in the research colloquia.  From my great mentors and my remarkable peers I learned an incredible amount about scientific research– from formulating and articulating good questions to the hands-on process of pursuit.  I couldn't have imagined a better research experience."


Aleksandra Denisin
University of California at Berkeley
Major: Bioengineering
Janelia Mentor: Philipp Keller
Denisin worked on optimizing live imaging methods for intact and extracted central nervous system tissue of the developing fruit fly to facilitate long-term imaging experiments tracing neural development.

"The campus is a unique environment promoting collaboration, creativity, and community. The structure of Janelia encourages the unbounded curiosity of scientists to flourish, and this is great for young students like me who need to be reminded every day of the beauty of searching for and discovering something for the first time. Never have I felt so inspired and supported to be innovative and independent in my approach to research.

Creative and collaborative science will be the future in many fields. The HHMI Janelia Research Campus is a pioneer in providing scientists with a unique culture and environment to facilitate such work. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to spend my summer at such a wonderful campus with incredible mentors and motivated fellow students!"


Maita Esteban
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Major: Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Janelia Mentor: Davi Bock
Esteban used serial-section electron microscopy images to trace and classify myelinated axons in the mouse visual cortex.

"The research and cutting-edge technology here are remarkable, but the close-knit community makes Janelia truly special.  I count myself lucky to have been part of it."


Preeya Fozdar   
University of Virginia
Major: Neuroscience
Janelia Mentor: Julie Simpson
Fozdar examined the role of the aminergic systems in Drosophila feeding and grooming behavior to elucidate the underlying neural circuitry involved in organized and state dependent behaviors.

"The communal feel on the farm is invaluable to the learning experience as well as the personal experience of being around others with the same scientific curiosity for ten weeks.  This program exceeded all my expectations and the friends and experiences I've gained here will stay with me for life." 


Pierre Haas
University of Cambridge
Major: Mathematics
Janelia Mentors: Sean Eddy and Elena Rivas
Haas developed Hidden Markov Models that identify and remove instances of common classes of false positives in RNA homology searches.

"Why not quote Robert Graves' (quite excellent) novel, Claudius the God? "Words fail me, my lords. Nothing that I might utter could possibly match the depth of my feelings in this matter."

While anyone with a slight inkling for mischief would probably point out that "depth of feelings" is not something commonly present in a mathematician, I must confess to a certain elation when I learnt that my application for the Janelia Undergraduate Scholars Programme 2011 had been accepted.

Of course, adjectives that spring to mind when it comes to describing my work at Janelia – basically developing some (Hidden) Markov Models to filter false positives in RNA homology searches – include '"tremendous" and "exciting" and their adverbial concatenations, but, from a grander viewpoint, the conclusion I assume any participant in the programme will draw, is that living and working in this intense research environment is simply great."


Ayla Haddenhorst
University of Cambridge
Major: Natural Sciences
Janelia Mentors: Karel Svoboda and Doug Kim
Haddenhorst conducted in vivo imaging of the mouse visual cortex to characterize novel genetically encoded calcium indicators (GECIs).

"From the first day on I was made to feel welcome. There is such a pleasant atmosphere on campus and it is easy to see that people here are very passionate about their work, a spirit that has definitely been passed on to me during my stay.  I have really enjoyed my time here at Janelia - I couldn't think of a better way to have spent my summer!"


Andres Laan
Cambridge University
Major: Neuroscience
Janelia Mentor: Dima Rinberg
Laan studied the ability of mice to detect differences between presented odor pulses of varying concentrations under the presence or absence of a background odor.

"The program itself has lived up to the expectations I had. Working on olfaction in the Rinberg lab, I find that I need to use knowledge from almost every kind of field I've ever had the chance to study, from fluid dynamics and programming to molecular biology. It has been a very eye-opening experience."


Sylwia Matlosz
Lawrence University
Major: Biochemistry
Janelia Mentor: Luke Lavis
Matlosz applied chemical synthesis to small molecule tools, developing a novel calcium indicator that exhibited favorable fluorescence change upon binding to calcium.

"I particularly enjoyed interacting with peers and researchers during the Janelia lunch hour. Such unique opportunities exposed me to new imaging technologies, a variety of topics in neuroscience, and computational methods in biology.   I am deeply grateful for my summer research experience at Janelia. The program has instilled in me a stronger passion for science and new ideas for scientific problems."


Glynis Mattheisen
Louisiana State University
Major: Biochemistry
Janelia Mentor: Eva Pastalkova
Mattheisen worked to develop a device for noninvasively monitoring multiple physiological functions in freely-moving rodents.

"My pursuit for knowledge was aided by the nurturing scientific environment provided at Janelia.  I supplemented the time I spent researching in the lab with attending seminars, journal clubs, and laboratory meetings.  The campus life allowed camaraderie with like-minded scientists from around the world.  All in all, Janelia has allowed me to become a better student and a better scientist. "


Karen Sarkisyan
Moscow State University
Major: Molecular Biology
Janelia Mentor: Loren Looger
Sarkisyan worked on the development of a protein-based GABA sensor and modified GCaMP-like calcium sensors to shift emitted light into the blue and cyan color range.

"Janelia has everything a researcher can dream of – the incredible level of science and scientists, lots of money, very comfortable work and living conditions, and real care from the administrative people."


Colin Stoneking
University of Cambridge
Major: Neuroscience
Janelia Mentor: Karel Svoboda
Stoneking developed a method for activating single neurons using two-photon excitation of the channelrhodopsin protein with a scanning laser beam.

"What truly made this memorable was the chance to become fully immersed in science – not only through hands-on work, but also through discussions with members of my lab and other summer students, and through the program's journal club. On the whole, this summer was both fun and rewarding, and I would definitely recommend the program to any undergraduate with a serious interest in science."


Richard Walroth
University of Florida
Major: Chemistry
Janelia Mentor: Luke Lavis
Walroth worked on synthesizing caged fluorescent dyes that could be un-caged and made fluorescent using ultraviolet light.

"The general feel of the place is incredibly conducive to work, yet I was never pressured to be in lab all the time.  Instead, I felt motivated to do work of my own accord.  I would highly recommend the program to anyone interested in any field of science."


Yinan Wan
Peking University
Major: Biological Sciences
Janelia Mentor: Hanchuan Peng
Wan developed algorithms to conduct automated comparisons detecting the similarity in structure of pairs of reconstructed neurons.

"Knowledge and skills were not the only things I acquired here. I will never forget the happy time we JUSers spent together: movies in the house, frisbee on the grassland, fireworks in D.C. sky, and thunderstorms on Virginia Beach... I cannot think of a more rewarding and exciting way to spend my last summer as an undergraduate."


Alyson Yee
Tufts University
Major: Biology
Janelia Mentor: Gwyneth Card
Yee examined the neuroethological dynamics of damselfly prey capture and Drosophila escape behavior.

"Given the enormous amount of support and resources Janelia offered, I had the chance to experience the best science I could do. It was incredible for me to see how much progress I could make, unencumbered by glitches or worries other institutions face.

The atmosphere here is 100% collaborative. Never before have I had so many people wanting me to succeed.  A typical dinner conversation could range from the mechanism underlying two-photon emission to Markov chains.

I enjoyed my time at Janelia because I never felt like a lowly undergraduate. I was aware of being surrounded by great scientific minds, but I was also integrated into the community and my opinions were valued."