Cecilia Bess

Psychology

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Vanessa L. Malcarne

Cecilia Bess is in her fourth year of undergraduate studies at San Diego State University (SDSU) in San Diego, California. She is a Psychology major with interests in the fields of Health Psychology and Clinical Psychology. Cecilia has participated in a number of academic and extracurricular activities in her time at SDSU. In the late spring of 2011, she became a scholar in the Ronald E. McNair program. Shortly after, at the beginning of the summer of 2011, Cecilia was appointed as a Fellow in the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) program funded by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of General Medical Sciences. It was that same summer that she began working as a research assistant under the mentorship of Dr. Vanessa L. Malcarne at the SDSU Chronic Illness Laboratory. Most recently, Cecilia has been awarded a highly competitive National Cancer Institute R25E Summer Research Experience in The University of Texas MD Anderson’s Cancer Prevention Research Training Program. After the summer, she will continue working on her honors thesis and begin applying to clinical health Ph.D. programs.

Project:

Acculturation, Age, Education, Religiosity, and Subjective Social Status as Predictors of Cancer Fatalism - Looked at predictors of cancer fatalism in Hispanic American women in the San Diego area.


Carl Bolano

Psychology

Faculty Mentor: Dr. V. Robin Weersing 

Carl Bolano, a fourth year undergraduate psychology major at San Diego State University, started as a transfer student from San Diego Mesa College where she took the Introduction to Research methods class. This course provided her an opportunity to present her first research project at the 2011 Western Psychological Association Convention in Los Angeles, California. Upon her transfer to SDSU, she became actively involved with the Teen Relationship Violence Research and Prevention lab under the supervision of Dr. Emilio Ulloa and Dr. Audrey Hokoda. In summer 2012, Carl had been selected to be a part of the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) program funded by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Currently, she works as a research assistant at the Children and Adolescent Anxiety and Mood Program under Dr. V. Robin Weersing. She aspires to help provide access to resources reducing the issues of health disparities particularly on anxiety and mood disorders with an integration of multicultural perspectives. As a researcher, she would like to investigate potential treatments for anxiety and mood that can be used when developing research-based intervention programs. Carl believes that her involvement is also a way of advocating for Filipino-Americans in the sciences. For fall 2012, Carl will begin to seek a potential summer 2013 research internship. She is expected to apply for PhD programs in fall of 2013 and complete her BA in Psychology with a minor in statistics in May 2014.

Project:

Family Communication Patterns and their Reaction to Sexual Behaviors and Attitudes in Young Filipino-American Adults.


Francisco Candido

Engineering

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Satchi Venkataraman

Francisco Candido is currently a junior student at San Diego State University majoring in Aerospace Engineering. During the end of spring 2012 he was appointed as a fellow in the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) program funded by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Soon after, Francisco participated in a summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at the University of Washington where he worked on his first research project developing a method to track human fingers using the Microsoft Kinect.

In fall 2012, Fransisco Candido will join Dr. Satchi Venkataraman’s Aerospace Structures Analysis and Optimization Research Group to work on the project  “Exploring the Mathematics and Mechanics  of Origami Tessellation Geometries for Design of Optimal Lightweight Structures.”  Thanks to his wonderful experience as an undergraduate researcher at the University of Washington, Francisco will be applying for similar programs next summer.  Francisco’s long term goal is to work on this project throughout his remaining undergraduate years in hopes of publishing a novel paper that will bring new insight into this new and fascinating field of research.

Project:

Exploring the Mathematics and Mechanics  of Origami Tessellation Geometries for Design of Optimal Lightweight Structures.


Linda Honaker

Chemistry

Faculty Mentor: Dr. William G. Tong

Linda Honaker is in her fourth year of undergraduate studies at San Diego State University (SDSU) in San Diego, California. She is majoring in Chemistry with an emphasis in Biochemistry, and is fascinated by the complexity of chemical processes in living things. In May 2012, Linda was appointed as a fellow in the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) program funded by the National Institute of Health/National Institute of General Medicinal Sciences. Around the same time, Linda began working as a research assistant under the mentorship of Dr. William G. Tong at the SDSU Analytical Laser Spectroscopy Laboratory. Linda plans to be very productive in the Laser Lab this summer, and to attend a summer research program at another university next summer. She will begin applying for chemistry Ph.D. programs in the fall of 2013, and hopes to one day become a professor at a university, so she can both inspire and guide students and conduct biomedical research.

Project:

Sensitive Analysis of Biomarkers for Neurodegenerative Diseases by Laser Wave-Mixing and Capillary Electrophoresis - Developing a laser technique with the potential to detect diseases such as Alzheimer’s, AIDS and cancer in earlier stages than is currently possible.


Ismael Perez

Mathematics

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Peter Salamon

Ismael Perez is in his third year of undergraduate studies at San Diego State University (SDSU). He is a mathematics major with an emphasis in computational science and his interests are in mathematical modeling and optimization theory. Ismael has participated in a number of academic and extracurricular activities in his time at SDSU, Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority participation, MESA Engineering Program/ Maximizing Science Potential Program, and the Educational Opportunity Program, just to name a few. He has also been awarded numerous scholarships and honors during his time there. In summer 2011, Ismael participated in the Pre-MARC Summer Enrichment Program. Throughout the six-weeks, he was exposed to scientific writing, physiology, chemistry, math and hands on lab experience. He spent 5 days a week for 6 weeks participating in the Pre-MARC SEP with no financial support. After the summer program, Ismael was able to participate in the Undergraduate Biology Research program where he actively participated in a research project with the guidance of Dr. Peter Salamon. Currently, he is working on writing a paper about his research project. After this summer, Ismael plans to work on a different project, apply to research programs for the summer of 2013, and look at graduate schools that he is interested in applying to.

Project:

Mathematically modeling the Bacteriophage Lambda Site Specific Recombination - The Bacteriophage Lambda Site Specific Recombination chemical kinetics is modeled through a perturbed system of linear differential equations. The perturbation is used to obtain a better identification of the rate constants of the chemical reaction of the system.


Carlo Quintanilla

Psychology

Faculty Mentor:  Dr. Susan M. Brasser 

Carlo Quintanilla is an undergraduate Psychology major and Biology minor at San Diego State University, in his fourth year of studies. He has an interest in the field of behavioral neuroscience, specifically in understanding the neurobiological mechanisms underpinning substance addiction. Also, he has always carried a profound interest in understanding the factors that promote and sustain conscious awareness during REM sleep, i.e. lucid dreaming. Carlo has taken advantage of the opportunity to gain experience teaching as a TA for Professor Bob McGivern in his Physiological Psychology course. Also, Carlo began working as a research assistant for Dr. Susan M. Brasser in her Behavioral Neuroscience lab investigating substance addiction. Recently, Carlo was accepted as a scholar in the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) program and plans to conduct research in either consciousness/sleep studies or substance abuse at another university for the summer of 2013. Upon graduating from SDSU, Carlo plans on applying to Ph.D. programs in neurobiology and continuing his research as well as teach courses and work with students and other researchers.

Project:

Alterations in Ethanol Taste-Elicited Neuronal Activity in the Insular Cortex Following Chronic Ethanol Exposure. -  C-Fos gene expression and protein synthesis will be used as a measure for neuronal activity in the insular cortex and histological methods will be implemented for analyzing the results.


Mercedes Quintana

Biochemistry

Faculty Mentor:  Dr. Mark Sussman

Mercedes Quintana is in her fourth year of undergraduate studies at San Diego State University (SDSU) in San Diego, California. She is a Biochemistry major with interests in the role of proteins and their biochemical processes in the human body and the field computer science. Mercedes has participated in a number of academic programs such as MEP, LSAMP, the Honors Program and HCOP. Mercedes has also participated in many extracurricular activities in her time at SDSU such as the annual San Diego Beach Clean Up, the publication of the magazine Sustainable South Bay by the Honors Program, and events with the L.A. Dream Center. In the beginning of spring 2011 Mercedes joined the laboratory of Mark Sussman of the Heart Institute, where she currently works. Mercedes was appointed as a fellow in the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) program funded by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of General Medical Sciences during the spring of 2012. After the summer, she will continue working in the lab of Dr. Sussman and preparing for graduate studies in Biochemistry.

Project:

Role of Extracellular Matrix for Stem Cell Response After a Myocardial Infarction -  Investigated the role of the extracellular matrix protein Fibronectin during the time of stem cell development after a myocardial infarction and its role with the Pim 1 pathway.


Phillip Silva

Biology

Faculty Mentor:  Dr. Jennifer Thomas

Phillip Silva is in his fourth year of undergraduate study at San Diego State University (SDSU) in San Diego, California. His major is biology with an emphasis in cell and molecular biology.  He has a double minor in Psychology and Religious Studies. His research interests revolve around behavioral neuroscience and include genetic expression. Phillip was an active member of the SDSU Psychology Club throughout his first year. His junior year he was accepted as a Golden Key International Honor Society member and in the fall will join Psi Chi, the psychology honors chapter at SDSU.  His laboratory research experience began in June of 2012 with his acceptance as a fellow in the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) program that is funded by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of General Medical Sciences. He immediately began working as a research assistant under the mentorship of Dr. Jennifer Thomas at the SDSU Center of Behavioral Teratology.  Phillip hopes to attend the Mechanisms of Behavior (MOB) summer research experience at Duke University during the summer of 2013. After completing his Bachelor’s degree in May 2014, he aims to directly attend a behavioral neuroscience Ph.D. program within the United States.

Project:

Temporal Order Object Recognition in Rats Following Developmental Alcohol Exposure -  This task is designed to measure intact temporal sequencing, or the relative order of recent events. This rodent model could highlight impairments seen in children diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.