2020 UCLA Undergraduate Research Showcase

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36 Chemistry & Biochemistry undergraduate students presented their research at the UCLA Undergraduate Research Showcase, five were awarded the prestigious Science Dean’s Prize. 

At the event, which is part of the annual UCLA Undergraduate Research Week (URW), faculty judges award the Science Dean’s Prize to senior presenters for “excellence in presentation of their faculty-mentored research”. This year five undergraduate researchers who conduct research in our faculty labs received the prestigious prize for their live-streamed research presentations; John Chapman (Sletten group), Jaqueline Lopez (Kaner group), Alexander Soohoo (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering major, Tang group), Abby Thurm (Gelbart/Knobler group), and Vivian Wall (Tolbert group). 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Undergraduate Research Showcase was held online this year using the video conferencing service Zoom and prerecorded videos on YouTube. In previous years the event, usually called the Undergraduate Research Poster Day, was held in UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion stadium with over 700 undergraduate students presenting their research posters. 

5-10 minute live-streamed Chemistry & Biochemistry student research presentations took place in three difference sessions on Tuesday, May 19 and 5-10 minute prerecorded Chemistry & Biochemistry research presentations which are available for viewing below.  

Congratulations to the Dean’s Prize winners and to all our talented and dedicated undergraduate reseachers! 


SESSION A – Tuesday, May 19 – 12:30PM – 2:00PM

Panel 1

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Presentation 1 – JOHN O. CHAPMAN, Daniel A. Estabrook, Ellen M. Sletten – “Macromolecule Responsive Perfluorocarbon Nanoemulsions for Controlled Drug Delivery”.  Dean’s Prize winner. 

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Presentation 2 – VIVIAN WALL
, Sophia C. King, Natalie Kashanchi, Michal Marszewski, Darrell Harry, Man Li, Tiphaine Gali, Joon Sang Kang, Yongjie Hu, Laurent Pilon, and Sarah H. Tolbert – “Effect of Colloid Size on Thermally Insulating Mesoporous Silica Materials”. Dean’s Prize winner. 

Panel 2

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Presentation 2 – SCARLETT HUANG
, Shengtao Lu, Roselyn Rodrigues, and Chong Liu -“Enhanced Utilization of Anodic Oxygen by Perfluorocarbon Nanoemulsion in Hybrid Biological Inorganic N-fixing System”.

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Presentation 3 – MIRANDA KELLY
, Lucia Fernandez del Rio, and Catherine F. Clarke – “Identification of Genes Involved in Coenzyme Q Transport in Saccharomyces cerevisiae“.

Panel 3

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Presentation 1 – DEAN NEUTEL
, Keaton Barr, and Guillaume Chanfreau – “RNT1 Extended Product Degradation and Auto-Regulatory Pathway”.

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Presentation 4 – OLIVIA S. LELAND
, Emily D. Cosco, and Ellen M. Sletten – “Polymethine dye aggregation within polymeric and lipidic nanoparticles”.

SESSION B – Tuesday, May 19 – 2:00PM – 3:30PM

Panel 1

Presentation 1 – KRISTA YANG, Michelle C. Bradley, Lucia Fernandez-del-Rio, Jennifer Ngo, Anita Ayer, Hui S. Tsui, Noelle Alexa Novales, Roland Stocker, Orian S. Shirihai, Mario H. Barros, and Catherine F. Clarke – “Deletion of COQ11 Rescues Deficiencies Caused By the Absence of Coenzyme Q Chaperone Protein Coq10”.

Presentation 2 – CAROLYN WU, Rachael A. Day, and Ellen M. Sletten – “Characterizing The Protein Corona On Perfluorocarbon Nanoemulsions Stabilized By polymer Surfactants”.

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Presentation 3 – EMILY MARTINEZ
, Nicole Lynn, Joseph Ong, and Jorge Torres – “Structural and Functional Analysis of the Microtubule Severing Katanin Paralogs”.

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Presentation 4 – MADELINE R. EVANS
, Ambarneil Saha, and Jose A. Rodriguez – “Parameterization of Integral and Fractionally Charged Ionic Electron Scattering Factors”.

Panel 2

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Presentation 1 – ABBY R. THURM
, Charles M. Knobler, and William M. Gelbart – “Defective-Interfering RNAs as an Anti-Viral Therapy Against Yellow Fever Virus”. Dean’s Prize winner. 

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Presentation 2 – JAQUELINE LOPEZ
, Stephanie Aguilar, Richard B. Kaner – “Exploring the Synthesis and Properties of Oligoanilines as Conducting Polymers”. Dean’s Prize winner. 

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Presentation 3 – JORGE L. CARDENAS
, Maria D. Flores and Jose A. Rodriguez – “Towards a Structural Understanding of Aplysia CPEB, a Prion Linked to Cellular Memory”.

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, Harrison A. Mills, Arnold L. Rheingold, Alexander M. Spokoyny – “Co(I) Carbonyl Complexes Featuring Sterically-Encumbering, Three-Dimensional Carbon and Boron-Based Ligands”.

Panel 3

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Presentation 2 – JOSEPH M. RICH
, Alexander O. Bradley, Margot E. Quinlan – “A Negative Control Formin Mutant Retains Some Actin Polymerization Activity”. Dean’s Prize winner. 

SESSION C – Tuesday, May 19 – 3:30PM – 5:00PM

Panel 1

Soohoo Alexander 1
Presentation 1 – ALEXANDER M. SOOHOO
, James B. Wang, Masao Ohashi, Yi Tang – “An Enzymatic Approach to Diversification of Loline Alkaloid Insecticides”. (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering major) Dean’s Prize winner. 

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Presentation 3 – LUKE J. ELISSIRY
, Jingwen Sun, Shengtao Lu, Maskit Maymon, Ethan A. Humm, Ann M. Hirsch, Chong Liu – “Silica Sol-gel Microbead Encapsulation of Symbiotic Microbe Inoculant”.

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Presentation 4 – WENZHE CHEN
; Wonhyeuk Jung ; Muhammad A. Zenaidee; Pascal Egea; Mark Arbing; Rachel R. Ogorzalek Loo; Joseph A. Loo – “Effect of Nonionic Saccharide Detergents and Supercharging Agents on Native Mass Spectrometry of Membrane Proteins”.

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Presentation 5 – ILA Y. CASTRO DE LA TORRE
, Pedro A. Pena, Miguel Isarraraz, Cengiz Ozkan, and Mihri Ozkan – “The Optical and Electrical Characterization of MoS2, and WS2 from Metal Tetrathiol Precursors” (Alex Spokoyny group).

Panel 2

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Presentation 1 – HIEU NGUYEN
, Joseph Ong, Jorge Z. Torres – “Identifying Novel Drugs to Revert DNA-Damage Induced Senescence”.

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Presentation 2 – KE “COCO” WU
, Xun Guan, and Chong Liu – “Photocatalytic Reduction of Nitrogen by a Cadmium Telluride Inorganic Bio-hybrid System”.


Panel 1

Presentation 02 – KAYLIE M. BAIR, Jessica M. Ochoa, and Todd O. Yeates
Development of an Online Resource for Bacterial Microcompartment Research

Presentation 05 – HANNAH J. ECKVAHL, Dennis Svatunek, Albert C. Liu, Brian J. Levandowski, and Kendall N. Houk
Computations on How New Bioorthogonal Tetrazines React with Isonitriles

Presentation 06 – TERA GILHAM, Mit Muni, and Richard Kaner
Investigating Syntheses of Carbon Nanodots for Building Graphene Supercapacitor Electrodes

Presentation 07 – MATTHEW R. HENNEFARTH and Anastassia N. Alexandrova
Quantifying Perturbations in the Local Electric Field in Ketosteroid Isomerase

Presentation 08 – MORGAN J. HOPP, Jessica K. Logan, Azin Saebi, Harrison A. Mills, Rafal M. Dziedzic, Joshua L. Martin, Pamela J. Kennedy and Alexander M. Spokoyny
Development of Carborane-Based Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors

Panel 2

Presentation 02 – ANDY T. NGUYEN, Michelle Panzica, and Margot E. Quinlan
Investigating the Binding of Spire/Myosin-V in Drosophila melanogaster

Presentation 06 – ESTHER PELUSO, Rebeccah Warmack, and Steven Clarke
A novel E3 ubiquitin ligase protein interacts with isoaspartyl residues and may play a role in the aging process

Presentation 08 – JAMEL SIMPSON, Ernest Armenta, Keriann Backus
A Unique Cysteine Residue With Potential To Help Caspase-2 in Oxidative Stress Response

Panel 3

Presentation 01 – OVIE SOMAN, Kierstyn Anderson, and Alexander Spokoyny
Synthesis and Analysis of Photophysical Properties of Organoboron Compounds Containing Orthocarborane

Presentation 03 – XINRAN TANG, Zachary Hemminger, Roy Wollman
Multiplexed RNA Single-Molecule Fluorescence in situ Hybridization (FISH) Signal Amplification

Presentation 04 – SINING WANG, Xiao-Song Xue, and K. N. Houk
Using Computational Chemistry to Understand the Importance of a Catalyst That Gives Only One Stereoisomeric Product in an SN1 Reaction

Presentation 05 – JAMES B WANG, Alexander M. Soohoo, Masao Ohashi, Yi Tang
Investigation of Non-ribosomal Peptide Synthetases and Chlorinases in the Ochratoxin A Biosynthetic Pathway

Presentation 06 – JONATHAN J. WONG, Dingyi Wang, Xiangyang Chen, Liqun Jin, Mingjie Li, Yue Zhao, Yong Liang, K.N. Houk, and Zhuangzhi Shi
Selective C-H Silylation of Indoles at the C7-Position by Palladium Catalysis

Presentation 07 – JASON WU, Andrew J. Smaligo, and Ohyun Kwon
Chiral Pool Sulfinates: Synthesis of Stable Radical Precursors from Natural Products and Their Derivatives

Psychology and Cognitive Science Prerecorded Session – Panel 8

Presentation 05 – RIYA PATHARE, SEERAT CHAWLA, Victoria Wang, Merel Dagher, Sara Erwin, Olena Lukoyanova, Weiye Dai, Anne M. Andrews – “Effects of PEPA and PCPA on Liver Phenylalanine Hydroxylase Activity

Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu.