2021 Honors College Presidential Summer Fellowships continue academic excellence through innovative research

2021 Presidential Summer Fellowship participantsA group shot of the 2021 Honors College Presidential Summer Fellowship participants**Honors students developed cutting-edge research through the 2021 Honors College Presidential Summer Fellowship (PSF) program. This year’s cohort of 26 students participated in programming that promoted undergraduate research, creative activity, and community engagement. The PSF allowed students to follow their passion and pursue additional studies outside of the classroom. Recipients also used the PSF program to prepare thesis proposals for future academic and professional opportunities.

Each PSF recipient was awarded $2,500 and worked individually with a UAB faculty mentor for the duration of the project. Students dedicated at least 20 hours a week over a nine-week period from May 24 to July 30. Faculty mentors also received a stipend for their professional support of PSF students. A series of Honors College professional development workshops were available to PSF students that were designed to develop their skills and advance their projects, including Money and Scientific Integrity; Mental Health Support and Self-Care for Students; Yes, You are Good Enough to Apply for Fellowships; Interview Skills: Telling Your Story; Breaking Down Your Project!You’re Studying What?;” Posters! How to Actually Make Them!; and Money Management for Students.

The program concluded with a celebratory PSF breakfast for students and their faculty mentors. Guest speakers for the event included Shannon L. Blanton, Ph.D., dean of the UAB Honors College; Kristine Hurst-Wajszczuk, D.M.A., associate dean of the Honors College; Ray L Watts, M.D., UAB president; and Pam Benoit, Ph.D., senior vice president of Academic Affairs and provost at UAB. President Watts gave an enthusiastic speech about the importance of research and discussed each student’s project.

After completing their fellowship, students presented their fellowship work-product at the 2021 UAB Summer Expo, where seven PSF students placed as winners in their respective conference category.

2021 Honors College Presidential Summer Fellowships recipients:

  • Sumedha Bobba “Effects of Glucocerebrosidase-1 on Synaptic Activity in the Hippocampus of a Parkinson's Disease Model” (Mentor: Laura Volpicelli- Daley, Ph.D.; School of Medicine, Department of Neurology)
  • Tyler Bright “Abnormal Sialylation of the Autoantigen in IgA Nephrology after Cytokine Stimulation” (Mentor: Colin Reily, Ph.D.; School of Medicine, Department of Medicine)
  • Reshma Chandra “Analysis of Mechanisms by which PINK1 Mutations Cause Parkinson's Disease” (Mentor: Matt Goldberg, Ph.D.; School of Medicine, Neurology)
  • Abby Chapman* “The Role of Placental Perfusion in Mediating Immune Mechanisms in Placentas of Pregnant Mice Exposed to Bromine Gas” (Mentor: Tamás Jilling, M.D.; School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics)
  • Jeremiah Chu “Disparities in Depression Screening Between Adults with vs. without Congestive Heart Failure in the US: A National Cross-Sectional Study” (Mentor: Rongbing Xie, Dr.P.H.; School of Medicine, Department of Surgery)
  • Rachel Chua “Mapping Connection Topographies with fMRI Data” (Mentor: Kristina Visscher, Ph.D.; School of Medicine, Department of Neurobiology)President Ray WattsUAB President Ray Watts delivered the keynote speech during the Presidential Summer Fellowship breakfast**
  • Shreya Dhutia “Effects of a Discussion-based, Extracurricular Diversity Program on Explicit and Implicit Biases in Pre-Health Undergrad Students” (Mentor: Lynn Stover Nichols, Ph.D.; School of Nursing, Undergraduate and Prelicensure Programs)
  • John Echols “Breast Cancer Metastatis Suppressor 1 (BRMS1) Regulates Metastasis-Promoting miRNA-10b in Breast Cancer” (Mentor: Mick Edmonds, Ph.D.; School of Medicine, Department of Genetics)
  • Suma Ejantkar* “Molecular Mechanisms Underlying the GSK-3a Mediated Pro- Fibrotic Response” (Mentor: Hind Lal, Ph.D.; School of Medicine, Department of Medicine)
  • Daniel Elston “TREM2 Multimerization” (Mentor: Erik Roberson, M.D.; School of Medicine, Department of Neurology)
  • Nathaniel Fehrmann “Channelopathics: A Series of Rare Ion Channel Disorders and Their Treatment Process” (Mentor: Andrew Crouse, Ph.D.; School of Medicine, Hugh Kaul Precision Medicine Institute)
  • Emily Gaines “A Yeast Model for Genetic Suppression of PTC Mutations to Discover Targets for Treating Cystic Fibrosis” (Mentor: John Hartman, M.D.; School of Medicine, Department of Genetics)
  • Sarah Glass “Increased Expression of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms Associated with Pediatric Open-Heart Surgery” (Mentor: Sami Raut, Ph.D.; College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Biology)
  • Davis Gustafson* “Since You Left” (Mentor: Rusty Rushton, Ph.D.; Honors College, University Honors Program)
  • Grace Ham* “Effects of Sleep and Socioeconomic Status on Body Composition and Eating Behavior” (Mentor: Aaron Fobian, Ph.D.; School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology)
  • Adela Harvey “NPY Y1R Expression in NPY Overexpressed Mice and Mice that Experiences Trauma” (Mentor: Lynn Dobrunz, Ph.D.; School of Medicine, Department of Neurobiology)
  • Luke Jaskowski* “Use of Perflourinated Alkyl Substances to Assess Traditional Purification Methods” (Mentor: Suzanne E. Lapi, Ph.D.; School of Medicine, Department of Radiology)
  • Carlie Kennedy “Characterizing the Role of STAT5B in Aging Using the Novel STAT5B Mouse Knockout” (Mentor: Liou Sun, M.D. Ph.D.; College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Biology)Dr. Joel BerryJoel Berry, Ph.D. facilitated a Presidential Summer Fellowship workshop, Money and Scientific Integrity
  • Angela Lee* “Analysis of COVID-19: A Review of Pathophysiological Impact and Potential Drug Development” (Mentor: Joel Berry, Ph.D.; School of Engineering, Department of Biomedical Engineering)
  • Ibshar Marnia “Mechanisms of Metabolic Dysregulation in Neuroendocrine Cancer” (Mentor: James Bibb, Ph.D.; School of Medicine, Department of Surgery)
  • Macy McCuiston “Cellular Characterization in Yeast of Genes Required for Quiescence Entry and Maintenance” (Mentor: John Hartman, M.D.; School of Medicine, Department of Genetics)
  • Sahar Moughnyeh “Student Perspectives on Improving Mental Health Awareness for STEM College Students” (Mentor: Sami Raut, Ph.D.; College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Biology)

  • Michaela Philip* “Health Effects of Redlining: A Qualitative Analysis” (Mentor: Josh Robinson, Ph.D.; Collat School of Business, Department of Marketing, Industrial Distribution & Economics)
  • Nandini Vobbilisetty “Quantifying Longitudinal Changes in the Synergy of Combination Trastuzamab and Lu-177 Therapy in HER2+ Breast Cancer” (Mentor: Anna Sorace, Ph.D.; School of Engineering, Department of Biomedical Engineering)
  • Laura Nell Walker “Bamazon Union” (Mentor: Michele Forman; College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History)
  • Kailey Young “Evaluation of the use of TCAP-1 as a Novel Therapeutic Peptide in Alzheimer's Disease: a Pilot Study” (Mentor: Liou Sun, M.D. Ph.D.; College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Biology)

* denotes PSF student winners who placed in the 2021 UAB Summer Expo

**Please note photos were taken during the relaxed COVID-19 protocols from May 24, 2021 to July 29, 2021.