2020-21 VCU Undergraduate Research Fellows

UROP fellows badgeThe following undergraduates and faculty mentors will be awarded with funding support to partner on collaborative research projects during the summer and upcoming academic year. Funding support comes from the VCU Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry, the Center for Community Engagement and Impact, the Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research, and the Institute for Inquiry, Inclusion, and Innovation.

Many thanks to our funding partners for their support of undergraduate research and creative scholarship at VCU. And congratulations to our 2020-2021 VCU Undergraduate Research Fellows, with utmost gratitude to our faculty mentors!

VCU Fellowships for Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry

  • Laura Bendick with Prof. Christopher Irving, Dept. of Communication Arts. Lonely Horrors: Exploring the Parallels Between The Shining and Heart of Darkness.
  • Molly Buch, with Dr. Lothika Mohanraj, Dept. of Adult Health and Nursing Systems. Perspectives of HSCT Patients on Frailty and Physical Activity: A Qualitative Study.
  • Katherine Centofanti, with Dr. Mo Jiang, Dept. of Chemical and Life Sciences Engineering. Continuous crystallization in monitored tubular slug-flow crystallizer.
  • Margaret Colangelo, Dept. of Communication Arts, with Dr. Bernard Means, Dept. of Anthropology. America's Founding Monsters: A Graphical Approach.
  • Nicole Concepcion, with Dr. Scott Vrana, Dept. of Psychology. Etiology and Emotional Expressions of Misophonia.
  • Neha Dil, with Dr. Bridget McInnes, Dept. of Computer Science. Learning from unlabeled and pseudo data for clinical named entity recognition.
  • Paris Dinh, Dept. of Graphic Design, with Dr. Kathryn Murphy-Judy, School of World Studies Foreign Language Program. French Canadian Graphic Design Research and Curation.
  • Mischa Ellison, with Dr. Soma Dhakal, Dept. of Chemistry. Ultrasensitive and multiplexed detection of nucleic acid biomarkers at the single-molecule level.
  • Steele Farnsworth, with Dr. Bridget McInnes, Dept. of Computer Science. Named entity normalization for problems, treatments and tests in the clinical domain.
  • Jordan Frantz, Dept. of Bioinformatics, with Dr. Baneshwar Singh, Dept. of Forensic Science. Development and Validation of Bash Script for Quicker Analysis of 18S Ribosomal DNA (18S rDNA) Data.
  • Hunter Freeman, Dept. of Bioinformatics, with Dr. Rima Franklin, Dept. of Biology. Prevalence of Antibiotic Resistance Genes Across a Variety of River Metagenomes.
  • Charlotte Hartle with Dr. Alaattin Kaya, Dept. of Biology. Understanding the Role of Essential Genes in Regulation of Aging.
  • Madelyn Malone, with Dr. Joseph Battistelli, Dept. of Biology. Fungal denitrification in response to increased salinization in tidal freshwater wetlands.
  • Richard Martin, with Dr. Sarah Meacham, Dept. of History. Civil War Music as Trauma Relief.
  • Andre Medina, Dept. of Sculpture and Extended Media, with Dr. Julian Glover, Dept. of Dance and Choreography. Can You Feel Me Now?: Trans and Non-Binary Experiences of Sex, Pleasure and Affirmation.
  • Logan Miller, with Dr. Wenheng Zhang, Dept. of Biology. Study of flower color evolution in Convolvulaceae using a phylogenetic approach.
  • Amora Mikell, with Dr. Tiffany Valvo, Dept. of Music. The Effects of Meditation and Mindfulness on Musicians' Self-Talk and Performance Anxiety.
  • Zuhura Muhanna, with Dr. Jenica Harrison, Dept. of Clinical Laboratory Sciences. The Assessment and Implementation of an Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay Protocol for the Detection of anti-Platelet Factor 4/Heparin complex IgG/A/M antibodies.
  • Aidan Myers, with Dr. Bridget McInnes, Dept. of Computer Science. Application of natural language processing to lipidomic data for new knowledge discovery.
  • Marguerite Nichols, with Dr. Christina Tang, Dept. of Chemical and Life Sciences Engineering. Binary and Tertiary Liquid Crystal Formulations with Cholesteryl Chloride.
  • Stephanie Osei, Dept. of Bioinformatics, with Dr. Judith Voynow, Dept. of Pediatrics. Neutrophil Elastase Upregulates Calpain-2 activity in Cystic Fibrosis Sputum.
  • Amelia Rafle, Dept. of Painting and Printmaking, with Dr. Lesley Bulluck, Center for Environmental Studies. Assessing and Communicating the Problem of Bird-Window Collisions on VCU's Monroe Park Campus.
  • Abish Rimal, with Dr. Derek Prosser, Dept. of Biology. Examining the impact of ceramide synthase enzymes in improving cell survival in a Saccharomyces cerevisiae model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
  • Dylan Ryan, with Dr. Marco Aldi, Dept. of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics. Generalized Cauchy-Riemann F-Structures On Solvable Lie Algebras.
  • Essak Seddiq, with Dr. Glenn Hurlbert, Dept. of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics. Generalized Graph Pebbling.
  • Evan Soukup, Dept. of Biology, with Dr. Laura Mathies, Dept. of Pharmacology and Toxicology. Evaluating Transcription Factors' Potential Effect of Determining Multipotency in C. elegans.
  • James Wimberly, with Dr. Christina Tang, Dept. of Chemical and Life Sciences Engineering. Electrospinning of Polycaprolactone and Liquid Crystal Blends.

Undergraduate Fellowships for Clinical and Translational Research

  • Lilly Balderson, Dept. of Chemistry, with Dr. Hong Zhao, Dept. of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering. 3D-Printing Epithelial Cell-Laden Scaffolds for use in Pharmaceutical Testing Applications.
  • Jodie Beaumont, with Dr. Danielle Kirkman, Dept. of Kinesiology and Health Sciences. Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Exercise Intolerance in Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction.
  • Nicole Cheng, Dept. of Biology, with Dr. Daniel Coelho, Dept. of Otolaryngology. Spatial Organization of the Human Olfactory Bulb.
  • Emily Clement, Dept. of Biomedical Engineering, with Dr. Joao Soares, Dept. of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering.Accelerated Degradation of Electrospun Polycaprolactone Scaffolds.
  • Panth Doshi, with Dr. Jennifer Puetzer, Dept. of Biomedical Engineering. Combating Aging-Induced Advanced Glycation Endproducts in Tendons with Tensile Loading.
  • Richard Foster, with Dr. Laura Ellwein-Fix, Dept. of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics. Modeling Breathing Asynchrony in a Computer Model of Respiratory Mechanics.
  • Nayab Mughal, with Dr. Patricia Kinser, Dept. of Family and Community Health Nursing. “Mamma Mia” Study: Will an internet/app-based self-management program (“Mamma Mia”) help to prevent and intervene with perinatal depressive symptoms? “Decision-Making” Study: How does decision-making about end-of-life care occur in the ICU?
  • Charles Tran, Dept. of Biology, with Dr. Karolina Aberg, Dept. of Pharmaceutics. Replication of Methylation Marks Associated with Schizophrenia.
  • Yasmina Zeinnedine, with Dr. Michael Friedman, Dept. of Biomedical Engineering. Influence of Genetic Variation on Bone and Muscle Response to Unloading.
  • Jackie Zhu, Dept. of Biology, with Dr. Laxmikant Deshpande, Dept. of Pharmacology and Toxicology. Role of BDNF dysregulation in GWI pathophysiology.

Undergraduate Fellowships for Community-Engaged Research

  • Sara Debab, with Dr. Dina Garcia, Dept. of Health Behavior and Policy. Determining Community Readiness to Initiate Efforts to Address the Health Needs of Latinx in the Galax, VA Region.
  • Jessie Feng, Dept. of Biology, with Dr. Amanda Hall, Center for Community Engagement and Impact. Exploring Possible Areas of Medical Mis/Distrust Between VCU Health Systems and the RVA Community.
  • Elliot Scaparo, with Dr. Lilly Cox-Richard, Dept. of Sculpture and Extended Media. Holding Space (For Pawpaw Seedlings): Establishing Permaculture as a Space for Community Gathering, Organizing, and Education Surrounding Native Flora.
  • Kayla Seabolt, with Prof. Erin Freeman, Dept. of Music. Recovery Ally Choir Research Proposal.

Undergraduate Research Fellowships for Inquiry, Inclusion, and Innovation

  • Trenton Jackson, Dept. of Management and Entrepreneurship, with Dr. Jon Jones, VCU Life Sciences. Evolving an Operations Manual for a Student Run Indoor Vegetable Production to Reduce Campus Food Insecurity in the Age of COVID.
  • Abi Manzano, Dept. of Kinesiology and Health Sciences, with Dr. Sarah Raskin, Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs and Dr. Aderonke Akinkugbe, Dept. of Dental Health and Public Policy. Time in the U.S. and its impacts on the physical domain of oral health related quality of life: a mixed method study.
  • Jenifer Nunez, Dept. of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, with Dr. Sarah Raskin, Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs and Dr. Aderonke Akinkugbe, Dept. of Dental Health and Public Policy. Time in the U.S. and its impacts on the social domain of oral health related quality of life: a mixed method study.
  • Addisan Pound, Dept. of Environmental Studies, with Dr. Sierra Beecher, Dept. of Biology and co-mentor Dr. Brian Verrelli, VCU Life Sciences. A Feasibility Analysis Examining Hydroponics Use Within Health-Care Environments.
  • Meredith Wheeler, Dept. of Urban and Regional Planning, with Prof. Nicole Anderson Ellis, Dept. of Focused Inquiry and co-mentor Dr. Jon Jones, VCU Life Sciences. Cultivating Volunteers: Establishing Best Practices for Volunteer Labor at Cornerstone Community Farm.
  • Alison Zieleman, Dept. of Biology with Dr. Sarah Raskin, Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs and Dr. Aderonke Akinkugbe, Dept. of Dental Health and Public Policy. Time in the U.S. and its impacts on the psychological domain of oral health related quality of life: a mixed method study.