VCU Undergraduate Research Fellows

congratulations 2024-2025 research fellows

The 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.

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

UROP Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarship Summer Fellowship

Ida Adeso, Health Science with Dr. Arnethea Sutton, Kinesiology and Health Sciences. Factors Associated with Cigarette Smoking in Black Breast and Gynecological Cancer Survivors

Isabella Alpire-Roca, Anthropology with Dr. Daniel Morales, History. 
Latino Virginia Project

Nyla Anderson, Biology with Dr.Jason Newton, Biology. 
Investigating sphingolipid signaling defects in Niemann-Pick Type C disease

Merilyn Arikkat, Biology with Dr. Patricia Kinser, VCU School of Nursing (Department of Family and Community Health Nursing; Office of Research, Scholarship and Innovation). Trust in Medical Research and its Impact on Black Participant Willingness to Engage with Mindfulness Interventions

Kaitlyn Baker, Biology with Dr. Aron Lichtman, Pharmacology. 
Combining AR12 and Neratinib for Alzheimer's Disease

Logan Beach, Physics with Dr. Marco Aldi, Math. 
Harmonic Analysis on Dani-Mainkar Nilmanifolds

Ava Beaudin, Chemistry with Dr.Nicholas Farrell, Chemistry.
Triplatin Use in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma

Maciej Bernas, Biomedical Engineering with Dr. Joao Soares, Dept. of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering. An Optimized Method to Resolve the Motion of the Pulmonary Artery Bifurcation

Jason Bonilla-Landers, Psychology with Dr. Chelsea Williams, Psychology. 
Effects of Black and Latine Caregivers’ Adverse Childhood Experiences, Discrimination, and Sense of Belonging on their Young Children’s Sense of Belonging to their Ethnic-Racial-Cultural Group

Kaylynn Breland, Environmental Studies with Dr. Daniel Albrecht-Mallinger, Center for Environmental Studies. 
Linking management and prey quality to breeding behavior in the declining American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)

Abby Bressette, Environmental Studies with Dr. Lesley Bulluck, Center for Environmental Studies. 
Effect of nonnative plant colonization on food availability and foraging behavior of two declining warblers in Appalachian Virginia

Hallie Bruce-Ross, Medical Laboratory Sciences with Dr. Michael Lacy, Medical Laboratory Sciences.
In Vitro Cytokine Secretion Following Exposure of Pbmcs to Naegleria fowleri

Leiliani (Liani) Clark, Bioinformatics with a concentration in computational sciences with Dr. Preetam Ghosh, Computer Science. 
Integration of Genotype and RNA-Sequencing Data for Disease Specific Phenotype Prediction

MaKenzie Coles, Dance and Choreography with Professor MK Bowden, Dance, Choreography. 
The Exploration of Free Dance

Amaria Ford, Biology with Dr. Chelsea Williams, Psychology. 
Associations between Black and Latine Parents’ Ethnic-Racial Identity Private Regard and Centrality Predicting Young Children’s Attitudes about their Culture

Andrew Grider, Interior Design with Professor Sara Reed, Interior Design. 
Fabricating Identity: Interweaving Early America's Chesapeake Heritage into A Modern Textile Collection

Colin Guilbault, Biomedical Engineering, with Dr. Carrie Peterson, Biomedical Engineering. Prediction of Motor Responses in Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation with Deep Neural Network

Grace Guimond, Chemistry with Dr. Thomas Roper, Chemical Engineering.
Synthesis of Fluorescent Probes for D2 Dopamine Receptors

Alfreda Harder, RN to BSN with Dr. Jiale Hu, Department of Nurse Anesthesia.
Diversity in Crisis Management: Assessing Impacts on Healthcare Outcomes in Multicultural Environments

Mary-Catherine Kain, Elementary Education with Dr. David Naff, Foundations of Education.
The Effectiveness of DBT-Based Interventions in an Alternative School Setting

Mehraban Karami, Political Science with Dr. David Webber, Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness. 
Climate Migration and the impact of Women

C. Clark Kelley, History with Dr. Ryan Smith, History. 
Walking Tours for Richmond’s Evergreen Cemetery and Woodland Cemetery: Historical Biographies and GIS Mapping

Akshay Kirandumkara, Finance with Dr. Miroslava Straska, Finance, Insurance, Real Estate.
Corporate Social Responsibility and Shareholder Activism

Cynthia Lin, Urban and Regional Studies with Dr. Christine Cynn, Gender, Sexuality & Women's Studies.
Exploring the East Marshall Street Well Project through Community Engaged Oral History

Kate Magnelia, Forensic Science with Dr. Tal Simmons, Forensic Science.
Reconstructing the Individual Life Histories, the Ancestors from the East Marshall Street Well

Genesis Martinez, Biology with Dr. Jason Newton, Biology. 
Investigating HDAC Inhibition as a Therapeutic Strategy for Niemann-Pick Type C Disease: Addressing Pro-drug Conversion and Epigenetic Effects in NPC1 Mutant Mice

John McKean, Biomedical Engineering with Dr. Henry Donahue, Biomedical Engineering. Effects Of Genetic Variability on Disuse Induced Muscle Loss

Zachery Middleton, Bioinformatics with Dr. Allison Johnson, Center for Biological Data Science. 
Phage genomics and mathematical modeling

Sid Moran, Anthropology with Dr. Marie Vergamini, Anthropology.
The Mammalian Community of South Luangwa National Park: How the Present Can Inform About the Past

Elizabeth Ogden, Art Education with Professor Oscar Keys, VCU Libraries & Art Education. What’s Really Real? K12 Curriculum 

Ryder Paley, Craft and Materials with Dr. Emily Ryan Stark, Craft and Materials.
A Transgender Transition in a Visual Artwork

Abhinav Palicherla, Chemistry; Biochemistry Concentration with Dr. Hani El-Kaderi, Chemistry.
Redox-Active Covalent Organic Frameworks for Sustainable Batteries

Sirena Pearl, Painting and Printmaking with Professor Roberto Jamora, Art Foundation.
Urban Heat Island Effect Mural

Katie Pline, Biology with Dr. Donald Young, Biology.
Biomass Partitioning as a Critical Functional Trait in Mid-Atlantic Barrier Island Morella Cerifera Thicket Expansion

Shelby Powell, Psychology with Dr. Sunny Shin, Social Work.
Child Maltreatment Influence on Hippocampus Development during Adolescence & Adverse Mental Health Outcomes

Paloma Rodriguez Saucedo, Social Work with Dr. Chelsea Williams, Psychology. Effects of Black and Latine Children’s Academic Self-Efficacy and Skin tone on Self-Esteem

Victor Romanko, Kinetic Imaging with Dr. Jason Bennett, Communication Arts.
Virtual Museum of Himalayan Archaeology and Ethnography

Manuela Salgado Abril, Art History with Dr. Rebecca Shields, Art History.
Pigments and Techniques used during 17th century Europe to achieve tenebrism

Siri Saligrama, Biology with Dr. David Montefusco, School of Medicine Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 
Investigating the role of SPTLC3 in Alcoholic Liver Disease

Valentina Santos, Biomedical Engineering with Dr. Priscilla Hwang, Biomedical Engineering.
Exploring Strategies to Inhibit Zinc Finger Protein (Snail) from Triggering Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition to suppress cell migration.

Aneesa Shah, Biology with Dr. Andrew George, Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology. Amyloid-beta induced alterations in basal forebrain cholinergic excitability: The role of α7β2-containing nicotinic receptors (nAChR) in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease

Emily Smith, BSN with Dr. Amy Salisbury, Nursing. 
PRISM: Prenatal opioids, Infant Sleep, and the gut Microbiome

Madelyn Spicer, Anthropology with Dr. Bernard Means, School of World Studies.
Playing with the Past: Developing an Educational Board Game Highlighting the Founding Fathers’ Mastodon Mania on the Eve of the Nation’s 250th Anniversary

Samantha St. John, Nursing with Dr. Jiale Hu, Department of Nurse Anesthesia.
Evaluating Research Mastery Academy as a Pathway to Empowering Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice Students with Research and Writing Development Interventions

Marie Sui, Nursing with Dr. Lathika Mohanraj, Adult Health and Nursing Systems.
Exploration of Frailty in Newly Diagnosed AML: A Quantitative Study 

Skye Thurston, Mechanical Engineering with Dr. Lane Carasik, Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering. 
Supporting the Isotope Production of Astatine-211 for Medical Applications through Better Target Design Able to Withstand Higher Beam Currents

Phung Tran, Nursing with Dr. Jiale Hu, Department of Nurse Anesthesia.
Developing and evaluating Artificial Intelligence (AI) Empowerment Intervention: Promoting ethical and effective AI applications in teaching, research, and clinical anesthesia practice

Loan Quynh Tran, Biology with Dr.Sierra Beecher, Biology. 
Seeding Tomorrow: Supporting the James River Ecosystem with Our Growing Native Seed Bank.

Tiffani Vasco, Urban and Regional Studies with Dr. Shruti Syal, Urban and Regional Studies. Urban Green Equity and Resilience Project

Fig Vishton, Computer Science with Dr. Bridget Thomson-McInnes, Computer Science. Harnessing Technology: Revolutionizing Information Extraction and Analysis through Named Entity Recognition and Few-shot Learning

Shaivi Yarlagadda, Bioinformatics with Dr.Youzhong Guo, Department of Medicinal Chemistry. Multi-Dimensional Insights into TSPO Proteins: From Bacteria to Frogs and Beyond, with a Focus on Crystallization Technology

Nancy Zou,Biology with Dr.Qinglian Liu,Physiology and Biophysics. 
Characterization of the Essential Substrate Binding Activity of Hsp110s

Undergraduate Fellowship for Clinical and Translational Research

Kaitlyn Baker, Biology with Dr. Aron Lichtman, Pharmacology. Combining AR12 and Neratinib for Alzheimer's Disease

Shreya Balasani, Biology with Dr. Katherine Tossas, School of Population Health, Department of Health Behavior and Policy. 
The SACRED WOMB (Studying the Association between Cervical Racial/Ethnic Disparities and Women’s MicroBiome

Ava Beaudin, Chemistry with Dr.Nicholas Farrell, Chemistry.
Triplatin Use in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma

Rachel Decker, Nursing with Dr. Patricia Kinser, Nursing. 
LIVES Project: Lived Experience of Persons with Persistent Sympathetic Activation
Radhi Desai, Psychology with Dr. Dina Garcia, School of Population Health (Social and Behavioral Sciences department). 
The Role of Caregiver Well-Being in The Oral Health of Children With IDD

Katherine Henderson, Health Science with Dr. Caitlin Martin, VCU School of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 
Preliminary Evaluation of a Pilot Clinical Research Curriculum Tailored to First-Year Medical Students. 

Justin Humenay, Mechanical Engineering with Dr. Carrie Peterson, Biomedical engineering. Using Modeling and Simulation to Estimate Shoulder and Muscle Forces During Wheelchair Propulsion in Kids and Adults.

Zakaria Hussain, Biology with Dr. John Ryan, Department of Biology. 
Determining The Correlation Between Drug-Mediated Suppression Of IL-33 Signaling and Genetic Background

Maria Kirk, Biology with Dr. Leah Spangler, Chemical and Life Science Engineering. Engineering PC Fungi for PFOA Decomposition

Srimann Ramachandruni, Bioinformatics with Dr. Edwin Van den Oord, Department of Pharmaceutics/Center for Biomarker Research and Precision Medicine.
MWAS for MDD Biomarker Discovery: A Dual Approach with Blood and Brain Tissue Analysis