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Past Eureka! Scholars

Started in 2008, the Biological Sciences Eureka! Scholars Program has enabled undergraduate researchers to expand and integrate their academic learning and jumpstart their role as young scientists in the discovery of new knowledge. Take a look at the exciting research conducted by past recipients.


  • Miles Corey Miles Corley


  • Jasmine Jung Jasmine Jung

    Human Biology

  • Abby Lee Abby Lee

    Human Biology

  • Allison Delehoy Allison Delehoy

    Molecular and Cell Biology

  • Jan Hsiao Jan Hsiao


  • Harjot Dhaliwal Harjot Dhaliwal

    Human Biology

  • Anjali Iyangar Anjali Iyangar

    Human Biology

  • Anh Nguyen Anh Nguyen

    General Biology

  • Angelita Rivera Angelita Rivera

    Human Biology & Global Health

  • Cindy Tran Cindy Tran

    General Biology

  • Eric Boone Eric Boone

    Ecology, Behavior and Evolution & Marine Biology

  • Evan Clark Evan Clark

    Molecular and Cell Biology

  • Garret Wang Garret Wang

    Molecular and Cell Biology

  • James Holcomb James Holcomb

    Molecular and Cell Biology

  • Katherine Wong Katherine Wong

    Human Biology

  • Emma Palmer Emma Palmer


  • Harriet Song Harriet Song

    Molecular and Cell Biology

  • Jina Lee Jina Lee


  • Joseph Tsai Joseph Tsai

    Molecular and Cell Biology

  • Matthew Uzelac Matthew Uzelac

    Neurobiology & Biochemistry

  • Zoe Adelsheim Zoe Adelsheim


  • Katya Marchetti Katya Marchetti



  • Lauren Apostol Lauren Apostol

    Biochemistry & Chemistry

  • Maya Ambroziak Maya Ambroziak

    General Biology

  • Joseph Tsai Joseph Tsai

    Molecular & Cell Biology

  • Narinderbir Singh Narinderbir Singh


  • Maria Tiu Maria Tiu

    Human Biology

  • Neil Shende Neil Shende

    Biochemistry & Cell Biology

  • Lindsay Wong Lindsay Wong

    Molecular Biology

  • Peter Pham Peter Pham

    Biochemistry & Chemistry

  • Jin-Yi Wu Jin-Yi Wu

    General Biology

  • Jaideep Chakladar Jaideep Chakladar

    Biochemistry & Cell Biology

  • Kevin William Mazo Kevin William Mazo


  • Dominique Lie Dominique Lie

    Molecular & Cell Biology


  • Adriana Aguilar-Maldonado Adriana Aguilar-Maldonado

    Biochemistry & Cell Biology

  • Julia Asay Julia Asay

    Molecular Biology

  • Elizabeth A. Brown Elizabeth A. Brown

    General Biology

  • Bryant Cao Bryant Cao

    Human Biology and Public Health

  • Jaideep Chakladar Jaideep Chakladar

    Biochemistry & Cell Biology

  • No photo for Diana De La Toba Diana De La Toba

    Human Biology

  • Daryl Dorsey Daryl Dorsey

    Human Cell Biology

  • Kian Faizi Kian Faizi

    Molecular Biology

  • Elijah Garcia Elijah Garcia

    Human Biology

  • John Samson Girardini John Samson Girardini

    Physiology & Neuroscience

  • Andrew Jespersen Andrew Jespersen

    Biochemistry & Cell Biology

  • Kyle Kim Kyle Kim

    Molecular Biology

  • No photo for Eli Lawerence Eli Lawerence

    Biochemistry & Cell Biology

  • Irene Mai Irene Mai

    Biochemistry & Cell Biology

  • Emily Paris Emily Paris

    Biochemistry & Cell Biology

  • Christine Peng Christine Peng

    Human Biology

  • Anthony Quach Anthony Quach

    Human Biology

  • No photo for Lily W. Quach Lily W. Quach

    Physiology & Neuroscience

  • Salma Sheriff Salma Sheriff

    Human Biology

  • Margaret Sten Margaret Sten

    Physiology & Neuroscience

  • Nathaniel Tsai Nathaniel Tsai

    Molecular Biology

  • Joseph Tsai Joseph Tsai

    Molecular Biology

  • Sheng-Hwa Wang Sheng-Hwa Wang

    Human Biology

  • Li Wang Li Wang

    Human Biology

  • No photo for Bar Yosef Bar Yosef


Springboard Eureka! Hong Kong Scholars

  • Anu Chaparala Anu Chaparala

    General Biology

  • Ryan Park Ryan Park

    Biology with Specialization Bioinformatics


  • Devavrat Bodas Devavrat Bodas

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology

  • No photo for Elizabeth Brown Elizabeth Brown

    General Biology

  • Michael Carver Michael Carver

    Molecular Biology

  • Yingqi Chen Yingqi Chen

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology

  • No photo for Melissa Chow Melissa Chow

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology

  • John Paul Yanez Davis John Paul Yanez Davis

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology

  • Carla Espinoza Carla Espinoza

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology

  • Michelle Holland Michelle Holland

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology

  • Ahmed Khalil Ahmed Khalil

    Human Biology

  • Shivani Lakkaraju Shivani Lakkaraju

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology

  • Erikka Linn Erikka Linn

    Biology with Specialization Bioinformatics

  • No photo for Nathaniel Marroquin Nathaniel Marroquin

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology

  • Ho Young Moon Ho Young Moon

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology

  • Thu Nam Thu Nam

    Molecular Biology

  • Cesar Nava Gonzales Cesar Nava Gonzales

    Physiology & Neuroscience

  • Jason Nideffer Jason Nideffer


  • Shyam Patel Shyam Patel

    Human Biology

  • Samuel Reyes Samuel Reyes

    Human Biology

  • No photo for Miguel Ruiz Miguel Ruiz

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology

  • Jiali Tan Jiali Tan

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology

  • BaoChau Vu BaoChau Vu

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology

  • Andrew Wilson Andrew Wilson

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology

Springboard Eureka! Hong Kong Scholars

  • Denise Tieu Denise Tieu


  • Christopher Doan Christopher Doan

    Human Biology

  • Kristine Wong Kristine Wong



  • Siddhant Ambulkar Siddhant Ambulkar

    Biology with Specialization Bioinformatics

  • Jaidev Bapat Jaidev Bapat

    Molecular Biology

  • Cassi Bruni Cassi Bruni

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology

  • Danielle Burner Danielle Burner

    Molecular Biology

  • Jiaying Chen Jiaying Chen

    Molecular Biology

  • Selena Chen Selena Chen

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology

  • Austin Crinklaw Austin Crinklaw

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology

  • Rossin Erbe Rossin Erbe

    Human Biology

  • James Kwok James Kwok

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology

  • Sally Luo Sally Luo

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology

  • Aditya Mahadevan Aditya Mahadevan

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology

  • Briana McKnight Briana McKnight

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology

  • Amanda Nguyen Amanda Nguyen

    Human Biology

  • Vipula Racha Vipula Racha

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology

  • Jordan Setayesh Jordan Setayesh

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology

  • Katherine Tian Katherine Tian

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology

  • Cassidy Tran Cassidy Tran

    Human Biology

  • Joyce Zhuang Joyce Zhuang

    General Biology

Springboard Eureka! Hong Kong Scholars

  • Yingqi Chen Yingqi Chen

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology

  • Mary Swinton Mary Swinton

    Biochemistry and Cell Biology


  • Kelsey Baron

    Kelsey Baron

    Investigation into the Role of Circular RMST in the Regulation of Neurogenesis and Neural Development Using Neural Stem Cells and Neurons derived from Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

  • Jaime Benavides

    Jaime Benavides

    Shifting nectar sweetness preferences: testing the effect of a new pesticide on honey bee sugar response thresholds

  • Joseph Haquang

    Joseph Haquang

    The Study of a Potential Therapy for Friedreich’s Ataxia Using HSC Bone Marrow Transplantation

  • Jenny Huang

    Jenny Huang

    Rate of change in bone mineral density and intervertebral disc height resulting from a low gravity environment

  • Neehar Kondapaneni

    Neehar Kondapaneni

    Towards Understanding the Mechanism of Increased Speed of Propagation over Multiple Cortices after Motor Learning

  • Avinaash Korrapati

    Avinaash Korrapati

    Electronic cigarette induces methylation in oral epithelium

  • Jenny Lee

    Jenny Lee

    The Role of Cyclic di-AMP in Synechococcus Elongatus

  • Jake Leung

    Jake Leung

    Role of myelin basic protein (MBP) in the autoimmune basis of neuropathic pain

  • Katherine Ly

    Katherine Ly

    Investigating the role of circadian rhythms in tumorigenesis and cancer treatment

  • Rachan Narala

    Rachan Narala

    Thrombin Regulation of Leukocyte Migration by c-Src and p38 Kinases

  • Danielle Vi Nghiem

    Danielle Vi Nghiem

    How Nosema Infection Develops in Honey bee Larvae

  • Daniel Nguyen

    Daniel Nguyen

    The role of SNAP29 in human sudden death syndromes

  • Christine Peters

    Christine Peters

    A Novel Approach for Identifying Molecules with Activity against New Targets in Bacteria

  • Hannah Rosenblatt

    Hannah Rosenblatt

    Examining the Impact of Membrane Transporter Activity on Primordial Germ Cell Protection and Formation in Sea Urchin Embryos

  • Andrey Rubanov

    Andrey Rubanov

    Immune Priming of Adult Apis mellifera against Nosema ceranae

  • Emily Schmidt

    Emily Schmidt

    Algae-based Vaccine Design for Zika Virus

  • Katherine Tian

    Katherine Tian

    Effects of Corticosterone on Ovarian Cyclicity in the Absence of Glucocorticoid Receptors in Kisspeptin Neurons

  • Clara Toma

    Clara Toma

    Investigating the Role of BRD4 in Regulating CD8 T Cell Exhaustion

  • Stephanie Wong

    Stephanie Wong

    Identification of Innate Immune Modulators of Arthritis Pain in a Mouse Model


  • Christopher Douglas

    Christopher Douglas

    When Christopher Douglas wasn’t working on his neuroscience research project, he spent his time in the various seminars and events he was given access to as a Eureka! Scholar. He believes that his summer with the program provided him with valuable guidance for his professional career development. “This experience will provide the competitive edge I need to get into and prevail in graduate school,” he said. “I will also carry with me the support and friendship of my mentors and fellow colleagues which have been invaluable.”

  • Alan Du

    Alan Du

    Thanks to the Eureka! scholarship, Alan Du was able to fully invest in his research this past summer. Like many other Eureka! scholars, Du’s experience with the Eureka! Scholars Program has only made him more committed to his future goal of attending graduate school. Additionally, the program made Du more confident in his own abilities. “It means a lot to me that friends and alumni of UC San Diego believe that I can contribute to society through my research, and are willing to support me as I go through an early phase of my research career,” Du said.

  • Michael Hayes

    Michael Hayes

    Michael Hayes spent his summer researching molecular biology, an experience that solidified his plans to eventually study biology in graduate school. Hayes is grateful that the Eureka! Scholars program gave him a chance to do what he loves without distraction. “As a student, it is often difficult to make time to focus on being in the lab, since a student’s main priority must be doing well in classes,” he said. “So, the focus afforded me by this scholarship was greatly appreciated.”

  • Jessica Huang

    Jessica Huang

    Not only did the Eureka scholarship lift financial burdens for Jessica Huang, but also allowed her to analyze more scientific data and learn more lab techniques, as well as improve on the techniques she already knew. In addition to these skills, Huang’s Eureka! summer experience showed her the importance of perseverance. She said: “Upon experiment failure, a graduate student I was working with showed me that there are other routes to take, and that I should continue to learn instead of giving up.” This year, Huang plans on applying to graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in biology, a decision that was solidified by the Eureka! Scholars Program.

  • Soumya Kurnool

    Soumya Kurnool

    Soumya Kurnool’s opportunity with the Eureka! Scholars program gave him hands-on experience conducting biology research in a lab on weekdays and interning at a student-run free clinic in Tijuana during the weekends. He considers this a valuable stepping stone in determining his plans for graduate school and beyond. “The Eureka! Scholarship has opened my eyes to the realities of research,” he said. “I think that it will definitely guide my choice of what graduate studies to pursue in the future. Professionally, it has inspired me to keep going down this path to continue researching.”

  • Brian Lien

    Brian Lien

    This past summer, Brian Lien was able to advance his research on the optic nerve with the help of the Eureka! scholarship. In addition, the scholarship allowed Lien to read more relevant scientific literature, attend a biweekly journal club on neuronal regeneration and design and implement his own experiments. Lien plans to pursue an M.D. and a Ph.D., with an ultimate career goal of alleviating human suffering by finding advanced treatments to diseases and disorders. He said: “I would not be where I am today without the generous support of people who were willing to donate their time and financial resources for my educational and career development. I hope that in the future, I can do the same.”

  • Brian Lien

    Dallas Mindo-Panusis

    Over the summer, Dallas Mindo-Panusis researched the interaction of viruses and genes. He believes that the Eureka! Scholars program helped him realize his desire to conduct multidisciplinary research. He plans to attend medical school and pursue a dual M.D.-Ph.D. and credits Eureka! for fueling his love for scientific research. “Over the summer, I became intimately involved with the scientific process — its components, its shortfalls and its potential,” he said. “It resonated with my own intention to personally contribute to the improvement of the human condition. In essence, I found out that I am a researcher.”

  • Stephanie Myers

    Stephanie Myers

    While Myers has always enjoyed working in laboratory environment, she credits the Eureka! scholarship for reinforcing her love of research “again and again.” She said, “This scholarship gave me an intense feeling of validation and accomplishment, and I hope to build on this support as I strive to make my future productive, personally rewarding and also rewarding for my community.” Myers plans for the future are unset, but she hopes it will involve some time working in a research environment.

  • Alex Nguyen

    Alexander Nguyen

    “This summer definitely was a worthwhile learning experience as a student and as a scientist,” says Alexander Nguyen, who received a scholarship through the Eureka! Scholars Program. Nguyen’s Eureka! summer experience showed him the importance of research in evolving medicine, through the discovery of medicine or through the creation of more effective treatments and procedures. In the future, Nguyen plans to become a physician while continuing to pursue research throughout his career. “As a UC San Diego student, I’m proud that friends and alumni are interested in supporting students’ endeavors.”

  • Pouya Parsa

    Pouya Parsa

    Pouya Parsa felt that his time with the Eureka! Scholars program was a fantastic experience that allowed him to put the knowledge he learned in class to actual practice. He worked in the lab fulltime over the summer, using antibodies in his study of the hippocampus. Parsa plans to go to dental school, where he hopes to do more research. “Eureka! Scholars made me a more hard-working person, since we had to complete a project in a short amount of time,” he said. “I believe that the most valuable takeaway was the skills that I learned this summer, which are going to be applicable in my future career.”

  • Kelsey Roman

    Kelsey Roman

    Kelsey Roman studied the biology of the Arabidopsis thaliana, a flowering plant native to Eurasia, with the Eureka! Scholars program. “My experience this summer has helped me appreciate the patience and careful planning required to complete a long-term research project,” she said. “Not all aspects of research are exciting and profound, but nothing compares to the moment when a discovery is made that generates new ideas and possibilities for future work.” Roman plans to pursue a graduate degree in chemistry.

  • Christopher Song

    Christopher Song

    Christopher Song researched the development of pituitary gonadotropic cells with the Eureka! Scholars program. He plans to go to medical school in the future, with a special interest on research due to his newfound appreciation for academia. “This program gave me an incredible opportunity to see how incredible it is to be immersed in meaningful research on a more independent scale,” Song said. “My experience with the Eureka! Scholarship has allowed me to get an impressive view of the research world and has opened my eyes to perhaps going to a more research-oriented medical program.”

  • Christiana Stark

    Christiana Stark

    As a Eureka! Scholar, Christiana Stark uncovered new information to better understand the underlying mechanisms of the human brain. She gave weekly reports and mini-presentations on her work and contributed to the research of her fellow lab members. Stark is currently applying to medical school to become a doctor. “All my experiences in research have solidified my desire to not only become a doctor, but also to advance the field of medicine to help patients,” she said.

  • Boris Stepanyuk

    Boris Stepanyuk

    While researching molecular biology in the Eureka! Scholar program, Boris Stepanyuk met a mentor figure who guided him toward his dream of a medical or doctoral degree. Stepanyuk, a commuter from Temecula, was grateful that the program provided him with the means to live in La Jolla over the summer without having to worry about travel time or financial expense. “This experience made me feel fully immersed in doing what I am passionate about,” he said. “I was more focused and was finally able to dedicate all of my time to my passion. Time is a scare resource that is often overlooked, and the Eureka! Scholarship provided it to me.”

  • Dasha Weeks

    Dasha Weeks

    As a Eureka! Scholar, Dasha Weeks investigated how an aging fly’s heart reacts to an E. coli infection. She plans to continue working in a biomedical research lab for a few years before pursuing a master’s degree or a Ph.D. “The Eureka! Scholarship gave me a feel for working in the lab full time and was a good preview of my future career,” she said. “Being able to complete my entire project during this summer showed me that I am workforce ready. Everything I learned in the lab this summer will help me to get a job in the biomedical field upon graduation.”

  • Chun Lai Yu

    Chun Lai Yu

    During his time with Eureka! Scholars, Chun Lai Yu was able to learn practical laboratory techniques such as cell culturing and flow cytometry. He feels that his summer with the program gave him the much-needed confidence and focus to study biomedical engineering or a similar subject in graduate school. “The Eureka! Scholarship provided me with a chance to prove my value and worth,” he said. “I will continue working hard in this field and tell myself to not give up easily.”


  • Michelle Flores

    Michelle Flores

    As a Eureka! scholar, Michelle Flores was able to immerse herself in the world of research over the summer. In the future, Flores looks forward to pursuing a career in medicine as a doctor, while implementing elements of research into her practice. “The Eureka! Summer research scholarship has offered me a once in a lifetime experience,” said Flores. “I was unsure if I would stay with the lab throughout the rest of my time at UC San Diego, but this summer experience has solidified that there is nowhere else I’d rather be.”

  • Julia Guo

    Julia Guo

    Not only did the Eureka! Scholars program strengthen Julia Guo’s desires to study medicine and work with children, but it allowed her to pursue her interest in researching gestational diabetes. “The Eureka! Scholarship not only made my valuable research experiences possible, but it definitely also taught me the importance of giving,” said Julia. She appreciates the generosity of UC San Diego alumni and friends for making a difference in her academic career and life.

  • Michael Hayes

    Michael Hayes

    “The Eureka! scholarship has given me the opportunity to engage in my own research project,” said Michael Hayes, who plans to go to graduate school to earn his Ph.D. after two more years at UC San Diego. His experience with research over the summer has opened doors for him as a developing scientist. With the knowledge he has obtained so far, Hayes feels immense gratitude to those who help fund his endeavors and fuel his passion. He hopes to one day provide for other students in similar ways.

  • Chase James

    Chase James

    Chase James was granted the opportunity to experience working full time in a lab over the summer, thanks to the Eureka! scholarship. Currently a BS/MS student, he hopes to continue his studies after receiving his masters from UC San Diego. “This was extremely valuable to me because it gave me a glimpse of what a future career in academics or working full time in a lab may feel like,” said James. &8220;It was a rewarding opportunity and made me feel accomplished.” James hopes to publish his research within the next year.

  • Nikita Kadakia

    Nikita Kadakia

    This past summer, Nikita Kadakia was given the opportunity to work on her independent research project through the aid of the Eureka! Scholars program. Besides gaining interpersonal and networking skills, she gained a clearer vision of her future. With strong determination, Kadakia has plans of pursuing an M.D./Ph.D. program after graduation. “I truly value this opportunity. Getting that extra financial support to be able to conduct research over summer means a lot,” said Kadakia.

  • Jonjei Ku

    Jonjei Ku

    Thanks to a Eureka! Scholarship, Human Biology major Jonjei Ku, was able to study over the summer in a stem cell lab focused on head and neck cancer. “The Eureka! Scholarship provided me with a research experience that has opened my eyes to a life calling in scientific research,” Ku said, who hopes to earn an MD/Ph.D degree in medical oncology. He credits the Eureka! Scholars program for the opportunity to submit his research at the 2014 American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting and the 2015 International Society for Stem Cell Research Annual Meeting. “The Eureka! Scholarships empower students with important experiences,” Ku said. “In the future, I look forward to paying it forward by supporting the next generation of undergraduate researchers at UC San Diego.”

  • Jacky Lu

    Jacky Lu

    Jacky Lu participated in the Summer Undergraduate Research Showcase as a Eureka! Scholar, marking a major milestone in his life—his first time presenting his scientific work on immunology in public. “In the future, the Eureka! experience will be a shining part of my college career,” said Lu. The opportunities he received over the summer reinforced his decision of pursuing graduate school in biology or biomedical sciences. “My Eureka! Scholarship will pave the way for my future research career, and I am extraordinarily glad for this unique opportunity to perform undergraduate research.”

  • Lisa Mai

    Lisa Mai

    Lisa Mai’s experience through the Eureka! Scholars Program exposed her to another side of medicine and healthcare. Although Mai plans to do clinical work with medicine, she is thankful for the program’s exposure to research with medicine. “Without research and experiments, we would not be able to solve many of our health problems or find cures for deadly diseases that would have killed thousands in the past,” said Mai. Through learning the importance of research, Mai gained the valuable lessons of patience and perseverance. Mai hopes to become a physician assistant or physical therapist in the future.

  • Lilla Orr

    Lilla Orr

    Lilla Orr is working toward building a research career studying health disparities across socioeconomic groups and different cultures. Her research experience over the summer helped guide her graduate school decisions, applying to Epidemiology and Biostatistics programs at the Masters level and Ph.D. programs in Political Methodology. “Without this summer research experience I never would have been able to build those connections and fall in love with this niche,” said Orr. “Eureka! summer research has allowed me the freedom to explore academic research and find my calling.”

  • Lior Schenk

    Lior Schenk

    "As Eureka! Scholars, we are given the opportunity and support to fully experience science at its heart: the pure pursuit of discovery," said Lior Schenk, whose scholarship guided his research in neuronal plasticity and regeneration. Schenk is preparing to become a science educator, and hopes to implement his research experience in his classroom curriculum. "Participating in this program has been invaluable, not just for me but also for my future students. My understanding and appreciation for science is so much deeper now."

  • George Wang

    George Wang

    George Wang spent all summer in San Diego researching chronobiology with UC San Diego Professor Michael McCarthy. His summer research experience taught him valuable lessons on scientific concepts and theories, and ultimately lessons of patience, perseverance and dedication. Wang plans to apply to medical schools after obtaining his Bachelors of Science degree in Human Biology. “It means a lot that such caring and philanthropic individuals would support students like me to do something I enjoy so much,” said Wang.

  • Mitchell Zhao

    Mitchell Zhao

    “My experience this summer helped me reaffirm how much I enjoy research,” said Mitchell Zhao. As a Eureka! scholar, Zhao’s summer experience solidified his future visions. He plans to pursue both an medical degree and a Ph.D. after completing his undergraduate studies. The generosity of donors has inspired Zhao and he hopes that in the future, he can offer the same to future students. “It makes me feel lucky to be on a campus where the people around me are so willing to support students.”


  • Julianne Davis

    Julianne Davis

    As a Eureka Scholar, Julianne Davis spent her summer conducting research full-time and honing her analytical skills. Gaining confidence in her decision to move forward, Davis plans to obtain a Ph.D. in neuroscience. “This has been such a fun, educational and productive summer. I cannot emphasize enough how beneficial this experience has been to me as a person and for my future as a scientist,” said Davis. Feeling better prepared for graduate school, Davis hopes to sustain her relationships with mentors who helped to broaden her knowledge of laboratory research.

  • Mili Nevani

    Mili Nevani

    Working to better understand pancreatic stem cells to contribute to therapies for diabetes, Mili Navani spent three months in a laboratory learning about molecular biology techniques. “The Eureka Scholars Program has greatly enhanced my undergraduate experience and reinforced my career goals,” said Navani, who would like to pursue a career in academic medicine. “I am very grateful to the UC San Diego community for their financial support and hope to return their investment through my work.”

  • Anne Phan

    Anne Phan

    As a Eureka Scholar, Ann Phan was able to conduct full-time research in a neuroscience lab, advance her own independent experiments and discover real-world connections between her classwork and lab work. Interested in pediatrics, she grew professionally and personally, learning that passion and perseverance are necessary to succeed. Phan is grateful for the support she received to participate in the program. “Knowing that I am backed by a network of people who care about UC San Diego students motivates me to work harder to achieve success.”

  • Jason Royal

    Jason Royal

    Jason Royal spent the entire summer dedicated to his research project and gained the patience and professional skills that will help him succeed in his research and other long-term goals. “It was refreshing to be able to give my full attention to my research; I feel like I was able to accomplish a lot,” said Royal. Interested in a career that bridges research and medicine, Royal hopes to enter a MD/Ph.D program in the future. Grateful for the support of the Eureka Scholars Program, he hopes to be able to give back to students in a similar way.

  • Maarouf A. Saad

    Maarouf A. Saad

    Maarouf A. Saad spent the summer investigating head and neck cancer, an experience that influenced his decision to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. program and a career as a physician-scientist. “The Eureka Scholars Program had a profound impact on my life,” said Saad. “I was able to continue working in my lab over the summer and complete a project that has inspired me to pursue a career in medicine and cancer research.” Saad hopes to one day be able to give back to allow other students the same opportunities he was afforded as an undergraduate researcher.

  • Leon Tejwani

    Leon Tejwani

    As Leon Tejwani transitioned from an undergraduate student to a graduate researcher over the summer, the Eureka Scholars program enabled Tejwani to live on campus and devote all of his time to research. He learned about the importance of collaboration and strengthened his resolve to pursue an MD/Ph.D. program in academic medicine. Grateful for the extra support, receiving the scholarship greatly inspired Tejwani. “The generosity of the donors and their devotion to the field of science has inspired me to want to be an active participant and leader in the field in the future,” said Tejwani.

  • James Wang

    James Wang

    From writing an application proposal to working with a variety of experts in a laboratory, James Wang gained self-confidence and learned to be more proactive in achieving his goals through the Eureka Scholars Program. “This scholarship award felt like an endorsement by the school—that I am a valuable member of the UC San Diego community,” said Wang, who would like to pursue a career in medicine. “Furthermore, the experience enabled me to take ownership of a project. I felt that I was working on something that has potential real world applications,” said Wang.


  • Cristiane Palaretti Bernardo

    Cristiane Palaretti Bernardo

    Not only did Christiane study in a laboratory, but she was able to go abroad to Curaçao in the Caribbean Sea, where she gained first-hand knowledge of the ecology of the coral reef and the people who depend upon the fish in the region. Her goal is to pursue a doctoral degree and become a marine biology professor. “This program strengthened my desire to pursue higher education to help people from less fortunate areas to live in a more sustainable way and preserve the health of coral reefs,” said Christiane.

  • Brian Chow

    Brian Chow

    Over the summer, Brian studied the mechanoreceptors in the eyes of mice to investigate potential causes of glaucoma. His goal is to train as a physician scientist in the field of biomedical neuroscience with a focus on CNS repair and regeneration. The Eureka! Scholarship program enabled him to gain confidence in his future as a scientist. “I realized that academic research in biomedical sciences has great value to advancing human health,” said Brian.

  • Melissa Hang

    Melissa Hang

    The Eureka! Scholars program enabled Melissa to visualize and apply what she has learned in the classroom. The opportunity to study cutting-edge science challenged her to think more critically and gain discipline, which will help her as she works to become a physician. “Doing research has helped me to develop and grow not only intellectually, but also personally,” said Melissa. “This experience has taught me valuable skills that I can take with me in my future career path.”

  • Harriet Hu

    Harriet Hu

    Harriet spent nine weeks with a host mentor at the Clayton School of Information at Monash University in Australia studying computer science applications in image analysis. She experienced for the first time managing her own research project, reinforcing her goals of earning a master’s degree. Impressed by the possibilities of cross-collaboration between departments and universities around the globe, Harriet said, “This research experience was one of the defining points of my UC San Diego undergraduate career,” said Harriet.

  • Vicky Hwang

    Vicky Hwang

    Vicky spent the summer in Osaka, Japan, where she worked with a team and utilized a supercomputer. The experience helped her develop research and communication skills, along with the ability to work as a team. “This experience taught me to be more observant, independent, organized and resourceful—all skills that hold enormous value both in my personal life as well as future research projects,” said Vicky, who would like to become a physician.

  • Blank photo

    Jenny Jia Xin Liang

    Jenny spent two months studying at the Universiti Sains Malaysia where she participated in an international research project regarding Chagas disease. During this time she gained insight into the pharmacy field and the role of natural products in the future of medicine. “This experience has influenced me to explore careers outside of the U.S. and build a network with researchers abroad,” said Jenny, who plans to pursue a joint Pharm D./MPH degree.

  • Aaron Louie

    Aaron Louie

    “Eureka! has reinforced my drive to continue science as a life-long project, in which I hope will lead to more ‘eureka’s,’” said Aaron, who conducted research on pathogens that contribute to HIV and AIDS. Aaron would like to bridge research and medicine in his future career and plans on pursuing a joint M.D./Ph.D. degree. His ultimate goal is to teach at a biomedical research institution and educate students about infectious disease and global health.

  • Anelah McGinness

    Anelah McGinness

    Anelah got a head start on her senior project and obtained training that she might not have had time for during the regular school year. She would like to pursue a master’s degree and afterwards attend medical school. The experience has also inspired Anelah to give back: “I hope that I will be able to reach a place in the future where I can also give back and support students just as I have been supported by this award.”

  • Tricia Ngo

    Tricia Ngo

    Being able to translate ideas learned in the classroom into real-world applications was an invaluable experience for Tricia. Through this program she discovered how to present her work and gained critical thinking skills. She is grateful for the support of UC San Diego and the opportunity to spend more time in a laboratory. “The ability to give someone the chance to become a better student and person, I believe, is one of the best gifts one can bestow to another,” said Tricia.

  • Allison Quach

    Allison Quach

    Allison took part in diabetes research where she gained valuable laboratory experience and fostered relationships with mentors, leading professors and other students. She was able to attend conferences, lectures and presentations that strengthened her desire to pursue a career in biomedical research. “I have a deeper understanding of what it takes to be scientist, but more importantly, what it means to contribute to a higher cause,” said Allison.

  • Kristen Richardson

    Kristen Richardson

    Kristen explored plant ecology at the California’s White Mountain Research Station where she learned about how a warming climate can affect a community structure in high-altitude ecosystems. Her goal is to attend graduate school for conservation biology. “I am very thankful for the opportunity to venture into the world of research, and I found the experience incredibly positive,” said Kristen. “Not only will I be more competitive for graduate school, I will be more prepared emotionally and academically.”

  • Bradley Segal

    J. Bradley Segal

    After spending the summer in a laboratory, Bradley was hooked on research. He studied glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness. His experience in the lab led to his decision to apply for an M.D./Ph.D. program with plans for a career in academic medicine. “This program steered me towards applying to the dual degree programs,” said Bradley. “Without my research experience this summer, I would not be taking this career path.”

  • Eric Yang

    Eric Yang

    The Eureka! Scholarship program enabled Eric to learn problem-solving skills and how scientific research can be utilized to benefit a wide range of people. The experience allowed him to completely focus on accomplishing his research goals without having to worry about financial constraints. “I am very thankful that there are kind-hearted people who care about providing opportunities like this for students like me,” said Eric, who would like to become a doctor and continue with medical research.

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    Olivia Yang

    Conducting biochemistry research for the first time, Olivia gained a better understanding of both the difficulties and possibilities of her field of interest. With a plan to obtain a Ph.D. degree and continue in academic research, Olivia enjoyed working with professors, international students and other mentors over the summer. “This experience allowed me to better understand my educational interests and future goals,” said Olivia. “I know more about what I want to do in the future and the kind of research I want to be involved in.”


  • Howard Li

    Howard Li

    Howard was able to conduct research in Taipei, Taiwan, at the Pharmacoinformatics Lab at National Taiwan University thanks to his Eureka! scholarship. He researched new methods of applying molecular modeling techniques to discover potential drugs against avian flu in the lab of Jung-Hsin Lin, Ph.D. He plans to attend medical school and continue research in the biological and health sciences. "My summer research experience allowed me to work and interact with a diverse group of researchers while learning to live and conduct research independently," said Howard.

  • Nishant Munugala

    Nishant Munugala

    With the hopes of entering a graduate M.D./Ph.D. program in neurology, Nishant spent the summer conducting research through the Eureka! program. He appreciated being able to commit all of his time to an individual research project. “The program provided me with the ability to truly understand what life as a researcher entails, something that is difficult to do without a full-time commitment,” said Nishant.

  • Allen Ninh

    Allan Ninh

    Allen studied recombinant DNA constructs and hopes to someday become a leading innovator in the medical field. He is grateful for the opportunity to take part in the Eureka! summer research program. “The summer scholarship allowed me to have an amazing research experience where I was able to learn hands on from my advisor and lab members,” said Allen.

  • Allison Quach

    Allison Quach

    Passionate about finding a cure for diabetes, Allison worked with Nigel Calcutt, Ph.D., to investigate a treatment for diabetic nerve damage (neuropathy). Upon graduation, Allison plans to continue her research and apply for medical school. “This scholarship has put me in contact with a world of academic choices, a spectrum of brilliant people and organizations, and most importantly, colorful real world experiences that can’t be learned in the classroom,” said Allison.

  • Elizabeth Seckel

    Elizabeth Seckel

    Elizabeth traveled to Haiti to help earthquake amputee victims relieve their phantom limb pain with the creation of an environmentally-friendly mirror box—a project that built upon a solution devised by V.S. Ramachandran, M.D., Ph.D., and director of the UC San Diego Center for Brain and Cognition. Her design utilized mirror paper and cardboard rather than a traditional glass mirror—a more cost-effective and sustainable solution that could be perpetuated by Haitian doctors. “I wanted to not only provide therapy for individuals, but also leave behind a wake of healing and rehabilitation for these amputee victims,” said Elizabeth.

  • Gregory Shimamura

    Gregory Shimomura

    As a Eureka! scholar, Gregory considered his experience learning outside of the classroom to be rewarding and enjoyable. He would like to pursue a graduate degree in biology after he graduates from UC San Diego. “I am very grateful for the support provided by alumni and friends of the university. It gives me encouragement that they are willing to endorse my work in this way.”

  • Michael Tien

    Michael Tien

    Michael spent the summer researching the molecular mechanisms of circadian rhythms and their role in metabolic, psychological and sleep disorders. He plans on attending medical school with the goal of improving the lives of others. “This was the first time I had ever been recognized for my work in a lab,” said Michael. “I was able to focus on developing my skills as a young scientist without the distractions that come with financial need.”

  • Danielle Wang

    Danielle Wang

    Danielle spent the summer studying the tumor suppressor protein p53 and its influence on DNA looping. She plans to attend medical school and in hopes of becoming a physician after graduation. Danielle found her experience to be very rewarding. “It gave me a chance to ask new questions in science, work through the implicit frustrations and challenges of research, realize the value of teamwork and experience the thrill of discovery.”

  • Ying Yiu

    Ying Yiu

    Ying’s work studying parasitic roundworms reinforced his interest in continuing his scientific research and strengthened his problem-solving skills. He hopes to obtain a Ph.D. in the future. “I am delighted to know that alumni and friends of UC San Diego are interested in helping current undergraduates in gaining research experience,” said Ying. “It is through their generosity that I am able to do something I am truly excited about.”


  • Kim Chia

    Kim Chia '11

    Kim's worked in Dr. Steve Briggs' lab investigating the signal transduction pathways involved in plant defense response; this research could potentially find applications in the agricultural field through endeavors to fortify agriculturally important plants against diseases that threaten crop yield. She desires to stay at UCSD to complete a Master's degree, continue her research, and is also considering getting a Ph.D. or enrolling in pharmacy school."

  • Danielle Hagstrom

    Danielle Hagstrom '12

    Working at Dr. Suresh Subramani's lab, Danielle participated in research involving purifying the proteins of the peroxisome docking complex, which would aid in determining how to treat fatal human peroxisome biogenesis disorders like Zellweger's Syndrome. She plans on entering the Integrated BS/MS meeting in her 4th year by continuing her research with Dr. Subramani, earn her Ph.D., and eventually become a professor."

  • Brittany Jellison

    Brittany Jellison '11

    Brittany participated in deep-sea methane research in the Levin Lab at Scripps Institution of Oceanography which, as a fairly new area of study, will lead to the discovery of many new species and create a broader knowledge of the ecology and community structure of organisms. In the future Brittany plans to pursue her Ph.D. and combine her love of travel with a career in field research focused on deep-sea ecology and conservation."

  • Samuel Ng

    Samuel Ng '11

    Samuel's research concerns the regulation of actin filament organization in dendritic spines, particularly addressing the protein MARCKS, which is highly involved in cell morphology. His future holds many possibilities as he is deciding whether to further his education in medical school or apply to graduate studies."

  • Christopher Kuo

    Christopher Kuo '11

    Christopher is a part of the fight against breast cancer with his research in Dr. Lesley Ellies' lab in which he hopes to find a more effective way of targeting breast cancer, an understanding of the molecular mechanisms of the disease, and further study the role of inflammatory mediators in mammory stromal cells. After his graduation from UCSD, he wants to attend medical school and eventually become an oncologist so that he may share the knowledge and skills he has gained from his research."

  • Allis Pham

    Allis Pham '10

    Allis's research involved heavy metal bioremediation which will lead to development of engineered plants that will clear heavy metal contaminated areas that are toxic to the environment. Allis plans on pursuing a Master's degree in Biology in the future and continuing a career in environmental research."

  • Yekaterina Tarasova

    Yekaterina Tarasova

    The Eureka! Scholarship has made a great impact on my education. Receiving this scholarship has lessened the burden of my student loans and has allowed for me to continue working in the laboratory, which I thoroughly enjoy. After graduation, I will begin my pursuit of a Ph.D. in Microbiology. One day, I hope to give back and provide someone with an opportunity as meaningful as this one has been. "

  • Theresa Wong

    Theresa Wong '12

    Working at Dr. Jim Wilhelm's lab, Theresa's research entailed the study of components in the enzymatic pathways of yeast that self-assemble in the cytoplasm which will further expand the field of cell biology research. In the future, Theresa wants to attend the UCSD School of Medicine to become a doctor who will provide services for those who lack access to proper medical care."


For the 2009 summer season, we received more than 80 qualified applications and selected the following 10 Eureka! Scholars.

  • Garo Akmakjian

    Garo Akmakjian

    Garo worked in Dr. Julian Schroeder's lab studying how plants transport heavy metals, which is important in a plant's proper growth and development. He is interested in further studying how plants cope with stress and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in the subject."

  • Joseph Antonios

    Joseph Antonios

    Joseph's main focus in research was to gain a better understanding into the neural connectivity of the hippocampus, which may lead to new solutions for problems like spatial learning, epilepsy, and depression. His future plans include attending medical school so that he may become an orthopedic surgeon in sports medicine."

  • Alex Gorin

    Alex Gorin

    Alex's research focused on micro RNA's function and specifically on targets in C. Elegans using a newly developed technique. He hopes that his research may be applied to finding a cause for cancer in humans. He is seeking to obtain an MD and a Ph.D. and wants to pursue a career in academic medicine."

  • Michelle Han

    Michelle Han

    Michelle's research involved the investigation into how gender affected about 60 HIV+ women in Arusha, Tanzania and identified the barriers women came across when they sought physical and emotional treatment. Working with a women's group in Arusha, Tanzania has left a profound effect on her life; Michelle wants to combine her interests in reproductive health, feminism, and health equality by becoming a physician focusing on obstetrics/gynecology and primary care."

  • Annie Peng

    Annie Peng

    Annie worked in Lin Chao's lab, where she participated in research involving senescence from the asymmetric division of bacteria, primarily E. coli. Following her graduation with a Master's degree, she plans to either continue her studies or find work in the biotechnology industry."

  • Tiffany Su

    Tiffany Su

    Tiffany's work focused on the creation and the streamlining of a protocol for transfecting tobacco leaves with Arabidopsis thaliana plants. This newly created protocol could help the scientific community perform similar experiments that involve obtaining difficult to clone gene segments from any species using a different splicing mechanism from a completely different species. She intends to pursue a graduate degree and would like to travel around the world to see how the study of the sciences is conducted."

  • Linh Truong

    Linh Truong

    Linh's research was part of a continuing exploration of the phosphate hydrolyser, Alkaline Phosphatase, and how it can be employed to mineralize Gram-negative bacteria like E. coli using methods previously employed with Gram-positive bacteria. She plans on becoming a doctor and hopes to use her research and insight to provide better care for her future patients."

  • Hannah Wang

    Hannah Wang

    Hannah took part in research uncovering the role of tubulins in phage biology. She hopes her work will benefit the study of infectious diseases, evolutionary biology, and the development of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. In the future, she would like to become a practicing physician and combine her interest in biology and her studying of the French language to bring vital medical care to countries in Francophone Africa."

  • Chelsea Wong

    Chelsea Wong

    The avian flu was Chelsea's main topic of research; she particularly worked with neuraminidase (viral surface glycoprotein) mutants and observed how they form resistance to anti-viral drugs such as Tamiflu. Chelsea is dedicated in continuing her research and would like to attend dental school in the near future."

  • Linda Zhao

    Linda Zhao

    Linda worked in Dr. Steve Wasserman's lab where she researched the reproductive immunity of Drosophila melanogaster (the common fruit fly) which she hopes to apply to the treatment of human sexually transmitted diseases. In the future, she would like to continue her research and also fulfill her wish to help others by working in the healthcare field."


The 2008 Eureka! Scholars were the first to receive this incredible opportunity.

  • Jessica Fujimoto

    Jessica Fujimoto

    Jessica researched about how different E proteins, which are transcription factors that play essential roles in maintaining T cell homeostasis, may be able to compensate for the absence of another. After her studies here, she plans to attend medical school and become a surgeon.

  • Lisa Geary

    Lisa Geary '09

    Lisa participated in Herpesvirus Entry Mediator research at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology; which through further research may expose a target for therapeutics to block autoimmune diseases. In the future, she plans to continue her studies and pursue a Ph.D. in immunology and work in the research field.

  • Francis Hwee

    Francis Hwee '09

    Francis's research in biofuels entailed three main goals: understanding the TEnBox DNA sequence that exponentially increases protein synthesis, metabolically engineering mevalonate acid (an important precursor to anti-malarial and anti-cancer drugs), and ultimately combining these efforts to produce precursor molecules of anti-malarial and anti-cancer drugs with maximum protein yield and minimum expenses. Her future objectives include becoming a physician and helping the people of Myanmar.

  • Darrell Tran

    Darrell Tran '10

    Darrell's research dealt with the characterizing of the gene headcase within the stem cell niche of male drosophila (fruit fly) gonads. His experiences in volunteering and helping out others has helped him in choosing to attend medical school and become a physician to better help out his community.

Current students can find out more information about applying for a Eureka! Scholarship.