I am a rising junior at the University of Oklahoma, pursuing dual degrees in Biology and Mathematics. I am still uncertain of my plans after graduation, but I hope to incorporate biomedical research into my future career. This summer, I am working in Dr. George Gerton’s lab. The goal of my project is to determine the different isoforms and expression levels of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (Ahr) between outbred CD-1 mice from various vendors. This is in preparation for future studies that will examine the mechanism by which dioxin, an endocrine disruptor that associates with Ahr, distorts sex ratios in the offspring of males who have been exposed to it.
My name is Elaine Ho and I am currently a rising junior at the University of Pennsylvania and I am majoring in bioengineering. At this point, I am uncertain of what my plans after college are going to be and hope to explore several options including the field of environmental science, specifically environmental toxicology. This summer I am working in Dr. Ian Blair’s lab as part of the STEER Program. Environmental toxins, such as cigarette smoke and the herbicide paraquat, cause mitochondrial function damage and oxidative stress in the lungs. Oxidative stress is due to the build up of reactive oxygen species from a defective antioxidant response, which is caused by the inactivation of a transcription factor called Nrf2. The project that I will be working on is evaluating the effects of Nrf2 activators and BET inhibitors on metabolites in the energy synthesis pathways of the mitochondrion under various conditions.
I am a rising junior at the Pennsylvania State University studying biology with an option in vertebrate physiology. My plans for after graduation are still undecided and have ranged from medical school to research to public health. I first became interested in environmental effects on human health in high school when I had to debate a national ban on smoking. I became especially interested in the effects of secondhand smoke on pregnancies. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical that is used to make a large quantity of plastics and resins today. This summer I will be contributing to the research of the effects of BPA on mice in utero in Dr. Rebecca Simmon’s lab. My project specifically is studying maternal exposure of BPA on mice to determine trans generational effects on pancreatic beta cell mass, beta cell apoptosis, and islet inflammation.
My name is Nicole Moy and I am a rising senior at the University of Maryland, College Park. I am a general biology major with a minor in sustainability in the Integrated Life Sciences Honors College. During the last three years, I have been part of an organization called Alternative Breaks, which incorporates education, direct service, and reflection into a year-long service learning experience. I have had the opportunity to participate in an experience to Topsail, North Carolina volunteering at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. Leading this experience focused on environmental conservation initially sparked my interest in environmental justice and sustainability. Over the summer, I will be researching childhood lead poisoning in local environmental justice communities under the direction of Professor Richard Pepino. Specifically, I will be looking at the efficacy in terms of health outcomes and cost of replacing lead service lines in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
My name is Nikolria Grant and I am currently a rising senior at Neumann University. I am a biology with a double minor in both chemistry and the natural sciences. In addition to my academics, I am a Presidential Ambassador, Wellness educator, and President of Sigma Zeta Honor Society. My plans are to attend medical school in order to obtain both my Master’s in Public Health and my Medical Doctorate degree. My career aspiration is to become a Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician. This summer, I have been given the opportunity to work in Dr. Jongens lab in the Genetics Department at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, as part of the STEER program. I will be studying altered signaling pathways in a Drosophila model of Fragile X syndrome. My studies will investigate the cause of altered metabolism, weight, longevity and circadian regulation. I am testing the effects of the altered signaling on phenotypes between the mutant (dfmr1) flies and control flies.
My name is Robert Parry, and I have recentlygraduated from Haverford College in May, earning my Bachelor’s of Science in chemistry with a biochemistry area of concentration. I am beginning medical school at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in the fall. I have worked in laboratory of Ian Blair, PhD, for the past two summers and I am excited to have the opportunity to do so again through the STEER program. My project entails studying the mitochondrial effects of Nrf2 activation, a transcription factor that helps regulate a cell’s natural defense to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a key component of the pathology of a number of environmental toxins, including rotenone, paraquat, and cigarette smoke. Compounds that activate Nrf2 may have a therapeutic effect for the aforementioned toxins.
My name is Maria Psarakisand I’m currently a rising junior at the University of Richmond, where I’m majoring in Environmental Studies and Political Science with a minor in Chemistry. While I’ve always had a fascination for learning about the natural world, my past two years at Richmond have transformed this interest into an academic passion. From researching rainforest management in the Australian Wet Tropics to investigating ecology and agricultural systems in Belize, my time at Richmond has been defined by experiences that have heightened my awareness on the many challenges facing our environment. Though my post-college plans are not yet certain, I hope to attend graduate school and go into environmental consulting for sustainable development or a non-governmental organization, acareer that would incorporate my enthusiasms for policy, science, and problem solving. The project I am doing with STEER this summer in many ways reflects these interests, as I am working under Dr. George Gerton to determine potential issues of environmental justice with fracking in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale using geographic information systems (GIS) and FileMaker Pro software. By mapping unconventional drilling sites along with data on vulnerable populations, I am working to determine if certain groups bear disproportionate environmental burdens and health risks from the state’s rapidly developing fracking industry. Another aim of the project is to develop an app that will allow users to easily identify their proximity to the nearest unconventional drilling site. On the whole, I am very excited to be involved with the STEER program and have the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the nuances of Pennsylvania energy policy, work with cutting-edge software tools, learn new laboratory techniques, and attend fascinating highly relevant lectures and field trips