Iyanah

Psychology and Neuroscience

Hi! I am a junior studying neuroscience and psychology. I am honored to be a part of the very OURS team that directed me to my current research position. As a mentor, I intend to familiarize students with the available opportunities and resources at UMass and eventually secure them with research positions and career building experiences most suitable to their unique abilities.

I am currently a research assistant working on the Time Perspective and Information Processing Study as part of the Aging, Cognition, and Emotion Lab. The study aims to examine whether college students with psychopathology exhibit changes in information processing after experiencing manipulations in their future time perspective, with the hope of eventually incorporating time manipulation as a useful tool in therapy. My primary work thus far has involved data coding, running participants through the study, and working on an independent project that reviews and analyzes the neural basis of emotion regulation in romantic love.

My research experience thus far has advanced my understanding of the influence of emotion, attention, memory, and disease on time perception. I am eager to promote the diverse interests of other students and expand my own knowledge along the way!

Ben

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Neuroscience

Hello! My name is Benjamin and I am currently a senior on the pre-med track double-majoring in Neuroscience and Biochemistry/Molecular Biology. When I first arrived on campus, I was very interested in working in a research lab. I thought research would allow me to explore my interests and develop new ones along the way! However, the task of reaching out to professors and how to communicate with them was daunting and worrying. With the help of the OURS office, I was able to learn new communication techniques and find many intriguing opportunities for research on campus, leading me to work in the Moorman lab during the second semester of freshman year.

In the Moorman lab I study the neurobiological role of norepinephrine in alcohol and stress. I learned how to administer behavioral and stress tests on mice specimens, safely assemble and use laboratory equipment, monitor alcohol exposure to mice specimens, and carefully inject mice with CNO.

I am extremely thankful for the help the OURS office provided and am excited to be part of this amazing team! I am also very excited to be working with students in finding research opportunities that will open many doors for them in the future!

Caroline

Microbiology and Public Health Science

Hi everyone! My name is Caroline, and I am a junior studying Microbiology and Public Health Sciences on the pre-medical track and am a member of the Commonwealth Honors College as well! Ever since coming to UMass, I wanted to make use of all the resources we have available to us– research opportunities being one of them. I am currently a member of the Somneuro Lab studying the connections between physical activity and sleep patterns in preschool-aged children. I also did research this past summer at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard in the Schmidt Lab on my project ‘Engineering influenza immunogens by molecular grafting’. Engaging in research has given me a whole new view of science and has helped me learn more about what is being taught in my classes through hands-on activities.

I love utilizing several resources to find research opportunities and can’t wait to help students through this OURS mentor position! Aside from this position, I am also a peer advisor for CHC and public health, a resident assistant, and hold a few leadership positions in Kappa Phi Lambda Sorority Inc., Future Health Leaders Network, and Student National Medical Association. Please reach out if you have any questions!

Nandhini

Microbiology

My name is Nandhini and I am currently a junior majoring in Microbiology. I am also a part of the Commonwealth Honors College. During the Fall 2022 semester, I became interested in joining an academic research lab on campus. I believe joining a research lab is one of the best ways to strengthen your understanding of a subject through hands-on experience. Joining a lab has not only allowed me to challenge myself in growing as a researcher but has also given me the opportunity to contribute to meaningful scientific research.

When I first began looking for a lab to join on campus, I was overwhelmed by the number of labs available and was nervous about contacting professors. Through using the OURS office I was able to narrow down my interests in various research fields. I was also able to learn how to communicate my interest in joining a lab to professors as well as craft my resume and cover letter. After perfecting my application and contacting professors I was able to join the Morita lab during the Spring 2022 semester. The research conducted in the Morita lab focuses on the cell membrane structures of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and how they act as a major virulence determinant of pathogenic mycobacteria. Our research is conducted using many microbiological and biochemical techniques.

Through joining an academic lab, I have gained immense knowledge in the research field and have had the opportunity to conduct research and contribute to a meaningful cause. I am very enthusiastic about getting the opportunity to help students find research opportunities in various fields and provide them with a stepping stone to many opportunities that will grow their insight within the research field!

Sophia

Biomedical Engineering

I am a junior honors student studying biomedical engineering. When I first entered college, I had a difficult time figuring out how to incorporate all my interests into a field of study that was satisfying and challenging. I started out as an anthropology major, and after switching an additional 2 times, I ended up in the College of Engineering. Learning about new things has always been appealing to me, and when I was trying to figure out what opportunities were available to me at UMass, OURS was instrumental in helping me realize how involvement in on campus research had the potential to connect my academic interests with my extracurricular ones.

I am currently working in the Rao Lab developing neurobiological interfaces, drug delivery systems, and neural regeneration models. Doing so has made it possible for me to combine my interests in art and design with my passion for human biology, and to learn new techniques in terms of computational design/AI and electrical engineering (two subjects that I never would have thought would interest me so much).

Working as an undergraduate research assistant has not only opened so many professional doors and enhanced my technical skills and development, but also allowed me to connect seemingly disparate interests (i.e. design and STEM) to ultimately create innovative, impactful technologies. UMass is overflowing with cutting edge projects in almost every college and department (both in STEM and the social sciences), and I’m so excited to help other students find research opportunities that both match and expand upon their interests.

Sriya

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Hi! I’m Sriya! I’m a sophomore Biochemistry & Molecular Biology major in the Commonwealth Honors College with a certificate in iCONS, or Integrated Concentration in Science. Entering college, I recognized that I wanted to gain practical experience and knowledge about the applications of my discipline. However, I noticed that I would only get into the depth of these skills later down the line in my major. Reaching out to OURS helped me identify the skills I wanted to gain or improve on and also guided me to isolate opportunities on campus that incorporated many of my interests. I learned how to communicate my skills and experience by gaining feedback on my resume and emails that I sent out to professors I was interested in working with.

I continued to build these skills after joining the Thayumanavan Lab in the Chemistry department as I entered my sophomore year. Centered around investigating nanoparticle drug design and implementation methods, my role in the Thai Lab allows me to explore methods of immunotherapy with an interdisciplinary lens - expanding my physical & problem solving skills into realms of molecular engineering and chemistry - with my current focus in developing polymeric sheaths to coat and protect antibody delivery mechanisms for effective immunotherapy. Engaging in research has inspired me to discover the robust connections between disciplines in STEM that I could explore, and I am excited to help other students discover opportunities to refine their professional and academic toolkit through research.

Debra Phillis

Associate Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research And Studies

I am the Associate Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research And Studies. I have had many memorable experiences and met many amazing students along the way. I meet with students from all majors and levels of experience and I hear about their interests, goals, and stories. With that information, I help them find research or academic experiences in their field of interest. If you are looking for on-campus, off-campus or summer experiences, I am here to help you find opportunities.

If you are not sure if research is for you, or even exactly what research looks like in your area of interest, set up a meeting with OURS and we will help to answer those questions. I hope to meet with you and look forward to providing whatever help you may need.

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