Seniors Present Summer Science Research Work

In 2020-2021, 18 juniors participated in Shady Side Academy Senior School's Science Research Seminar course, which focuses on advancing research skills such as the reading of primary scientific literature, data analysis, scientific ethics and science communication skills. As part of the course, students were placed in collaborating research laboratories at the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, George Washington University and Boston College this past summer to complete research internships. The 18 students, now seniors, presented their research and answered questions at the fourth annual Summer Research Seminar evening, held Tuesday, Oct. 12, at the McIlroy Center for Science and Innovation.The students and their research included:

  • Baramee Bhakdibhumi, Emily Jordan, Angela Xue and Ariella Avigad worked with Dr. Doug Weber at the Neuroscience Institute at Carnegie Mellon University on developing an electromyography sleeve array that would help paralyzed people control a computer or prosthetic arm by sensing distinct muscle flexes.
  • Isabel Brunner and Cecelia Messner worked with Dr. Qihan Liu and Zefan Shao in the Lab of Soft Materials Mechanics and Manufacturing at the University of Pittsburgh, studying hydrogel adhesion at different water concentrations.
  • Jaidan Fahrny worked with Dr. Duvvuri and Dr. Godse in the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh, researching the evolution of procedures for neck dissection surgery and designing a poster to be presented at the American College of Surgeons Congress.
  • Grace Greeno worked with Dr. Mark Rebeiz in the Department of Biological Sciences Rebeiz Lab at the University of Pittsburgh, studying fly genitalia and designer babies.
  • Gigi Horgan worked with Dr. Sara Kuebbing in the Kuebbing Lab of Plant Ecology at the University of Pittsburgh, studying the impact of climate-driven phenological mismatch between wildflowers and deciduous trees and collected herbarium specimens for the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
  • Daniel Huss and Prayag Vemulapalli worked with Dr. Mayank Goel and Dr. Jill Fain Lehman at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, developing a computer interface to assist patients who have undergone Mohs surgery with their post-operative wound care procedure.
  • Daniel Lee worked with a team of researchers at George Washington University on the OncoMX Cancer Biomarker Knowledge Base Project to develop a single, unified database of cancer genomic biomarkers.
  • Karen Linares Mendoza worked with Dr. Casey Roark, Dr. Nike Gnanateja Gurindapalli, and Dr. Bharath Chandrasekaran in The SoundBrain Lab at the University of Pittsburgh on cognitive and neurobiological research that explores speech perception and auditory learning processes using EEG, pupillometry, and fMRI cortical tracking devices.
  • Owen Martens worked with Dr. Wei Xiong in the Physical Metallurgy and Materials Design Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh, researching a new type of bendable concrete and the feasibility of using it in 3D printing and future infrastructure on Mars.
  • Lochlan McGinnis worked with Dr. Wei Xiong in the Physical Metallurgy and Materials Design Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh to study the design, properties, manufacturing methodology and mechanisms of steels that utilize the transformation induced plasticity (TRIP) effect.
  • Tiffany Wu worked with Dr. Erika E Forbes in the Affective Neuroscience and Developmental Psychopathology Lab at the University of Pittsburgh, exploring relationships between neural reward systems and negative mental health outcomes of LGBTQ adolescents due to victimization.
  • Melody Yuan worked with Dr. Kathleen Kraemer in the Institute for Scientific Research at Boston College to study variable stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud, using IDL and data from NASA's WISE and Spitzer space telescopes.
  • Madison Zunder worked with Dr. Morgan Fedorchak in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh on the NASA Project, whose ultimate goal is to design an eye-drop applicator for astronauts' use during long-duration spaceflights in microgravity.

View photos from some of the evening presentations:

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