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Honors Recipients

2014 Honors Students


High Honors

Charlie Katzman, Patching together the hedgehog response: An investigation into the tissue specificity of a hedgehog-responsive patched enhancer

Ruohan Wang, In Vivo tracking of mitochondrial transport, fusion and degradation in Drosophila neurons

Diane Yuan Wang, The isolation of novel Lachnospiraceaestrains and the evaluation of their potential roles in colonization resistance against Clostridium difficile


Cellular & Molecular Biology

Highest Honors

Andrew Kalenkiewicz, Characterization of the conformational dynamics and small molecule binding sites for BCL-XL from molecular dynamics simulations

High Honors 

Victoria Blake, Interpreting the Hedgehog signaling gradient: How binding affinity and orientation of Ci binding motifs mediate gene expression patterning in developing tissues

Mikel Haggadone, Catecholamines induce a regulatory macrophage phenotype and confer protection during acute lung injury and endotoxemia via activation of the B2 adrenergic receptor

Annie Yingyao Song, Effect of Nanofiber Size and Alignment of Electrospun Scaffolds on Neuronal Differentiation

Nico Wagner, Inorganic Polyphosphate: A Novel, Global and Very Effective Chaperone

Taylor Elaine Wallen, Effects of mTORC1 and mTORC2 on Neonatal B-cell Mass in Offspring of Protein Restricted Mice During Pregnancy

Lorenza Donnelly, Evidence of Polycomb-independent Catalysis of Histone H3 Lysine 27 Trimethylation

Mark Durham, Chd7 is critical for proper midbrain/hindbrain patterning and cerebellar development

Charles Frank, Exploring the role of GM-CSF in the host response to C. Difficile Infection


Katelyn Doxtader, Deciphering the microRNA pathways at single molecule resolution through the modulation of RNA silencing factors

Margaret Hannah, Nitric Oxide Signal Stimulated by the Calreticulin and Shared Epitope Interaction

Grace Kim, Role of mitochondrial ROS in axonal degeneration

Victoria Prince, The Effect of UM-A9 on Head and Neck Cancer Cell Motility

Nicholas Rachmaninoff, Novel Roles of Drosophila miR-8 in actin cytoskeletal regulation and cell competition

Courtney Tipton, Migration of fallopian tube epithelium through breaks in ovarian surface epithelium as a potential origin of ovarian high-grade serous carcinoma

Ian Waters, Functional characterization of a foxotarget gene

Abby Weinstein,  Direct interactions between the Fanconi anemia pathway and lesion bypass polymerases promote DNA repair


High Honors 

Alexandra Berns, A geometric morphometric analysis of wing shape variation in monarch butterflies Danaus plexippus

Shelby Burgess, Evaluation of U.S. EPA standard operating procedure for estimating copepod biomass in the St. Lawrence Great Lakes

Hannah Reses, Nesting success and barrier breaching: Assessing the effectiveness of roadway fencing in diamondback terrapins


Mandy Bromilow, Feeding behavior of white sharks (Charcharodon carcharias) around a cage diving vessel and the implications for conservation


High Honors 

Samantha Anne Bolz, Characterization of RecD2 helicase inBacillus subtilis


Katherine Thor Lind, The role of protein kinases in autophagy regulation: a screen in Saccharomyces cerevisiae



Highest Honors  and Psujek Award for Best Thesis

Ross Carson,   Regulation of calcium influx in Drosophila motor neuron axon degeneration

Highest Honors 

Piper  Keyes,      

Lacie Turnbull,  Differential molecular mechanisms underlying memory reconsolidation of inhibitory avoidance and context fear conditioning

High Honors

Myranda Aryana Bryan, Rapid cocaine-induced sensitization of phasic dopamine transmission in the nucleus accumbens shell

Alice Doong, Effects of aging and fatigue on driving performances: A simulator study

Adam Krieger, Inorganic polyphosphate is a molecular chaperone with biotechnological and medical applications

Salima Sewani, The effect of glucocorticoid receptor antagonism on sign-tracking behavior

Kristen Suchomel, The effects of sensitization and exposure to uncertainty on incentive salience attribution in a gambling-like scenario


Nicholas Asher, The interaction between dietary restriction, temperature, and stress resistance in Drosphila and regulation or starvation stress by the insulin-like signaling pathway

Megan Bernath, Alpha-synuclein contribution to Atp13a2 pathology in Parkinson's disease

Leo Brayman, 50-KHz ultrasonic vocalizations as indicators of positive affect in sign- and goal-tracking rats

Amy Friedman, Effects of adolescent THC exposure on the behavioral effects of cocaine in adult Sprague-Dawley rats

Gayatri Jainagaraj, Effects of infant interactions on testosterone and aggression

Adam Macdonald,

Alyssa Mazurek, Individual differences in cocaine self-administration: Acquisition under a second-order schedule of reinforcement

Masha Shulkin, "Let's Hear it for cochlear implants:" Neuroimaging with functional near infrared spectroscopy demonstrates cortical activity in response to speech and non-speech stimuli in adults using cochlear implants

Kendall Timmons, Mechanisms of distinct transportation and localization of fibroblast growth factors 22 and 7 during synaptic development

Alexander Yang, Transcription factor ZBP-89 mitigates β-catenin activation of the Wnt pathway through regulation of glycogen synthase kinase-3 beta

Plant Biology


Alexandria Peters, Influence of germination, soil type, and rhizobium on the distribution of Michigan native Lathyrus japonicus


2013 Honors Students


Highest Honors 

Daniel Lyons, TLR9 promotes protective macrophage activation via CCL7- dependent M2-suppression and CCL7-independent M1-induction during adaptive immunity to pulmonary C.neoformans infection

High Honors 

Kelsey Hamrick, Behavioral testing in mouse models of fragile X associated disorders

Ronald Inglehart, Quantification quest-understanding biomarkers of HNSCC


Emily Buttigieg, Elucidating epigenetic mechanisms in x-chromosome inactivation in mice and men

Brooke Gustafson, Characterization of the DNA damage checkpoint activating protein YneA ofBacillus subtilis

Amelia Kelly, A family of integrative and conjugative elements (ICEs) involved in carbohydrate metabolism

Yi (Emily) Li, Pten and Rictor opposing roles in neurogenesis and gliogenesis during the cortical development

Marc Trubin, The effects of viral structural proteins Gag and Env on accumulation of target receptors at virological synapses


Highest Honors  and PSUJEK Award for Best Thesis

Clara Lee, Distinct consequences of FGF7- and FGF22- deficiencies in the hippocampus during development and epileptogenesis

Highest Honors 

Surya Nagaraja, Brg1 regulates HOXA9-mediated proliferation and gene expression in acute myeloid leukemia

High Honors

Ross Federman, ORM2 protein level regulates sphingolipid synthesis in response to environmental stress in yeast

Michelle Frazer, Repeat associated non-AUG initiated translation mediates neurodegeneration inDrosophila models of fragile x-associated tremor ataxia syndrome.

Eric Perkey, Cleaving surface sialoglycoproteins of CD4 T cells restores age-related declines in CD28-dependent signalin, T helper cell function, and enhances antibody production in mice

Benjamin Parker,

Daniel Weinberg, ASH1l is required for lymphoid priming in both fetal and adult hematopoiesis


Pallavi Abraham, Identification of the DEG15 processing site in aspartate aminotransferase 3 (ASP3) in Arabidopsis thaliana

Nicholas Carducci, Voltage-gated sodium channels and the ankyrin-G scaffold are homeostatistically regulated in hippocampal neurons

Paul Joseph, A KRAS driven murine model elucidates oncogenic role of FADD in lung cancer

Tara Nimkar, Analyzing the Peroxisomal processing by the protease DEG15 of long-chain Acyl-CoA Synthetase 6 and 7 in Arabidopsis thaliana

Kingsley Okai, Zymosan-induced LPLA2 secretion in macrophages

Nishita Parmar, Role of vasculature in intestinal villus development

Ajit Ramadugu, Homologous chromosome pairing mechanisms in Caenorhabditis elegans meiosis

Hung-Jen Shih, EGL-8, a phospholipase C beta homolog, is a novel regulator of dauer arrest inCaenorhabditis elegans

Sherry Tang,

Julia Wang, P-selectin glycoprotein ligand-1 mediation of leukocyte dependent inflammation via differential miRNA expression


High Honors 

Colleen Smith, Does biodiversity resist invasion in an ant community? A study of the little fire ant, W. auropounctata, in its native range


Benjamin Blanchard, Effects of habitat heterogeneity on the distribution and composition of ant communities in a tallgrass prairie



Adam Dingens, Investigation of the role of nonribosomal peptide synthetase honors reductase domains in forming the fungal bicyclo[2.2.2] diazaoctane ring structure

Eunnie Kim, Developing a mouse model of adenovirus myocarditis

Gabriella Szewczyk, Characterization of WalJ, a novel gene required for function of the mismatch repair in Bacillus subtilis


High Honors 

Nicholas Rydzewski, Regulation of lysosomal trafficking by TRPML1 channels and PI(3,5)P2

Derek Moen, Investigating the 43kDa receptor-associated protein (rapsyn) at lysosomal synapses in non-muscle cells

Vincent Pallazola, Effects of selective REM deprivation on hippocampal-dependent spatial reversal learning and unlearning

William Hockeimer,


Jay Brahmbhatt, E2 ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes contribute to substrate specificity in the ubiquitin-proteasome system

Adam MacDonald,

Charishma Nallapati, Modeling schizophrenia by altering cAMP signaling in human neurons

Nahid Rashid, Human P2X2 receptor mutants respond differently to MTSET in HEK293 cells andXenopus laevis oocytes

Meari Taguchi, Expression of vasotocin and its receptors and the investigation of the role of AVT signaling in aggression within zebrafish

William Tennant,

Connie Truong, P2X2 Receptors in mouse skeletal muscle

Plant Biology


Katy Lazarus, Surveying the biodiversity of the early diverging fungal phylum Cryptomycota using a targeted PCR approach