Current Students: Academic Year 2023-2024
JORGE VILLANUEVA, Biology (Cell & Molecular)
IMSD Mentor: Dwayne Roach, Ph.D.
Jorge Villanueva joined the IMSD program in the summer of 2023. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Biology with an emphasis in Cell and Molecular Biology. As an undergraduate researcher in Dr. Dwayne Roach’s lab, he is investigating bacteriophage infection kinetics under different environmental conditions, as well as working on the purification of bacteriophages for therapeutic use. Following his graduation from San Diego State University, he intends to pursue a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences.
GABRIELA “GABBY” CONTRERAS, Biochemistry
IMSD Mentor: Tom Huxford, PhD.
Gabriela “Gabby” Contreras joined the IMSD in the fall of 2022. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with an emphasis in Biochemistry. Gabby is currently a member of the Huxford Structural Biology Lab since February 2022 and has been studying the maturation protein of the bacteriophage MS2 in a collaboration with the Garmann lab. The goal of the project, titled “Engineering MS2 Maturation Protein for RNA Structural Studies,” is to manipulate the already existing asymmetry present in the coat of MS2 in order to obtain higher-quality structures of the protein capsid itself. If successful, there is the possibility that the manipulated capsid could be used as a reference in which to determine the structure of other RNA structures. Following her graduation from San Diego State University in the winter of 2023, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Biochemistry or in Biomedical science, possibly in South Korea.
RAQUEL BERK*, AEROSPACE ENGINNERING
IMSD Mentor: Satchi Venkataraman, Ph.D.
Raquel Berk joined IMSD in the summer of 2023. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering. As a member of Professor Satchi Venkataraman’s lab, she is studying the relationship between acoustic emission and piezoelectric sensors to fabricate a low cost alternative monitoring system for composite tests. After graduating from San Diego State University, she plans to further her education with a PhD in Aerospace Engineering.
SPEECH, LANGUAGE, & HEARING SCIENCES
MAYA ELDEN, Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences
IMSD Mentor: Ignatius Nip, Ph.D.
Maya Elden joined the IMSD program in the summer of 2023. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences with a minor in Interdisciplinary Studies. Maya has contributed to the Child Language Development, Disorders, and Disparities Lab for the past two years, and this summer she joined Dr. Ignatius Nip’s Speech Physiology Lab. Within the Speech Physiology Lab, she is currently studying the influence of phonetic complexity on speech intelligibility in children with cerebral palsy. After completing her bachelor’s degree, she plans to pursue a PhD in the field of communication sciences and disorders, and eventually earn certification as a Speech-Language Pathologist.
AYDEN KPORMEGBEY, Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences
IMSD Mentor: Karen Emmorey, Ph.D.
Ayden Kpormegbey joined the IMSD program in the summer of 2023. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. Ayden is a member of the Laboratory For Language and Cognitive Neuroscience where she studies alternative language modalities, specifically, American Sign Language. She is currently studying the relationship between the results of the American Sign Language Sentence Reproduction Test (ASL-SRT) and working memory and scaffolding processes. Following her graduation from San Diego State University, Ayden plans to pursue a Ph.D. program in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences or Communication Sciences and Disorders and earn her Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology.