Undergraduate Spotlights

Chelsea, Hannah, and Jason are three of 31 undergraduates awarded fellowships through a collaborative effort between the Fellowships Advising Office and the Undergraduate Research and Creative Collaborations Office.

 

Photo of Chengrui (Chelsea) WuChengrui (Chelsea) Wu, '22
Who: Chengrui (Chelsea) Wu, Brandeis Class of '22
Major: Psychology & Education
Minor: East Asian Studies
Project Title: The Mediating Effect of Dependent Stress Frequency and Perceived Controllability on the Relationship Between EF and Internalizing Psychopathology
Faculty Mentor: Hannah Snyder, Assistant Professor of Psychology
Funding: Louis D. Brandeis Legacy Fund for Social Justice Fellowship

About the project: 
The COVID-19 pandemic has added many new stressors to a college student’s daily life. Chelsea notes that “previous research has found that dependent (self-generated) stress and the perceived controllability of stress play potent roles in the development of internalizing psychopathology” such as anxiety, health anxiety, or depression. Her research project, in collaboration with other researchers, examines potential associations between Executive Function (EF) performance and depression, general anxiety, and health anxiety in a population of more than 150 Brandeis undergraduates, who were recruited through Brandeis-related pages on social media platforms. Chelsea will continue with data collection and analysis during this academic year.

Personal reflection: 
This summer, Chelsea gained experience conducting a literature review and working as part of a collaborative research team. She advises new undergraduate researchers that “always staying positive” helped her address challenges.

 

Hannah BenDavid, '22Photo of Hannah BenDavid
Who: Hannah BenDavid, Class of '22
Major: Neuroscience
Minor: French
Project Title: Sleep disruption in SHANK3 knockout mice
Faculty Mentor: Gina Turrigiano, Joseph Levitan Professor of Vision Science
Funding: Provost’s Undergraduate Research Summer Research Award

About the project: Hannah responded to travel restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic with resilience and positivity. She had arranged a collaboration with a research group at Humboldt University in Germany to image live neurons using cutting-edge techniques. When it became apparent that travel would not be possible, she consulted with her faculty mentor, Professor Turrigiano, and shifted to a new remote research project. For this project, Hannah used a behavioral tracking program and computational approach to investigate the role of a specific neuronal protein in the sleep-wake cycle of mice, a model organism used to study human diseases. Mutations in this protein in humans are associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders, which are typified by abnormal sleep. Hannah will continue her research this academic year.

Personal reflection: Hannah “would advise anyone working on independent research to recognize that setbacks and troubleshooting are a core part of research” and that “knowing when to ask for help is extremely important.” She appreciates the mentoring she received from her faculty and graduate student research mentors.

 

Jason Frank,'22Photo of Jason Frank
Read in BrandeisNOW about Jason Frank, '22, and his inquiries on “why there are no famous gay comedians.”