2019 COHORT

PAOLA ALICEA – University of Puerto Rico Humacao, Humacao, PR

Strongly interested in all things science with a passion for plants and animals with computers coming in a close third. She currently works in Dr. Riccardo Papa’s lab studying genome to phenome color diversity within Heliconius melpomene using image analysis and Machine Learning.

ALEJANDRO ARMAS – Los Medanos College, Pittsburg, CA

First-generation researcher on his way to the University of California, Davis and interested in leveraging Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence for societal good. He is inquisitive of the world, loves meeting interesting people and enjoys weight lifting in his spare time. His REU research project with Dr. Patricia Ordoñez and Dr. Jose L. Agosto involves the clustering of time series data to find patterns in the circadian rhythms of bees.

FRANCISCO BENITEZ – Universidad de Sagrado Corazón, San Juan, PR

Senior Biology undergraduate from the University of Sagrado Corazón. Passionate nd committed to helping our threatened environment, particularly the ocean. During his REU he is working under the mentorship of Dr. Clifford Louime in the metagenomic analysis of Puerto Rico’s saltwater microbiota. As of August 2019, he will be studying Microbiology at the University of Puerto Rico, Humacao.

GIOVANNI CORTES – Universidad Interamericana Recinto Metro, San Juan, PR

Undergraduate researcher at the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, majoring in Biomedical Sciences with a self-proclaimed obsession for understanding how our brain works. This summer he has had the opportunity to work under the mentorship of Dr. José García-Arrarás on a project which focuses on defining the role of different genes involved in the intestinal regeneration .

ANELISSE DOMINICCI-MAURA – University of Puerto Rico Río Piedras,  San Juan, PR

Environmental Science undergraduate at UPR Rio Piedras. Her IQ BIO REU project, under the guidance of Dr. Humberto Ortiz, consists of analyzing the microbial communities from the rhizospheres of Tabebuia heterophylla using metagenomic analyses.

SOULJA GAMBLE – Madison College, Madison, WI

Soulja is passionate about science and community service. Majoring in Biology at UW-Madison, she hopes to find innovate solutions to environmental issues through microbiology while getting younger generations interested in pursuing science paths. This summer, under Dr. Riccardo Papa, she used CRISPR-Cas 9 to edit genes in Heliconius charthonia butterflies to understand key regulatory pathways in development. Although she did not get any mutants, she was not discouraged, instead she was inspired to continue doing research until earning her Ph.D.

SARAH MARKLAND – Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK

Animal Psychology major at Oklahoma State University. Her summer research project is focused on uncovering the effects of ethanol vapor on honey bees in Dr. Alfredo Ghezzi’s behavioral genetics lab. She hopes to continue research that impacts conservation and preserving endangered species.

ITZAIRA MERCADO – University of Puerto Rico Aguadilla, Aguadilla, PR

A rising senior in Biology student at the University of Puerto Rico-Aguadilla Campus who enjoys reading, going to the beach and of course, science. This summer she is working with Dr. Esther Peterson in a project focused on studying non-genomic signaling pathways associated with tumorigenesis.

CARLOS NAVEA – Los Medanos College, Pittsburg, CA

Computer Engineering undergraduate transferring to the University of California, San Diego in the fall. He is fascinated by Artificial Intelligence and interested in Computer Vision and autonomous robots. His research with Dr. Remí Megret’s involves detecting honeybees in real-time through video with the mobile platform, Coral Edge TPU, designed by Google for local, efficient, and fast inferencing. 

JASMIN ZAZABOI – Santa Rosa Junior College, Santa Rosa, CA

Currently working towards a bachelors in biology at Santa Rosa Junior College and applying for transfer into the University of California system this fall. This summer she is working to discover the binding preferences of mutant transcription factors in the lab of Jose Arcadio Rodriguez Martinez.