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  • Kristina R. Brandveen

    Kristina R. Brandveen

    Research Abroad Experience: Mérida, Yucatán (Summer 2024)

    Kristina (she/her/hers) is a doctoral student in the UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program in Public Health on the Global Health track interested in environmental epidemiology, implementation science, and dissemination. She is passionate about health equity and reducing health disparities within Black and Indigenous populations throughout the Americas. As a Merkin Graduate Fellow, she will be studying cancer risk perception within a predominantly Maya shoe-making community with mentors at la Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán and el Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública while based in Mérida, Yucatán for Summer 2024. 

  • Morgen A. Chalmiers

    Morgen A. Chalmiers

    Research Abroad Experience: Amman, Jordan (Winter-Spring 2023)

    Morgen A. Chalmiers is an MD/PhD Candidate in Psychological & Medical Anthropology. Her fieldwork and clinical practice are informed by the paradigm of reproductive justice and a commitment to addressing health disparities through an intersectional framework. She is passionate about integrating anthropological insights into clinical practice and health policy through interdisciplinary collaboration. As a Merkin Graduate Fellow, her research in Jordan during the winter and spring 2023 will explore perinatal mental health among refugee women in order to inform evidence-based interventions to better support refugee women during pregnancy and the postpartum period.

  • Onyeka Chukwudozie

    Onyeka Chukwudozie

    Research Abroad Experience: London, England (Winter-Spring 2024)

    Onyeka Chukwudozie is a PhD student in Biological Sciences whose research centers on developing long-lasting neutralizing antibodies that are cross-reactive against multiple lineages of Lassa virus. In Winter 2024, he will travel to London for six months, where he will characterize the human B cell response to the LASV vaccination using novel, conformation-specific antigens at the Human Immunology Lab at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and Imperial College London. Onyeka aims for his research to inform the design of next-generation vaccines that more effectively protect against the development of Lassa Fever.

    Read the story behind Onyeka's international research pursuits here.

  • Melina Economou

    Melina Economou

    Research Abroad Experience: Toronto, Canada (Spring-Summer 2023)

    Melina Economou is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology doing ethnographic fieldwork at hospices in Toronto, Canada. Her research focuses on what living while dying looks and feels like for people in the period of time when curative treatment fails and before physiological end-of-life. Using a patient-centered perspective, her research in the spring and summer of 2023 as a Merkin Graduate Fellow contributes to translational medicine's third pillar, Community, by conducting ethnographic research on how people living with life-limiting illnesses navigate daily life, the healthcare system, and their caregiving networks, and how they make decisions about their health and well-being.

  • Ramsey Ismail

    Ramsey Ismail

    Research Abroad Experience: Tokyo, Japan (Spring and Fall 2023)

    Ramsey Ismail, a PhD candidate in Anthropology, will travel to Tokyo, Japan for a total of six months in April-June and October-December 2023 to conduct and share his research on social withdrawal and mental health amid the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions in Japan. In particular, his work will build on his previous research into the phenomenon of hikikomori (long-term social recluses) to investigate how a global crisis can further complicate already fraught mental health concerns. His goal is for his research to ultimately address broader pressing mental health concerns in Japan and provide novel, affordable solutions for mental health issues both in Japan and worldwide.

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    Mir Fatimah Kanth

    Research Abroad Experience: London, England (Winter 2024)
  • Mitchell Kong

    Mitchell Kong

    Research Abroad Experience: Cambridge, England (Fall 2023-Winter 2024)

    Mitchell Kong is a Ph.D. student in Bioengineering studying genetic mutations found in populations living in extreme conditions and linking those mutations to adaptive phenotypes. He seeks to apply engineering techniques to develop ways to maintain biological function despite environmental stress. As a Merkin Graduate Fellow, he will travel to the University of Cambridge in England in the fall of 2023 through winter 2024 to investigate the effects of genetic variants in the heme degradation pathway on mitochondrial bioenergetics.

  • Reid Larsen

    Reid Larsen

    Research Abroad Experience: Copenhagen, Denmark (Spring 2024)

    Reid Larsen is a Biomedical Sciences graduate student in the Daneman lab at UCSD. His research focuses on the unique properties of the brain's blood vessels -- specifically, he studies the dense sugar coating on the vessel surface. In his research as a Merkin Graduate Fellow in the Lauritzen lab at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, which he will conduct in spring 2024, Reid will be using advanced imaging techniques to study the function of this sugar coating in health and how it changes in neuroinflammatory disease.

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    Adam Li

    Research Abroad Experience: Kyoto, Japan (Winter-Spring 2024)
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    Katherine O'Connor

    Research Abroad Experience: Adelaide, Australia (Fall-Winter 2024)
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    Anthony Omole

    Research Abroad Experience: Aachen, Germany (Fall 2024)
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    Lauren Ostrowski

    Research Abroad Experience: Maastricht, the Netherlands (Fall 2024)
  • Hui Xin Ng

    Hui Xin Ng

    Research Abroad Experience: London, England (Winter 2024 - Spring 2024)

    Hui Xin Ng is a PhD student in Cognitive Science examining the association between brain aging and bipolar disorder. Aging is associated with changes in the brain's structure and function, as well as cognitive decline; Hui Xin's work is focused on further developing and evaluating brain imaging-based tools to predict an individual’s aging trajectory. She is also interested in healthcare technology that democratizes healthcare access. As a Merkin Fellow, Hui Xin will travel to University College London in winter and spring 2024 to further a collaboration with the MANIFOLD lab in analyzing machine learning models for brain age prediction and their application to the study of brain aging in bipolar disorder.

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    Anand Anupam Ojha

    Research Abroad Experience: Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany (Spring-Summer 2024
  • Jonathan Pekar

    Jonathan Pekar

    Research Abroad Experience: Greifswald, Germany (Winter-Spring 2023)

    Jonathan Pekar is a PhD candidate in Bioinformatics & Systems Biology in Joel Wertheim's lab. During his research as a Merkin Graduate Fellow in winter and spring 2023 at the Helmholtz Institute for One Health in Germany, he will be extracting, sequencing, and analyzing archival measles samples from the 1950s through the early 2000s to examine how the genetic diversity of measles changed due to measles vaccination campaigns conducted near the end of the twentieth century. This research on the evolutionary history of measles can inform and evaluate the impact of vaccination strategies for both currently circulating viruses and those that have yet to emerge.

  • Shivani Shukla

    Shivani Shukla

    Research Abroad Experience: Aachen, Germany (Winter 2024)

    Shivani Shukla, a PhD student in Bioengineering, will perform research at the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule in Aachen, Germany starting in January 2024. There, she will merge the electrophysiology hardware platform she has been using at UC San Diego with her host lab’s hardware in order to obtain electrical measurements from healthy and traumatic brain injury-derived neuronal networks that will illuminate the mechanisms of neuronal network electrical communication. She aims for her work to enable more robust preclinical studies of drug screening and therapeutic development for neurological diseases including CTE and Alzheimer’s.

  • Kristine Teppang

    Kristine Teppang

    Research Abroad Experience: Fribourg, Switzerland (Winter 2023)

    Kristine Teppang is a PhD candidate working in the lab of Prof. Yang in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department. Her research involves developing small-molecule fluorescent probes that can bind to proteins in Alzheimer’s Disease. In collaboration with Prof. Mayer at the Adolphe Merkle Institute at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland during her time as a Merkin Graduate Fellow in winter 2023, she will use technology developed in their lab to test the ability of our probes to detect proteins in cerebrospinal fluid.

  • Yaohan Wu

    Yaohan Wu

    Research Abroad Experience: Fudon, China  (Fall 2023 - Winter 2024)

    Yaohan is a Ph.D candidate in Anthropology. As a bioarchaeologist, she is interested in employing interdisciplinary research to understand how populations in prehistoric times adapted to the geoenvironmental stressors as well as the emerging zoonoses around them. In particular, she studies the changes in past populations’ management style of animals in prehistoric China in relation to potential zoonotic transmissions. As a Merkin Fellow in Fall 2023 and Winter 2024, she will travel to Fudon University in China to research the relationship between animal-human interaction and zoonotic diseases in Northwest China during the late Neolithic.

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    James Yu

    Research Abroad Experience: Lima, Peru (Summer 2024)