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Cohort 2023

My name is Jesica Calderon and I am a Quantitative and Systems Biology graduate student at the University of California, Merced. I received my Bachelor's of Science in Global Disease Biology from the University of California, Davis. My research interests include understanding microbial communities and host-pathogen interactions as it relates to human health. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling, going to concerts, and paddle boarding.
My name is Nolan Brown. I graduated from Syracuse University with a B.S. in physics. I will be working with the Gopinathan computational biophysics group on intracellular transport and cytoskeletal structure.
My name is Pablo Curiel, and I am an incoming Applied Mathematics PhD student. I graduated from California State University, Chico with a B.S. in Applied Mathematics and a minor in Computer Science. My research interests are currently broad, but I gravitate towards topics in mathematical biology and applied graph theory. In my free time, I enjoy running, playing or watching sports, and reading.
My name is Alex Hernandez, and I am a Biochemistry PhD student. I received my B.S. in Biochemistry from California State University, Bakersfield. As an undergraduate, I researched methods of bioremediating contaminated water produced from oil & gas operations in the San Joaquin Valley using the microalgae Phaeodactylum tricornutum. My current research interests include elucidating protein structure and function for medical applications.
My name is Joaquin Lucero, and I am an incoming QSB student at UC Merced. I am originally from Las Vegas, New Mexico where I received my M.S. in Biology at New Mexico Highlands University. I am interested in studying interspecies interactions within the vibrio-squid model.
My name is Katherina Martinez and I am an incoming Chemistry and Biochemistry Ph.D student at UC Merced. I recently graduated from CSU Monterey Bay with a B.S. in Biology, concentrating in Molecular Biology. My research interest lies in the field of structural biochemistry and proteomics.
My name is Ching Ting Roy Ng, and I graduated from the University of California, Merced with a B.S. in bioengineering. I am currently an incoming Ph.D. student, with focus to develop miRNA biosensors. Outside the lab, I enjoy hiking, drinking tea, and working with computers.

Cohort 2021

My name is Justin Couvrette and I earned a degree in Materials Science and Engineering with a specialization in Biomaterials from the University of California Irvine. My research interests include polymer engineering and biomimicry.
My name is Arianna Daniel and I am from Elk Grove, CA and pursued my Bachelor’s in Biology at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, OR. I have broad interest in immunology and am looking forward to studying human diseases/pathogens, host-microbe interaction, host immune responses, and immune cells.
My name is Alexander Deary, and I am a Chemistry and Chemical Biology (CCB) graduate student at UC Merced. I received my Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry with a minor in philosophy from UC San Diego, where I worked in a computational and theoretical chemistry research group studying ion hydration. I have also previously conducted research on G-protein Coupled Receptors, studying the effect of sodium and other cations on their signaling ability. My current research interests are in the areas of structural biochemistry and drug design.
My name is Oscar and am a QSB graduate student. I was born and raised in Bakersfield, CA and did my undergraduate at UC Merced where I majored in Human Biology, along with a minor in Cognitive Science. My passion is neuroscience and I hope to focus my research on neurodegenerative diseases. Outside of science, my hobbies include listening to music, watching movies with my wife, and trying different types of coffee.
My name is Joseph “Joey” McTiernan and I graduated from the University of California, Davis, with a B.S. in Physics and a Minor in Applied Mathematics. As a member of the Gopinathan Group, and in collaboration with the UC Coronavirus Assembly Research Consortium, Joey currently utilizes a continuum model and molecular dynamics simulations to analyze the assembly stage of coronavirus. Previously, in the Cox Group at UC Davis, he researched the impact mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein had on its binding affinity with the human ACE2 receptor using molecular dynamics simulations.
My name is Josh Quintong and I am a Filipino-American bioengineering PhD student. My hometown is Union City, CA. I graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a B.S. in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. I also have an M.S. in Chemistry from California State University, East Bay where I did work on apolipoprotein A-I and High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL). My research interests include enzymology, protein design/engineering, and protein modeling. In my free time I love to play the piano, go to the gym, and shop at Target.

Cohort 2022

My name is Kara Hunter and I am from Dallas, Texas, with a BSA in Biochemistry and BA in English from the University of Texas at Austin. In Austin, I researched the homology and replaceability of yeast and human histones utilizing the CRISPR/Cas9 system. My current research interests include gene expression and protein folding. In my free time, I enjoy whitewater kayaking, backpacking, and writing.
My name is Brandon Imstepf and I'm an incoming Applied Math PhD student. I did my undergrad in Computational Mathematics at UC Santa Cruz, and my research interests are in neurodegenerative diseases, with a broad interest in data-driven research. In my spare time, I enjoy various creative hobbies, hiking and biking.
My name is Eira Jardines and I will be an incoming Quantitative and System Biology student at UC Merced. I received my Bachelor of Science in Biology at UC Merced. My current research interest is neurodegeneration induced by metabolic syndrome. Outside the lab, I enjoy hiking, painting, and bullet journaling.
My name is Jesselynn LaBelle. I earned my BS in mathematics from California State University, Stanislaus. I've also completed a Biotechnology certificate program at City College of San Francisco, which led to an internship at UC San Francisco. For the past three years I've been working as a lab tech here at UC Merced in the lab of Dr. Stephanie Woo. In the Woo lab we study developmental molecular biology. I'm interested in applying my math background to questions in biology.
My name is Miranda Luque. I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology at Cal State University, Northridge and earned a Master’s degree in Physiology from Penn State University. I look forward to exploring my research interests based on molecular mechanisms that impact Developmental Biology at UC Merced.
My name is Metzli Montero and I am a recent graduate of UC Davis, having received my B.S. in Applied Physics and minor in Professional Writing. My research interests are fairly broad, and in the past I’ve conducted research on crystal synthesis and cyanobacteria classification. However, considering my enjoyment in understanding material properties and synthesis, I hope to conduct research on stem cell systems and characteristics within the UCM MBSE graduate program.
My name is Jack, and I graduated from UC San Diego with a B.S. in Mathematics and a minor in English Literature. I will be starting the PhD program in Applied Mathematics at UC Merced, and I have broad interests in mathematical biology and numerical analysis. Outside of math, I enjoy hiking, running, and reading.
My name is Jesse Rodriguez-Reyes, and I am an incoming Bioengineering PhD student. I graduated with a B.S. in bioengineering from the University of California, Merced, where I studied the kinetics of protein-based fluorescent biosensors at the single molecule level. My research interests focus primarily on applying protein engineering and design strategies to develop novel genetically encodable fluorescent biosensors optimized for use in cellular environments.
*The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. Research reported on this website was supported by the Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award number T32GM141862.