Hughes Fellows Present Summer Research

Neuroscience and Behavior major Jeff Walker ’08 speaks about his research titled “Does inhibition lead to greater spike timing precision?” during the Hughes Program in the Life Sciences Poster Session Aug. 3. Walker’s faculty mentor is Gloster Aaron, assistant professor biology, neuroscience and behavior.
Posted 08/07/07
In the United States, approximately 80,000 adolescents try cigarettes for the first time each day. Psychology major Michael Raymond ’08 was curious to know why.

As a fellow in the Hughes Program in the Life Sciences, Raymond had the opportunity to identify predictors of nicotine dependence onset in adolescents. He spent his summer working with faculty mentor Lisa Dierker, associate professor of psychology, on nicotine dependence research. On Aug. 3, he had the opportunity to present his findings during the Summer Research Poster Session.

Raymond was one of 65 summer Hughes Fellows and other summer research undergraduates to share his work to faculty, graduate students, fellow undergraduates and other visitors. The posters were on display inside the Exley Science Center lobby.

“The Poster Session is always a nice opportunity for the Wesleyan community and public to get a sense of the spirit and accomplishments of our undergraduates’ research experiences throughout the summer,” says Michael Weir, director of the Wesleyan Hughes Program.

Chemistry major Allison Isaacs ’09 (pictured above) spent her summer conducting research on a project titled “Exploring the Mechanism of the Feist-Benary Reaction” with Michael Calter, associate professor of chemistry. Products of this type of reaction include a class of compounds which are common among pharmaceutical drugs, and hold much promise in the future of medical treatment. Chemistry major Max Loewinger ’08 (pictured at right) also worked with Calter on a pharmaceutical-related project titled “Asymmetric Synthesis of Substituted, Unsaturated, Aryl-N-Ocyisoxazolidines.”

Biology majors Evan O’Loughlin ‘08 (pictured at right) and Kepa Eizaguirre-Borreson ’08 presented their poster titled, “Mapping Gene Expression of the Scapula in the Chick Embryo.” The students worked with faculty mentor Ann Burke, associate professor of biology, on their experiment, which involved a study of a chick’s development of a lateral plate.

Other projects included a study on the synthesis on Glycinol by Joshua Porter ‘08; analyzing bacterial diversity by Andrew Burger ‘09; the usability of an ecotype simulation program by William Warner ‘08; and biodiversity in Middletown, Conn., by Nick Field ’09 to name a few.

Prior to the poster session, Barry Chernoff, the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies, professor of biology, delivered a public lecture titled “Through the Looking Glass of Ecological Analysis.” In addition, prospective undergraduate applicants and area high school teachers were offered laboratory tours.

Hughes Fellows are supported by a Hughes grant, awarded to encourage participation and interest in the life sciences by undergraduates. The grant supports summer research by a large number of Wesleyan undergraduates; in the summer of 2006, 48 students were supported, some in conjunction with other funding sources. The Fellowship includes a stipend and participation in Hughes activities.

For more information on the Hughes Program in the Life Sciences Summer Research Program go to :

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor