Fellowship Awardees ​

We started the Make UR MARC Fellowship program in 2021 in order to promote underrepresented STEM students who are interested in research. Now we are excited to announce 3 years of outstanding fellows who have participated in our program.

Our 2023 Fellowship Awardee is Leena Al-Jawad!

My name is Leena Al-Jawad, and I am a third year Bioinformatics major at UCSD. Over the summer I worked at the Lopez-Ramirez lab, in which I participated in research on cerebral cavernous malformations. I was involved in 2 projects in particular; one involved cloning vectors into bacteria to silence genes related to neuroinflammation in order to analyze the effects on the brain endothelium. The other involved waypointing cells treated with different compounds in order to analyze cell-cell junctions in the endothelium. A few of my other daily tasks in the lab included genotyping, observing brain and spinal cord isolations, and more. I then presented my research at the 2023 Summer Research Conference. This was my first lab experience, so it allowed me to develop valuable laboratory and bioinformatics skills that will aid me in my future research endeavors. I will continue working in the Lopez-Ramirez lab throughout the school year in order to assist with the waypointing project.


Our 2022 Fellowship Awardees are Elan Ortiz and Isaac Rodriguez!

 My name is Elan and I'm a second year student at San Diego Mesa College. I'm a biology major and am planning on transferring to UCSD as a biochemistry/Japanese double major. I was placed into the Lopez-Ramirez lab where I conducted research on cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs). During my time in the lab, I learned various techniques like e. coli transformation, running PCRs, and gene analysis. All these techniques culminated in me learning how to do an in-situ hybridization experiment. I then took everything that I learned from this experience and presented my findings at the UCSD 2022 Summer Research Conference. The Make UR Marc program has been invaluable to me in my growth as a researcher, and I've come out of it much more experienced than I was before the fellowship. As of now, I'm continuing to work in the Lopez-Ramirez lab as a lab assistant and hope to continue working there after I transfer to UCSD.

I am Isaac and am a third year Neurobiology major at UCSD. Over the summer, I developed computational skills in research under Dr. Bryan Ru; our lab focused on OA (Osteoarthritis). My role in the lab was to analyze the effect of treatments for knee OA affected mice through 3-D modeling and CT scans. I learned to use different programs such CTAn and CTvol to analyze samples both in their entirety and specific regions in order to understand the effects of treatments and be able to visualize these changes through computer generated models. During the UCSD Undergraduate Summer Conference, I gave a presentation titled “ The Comparisons of Treatments for Knee Osteoarthritis Using Micro CT Scans.” The Make UR MARC program allowed me to gain valuable research experience and develop computational skills in medical research. I will continue to work with Dr. Bryan as a lab assistant in OA research.


Our 2021 Fellowship Awardee is Bliss Nelsen!

I am a third-year Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience Major at UCSD. Over the summer I was placed in the Miguel Lopez-Ramirez Lab; our lab’s research is centered around Cerebral Cavernous Malformations (CCMs). My role in the project was to study the molecular and cellular changes in the context of CCM. I learned many lab procedures, such as running PCRs, brain dissection (and cryostat tissue sectioning), tissue staining (Hemotoxyln & Eosin staining, Immunoflurourence, etc.), designing breeding schemes, and analyzing RNA and gene data to help develop future experiments. At the UCSD undergraduate summer conference, I presented a talk titled, “Crosstalk between endothelium and astrocytes during brain vascular malformations”. The Make UR MARC program helped me by giving me the opportunity to experience what it’s like to work in the research community. Currently, I am still working in the Lopez-Ramirez lab as a lab assistant and conducting further research on CCM.