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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Biological Sciences

Amazing success for Biology postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduate students at DISCOVER USC

Our postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduate students won many awards in multiple disciplines at DISCOVER USC.

A huge round of applause to all winners and their mentors!

Achievements and mentors:


Dr. Pankaj Ghate

Identifying Novel Interactors of RAB3GAP1 to understand mechanisms behind Warburg Micro Syndrome

Dr. Sofia Lizarraga

Dr. Seung Joon Lee

Axonal localization of alternatively-spliced Cdc42 mRNA supports axon growth

Dr. Jeff Twiss



Yogin Patel

Role of miR-489 in mammary gland development and Her2 mediated tumorigenesis

Dr. Hexin Chen

Zachary Cannizzo

Changes in spatial behavior patterns by mangrove tree crabs following climate-induced range shift into novel habitat

Dr. Blaine Griffen

Mithil Soni

microRNA-489 inhibits autophagy and sensitizes breast cancer cells to doxorubicin

Dr. Hexin Chen



Oral presentations:

Tanner Coleman, Biological Sciences - Junior

First place tie: Morning oral presentations:  

Stimulating canonical WNT signaling in pituitary progenitors inhibits differentiation of hormone cell types

Dr. Shannon Davis, Biological Sciences

Ms. Julie Youngblood, Biological Science


Poster presentations:

Christine Reid, Biology, Chemistry- Junior

First place: Biology and Biomedical Sciences A

The Role of COX2 on Cellular Senescence

Dr. Minsub Shim, Biological Sciences


Joelle Strom, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology - Sophomore

Second place: Biology and Biomedical Sciences A

The effect of PACT mutations that cause the neuromuscular movement disorder dystonia 16 (DYT16) on PACT-PKR interactions 

Dr. Rekha Patel, Biological Sciences 


Melanie Simons-Guerra, Biology, Chemistry - Senior 

Honorable Mention: Biology and Biomedical Sciences A

Characterization of Newly Isolated Bacteriophage that Infect Caulobacter crescentus 

Dr. Bert Ely, Biological Sciences , Mr. Aaron Clarke, Biological Sciences 


Shyam Desai, Biological Sciences, Chemistry - Senior 

First place: Biology and Biomedical Sciences B

Effect of Aspirin on Cellular Senescence 

Dr. Minsub Shim, Biological Sciences


Kevin Field, Biological Sciences, Chemistry - Junior 

First Place: Biology and Biomedical Sciences D

The role of cyclooxygenase-2 in the late effects of chemotherapy 

Dr. Minsub Shim, Biological Sciences 


Mara Cowen, Baccalaureus Artium et Scientiae - Junior

First place: Psychology and Neuroscience C 

Molecular Mechanisms of Warburg Micro Syndrome: A Model for Intellectual Disability

Dr. Sofia Lizarraga, Biological Sciences 


David Horovitz, Biological Sciences - Junior

First place Biology and Biomedical Sciences E 

Linkage of the Peromyscus maniculatus dominant spot mutation is to a 3Mbp interval on Chromosome 20. 

Dr. Shannon Davis, Biological Sciences 

Jessica Karan, Marine Science, Psychology - Senior

Second place: Biology and Environmental Sciences B 

Individual personality associated with interactions between physiological condition and the environment 

Dr. Blaine Griffen, Biological Sciences; Mr. Ben Belgrad, Marine Science 

Kayla Gardner, Marine Science, Mathematics - Junior

First place: Biology and Environmental Sciences C 

The effect of various macroalgae species on the growth, survival, and toxicity of Karenia brevis 

Dr. Tammi Richardson, Biological Sciences 

Patrick McKenzie, Biology, Geography - Sophomore 

First place: Biology and Environmental Sciences D 

Evolution of the Cryptophyte Phycobilin Beta Subunit 

Dr. Matthew Greenwold, Biological Sciences; Dr. Jeff Dudycha, Biological Sciences 

A number of USC Connect and Graduation with Leadership Distinction  awards went to biology undergraduate student.