The 2023 Barry Yedvobnick Undergraduate Research Award

Former students of Dr. Yedvobnick have honored him with this endowed award due to his outstanding impact on his undergraduate research mentees. It supports the summer stipend of an Emory undergraduate researcher so that they can continue their biology-related research. Each awardee has the potential to make outstanding contributions to scientific research joining forward. This year’s awardees are Claire Bowman, Crystal Wang and Yuxuan Wu.

Claire Bowman 25C is a third-year undergraduate student majoring in Biology and Human Health at Emory. Currently, she is researching the bacterial pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii, which has been labeled as an “Urgent Threat” by the CDC due to factors including its resistance to carbapenem antibiotics and its unusually high desiccation resistance. This pathogen exhibits a stochastic phenotypic switch between two states, and Claire’s work aims to understand how varying environmental conditions affect the growth and switching rates of A. baumannii. Throughout the summer, in the laboratory of Dr. Nic Vega in the Department of Biology, she plans to passage A. baumannii through simulated ventilator conditions (to mimic what happens in hospitals when a patient has lost the ability to breath without mechanical help), dried simulated ventilator conditions, and body-like conditions to better understand the effects of these environments on growth and switching rates. After completing her degree at Emory, Claire plans to attend graduate school.

Crystal Wang 24C is double majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology and in Chemistry. Crystal joined the lab of Dr. Anita Devineni in the Department of Biology in 2022, where sophisticated optogenetic tools are used to study how the brain processes sensory information. She was the first member of the Devineni lab and played a pivotal role in troubleshooting new assays. Currently, Crystal is investigating how a high-sugar diet affects taste processing and feeding behavior in the fruit fly Drosophila. She has been working independently to set up experiments, collect data, and perform statistical analyses. She has started putting together a paper that includes her results and is pursuing an honors thesis next year. Crystal plans a career as a physician scientist.

Harry (Yuxuan) Wu 23C is an honors graduate from Emory, double majored in biology and computer science on the pre-health track. Since 2021, Yuxuan has been conducting computational neuroscience research in lab of Astrid Prinz in the Department of Biology. In collaboration with Dr. Shawn Hochman’s lab, his research focuses on spike propagation across axon branch points in adult mice thoracic Sympathetic Preganglionic Neurons, aiming to enhance our understanding of mechanisms underlying sympathetic dysregulation in spinal cord injury patients. Harry plans a career as a physician scientist.

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