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2011 UAN Honor Society Inductees R - Z

A - F   G - L   M - Q   R - Z 

Sebastian Ramirez  

Sebastian.RamirezSebastian Ramirez is a fourth year Biochemistry major at the Rochester Institute of Technology.  He grew up in northern New Jersey, and his family currently resides in Horseheads, N.Y.  

Sebastian’s favorite classes in college have been organic chemistry and biochemistry.  When it comes to areas outside of science, his favorite classes have been in philosophy.  Not only does philosophy provide Sebastian with ideas he can apply to daily life, it also exposes him to new ways of thinking about science.  The extracurricular activities Sebastian participates in on campus are the ASBMB UAN and the RIT Zen Club.  He also enjoys reading, lifting weights, camping, and skateboarding in his spare time.  

Sebastian attended the 2011 ASBMB Annual Meeting where he presented on the enzymatic and structural characterization of a virulence factor from Staphylococcus aureus.  This fall, Sebastian will be enrolling in the Chemical-Biology Interface Program at the Johns Hopkins University.  Ultimately, he envisions himself doing research and mentoring future generations of scientists.  

Ray Romano  

Ray.RomanoRaymond Romano grew up in Kearny, N.J., a small town just 20 minutes outside of New York City. He is a senior biology major at Marymount Manhattan College.  Ray is doing research with Dr. Aguanno in her Cellular and Molecular research lab, where he also works as the recruiting assistant. At MMC, Ray is actively involved in science outreach programs with local high schools. He is the president of the Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society, and the UAN Chapter.    

Ray will be attending Boston University in the fall of 2011 where he will be pursuing a Masters in Public Health. After that, he hopes to apply to medical school, but is also toying with the idea of entering a Ph.D. program.   

When not in school, Ray loves to be with friends, going out to eat or seeing a movie. However, he spends most of his free time in the lab studying a protein Cyclin Dependent Kinase 5, and its role in insulin-related neurodegenerative diseases.    

Ray attended the 2011 ASBMB Annual Meeting where he participated in the poster competition and received an honorable mention in his category.  Being part of the UAN has allowed Ray to become a more confident individual, has opened doors to scientific meetings and symposia and helped hone his leadership skills.     

One of Ray’s favorite science jokes is: What type of bear is soluble in water? POLAR bear!   

George Savidis  

George.SavidisGeorge Savidis is a resident of Worcester, Massachusetts and a junior at College of the Holy Cross where he is studying biology in the premed program with a concentration in biochemistry. George leads the Biology Society at Holy Cross and volunteers at a local free health clinic.  

George hopes to attend medical school but is also considering master’s programs in physiology. During his leisure George loves playing soccer, piano, and violin.  He also enjoys working on his thesis research analyzing the process of protein splicing in thermophiles.   

George attended the 2011 ASBMB Annual Meeting and found it to be an awe-inspring experience.  He plans to attend the 2012 meeting in San Diego where he will present his research.   

His favorite science joke: Mole problems? Call Avogadro: 6.023 E23.  

Katie Wagner  

Katie.WagnerKatie Wagner is a junior at Wesleyan University double majoring in molecular biology & biochemistry (MB&B) and biology. Katie grew up in Reston, Virginia and attended Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.    

On campus Katie is the Residential Advisor of Science Hall, a theme-based housing option for students passionate about the sciences. Katie rowed for two years on the Wesleyan crew team, but left after developing a rib injury in order to pursue research more seriously.     

Katie is currently researching olfactory gene regulation. Her experiment involves observing olfactory receptor gene expression in clonal populations of mouse olfactory neurons for gene switching tendencies over time. Her experience in the lab has allowed her to think like a scientist while learning lessons in patience, troubleshooting, and scientific collaboration.    

Katie hopes to pursue an MD-PhD degree after graduation in order to work as a pediatrician and to conduct research in cancer prevention.     

Katie enjoys rowing, working with children, and software development. She hopes to incorporate software development into her future career as a physician-scientist and is excited to explore the opportunities that await her as biomedical technologies continue to progress.  


Thomas Cameron Waller 

Cameron.WallerThomas Cameron Waller grew up in the Boy Scouts of America program, which promotes service, leadership, and character by building life skills, practical preparedness, and personal health.  Through outdoor activity and training in environmental conservation, he learned the importance of preserving the natural order and beauty and respect for the earth and the natural environment.  Earth and nature provides inspiration for Cameron’s passion for the physical and life sciences.  

A senior at Winthrop University in his home state of South Carolina, Cameron majors in chemistry with a concentration in biochemistry.  His research in Dr. Jason Hurlbert lab involves the study of the relationship between the structure and function of Bacillus subtilis xylanase C.  This enzyme has exclusive specificity for the substituents of 4-O-methylglucuronoxylan, a form of hemicellulose and part of the abundant lignocellulosic biomass supply.  These polysaccharides are potential fuel sources, and hydrolysis by enzymes such as xylanase C could help to prepare the polymers for biological conversion to ethanol fuel.    

In the fall of 2011, Cameron will enter the Biological Chemistry graduate program at the University of Utah where he plans to pursue a doctoral degree in biochemistry.  He is grateful for the opportunity to join the program and excited by the school’s an excellent location for outdoor adventures.  He will definitely be bringing his mountain bike along with textbooks on the move westward.  

Ji Yeong An 

Ji.YeongAnBorn and raised in Seoul, South Korea, Ji Yeong An came to the United States in 2008 to attend college.  She is currently a junior at the University of Notre Dame studying biochemistry.    

As an undergraduate researcher, Ji worked closely with Dr. Robert Stahelin, a biochemist at the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend whose lab studies mechanistic models of lipid membrane and peripheral protein interactions. This protein-membrane interaction is crucial for viral assembly and budding process. Ji’s own research, focused on illuminating the mechanism of the Ebola viral budding process in hopes of contributing to the development of vaccines and cures for this rare and neglected disease.   

Ji wants to pursue a PhD or MD/PhD degree in biochemistry and neurology. She dreams of running her own research lab studying the mechanistic interaction between prion and lipid membrane at the structural level.   

Ji was unable to attend the 2011 ASBMB Annual Meeting, but is eagerly looking forward to the 2012 Annual Meeting in San Diego. Being part of the UAN has made her feel very connected to other undergraduate researchers who will one day become her collaborators and co-workers.  

In addition to doing science, Ji is a young woman who loves to take coffee breaks, go out for a walks, discuss theology, loves romance, and a practitioner of the Christian faith. Her family in Seoul is an important part of her life even though she doesn’t get to see them very often.   She is very grateful to them for their unconditional love and support.