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2014 Honor Society Inductees N-P

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Tyler Nguyen

Tyler NguyenTyler first became interested in science when he was a child.  His father was a mechanical engineer, so Tyler was naturally exposed to his creative ways of thinking, his inventions, as well as the collection of science lessons behind it all.  Although Tyler began his journey in science with more of a physics edge, he has gradually drifted towards human biology throughout his undergraduate career as he has time and time again seen the great applications of all scientific disciplines in the field of medicine. 

Tyler is currently the Vice President of the Sigma Pi Sigma (Physics Honors Society) Chapter at Mary Baldwin College, and he is also a member of the COSMOS International Club, American Chemical Society Chapter, and Math Club.

He hopes to gain acceptance to medical school in the near future and to one day become a doctor. In his free time, Tyler likes to play Flamenco guitar, draw anything but himself, fry omelettes (still working on other dishes), watch YouTube videos, and take walks downtown while pondering the meaning of life.  

He is currently studying the binding interactions between human DNA and the human antimicrobial peptide, LL37, a process known to convert the DNA into an activator of certain leukocytes in psoriasis as well as other autoimmune diseases.  In exploring the various aspects of the interaction, such as the specificity with regards to DNA sequence, the binding mechanism as characterized by a binding curve, and the localization of DNA-LL37 complexes in different types of leukocytes, Tyler hopes to contribute to the vast body of knowledge regarding autoimmune disease mechanisms that may eventually allow the development of improved, targeted therapies.  


Christopher Parronchi

Seton Hall University 


Jonathan Payne

La Sierra University


Andy Phan

Andy PhanDuring his sophomore year of high school, Andy became heavily involved in a science fair project on his ceramic arts hobby. He wanted to learn how varying the glaze chemical composition affected the strength of the ceramic body. Each step of the project was both exciting and invigorating. With this project, he won first place in physics at the regional science fair of Southern Arizona. This experience marked the beginning of his career in science. 

Andy is a senior at the University of Arizona majoring in Biochemistry. He currently works in the laboratory of Dr. Terrence Monks in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, delineating the molecular mechanisms of 3 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine-induced neurotoxicity. He plans to continue working in this lab, performing pharmacology research as he applies to medical school. 

Because of his experiences in science, Andy wishes to inspire younger students to be scientifically engaged. As Arizona’s UAN chapter Vice President this past year, he has co-organized and led the BECUR Conference, the Visiting Scholars program, and the BlastOff! summer camp for middle school students. Through the UAN, he is able to serve the community through scientific outreach. 

Outside of research and the UAN, Andy volunteers at the University of Arizona Medical Center Emergency Department and acts as a mentor and tutor to other students.


Melonie Phillips

Melonie PhillipsMelonie has always had the curiosity bug, but her 10th grade honors chemistry class is what really drove her to become interested in science. Her teacher made her see how fun and interesting science can be, and Melonie never lost that feeling. She double majored in biochemistry and chemistry and minored in mathematics at Ursinus College. She became involved in tutoring, the Beardwood Chemical Society, and Beta Beta Beta, the biology honor society. Melonie also loves participating in community outreach programs that bring science to younger students. Beginning her freshman year, she participated in a genetics research project that investigated the genetics of a freshwater beetle to determine if a cryptic species was present on the East Coast. UAN is a great community because it is filled with undergraduates who also share a love of biochemistry, and she has loved being a part of that community.

Although Melonie loves research and has great respect for researchers, participating in research helped her discover that she wants to interact with patients, and she hopes to become a pediatric oncologist. Melonie wants to help children and their families overcome disease. Her plans for the future are to attend medical school and join Doctors without Borders, combining her love of helping people with traveling. Also, in the very distant future, she would love to start an animal sanctuary.


Sai Phyo

Sai PhyoSai is an international student from Burma with a biology major and minors in philosophy and chemistry. He is a Presidential Scholar and part of the St. John’s University’s honors program. Sai has been fascinated in biology since he was in fourth grade, and after his first molecular biology class in St. John’s University with Dr. Timothy Carter, he became fascinated with molecular research.

After the first semester, Sai started working in the Immunology lab directed by Dr. Ivana Vancurova at St. John’s University. The research focuses on the transcriptional regulations of Nuclear Factor kB (NFkB) dependent pro-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic genes in the presence of proteasome inhibitor, bortezomib, in prostate and ovarian cancer cell lines. 

Sai co-authored “Proteasome Inhibition by Bortezomib Increases IL-8 expression in Androgen-Independent Prostate Cancer Cells: The Role of IKKa” that was published in The Journal of Immunology.  He also co-authored the chapter “Quantitative Analysis of Bortezomib Induced IL-8 Gene Expression in ovarian cancer cells” in Methods in Molecular Biology

Sai wants to pursue an MD/PhD after college and follow a career in pediatric oncology. He is also interested in bioethics and wants to someday get a Masters in bioethics (MBE) as well. Sai is a Child’s Life volunteer at Cohen Children’s Medical Center Hematology and Oncology In-Patient unit of the North-Shore Long Island Jewish Hospital System. He is part of the Watson Pre-Health Society, Phi Eta Sigma National Honors Society and participates in community services organized by St. John’s University in the New York City area such as midnight runs.

Sai enjoys playing badminton, running and swimming. By being part of the UAN, Sai has been able to travel to annual meetings and present his research, make new connections with other attendees during the event, attend lectures by world-renowned researchers, get insightful information regarding research careers, and see how the world of research collaborates with advances in scientific knowledge.


Ekaterina Protsenko

Providence College