2016 Honor Society inductees M-R

A-C  D-G  H-I  K-L  M-R  S  T-Z

Alaina McDonnellAlaina McDonnell, University of Tampa
Alaina McDonnell is a senior biochemistry student at the University of Tampa. She works under Dr. Scott Witherow on research involving the enzymatic catalysis of the transesterfication of triglycerides to produce biodiesel. Currently, Alaina is president of the on-campus ASBMB chapter, as well as a chemistry lab mentor, a chemistry tutor and a president leadership fellow. In the fall, Alaina will return to her home state of Pennsylvania to pursue a PhD in chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh.   

Carolina Mejia Pena, Goucher College

Amanda NguyenAmanda Nguyen, Trinity University
Amanda is a junior at Trinity University majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology with a minor in sociology. She worked on two projects in a biochemical neuroscience research lab with Dr. James Roberts. The research sought to understand the biochemical mechanisms of the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease. Her current project is characterizing particles secreted by astrocytes. Her experience in research has allowed her to utilize and collaborate with multiple disciplines such as math and engineering. 

She was one of the founders of the ASBMB chapter at Trinity. The chapter has regular events around San Antonio. The most rewarding experience for Amanda has been working with kids and helping to spark excitement and interest in the sciences. With a goal to help others, Amanda aims to go to medical school and continue her studies towards an MD/PhD. She strives to help others by contributing to research in the sciences as well as to research in public health. Her ultimate goal is to practice as a physician while working to advance equal access to healthcare across populations.

Minhkhoi NguyenMinhkhoi Nguyen, University of Arizona
Minhkhoi was always curious about how things worked. He would mix different liquids from around the house just to see what would happen, resulting in containers of questionable concoctions under his sink cabinet that got him into trouble. It was not until high school that he was exposed to chemistry and how biology was influenced by chemistry. It was at this point that some of his observations of life started to make sense to him, and so he followed these interests to the University of Arizona. This led him to a neuroscience lab that worked primarily on aging’s effect on learning and memory. Minhkhoi works on coupling tissue transparency techniques with fluorescence in situ hybridization methods in order to track Arc transcripts in whole intact rat brains. This can potentially allow for visualization of intact neural networks involved in learning and memory. Outside of the lab, Minhkhoi is a part of the biochemistry club and the Arizona Mentor Society which focuses on STEM outreach to local middle schools around Tucson. He plans to pursue a PhD in stem cells and regenerative medicine in the hopes of applying them to different neurodegenerative diseases.

Melanie ParzialeMelanie Parziale, Wesleyan University
Melanie is a molecular biology and biochemistry and theater double major at Wesleyan University. She works in Dr. Amy MacQueen’s yeast genetics and meiosis lab. Her work focuses on the effect of micro deletions on the structure and function of the ZIP1 protein in S. cerevisae. Melanie is the music director of an all-female a capella group. She stars in musicals and builds sets for the student theater group Second Stage. She is also a member of Wesleyan’s only tap dance group. Last summer, she was lucky enough to intern at the Neurological Clinical Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital. Her experience helped her to realize that she wanted to work with patients as well as engage in cutting-edge research on human diseases. She has spent the past year applying to medical school, and she hopes to continue her love of research while in medical school and beyond.

Clarissa Rous, St. Mary’s College of Maryland
Clarissa’s love of science was shaped by her mother and father. She found her greatest interest lies in cell and developmental biology and biomedical research. Her first research experience was at the National Institutes of Health where she optimized a flow cytometric test to identify and quantify cell populations infected with Kaposi Sarcoma Herpesvirus, a prevalent oncovirus that also causes blood disorders. At Cornell University last summer, she investigated a system of post-transcriptional gene expression regulation that appears to be crucial to bacterial infection in many different species. She will be presenting her research from Cornell at the ASBMB annual meeting. At St. Mary’s College of Maryland, she is working on the development of reversibly light-activated inhibitors of the enzyme cyclooxygenase-2, which promotes inflammation and pain and is implicated in cancer development. 

Clarissa assists with the advanced biochemistry lab, tutors her peers in writing and speaking, serves on the executive board of her school's ASBMB chapter, teaches environmental science at local schools, and participates in the environmental action group, Citizen’s Climate Lobby. Any spare time is filled with reading, creating artwork, cooking, or doing yoga or pilates. She will pursue a PhD in cell and molecular biology either at the University of California, Berkeley, or at the University of Pennsylvania.