First Year Scholars 2018

Third Year Scholars

Our 22 third year scholars have reached their final year of funding from ARCS Foundation. Many have at least one to three more years before they complete their PhD programs.  We will stay in touch, and we look forward to attending their dissertation defenses. We maintain contact with all of our alumni scholars and follow their progress throughout their careers, celebrating their achievements and publicizing their work.

Hannah Bates
  • The UO Chemistry Scholar
  • Given by an anonymous donor
  • UO, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
  • About the Scholar: Hannah synthesizes fluorescent molecules capable of supramolecular interactions, then characterizes how effective these molecular receptors are at binding anions. The long-term goal of this project is to develop receptors which can measure anion concentration in biologically and ecologically pertinent environments, for example tracking chloride anions moving around the body or nitrate anions as they flow from fertilized fields to rivers. Outside of lab she enjoys mixing cocktails, reading novels and exploring Oregon on her bike.
Michael Berry
  • The Hewitt Family ARCS Foundation Oregon Scholar Award Endowed Fund (OHSU Matched Endowment)
  • Given by Sharon & Henry Hewitt
  • OHSU, School of Medicine - Physiology & Pharmacology
  • About the Scholar: Mike studies a population of non-image forming cells in the retina that are responsible for influencing circadian processes including sleep and hormone regulation. In retinal diseases such as Glaucoma, these cells can be damaged, resulting in changes to circadian rhythm and subsequent disorders. By understanding the function of these cells and their changes in retinal degeneration, Mike hopes to develop targeted therapies designed to restore, prevent, or delay the progression of vision related diseases. Mike enjoys photography, playing sports, and collecting books.
Katie Blise
  • The Rubinstein/Ames Scholar
  • Given by Deanne & Dick Rubinstein and Kathleen & Robert Ames
  • OHSU, School of Medicine - Biomedical Engineering
  • About the Scholar: Katie studies the spatial organization of tumor and immune cells in human cancers by applying computational algorithms to single-cell resolution data from tumor samples. Her goal is to identify spatial patterns of cells that can predict patient survival and response to therapy, and can help inform how future cancer patients are treated. Outside of her research, Katie enjoys hiking, backpacking, and playing ultimate Frisbee.
Emerson Christie
  • The ARCS Foundation Oregon Chapter 10th Anniversary Fund Scholar
  • Given by ARCS Foundation Oregon Chapter
  • OSU, College of Agricultural Sciences - Environmental and Molecular Toxicology
  • About the Scholar: Emerson researches per and poly fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and how they partition into environmental compartments. Specifically, he studies how PFAS constituents in aqueous film forming foams interact with non-aqueous phase liquids and proteins. Through this research he hopes to identify new considerations for assessing the environmental fate of these emerging contaminants. When not working on research, Emerson enjoys playing with his son, cooking, and video game development
Mary Davis
  • The Giesy Family ARCS Foundation Oregon Scholar Award Endowed Fund (OHSU Matched Endowment)
  • Given by Barbara Giesy
  • OHSU, School of Nursing
  • About the Scholar: Mary researches symptoms of cardiovascular disease among women using advanced quantitative methods. By studying gender differences in symptoms of heart failure, Mary hopes to identify classes of symptoms that may lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment. She is particularly interested in non-cardiac related events that may infer symptom differences, such as reproductive history. She is a critical care nurse who enjoys hiking, running, and time with her husband, teen sons, and dog.
Brian Erickson
  • The ARCS Foundation Oregon Chapter Scholar Award
  • Given by ARCS Foundation Oregon Members
  • OSU, College of Agricultural Sciences
  • About the Scholar: Brian applies social science to improve ocean conservation efforts. He is researching how feelings (e.g., trust, hope, distrust, vulnerability, etc.) and past experiences influence support or opposition to marine protected areas. Through this research, he hopes to help natural resource managers improve communication and public participation processes as well as better identify when conflicts require trust building or distrust reduction. Brian enjoys whitewater kayaking, gardening, and watching his newborn son grow and develop.
Thomas Fernandez
  • The Harrison/Ridgley Scholar
  • Given by Janis & Bob Harrison and Marilyn & Bob Ridgley
  • OHSU, School of Medicine
  • About the Scholar: Thomas is interested in the biology of opioid receptor activation. One of the goals of this research is to eventually create a better therapeutic with less side effects like tolerance and euphoria which can lead to addiction.
Justina Freilich
  • The Connie L. and Carl J. Clark Scholar
  • Given by Connie L. & Carl J. Clark
  • OSU, College of Engineering - Nuclear Science and Engineering
  • About the Scholar: Justina’s research focuses on modeling nanoscale materials for radiation shielding in deep space applications. Her goal is to provide an understanding of the complexity necessary for a radiation transport model to accurately simulate the shielding performance of nanocomposite materials. She hopes that this work will help establish a balance of accuracy and computational time in order to develop advanced materials more quickly. Beyond her research, Justina enjoys cooking, crocheting, and hiking.
Gregory Hamersky
  • The Branford/Bernhardt & Cameron Scholar
  • Given by Julie Branford & Terry Bernhardt and Lyn & Charlie Cameron
  • OHSU, School of Medicine
  • About the Scholar: Greg is interested in auditory streaming, the ability to perceive a single sound source in the presence of cluttered acoustic environments. More specifically, how the brain represents spectrotemporal features of sounds to give rise to auditory streaming. He studies neural responses in non-human primates presented with complex sounds and uses tools such as neural networks to investigate representational strategies underlying this perceptual ability. Outside the lab, Greg enjoys climbing, making music, and gardening.
Jesse Howe
  • The ARCS Foundation Oregon Chapter Scholar Award
  • Given by ARCS Foundation Oregon Members
  • OSU, College of Science
  • About the Scholar: Jesse is studying multivalent protein-protein interactions in a biological context using LC8 as a model system. Jesse is using a combination of in vitro biophysical analysis, mammalian cell culture, and in cell biophysical techniques to describe how multivalence in protein interactions influences cellular outcomes. In his spare time, Jesse likes to play scary video games, play guitar, and take care of his blue-tongued skink.
Jennifer Jahncke
  • The Susan and William Smith Family Trust Scholar
  • Given by Susan & William Smith
  • OHSU, School of Medicine - Neuroscience Graduate Program
  • About the Scholar Jennifer is interested in how neurons form and maintain synaptic connections. Specifically, she studies the role that the scaffolding protein dystroglycan plays in synapse structure and function. Mutations affecting dystroglycan result in a class of muscular dystrophy termed dystroglycanopathy, which is accompanied by cognitive symptoms. By understanding dystroglycan’s function, Jennifer hopes to develop approaches to alleviate cognitive symptoms in dystroglycanopathy patients. Outside of the lab Jennifer enjoys cooking, hiking, and making art.
Sunil Joshi
  • The Dyess Family ARCS Foundation Oregon Scholar Award Endowed Fund (OHSU Matched Endowment)
  • Given by Kirby & Carl Dyess
  • OHSU, School of Medicine - Knight Cancer Institute
  • About the Scholar: Sunil’s research is focused on drug resistance in the setting of acute myeloid leukemia. He is examining the crosstalk between leukemia cells and stromal cells found within the bone marrow microenvironment and how this interaction confers resistance. An understanding of the underlying signaling that provides the leukemia cells a growth-permissive signal could facilitate the development of new therapies that could be combined with existing inhibitors to improve patient outcomes. Outside of lab, Sunil enjoys running and spending time with family and friends.
Tanya Laird
  • The Ditz/Halvorsen Scholar
  • Given by Gigi & David Ditz and Karen & Frank Halvorsen
  • OSU, College of Engineering - School of Civil and Construction Engineering
  • About the Scholar: Tanya’s research work involves studying the mechanical properties and application of mass timber products in various structural contexts. This work will aid in broadening the reach and application of mass timber products. Mass timber products have a much lower carbon footprint than most other construction materials and ultimately will help make the construction industry and society as a whole more sustainable. Tanya enjoys woodworking and baking, and meeting for a weekly game of DND.
Jesse Laney
  • The ARCS Foundation Oregon Chapter Scholar Award
  • Given by ARCS Foundation Oregon Members
  • OSU, College of Science - Department of Integrative Biology
  • About the Scholar: Jesse investigates patterns in the composition, distribution, and diversity of bird and mammal communities as they respond to changes in climate, land-cover, and topography across space and through time. By understanding these patterns, we can better understand and predict how resilient our terrestrial ecosystems are to ecological change now and in the future. Jesse is the President of the Board of Directors of the Friends of Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge. He enjoys volunteering for conservation, bird watching, fly fishing, and taking his two kids on adventures—be it in the great outdoors or in the pages of a good book.
Amy Leatherwood
  • The Joseph-Murray Scholar
  • Given by Kate Joseph and Tom Murray
  • OHSU, School of Nursing
  • About the Scholar: Amy is investigating cognitive decline in men receiving hormone deprivation therapy for prostate cancer, and its effect on their ability to return to work following cancer treatment.  With the age of retirement creeping ever higher and the number of cancer survivors growing, this work addresses the need to better understand how changes in cognitive function due to cancer treatment can affect work ability and quality of life in prostate cancer survivors. In her spare time, Amy enjoys hiking, stand-up paddle boarding, and traveling with her husband and three children.
Meredith Leung
  • The Meigs Family Scholar
  • Given by Laurie McDonald Meigs
  • OSU, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences
  • About the Scholar: Meredith’s research focuses on coastal geomorphology and chronic coastal hazards (e.g., flooding and erosion). She helps develop computer models that forecast coastal hazard impacts on local and regional scales under different climate scenarios. These models provide fundamental information about the links between climate and hazardous events, as well as produce quantitative tools to help coastal communities manage their shorelines. Meredith enjoys exploring Oregon- whether by hiking and camping in the wild or hitting the food and arts scene in the city.
Ian Morrell
  • The ARCS Foundation Oregon Chapter Scholar Award
  • Given by ARCS Foundation Oregon Members
  • OSU, College of Forestry (Wood Science and Engineering), College of Engineering (Civil and Construction Engineering)
  • About the Scholar: Ian is developing new connections systems and design approaches for Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT)-Concrete composite floor systems. CLT is a mass timber product that allows wood to compete in mid- and high-rise structures, however, CLT floors require a non-combustible topping (concrete). Connecting the CLT and concrete increases the strength and stiffness, increasing the floor span. New connection systems can improve performance and economy, easing adoption, helping to foster a more sustainable skyline. Ian also enjoys music and singing.
Ashley Pica
  • The Cunningham/Weaver Scholar
  • Given by Lara Cunningham and Anne & Scott Weaver
  • OSU, College of Science
  • About the Scholar: Ashley studies nuclear dynamics as we approach the limits of nuclear stability. Her research focuses primarily on experimental measurements of high-energy fission of actinide isotopes and the preparation of actinide targets. This research is important to both civil and defense efforts and she hopes to use her experience to eventually get a job working for the National Nuclear Security Administration.
Anna Simpson
  • The Bergen/Kern Scholar
  • Given by Marilyn Bergen and Michael & Kris Kern
  • OSU, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences
  • About the Scholar: Anna studies how tides and currents interact with steep topography in the ocean including tidewater glacial fjords in Alaska. Her research goal is to understand how tidal currents across shallow sills in these systems dissipate energy and transfer heat from the large ocean system into the fjords. Understanding this transfer of heat is important, because warmer fjord water temperatures enhance glacier melting and can impact the ecosystem.
Jeremea Songco
  • The Caron & Larry Ogg Endowed Scholar
  • Given by Caron & Larry Ogg
  • UO, College of Arts and Sciences
  • About the Scholar: Mea’s research explores cell types in the octopus. In understanding how different brains execute tasks, such as visual processing, her research contributes to a deeper understanding of how dynamic brains, like a human’s, are also able to execute behaviors. In short, Mea’s research aims to understand how neurons are wired together in other evolved organisms to be able to answer questions about how human brains function. Outside of the lab, Mea enjoys writing and yoga.
Marie Tosa
  • The ARCS Foundation Oregon Chapter Scholar Award
  • Given by ARCS Foundation Oregon Members
  • OSU, College of Agricultural Sciences
  • About the Scholar: Marie studies how the animals, insects, plants, and fungi in federal forests of the Pacific Northwest are impacted by disturbances. Specifically, Marie is examining how the diversity of these groups is different in old-growth forests compared to recently thinned forests and plantations of Douglas fir. In addition, Marie studies the ecology of the western spotted skunk, an understudied but important carnivore species, and how they use the heterogeneous landscape. Through her research, she hopes to inform forest management and improve ways in which humans coexist and protect natural areas. Outside the lab, Marie enjoys hiking, skiing and paddling. Marie and her partner are exploring the wonderful world of being a dog parent to Blueberry, an Australian cattle dog mix.
Alexander You
  • The Karen Irons Medicis Scholar
  • Given by Diane & Dick Alexander
  • OSU, College of Engineering - Robotics
  • About the Scholar: Alex is researching how to use robots for agricultural tasks related to fresh market fruit production, such as fruit picking, tree pruning, and orchard maintenance. Given the overall decline in farm labor availability, robots provide an opportunity to work alongside humans to sustain sufficient agricultural output for the growing world population. Outside of the lab, Alex also enjoys sewing, drawing, and karaoke.