Scientist of the Month

The Biomedical Learning and Student Training (BLAST) program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) highlights scientists from all biomedical fields through the Scientist of the Month articles. These articles are shared across the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) and University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) campuses, and all BLaST partner institutions which include Iļisaġvik College, Fort Lewis College, Diné College, Salish Kootenai College, and Alaska Pacific University. Below are the Scientists of the Month recognized by calendar years. Click on their names to access their flyers.

Robin Masterman

2024-April Robin Masterman Scholar Hibernation biology; The benefits and drawbacks to using traditional healing in the treatment of behavioral health issues; Stable isotopes and human diet; and Food sovereignty and security in the YK-Delta Kelly Drew, Hoshi Sugiura, Andrea Bersamin, Diane O'Brien, Nikola Nicolic, Emily Sousa, and Ellen Chenoweth
UAF Fairbanks
2024-March Gabriel Miller Scholar Effects of Rabies Viral Glycoprotein Binding on Human and Dog α7 Nicotinic Receptors; and Effects of siRNA silencing on VDR expression and Oxidative Stress Tolerance in Microglia Maegan Weltzin, Brittany O'Brien, Alireza Badei, Alex Cornwall, Nikola Nicolic, Emily Sousa
UAF Fairbanks
2024-February Michael Martins Scholar Using HAARP to Measure Temperatures and Winds in the Ionosphere as a Function of Height Mark Conde, JR Ancheta, Heidi Shepard, Evita Maniatopoulou, Eduardo Jany, Benjamin Keisling, Brenda Konar, Torin Hooge, Nikola Nicolic, Emily Sousa, Andrew Cyr
UAF Fairbanks
2023-December/ Jan. 2024 Maggie House Scholar Biomonitoring Cripple Creek’s Water Quality After a Reconstruction Through Macro-Invertebrate Diversity Christi Buffington, Dr. Jeff Muehlbauer, Sarah Barcalow, Lori Gildehaus UAF Fairbanks
2023-December/ Jan. 2024 Maggie House Scholar Biomonitoring Cripple Creek’s Water Quality After a Reconstruction Through Macro-Invertebrate Diversity Christi Buffington, Dr. Jeff Muehlbauer, Sarah Barcalow, Lori Gildehaus
UAF Fairbanks
2023-October Julie-Anne Brown Scholar Sustainable fish population management in the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (AYK) region Dr. Kelly Drew, Maggie Harings, Hoshi Sugiura, Hannah Robinson, Sarah Barcalow, Dr. Andres Lopez, Eric Schoen
UAF Fairbanks
2023-May Logan Ito Scholar Comparative Genetic Analysis of Herring Andres Lopez, Don Larson, Emily Sousa, Arleigh Reynolds
UAF Fairbanks
2023-March Shadrach Stitz Scholar Investigation into the role of zirconocene in mediating or catalyzing peptide bond formation William (Bill) Howard, Emily Sousa, Nikola Nikolic
UAF Fairbanks
2023-February Christian Bolton Scholar Examining warming temperatures in the Antarctic that affect marine wildlife Kristin O'Brien, Andrea Bersamin, Andrej Podlutsky, Emily Sousa, Hannah Robinson
UAF Fairbanks
2023-January Tirzah Bryant Scholar Behavioral patterns of snowshoe hares at salt licks Knut Kielland, Emily Sousa, Andrew Cyr
UAF Fairbanks
2022-December Daphne Mueller Scholar Microbial community diversity in sediment and water from the Chena River Andrés Lopez, Mario Muscarella, Linda Nicholas-Figueroa, Andrej Podlutsky, Sasha White, Emily Sousa, Theresa Vertigan
UAF Fairbanks
2022-November Laura Ekada Scholar Getting through a Pandemic: The Role of Culture and Traditions in a Rural Alaska Native Community Jacques Philip, Inna Rivkin, Cathy Brooks, Janessa Newman, Emily Sousa
UAF Fairbanks
2022-October Tyler Baker-Chapman Scholar Effects of bacteriophage on antibiotic resistance Mario Muscarella, Theresa Vertigan, Emily Sousa
UAF Fairbanks
2022-September Orlin Gologergen Scholar, URE Stable isotope analysis of bowhead whale skin and blubber Jan Straley, Lauren Wild, Ellen Chenoweth, Emily Sousa
UAF Fairbanks
2022-August Mario Muscarella FPP The Alaska Wild Berry Microbiome Project None
UAF Fairbanks
2022-May Jeramiah Brown Scholar DNA Repair Efficiency in Lung Cancer Cell Lines, and MinION novel technology-enrich for a specific target genome using adaptive sampling Dr. Andrej Podlutsky, Dr. Devin Drown, Natalia Podlutskaya
UAF Fairbanks
2022-April Daniel Dykes Scholar The effects of social isolation on OCD mice Abel Bult-Ito, Thomas Kuhn, Natalia Podlutskaya
UAF Fairbanks
2022-March Paul Larson Scholar Waterfowl ecology, population dynamics, and physiology Diane O’Brien, Matthew Wooller, Andrew Cyr
UAF Fairbanks
2022-February Samantha Wade  Scholar Sequencing the genome of an oil-degrading bacterium from the Arctic Ocean Mary Beth Leigh, Linda Nicholas-Figeuroa, Natalia Podlutskaya
UAF Fairbanks
2022-January Natalia Podlutskaya RAMP Diabetes in Alaska Native People, Hibernation and DNA repair, and I'qmik toxicity Andrej Podlutsky 
UAF Fairbanks
2021-November Megahn Reese URE DNA repair in ovarian cancer cell lines OV90 and SKOV3 in response to x-ray damage using the standardized comet assay procedure Andrej Podlutsky, Robert Williams
UAF Fairbanks
2021-October Shayna Matson Scholar DNA analysis of biofilms in UAF water sources Devin Drown
UAF Fairbanks
2021-September Craig Chythlook Scholar Rural Water Services Impact on Subsistence Barbara Johnson, Ellen Lopez
UAF Fairbanks
2021-June David Harvey Scholar Human respiratory health hazards from volcanic ash impacting the village of Nelson Lagoon following the March 2016 Pavlof Volcano eruption; and Reconstructing plant communities through sediment cores in Kodiak, AK Chris Maio, Nancy Bigelow, graduate student Lindsey Smith, Elisabeth Nadin, Sean Regan, and Ken Severin
UAF Fairbanks
2021-May Tristan O-Donoghue URE Cancer cell lines and their affinity to undergo DNA repair after being exposed to UV and X-ray radiation Andrej Podlutsky, Robert Williams
UAF Fairbanks
2021-April Todd Brinkman Faculty Wildlife ecology on the North Slope, Interior, and Southeast Alaska, concentrating on large mammals such as deer, moose, caribou and bears. none
UAF Fairbanks
2021-March Tony Thompson Scholar the study of DNA (eDNA) and fish ecology, developing an eDNA assay that can detect and quantify Arctic Lamprey, Lethenteron camtschaticum, in freshwater aquatic systems Andres Lopez, Cristina Hansen, Lori Gildehaus
UAF Fairbanks
2021-Feb Michelle Quillin Scholar Bioaccumulation of mercury in northern fur seals from St. Paul, Island, Alaska, relative to rookery fidelity; Juvenile Chinook Salmon Lorrie Rea, Stephanie Crawford, Erik Schoen, Todd Brinkman UAF Fairbanks
2021-Jan James McKay URE Examination of nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy associated mutations in subtypes of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors; and Computational Modeling of Wild-type and Sleep Related Hyper-motor Epilepsy Associated Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors Using Single-Channel Patch Clamp Electrophysiology Maegan Weltzin/Renate Wackerbauer UAF Fairbanks
2020-Dec Michael Castellini RL5 Research Core Senior Director Comparative vertebrate physiology, biochemistry and behavioral adaptations in diving marine mammals and birds, population health and response to climate change none UAF Fairbanks
2020-Nov Brianna Lu Scholar Effects of Alaska botanicals as a naturopathic therapy for Parkinson's disease expressed in C. elegans and mice; and Effects of diet and aging on alpha synuclein overexpression in C. elegans Malabika Maulik, Abel Bult-Ito UAF Fairbanks
2020-October Maegen Weltzin FPP Rabies glycoprotein interacts with neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in a subtype-selective manner; Microbiology none UAF Fairbanks
2020-June, July, August, September none none none none none
2020-May Ava Parrish Scholar Quantitative analysis of popular pre- workout supplements; and Social scaffolding between Milo the Robot and individuals with ASD Joanne Healy UAF Fairbanks
2020-April none none none none none
2020-Mar Shelby McCahon Scholar Effects of Photoperiod and Dopamine Disruption on Sleep and Mass Gain Todd O’Hara, Marianne Lian, Andrew Cyr, Anusha Shankar, Cory Williams, Todd Brinkman UAF Fairbanks
2020-Feb none none none none none
2020-Jan Samantha Haines and Sabrina Bishop UREs Transcriptomics of BCBL-1 Cell Line Following TPA Treatment Andrej Podlutsky UAF Fairbanks
2019-Dec Jennie Humphrey Scholar Mobilizing Alaskan Genomics: Exploring Alaska's soil microbiome/ Prevalence of PQQ producing bacteria in Alaskan soil; and Chilkat Indian village food assessment in Klukwan, Alaska Devin Drown, Anne-Lise Ducluzeau, Andrea Bersamin UAF Fairbanks
2019-Nov Kristian Rivera Scholar Genetic repair dynamics and gene expression in cancerous (HeLa) and healthy (HDFa) cells; and Lipid composition impacts MHCII assembly in Nanodiscs Andrej Podlutsky, Robert Williams, Tynan Becker, Thomas Kuhn UAF Fairbanks
2019-Oct Andrea Bersamin FPP Tundra to table: Instruments and education pilot testing; Alaska Native Health and Subsistence none UAF Fairbanks
2019-Sept Noah Khalsa Scholar Effects of ocean acidification on calcifying organisms; and Environmental conditions as drivers of fish abundance and distribution in the coastal Arctic Andres Lopez, Amanda Kelley, Anne-Lise Ducluzeau UAF Fairbanks
2019-August Don Larson GMRA Ecophysiological parasitology, animal survival techniques, adaptations to winter influence parasites, seasonal variation and overwintering strategies of two trematode parasites   UAF Fairbanks
2019-July Courtney Hill URE Validation of Reflection Spectroscopy as a Biomarker for Fruit and Vegetable Intake in a Yup'ik Community Andrea Bersamin UAF Fairbanks
2019-June Stephanie Kennedy GMRA Immune pathways and mercury: human C3b and MeHg binding Todd O'Hara UAF Fairbanks
2019-May Andrej Podlutsky FPP DNA repair in virally infected cells/Cancer Biology none UAF Fairbanks
2019-April Melissa Clark Scholar Binding of hemagglutinin to Major Histocompatibility Complex II(MHC Class II) Cristina Hansen, Tynen Becker UAF Fairbanks
2019-Mar Janessa Newman Scholar 1-Stories and Images of Community Strength from a Youth Dog Mushing Program in Rural Alaska. 2-Intergenerational Dialogue Exchange and Action to Facilitate Youth Wellness Jacques Philip UAF Fairbanks
2019-Feb Maggie Castellini UAF lab technician The effects of mercury on animals in aquatic environments and the links between environmental, animal, and human health Todd O'Hara UAF Fairbanks
2019-Jan none none none none none
2018-Dec Aline Collin GMRA Bridging the gap between in vivo and in vitro research   UAF Fairbanks
2018-Nov Mackenzie Jenkins URE Neurochemical pathways of the brainstem involved in adenosine A1 receptor agonistinduced hibernation in the Arctic ground squirrel (Urocitellus paryii) Kelly Drew, Carla Frare UAF Fairbanks
2018-Oct Ana Fiorella Carrasco Scholar Using next generation sequencing to detect hepatitis C virus infection in Alaska; and Immunology testing to detect HIV with the 5th generation; and BioPlex HIV Ag-Ab assay: Incidence of false positivity in a low-prevalence population and its effects on the current HIV testing algorithm Jack Chen UAF Fairbanks
2018-Sept Kimi Yatsushiro GMRA Examining postpartum depression screening behavior of prenatal care providers Kendra Campbell UAF Fairbanks
2018-Aug Annie Enderle URE Birch sap protein analysis and immunotolera nce Tynan Becker UAF Fairbanks
2018-July Devin Drown FPP Mobilizing Alaskan genomics with nanopore sequencing/ Biology & Microbiology Devin Drown UAF Fairbanks
2018-June Viktorija Podlutskaya Scholar DNA repair in virally infected cells Andrej Podlutsky UAF Fairbanks
2018-May Christina Edwin Scholar The effect of organic, range- fed, dietary meat on human protein synthesis; and now Tl'eegho baabe' in Maneelghaadze T'oh (Native foods in Koyukuk Alaska)- a personal journey of reclaiming identity through the making of moose head soup Charlene Stern UAF Fairbanks
2018-April none none none none none
2018-Mar Malabika Maulik GMRA Effect of Alaskan blueberry on Parkinson's disease model of C. elegans Barbara Taylor UAF Fairbanks
2018-Feb Mark Velasco Scholar The effects of hibernation on the rates of DNA repair in Arctic ground squirrels following DNA damage; and DNA Repair in Arctic Ground Squirrel Fibroblasts Andrej Podlutsky UAF Fairbanks
2018-Jan Joanna Green RAMP Arctic microbes: Population abundance and the effects of a warming climate Linda Nicholas-Figueroa UAF Fairbanks
2017-Dec none none none none none
2017-Nov Jimin "Josh" Kim Scholar Yukon Arctic ultra, nutritional liver health; and Functional benefits of weight loss in overweight/obese elderly Robert Coker UAF Fairbanks
2017-Oct Ellen Lopez Faculty Community-based participatory research in tribal organizations none UAF Fairbanks
2017-Sept Sheri Coker GMRA The influence of organic, wild game versus commercial meat on protein synthesis in humans Robert Coker UAF Fairbanks
2017-Aug Raven Shaw URE Understanding the seasonal abundance of HABs near Science Center Fish Hatchery in Sitka, Alaska Esther Kennedy, Kitty LaBounty, Michael Jamros, Kari Lanphier UAS Sitka
2017-July Thomas Kuhn Faculty HIV-1 gp120- induced actin rod formation: A novel mechanism for HIV associated neurodegeneration none UAF Fairbanks
2017-June Elena Vayndorf Post-Doc Neuronal aging and neurodegenerative diseases with ancillary interests in nutrition, toxicology and metagenomics Barbara Taylor UAF Fairbanks
2017-May Farimang Touray Jr. URE Alaskan Botanicals effects on aging, muscle health and neurodegener ative disease in C. elegans Barbara Taylor UAF Fairbanks
2017-April Jesse Klejka Scholar Diesel biodegradation potential of various birch and spruce rhizospheres; and Tumor Neoantigens (+ separate project) novel pathogen on Alaska's North Slope Andrea Ferrante UAF Fairbanks
2017-Mar Paul Bahna Faculty Catheter/device-related infection/microbiology none UAS Sitka
2017-Feb Gabriel Cartagena Scholar Cross-cultural comparison of HIV/AIDS survivorship in Alaska and Africa Thomas Kuhn UAF Fairbanks
2017-Jan Andrew Cyr GMRA The chemical feeding ecology of Alaskan fish: Mercury accumulation fish consumers, and One Health Todd O’Hara, Maggie Castellini UAF Fairbanks
2016-Dec Scott Jerome GMRA Biomarkers and cognitive function of trained endurance athletes at 64 degrees North Arleigh Reynolds, Kriya Dunlap UAF Fairbanks
2016-Nov Abigail Moran Scholar Assessing the strengths and needs of our Alaska informal caregivers and Hepatitis C and G Jack Chen UAF Fairbanks
2016-Oct Lauren Wild GMRA Diet and movement of male sperm whales in the Gulf of Alaska Jan Straley UAS Sitka
2016-Sept Barbara Taylor Faculty/PI Aging, using a C elegans model examining neurophysiology and health issues none UAF Fairbanks
2016-Aug Vanessa Santana Scholar Effects of caffeine on anxiety-like and compulsive- like behaviors in a non-induced OCD mouse model Abel Bult-Ito UAF Fairbanks
2016-July Abel Bult-Ito Faculty The role of CREB signaling in mouse compulsive-like behaviors none UAF Fairbanks
2016-June Rebekah Hare LRTT Arctic microbes population abundance and the effects of a warming climate Linda Nicholas-Figueroa UAF Fairbanks/Ilisagvik College
2016-May Hugh Leonard GMRA Best clinical practices focusing on Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) in psychotherapy for individuals experiencing severe emotion dysregulation, more specifically efficacy and cultural responsiveness of DBT for Alaska Native Communities Mike Worrall, Kendra Campbell UAF Fairbanks
2016-April Courtney Scerbak GMRA Focus on intricate relationship between genetics and diet with respect to aging: touch-receptor neuron aging processes within the worm model organism Caenorhabditis elegans Barbara Taylor UAF Fairbanks
2016-March Linda Nicholas-Figueroa Faculty Arctic microbes population abundance and the effects of a warming climate none Ilisagvik College - Barrow/ Utqiagvik
2016-Feb Amanda Grimes Undergraduate How specific environmental contaminants, accumulate in fish, the marine mammals that consume them, and the rest of the marine food web Todd O’Hara UAF Fairbanks
2016-Jan Anne-Lise Ducluzeau Post-Doc Research in Alaska investigating microbes in the Arctic Ocean and sea ice Eric Collins UAF Fairbanks