Honors Students

May 2018 Biology Honors Students
Biology Honors Students (about two-thirds of students in the program) - May 2018

Students defending in Spring 2022

Presentations are open to the public and typically last ~30 minutes.

Congratulations to the students defending their Honors Thesis this semester! And sincere thanks to their mentors and committee members.


Emily Parent 
Towards creation of transgenes and fluorescent germ cell markers in Kryptolebias marmoratus 
Committee: Dr. Eric Haag (mentor, Biology), Dr. Scott Juntti (Biology), Dr. William Jeffery (Biology)
Friday, 22 April 2022, 11am, Room 2249


Christina Barrett
Neural Complexity Within the Nucleus Accumbens and Dorsal Striatum Following High-Fat Diet in Mice
Committee: Dr. Mary Kay Lobo (mentor, UMB School of Medicine; Anatomy and Neurobiology), Dr. David Yager (Psychology), Dr. Scott Juntti (Biology)
Monday, 25 April 2022, 3:45 pm, Room BPS 2249


Simone Evans 
Hybridization in the Fringed Orchids: An Analysis of Species Boundaries in The Face of Gene Flow

Committee: Dr. Melissa McCormick (mentor, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center), Dr. Alexa Bely (co-mentor, Biology), Dr. Ida Hartvig (SERC), Dr. Karen Carleton (Biology)
Tuesday, 26 April 2022, 9 am, BPS 1208


Christina Capozzoli
The link between infant amygdala functional connectivity and behavioral inhibition
Committee: Dr. Nathan Fox (mentor, Human Development and Quantitative Methodology), Dr. Courtney Filippi (co-mentor, Postdoctoral fellow), Dr. Alexa Bely (co-mentor, Biology), Dr. Matthew Roesch (Psychology)
Thursday, 28 April 2022, 10 am, BPS 2249


Julie Cooper
Building a system to assess fine motor function in a mouse model of Angelman syndrome 
Committee: Dr. Michael Sidorov (mentor, Children's National Research Institute: Center for Neuroscience Research), Dr. Hilary Bierman (co-mentor, Biology), Dr. Nikolas Francis (Biology)
Friday, 29 April 2022, 12 pm, BPS 1238

Janam Shankar
Modulation of Inhibition and Resonance in Olfactory Circuits
Committee: Dr. Ricardo Araneda (Mentor, Biology), Dr. Quentin Gaudry (Biology), Dr. Katrina MacLeod (Biology), Dr. Colenso Speer (Biology)
Monday, 2 May 2022, 10am, BPS 1208 (second part, 11am-12noon is in BPS 1230)


Roya Hazraty
Potassium Conductances in Avian Cochlear Nucleus Angularis
Committee: Dr. Katrina MacLeod (mentor, Biology), Dr. Catherine Carr (Biology), Dr. Ricardo Araneda (Biology)
Monday, 2 May 2022, 12 pm, BPS 1208


Andrea Shirdon
Effects of dissolved oxygen and temperature on freshwater communities: field and laboratory studies in naid annelids
Committee: Dr. Alexa Bely (mentor, Biology), Dr. Bill Lamp (Entomology), Dr. Ken Paynter (MEES Graduate Program, Biology)
Monday, 2 May 2022, 12pm, BPS 2249


Nikola Susic
Age-Related Changes in the Odor Detection Threshold of Mice 

Committee: Dr. Ricardo Araneda (Mentor, Biology), Dr. Katrina Macleod (Biology), Dr. Chan Lin (Biology) 
Wednesday, 4 May 2022, 2 PM, BPS 2249


Debbie Adam 
Pattern Categorization in Ferrets - A Preliminary Study
Committee: Dr. Pingbo Yin (mentor, Institute of Systems Research), Dr. Shihab Shamma (Institute of Systems Research), Dr. Nikolas Francis (Biology)
Thursday, 5 May 2022, 1pm, Room BPS 1208 (part 2: BPS 1230 2-3pm)

Students who defended in Fall 2021

Andrea Orpia
A Connectomic Analysis of Diversity in Retinal Inhibitory Circuits
Committee: Dr. Josh Singer (Mentor, Biology), Dr. Colenso Speer (Biology), Dr. Catherine Carr (Biology)
Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Jonah Mittelstadt
The effect of long-term auditory training on the aging auditory cortex
Committee: Dr. Patrick Kanold (mentor, Biomedical Engineering at JHU), Dr. Dan Butts (co-mentor, Biology), Dr. Catherine Carr (Biology)
Thursday, 2 December 2021, 10 am, BPS 1208

Ethan Cheng
Computations for binocular integration in primary visual cortex
Committee: Dr. Daniel Butts (mentor, Biology), Dr. Elizabeth Quinlan (Biology), Dr. Nikolas Francis (Biology)
Thursday, 2 December 2021, 12:00 pm, BPS1208

Recent Biology Honors Program Alumni

Niki Gooya (Spring 2021) Staphyloccocus aureus and Candida albicans co-culture biofilm formation on dental implants influences on host immune system modeled in Caenorhabditis elegans. Dr. Birthe Kjellerup (mentor, Civil and Environmental Engineering), Dr. Alexa Bely (co-mentor, Biology)

Maryann Khong (Spring 2021) Identification and Characterization of the Antibiotic Resistance Profile of Escherichia coli Serovars Isolated from Poultry Litter. Dr. Shawna Weimer (mentor, Animal and Avian Sciences), Dr. Alexa Bely (co-mentor, Biology)

Abbi Koenigsmark (Spring 2021) Injury from sediment mobility and recovery in two species of stream annelids. Dr. Alexa Bely (mentor, Biology)

Anita (Xiao) Kuang (Spring 2021) Analysis of the Orbitofrontal Cortex as a Multi-sensory Organization Center. Dr. Patrick Kanold (mentor, Biology; now at Johns Hopkins University)

Joshua Steighner (Spring 2021) The Influence of Melanin Pigmentation Signaling in Agonistic Interactions: Insights from CRISPR/Cas-Edited African Cichlid Fish. Dr. Scott Juntti (mentor, Biology)

Catherine Trelstad (Spring 2021) Identification and analysis of Paired-binding cis-regulatory elements in Drosophila melanogaster. Dr. Leslie Pick (mentor, Entomology Department), Dr. Alys Jarvela (co-mentor)

Muhsin Younis (Spring 2021) The Accessible States and the Voltage Sensor of Triplin Channels. Dr. Marco Colombini (mentor, Biology)

Emily Zweig (Spring 2021) Courting Male Satin Bowerbirds (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus) Modulate their Distance from Females in Response to Female Signals. Dr. Gerald Borgia (mentor, Biology)

Samuel Doty (Fall 2020) The impact of paternal deprivation on social behavior and HPA-HPG interactions in the California mouse​. Dr. Erica Glasper (mentor, Psychology, Biology affiliate)

Chloe Aloimonos (Spring 2020) Characterizing the Responses to Task Relevant Auditory Information in Medial and Dorsolateral Ferret Frontal Cortex
Dr. Shihab Shamma (mentor, Institute for Systems Research), Daniel Butts (co-mentor, Biology)

Coreylyn DeBettencourt (Spring 2020). Perinatal exposure to fentanyl decreases auditory discrimination and task engagement in mice
Matthew Roesch (mentor, Psychology, Biology affiliate)

Sally Feng (Spring 2020) Reproductive trade-offs in male Peromyscus californicus. Dr. Heidi Fisher (mentor, Biology)

Razeen Khan (Spring 2020) Analysis of RNA concentration of influenza and other respiratory viruses from dormitory air sampling. Dr. Donald Milton (Applied Environmental Health), Alexa Bely (co-mentor, Biology)

Alexander Laurenson (Spring 2020) The effects of light stimuli on swimming behavior of dinoflagellate Peridinium sp. Dr. Charles Delwiche (mentor, Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics)

Catherine Liu (Spring 2020) Post-copulatory sexual selection and the evolution of female reproductive traits in Peromyscus mice
Dr. Heidi Fisher (mentor, Biology)

Benjamin Parrish (Spring 2020) A characterization of cytoskeletal protein dynamics in Mus musculus naive B-lymphocyte activation. Dr. Wenxia Song (mentor, CBMG), Alexa Bely (Co-mentor,Biology)

Julia Skibniewska (Spring 2020) Olfactory function in aging mice. Dr. Ricardo Araneda (mentor, Biology)

Tarlan Vatan (Spring 2020) BrainSTORMing new applications of super-resolution microscopy for ExMning nanoscale structures: a comparative evaluation of techniques for volumetric STochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy (STORM) and Expansion Microscopy (ExM). Dr. Colenso Speer (mentor, Biology)

Frank Watson (Spring 2020) Classification analysis of the synaptic network and IPL neurotransmitter dynamics of unknown bistratified amacrine Cells in Serial Block Electron Microscopy. Dr. Joseph Singer (mentor, Biology)

Adam Wright (Spring 2020) The impact of heightened error monitoring on subsequent uncertainty in adolescents with a history of behavioral inhibition
Dr. Nathan Fox (mentor, Human Development and Quantitative Methodology), Dr. Alexa Bely (co-mentor, Biology)

Jeong-Yoon Wu (Spring 2020) Investigation of age-dependent morphological and functional correlations and typology in L1 and L2/3 of auditory cortex in mice. Dr. Patrick Kanold (mentor, Biology)

Priya Shukla (Spring 2019) Nectin1 mediates neurotropism of varicella zoster virus. Dr. Arun Venkatesan (mentor, Johns Hopkins University), Dr. Alexa Bely (Co-mentor, Biology)

Bareera Qamar (Spring 2019) Study of polyphosphazene carriers as an intracellular delivery system for protein therapeutics. Dr. Silvia Muro (IBBR, Bioengineering), Dr. Hadiya Woodham (Co-mentor, Biology)

Alison Kang (Spring 2019) Actin wave dynamics at the leading edge of HL-60 cells and Dictyostelium discoideum. Dr. Wolfgang Losert (mentor, Physics), Dr. Alexa Bely (Co-mentor, Biology)

Melissa Luse (Spring 2019) Identifying a transcription factor for LWS opsin gene expression in cichlid fishes. Dr. Karen Carleton (mentor, Biology)

Nicole Palin (Spring 2019) The effects of early life intervention on sex differences in adult neurogenesis following neonatal paternal deprivation in adult california mice (Peromyscus californicus). Dr. Erica Glasper (mentor, Psychology, Biology Affiliate)

Nick Hricz (Spring 2019) Characterizing the role of the red nucleus in rats during performance of a stop-change task. Dr. Matt Roesch (mentor, Psychology, Biology Affiliate)

Lauren Wilke (Spring 2019) Investigating the role of the apical sperm hook on sperm motility and morphology in Peromyscus rodents. Dr. Heidi Fisher (mentor, Biology), Kristin Hook (Co-Mentor, Biology)

Brenna Friday (Spring 2019) Plethodontid salamander responses to native and novel chytrid pathogens. Dr. Karen Lips (mentor, Biology), Dr. Ana Longo (Co-mentor, University of Florida)
Erik Gunnarsson (Spring 2019) Exploring the role of glucose in agonistic encounters of crayfish, Procambarus clarkii. Dr. Jens Herberholz (mentor, Psychology, Biology Affiliate)

Allison Whitaker (Spring 2019) Sex differences in steroid hormone induced neuroplasticity in the song control system of the canary (Serinus canaria). Dr. Greg Ball (mentor, Psychology, Biology Affiliate),

Justin Buck (Spring 2019) Mapping the mouse brain: an investigation of dopamine circuitry. Dr. Kuan Hong Wang (mentor, Univ. Rochester), Jonathan Simon (Co-mentor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Biology, Institute for Systems Research)

Ilan Goldstein (Spring 2019) Investigating the neural correlates of perception and cognition in auditory cortex of the awake-behaving mouse. Dr. Patrick Kanold (mentor, Biology), Nik Francis (Co-mentor, Biology)

Richard Hum (Spring 2019) Dispositional negativity and the central extended amygdala. Dr. Alex Shackman (mentor, Psychology), Dr. Quentin Gaudry (Co-mentor, Biology)

Maya Rao (Spring 2019) Characterizing the soil mycobiomes of shaded and sun intensive coffee plantation. Dr. Robert Fleischer (mentor, Smithsonian Center for Conservation Genomics, Biology Affiliate), Dr. Carly Muletz Wolz (Co-mentor, Smithsonian Center for Conservation Genomics)

​Adit Sabnis (Spring 2019) A connectomic analysis of the retina. Dr. Josh Singer (mentor, Biology)

Kristen Ramsey (Fall 2018) Characterization of large and small conductance mechanosensitive channels in Vibrio cholerae. Dr. Sergei Sukharev (mentor, Biology)

Danielle Arons (Fall 2018) Assessing the effects of mesothelin on intraperitoneal metastasis of pancreatic cancer. Dr. Christine Alewine (mentor, National Institutes of Health), Alexandra Bely (co-mentor, Biology)  

Tim Barry (May 2018) Habitat selection varies over life histories: an analysis of the dispersing grey wolf. Dr. Eliezer Gurarie (mentor, Biology)

Erin Causey (May 2018) Vagal nerve stimulation effects on ferret auditory learning. Dr. Jonathan Fritz (mentor, Institute for Systems Research, Affiliate Professor in Biology)

Chris Eyo (May 2018) Dissecting olfactory behavior in the rTg4510 mouse, a taupathology model of familial frontotemportal dementia. Dr. Ricardo Araneda (mentor, Biology)

Shimona Malik (May 2018) Characterizing the Role of the Perineuronal Net in the Olfactory Bulb of MMP9 KO and Alzheimer’s Induced Mice. Dr. Ricardo Araneda (mentor, Biology)

Mishal Rao (May 2018) Cloning and functional characterization of a secretory phospholipase A2 (sPLA2) gene in Drosophila melanogaster
Dr. Sougata Roy (mentor, CBMG); Dr. Alexa Bely (co-mentor, Biology)

Justus Jobe (December 2017) Ecological Constraints of High Marsh Migration into Coastal Forest. Dr. Keryn Gedan (mentor, George Washington University, UMCP-Biology), Dr. Sarah Lombardi (co-mentor, Biology)

Biology Honors Students December 2017
Biology Honors Students (with a few missing!), December 2017