Braco Award for Excellence in Cell Biology Research

This award is given each year to sophomore Cell 27241 research teams that generate excellent results while displaying an advanced intellectual rigor in their research. This award is generously funded by Robert Braco, M.D.

Cell 27241 is an investigative, project-based course that gives students a bona fide research experience through application of critical thinking skills to solve complex research problems. Working in groups, students tackle a research project they choose themselves by asking pertinent questions, designing and executing experiments, analyzing data, and defending the results obtained.

2021 Awardees
  • CRISPR-Cas9 mediated mutagenesis of norpA in Aedes Aegypti
    Mentors: Dr. Joseph O’Tousa and Dr. Michelle Whaley
    Graduate TAs: Elizabeth Arsenault and Christopher Gager
    Undergraduate TAs: Aidan Cook and Miguel Girod
    Alex Dittmar
    Jasmine Harris
    Emily Hunt
    Kyle McAvoy
    Jeremy Sutterer

2019 Awardees
  • Identifying StARD9’s role in the updated Hand-Off Model
    Mentor: Kevin Vaughan
    Graduate TA: Felicity Newton
    Undergraduate TA: Erica Gerstbauer
    Tess Marvin
    Joseph Lee
    Joey Baca
    Kelby Bosma
    Caroline Langley

  • Investigation of the Relationship between FLIP and Autophagy in ECM detached MCF-10A cells
    Mentor: Zach Schafer
    Graduate TA: Matyas Tsegaye
    Undergraduate TA: Meridith Balbach
    Mary Ebberwein
    Victoria Ruesch
    Lauren Klein
    Lauren Alvey

2018 Awardees
  • The Effect of N-terminal acetylation on virulence in Mycobacterium marinum EsxA variants
    Mentor: Patty Champion
    Graduate TA: Cristal Reyna
    Undergraduate TA: Rachel Belans
    Rylie O’Meara
    Ye Na (Annie) Han
    Treston Magnacca
    Natalie Quirk

2017 Awardees
  • Investigating the synthetic lethality of abemaciclib and lapatinib dual-therapy in triple-negative breast cancer
    Mentor: Siyuan Zhang
    Graduate TA: Bhavana Palakurthi
    Undergraduate TA: Keon Schmidt
    Grace Zhou
    Thuy-An Phan
    Shane Davitt
    Thomas Ueland

  • Investigation of alternative metabolic pathways in metastasizing cells utilizing adipocyte biomolecules in an ECM-detached human cancer mammary epithelial cell model
    Mentor: Zach Schafer
    Graduate TA: Chelsea McCallister
    Undergraduate TA: Daniel Pape
    Jamie Campbell
    Meridith Balbach
    Andre Monteleone
    Daneille Wales

2016 Awardees
  • Investigation of the role of the DEDD nuclear translocation on cell cycle
    Mentor: Siyuan Zhang
    Graduate TA: Sindy Ni
    Undergraduate TA: Keon Schmidt
    Barnes Werner
    Shannon Leahy
    Ellie Lawler
    Thomas Kane
    Josephine Weymon

2015 Awardees
  • The Role of NF-κB in Retinal Regeneration in the Adult Zebrafish
    Mentor: Dr. David Hyde
    Graduate TA: Jingling Li
    Haley Barlow
    Nicole Handa
    Matt Cervantes
    Devin Aberasturi
    Nick Bielanski

  • Lysosomal Tubulation and its Effect on Cholesterol Trafficking and de novo Synthesis in Niemann-Pick Disease Type C (NPC)
    Mentor: Dr. Kevin Vaughan
    Graduate TA: Shireen Jayman
    Claire Kampman
    Grant Koch
    Eric Marasco
    Peter Gonzalez
    Shannon Hodges

  • Analysis of the Effect of EGFR on MCF-10A Cells with Enhanced Expression of EGFR
    Mentor: Dr. Zachary Schafer
    Graduate TA: Josh Mason
    Tommy Davis
    Erin McNamee
    Claire Goodfellow
    Hannah Meissner

2014 Awardees
  • CAF-mediated signaling inhibits Doxorubicin-induced apoptosis
    Mentor: Dr. Zachary Schafer
    Graduate TA: Kelsey Weigel
    Luke McCormack
    Melissa Shaw
    Jake Kinsella
    Collin Hubler
    Bridget O'Hara

  • Knockdown of DEDD overcomes anti-EGFR resistance in triple-negative breast cancers
    Mentor: Dr. Siyuan Zhang
    Graduate TA: Sindy Yingjia Ni
    Peter St. George
    Katie Jackson
    Sam Mannion
    Sarah Enciso
    Janelle Wanzek

  • Regulation of MüllerGlia-Dependent Retinal Regeneration Response through TNFα and Notch Signaling
    Mentor: Dr. David Hyde
    Graduate TA: Josh Hobgood
    Christian Urbina
    Michael McGraw
    Josiah Nieto
    Alex Graves
    Dan Chrzanowski          

  • Establishing a Functional Link between StARD9 and NPC-1 mediated Cholesterol Transport
    Mentor: Dr. Kevin Vaughan
    Graduate TA: Ali Raja
    Sarah Motter
    Ralph Hauke
    Kelley Chan
    Philip Allen
    Betel Ali

2013 Awardees
  • Defective autophagy in cells with NPC deficiencies
    Mentor: Dr. Kevin Vaughan
    Grad TA: Ali Raja
    Stephen Bowen
    Mari Grief
    Conor McCarthy
    Kevin Maciuba
    Michelle Kraay

2012 Awardees
  • Mechanism of cell death in ECM detached MCF-10A-Bcl-2 cells
    Mentor: Dr. Zachary Schafer
    Patrick Fagan
    Taylor Boland
    Lexie Below
    Matthew Collins
    Rachel Rogers

2011 Awardees
  • Characterization of Dicer inactivation in retinal development of zebrafish, Danio rerio
    Mentor: Dr. David Hyde
    Michael Butler
    Celso Diaz
    Lauren Drapalik
    Erin Flattery
    Julia Kohn

  • Defense collagens in lupus pathogenesis
    Mentor: Dr. Suzie Bohlson
    Matthew Apker
    Lauren Callahan
    Margaret Davis
    Kaitlyn Gundrum
    Stephanie Jones

2010 Awardees
  • Cytotoxic Effects of ZnO and TiO2 Nanoparticles on CoS-7 Cells
    Mentors: Dr. Charles Kulpa and Dr. Kevin Vaughan
    Nathan Albertson
    Jessica Choi
    Michael Clark
    Linnea Fechtner
    Michael Nokes

  • Characterization of Opsin 1 in Aedes aegypti Photoreceptor Cells
    Mentors: Dr. Joseph O’Tousa and Dr. Michelle Whaley
    Deborah Cronin
    Elizabeth Einhorn
    Alex Metoxen
    Cara Pozolo
    Sarah Wolochatiuk

  • The impact of HDAC inhibitor LBH-589 on lipid accumulation in Niemann-Pick type C fibroblast cell lines
    Mentor: Dr. Crislyn D’Souza-Schorey
    Jennifer Anhut
    Steven Brown
    Lauren Conroy
    Christopher Fagan
    Clarissa Mertens
    Ryan Traudt

  • The effects of single-walled carbon nanotubes on mitosis
    Mentor: Dr. Kevin Vaughan
    Joe Cannova
    Dave Hurley
    Kristyn Jeffries
    Jeff Steimle
    Dave Surprenant
    Christina Wheaton

2009 Awardees
  • Inhibition of Mad2 disrupts the spindle assembly checkpoint
    Mentor: Dr. Kevin Vaughan
    Kevin Flanagan
    Amelia Lucisano
    Dan Slubowski
    Timothy Spear
    Elizabeth Van Dyke
    Emily Weil

  • Effects of 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 on MCF-7 breast cancer Cells detached from the extracellular matrix
    Mentor: Dr. Zachary Schafer and Dr. David Veselik
    Michele Bailey
    Nicholas Holzemer
    Corbin Johnson
    Megan Otero
    Matt Thau
    Kelly Werner

  • Role of the Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway in retinal regeneration in zebrafish
    Mentor: Dr. David Hyde
    Brian Cash
    Michael Henry
    Evan James
    Celia Johns
    Emma Klosterman
    Tyler McQueen