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Eye Research Institute

Dodge Hall
118 Library Drive
Rochester, Michigan 48309-4479
(location map)

Eye Research Institute

Dodge Hall
118 Library Drive
Rochester, Michigan 48309-4479
(location map)

four people in white lab coats, standing in front of a book shelf, looking through a binder

Student Research

The Eye Research Institute Summer Undergraduate Program in Eye Research (SUPER) is a 12-week program that provides a unique opportunity for Oakland University undergraduates to participate in Vision Science research under the mentorship of ERI and ERC faculty. SUPER scholars obtain research training in the disciplines of biochemistry, cell biology, physiology, molecular biology, human genetics, and neuroscience. Program students will be paid $5,400 over the 12 weeks as OU undergraduate laboratory assistants. Students will utilize the latest research methodologies and equipment in the vision science research laboratories at Oakland University. Awardee students often continue their labs after the summer and can use their research skills towards independent research courses in their academic program, such as BIO 4995, BCM 4995, and BE 4999. 

There is an opportunity for students to co-author publications in scientific journals and participate in presentations at future national meetings. Numerous SUPER alumni have a well above-average success rate for entry into graduate programs, medical schools, optometry colleges, or bioscience-related employment.

Eligibility and Application

THE 2024 SUPER Program 

Applicants must be Oakland University undergraduate students currently enrolled in a degree program, leading to a Bachelor’s degree. The Program is ideal for sophomores or juniors who are contemplating careers in bioscience research or teaching. Successful applicants should have at least a 3.0 grade-point average in their sciences courses, and must be planning to enroll in at least 6 credits at Oakland University for the following Fall semester. It is expected that the student will work in the lab at least 30 hours per week for 12 weeks. Students must fulfill the minimum hours required for program completion between the hours of 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday - Friday, or per the schedule provided by their mentor.

Students must submit a completed application form, a one-page resume, a copy of your current transcript, and a one-page, double-spaced essay describing the applicant’s career goals and interest in science. Applications with missing information will not be considered. 

2024 applications are now closed. 

SUPER 2024 Schedule
March 2, 2024Applications due before midnight
Week of March 18, 2024Stage 1 interviews conducted with selected applicants (tentative)
Week of March 24, 2024Successful candidate offers (tentative)
May 13, 2024Program begins, Student Orientation
August 2, 2024Symposium and certificate ceremony
Program Activities

In this 12-week independent laboratory research project, participants are matched with laboratories based on their interest and availability.

One-on-one meetings are held with faculty mentors at the beginning of the program for students to discuss their planned projects.

There are weekly coffee breaks with ERI faculty, postdoctoral fellows, research associates and staff, which include snacks and discussion.

Lectures by ERI researchers and clinical faculty from William Beaumont Hospital introduce current concepts in eye research, vision science and ophthalmology.

Alumni-sponsored lunch at a local restaurant.

Summer picnic and BBQ at a local park. Volleyball tournament vs. ERI faculty.

End-of-program symposium for students to present results of their research, including an awards ceremony and lunch.

Current and Previous Students
In 2023
  • Morgan Carpenter - "Utilizing the Retinal Explant as a Method to Study Neurotoxic Pathways in Diabetic Retinopathy." - Mentor: Dr. Mohamed Al-Shabrawey
  • Omar Elzayat  - " Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Hyperhomocysteinemia: Biomarkers and therapeutic targets in Diabetic Retinopathy." - Mentor: Dr. Amany Tawfik
  • Charlene Hsiung -"Retinal Changes 'Mimicked' Brain Changes in Alzheimer's Disease: Role of Homocysteine" - Mentor: Dr. Amany Tawfik
  • Jennifer Jaster - " Investigation of the Ligand Binding Specificities of the G-protein Coupled Receptors (GPR)31/39." - Mentor: Dr. Mohamed Al-Shabrawey & Dr. Colin Wu   
  • Victoria Jobczyk -"Real-time Monitoring of Barrier Formation By Primary Human Retinal Endothelial Cells." - Mentor: Dr. Kenneth Mitton
  • Cecille Pinnock - "FDZ4 Gene Variant: The Norrin Dose-Response Analysis in a Cell Base Test System." - Mentor: Dr. Kenneth Mitton
  • Adam Schmitz - "Persistent impairment of visual function after oxygen-induced retinopathy in mice." - Mentor: Dr. Dao-Qi Zhang
  • Michelle Tcherniak - "Protein localization in a mouse model of human inherited retinal degeneration." - Mentor: Dr. Andrew Goldberg
In 2022
  • Gabrielle Abdelmessih - "The Serendipity of Science: Sequencing Genes Involved in Rare Pediatric Retinal Diseases" - Mentor: Kenneth Mitton, Ph.D.
  • Yasmeen Hassan - " The Preferred Direction of Cholinergic and Glutamatergic Waves in the Developing Retina." – Mentor: Dao Qi Zhang, Ph.D.
  • Paul Negoita - "The Importance of RPE Cells and Homocysteine Experimentation" - Mentor: Amany Tawfik M.D.
  • Alexander Seidel - "Automated Identification and Characterization of Mouse Cone Photoreceptor Population" – Mentor: Andrew F.X. Goldberg, Ph.D.

An article about the Summer Undergraduate Program in Eye Research (SUPER) at Oakland University can be found here

In 2019
  • Elizabeth Alessio - "A tissue clearing method (CLARITY) can reveal fine structures of neurons in the wholemount retina." - Mentor: Dao-Qi Zhang
  • Stephanie Elias - "Determining real-time PCR efficiency for detecting gene expression changes in human retinal endothelial cells." - Mentor: Kenneth Mitton
  • Mario Hanna -"Are cone photoreceptor cell populations affected in a mouse model for human retinal disease?" - Mentor: Andrew Goldberg
  • Kaylee Moyer -"Effects of AKT and MAPK inhibition on human retinal endothelial cell gene expression." Mentor: Kenneth Mitton
  • Bhumi Patel - "Measuring gene expression using RT-PCR." Mentor: Kenneth Mitton
  • Eric Seidel - "Measuring gene expression using RT-PCR." Mentor: Frank Giblin
In 2018
  • Sharon Tan -"Investigating photoreceptor cell death in a mouse model of human retinal disease" Mentor: Andrew Goldberg
  • Christian Rizza - "Peripherin-2 and cholesterol: partners in sight?" Mentor: Andrew Goldberg
  • Peter Gaied - "Use of recombinant DNA technology and electron microscopy to study the role of disulfide cross-linking in the formation of alpha A-crystallin amyloid fibrils in vitro" Mentor: Frank Giblin
  • Dominic Mier - "Two studies of alpha A-crystallin in cultured human lens epithelial cells involving gene transfection and CRISPR" Mentor: Frank Giblin
  • Kaylee Moyer - "Effects of VEGFA165 on tight junctions in human retinal endothelial cells" Mentor: Kenneth Mitton
  • Obadah Asbahi - "Expression of the cellular activity marker PS6 in the mouse retina" Mentor: Dao-Qi Zhang
In 2017
  • Eric Seidel - "Exploration of the aggregation of human lens αA-crystallin protein and guinea pig αA-crystallin protein when interacting with αA(66-80) peptide"
  • Annika Grupp - "A preliminary investigation of the uptake of alpha A crystallin (66-80) peptide by cultured human lens epithelial cells"
  • Mario Hanna - "Using epifluorescence microscopy to determine whether peripherin-2/rds (P/rds) co-localizes with autophagosomes in HEK 293 cells"
  • Shervin Mirshab - "Spontaneous and light induced electrical activity of mouse retinal ganglion cells"
  • Stephanie Jabro - "Decreased glutamate transporters in retinas of oxygen-induced mice"
  • Anju Thomas - "Comparing activation of a VEGF receptor in human retinal endothelial cells by isoforms of VEGFA-165"
  • Megan Moore - "Similar gene expression in HRMECs treated with two isoforms of VEGFA 165"
In 2016
  • Maria Donovan (Biology) - "The journey to cataracts: A study of UVB-induced DNA damage in cultured human lens epithelial cells" Mentor: Dr. Giblin
  • Reham Karana (Biology) - "Role of RNA 3’-terminal phosphate cyclase (Rtca) in the degeneration of retinal ganglion cells and their axons" Mentor: Dr. Chintala
  • Regan Miller (Biology) - "Comparing the effects of vegfa-165 and its anti-angiogenic b-isoform on the proliferation of human retinal microvascular endothelial cells" Mentor: Dr. Mitton
  • Anthony Premceski (Biomedical Sciences) - "Exploration of the interaction between lens crystallin protein and αA(66-80) peptide using fluorescence spectroscopy" Mentor: Dr. Giblin
  • Maya Sammane (Pre-Medical Sciences) -"The effect of light on dopamine synthesis in the retina" Mentor: Dr. Zhang
  • Adam Seidel (Biology and Japanese) - "Does Y285stop peripherin-2/rds cause retinal degeneration in the mouse?" Mentor: Dr. Goldberg
In 2015
  • Caroline Cencer - (Biology) "UVB induced cataractogenesis: the story of DNA repair in the human lens" Mentor: Dr. Giblin
  • Jonathan Cheon (Biology) - "Understanding cataracts: a biochemical exploration of crystallin protein aggregation in the lens" Mentor: Dr. Giblin
  • Naveena Daram - "Tissue and urokinase plasminogen activators instigate the Degeneration of Retinal Ganglion Cells in a Mouse Model of Glaucoma" Mentor: Dr. Chintala
  • Joshua Hohlbein (Biomedical Sciences) - "Cholinergic amacrine cell survival contrasts the loss of aII amacrine cells in a mouse model of oxygen-induced retinopathy"
  • Nicole Roussey (Biochemistry Minor: Physics)- "Does Peripherin-2/rds (P/rds) shape membranes using disulfide bonds?" Mentor: Dr. Goldberg
  • Quentin Tompkins (Biochemistry) -"Mechanisms of retina stress: the effects of exercise in type-1 diabetic rats" Mentor: Dr. Mitton
  • Natalie Wardia (Biology) - "Maintaining and restoring adherens and tight junction connections between retinal vascular endothelial cells" Mentor: Dr. Drenser
In 2014
  • Erin Feeney (Biology) - "The Impact of Norrin on the Structural Integrity of the Ischemic Retina."  Mentor: Dr. Drenser  
  • Mason Geno (Biomedical Sciences) & Nahrain Putris (Biochemistry, Minor: Psychology) - "The Effects of UVB light and Hyperbaric Oxygen on the PAR/PARP complex in Human Lens Epithelial Cells" Mentor: Dr. Giblin    
  • Kirsten Laux (Biology) - "Systemic VPA can inhibit or accelerate photoreceptor loss in retinal degenerative mice with different mutations of the Pde6b gene." Mentor: Dr. Mitton   
  • Brandon Metcalf (Health Sciences) - "A Longitudinal In Vivo Model for Studying the Chronic Effects of VEGF on the Retina" Mentor: Dr. Mitton   
  • Nahrain Putris - "The Effects of UVB light and Hyperbaric Oxygen on the PAR/PARP complex in Human Lens Epithelial Cells." Mentor: Dr. Giblin
  • Nathan Spix (Biochemistry) - "Effects of Melatonin and Infrared Light on Mouse Retinal Ganglion Cell Activity"  Mentor: Dr. Zhang
  • Jermyn Yohannan (Biology) - "Association of Peripherin/rds C-terminus with Model Membranes"  Mentor: Dr. Goldberg
In 2013
  • Engy Alwashah was a junior and is majoring in Biology.  She volunteered for Grace Hospice and was the vice president of Oakland University's Pre-Professional Association Towards Careers in Health Organization (PATCH). Engy was working under the mentorship of Dr. Chintala and former SUPER student, Wasym Mando. Her project entailed working on the mechanisms involved in the degeneration of retinal ganglion cells.
  • Mirna Awrow was a sophomore majoring in Engineering Biology. She was also part of the Honors College at Oakland University. She was also involved with Students for Life (serving as their 2013-2014 president) and the Neurology Club (serving as the 2013-2014 organizational director). When she was not at Oakland, she worked at Beaumont Troy Laboratory and also enjoyed volunteering for St. John’s Hospice program. She researched under the mentorship of Dr. Frank Giblin.
  • Mindy Cao was a senior with a major in biology and a minor in psychology. In her spare time she volunteered at Oakland University’s Center for Autism, Research, Education and Support and worked as a peer mentor for the university. She worked under Dr. Dao Qi Zhang’s mentorship.
  • Camryn DeLooff was a sophomore majoring in biomedical sciences. She was a member of the Honors College, Alpha Lambda Delta, the Biomedical Sciences Club, the Pre-Medical Society and a volunteer for OUCARES. She worked under the mentorship of Dr. Ken Mitton.
  • Mark English was entering his Junior year majoring in Biology and as a member of the OU Honors College. He enjoyed the SUPER program and benefited greatly under the guidance of his mentor, Dr. Andrew Goldberg.  His project intended to focused on protein purification.
  • Melanie Gary was a biochemistry major with a psychology minor. She had varied and broad interests in science and medicine, including psychopharmacology, neuroscience, and organic chemistry. She hoped to expand her knowledge and interests through this work in the field of vision and eye research.  She worked under the mentorship of Dr. Andrew Goldberg.
  • Noor Tarabishy was a senior studying Biology with the intention of becoming a physician. She worked under the mentorship of Dr. Kimberly Drenser.
  • Paul Zlojutro finished his sophomore year with a major in biology, with hopes of attending medical school to become an ophthalmologist. Paul  volunteered at Crittenton Hospital where he enjoyed helping patients in the emergency room. He was also a  captain of Oakland University’s Club Tennis team where he helped lead his team to the 2013 National Championship in Arizona. He worked under the mentorship of Dr. Kimberly Drenser and Dr. Ken Mitton.
In 2012
  • Heba Elghoroury was a sophomore majoring in Health Sciences and hoped to go to medical school after graduating.  Heba was a member of the Muslim Student’s Association, the Pre-Medical Society, the Neurology Club, Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, and the Honors College.  Heba researched under the mentorship of Dr. Goldberg and his staff and her project was “Expression and purification of peripherin/RDS for photoreceptor cell structure.”
  • Noha Elghoroury was a junior majoring in Health Science and a member of the Honors College with future plans of attending med school.  In Fall 2012 she served as an Honors College Cell Group Leader to help incoming freshmen with the transition from high school to college.  Her project was under the mentorship of Dr. Chintala and her final project was titled, “Chronic alcohol feeding promotes loss of retinal ganglion cells.”
  • Wasym Mando had a drive to make something of himself from the beginning of high school to present day. Wasym  had an interest in the field of medicine and an aptitude in science, and planned to become a surgeon.  Wasym's family was also a very important aspect of his life and felt his parents have been nothing short of inspirational and amazing.  Under the guidance of Dr. Dao-Qi Zhang, his project was entitled “The effect of light pulse on the dopaminergic neuron of the retina.”
  • Kevin Roumayah was a Junior with a major in Chemistry, and planned on going into medicine in the future.  His plan was to become an ophthalmologist, with a possible focus on ophthalmic surgery.  He continued working under Dr. Kimberly Drenser and her staff, under whose guidance he completed his project "Role of Norrin in vascular diseases of the retina."
  • Trung Tran was a biology senior who planned to obtain a minor in economics studies, and his ultimate goal was to become a medical director.  He was starting his third year of volunteering at William Beaumont (Troy) Hospital, and was also a member of OU Medical Brigade.  He completed his summer research project, "Gene expression of inflammatory response in a model of early diabetic retinopathy" under Dr. Mitton’s guidance.
In 2011
  • David Byrd was a senior biology major with future plans for medical school.  David was a TA for anatomy and volunteered at Odyssey Hospice while maintaining a 3.82 GPA.  He continued his research with Dr.Mitton, who was his mentor for his research project, “Can Valproic Acid Increase Neuroprotective Gene Expression in RP?”
  • Daniel Feldmann was a senior with a major in Engineering Biology.  He was the president of Oakland Universities' Engineering in Medicine and Biology Student Society (EMBS) and member of the Honors College.  After graduation, Dan planned to earn a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering and focus on tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.  He researched under Dr. Frank Giblin.  Dan's research project was entitled, "UVB Induced Activation of PARP-1 in Cultured Human Lens Epithelial Cells."
  • Amaal Haimout was a junior aspiring to attend medical school.  She was majoring in Health Sciences with a Pre-Health Professional concentration and was a member of the Honors College.  Amaal was active on campus as Senior Advisor for Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society, Treasurer for Neurology Club and Muslim Students Association, and was a member of the Pre-medical Society and Golden Key Society.  She enjoyed volunteering in Oncology at St. Joseph Mercy’s Hospital and tutoring students in Arabic.  She worked in Dr. Barry Winkler’s laboratory for two years and continued to work under his mentorship.  Her summer research project was entitled, “Zinc: Needed for Vision But Toxic in Excess.”
  • Charlotte Massoll was a sophomore with a major in biology, and her future plans were to go to medical school.  She spent time in Honduras with Oakland University's Medical Brigades providing medical and dental care to over 600 people in remote villages.  Her summer research project in Dr. Dao-Qi Zhang's lab was, “The Effect of Melatonin on Retinal Dopaminergic Neuron Activity in vivo."  She continued research in the Eye Research Institute under Dr. Kimberly Drenser.
  • Joseph Vercellone  pursued a second career in medicine and was accepted to med school for fall of 2012.  He loved the opportunity to continue to grow and learn as an adult and encouraged others to never become complacent in life.  As a SUPER 2011 student, Joe studied under the mentorship of Dr. Kimberley Drenser and presented on the "Assessment of Norrin and Adult Stem Cells on Retinal Neuroprotection."
  • Adrianne Wallace was a junior majoring in Biology who plans on attending medical school upon graduation.  While attending Oakland she was involved in many organizations and was  treasurer of the Honors College Student Association.  Adrianne’s project was under the mentorship of Dr. Chintala and her final project was titled,  “The Effect of Systemic Hypertension on Retinal Damage.”  Adrianne is currently working in the PRRL lab.
  • Alexandra Zetye worked under the mentorship of Dr. Goldberg and his staff.  Her research project was, “Creating I-Sce1 Transgenesis Plasmids to Assay Photoreceptor Protein Interactions."
In 2010
  • Stephanie Alspach was a Biology/Pre-Med major. Her Summer SUPER project was, "Double Trouble: Overcoming the expression of the double mutation in the Frizzled-4 receptors in the HEK293 cells" under the mentorship of Dr Dao-Qi Zhang.
  • Nasihah Barlaskar was a Health Science major.  Her 2010 SUPER project was, "Cooling therapy protects rat rentina from metabolic insult" under the direction of Dr. Barry Winkler.
  • Catherine Fick was majoring in Engineering Biology.  Under the mentorship of Dr. Frank Giblin, her SUPER project was entitled, "Where's Waldo?  UVA induced fluorescence in rabbit lens in vivo."
  • Danielle Hine was a Biology major and worked with Dr. Kenneth Mitton during the 2010 SUPER program.  Her project was, "The discovery of a retinal specific and alternate promoter regulating Mef2c gene expression."
  • Omar Yaldo was a Biochemistry/Pre-Med major.  Omar worked in Dr. Shravan Chintala's lab during the SUPER program.  His project was entitled, "Retinal ganglion cell death induced by a nitric oxide donor and their rescue by Norrin."
In 2009
  • Katie Beabout was a member of the University 's InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and the Honors College.  She planned on graduate school for biomedical research.  Her Summer project was "Effect of crystallins on survival of transformed retinal ganglion cells" under the mentorship of Dr. Shravan Chintala.
  • Alex DeMare planned to attend medical school after earning his degree in biochemistry from Oakland.  Alex was a Sophomore who enjoyed volunteering at Beaumont's Hospice, OU Leadership Challenge, and Habitat for Humanity.  He was in Oakland's Honors College and the Premed Society.  His research project in Dr. Andrew F.X. Goldberg's lab was, "Cloning of peripherin/rds mutants to study the current disulfide bonding model."
  • Michelle Dwyer was a double major, biology and psychology.  Her future plans included medical school so she might help others who could not help themselves.  Michelle's research time was divided between weekly meetings with her mentor, Dr. Kimberly Drenser (a pediatric retinal surgeon) at 6:30 a.m. at Beaumont Hospital, and in the lab under the supervision of Mei Cheng.  Michelle's research project was entitled, "Target for retinal repair:  Norrin's role in the activation of the Wnt signaling pathway for retinal regeneration."
  • Wojciech Gryc maintained a 3.97 GPA and his major was biochemistry.  Wojciech planned to enter the field of biochemical and biomedical research with an emphasis on pathologies of the nervous system, especially Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis.  Dr. Kenneth Mitton was his mentor for his research project entitled, "Cracking the mouse:  Investigating candidate genes for human retinal diseases."
  • Michelle Kasprick was a biology major with an "eye" toward medical school.  Currently she was a junior with a 3.93 GPA.  Her hobbies included traveling, reading, volunteer work, and attending concerts.  She completed her Summer research project under the guidance of Dr. Andrew F. X. Goldberg.  Her final presentation of her work was called "Cloning cysteine mutants to further study the structure of peripherin/rds"
  • Gerta Mane was a junior with a major in biochemistry.   Her future plans included medical school and eventually earning a Ph.D. in neurobiology.   She continued to do research under Dr. Barry Winkler.  The title of her presentation at the end of the 12-week SUPER program was "Detoxicant actions of sulfhydryl-containing compounds in cultured retinal cells."
  • Tenira Townsend volunteered for the Child Help organization and was a member of Alpha Lambda Delta.  Tenira's ultimate goal was to obtain a Ph.D. in biochemistry and a part of a team at an institute, such as St. Jude's Research hospital in the hopes of discovering a cure or treatment for an illness.  She worked in Dr. Frank Giblin's laboratory for almost one year and her research project was, "The role of thioredoxin reductase-1 in the lens epithelium."
In 2008
  • Daniel Breznau was on the Honors College College Council, volunteered his time helping freshmen assimilate into the college experience, and was a member of the Pre-Med Society of Oakland University and the International High IQ Society.  His summer project was "Where's Waldo: In situ hybridization for FIZ1 in the mouse retina" in Dr. Kenneth Mitton's laboratory.
  • Malgorzata DeRyckere, worked in Dr. Andrew Goldberg's laboratory this Summer on a project entitled, "BIFC analysis of protein-protein interactions in photoreceptor outer segment."
  • Katy McDowell  worked with Dr. Shravan Chintala and her project was "Effect of inhibitors for protein kinase C and Histone deacetylases on differentiation and survival of transformed retinal ganglion cells."   
  • David McNaughton was a junior who aspired to becoming a doctor so he could help others.  He always enjoyed learning and the sciences have fascinated him.  He was a member of the Honors College, Premed Society, active in Habitat for Humanity and fundraises for Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society.  His project in Dr. Frank Giblin's laboratory was entitled, "Identification of glutathiolated proteins in human lens epithelial cells".
  • Jason Sotzen was a double major (Biochemistry and Spanish Language and Lit) Honor's College student.  He wished to attend medical school and specialize in vascular or neurological surgery.  He received Oakland University Department of Mathematics and Statics Certificate of Merit for Outstanding Academic Achievement, and OU's Talented Scholars award.  His project in Dr. Mitton's laboratory was called, "Control of the FIZ1 gene:  Subcloning the mouse FIZ1 promoter into a luciferase reporter vector."
In 2007
  • Mark McCoy, a sophomore from Sterling Heights, planned to enter medical school immediately after graduation in 2009.  In addition to studying, Mark loved to read science fiction and the classics.  His mentor was Dr. Frank Giblin and his project was entitled, "Identification of glutathiolated proteins in human lens epithelial cells following H2O2 challenge.
  • Megan Horner lived in Troy, is a sophomore at OU majoring in Biology with the intention of attending med school.  Andrew Goldberg was her mentor for the Summer Program.  Her independent research project for the Summer was "Construction of biomolecular fluorescence complementation vectors for photoreceptor protein analysis."
  • Nathan Rock, a junior majoring in Biology.  He studied in Dr. Shravan Chintala's laboratory and his project was called "Receptor-mediated effects of proteases on ganglion cell survival.".
  • Diane Shahara, a die-hard Piston fan, was a Biology major junior who wanted to attend a college of optometry.  She worked in Dr. Sitaramayya's Ari's laboratory on a project called, "Summer fun with Connexin 36!".
  • Mary Cha was a senior at OU with a double major, Art History and Biochemistry.  Outside activities include tennis, yoga, running.  She completed her 12 weeks of the Program with Dr. Ken Mitton on a project entitled, "In situ hybridization using murine retinal sections."
In 2006
  • Ronee Harvey was a junior who aspired to become a medical doctor. Her current major was in medical laboratory science where she held a 4.0 average. Dr. Shravan Chintala was her mentor for her independent research project, titled “Plasminogen activators, acting through lipoprotein receptor, induce the death of differentiated retinal ganglion cells.”
  • Dan Kasprick was a senior majoring in biology. His research project was called “PCR geneotyping of rds and peripherin/rds transgenic mice” and is under the tutelage of Dr. Andrew F.X. Goldberg. Kasprick wanted to combine medical science research with his private practice in the not too distant future.
  • Megan Stewart’s project was titled “Primer walking of pfloxneo-mfiz1 construct for future conditional. Knockout of Fiz1 in mouse photo-recepters.”  Her mentor was Dr. Kenneth P. Mitton. Megan’s future plans are to obtain her Ph.D. in biochemistry. 
  • Dan St. Aubin was studying hard to realize his dream of becoming a physician specializing in emergency medicine. His research project was "Construction of NRLL-mFIiz1 vector for future conditional over-expression of Fiz1 in mouse photo- receptors" in Dr. Kenneth P. Mitton’s laboratory.
  • Elizabeth "Liz" Zbrozek, a marathon runner, held a 4.0 GPA in her science classes, which made her an excellent candidate for a high school science teacher. Her project in Dr. Frank J. Giblin’s laboratory was “Effects of UVA light in vitro on guinea pig lens crystallins.”
  • Brandon Twardy was a senior majoring in biochemistry. His dedication and accomplishments benefited his future plans of a career in oncology, emergency or internal medicine. His mentor was Dr. Barry S. Winkler and the title of his project was “Glucose and lactate utilization in retinal cells.”
In 2005
  • Tiffany Zair was a health science major from West Bloomfield. Her research project, under the guidance of Dr. Sitaramayya Ari, was titled “The effects of oxidants on gap junctions sand cell viability.”
  • Tammy Koop was a post bach/pre-med student from Hazel Park. Her faculty mentor was Dr. Frank J. Giblin and her project was titled "The role of thioredoxin reductase in cultured human lens epithelial cells."
  • Jennifer Shaba was a biology major and plans on becoming an optometrist. Her research project was “Control of retinal gene expression: Mapping of Fiz1’s protein interaction domains.” Dr. Kenneth Mitton was her mentor.
  • Emily Henson’s career goal was to conduct medical research after obtaining her degree in biology. Dr. Shravan Chintala guided her through her independent research project, titled “Role of CREB and DREAM in protease expression in the retina.”
  • Michelle Smith worked in Dr. Barry Winkler’s lab during the SUPER program. Her research project was on “Oxidative effects on metabolic and transport enzymes in retina.”
  • Rick Schlaf was working toward a degree in medical lab science. He worked with Dr. Ken Mitton and another SUPER student on a project called “Control of retinal gene expression: Mapping of Fiz1’s protein interaction domains.”
In 2004
  • Robert Baker was a biology major from Sterling Heights. His first undergraduate degree was in mechanical engineering. His mentor, Dr. Shravan Chintala, guided him through his research project, titled "Role of TNF-alpha in retinal ganglion cell death." 
  • Marisa Dregansky was a biology major from Dearborn Heights. Her research project in Dr. Andrew Goldberg's laboratory was titled "The world according to GARP." 
  • Widmann Hoerauf was a biology major from Romeo. His project was called "Expression and interactions of proteins potentially involved in transcriptional control of rod development." Dr. Kenneth Mitton was his mentor. 
  • Christopher Lutz was a medical laboratory science major from Auburn Hills. He researched "Super array analysis of hyperbaric O2-treated human lens epithelial cells." Dr. Frank Giblin was his mentor.  
  • Erin Mack was a biopsychology major from Troy. Her research project was titled "The role of disulfide bonding in the structure of peripherin/rds." Dr. Andrew Goldberg was her mentor. 
In 2003
  • Zahra Firouzgan was a biochemistry major from Walled Lake. The title of Zahra's talk was "How much stress can I take before it kills me!" Her mentor was Dr. Barry S. Winkler. 
  • Danielle Hobrow was a biology major from Clawson. Her project was titled "Developing assays of retinal mRNA using quantitative PCR (Part II)." Her mentor was Dr. Kenneth Mitton. 
  • Janice Loffreda was a biology major from Macomb. She researched "Developing assayus of retinal mRNA using quantitative PCR (Part I)." Her mentor was Dr. Kenneth Mitton. 
  • Stephanie Niec was a biology major from Otisville. She researched "Biochemical and genetic approaches to peripherin/rds function." Her mentor was Dr. Andrew Goldberg.
  • Nathaniel Whitcomb was a biology major from Romeo. He researched "Use of HPLC to investigate the effects of HBO in vivo on lens proteins of the guinea pig." His mentor was Dr. Frank Giblin.
In 2002
  • Aisha Chaudhry was a biology major from Rochester Hills. She researched the "Role of plasmin in retinal ganglion cell death." Her mentor was Dr. Shravan Chintala.
  • Jenae Johnston was a biology major from Ortonville. She researched "Yeast two-hybrid random peptide/bioinformatics screen for mapping protein interactions of retinal disease proteins." Her mentor was Dr. Kenneth Mitton.
  • Dennis O'Connor was a biology major from Ortonville. He researched "Light and electron microscopic characterization of developing photoreceptor-RPE interactions." His mentor was Dr. Andrew Goldberg.
  • Sara Pelliccia was a biology major from Troy. She researched "Use of RT-PCR to search for the CYP1A1 cytochrome P450 gene in cultured human lens epithelial cells." Her mentor was Dr. Frank Giblin.
  • Jessica Runco was a biochemistry major from Bloomfield Hills. She researched "A morphological study of in vivo hyperoxic damage to retinas of pigmented mice." Her mentors were Drs. Janet Blanks and Frank Giblin.
  • Afreen Siddiqui was a biology major from Sterling Heights. She researched "Yeast two-hybrid system for trapping proteins binding to autoactivated receptor tyrosine kinase dimmers" in Dr. Kenneth Mitton's lab.
  • Kristen Tebo of Walloon Lake researched "immunoaffinity purification and tryptic mapping of an ocular tetraspanin" with Dr. Andrew Goldberg.
In 2001
  • Alyssa Border of Bowling Green, Ohio, studied the retinal protein structure with Dr. Andrew Goldberg.
  • Christina Callahan of Troy studied retinal morphology with Dr. Janet Blanks.
  • Shannon Hollie of Farmington Hills studied retinal metabolism with Dr. Barry Winkler.
  • Amy Litwinski of Sterling Heights studied retinal morphology with Dr. Janet Blanks.
  • Michael Sauer of Lake Orion studied retinal metabolism with Dr. Barry Winkler.
  • Erica Skidmore of Madison Heights studied lens epithelial cell cultures with Drs. Frank Giblin and John Reddan (Biology).