Completing summer research on campus is valuable, undergraduate students say

Author: Naya Tadavarthy

Maeve Curliss 1200

Many University of Notre Dame science students stayed on campus this summer to do research in topics as diverse as neuroscience, astronomy, and the causes and treatment of disease. Using new technologies and even developing some of their own, they applied the information they learn in classes to real-world investigations. Here, a few students share some of the most memorable moments from their impactful summer at Notre Dame. 

Maeve Curliss

Maeve Curliss '21

Physics major
From Beavercreek, Ohio

With Assistant Professor Jeffrey Chilcote, Maeve studied how and why the point spread function of particular star changed over the course of the night, information she hopes will help find exoplanets around other stars. 

“Unlike typical school assignments, when I am researching if I see something unusual or interesting I can chase down why this weird thing is happening," she said. "It’s the freedom of research that makes it so intellectually satisfying and challenging.”



Ashby Martin

Ashby Martin '20

Neuroscience and Behavior major
From Bolingbrook, Illinois

Ashby researched an eye condition called leukocoria with Kasturi Haldar, the Rev. Julius A. Nieuwland, C.S.C. Professor of Biological Science and the Parsons-Quinn Director at The Boler-Parseghian Center for Rare & Neglected Diseases. He also helped start a college campus awareness campaign, “Know the Glow,” which will help students spot this disease’s characteristic gold-looking eyes in photographs. 

“I love my advising professors and coworkers," Ashby said. "The Rare and Neglected Disease Center is filled with highly intelligent and wonderful people, and I’m lucky to be able to work with them on a daily basis.”

Yanting Luo

Yanting Luo '20

Biological Sciences major
From Shanghai, China

Since patients with low levels of the mitochondrial gene UQCRH often suffer worse experiences with cancer, Yanting explored how this deficiency affects the energy and metabolism of kidney and ovarian cancer cells. Her advisor was Xin Lu, the John M. and Mary Jo Boler Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences.

“I like that I am trying to discover more about life, which is so closely related to us and the source of almost everything we love,” Yanting said.

Clare Cahir, '20

Clare Cahir 1200

Chemistry major, with a supplemental major in Italian
From Morris Plaines, New Jersey

Clare worked with Patricia Champion, associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, to helped create and analyze versions of tuberculosis with parts of their ESX-1 system genes deleted, to determine which signals produced by the system cause harm to the human body. 

“I am enjoying being able to experience what working in a research lab full time would be like and also getting to know the really awesome people that make up the lab,” Clare said.