CUGR announces student award winners for two new fellowships

The University of Maine’s Center for Undergraduate Research has announced the first winners for two recently established fellowship programs. 

Supported by the Office of Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School, CUGR created the UMaine Institute of Medicine and UMaine Artificial Intelligence fellowships this year with their respective program, and will welcome undergraduate students to them for the 2020–2021 academic year. Undergraduate proposals will be awarded $1,200 each. 

The UMaine Institute of Medicine and UMaine AI provided funding for their respective fellowships with assistance from the UMaine Office of the Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School. Special consideration was given to fellowships that focused on response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s UMaine Institute of Medicine fellowship winners are: 

  • Harrison Cyr, medical laboratory sciences, “SARS-COV2 RNA Extraction Optimization for Saliva and Wastewater Testing,” advised by Robert Wheeler
  • Colin Welch, microbiology, “Determining the Diversity of Prophage in Mycobacterium abscessus Clinical Isolates,” advised by Sally Molloy
  • Erika Pacheco, zoology, “The Relationship Between Kidney Function and Cognitive Function in Type 2 Diabetics,” advised by Fayeza Ahmed
  • Anna Schumann, molecular and cellular biology, “The role of McProf’s ESX-like TA cassette in M. chelonae antibiotic resistance,” advised by Sally Molloy
  • Daniella Leal Espinal, microbiology, “Quantification of Concentration dependency of pathogen suppression in Black Soldier Fly larvae vermicompost,” advised by Robert Gundersen
  • Maria Vina Lopez, biology, “Study on the synergistic activity of Fluconazole and Cyclosporine A on Candida albicans,” advised by Robert Wheeler
  • Audrie French, microbiology, “RT-LAMP Optimization for Wastewater COVID-19 Testing,” advised by Robert Wheeler
  • Gerren Welch, physics, “Computational Analysis and Classification of SHG Images of Cancerous Pancreatic Tissue Based on Collagen Fiber Alignment,” advised by Karissa Tilbury
  • Remi Geohegan, microbiology, “Investigating the Cell-Type Dependent Cell Signaling Mechanisms of JCPyV Infection,” advised by Melissa Maginnis

This year’s UMaine AI fellowship winners are:

  • Sabrina Varga, biology, “3D Tracking of muscle precursor cells movement in zebrafish,” advised by Jarod Talbot
  • Christopher Roberts, biomedical engineering, “Microscopy Analysis Using Second Harmonic Generation,” advised by Karissa Tilbury 
  • Jazlyn Dumas, marketing, “The Importance of a Checkmark: An Investigation Into the Perceptions of a Social Media Verification and its Effects on Consumer Trust,” advised by Stefano Tijerina
  • Basel White, biomedical engineering, “Wavelet-Based Automatic Pectoral Muscle Segmentation from Mammograms,” advised by Andre Khalil
  • Jonathan Libby, finance, “Regulation of Crypto Derivatives Trading in Institutional Financial Markets,” advised by Stephen Jurich

For more information, visit the CUGR website or email