BLaST

2017-2018 BLaST Graduate Mentoring Research Assistantships (GMRA)

Tynan Becker

Affiliations: University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Casey Clark

Affiliations: University of Alaska Fairbanks
Teaching Interests: My primary interest is ecology and the health of animal populations, with a focus on marine mammals. In Alaska, many marine mammal species are important subsistence resources for Alaska Native communities. I think it is vitally important to educate people about the importance of protecting subsistence species and maintaining access to a healthy and readily available food supply.
Research Interests: My research investigates the impacts of previous changes in climate on Pacific walruses, to provide information about how walruses may respond to current and future Arctic warming. Specifically, I am investigating how walrus diet and foraging location changed across 2,500 years and relating that information to climate reconstructions.
Techniques: I use two primary laboratory techniques for my research. First, I use stable isotope analysis to measure isotope ratios of Pacific walrus tissues (mostly bone collagen), which provides information about walrus diet and foraging location. Second, I measure trace element concentrations using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). I use this technique to reconstruct histories of exposure to individual trace elements such as iron, zinc, nickel, cadmium, etc., for individual walruses.
Personal Interests: I enjoy spending time outside, hiking, cabin trips in the winter, camping in the summer, kayaking, and fishing.
Email: ctclark@alaska.edu


Sheri Coker

Affiliations: University of Alaska Fairbanks
Teaching Interests: I am currently mentoring several undergraduate students. For over 20 years, I taught biological sciences (biology, advanced placement anatomy and physiology, field biology, biochemistry) in the secondary schools
Research Interests: I'm fascinated by the subsistence lifestyle and the health benefits associated with it, particularly how game meats affect protein synthesis in humans. Using isotope tracer methodology and feeding induced studies in humans, we will compare Alaska reindeer and commercial beef to determine the anabolic efficiency of each.
Techniques: Isotope tracer methodology, dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, medical assessments
Personal Interests: Hunting, fishing, gardening, camping, cooking, writing, reading, climbing, hiking, biking, photography
Email: mscoker@alaska.edu

Aline Collin

Affiliations: University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Andrew Cyr

Affiliations: University of Alaska Fairbanks
Teaching Interests: I have been mentoring undergraduates, high school students, and middle school students in my field of study for over 4 years. I have mentored youth at science camps, outdoor camps, environmental education camps, and language camps. I mentored in Morocco with the Peace Corps, teaching concepts ranging from environmental protection and agriculture, to health care and small business ideas. Presently I am mentoring with the Wildlife Toxicology Laboratory.
Research Interests: Hands-on, patience, and fun. We can get a classroom teaching setting with useless tests and boring lectures anywhere. But the beauty of mentoring is that it allows for a closer teaching environment, allowing for more hands-on learning, with patient and open minded mentors. I try to create a comfortable and fun learning environment where my mentee feels challenged, but supported, and feels free and unintimidated to ask questions.
Techniques: Toxicology, Contaminants, Fish, Biomonitoring, Bioaccumlation, Biomagnification, Mercury, POPs, non-motorized remote clean sample collection
Personal Interests: Cross country skiing, backcountry skiing, snowboarding, mountaineering, alpine/rock/ice climbing, biking, non-motorized endurance travel, canoeing, rafting, packrafting, hunting, birding, recycling, energy research, woodworking and turning wrenches.
Email: acyr1@alaska.edu


Carla Frare

Affiliations: University of Alaska Fairbanks
Teaching Interests: I have been a chemistry TA for several semesters. I have mentored undergrads and high school students in the lab. I enjoy interacting with students and sharing my experiences with them.
Research Interests: I am interested in hibernation. I am investigating the neuronal pathways activated during the onset of torpor, in particular the pathways involved in the sleep-awake cycle and in thermoregulation.
Techniques: Immunohistochemistry, microscopy, open-flow respirometry, animal experiments (surgery, drug compounding, perfusion)
Personal Interests: I like being outside, reading and cooking. I love summer evening hikes around town.
Email: cfrare@alaska.edu


Scott Jerome

Affiliations: University of Alaska Fairbanks
Teaching Interests: Experiential-based education and problem-based learning. 15 years as a head coach in NCAA skiing and cross country running.
Research Interests: Exercise science, human performance, overtraining syndrome, systemic inflammation
Techniques: Vo2max testing, Sub-maximal graded exercise testing, Anaerobic threshold testing via blood lactate, Wingate anaerobic power testing, Spirometry testing, SensorMedics Vmax respiratory analyzer, LactatePro whole blood analyzer
Personal Interests: Skijoring, cross country skiing, Alaskan rivers
Email: scott.jerome@alaska.edu

Madison Kosma

Affiliations: University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Research Interests: To understand the role humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) play in the early marine mortality of hatchery juvenile salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.). I am interested in using stable isotope analysis to determine the contribution of hatchery salmon to the diet of humpback whales observed near hatchery release sites.
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Personal Interests: Outdoor: snowboarding, surfing, hiking, running, kayaking, rock climbing, softball, basketball, volleyball, etc. Indoor: aesthetics, apple products, technology, and succulents.
Email: mmkosma@alaska.edu


Don Larson

Affiliations: University of Alaska Fairbanks
Teaching Interests: I have taught BIOL 310 Animal Physiology, been a GK-12 fellow teaching in 7th grade and high school introductory biology, and an instructor for ASRA. I have also served as a TA for multiple courses. I have mentored high school students, undergraduates, and masters students. My philosophy for teaching and mentoring is the same. I train students to be confident, creative researchers capable of critical analysis and holistic synthesis.
Research Interests: I examine ecological physiology of overwintering and host physiology influences on parasites, specifically trematodes. I ask how the physiology of seasonality in hosts alter disease and parasites. I use both snail and amphibian parasites. This study focuses on the One Health examining animal and environmental health, and zoonotic disease transmission.
Techniques: I use taxonomic identification of helminthes through keys and staining, PCR, ultra low cooling baths, microscopy, various loggers, field collections and necropsies.
Personal Interests: Cross country skiing. Dog training. B-movies. Cooking. Running. Skijoring.
Email: djlarson@alaska.edu


Marianne Lian

Affiliations: University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Malabika Maulik

Affiliations: University of Alaska Fairbanks
Teaching Interests: I have been a teaching assistant in general chemistry modules for undergraduates in the Chemistry and Biochemistry department. In addition, I have taught undergraduates for biochemistry and metabolism module. I have actively mentored high school and undergraduates on projects investigating the role of endemic phytochemicals in treating neurodegenerative disorders. Currently, I am mentoring two BLaST funded undergraduates on their projects that involve probing the effects of alaskan botanicals on a worm model of Parkinson's disease.
Research Interests: Neurodegenerative disorders mainly Parkinson disease Understanding parkinson pathology and signaling pathways Gene expression Phytochemicals, especially Alaskan botanicals in treating parkinson's disease
Techniques: Microbiology, fluorescent microscopy, confocal microscopy, worm behavior (healthspan, lifespan, motility etc), RT-PCR, RNAi, Bioassays, staining.
Personal Interests: Baking, Painting, Travelling
Email: mmaulik@alaska.edu


Lauren Wild

Affiliations: University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Alaska Southeast
Teaching Interests: As a marine mammal biologist I have been a guest lecturer in Fisheries Technology courses at the UAS Sitka campus. I love working with students and adults of all ages, and collaborating with people from all walks of life, which helps me learn and grow as a research biologist.
Research Interests: My research focus is on marine mammal interactions with fisheries. I have a Master's degree in Marine Mammal Science from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where I focused on sperm whale acoustics. I have worked with a project called the Southeast Alaska Sperm Whale Avoidance Project for the last six years. This project is a collaborative effort between fishermen, scientists, and managers, to understand the interaction between sperm whales and fishing gear, and work to minimize the effects of depredation.
Techniques: Acoustics, telemetry and photo-id.
Personal Interests: When I am not out on the water or in the lab doing research, I can be found playing violin, hiking, bike riding, boating, or dancing!
Email: lawild@alaska.edu


Kimi Yatsuhiro

Affiliations: University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Past GMRAs

2016-2017

2015-2016