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Class of 2024

  • Jamar Kittling
  • Jessica Luu
  • Maya Milrod
  • Gato Nsengamumgu, MA

    I have spent much time identifying the bridge that connects my knowledge from social and natural sciences to leave behind a positive mark on this planet. I have long yearned for a scientific society, a society whose policies are based on facts (Data analytics), a society that employs scientific knowledge to find solutions to complex challenges the world faces today such as poor education standards in developing countries, global warming threats, and many more. With its mission of promoting an interdisciplinary and integrative approach to scholarship and learning across different natural sciences to equip students with the tools needed to tackle the scientific challenges of tomorrow, the College of Integrative Sciences (CIS) charmed my soul. With multiple disciplinary backgrounds, CIS curricula that pivot on assembling knowledge from seemingly unrelated departments will equip me with creative, quantitative, and integrative skills through the CIS's rigorous focus on research methods. The skills that CIS offers will further arm me with the tools to race to my destiny, a global citizen ready to tackle complex challenging problems. Gato's Research
    Gato studied Simulation-Based tutorials for the six-part Gauss’s Law tutorial series with Assitant Professor Candice Etson (MB&B).
  • Ava Purdue, MA

    Ava's Research
    Ava studied "Enrichment and Autonomy for Formerly Farmed Animals in Sanctuary Care" with Assistant Professor Elan Abrell.
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    Junrui Wang

    I chose to major in CIS because of my passion for applying programming skills to solve questions in microbiology and ecology. CIS offers the flexibility to design a personalized path that focuses on specific areas of biology that interest me. Additionally, CIS provides excellent support for interdisciplinary science research, which is crucial for my academic and career goals. The seminars offered through CIS have equipped me with essential skills across various research aspects, including science communication, scientific writing, and ethical considerations. Through these experiences, I developed a deep understanding of the responsibilities associated with research. Junrui's Research
    My research investigates the ecological divergence and speciation dynamics of Bacillus species, focusing on isolates from Death Valley National Park. Using whole-genome sequencing and advanced bioinformatics techniques, I identified ecologically distinct groups and explored their habitat associations along an elevational gradient. This study sheds light on the evolution of microbial communities and contributes to our understanding of ecological speciation.
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    Mingyu Wang

    My interests in the sciences are driven by both solving problems faced by working people and expanding the frontiers of empirical knowledge systems. One specific interest is the biophysical mechanisms of a peptide from a biofilm. I would like to engineer an eco-friendly adhesive using insights from multidisciplinary knowledge. My lab will be collaborating with Yan Biofilm Laboratory from Yale, which specializes in material science. I will be using methods and knowledge frameworks from multiple disciplines such as molecular biology, biophysics, and material science at different stages of my project to work toward an overarching goal. Mingyu's Research

    The biofilm adhesion protein (Bap1) is a structural component of the Vibrio cholerae biofilm, a sticky mixture of proteins and glycans that help bacteria colonies survive hostile conditions while also contributing to virulence. Our lab discovered a unique 57-amino acid loop within the Bap1 protein necessary for stickiness to abiotic and biotic surfaces. This sticky peptide has the potential to be used in medical and industrial settings, similar to a mussel-inspired glue currently used as a tissue adhesive and industrial glue. The advantage of our system is that since it is simpler than the mussel protein; it might be more easily industrially produced and optimized.

    The proposed research project involves the cloning and expression of the 57-amino acid peptide in
    Escherichia coli. The goal is to optimize expression of the peptide, understand the mechanism for its
    stickiness, and engineer adhesives inspired from it.

    The research project integrates molecular biology (DNA editing), protein purification  (biochemistry/biophysics), and material science. He worked with Associate Professor Rich Olson (MB&B). 

Class of 2023


'23 and '24 students with Director Redfield, May 2023

  • Tom Arbaugh
  • Brigitte Goeler-Slough
  • Kekeli Logoh
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    Aidan Jones

    The CIS-linked major is a small but thriving community that I would recommend people consider joining! If you are at all curious about different areas of science, this program is perfect for you. If you would like to know more about the program, I would recommend that you come to one of our many social events! Also, feel free to email me with any questions you have. Aidan's Research

    My research project in Dr. O’Neil’s lab focuses on how the A4V superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) mutation in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) affects mutant astrocyte neuroinflammation. By determining the mutant neuroinflammation response, I hope to identify pathways or mechanisms associated with motor neuron degeneration in ALS. I employ various techniques ranging from cell culture, inflammation assays, Real-Time qPCR, and immunostaining to understand the effects of the A4V SOD1 mutation on astrocyte morphology and gene expression.

Class of 2022

  • Shaquille Bowie
  • Ben Cowan
  • Chunyue Ma
  • Ave Nederlander
  • Hang Yang
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    Simon Van Deursen

    Simon Van Deursen ‘22 is a double major in CIS and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry who works as a Research Assistant in Professor Alison O’Neil’s lab. He grew up in San Anselmo, California and is a member of the Ski and Snowboard team at Wesleyan. He decided to elect a major in CIS because the open-ended, interdisciplinary nature of the major appealed to him. He has enjoyed the “think outside the box” mentality of the CIS major, in addition to being exposed to fields of science that he may not have otherwise experienced.

    His research project in the O’Neil lab has focused on the role that astrocytes, a type of star-shaped glial cell (non-neuronal cells that help maintain homeostasis but do not emit electrical impulses), play in the development of the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Simon uses stem cells to model both healthy and diseased cell types to study the effects of mutations associated with ALS. His advice to incoming CIS majors would be to keep an open mind when picking research labs and paths of study, as there are many opportunities within the major for students to try things outside of their comfort zone.  

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    Annika Velez

    My research in the Calter lab is focused on both the synthesis of analogs of rocaglamide—a natural anti-cancer compound—and the use of molecular dynamics to predict binding energies of different analogs to their cellular targets.

    I find myself at the interface between Chemistry and Molecular Biology. I really enjoy studying the physical interactions between molecules in the body, and majoring in CIS allowed me to explore classes in Biology and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry that supplemented that interest. I also am heavily involved in research which is a big component of the CIS program. Because my research is inherently interdisciplinary—mixing chemistry with computational and molecular biology—the CIS program was a great match for my academic trajectory.

    Read More on the CIS Blog

Class of 2021

  • Abrar Habib
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    Nour-Sa√Źda Harzallah

    Nour-SaÏda Harzallah ‘21 is a triple major in CIS, Physics, and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. She grew up in the coastal city of Monastir in Tunisia and came to Wesleyan after graduating from Pioneer High School of Monastir. She works as a Research Assistant in Professor Francis Starr’s lab. Never having felt like her interests fit within a single discipline, Nour-SaÏda appreciated the CIS major’s emphasis on conducting scientific research informed by different fields of knowledge.

    Nour-SaÏda’s work in the Starr lab lies at the interface of Physics and Molecular Biology, a project that involves studying the bacteriophage phi29. The virus uses different methods of DNA packaging and ejection to store DNA within the viral shell, and to infect host cells. Nour-SaÏda uses molecular dynamics simulations to study the mechanisms of those packaging and ejection processes. After graduating from Wesleyan, Nour-SaÏda will spend two years working as a Research Assistant in the Bhatia lab at MIT while deciding which bioengineering subfield she would like to specialize in.

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    Alex Poppel

    Alex Poppel BA ’20 MA ’21 double majored in CIS and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry with a minor in Molecular Biophysics. He is currently working in Professor Amy MacQueen’s lab. Poppel chose to major in CIS because he liked the strong sense of community within the major, and found that learning about different branches of science helped him probe questions within his own area of research. He remembers discussing the process of water purification in the Senior Colloquium for the major, in which students were asked to devise their own methods for purifying water based on knowledge they had from their main discipline of study. He was fascinated to learn that the actual process does in fact draw on a mix of knowledge from different disciplines, an experience that showed him how combining different viewpoints could lead to the best solution.

    Poppel’s project in the MacQueen lab has focused on studying the role of the E3 SUMO Ligase Zip3 in recombination propagation and the assembly of synaptonemal complex, a protein structure that forms between homologous chromosomes during meiosis. Poppel is currently pursuing his Master’s in the MacQueen lab through the BA/MA program, after which he plans to obtain a PhD in structural biology.

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    Ekram Towsif

    McNair Scholar Ekram Towsif ’21 works as a Research Assistant in Professor Fred Ellis’ lab. He is a triple major in CIS, Physics, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry who was born in Chittagong, Bangladesh but grew up in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Ekram chose to major in CIS because the program gave him the opportunity to solve interdisciplinary problems that required an understanding of both Physics and MB&B, two of his majors. He has enjoyed learning about the intersection of different scientific fields in topics ranging from exoplanets to the development of the COVID-19 vaccine. He recommends that incoming CIS majors ask and explore difficult questions, as that is when the most interesting science often happens.

    Ekram’s project in the Ellis lab has focused on creating simulations and experimental models of a two-dipole PT-symmetric magnetic system. After graduating from Wesleyan, he will begin working towards a PhD in Physics at Emory University in Atlanta.

Class of 2020

  • Grace Chen
  • Emanuel Fetene
  • Meera Joshi
  • Tenzin Ngodup

Class of 2019