Undergraduate Fellows



IBACS, in concert with the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR), offers fellowship funding for undergraduates conducting research with IBACS faculty members, focusing on any research area associated with the IBACS mission.Click here for more information on this program.


Congratulations to the recipients of the IBACS Undergraduate Research Awards


Two of IBACS'

Undergraduate Research Fellows

have been recognized as University Scholars

for their research efforts.


Ben Babbitt

Ben is a junior pre-medical student at UConn, from Shrewsbury MA, looking to study Neuro-Orthopedic Surgery. He was recently recognized as a University Scholar for his research efforts in the Conover laboratory. Ben studies fetal-onset hydrocephalus and is currently tracking the fate of neuroepithelial stem cells in the lateral ventricles using mouse models. The main goal of his research is to evaluate the mechanisms of normal and hydrocephalic brain development using cellular development mapping techniques and spatiotemporal characterization of cell differentiation.

The IBACS Undergrad Research Fellowship funding that Ben received allowed him to pay for the cost of imaging immuno-stained brain slices for the visualization of cell morphology and provided him the resources to improve his protocols for brain tissue preparation and cell fate mapping. “Having the funding to complete my research is absolutely essential and the funding I received from IBACS greatly improved my ability to produce high quality results. IBACS not only provided me with funding to complete my research but they also have been very supportive throughout my research process”, Ben said. Ben is also interested in hospital administration and health care policy and hopes to receive a joint MD/MBA dual professional degree.


Erika Randazzo

Erika is a member of the Honors Program from Norwalk, CT, pursuing a dual degree in Physiology and Neurobiology (PNB) and Pathobiology, with a minor in Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship. Erika's research interests at UConn are centered on neuroscience, with a focus on Developmental Neurobiology. In the Loturco Lab, she's working to identify the neural precursor cell that gives rise to supratentorial ependymomas during development. This aim is studied through the IUE surgical injection of a fusion mutation known to give rise to the specific subclass of brain tumors under consideration. Different tags for different neural cells are included in the injection in different surgeries to allow for identification of the neural precursor cell. Following sectioning and processing for immuno-fluorescence with primary antibodies that are used to label different cells in ependymoma tumors, brain sections are imaged using an AxioZoom microscope. The number and size of tumor masses are quantified at three different ages under each condition studied.  The measurements are then compared by analysis of variance.  Erika hopes to discover the growth rates of tumor masses and individual pseudo-rosettes that are present within the brain tumors resulting from different progenitor cells.

Outside of academics, Erika is an active member of the UConn Women’s Track & Field and Cross Country teams, the Pre-Medical society, SASP tutoring program, and the Pre-Med newsletter committee. After graduation, she plans to pursue a Research (Plan A) Master’s Degree in PNB before attending medical school, with the ultimate goal of pursuing an MD/Ph.D and specializing in Sports Orthopedic Surgery.

Summer 2020 Student Researchers and Faculty Advisors

Kerry Morgan – Advisor: James Li

Veronica Eskander – Advisor: Anastasios Tzingounis

Matthew Phillips – Advisor: Emily Myers

Spring 2020 Student Researchers and Faculty Advisors

Cheyenne Harris-Starling – Advisor: Eiling Yee

Caroline Hebert – Advisor: Marie Coppola

Qingli Hu – Advisor: Etan Markus

Joel Lopez – Advisor: Gregory Sartor

Akriti Mishra – Advisor: Marie Coppola

Natalie Nanez – Advisor: Geoff Tanner

Areej Sayeed – Advisor: Robert Astur

Fall 2019 Student Researchers and Faculty Advisors

Aditi Anam – Advisor: Etan Markus

Alexis Cleri – Advisor: Marie Coppola

Samantha Grubb – Advisor: James Magnuson

Derek Pan – Advisor: Joanne Conover

Grace Roy – Advisor: Gerry Altmann

Aditi Sirsikar – Advisor: Inge-Marie Eigsti

Summer 2019 Student Researchers and Faculty Advisors

Maxime Braun – Advisor: John Salamone

Kirantheja Daggula – Advisor: Holly Fitch

Jairo Orea – Advisor: Linnaea Ostroff

Spring 2019 Student Researchers and Faculty Advisors

Kirantheja Daggula – Advisor: Holly Fitch

Jason Gallo – Advisor: John Salamone

Amar Kalaria – Advisor: Joanne Conover

Timothy O’Toole – Advisor: Geoffrey Tanner

Lily Zhong – Advisor: Alexander Jackson

Fall 2018 Student Researchers and Faculty Advisors

Christina Deoss – Advisor: Marie Coppola

Corine Sylvain – Advisor: Marie Coppola

James Frageau – Advisor: Geoffrey Tanner

Caroline Hebert – Advisor: Marie Coppola

Elliott Willion – Advisor: James Li

Arsal Shah – Advisor: John Salamone

Olivia Dimarco – Advisor: John Salamone

Summer 2018 Student Researchers and Faculty Advisors

Rohit Makol – Advisor: David Martinelli

Skylar Sklenarik – Advisor: Robert Astur

Krishna Vali – Advisor: Geoffrey Tanner

Spring 2018 Student Researchers and Faculty Advisors

David Bachoy – Advisor: Eiling Yee

Patrick Briody – Advisor: Joanne Conover

Lana Delasanta – Advisor: Edward Large

Derek Lee – Advisor: Geoffrey Tanner

Seamus Rafferty – Advisor: John Salamone

Fall 2017 Student Researchers and Faculty Advisors

Saurabh Kumar – Advisor: Joanne Conover

Mirella Fernandez – Advisor: Robert Astur

Jacob Naparsek – Advisor: Alex Jackson

Haruki Cubeta-Yonamine – Advisor: Adam Sheya

Neil Sharma – Advisor: Geoffrey Tanner

Summer 2017 Student Researchers and Faculty Advisors

Alexandra Buscarello – Advisor: Holly Fitch

William Hunt – Advisor: Kevin Brown

Aleena Raajpoot – Advisor: Karen Menuz

Spring 2017 Student Researchers and Faculty Advisors

Ericka Randazzo – Advisor: Joe Loturco

Deepinder Singh – Advisor: Joanne Conover

Bryanna Ye – Advisor: John Salamone

Fall 2016 Student Researchers and Faculty Advisors

Danni Dong – Advisor: Etan Markus

Michelle Padua – Advisor: Robert Astur

Benjamin Babbit – Advisor: Joanne Conover

Kate Boudreaux – Advisor: Amy Gorin

Maranda Jones – Advisor: Erika Skoe

Rebecca Schwartz – Advisor: John Salamone