Research Connections

Research Connections October 15 2-4pm Peter J. Werth Residence Tower
Photo Recap
Presenter List (Coming Soon)
Tips for Engaging with Research
Month of Discovery

All students from any year, major, campus, and background are welcome at this event! If you require accommodations to participate, email

Our Mission

Research Connections, part of UConn's annual Month of Discovery, is intended to expose primarily first and second year students to UConn's rich landscape of research through meaningful interactions with faculty, staff, graduate students, peers, and other key partners. Research Connections can involve offices, departments, and initiatives from across campus, spanning any discipline or area of study.

FAQ – For Researchers

What is the purpose of this event, and who is the primary audience attending Research Connections?

The Office of First Year Programs & Learning Communities is committed to providing early career UConn students with an intellectual and co-curricular push during their first year or two at the University. As a Research 1 institution, we believe it's important for first and second year students to witness and engage with the rich academic culture in which they can get involved in a myriad of ways. By encouraging early career students to engage with Research Connections, we believe it will motivate them to seek additional opportunities to engage with faculty, staff & graduate students, and research, outside the classroom.

See photos from Research Connections 2019 to get a feel for what the event is like.

What types of researchers are you looking for?

We are eager to have a diverse representation of researchers to help them understand how many possible avenues and outcomes exist once they get involved in research. This means whether you are a faculty member, graduate student, UConn alum, corporate partner, or professional staff, you are welcome to express interest in presenting! We will also encourage interest from representatives from our UConn regional campuses and UConn Health.

What are the benefits to participating researchers?

  • Making early connections with students eager for opportunities to learn about your work in formal and informal capacities as they proceed in their undergraduate careers
  • A valuable professional development opportunity for your staff/team to gain recognition and awareness with a captive audience
  • Exposing a wider range of students to your courses, particularly those aligned with your research
  • An opportunity to meet researchers from across campus from many disciplines and levels of leadership/affiliation at UConn

Do I need to be hiring research assistants or student employees to participate?

No! Research Connections is not a job fair; it is an informational networking program where students will be encouraged to ask questions and learn about all the ways they can engage with you, not just through formal positions. This is a great opportunity for first and second year students to be exposed to the rich research culture at UConn, and the more diverse the disciplinary representation, the better the student experience will be. We encourage presenters to think about creative ways to engage students in conversation at the event by incorporating hands-on and interactive elements to their presentations.

What are the expectations for participating researchers?

We are excited to host this event in Peter J. Werth Residence Tower on the Storrs campus and hope you will join us. However, there are ways for you to engage with this event and UConn's larger Month of Discovery in October.

Attending researchers can contribute in multiple ways, and we can help you determine the best option and support execution if needed and appropriate. You can choose from the following options on the Interest Form, and we will follow up after you express interest:

  • Communication or Virtual Content (to be included on the Month of Discovery website; for those who might not be able to attend in-person)
  • Collaboration with the Learning Community Innovation Zone (Makerspace on-site)
  • Demo (Could be done at a table or in an assigned area of one of our rooms, depending on the nature of the demo.)
  • Poster/Table Presentation (Presenting your research at a table in poster or interactive form for attendees, sharing with students who approach you.)
  • Round Table Discussion (Table with 7-8 available seats, students can come speak with you.)
  • Unsure or Other Idea

If I cannot attend, can I designate another representative?

Absolutely; you are welcome to designate a colleague, graduate student, or other representative to take your place, or express interest in sending us digital content to include as a resource on the Month of Discovery website on the Researcher Interest Form.

What if I have more questions?

No problem! You can contact 860-486-3637 or if you'd like to talk to someone in more detail about this event.

FAQ – For Students

What is Research Connections?

Come discover the many avenues to research you can follow at UConn!
This event is open to students of all majors to help YOU engage with UConn's Research 1 culture.
Don't miss this chance to #DiscoverR1.

In its seventh year, this event grew out of a Learning Community program intended to help first and second year students engage in early and meaningful interactions with the undergraduate research culture at UConn. Through faculty, staff, alumni, partner, graduate student and peer conversations and activities, students will be able to learn more about research and how to engage with it in many different forms as a UConn student. Research Connections is a proud signature program of UConn's Month of Discovery.

What happens at Research Connections?

We are excited to host the in-person Research Connections event in Werth Tower (WTRH on the campus map). Utilizing the first and ground floors, students can check in and navigate the event at their own pace. Researchers will be tabling, presenting demos, and offering roundtable discussions about their work. We encourage attendees to be creative and open in their attendance by challenging themselves to speak with researchers outside their major or expected interests. You never know what you might learn or what might spark your curiosity!

Check out photos from the 2019 event to get a feel for what it's like.

What kind of researchers will be at the event?

Researchers from every discipline and area of campus were invited to participate in Research Connections.

We strongly encourage you to engage with Research Connections with an open mind. Step outside your comfort zone and engage with content outside what you think are your areas of interest or your major. You never know what connections you might make or new opportunities you might learn about!

How do I sign up to attend?

You can register in advance for Research Connections via Nexus, which will ensure you receive email reminders leading up to the event, but it's not necessary to register in advance to attend.

I'm nervous about talking to faculty, staff and other researchers in the panel and/or breakout discussion. What do I say?

Don't worry! The researchers participating know most of the students coming are early career UConn students who want to learn and grow. Watch this helpful video about how to talk to people at Research Connections.

Some good tips are:

Introduce Yourself:

  •  Make good eye contact, smile, be polite, genuine, and enthusiastic
  • Start with your name, major, and year
  • Briefly discuss your research/creative interests, your future goals/plans, any past research experience, and what you are hoping to learn/gain from the conversation

 Sample Questions to Ask:

  • What research projects are you currently pursuing?
  • How did you get interested in your research topic(s)?
  • How did you first get started in research?
  • How has your research focus changed or shifted over time?
  • What are some of the challenges you have encountered in research?
  • Are undergraduates involved in the research you conduct? Do you have undergraduate positions available?
  • What do you typically look for in an apprentice or research assistant?
  • What skills should I develop to prepare me to engage in research or creative projects in this field?
  • What courses or other learning experiences would you recommend in order to develop those skills?
Meet undergraduate researchers

Research Connections 2020 Interdisciplinary Panel Discussions

Beyond the Classroom: Discovering Entrepreneurship Through Research

Beyond the Classroom: Discovering Entrepreneurship Through Research

Monday, 10/19 at 4:00pm EDT on Webex

Watch the Recording

Proudly supported by UConn's Werth Institute for Entrepreneurship

Join us for this panel where we will discuss how research and entrepreneurship go hand-in-hand, outlining some amazing opportunities and resources for you. 


Natalie Lacroix

Natalie Lacroix Headshot

Natalie Lacroix is a junior studying Digital Media and Design with a concentration in Web and Interactive Media Design and minoring in Computer Science. Natalie is a Maker Specialist at the Learning Community Innovation Zone and a UX/Web Specialist at the DX Lab. She is passionate about innovation, involved as a Werth Innovator and member of the Learning Community Innovation Council. In her free time, Natalie enjoys playing tabletop games, reading, and creating floral arrangements.

Join us in the LCIZ (or virtually) for a Skillshare


Ryan Coles

Ryan Coles Headshot

Ryan Coles is an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurial Management whose research program analyzing entrepreneurship, technology commercialization, and growth strategies spans the U.S., Latin America, and the Middle East. Ryan’s quest to understand the social foundations of entrepreneurship has lead him to Tahrir Square during the Arab Spring, Latin American communities with a history of drug cartel violence, the Amazon rain-forest, and more.

Outside of academia, Ryan has worked with start-ups in the volun-tourism and fin-tech sectors, and advised V.C. firms on investments in the ed-tech, biotech, and fitness sectors.

David Noble

David Noble Headshot

David was appointed the inaugural Director of the Werth Institute in January 2018, and previously he served as the co-director of the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Consortium and the Xcite: Women in Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship Conference. As a faculty member in the School of Business, he teaches courses on technology innovation and entrepreneurship. David is an active mentor at UConn, and has recently founded Zatoichi Co., a blockchain based startup.

Prior to UConn, David was a securities and corporate finance attorney, with experience representing startups from formation through the IPO process. He has extensive non-profit board experience. He holds a Ph.D. in Management from the University of Alabama, a J.D. from the University of Miami, an M.B.A. from Elon University, and a B.S. in Political Science from Northeastern University.

About the Werth Institute

Keep Up To Date with the Werth Institute

Subscribe to the Werth Institute's Weekly Newsletter

Read the Werth Institute Blog

Eva Quigley

Eva Quigley Headshot

Eva Quigley is currently a Junior studying Nutritional Sciences. Besides keeping busy with research, she is also on the Learning Community Executive Council, a Werth Innovator, and a building manager at the Student Union. In her free time she enjoys cooking, reading, painting, and having movie and game nights with her friends.

Will Sheavly

Will Sheavly Headshot

Will Sheavly is a current undergrad student in the S.C. Johnson School of Business at Cornell University. He assisted Dr. Coles in fieldwork interviews on entrepreneurship research trips to Amman, Jordan, and Mexico City. In 2017 he co-founded New Deal Seitan (a meat-alternative small business) in Burlington, VT, before leaving to pursue a degree.

Life On Earth: Environmentalism & Human Rights

Life On Earth: Environmentalism & Human Rights

Tuesday, 10/20 at 6:30pm EDT on Webex

Watch the Recording

Proudly co-sponsored by UConn's Institute of the Environment

Join us for this panel where we will discuss how researchers across campus are looking critically at the relationship between human rights and environmental issues.


Rebecca (Becky) Feldman

Becky Feldman Headshot

I am a senior studying civil engineering, double minoring in construction management and environmental studies. My involvement at UConn for my first half of my college experience was focused on peer support through mentoring within the Engineering House Learning Community and the Academic Achievement Center. I have had the pleasure to work on numerous research projects involving climate change effects on watersheds and vernal pools, on SNAP incentives and food insecurity within farmers markets, and on a personal passion project to expand green food-waste initiatives within on campus apartments here in Storrs.  Nowadays, my time is spent interning at BL Companies within their Land Development team and advocating for student quality of life concerns within the Undergraduate Student Government as I serve as Student Services Advocacy Director.


Davis Chacón-Hurtado

Davis Chacon-Hurtado Headshot

Davis Chacón-Hurtado is a postdoctoral research associate who joined UConn as part of a collaboration between the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, the School of Engineering, and the Human Rights Institute. Davis works with several faculty on campus to advance efforts to build an Engineering for Human Rights program. Davis completed his Ph.D. in Transportation and Infrastructure Systems at Purdue University. He grew up in Cusco, Perú, where he obtained his B.S. in Civil Engineering at the University of San Antonio Abad of Cusco.

Engineering for Human Rights at UConn

Business for Human Rights at UConn

Kristina Wagstrom

Kristina Wagstrom Headshot

Dr. Kristina Wagstrom is an Associate Professor in chemical engineer with a specialization in atmospheric chemistry. She specializes in studying the human and ecosystem health impacts of air pollution through computational modeling, community engagement, and low-cost monitoring approaches. Dr. Wagstrom's lab has a large group of active undergraduate researchers working on a wide-variety of projects. In her spare time, she enjoys playing the flute, STEM outreach, scuba diving, kayaking, and travel.

Scott Wallace

Scott Wallace Headshot

Associate Professor of Journalism Scott Wallace is an award-winning writer, television producer, and photojournalist who has covered the environment, vanishing cultures and conflict over land and resources around the world for 35 years. He joined the Journalism Department at the University of Connecticut in 2017. He is an Affiliate Faculty member of El Instituto: UConn’s Institute of Latinx, Caribbean and Latin American Studies.

Wallace is a frequent contributor to National Geographic, writing about the struggles of indigenous communities in the Amazon rainforest to defend their lands and rights. He is the author of the bestselling book, The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon’s Last Uncontacted Tribes, a firsthand account of a Brazilian government expedition into the land of a mysterious tribe living in extreme isolation deep in the Amazon rainforest. He has undertaken a dozens immersive journeys to the Amazon while on assignment for National Geographic and other media.

As a reporter for CBS News, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Newsweek, the Independent, and the Guardian, Wallace covered the civil wars in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala throughout the 1980s. He has also reported from the Arctic, Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the former Soviet Union. His feature stories have appeared in Harper’s, Smithsonian, the New York Times, Washington Post, and Sports Afield, among many others. His television producing credits include CNN, CBS, Fox, and National Geographic Channel, and he has filmed independent documentaries in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has trekked while on assignment for National Geographic through the Andes, the Amazon, and the Himalayas. His photojournalism has appeared in publications throughout the world and is represented by Getty Images. He is the recipient of the Explorers Club’s Lowell Thomas Award for excellence in reporting from the field.

Wallace is a graduate of Yale University (BA, Philosophy) and the University of Missouri School of Journalism (MA, Print and Broadcast Reporting), and he is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists, the Overseas Press Club, Investigative Reporters & Editors, National Press Photographers Association, and the Explorers Club.

Courses: Scott Wallace teaches environmental journalism, feature writing, magazine journalism, journalism ethics and, visual journalism.

Mike Willig

Mike Willig Headshot

Michael R. Willig is a Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, the Director of the Center for Environmental Sciences and Engineering, and Executive Director of the Institute of the Environment at the University of Connecticut. Prior to coming to UConn, he was the Director of Division of Environmental Biology and a Program Officer in the Ecology Program at the National Science Foundation.  He has published over 250 peer reviewed scientific articles, and is the author or editor of eight books or monographs. He has mentored scores of undergraduates, 25 MS students, 13 PhD students, and 12 post-doctoral fellows, as well as a number of visiting scholars from Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, and Israel. His research interests include biodiversity science, ecology, conservation, and global change biology.

Two-Way Street: The Reciprocal Relationship Between Community Engagement & Research

Two-Way Street: The Reciprocal Relationship Between Community Engagement & Research

Wednesday, 10/21

4:00pm EDT on Webex

Watch the Recording

Join us for this panel where we will discuss how researchers across campus are leveraging community engagement in their endeavors.


Abhishek Gupta

Abhishek Gupta Headshot

I am a current seniors honor student at UConn triple majoring in the Biological Sciences, Sociology, and Spanish. I am an aspiring physician on a pre-medical track and am particularly interested in the field of wellness and preventative care as well as the role of public health in improving quality of life nationally and globally. During my time at UConn, I have helped to organize and lead a variety of advocacy initiatives including working on hunger and homelessness issues in Connecticut, combating food insecurity amongst college students, and reforming dialogue and healthcare around mental health. My experience working to make change at both a social and institutional level has shown me how necessary the integration of research and community outreach is to not only better address an issue, but to build community and support around proposed solutions so that we resolve the issues we see in a comprehensive and dignified manner.


Phoebe Godfrey

Pheobe Godfrey Headshot

“An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.” Gandhi

Phoebe has come to recognize the truth of Gandhi’s wisdom and so her interests are focused on how to put her personal commitments to equality, justice and ecological / social sustainability into practice through her research, teaching, activism and art, all of which she sees as inseparable. For example, she is currently co-editing a book, World Turning: New Perspectives on Race, Class, Gender and Global Climate Change (2015) that incorporates works from academics, activists, poets, artist, and play writers from around the world. She lives with her wife Tina and two cats in Willimantic, CT.

Carol Gray

Carol Gray Headshot

Carol Gray, a Crandell Cordero Fellow in the University of Connecticut’s Political Science doctoral program, was a public defender in her first career.  She was a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar attending American University in Cairo during Arab Spring and her dissertation grows out of an oral history she did in Cairo with one of Egypt’s leading human rights organizations.  Carol continued her Cairo research as a Fulbright Scholar in Montreal before starting her doctoral degree.  Carol has obtained graduate certificates at the University of Connecticut in Feminist Studies; Human Rights; and Race, Ethnicity and Politics, a diploma in International Human Rights Law from American University in Cairo, and a Masters in Advocacy from Georgetown University Law Center. Carol is also a parent of a teenager and lives with her family in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Fany Hannon

Fany Hannon Headshot

Fany DeJesus Hannon is the Director of the Puerto Rican/Latin American Cultural Center (PRLACC). Also, she is an affiliate faculty with El Instituto. When Fany is not working or writing her doctoral dissertation, you will find her in her garden, crafts room, or kitchen using her creativity to contribute to make this world a better place. Fany is a maximizer, a strategic thinker, and a woo! She loves meeting new Huskies and truly enjoys empowering them, so they can reach their dreams and aspirations. Her research interests are peer mentoring, sense of belonging, student development, Latinx/a/o college students, and first-generation college students.

Kristen Kirksey

Kristen Kirksey Headshot

Kristen Kirksey is a PhD Candidate in the department of Sociology, and also holds a Master of Public Health. Currently, she is a research assistant on the UConn Water & Food Security PIRE project, where she contributes to qualitative data collection and analysis. Her research interests are at the intersection of gender, health, and development.

Genevieve Rigler

Genevieve Rigler Headshot

Genevieve Rigler is pursuing a Master’s in Environmental Engineering under Dr. Emmanouil Anagnostou. She is currently a research assistant for the Water and Food Security PIRE project and the Eversource Energy Center. She graduated in December 2019 from the UConn EUROTech program with her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and her Bachelor of Arts in German Studies. This entailed one year of study at Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg, Germany where she focused on environmental sustainability.  She is deeply fascinated by physics, hydrology, human rights, energy justice and how engineering choices impact society or create inequalities.

Learn more about the PIRE Project: Honor Students may choose the project for their thesis if they are interested in Sociology, Human Rights or Environmental Engineering. If interested, contact: 

Making Good Choices: How Health Behaviors Affect the Human Condition

Making Good Choices: How Health Behaviors Affect the Human Condition

Wednesday, 10/21

6:30pm EDT on Webex

Watch the Recording

Join us for this panel where we will discuss the varied ways UConn researchers are examining health behaviors.


Sarah Tsuruo

Sarah Tsuruo Headshot

Sarah Tsuruo is a senior majoring in Biology and double minoring in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Molecular Cell Biology. Sarah is in the Honors program (Honors Scholar and University Honors Laureate) and on the Pre-Medical track. As an aspiring MD/MPH, Sarah’s mission is to be involved in clinical research and to provide quality care for medically underserved communities in order to minimize healthcare disparities.


Sandra Chafouleas

Sandy Chafouleas Headshot

Sandra M. Chafouleas is a Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Educational Psychology, Neag Endowed Professor, and Co-Director of the Collaboratory on School and Child Health at the University of Connecticut. Her work focuses on assisting schools in implementation of evidence-informed policies and practices that support the whole child, with specific expertise in strategies to strengthen mental health and emotional well-being. She authors a Psychology Today blog on promoting student well-being. Dr. Chafouleas is a fellow in both the American Psychological Association and Association for Psychological Science. Prior to becoming a university trainer, Dr. Chafouleas worked as a school psychologist and administrator in a variety of settings supporting the needs of children with behavior disorders. Her full bio can be found here.

Learn more about CSCH

Ji-Young Lee

Ji-Young Lee Headshot

Ji-Young Lee is currently Head and Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Connecticut. She is also a Fellow of the American Heart Association as well as the American College of Nutrition. Lee’s research focuses on the identification of molecular mediators that are involved in energy metabolism and inflammatory/fibrogenic signaling pathways; and how dietary factors, such as blue-green algae, berries, carotenoids, and NAD precursors, play regulatory roles therein.

Carla Rash

Carla Rash Headshot

Dr. Carla Rash is a licensed clinical psychologist with expertise in addictions treatments. Much of her work focuses on disadvantaged populations and health disparities. She has several ongoing projects funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Current studies include: 1) an employment intervention for persons living with HIV/AIDS; 2) an employment and alcohol intervention for hazardous drinkers who are unemployed;  3) examining the impact of transit on access to substance use disorder treatment; and 4) assessing COVID-related changes in gambling behavior.

Dr. Rash's Website

Dr. Rash's Bibliography

Jaci VanHeest

Jaci VanHeest Headshot
Jaci L. VanHeest, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology in the Neag School of Education with an adjunct appointment in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Connecticut. She serves as the Faculty Director of the Public Health Learning Community at the University. In addition, she is the UConn’s NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative.  Her research specialization is in the area of endocrine control of body weight and metabolism. Prior to her tenure at UCONN, Dr. VanHeest was the exercise physiologist for USA Swimming researching factors impacting both developmental and Olympic level athletes. Beyond her research publications, Jaci has published numerous book chapters and lay articles on the developing athlete. Dr. VanHeest utilizes basic and applied science techniques in her work with overweight children and competitive athletes.

Making It Work for the World: Problem-Solving with Innovation

Making It Work for the World: Problem-Solving with Innovation

Thursday, 10/22 at 6:30pm EDT on Webex

Watch the Recording

Join us for this panel where we will discuss how innovative, interdisciplinary thought, problem-solving, and examination are alive and well at UConn.


Carly Wanner-Hyde

Carly Wanner-Hyde Headshot

Carly is a senior Digital Media and Design major with a concentration in 3D animation. She strives to find connections within her experiences, especially when it comes to the intersection of art, problem-solving, and activism. Carly is passionate about using her platform to help amplify the voices of others. In her free time, Carly enjoys playing outside, rock climbing, strumming the guitar, and building longboards.

Check out Carly's Portfolio


Brooke Gemmell

Brooke Gemmell Headshot

Brooke Foti Gemmell is a Design Technologist at Greenhouse Studios, an interdisciplinary research unit which aims to reframe the workflows of collaborative scholarly production. With a background in visual arts and design, Brooke is a creative producer and visual problem solver on Greenhouse Studios projects, and also works on the branding and outreach of Greenhouse Studios at large. Among her favorite current projects are: Sourcery, a new document retrieval app; By Our Love, a musical arrangement and animation about political tribalism; and Overrated, a card-based tabletop game which fosters productive group discussion.

Learn more about Greenhouse Studios

Check out Sourcery

Jonathan Moore

Jon Moore Headshot

Jon Moore is th eAcademic Director of MIS and OPIM Undergraduate Programs, as well as the OPIM Innovate Coordinator.

I am an advocate for keeping technology human. I see the gap between how people use technology and how fast the field is progressing. Too often we do technology for the sake of doing technology without any thought into implementation and training of the users. I am also interested in the growing field of Gamification in Business for both marketing and professional development uses.

Areas of Expertise: 

  • Gamification
  • Design Thinking
  • Database Design
  • Emerging technology (Virtual reality, 3D printing, IoT)
  • Analytics
Jennifer Pascal

Jennifer Pascal Headshot

Professor Pascal is an Associate Professor in Residence and Associate Department Head in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department at UConn. She earned her B.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Tennessee Technological University. Her current research interests focus on integrating fine arts and engineering education and inclusive learning environments.

Christopher Sancomb

Christopher Sancomb Headshot

Chris Sancomb has a hybrid practice in design and studio arts that explores the intersections of art and science through a wide range of media. His design practice has focused on the creation of STEAM related informal learning environments for science and children's museums. His work in these areas centers on designing hands-on interactive learning experiences from concept development to implementation. Central to his design practice is the belief in creating inclusive, self directed, experiential environments designed to support varied learning styles, promote empathy, and help develop creative confidence in children.

Current artistic research explores science visualization and communication focused on physics, astronomy and cosmology. His work seeks to utilize various forms of scientific data as material for developing visual systems to represent unobservable/nonvisual phenomena. This work represents an expression of wonder at the elusive magnitude of Space, and serves as a way of obtaining knowledge and understanding through inquiry, synthesis, material exploration and making.

Mapping the Brain: A Window Into Neuroscience & Genetics

Mapping the Brain: A Window Into Neuroscience & Genetics

Friday, 10/23 at 3:30pm EDT on Webex

Watch the Recording

Join us for this panel where we will discuss the cutting-edge neuroscience and genetics research happening at UConn.


Mukund Desibhatla

Mukund Desibhatla Headshot

Mukund is a senior STEM Scholar pursuing a double major in Physiology & Neurobiology and Spanish with a minor in European Studies. During his junior year, Mukund became involved in undergraduate research in Dr. John Salmone’s Lab, where he has investigated the effects of various dopamine transport inhibitors on effort-related motivation in rats. Dr. Salamone guided Mukund in creating his own unique project, for which he received a SURF Award for Summer 2020. Driven by his passion for podcasting, Mukund aims to establish UConn’s first Podcast Symposium. He has most recently received the UConn IDEA Grant to materialize this mission. Through his role as Peer Research Ambassador, Mukund has been able to use his passion for research and service to help students gain confidence in their creative endeavors.

Listen to Mukund's Podcast, Agents of Change, on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. Agents of Change is a 12-episode podcast featuring stories of exemplary leadership and student-led research on UConn campus. Through this podcast, Mukund delivered first-hand stories of experienced students to help open up possibilities for others. He interviewed individuals passionate about a variety of topics, including political advocacy, food insecurity, CPR education, and research abroad.


Colin Cleary

Colin Cleary Headshot

I am a fourth year PhD candidate in the Mulkey Lab in Physiology and Neurobiology. We study brainstem control of breathing or how our brains sense changes in CO2 in our blood. My specific interests in the Mulkey Lab have been how glial cells and vasculature sense changes in CO2 in respiratory chemoreceptor regions.

We are looking for motivated undergraduates that are interested in brainstem control of breathing to join our research group. Visit for more information about the lab or contact Colin at

Alexandra Goetjen

Allie Goetjen Headshot

I am an 8th year MD/PhD student at UConn Health, in the final year of a PhD project assessing the genetics of alcohol use disorder in stem cell-derived neural cultures. Upon finishing my dual degree program, I aim to become a physician-scientist with goals of running my own addiction science laboratory as well as treating adolescents and young adults who are at increased genetic risk of developing substance use disorders. One of the extracurricular activities closest to my heart is volunteering for Crisis Text Line as a Crisis Counselor, and I have helped over 1000 people in crisis over the last 1.5 years. I was a first-generation college student and am a proud UConn alum.

Learn more about the MD/PhD Program at UConn

Alexander Jackson

Alex Jackson Headshot

Dr. Alex Jackson, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physiology and Neurobiology at UConn. He obtained his BSc. in Physiology from McGill University, PhD in Neuroscience from Harvard University and was a postdoctoral fellow at University of California, San Francisco. Research in his laboratory is directed toward identifying the neuronal cell types that populate the mammalian hypothalamus and how they give rise to neural circuits that drive and modulate fundamental behavioral states such as sleep, feeding, stress and motivated behavior.

Learn more about Dr. Jackson's Lab

Meaghan Perdue

Meaghan Perdue Headshot

Meaghan Perdue is a 5th year PhD student in Developmental Psychology, under the supervision of Dr. Nicole Landi. She is also a fellow in the Neurobiology of Language program and an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program scholar. In Meaghan's research, she aims to characterize biological mechanisms underlying individual differences in reading and language abilities using neuroimaging genetic methods. Meaghan is particularly interested in understanding how the dynamic interplay of brain structure and function relate to reading ability. Her dissertation research aims to integrate across different neuroimaging modalities to comprehensively characterize links among brain structure, brain function, neurochemistry and reading ability.

Learn more about LandiLab: We are always welcoming motivated undergraduate research assistants!