Graduate Division

2018 UCI GradSlam Campus Winners

2018 UCI GradSlam Campus Winners

Alana Ogata - Champion/1st place

Degrees

Ph.D., Chemistry, UC Irvine, 2019 expected
B.S., Chemistry, College of William & Mary, 2014

Research

Electrochemical Biosensors for Point-of-Care Diagnostics

Advisor

Dr. Reginald Penner

Biography

Alana received her bachelor’s degree at the College of William & Mary where she worked under Dr. Wustholz in a laser spectroscopy lab studying solar cells. Driven by her passion to study solar energy technology, she moved from the east coast to sunny California to pursue a PhD at UCI. After meeting Dr. Penner, Alana discovered the exciting field of biosensors and began a new path in electrochemical biosensors. Alana is currently developing biosensors for point-of-care cancer diagnostics in order to make cancer testing accessible to all. She collaborates with biochemistry labs at UCI and a start-up company, Phage Tech Inc., to bring these at-home cancer sensors to realization.

Gianna Fote - First runner up/2nd place

Degrees

Ph.D., Biological Chemistry, UC Irvine, 2022 expected
M.D., UC Irvine, 2022 expected
B.S., Intensive Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University, 2014

Research

Neurodegenerative Disease

Advisor

Dr. Joan Steffan, Dr. Leslie Thompson

Biography

Gianna discovered her passion for neuroscience research as a pre-med undergraduate at Yale University. While she deeply wished to help individuals with neurodegenerative disease, she began to realize that a neurologist’s treatment options are limited; we currently have no cures or therapies for many neurological illnesses. Gianna concluded that a combination of contributions through both clinical practice and basic research would be the best way for her to push the field forward, and matriculated to UCI’s MD/PhD program. Gianna currently researches how brain cells dispose of their waste, and how that process may fail in Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease.

Christie Morales - Second runner up/3rd place

Degrees

Ph.D., Biomedical Science, UC Irvine, 2018 expected
B.S., Cellular, Molecular, and Developmental Biology, Univ. of Washington, 2010

Research

Immune System & Autoimmunity

Advisor

Dr. Michael Demetriou

Biography

Christie is an immunologist currently researching how the stability of a molecular network, called the galectin-glycoprotein lattice, influences immune cell development, "behavior", and the outcome of autoimmune diseases (i.e., multiple sclerosis). Besides advancing immunology research, her passions include science policy and advocacy, and science communication. Christie is also involved in STEM education outreach for disadvantaged communities, and enabling broader engagement between scientists and the public.