Motivated undergraduate students are welcome in the Charles laboratory and many have gone on to pursue professional degrees in medicine as well as research. If interested, please email copies of your transcript, a CV, a letter of recommendation, and a brief statement of why you want to work on a particular project in the lab. We aim to have projects suited for up to 4 undergraduates per quarter. 


P A U L    K I M

(bio to come)


R U Y I   H U A N G

(bio to come)


H A N N I N G  X I N G

Hanning Xing is currently a second year Computational & Systems Biology major. He comes from Arcadia, CA — the land of the peacocks and amazing boba. He came into UCLA as an Electrical Engineering major, but soon found out that he had lost interest in it. He wanted to be a doctor one day. He had always dreamt of donning that white coat and saving lives.


I R V I N   L I E N

Irvin is an officer for the Taekwondo team at UCLA and competes regularly. He also plays violin for the UCLA symphony. In terms of helping the community, Irvin has volunteered through several health organizations including Asian Pacific Health Corps and Ronald Reagan Volunteer Services. He has also made contributions to the immediate Los Angles community as the Head Coach and President of Special Olympics at UCLA.

Irvin is examining the role various pharmaceutical agents play in modulating the expression of cortical spreading depression.


C H E L S I E   D I E T Z

Chelsie is a graduating third year at UCLA.  She is majoring in English with the intention of attending medical school and becoming a physician.  Chelsie is the External Fundraising chair of the student run non-profit organization, Flying Samaritans, which allows her to take a leadership role in an organization that provides medical care for under-served communities in Mexico.  She also volunteers at Mending Kids International which organizes international surgical missions for children who do not otherwise have access to life-saving medical care.  Her passion for providing medical care for under-served communities at an international level has lead her to desire a career as a physician in Africa with the organization, Doctors Without Borders.

Chelsie recently completed her senior honors thesis through the English Departmental Honors Program which explored literature as a means to evaluate the American healthcare system.  She has a deep interest in the depiction of personal illness experiences through autobiographical illness memoirs, and the representation of the doctor-patient relationship within literature.  She hopes to apply her passion for writing and the critical investigation of literature to the field of medicine in order to help shape health care policy, and to aid in the health advocacy of under-served and under-voiced communities.

She has been involved with the Charles Lab since the summer of 2012, and is currently involved in a project which uses optogenetic methods to elicit cortical spreading depression in genetically engineered mice with a monochromatic blue laser.


L Y O L Y A   H O V H A N N I S Y A N

Lyolya Hovhannisyan is a senior College and Department Honors student majoring in neuroscience. Lyolya studied how low frequency brain oscillations are affected by cortical spreading depression. Lyolya was a University Research Scholars Program (URSP) Scholarship recipient, and a recipient of the 2013 Honors Program Irving and Stone Research Award given to the most outstanding research proposals for undergraduate summer research. Lyolya’s research proposal was also awarded the 2013 Honors Program Jeffrey George Wilson Award for one of the top two research proposals.

Lyolya is co-founder and co-president of Flying Samaritans at UCLA, which provides free medical services and health education under the supervision of professional medical providers to a small, underserved community in Mexico, Colonia Margarita Moran. She has received the Donald A. Strauss Foundation $10,000 scholarship awarded to junior college students to carry out a community service project. Lyolya plans to pursue a dual Master’s in Public Health/ Medical Degree program upon graduation. Her careers goals are to become a neurologist and continue providing health care to underserved communities.


D E B B I E  L I N C O W

Debbie was involved with the Charles Laboratory in Spring 2012, observing a rodent model that is used to explore mechanisms that may underlie migraine aura in humans.  She worked on linking temperature and pulse sensors to an Arduino microcontroller board and wrote a short program in MATLAB to digitize, log, and display the data in real-time.
Debbie completed a Summer internship at Iowa State University, conducting research with Drs. Maura McGrail and Don Sakaguchi, studying the progression of retinal tumors in a transgenic line of zebrafish.  She is a coauthor on the manuscript which is currently in review for publication. 

Debbie was accepted to the ISU McNair Scholars Program in Fall 2013.  Debbie is working on another project under the direction of Dr. Sakaguchi.  The purpose of this research is to determine if transdifferentiated mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have the capacity to influence the growth properties of adult hippocampal neural stem cells (HCN) using a cell culture system.  

Debbie is currently a Junior, majoring in Genetics at Iowa State University.  Her research interest is on how epigenetic factors and gene regulation can influence gene expression in the progression and onset of cancer.  Debbie’s expected graduation date is May 2015.  In Spring 2014, she was awarded the First Generation Scholarship, the Osher Reentry Scholarship, the Sesquicentennial Learning to Live a Life Leadership Award, and the Johnny and Terry Pickett Student Enrichment Fund Award.


P A R A S T O O   M O D I R S H A L A

Working as a student researcher under Dr. Baca in UCLA's Systems Neurobiology Laboratory, I studied the neural network for breathing located in the brainstem. I performed surgeries to make brainstem-spinal cord preparations where we could explore how respiration is produced and modulated. I gathered data that provided additional support for distinct breathing modes that depended on the activation/inactivation of two distinct brainstem central pattern generators (CPGs).

I graduated UCLA June 2012 and worked during my year off. My first job was as a scribe at the West Hills Hospital Emergency Department. I recorded patient’s visits from beginning to end through an electronic medical system. I also worked as a pre-med intern in an orthopedic practice. I participated in the entire spectrum of patient care: interviewing patients, presenting cases to doctors, entering information into electronic records, reviewing imaging studies, discussing diagnoses and treatment plans, and observing exciting surgeries.

Currently, I am finishing a Master’s in Physiology at Georgetown University and have been recently accepted to medical school. Dr. Baca has helped me practice critical thinking skills and independently conduct research. He has been a great mentor and guided my initial research experience at UCLA.


P A U L    H S U

(bio to come)