Cancer Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) is the team of outstanding undergraduate students currently doing cancer research at USC Michelson Center CSI-Cancer

2019 Fellowship awardees

Congratulations to our outstanding students!

Kate CunninghamProvost Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Matthew Lin Provost Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Ryan StorgardProvost Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Sujin Jeong Dornsife SOAR
Dillon McKinleyFulbright Scholar
Kate RappardWattis Dumke Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Kate CunninghamOkin Scholarship in Biological Sciences
Angela ChenWattis Dumke Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Spring 2019 symposium

Symposia are an excellent opportunity to sharpen scientific communication skills. CURE students organize one every semester to showcase the progress of their respective research projects and gain feedback from the senior members of the institute

CURE Student Accomplishments (as of 3/28/19)

Matthew Lin

Joined: Spring 2016

Graduate School Admissions: Keck School of Medicine, Class of 2023

Research Fellowships: Provost’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship (Spring 2017-present); USC Dornsife SOAR Grant (Fall 2016)

Organizations: UC Irvine Summer Premed Program (June 2018, Undergraduate Coach); Irvine Digestive Disease Center (May 2018 – December 2018, Surgical Technician and Medical Assistant); Undergraduate Medical Review (Fall 2017 – Present, President); Community Health Connection (Fall 2016 – Present, Publicity Chair); Break the Boxes (Fall 2016, Director of Product Design); ScribeAmerica/Mission Hospital (May 2016 – August 2016, Medical Scribe); TEDxUSC (Spring 2016, Selection Committee Member); Epilepsy Support Network of Orange County (January 2016, Volunteer); Science Outreach (Fall 2015 – Present, Science Fair Director); USC Korean American Student Association Dance Off Team (Fall 2015, Dancer)

Scholarships: USC Asian Pacific Alumni Association Orange County Founder’s Families Scholar (Fall 2017 – Present); Mork Family Scholarship (Fall 2015 – Present); National Merit Scholarship (Fall 2015 – Present); University Scholarship (Fall 2015 – Present); American Bureau of Shipping Don Birney Memorial Scholarship (Fall 2015 – Spring 2016)

Conferences, Posters, Presentations, Publications: Undergraduate Research Symposium 2019, Poster, “Genomic Characterization Of Metastatic Tumor Cells In Bone Marrow Aspirate Of Metastatic Castration Resistant Prostate Cancer Patients May Lead To Discovery Of Molecular Biomarkers For More Accurate Stratification,” P. Malihi, S. Chai, M. Lin, R. Storgard, A. Zurita-Saavedra, J. Hicks, P. Kuhn; National Collegiate Research Conference 2019, Poster, “Genomic Characterization Of Metastatic Tumor Cells In Bone Marrow Aspirate Of Metastatic Castration Resistant Prostate Cancer Patients May Lead To Discovery Of Molecular Biomarkers For More Accurate Stratification,” P. Malihi, S. Chai, M. Lin, R. Storgard, A. Zurita-Saavedra, J. Hicks, P. Kuhn; Undergraduate Research Symposium 2018, Poster, “Case Study: Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and Prostate Cancer Co-Diagnosis,” M. Lin, P. Malihi, S. Barbas, J. Hicks, P. Kuhn; Undergraduate Research Symposium 2017, Poster, “Using HD-SCA to Stratify Intermediate-Risk OCPC Patients,” P. Malihi, K. Pienta, J. Hicks, M. Gorin, M. Morikado, M. Lin, C. Velasco, A. Carlsson, A. Kolatkar, P. Kuhn

Other: Phi Beta Kappa Society (Spring 2019 – Present); USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences Dean’s List (Fall 2015 – Present); Science Outreach SCout of the Week (Fall 2015)

Fun fact: I met Will Ferrell on campus freshman year!

Rahul Mason


Joined: 2016

Graduate School: USC Keck School of Medicine

Research Fellowships: Provost Undergraduate Research Fellowship, Rose Hills, SURF, SOAR

Organizations: Violence Intervention Volunteers, Project RISHI

Scholarships: Continuing Student Scholarship (3 years)

Conferences, Posters, Presentations, Publications:
WCBSURC 2017 Winner, Undergraduate Symposium 2017 Winner

Fun fact: I’m an only child.

Carlisle Maney

Joined: February 2019

Organizations: Kicks for Kids, Keck Student Ambassadors, Jumpstart, Pi Beta Phi sorority

Scholarships: Eleanor and Lloyd King Scholarship

Other: Dean’s List

Fun fact: I have as many dogs as I do sisters.

Isabelle Vu

Joined: Spring 2019

Organizations: Science Outreach, USC Climbing Team, Colleges Against Cancer

Scholarships: USC Trustee Scholarship

Other: Dean’s List

Fun fact: I have a black belt in mixed martial arts!

Sachin Narayan

Joined: January 2019

Organizations: Los Angeles Community Impact consulting, USC Project RISHI, Share a Meal

Scholarships: USC Trustee Scholarship

Conferences, Presentations, Posters, Publications: National High School Journal of Science: Deep Sea Oil Trap Presentations: Synopsys Scienxe, Intel ISEF

Other: ASM International Research Commendation, Bellarmine College Prep Science Department Award

Fun fact: I am a hip-hop and Bollywood dance choreographer.

Olivia Hart

Joined: Spring 2019

Dillon McKinley

Joined: October 2015

Research Focus: Characterizing tumor evolution and treatment resistance in breast cancer via liquid biopsy

Research Fellowships: Fulbright Research Grant in the Czech Republic, Rose Hills Fellowship, Viterbi Undergraduate Research Fellowship (x4)

Organizations: USC Troy Camp, Trojan Knights, USC Football

Scholarships: USC Mork Family Scholarship, Elks National Foundation Most Valuable Scholar

Conferences, Posters, Presentations, Publications: NA — BC_OPT-025, S1222 publications to come; USC Undergrad Research Symposium to come

Other: Dean’s List every semester

Fun fact: I accidentally ran with the bulls once and Joe thinks it is one of the best stories he’s ever heard.

Divya Sripathy

Joined: March 2017

Research focus: Optimizing and implementing a density algorithm that categorizes white blood cells from Imaging Mass Cytometry Data

Graduate School Admissions: University of Southern California

Research Fellowships: Rose Hills Fellowship, Provost Research Fellowship

Organizations: USC Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, USC Residential Education

Other: USC Renaissance Scholar, Thematic Option Honors Program

Fun fact: I love art and have been painting for 10 years!

Sujin Jeong

Joined: January 2018

Research Fellowships: Provost Research Fellowship, Alison Marshall Undergraduate Research Award

Organizations: Mortar Board Honor Society, USC Helenes

Scholarships: USC Presidential Scholarship, Mak-Lichtman Trust Scholarship, Patricia A. Baerthlein Award, Beryl McManus Award for Dornsife Students

Other: Dean’s List

Fun fact: I’m a second degree black belt!

Michael Morikado

Joined: Fall 2015

Research Focus: Analyzing single-cell prostate cancer genomics using liquid biopsy and predictive modeling of genomic instability

Research Fellowships: Viterbi Undergraduate Merit Research Fellowship

Organizations: Viterbi Freshman Academy

Scholarships: Presidential Scholarship

Conferences, Posters, Presentations, Publications:
Clonal diversity revealed by morphoproteomic and copy number profiles of single prostate cancer cells at diagnosis (Convergent Science Physical Oncology, 2018), 2018 AACR student poster presentation

Daniel Flores

Joined: Spring 2018

Research Fellowships: SURF

Organizations: Troy Camp and Latino Students in Medicine

Other: Dean’s List

Fun fact: I love avocados!

Ayeshna Desai

Joined: January 2019

Organizations: Global Medical Training, Environmental Core, and Science Outreach clubs

Other: Deans List (Spring 2018 and Fall 2018), Student delegate for the climate forward conference in early April, participating in the post conference retreat on Catalina Island where we will continue to discuss the political challenges in addressing climate change.

Fun fact: I’ve been to 20 countries and hope to travel to 30 before I’m 30!

Amanda Hmelar:

Joined: 2019

Organizations: Best Buddies

Scholarships: USC Presidential Merit Scholarship

Fun Fact: I love snowboarding!

Kate Rappard

Joined: Fall 2016

Research Focus: Detecting and characterizing rare single-cell events in multiple myeloma patients using HD-SCA in paired peripheral blood and bone marrow aspirate samples

Research Fellowships: SOAR, Provost Undergraduate Research Fellowship, Wattis Dumke Fellowship

Organizations: USC Rec Sports (Fitness Instructor), Gamma Phi Beta sorority, Latino Alumni Association, USC Medlife

Scholarships: Latino Alumni Association scholarship, Gamma Phi Beta scholarship, Dornsife Continuing Student Scholarship

Conferences, Posters, Presentations, Publications: AACR undergraduate poster symposium (poster, 2019), Influence of primary tumor removal on incidence and phenotype of circulating tumor cells in stage IV colorectal cancer (abstract, 2017)

Other: Dean’s List

Fun fact: I’ve never eaten an orange!

Angela Chen

Joined: Fall 2016

Graduate School Admissions: Keck Graduate Institute, Johns Hopkins, USC

Research Fellowships: SOAR, Wattis Dumke Fellowship

Organizations: Daily Trojan, Trojan Dance Marathon, Design for America

Scholarships: Presidential Scholarship

Conferences, Posters, Presentations, Publications: Prediction of bone metastasis in inflammatory breast cancer using a Markov chain model (The Oncologist)

Ankur Rastogi


Joined: Spring 2018

Research Focus: Incorporating genomic and proteomic data for cancer longitudinal modeling

Future Employment: 23andMe

Research Fellowships: Viterbi Undergraduate Fellows

Organizations: Spark SC, Tech.LA Fellows, Residential Student Government (freshman year)

Scholarships: Presidential Scholarship, University Scholarship, UCC Foundation Scholarship (external)

Fun fact: Our house adopted a turtle that someone abandoned on our doorstep this past December.

Kate Cunningham

Joined: January 2018

Research Fellowships: Provost Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Organizations: Health Sciences Education Program, Trojan Dance Marathon, Trojan Advocates for Political Progress, Alpha Chi Omega sorority

Scholarships: Okin Scholarship in Biological Sciences, USC Presidential Scholarship, National Merit Scholar, University Scholarship, Hannah Dashiell Memorial Scholarship

Other: Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society (Spring 2019), Dean’s List (Spring 2017 to present)

Fun fact: I was the drum major of the marching band in high school!

Laura Roed

Joined: December 2018

Organizations: Club Softball, 4th Quarter All-Stars Sketch Comedy Group, an IYA Team Project, and Precious Plastics

Scholarships: Dean’s Scholarship

Fun fact: My last name is pronounced like “Road”, and before my mom married my dad her last name was “Street.”

Arushi Agrawal

Joined: January 2019

Organizations: Undergraduate Student Government; Community Health Connection; Interaxon

Scholarships: Presidential Scholarship, National Merit Scholar

Other: National Latin Exam Gold Award: National French Honor Society Student of the Year; Disney Be Inspired Grant recipient for my volunteer initiative for refugee aid

Fun fact: I can play the flute.

Rita Pisegna:

Joined: 2019

Organizations: Gamma Kappa Alpha Honors society, LBSA, NSLS

Other: Ranked in top 1% of solo pianists in California

Fun fact: I am trilingual in English, Spanish and Italian.