The Cancer Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) program is the undergraduate program of USC Michelson CSI-Cancer. Each student is assigned a mentor who helps them work on a specific project. CUREs can be seen in both the wet and dry lab, developing assays and creating Markov chain models. Being a CURE student cannot be defined; it is up to the student to set their own goals and project!

Thank you for your interest in the CURE program. The spring 2022 application is closed. Please continue to follow us for updates and information. If you have any questions, contact Allie Welsh, awelsh@usc.edu.

USC undergraduates interested in the research in our lab are also encouraged to enroll in BISC 410: Applications of Molecular Biology to Medicine taught by professors Kuhn and Hicks. Students should review the prerequisites leading up to BISC 410.


The CURE Team

Sachin Narayan

Team: Colorectal Cancer/CAR-T

See More

Major: Global Health

Minor: Business Finance

Joined: Fall 2018

Research Focus: Cross-assay analyses with HDSCA3.0 to identify prognostic rare cell markers for colorectal cancer. Developing a CAR T-cell identification assay for prostate cancer (PSCA/PSMA).

Scholarships and Fellowships: Trustee Scholarship

Involvements on Campus: Cathartic, LACI, Project RISHI, Trojan Knights, Doctors without Borders, Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab Scholars

Talk to me about: Hip hop and Bollywood dance

Cameron Baab

Team: Prostate Cancer

See More

Major: Computer Science

Minor: Computational Biology & Bioinformatics

Joined: Fall 2018

Research Focus: Machine learning/artificial intelligence work with patient data to develop models to predict anything from CTC enumeration to optimal treatment for retinoblastoma patients

Scholarships and Fellowships: N/A

Involvements on Campus: N/A

Talk to me about: Music production and poker

Eric Yang

Team: Multiple Myeloma

See More

Major: Quantitative Biology

Minor: Health Innovation

Joined: Spring 2019

Research Focus: Developing a Demographic-Collaborative Treatment Recommendation Algorithm for Patients with Multiple Myeloma.

Scholarships and Fellowships: USC Presidential Scholarship, Mastercard Global Scholarship, Trudi Berwin Student Support Award, USC Dornsife SURF, USC Provost Undergraduate Research Fellowship, Gupta Family Fellowship

Involvements on Campus: USC Healthcare Technology and Analytics, USC WorldMed, Community Health Connection

Talk to me about: Basketball and music

Jaden Mullin

Team: Lung Cancer

See More

Major: Human Biology

Minor: N/A

Joined: Fall 2019

Research Focus: Improved classification of early stage non-small cell lung cancers through addition of HD-SCA work flow

Scholarships and Fellowships: University Scholarship

Involvements on Campus: Troy Philippines, Trojan Steel

Talk to me about: Cool jewelry

Aidan Plant

Team: Prostate Cancer

See More

Major: Neuroscience

Minor: Jazz Studies

Joined: Fall 2019

Research Focus: Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition in Patients with Advanced Prostate Cancer.

Scholarships and Fellowships: USC Dornsife SOAR

Involvements on Campus: Southern California Healthcare Outreach, USC Project RISHI, Music Inspiring Community

Talk to me about: Jazz and climbing

Nathan Kristanto

Team: CAR-T

See More

Major: Biomedical Engineering

Minor: N/A

Joined: Spring 2020

Research Focus: Predictive Modeling of Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cell Therapy Responses

Scholarships and Fellowships: USC PURF, Trudi Berwin Scholarship, APAA Scholarship, SCion Scholarship, Cancer for College Scholarship

Involvements on Campus: ASBME, Colleges Against Cancer, Cathartic Health

Talk to me about: Hiking and manga

Alexander Hill

Team: Head & Neck Cancer

See More

Major: Quantitative Biology

Minor: N/A

Joined: Spring 2020

Research Focus: Identification of biomarkers for Head/Neck cancer and immunotherapy response using the HD-SCA 3.0 workflow.

Scholarships and Fellowships: USC Dornsife SOAR

Involvements on Campus: USC Triathlon

Talk to me about: Computers and Camping

Carla Collier

Team: Lung Cancer

See More

Major: Human Biology

Minor: Human Disease

Joined: Fall 2020

Research Focus: UAMS

Scholarships and Fellowships: USC Dornsife SURF

Involvements on Campus: Colleges Against Cancer, LSA, JEP, Reader’s Plus, Interaxon, Kinder to College

Talk to me about: Books, coffee, and photography

Emmett Liljegren

Team: PACS

See More

Major: Human Biology

Minor: Global Health

Joined: Fall 2021

Research Focus:

Scholarships and Fellowships: Trustee Scholarship

Involvements on Campus: QuASA, Joint Educational Project

Talk to me about: being a Starbucks barista

Christina Chang

Team: Retinoblastoma

See More

Major: Biochemistry

Minor: Public Health, East Asian Languages and Culture

Joined: Fall 2021

Research Focus:

Scholarships and Fellowships: Presidential Scholarship

Involvements on Campus: Science Outreach, AMWA

Talk to me about: Dramas and table tennis

Amanda Hmelar

Team: Prostate Cancer

See More

Major: Human Biology

Minor: Spanish

Joined: Spring 2019

Research Focus: NBDs Rare Cell Classification/Enumeration, HDSCA3.0 Longitudinal Sampling Data Analysis

Scholarships and Fellowships: Presidential Scholarship

Involvements on Campus: LAC + USC Department of Emergency Medicine Volunteer, Spanglish Tutoring, Troy Camp, USC American Medical Women’s Association, Foreign Service Society

Talk to me about: Snowboarding and sailing

Mihir Kumar

Team: Lung Cancer/CAR-T

See More

Major: Human Biology & Economics

Minor: Mathematical Finance

Joined: Spring 2019

Research Focus: Characterization of Small Cell Lung Cancer & Tracking/Monitoring CAR-T cells in HER2+ Breast Cancer

Scholarships and Fellowships: Trustee Scholarship, USC Dornsife SOAR, USC Dornsife SURF

Involvements on Campus: Project RISHI, KDSAP, EMSC, Imagining America, SCHO

Talk to me about: Investing options

Vera Hsu

Team: Breast Cancer

See More

Major: Biochemistry

Minor: Applied Analytics

Joined: Fall 2019

Research Focus: Characterization of cfDNA fragmentation profiles in HR+/HER2+ breast cancer patients to improve CNA detection.

Scholarships and Fellowships: Presidential Scholarship, USC Dornsife SOAR, USC Dornsife SURF

Involvements on Campus: USC TAO, Music Inspiring Community, Brain Exercise Initiative

Talk to me about: Mahjong and Taiwanese food

Dean Tessone

Team: Multiple Myeloma

See More

Major: Biological Sciences

Minor: Disruptive Innovation

Joined: Fall 2019

Research Focus: Transcriptomic Subtyping of Multiple Myeloma.

Scholarships and Fellowships: USC Dornsife SURF, USC Dornsife SOAR Gillman Fellowship

Involvements on Campus: Trojan Knights, Troy Camp, HCTA

Salmaan Sayeed

Team: Bladder Cancer

See More

Major: Computational Neuroscience

Minor: Linguistics

Joined: Spring 2020

Research Focus: Investigating rare cells in bladder cancer samples to identify prognostic markers of the disease. Developing proteomic biomarkers for phenotypic characterization of CRCs.

Scholarships and Fellowships: USC Dornsife SURF, USC Dornsife SOAR

Involvements on Campus: USC Mobile Clinic, USC Medesign, Intramural Soccer

Talk to me about: English Premier League!

Annie Amacker

Team: Normal Blood Donor

See More

Major: Human Biology

Minor: Health Care Studies

Joined: Spring 2020

Research Focus: Utilize the HDSCA 3.0 Normal Blood Donor reports to understand the underlying elements of immunity and disease in non-cancerous cohorts.

Scholarships and Fellowships: USC Dornsife SOAR

Involvements on Campus: Gamma Phi Beta Sorority, Trojan Tutoring, Colleges Against Cancer, Trojan Health Volunteers, Human Biology Association

Talk to me about: Brooklyn 99

Audrey Limb

Team: Normal Blood Donor

See More

Major: Human Biology

Minor: Health Innovation

Joined: Fall 2020

Research Focus:

Scholarships and Fellowships:

Involvements on Campus: Peaks and Professors, Science Outreach, Trojan Health Volunteers, Remedy Through Music

Talk to me about: Sustainable fashion, hiking, and ATLA

Elijah Wen

Team: PACS

See More

Major: Health and Human Sciences

Minor:

Joined: Fall 2021

Research Focus: The goal of this project is to explore the types of circulating rare events in patients with post-acute COVID-19 syndrome (PACS) and identify possible biomarkers relating to pulmonary or cardiovascular injury. We will run the HSDSCA3.0 workflow on peripheral blood samples from participants who had severe COVID-19, were hospitalized for COVID-19, or are currently being evaluated for PACS. These PACS samples will be compared and analyzed against samples from participants with no known pathology, as well as patients with alternative health conditions (ie. Cancer). This project will lead to additional studies to identify a PACS biomarker to assist in diagnosis and/or differentiation, drug selection, and clinical monitoring.

Scholarships and Fellowships: USC Dornsife SOAR, Ronald Stephen Muckenthaler Scholarship, Music Scholarship Fund

Involvements on Campus: piano performances

Talk to me about: pour milk first before cereal

Sankalp Mrutyunjaya

Team:

See More

Major:

Minor:

Joined:

Research Focus:

Scholarships and Fellowships:

Involvements on Campus:

Talk to me about:

Brandon Ye

Team: UTUC

See More

Major: Quantitative Biology

Minor: Healthcare Studies

Joined: Fall 2021

Research Focus: Developing ML models for the prediction of metastatic relapse in UTUC patients via rare cell populations identified with the HDSCA 3.0 workflow.

Scholarships and Fellowships: Presidential Scholarship

Involvements on Campus: USC MEDesign, Science Outreach

Talk to me about: NBA basketball and Phoebe Bridgers

Arushi Agrawal

Team: Breast Cancer

See More

Major: Neuroscience

Minor: Healthcare Studies

Joined: Spring 2019

Research Focus: Single Cell Analysis of Treatment Responses and Tumor Evolution in Hormone Receptor-Positive Metastatic Breast Cancer patients

Scholarships and Fellowships: Presidential Scholarship, USC PURF, USC Dornsife SOAR, USC Dornsife SURF

Involvements on Campus: Community Health Connection, Interaxon, Residential Community Council, Project RISHI, Flying Samaritans

Talk to me about: LA restaurants

Jena Tran

Team: IMC

See More

Major: Quantitative Biology

Minor: N/A

Joined: Spring 2019

Research Focus: Immune Profiling: utilizing imaging mass cytometry (IMC) to characterize immune cells with up to 30 markers

Scholarships and Fellowships: N/A

Involvements on Campus: Community Health Involvement Project, USC Student Government, USC Food Recovery Network

Talk to me about: The best sad songs

Andrew Chen

Team: Lung Cancer

See More

Major: Biochemistry

Minor: Computer Programming

Joined: Spring 2020

Research Focus: Early detection of lung cancer using HD-SCA

Scholarships and Fellowships: Presidential Scholarship, USC Dornsife SURF

Involvements on Campus: Chaotic 3 Hip Hop, NSQK Dance

Talk to me about: Anything boba related

Lily Bai

Team: Lung Cancer

See More

Major: Human Biology

Minor: Healthcare Studies & Piano Performance

Joined: Spring 2020

Research Focus: Tracking mutations for patients undergoing treatment with stage 3 and 4 non small cell lung cancer

Scholarships and Fellowships: Presidential Scholarship, USC Dornsife SOAR

Involvements on Campus: Science Outreach, Habitats of Humanity

Talk to me about: Traveling and dogs

Hari Mellacheruvu

Team: Lung Cancer

See More

Major: Quantitative Biology

Minor: Applied Analytics

Joined: Spring 2020

Research Focus: Early detection of NSCLC using HDSCA 3.0 single-cell data.

Scholarships and Fellowships: USC Dornsife SOAR

Involvements on Campus: Project RISHI, Science Outreach, Supplemental Instruction

Talk to me about: Soccer and why it is the superior sport

Emmeline Lin

Team: Pancreatic Cancer

See More

Major: Human Biology

Minor: Healthcare Studies

Joined: Fall 2020

Research Focus: Using liquid biopsy to identify and compare possible biomarkers in hepatic portal vein and peripheral blood of patients for earlier pancreatic cancer detection and characterization of disease progression

Scholarships and Fellowships: Presidential Scholarship, USC URAP, , USC Dornsife Continuing Students Scholarship, USC Dornsife SOAR

Involvements on Campus: Peer Health Exchange, Community Health Involvement Project, The Coastlander

Talk to me about: Cheese and snowboarding

Carli Kaleta

Team: Multiple Myeloma

See More

Major: Quantitative Biology

Minor:

Joined: Spring 2021

Research Focus: High Resolution Single Cell Proteomic Analysis Pipeline for Characterization of Multiple Myeloma Progression.

Scholarships and Fellowships: Trudi Berwin Fellowship

Involvements on Campus: Make-A-Wish USC, Xpressions dance company, Genomics and Geobiology Undergraduate Research Experience, Kappa Alpha Theta

Talk to me about: The best restaurants around LA

Kameron Shahabi

Team: PrecisionPS

See More

Major: Computer Science

Minor:

Joined: Summer 2021

Research Focus: Modeling performance status using movement and physical activity data to help oncologists predict patient responses to rigorous therapies before enrolling them.

Scholarships and Fellowships: USC Provost

Involvements on Campus: N/A

Talk to me about: Freediving, volleyball, and good food

Divya Suresh

Team:

See More

Major:

Minor:

Joined:

Research Focus:

Scholarships and Fellowships:

Involvements on Campus:

Talk to me about:

Amy Huang

Team:

See More

Major:

Minor:

Joined:

Research Focus:

Scholarships and Fellowships:

Involvements on Campus:

Talk to me about:


CURE Events

The CURE Symposium

The CURE Symposium is held twice a year in order to give CURE students an opportunity to present their work. Faculty, mentors, friends, and family are invited to attend this wonderful event showcasing the hard work of our CURE students.

Night at the Lab

Night at the Lab is held once a year in the fall. This event is put on entirely by undergraduates and invites cancer patients, researchers, clinicians, and community members to explore the type of work we do in the lab. Presentations by undergraduates, Drs. Peter Kuhn and Jim Hicks, collaborators, and patient advocates give attendees an in depth view of the current state of cancer care. We hope to see you at the next one!

Senior Presentations

At the end of every school year, our graduating seniors finish off their lab career with a presentation encompassing their college lives, both in and outside of the lab. We celebrate the end of late-night lab thoughts and all the hard work our seniors have put in throughout their time with us.


Summer 2021

Over the course of summer 2021, our undergraduates returned to the lab for the first time in a year. The summer is the best time for our students to make significant progress on their projects, dedicating upwards of 20 hours a week.


Fellowship Awardees

Congratulations to our outstanding students!

Fall 2021
Lily BaiSOAR Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Vera HsuSOAR Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Nathan KristantoProvost Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Mihir KumarSOAR Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Audrey LimbSOAR Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Emmeline LinProvost Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Salmaan SayeedProvost Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Kameron ShahabiProvost Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Jena TranSOAR Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Eric YangProvost Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Summer 2021
Arushi AgrawalSURF Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Carla CollierSURF Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Carli KaletaTrudi Berwin Student Support Fellowship
Nathan KristantoTrudi Berwin Student Support Fellowship
Audrey LimbSURF Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Emmeline LinProvost Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Jaden MullinSURF Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Salmaan SayeedProvost Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Spring 2021
Arushi AgrawalSOAR Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Lily BaiSOAR Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Alex HillSOAR Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Amanda HmelarSOAR Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Vera HsuSOAR Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Mihir KumarProvost Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Audrey LimbSOAR Dornsife Gupta Family Undergraduate Fellowship
Emmeline LinSOAR Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Carlisle ManeyProvost Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Jaden MullinSOAR Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Aidan PlantSOAR Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Rithik RajaniProvost Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Salmaan SayeedSOAR Dornsife Stone Undergraduate Fellowship
Sean SolomonProvost Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Jena TranSOAR Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Maddie WalkerSOAR Dornsife Stone Undergraduate Fellowship
Fall 2020
Arushi AgrawalProvost Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Annie AmackerSOAR Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Lily BaiSOAR Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Olivia HartSOAR Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Alex HillSOAR Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Mihir KumarSOAR Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Carlisle ManeyProvost Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Aidan PlantSOAR Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Salmaan SayeedSOAR Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Sean SolomonProvost Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Ryan StorgardProvost Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Dean TessoneSOAR Dornsife Gillman Fellowship
Eric YangProvost Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Summer 2020

Arushi AgrawalSURF Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Andrew ChenSURF Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Vera HsuSURF Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Mihir KumarSURF Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Carlisle ManeyProvost Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Salmaan SayeedSURF Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Sean SolomonProvost Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Dean TessoneSURF Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Eric YangSURF Gupta Family Fellowship
Spring 2020
Kate CunninghamProvost Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Eric YangProvost Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Ryan StorgardProvost Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Carlise ManeyProvost Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Arushi AgrawalProvost Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Olivia HartSOAR Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Mihir KumarSOAR Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Daniel LiuSOAR Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Vera HsuSOAR Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Sean SolomonSOAR Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Fall 2019
Kate CunninghamProvost Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Ayeshna DesaiProvost Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Ryan StorgardProvost Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Arushi AgrawalSOAR Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Vera HsuSOAR Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship
Isabelle VuSOAR Dornsife Undergraduate Fellowship