Undergraduate Research and Study Abroad

Undergraduates working with graduate student and postdoctoral fellow mentors


Are you interested in doing 199 research with Dr. O'Dowd? Click on the link below for the application procedure:




Education Abroad

Click here for more information about our program for students who want to study abroad.




Spring Freshman Research Experience at UCI

Before the budget crisis at UCI, all freshman biology majors used to take a 1 unit freshman seminar each spring. An important goal of this program is to make a large school feel small. I was unsatisfied by the level of interaction I was able to have with the student in a standard seminar format (1 hr/week for 10 weeks). Therefore in spring of 2008 year we concentrated the 10 hrs of interaction into a single weekend and develop a science experience unique to a research institution. I got to know all the students, by name, and my postdocs, graduate students, and lab undergraduates benefited by gaining teaching experience. They also were able to identify freshman who were good candidates for participating as members of their summer research teams.


2010: We ran three groups, each with worksheets and experimental projects (links open as pdfs). The worksheets and experimental projects were developed by teams: a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow and an udnergraduate who had been through the Bio 2B program in past years. The development teams served as the mentors during the weekend experience.


Three teams completing the Neuroscience Lab Weekend for Freshman April 2010









Updates on past Mentors as of April 2010

2008 Postdoctoral Mentors

  • Jorge Campusano: Currently a professor with his own lab at the Universidad Catholica, Santiago Chile
  • Victor Gu:  Currently a professor with his own lab at Guangzhou Medical School, Guangzhou China

2008 Undergraduate Mentor

  • Andy Hoang: Excellence in Research, UCI, Marshall Finalist; Co-author on O’Dowd lab publication. Currently Fulbright Fellow working in Thailand.



Publications with HHMI-UCI *Postdoc/Graduate Mentors and **Undergraduate Students

  • Gu*, H., S.A. Jiang*, J.M. Campusano*, J. Iniguez*, H. Su, A.A. Hoang**, M. Lavian**, X. Sun, and D.K.O’Dowd (2009) Cav2-type calcium channels encoded by cac regulate AP-independent neurotransmitter release at cholinergic synapses in adult Drosophila brain. J. Neurophysiol. 101: 42-53.
  • Hilgenberg*, L.G.W, B. Pham**, M. Ortega**, S. Walid**, T. Kemmerly**, D.K. O’Dowd, and M.A. Smith (2009) Regulation of a3 sodium potassium ATPase activity modulates cardiac myocyte contraction, J. Biol. Chem. 284: 16956-65.



Awards to HHMI-UCI undergraduate students


Dates in Lab



Monica Lavian


  • 1st Place Oral Presentation at GWIS Science Conf., Chapman University
  • Audrey Schneiderman Prize for Outstanding Undergrad. Res. Project at UC Irvine
  • Medical School

Maria Ortega

Summer 2006


  • Medical School

Andy Hoang


  • Excellent in Research UC Irvine
  • Donald Strauss Scholarship for Public Service
  • Distinguished Anteater Award
  • MEDELLAS Scholarship for Excellence in Premedical Studies
  • Finalist, Marshall Scholarship
  • Fulbright Fellow, 2009-2010
  • Fulbright Fellow, Thailand






2009: Two teams completing Neuroscience Lab Weekend for Freshman May 2009










2008: Two teams completing Neuroscience Lab Weekend for Freshman April 2008



groups 2b




2006: Summer Postdoctoral Fellow Undergraduate Research Teams.

We recruited 7 undergraduates to work in the lab in three teams. Three postdoctoral fellows headed the teams.

student research