Undergraduate Mentors

The Undergraduate Mentors work with students to guide individual research paths that advance their own academic interests. Set up an appointment with a UM today!

Ornella Al-Sayah
Undergraduate Mentor

Hi! My areas of interest include underserved populations, health care disparities, and dermatology. In high school I researched albinism at Marist College and investigated the metabolic pathways behind lack of pigment in the skin. I’m currently working on a research project called MobileDerm, which aims to bring specialized dermatological care to rural areas in western Pennsylvania. I’m more than happy to assist you with figuring out how to find a research field you enjoy or helping you navigate how to reach out to a potential mentor/PI. Feel free to contact me to chat about research, skincare, and haircare!

Israel Herndon
Undergraduate Mentor

Hi everyone! I am majoring in History and Africana Studies. During my time at Pitt, I have been in FE-R and CE-R working on a project involving peer review. Feel free to contact me if you want to talk about doing research outside of your major, social movement, religion, Black history or anything overlapping and in between. 

Sarah Hulse
Undergraduate Mentor

If you are interested in discovering how research can guide you in your journey to medicine, getting involved in psychology studies, or integrating your passions in an interdisciplinary project, come chat with me! I’d be happy to discuss my experiences pursuing the BPhil, participating in summer fellowships, and finding my love of research. Contact me if you want to chat about what research at Pitt could look like for you!

Linh Huynh
Undergraduate Mentor

Hi! If you are interested in natural sciences, pharmacy, or public health, feel free to contact me! I participated in both the FE-R and CE-R programs, where I studied the physiological effects of magnesium depletion in mice models and in transplant patients receiving calcineurin inhibitors. Recently, I started working on research within the pharmaceutical and public health spheres. My current project looks into socioeconomic barriers to medication access for atrial fibrillation patients. Aside from research, I also love cooking, listening to music, taking cat naps, and playing ultimate frisbee! I am happy to act as a sounding board or answer any questions you may have (about classes, hobbies, and anything in between)!

Sarah Jahangeer
Undergraduate Mentor

Hi everyone! Contact me if you are interested in public health research. I am a history and philosophy of science major, creative writing and economics minor with a certificate in global health. My own research experience was in addressing public health concerns in rural Pakistan and migrant health. I was a TA for First Approaches to Research last semester, so let me know if you have any questions about getting started!

Hannah Kirsch
Undergraduate Mentor

Hi! Contact me if you are interested in psychological or interdisciplinary research. I am a psychology major with minors in Spanish and linguistics. I have participated in the FE-R and C-ER programs as well as a summer fellowship. Currently, I am a research assistant in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department and am conducting my own research project in the Psychology Department. Outside of the lab, I am part of Pitt’s Equestrian Team. If any of these topics interest you, please feel free to reach out!

Ryan Krafty
Undergraduate Mentor

Hi! I’m a senior studying Microbiology on the pre-med track. I’m currently working on research that focuses on regenerative medicine and biomedical engineering. Specifically, my lab works on using extracellular matrix as a bio-scaffold to deliver neural stem cells into the lesion after stroke. I was a student in the First Experiences in Research program and Continuing Experiences in Research class. Please reach out if you’re interested in research in the natural sciences, medicine, or have any questions about being pre-med. If you have questions about the FE-R program, I’d love to answer them!

Jane Lee
Undergraduate Mentor

Hi! If you’re interested in neuroscience or biological sciences research, or creative work, feel free to reach out! I am a neuroscience and studio arts double major with a chemistry minor. Over the years, I’ve participated in the OUR’s FE-R and SURA programs, as well as the summer research program offered by the School of Medicine’s Biomedical Graduate Program. Currently, I am researching the intracellular mechanisms of biological rhythms and gene expression at the Aging Institute. I’m also familiar with funding opportunities for creative work, such as the Dilva Lombardi scholarship offered by the UHC. If any of these topics interest you, contact me — I would be happy to help you find research opportunities or just to chat about art or neuroscience!

Maja Lynn
Undergraduate Mentor

I would love to talk to you about all the different ways you can get involved with research at Pitt! I have participated in FE-R, a Summer Scholars in Residence program, the UHC Research Fellowship, and am currently pursuing a BPhil. I am an Anthropology major with a Museum Studies and German minor. One of my favorite things is to hear about all the exciting things other students are doing so please feel free to reach out to me about whatever you have going on - be it a research idea, a fun extracurricular, a program you are applying for, or a class that you are really enjoying!

Anthony Machi
Undergraduate Mentor

Hello! If you are interested in the Office of Child Development, want to get involved in research in the natural sciences, or want to find a research opportunity that suits your interests, reach out. I have experience in the FE-R program, where I worked on the Race-Based Children’s Literature project in the Office of Child Development. Contact me if you would like to talk about any of these topics, are looking for good (gluten free) places to eat near Oakland, or just want someone to listen to your ideas!

Jasmin Perrier
Undergraduate Mentor

Hello there! My current research focuses on examining the mental health literacy of local Black youth. In the past, I've conducted research through the OUR, the Center for Latin American Studies, the Institute of Politics, and Pitt's Honor's College. Outside of research, I'm also an RA in Lothrop Hall. Feel free to reach out if you have interests in exploring research related to psychology, social work, or Latin American Studies, or if you just want to chat about life at Pitt in general - I'm all ears!

Liz Timple
Undergraduate Mentor

Hello! If you are interested in conducting research in biology or the social sciences, feel free to reach out to me. I participated in First Experiences in Research studying nociceptive bladder afferents in the hypogastric nerve during my freshman year. During my sophomore year, I studied CCK expression in different brain regions of WT and ClockΔ19 mice. Since the beginning of my junior year, I have been working on a project characterizing the role of OSBPs in maintaining phosphoinositide homeostasis. I have also conducted research in the social sciences focusing on the commodification of immigrants. Outside of the world of research, I work as an SBA at Western Psychiatric Hospital and love volunteering. Contact me if you want to chat about any of these topics or my experiences at Pitt!

Thulasi Varatharajan
Undergraduate Mentor

Hi everyone! Contact me if you’re interested in biology and computer science in general. I have specific experience in computational biology, machine learning, and deep learning. I worked in a lab at Brown University this summer on a project that analyzed the performances of deep learning methods in improving the resolution of a certain type of data that captures DNA-DNA interactions, which can be viewed by scientists and researchers. I also worked on a project involving cognitive science and computation in my first year and I’m currently part of a computational neuroscience lab at Pitt. I’d love to talk about your ideas and anything outside of research—feel free to reach out!  

Joe Wozniak
Undergraduate Mentor

Greetings, all! My name is Joe, and I am thrilled to be working as a UM this semester. My academic interests lie in sociolinguistics, but I have also worked extensively in theater and more recently gained experience in archival research thanks to the Archival Scholar Research Award (ASRA) through OUR. If you are interested in research regarding language/cross-cultural communications, the performing arts, or LGBTQIA+ communities, please reach out. I love the act of researching and would be more than happy to assist you in whatever it is you are interested in. My hopes are that you'll gain a love of research through the many opportunities presented to you through Pitt. You never know where your research will lead you; let’s think outside the box together!