Wharton Summer Student Research

2018 Wharton Summer Student Research Fellows

Congratulations to the following 2018 Wharton Summer Research Fellows:

Jane Carsey
Madeline Garb
Pranav Hegde
Srija Reddy
Ellen Sears
Zach Sedor
Michaela Stamper

Past Student Research Projects


Causes of the side-effects of β-alanine after it is ingested by athletes with the intent to boost muscular performance

Henri Brunengraber, PhD, MD

Educational Programming

Impact of education and training in research during a master's degree program on research participation among RDN alumni: the CWRU combined dietetic internship/master's degree program experience

Rosa K. Hand, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Stephanie Harris, PhD, RDN, LD

Vitamin E

Vitamin E:  nutrient-gene interactions

No video available.  Contact Dr. Manor directly for all questions related to this study.

Alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) is a plant-derived dietary lipid that is essential for human health. The vitamin is known to function as a lipid anti-oxidant that prevents and ameliorates oxidative stress in the nervous and reproductive systems. Despite its established importance for human health, intake of vitamin E in the US population is far below recommended levels. Moreover, the exact molecular mechanisms by which tocopherol offers protection from disease are poorly understood.

We recently found that in addition to its established function in combating oxidative stress, vitamin E has novel, antioxidant-independent functions. Specifically, it directly regulates the expression of a vitamin E transporter in neurons and in liver cells. These novel findings indicate that the levels and distribution of vitamin E in the body are homeostatically-controlled and regulated.

The project is aimed to elucidate how vitamin E regulates gene expression. Student will gain a deep understanding of the literature on nutrient-gene-gene interactions (through guided readings and discussions), and learn basic concepts and techniques required for studying gene expression in cultured cells. Major experimental approaches include mammalian cell culture, analyses of mRNA expression, optical and fluorescence microscopy, and relevant biochemical assays. Student will write a short summary paper upon conclusion of the project.

NOTE: Requirements: coursework in Biochemistry and Physiology. One-day formal training in laboratory safety will be carried out prior to project onset.

Student Outcomes:

  • Understand how nutrients affect cell physiology by altering gene expression.
  • Gain proficiency in experiment design, execution, and data analysis.

Danny Manor, PhD

Retail Food Environments

Assessing and validating the retail food environment surrounding schools in low-income neighborhoods

Catherine Rogers, PhD, MS, RDN

Dietary Iron

Immunohistologic Analyses of Excess Dietary Iron and Intestinal Tumorigenesis

James Swain, PhD, RD, LD, FAND

Exomes as Biomarkers

Purifying exomes for use as biomarkers

See Tilton Summer Research for full project description.

John Tilton, MD

Disordered Eating

Exploring the association among estrogen receptors, gut hormones, and disordered eating behaviors in female athletes

Lynn Cialdella Kam, PhD, MBA, RDN, LD
Sichun Yang, PhD

Pediatric Obesity

Exploring pediatric obesity treatment in a pediatric primary care setting

Rosana Watowicz, PhD, RD, LD
Catherine Rogers. PhD, MS, RD


The role of macrophage polarization in the development of sepsis

Colleen Croniger, PhD