LIFE Scholars Summer Research Program

LIFE Scholars Summer Research Program

Center for Health Aging Research

The Summer LIFE Scholars Program provides an opportunity for students to work with a Center for Healthy Aging Research faculty member to develop research skills and an understanding of opportunities in science and research.


LIFE Scholars must be enrolled for fall term 2024 or intend to complete a degree at Oregon State University. Students currently pursuing a baccalaureate or graduate degree at OSU and who are in good academic standing are eligible to apply. Preference will be given to undergraduate students.

Only faculty associated with the Center for Healthy Aging Research are eligible to serve as Faculty Project Advisors. Information on faculty associated with the Center is available on the CHAR website.

Award information

Maximum award is $1000 with a $1000 match from student's faculty advisor or department.

Departmental matches that bring total support to $2,000 are strongly preferred. Students should prepare their budgets showing the total amount requested from both CHAR and the participating department.

Use of funds

Awards are made to support scholarly, creative and research activities in the interdisciplinary field of aging. Center for Healthy Aging Research support will not be in lieu of existing grant funds previously budgeted for undergraduate research assistance. Work schedules are to be negotiated between the student and the Faculty Project Advisor(s).

Budget Items

Eligible for support

  • Student salaries or wages
  • Travel by LIFE scholar to conduct research
  • Library costs (e.g., duplication costs, acquisition of reference materials)
  • Expendable materials and supplies

Not eligible for support

  • Faculty or postdoctoral student travel
  • Equipment purchases
  • Costs to prepare, copy or bind theses
  • Travel to meetings or conference

Application procedure and deadline

To apply, please download the LIFE Scholars application form (docx) and follow the application directions.

The form will direct you to a Qualtrics survey where the application form and the following documents will need to be submitted:

  1. Resume (including GPA)
  2. Transcript (unofficial)
  3. Proposal
  4. Letter of support from faculty project advisor

All materials must be received via Qualtrics by 5 p.m. PST on submission deadline day.

Update The 2024 LIFE Scholar awardees have been selected (see list below). The application period for the next summer program will be announced in early 2025.

Incomplete proposal packets will not be considered.

Please contact us at [email protected] if you have any questions.

Research compliance

Due to the regulatory compliance requirements inherent in research, students must submit the proper forms and receive approval from the appropriate compliance committees prior to the start of their research.

Compliance considerations are listed in the application form.

Review procedure and criteria

The LIFE Scholars Advisory Panel will review all eligible proposals.

The Advisory Panel will provide a prioritized list of funding recommendations to the Co-Directors of the Center for Healthy Aging Research based on the quality of the proposals as determined by the review criteria. Funds will be awarded based on these recommendations.

The LIFE Scholars Advisory Panel is composed of faculty members appointed by the Center for Healthy Aging Research Co-Directors. Students should direct their proposals to a general audience, avoiding the use of jargon and unexplained acronyms.

The LIFE Scholars Advisory Panel will evaluate each proposal using the following criteria: (Not in order of importance)

Scholarly merit

  • What is the relevance of the project to aging research?
  • Would funding this project create a professional experience for the student that might not otherwise be accessible?
  • What educational/experiential benefits will the student gain?
  • Is the project interesting?
  • Will the proposed activity significantly expand or diversify the student’s or scholarly base?

Nature of proposal

  • Does the proposal provide a clear statement of overall project objectives?
  • Does the proposal provide a clear statement of the student’s role?
  • Does the proposal provide independent research study for the student?
  • Are the proposed methods appropriate and accurate?
  • Is the text of the proposal well written?
  • Is the personal data well-prepared?


  • Will the project create opportunities to continue the research/scholarly experience for the student beyond the Center for Healthy Aging Research funding period?
  • Will the project help position the student to pursue further scholarly, professional, creative opportunities (e.g., graduate school)?

Other considerations

  • Is the student’s future educational or career plan related to the field of aging?
  • Is this a new research experience for the student?
  • Student GPA
  • Has the student received funding from other OSU research sources?

Other requirements

Information regarding research compliance

If more information regarding research compliance is needed, refer to the following:

Required statement

Any presentations and/or publications made possible by using Center for Healthy Aging Research funding are required to include the statement: "This publication/presentation was funded in part by the Center for Healthy Aging Research, Oregon State University."

Final presentations

All LIFE Scholars are expected to participate in at least one public presentation concerning the program and research completed, preferably OSU’s Spring Poster Symposium.

Congratulations to the 2024 LIFE Scholars

The LIFE Scholars Summer Research Program, which has been running since 2006, has provided support to assist many undergraduates in research. We have had many outstanding scholars in the past few years. Congratulations to them all!

Group of people posing for a photo in an office setting.

2024 LIFE Scholars

Front row, L-R: Dhilan Thanik, Hailey Harris, Prong Colling, and Phoebe Lee;
Back row, L-R: Alysia Vrailas-Mortimer (mentor), Suzanne Segerstrom (CHAR director), Claudia Maier (mentor), and Emily Ho (former co-director)

Previous awardees and presentation of research

Student Scholar Faculty Mentor Presentation of Research
Hailey Harris Dr. Alysia Vrailas-Mortimer Empagliflozin influence on lifespan and locomotive function in Drosophila melanogaster
Dhilan Thanik Dr. Alysia Vrailas-Mortimer The role of protein homeostasis in Neuromuscular Disorders
Prongbaramee Colling Dr. Claudia Maier Protein Dynamics in Alzheimer's Pathogenesis: Exploring Aβ₁₋₄₂ Aggregation and Cellular Consequences
Phoebe Lee Dr. Claudia Maier Lipidomic analysis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in young 5xFAD mouse brains by MALDI-MS

Student Scholar Faculty Mentor Presentation of Research
Emily Georges Dr. Luke Marney Neuroactive Effects of Ashwagandha: From Ayurvedic Medicine to Cellular Bioactivity and Mass Spectrometry
April Hesser (Knox) Dr. Adrian Gombart How Does Toll-Like Receptor Signaling Suppress Vitamin D-Induced Cathelicidin in Human Macrophages
Chaz Kayser Dr. Alysia Vrailas-Mortimer Genetic Screen to Identify Interactors for the Aging Gene p38
Lily-Marie Lytle Dr. Emily Ho Beneficial Changes in LDL and Total Cholesterol Levels in Adults with Metabolic Syndrome Consuming Almonds as Snack Foods
Najeeb Marun Dr. Nathan Mortimer The Therapeutic Potential of Sulforaphane in Alzheimer's Disease Pathology in Drosophila melanogaster
Ethan Papenhausen Dr. Emily Ho Effect of Broccoli Sprout Supplementation on Nrf2-Inducible Genes in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells in Men at Risk for Prostate Cancer
Junghyun Song Dr. Arup Indra Prevention of Acute UVB-Induced DNA Damage In Vivo by Novel Vitamin D Hydroxy Derivatives: 20-(OH)D3 and 20,23(OH)2 --D3
Philenroza Thavrin Dr. Fred Stevens Supraphysiological Intravenous Vitamin C Reprograms Energy Metabolism in Cancer Patients

Student Scholar Faculty Mentor Research/Presentation of Research
Ibrahim Abou-Seada Dr. Kathy Magnusson Investigation of Alzheimer's Disease (AD) Infectious Theory
Aidan Fichter Dr. Urszula Iwaniec Effects of age and dietary zinc status on bone marrow adiposity in mice
Lily He Dr. Emily Ho Determining the Relationship Between Age and the Efficacy of Broccoli Sprout Consumption in HDAC Inhibition and Induction of Phase 2 Enzymes in Human Subjects
Paige Jamieson (graduate student) Dr. Fred Stevens Effects of xanthohumol supplementation on the human intestinal microbiome
Madeline Nichols (graduate student) Dr. Kelly Chandler Emotion Regulation Adaptation in Midlife: Contextual Influences
Alejandro Villalobos (graduate student) Dr. Deborah John Effective interventions for equitably reaching and increasing physical activity in older adult populations: A systematic scoping review of scientific literature.

Jimena Caballero Ignacio

Women’s Experience with Interval Breast Cancer.

Advisor: Veronica Irvin

Trent Henderson

The Role of Vitamin E in the Prevention of Sarcopenia.

Advisor: Maret Traber

Benjamin Ramsell

Exploring genetic bases of negative effects of blue light on fruit fly lifespan.

Advisor: Jaga Giebultowicz

Matthew Frischman

Determining expression of neuronal N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor (NMDAR) proteins in mice treated chronically with ibuprofen.

Advisor: Kathy Magnusson

Rujul Kumar
  • “Role of Vitamin B2 in protection from Blue Light Damage.”
  • Mentor: Dr. Jaga Giebultowicz
Dan MacMurchy
  • “The Role of Mitochondria in Dendritic Branching and Spinal Density.”
  • Mentor: Dr. Tory Hagen
Kelsey Shimoda
  • “Altering metabolic gene expression in fruit flies: Effects on longevity and brain aging.”
  • Mentor: Dr. Jaga Giebultowicz

Leda Liko
  • Early changes in NMDA receptor expression and localization in an AD mouse model
  • Dr. Kathy Magnusson
Kendra Braun
  • Effects of zinc status and age on liver inflammation
  • Dr. Emily Ho
Grace Ross
  • The role of Nrf2 in brain cellular senescence
  • Dr. Viviana Perez
Amani Hawash
  • The role of heat shock proteins in protecting aging flies from the effect of blue light
  • Dr. Jaga Giebultowicz

Dylan Lee Homecoming experiences and PTSD symptoms of Vietnam War Veterans in urban and rural areas of Oregon. Dr. Carolyn Aldwin
Melissa Wong Effects of aging on sensory functions. Dr. Juyun Lim
Mary Prater Quantification of nitrate in baby foods, spinaches, and juices: Implications for the primary prevention of hypertension. Dr. Norman Hord
Hoan Vo Veteran Aging: Longitudinal Study in Oregon project (VALOR). Dr. Kathy Magnusson

Trevor Nash The Adverse Effects of Light on Aging Drosophila
View powerpoint presentation (pdf)
Dr. Jaga Giebultowicz
Nadjalisse Reynolds-Lallem Age-Related Differences In Spatial Memory Formation And Neural Activations in a New Morris Water Maze Task
View powerpoint presentation (pdf)
Dr. Catherine Magnusson
Jeremy Chu Determining the Physiological Mechanisms of Improved Muscular Performance and Oxygen Consumption Induced By Dietary Nitrate
View powerpoint presentation (pdf)
Dr. Norman Hord
Andrew Carl Drake Preservation of Female Fertility Using A Novel Model of Aging, The Nothobranchius Killifish
View powerpoint presentation (pdf)
Dr. Kate Shay
Lauren Trevis Functional Status and Fall Risk among Older Adult Participants in Community-Based Exercise Programs
View powerpoint presentation (pdf)
Dr. Kathy Gunter

Rachel Haesu Kim The Effect of Light on Expression of Stress Responsiveness Genes During Aging Dr. Jadwiga Gielbultowicz
Nadjalisse Reynolds-Lallem Age-Related Differences In Spatial Memory Formation And Neural Activations in a New Morris Water Maze Task Dr. Catherine Magnusson

Trenton Bevan Development Of A Method To Estimate Total Polyphenol Consumption Using Urinary Phenolic Compounds By F-C Method In 96 Well Plates Dr. Norman Hord
Kelsey Caples Protein Aggregation And Autophagy: A Story Of Longevity Viviana Perez
Aaron Sugiyama The Characterization SASP Release In Aging Mammalian Livers Dr. Tory Hagen
Lilly Anderson Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction In Older Adults Dr. Carolyn Aldwin

Katherine Anthony Perceived Relevance And Utility Of Remote Health Monitoring Among Mexican-Origin And Caucasian Older Adult Heart Failure Patients And Their Informal Caregivers Dr. Carolyn Mendez-Luck
and Dr. Ron Metoyer
Melissa McDougall Mechanism For Neurological Consequences Of Chronic Vitamin E Deficiency Dr. Maret Traber and
Dr. Kathy Magnusson