2017 Walt and Bobbi Makous Prize Awardees

May 17, 2017

This year's recipients of the 2017 Walt and Bobbi Makous Prize:

Reva Peer:

Reva PeerReva Peer is a Molecular Genetics Major with a minor in Psychology as a Social Science. She is interested in studying how plasticity and learning can be affected in the developing and adult brain. She has been a Research Assistant in the Majewska Lab since her Sophomore year, and has been working on a project studying the impact of the neurotoxin 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin on microglia morphology in the brain. She has conducted research on the impact of this neurotoxin in adolescent mice and is currently studying the impact of this neurotoxin in adult mice. She plans to continue her research as part of a Senior Honors Thesis.

Reva has been involved in research since her junior year of high school, where she participated in several research opportunities. This research was conducted in a variety of fields such as chemistry and reproductive medicine at research facilities in the University of California, Davis, the Western Human Nutrition Research Center and the Cleveland Clinic. Reva has been working in the Majewska Lab during the school year and this past summer as a University of Rochester Summer Scholar.

Starting in June, Reva will continue working in the Majewska Lab as a DeKewitt Summer Fellow. Reva is looking forward to expanding her work on her project and hopefully seeing it to completion and eventual publication. Reva is extremely thankful to receive such a prestigious award. She is honored to receive the Makous Prize and be able to continue pursuing her passion for research.

JT Pirog:

JT PirogJT Pirog is an Optics major with minors in math and music. He is interested in using optics to study human visual processes. Currently, as a research assistant in Yoon Physiological Optics Lab with Dr. Yoon and Dr. Antoine Barbot, he is working on characterizing neural adaptation in keratoconus patients. Keratocnous is a disease that distorts the corneal surface leading to highly blurred vision that cannot be corrected with traditional lenses and contacts. His work has focused on identifying adaptation to spatial phase modulations caused by the disease which will contribute to the development of re-adapation training and exercises that aim to improve the visual quality of these patients. As a result of this research, he has written his senior thesis for his BS in optics and presented his findings as the first author in a paper presentation at the 2017 ARVO conference.

JT has been involved in Yoon Lab since the fall of 2016. Prior to that he worked at the L V Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, India where he was first exposed to vision science research. There he began developing a visual acuity testing paradigm for non verbal patients, assisted in a study that assessed performance of low vision patients in visual search tasks, and consulted in the development of The Pediatric Perimeter—a device used to measure visual field in infants.

This summer JT will complete his project in Yoon Lab as a Xerox fellowship recipient. He hopes to pursue a PhD in optics or vision science following graduation. JT would like to acknowledge Dr. Yoon and Dr. Barbot, for their consistent support, guidance and rapport during his time at Yoon Lab.