Student Projects



SOCGEN180-2: “Materia Medica, Pharmacology, and Bioprospecting”

Winter Quarter 2022

by Tabetha Nicole Sanchez, Saja Zidan, Liam Izaddoust, Gillian Miller, Madeline Huttie, Kate Santoso, Simran Athwal, Theresa Denise Llera, Lexie Baughman, Emma Barrall, Neha Shetty, Salma Fawzi, Julia Tang, Luc Lorain, Alastair Sterns, Tony Ong, Hamza Yusuf Mojadidi, Anna Jovin, Grace Randall, Isabel Nakoud, Mariah_Ghodrat_Three-leaf Goldthread, Catly Do, Khang Vo, Dania Alkoraishi, Jessica McLaughlin, Moryel Yashar, Balpreet Sond, Alexa Hernandez, Christopher Leung, Allison Wang, Nina Do, Joanne Kwak, Nicolo Villasis, Sabrina Huang, Yair Tabibi, Nicole Cohen, Leah Tabibi, Sriha Srinivasan, Cienna Henry Milton, Anaeli Guzman, Elizabeth Pham, Sean Jamali, Stephanie Bottomley, Mari Williams, Frieda Anastopulos, Rasika Obla, Rere Huang, Raymond Ko, Lilliane Martin, Chelsea Okoro, Fady Tawfik, and Chien-Ling Liu Zeleny

“Herbarium: Medicinal Plants as Information” is a Scalar book project developed in a collaborative effort by the students in the Special Course in Society and Genetics 180-2: “Materia Medica, Pharmacology, and Bioprospecting,” in the Winter Quarter 2022. This Project demonstrates the fruition of the collection-based research with the UCLA Herbarium, Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden, and associated historical materia medica, in a three-unit class structure of Collection (Unit 1), Comparative Analysis (Unit 2), and Digital Project (Unit 3).

Exploring the Sages: Medicinal Properties and Appearances of Artemisia Californica and Salvia Apiana

By Stephanie Bottomley, Rasika Obla, Tony Ong, and Balpreet Sond

Tea Time: Exploring the Medicinal Properties of Bark-Use Plants from a Traditional Ecological Knowledge Context

By Saja Zidan, Maha Ulhaq, Kate Santoso, Gillian, Miller, Anna Jovin, and Luc Lorain

The History, Comparison, and Analysis of Parasitic Plants

By Khang Vo, Jessica McLaughlin, Alastair Sterns, and Dania Alkoraishi

Combating Coughs: The Respiratory Remedies across North America

By Raymond Ko, Mari Williams, Elizabeth Pham, Julia Tang, Cienna Henry Milton, and Emma Barrall

Antiseptics in Nature: An exploratory analysis of Coptis trifolia and Larrea tridentata

By Neha Shetty, Simran Athwal, Mariah Ghodrat, Madeline Huttie, and Liam Kordmahale-Izaddoust

Plant Specimen and their Alias : Exploring the Identity of Plants with Animal in the Name

By Frieda Anastopulos, Alexa Hernandez, Denise Llera, Chelsea Okoro, Grace Randall

Precious Polygonaceae: Insight into the Historical Collection and Therapeutic Uses of Polygonum, Eriogonum, and Rumex Genera

By Moryel Yashar, Lexie Baughman, Nicole Cohen, Yair Tabibi, Tabetha Sanchez, and Leah Tabibi

Bidens pilosa, Crataegus douglasii, and Urtica dioica effects on Cardiovascular System

By Salma Fawzi, Anaeli Guzman, Rere Huang, Lilliane Martin, Isabel Nakoud, and Sriha Srinivasan

A History and Analysis of Antiviral Medicinal Plants

By Allison Wang, Joanne Kwak, Nina Do, Nicolo Villasis, Sabrina Huang, and Hamza Mojadidi

Spring Quarter 2021

By: Jasmine Mariko Reddy, Riya Shah, Emily Burns, Jessica Wakefield, Sareen Manuel, Chris Jamali, Eryn Wilkinson, Swetha Sundaram, Osvaldo Sanchez Fernandez, Fiza Zahra Baloch, Anna Yu, Yasaman Moradian, Arman Soltanzadeh, Maya Barajas-Tavera, Medha Vallurupalli, and (instructor) Chien-Ling Liu Zeleny

Materia Medica, Pharmacology & Bioprospecting” is a Scalar book project developed in a collaborative effort by the students in the Special Course in Society and Genetics 180-2: “Materia Medica, Pharmacology, and Bioprospecting,” in Spring Quarter 2021. This work comprises three student projects: one on bioprospecting Rumphius’ The Ambonese Herbal, another on the studies of Plantago in the European contexts, and the third on Artemisinin and “qing hao” in traditional Chinese medical culture. In exploring the connection between historical records on herbs and bioprospecting, these projects researched on the plants of which medicinal properties and effectiveness derived from multiple primary source materials and botanical collections. Conversely, they investigated how these historical records could inform future bioprospecting. We would like to thank the support of the Institute for Society and Genetics at UCLA, and the invaluable assistance from Russell Johnson, providing a wellspring of research resources and guidance, as well as from Christopher Gilman, who is the mastermind for the creation of this Scalar Book.


by Jasmine Mariko Reddy, Riya Shah, Emily Burns, Jessica Wakefield and Sareen Manuel. 

SOCGEN180: The Science and Politics of Vaccination

Instructor: Chien-Ling Liu Zeleny, PhD

This collection of podcasts is a collaborative work of the students in Soc Gen 180: Science and Politics of Vaccination during the winter quarter of 2021. This course takes vaccination as the key component within public health across boundaries of geographical spaces, social groups, and disciplines since the 19th century. It locates scientific knowledge and practices of vaccination in relation to political milestones, such as scientific imperialism, colonial nationalism, wartime politics, decolonization, the Cold War, the rise of economic neo-liberalism, medical racism, and recent geo-political shifts. The core themes include immunization as an element of civic engagement or/and state formation, scientific and political rhetoric in both vaccination and anti-vaccination campaigns, institutionalization of vaccine testing, the making of vaccination policies, global prospects of vaccination in One Medicine, as well as challenges in disparities of immunization.


Anti-COVID Vaccination through a Historical Lens
By Jamie Hsu, Madeleine Babb, Miranda Le, Niki Ehsani, Riya Shah, and Sydney Barnett

History of anti-vaccination campaigns and how they connect to common present-day beliefs.

Vaccine Deep Dive: A History of Past Pandemics and the Politicizations of Vaccines
By Caitlin Mispagel, Emily Burns, Maya Barajas-Tavera, Pheng Lee, and Sasha Semaan

How the United States’ actions toward developing and distributing vaccinations has played a role in the Anti-Vaccination Movement. 

Legacy of Distrust: Medical Apartheid in Relation to Covid-19 Vaccine Development and Distribution
By Anisha Patil, Luis Torres, Nicholas Carpo, Hamza Mojadidi, Osvaldo Sanchex-Fernandez, and Ruby Lake

Medical racism in relation to the Covid-19 vaccine development, distribution, and public perception. 

Vaccination University: The science and conversations behind building herd immunity
By Neha Joshi, Sally Jin, Angelica Garcia, Shivesh Shourya, and Yoshiko Kohlwes

How to establish a knowledge base of the science behind vaccination as well as learn to have respectful conversations. 

Keeping Up With Covid-19: Vaccine Edition
By Arman Soltanzadeh, Caitlin Ciardelli, Amira Patrawala, and Talisa Rodarte

Your one-stop shop for COVID vaccine information and education from the mechanics of vaccine production to news and myths surrounding the virus and vaccine from a college perspective.

Hearing our Healthcare Workers: Perspectives on the COVID-19 Pandemic and Vaccinations
By Callan Howard, Alondra Mendez-Gavilan, and Diana Jimenez-Briseno

An interview with Helen Mejia, a UCLA nursing student, and Dr. Paul Pottinger, head of infectious disease at University of Washington, about their experiences as health care workers during the pandemic and how they’ve personally dealt with COVID vaccine hesitancy, medical misinformation, and health care disparities.

Class of COVID-19
By Emma Miltenberger, Lexie Baughman, Megan Blatt, Nicole Rios, and Shanzey Syed

Provides some intersectional insight on how this pandemic is actually not “the great equalizer” it is made out to be. 

Inside the Ideology of the American Antivaxxer
By Claudia Brewer, Kaila Daniels, Maia Rodriguez-Choi, and Shreya Ramineni

We investigate the political and social authority figures of this movement and even infiltrate a Facebook group to find out just what drives anti-vaxxers in America.

COVID: Behind the Frontlines
By Alexa Henrie, Amy Lefley, Brian Toh, Hanna Maillard, Michael Viggiano

We explore the different perspectives surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine, and how communication between researchers and lay people have been historically framed.

Panic and Pandemics: Disinformation, Distrust, and Vaccines
By Grace Randall, Lindsey Snetsinger, Lilia Diaz, Oscar de la Rosa, Zachary Johnson, and Sarah Maraach

A look at distrust and disinformation in society through the lens of the innate skepticism in humanity.

Going Viral: Thoughts on Equitable Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution
By Alexandra Nechaev, Devika Shenoy, Saloni Kothari, Sarah Isen, and Jared Pagal

Addressing equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution in the Bay Area.




SOCGEN(108, 191R/S, &199 Projects): HBS Capstone Projects

Students in the Human Biology and Society major at UCLA complete an original research project at the intersection of biology and society in just 10 weeks. The website,   , highlights the work of over 200 of these students. In 2020 – 2022, students have completed these projects alongside the challenges of COVID19, remote schooling, protests against racial justice, challenges to democracy, and much more.

1st Prize, People’s Choice Winners  


Winter 2023   1st Prize, People’s Choice

Spring 2022   1st Prize, People’s Choice

Winter 2022   1st Prize, People’s Choice

Spring 2021   1st Prize, People’s Choice



Winter 2021   1st Prize, People’s Choice

Spring 2020   1st Prize, People’s Choice

Winter 2020   1st Prize, People’s Choice





2021 UCLA Library Prize for Undergraduate Research

Congratulations to the two projects and the following HBS students for their achievement in receiving this year’s Library Prize for Undergraduate Research! The prize recognizes and honors excellence in undergraduate research at UCLA.

Krupa Prajapati (HBS B.S.), Ma’ayan Epstein (HBS B.S.), Hannah Huhn (HBS B.A.), Anushka Jain (Neuroscience B.S.), and Oscar De La Rosa (HBS B.S.) for their project, “A Battle of Two Fronts: Effects of COVID-19 and Social Stigma on the Undocumented Latinx Community in California”.  This episode of Intersectional Healthcare focuses on the dual effects of stigma and COVID-19 on the undocumented Latinx community.
Learn more:

Alice Lu (HBS B.S.), Ashley Kenney (HBS B.S.), Sophie Marencik (Marine Biology B.S.), and Alex Nechaev (HBS B.S.) for their project, “It’s Always Sunny in Central LA”, a socioeconomic analysis of the impact of urban parks in Westlake, Los Angeles using ArcsGIS mapping.
Learn More:





© The UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics. All Rights Reserved.