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Muser Student Flash Talks

Inaugural event highlights student research

Undergraduate student researchers presented their work on Tuesday night to a full room of about 50 people at the Brodhead Center during Muser Student Flash Talks. The Duke Undergraduate Muser Director, Theo Cai, noted, “These inaugural flash talks give students a forum to share the contributions they’ve made to research on campus. We want to know what you’ve accomplished.”

Muser is an online portal seeking to create equitable access to undergraduate research opportunities. Muser has served nearly 1,000 researchers across Duke, and more than 20% of Duke undergraduates have applied to research positions via the Muser platform. Students can apply to research projects four times throughout the academic year.

Sean Kehoe presenting at a podium
Sean Kehoe presents on Pompe disease.

“I was lucky to match with Dr. Angela Roger during my first year at Duke,” said Sean Kehoe, a Trinity senior majoring in Biology. “I’ve been able to build my research skills over the last three years both working under Dr. Roger in Dr. Mai ElMallah's Lab and now in her own lab.” The research focus of Kehoe’s flash talk presentation, “Treatment of emerging neuropathology in Pompe disease: Gene therapy as an alternative to enzyme replacement therapy,” has allowed him to more deeply explore his interest in the medical field. 

Biology research is only one possibility, as the Muser platform hosts research opportunities from a wide array of disciplines. Seven students presented work during the Flash Talks highlighting topics as far-reaching as topological data analysis, the olfactory preferences of chickens, and the RNA structures of SARS-CoV-2.

Renee Li presenting at a podium
Renee Li presents on chicken olfactory receptors.

“Birds can smell. For example, we know finches prefer the smell of their own eggs over others,” noted first-year Duke student Renee Li, “So understanding the olfactory response of chickens has important implications to the egg production industry.”

Muser welcomes project postings from research mentors four times throughout the academic year. Research mentors include Duke faculty, research team leaders, postdocs, graduate students, lab technicians, and research affiliates. For more information on how to get involved with Muser or how to apply to Muser’s research opportunities, visit