Predatory Crabs, Morphing Oysters, and Ocean Electrolysis: MES Undergrads lauded with PEAK awards to support their research

A record number of Northeastern undergraduates are pursuing PEAK project experiences this spring, including several motivated students within the Marine and Environmental Sciences department, including Grace Marnon, Kiran Bajaj, Nicole Mongillo, and Mark Teh. We caught up with each of these talented young scientists to learn more about their research! 

Grace Marnon received a Summit award for her research in the Kimbro Lab investigating the “Impact of Predator Range Shifts on Parasite Behavior in the Marine Snail.” Grace is pursuing an Honors Thesis as a continuation of her MSC Summer Research Internship, focusing on the host-parasite dynamic between snails and their trematode parasites and how this is influenced by the presence of predatory crabs.   

Grace, a third year Biology and Pre-Med student, got involved with the project after taking Disease Ecology as an elective with Dr. Kimbro. She is utilizing the PEAK award to continue her work, and plans to apply this research experience to her broader interests in human parasitology and neglected tropical diseases.  


Kiran Bajaj (left), a third year Marine Biology major, and Nicole Mongillo (right), a fourth year Ecology and Evolutionary Biology major, were also awarded a Summit award for their research on the “Characterization of Morphological Differences in Locally Adapted Juvenile Oysters” with Dr. Katie Lotterhos. Kiran and Nicole got started in the Lotterhos lab as co-ops in Spring 2023, and subsequently applied for a PEAK award to be able to get more deeply involved with the research.  

Kiran and Nicole are both interested in academia and pursuing graduate school, with a focus in ecology, conservation genomics, and sustainable aquaculture. Kiran was recently accepted into Northeastern’s Three Seas Program, a field-intensive Master’s program in marine biology, where she will continue her research journey. Nicole plans to expand on their research experience as a lab technician post-graduation and then apply for doctoral programs in ecology and evolutionary biology.



Mark Teh, a second year Biochemistry major, was granted a Base Camp award for his research with Dr. Justin Ries on “Optimization of Brucite Precipitation through Seawater Electrolysis in a Flow-through System.”   

Mark has been involved in a variety of research experiences and is particularly passionate about the development of biologically-inspired approaches for addressing climate-related concerns. His future plans include attending graduate school, inspiring the next generation as a professor, and pursuing an entrepreneurial career focused on biotechnology-based climate solutions.   

Marine and Environmental Sciences