BLaST Celebrates August and September Scientists of the Month

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By Amy Topkok

BLaST Scientist of the Month: Annaliese “Annie” Enderle – August 2018

Annaliese “Annie” Enderle is a life-long Alaskan who has been with the BLaST program since August 2017. First, she was awarded an academic year 2017-2018 Undergraduate Research Experience (URE), and now, she has a URE for the 2018-2019 academic year. Enderle, a senior undergraduate pursuing a B.S. in biological sciences at University of Alaska, Fairbanks (UAF), will be continuing on with pharmacy school to earn her Pharm.D. When she is not attending classes, Enderle can be found adventuring with her family across Alaska. She is also a professional landscape and portrait photographer. She volunteers at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital as a Baby Cuddler and also as a Bereavement Photographer.


Annie Enderle recently presented at the Canadian Society for Immunology Annual Conference, London, Ontario, Canada, June 1-4, 2018.


Enderle’s research focuses on understanding birch sap protein analysis, in part working towards an alternative to pharmaceutical approaches to immunotherapy. She gathers samples of birch sap to study the proteins responsible for seasonal allergies. There is anecdotal evidence that drinking birch sap eliminates or alleviates seasonal birch allergies for some people, and she hypothesizes that birch sap contains proteins that are identical to birch pollen which, if ingested, may be sufficient to reorient an individual’s immune system in an anti-allergic direction.

Along with her birch sap samples, Enderle also used samples of a pharmaceutical preparation for comparison. She has presented her research in Fairbanks and Anchorage, and recently was awarded an Honorable Mention from the Canadian Society for Immunology at their annual conference in London, Ontario. She will continue to study and research the birch sap and pollen proteins this upcoming year as she prepares an article for publication.


Enderle’s primary mentors are Tynan Becker, a BLaST Graduate Mentoring Research Assistant (GMRA), and Andrea Ferrante, M.D., both from the Molecular Immunology laboratory. Thomas Kuhn, Ph.D. (BLaST Faculty Pilot Project awardee) supervises her research. Continued support through BLaST has connected Enderle with other researchers entering One Health and biomedical fields.

“Tynan has been instrumental in guiding my research project along. She has done a fabulous job of being my mentor and helps me in lab and also with other things related to my experience at UAF. That has helped shape me as a scientist and has made me feel more confident in my abilities,” Enderle said.

BLaST Scientist of the Month Kimi Yatsushiro – September 2018


Kimi Yatsushiro, a second-year BLaST Graduate Mentoring Research Assistant (GMRA), is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the University of Alaska Fairbanks - University of Alaska Anchorage Clinical - Community Psychology program. She was born and raised on O’ahu, Hawaii, and moved to Alaska in 2015 to gain more experience in rural mental health. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Hawai’i in Manoa. In her free time, Yatsushiro enjoys painting, reading, and cooking/burning food.


BLaST Graduate Mentoring Research Assistant (GMRA) Kimi Yatsushiro is in her second year as a GMRA, and her research focuses on maternal health and child development, postpartum depression, historical trauma, minority mental health, and non-Western psychological interventions.



Yatsushiro’s research interests span a wide range of topics, including maternal health and child development, postpartum depression, historical trauma, minority mental health, and non-Western psychological interventions. Currently, she is working on a research project exploring the screening behavior of prenatal care providers in Alaska, Hawaii, and other rural/isolated communities. Her research focuses on adapting culturally sensitive postpartum wellness screenings in Alaska, utilizing data collected from her current study. Prior to joining BLaST, Yatsushiro has worked with her previous mentors on two publications in the Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy (2017 and 2018).



Yatsushiro has mentored undergraduate students in many ways, including as a research assistant and a data team leader in Kendra Campbell’s Family & Preventative Health lab. Campbell has a doctorate in clinical psychology and is an assistant professor at UAF. Yatsushiro bases her mentoring philosophy on a developmental approach to mentorship and supervision. Through this project and her own research, she has mentored four undergraduate students, including one BLaST Scholar, and two undergraduate students during summer 2018 in the Rural Alaska Honors Institute (RAHI) research course offered by BLaST.



Yatsushiro’s varied teaching experience includes teaching assistantships (Psychology courses 101X, 240, 370, 440, & 485), and her leadership in the research labs. Yatsushiro was also one of the students in the 2017 Asian American Psychological Association’s inaugural Leadership Institute training in Las Vegas where she connected with other students of minority heritage for leadership development.