KURE Undergraduates Celebrate Completion of Spring Research Projects

May 17, 2024

Spring 2024 KURE program participants Antara Bhattacharya, Ellie Yin, and Yeabsira Mohammed (left to right), celebrate the completion of their projects at the KURE luncheon on April 25, 2024.

Cambridge, MA—The first cohort of participants in the Kempner Undergraduate Research Experience (KURE) gathered on April 25 to celebrate the successful completion of the Spring 2024 program.

The program provided funding for 11 Harvard undergraduates, each supervised by a Kempner-affiliated faculty member, to undertake term-time research projects investigating the foundations of intelligence in natural and artificial systems.

KURE undergraduates (in Kempner t-shirts) pose with Kempner mentors, staff and co-directors at the Spring 2024 KURE luncheon on April 25, 2024.

Participants entered the program with varying degrees of experience in machine learning and computational neuroscience research, and through the program were able to utilize Kempner faculty mentors and Kempner compute resources to explore a range of topics, from using AI in predicting antibiotic resistance to understanding how language models understand (or misinterpret) humor.

“I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such accomplished, kind, knowledgeable faculty who were patient and welcoming to a student who had never done research before,” said Ellie Yin, a sophomore at Harvard College, whose project studied enhancing deep neural network perception for human-like shape recognition. “This experience has piqued my interest in research, and I hope to continue exploring it further and honing in on what topics I am interested in pursuing in the future.”

The KURE program offers research opportunities for undergraduates during both the fall and spring semesters. The Kempner also offers a full-time summer research program in intelligence for undergraduates. To learn more, visit the undergraduate research programs page on our website.

The full list of Spring 2024 KURE participants, mentors and projects are listed below:

Student nameSupervisor/MentorProject title
Antara Raaghavi Bhattacharya ’25Faculty Supervisor: Tomer Ullman, Primary Mentor: Jennifer HuWhen AI outputs go wrong: Using humor as a lens into pattern learning in language models
Corwin Cheung ’26Faculty Supervisor: Bernardo Sabatini, Primary Mentor: Celia BeronNeurobiological data inspired metric to analyze mechanisms of learning in Artificial Neural Networks
Ben Choi ’26Faculty Supervisor: Demba BaUsing AI to Decode the Secrets of the Human Brain: Neural Processing and Interpretation via Autoencoder-Targeted Adversarial Transformers (AT-AT)
Amy Feng ’26Faculty Supervisor: Melanie WeberGraph Pooling via Discrete Curvature
Brian Ham ’25Faculty Supervisor: Sham Kakade, Primary Mentor: David BrandfonbrenerConvolutions for Improved Transformer Length Extrapolation and N-Gram Modeling
Helen He ’26Faculty Supervisor: David Alvarez-Melis, Primary Mentor: Naomi SaphraPerformance of Large Language Models on Low-resource, High-similarity Languages
Lavik Jain ’27Faculty Supervisor: Marinka Zitnik, Primary Mentor: Yasha EktefaiePredicting Antibiotic Resistance in Mycobacterium Tuberculosis with Interpretable Machine Learning
Sean Meng ’26Faculty Supervisor: Bernardo Sabatini, Primary Mentor: Kevin MastroInforming ML ‘Exploration/Exploitation’ Balance Through Decision-Making Algorithm Maturation in Mice
Yeabsira Mohammed ’25Faculty Supervisor:
George Alvarez
Sensitivity of Deep Neural Networks to Image Scrambling
Aneesh Muppidi ’25Faculty Supervisor: Samuel Gershman, Primary Mentor:
Wilka Carvalho
Unsupervised Agent Discovery Using Object-Centric Inverse Reinforcement Learning 
Ellie Yin ’26Faculty Supervisor: George AlvarezEnhancing Deep Neural Network Perception for Human-like Shape Recognition
The Spring 2024 KURE program was comprised of 11 student researchers, each undertaking an individual project supervised by Kempner-affiliated faculty members and mentors.

About the Kempner

The Kempner Institute seeks to understand the basis of intelligence in natural and artificial systems by recruiting and training future generations of researchers to study intelligence from biological, cognitive, engineering, and computational perspectives. Its bold premise is that the fields of natural and artificial intelligence are intimately interconnected; the next generation of artificial intelligence (AI) will require the same principles that our brains use for fast, flexible natural reasoning, and understanding how our brains compute and reason can be elucidated by theories developed for AI. Join the Kempner mailing list to learn more, and to receive updates and news.


Deborah Apsel Lang | (617) 495-7993 | kempnercommunications@harvard.edu