Conference Schedule Friday April 26, 2013 Please see abstract section for abstracts of presentations



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Melissa McGreal: “Process of Adult and Childhood Sexual Assault Disclosure.” Project Advisor: Megan Kurlychek. School of Criminal Justice.
The subject of my undergraduate thesis paper is the differences between adult and child sexual assault disclosure. Disclosure is not a one-time event. It is an ongoing process that every victim is confronted with. The Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome by Ronald C. Summit is a theory on the process of sexual assault disclosure by children. However, there are gaps in the literature and no established theory on the process of disclosure by adult victims of sexual assault. In my thesis, I will propose a theory on the process of adult sexual assault disclosure based on the differences in disclosure of sexual assault between children and adults.  I plan to interview police officers and mental health professionals to collect information in support of this theory. 
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Brittany Mooney: “Effects of Induced Mood on Memory.” Department of Psychology.
A cognitive theory of emotion has been sustained by demonstrations of mood congruency in correlation with mood states and memory processes. Mood-congruency effects indicate that when a person is in a specific mood it is likely that remembered information will be consistent with that mood. The purpose of this paper/poster is to discuss the effects of mood congruency on memory. The research gathered suggests that memories of positive experiences allow for easier recall in the elated mood because mood state at retrieval reflected the happy mood in which the memory was encoded. In the same regard, memories of negative experiences would be more likely to be recalled in a depressed mood due to the close approximation of the initial encounter when the memory was encoded. The most important finding is the conclusion that a correlation exists between cognition and emotion.
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Thomas Postiglione: “Amide I vibrational mode suppression in surface (SERS) and tip (TERS) enhanced Raman spectra of protein specimens.” Project Advisor: Igor K. Lednev. Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
Surface- and tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS and TERS) are modern spectroscopic techniques that show great potential for the structural characterization of biological systems. Their high sensitivity allow for chemical detection at the single-molecule scale. In our previous study we employed SERS to detect insulin fibril oligomers that form on the early stages of protein aggregation. The detection was performed based on the position of amide I band of the acquired SERS spectra. Amide I position represents the conformation of the polypeptide backbone. We found that almost half of all collected spectra did not have amide I band. In the current work we investigated this phenomenon of amide I band silence. We found that homo-glycine and –alanine peptides, which have small side chain groups exhibited amide I in 100% of SERS spectra, while peptides with bulky side chains, such as tyrosine and tryptophan, exhibited the amide I band in 70% and 31% of the acquired spectra, respectively. This directly indicates that amino acid side chain enforces distance between the peptide bond and the metal nanoparticle preventing their immediate contact.
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Shelby Quackenbush: “At the Northern Border: The Hill Tribe Struggle for Human Rights, Status, and Citizenship within Thailand’s Booming Sex Industry.” Project Advisor: Barbara Sutton. Department of Journalism and Women’s Studies.
Based on feminist research methods, my project, which ultimately culminated into a paper, explores the political, economic, and social factors that contribute to the vulnerability, marginalization, and sexual exploitation of Thailand’s northern hill tribe communities. As ethnic minority groups that live in villages in the mountains of northern Thailand at the heart of Southeast Asia’s drug and sex trafficking industries, hill tribe communities struggle for citizenship, fundamental rights, and status in a nation that physically and economically exploits them. Withheld from the right to quality education and healthcare, and systematically discriminated against in other social institutions, northern hill tribe children are particularly at risk of being targeted for sex work in the south of Thailand. This past summer I had the opportunity to travel to Thailand to work as a volunteer in an orphanage in Sing Buri, a central Thai province. The orphanage was established by local monks to serve as a school and home for these “second class” children whose families stemmed from the northern hill tribes of Thailand. Through extensive analysis of scholarly articles, textual artifacts, and my own in-country experiences, research, and analysis, I argue that the Thai government is not only failing to put policies in place to combat the marginalization of its hill tribe communities but in fact, decisively contributing to the hill tribes’ vulnerability in order to benefit from a flourishing sex tourism industry.
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Zachary Richards: “The Detection of Non-Transiting Exoplanets .” Project Advisor: Kevin Knuth. Department of Physics.
Since the discovery of a planet orbiting the star 51 Pegasi in 1995, exoplanet detection has become one of the most popular research areas in astrophysics. The Kepler Space Telescope constantly monitors 150,000 stars in a small patch of sky in the constellation Cygnus to watch for planets eclipsing their host stars. Such an eclipse is detectable as a slight temporary and periodic decrease in the light recorded from the host star. Since an eclipse, or transit, happens when a planet passes in front of its host star with respect to our line of sight, many planets are expected to go undetected. Despite this, the Kepler mission has to date identified over 2700 planetary candidates. This research project concerns the detection of non-­‐transiting exoplanets. All planets reflect light, and as they orbit their host stars these planets undergo phases much like we see with our moon. We have observed that in some cases, reflected light can be detected from planets in the data collected by the Kepler Space Telescope, and that these light curve signatures follow well-­‐ defined oscillatory patterns dictated by the planet’s orbital elements. Using Bayesian probability theory methods to model reflected light we are performing a study of the Kepler public data set to Identify non-­‐transiting exoplanets. We have verified our algorithms on two known planets, HAT-­‐P-­‐7b and KOI-­‐13b, and have detected a possible non-­‐transiting planetary candidate.
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Heather Smith: “The Effects of Progesterone Receptor on Development of Serotonergic Circuits that Mediate Cognition.” Project Advisor: Christine Wagner. Department of Psychology.
The administration of synthetic progestins to pregnant women to prevent premature delivery has increased dramatically despite little understanding of the effects of these progestins on fetal neural development. In rodent models, progesterone receptors (PR) are expressed during critical developmental periods for medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), a region critical for complex cognitive functions. Neonatal rats were given daily injections of the progesterone antagonist, RU486, or vehicle. In adulthood, RU486 treated rats showed impaired cognitive flexibility and increased perseverative behaviors. Because serotonin activity within the mPFC mediates cognitive flexibility, ongoing experiment examines the effects of RU486 during development on the density of serotonergic axons in the mPFC, as a potential underlying mechanism for disruptions in cognitive behavior. These findings suggest that PR activity during development is required for normal development of mPFC-dependent cognitive behaviors and indicates caution in the exposure of human fetuses to synthetic progestins during important periods of cortical development.
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Lauren Stern: “Just breathe: What does it take to be a Stage Manager.” Project Advisor: Andi Lyons. Theatre Department.
How do you take a play on a page and bring it to life on stage? How do you take everyone’s ideas and bring it into one vision? How do you take everyone’s busy schedules and find a time to meet? And once the show is ready to perform, how is it the same every night? With every production there is a Stage Manager who serves as the central coordinator of the production from before the first rehearsal to closing night. Stage Managers are responsible for organizing an entire team through the creative process by scheduling meetings, running rehearsals, and creating/maintaining paperwork used by the entire creative team. Most importantly, a stage manager aids communication, making sure information is passed freely through designers, shops, cast, and crew. It takes a keen eye for detail, a good memory, and lots of patience.
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Bradley Sutliff: “Aptamer-Linked Nanoparticles to Target Ovarian Cancer cells.” Project Advisor: Nadine Hempel. Department of Nanobioscience.
To overcome the challenges in treatment and targeted drug delivery of ovarian cancer, we tested the hypothesis that the use of novel nanoscale delivery systems to target ovarian cancer will allow for more effective chemotherapeutic treatments. The aptamer AS1411 is a 26 base oligonucleotide that has been shown to bind to neucleolin proteins of cancerous cells, such as those in breast cancer, increasing their own uptake. The binding is due to the unique quadruplex structure that guanine-rich nucleotides can be folded into. To test if this aptamer may also be useful in targeting ovarian cancer, a fluorescent FAM label was added to the aptamer to monitor and quantify the binding of the AS1411 to cells. In the present study we have screened the effectiveness of AS1411 to successfully target a panel of ovarian cancer cell lines, in an attempt to identify this as a novel treatment strategy for ovarian cancer. Future applications may include the linkage of this aptamer to a virus-capsid for nanoparticle drug delivery.
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Alex Talamo: “Using bioglycogen dendrimeric nanoparticles as a novel, non-toxic transfection agent to deliver siRNA to ovarian cancer cells.” Project Advisor: Nadine Hempel. Department of Nanoscale Science.
Mitochondrial antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase-2 (Sod2) has been linked to tumor progression and chemoresistance. In order to slow the progression of tumor cells and to increases sensitivity to chemotherapy agents it will be necessary to focus on the down-regulation of Sod2 in ovarian cancer. The down-regulation of Sod2 will occur by transfection of siRNA into ovarian cancer cell lines to inhibit Sod2 expression. In the present study we will utilize bioglycogen dendrimeric nanoparticles to transfect siRNA targeting Sod2 into ovarian cancer cell lines. Our hypothesis is that novel nanoscale delivery systems are more efficient and less toxic in delivering siRNA molecules than traditional RNAi transfection techniques. Our present and first goal is to test the toxicity of bioglycogen dendrimeric nanoparticles. The toxicity of the bioglycogen nanoparticles will be compared to Lipofectamine™ 2000 and Lipofectamine™ RNAiMAX on ovarian cancer cell lines TOV21G and ES2. These cell lines are being used because they exhibit high Sod2 expression. The toxicity will be tested by means of an MTT Assay. Once the toxicity levels have been determined we will conjugate siRNA oligonucleotide to these nanoparticles and assess their ability to effectively decrease Sod2 expression. Scrambled siRNAs will be loaded as controls and efficiency of Sod2 knock down compared to traditional RNAiMAX reagent. This study will assess if bioglycogen dendrimeric nanoparticles are more efficient and less toxic in delivering siRNA molecules than traditional RNAi transfection techniques, providing a potential therapeutic avenue to target ovarian cancer.
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Adele Touhey: “Questioning the Validity of Accusations Made by China and the U.S. on Cyber-Espionage Activities.” Project Advisor: Anthony DeBlasi. Linguistics and Chinese Studies.
Media reports run rampant with updates on China’s cyber-hacking capabilities and their effects on U.S. privacy and intelligence. Since this is a relatively new form of espionage, little is known about the methods used for collecting intelligence through networks. Because of these difficulties associated with tracking security invasions, a major issue faced by alleged victims and accused perpetrators is how to respond to such attacks. By understanding the background and perspectives of both parties and keeping up to date with current articles on this topic, it becomes clear that the relationship between these two globalizing superpowers is increasingly strained as accusations are made and responses are shrouded in denial. This project serves to bring to light an objective point of view on the actions and reactions of both the U.S. and China. It questions the validity of each party’s actions and how to deal with such allegations.


Welcome and Award Presentations: 3:30 – 4:30

Lecture Center Hallway (by LC 30 and LC 31)


Session I - 4:30-6:00

LC 3A: Presentations
Shaina Bienvenue: “Marian McPartland: Contributions to Piano and Jazz.” Project Advisor: Victoria von Arx. Department of Music.
There are several influential woman composers and performers in the jazz genre during the mid to late twentieth century, one such composer is Marian McPartland. As a jazz pianist, McPartland has contributed much to the conversation and continuation of the jazz genre not only through her time on public radio but more so by her compositions. Her compositions at times would give the impression of an ethereal ballad and then evolve into a jazz spectacle making them an odd but progressive style. By focusing on her major works, I will attempt to analyze McPartland’s style, its major contributing factors to jazz and influence on other musicians.

Being a woman affected McPartland’s musical style at the height of her career and ultimately affected her influence on the jazz genre. I will also attempt to explore this further in my presentation by using interviews, articles, and her own autobiography to clarify the effect being a woman in jazz had on her career as well on critical journal articles on the subject of women in jazz and their contributions to the genre.

My presentation will first provided background information on McPartland’s life and her experiences as a woman in the

musical profession and in the jazz genre. I will then show how her experience as a woman affected her compositions and thereby her career. Then I will attempt to analyze her works to come to grips with her style and explore her contributions to the continuation of jazz.


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Sugyan Dixit: “Hiromi Uehara: Rise of Jazz Virtuoso.” Project Advisor: Victoria von Arx. Department of Music.
Hiromi Uehara is an uprising jazz pianist who has attained the respect of the jazz community and conveyed new arrays of possibilities in jazz through her compositions. Her compositions reflect the fusion of eastern and western music along with the virtuosity of a formidable composer and a pianist. Also, the Hiromi trio and Hiromi’s Sonicbloom band show a broader range of orchestration in jazz music. Hiromi has also attempted to “jazz up” some of the Classical pieces with tremendous improvisation and input of her own. My main objective of this paper is to track down the elements she uses in her compositions to give jazz a notable distinctive sound.
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Lauren Kornak: “Iconic Black Composers Scott Joplin’s Role in American Piano Music and American Society.” Project Advisor: Victoria von Arx. Department of Music.
When one thinks of piano music, often European compositions come to mind. Great piano music also includes American music. The American dream is that everyone and anyone has the opportunity to become a ‘somebody’, even if they came from nothing. In the beginning of the twentieth century one composer who exemplified an original American sound was Scott Joplin. Through adversity and a passion for music Scott Joplin created ragtime, an entirely original genre to America.

In my presentation I will show how Scott Joplin became a musical icon in his genre. He was very influenced by the socioeconomic and cultural environment he grew up in as a black man, and received a very different musical education than most traditional composers would have because of this. This is what inspired him to create such an original style. However, Joplin was more self-inspired by the hard conditions, financially and socially, and by the music he was exposed to than that of traditional European sounds composers of this time had previously used as models. Joplin did receive some formal training, and took some inspiration from European music, and was inspired to write opera in his later career, but he was far better known for how he took this inspiration, and then went a step further to create something new from his own personal influences. This is what led both to Joplin being dubbed the King of. I will demonstrate how two of his well-known pieces depict what ragtime music was, by playing excerpts of ‘Maple Leaf Rag’ and ‘The Entertainer’ by Joplin. America is known as a melting pot. What is more American than taking ideas from music that has been widely popular, but also widely done, and making it new? Joplin found a way to do this for piano music.


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Stacy Heller: “Gershwin and Rhapsody in Blue: A Musical Era is Born.” Project Advisor: Victoria von Arx. Department of Music.
George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue was, and still is an important piece of music that took jazz from a world where it was only played in bars and other “low” culture venues to the biggest concert halls in the world. Rhapsody in Blue accomplished this at its premiere in Paul Whiteman’s “Experimental” concert on February 12, 1924 where it was the only piece that people really enjoyed and took seriously. The mission of Whiteman’s “Experimental” concert was to bring jazz into a new light and into every home in America. This concert started a renaissance for new jazz compositions that could be played in concert halls.

This presentation will feature three topics: the features of the musical style that Rhapsody in Blue exhibits; the reactions of the critics and the public after the premiere performance with Paul Whiteman; and the influence of Rhapsody in Blue on other composers. In my presentation we will explore Gershwin’s musical masterpiece, Rhapsody in Blue. We will listen to excerpts of this piece which highlight the musical style.


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Kevin Judd: “Henry Cowell.” Project Advisor: Victoria von Arx. Department of Music.
Henry Cowell was a brilliant and innovative composer. He was a writer, a performer, a publisher, and a teacher in the early to mid 20th century. He invented multiple original piano playing techniques. John Cage (a student of Cowell) described him as “the open sesame for new music in America” In this presentation I will use Cowell’s compositions to show how he used tone clusters and his other techniques to make innovative music. I will talk about the techniques he used in his music and the many composers he influenced such as John Cage, Lou Harrison, Conlon Nancarrow, and Karlheinz Stockhausen.
LC 3B: Presentations
Alvin George: “Galanin’s effects in Alzheimer’s Disease: Potential approaches to countering cognitive impairments.” Project Advisor: Ewan C. McNay. Department of Psychology.
The expression of the neuropeptide, galanin, is significantly higher in obesity and Alzheimer’s Disease, than an healthy individual (Counts et al., 2003). Cognitive deficits result from over-expression of galanin in transgenic mice (Crawley, 2008), in addition to increased body weight and, in some cases, hyperinsulinemia and impaired glucose tolerance (Poritsanos et al., 2009). There are many studies indicating that these galanin-related impairments have consequences for insulin signaling and related pathologies; however, few have gone into detail concerning whether its expression is regulated by insulin. The goals of this study is to elucidate the effects of inefficient insulin binding on the levels of galanin, its receptors, and key components of signaling cascades vital to learning and memory.
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Prince Jacob: “Identification of modified nucleotides in viral RNA genomes by mass spectrometry and the L-A dsRNA virus as a model.” Project Advisor: Daniele Fabris. Department of Biology.
Nucleotide modifications have been categorized for all three primary domains of life: eukarya, eubacteria, and archaeabacteria. RNA stability, structure, function, and dynamics can be dependent on nucleotide modification. rRNA is modified for catalysis while tRNA is modified for structural support, which prevents frameshifts during translation. Mass spectrometry is an outstanding tool for observing nucleotide modifications. The identity of modified nucleotides can be affirmed by tandem MS.

The modification of RNA viruses has had very little investigation. This is due in part to the scarcity of analytical techniques with appropriate sensitivity to detect such modifications, as they do not survive typical amplification techniques such as PCR. The introduction of nano-ESI FT-MS allows detection on the low attomolar level, which supports the investigation of in vivo viruses.



The yeast dsRNA viral system L-A provides an easy model to exploring RNA modification in viruses. Methods developed on the L-A virus will be used to investigate possible modifications in the HIV-1 genome. As opposed to the difficulties in analyzing HIV-1, yeast can be grown in large quantities to yield sufficient viral RNA for method development and exploration. Sampling care will be refined to account for this. Ultracentrifugation allows for pure viral RNA to be collected, which can be digested to. Direct infusion on a Thermo LTQ Orbitrap Velos is used to explore the modified nucleotides present in the viral genome.
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Zachary Olmsted: “From Yeast to Human: Novel Insights Into Control of Mitotic Spindle Assembly Through Functional Regulation of the Microtubule Organizing Center.” Project Advisor: Janet Paluh. Department of Nanoscale Engineering.
In unicellular and multicellular eukaryotes, an internal network of biological polymers called the microtubule cytoskeleton serves as both a structural framework and communication pathway. Microtubule assembly, dynamics and organization must be precisely controlled in order to generate specialized structures that permit unique cell functions. These parameters are controlled by a universally conserved protein complex called the microtubule-organizing center (MTOC). Understanding regulatory mechanisms of MTOC function is of fundamental importance as this complex is central to many cellular processes that include chromosome segregation, fertility, neural development, T-cell cytotoxicity, and respiration. My research in the Paluh lab uses the model yeast system in addition to human stem cells to dissect MTOC control of microtubule nucleation and organization. Recently, we resolved the first known regulatory mechanism of an MTOC by the yeast Kinesin-like motor protein, Pkl1, that shares sequence and functional overlap with the human motor HSET and suppresses the formation of a bipolar spindle in mitosis. Additionally, we used cross-species and chimeric analysis to test functional conservation of human MTOC proteins in yeast. Such work is revealing key insights into MTOC regulation for control over spindle assembly and is expected to play a key clinical role in cancer therapy and other mitotic diseases.
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Jennifer Pollard: “Implications of Tanzanian Culture on Nutrition and their Effects in People Living with HIV/AIDS.” Project Advisor: Timothy Gage. Human Biology.
Many Africans living with HIV/AIDS also suffer from malnutrition. Together, HIV and malnutrition greatly compromise the immune system of an individual, each condition increasing the effects of the other. This field study examines the Arusha region of Tanzania where approximately 5.6% of the population is infected with HIV/AIDS and 45% of children exhibit stunted growth, indicating chronic malnutrition within the population. The purpose of this thesis is to explore cultural factors that may be intensifying the effects of interactions between malnutrition and HIV on individuals in Arusha. Specifically, gender inequality, knowledge levels, and cultural traditions of the Maasai (the predominant tribe in the Arusha region) were analyzed in their contributions to malnutrition and HIV. The study was conducted over three months in Arusha through observation, interviews, knowledge surveys, and online databases. International data analyzed show a positive correlation between HIV mortality rates and malnutrition, with Tanzania being near the upper limits of both. Results from interviews and surveys support the theory that combined cultural effects are contributing to rapid deterioration of the immune system through HIV and malnutrition.
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