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



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LC 3C: Presentations
Stanley Abraham: “Direction of embryonic salivary gland development and differentiation by Rac1.” Project Advisors: Melinda Larsen and Sharon Sequeira. Department of Biology.
Embryonic submandibular salivary glands (SMGs), like many other branched organs, including the lungs, kidneys and pancreas, develop through the processes of branching morphogenesis, tissue polarization and differentiation. Together these processes result in the formation of a highly branched, fully differentiated saliva-secreting adult gland. The signaling molecules responsible for regulating SMG branching morphogenesis during early development are not fully understood. Rac1 GTPase, a key member of the Rho GTPase family has been shown in non-salivary cell types to regulate epithelial morphogenetic processes including, proliferation, and cell-cell adhesions involving adherens junction proteins. We therefore sought to determine the importance of Rac1 in SMG development. In order to accomplish this, we used two structurally different chemical inhibitors of Rac1 activation, NSC23766 and EHT1864, as well as genetic knockdown using Rac1 siRNA. Using Western blotting techniques we found reduced expression of the proliferation marker, phospho-Histone H3 and the cell-cell adhesion marker, E-cadherin, indicating that Rac1 activation is required for SMG proliferation and cell-cell adhesion. Morphmetric analysis also indicated a significant decrease in epithelial budding, implicating a role for Rac1 in SMG branching. In addition, apico-basal polarity was disrupted as evidenced by immunostaining and confocal microscopy for the apical markers E-cadherin, ZO-1 and Na+/K+ ATPase and the basal basement membrane matrix protein, collagen IV. Finally, to test whether Rac1 GTPase activity is also required for SMG differentiation at later stages of SMG development, we examined the expression and localization of well-established SMG differentiation markers such as, Aquaporin-5 (acinar), Keratin 14 and α-smooth muscle actin (myoepithelial) in untreated and Rac1 inhibitor–treated or siRNA-treated E13 SMGs cultured for 96 hrs ex vivo or in ParC10 acinar cell lines. We found that perturbing Rac1 function caused decreased expression and most interestingly mislocalization of AQP5 to the outermost columnar cell (OCC) layer instead of the inner more apical cells as would be expected. We also found reduced expression of K14 and αSMA in the OCC layer but increased αSMA in the surrounding mesenchyme. These results indicate that Rac1 is required for both acinar and myoepithelial cell differentiation. Together, our results uncover novel functions for Rac1 GTPase during SMG development and have important implications for the future treatment of salivary gland diseases such as Sjogren’s syndrome, in which Rac1expression is deregulated and gland polarity and differentiation are compromised.
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Alexandra Briggs: “The Effects of Callous Unemotional Traits in Children on Adulthood Criminality with a Moderator of Therapy.” Project Advisor: Allison Redlich. School of Criminal Justice.
While studies have shown that many variables contribute to the development of criminal behavior in children, this study will focus primarily on the effect of Callous-unemotional (CU) traits in children. CU traits refer to a specific affective and intrapersonal style that is characteristic of a particular subset of children with severe conduct problems. CU traits include lack of guilt, remorse, emotionality, and empathy, manipulation, and a reward dominant response style (Barry and Frick, 2000). Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that the presence of CU traits in children are stable, and resemble psychopathic traits that are exhibited in adult psychopaths (Blonigen, Hicks, Kruger, Patrick, and Iacono 2006). This present study is a longitudinal study in which every 3 years until these children reach the age of 35 their degree of psychopathy will be assessed through a survey. In addition, their criminal records will be examined yearly. The purpose of this study is to identify a subset group of children with CU traits and offer half of them cognitive behavioral therapeutic intervention as means of a moderator to reduce the likely hood of the child developing psychopathy as an adult and engaging in violent criminal behavior in adulthood.
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Ian Andrew Lepkowsky: “Social Media Fetishism: The Substitution of Life and Disavowal of Death.” Project Advisor: Mary Valentis. Department of English.
In the past decade, social media has become fetishized by a select group of users, characterized by hours a day spent on these websites, and failed attempts to delete accounts permanently. The paper starts by tracing the history of fetishism through the anthropologist William Pietz, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud. From there, we continue to analyze fetishism through the perspectives of Guy Debord, Jean Baudrillard, and Louise Kaplan, authors of Cultures of Fetishism. This discourse leads us to social media as the current manifestation of a symptom that has plagued society for centuries. Here, we take a look at Facebook and Twitter, as well as other social media forms, in order to understand how and why we are drawn to this type of fetishism. Ultimately, we come to the conclusion that these fetishes are manifestations of our fears of life and death, as we attempt tocontrol the unknown.

Rochel Rubin: “Cold as an Entity.” Departments of English and Psychology.
Cold is avoidance of heat. The role of this research is to challenge that understanding in a way of supporting the notion that cold is an entity of its own. Research in temperature gradients and the role and function of vacuum is necessary to further develop the action and/or role of cold. Delving into the foundations of thermo-physics and thermo-dynamics is necessary to develop the framework in which cold is currently understood. Study in the action of heat in thermodynamics as well as the role of cold in thermodynamics is another aspect of this research that will assist in sharpening the hypothesis to a specific area of action. Additional interest is in the interaction between cold and heat in general with regards to the effect and interaction of cold and heat on environment, buildings and humanity are further elements of research hoping to cover throughout this quest. Relevant research literature will mostly be online based and include research articles and University based websites. Research will also be guided by several textbooks regarding physics in general and thermodynamics in particular, as well as additional support from the Physics tutoring lab.
Ashley Bishop: “Circus Ecuado.” Project Advisor: Walter Little. Department of Anthropology.
Told through the perspective of a young, female on leave from university in the US, "Circus Ecuador" details an Ayahuasca ceremony performed within the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador by an indigenous Shuar community. Ayahuasca, a bitter brew made from the Banisteriopsis caapi vine, has been the cornerstone of religious activity for the inhabitants of the Amazon jungle for centuries. The psychoactive compound is used to access deeper channels of consciousness and to elicit spiritual healing within participants. As practicing communities become more reliant on global flows of capital, ceremonies such as this are being offered up to the tourist industry with increasing frequency. It is within the give and take of this cross-cultural space that the author found herself while traveling through Ecuador with two, small NGOs local to Albany, N.Y. Witnessing the differing prescribed cultural norms found within the culture of the Shuar community and that of the Western NGOs bumping up against one another prompted the author to critically evaluate the interactions taking place between these communities within the context of this ceremony. In reflecting on these experiences, the author has also been able to turn this same critique inward so as to make commentary on the experience of being a student of Anthropology and attempting ethnographic research for the first time.

Saturday April 27, 2013
Session II - 12:00-1:30

LC 3A: Presentations
Daniel Levy: “James P. Johnson and his Influence on Modern Jazz.” Project Advisor: Victoria von Arx. Department of Music.
Jazz music is a complex and free expression, an art based off the sole idea of creating something anew. Jazz, much like classical music, is one of the greatest influences on modern music whether used by a fusion artist or a metal band. One of the most significant influences on the jazz movement was a composer by the name of James P. Johnson. Without this man, the jazz we know today would not come to exist. Johnson had taken the ragtime pop and created something new, adding a swing feel and using freer rhythmic expression in the left hand. These ideas expanded and were mixed and stirred by different composers and pianists with different playing styles to create jazz in the long run. My goal is to discuss this evolution by using analyzations of Johnson’s music and figuring out exactly what formed this changed. This includes everything from the use of tenths and walking bass to the almost classical virtuosity of the melodies in the right hand. Johnson’s musical prowess had been shown through his many compositions whether they be for solo piano or for an entire orchestra. And again, without Johnson’s widespread variety of pieces and musical styles, jazz would not exist in its current form.
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Katie Schimanski: “Leo Ornstein and His Impact on Futurism.” Project Advisor: Victoria von Arx. Department of Music.
In the early twentieth century in Italy, the futurism movement took control of the art world and affected many composers and musicians of the piano. The desire for freedom from traditional musical structures caused composers such as Igor Stravinky to create music that referred to the mechanical sounds of the factory, which had become a large place of employment.  Leo Ornstein was heavily influenced by the futurist movement, and his music helped develop the futurist shift towards tonal clusters and incredibly dissonant sounds within his compositions. 

In my paper, I plan to examine the futurist movement and determine what it really means to write a “futurist” piece for the piano.  Also, I will study Ornstein as well as examine his pieces to see how Ornstein contributed to the movement and what future musicians took away from that. Ornstein’s early music was an important part of the futurist movement, and the insight that Ornstein brought to the futurist movement is essential to understanding the movement as a whole.


Deidre Pinkerton: “Jazz Influence on Classical Music.” Project Advisor: Victoria von Arx. Department of Music.
The Jazz Age which started in the 1920s was a period when jazz music and dance became popular. Jazz in the 1920s revealed a generation wavering between the conventional society of nineteenth-century America and the modern culture arising in the early twentieth century. The acceptance of jazz illustrated how much Americans rejected or accepted traditional values. During this time jazz music, which was principally credited to African Americans, became socially acceptable to white Americans as well. Jazz became an influence on American composers such as Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, and George Gershwin who combined elements of jazz with classical styles.

In this paper I will give a comparison between stylistic features of concert music and jazz and explore how American composers used both to create a new style of music. While classical music is more controlled and has a set structure, jazz is more loosely composed and includes improvisation. I will talk about how classical composers started to branch out from their traditional training and began to incorporate elements of jazz and how jazz music incorporated elements of classical music as well.



I will be focusing on American piano composers who combined these styles. For example George Gershwin’s Three Preludes (1926) contain jazz influences. Also Aaron Copland Four Piano Blues and George Antheil Jazz Sonata both show evidence of jazz influences although they were considered classical composers.

LC 3B: Presentations
Fatima Aboul-Seoud: “Factors Affecting the Detection of Relationship Status Deception.” Project Advisor: Gordon G. Gallup Jr. Department of Psychology.
Evolutionary theory predicts that people should have sex-specific adaptations based on differential reproductive costs and benefits. Males have to contend with the costs of being cuckolded, while females have to contend with the costs of being abandoned. Previous research on reproductive deception has shown that males and females engage in sex-specific deception in ways that maximize fitness (Tooke & Camire, 1991). This project examined the ability to discern ingenuous and disingenuous claims about romantic and sexual relationship status. Participants viewed and rated the veracity of pre-recorded claims about targets’ relationship status. Results showed that the ability to discern claim veracity was dependent upon the type of claim that was made, whether the claim was true or false, and the sex of the claimant and the rater. Findings provide important additions to the literature on reproductively relevant deception.
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M. Siobhan Webber: “Open Source and Libraries: An Overview.” Project Advisor Carol Anne German. Department of Information Science.
Open source software applications are among the most popular trends in current library research over the last ten years. This research paper seeks to examine the following: the decision process in choosing an open source Integrated Library System (ILS), how this compares to its proprietary counterparts, what the implementation of such systems involve, general perceptions of the use of open source products within the library community, and finally, how academic libraries are using open source software applications. This research analyzes a review of the literature, including scholarly articles and other resources reporting on direct experience of libraries using open source software applications. A survey of the Capital District Library Council (CDLC member academic libraries was conducted in order to ascertain the use of as well as perceptions of open source software. The results concluded that perceptions of open source technologies are generally favorable. Results also indicate that libraries that use open source also possess a strong IT department. In addition, further research is needed to measure current trends of the use of open source software within the library community. This research project was conducted as an independent study under Professor Carol Anne Germain and through IRB approval and advisement.
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James Thompson: “Pity and AIDS: Performative Ethics.” Project Advisor: Charles Shepherdson. Departments of English and Psychology.
An innocuous phrase like “I pity you,” exemplifies the power of language to create complex relationships: the subject “I” is distanced and differentiated from the object “you” through the action “pity.” In its modern use, the action “pity” connotes contempt, and represents the subject’s adjudication of an object as deserving of the tragedy that has befallen them, creating a non-traversable distance. However in its ancient application, the action “pity” connoted empathy, and represented the judgment of an object, by a subject, as undeserving of tragedy, creating a distance that can be transcended, enabling the subject to understand the plight of the other.

My intention is to consider how the discourse of AIDS, through performative actions like mourning, memorialization, witnessing, surviving and testifying, can foster moral, ethical, social and cultural education. Further, I will evaluate how the representation of AIDS through spectacle (seeing, hearing, watching, and performing) can be both therapeutic and prophylactic. This will be accomplished through the use of seminal texts by psychoanalytic queer theorists Leo Bersani, Douglas Crimp, Tim Dean and Lee Edelman, in combination with articles examining the relationship between AIDS and expressive discourses, such as performance, storytelling, testimonial writing, and symbolic memorialization.



LC 3C: Presentations
Cortney von Hahmann: “Diastereoselective synthesis of pentafluorosulfanylated β-lactams, precursors for docetaxel modification.” Project Advisor: John T. Welch. Department of Biology.
The goal of this research is the exploration of the effect of dipolar interactions on the diastereoselectivity of the ketene-imine cycloaddition reaction and to employ that diastereoselectivity in the preparation of 3-amino-2-hydroxy-3-pentafluorosulfanylpropanoic acids.

The calculated dipole moment for the SF5 group, 3.556 Debye, is nearly a third greater than even the strongly withdrawing CF3 group, 2.5896 Debye. The dipolar influence of the SF5 group may be among the largest known. From preliminary results in our lab there is evidence for the importance of polar and field effects on reactions involving SF5-containing reactants. While the Felkin-Anh model, used to describe diastereofacial discrimination between the faces of a dissymetrically substituted carbonyl, is widely accepted, this model fails in some cases even when combined with the contrary Cieplak picture. However the attribution of selectivity solely to desymmetrization of the reactant orbitals by either of these methods may be artificial. Selectivity is likely influenced by electrostatic field effects, i.e. the influence of a remote polar substituent such as an SF5 group transmitted by σ-inductive effects or by through-space interaction of the substituent dipole.9

More than 40 years ago, the stereochemistry of hydride addition to a carbonyl group with polar substituents was reported to be influenced by charge development in the transition state. In acyclic systems the transition state with the lowest overall dipole moment was favored leading to stereocontrol.1

Electrostatic influence on electrocyclic reactions has been revealed in contrasteric “torquoselectivities”. This general effect is observed in the ketene-imine cycloaddition reactions where the asynchronous transition states and greater charge separation is more easily influenced by dipolar substituents.

Initially we explored the reaction of both pentafluorosulfanylated aldimines and ketimines in the Staudinger reaction (ketene-imine cycloaddition reaction). The Staudinger reaction and the general utility of the product azetidinones in synthesis is well-summarized. The mechanism of the cyclization is normally ascribed to a highly asynchronous conrotatory [2+2] cycloaddition process. The required imines were prepared as shown.

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Anna Mondello: “Bliss in Barnes: How a Loss is Still a Gain.” Department of English.


My paper is a discussion on Djuna Barnes’ novel Nightwood and The Pleasure of the Text by Roland Barthes. Through the lens of the character of the Doctor in Nightwood, I examine how Barnes speaks back to Barthes’s definition of bliss and affect. The main idea behind this discussion is how Barnes’ exploration of agency in her novel allows both the reader and the novel to look at themselves critically. I use the Doctor as a microcosm of the novel as a whole; just as he is able to look at himself, so too does the novel. He is chased throughout the novel by characters wishing to attain bliss, much like readers constantly chase bliss through the act of reading.

However, can a novel give bliss? According to both Barnes and Barthes, bliss is a loss that is gained, like adding a negative number- you lose value. Can a reader chase bliss in a novel and, hopefully, attain it? By the paper’s end, I conclude that Barnes leads the audience to question what they are really chasing in a novel, and that both pleasure and bliss are equally attainable. Ultimately, the thing that matters is the chase, not what is gained (or lost) in the end.



Smriti Sinha: “Katha Revisited: The Story Behind the Story.” Project Advisor: Allison Craig. Department of English.
Given an opportunity to write a science fiction (SF) short story, and being Indian, I had to marry the two. Indian SF is a young, small field and there are very few Indian SF authors – Samit Basu, Vandana Singh, and Rimi Chatterjee to name a few. Even fewer are works written through an Indian cultural lens.

Science Fiction, or, as a subcategory, Speculative Fiction, can cover tropes like utopian or dystopian societies, alterations to historical events, steam punk and mythology. In this SF short story I set up a futuristic, utopian Indian community. The protagonist travels back in time, as a voyeur, a historian, a cultural recorder. She observes Hindu mythological events, learning the scientific truth behind the stories that have been passed down through hundreds of generations. This fictional piece will require research of Hindu mythologies, and when the myths were recorded, particularly in the written form. This research involves reading various Hindu myths, interviewing elders in the Indian community who are familiar with Hinduism, and watching animated/film interpretations of the myths.



Session III - 1:30-3:00
LC 3A: Presentations
Franklin Berkeley: “Jelly Roll Morton.” Project Advisor: Victoria von Arx. Department of Music.
They have been many musicians who have developed Jazz music, through new ideas, and compositions. Jelly Roll Morton was one of those pioneers, a talented composer. Morton took different elements of music in New Orleans such as ragtime, blues, minstrel show tunes, Hispanic music and white popular songs. He used those ideas to develop and create a different sound and called it jazz music. Some of these compositions included “King Porter Stomp”, “Wolverine Blues”, “Milenburg Joy” and “Chicago Break –down” just to name a few. He self- declared himself the best pianist ever and the creator of “jazz”.

Jelly Roll Morton was born Ferdinand P Lamothe on October 20, 1890 in New Orleans, which is considered to be the birthplace of Jazz. He began playing music at a young age. He started playing in sporting houses, even though his grandmother didn’t approve. He continued to work on his craft and expanded on some of his works such as “Wild Man Blues”, and “Georgia Swing”, most of his creations were more than thirty two- bar tunes or twelve- bar blues.

In this paper, I plan to share some of the story of Jelly Roll Morton and how his contributions influenced Jazz music, as we know it today --those contributions he incorporated led him to become one the most renowned composers of jazz music. Using “King Porter Stomp”, and “Chicago Break –down” I will show this through his musical innovations, compositional style, as they relate to jazz.
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Jacob Crofoot: “John Cage and His Prepared Piano.” Project Advisor: Victoria von Arx. Department of Music.
John Cage (1912-1992), a pianist and composer, found ways to alter the sound of the piano, bringing out a percussive character that was completely new. He accomplished this through experimentations with the piano, such as placing a metal plate on the strings, and placing objects such as nuts, bolts, and rubber erasers in between the strings. He embarked on these experiments when asked to compose music for a dance. The result was a piece called “Bacchanale,” the first piece composed for the “prepared piano.” The objects that Cage placed on the strings change the timbre of the piano, and make it sound like an entirely different instrument. When a piano is altered this way, it is called a prepared piano. Cage went on to compose many pieces for the prepared piano.

Cage had started composing for the prepared piano in 1938, and the last piece he composed for prepared piano was in 1954. I will explore Cage’s motivations for creating his “prepared piano,” his music education and his influences, and his compositional process. The pieces I have selected as illustrations are “Bacchanale,” his first prepared piano piece, selections from his most famous prepared piano works known as Sonatas and Interludes, and “Two Pastorales,” examples prepared piano pieces composed as chance music.


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