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UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH AND CREATIVE ACTIVITY FORUM

First Place Winners - Oral  

Name  

 Natural Science/Engineering

Paige Feikert


A Detailed Study of the Nano-Porous Membranes with Applications in the Enhanced Detection of Cardiovascular Biomarker Proteins

Abstract: Nanomaterial is widely used to design ultra-sensitive molecular biosensors. The objective of our study is to identify the role of nanoporous alumina membranes in achieving nano confinement of protein biomolecules towards designing protein biosensors with enhanced sensing capabilities. The purpose of investigating these nano-porous alumina membranes is to enhance detection through mimicking the phenomena ofmacromolecular crowding, which states that nano scale confinement enhances stability and efficacy of biomolecules in biological systems. We are mainly focused on the properties of these alumina membranes that cause the largest increase in sensitivity in detection including pore diameter, pore depth and pore densities. We are evaluating C-reactive protein, an inflammatory protein as the study protein. We have been using silicon based microchips integrated with the nanoporous alumina membranes as cardiac biosensors for detecting C-reactive protein. These biosensors exhibit binding of biomarker proteins through the impedance changes analyzed through electrical impedance spectroscopy. We see these changes in impedance due to the perturbation of the double layer at the solid liquid interface on the gold electrode located on the silicon microchip of the biosensor. The ultimate goal of this research is to develop a relationship between the properties of nano-porous alumina membranes and the performance metrics of the biosensors.

 

 Humanities/Social Science

Baylee Cunningham


Democracy, Development, Capitalism and the Ecological Footprint: An Analysis of Indicators, A Global Perspective

This research will address and examine the role of democracy, development and capitalism in global ecological resource consumption. I will explore these three characteristics to determine whether or not any can be considered indicators of environmental performance. Furthermore I will discuss the various theories currently being conceived and expanded upon in the emergent issue that is environmental sustainability. The purpose of this research is to address the following questions: Question 1: Are there any specific, individual variables that indicate a country will have a high ecological footprint? Question 2: Are countries that are democratized likely to have a higher ecological footprint or a lower ecological footprint? Question 3: Are countries that are highly developed likely to have a higher or lower ecological footprint? Question 4: Does a country’s Gross Domestic Product indicate a country will have a higher or lower ecological footprint? Due to the infancy of this research there are limited statistics available. To further analyze this data and determine if an exact correlation between any of the individual variables exists requires a higher level of research. In order to do this I must create a database which includes each variable as well as the corresponding statistical data, which I have collected independently. My results were largely consistent with my expectations. A bivariate correlation test proved that there are consistent correlations between all three independent variables in conjunction with my independent variable. Additionally, more extensive tests and results are discussed within my presentation.

 

Exhibition/Performance

Tim Stone

 

Colorful Fiction: Exploration the Space Between the Abstraction and Recognition

I manipulate what we see as everyday objects and places such as urban architecture, and landscape into a colorful fiction. The word fiction literally means “imaginative narration”. With my brushwork I marry chaotic mark making with bold representation. A drama emerges between what the viewer knows and what they are being told they should know in order to question the “constructed space” being presented. This dilemma of fact or fiction sets a conflicting, contemplative mood. Just like the process that created it; the imagery and mark making is chosen and inserted both carefully and spontaneously to present this unlikely union of landscape, languor, speed and concrete.
Pathways, and conflict between the recognizable and the abstract are themes within my work, as well as connection, disconnection, and how that effects the “in between”. I build my frames from 2x6x12 boards and stretch and gesso the canvas myself before painting. When painting I rely on my knowledge of formal elements and self taught intuition to produce colorful landscapes that echo or give voice to the “in between” of the recognizable and abstract.

 
  

 Second Place Winners-Oral

 Name

 Natural Science/Engineering

Mary Beth Kellerman


Polymer-Coated Carbon Nanotubes for Enhanced Detection of Biomarkers

The objective of our study is to identify the role in arraying in creating nanostructures with nanospaces that can be leveraged for enhanced detection. The idea behind the experiment is that the nanoweb of polystyrene-coated carbon nanotubes will provide increased surface area for antibody binding. Achieving nano confinement of protein biomolecules leads to designing protein biosensors with enhanced sensing capabilities. Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs) are good conductors and can be polystyrene coated which makes them reactive with antibodies. The more antibody binding that occurs, the more sensitive the detection can be. The purpose of investigating these nanowebs is to enhance detection through providing more places for binding to occur. We are hoping that by making these devices more sensitive that detection of very low concentration antigens, in the femptogram/ml range, will be possible. We are evaluating C-reactive protein, an inflammatory protein as the study protein. We have been using silicon based microchips integrated with the polystyrene-coated carbon nanotube webs as cardiac biosensors for detecting C-reactive protein. These biosensors exhibit binding of biomarker proteins through the impedance changes analyzed through electrical impedance spectroscopy. We see these changes in impedance due to the binding of the antigen to the antibody on the gold electrode located on the silicon microchip of the biosensor. The ultimate goal of this research is to develop a relationship between the properties of polystyrene-coated carbon nanotube webs and the performance metrics of the biosensors.

 

 Humanities/Social Science

Robert Freeman

 

Will Depreciation of the Dollar Decrease the US Trade Deficit with China?

 

Using data on exchange rates, Chinese imports and exports, Chinese income, and relative price between the US and China, I applied regression analysis to determine whether there is a connection between a weakening of the US dollar and an increase in Chinese imports from the US. I studied the price elasticity and income elasticity for both the short run and long run. The key hypothesis is that the gains in US exports to China due to a weaker dollar will be offset by decreased Chinese income from exporting to the US. This will diminish the hope of improving the U.S. trade deficit with China. I found that the short run income elasticity for Chinese imports is 1.3229, while the US_ was approximately 5 times greater at 6.7960. The short run price elasticity for Chinese imports was -0.1047, and the US_ price elasticity is -0.4220. Similarly, I found that the long run income elasticity for Chinese imports is 1.3172, a number much smaller than the income elasticity of the US, 7.3024. The long run price elasticity for Chinese imports, -0.0031, is also much smaller than the US price elasticity, -0.9253.

 

 

Exhibition/Performance

Nam Le


Another moment to live

Mother Nature brought Life to Earth. However, we tend to appreciate living creatures over once-to-be-alive ones. In particular, we don’t usually consider a dead tree an aesthetical symbol. After the tree dies, its body would just stand there, waiting to be rotted. We forgot about the fact that the tree has engraved its spirit into the body: when a wooden log is cut open, beautiful wood grain will reveal itself to life again.
Although life has departed, it doesn’t take away the tree’s underlying beauty. I want to explore this beauty by incorporating it into my work. Using woodworking techniques, I can alternate different woods into new forms and thus giving them a chance to be alive again. They gain the ability to show the breath of life through either geometric or organic figures. With the new forms, these dead parts of Nature would gain more appreciation from us, the people who live upon the benefits of them.



  Second Place Winners-Poster

 Name

 Natural Science

 Zachary Quick


Herbivore Diversity Alters Different Fitness Components of Helianthus Maximilia

Although it is known that herbivores influence plant fitness, there is relatively little information quantifying the combined effects of multiple herbivore groups on plant fitness and determining whether such effects may vary with plant nutrient status. Helianthus maximiliani, is a highly nutritious perennial plant sought after by a variety of organisms in prairies. To study the impact of herbivore diversity on the fitness of H. maximiliani, different herbivore groups (insects and mammals) were excluded from plots in a restored prairie at the Ninnescah Reserve near Viola, Kansas. Ninety-six, 3x4 m plots were randomly assigned to various herbivore exclusion treatments designed to protect plants from insect, above ground and below ground mammal activity. To test the potential effect of plant nutrient status on herbivory, each herbivore treatment was also assigned to either fertilized or unfertilized treatments. All treatment combinations were replicated eight times. Plants were significantly taller in plots with above ground cages compared to control plots but this difference was only apparent when plots were fertilized. This pattern suggests that large herbivores such as deer are selectively feeding on the most nutritious plants available and potentially limit the size of H. maximiliani. In contrast, seed production was reduced by the combined exclusion of insects and above ground mammals. Effects on seed production occurred regardless of plant nutrient status. These results suggest that different herbivore guilds influence separate components of plant fitness so that the combined effects of increased herbivore diversity may be to reduce individual plant success.

 

 Social Science

 Sarah Smart, Cassandra Owens, Emily Wilder, and Brenna Miller

 

Different Spirituality and Social Support Between White and
African American Older Adults

 

Purpose: Spirituality and social support can be important factors in the elderly population. This study examines 121 older adult Caucasian and African American participants who are 65 years old or over. The objective of this study is to explore the different spirituality and social support between Caucasian and African American older adults. Methods: Participants were selected using the convenience sampling method. Participants were from churches, agencies, SRS offices, and assisted living facilities. Researchers conducted face to face interviews with the participants that lasted approximately one hour. The study utilized a cross-sectional design method and quantitative approach. The interviews were conducted between February 22nd through February 28th 2011. The survey included standardized instruments measuring social support and spirituality. Results: Descriptive statistics, Chi-square, and t-test will be used to measure results. This study expects to discover different spirituality and social support between Caucasian and African American older adults. Implications: One goal of this study is to understand how Caucasian and African American older adults have different spirituality and social support. A second goal is to recognize the needs of the aging population to be able to meet their spiritual and social support needs.