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UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH AND CREATIVE ACTIVITY FORUM

First Place Winners - Oral  

Name  

 Natural Science/Engineering

Pie Pichetsurnthorn


Detection Of Anthrax Protective Antigen Using a Nanoporous Impedemetric Biosensors

Abstract: In response to the 2001 bioterrorist attacks involving anthrax, precautionary methods of containment, such as early detection, have been explored in order to better prepare for similar incidences. This project proposes a highly sensitive and efficient approach in which aspects of cell protein interaction and electrical circuits are combined in nanoporous impedemetric biosensors to detect traces of anthrax toxin through the presence of its protective antigen. The anthrax toxin is comprised of a protective antigen (PA), lethal factor (LF), and edema factor (EF). The presence of both PA and LF is lethal and if left untreated could lead to death 2-3 days after exposure. In order for toxin to enter the cell, PA binds to the toxin receptor capillary morphogenesis protein (CMG2) on cell surfaces. By simulating the specific PA- CMG2 binding on the gold circuit of a printed circuit board chip, detection can be quantitatively measured using Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS) from the capacitance created in the assay. The change in impedance corresponds to the amount of PA bound to CMG2 and thus PA’s relative concentration. The biosensors have shown a detection limit at 1ag/ml of PA in phosphate buffer solution and in human serum. Such sensitive detection at low concentrations shows promise for rapid response in a case of potential anthrax toxemia.

 

 Humanities/Social Science

Elena Nightingale


Role-Focused Instruction and the Participation Level of English Language Learners

Research Question: What is the effect of role-focused instruction on the participation level of English Language Learners in collaborative environments? Methods: This correlational study took place in a 12th grade classroom. Participants included 28 students, of whom 3 were English Language Learners. To gather baseline data, I observed the students in collaborative environments and recorded the participation based on interactive communication occurrences. During the instructional unit, specific instructional strategies were implemented, focused on role-based participation during small-group or whole-group speaking and listening activities. Qualitative data were collected during continued documentation of interactive communication occurrences in the students’ behavior, focusing specifically on the participation level of English Language Learners. Findings: The observed participation of the students as a whole class increased during the first of two role-focused activities, and increased significantly after the second activity. For English Language Learners, the participation level increased significantly after the first of the two activities, bringing them to the same level of participation as the rest of the class, and this level was maintained during the second activity. Conclusions: From my active role in creating these instructional environments, I have observed a positive correlation between a role-focus in collaborative work and student participation. From these results I would conclude that this strategy may be an effective way to promote higher levels of participation in collaborative activities.

 

Exhibition/Performance

Emily Sippel

 

The Answers are hiding within the Parallels of My Question

Parallels between my questions appear clearly, but I am always looking for points of intersection.

Being centered in a world of inevitable, continuous change provokes many constant battles not only amongst opposing forces and individuals, but within each of our own complicated, intrapersonal relationships as well.  Essentially, we must accept the reality that change is beyond our control. Knowing and understanding what we have to work with, whether it’s our internal congeries or tangible objects, allows us to find a solution. By effectively rearranging this information and applying it in novel ways to the aversive situation, we adapt. How much control do we really have? With necessary mental modifications, a sense of control over one’s self is the beginning that is rife with possibilities of what outcomes can be created. I create my sculptures as a physical means of experimenting with this understanding. Fortunately, control over the artwork always becomes shared between the medium and me. This enables me to constantly grow and learn by patiently changing through creative problem solving, leading to an improved outcome that is unique and inimitable (the strange goal of every human being.) Using art as a tool for knowledge helps me to draw parallels between the world I create and the world within which I live. I offer one interpretation of these spheres and my views on where humanity stands by navigating the space between these dichotomies in my work. There is no black and white anymore, and finding equilibrium, that middle-point of balance, is a constant process of life. We could dissolve into a world of gray or fall into the middle where true color exists. I choose to be consumed by the latter.

 
  

 Second Place Winners-Oral

 Name

 Natural Science/Engineering

Emily Rose


Characterization of Recombinant hFSH Glycosylation

Human FSH stimulates ovarian follicle development in females and regulates testicular Sertoli cell function in males. Our laboratory has identified two major hFSH forms differing in glycosylation and binding affinity to FSH receptors. The larger hFSH glycoform possesses all 4 N-glycans (tetra-glycosylated hFSH). The smaller glycoform consists of non-glycosylated FSHβ subunit combined with glycosylated α subunit (di-glycosylated hFSH). As FSH glycosylation is essential for FSH receptor activation, this difference in glycosylation could affect activation of intracellular signal pathways. Currently, we express recombinant human FSH in stably transfected GH3 rat anterior pituitary somatotrope cells. The goal of the present study is to compare recombinant hFSH glycosylation with human pituitary-derived FSH glycosylation. FSH preparations immunopurified from conditioned medium and separated into high and low MW fractions by gel filtration were evaluated. Goals included verifying the presence of both glycoforms and defining the nature of the glycan populations decorating each glycoform. Reverse-phase, high performance liquid chromatography carried out on high and low MW recombinant hFSH fractions revealed both factions possessed mostly the tetra-glycosylated glycoform. Total amino acid and carbohydrate analysis indicated the glycan populations were largely bi-antennary, while human pituitary FSH possesses predominantly tri- and tetra-antennary N-glycans. The smaller recombinant hFSH glycans may explain why the two hFSHβ bands in these preparations corresponding to pituitary hFSH 21 and 24 kDa bands migrate faster than those derived from pituitary hFSH.

 

 Humanities/Social Science

Rebecca Rodriguez

 

A World Apart: Bullying in a Middle School Culture

As adolescents have peer-to-peer contacts, the perceptions and lived experiences of healthy inter-personal relationships vary between adults, including parents and educators, and the youths themselves. Relational discrepancy inhibits the development of an appropriate understanding of the parameters of healthy interactions. Current research indicates that youths are susceptible to bullying; therefore, an effort is needed to support bullying prevention strategies as a means of combating inter-personal relationship violence and abuse. Additionally, effective communication is needed to illustrate acceptable behaviors. The issue of bullying will best be examined using an extended literature review and quantitative research. The research – which is a segment of a large, long-term research grant – uses student questionnaires to examine behavior within the students’ school culture. This research focused on eleven- to fourteen-year-olds in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades at Hadley Middle School, a public school in the Midwestern metropolitan city of Wichita, Kansas. Throughout two academic years, students completed questionnaires that asked them to assess respectful behaviors in their school culture. This information will be used to develop tools needed for schools to implement policy changes that equip adolescents entering into inter-personal relationships with a clearer understanding of healthy behaviors

 

 

Exhibition/Performance

Elizabeth Chippeaux


Virtuosity and Beauty

Instrumental music is a form of communication that can communicate with all people no matter what their language. But just like learning a new language, mastering the skill of an instrument takes years of practice to gain proficiency. Performing classical music is very much like being an actor, you must stay true to the ideas and concepts of the composer while your own person and experience influences what you use the music to communicate. Classical music is a collaboration between two people: the composer and the performer. These two people come from different cultures, with different life experiences, from different times in history; but they share the same emotions and struggles that all people experience. Because of the magic and beauty of music, this incredible collaboration has the power to communicate with an audience in a way verbal language cannot. The piano works that you will hear were written by composers who were extremely proficient keyboard players from different points in history and different countries. Because of their different backgrounds, their virtuosity is displayed in different ways.


 

  First Place Winners-Poster

 Name

 Natural Science

 Ali Sanderson


Lower Lip and Jaw Speed Capacity of Young, Middle-Aged, and Older Adults

Although it is well documented that speech and swallowing function decline with age, the underlying reasons are only poorly understood. Motor performance decline has been commonly discussed as a contributing factor; however, studies on orofacial motor capacities are rare. Aging research on limbs has shown movement speed declines with age; however, cranial muscles differ in many ways from skeletal muscles. The limbs may, therefore, not serve as a good model to predict changes in the orofacial system. To address the current knowledge gap, the current study sought to determine aging effects on orofacial motor capacity. This study included 36 participants in the following age groups: 20-27, 45-55, and 65-74. Lower lip and jaw movements were captured using a motion capture system. Reflective markers were placed on on the jaw, lower lip, and forehead. All participants completed metronome paced fixed-target tasks, a task specifically designed to experimentally control the duration and excursion of the movements. Metronome paces ranged from 1.4 Hz (slow) to 6.7 Hz (very fast). The 3D Euclidean distance signal between the center lower lip marker or the left jaw marker and the left bottom head marker were used to calculate peak speeds at each metronome pace. Elicited peak speeds were compared across age groups to determine aging effects on speed capacity. Kinematic findings suggested that jaw and lower lip speed capacity does not decline with age. Findings were discussed with regards to limb motor performance in older adults, as well as reported declines in speech production.

 

 Social Science

 Cliff Bragg

 

Students’ use of an objective protocol to measure swallowing: Accuracy and implications

Inter-rater reliability remains disappointingly low when clinicians evaluate filmed evaluations of persons with swallowing disorders. To address this concern, investigators have developed two protocols - one which measures the transit of food or liquid from the mouth to the esophagus at 17 landmarks and one which measures the same transit but at 5 landmarks. The current study examines the accuracy of two groups of student clinicians as they applied the 5-landmark protocol to a videofluoroscopic evaluation of a problematic swallow after a brief period of training. Data currently are being analyzed. If data show a statistically significant (p<0.05) ) relationship between the measures documented by the two groups of students, results will suggest that students with little clinical experience are able to learn and accurately apply the 5-landmark protocol. Further, this 5-landmark protocol will be a useful teaching tool in the preparation of students for clinical practice and to facilitate increased inter-rater reliability in swallowing evaluations.

 

 

  Second Place Winners-Poster

 Name

 Natural Science

 Bishal Bista, Namrata Bhoomi Shrestha, Karen Woltersdorf


Isolation and Characterization of Anaerobes from Hot Lake, WA

The presence of sulfate salts and limited subsurface water (ice) on Mars suggests that any liquid water on Mars today will occur as (magnesium) sulfate-rich brines.  It is not clear whether terrestrial organisms would be able to survive under the salinity and environmental conditions found on Mars. Hot Lake near Oroville, Washington, is a hypersaline terrestrial analogue site, which possesses chemical and physical properties similar to those observed on Mars. The main focus of this project is to characterize anaerobic microbial isolates from this meromictic athalassohaline epsomite lake that contains precipitating concentrations of MgSO4 (Epsom salt).  The salinities of soil samples from Hot Lake margins ranged from 4 to 32%. Hot Lake soils were used to inoculate growth media specific for fermentative organisms and sulfate-reducers.  The cultures were maintained anaerobically at room temperature as well as at 7 °C.  Microbial isolates from these enrichment cultures will be obtained by repetitive streak plating.  The isolates will be characterized phenetically and phylogenetically. Tolerance to NaCl and MgSO4 appears broad in aerobic Hot Lake isolates, but halophilic or epsophilic organisms do not appear to be abundant. The Hot Lake microbial community is dominated by bacteria often associated with hypersaline environments rich in NaCl and MgSO4 rather than common soil organisms, novel phyla, or archaea. The isolated microbes have potential biotechnological as sources for enzymes and bioactive compounds.  The results of this study will help to inform NASA's planetary protection group and has significant relevance to the origin of life on Earth.

 

 Social Science

 Taryn Hoge

 

Benefits of Using iAPPS Across Demographics

This study was designed to determine the potential benefits of iApps across a varied demographic range. Surveys were constructed to discover how frequently such professionals as speech-language pathologists implement iApps in a therapy setting, and their opinions of the effectiveness of such technology. We also discovered the tendency of college students to use, or not to use, iApps as study aids upon suggestion, and the potential impact certain iApps may or may not have on the quality of life of the aging population given proper training on how to use equipment such as an iPad or tablet. The findings for this study showed that, even though most college students have some form of access to iApps and are members of the cohort most familiar with this technology, they showed a distinct aversion to utilizing iApps as study aids. We also learned that, given the proper training and confidence, members of the aging population can certainly benefit from this form of technology. Finally, it was discovered that just under half of the speech-language pathologists surveyed utilized iApps in a therapy setting, and found them to have at least some success with their clients. At this point, our conclusion about iApps is that their usefulness and effectiveness does not depend on the demographic that is using them, but rather the willingness of the individual to not only use iApps, but to learn how to use them for their proper and intended use.