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«Molly Allen Nancy Steblay, Ph.D., Ben Denkinger, Ph.D. Psychology Eyewitness Memory Procedure with Older Adults Older adults make more identification ...»

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Chemistry Synthesis of Amides from Anilines and Nitriles Using a Catalyzed Continuous Flow Reactor Amides were synthesized from anilines and nitriles using a TiO2 catalyzed continuous flow reactor. Using a flow reactor, temperature, flow rate, and stoichiometry were varied to try to produce higher isolated percent yields of amides. By varying optimal reaction conditions and generating a successful isolation method of the amide, the highest isolated yield of amide was produced at 200°C, with a 0.25 ml/min flow rate, using THF and water at a 1:8:1:4 (amine: nitrile: water: THF) molar ratio.

Roman Khadka Jennifer Bankers-Fulbright, Ph.D.

Biology Calu-3 secretions failed to inhibit PAO1 biofilm formation Patients with the genetic disorder cystic fibrosis (CF) have very thick and viscous airway surface fluid (ASF), which causes their lungs to be prone to bacterial infections. P. aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen that colonizes CF lungs and adapts within the unique CF environment, which eventually contributes to mortality in CF patients. P. aeruginosa efficiently capitalize on the altered ASF conditions in CF lung to form impenetrable biofilms which enhances their virulence and antibiotic resistance. Because P. aeruginosa biofilms don’t form in non-CF lungs, we predict that ASF from healthy individuals may contain one or more functional agents that directly inhibit P. aeruginosa biofilm formation that are missing from ASF in CF patients. In order to test this hypothesis, we examined the effects of ASF from a non-CF human lung epithelium cell line (Calu-3) and test on its ability to inhibit P. aeruginosa PAO1 biofilm formation. According to our findings, the human Calu-3 WT secretions did not inhibit PAO1 biofilm formation.

Tatiana Kindy Lois Eliason, Ph.D.

Art History The Illusion of Naturalism: Animating the Reliquary of St. Theobald This research focuses on the bust-reliquary of St. Theobald, which was repatriated in 2012 to Alba Cathedral in Piedmont, Italy. The reliquary was created in Alba to hold the cranial remains of Theobald Roggeri roughly between 1429 and 1450. It is made of gilded, chiseled, and embossed silver with a simple paste jewel. A close aesthetic and historic analysis of the St. Theobald reliquary will be the vehicle in discussing the bust-reliquary type and how it stimulates devotion through animated facial expressions.

Through comparisons with other bust-reliquaries, the possible narrative importance of the St. Theobald reliquary will become clear. By determining the narrative importance of reliquaries to their respective communities, especially in regard to St. Theobald, the similarities and differences between medieval and modern Furta Sacra, “holy theft,” will be explored and recommendations for protecting these artifacts will be given.

Douglas Kotchen Stella Hofrenning, Ph.D.

Economics Analysis of the Determinants of Income Inequality and the Impact on Income Inequality In December 2014, President Barak Obama gave a speech on what he considered to be the defining challenge of our time, making sure the economy works for every American. Within the developed world, the United States possesses one of the highest Gini Coefficient. The Gini coefficient is a measure of statistical dispersion intended to represent the income distribution of a nation's residents, and is the most commonly used measure of inequality. In addition, wages in the U.S. have remained relatively stagnant for a vast majority of the U.S. population. According to the Census Bureau, the bottom 3 quintiles of income earners have seen no real wage increase over the last several decades. This research will analyze the Gini coefficient of the U.S. against multiple variables to better understand what factors influence income inequality and what their impact is on income distributions.

Taylor Kuramoto Suzane Lenhart, Ph.D., Christina Lanzas, Ph.D., Shi Chen, Ph.D.

Mathematics An epidemiological model of bovine respiratory syncytial virus infection dynamics Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus (BRSV) is one etiological agent in the larger Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) Complex that causes damage to the respiratory tract, facilitates bacterial growth and compromises the immune system. Negative effects of BRSV include costs stemming from death, reduced performance, poor growth and the administration of vaccines and treatments. Understanding the effect of cattle contact networks on the transmission of the pathogens causing BRD will help reduce unnecessary treatments, costs and public health concerns of growing drug-resistance. A stochastic agent-based epidemiological model has been developed to predict the outcome of infection under different circumstances. The model simulates the spread of BRSV using a spatially implicit contact network generated by a real time location system and visualized in NetLogo. It takes a top down approach to understanding the complex relations between the key transmission components. The underlying theory relies on basic Susceptible-Infected-Recovered (SIR) compartmental principles. Simulations were completed under varying initial conditions and compared susceptibility, incidence proportion, maximum prevalence and cumulative centrality to see how disease dynamics and emergence differ under given initial conditions. Qualitative observations from the model interface and preliminary quantitative analysis indicate that cows’ social behavior and interactions affect how the virus spreads through a population.

The interaction between the network structure and the disease status drives the disease dynamics. These findings indicate that decreasing the number of cows in a herd will not decrease the transmission rate but if the network density and sociality of the cows can be controlled so can the transmission.

Benjamin Kurtenbach Sarah Combellick-Bidney, Ph.D., Dallas Liddle, Ph.D.

Political Science The Fallout of 30-S: Ecuador's Police Revolt The police uprising that occurred in Ecuador on September 30, 2010, known to Ecuadorians as simply 30-S, was a significant event in the history of the country and particularly Rafael Correa’s presidency. The good-left-bad-left framework of dividing the left leaning governments in Latin America has always seen President Correa placed on the “bad” left or radical side. An in-depth look at Correa’s government in particular, rather than all “bad” left governments, is warranted, especially following the events of 30-S.

The Correa administration confronts complex and unique challenges from an opposition that continues to be alienated. Among this opposition are: traditional political opponents, U.S. interests, social movements, and the media. The events of 30-S are called by some a coup attempt, while others have accused it of being a false flag operation by the government. Correa’s relationship with these opponents from 30-S onwards shows the increased polarization between the government and its opponents, as well as providing insight regarding the situation of the Correa administration in Ecuador without attempting to adhere to a binary categorization model.

Jessica Linck Stella Hofrenning, Ph.D.

Economics The Achievement Gap The achievement gap that exists in education is an important topic in today’s world. The achievement gap refers to the disparity in academic performance that occurs between groups of students. There are many factors that can account for this disparity such as race, income and gender. Many researchers use data from National Educational Longitudinal Study (1988) to study variables that have a positive or negative impact on the achievement gap. Several important factors in improving achievement have been found to be parental involvement, socioeconomic status, and experienced teachers. Ford (1998), found a positive relationship between parental involvement and test scores in a sample of Virginia schools. Bowen and Jung-Sook (2014), found that students living in poverty had a lower test score compared to their counterparts. Jeynes (2014) found that children living in married households have a strong correlation with academic achievement while race did not. Also, Martin and Dowson (2014) found that students perform better on standardized tests when teachers are actively involved and have high expectations for students. The main purpose of my research is to determine the factors that influence test scores in Minnesota using regression analysis. The dependent variable for my analysis is standardized test scores for high school students. Explanatory variables used in the analysis include race, free and reduced price lunch, school location, gender, and teacher involvement. This research is important because understanding the factors that influence the achievement gap can lead to decisive solutions to closing the gap. In the long run education is of maximum importance for economic growth. So, narrowing the achievement gap is an important public policy goal.

Oscar Martinez-Armenta Katrin Karbstein, Ph.D.

Biology Assessing the effect of bypassing two quality control checkpoints during ribosome maturation on translation fidelity.

Quality control mechanisms minimize errors during the assembly of functional ribosomes. However, it is unclear if defects during ribosome assembly result in errors during translation. Here we have used a dual luciferase assay to test for fidelity in two bypassed quality controls involving assembly factors Fap7 and Ltv1.

Robert McDonnell Matthew Beckman, Ph.D.

Biology The Role of a D2-Like Agonist in Force Production of Daphnia magna The animal Daphnia magna, commonly referred to as the water flea, and D. pulex have been utilized in studying toxicology and has been studied with respect to its locomotor activity under unconstrained conditions, but limited research has been done on D. magna with a focus on the effect dopaminergic drugs have on force production. Animals were filmed with two orthogonal cameras one focused on the displacement of a plastic broom fiber on which the specimen was mounted, and the other focused on the animal itself. The animal was filmed for 15 second at two minute intervals over a period of 6 minutes. The animal was immersed for an hour at several concentrations of the dopaminergic drug A68930. The distribution of forces produced by the animal was affected by A68930. The use of a force transducer has been extremely effective way of measuring the force applied to the fiber, and studying the effects of the drug in regards to force production of a tethered Daphnia magna specimen.

Aisha Mohamed David Crowe, Ph.D.

Biology The Role of NMDA Receptors in Neural Communication Schizophrenia is a mental illness characterized by disordered thought; however the causes of this disorder are largely unknown. It is thought that the underlying cause of schizophrenia is a disruption in normal neural connectivity. There are two main hypotheses that try to explain this disruption: the dopamine hypothesis and the glutamate receptor or N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) hypothesis. We explore the second hypothesis. In an animal model of schizophrenia, we were able to replicate specific cognitive deficits seen in schizophrenics by administering the NMDA receptor antagonist phencyclidine (PCP). We then recorded neural activity in the presence and absence of PCP. If schizophrenia is characterized by a disconnection between neurons due to deficits in NMDA receptor activity, we predicted that we would observe less synchronous neural activity between pairs of neurons. We compared the timing of action potentials between neural pairs, and found that, in general, PCP significantly disrupts the connection between cells.

Cameron Olson Mark Engebretson, Ph.D. Jennifer Posch, Ph.D.

Physics Low-harmonic magnetosonic waves observed by the Van Allen Probes Purely compressional electromagnetic wave events were identified from electric and magnetic field data from instruments on the Van Allen Probes spacecraft orbiting Earth inside its radiation belt during the spacecraft's first full procession through all local times (October 1, 2012 through July 13, 2014).

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