Student Abstracts


Nina Daneshvar Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nancy Naples

The Efficacy of Battered Women Syndrome as a Legal Defense

A significant and frequently overlooked violation of justice is the continued, unlawful acts of aggression against women by men. Because of its dismissal by law enforcement and the judicial system, abused women often have little legal recourse to escape their abusive relationships. The abuse may escalate to such frightening proportions that the women ultimately kill their abusive partners in self-defense. However, this circumstance poses a tremendous problem to the womanís defense counsel. According to the traditional legal definition of self-defense, the act for which the defendant stands trial must take place during the course of the violent episode. The vast majority of abused women do not possess the physical strength to defend themselves against their attackers at that time and must instead wait until the abusive partner is in a passive state (e.g. sleeping) before acting in self-defense. Few doubt the lives of the women are in imminent danger, but the law does not provide adequate protection unde r the traditional guidelines of self-defense for these women. In 1984, Dr. Lenore E. Walker coined the term "Battered Woman Syndrome" (BWS) as both a legal and psychological term explaining the situation in which the abused women find themselves. BWS evidence and testimony can currently be presented as a sub-argument of self-defense and duress defenses, but because BWS is not an independent defense, the Court can rule this critical information inadmissible. Studies such as Schuller (1992) indicate that the exclusion of BWS evidence and testimony adversely affects the likelihood of a jury to sympathize with the battered woman. This research examines the plausibility of Battered Woman Syndrome as a separate defense to safeguard against the exclusion of relevant testimony in the cases of women who kill their abusers.

Son Quoc Dang Faculty Mentor: Dr. Michael Cumsky

Identification of Components in the Import/Localization of Subunit Va in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

A genetic screen was used as a method to identify components involved in sorting of yeast cytochrome c oxidase subunit Va to the mitochondrial inner membrane. Previous studies in this laboratory showed that a mutant subunit Va (VaL109R) that contained a defective sorting signal caused mislocalization of the polypeptide to the mitochondrial matrix and rendered the yeast cells respiratory deficient. The genetic screen selected strains that compensated for this defect by acquisition of second-site-suppressor mutations. Such mutations might represent changes in components of the import machinery that enhanced localization of VaL109R. Twenty mutants that acquired the ability to grow on medium requiring respiration were isolated. We screened one mutant, MB39i, with a genomic yeast library to identify the wild-type copy of the mutant gene. A 6-kbp fragment was isolated that complemented the mutantís growth phenotype. Sequence analysis of this genomic segment revealed an open reading frame encoding Sup35p, an essential translation-termination factor. In addition, Sup35p is also known to be the prion determinant, [PSI]. Here, we provide evidence suggesting a link between [PSI] and the enhanced respiratory proficiency of the mutant. The implications of these findings with respect to import and sorting of VaL109R are discussed.

Uyen Nha Dang Faculty Mentor: Dr. Michael Rose

Evolutionary Trade-Offs and Phenotypic Plasticity: The Effects of Laboratory Selection and Environmental Manipulation

It is a common observation that nutrition, among other factors, may control trade-offs between reproduction and survival. For example, in Drosophila melanogaster, high nutrition increases early fecundity while decreasing starvation resistance. Conversely, low nutrition enhances starvation resistance but decreases early fecundity. Similarly, laboratory selection for increased starvation resistance decreases early fecundity and selection for increased early fecundity decreases starvation resistance. Under these circumstances, there is the potential for genotype by environment interaction, i.e. genetic variation for phenotypic plasticity. Using laboratory selection we tested for genotype by environment interaction and studied the evolution of plasticity in the trade-off between early fecundity and starvation resistance in 35 populations of D. melanogaster. We observed that starvation resistance evolves rapidly in all selected populations across a gradient of nutritional environments. Early fecundity, on the other hand, evolves more slowly, with few populations differentiating in their plasticity from the ancestral state. The trade-off function describing the relationship between early fecundity and starvation resistance measured across a gradient of nutritional environments evolved in many populations. We conclude that a simple Y-model of acquisition and allocation of a metabolic substrate between competing functions, like survival and reproduction, may not be an adequate mechanistic explanation for the plasticity evolved in these populations.

Rajiv Dange Faculty Mentor: Dr. Malcolm Dick

The Effects of Ethnicity, Education, Gender, and Age on Reading and Setting Time: A Screening Tool for Alzheimer's Disease

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of education, ethnicity, gender, and age on clock reading and clock setting performance. The tests were given to 283 non-demented elderly subjects, 180 women and 103 men. Subjects were also identified by their ethnicity. In both clock reading and clock setting, education had a positive effect on performance, while age had a negative effect. Mean scores were significantly lower for women in both clock reading and clock setting. Ethnicity had an effect in clock setting but not in clock reading.

Ronald Kenneth Davenport Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nic Noviello

The Development of Assisted Technology for the Geriatric and Disabled Populations

As an individual with disabilities I am personally familiar with many devices used during and after physical rehabilitation. Because of my experiences during the process of my physical therapy I developed a cane tip that has as its main property the capacity to disperse fluids from within its base, thereby allowing greater potential for the stability of the consumer. The current designs of the base of most cane tips are concentric dependages arranged around concentric furrows which act as reservoirs for any fluid the base of the cane tip may come in contact with. Additionally, I have developed a design that has as an important characteristic a shock absorbing disk of polymer gel that is, by design, an infrangible component of the device. In October of 1996 I was granted a patent pending on the intellectual property. The potential of the device is extensive. The universal applications, which are not limited to just cane tips but include other assistive devices, have the potential to reduce the pain and suffering from falls by those populations that use such devices. Additionally, in the geriatric population the device may even reduce the percentage of mortalities that result from such incidents. Beyond these potentials is the potential to reduce the financial burden to the Medicare Program that spends significant monies on these populations.

Steve Dawson Faculty Mentor: Dr. Tammy Smecker-Hane

The Optical Variability of the Seyfert Galaxy MACHO 6.7059.207

We have identified X-ray source CAL 32 as variable object MACHO 6.7059.207 and have utilized its V and R light curves in conjunction with its spectrum to classify it as a Seyfert II galaxy. To investigate the relationship between observed properties of the light curves and those predicted by the accretion disk model for active galactic nuclei, we (1) perform a statistical analysis designed to reveal hidden periodicity in the light curves, and (2) examine two possible mechanisms for generating the variation in the color. To begin, we obtain a variogram for each light curve. This analysis reveals that the galaxy exhibits no periodic behavior on a time scale smaller than the 1100 day observing window. Moreover, though the model predicts a time lag between each light curve's variation (with variation in the V band following variation in the R band), a cross correlation function fails to detect an appreciable temporal separation. This failure indicates that the predicted time lag is not sufficient to explain the variation in color, leaving the possibility that the source of color variation is variation in the Hb spectral line. By extrapolating from an observing campaign made on the Seyfert galaxy NGC 4151 (Kaspi et al. 1996), we determine that variation in the Hb line may constitute up to 14% of the variation in the continuum, and we outline a method for determining if the continuum and line light curves vary sufficiently in step for this mechanism to be responsible for variation in the color.

Ryan Steven de Guzman Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jerry L. McCullough

Formulations of New Polymers for Skin Barrier Protection

Contact uticaria, which is characterized by intense itchiness and severe redness of the skin, is a common reaction to rapidly absorbed agents in the environment. Rubber contact urticaria (RCU) refers to the urticaria induced when the skin is exposed to allergens derived from latex. To protect the skin from RCU, four experimental poly propylene glycol barrier formulations of various molecular weights (425, 725, 2000, 2200) were synthesized. These topical cutaneous barrier formulations were designed to halt the absorption of latex allergens into the skin. Skin penetration studies using 3H-water (MW 18.0), 14C-Caffeine (MW 194.2), and 3H-Cortisol (MW 362.5) were performed to assess the pharmacokinetics of these various molecular weight molecules through excised cadaver skin protected with the four barrier formulations. Results from these studies indicate that barrier protection increases as the molecular weight of the externally applied agent increases. Primary skin irritation studies using albino guinea pigs were also utilized to test the effectiveness of our barrier formulation against known skin irritants. Twelve day application of 0.1% Retinoic Acid (MW 300.4) and 10% Formalin (MW 30.0) using a six-point guinea pig scoring system for erythema showed that the lowest molecular weight formulation afforded good short term (Day 6) protection from Formalin, and marginal protection against Retinoic Acid penetration. Further testing with specific allergens found in latex products is indicated as the size (MW) of the applied substances correlates directly with the barrier properties of these formulations within this model.

Michael A. Dimyan Faculty Mentor: Dr. Norman M. Weinberger

Discriminative Receptive Field Plasticity in Auditory Cortex Induced by Basal Forebrain Stimulation

Learning induced receptive field (RF) plasticity in primary auditory cortex (ACx) constitutes a possible physiological manifestation of memory formation. RF plasticity, similar to that induced by classical conditioning, is produced by pairing a tone with subsequent stimulation of the basal forebrain (BasF) in both anesthetized and awake subjects. To determine if BasF induced RF plasticity is associative in the waking state, the present study paired a tone with BasF stimulation in a discrimination conditioning paradigm. During conditioning, a pure tone frequency (CS+, 1020ms) was paired with a train of BasF stimulation (0.5 sec., 200Hz), and a different tone (CS-) was presented without pairing. Thirty trials each of CS+ and CS- were intermixed during the training session. The physiological effectiveness of the BasF simulation was assessed independently by determining its ability to desynchronize EEG during a terminal experiment. Frequency RFs of multi-unit discharges in the ACx were assessed before and up to 60 minutes after discrimination training. Frequency specific RF plasticity was induced by discriminative training. BasF stimulation induced increases at the CS+ frequency relative to the CS- frequency across experimental subjects. These findings support the theory that associative activation of the BasF is sufficient to induce discriminative plasticity in the ACx.

Khoa Nguyen Dinh Faculty Mentor: Dr. Michael Rose

Phosphoglucosemutase Enzyme Activity in Drosophila melanogaster Selected for Postponed Senescence

The enzymatic activity of phosphoglucosemutase, PGM, was measured during the life-span of Drosophila melanogaster selected for longevity. It is known that flies selected for postponed senescence are better at resisting environmental stresses such as starvation, desiccation, and ethanol vapor. Also, it has been shown that longevity selected flies have elevated levels of lipid and glycogen storage. Thus, metabolic enzyme expression in aging flies should be studied. Previous findings have shown that certain alleles of PGM are associated with postponed senescence. The male flies from the long-lived population, the "Oís," were collected at ten different ages; from age of 2 days to age 80 day. The male flies from the "B" populations were collected at seven different ages, from age 2 day to age 50 days. PGM activity in both populations was measured. It is expected that PGM activity in the "Oís" will be more prominent relative to the "Bís," particularly toward the later ages of their life-span. From this ex periment, perhaps we can conclude that PGM activity contributes to the genetic adaptation of the senescence selected flies.

Tony Duc Do Faculty Mentor: Dr. Linda Nelson

A Neurocorrective Approach to the MMPI-2 Profiles of Patients with Multiple Sclerosis

The current study is designed to examine personality and emotional functioning in people suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Subjects were administered the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2), which is a standardized test designed to assess a number of major patterns of personality and emotional functioning. Subjects were also asked to answer an Environmental Status Survey (ESS), which measures functional status (social, self-care, etc.). The Neuropsychology Behavior and Affect Profile (NBAP) and MMPI-2 Depression scale (relative version) were administered to relatives or close acquaintances of research subjects and they were asked to describe the person with MS. Data collected are in the form of scores from the administered tests, which reflect the subjectsí emotional and physical symptoms. In this study, a neurocorrective approach, which is a psychometric adjustment, is applied to the MMPI-2 scores. This is the first study of its kind that will allow for examination of the relationship between emotional disorders and other variables such as disease severity or degree of disability in MS.

Lucius S. Doh Faculty Mentor: Dr. A.J. Shaka

Artistic Approach to NMR Pulse Shaping

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) technology uses high magnetic field for molecular structure determination. A recent focus in NMR has been the development of new shaped or modulated pulses. With the new simulation program, THE PULSE SHAPER, one can draw pulses with specific characteristics. Although the relationship between the pulse shape and its effects are complex, even a novice NMR operator can use THE PULSE SHAPER to design new effective shaped pulses.

Nina Dreyer Faculty Mentor: Dr. Salvatore Maddi

The Relation of Hardiness Levels and Academic Performance in a High-Risk Adolescent Population

Hardiness is conceptualized as a personal stance that facilitates coping effectively with stressful circumstances, be they acute or chronic, by (1) accepting them as a natural part of living, and (2) working actively to transform them so that they become less stressful. Hardiness as such is a set of beliefs one holds regarding the self and interactions with the world, emphasizing the importance of involvement rather than isolation, control rather than powerlessness and challenge rather than threat. Research has shown that hardiness is one factor influencing effective coping that leads to good health and enhanced performance. Report card grades are a measure of how effectively an individual is coping with a stressful circumstance i.e., achievement in school. It is hypothesized that adolescents who score higher on the hardiness test will also be using some of these same skills to obtain higher academic grades. If hardiness is shown to be a significant factor in achieving academic success, the results may indicate the value of helping adolescents overcome high-risk situations with hardiness training. Fuller use of hardiness skills enhances possibilities for success and leadership for adolescents as they grow into adulthood. This is a pilot project designed to assess a general level of hardiness skills in high-risk adolescents, with the eventual aim of designing curriculum to be used to teach these transformational coping skills to junior high and high school students as part of a health core curriculum.

Thanh Vien Du Faculty Mentor: Dr. Edward M. DeMet

The Effects of Paroxetine and Isradipine on Alcohol Craving

Recent studies suggest that alcohol craving may be reduced by drug treatment. The potential therapies involve the use of serotonin selective reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and calcium (Ca+2) channel blockers. Some studies suggest that Calcium Channel blockers may be effective in animals; however, human studies are lacking. This study compares the effects of paroxetine with those of isradipine, a Ca+2 channel blocker, on craving suppression in male alcoholics. Ten patients were randomly and equally divided between each of two treatment groups. Treatment conditions of patients were double blind. Subjects were treated with either isradipine or paroxetine. Self-ratings of alcohol craving and documentation of slips or relapses were collected weekly for 12 weeks. Medications of 3 patients were discontinued due to allergic reactions or medication intolerance. The intensity of alcohol craving varied in the remaining paroxetine group (N=4), but decreased overall. In contrast, isradipine treatment resulted in a rapid decline in all 3 subjects tested. The rate of improvement in more depressed alcoholics was approximately 3 times greater in the isradipine than in the paroxetine group. No patients reported either a slip or relapsed which was supported by urine drug screens. This study is the first to examine craving suppression after either treatment with paroxetine or isradipine. It is also the first to examine human anti-alcoholic responses to calcium channels blockers of any kind. The results indicate that isradipine appears to be a very effective suppressant of alcohol craving. Paroxetine appears to be less effective in non-depressed alcoholics but may be quite effective in depressed alcoholics.

Meredith Lynn Dunlap Faculty Mentor: Dr. Roxane Silver

Incidence of Past Trauma, Temporal Perspective, and Well-Being

A sample of 364 well-educated women between the ages of 35-50 completed an anonymous questionnaire that assessed decisions that they made over their lifetimes regarding work, family, and education. In addition, measures of affect, life satisfaction, and self-esteem were included in the assessment. The questionnaire also included two timelines in which women were asked to list significant past events up until the present date and future events until a projected death date. It was hypothesized that women who reported experiencing past traumatic events such as sexual molestation, physical abuse, or death of family members would project fewer future events and a shorter temporal horizon on their future timeline compared to women who did not report having experienced these types of events. It was also expected that women who reported traumatic past events and scored highest on negative affect would project the fewest number of future events and would show the shortest temporal horizon. There was a small positive correlation between the total number of reported traumatic events and the number of future events projected. However, when traumatic events were analyzed according to types of events, women who reported childhood neglect, miscarriages, loss of a child, an abortion, death of a sibling during childhood, sudden injury/accident, major illness/surgery, death of a relative during adulthood, illness/accident of a family member, putting a child up for adoption, infidelity, or a divorce tended to report a larger number of past events.



Babak Eghbalieh Faculty Mentor: Dr. Francis M. Crinella

The Effects of Prenatal Stimulant Exposure on Attentional Processes in Six and Seven Year Olds

A small but growing number of children referred to the UCI Child Development Center with symptoms of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been found to have documented histories of prenatal stimulant exposure (PSE). The aim of this study was to investigate similarities and differences in attentional processes among six and seven year olds, divided into three groups: (1) Six and seven year follow-ups at a clinic for children who tested positive for cocaine/amphetamine exposure at birth (PSE group); (2) six and seven year old children diagnosed with ADHD, with no history of prenatal stimulant exposure (clinical control group); and (3) randomly-selected age and demographically matched controls. Based on preliminary analysis of attentional processes among PSE children, we focused on two components of Posnerís neurocognitive theory of attention: (1) The "executive network," involved in prioritizing operations of other brain networks; and (2) The "alerting system," involved in achieving and maintaining a ready state (Posner & Peterson, 1990). The Continuous Performance Test (CPT) was selected to probe these two systems. The CPT yields 12 scoring variables, which can be further categorized by "executive" vs. "alerting" functions. In general, both PSE and ADHD children had poorer performance than controls. Both alerting and executive functions were affected, although measures reflecting executive functioning appeared to be relatively more affected. There was greater variability among the PSE than the ADHD children, with some showing few or no defects, while others showed profound attentional difficulties. This preliminary study suggests that PSE children are much more likely than controls to have attentional disturbances.

Perihan Elsayess Faculty Mentor: Dr. Petra Wilder-Smith

IR Thermography of Laser Irradiation at 2.1 mm and 10.6 mm in Pulp Tissue and Model

The aim of this study was to evaluate the surface thermal events in human dental pulp resulting from pulsed Ho:YAG and CO2 laser irradiation. Moreover, the potential for achieving comparable thermal events in pulp models was investigated. A pulsed Ho:YAG laser (New Star Lasers, Auburn, CA) emitting at 2.1 mm and a pulsed CO2 laser (Sharplan Lasers Inc., Allendale, NJ) emitting at 10.6 mm were separately positioned 10 mm from the target site of each new tissue sample. Ten second irradiation episodes were performed at laser parameters of 3.5 W and 5 Hz with the Ho:YAG laser and 3.5 W and 1 Hz with the CO2 laser. Using an IR camera (Inframetrics 900, scan speed 60 Hz) maximum temperature increases at radial distances of 0.0, 5.0, and 10.0 mm were documented in pulp tissue and models tested. Temperatures generated in fresh chicken breast tissue stored in saline as well as in a 15% w/v solution of hydroxyethyl cellulose were significantly (p< 0.05) cooler than pulp tissue temperature increases resulting from Ho:YAG laser irradiation at all measurement sites. No significant difference was determined at all measurement sites between temperature increases resulting from Ho:YAG irradiation in fresh chicken breast tissue stored in saline and in a 15% w/v solution of hydroxyethyl cellulose (p> 0.05). Temperatures generated in pulp tissue using the CO2 laser did not differ significantly from those generated in previously frozen then thawed chicken breast tissue (p> 0.05) at all measurement sites. Further studies are being performed to optimize laser tissue interaction models for pulp tissue.