Student Abstracts


Jennifer Joan Janis Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kenneth Chew

Investing in America's Future Through Energy Policy

Over the past few years, the negative effects of Americaís energy usage patterns have become evident. Energy production and use have both inflicted heavy damage on the environment. Imported oil is the single largest component of our trade deficit. And over the past 20 years, the United States has experienced three major economic and political crises related to dependence on oil. In addition, U.S. industry remains less energy efficient than its competitors in Europe and Japan. Current practices cannot be continued; the future of the economy and the environment of this country are dependent on strong and innovative energy polices. Research focuses on the range of plausible energy forecasts presented for the next 40 years, which examine the possibilities for policy-driven accelerated use of new technologies. Crucial to these studies are a commitment to efficiency, long-term investments, utilization of market forces, and environmental accounting. An analysis of these proposals will consider the method of examination and the potential for application in the framework of current policies.

Deidre Marissa Jenner Faculty Mentor: Dr. Janice Gudde-Plastino

Choreographic Interpretation of the Work of Camille Claudel

The brilliant and beautiful work of the late 19th century sculptress, Camille Claudel, has been virtually overlooked by the art world. In the male-dominated Parisian society of the late 1800's, Camille struggled to carve a niche for herself as one of the only female sculptors of her time. She was the student, model, and mistress of the celebrated sculptor, Auguste Rodin, yet her own works were largely overshadowed by his success. The body of work which Camille has left for the world is only now beginning to gain recognition, and the tragic tale of her life--from her turbulent affair with Rodin, to her descent into madness--is finally finding a voice. In my research of the passionate Camille, I have been captivated by her hauntingly lifelike marble figures, and have been inspired to translate her images into dance. While a sculpture seeks to tell a story through a single frozen tableau, a dance can be a kinetic expression of the same tale, told through movement and music. I have created a modern dance based on one of her pieces, entitled "Les Causeuses" (The Gossips), and in addition to choreographing the seven-minute piece, I have also composed the music, which is a compilation of voices and conversations--fitting for a piece about the nature of gossip. It has been very exciting to research the life and works of Camille Claudel, and I look forward to enlightening others through my choreography, slides, and a brief lecture; her existence is reflected in the agonies and ecstasies of her creations, and both deserve notice in the pages of art history.

Julie Lynne Jordan Faculty Mentor: Dr. Roxane Silver

Middle Aged Women Unable to Forecast a Future

Three hundred sixty-four women ages 35 - 50 completed an anonymous survey regarding their lifestyle choices and their feelings about these choices. Included in the survey was a timeline in which subjects were asked to label the events in their past that had strong meaning for them and also to project future meaningful events. Twenty-eight subjects who filled out the timeline for past meaningful events chose not to project a single event for their futures. I hypothesize that these respondents score higher on a measure of negative affect, have greater overall life regrets and have lower levels of self-esteem and life satisfaction than women who projected future events. I further hypothesize that lower life satisfaction and self-esteem as well as higher negative affect and life regret hindered these subjectsí ability or willingness to project a future for themselves.

Lilian F. Jung Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ken Janda

Mass Spectrometry of Doped Helium Clusters

Liquid helium has many special properties which make it attractive for researchers to study. It remains a liquid down to 0 K and is an inert solvent in which to carry out and study chemical reactions. Helium clusters provide a potentially useful form of liquid He to take advantage of these properties. We are investigating mass spectrometry as a technique for analyzing such clusters. To get started, we have been studying the fragmentation patterns of helium clusters upon electron impact ionization with average sizes ranging from 600 to 3600 atoms, with and without Ar and NO dopant species. He2+ ions are by far the dominant species, but magic numbers appear at n = 3, 7, 10 and 14 for pure He clusters. It seems that He2+ forms a stable ion core for larger clusters, and when 12 other atoms surround it a stable "closed shell" conformation forms. However, for doped clusters, as the dopant ion peak and its oligomers come in, the intensity of the He2+ ion peak decreases, more so for smaller clusters. For clusters doped with argon, peaks for Ar+Hen ions, with n up to 50, show significant intensity but with a clear drop after Ar+He12 is reached, again suggesting a stable "closed shell" structure. These trends and others observed in our experiments will be discussed.



Tyler Yu-Tai Kang Faculty Mentor: Dr. Archie F. Wilson

Noninvasive Determination of Cardiopulmonary Effects of Hemofiltration by Single Breath Constant Expiratory Test

Hemodialysis, the process of removing metabolic waste from the blood by filtering out excess proteins, and ultrafiltation, the process of removing excess body fluids, is together known as hemofiltration. Hemofiltraton is a necessary treatment for patients with kidney failure because they no longer possess the ability to excrete metabolic waste products and build up of excess fluids on their own by the normal urogenital route. By necessity, over the course of a single dialysis session, large amounts of body fluid is removed, and this has been proposed to have significant effects on heart and lung functions. We studied the effects that hemofiltration has on cardiac and pulmonary physiology by measuring in thirteen randomly selected patients the cardiac output, diffusing capacity of the lungs, and lung volumes before, during, and at the end of hemofiltration, using a noninvasive technique called the single breath constant expiratory test (SBCET). SBCET has theoretical basis developed earlier this century, and despite its proven accuracy and efficacy, it has not been widely used as a clinical tool. Therefore, in this study, we would also like to demonstrate the usefulness of SBCET. We found, among other things, large reductions in cardiac output, lung tissue volume, and diffusing capacity of the lungs. These results show that hemofiltration does significantly affect cardiopulmonary functions and that clinical treatments using hemofiltration should take this into account. We also showed that SBCETís unique ability to simultaneously measure cardiac and pulmonary variables makes it an extremely useful tool to assess heart and lung functions.

Armin Kasravi Faculty Mentor: Dr. Harald Biessmann

Developmental Expression and Localization of the mu2 Gene Transcript in Drosophila melanogaster

Telomeres protect the chromosome ends from degradation and fusion with other broken ends, thus distinguishing natural ends from broken ends. We want to study the protein and DNA components involved in this telomeric capping function. The Drosophila melanogaster gene mutator 2 (mu2) may be involved in chromosome capping, because mutant alleles dramatically increase the recovery of terminally deleted chromosomes in the female germ line. By deficiency mapping, the mu2 gene was localized to the cytological interval 62B11-C1 near the tip of the third chromosome. Genomic clones and cDNAs were isolated from this region, and a 4.5 kb cDNA was identified as the mu2 transcript. It encodes a novel protein of approximately 120 kDa, and its basic nature suggests that it may be a DNA-binding protein. Northern blot analysis of isolated RNAs from different developmental stages displayed the presence of the mu2 RNA transcript at all developmental stages with the highest expression in females. In order to study the tissue-specific expression of the mu2 gene, whole-mount in situ hybridizations were done with a digoxigenin-labeled RNA probe. Results provided evidence of mu2 expression in ovaries, but not in testes. Lower levels of expression were observed in somatic tissues. This expression pattern is consistent with the observed mu2 phenotype and supports a role of mu2 in the structure of the female chromosome complement.

Raquel Keledjian Faculty Mentor: Dr. James Nowick

Synthesis of Artificial Beta Sheets

Iíve been working for Dr. Nowick since July of 1996. The purpose of my research is to synthesize a two strand bstrand mimic, and to obtain suitable crystals, prism like crystals, for X-ray crystallography. bstrands and bsheets play a crucial role in the structure and biological activity of many peptides and proteins. Almost all proteins contain bsheets as key structural elements. bstrands can hydrogen bond to each other to form bsheets. bsheets have been found in the brains of Alzheimerís patients, and studying these bsheets will enable us to understand the interaction of bstrands in bsheets, and hopefully enable us to possibly cure Alzheimerís one day. To study bsheets we need to synthesize artificial bstrands because if we understand the interaction of bsheets, Hydrogen bonding, we will also understand the interaction of bstrands in proteins Itís important to get crystal structures of these compounds because if we have crystals suitable for X-rays will have a picture of the bstrand, and pictures of the Hydrogen bonding. No one has successfully grown crystals suitable for X-ray and that is why all the information we have about the structure of these bstrands is inferred from NMR and IR studies. NMR and IR can provide evidence of Hydrogen bonding, but it canít prove there is Hydrogen bonding. The only way it can be proven is with a picture of the bstrand, which can only be obtained through X-ray crystallography. Iíve been successful in synthesizing the artificial bsheets, and I was able to grow crystals of compound b. I've submitted them for X-ray, and I will know the results shortly. My next step is to make a similar compound. The bottom strand will be a dipeptide this time. I've had difficulty attaching the bottom strand to the phenyl nitrogen.

Gregory Donald Kemble Faculty Mentor: Dr. Myron Simon

Looking Backward at UTOPIA: Re-Reading a Genre

Bellamy's Looking Backward, published in 1888, marked the high point of a genre that had been consistently growing in popularity since Sir Thomas More wrote his Utopia in 1516. Within only a few years, the book sold about one million copies and was translated into some twenty languages. Politically active Bellamy Clubs opened across the United States--and around the world. Yet a century later, Kateb writes, "Can there be anything more commonplace than the pronouncement that, in the twentieth century, utopia is dead--and dead beyond any hope of resurrection?" Indeed, both critics and lovers of utopia alike argue that utopia has (as Shklar writes) "lost its uses" as "political theory." I would like to defend utopia, if only in a limited (perhaps quixotic) sense, by arguing that this emphasis on "political theory" involves a misreading of the genre: for while political theory certainly occupies an important position in utopian fiction, other generic conventions undermine any reading that reduces the literary utopia to a mere expression of the author's utopian ideology. Specifically, I look at the role Wells's A Modern Utopia (1905) plays in the development of the new "ambiguous utopia"--and how this provides impetus to re-read previous utopian fiction, locating (and exhilarating in) the ambiguity embedded in the genre from its conception.

Christopher B. Komanapalli Faculty Mentor: Dr. Sujata Tewari

Does Alcohol Have Facilitating/Detrimental Effects on the Transcription Efficacy of the Moloney Murine Leukemia Virus?

Astrocytes are the immunocompetent cells of the Central Nervous System, (CNS), which play a crucial role in maintaining brain homeostasis. These cells have been found to be infected in the brain following exposure to the Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1, (HIV-1), or Moloney-Murine Leukemia Virus, (M-MuLV), a replication-competent mouse retrovirus; with a specific tropism for the CNS, similar to HIV-1. Present studies have demonstrated that proliferation of astrocytes, (as measured by [3H]-thymidine incorporation), cultured from 2-4 day-old newborn Sprague-Dawley rat brains, was adversely affected by prenatal exposure to alcohol (ethanol), a neuroteratogen. However, these effects of ethanol on the labeled thymidine incorporation were reversed following concomitant exposure to M-MuLV. Experiments were designed to determine what effects if any alcohol might have on the replication of M-MuLV isolated from NIH/3T3 mouse fibroblast M-MuLV producer line cells, by measuring the activity of the enzyme Reverse Transcriptase (RT). The RT activity was determined by measuring [3H]-Thymidine Triphosphate ([3H]-TTP) oligomer polymerization using the poly(rA):oligo(dT)12-18 template-dependent solid-phase assay under the following ethanol (50mM or 100mM) exposure conditions during: (a) virus production and (b) virus replication. Data show that RT activity was template-dependent and required Mg++ ions and a pH of 7.9 for its activity. In addition the RT activity was unaffected by ethanol exposure under either conditions of virus production or replication. Since there was no adverse effects of ethanol at either concentration on M-MuLV replication, it is possible that the ethanol-exposed virus is more potent in producing the infection of astrocytes than the non-ethanol exposed virus. These data make a strong case for a cellular mechanism for alcohol acting as a co-factor in retroviral infection of astrocytes. Experiments are in progress to determine these issues.

Jason G. Kranz Faculty Mentor: Dr. Enrique J. Lavernia

The Design and Operation of a Single-Size Droplet Generating Facility

Currently, my research is exploring the design, construction, and use of a facility to generate single size molten metal droplets. With the increasing amount of research in the field of spray atomization and deposition, it becomes imperative to create a useful model of the processes that govern the shape and phase changes of a droplet as it falls and as it impinges upon a surface. If successful, this project will further the understanding the droplet behavior and offer insight in such important areas as porosity control, material properties, and droplet positioning. Critical to this research is the use of a computer, microscope, and CCD camera to obtain images that can be analyzed in order to determine the shape, size, and velocity of the droplets as they fall, and the changes in these properties as they strike a surface. This research is partially supported by a grant from the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) as well as by various funds, including NSF and the UCI engineering department. In addition, two post-doctorate students are assisting with the project on a part-time basis. I have been working on this project continuously since mid-Winter quarter of last year. Additionally, it should be noted that this project also fulfills my senior design requirement for mechanical engineering and my CHP senior thesis.

Jeffrey Dean Kunz Faculty Mentor: Dr. Weian Zheng

Probability Theory and the Elevator

As anyone who has used an elevator knows, the time that you must wait for the car to arrive appears to be random and long, regardless of what floor you are on or what time of day it is. This is especially true for the elevators operating in Physical Sciences Building One. The current study and analysis takes a look at the operating parameters of these facilities with the goal of creating a mathematical model of their behavior. Utilizing probability theory, in particular, renewal theory, this study will identify the distribution process that most accurately describes the machines behavior and create a model that will enable the maximization of the performance of the elevators. Data collection and analysis have been completed. The ongoing analysis will address the issues of waiting times relative to floor location and come up with a set of variables that when adjusted optimize the waiting time for all who use the device. The findings of this research will be presented to facilities management for immediate implementation. The results will be of benefit to all students and faculty who rely on the elevators for timely transport.

Michelle Anne Kurlawalla Faculty Mentor: Dr. Christine Gall

Expression of Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 mRNA Following Entorhinal Cortex Lesions is Attenuated in the Aged Rat Hippocampus.

It has been well described that following entorhinal cortex lesions, hippocampal commissural/associational axons sprout and innervate the outer molecular layer of the deafferented dentate gyrus. We are interested in the molecular mechanisms underlying this reactive axonal growth, and more specifically, changes underlying reduced axonal sprouting in the aged rat brain. Hippocampal deafferentation by entorhinal cortex lesion induces microglial expression of the trophic factor insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) mRNA, which achieves maximal levels in fields of axonal sprouting and just prior to growth onset (i.e., 4-5 days post-lesion). IGF-1 may therefore direct sprouting. Other studies have shown that axonal sprouting is inhibited by glucocorticoids, which are released primarily by the adrenal gland and are present at increasing levels with age. In this present study, we used in situ hybridization to evaluate IGF-1 mRNA levels in deafferented and control hippocampi in 3, 12, and 24 month old adrenal-intact rats and in 3 and 12 month old adrenalectomized rats. In adrenal-intact rats, deafferentation significantly increased IGF-1 mRNA levels in the dentate gyrus outer molecular layer in 3 month old rats but not in 12 or 24 month old rats. In adrenalectomized 3 and 12 month old rats, deafferentation dramatically elevated IGF-1 mRNA levels in the outer molecular layer. These results suggest that the aged brain's reduced ability to grow new connections following injury may be due to the decreased expression of trophic factors such as IGF-1, which in turn may be regulated by glucocorticoids.

Harry T. Kwon Faculty Mentor: Dr. Edward B. Jeffes III

Photodynamic Therapy with 5-Aminolevulinic Acid: Protoporphyrin IX Production in Proliferating Lymphoid Cells

ALA applied to the skin has been used to treat cutaneous T-cell Lymphoma (CTCL) and Psoriasis. Accumulation of protoporphyrin IX (PpIX), an effective photosensitizer, can be achieved by the conversion of 5-Aminolevulinic Acid (ALA) in white blood cell cultures. The effects of ALA are probably mediated by the synthesis of PpIX in rapidly proliferating T cells found in the lesions of these diseases. the goal of this project is to determine if adequate PpIX concentrations are synthesized in lymphoid cells from ALA concentrations achieved in the dermis of patients treated topically with ALA. We predicted that PpIX production in macrophages and T-lymphocytes can be quantified by using ALA concentrations ranging from 0.16uM - 16.4uM (0.001 to 0.1 gm%). Cells were incubated with ALA for 1 hour, washed, and measured fluorescence. Quantitation of PpIX production was achieved by sonication of cells, followed by methanol: water (9:1) extraction, and fluorescence measurements. results indicate that with increasing concentrations of ALA, or with the use of increasing cell concentrations, increasing amounts of PpIX are produced, as reflected in higher measurable fluorescence levels. Fluorescence of PpIX is consistent when normalized against cell number, and fluorescence of cell extracts also increases with the use of increasing ALA concentrations in culture. These results indicate that with topical use of adequate amounts of ALA, the synthesis of PpIX within the incident white blood cells found in the dermis of affected skin can be utilized in photodynamic therapy.