The European Union and Europol; Movement Towards Political Integration
Since the Schuman Declaration of 1950, the European Community has developed policies of economic cooperation between European states, promoting trade, exchange of ideas, and communication between these countries. By 1986, the European Community had developed cooperative policies in energy, agriculture, and other economic areas. The Single European Act of 1987, proposed the deregulation of individual EC member state borders, in order to promote the free movement of goods and persons throughout the Community. Procedures for border checks, and inter-state trade were harmonized, in order to create a new sphere of economic cooperation. However, after 1990, European Community ministers began to publicly express concern about a possible rise in specific cross-border crime. Specifically, these ministers feared an increase in the occurrence of drug-trafficking, illegal immigration, and organized criminal activity, due to weakened borders and less security for EC member states. Statistical information shows that there were no drastic increases in the frequency of these crimes. However, the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 introduced an initiative to create Europol; a supra-national police organization charged with dealing with such crimes. I believe that the EC bureaucracy used the creation of Europol as a political tool to begin development of policy in the political arena. The implementation of Europol was not in response to a rise in crime. Rather, it was used to promote increased political integration within the Community. I believe that Europol represents the beginning of a new cycle for the European Union. Political cooperation has been underscored by the economic endeavors of the European Community, until recently. Europol marks a set of new initiatives for Europe, and integration for the EU.
Looking Time Measures of Surprise in Adults and Infants
Numerous studies have employed looking time paradigms when examining infant's ability to enumerate objects. Typically, longer looking times occur to physically impossible events as opposed to physically possible ones. For example, an impossible event is one in which two objects are hidden behind a screen yet only one is revealed when the screen is lowered (e.g., 1+1=1). Alternatively, a possible event would be one in which two objects are hidden and two objects are later revealed (e.g., 1+1=2). Longer infant LTs are argued to reflect surprise at impossible outcomes, which can indicate that infants possess the ability to accurately represent the events. However, LT techniques may, in fact, be assessing the infant's perceptual preference or responsiveness to stimulus novelty. We propose to reassess the LT technique. We tested adult and infant responses to simple events (e.g., 1+1=1 vs. 1+1=2). We examined LT data from both infants and adults in order to assess the relationship between LT and explicit surprise. Adult participants also provided judgments of the expectedness/unexpectedness of events. We hypothesized that if the LT technique is an accurate measure of surprise to event outcomes, then we should see concordance between the adults LT measures and their reports of their expectations. The data from the infants were as expected; they showed longer LTs to impossible outcomes. Adult data will be analyzed to reveal if, indeed, longer LTs to events agree with their explicit ratings of possible and impossible outcomes.
Astrocyte Degeneration in Frontotemporal Dementia
The purpose of this study is to explore the possibility of astrocyte degeneration in frontotemporal dementia. Frontotemporal dementia is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer's disease. It is dominated by the degeneration of neurons in the frontal lobe and causes progressive dementia, personality changes, and behavioral disturbances. Our research focuses on a novel observation suggesting astrocyte degeneration through a process of programmed cell death, called apoptosis, in frontotemporal dementia. We are studying primary rat astrocyte cultures as well as tissue from human brains (both control and those affected by the disease) to test for apoptosis. Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), a protein specific to astrocytes, appears to be a target of the apoptosis-linked protease family called caspases. By using GFAP breakdown products resulting from caspase cleavage as markers of apoptosis, we hope to confirm astrocyte degeneration in frontotemporal dementia. Our preliminary data supports the possibility of astrocyte degeneration in this disease. These data suggest, for the first time, that frontotemporal dementia is not limited to neuron degeneration, but instead may be an astrocyte disease. Further studies are required to explore the relationship between astrocyte and neuron degeneration in frontotemporal dementia. If in fact, the astrocyte degeneration is causing the neurodegeneration in the disease process, then we must find new methods of treating frontotemporal dementia in patients. The treatments would then aim at minimizing astrocyte death which would indirectly reduce neurodegeneration and the adverse effects that follow.
Comparative Analysis of Hospital Information Systems
It is widely recognized that failure in requirements analysis is a major source of cost over-run and adoption failure in the development and implementation of information systems (Jones, 1996). Requirements failures are particularly likely when the environment is changing in either the developer or user domains. The healthcare informatics sector has begun a wave of mergers and consolidations that is likely to disrupt both product development and existing product support. In our study, we conducted a systematic survey of hospital information system's features for six vendors in this field. By doing this, we were able to look at a number of issues. First, a survey of system features allowed us to understand what vendors view as important elements of a hospital system. Also, by creating a feature matrix, we could look across the different systems and examine the work areas that existing systems adequately address and do not address. In the study, we found that all the vendors provided certain features in their systems. This finding leads us to believe that vendors better understand certain work areas such as Admissions, Discharge, and Transfer (ADT) than other areas.
Gaming Cycles and Suicide
There has always been a question of whether gambling is deleterious for the public. Is it a harmless pastime, or can it lead to suicide? A recent study showed high suicide rates in major gambling areas, thereby linking gambling and suicide. This study will investigate the validity of these claims by comparing the yearly, weekly, and daily patterns found in gambling and suicide. In this current study, statistics on casino admissions, hotel rates, and naturalistic observation will be used to determine if there is a temporal cycle to gambling. This cycle, if found, can then be compared to the previously established cycle of suicide to determine the correlation between these two activities. Planned analyses will address questions regarding the temporal cycles of gambling, when the high and low times are for gambling during the year, week and day. These patterns will then be used to examine the correlation between gambling and suicide. The findings of this study should increase our knowledge of the relationship, if any, between gambling and suicide.
Effects of Heating and Traditional Curing Methods on Lead Leaching and Annealing of Lead-Glazed Mexican Ceramics
The effects of lead (Pb) on human health are documented and understood. In an epidemiological study currently being conducted by Professor J. E. Ericson of the University of California, Irvine on the occurrence of childhood lead poisoning in Tijuana, Mexico, a strong correlation was found between the use of lead-glazed pottery in cooking, storing and serving foods and the occurrence of elevated blood lead. However, when clay pots used for cooking were tested for lead on the inside surface using the quick-color test, no lead was found. No previous study considered how heating may effect lead leaching or annealing in these Mexican ceramics. In addition, nothing has been published thus far in regards to how traditional Mexican curing methods utilized before the pot are used for the first time may leach the majority of lead or cause the glaze to anneal in such a way to make the pot safer for use. This study attempts to shed some light on these questions.
Weight as the Predictor of Oral Cancer Development and Progression
Leukoplakia is the most frequently occurring pre-cancerous lesion of the oral cavity. Up to 40% of the leukoplakias may become malignant over a 5 year period. The most common oral cancer is squamous cell carcinoma, which develops on the pre-existing white epthithelial lesions known as the leukoplakia. Tissue changes often become malignant before they are clinically detected. In a previous animal study, hamsters were found to lose weight dramatically as the induced cancer progressed. However, it was difficult to link weight loss to the apparent progression of the cancer from the informal observation made in the study. Current techniques for early detection of oral cancer are inadequate; surgical biopsy is an ineffective method for early detection of malignant changes of the cancer. My study is based on the fact of being able to detect cancer in its early stages to help reduce mortality and decrease treatment complications. In this current study, 20 (1 of which was a control) Golden Syrian Hamsters were induced with cancer three times weekly and their weights were recorded. As the investigation went on, two hamsters were sacrificed every two weeks. Their tissues were collected and will be evaluated clinically. Data analysis is currently underway. The histology status of the cancer will be assigned a numerical value on a scale of 0-4 (standard cancer staging). The correlation will be investigated between weight loss and the extent of the cancer. The findings of this study are expected to help us determine if weight loss is an indicator of oral cancer development, specifically squamous cell carcinoma.
Determination of Recombinant LiP Expression
As technology advances, problems of hazardous waste arise and can have devastating effects on the world's ecosystems. One way to fight this problem is through the process of biodegradation, using enzymes to react with toxic substances to form harmless compounds such as carbon dioxide. Biodegradation can be used at existing toxic waste sites or for on-site treatment of toxic waste streams, thus cutting down on disposal and preventing further pollution. One enzyme that shows great potential for biodegradation of many hazardous substances is the metalloprotein lignin peroxidase (LiP) from the white-rot fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium. However, several problems arise in harvesting LiP from its native host, such as growth difficulties, slow rates of degradation, and the requirement of nitrogen, carbon, or sulfur limitation for good expression. One solution is to introduce the LiP gene into an appropriate alternative host in a controlled environment to regulate LiP expression. The goal of my research is to express active lignin peroxidase in the yeast Kluyveromyces lactis. Currently, recombinant LiP has been expressed and secreted in K. lactis in our laboratory but with little to no activity. My work will focus on the synthesis and secretion of the active enzyme in this alternative host. Various purification methods, Northern and Western hybridizations, and activity assays will be used to determine if significant amounts of active LiP can be successfully produced. The results of this research will not only increase our knowledge of recombinant protein synthesis but will be a step in the fight against pollution.
Court Accomodations for Victim Witnesses with Disabilities
In view of the adoption of such legislation as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it is interesting to learn that "almost all of the courts in California are out of compliance with the ADA and are risking lawsuits," as was recently noted in the "LA Daily Journal." More importantly, this non-compliance of the courts, in addition to a history of inefficiency in handling disability issues, is discouraging the participation of witnesses with disabilities in the court system. Progress towards the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the judicial process necessarily requires their participation in the justice system. The findings of my research will help assess the nature and extent of the problems associated with courtroom accommodations for witnesses with disabilities, as well as determine how to progress from our current system to a more accommodating one.
Characterization of Monoclonal Anitbodies to Chlamydia trachomatis Mouse Pneumonitis Biovar
In an attempt to identify neutralizing and cross-reactive epitopes to Chlamydia trachomatis mouse pneumonitis biovar (CT-MoPn), monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) were produced by fusing splenocytes from CT-MoPn immunized mice with a myeloma cell line, S194/5XXO.Bu.1. Four week-old BALB/c mice were immunized intranasally with 104 CT-MoPn inclusion forming units (ifu) and boosted with 1x106 CT-MoPn ifu 3 days before fusion. The hybridoma supernatants were screened by using indirect fluorescence antibody test and then further characterized by immunoblot and neutralization assays. Of the 9 mAbs selected, 2 mAbs (MoPn 38 and 39) were found to be immunoblot negative, 3 mAbs (MoPn 20, 30, and 32) were lipopolysaccharide (LPS) positive, 2 mAbs (MoPn 40 and 44) recognized the major outer membrane protein (MOMP), and the last 2 mAbs (MoPn 21 and 22) recognized the 30 kDa and 21 kDa chlamydia antigens, respectively. Cross-reactivity analysis showed all LPS-specific mAbs and MoPn 39 had strong reactivity to all three species of Chlamydiae. However, MOMP-specific mAbs recognized only CT-MoPn. Neutralization analysis showed that one of the MOMP-specific mAbs (MoPn 40) and MoPn 38 had the highest neutralization ability (>80%). On the other hand, LPS-specific mAbs had very low neutralization abilities (<5%). In conclusion, the intranasal immunization could produce a wide range of chlamydia antigen-specific mAbs. Further characterization of neutralizing mAbs is needed to identify the epitopes in order to develop a subunit vaccine.
Fracture Characteristics of Sinter Forged 8Y-CSZ with Intergranular Phase Additions
Yttria stabilized cubic zirconia (Y-CSZ) is a material being studied for use as a solid electrolyte. Cubic zirconia is a well known oxygen ion conductor used in fuel cells. Currently, the design of the electrolyte in fuel cells is limited to simple geometries. Electrolytes with more complex geometries may lead to increased efficiencies and a decreased size of fuel cells. Research is currently focused on processing, superplastic deformation, and mechanical and electrical characterization of cubic zirconia for use as a solid electrolyte. Creating a dense material of cubic zirconia is a concern. In previous experiments hot isostatic pressing was required to produce samples with a high density compared to samples produced by conventional sintering. However, hot isostatic pressing has limitations of high cost and relatively small sample dimensions. Sinter forging may be an alternative solution. In sinter forging, samples are simultaneously formed, densified, and sintered. The first part of the research was designed to obtain optimal processing parameters (temperature, time, load) that will result in samples with high densities. Research in our group has recently shown that cubic zirconia will exhibit superplastic behavior (deformation over 100%) in compression at high temperatures with the addition of intergranular phases (crystallineAl2O3 or amorphous SiO2). However, the room temperature properties of this material are unknown. The second part of the research was to examine how the fracture characteristics differ with different concentrations of additives and compare them to a control (pure) sample in order to determine if the mechanical properties were degraded by making the material superplastic.
Aggregation of b-sheets in Organic and Aqueous Environment
The essence of many biological processes rests on the functions of proteins. Protein functions in turn depend heavily on the proteins ability to adopt a particular conformation and its interactions with neighboring protein and non-protein components. Many naturally occurring proteins, such as HIV-1 protease and b-amyloid aggregate in Alzheimers patients, adopt b-sheet conformation. In 1996, Soto et al found that peptides with anti-b-sheet properties inhibit the formation of protein aggregate in Alzheimers patients. Our goals in this study include understanding the formation of b-sheet structure, b-sheet dimerization, and the behaviors of a b-sheet mimic in aqueous environment. To conduct this current study, we synthesized three b-sheet mimics. Each has three basic components: a tri-peptide sequence, an oxalyl b-turn unit and a backbone holding the two strands close enough together to facilitate b-sheet formation. The distinguishing feature of each mimic is its tri-peptide sequence: Phe-Ile-Leu, O2N-Phe-Val-Met and Tyr-Ile-Lys. We studied the identity of each b-sheet by using NMR spectroscopy. Dimerization studies have been conducted for the previous two b-sheet mimics. However, we have not been able to conduct similar investigations for the third one due to problems arising from its synthesis. In these dimerization studies, we set up a range of concentrations and then monitored the NMR chemical shifts of hydrogens that we speculated to participate in forming a dimer. Binding constants for the first two b-sheets were found to be about 600 M-1 and 60 M-1, respectively. Although these studies provided us with interesting results, they might not approximate protein interaction in aqueous environment--the condition of a biological system. The synthesis of the third b-sheet mimic is currently underway. It will be followed by a similar series of NMR investigations, which we expect to provide us with tremendously valuable information about protein interaction in water.
Cardiac Complications and Blood Loss in Patients Undergoing Major Urologic Cancer Surgery
The objective of this study was to analyze the charts of patients who underwent major urologic cancer surgery and to determine if there is a relationship between blood loss and cardiovascular complications. Major urologic cancer surgeries include radical prostatectomy, radical abdominal prostatectomy, radical nephrectomy, radical cystectomy, and adrenalectomy. We examined the paper and electronic records, including anesthetic records, lab tests, discharge summaries, morbidity and mortality reports, etc. We recorded demographic information, as well as, perioperative hematocrits (HCT), the number of packed red blood cells (PRBC) transfused, and estimated blood loss (EBL). The differences between the patients who had cardiovascular complications and those who did not have cardiovascular complications were evaluated by ANOVA followed by post hoc Scheffes test. In this retrospective study, patients who needed more units of PRBC transfused postoperatively were more likely to have perioperative complications. This implies that patients who undergo radical prostatectomy and receive more blood transfusions postoperative are likely to suffer cardiac complications. Postoperative management of patients undergoing radical prostatectomy is as important as intraoperative management in determining patient morbidity and mortality.
Simulation of Fragmentation of Helium Clusters Containing Xenon
Recently research groups have conducted experiments to determine if liquid helium droplets can absorb noble gas atoms. Since droplets of liquid helium are superfluid, a state in which they have no viscosity, the question of whether they can solvate noble gas atoms is nontrivial. The method used by these experiments is to collide the helium droplet with the noble gas atom and to measure the resulting change in the mass spectra of the droplet. The mass spectroscopy of the droplets is complicated by the fact that ionization of the droplet leads to extensive fragmentation. The fragmentation patterns from those experiments suggest that helium clusters do pick up noble gas atoms. This study takes a detailed look at the fragmentation patterns of the clusters. As part of this investigation, a computer program was written to simulate the flight of the helium clusters through a pickup chamber and their subsequent fragmentation in an electron impact mass spectrometer. This program was then used as part of a genetic algorithm fitting code which found the splitting parameters. These parameters are used to find the charge transfer probability, a number which is potentially interesting for understanding the behavior of liquid helium.
Expression of Neuronal Nicotinic Acetycholine Receptor Subunit mRNAs within Dopaminergic Cells of the Substantia Nigra (SN) and Ventral Tegmental Area
Nicotine is the major psychoactive component of tobacco. Its CNS effects include reinforcement and reward properties as well as changes in motor behavior. The SN and VTA dopaminergic neurons provide the motor and the limbic projections to the striatum, respectively. Nicotinic effects are mediated by neuronal nicotinic Acetycholine receptors (nAChRs). These receptors are ligand gated cation channels composed of two ligand binding a and three structural b subunits. Six a subunits (a2-a7) and three b subunits (b2-b4) have been identified in the rat. Different subunit combinations yield receptors with different pharmacological and physiological properties. There is evidence for the presence of nicotinic receptors on the cell bodies and projection terminals of these dopaminergic neurons, which regulate dopamine release. However, there is no evidence of the subtypes of nicotinic receptors on these neurons. The purpose of the study was to use double labeling in-situ hybridization to determine which subunits are present within the dopaminergic (DAergic) cells. We used a dioxygenin-labeled riboprobe for tyrosine hydroxylase, the dopamine-synthesizing enzyme, as our dopaminergic marker and 35S-labeled riboprobes for nAChR subunits. Of subunits studied to date almost all of the DAergic cells of the SN express mRNA for a4, a5, a6, b2 and b3 subunits. Fewer cells in the SN express mRNA for a3 and a7 subunits. Almost all of the DAergic cells of the VTA express mRNA for a4, a6, b2 and b3 but there is a low expression of mRNA for a3, a5, and a7. The differential expression of nAChR subunits mRNAs within the SN and VTA may indicate the presence of different nAChR subtypes, resulting in a complex pharmacological profile.
Beauty, Femininity, and Youth: The Exclusion of Elderly Women in Mass Media
The fastest growing segments of the US population are elderly, aged 65 and older, and the vast majority of the elderly are women. The purpose of this study is to understand a) the constructions of beauty as they vary cross-generationally; b) the exclusion of the elderly in mass mediated constructions of beauty in the contemporary US; and c) the changing nature of mass mediated images of beauty. This research explores relevant media images historically, and a comparison of these images of women from the 1950s with those from the 1990s. What happens to female subjectivity and personhood as a woman ages? Is feminine beauty represented as such a youthful phenomenon that older women cannot be "beautiful" in the dominant senses portrayed in mass media? How do older women who were themselves 18-25 in the 1950s perceive changes in contemporary ideals of beauty? The project raises these and other questions about the effects of mass media in peoples lives, and about aging and subjectivity in relation to femininity. A part of the analysis is done through reviewing books, journals, newspaper articles, and publications of scholars in the field of feminist studies, gero-anthropology, gerontology, and media studies. More centrally, I will also be analyzing data from interviews with female university students (18-25) and with older women (+55), in order to explore their conceptions of feminine beauty; their social imagination and experience of aging; and their engagements with contemporary media representation of women and beauty, youth and old age.
Acute Nicotine Differentially Stimulates c-fos mRNA Expression in Postnatal and Adult Rat Brains
Nicotine is one of the most common addictive drugs. Smoking by pregnant women may cause adverse effects to fetus and newborn. Studies have shown that nicotine has profound effects on the developing brain and causes persistent deficits in learning and behavior. c-Fos has been widely used to identify neurons activated by nicotine. Here, we studied the effect of acute nicotine on postnatal and adult rat brains by mapping the changes in c-fos mRNA expression. Two doses of nicotine (0.175 mg/kg or 0.50 mg/kg) or saline (1 ml/kg) were subcutaneously injected into postnatal day 5 (P5) and adult rats. The brains were processed for in situ hybridization, and c-fos mRNA expression was quantitated by image analysis. In P5 rats, nicotine caused a significant increase in c-fos mRNA expression in specific limbic regions, namely, nucleus accumbens shell (p<0.05), retrosplenial cortex (p<0.05) and entorhinal cortex (p<0.05). In adult rats, acute nicotine significantly increased c-fos mRNA expression not only in nucleus accumbens shell (p<0.01) and retrosplenial cortex (p<0.01-0.05), but also in other limbic regions, namely, nucleus accumbens core (p<0.05), caudate putamen (p<0.05), habenula (p<0.05), claustrum (p<0.05) and central amygdaloid nucleus (p<0.01-0.05). Moreover, c-fos mRNA expression was also significantly increased in adult brain sensory cortices, namely, visual (p<0.05), auditory (p<0.05) and somatosensory (p<0.01-0.05). Our findings contradict a previous biochemical study which indicated that nicotine has no effect in early postnatal rats. Nicotines effect on the limbic system could be a key factor as to how nicotine affects cognitive learning during development and in young children.
Impact of Anesthesiologists' Experience on Prolonged Stay of Patients in Post Anesthesia Care Unit in Ambulatory Surgical Center
The clinical study was conducted to determine whether the anesthesiologists years of experience affected the prolonged stay of patients in post anesthesia care unit. 903 Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) patients in the ambulatory setting were observed from January 1998 to June 1998. Prolonged stay was determined as >120 minutes after surgery. In addition, information that included date of surgery, type of surgery, attending surgeon, attending anesthesiologist, type of anesthesia and time spent in PACU were collected. The percentage of patients with prolonged stay was calculated for each anesthesiologist. We gathered information on each anesthesiologists years of experience after the completion of their residency. Statistical comparisons were completed on the data using simple linear regression and Spearmans rank correlation coefficient. A p value of < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. The simple linear regression analysis revealed r = 0.1257 while the Spearman correlation showed r = 0.0416. We therefore concluded that the length of stay in the PACU is not related to the experience of the anesthesiologist in terms of years of practice.
Synthesis and Electrochemistry of Hyponitrite (N2O22-); A Possible Intermediate in Dentrification
Mentor: Dr. Patrick Farmer
The mechanism of the denitrification process catalyzed by heme proteins is still not fully understood. Particularly, the N-N coupling process continues to be a subject of controversy. Hyponitrite (N2O22-), a product of N-N coupling at the iron center of the heme, is a proposed intermediate in this context. The interaction is mainly governed by the electrochemical properties of N2O22- on one hand and the Heme-iron on the other. To our knowledge, the electrochemistry of N2O22- is not yet known. The present study addresses the synthesis and the characterization of this species as well as its electrochemical behavior. Investigations addressing the oxygen donation ability of N2O22- are also presented and discussed.
Spatial Coding of Odorant Stereochemistry and Odorant Mixtures in the Glomerular Layer of the Rat Olfactory Bulb
Spatial coding of odor-evoked activity in the olfactory bulb is a mechanism by which the brain appears to process olfactory information. A spatial model would predict that odorants that evoke the perception of distinct odors would generate spatially distinct patterns of activity in the olfactory bulb. The pattern of activity in the glomerular layer of the olfactory bulb has been hypothesized to correspond to molecular features of odorants. In the current study, stereoisomers D-carvone and L-carvone were investigated. They differ in structure only at one chiral center, yet humans perceive them as discrete odors. To determine whether they generate distinct patterns of activity in the rat olfactory bulb, a high-resolution [14C]-2-deoxyglucose uptake technique was used. There was a reliable difference between the odor-evoked patterns generated by the two stereoisomers. There were also regions of overlapping glomerular activity, which were expected due to the similarity of their molecular structure. The mixture of D- and L-carvone produced patterns highlighting the areas of overlap. These findings support the hypothesis that two odorants that are very similar in structure yet distinct in perception will generate similar yet distinct patterns of activity in the olfactory bulb.
Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors Attenuate Morphine Antinociceptive Tolerance in the Rat Spinal Cord
Long-term morphine administration to patients, especially for managing terminal cancer pain, induces tolerance. The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) in combination with morphine administration maximizes analgesic effects while limiting adverse effects such as tolerance. In this study, we examined the effect of cyclooxygenase inhibitors, indomethacin (non-specific) and NS-398 (specific) on morphine tolerance development by using a rat spinal model. Two daily injections of morphine (50 m g, i.t.) over a period of five days induced tolerance. Indomethacin and NS-398 (20 and 30 m g, i.t.) were administered to the rats 10 minutes prior to morphine injection to prevent morphine tolerance development. Morphines antinociceptive effect was determined by the tail-flick test. Neither indomethacin nor NS-398 alone induced antinociception, but did attenuate morphines antinociceptive tolerance.
Beam Profile of Continuous Wave Laser on a Polymeric Film
The use of laser microbeams, i.e. the delivery of laser radiation through an optical microscope, has been used for the dissection and inactivation of cellular and subcellular structures with micron scale spatial resolution. Knowledge of the physical processes that mediate the interaction between the laser irradiation and the biological medium is necessary to optimize the performance of existing methods and motivate the development of novel applications. In this research, we are developing a technique to measure the spatial distribution of laser energy deposited into a biological medium when delivered through an optical microscope of high magnification and numerical aperture (100x, 1.3 NA). The technique uses a polymeric film embedded with a fluorescent dye. We first expose the film to continuous wave (cw) laser irradiation (l =488 nm) for a duration varying between 1 and 15 seconds. This exposure converts a fraction of the dye from a fluorescent form to a non-fluorescent form in proportion to the local beam intensity. The film is then imaged in fluorescence mode using a laser-scanning confocal microscope. This image measures the intensity of the fluorescent emission at each spatial location within the film and thus gives a visual display of the spatial intensity profile of the laser beam as it propagates within the film. Computer processing of these images show that the measured intensity profile is well described by a Gaussian distribution with a characteristic diameter of ~6 µm in diameter which can be determined with a spatial resolution of 0.3 µm
Isolating and Characterizing g-chain Variants of Human Fibrinogen
The purpose of this study is to isolate the two low molecular weight g -chain variants of human fibrinogen and to determine their amino acid sequence. 100mg of human fibrinogen was denatured (hydrogen bonds broken) with guanidine-HCl. It was then separated into its three component polypeptide chain units by breaking the disulfide bridges, which were holding the polypeptide chains together with mercaptoethanol. Subsequently, the exposed cysteines where the disulfide bridges had been severed were protected from reoxidation by carboxymethylation with iodoacetate. The resulting mixture was fractionated to separate and collect the various polypeptide chain components using ion-exchange chromatography on a carboxymethyl cellulose column in 8 molar urea with a pH gradient of approximately 4.6 to 5.7. Three major components, corresponding to the Aa , Bb , and g chains as well as two minor components, corresponding to the g -chain variants, g x and g y, were isolated. These minor components were separately dialyzed against water, concentrated, and then cleaved with cyanogen bromide. Finally, the resulting fragments from the cyanogen bromide cleavages were analyzed by gel-filtration chromatography, mass spectrometry, and amino acid sequence analysis. The g -chain variants were shown to contain the original amino terminus of the g chain but were lacking carboxy terminal regions.
Synthesis and Screening of a Solid Phase beta-strand Mimic Library
The aim for this project is to prepare a combinatorial library using the split and mix methodology and examine the interaction of designed beta-strand mimic by solid phase screening strategy. A combinatorial library of beta-strand mimic will be prepared using solid phase techniques. A library, which contains approximately 5-10 beta-strand mimic will be synthesized with chemical encoding on TentaGel resin so each bead contains a single beta-strand mimic. Each beta-strand mimic consists of 5-amino-2-methoxybenzoic acid and selected natural amino acids. This kind of beta-strand structure mimics the hydrogen bonding interactions of peptides on one side while the other side does not. We will test the potential peptide like interactions between Protein G and our combinatorial library of beta-strand mimics using the screening strategy described by Still and others. Some interesting results are expected. The strategy outlined may be especially valuable for discovering new compounds that bind to proteins.
A Policy Analysis of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994
It is estimated that at least 2 million women each year are battered by an intimate partner and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) records about 1,500 murders of women by male intimates each year. It is no surprise, then, that we should find the topic of domestic violence on the federal governments policy agenda. In September of 1994, the United States Congress passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which included the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Through this legislation, states were strongly encouraged to adopt mandatory arrest policies in instances of domestic violence. This project tests the hypothesis that there have been unintended outcomes of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994. I hypothesize that the outcome of mandatory arrest of assault perpetrators has had the effect of diminished reporting of assault by women. I suggest that the criminal justice intervention of mandatory arrest for domestic assault calls to police will result in less use of the police by victims as they may fear that the primary breadwinner of the family will be removed for an indeterminate length of time. One result of diminished use of police by female victims is that those who use the police as a means of stopping acute violent episodes will decrease. Inability to use the police as a way to stop a violent episode can be expected to be detrimental to the well being of women in abusive relationships and will therefore be counter-productive to the original goals.
Semi-synthesis and Characterization of a Heme d1 Analog: The Unusual Prosthetic Group of Cytochrome cd1 Nitrite Reductase
Cytochrome (cyt) cd1 functions as the dissimilatory nitrite reductase (NiR) in bacterial denitrification, catalyzing the reduction of NO2- to NO. It also acts as a cytochrome oxidase by reducing O2 to H2O, a respiratory reaction of fundamental importance in most organisms. The active site for these catalytic reductions is a unique type of dioxo heme derivative termed heme d1. The chemical mechanisms that govern these catalytic transformations are not well understood. Likewise, how the dioxo heme structure affects nitrite and oxygen reduction remains unclear. The Farmer research group has developed biomimetic models to investigate the mechanistic details of similar multielectron reductions based on protoporphyrin IX reconstituted myoglobin. Using similar methodology, I intend to synthesize a heme d1 analog; reconstitute it into myoglobin to serve as model for cyt cd1; characterize the analog and its myoglobin reconstitued product; and study its redox properties, substrate binding, and catalytic reactivity using novel electrochemical techniques. By following the redox chemistry at the active site electrochemically, we hope to gain an understanding of how the heme d1 cofactor influences the activity in the native protein.
The Role of Transmembrane Span 6 in the Cholesterol Regulated Degradation of 3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl Coenzyme A Reductase
3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl Coenzyme A Reductase (HMGR) catalyses the rate limiting step in the biosynthesis of cholesterol and increased levels of cholesterol accelerate degradation of HMGR. Four phenylalanine residues in span 6 of HMGal (whole membrane domain of HMGR fused to E. Coli b -galactosidase) were replaced with four leucine residues. The phenotype of this mutant was characterized by detecting specific activity of b -galactosidase. The cholesterol-regulated degradation of this mutant was abolished, suggesting that the four phenylalanine residues are important in the regulated degradation of HMGR.
Expression of b-amyloid in Skeletal Muscle: To Model Inclusion Body Myositis
Inclusion body myositis (IBM) is the most common skeletal muscle disease in individuals over 55 years of age. This myopathy is characterized by the abnormal intracellular accumulation of the b-amyloid protein (Ab), the same protein which accumulates in the senile plaques characterizing Alzheimer's Disease (AD) brains. To test the hypothesis that overexpression of Ab is sufficient to recapitulate the pathological features of IBM, we analyzed mice that were genetically modified to express Ab. Extensive immunohistochemical and histological analyses of skeletal muscle from mice injected with the Ab-encoding construct were performed to look for IBM-like pathology; which includes blue-rimmed vacuoles, intracellular accumulation of Ab, and centric nuclei. Data collection and analysis is currently underway. The findings of this study may help provide insight as to the role of Ab in the pathogenesis of IBM as well as create an important experimental model of this disease. In addition, it may provide relevant information regarding the interaction of Ab protein with other dementia-related proteins seen in AD.
Mesothelium-Induced Motility in Ovarian Carcinoma
Ovarian cancer spreads by dissemination of the cells throughout the peritoneal cavity with attachment to the mesothelium lining of the abdominal cavity. This study was performed to determine whether mesothelial cells enhance ovarian cancer spread by inducing motility in ovarian carcinoma cells. Motility was assessed in UCI 101, UCI 107, UCLA 222, and NIH OVCAR3 ovarian cancer cells by measuring the number of cells which migrated through a membrane with 12 micron pores for each experimental condition as compared to unstimulated controls. Ovarian carcinoma cells showed induced motility when they were cultured with mesothelial cells. This induced motility indicates human mesothelial cells secrete a substance that causes motility in ovarian carcinoma cells. Conditioned medium (CM) was collected from cultured human mesothelial cells. Exposure to different concentrations of mesothelial CM produced a dose-dependent motility in ovarian carcinoma cells. Upon microscopic examination, ovarian cancer cells cultured with mesothelial CM tended to migrate away from each other. Hyaluronic acid (HA) was also found to induce motility in ovarian carcinoma cells. Alcian blue staining of cultured mesothelial cells for HA exhibited positive staining. In the presence of hyaluronidase, which degrades HA, there was no staining, indicating that mesothelial cells produce HA. CM treated with hyaluronidase resulted in an inhibition of motility in ovarian cancer cells. This indicates that the CM contains HA and that HA induces motility. These findings show that peritoneal mesothelium secretes hyaluronic acid, and this substance may be a major contributing factor of mesothelium-induced ovarian carcinoma cell motility.
Adolescents' Smoking Status and Its Relationship to Perceived Stress, Health Behaviors, and Hope and Optimism for the Future
Minh Tram Dao
Since the 1960s, the adult smoking rate has dramatically decreased and societys attitude toward smoking has also changed, but smoking among adolescents continues to rise. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, in 1994 over 3 million adolescents smoked cigarettes and over 1 million males used smokeless tobacco products (Perry & Staufacker, 1996). Another study found that nearly 1/3 of ninth grade students reported smoking at least one cigarette during the last month, an increase of 26.5% from 1991 to 1995 (Everett et al., 1998). With such drastic increases, it is important to find out what factors influence adolescents to use tobacco products. The present study proposes to examine adolescents smoking behavior and its relationship to perceived stress, health behaviors, and hope and optimism for the future. In order to examine these characteristics, 150 ninth grade students completed a one page "Teen Health Survey" that asked questions about the levels of stress experienced and the frequency of engaging in healthy and unhealthy behaviors. In a follow-up orientation session, participants were given a packet of psychosocial measures to complete. This study will focus on two of the measures: the Childrens Hope Scale (Lewis & Kliewer, 1996; Synder et al., 1997) which measures hope, and the Life Orientation Test (Scheier & Carver, 1985) measures optimism. The data for this study come from the data collected for Project MASH, monitoring adolescent stress and health, a two-year longitudinal study examining adolescents susceptibility to tobacco being conducted by Dr. Larry Jamner and Dr. Carol Whalen.
Diffusion During Laser Irradiation of Cartilage
In previous investigations of cartilage during laser irradiation, the heating curve was noticeably nonlinear. This current investigation, based on previous studies, eliminates potential causes to the nonlinear heating curve. The current study uses a new technique in delivering the laser spot. By imaging the laser irradiation over a whole area, radial diffusion was eliminated. Using thinner pieces of cartilage eliminates axial diffusion. Data is currently being taken of the laser power density and surface temperature. Data analysis will determine the heat capacity of cartilage. The findings of the investigation will show the effect of axial and radial diffusion of cartilage, in hopes of better understanding cartilage properties.
Shock Absorbing/Fluid Dispersing Cane Tip
This invention is concerned with a streamlined cane tip that has no ridges, shoulder areas, skirts or plateaus, that gradually increases in diameter from the top to the base of the cane tip and includes an integrally fabricated tubular receiver for a cane shaft with internal protruding appendages or ribs that secure the cane firmly in place, beneath which is a rigid internal disk that functions as a foundation for the cane shaft to rest upon. This is almost immediately followed by a PVC disk filled with either air or a gel substance which acts as an absorbing or dampening pad which is secured within the structure or body of the cane tip. Beneath the "disk" is a ground engaging tread area with a slightly rounded periphery adjacent to alternating pie shaped dependages with alternating grooves which create a star pattern to allow the dispersal of liquids from within the tread area, and of liquids upon the ground surface. A United States Patent (# 5,826,606) was awarded on the device on October 27, 1998.
Expression of Gaba r1 Receptor in Pichia pastoris
In the mammalian central nervous system, the most important inhibitory neurotransmitter is g -aminobutyric acid (GABA). There are three known types of GABA receptors: GABAA, GABAB, and GABAC. GABAC receptors form GABA-gated Cl- channels that are more sensitive to GABA, show almost no desensitization, and are resistant to the GABAA antagonist bicuculline. Moreover, whereas GABAA receptors require a combination of different subunits for proper function, GABAC receptors form functional homomeric receptors. Both the human and rat r 1 subunits have this ability to form functional homooligomeric GABA receptors. Therefore, determination of the three-dimensional structure of the r 1 subunit would provide a useful model to study the assembly properties and function of GABA and other receptors. In order to study the three-dimensional structure of GABA r 1, the receptor protein must first be expressed on a large scale. Pichia pastoris, a methyltrophic yeast, has been chosen as the host organism for expression because yeast are easily manipulated eukaryotes, while exhibiting growth characteristics of bacteria. In addition, P. pastoris is expected to produce 10 100 fold higher protein yields than the more common Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Using DNA recombinant techniques, the expression plasmid pPIC9· r 1 was constructed. This plasmid will be used to transform P. pastoris. PCR analysis will determine whether or not the GABA r 1 gene has been integrated into P. pastoris. Following this step, the yeast will be induced to produce the recombinant receptor. The efficiency of expression will be determined by SDS-PAGE and western-blot.
Potential Use of 5-Aminolevulinic Acid (ALA) in Photodynamic Cancer Treatment
Currently available light-absorbing photosensitizers used in Photodynamic therapy (PDT) have shown to have many drawbacks. Such drawbacks including prolonged skin photosensitivity, low absorption in the 630-nm therapeutic wavelength (9) and low selectivity, have prevented any advancement in the clinical application of Photodynamic therapy. The use of precursor 5-Aminolevulinic Acid (ALA) in clinical trials to treat precancerous cervical tissues has been very advantageous. Although ALAs optimal treatment parameters are still not clear, its rapid localization and high degree of specificity causing a decrease of skin photosensitivity, have lessen some the previous drawbacks. Currently we are exploring the possibility of using ALA to treat cervical cancer, and possibly other forms of cancer, in a laboratory setting. We are conducting cloning assays using HeLa cells and MCF-7 cells (established human cervical cancer and breast cancer cell lines respectively) at various parameters. We hope to find the appropriate combination of the optimal laser wavelength, drug dosage, and incubation time of ALA in Photodynamic therapy on HeLa and MCF-7 cells.
The Effect of Shyness on Source Memory
Past studies suggest that shy individuals engage in self-preoccupation while experiencing a distribution-of-attention problem, which causes them to do poorly on tasks involving cognitive processes. This study is intended to determine whether shyness resulted in a performance deficit on a cognitive memory task such as source monitoring. Source monitoring refers to the set of processes involved in making attributions about the origins of memories, knowledge, and beliefs. The participants were 65 psychology students. They were tested in either groups of twos or groups of threes. Participants completed a source-monitoring task, in which they were asked to memorize words and then alternated their recall of the words vocally. Participants also completed a paper and pencil task in which they had to identify the source (e.g., New, Self, Other, Not Recalled) of each word. I expect that shy participants will have a lower level of accuracy compared to non-shy participants for overall recognition (i.e., distinguishing between recalled items and new items). I also expect shy participants to have a lower level of accuracy compared to non-shy participants for source (i.e., distinguishing between Self items and Other items).
Searching for Gravity Waves
Einstein's general theory of relativity predicts gravity waves. This gravitational analog to light (electromagnetic waves) has never been directly observed. Recent indirect observations of this phenomenon resulted in the 1993 Nobel Prize in physics. Black holes and neutron stars are examples of objects that are difficult to observe with traditional telescopes (electromagnetic wave detectors). However, these objects are also the best candidates for observation with gravity wave detectors. Such observations are expected to shed light on some of the most intriguing aspects of astrophysics including the Big Bang and collisions of two black holes. In a joint effort, Caltech and MIT are building the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO). Scheduled to begin taking data within the next two years, LIGO is designed not only to detect gravity waves, but to do so with enough sensitivity such that detailed astrophysical research can be done. My work focuses on the development of new ways to extract astrophysical information from data gathered by LIGO and other similar detectors. In the context of an elementary discussion of gravity wave physics I will describe how, in conjunction with other methods, my techniques will help to open this new window to the universe.
Analysis of the Structure of Seashells
Shells are protective cases formed by molluscs. It is the product of a soft-bodied animal, growing during the larval stage. The shell is a matrix consisting primarily of protein, which binds crystals of calcium carbonate into a unified structure. Crystals of calcium carbonate are the basis of the molluscan shell. Successive layers of crystals differ from each other structurally, giving the shell its strength and characteristic hardness. The shells being analyzed are from the phylum mollusca. They come from the Indo-Pacific region and the coastline of California. The scanning electron microscope (SEM) will be used to study the structure and organization of the material that makes up these seashells. A microhardness tester will measure the hardness and toughness of the shells. Tests will be conducted with wet shells and shells which have been dried out, in order to determine if the moisture content is important. With this research, I hope to understand how the structure of seashells affects the hardness and the toughness. Seashells are made out of calcium carbonate and organic proteins which are weak materials, therefore the hardness and toughness of the seashell has to come from the structure. In the future, this research could be used to help make ceramic materials that have properties similar to seashells.
Genetic Relationships of the Genus Theobroma
Theobroma cacao seeds are the basis of the chocolate industry. Genetic improvement of T. cacao requires a comprehensive understanding about its origin and evolution. Cacao is an understory tree in tropical rainforest with a geographical distribution from the Amazonian basin to southern Mexico. De la Cruz et al. (1995) found that cultivars are related to wild cacaos from the Amazonian region, and that wild cacaos from Mexico are a novel source of genetic variation. The objective of this study is to determine the genetic relationships between Theobroma cacao and other species of Theobroma. Genetic relationships were estimated using Restriction Fragment Length polymorphism (RFLP) of chloroplast intergeneric regions using 9 restriction enzymes. The information collected was used to create the first phylogeny of the genus Theobroma. Results show that divergence within Theobroma cacao collected in Chiapas, Yucatan, and Amazon is higher than between other species of Theobroma. This molecular based phylogeny was not compatible to the taxonomic treatment proposed by of Cuatrecasas (1964). The study provides a basis to evaluate the variation within cacao and to understand the process of domestication of cacao and other species of Theobroma.
Simulated Microgravity and Cyclooxygenase-Dependent Mechanisms in Norepinephrine Induced Contractions of the Carotid Artery
Prolonged exposure to microgravity results in cardiovascular deconditioning, that is, the reduced capacity to respond to upright posture in microgravity-adapted astronauts. This can cause postural hypotension and syncope. In the present study, the effects of microgravity were simulated using the hindlimb unweighted (HU) model in male Wistar rats that were compared to age and size matched controls. Purdy et al (J. Appl. Physiol., 84:1307-1315, 1998) showed that HU treatment results in vascular hyporesponsiveness to norepinephrine in the carotid artery. The carotid arteries from HU and control rats were therefore used in this study to investigate the role of hyporesponsiveness to norepinephrine. Data from these experiments showed that indomethacin, a COX inhibitor, caused further reduction in the contractile response to norepinephrine in the endothelium-intact carotid artery rings from the HU, but not the control animals. Similar results were also found with ibuprofen, a COX inhibitor that is structurally different from indomethacin. Upon removal of the endothelium, indomethacin had no effect on the contractile responses to norepinephrine in either the HU or control carotid artery rings. Also, the TXA2/PGH2 receptor antagonist, SQ 29548, decreased norepinephrine contractile responses in the HU treated carotid artery rings. These results suggest that a COX-dependent arachidonic acid metabolite contributes to the contractile response to norepinephrine in carotid arteries from HU rats to compensate for the observed decrease in norepinephrine responses.
Democratic Parenting and Hardiness Training in Early Adolescence Period
Resiliency is a character trait that differentiates youths that thrive from those who falter. Research indicates that resilient children have higher IQ's and lower rates of juvenile delinquency. Maddi and Kobasa (1977) investigated the role of democratic parenting and resiliency. They indicated that positive parental feedback and encouragement leads to positive possibilities. Affection, acceptance, reasonable restrictions, and equal respect characterize positive parenting, which then develops in children a sense of security, courage, and meaning based on moral values. It also encourages a sense of independence, self-responsibility, and the hardy attitudes of commitment, control and challenge. This paper will advocate the need for a learning environment that develops resiliency and hardiness among students; where informality, flexibility, and intimacy can flourish between children, peers, caretakers and educators. The proposed study combines democratic parenting and Hardiness Training to achieve this goal. Hardiness Training includes transformational coping strategies, social support development, and practices of sensible nutrition, relaxation/meditation, and exercise. Combining democratic parenting with hardiness training will lead to a sense of responsibility, self-monitoring, self-care, creativity, healthy competence and educational success. This study will benefit resilient and non-resilient children alike, and promote positive social interactions between caretakers educators as well.
A Biological Approach to Network Computing
Services and applications in the Next Generation Internet (NGI) have several key requirements. They must support billions of users and network nodes (scalability), adjust to heterogeneous and dynamic networking environments and conditions with minimal administrator involvement (adaptation and evolution), resist large-scale attacks and failures (security and survivability) and support deployment and extensibility with minimal complexity (simplicity). The Bio-Networking Architecture is inspired by the observation that the biological world has already developed the mechanisms necessary to achieve the above key requirements. The architecture applies the biological concepts of autonomous behavior, adaptation and evolution to a general class of network services. Each service is implemented by a distributed, collective entity called the super-entity, which is composed of multiple autonomous entities, each of which is called a cyber-entity. Cyber-entities act autonomously and on a local basis using only local information. This project investigates the biological concept of adaptation, whereby individual entities adapt to the dynamic conditions of their surrounding environment. In the context of computer networks, these conditions include resource costs at each node in the network, bandwidth availability between nodes, congestion, and number of users. The project includes a simulation program capable of emulating an arbitrary network topology, providing an execution environment for super-entities and their constituent cyber-entities. Using the biological concepts of migration, reproduction, food and energy consumption and death, the simulator environment permits an initial population of cyber-entities to evolve to an optimal form as dictated by the conditions of the network. Planned analyses include investigation of the benefits of an adaptable network service as compared to services provided by traditional static servers.
Parental Child Seat Safety Knowledge in a Tri-Cultural Southern California Emergency Department
Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among children and adolescents in the United States although 71% of fatalities can be prevented by child car seats. The objective of our study was to determine the parental knowledge of child car seat safety within our tri-cultural emergency department population. A questionnaire was administered to a consecutive, convenient sample of E. D. patients and visitors of patients who had children. The questionnaire consisted of two multiple-choice sections: the first section gathered demographic information, number of children that typically accompanied subjects in a car, and history of motor vehicle accidents with children present. The second section assessed specific knowledge of car seat and airbag safety. 31 parents and guardians completed the survey. Their ages ranged from 16 to 40, with the majority of respondents in their thirties. The ethnic breakdown was as follows: 23 Hispanic (74%), 4 Caucasian (13%), and 4 (13%) Asian respondents. Knowledge of correct seat direction by caregivers decreased as their child's weight increased. On average, only 38% of parents knew that the safest place in the car for any child under twelve was the middle of the rear seat, and only 50% of caregivers were aware that airbags increased the risk of death in children. Despite availability of effective child safety seats, motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death and disability among children and adolescents. Our findings verify the alarming lack of parental knowledge with reference to child car seat safety and airbags.
Affinity Purification and Identification of Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) ORF94 Binding Proteins
ORF94 is a 94-amino acid protein that is expressed only during the latent infection period of Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV), a Herpesvirus. Although ORF94 has been sequenced, little is known of its function during infection. Through previous work, we were able to hypothesize that ORF94 binds to a cellular protein approximately 50 kiloDaltons in size, which we refer to as p50 for the purposes of this experiment. A major goal of this experiment was to confirm that binding does indeed occur between these two proteins. Using a process known as a GST pull-down, we were able to show that binding between these two proteins existed. Further experiments will aim at isolating and microsequencing p50 itself in order to discover its function in HCMV. Through a functional analysis of p50 we hope to discover more information concerning ORF94, the protein that it binds in human cytomegalovirus. The ultimate goal of this project is directed towards finding the exact function of ORF94 during HCMV viral latency.
Historically, photography has served as an accurate documentation of the real, its precise detail authenticating a two dimensional translation of three-dimensional life. The camera captured truth with a capacity like no other tool. Presenting the perspective through a lens might be an artists best means of objective rendering. Quite the contrary, an abstract artform intentionally skewed vision. Distorted shapes, deliberate lines, and the markings of the hand were an artists resource for a subjective interpretation of reality. Oftentimes, one might not see a rational image within an abstract work of art, for the purpose of abstraction was to challenge conventional perceptions. My interest in this project is to redefine the experience of viewing by combining some of these traditional principles of photography and abstraction. My objective is to use the medium of photography as a tool of legitimate representation to abstract natural objects. I plan to concentrate my focus on the often-overlooked detail of a larger whole. In doing so, I hope to simplify my compositions into basic forms, movements, textures, and contrasts while maintaining the integrity of the natural subject matter. Thus viewers might admire the abstract beauty of a veiled natural object before deciphering it and perhaps be inspired to notice such simple details themselves.
Rocky Horror Picture Show - An American Sub-Culture
In recent years, cultural anthropology has become increasingly interested in turning its focus back onto the biases and ideologies of our own culture. American culture can often be bizarre to Americans, as illustrated by Horace Miners "Nacirema" essay, which is arguably the most well read ethnography in anthropology today. The Rocky Horror Picture Show is one of the most bizarre pieces of American culture, because it is an underground phenomena that has, ironically, been experienced by millions of Americans. Similar to television fandoms (Camille Bacon-Smith, 1992) like Star Trek, the Rocky Horror Picture Show exists in a small core community, while it draws participants from the larger American society. This current study seeks to examine this core community and to provide as much insight into its workings as possible. Much of the work involved is a traditional ethnographic account on societal processes such as reproduction, role assignment and ideologies, but this study also seeks to locate the Rocky Horror Picture Show as part of the larger society it draws upon. The ultimate goal of this study is to provide an understanding of how sub-cultures may exist within a larger culture, even while they subscribe to fundamentally differing ideologies and beliefs.
Reciprocity, Solidarity, and Gender in Mexican Migration to the United States
For people living in a small rural community in Mexico, migrating to the United States illegally can be a real challenge. Typically their level of education is that of elementary school, and their life experiences are centered on an agricultural society. How is it then that they can migrate successfully to the US? The answer is that they receive the help from the people from their own community through a social network of migration. This is a case study of people from two rural communities in Guanajuato, Mexico who have migrated to the United States and formed a "daughter community" in Long Beach, California. I spent six weeks in these two villages interviewing 85 heads of households in each community. I used two questionnaires, the ethnosurvey questionnaire designed by Dr. Douglas Massey, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania, and my own questionnaire on mutual assistance among interviewees. I investigated the relations of reciprocity and solidarity of the people of one community among those who migrate and those who do not. Some of my findings show how the solidarity behavior between the people helping others to migrate originates in the solidarity behavior among people in their hometown. Also, I found out how much gender influences the type of help received and by whom.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA): A Potential Therapeutic Agent for Degradative Neurological Diseases
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its sulfate ester (DHEAS) are the most abundant cortical steroids in the human body. A growing interest in these molecules has increased due to their vast range of biological roles. The ones of interest in the current study are the neuroprotective and antidepressant roles of DHEA and DHEAS. Sigma receptors, highly concentrated in the cerebral cortex, cerebellum, and striatum, are thought to be the specific affinity site through which DHEA is regulated in the central nervous system. Sigma sites exhibit a high or moderate affinity for neuroleptics, anti-depressant, steroids, psychomimetic drugs, and antipsychoitc drugs. Although much study has been committed to sigma receptors, their physiological function and biochemical mechanism of action are unknown. In the current study preliminary experiments are performed with the purpose of discovering the molecular pharmacology of sigma receptors and the mechanism of DHEA-sigma interactions. The ultimate goal is to use newly acquired understanding to develop new pharmacological agents with therapeutic potential.
The Relationship Between Stress Resistance and Mortality Rate Throughout the Lifetime of Large Cohorts of Drosophila melanogaster
It has been shown that stress resistance changes with age in Drosophila. Using six outbred populations derived from a common ancestor and maintained under identical demographic laboratory selection, the relationship between stress resistance and mortality rates over the lifetime of a cohort was investigated. The mortality rate and stress resistance experiments were conducted simultaneously by withdrawing samples for assays from a common pool. The initial sample size was 6000 flies per replicate population. Each population assayed for mortality every two days. Each week two samples were separated for stress assay: one for starvation resistance and the other for desiccation resistance. Desiccation resistance decreased linearly with age in both males and females. Starvation resistance increased initially in both males and females, as in previously published data, and then decreased approximately linearly with age. Mortality rates of both sexes generally increased exponentially with age and then plateaued after approximately three weeks, again conforming to previously observed patterns. Specific relationships between age-specific stress resistance and mortality were also studied.
A Talking News Agent for the Visually Impaired
The design and testing of user interfaces for software products often overlooks the needs of blind computer users. Although assistive technologies are available to enable the blind to use computers and access the Internet, these technologies are developed by third-party vendors and thus cannot support complete access to all features of a software product. Universal design enables all users, disabled and non-disabled, to access the same technologies. The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium has published guidelines for designing universally accessible websites. This project examines ways in which the NewsDude website can be made accessible to the visually impaired. NewsDude is an intelligent agent that reads news stories from the Internet and creates a profile of each user's news interests based on feedback given on each story. Daniel Billsus implemented NewsDude as a project in artificial intelligence, and the website was fully functional at the time this project began. It uses Microsoft Agent technology to provide a synthesized speech interface. By following WAI guidelines and incorporating universal design principles, the interface of the NewsDude website will allow its blind users as well as its "seeing" users to take advantage of all of its features. The interface of the website will be tested on blind computer users to ensure complete accessibility.
On Fitzgerald's Women
Upon reading The Great Gatsby, or for that matter any novel or short story written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, it becomes apparent that Fitzgerald writes with a historical eye, self-consciously combining his observations and ideas with the social, political, and economic upheaval occurring around him to produce works whose plots incorporate actual historical events and whose characters reflect the conflicting values and expectations that characterized the 1920s. Fitzgeralds female characters of his early novels and short stories in particular reflect the position of women in the 1920s. For, just as women in the 1920s were caught up in a so-called "revolution of manners and morals" and thus placed in the ambiguous position of being liberated from the limiting conventions of the past without any new paradigm by which to define or explain their values and behaviors, so Fitzgeralds female characters find themselves in situations from which, despite their apparent freedom and independence, they cannot escape because they have nowhere to go. Instead, Fitzgeralds female characters, like the women of the 1920s, make the most out of their surroundings and circumstances in order to get what they want while maintaining the security of their present situations. And, although their behavior may make them seem manipulative, dishonest, and despicable, it also enables them to endure difficult situations, which their male counterparts sometimes cannot.
The Mothers of East Los Angeles: Two Community Grassroots Groups
The Mothers of East Los Angeles (MELA) is a grassroots organization composed primarily of women who have demonstrated concern for the well-being of their community and families. MELA, which originated in 1984 with the protests of a proposed federal prison site in East Los Angeles, currently exists as two separate groups. They include Mothers of East Los Angeles in Resurrection Catholic Church and Las Madres Del Este De Los Angeles in Santa Isabel Catholic Church. Despite popular political science theories which outline that successful organizations must have high incomes and high educational levels, both groups have members who are economically impoverished and with limited schooling. This draws a twist to traditional models. In order to gain a better understanding of how grassroots groups originate and continue to exist as successful community organizations, I use framing theories try to understand why the group underwent a separation and to evaluate how the two groups compare today. I will compare and contrast the two groups in terms of their agenda, articulation, and strategies to gain a better understanding of how they motivate people to be socially and politically responsible in a community that has historically undergone a lot of political injustice.
Colors of Theatre: Reconstructing the Artistic Border
Colors of Theatre is a UCI student arts organization founded on narrative storytelling and rooted in an alternative theatrical format to address elements of "identity within the U.S." This "identity" is reflective in issues such as culture, gender, sexuality, marginalization and historical oppression. Colors of Theatre examines historical forces which shape who we are and offers questions about where we are going, and how we will create the future. Theatres improvisational games and attendance of outside performances were used to help develop a performance art piece. In addition, academic research of artists written work were essential in understanding and creating the foundation of theatre in nontraditional forms. This "work in progress" reflects issues concerning underrepresented populations and reconstructs Western traditional theatre.
Factors that Influence Latinos' Perceptions of Attending Graduate School: A Case Study of UCI
The aim of this research project is to identify the factors that influence whether or not Latino undergraduates will continue with a graduate education. Using UCI students, this study begins to explain how a students background, financial support, and other influencing factors, such as family relationships and perceptions of ones own academic skills, determine if a student is considering a graduate education. The projects ultimate goal is to identify what possibly could encourage a Latino student to continue on to graduate school, which can aid in explaining the gap between Caucasians and minorities in post-degree attainment. In order to do so, this study addressed three different categories of independent variables. These categories consist of Financial Factors, Academic Issues, and Social and Family Influences. One hundred Latino undergraduates completed a survey, which asked questions about economic background, social constructs, and academic issues. In addition to the survey, interviews were conducted with Latino undergraduates, graduates, and faculty members. Multivariate Chi square analysis was used to test each independent variables significance to the dependent variable.