Abstracts

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The Effect of Polyploidy in Protease Inhibitors in Maize

Robert Hacker

Mentor: Dr. Brandon Gaut

Polyploidy is a common phenomenon in the plant kingdom where an organism has more than one set of every chromosome pair. Polyploidy is a common mode for speciation. Up to 70% of angiosperms owe their history to a polyploid event. The project focuses on the evolution of plant genes that can confer resistance to plant pathogens. Each is trying to out compete the other. It is known that genetic variation for mechanisms of defense against parasites is widespread in plant and animal kingdoms. Despite the importance of plant defense to pathogens, there is very little data looking at the actual amount of genetic variation in these mechanisms. In fact there is little to nothing known in regards to the amount of allelic variation and the amount of time it takes for these variations to arise. In this study, I will examine one such plant defense, protease inhibitors (PI). PI's are peptides of relatively small size that bind to protease and prevent their function by inactivating the protease’s active site. Inactive protease is useless to the attacking organism because the consumed proteins can no longer be digested by genetic variation in PI genes of a tetraploid plant. Patterns of PI allele variation within and among populations may provide insight into the spatial and temporal dynamics of selection imposed by parasites. By investigating PI diversity in tetraploid (4n) organisms as compared to diploid (2n), this project hopes to estimate the effects of polyploidy on the population dynamics of PI genes.

 

Does Hemolymph Volume Vary Between Desiccation-selected Flies and Their Controls?

Christine Han

Mentor: Dr. Timothy Bradley

It has been found in previous studies that Drosophila melanogaster have been able to evolve a resistance to desiccation over hundreds of generations. The mechanism by which these desiccation-selected flies have been enabled to live longer in arid conditions is thought, in part, to be due to an increased percentage of body water. However, the source and location of this water is still unclear. This experiment was conducted to determine if the hemolymph was the location of the extra water found in desiccated flies and their controls. Fluid was blotted, thus extracting the hemolymph from the flies. The flies were weighed before tearing and after tearing to determine the amount of hemolymph present. This experiment was also geared toward reaffirming that the desiccated flies had a greater percentage of water than their controls. The desiccated flies were found to have a 1.29-fold increase in hemolymph volume and a 1.21-fold increase in the percentage of body water compared to the control flies.

 

Simulated Microgravity-Induced Vascular Hyporesponsiveness: Role of Voltage-Operated Calcium Channels

Sukgu Han

Mentor: Dr. Ralph Purdy

Exposure to microgravity causes a decreased vascular contractility to various contractile agents in the rat abdominal aorta. Previous studies have shown that the MAPK pathway, vasoconstrictive prostaglandins, and voltage operated calcium channels (VOCC) may be adversely affected by simulated microgravity, resulting in a decreased vascular response in the rat abdominal aorta. The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of VOCC in simulated microgravity-induced vascular hyporesonsiveness. Microgravity was simulated using the hindlimb unweighting (HU) model for 20 days. Following the HU treatment, abdominbal aortas were cut into 3 mm rings and used to measure isometric contraction. Calphostin C, a protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitor, completely abolished the contractile response to NE in both control and HU tissues. In contrast, nifedipine, a VOCC inhibitor, markedly reduced the contractile response to NE in C tissues but had no effect in HU-treated arteries. In contrast, when tissues depolarized with K+ were contracted with Ca2+, both calphostin C and nifedipine caused a complete inhibition of the contractile response in C and HU arteries. Furthermore, Ca2+ generated a maximal contractile level equivalent to that of NE in C tissues, whereas HU-treated arteries had a larger contractile response to NE than to Ca2+. These results indicate that the contractile response of C, but not that of HU, vessels to NE depends in part on VOCC. Furthermore, the influx of Ca2+ through VOCC may be mediated by PKC. In addition, the reduced contractile response of HU arteries to Ca2+ compared to NE indicates that HU may adversely affect the contractile proteins themselves, also contributing to the HU-induced vascular hyporesponsiveness.

 

Longterm Consequences of CRH Administration on Hippocampal Structure and Function: A Model for the Effects of Early Life Stress

Guitar Hanna

Mentor: Dr. Tallie Z. Baram

It has been shown that early life manipulations activating the CRH-glucocorticoid axis can result in long-term alterations of this stress-response system. Specifically, subsequent stress leads to prolonged enhancement of GC plasma levels, potentially injuring hippocampal pyramidal neurons. Because early life stress also increases hippocampal CRH expression, and because CRH has been shown to injure hippocampal neurons, we tested the following hypothesis: Early life stress may injure hippocampal neurons via activation of CRH receptors, leading to cell loss and cognitive impairment. Ten-day-old male rats were infused with either CRH (0.75 nm) or vehicle via free-hand intracerebroventricular injections, and compared with naďve littermates. Hippocampal neuronal function was examined by Morris Water Maze and Object Recognition testing at age 3 and 6 months. Neuronal injury/death was assessed via Nissl staining and ‘blinded’ semi-quantitative neuronal counts. CRH administration early in life resulted in a significant reduction in CA3c pyramidal neuron number in animals examined 6 months after injection. CRH-treated animals performed significantly worse (took longer to reach the platform) in the Morris Water Maze than naďve or vehicle infused controls starting at 3 months and persisting throughout the experiment. CRH administration during early life leads to hippocampal pyramidal cell injury in conjunction with impairment in acquisition of spatial learning. The mechanism(s) of this striking effect, specifically the role of GCs is currently under investigation.

 

Think No Evil

Andrew Henkes

Mentor: Dr. Keith Fowler

American culture has reached a point of societal hypersensitivity in the last several years. America has been struck with an almost paralyzing fear of offending anyone with critical words or unfair thinking. This project seeks to explore the nature of free speech and thinking in America in the late twentieth century by examining and challenging this cultural trend. This project is divided into five main parts, each of which explores a different aspect of challenges to free speech and thought. The topics of the five parts are: theatrical censorship in a local high school through the production of a censored one act play; reactions to a sexist, inflammatory article published in the New University; impressions of censorship by a contemporary author; excerpts from a play that examines the nature of responsibility and power in the media; and a newly devised scene exploring different aspects of censorship. It is a goal of the project to also challenge the audience and artists beyond topical choices. Several directors will collaborate on this production to allow a wide range of opinions on the topics considered. The large banners prominently hung behind the action will give the audience the opportunity to make its thoughts known. Multimedia will be used to enhance the production with relevant sound and video clips.

 

Photo-Documentary of the IMW Trailer Park

On-Campus at UCI

Rodney Hironymous

Mentor: Dr. Richard Kroll

This project is an attempt to photo-document the UCI Irvine Meadows West (IMW) trailer park before it is razed over by bulldozers and turned into a parking lot. Over the years, the IMW trailer park has become transformed from a simple configuration of a bunch of trailers siting next to each other, into the same, but with many room additions squeezed in-between. The consequence of almost everyone selling their trailer at IMW upon graduation, rather than opting to move it out, has perpetuated the transformation process by letting subsequent owners build onto the modifications of the previous residents. These virtual homes have evolved over the last twenty years with a sense of space that is very unique: there are backyards with gardens, living rooms with skylights, a greenhouse, an atrium, Florida rooms, lofts, bedrooms, storage sheds, storage rooms, and other quirky architecture that doesn’t resemble anything you would necessarily want to live in. A couple of the spaces are so beautiful that you feel like you are living in the countryside in France or Italy. It is my goal to capture images of its uniqueness with photographs and archive them within the campus community for future students to look at, even after it is gone.

 

The Evolving Democracy in Taiwan

Esther Huang

Mentor: Dr. Kenneth Pomeranz

Taiwan is the first East Asian nation to have a fully democratic government. Taiwan, a former colonial territory under Japanese imperialism (1895-1945), has transformed into a democratic island state within fifty years after Taiwan was returned to the Nationalist Party (KMT). I am examining three causes, between 1895-1991, that pressed the KMT’s policy of one-party rule to give way to a democratic government. The first cause is the ethnic tension between the Taiwanese and Mainlanders. Colonial rule redefined the Taiwanese people’s Chinese culture and view of the role of the government, which produced tension between the two groups. This friction became the dynamic that compelled Taiwan to evolve into a democratic society. Secondly, the KMT’s loss of influence on the international circuit—loss of representation in the U.N. and de-recognition from the U.S.—forced the party to consider serious political reform. The KMT needed to find another way to legitimize their existence to the world. The combination of the first two causes issued forth the third cause for democratization; leaders from within the party initiating change. Former KMT president Chiang Ching-kuo opened the door for a creation of a democratic foundation which president Lee Tung-hui continued to build upon. Taiwan’s transition into democracy is unique in that it was built up "from scratch" and the Taiwanese achieved this revolutionary measure through relatively little bloodshed.

 

Determination of Burn Depth by Polarization Sensitive Optical Coherence Tomography

Huai-En Huang

Mentor: Dr. Zhongping Chen

Burn depth assessment is a key step in guiding the treatment plan in patients who have sustained thermal injuries. We have developed a technique, polarization sensitive optical coherence tomography (PS-OCT), to provide the physician with a quantitative estimate of actual burn depth. We generated burns of various depths by contacts rats with a brass rod preheated to 75 degrees Celsius for 5, 15, or 30 seconds. PS-OCT images birefringence in biological tissue, through the depth resolved changes in the polarization state of light propagated and reflected from the sample. Preliminary results are presented that show a correlation between the loss of birefringence due to thermal injury and the actual burn depth determined by histological analysis. PS-OCT is a noninvasive technique which potentially can give physicians the accuracy to formulate the best treatment plan for burn patients.

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Academic Success Among Chicano/Latino High School Students: The Role of Parental Attitudes and Behavior

J. Daniel Jimenez

Mentor: Dr. Caesar Sereseres

This research study examines (1) the parental attitudes and behavior that contribute to the academic success of Chicano/Latino students; and (2) the degree to which the parent’s education and income level affect the academic success of students. In this research, "academic success" is defined as fulfilling all of the requirements for being eligible to attend the University of California. This research is important because in California, Latinos represent 42% of the students in grades K-12, yet they only represent approximately 5% of the University of California freshmen. Research data is collected through the University of California high school eligibility database, and a questionnaire that will be given to the parents at two predominantly Latino public high schools in Orange County. The tentative conclusion is that academically successful Chicano/Latino students are more likely to have parents that have a high educational expectation, help with homework on a regular basis, are involved in parent-teacher associations, and attend parent-teacher conferences. In conclusion, this research will show that there is a strong correlation between parental involvement and academic success and, therefore, school districts should have programs that promote the participation of parents in education.

 

Coral Bleaching

Carlos Juárez

Mentor: Dr. Andrea Grottoli

Hundreds of marine species depend on coral reefs for food and habitat. Unfortunately, pollution and global warming seem to be negatively affecting coral reefs, making them more susceptible to stressful bleaching events. Coral are animals that contain endosymbiotic algae, which give the coral its distinctive brown to green color. The coral acquire photosynthetically derived energy from the algae and store it as lipid. When corals bleach, they lose their algae causing them to: 1) appear white, and 2) lose their main source of energy. We propose that lipid content plays a role in a coral’s susceptibility to, and recovery from, bleaching events. We hypothesize that bleached corals have lower lipid levels than healthy, unbleached corals. The degree of bleaching can be quantified by measuring the concentration of the algal pigment chlorophyll a. The lipid and chlorophyll a levels were measured in 50 frozen Porites compressa and Montipora verrucosa corals. Preliminary results suggest that lipid levels decrease as chlorophyll a levels decrease in P. compressa. This is consistent with our hypothesis. However, no such correlation has been observed in Montipora verrucosa. These findings could be extremely helpful for identifying bleaching resistant corals most suitable for conservation.

 

Construction and Characterization of an IP-10 Expressing, Replication-Deficient Adenovirus

Jennifer Juhn

Mentor: Dr. Jerry Manning

Survival of mice infected with a lethal load of Trypanosoma cruzi trypomastigotes depends largely on a T cell mediated immune response, which requires T Helper type-1 (Th-1) activity. In previous investigations it has been shown that protective immunity in mice immunized with paraflagellar rod proteins is associated with a Th-1 response (Miller et al 1996, and Miller et al 1997). In this study we are investigating the chemokine IP-10 for its potential use as an adjuvant to augment the success of immunizing with PFR protein. Herein we describe the construction and characterization of a replication-deficient human adenovirus that constitutively expresses recombinant murine IP-10 (AdIP-10). We have found detectable levels of IP-10 transcript in macrophage cell lysates. We have also demonstrated that cells infected with AdIP-10 chemoattract CD4+ T lymphocytes. Together these results suggest that recombinant AdIP-10 drives the production of biologically active IP-10.

 

Investigations to Install an Aryl Iodine for Optimization of a Complex Heck Reaction

Lisa Julian

Mentor: Dr. Larry Overman

The intramolecular asymmetric Heck reaction has become a valuable tool in organic synthesis. Through a palladium-mediated catalytic pathway, an aryl or vinyl halide or triflate can cyclize with a teathered alkene. Previous work in the Overman Lab has shown that iodides may perform more efficiently than triflates in some complex Heck reactions. Attempts were made to install the iodide through conversion of an aryl trimethylsilyl group, but failed. In the synthetic route to the model compound, 4-benzyloxy-N-tert-butoxycarbonyl-N-(o-trimethylsilylphenyl) but-2-ynamide, complications arose in the formation of the amide bond. The coupling of 4-benzyloxybut-2-ynoic acid with N-tert-butoxycarbonyl-o-(trimethylsilyl) aniline proceeded in very low yield. A model study was therefore carried out in attempt to improve the yield of the amide bond forming reaction. It was found that utilization of the acid chloride appeared to be a more efficient way of forming the amide bond.

 

Organizational Activities and Boundaries: The Case of "Chino Corporate Challenge"

Regina Jun

Mentor: Ms. Chelsea Starr

Organizational structure and management have become more employee-oriented in the past three decades. Companies widely use programs and activities to improve the work environment, including factors which are hard to measure, like worker satisfaction and morale. The City of Chino Hills has used a popular program called Corporate Challenge for the sole purpose of promoting morale and job satisfaction. T his study explores questions such as: How can such indirect effects be measured? Do these programs really work? Does bringing management and workers together really make organizational boundaries more permeable? Using surveys and in-depth interviews, I am looking for variation in employee characteristics, organizational style, and program structure that might reveal or explain whether such programs are indeed effective at achieving their goals. So far, my research suggests that employees from different organizational hierarchies utilize the program differently, and gender, class and age are correlated to the participation pattern in the Corporate Challenge program. Recent research suggests that opportunities for advancement vary for different employees (Cheng 1996). I will discuss a new hypothesis that the Corporate Challenge program indirectly reinforces differences in career mobility for certain types of people.

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The Psychological Effects of the Elimination of Bilingual Education

Mark Kamimura

Mentor: Dr. Kathleen Harris-Canul

In our society policies are often made without understanding or knowing the possible implications that will follow. The purpose of this research is to study how educational policy has affected bilingual students. More specifically, to investigate how the students learn, how they feel about school, their perceptions towards the United States and the psychological impact of the elimination of bilingual education has had on their academic and social attitudes. The research will also look at the school system and examine how they are dealing with recent policy changes in the classroom. The study will address whether or not the recent changes in policy has improved academic achievement; impacted attitudes towards school, teachers, government and the United States. The initial interest or idea for this study came from the interaction I had with bilingual elementary school students in Boston, MA and saw a correlation with the attention they received in Spanish and academic achievement to their perceived attitudes towards school. Looking at the California Schools and the elimination of bilingual education, I saw that there could be a correlation of attitudes towards school and possibly other aspects of community and education. This study will address the correlation between policy and its direct affects on bilingual students in Santa Ana, CA.

 

Ensuring Affordable Drug Access for Eligible Clients with HIV/AIDS in the AIDS Drug Assistance Program

Han Kang

Mentor: Dr. Lois Takahashi

Since 1991, grants from Title II of the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act have funded the AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and Guam. Today, ADAPs serve almost 108,000 clients with HIV/AIDS who have limited or no coverage from private insurance or Medicaid. Two impending problems, however, have severely limited drug access. First, ADAPs in states and US territories have denied drug provision to prospective eligible clients because of growing demand from new standards of clinical HIV/AIDS care released by the National Institutes of Health. Second, finite resources have also forced all ADAPs to decrease coverage for current clients due to higher expenditures for medications. Despite a 916% increase in federal appropriations for FY2000 from FY1996, ADAPs can only cover a maximum of $6000 per client, per year, while an annual supply of HIV/AIDS drugs for a typical regimen costs between $10,000-$15,000 in the US. Denying and decreasing drug access have caused unintended health and economic consequences, such as higher incidence of HIV-associated cancer and infectious diseases and increased rates of more expensive hospitalization and other complex medical interventions. ADAP-type programs in the European Union (EU) and Japan minimize these problems because the same HIV/AIDS drugs are less expensive. One reason for this price differential is that the EU and Japan have enacted pharmaceutical policies that encourage cross-border drug trade. This current study addresses the need for the US federal government to lift its ban on pharmaceutical importation, proposes initiatives to protect scientific innovation, trade relations, and consumer safety, and examines barriers to the implementation of policies that would lead to eventual price reduction for HIV/AIDS medications in the US.

 

The Political Motivations of the European Court of Justice: Expanding Integration Through Selective Application of Article 308

Rebecca Kanter

Mentor: Dr. Wayne Sandholtz

Scholarship on European integration has traditionally been dominated by competing conceptions of Europe that attempt both to explain the integration process and provide a normative vision for policy-makers to pursue. The two dominant theories currently vying for recognition in this process of "Intellectual Darwinism" are intergovernmentalism and institutionalism. Some of this scholarship also attempts to explain the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the integration process; certain individuals argue that the Court merely serves to "codify the interests of the dominant Member States," while others argue that the Court has asserted a more independent role that has allowed it to further the conditions necessary for integration. This study seeks to weigh into that debate by providing support both for institutionalist theory and the notion of a politically-motivated Court attempting to further its agenda of European integration. The evidence is found in the classification and analysis of cases that deal with Article 308 of the EC Treaty. Not only does the analysis of such cases provide support for a particular theory of integration, but it provides a framework that can be used to predict the outcome of future ECJ cases that involve Article 308.

 

A Measure of Cognitive Processing

Dennis Karlin

Mentor: Dr. Joseph Kasof

Researchers, for many years, have extensively studied convergent and divergent thinking. Convergent thinking is when a person is presented with multiple choices and their job is to discriminate amongst them and narrow down until they arrive at the right answer. A near opposite is divergent thinking, which occurs when someone generates original ideas. While studies of convergent and divergent thinking have continued over the years, a new realm of cognitive theory has arisen: need for cognition. Need for cognition in contemporary literature refers to an individual’s tendency to engage in and enjoy effortful cognitive endeavors. In other words, it is the trait motivation to think. Until now, no studies have been conducted combining the two theories of motivation to think and convergent thinking. The current study investigates people’s need for convergent and divergent thinking. A scale of measurement was created and is being administered to about 300 college students. Data analysis will soon be underway. Findings of this study are expected to increase our understanding of men’s and women’s thoughts and their relationship to motivation.

 

Adult Literacy in the Global Community

Bart Kasperowicz

Mentor: Dr. Diane Chang

As the nations of the world begin to grow closer together, some of the most fundamental resources are still out of reach to many. The ability to read is one of these essentials, if not the most significant. The United Nations (UN) has given considerable efforts to guide the future of policy to bring literacy to many developing nations (which are those who need this skill the most). Nations such as Afghanistan, with an illiterate population of 70%, would benefit greatly from only simple measures that would allow the country to prosper in countless domains of society. One of the most effective ways of giving a country a greater likelihood for success is by educating adults through various programs. In the month of February 2000, delegates from the Model United Nations Conference at the University of California Berkeley (UCBMUNC) have given suggestions consistent with the former aim in mind. Within this simulation, various countries recognized by the Commission of Human Rights have presented as much as four separate resolutions. Formal suggestions such as providing necessary learning tools and procedures in hiring educators have been a common factor present in almost all resolutions. In addition to this, unique viewpoints have been added to these resolutions due to the variability in a nation’s policy and available resources towards education. In the aftermath of such complex differences, it is quite reaffirming that the world truly does have the option of turning to the United Nations in the midst of spreading literacy among all adults.

 

College Students' Perceptions of Verbal Sexual Harassment

Dilkash Khan

Mentor: Dr. Valerie Jenness

Past research on sexual harassment has focused on experiences in the workplace. Even when college students are used in studies, relating to sexual harassment, at times they are asked about their perceptions of social sexual behavior in the work environment. However, one insightful study conducted by Amy Gervasio and Katy Ruckdeschel (1992) not only underscores factors involved in verbal sexual harassment, but some sections of the research focus on sexual harassment between peers on a campus setting. While Gervasio and Ruckdeschel use a few vignettes to study this type of behavior, the current research focuses solely on peer interactions involving behavior that could be considered sexual harassment. There are several new variables that have been added to the research. Students will be given survey and asked to respond about various scenarios. The data collected will then be analyzed to determine whether obscene and belittling remarks directed by women towards men would be considered as sexual harassment. Also, data analysis will be conducted so as to check whether students are more likely to consider certain behavior as verbal sexual harassment when there is more than one person making demeaning comments. Also, the data collected will be used to understand how perceptions of individuals are affected by the manner in which the targeted person, who receives the verbal comment, is dressed, skimpily or conservatively. The findings of this study are expected to heighten our awareness in general of college students’ perceptions of verbal sexual harassment in a university environment.

 

She Must Be Mad: Problems of Critical Response to The Book of Margery Kempe

Stacy Korn

Mentor: Dr. Linda Georgianna

Blasphemy reduces the divine to the pedestrian world of humanity in the most profane of terms. Despite a trend in the Latin Christian Church beginning in the twelfth century towards placing emphasis on Christ's humanity instead of the majesty and divinity of God, a distinct line between God's perfection and man's fragility persisted in Western Christian thought. The interactions between God and a female mystic named Margery Kempe in the early 15th century text, The Book of Margery Kempe, represent a crossing of that line between compassionate divinity and mere humanity. God not only permits Kempe to argue with him, but also finds her sexually attractive and desirable. In reaction to such blasphemous situations, critics often search for comfortable explanations for Kempe's behavior. Some suggest that she is not the true author of her text as she claims herself to be illiterate, while others suggest that Kempe never recovered from a bout of madness she experienced early on in life. To assume Kempe's illiteracy hampered her abilities to author the text is to fail to appreciate the cultural context of her life, where the definition of literacy depended upon the ability to read Latin. The assumption of madness is equally dismissive of Kempe's abilities as an author because it fails to recognize many of the rhetorical devices that Kempe employs. In a religious culture where virginity is the greatest spiritual virtue in a woman, a married woman with several children such as Kempe relies upon the expansion of God's interests into the sexual to justify her own spiritual value. Through the process of retelling spiritual stories, Kempe's supposedly blasphemous acts work together in a mosaic to vindicate her own spiritual life.

 

Design and Synthesis of Gene Regulating Polyamides

Peter Krutzik

Mentor: Dr. Richard Chamberlin

As the Human Genome Project nears completion, researchers are constantly unraveling the molecular and genetic cause of debilitating diseases such as cancer. Genes, short sequences of DNA which code for the proteins that comprise the human body, are often found to be in error in cancerous cells. Identifying the erroneous genes is only the first step in combating cancer or other genetic diseases. Indeed, more importantly, one must be able to regain control over the gene. To this end, small molecule DNA-binding molecules have been synthesized which can "read," or bind to, specific sequences of DNA. These "polyamides," as they have been termed, are also cell-permeable and show nanomolar binding affinities to their DNA sites. In this study, several polyamides were synthesized by solid-phase peptide chemistry in order to understand more clearly the ability of the molecules to inhibit the expression of given genes. As a model, the lactose operon of the bacteria E. coli was targeted, due to its well-known structure and control mechanisms. Also, conjugates containing acridine and psoralen moieties were synthesized, and their effects on DNA binding and gene modulation will be examined. The knowledge gained from these studies will be applied to mammalian systems and may provide insight into a new therapy for genetic defects.

 

Prevalence and Diversity of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria in Primary Sewage

Gina Kwong

Mentor: Dr. Sunny Jiang

Antibiotics have been used to combat bacterial infections for decades. However, overuse of antibiotics has increased the presence of bacterial resistance. These resistant bacteria can multiply and spread rapidly as well as transfer resistant genes, causing serious concern for public health. This study examines the prevalence and diversity of bacteria resistant to one of four commonly used antibiotics: ampicillin, kanamycin, streptomycin and vancomycin from primary sewage. The highest percentage of bacteria was found to be resistant to vancomycin followed by ampicillin, streptomycin and kanamycin. Kanamycin resistant isolates revealed a great diversity through total genomic DNA and plasmid DNA analysis. The determination of genetic diversity among ampicillin, streptomycin, and vancomycin resistant bacteria is currently being analyzed. Complete analysis will be conducted to compare and characterize resistance in primary sewage to each of the four antibiotics. These findings can help develop effective methods in reducing antibiotic resistance.

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How Does Water Content of Dessication-Resistant Flies Vary with Developmental Stages?

Irla-Myda Ladia

Mentor: Dr. Timothy Bradley

The purpose of this experiment is to measure the variances of water content in seven developmental stages (larval, wanderer, pupae, and post-eclosion adults at 10 minutes,1hr, 2hr, 4hrs of age) of two populations of Drosophila melanogaster. Female flies of a strain selected for dessication resistance (D) and their controls were used in the experiment. We were testing the hypothesis that the increased water content of the dessication-selected flies is contained in the hemolymph and results from a decreased water loss following adult emergence. The data for wet weight, dry weight, body water and percentage of water in the body were recorded. There were some differences, (in measured water content at post-eclosion intervals) between the D and C populations. The D population measured both a higher total body water and wet weight at the 10 minute, 1hr. and 4 hour interval. At the 10 minute interval, the D population measured a higher percentage of water in their body than the C population. By analysing the data, we found that diuresis did not occur at any of the 4 stages of post-eclosion.

 

Gap Length Variability in Protein Threading

Tien Lai

Mentor: Dr. Richard Lathrop

Protein threading, also known as sequence-structure alignment, is the most recent and successful approach to protein structure prediction, one of the most intellectual challenges in molecular biology. When variable-length gaps are permitted in the alignments, it gives rise to an exponentially large search space of possible alignments between sequence and structure. If the gap length variability is determined, the search space is greatly reduced. This, in turn, eliminates a number of incorrect alignments and, thus, improves the search speed and accuracy of the threading algorithm. In this study, gap length information is extracted from existing databases of Families of Structurally Similar Proteins (FSSP), in which sequences are aligned based on their secondary structures. Cross validation is used to test the validity of our prediction. Scale factors are introduced to all gaps to enhance the accuracy. Scaling is also applied to small and big gaps separately to test the effect of scaling on small and big gaps. The accuracy is 98.9% without scaling (scale factor = 1) and 99.7% with scale factor 2.0. The scaling effect on small gaps is very similar to that of big gaps; therefore, small and big gaps are not considered separately.

 

Parzifallen: The Search for Something Holy

Chris Lancaster

Mentor: Dr. Keith Fowler

Parzifallen is an experiment in theater, music, and dance. The author Chris Lancaster has had a unique experience in Orange County over the last decade training as a classical cellist, a rock/punk cellist, a modern dance accompanist, and a stage theater director. This production is a senior music recital and drama workshop, a combination not found very frequently (if ever) on the U.C.I. campus. In a nutshell, Parzifallen is a surreal biography of the personal and artistic development of the author over the last ten years told through the metaphor of the 11th century German Romance Parzifal by Wolfram von Eschenbach and Richard Wagner’s 19th century Opera of the same title. The story of Parzifal has been told and adapted many times by many cultures over the last 10 centuries and this time Lancaster is bringing it to Orange County. It is laden with music from classical composers, O.C. punk bands, and new experimental music composed by the author intermixed with monologues and visual projections. He has brought together students from all disciplines of the U.C. Irvine School of the Arts as well as some special friends from the community. Parizifallen is Chris Lancaster’s vision of a new genre of theater.

 

The Cradle Method: A Holistic Approach to Dance

Lara Lanphier

Mentor: Dr. Deidre Sklar

Dancers strive to attain technical ability, strength, and body awareness. However, it is also important for dancers to understand how to maximize their potential without the stress and strain of forced technique. Ten years ago, John Welch developed the "Cradle Method," a holistic approach in which dancers learn how to cultivate their kinesthetic sense, allowing them to work efficiently and effectively within their individual body structures. I have assessed the effects of the Cradle Method in an eight week study with UCI dancers whose technical levels ranged from beginner to advanced, but who shared a common aspiration of pursuing professional dancing careers and learning new techniques to help them improve. During the first three weeks of the study, exercises allowed the dancers to develop an inner vocabulary of sensations and images that served as physical references for the ballet classes that followed. Dancers learned how to enhance muscular integration and correct body alignment so they could move freely and naturally within the classical form. The degree of application and understanding of the method was dependent upon several factors including current satisfaction with technical level, time spent practicing, level of energy, and teacher’s clarity of communication. Although three dancers dropped out before the end of the study, everyone experienced positive change such as increased confidence, less physical tension, better movement articulation and greater spatial freedom. Using video documentation, I will demonstrate how Mr. Welch transmitted the Cradle Method to the dancers, and I will evaluate the results of his work.

 

Origins of Diastereoselectivity of Nucleophilic Substitution on Tetrahydrofuran Acetals

Catharine Larsen

Mentor: Dr. Keith Woerpel

Synthetic chemistry is the lifeblood of the medical industry. Approximately ninety percent of the therapeutic drugs in use today are either synthesized de novo or by chemically enhancing the medicinal properties of a pre-existing natural product. For example, compounds derived from the sugar ribose have shown significant potential as cancer and AIDS therapies; AZT for the treatment of AIDS is the best-known example. The stereochemistry, the positioning of the substituents above or below the ring, at carbon-1 often determines the biological activity of these compounds. Nucleophilic addition to the five-membered ring oxonium ions of sugar derivatives provides access to this position. Five-membered ring oxonium ions previously lacked a predictive model for the effects of structure and conformation on the stereoselectivity of nucleophilic addition. Analysis of the carbon-1 stereochemistry of the products of nucleophilic addition to substrates with varying substituents led to the development of a model for the stereoselectivity of nucleophilic addition to five-membered ring oxonium ions. This "Inside Attack" model will save time and money that would otherwise be lost pursuing less selective synthetic pathways because chemists can then plan syntheses with the knowledge that certain substituents at specified positions on the ring will give the desired stereochemistry.

 

Growth of Syntrophobotulus glycolicus in a Controlled H2 Apparatus

Yujin Lee

Mentor: Dr. William Reeburgh

Syntrophic degradation involves the cooperation of two or more organisms to consume a single substrate. Hydrogen (H2) is the key intermediate in this process. Organisms that degrade organic substrates transfer H2 to respiring organisms to complete the oxidation. Many organisms in pure culture are capable of growing on substrates with syntrophic partners (co- cultures). However, previous attempts to grow these organisms solely on ‘syntrophic’ substrates in the absence of partner organisms has had limited success. We have successfully grown a culture of Syntrophobotulus glycolicus without a syntrophic partner using a microbial culture apparatus capable of controlling H2 concentration. Our results show that temperature and pH influence the thermodynamics of H2 production. We present relationships between temperature, free energy yield, and H2 production. This apparatus offers a wide range of possibilities for study of the thermodynamics of other forms of metabolism.

 

Questing for the Voice of this Land

Meadow Leys

Mentor: Dr. Donald McKayle

"Questing for the Voice of this Land" is a project that combines research and the creative process to explore the voice or identity of southern California. It seeks to delve beneath the surface realities of chain restaurants, strip malls, and freeways to discover a more fundamental essence of the place. I have centered the project on three different strands of research and, with the information gained, I am producing an evening of choreography, set on ten dancers. The first strand is based on research on the Chumash people of the Channel Islands. I have combined my knowledge of their ways of life and several of their myths to create the first work of the concert. The second strand centers on the ocean and its inhabitants. This choreographic work consists of translating the movement of animals with widely different forms that live in the medium of water onto human bodies performing the movement in the medium of air. The final section takes the voices of people from various communities in southern California today and collages these voices to provide a cross-section of people’s views on the area. I am also responsible for creating music and sound scores for the first and third sections and costuming the entire show. The concert will be produced June 10th and 11th at the University High School Theater at 8 p.m.

 

Role of IAPs in Conferring Drug Resistance to MDR Tumor Cells

Hsu Li

Mentors: Dr. Sastry Gollapudi & Dr. Choong Kim

The development of multidrug resistance (MDR) in malignant tumor cells is a major obstacle to the chemotherapeutic cure of cancer. Previous studies in our laboratory have shown that when treated with vincristine or anti-Fas antibodies, MDR cells exhibit decreased activation of caspase 8 (FLICE) and caspase 3, the executioners of apoptosis, as compared to drug sensitive parental cell lines. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that increased expression of inhibitors of caspase activity contributes to decreased caspase activity and to MDR. Chemotherapeutic agents were used to induce apoptosis and expression of FLICE-inhibitory protein (FLIP) and human inhibitor of apoptosis protein 2 (HIAP-2) were analyzed in human promyeologenous leukemia Adriamycin-sensitive parental cell line (HL60) and Adriamycin-resistant subline (HL60/AR). Apoptosis was analyzed by flow cytometry using propidium iodide techniques and expression of FLIP and HIAP-2 genes at the mRNA level was analyzed by RT-PCR. Our results revealed that [1] FLIP was expressed only in HL60/AR cells but not in drug sensitive HL60 cells; [2] the level of HIAP-2 expression was increased in HL60/AR as compared to HL60; and [3] HL60/AR cells were resistant to apoptosis induced by vincristine. This data suggest that increased resistance of MDR cells to apoptosis is associated with up-regulation of FLIP and HIAP-2.

 

Drama in Combination with Pediatrics at the UCI Medical Center

Shahrdad Lotfipour

Mentor: Dr. Keith Fowler

A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Vol. 282, No. 4, stated that within Reynolds and Kaplan’s paper called, "Social Connection and Risk for Cancer," 6,928 adults were researched. It was found that women who were socially isolated had a "substantially increased risk of dying from cancer." With this in mind, the research of the amalgamation of drama and pediatrics was undertaken with two main goals. First, to facilitate with the reduction of children's fear, intimidation, and anxiety that is often associated with hospital treatment by providing a social environment. Second, utilize drama in order to psychologically empower children to combat their disease through physiological movement as well as dramatic expression of inner thoughts and feelings that might otherwise remain repressed and/or confused to possibly providing a form of pain relief. The implementations of various exercises were employed in order to make observations on the children’s psychologically and physical changes. It was observed that a number of children who could physically participate in drama exercises had some form of therapeutic pain relief. Examples of this form of pain relief included a child with a severe rash having stopped itching, a child who constantly cried of pain having stopped crying, and a child with a broken leg participate in an improvisational exercise that allowed him to step outside of his hospital bed. Having observed a number of children through this research, it is critical to point out that psychosocial intervention of drama has a valuable impact on children’s lives and should be studied as well as researched further. Questions for future research as discussed in JAMA, Vol. 282, are "do different coping styles affect the progression of chronic and terminal diseases?" "What other non-pharmacological treatment modes exist?" "And, how does this non-pharmacological treatment affect the quality of life of the patient and perhaps even its length?"

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Identification of the Drosophila Homologue of the Mammalian Receptor for Soluble Defense Collagens

Andres Madrigal

Mentor: Dr. Andrea Tenner

The complement protein C1q, mannose binding lectin (MBL), pulmonary surfactant protein A (SPA), and ficolin belong to a growing family of proteins that have been shown to enhance phagocytosis by interacting with a common cell surface receptor, designated C1qRp. Additionally, most of these host defense collagens are activators of the complement system, which protects the host from bacterial infection and may facilitate ingestion of cellular debris. We hypothesize that a similar host defense mechanism against bacterial microbes is present in Drosophila melanogaster. The focus of this project is to identify a Drosophila homologue of the mammalian receptor for the soluble defense collagens C1q, SPA, and MBL, i.e. a Drosophila C1qRp. A Drosophila library was screened for a homologue of the mammalian receptor via hybridization of human C1qRp probes. Candidate clones were identified, isolated and sequenced. Restriction digestion and Southern Blot analysis identified one clone as containing the putative Drosophila C1qRp. Results of further computational analysis including domain analysis is presented. A Drosophila model of C1qRp of would allow for further genetic studies in the signaling and cellular responses of C1qRp.

 

Activation of Ischemically Sensitive Cardiac Afferents During Myocardial Ischemia: Role of Serotonin

Karen Magsipoc

Mentor: Dr. John Longhurst

An insufficient supply of oxygen and nutrients to the heart causes myocardial ischemia in which an accumulation of certain ischemic metabolites is documented. One of these metabolites, 5-Hydroxytryptamine (serotonin) is to increase in coronary sinus blood during myocardial ischemia and the formation of a coronary thrombus, eliciting excitatory cardiovascular reflexes. Through its release from enterochromaffin cells and platelets, we hypothesized in our study that endogenous 5-HT stimulate ischemically sensitive sympathetic cardiac afferents during ischemia. Cardiac afferents located in the left sympathetic chain by a stimulating electrode increased their activity after the induction of brief myocardial ischemia in anesthetized cats. Injection of 5-HT into the left atrium also caused sympathetic nerve activity in ischemically sensitive afferents to increase. The receptor suggested to be involved with this reflex is 5-HT3, and when Tropisetron, a 5HT3 antagonist was injected during ischemia, the attenuation of nerve activity in 9 afferents resulted. Furthermore, phenylbiguanide, a 5HT3 agonist, achieved to stimulate 8 of 9 cardiac afferents. Hence, our data indicate that serotonin plays a role in the activation of ischemically sensitive cardiac afferents during myocardial ischemia through the activation of 5-HT3 receptors.

 

The Skatepark Phenomenon: A Descriptive Community Impact Study

Danny Mai

Mentor: Dr. Federico Vaca

In 1998, there were over 54,000 skateboarding (SB) related injury visits to EDs nationwide. The objective of our study was to assess the degree of healthcare utilization and indirect financial cost to a community that has developed a formal skatepark. We performed a prospective, consecutive sample survey. Subjects age 7 and older who sustained injuries at a local skatepark were enrolled from 7/99 - 12/99. The survey recorded subject demographics, injuries, final diagnosis and the need for follow-up care. Telephone survey occurred at 1 week, 1 month and 3 month intervals to assess the functional status of the individual, the level of disability, the financial burden, the time loss from school/work and the parental time loss from school/work. To date, we have studied 45 subjects. Subject age ranged from 10 to 38 years. Of the 45 encounters, injuries included 28 fractures, 4 dislocations, 5 strains/sprains, 5 skin lacerations, 2 head injuries and 1 intra-abdominal injury. Five of the initial ED encounters terminated in. For the respective telephone follow up time periods, the sum of days lost from school, work, parental days lost from work, and the need for specialist follow-up revealed the following: (1 week) 17, 82, 13, 25 visits; (1 month) 8, 88, 5, 38 visits; (3 months) 3, 70, 4, 28 visits. At respective follow up time periods, subject disability was categorized 9% serious, 61% moderate, 19% minor, 12% none; 3% serious, 47% moderate, 28% minor, 22% none; 0% serious, 11% moderate, 25% minor, 64% none. Additional patients and further analysis will allow us to draw a sound conclusion.

 

Determining the Role of Presynaptic Nicotinic Cholinergic and Adenosine A1 Receptors in Silence-Induced Potentiation

Lou Rose Malamug

Mentor: Dr. Ronald Meyer

It has been recently discovered that the efficiency of synapses of optic fibers in the visual system becomes rapidly enhanced after blocking spontaneous retinal activity with substances such as tetrodotoxin (TTX), an alkaloid neurotoxin that selectively blocks voltage-gated Na+ channels. The long term goal of this project is to identify the mechanism of this "silence-induced potentiation" that is responsible for causing goldfish (Carassius auratus) retinotectal synapses to become more responsive to an applied stimulus after optic input has been blocked with TTX. These experiments were performed to determine whether presynaptic nicotinic cholinergic receptors and presynaptic adenosine A1 receptors play major roles in this potentiation. (Nicotinic agonists have been shown to enhance synaptic transmission, and adenosine has been shown to decrease retinotectal field potentials by ~30% in vitro.) The present study shows that blocking the activity of these receptors in vivo does not prevent potentiation. Field potential magnitude, which is an index of synaptic efficiency, increased by 56.5% ± 13.2% following intraocular TTX injection after nicotinic cholinergic receptors were blocked with the antagonist d-tubocurarine chloride (d-TC; 1 m M). Field potential magnitude increased by 70.8% ± 15.8% following intraocular TTX injection after blocking adenosine A1 receptors with the selective A1 antagonist 8- cyclopentyl-1,3-dipropylxanthine (DPCPX; 1 m M). Thus these results suggest that these presynaptic receptors are not the major factors contributing to the development of silence-induced potentiation.

 

The Psychology of Genocide: Analyzing Nazi Behavior

Karen Malbon

Mentor: Dr. Kristen Monroe

What is the psychology of genocide? In this paper, I attempt to answer the following questions: Why would anyone hate another group so much that they justify injuring or killing a member of the other group? Are they simply psychopaths? Is this hate the result of a newly constructed social identity? Is it possible that this is an inflammation of latent attitudes or perceptions? How do Nazis justify their role in the Holocaust? The basis of my research is the narratives of three Nazis. Using Narrative theory and the theories of scholars in this field, I will examine the causes of genocidal activities. Because these subjects had lower levels of involvement than the Nazis that have been studied in the past, this study will reflect the differences in cognitive frameworks along the continuum of genocidal activities. In the end, I propose that Nazi behavior is motivated and justified through the formation of a hyper nationalistic identity. In his work The Nazi Doctors, Robert Jay Lifton defines this German hyper nationalistic identity as the concept of the Volk. This identity permitted Nazis to rationalize their attitudes and actions because of their identification with the Volk. I expect that this study will provide some insight into the motivation behind genocidal acts. Furthermore, in this study I hope to provide useful analysis of the different cognitive frameworks of those involved in genocide.

 

Functional Analysis of PML bodies by Modern Microscopy

Gopi Manthripragada

Mentor: Dr. Vickie LaMorte

The intent of this study is to analyze the function and components of promyelocyte (PML) bodies. Studies have shown that in certain forms of leukemia, PML bodies which are normally present in the nuclei disassemble in leukemic cells. Using confocal microscopy and laser scissors, we have ablated PML bodies and have shown that when all bodies in a cell are destroyed, it undergoes apoptosis, suggesting that these bodies are essential to the survival of the cell. Further, the successful utilization of Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) in PML bodies, using the novel technique of coupling spectral analysis with two-photon excitation of the fluorophores, opens the door to future studies regarding the interaction between PML and other PML body localizing proteins. In particular, the interaction between PML and the cholesterol regulating protein SREBP-2 can be explored, since we have mapped the region of localization of SREBP-2 to the PML containing nuclear body.

 

Vector Stability in Kluyveromyces

Sean McDermott

Mentor: Dr. Nancy DaSilva

Genetic engineering has been employed to create yeast strains which are beneficial to society (e.g., strains which produce pharmaceuticals, eucaryotic proteins, and other compounds for biological studies). The advantages of yeast over other recombinant systems for chemical production include rapid growth rates, ability to be cultivated under various growth conditions, and past success in use on an industrial scale. The maximization of chemical production in these recombinant yeast systems depends on the segregational and structural stability of the vectors inserted by genetic engineering techniques. In these experiments, the stability of vectors designed for the yeast Kluyveromyces lactis were tested over multiple generations in various hosts, and producing different products. In one study, the K.lactis CEN-ARS plasmid’s structural stability was tested in the yeast Kluyveromyces marxianus. These two yeast species contain very similar characteristics, and the ability of this plasmid to be used in K.marxianus, a strain of interest to industry, can lead to many further applications. In another study, the naturally occurring pKD1 plasmid from K.lactis was used to create four vector systems consisting of partial or full pKD1 plasmid vectors inserted into a host with or without the native plasmid. The structural stability of these vector systems that produce b -galactosidase was then tested. The final round of research involves the use of K.lactis CEN-ARS vectors for a metabolic engineering application: the production of 1,2-propanediol from glucose in these yeast strains.

 

Dimerization Studies of Chemical Models of Protein b -Sheets in Aqueous Solution

Hao (Kevin) Mee

Mentor: Dr. James Nowick

b -Sheet dimerization is an important form of protein interaction that is essential in the formation of HIV-1 protease, many lectins, and certain defensins. An attractive approach for drug development involves synthesizing compounds that mimic or block b -sheet dimer formation. For this purpose, our research group has developed and studied chemical models of protein b -sheets (artificial b -sheets) that form dimers with well-defined structures in chloroform. However, these artificial b -sheets did not dimerize significantly in dilute aqueous solution. Because proteins dimerize in water, it is important to develop b -sheets that dimerize in aqueous solution. The current study aims to synthesize four artificial b -sheets that incorporate polar amino acids that can provide hydrophilic functionality as well as electrostatic interactions to achieve dimerization in aqueous solution. b -Sheet dimerization studies will be performed upon completion of synthesis. The findings of these studies are expected to increase our understanding of protein b -sheet dimerization and may teach us how to inhibit b -sheet dimer formation among proteins.

 

The Effects of Federal Blood Quantum Law on American Indians

Kirsten Meyer

Mentor: Dr. Richard Perry

American Indians are the only group of people in the United States who are regulated, certified, papered, and registered according to their percentage or "degree" of "Indian blood". Degree of blood, or blood quantum, determines eligibility for tribal membership, health care, social services, educational benefits, financial assistance, land, participation in community events, and the right to make and/or sell traditional crafts. Many academics, including Ward Churchill and M. Annette Jaimes, have argued that the federal use of blood quantum law violates tribal rights and that these policies represent a new form of genocide- death by outside definition. This research explores the blood quantum issue, its affects on the community, self-identification, and tribal sovereignty. Through analysis of relevant academic literature, the scientific and legal basis for the use of blood quantum is explored. The intentions and results of both externally-imposed (federal) and internally-imposed (tribal) blood quantum criteria are explored within a historical context. Through interviews, this study examines community members’ personal opinions of the effects of blood quantum policy. This study is expected to further substantiate the findings of Churchill, Jaimes, and others; that blood quantum policy generally has had and will continue to have a devastating affect on Indian people.

 

Effects of Prolonged Febrile Seizures on Cell Proliferation in the Immature Rat Hippocampus

Erene Mina

Mentor: Dr. Tallie Z. Baram

Febrile seizures affect 2-5% of all children between the ages of 6 months and 6 years, and are thus the most common type of seizures in young children. However, it is controversial whether febrile seizures can promote epilepsy during adulthood. To better understand the consequences of febrile seizures during childhood, we have developed an animal model for prolonged febrile seizures (Baram et. al. 1997). In this model, immature rats during the second postnatal week, an age comparable to infancy and early childhood in humans, are subjected to hyperthermia. This results in seizures lasting about 20 minutes. In the present study, we have analyzed the effects of the prolonged seizures on cell proliferation in the dentate gyrus (DG), a sub-region of the hippocampus, which is known to be pathologically altered in epilepsy. Rats subjected to hyperthermia were injected with BrdU and the number of proliferating cells was determined in the DG at different time points after hyperthermic-induced seizures. The results from this study will give us insight as to whether or not febrile seizures early in life have the capacity to permanently alter the proliferation rate of neural stem cells in the DG. This may provide a mechanism for some of the pathological changes of adult epilepsy.

 

Genetic Diversity of the ars operon Among Arsenic Resistant E. coli

Juan Montelongo

Mentor: Dr. Betty Olson

The ars operon is a genetic system that confers a high level of resistance to arsenate and arsenite. In E. coli, the plasmid R773 contains the ars operon with five genes: two regulatory genes, arsR and arsD, and a membrane bound efflux pump encoded by arsA, arsB, and arsC. The function of the ars operon is to lower the intracellular arsenic concentration by an efflux mechanism. The purpose of this study was to use ars operon found on R773 as a model to describe the genotype of arsenic resistance in E. coli. In addition we investigated the diversity of ars genes in selected isolates. E. coli were isolated from domestic raw sewage by plating on to mTEC media supplemented with sodium arsenite (500 mg/L). Genomic DNA from 15 isolates were examined by PCR for the presence of arsA, arsB, and arsC. The percent positive for arsA, arsB, and arsC was 0%, 93%, or 40%, respectively. The diversity of the ars genes among five isolates positive for arsB and arsC, is currently being investigated by RFLP analysis of PCR amplified arsBC fragments. Amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis using universal primers for the 16S rDNA showed that all 15 isolates were highly related, as expected. Overall, these results suggest the R773 model is useful for describing the arsB genotype. However, more diversity was observed in arsC which indicates that divergence has occurred. The absence of a chromosomal arsA homolog suggests that the gene is plasmid-bound and should be addressed in future research.

 

Isolation and Characterization of Genes Induced in Rat Brain by Beta-Amyloid

Priya Mukhopadhyay

Mentor: Dr. Katumi Sumikawa

Neurodegeneration is a characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease that results from the deposition of cytotoxic beta-amyloid. The intent of this study was to use a rat Alzheimer’s diseased model to study beta-amyloid induced genes, which may be involved in beta-amyloid-mediated oxidative stress and apoptosis. Potential gene candidates were obtained from a subtracted cDNA library, which was previously prepared using mRNA from a rat brain infected by recombinant adeno-virus, containing a gene encoding mutated human APP fragment. Differential screening and in situ hybridization isolated one of the candidates, which was induced by the recombinant adeno-virus. This candidate gene was identified as a novel gene, and was expressed at a very low level in the brain of young and aged rats. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis of tissue distribution of this gene suggests that this gene is not brain specific. This gene was induced by beta-amyloid in hippocampi of both young and aged rats. Further characterization of this gene may prove useful in revealing the molecular pathways involved with neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease.

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Inline Fiber Polarization Modulation in a PS-OCT System

Nader Nassif

Mentor: Dr. Johannes de Boer

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) is a non-invasive imaging technique which uses the principles of interferometry to produce high resolution reflectivity images. Polarization Sensitive-OCT (PS-OCT) uses polarized light in order to enhance the specificity of the acquired images. PS-OCT detects birefringence in materials. This data is used to create images with structural specificity, not possible with a normal OCT system. In order to improve the existing system and decrease power loss, we are attempting to use a fiber based polarization modulator instead of the current open-air component. The modulator needs to be driven with a progressively increasing 4-step function so that the modulator can modulate the incident light between 4 different polarization states (2 linear and 2 circular). However, this mechanical oscillator exhibits high frequency ringing. The modulator’s behavior was characterized and an attempt was made to derive a variation on the 4-step waveform that will reduce the ringing. After much testing, the original function was smoothed using a gaussian filter and small kink was inserted into the rising portion in order to interfere with the ringing due to the resonance frequency. This waveform offers the most damping in an acceptable time span. The polarization modulator will be integrated into the setup in order to image the retina using an 830 nm broadband source. Preliminary images of the cornea will be shown to demonstrate the use of the modulator.

 

Religion in Society: Sacred Institution or Social Creation

Thomas Ngo

Mentor: Dr. Feng Wang

Studying religion from a sociological perspective is an attempt to understand the nature and function of it in the context of how it relates to society. This research project is designed to answer the question, "Is religion an institution that supersedes the political-economic system or is religion an institution that is upheld by the political-economic system." The research for this study encompassed two different political-economic systems, Viet Nam (Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi) and the United States (Southern California and Northern California). Roman Catholicism was the religion observed for the purpose of objectivity since the Catholic Church throughout the world are under the guidance and jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome. Leaders of respective Catholic Churches, known as Priests, were interviewed. Based upon the findings from the interviews, there were evident similarities in responses amongst Priests. However, there was also glaring disparities between Priests of the two different political-economic systems. The findings from this study prove that religion is clearly influenced by society, however, it is far from being a creation or a puppet of society.

 

Catalytic Dehalogenation

Dung Nguyen

Mentor: Dr. Patrick Farmer

The use of biological systems to decompose harmful substances before their release into the environment has become a useful tactic in the treatment of industrial waste products. Some molecules, such as organohalides, are resistant to biological degradation and are subject to accumulation in the environment. We are investigating the use of electrochemistry as a possible method of initiating and studying the degradation of industrial pollutants by metalloenzyme model systems. We are doing research on peroxidase and oxygenase activities of hemeproteins, since these activities are largely responsible for the degradation. Hydrogen peroxide has been known to initiate different oxidative reactions. We set up kinetic runs of peroxide-initiated oxidation of 2,4,6-trichlorophenol (TCP) catalyzed by myoglobin (Mb) and cytochrome c peroxidase (CcP) using different amount of H2O2 to observe the dependence of reaction rate on H2O2 concentration. We also tried kinetic runs on different proteins with all the concentrations of reactants involved held constant to observe the catalytic power of different proteins in the same kinetic setup. The proteins were Mb, CcP, W191F CcP and hemoglobin (Hb). We also used cyclic voltammetry to elucidate the incorporation of TCP into Mb trapped in surfactant film. By doing this, we had some insight in the effect of TCP on the oxidative capability of Mb electrochemically. We did bulk electrolysis with TCP and Mb trying to give an answer to a hypothesis that Mb creates H2O2 electrochemically. If this is true, then electrochemical oxidation of TCP is actually hydroxide-initiated oxidation hidden under a different form.

 

The Effects of Estrogen on Nitric Oxide Responses in Rat Thoracic Aorta

Kathryn Nguyen

Mentor: Dr. Diana Krause

Estrogen is known to have cardiovascular protective effects, but the mechanisms whereby this protection is mediated are not clear. This present study investigates several hypotheses regarding the mechanisms by which estrogen affects the vascular nitric oxide (NO) pathway. NO is released by the endothelial lining of blood vessels to cause vasodilation and to inhibit blood clot formation. Contractile responses to NOS inhibition on rat thoracic aorta were measured in ovariectomized female rats, either with or without estrogen treatment. Functional in vitro experiments found that estrogen increases NO-mediated dilation function; however, there is no increase in levels of nitric oxide synthase (NOS). We found that estrogen does not increase NOS activity through heat shock proetin-90 pathway nor does it increase in NO bioavailability. Further experiments are necessary to determine the mechanism by which estrogen increases NO function in the aorta.

 

Mechanisms of ALA-Fluorescence in Malignant Tissue

Uzma Noamani

Mentor: Dr. Petra Wilder-Smith

Each year about 10,000 Americans die from oral cancer, partially because current detection techniques for oral malignancies, comprising of visual inspection and surgical biopsy detect malignant change too late for a good treatment outcome. An alternative to current techniques is topical application of the photosensitizer ALA, which can distinguish premalignancy and carcinoma from healthy tissue by the amount of Protoporphyrin IX (PpIX) fluorescence it induces in the oral mucosa. This study investigated the precise localization within the oral mucosa of preferential accumulation of PpIX fluorescence occurring in the oral glandular structures (as described in some studies performed in other body parts), and, if so, how the fluorescence differs in premalignant and malignant tissue. This study also investigated the exact localization of the PpIX fluorescence at the cellular and subcellular level. In 20 Golden Syrian Hamsters standard DMBA carcinogenesis was performed in the cheek pouch, followed by ALA application. Standard 6m m cryosections were prepared, and specimens were evaluated using fluorescence microscopy and routine histological staining and analysis. Using pairwise comparison in an ANOVA model, a significant difference (p<0.05) in PpIX fluorescence was determined between healthy, premalignant and malignant tissue. No significant fluorescence was observed in glandular structures; fluorescence was concentrated in altered epithelial cells in premalignant and malignant tissues. Therefore use of ALA-induced fluorescence is suitable for detection and diagnosis of oral premalignancy. Use of this direct and noninvasive modality will permit direct, non-invasive detection; diagnosis and monitoring of suspect lesions leading to earlier and more successful treatment of oral cancer.

 

 

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