2018 National McNair Scholars Conference at UCLA

Wednesday, July 25 – Friday, July 27, 2018



Thank you for joining us at UCLA for the 2018 National McNair Scholars Conference. The conference will begin with campus visits on July 25th and conclude with an Optional Evening Activity on the evening of July 27th.


Registration Fees
McNair Scholars (Students) – $375
Staff – $415

Campus Visits
Cal Tech campus tour – $50 per person
USC campus tour – $50 per person
UCLA campus tour – No charge

Optional Cultural Activity
On Your Feet! The Emilio and Gloria Estefan Broadway Musical at Hollywood Pantages
$60 per person

Dorm Room – Double Occupancy (Students only) – $132/room per night
UCLA Meyer & Renee Luskin Conference Center – $249/room per night for either a King or Two Queen beds


Registration for the 2018 National McNair Conference at UCLA is now closed.


Abstract Submission Instructions | Oral Presentation GuidelinesPoster Presentation GuidelinesAd Submissions 


All applicants must follow these guidelines to be considered for a research presentation at the California McNair Scholars Conference at UCLA 2018.


In order to submit an abstract, students must have received an email invitation to submit an abstract. This email will be sent after their McNair Director has registered them for the conference. Directors will determine if the student is presenting an oral or poster presentations.

Abstract Submission Deadline

The deadline for abstract submission is July 13, 2018 at 8:00am

  • No email or late submissions will be accepted (It is recommended you submit your abstract with ample time prior to the deadline to avoid any technical issues)
  • Applicants have until the submission deadline to make any edits on their abstract (double check for grammatical errors before officially submitting)
  • Only one abstract submission per student is acceptable

Abstracts should be submitted via the link provided on the email they receive.

Criteria for Abstract

All abstracts must include the following and must adhere to the order below upon submission:

  • Title
  • Author
  • Faculty Mentor
  • Author’s University or College
  • Body of Abstract
  1. Up to 250 words
  2. The abstract body should include a hypothesis or statement about the problem, why the research is important, research methods, results, conclusions, and future directions.
  • Key references
  • One visual graphic or picture (optional); images should be embedded in the final PDF and should be in the highest resolution possible
  • Acknowledgement of funder(s) if applicable
  • Approval must be obtained from all co-authors listed on the abstract
Formatting Guidelines


  • Entire abstract should fit onto a one-page PDF file including images
  • Title in bold
  • Verdana font if available; if not, Times New Roman
  • Size 10 font
  • 1” margins, left justified



You will be assigned a presentation room which will have a laptop computer and projector to display your presentation. All presenters must bring their presentation on a USB drive and you must use the computer located inside the room. Personal computers may not be used. Slide advancers will be provided in each room, but you are welcome to bring your own if preferred.

PowerPoint presentations are recommended and computers in the room will be Mac so please make sure your presentation is compatible.

The oral presentations will be organized into 1-hour panels. This means that you will give your presentation during an assigned 1-hour time spot along with a group of other students.


Each presenter will have 20 minutes total with 15 for the presentation and 5 minutes for Q&A from the audience. To fit this 20-minute time frame, you should prepare a 15-minute presentation and allow 5 minutes for questions from the audience. There will be a staff member in each room running the session who will introduce presenters, assist with computers/USB drives, and monitor presenter time. When presenting you will receive a 5-minute warning and 1-minute warning to wrap up the presentation.

Tips for Oral Presentations 





  • All posters at the Conference will be on display in an assigned area of the conference venue (TBA)
  • Poster presenters must be present with their poster during this assigned session.
  • Boards and pins will be provided at the venue to mount your poster. Each poster station will have a board to hang your poster and you will be assigned a poster station
  • Posters should be printed in advance of the Conference and presenters should arrange for poster transportation individually
Poster Size

The poster boards provided will be 48″ x 60″ (4 x 6 ft). These dimensions are in horizontal format. Your poster should fit within this board limit.

General Tips for Creating & Presenting Posters

Adapted from Whitman College (https://www.whitman.edu/academics/signature-programs/whitman-undergraduate-conference/guidelines-for-presenters/guidelines-for-poster-presenters#size


There are many options for software. The most common choice is Microsoft PowerPoint.


Start from scratch or begin with one of the templates available here. Templates provide a structure with which to begin; all can be customized. They are already sized correctly. If you are new to posters, templates are highly recommended. The most important element is size. The maximum size when designing from scratch in PowerPoint is 42″ x 56”.

Poster Design Tutorials 


To use a template, click on the image to download it to your computer. It will be a PowerPoint file.  Name and save it on your computer.

The file will be a single PowerPoint slide with boxes of text and image placeholders. Simply replace the text and placeholders with your own text and images. Click on the background to change its color.

Poster Message

A poster is a graphic display of your work. It is a signature of your research. The best posters make one and only one point. What do you want viewers to learn? They should be able to identify immediately your Big Question.

Design and Layout 

There are no set rules for the sections in a poster. Here is a suggested list of sections:

  • Title (with names of authors and affiliations)
  • Introduction/Objectives/Aims/Problem/Hypothesis/Goal
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Acknowledgements
  • Contact information

Put your research objective in a prominent place.

Use graphics to convey information. A typical poster contains about 1,000 words, or 250 per section. Keep all elements of a section close to one another, and place captions close to their graphics.


Use the same sans-serif font for titles and headings, and use the same serif font for text and captions.  Text should be justified (aligned) left. Use italics or bold for emphasis.

An example of effective font choice and size:

Title = 100 pt bold sans serif font (Arial)
Section Headings = 48 pt bold sans serif font (Arial)
Body Text = 28 pt serif font (Times New Roman)
Captions = 24pt serif font (Times New Roman)


Most images will be about 8″ x 10” when your poster is printed full-size. No image should be smaller than 5″ x 7.” Most printing glitches are the result of incorrect image files.


Ad Submissions 



Session I: Thursday, July 26th, 9:40am – 10:40am

Session IA: Psychology, Sociology, Ethnic Studies
Thursday 9:40am – 10:40am

Ñuu Savi, “People of the Rain”: Empowering the Indigenous Immigrant Community in Ventura County
Pancho Antonio, Ethnic Studies
University of California, Berkeley

According to the Department of Education of California, in the 2016- 2017 school year, there were roughly 1.3 million English learners (EL’s) in California public schools. Even though the numbers of EL’s are going down these statistics largely speak to the experience of native Spanish speakers learning English. These statistics invisibilize the experiences of indigenous Mixteco children who are marginalized even within the already marginalized EL community. Mixteco children are not getting the same access to opportunity and education as the native Spanish speaking EL communities throughout California. Ventura County has an indigenous population of roughly 20,000 people in need of educational support. My research investigates Mixteco Parents’ agency in navigating the relationship between their children’s Indigenous culture, educational aspirations, and language socialization in the community of Ventura County, California. Ventura County has a growing indigenous Mexican population who largely work in the agricultural sector, yet there is a lack of educational support services that focus on children’s comprehension and learning of Spanish, English, and Mixteco. Both parents and their children need to maintain their language in order to keep their culture with them and at the same time, they need support in learning other languages to survive in this county where they have been discriminated if they don’t have those knowledge. Although these children learn to speak Mixteco at home, there is very little language immersion in their schools. My research aims to excavate the practices of schools that support indigenous students and the communication strategies adopted by these schools with Mixteco parents. This research will explore the relationship between the retention of Indigenous languages to the experience of Mixteco students learn English & Spanish. My research aims to uncover the ways in which Mixteco communities are actively engaged with creative strategies and resilient practices to support the academic and linguistic needs of their children while also exploring the current effectiveness of schools approaches to the needs of Mixteco children.

Closing the Gap: Norteños & Sureños in Solidarity for Higher Education
Juan Flores, Sociology
University of California, Berkeley

This study aims to explore the relationship between two “rival” groups known as Sureños and Norteños, and their involvement at the University of California, Berkeley. This study seeks to challenge the narrative of Sureños and Norteños as inherently enemies and simultaneously demystify the stigma that is associated with being a Homie. The Underground Scholars Initiative (USI) is a student led organization that provides support, advocates recruitment and retention, as well as initiates policy change for formerly incarcerated students and students impacted by the prison industrial complex. Research on gangs has mostly come from the discipline of sociology and a perspective of pathology that contextualizes Homies as simply violent, criminally oriented, or rivalistic in nature. We know very little about the ways in which Homies from both of these groups challenge the “divide and conquer” strategies that are deeply rooted in Communities of Color in order to foster a sense of “solidarity” among themselves for the purposes of supporting their academic success. Based on interviews with both Sureños and Norteños at USI, this study will document and assess the attitudes and behaviors that have allowed them to foster solidarity and partnerships to promote change and encourage other formerly incarcerated folks and known affiliates of the Sureños and Norteños groups to pursue their education instead of the enmity. Findings from this research aim to further our understandings of how to reach other subgroup and/or change the narrative that continues to demonize, affect and stigmatize this population, especially those pursuing a higher education.

Infant-Directed Speech in Bilingual Parents
Andrea Ramírez, Psychology and Spanish
University of California, Davis

Infants are exposed to rich language when parents talk to them. Infant-directed speech (IDS) or “baby talk” is characterized by simplified utterances, higher pitch, slower rate of speech, and longer pauses. However, most of what is known about IDS comes from studies of monolinguals; this leaves the question of whether the same holds true for those infants acquiring more than one language. The purpose of this study is to explore both infant-directed speech and adult-directed speech (ADS) in bilingual parents. Infants from 8-20 months and their parents will participate in several interactive tasks. These tasks will allow us to compare how parents talk to their own child using IDS compared to talk to another adult. We predict that there may be variations in pitch with IDS and ADS that will serve as cues for the infants to become aware of the switch between languages. It is important to better understand the role IDS plays in bilingual language acquisition and the ways that it might differ from monolingual acquisition.

Session IB: Psychology, Sociology, Ethnic Studies
Thursday 9:40am – 10:40am

Megan Xotchilt Espinoza Hernandez, Ethnic Studies and Social Welfare
University of California, Berkeley

The “Chicana/o” identity blossom from the complex relationships between their Mexican, Indian, and Spanish heritage, according to Anzaldúa. As a result, “Chicana/o” mujeres carry with them the histories that inform each one of her cultures and its traditions. Identity is quite complex in its cultivation, yet many have looked to their Indigenous roots to making sense of their lived experiences as mujeres who tend to exist in nepantla, the in-between of everything. Anzaldúa’s interpretation and inheritance of Coyolxauhqui has largely been taken on by Xicanas, yet authors such as Jennie Luna and Martha Galeana counter Anzaldúa’s interpretation of Coyolxauhqui as a broken force of nature. This project aligns with Luna’s and Galeana’s view of Coyolxauhqui as a natural force representative of rebirth and revitalization. This project aims to study how a Xicana Indígena works to heal herself and give birth to a serene sense of self through and with pain through Danza Mexica.

Coping Methods of African American Women Affected by the Mass Incarceration of African American Men
Courtney Thomas, Sociology
University of Mississippi

African American women bear the burden of keeping their families and communities intact in the absence of their men who have been lost to the prison system. To explore the effects of having an incarcerated son, father, or brother, five women between the ages of 35 and 40 in Oxford, Mississippi were interviewed. The interviews suggest that black women tend to cope together and grow strong in their faith as they go through tough times. However, the severity of the effects of having an incarcerated loved one depends on the nature of his relationship with the loved ones and community ties. Future research should include more than women with incarcerated husbands, because a woman with any relationship to an incarcerated man is bound to experience some negative effects of his incarceration.

The Sexualization of African American Women in Music
Elizabeth Otto, Psychology
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

The pervasiveness of sexualization in Western societies is harmful to women, regardless of racial or ethnic identity. However, the sexualization of African American women has been largely understudied. The present research seeks to investigate relations between music habits and preferences and the sexualization of African American (vs. White) women. Forty-four college students (mage = 21.04, range = 18-31) participated in the online study by completing a series of self-report measures and two Implicit Association Tests (IAT) that reveal bias towards sexualization of African American Women. Results indicated that African American women were sexualized to a greater degree than White women, based on IAT and self-report data. Further, preference and consumption of Rap or Hip-Hop music was nonrelated to sexualization of African American women. However, greater reported sexualization of African American women by music listened to was related to their sexualization. Results provide an important initial step in understanding the unique factors that may contribute to sexualization of African American women. Future research should expand upon this work by identifying causal mechanisms of African American women’s sexualization and examining the potential for Hip Hop music to result in internalized sexualization.

Panel IC: Cell and Molecular Biology, Animal Science
Thursday 9:40am – 10:40am

Examining the Potential Role of Beta-Casomorphin as a Bioactive Molecule in the Neurolymphocrine System
Amy Nguyen, Molecular and Cell Biology
University of California, Berkeley

Beta-casomorphins (BCMs) are a group of opioid peptides formed from the partial digestion of casein, a protein found in human and cow’s milk. It is not yet known if these dietary proteins can exert any physiological function. Traditional models of digestion and absorption suggest that molecules like BCMs have no biological significance because they cannot pass the absorptive cells of the intestine without complete digestion to single amino acids. However, there is evidence that dietary proteins can pass through the gut mucosa and enter the lymphatic system to activate sensory nerves through a newly proposed system called the neurolymphocrine system. This system, which has been proposed to be parallel in function to the endocrine system, has been shown to regulate the central nervous system via activation of sensory nerves by molecules found in the lymphatic fluid. This project examined the potential role of BCMs as bioactive molecules that can activate endogenous opioid receptors on sensory nerves innervating the lymphatic lacteal using primary cultured dorsal root ganglia (DRGs) as a model. Immunocytochemistry (ICC) was utilized to determine the localization of mu-opioid receptors within the lacteals. Activation of mu opioid receptors on sensory nerves were determined by changes in intracellular calcium level of primary cultured DRGs using Fura 2. Additionally, the release of substance P (SP), a neuropeptide which was suggested to be involved in inflammation and the regulation of food intake, from activated sensory nerves was determined by the co-culturing of DRGs and sensor cells that are responsive to SP. The results obtained from this study can provide a mechanism whereby exogenous agents such as dietary molecules, or those found in traditional herbal medicines can affect physiological function without entering the circulation. Thus, this project’s findings give insight into the neurolymphocrine system and its effects on biological processes and expand our understanding of the gut-brain axis.

Dairy Liquid Manure Additives to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Viviana Ramos Hernandez, Animal Science
University of California, Davis

Dairy production has captured the attention of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States (FAO) as it is a source of greenhouse gasses (GHG) including methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). These gases contribute to global climate change and to reduce the impact of GHG from dairy cattle, BiOWiSH Technologies have developed a drug treatment (Odor and Manure treatment) that have been shown to decrease GHG emissions from dairy liquid manure (lagoon water). Currently, BiOWiSH is developing a newer treatment (Odor treatment) which has shown similar results to the aforementioned treatment in ongoing field trials. The efficiency of both treatments to reduce GHG emissions, compared to untreated liquid manure (lagoon water), are currently being tested. Specifically, we record the difference in gaseous CH4 concentration between untreated lagoon water, treated with Odor treatment, and treated with Odor and Manure treatment. Steel barrels are filled with lagoon water and grouped into three groups: control (6 barrels), BiOWiSH Odor treatment (6 barrels), and BiOWiSH Odor and Manure treatment (6 barrels). Groups of barrels are periodically measured for CH4 concentration. From these trails we expect that the addition of BiOWiSH treatments will lower the CH4 emission rate from lagoon water.

Age-related lymph node fibrosis: targeting profibrogenic pathways
Osvaldo Villa, Molecular and Cellular Biology
University of Arizona

Lymph nodes (LNs) are centers of adaptive immune response that contain populations of naïve B lymphocytes and T naïve lymphocytes. The expansion and differentiation of naïve lymphocytes in the LNs provide specialized, long-lasting defense against infections. Therefore, the structural and functional integrity of LNs are critical for proper immune response. However, age-related changes in LNs such as a decrease in LN structure and cellularity, as well as advanced fibrosis are factors that may be responsible for the deteriorated immune response in older adults (Thompson et al., 2017). Fibrosis occurs in response to tissue damage and is characterized by excessive accumulation of extra cellular matrix (ECM) and collagen at the site of tissue injury (Wick et al., 2010). Stromal cells are connective tissue cells that line the LNs and secrete interleukin-7 (IL-7), a growth factor that stimulates survival and proliferation of naïve lymphocytes (Link et al., 2007). We hypothesize that collagen deposition and increased LN fibrosis hamper T naïve access to IL-7, leading to the premature death of naïve T lymphocytes. Parabiosis using old and adult mice is performed and their LNs are analyzed after 30 days using immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, flow cytometry, and RT-PCR to identify age-related differences in fibrotic markers, immune system cell count, and gene expression. Future direction will focus on developing antifibrotic therapeutic treatments for improving naïve T cell maintenance and lymph node function with the goal of increasing health span in older adults.

Link, A., Vogt, T. K., Favre, S., Britschgi, M. R., Acha-Orbea, H., Hinz, B., . . . Luther, S. A. (2007). Fibroblastic reticular cells in lymph nodes regulate the homeostasis of naive T cells. Nature Immunology, 8(11), 1255-1265. doi:10.1038/ni151

Nikolich-Žugich, J. (2017). The twilight of immunity: Emerging concepts in aging of the immune system. Nature Immunology, 19(1), 10-19. doi:10.1038/s41590-017-0006-x
Thompson, H. L., Smithey, M. J., Surh, C. D., & Nikolich-Žugich, J. (2017). Functional and Homeostatic Impact of Age-Related Changes in Lymph Node Stroma. Frontiers in Immunology, 8. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2017.00706

Wick, G., Backovic, A., Rabensteiner, E., Plank, N., Schwentner, C., & Sgonc, R. (2010). The immunology of fibrosis: Innate and adaptive responses. Trends in Immunology, 31(3), 110-119. doi:10.1016/j.it.2009.12.001
Acknowledgements: Ilija Jeftic, Janko Nikolich-Žugich, JNZ Lab, Andrew Huerta

Author: Ilija Jeftic MD, PhD; Osvaldo Villa
Faculty Mentor: Janko Nikolich-Žugich MD, PhD

ID: Computer Science, Electrical Engineering
Thursday 9:40am – 10:40am

Investigation of Agent and Task Diversity on Agents’ Emergent Behavior in an Open Multi-Agent System Environment
Trevor J Fellbaum, Jr., Computer Science
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Multi-agent systems can be studied in a variety of environments, but an open environment closely emulates the characteristics of the real world and human collaboration. An open environment can be described as an environment where there exists both agent openness and task openness. Furthermore, agent openness is the degree at which agents join and exit the system and task openness is the degree at which tasks join and exit the system. Likewise, when exploring diversity, there is both agent diversity and task diversity. Diversity is represented as the distribution of the types of agents and tasks. This study aims to investigate the effects of agent and task diversity on agents in an open multi-agent system environment. In doing so, we can further understand how to optimize task allocation amongst humans in a real-world environment. This work is done through simulations on an existing multi-agent system framework. The agents are designed as specialists and generalists, each with varying levels of capabilities to complete specific tasks. During the simulation, the agents bid on tasks to complete and form teams to collaborate and complete these tasks. Additionally, they may employ learning of capabilities to improve their potential rewards in the future. Through comparison of the various types of agents, we can determine how diversity affects their learning and rewards in this open environment. Future work will involve the addition of an exit strategy on the agents in the system.

Jumadinova, J.; Dasgupta, P.; and Soh, L. 2012. Strategic Capability-Learning for Improved Multi-Agent Collaboration in Ad-hoc Environments. in Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part A: Systems and Humans.

A User Study on Visualizing Gantt Charts
Sarah Jacquot
University of Arizona

Gantt charts are commonly used for visualizing execution traces in parallel processes. Examining and understanding these execution traces become important for performance debugging and general comprehension of program fluidity. As complexity grows we are faced with algorithms that create hundreds of processes raising the question of how to effectively display this data. The study addresses the question of whether the current methods for visualizing Gantt charts, specifically in relation to execution traces, are effective by conducting a user study using multiple choice questions and grid drawing questions. We conducted a pilot study in which subjects answered a series of questions regarding visualization patterns in Gantt charts to investigate whether these visualization patterns were intuitive to users in their present form. We are currently in the process of analyzing the data from our pilot survey to better determine the most informative types of questions to use moving forward into the final study. We plan to run this study again at Super Computing Conference 2018 to get participants with diverse programming backgrounds to effectively analyze if users can easily understand and interpret Gantt visualization patterns.

Isaacs K., Bremer P., Jusufi I., Bhatele A., Schulz M., Hamann B., “Combing the Communication Hairball: Visualizing Parallel Execution Traces using Logical Time,”IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, vol. 20, no. 12, pp. 2349-2358, Dec. 31 2014. doi: 10.1109/TVCG.2014.2346456

Analysis of the Effects of Battery Charging Methods on the Energy Storage in Cellular Devices utilizing FPGAs in Real Time
Nathandis Wyley, Electrical Engineering
University of California, Davis

Cellular devices are common part of life that has impacted human behavior. The largest of which would be the constant usage and accessibility of information. This usage is unique to cell phones not commonly seen in other portable electronic devices. We are analyzing the impact of this usage on the battery life time using FPGAs. Field programmable gate arrays (FPGA) have been used in many applications for real time acquisition of data and modeling of natural phenomena. Combining an FPGA running an optimized algorithm and varying battery charging technology allows us to construct a model that distinguishes the homogeneity between charging methods and the small battery energy storage capability. The charging methods will include hardwired charging with various cord types (including lighting, USB 2.0, and USB C) and wireless charging utilizing magnetic induction. The algorithm will be the procedural steps in which the FPGA collects and categorizes data as it is being obtained while the phones are charging. This variant analysis provides critical information that will allow for a model to be created that will identify the effects charging methods on the longevity and charge capacity of batteries in small devices. The proposed model will be used to identify the efficiency of distinctive charging methods while classifying their behavior traits such as time to charge, capacity for charging, and battery capacity decay with time as parameters. This model has the possibility to yield validity on charging methods utilizing solar panels and the practicality of alternative methods to charge cellular devices.

Blomgren, George E. “The Development and Future of Lithium Ion Batteries.” Journal of the Electrochemical Society, vol. 164, no. 1, 2017, pp. A5019–A5025. [1]

Cole, B.W., et al. “An Accelerated Calendar and Cycle Life Study of Li-Ion Cells.” Journal of Power Sources, vol. 101, no. 2, 2001, pp. 238–247. [2]

Zonghai Chen, et al. “Challenges Facing Lithium Batteries and Electrical Double-Layer Capacitors.” Angewandte Chemie International Edition, vol. 51, no. 40, 2012, pp. 9994–10024. [3]

Pode, R., et al. “Potential of Lithium-Ion Batteries in Renewable Energy.” Renewable Energy, vol. 76, 2015, pp. 375–380. [4]

IE: Biology, Microbiology
Thursday 9:40am – 10:40am

Analysis of color preference in Neogonodactylus oerstedii (Hansen, 1895) and Neogonodactylus wennerae (Manning & Heard, 1997), (Stomatopoda)
J. Trinidad V. Arceo Jr., Integrative Biology
University of California, Berkeley

The complex visual system of stomatopod crustaceans is not yet fully understood. Recent studies suggest that stomatopods are unlikely to use spectral discrimination, the form of color vision employed by humans, who can accurately distinguish between colors that differ by as little as 5 nm in wavelength. Instead, it has been proposed that stomatopods use wavelength recognition, a visual system that interprets colors as a series of neural excitation patterns. This visual system allows stomatopods to only accurately distinguish between colors that differ by 25 nm. This hypothesis posits that stomatopods may have a neural “lookup table” that corresponds to distinct colors and color combinations to influence behavior. Studies of one stomatopod, Odontodactylus scyllarus, have revealed that this species has an innate preference for the color that humans interpret as yellow. Determining the innate color preferences of multiple stomatopod species could help elucidate how these animals respond differently to different wavelengths of light. The study proposed here will build upon previous work by identifying the color preferences of two different species of stomatopods – Neogonodactylus oerstedii and N. wennerae. Each of these species inhabits different depths and therefore different photic environments and has been shown to have different visual spectral tuning abilities. Visual spectral tuning is the ability of the animal to shift its spectral sensitivities as well as the length of intrarhabdomal filters, which acts to increase visual contrast in local photic environments. This research aims to determine color preference of the stomatopods by conducting behavioral assays using small plastic bricks presented in different color pair combinations. To determine if the different visual spectral tuning abilities have an influence on the color preference, animals of each species will be separated into two different photic conditions, which are a broad band white light and a narrow band blue light treatment.

MicroRNAs in Dietary Exosomes and their Potential Impact on the Human Body
Mahnoor Javaid, Microbiology
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Exosomes are specialized vesicles found in almost every biofluid because they play a vital role in cell-to-cell communication. miRNAs are ~22 nt long regulatory RNAs that cause silencing or degradation of specific mRNAs by imperfect complementary base pairing. These miRNAs function as a part of the miRNA induced silencing complex (miRISC) where they are associated with Argonaute protein. It was initially thought that miRNAs only regulate the genes of the cell where they are synthesized. However, recent publications suggest that exosomes can transfer miRNA between cells within an organism as well as in different organisms, and that these miRNAs can change gene expression in the recipient cell. Further, the effect of bovine miRNAs from milk exosomes on gene expression is consistent with integration of the miRNAs into miRISC complexes, although this has not been demonstrated directly yet. Bovine milk exosomes contain at least 245 different miRNAs. The majority of these miRNAs are identical to homologous human miRNAs. The long-term goal of this project is to test the hypothesis that bovine miRNAs from milk exosomes regulate human gene expression by becoming incorporated into the human miRISC complexes. To accomplish this goal, it is necessary to be able to distinguish bovine and human miRNA homologs. We will (1) identify homologous bovine and human miRNAs with sequence differences, and (2) optimize RNase H-dependent PCR (rhPCR) assay that can distinguish these miRNA homologs. This assay will it possible to directly test whether bovine miRNAs from milk exosomes become incorporated into human miRISC complexes. Understanding the mechanisms for how bovine miRNAs affect human gene expression is an important step towards improving health through the alteration of nutrient content in diets as well as utilizing its therapeutic potential.

The Effect of Fire on the Diversity of Soil Microbial Communities
Kyrra Nielson, Biology
California Lutheran University

Soil microorganisms are essential for ecosystem function. They are responsible for the decomposition of active soil organic matter, a necessity for nutrient recycling. Environmental changes in the soil such as temperature, pH, or moisture can affect the microbial decomposition of active soil organic matter. Catastrophic events, such as wildfires, can lead to a decrease in available nutrients in soil by the removal of organic matter, structure deterioration, volatilization, leaching, and erosion. These changes are expected to alter soil microbial communities. In December 2017, the Thomas Fire burned the majority of the Ventura Botanical Gardens in Ventura, CA. In this study, microbial communities were monitored over time in wildfire burned and unburned regions of the Ventura Botanical Gardens. Soil samples were collected 1, 2, 4, and 6 months after the fire, and we will continue sampling through 12 months. Microbial community DNA was extracted from soil samples, and the V4 region of 16S rRNA gene was amplified by PCR. Next-generation sequencing will be performed with the Illumina ® MiSeq, and sequences will be analyzed using Quantitative Insights into Microbial Ecology 2 (QIIME ™ 2). We expect lower soil microbial diversity in the early months after the fire in burned regions relative to unburned regions. Within 6 months to a year after the fire, the burned region may reach similar levels of microbial diversity as the unburned region. Understanding microbial community changes as soil recovers from wildfires will aid in the design of ecosystem recovery techniques.

Key References

Certini, G. (2005). Effects of fire on properties of forest soils: A review. Oecologia, 143(1), 1-10. doi:10.1007/s00442-004-1788-8

Fontúrbel, M., Barreiro, A., Vega, J., Martín, A., Jiménez, E., Carballas, T., . . . Díaz-Raviña, M. (2012). Effects of an experimental fire and post-fire stabilization treatments on soil microbial communities. Geoderma, 191, 51-60

Loreau, M. (2001). Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning: Current Knowledge and Future Challenges. Science, 294(5543), 804-808. doi:10.1126/science.1064088

Mendes, L. W., Tsai, S. M., Navarrete, A. A., Hollander, M. D., Veen, J. A., & Kuramae, E. E. (2015). Soil-Borne Microbiome: Linking Diversity to Function. Microbial Ecology, 70(1), 255.

Nannipieri, P., Ascher, J., Ceccherini, M. T., Landi, L., Pietramellara, G., & Renella, G. (2003). Microbial diversity and soil functions. European Journal of Soil Science, 68(1), 12-26. doi:10.1111/ejss.4_12398

Xiang, X., Shi, Y., Yang, J., Kong, J., Lin, X., Zhang, H., … & Chu, H. (2014). Rapid recovery of soil bacterial communities after wildfire in a Chinese boreal forest. Scientific reports, 4, 3829.

IF: Political Science
Thursday, 9:40am – 10:40am

How the U.S. Government Segregated Los Angeles and How Schools Now Pay the Price
Jeanette Gomez, Political Science
University of California, Los Angeles

This research project analyzes whether the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Homeowner’s Loan Corporation (HOLC), two federally-funded programs that aimed to increase homeownership during the Recession, excluded people of color from housing assistance. Current studies outline the effects of the programs only within the 1930s or discrepancies in homeownership in recent years. However, this research in particular will examine the long-term effects of the programs in the centralized area of Los Angeles County. Additionally, an analysis will be made on the ways that these demographics affect high school funding today. Utilizing appraisal documents provided by the Mapping Inequality Project in the University of Richmond, and recent U.S. Census data, this study examines their role in the creation of white suburbs and racialized ghettos across Los Angeles County. The correlation between racial segregation and discrepancies in high school funding across differing communities is also then analyzed by comparing California’s Local Control Funding Formula Reports provided by the Department of Education. Findings from the study will be aimed at highlighting the intense intersection between housing policy, residential allocation based on race, and high school funding. As a pilot study in the large metropolitan city of Los Angeles, this research can help display the implications for both the FHA and HOLC on a national scale; one which should be more greatly addressed in educational policy initiatives.

Did Gerrymandering Affect the Congressional Elections of 2016? And did Gerrymandering suppress the will of the voters in the elections of 2016?
Nelson Idahosa, Political Science
University of New Hampshire

Gerrymandering, the practice of drawing legislative districts that favors a political party, plays an important part in elections conducted in the United States. This practice which began in the early years of the nation has been accused by many to have created a lot of the problems encountered in today’s politics. Critics say it hurts the democratic process by decreasing competitiveness in Congress and within states. Recently, gerrymandering has seen increased scrutiny and cases from Maryland and Wisconsin have been being brought before the Supreme Court, further showcasing the importance of addressing the issue of Partisan Redistricting in the United States. This research looks at the impact of gerrymandering in states that recently have had cases before the courts (Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, as well as New Hampshire) to understand the impact redistricting had on election results following the 2000 and 2010 redistricting process. In other accomplish this, the researcher compares the percentage of election results in swings states per voting districts focusing on elections results from pre-redistricting periods, as well as post-redistricting. Then will analyze how the voting results changes in those districts and if parties who had control of the redistricting process made significant gains afterwards.


Forgette, R., and Winkle, J. I. (2006). Partisan Gerrymandering and the Voting Rights Act. Social Science Quarterly, 87(1), 155-173

Hood, M., and McKee, S. (2009). Trying to Thread the Needle: The Effects of Redistricting in a Georgia Congressional District. PS: Political Science & Politics, 42(4), 679-687. doi:10.1017/S1049096509990023

Kennedy, Sheila Suess (2016) Electoral Integrity: How Gerrymandering Matters, Public Integrity, 19:3, 265-273, D McDonald, M. (2007). Regulating Redistricting. PS: Political Science and Politics, 40(4), 675-679. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.libproxy.unh.edu/stable/20452048 OI: 10.1080/10999922.2016.1225480

McDonald, M. (2007). Regulating Redistricting. PS: Political Science and Politics, 40(4), 675-679. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.libproxy.unh.edu/stable/20452048

Sponsors: McNair Program and University of New Hampshire

Chicanx/Latinx Professors at UC Berkeley: Paving the way to Ph.D. Programs
Nancy Jauregui, Political Science
University of California, Berkeley

Despite Chicanxs/Latinxs representing 16.5% of undergraduates nationwide, only 4% of faculty are of Chicanx/Latinx background. This speaks to the prevalence of an inequitable education where it has been documented that no matter how one measures educational outcomes, Chicanx/Latinx communities suffer the lowest educational attainment of any major racial or ethnic group in the United States. While there has been a rise in college enrollment among Chicanx/Latinx students, less than 1% of Chicanx/Latinx adults had earned a doctoral degree in 2013. Research has pointed out how interactions with Chicanx/Latinx faculty role models play an important role in Chicanx/Latinx students’ decision to apply to graduate programs. However, little is known on the kinds of strategies, approaches and reflexivity Chicanx/Latinx professors utilize in order to advance the educational pipeline and make a difference in helping Chicanx/Latinx undergraduates pursue a doctoral degree. Using a qualitative approach, data consists of in-depth interviews with Chicanx/Latinx faculty in order to examine the following question: In what ways are Chicanx/Latinx professors at UC Berkeley contributing to the enrollment of Chicanx/Latinx students into Ph.D. programs? The findings from this study aim to deepen our understanding of some of the strengths, strategies, and challenges Chicanx/Latinx faculty face in supporting Chicanx/Latinx undergraduate students transition to Ph.D. programs.

Session II: Thursday, July 26th, 11:00am – 12:00pm

IIA: IIA – Nutrition and Health Science, Physiology, Public Health
Thursday, 11:00am – 12:00pm

Stigma and Access to Healthcare Services for Thai Transgender Women in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Michelle Chang, Public Health & Integrative Biology
University of California, Berkeley

Transgender populations in Thailand are increasing, especially transgender women. However, most research on trans-women in Thailand focuses on HIV, with limited knowledge of stigma and discrimination that trans-women face in their access to healthcare services. The objective of this study is to understand how trans-women’s perceived and self-stigma impacts their access to quality healthcare services. This information will provide valuable information to help improve health services and increase the quality of life for transgender individuals in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Participants were recruited from transgender serving NGOs and clinics in Chiang Mai, Thailand in summer 2015 using purposive sampling. The original semi-structured interviews were conducted with community leaders (n=11) and trans-women (n=14), recorded, translated into English, and transcribed. This study analyzed secondary data from de-identified English transcripts of those interviews. Interviews were then coded using a content analysis approach to examine for common themes across interviews. The results showed that stigma and discrimination still exist in society for trans-women, but participants were more likely to vocalize that the society accepts transgender people. Stigmas around trans-women as sources for HIV infection and as sex workers were common perceptions by the community, including among healthcare professionals. The negative perceived stigmas that trans-women feel influences their lack of health seeking behaviors and serves as a barrier to their access to quality services. Many trans-women expressed discomfort when seeking help from medical professionals and prefer self-care by purchasing medicine at the pharmacy. There are implications that quality of life for trans-women will be improved with more health professionals being educated about and becoming sensitive to transgender health. Additionally, it is suggested that a one-stop service for trans-women would help decrease access to care barriers, promote comfort and rapport, and increase overall quality of life.

Contribution of Body Composition and Metabolic Adaptations to the Decline in Resting Metabolic Rate during Prolonged Calorie-Restricted Weight Loss
Darius Fox, Nutrition, Exercise, and Health Science
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Background: Obesity is a growing problem in many countries especially in the U.S. .Obesity is linked to many diseases such that can shorten life expectancy and reduce quality of life. Individuals who lose weight have trouble maintaining weight loss and preventing weight regain, even when weight loss conditions are maintained Purpose: The purpose of this study is to learn more about the body’s change in RMR to long-term weight loss. This study will also provide insight on how much the different components of RMR are responsible for the decline Methods: Retrospective data analysis was used on data from CALERIE, who performed a 2-year weight loss study across multiple universities. The CALERIE data used for the purpose od this study helped to examine the changes in resting metabolic rate, body composition, and hormones. Participants were healthy weight individuals with a BMI between 22 and 29. The data was used to calculate estimated Total Energy Expenditure , and statistical analysis between quartiles based on loss of fat mass, fat free mass, and body weight.

Assessing S100A7 and miR-21 Regulation in Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Czarina Retana, Physiology/MCB
University of Arizona

Oral Squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) accounts for 95% of all oral carcinomas in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas. Diagnosis on averages leads to a 5-year survival rate. The inability to diagnosis patients in earlier stages of the cancer unveils the urgent need to detect biomarkers. Based off previous research done in other cancers, protein S100A7 is often associated with poor prognosis with high expression levels, making it an attractive target for a biomarker within OSCC. Additionally, microRNAs have been shown to aid in the regulation of several cell processes within cancers; more literature reveals that miR-21 to be one of those microRNAs. What remains to be understood is the molecular mechanism of S100A7 and miR21 within OSCC.

Immunoprecipitation was performed to detect which proteins S100A7 directly binds to within OSCC. Detection of S100A7 and miR-21 expression was determined via in situ hybridization/fluorescence (FISH). Knocking down of S100A7, additionally with qr-PCR was used to determine if S100A7 regulates miR-21 followed by inhibition of miR-21 to detect changes in pAKT which is regulated by mi-21. Finally, inhibition of AKT was performed to determine its effect on S100A7.

Immunoprecipitation showed S100A7 does not bind to expected protein RAGE. FISH revealed expression of S100A7, miR-21, and pAKT. Qr-PCR indicated that knocking down S100A7 decreased expression of miR-21. Inhibition of miR-21 indicated the decreased expression of AKT which when is also inhibited, decreased the expression of S100A7.

The data suggests that S100A7 does regulate miR-21, additionally to AKT playing a role in regulating S100A7.
1Czarina Retana, 1Ngoc H. Ly, 1Beatriz Smith, 1Jeffrey Kyle Pizarro, 1Victoria Phan, 1,2Steven Wang, MD, 1,2Melania Mercado-Pimentel, PhD
1Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery College of Medicine University of Arizona, 2Arizona Cancer Center

IIB – Psychology
Thursday, 11:00am – 12:00pm

Variability of Aging Perceptions Among Older Adults Living in Diverse Settings
Melissa Martinez, Psychology
The University of Arizona

Studies in aging and cognition have focused on various characteristics that may influence aging perceptions such as social engagement, health, and cognition and how these factors can promote successful aging. While aging perceptions have recently been studied within these contexts, limited research has focused on the effects of current living situation as it pertains to perceptions of aging. The main focus of this study was to examine perceptions of aging in place between seniors residing in assisted, community and independent living communities. Eighteen healthy older adults (ages 65-92) were recruited from community living on own, independent and assisted living facilities and completed the Attitudes Towards Own Aging (ATOA) subscale of the Philadelphia Geriatric Morale Scale and the Aging Perceptions Questionnaire (APQ). Results indicated that groups significantly differed F(16)=1.847, p=.67 on the ATOA subscale, however there were no significant differences between groups on the APQ. Further analyses revealed the groups greatly differed by age and by adding age as a covariate, our model was no longer significant. The results demonstrate that age may greatly affect aging perceptions. While aging perceptions did not demonstrate to be influenced by the current living situation, it guides further research into understanding what other factors influence perceptions of age, in order to better interventions in elder adult care.

Peer Networks and Peer Norms of Young Adolescents with Sexual Abuse Histories
Steven Proudfoot, Psychology and English
Wayne State University

Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) is a risk factor for numerous psychosocial problems, including difficulties in romantic and sexual relationships. This study examines whether a history of CSA is uniquely associated with characteristics of young adolescents’ peer networks and their perceived peer norms for dating and sexual behavior. The examined factors are associated with risk behaviors like precocious sexual behavior (Buhi & Goodson, 2007; Boislard & Poulin, 2011). Such information is important for understanding how CSA might distort romantic/sexual development.

Data came from interviews with 93 girls (Mage 12.47; 80.2% African American) about their peer network that included demographics and perceptions of friends’ participation in various dating activities and sexual behaviors. Cumulative interpersonal violence (IPV) exposure was the lifetime sum of IPV types experienced by youth (e.g., maltreatment; domestic violence community violence; peer victimization).

Cumulative IPV was associated with peer demographics and perceived norms. Even after controlling for IPV, CSA history was associated with peer norms of greater participation in hand-holding, touching above clothes, touching under clothes, and sexual intercourse. CSA history may play a unique role in girls’ perceived peer norms regarding sexual behavior.

Key References:

Boislard, P. Ma, & Poulin, F. (2011). Individual, familial, friends-related and contextual predictors of early sexual intercourse. J Adolesc, 34(2), 289-300. doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2010.05.002

Buhi, E. R., & Goodson, P. (2007). Predictors of Adolescent Sexual Behavior and Intention: A Theory-Guided Systematic Review. Journal Of Adolescent Health, 40(1), 4-21. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2006.09.027

Acknowledgements: This study was supported by NIH grant HD061230 (Simon, PI).

Social Networking Sites: Exploring Cultural Differences in Online Behavior
Ana Vielma, Psychology
St. Edward’s University

Logging on to Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites has become a daily routine for connected individuals around the globe. The present study examines cultural differences in social networking behaviors, specifically, between Hispanic and non-Hispanic communities. Over 400 participants completed an online survey on Qualtrics by providing demographic information and specific data about their personal profiles on social networking platforms. Prior research regarding Hispanics’ social networking behaviors is extremely limited and these results contribute theoretical implications to previous literature regarding cultural differences and social media consumption.

Keywords: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Hispanic, social network, cultural differences

IIC – Chemistry, Microbiology
Thursday, 11:00am – 12:00pm

The Melanocortin Receptors as an Alternative Pain Treatment
Kathia Antillon, Chemistry
University of Arizona

The current study seeks to find alternative and equally potent methods of pain medication in lieu of the traditional opioid medications. The Melanocortin Receptors (MCRs), through a shared amino acid pharmacophore with the opioid receptors, have been identified as an alternative place where these medications can be developed. Of the five different melanocortin receptors present in the system, the MC3R and MC4R have been linked to nociceptive pain and analgesia through various studies (Bellasio et al. 2003). These links to pain treatment provide the basis for the current research study. One of the main agonists at these receptors, Melanotan II (MTII), has selectivity at all of the MCRs but has been shown to be especially potent at the MC3R and MC4R (Starowicz et al. 2005). In order to specialize MTII at the desired receptors, derivatives of MTII containing a slightly changed amino acid sequence will be synthesized using microwave assisted Solid Phase Peptide Synthesis with shaking assisted macro molecule cyclization. Mass Spectrometry, together with HPLC techniques will be applied for identification and purification of the derivative. In vitro binding and cAMP assays will then be used to determine the potency and effectiveness of each derivative.

Bellasio, S., Nicolussi, E., Bertorelli, R., & Reggiani, A. (2003). Melanocortin receptor agonists and antagonists modulate nociceptive sensitivity in the mouse formalin test. European Journal of Pharmacology, (482) 1-3, 127-132.

Starowicz, K., Obara, I., Przewlocki, R., & Prewlocka, B. (2005). Inhibition of morphing tolerance by spinal melanocortin receptor blockade. Pain, (117) 3, 401-411.

Authors: Kathia Antillon, Zekun Liu
Sponsor: Ronald E. McNair Achievement Program

The Effects of Chromatin on Suppression of X-linked Gene in Drosophila testes
Maham Javaid, Microbiology
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

In species with X and Y sex chromosomes, females carry two copies of X-linked genes, while males carry only one. Due to the difference in the copy number of genes between male and females, the X-chromosome has evolved chromosome-specific mechanisms of gene regulation: dosage compensation and meiotic sex chromosome inactivation (MSCI). In D. melanogaster males, there is two-fold up regulation of the X chromosome in somatic cells. However, the regulation of the X-chromosome in the male germline of Drosophila melanogaster is not thoroughly understood. There is no clear evidence of either dosage compensation or MSCI occurring in the male germline of D. melanogaster. Nevertheless, previous studies have established that testis-specific transgene reporters show reduced expression at X-linked insertion sites compared to autosomal insertion sites. We used a reporter gene where lacZ expression is driven by the promotor of the testis-specific gene ocnus. The transgene is randomly inserted on different places in the genome to determine the cause of reduced expression between the chromosomes. Next, we used q-PCR to quantify the amount of transgene DNA we recover from extracted chromatin using antibodies that bind to different modified histones that are associated with different chromatin states in the D. melanogaster male germline. We will compare the amount of transgene DNA we recover from heterochromatin when the transgenes are located on the X-chromosome versus the autosomes. We hypothesized that reduced expression from the X-linked inserts is due to increased amount of heterochromatin.

Optimization of adamantane containing compounds against mutated strains of Influenza
Emily Wilson, Chemistry
The University of Arizona

Influenza A is a common respiratory illness that is responsible the hospitalization of 200,000 Americans annually (Lafond et al., 2016). M2 channel inhibitors, however, are not recommended for the treatment of Influenza A due to the increase of strains that are resistant against M2 inhibitors. Mutations within the M2 proton channel are responsible for the resistace, and current efforts are focused on developing M2 inhibitors that are effective against several mutated strains of Influenza. The primary objective of this study is to optimize compounds containing 1-adamantanol for broad spectrum effectiveness against Influenza. Compounds are synthesized using amine-coupling chemistry, purified using flash chromatography, and verified using H NMR. Each compound is tested for antiviral activity and channel blockage using plaque assay and two-electrode clamp assay, respectively. Initial results from the study will be presented and discussed.

Key References

Lafond, K.E., Nair, H., Rassooly, M.H., Valente, F., Booy, R., et al. (2016) Global Role and Burden of Influenza in Pediatric Respiratory Hospitalizations, 1982-2012: A Systematic Analysis. PLOS Medicine 13(3): e1001977.


I would like to acknowledge the Department of Education’s McNair Scholars Program for supporting my research and Dr. Jun Wang for his expertise and resources.

IID – Mechanical Engineering, Environmental Engineering
Thursday, 11:00am – 12:00pm

Societal, Economic, and Environmental Aspects of Providing Clean, Safe Drinking Water to Small Communities
Julissa Freund, Environmental Engineering
The University of New Hampshire

Drinking water is essential in a person’s everyday life. However, not everyone has access to clean drinking water. This research will explore the societal, economical, and environmental issues that are involved in helping a small system deliver clean, safe, affordable drinking water. Studying and working with the nearby community of Rollinsford, New Hampshire, will help researchers understand these issues and hopefully solve Rollinsford’s problems. As a small community that has approximately 2,600 people, Rollinsford wrestles with many challenges, such as a need for optimization of their existing corrosion control strategy due to recent lead and copper rule violations. The community of Rollinsford also has issues with naturally occurring arsenic in one of its water supply wells. By expanding their website to include the latest information on lead, copper, and arsenic as well as answering their frequently asked questions through social media like Twitter and Facebook, the community will better understand the challenges it faces. To develop the best possible economic and environmental options for Rollinsford’s drinking water, we established a direct partnership with the town’s water facility operations staff to assist with laboratory research, water analyses and implementation of cost-effective solutions. People in Rollinsford will be better informed and the water quality will consistently meet all standards, thereby better protecting the public health of the people of Rollinsford. Lessons learned from the Rollinsford case study will provide knowledge and experience that can then be applied to communities everywhere.

Key References:

US Environmental Protection Agency. (2016). Lead and Copper Rule Revisions White Paper. Retrieved from water.org/our-impact/water-crisis/

Edzwald, J. K., & Edzwald, J. K. (2010). Water Quality and Treatment: A Handbook on Drinking Water. McGraw Hill Professional Publishing.

Journal of Ethics. (2017, October 1). The Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 and Its Role in

Providing Access to Safe Drinking Water in the United States, October 17. Retrieved from journalofethics.ama-assn.org

Funders: McNair Scholars Program and Dr. Malley’s grants (14B411 and 14UA90).

Quantification of Carboxyl-Functionalized Carbon Nanotubes in Lettuce Tissues
Valeria Nava, Environmental Engineering
University of Nevada, Reno

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have been widely applied in industrial, consumer, and agricultural products based on their unique properties. Consequently, widespread use of CNTs leads to their accumulation in the natural environment, such as agricultural soils. The CNT-contaminated soil can eventually be taken up by agricultural plants, which will result in concerns for food safety. By means of a double digestion method, carboxyl functionalized CNTs (c-CNTs) will be quantitatively analyzed in plant (lettuce) tissues with ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis) spectroscopic analysis. MWCNT-bound carbon is linearly correlated with the absorbance at 800 nm. UV-Vis is useful for rapid quantification of CNTs in plant tissues but, background interferences from residue plant tissues or nanotube functional groups may obstruct unambiguous detection of c-CNTs. Therefore, a programmed thermal analysis (PTA) will be used to determine a relationship between carbon-bound CNTs and elemental carbon (EC, evolved at 580 ◦C and 740 ◦C) detected. This study optimizes the digestion method that will improve current detection limits of c-CNT without compromising their unique thermal stability. Ultimately, to analyze low concentrations of CNT in plant tissues, this method yielded a definite detection and quantification of CNTs. This study offers further understanding of the fate of different types of CNTs and possible implied hazards imparted through their introduction into agricultural landscapes.

Developing Bio-Inspired Condensers to Facilitate Solar Desalination
Matthew Nelson, Mechanical Engineering and Theater, Dance and Performance Studies
University of California, Berkeley

World Resources Institute analysts indicate that 2.3 billion+ people globally live in environments with unsustainable access to fresh water resources. In response, scientists are developing novel methods of desalination—the removal of salt ions from saline water —as an alternative. However, desalination plants require a significant amount of energy to operate, which dramatically reduces its feasibility for poorer communities. Furthermore, desalination produces brine stream, highly concentrated salt solutions that reduce water quality when discharged into the environment. This study aims to improve the desalination process while emphasizing zero-liquid-discharge (ZLD). Using a nature-inspired synthetic leaf comprised of a graphene oxide (GO) based material as a medium, saline water is evaporated using sunlight. Consequently, salt ions are separated from water molecules, leaving the resulting water vapor composed primarily of pure water. Measuring mass lost over time, the synthetic leaf demonstrates stable performance of evaporation with a 78% energy conversion efficiency at a rate of 2.0 L per m2 per hour (LMH). The next phase of this research is to efficiently capture the water vapor by developing a bio-inspired condenser interface that utilizes a superhydrophobic-hydrophilic pattern. The efficiency of condensation depends on condensing surface temperature, water vapor convection rate, patterned vs. non-patterned surfaces, and ratio of hydrophobic to hydrophilic interlay. From these variables, several testing skids will be designed for experimentation, evaluating the amount of water collected per condenser configuration. An optimized condenser, coupled with a robust high performing synthetic leaf will push the progress of solar desalination and aid victimized regions.

Research Team. Matthew M. Nelson1, Casey Finnerty, MS2, Baoxia Mi, PhD2
Principal Investigator. Baoxia Mi, PhD2
[1] Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of California Berkeley, CA
[2] Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California Berkeley, CA

IIE – Biochemistry
Thursday, 11:00am – 12:00pm

Turning up the heat on mitochondrial haplotypes: does increased temperature affect male fertility in a tropical ectotherm?
Evelyn J. Hernandez, Biochemistry
University of Nevada, Reno

Because metabolic rate increases exponentially with temperature, climate warming poses a strong extinction risk for tropical ectotherms [1]. In previous research on the Neotropical pseudoscorpion, Cordylochernes scorpioides, a 3.50C increase resulted in reduced sperm production [2, 3] and differential expression of OXPHOS genes in testicular tissue by two coexisting but divergent mitochondrial haplogroups (A and B2) [4]. Here, we investigated the effects of moderate thermal stress on male reproductive traits in a split-brood experiment in which nymphs were randomly assigned at birth to a control temperature treatment (C) or a 20C higher treatment (H). Developmental time to the adult stage and body size were quantified, and sperm quality and quantity were determined by interrupting matings and collecting sperm packets. Field studies have demonstrated that sperm competitive ability is a key component of male reproductive success in natural populations of C. scorpioides [5]. To assess temperature effects on sperm competitive ability, females were mated to both an H male and a C male, and molecular paternity assignment is being carried out on resulting offspring. Preliminary results indicate that the 20C temperature increase significantly reduced developmental time and disrupted mating behavior in both haplogroups but reduced body size in only B2 males. Temperature had no effect on sperm number but B2 males produced significantly more sperm than A males. This study promises to shed light on the potential for naturally occurring variation in mitochondrial DNA sequence to mitigate negative effects, as climate warming subjects this pseudoscorpion to an increasingly adverse thermal environment.


1. Deutsch CA, Tewksbury JJ, Huey RB, Sheldon KS, Ghalambor CK, Haak DC, Martin PR (2008) Impacts of climate warming on terrestrial ectotherms across latitude. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 105, 6668–6672.
2. Zeh JA, Bonilla MM, Su EJ, Padua MV, Anderson RV, Kaur D, Yang D & Zeh DW (2012) Degrees of disruption: projected temperature increase has catastrophic consequences for reproduction in a tropical ectotherm. Global Change Biology, 18, 1833–1842.
3. Zeh JA, Bonilla MM, Su EJ, Padua MV, Anderson RV & Zeh DW (2014) Constant diurnal temperature regime alters the impact of simulated climate warming on a tropical pseudoscorpion. Scientific Reports, 4, 3706.
4. Su E (2014) Simulated climate warming and mitochondrial haplogroup modulate small noncoding RNA expression in the neotropical pseudoscorpion, Cordylochernes scorpioides. MS Thesis, University of Nevada, Reno.

5. Zeh DW, Zeh JA, Bermingham E (1997) Polyandrous, sperm-storing females: carriers of male genotypes through episodes of adverse selection. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 264, 119-125.

Acknowledgement of funders: National Science Foundation Grant (to JAZ & DWZ); Nevada Undergraduate Research Award (to EJH)

Influence of Amoxicillin on Antibiotic Resistant Genes in Zalophus californianus Gut Microbiota
Joanna Portillo, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
California Lutheran University

With the overuse and misuse of antibiotics, antibiotic resistant microbes have become more prevalent, making it more difficult to treat serious infections. A common antibiotic resistance method is the production of the enzyme, beta-lactamase. This enzymes targets beta-lactam antibiotics like amoxicillin and deactivates them. To view the effects of antibiotic treatment on antibiotic resistance, 15 sea lions treated with amoxicillin were examined. The Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Institute (CIMWI), a local rescue organization, rescued and rehabilitated malnourished Zalophus californianus pups off the Californian coast. These sea lion pups received medical treatment, which included amoxicillin. Fecal samples from these sea lions were collected when they were admitted, during treatment, and before they were released back into the wild. The DNA of the microbiota in the fecal samples were extracted. The most common beta-lactamase genes, blaTEM will be quantified relative to 16S rRNA genes in each sample using SYBR green quantitative PCR. The purpose of this research is to test for the presence and relative quantity of beta-lactamase genes from the gut microbiota of the sea lions upon admittance to CIMWI, during rehabilitation treatment, and prior to release back to the wild. It is expected that after extended treatment with amoxicillin, the sea lion gut microbiota will have an increase in blaTEM gene. If this is the case, then once released, the sea lion will be increasing the antibiotic resistance in the wild.

Investigating the role of autophagy in axonal development in UNC-33 mutant C. elegans
Anthony Sanchez, Biochemistry
Saint Edward’s University

Autophagy is a self-degradative mechanism used within cells to maintain homeostasis in recycling cellular waste and protein aggregates through an autophagosomal-lysosomal system. The induction of autophagy has been implicated in regulating axonal development via CRMP-2/UNC-33/Dpysl2, a neuronal protein that accumulates within the neurites and research suggests it serves a key role in neuronal development. To properly evaluate the relationship between autophagy and axonal development, the aim of this study is to induce autophagy in unc-33 mutants and study the effects on axonal development. Induction of autophagy will be stimulated via starvation. Transgenic nematodes possessing a dual fluorescently tagged (dFP) LGG-1 and a marker for D-type motor neurons in unc-33 mutant backgrounds were constructed to allow for the observation of levels of autophagy and rescue. The dFP tagged LGG-1 was used to monitor the flux of autophagy by quantifying the cleavage of the dFP into monomeric fluorescent protein upon arrival at the lysosome. The fluorescent marker for D-type motor neurons will be used to monitor the neuronal circuitry in the presence or lack of UNC33. Preliminary data shows that unc-33 null mutants have altered autophagy as measured by LGG 1/puncta density in the nerve ring and cleavage of dFP tagged LGG-1 protein. Analysis of neuronal circuitry under induced autophagy is currently being performed. Together the data suggest that lack of UNC-33 gene product results in an abnormal alteration of autophagy flux in the absence of nutrients, implicating UNC-33 in autophagy.

Authors: Anthony Sanchez, Riley Firth, Mikaela Wilson

IIF – Physics
Thursday, 11:00am – 12:00pm

Neuroplasticity induced by activity-dependent stimulation
Brian Amoeni, Physics
University of Washington

Less than three decades ago it was thought that the adult brain was unchanging, but recent research has shown the brain to be dynamic. This discovery has led to attempts to induce neuroplasticity with closed-loop stimulation. The Fetz lab is internationally known for its exploration of methods for inducing and controlling cortical plasticity in-vivo. Our current protocol is a new Department of Defense project aiming to develop methods and techniques for inducing and controlling adaptive plasticity via stimulation of peripheral nerves. Specifically, the project that aims to establish a protocol for noninvasive vagal nerve stimulation (VNS) that will augment targeted cortical neuroplasticity and enhance cognitive performance in nonhuman primates. Our hypothesis is, if we stimulate the vagus nerve it will release neuromodulators and thus directly induce cortical neuroplasticity. To accomplish our research, we cortically implant microwires and attach stimulation cuffs onto the afferent-efferent nerves of our rhesus macaques. We stimulate with the STG 4008/AM systems, and record/interpret those electrophysiological pulses with the TDT systems and Synapse software. Finally, MATLAB is used to analyze and visualize our collected data. This study is ongoing; we are still documenting the effects of VNS on evoking cortical potentials and on plasticity produced by cycle-triggered stimulation, but recent findings have already reported that transient plasticity can be induced by phase-locked stimulation triggered from cycles of beta oscillations. This is important because learning how to induce neuroplasticity may allow us to enhance learning capabilities or recover from injuries expediently.

Authors: Brian Amoeni, Irene Rembado, Eberhard Fetz

Application of High-Resolution Fourier Transform Spectroscopy for the Detection of Narrow Absorption Lines in Doped Parahydrogen Crystals
Robert Prater, Physics
University of Nevada, Reno

Fourier Transform Spectroscopy (FT spectroscopy) utilizes the basic optical phenomena of interference and Fourier analysis to compute accurate and high-resolution spectra. The ability of FT spectrometers to measure weak signals for many frequencies at once with high resolution and accuracy makes it a useful instrument in absorption and emission spectroscopy compared to the limited spectral ranges of grating spectrometers. The Weinstein lab has fabricated and tested a FT spectrometer for the purpose of measuring narrow absorption lines in doped parahydrogen crystals. Additionally, the use of a single in-house program for data acquisition and analysis allows for large amounts of data to be collected and analyzed quickly, making accurate high-resolution spectroscopy possible for even very little signal throughput. We have successfully applied Fourier Transform spectroscopy to the accurate measurement of narrow lines of weak signals as low as 3% absorption to the total amount of light captured in the interference. As of now, we have successfully identified and recorded absorption lines in the near IR spectra for atomic rubidium gas (signal strengths of 4-8%) and in the visible spectra for O2 gas (as weak as 3%). The resulting extremely narrow absorption lines have been measured to within .05 cm-1 of their recorded peaks with a resolution of .25 cm-1 (4nm). Factors such as optical flatness and extended optical path difference were found to have huge impacts on resolution, while factors like spatial coherence and interference contrast were surprisingly less impactful on the spectrometer performance.


1.) Bates, J B. “Fourier Transform Spectroscopy .” Comp. and Maths with Appl, vol. 4, July 1977, pp. 73–84

2.) Bell, Robert. Introductory Fourier Transform Spectroscopy. Elsevier Science, 2012

3.) Hochheimer, B. F. “Fourier Transform Spectroscopy.” APL Technical Digest, Nov. 1967, pp. 2–9.,

4.) Luc, Paul. “High Resolution Fourier Transform Spectrometry in Emission and Absorption in the Visible and UV Ranges .” Spectrochimica Acta, vol. 51A, no. 7, 1995, pp. 1171–1190., doi:0584-8539(94)01330-X

5.) P. Connes, High Resolution and High Information Fourier Spectroscopy, Aspen Int. Conf. on Fourier Spectrosc., 1970, p. 121. (G. A. Vanasse, A. T. Stair, Jr., and D. J. Baker, eds.) AFCRL [Air Force Cambridge Research Laboritories, Hanscomb Field, Camberisge, Massachusetts]-71-0019, 5 Jan. 1971, Spec. Rep. No. 114.

6.) Thorne, Anne. “High Resolution Fourier Transform Spectrometry in the Visible and Ultraviolet Regions.” Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, vol. 13, May 1998, pp. 407–411.

Atom Interferometry: Sensor Network
Giovanni Vizcarra, Physics
University of California Berkeley

Leading atom interferometers are constantly facing hurdles relating to precision due to drift in power levels causing the atom source to be unstable. Atom interferometers work with atoms at the quantum scale which requires extreme attention due to the environmental sensitivity of the atoms; this experiment specifically uses cesium atoms. Like light interferometers, atom interferometers use the property of quantum mechanics that matter behaves as a wave. We are able to use pulses of light to transfer momentum into atoms, which superimposes the atom along different paths. The interference patterns created by the path difference has pushed our understanding of the quantum world. In order for experiments to work; however, the atoms must be cooled near absolute zero otherwise the atoms are too chaotic to gather any precise measurement. Any small fluctuation in laser power causes alignment drift which requires realigning the optics accordingly. Prior to realignment there is no way of knowing the source of the problem causing inconsistencies with the data. With the aid of Dr. Holger Müller, I propose to create a sensor network for the Cesium Cavity Interferometer that will help monitor and control interferometers laser power. Both an Analog to Digital Converters (ADC) and small single board computer (Raspberry Pi) will be used to gather and process data for the atom interferometer. The monitoring system will gather the power levels of the apparatus as an electrical signal which will then return a digital output of the laser power levels to reduce the error. Using this sensor network, I hope to better monitor the atom interferometer to help improve the alignment of the optics.

Break-out Session III: Thursday, July 26th, 1:30pm – 2:30pm

IIIA – Neuroscience, Conservation and Resource Studies
Thursday, 1:30pm – 2:30pm

The Use of Primate Models to Look at Multisensory Integration of the Amygdala in Social and Non-Social Contexts
Keturah Ragland, Neuroscience
University of Arizona

Primate research has allowed for neuroscience to greatly advance in the understanding of social behavior and allowed for a greater understanding of social perception in humans. One focus has been placed on studying the amygdala during social interactions as it processes stimuli in an emotional context and is the basis for social contextualization of somatosensory information. Information from the somatosensory cortex is sent to neurons in the amygdala selective to certain sensory information where the stimuli can be processed. Previous research has examined sensory integration of modalities in the neocortex, however research is sparse in evaluating social sensory integrators like the amygdala and their effect in social contexts. The current research aims to understand how sensory integration of amygdala neurons contribute to perception and social behaviors. To understand these processes, social/non-social stimuli of different modalities were presented to rhesus monkeys and the neurophysiology of specific amygdala neurons was recorded. Given that amygdala is a multisensory integrator and is a key player is emotional and social processing, it is believed that the presentation of audio and visual combined will produce a greater response than then modalities alone. It is also hypothesized that a greater response will be present with social stimuli. Commencing in the spring of this year and spanning throughout the year, this project will begin gathering preliminary data to understand the patterns of sensory integration in the amygdala and begin further analysis in uncovering the underlying meaning of the neuron behavior.


1. Capitanio, J. P. (2002). Sociability and responses to video playbacks in adult male rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta). Primates, 43(3), 169-177. doi:10.1007/bf02629645
2. Ghazanfar, A., & Schroeder, C. (2006). Is neocortex essentially multisensory? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 10(6), 278-285. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2006.04.008
3. Gothard K.M., Brooks K.N., Peterson M.A. (2009). Multiple perceptual strategies used by macaque monkeys for face recognition. Anim Cogn. 12(1):155–167.10.1007/s10071-008-0179-7 [PubMed: 18787848]
4. Mosher, C. P., Zimmerman, P. E., & Gothard, K. M. (2011). Videos of Conspecifics Elicit Interactive Looking Patterns and Facial Expressions in Monkeys. Behavioral Neuroscience,639-652. doi:10.1037/a0024264.supp
5. Nishijo, H. et al. (1988) Topographic distribution of modality-specific amygdalar neurons in alert monkey. J. Neurosci. 8, 3556–3569
6. Stein, B. E., Stanford, T. R., & Rowland, B. A. (2014). Development of multisensory integration from the perspective of the individual neuron. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 15(8), 520-535. doi:10.1038/nrn3742

Assessment of chronic oxytocin treatment on spatial memory
Cecilia Ruiz, Neuroscience and Pre-med
Northern Michigan University

Oxytocin is a naturally occurring hormone in the body, and there has been discussion of determining if raising levels of oxytocin would provide benefits with neurocognitive impairments – specifically with memory. People with schizophrenia consistently show cognitive deficits across multiple domains of functioning and often do not show cognitive improvements with antipsychotic treatments. These kinds of cognitive deficits can affect things such as gaining employment and normal daily activities. While other studies have reported that elevated oxytocin has assisted in the withdraw of negative schizophrenic symptoms, we will be examining the putative cognitive benefits the oxytocin treatments may have. We intend on doing this by evaluating the effects of acute and chronic oxytocin treatments in rats trained in working memory tasks that are generally used for ovulating the cognitive efficacy of pharmaceutical compounds. We intend on performing these experiments by training rats to perform a delayed non-match to position task using a standard rodent eight-arm radial maze equipped with motorized doors and automated food dispensers. Daily sessions will consist of two trials, an information and retention trial, separated by a delay. The rats will have met training criteria when they make no more than one error per session over two consecutive days using the 30-minute delay. If oxytocin has pro-cognitive effects on memory, then it may be a safe add-on to antipsychotic medications that could provide benefits for disorders with neurocognitive impairments like schizophrenia.

Popik, P., & Vetulani, J. (1991). Opposite action of oxytocin and its peptide antagonists on social memory in rats. Neuropeptides, 18(1), 23-27.

Engelmann, M., Ebner, K., Wotjak, C. T., &Landgraf, R. (1998). Endogenous oxytocin is involved in short-term olfactory memory in female rats. Behavioral brain research, 90(1), 89-94

Guastella, A. J., Mitchell, P. B., & Mathews, F. (2008). Oxytocin enhances the encoding of positive social memories in humans. Biological Psychiatry, 64(3), 256-258

Guastella, A. J., Ward, P. B., Hickie, I. B., Shahrestani, S., Hodge, M. A. R., Scott, E. M., & Langdon, R. (2015). A single dose of oxytocin nasal spray improves higher-order social cognition in schizophrenia, Schizophrenia Research, 168(3), 628-633.

Keefe, R. S., & Harvey, P. D. (2012). Cognitive impairment in schizophrenia. In Novel antischizophrenia treatments (pp. 11-37). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Nielsen, R. E., Levander, S., Kjaersdam Telleus, G., Jensen, S. O. W., Ostergaard Christensen, T., & Leucht, S. (2015). Second-generation antipsychotic effect on cognition in patients with schizophrenia—a meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavia, 131(3), 185-196.

Rimmele, U., Hediger, K., Heinrichs, M., & Klaver, P. (2009). Oxytocin makes a face in memory familiar. Journal of Neuroscience, 29(1), 38-42

Funding from Northern Michigan University and the McNair Scholars Program.

Intergenerational Impacts of Herbicide Dioxin (Agent Orange) on Vietnamese Women’s Health
Vivian Tran, Conservation and Resource Studies
University of California Berkeley

The Vietnam War lasted for twenty years, from November 1955 to April 1975, and yet, 47 years later the effects of Agent Orange are still present within the environment and have continued to cause intergenerational health impacts. The U.S. entered the war in 1960, and from 1961 – 1971 began implementing an aggressive program, code-named “Operation Ranch Hand,” which had two military objectives: (1) to remove foliage for better observation, and (2) destruction of enemy crops. The purpose of 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T) was initially for agricultural purposes only but became weaponized for war and used in a negligent manner, while knowing the harmful impacts of the herbicide dioxin (Buckingham, 1982). Agent Orange was known to be contaminated with 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) and is recognized to be a human carcinogen, as well as having immediate and long-term health effects. This research explores how herbicide dioxin exposure has and continues to influence the health outcomes of Vietnamese women, specifically their reproductive health. Through in-depth qualitative data analysis of archival data; past medical records, diary entries, and journals it also aims to understand how families experience and cope with the life and death consequence of Agent Orange. The chemicals are of concern because of the adverse reproductive outcomes such as spontaneous abortions, inherited malformations, and developmental deficiencies in children. In addition to the health impacts of Agent Orange, it continues to destabilize family prosperity since many victims are too ill or disabled to work.

IIIB – Psychology
Thursday, 1:30pm – 2:30pm

Reading with Therapy Dogs
Tania Roa, Psychology
Cal Poly Pomona

Animal-assisted interventions, now considered an effective complimentary therapy, has been applied and studied with numerous special populations and environments including educational settings. Research now demonstrates that animals may help reduce the anxiety that children experience in the classroom and promote numerous cognitive, emotional, and educational benefits such as encouraging children to read. There are many programs incorporating dogs into educational and therapeutic settings that are created in order to provide children a sense of comfort during difficult tasks (in this case it is reading). The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether a reading dog program can motivate children to read which would, in turn, lead to their improvement in reading skills. Utilizing pre and post-tests for the program, the children’s reading scores were compared before and after the intervention. The reason behind this type of data was to numerically measure whether the program is beneficial. There was also observational data collected that focused on the body language of the dog and child as they interacted in order to determine if this setting is, in fact, comfortable for the children. Other qualitative data consisted of an interview with the teacher leading the program and survey responses from the certified dog handlers. My hypothesis was that the children would have a higher reading level after the program rather than before. The main factor that led to this prediction is the calming effect animals have on children. When the children feel less stress, it is assumed that they would be more able to focus on the task at hand. I also hypothesized that the teacher and survey responses would provide more insight on the effects of the program including an increase in confidence and interest in reading.

Can ABA Interventions be Culturally Responsive? Latina/o Families with Children with Autism
Neyda Sanchez, Psychology

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is categorized as a developmental disability consisting of impairments in areas of social communication, repetitive and restricted behaviors (Kogan et al., 2009). A type of intervention most children between the ages of 3 and 4 with autism receive is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), where interventions based on principles of learning theory are used to improve adaptive, social behaviors (Dillenburger et al., 2012). In ABA, parents train to become co-therapists who reinforce and support the learning and development of behavioral skills for their child. Existing literature has identified factors including lack of education, language barriers, and cultural factors that affect Latina/o parents’ understanding of ASD. Other studies have identified how parents engage with their child based on their knowledge of ASD and from what they learn in parent trainings. However, there is limited research in identifying the assets that Latina/o parents bring to ABA interventions. The current study will use the Socio-cultural Framework for Health Service Disparities (Lopez, 2014) to examine Latina/o parents’ understanding and confidence in the implementation on ABA strategies at home with their child. This study utilizes a qualitative approach consisting of five in-person semi-structured interviews and parent-child observations to gain parent perspectives on how it affects the progress of the child’s social behaviors. Findings of this study will shed light on the assets Latina/o families can offer while undergoing ASD interventions. Practical implications of this study will inform culturally appropriate parent-mediated interventions for historically marginalized parents of children with autism.

Effect of Acculturation and Inflammation on the Quality of Life of Latina Cancer Survivors
Madison Schultz, Psychology and Biology
University of Arizona

Many cancer survivors face increased mental, physical, and emotional stress in their everyday life, known as survivorship burden. In particular, Latina breast cancer survivors report a lower health-related quality of life when compared to non-Latina White breast cancer survivors. This study will investigate whether levels of acculturation stress and inflammation have an effect on the health-related quality of life experienced by Latina breast cancer survivors. Additionally, the study will investigate the differences in quality of life between Latina and non-Latina White breast cancer survivors. Participants will include 60 Latina and 60 non-Latina White women who have been diagnosed and undergone treatment for breast cancer within the past 5 years. Participants will provide information regarding demographics, socio-cultural factors, and quality of life factors via a phone interview completed both at the start of the study and three months after the study. Additionally, participants will undergo the Trier Social Stress Test, and their blood will be analyzed for inflammatory markers in order to measure levels of inflammation. Data collected will be analyzed for variable relationships through T-tests as well as regressions. We expect Latina breast cancer survivors with higher levels of acculturation stress and inflammation will experience a lower quality of life. The results of the proposed study will hopefully reveal disparities in post-treatment life in Hispanic breast cancer survivors, which may lead to unique ways to help the Hispanic community.

Key References:
Dantzer, R., & Kelley, K. W. (2007). Twenty years of research on cytokine-induced sickness behavior. Brain, behavior, and immunity, 21(2), 153-160. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2006.09.006

Ferrell, B. R., Dow, K. H., & Grant, M. (1995). Measurement of the quality of life in cancer survivors. Quality of life Research, 4(6), 523-531. doi: coh.org

Yanez, B., Thompson, E. H., & Stanton, A. L. (2011). Quality of life among Latina breast Cancer patients: a systematic review of the literature. Journal of Cancer Survivorship, 5(2), 191-207. doi: 10.1007/s11764-011-0171-0

Thanks to the University of Arizona’s Ronald E. McNair Achievement Program and program director Dr. Andrew Huerta for funding this research and conference trip.

All information contained in the submitted abstract was used with permission of Dr. Thaddeus Pace and the University of Arizona’s Stress and Health Laboratory.

IIIC – Environmental Science, Evolution, Ecology, and Biodiversity
Thursday, 1:30pm – 2:30pm

Mycorestoration of prairie landscapes invaded by Ligustrum japonicum
Clarissa Mae de Leon, Environmental Science and Policy
St. Edward’s University

This study will analyze the removal of the invasive species Ligustrum japonicum by treatment trials using native mycorrhizal fungi, while monitoring native plantings currently on-going at Blunn Creek, at Austin, Texas. By spreading beyond its ornamental use, Ligustrum japonicum interferes with the native biodiversity, and limits native plant growth by way of prolific regeneration. By using the applied treatments, the goal of this research is to eliminate costs of invasive species containment, as well as restore soil moisture, and monitor native species return. The initial removal of Ligustrum japonicum, followed by the applied treatments, are hypothesized to contribute to the rapid decomposition of plant litter and soil composition, further facilitating the native species recovery. Findings of this research should be of broad interest to invasive species managers in Central Texas and beyond.

Trends in heat extremes in three Great Basin (USA) cities
Adora Shortridge, Environmental Science
University of Nevada Reno

As temperature continues to increase as a result of climate change, urban areas are especially vulnerable because of high-density populations and extreme anthropogenic alterations. The urban heat island (UHI) effect is important to study because as climate change continues, maximum temperatures will increase, leaving less time for cities and their populations to cool down. Exposure to extreme heat causes severe human health impacts, damages to ecosystems and agriculture, increases energy demand, and strains healthcare infrastructure. Assessing these risks will allow the city to plan for future heat mitigation and adaptation strategies that may reduce or minimize effects from rise in temperature. The purpose of this study is to conduct an urban heat assessment of Reno, Elko, and Las Vegas, Nevada for extreme events using daily temperature data between 1937-2017. We calculated heat days/nights (maximum/minimum temperatures greater than the 95th percentile) and heat waves (more than 3 consecutive heat days/nights). Results suggest that Reno and Las Vegas are experiencing a noticeable increase in nighttime heat events in recent years, while Elko shows a less visible trend. The increase in nighttime temperatures suggests that Reno and Las Vegas are experiencing contributions from the UHI effect. The difference in trends from each location suggests that urbanization correlates to extreme heat and UHI. Historical trends show that coinciding heat days and nights were infrequent, but heat waves occurred in greater magnitude when events took place simultaneously. We have identified appropriate mitigation and adaptation strategies based on varying levels of extreme heat events.

Funding: Undergraduate Research Office and McNair Scholars Program

The evolution of social organization and social behaviors of vampire bats with agent-based modelling
Alery Tenorio, Evolution, Ecology, and Biodiversity
University of California, Davis

The common vampire bat, Desmodus rotundus, is one example of a non-primate social creature. Females live in social groups of 8-12 with their offspring and perform social behaviors, such as food sharing and social grooming.1,2 Food sharing, which has explicit benefits for bats involved, is the regurgitation of bloodmeals to conspecifics.1 Social grooming is picking, licking or nibbling a conspecific’s fur.2 While this behavior has been studied, its contribution to fitness is unknown. Social grooming often occurs before food sharing, possibly to identify cheats, who accept food sharing but do not share.2 Excluding mother-daughter interactions, social grooming and food sharing typically occur within subgroups, highly associated group members.1,2 But many studies focus on entire social groups or populations. This study attempts to explore social grooming’s fitness in the context of food sharing and cheating, while limited to subgroups’ social range. Applications of this research include controlling disease spread by vampire bats, and cheat management in cooperative systems. The study will be conducted by producing agent-based models of vampire bat social groups. These models are individuals with repeated behaviors, which show emergent evolution and population-level impacts of behavior. Specifically, we will observe changes in food sharing and social grooming’s robustness against cheating. We suspect vampire bats with larger subgroups and more social grooming partners will evolve via higher food sharing amount and frequency. Multi-level selection is one possible mechanism driving evolution. Social grooming likely prevents cheating. Future research involves looking for mechanisms of social grooming.

Key References:
Wilkinson, GS. Reciprocal food sharing in the vampire bat. Nat [Internet]. 1984 Mar [cited 2018 Jul 12]; 308:181-4. Available from: https://www.nature.com/articles/308181a0.pdf.
Wilkinson, GS. Social grooming in the common vampire bat, Desmodus rotundus. Anim Behav [Internet]. 1986 Dec. [cited 2018 Jul 12] 34(6):1880-9. Available from: https://ac.els-cdn.com/S0003347286802743/1-s2.0-S0003347286802743-main.pdf?_tid=0685c2e9-3c14-4c05-8853-b437551bc1d6&acdnat=1531433876_59e514eb553232e38e81946dab9d869c DOI: 10.106/S0003-3472(86)80274-3.

IIID – Bioengineering, Biomedical Engineering
Thursday, 1:30pm – 2:30pm

Thermal and Mechanical Reinforcement of Injectable Protein-Based Hydrogels Through Ligand Mediation for Long-term in vivo Applications
Dallas Altamirano, Biomedical Engineering
University of Arizona

Here, we report investigations on the effects of ligands on the thermal and mechanical stability of physical bonds within protein-based hydrogels. Specifically, we studied the stabilizing effects of biotin, a coenzyme native to the body, on streptavidin, a self-oligomerizing protein with strong monomer-monomer interactions and relatively weak dimer-dimer interfaces. With the addition of biotin, the dimer-dimer rupture force of streptavidin tetramers increased by approximately 200% using atomic force microscopy (AFM)-based single molecule force microscopy (SMFS). Subsequently, we developed hydrogels consisting of telechelic proteins with streptavidin monomer end groups using genetic engineering techniques and synthesized them using recombinant protein expression. Streptavidin-crosslinked hydrogels were characterized using rheology and bioerosion tests, presenting a potential design model in which physical biomaterial networks can be fabricated with ligand-mediated improvements to its mechanical and thermal stability. Our findings indicate a decreased erosion rate of streptavidin-crosslinked hydrogels compared to a control protein-based hydrogel, permitting long-term in vivo capabilities. Thus, we identify a novel class of protein-based physical hydrogels with injectability, high strength, and biotin-mediated stability for potential applications in minimally invasive tissue engineering and regenerative medicine such as cartilage replacement, drug delivery, and wound healing.

Key References
Glassman, M. J., & Olsen, B. D. (2015). End block design modulates the assembly and mechanics of thermoresponsive, dual-associative protein hydrogels. Macromolecules, 48(6), 1832-1842.
Glassman, M. J., Chan, J., & Olsen, B. D. (2013). Reinforcement of Shear Thinning Protein Hydrogels by Responsive Block Copolymer Self‐Assembly. Advanced functional materials, 23(9), 1182-1193.
Kim, M., Wang, C. C., Benedetti, F., Rabbi, M., Bennett, V., & Marszalek, P. E. (2011). Nanomechanics of streptavidin hubs for molecular materials. Advanced Materials, 23(47), 5684-5688.
This research is supported by the Office of Research, Discovery & Innovation at the University of Arizona. D. Altamirano thanks the University of Arizona Ronald E. McNair program for funding support.
Authors: Dallas Altamirano, David Knoff, and Minkyu Kim

Bacterial Grown Cellulose: Improving Growth and Adhesion on Substrates
Alexander Carrillo, Bioengineering
University of California, Berkeley

Acetobacter xylinum is a well-known bacterial species that produces the purest form of cellulose while continuously dividing. The limited impurities of bacterial-produced cellulose, as opposed to plant-derived cellulose, facilitate the process of producing the highest concentrations of bacteria and cellulose films while necessitating fewer filtration procedures. The cellulose films can be used to coat various substrates including polycarbonate, titanium oxide, polydimethylsiloxane, etc. When cellulose coatings adhere to the surface of a substrate, they create a strong interwoven network of fibrous material around the object which is reinforced when submerged in aqueous solutions. This adhesion is beneficial because the cellulose films are biologically compatible with human hosts. The biggest application from this study is the possibility of developing increasingly biocompatible medical devices. The project aims to maximize the production of applicable cellulose by determining optimal bacterial concentration and growing conditions for coating substrates.

By measuring optical density, developing microtiter plate dilution experiments, and quantifying colony-forming units/mL, curves correlating these factors showcase during which time periods and OD measurements best produce cellulose coating. Preliminary findings suggest roughened polycarbonate and roughened glass to be ideal substrates, as bacteria have an affinity towards the jagged edges of the substrate. Bacterial concentration increases when the bacterial solution is filtered, centrifuged and concentrated into a smaller volume. Optimal bacterial growth and maximized number of cellulose films produced were measured at 26 degrees Celsius with 15 minute incubation times.

Integration of high resolution land cover data into PC-Hydro’s parameters
Jesus Mulgado, Biosystem Engineering
University of Arizona

The Rational Formula based PC-Hydro is a model used by Pima County’s Regional Flood Control District to predict peak discharge from runoff. The peak discharge values are used to design and evaluate newly constructed structures to be able to withstand runoff from a 100-year event storm. Currently, PC-Hydro has been running with tabulated values for percent impervious land cover. In order to increase PC-Hydro’s validity, a new imperviousness land cover layer has been created within a geographic information system (GIS). With the newly available land cover layer, percent impervious can now be accurately derived from any watershed and implemented into PC-Hydro’s parameters. The purpose of the present study is to compare the tabular-based method used before the existence of high-resolution land cover with the method utilizing the newly-available land cover data. The hypothesis for this research is that with the newly acquired land cover layer, PC-Hydro’s results will have an increased accuracy over the previous method that utilized tabulated values. Using ArcGIS, three watersheds have been delineated and integrated with the new land cover layer. PC-Hydro was then run with the percent land impervious data taken from ArcGIS. PC-Hydro’s results using the land cover layer and the table method were compared with a flood frequency analysis. Results showed an increase in peak discharge runoff where the layer was applicable. However, more analysis is needed to determine the amount of impact the new land cover-based layer provides.

IIIE – Plant Science, Biochemistry, Neuroscience
Thursday, 1:30pm – 2:30pm

Epigenetic Modulation as a Possible Treatment for Tinnitus
Emily Leptich, Neuroscience and Cognitive Science and Linguistics
University of Arizona

Tinnitus is an auditory phantom perception where ringing in the ears occurs in absence of auditory stimuli. It commonly results from hearing loss and is marked by the cortical downregulation of inhibition along with reorganization of tonotopic maps in A1 of the auditory cortex, post auditory pathway damage. The resulting imbalance between excitation and inhibition in the cortex leads to increased excitation serving as hypothetical cause of these phantom perceptions. Recent reports indicate that DNA methylation modulates excitatory and inhibitory synapses and alters the balance between excitation and inhibition. Thus, the question we seek to answer is whether DNA demethylation concomitant with environmental enrichment is sufficient to ameliorate the effects of tinnitus. In this investigation, mice undergo noise-induced hearing lesions to induce tinnitus followed by the injection of DNA methyltransferase inhibitors with simultaneous exposure to an enriched environment. Gap Detection and Pre-Pulse Inhibition behavioral testing along with Auditory Brainstem Response testing are utilized at each stage to assess the presence of tinnitus and overall auditory damage extent.

Acknowledgements: Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program

Cyanobacteria and the biochemical binding regions of CBCR’s
MANUEL MORA, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
University of California, Davis

Responding to different types of light is essential for many organisms, this can help them deduce information about their environment and respond to properly adapt to the conditions. Cyanobacteria are no different, as they have cyanobacteriochromes (CBCR’s) a complex of protein and a chromophore. Because cyanobacteria are unicellular, and are relatively sessile, they must modify their CBCR’s to obtain information about their environment based on the wavelength of light that they are presented. Because of this, they have a diverse set of CBCR’s that can activate biochemical pathways for a plethora of wavelengths. Here we analyze a specific type of CBCR that has a far red/ red photocycle, and induce mutagenesis on various amino acids in the protein to better understand the protein chromophore complex relationship and specificity to its chromophore. In this presentation, we induced mutagenesis in critical binding pocket amino acids of the CBCR protein, Proline and Alanine, and observed the resulted binding activity.

Unmanned aerial vehicles with multispectral technology for the estimation of lettuce crop biomass and plant height
Joseph Wolf, Plant Science
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

The focus of this study is to investigate the viability of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)-based remote sensing and machine learning techniques in the estimation of crop biomass and plant height in a lettuce crop. The main advantage of UAV-based remote sensing is the immediate availability of high resolution data. Near infrared (NIR) images obtained using remote sensing techniques help determine crop performances and stresses of a large area in a short period of time. This in turn helps to optimize the amount of water, fertilizers, and pesticides using site-specific management of crops. However, for widespread usage of these techniques by the end users, the accuracy of remote sensing data must be validated using proven ground-based methods. Equally important is the reduction in the overall cost associated with these techniques. UAVs equipped with multispectral sensors and digital cameras were flown over lettuce plots at Cal Poly Pomona’s Spadra farm. Different rows of lettuce plots were subjected to different levels of water and nitrogen treatments. The soil moisture and nitrogen levels were determined prior to beginning the study. The multispectral images were used in the determination of vegetation indices including a normalized differential vegetation index (NDVI) that provide information on the health of the plant. Machine learning classifiers are developed using the Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images. A handheld spectroradiometer, water potential meter, and chlorophyll meter were used for ground-truthing. Correlations between NDVI, chlorophyll content, and water potential were analyzed. The developed machine learning algorithm was able to predict plant health to a great extent. Remote sensing techniques were also demonstrated to provide moderately accurate estimates of crop biomass and plant height. Importantly, the current study demonstrated that a significant proportion of water and nitrogen resources may be conserved in the production of lettuce, a resource intensive crop. Machine learning techniques, with sufficient validation, have the potential to provide significantly cheaper solutions to plant health assessment, crop monitoring, and production inputs.

IIIF – Sociology, Psychology
Thursday, 1:30pm – 2:30pm

Derecho, No Privilegio: Educational Resiliency Among a Group of Latina Undergraduate Students
Jazmin Ceja Cedillo, Sociology
University of California, Berkeley

In the last decade, Latina student have gained academic momentum as their college attendance rates continue to rise. Despite the rising number of Latina students attending institutions of higher education, as of 2015 only 15% of Latinxs/Hispanics 25 years and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher (U.S. Census Bureau). While educational research has focused on closing the academic achievement gap among Latinx students, we know little about the kinds of strategies Latina students utilize in order to successfully navigate higher education. Drawing on in-depth interviews with undergraduate Latina students at UC Berkeley, this qualitative study provides a deeper understanding of the educational resilience strategies and practices undergraduate Latina students attending the University of California, Berkeley are adopting to promote educational retention in their path towards degree completion. Utilizing Yosso’s (2005) Community Cultural Wealth framework and an intersectional approach, this work highlights how despite participants experiencing varying multilayered forms of enfranchisement and/or disenfranchisement, Latina students in this study exhibited a proactive and resilient attitude towards their academic goals and displayed some form of critical consciousness and/or critical resilience to fuel their academic motivation. Nearly all participants perceived educational attainment as ensured autonomy and were motivated by the idea of economic and personal independence. By foregrounding the voices and lived experiences of Latina students, findings highlight the importance of students’ critical consciousness as a force that fosters educational resiliency among Latina students and serve as a reminder that for these high achieving Latinas “nuestra educación es nuestro derecho y no un privilegio.”

Home-Life Hardships and School Success:
The Past Experiences and Navigational Strategies of Former Foster Youth Currently Attending College
Jendalyn Coulter, Sociology
University of California, Los Angeles

No more than 50% of foster youth graduate from high school and only 3% actually graduate from any post-secondary institution (Pecora et. al., 2006). Compared to the national average, these statistics are drastically low, and foster youth continue to have the lowest education and retention levels across various demographics. The primary distinction encompassing foster children is their legal placement with non-biological parental figures, who are expected to provide them with care, a residence, and a support system. Home life closely correlates to an individuals’ performance in school, thus this research examines factors within college-attending former foster youths’ placements that influence their educational outcomes and the strategies they have developed which enabled them to overcome these factors. Research questions that guide this study include 1) what are the collective experiences within the ‘home environments’ of former foster youth, 2) what are the strategies that former foster youth in college have developed to navigate these challenges they have experienced? By collecting questionnaires and semi-structured interviews from 20 former foster youth currently attending college, the study investigates how they navigated the circumstances and phenomena within their home environments, which has allowed them to succeed educationally. Data collected from these methods will be analyzed with an assets-based frame, in order to understand the strength and resilience this demographic possesses. The findings from this study will enable researchers and scholars alike to further identify and explore the personal experiences of foster children, which impact their educational trajectories and life prospects.

Pecora, P. J., et. al. (2006). Educational and employment outcomes of adults formerly placed in foster care: Results from the Northwest Foster Care Alumni Study. Children and youth services review, 1459-1481

The Taint of Criminality and Public Opinions of Latino Exonerees
Kiley N. Gilbert, Psychology
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

In the United States, there are strong opinions about exonerees, yet the majority are unable to report a clear definition of what an exoneree is. While exonerees have been convicted of crime, they are innocent. However, the taint of criminalization may linger and influence perceptions of exonerees, even by those who understand the issue of innocence. The purpose of this study was to examine if an exoneree’s race (Latino or White) and socio-economic status (SES) influence perceived guilt, culpability decision-making, and preferred social distance after a 10-year incarceration. In addition, the influence of individuals’ attitudes about police, the legal system, and Mexican Americans were examined as predictors of culpability attributions about exonerees. Data was collected from a national, adult online sample (N = 246). Results indicated that participants were unable to perceive themselves as being in the same situation as the low SES exonerees, when compared to the high SES exonerees. Furthermore, those high in Mexican American bias reported higher culpability on all measures for the Latino exoneree. Individuals with high bias rated Latino exonerees more culpable, perceived exonerees held criminal personalities, and thought the exoneree’s children would become criminals, compared to those low in bias.

Break-out Session IV: Thursday, July 26th, 2:45pm – 3:45pm

IVA – Art, Chicanx/Latinx Studies, Sociology
Thursday, July 26th, 2:45pm – 3:45pm

“Si Se calla (la) cantor(a), calla la vida”1: Echoing Voices of Muxeres in Latin America’s Fading “Nueva Canción” Era
Paulina Acosta, Chicano/Latino Studies
University of California, Berkeley

Nueva Canción, or New Song, was a highly influential movement in 1960s and 1970s Latin America in which political music was performed by musicians reviving folklore and international exchanges as a way to activate popular resistance against dictatorships and other systematic oppressions in Latin America (Benmayor 1981). While research often highlights Nueva Canción’s influence in social movements through a historical lens, there is a lack in framing Nueva Canción’s legacy as a relevant tactic of social mobilization today and as a women-influenced movement. This case study revives the political and feminine force of Nueva Canción through Latina women’s similar work today. It suggests that a performing arts and third-world-women perspective gives a new and needed urgency to global issues, in particular regards to the new global activist/media surge (Berger 2002). This research explores Acosta’s own third world feminist theory coined “muxeriazgo,” to solidify the importance of women’s ideas in global Chicanx/Latinx social movements (Anzaldúa 1983; hooks 1994; Isasi-Díaz 1996; Sandoval 2000). To trace connections of “muxeriazgo” from past to present, this project engages with original compositions and repertoire from Nueva Canción female icons and also conducts interviews of current Chicana/Latina identifying musicians, activists, and community members that engage with Nueva Canción’s legacy. Findings include that music, solidarity, and aspects of third world feminism have often served as an amplifier of lesser-heard feminine voices in social movements. This research belongs to a larger project that highlights performance art as a medium of activism, self-empowerment, and community engagement in Latinx women’s livelihoods.
1. Translation: “If the (female) singer is silenced, life is silenced.” Lyrics by Horacio Guarany
2. Image: Cover of Mercedes Sosa’s posthumous album “Censurada” (“Censored”) (2011).

Cries from Queens: Audience Responses to Stereotypes of African American Women in Dear White People
Jamireia Hampton, English and Sociology
University of Mississippi

How do black women TV viewers respond to racialized and gendered stereotypes in the media that they consume? This project addresses this question by examining public discourse around a popular television show that depicts contemporary black American life. In particular, in this project I analyze popular hashtags and social media discourse focused on the Netflix series Dear White People. In general, research on the stereotypes of black women has focused on a small set of recurring stereotypes—the Mammy, the Sapphire, the Jezebel. This is to say, most work in this area has focused on how black women are represented, giving less attention to how black women, themselves, perceive and respond to popular representations of race and gender. This project extends this early work by examining how black women audiences respond to popular representations of black women. This study will help broaden understandings of how black women are depicted in media. Ultimately, my work raises important questions about how the media depicts black women and how black people negotiate potentially harmful stereotypes in their everyday lives.

The Performance of Sebastian Hernandez: Posthumanism as A New Decoloniaism
Christal A. Perez
University of California, Los Angeles

My research aims to present artist, Sebastian Hernandez, and analyze how his collaborative performance with Rafa Esparza, entitled “Cumbre: look as far as you can see in every direction-north and south, east and west,” can be interpreted within the framework of a Decolonialist Posthumanist methodology, a methodology that I am articulating to merge, deconstruct and recast, while also restating Chicanx masculinity. Theoretician, Donna Haraway, interprets Posthumanism in the “Cyborg Manifesto” as a Feminist theory that rejects gender binaries and anthropocentric confines to reintroduce concepts of identity. I will attempt to reframe Posthumanism as culturally inclusive and show its inherent Decolonialist structure, which is meant to liberate it from white supremacy leanings. My aim is also to reinterpret the queer brown body through an analysis of Decolonialist Posthumanism and its inherent relationship to performance. The research is inspired by an article by Syed Mustafa Ali, “Transhumanism and/as Whiteness,” in which Ali argues that Transhumanism and Posthumanism are extensions of “white crisis.” My question is how does Sebastian Hernandez recast a Chicanx identity, and liberate himself from any binaries and engage with Decolonialism and Posthumanism. My research offers a new mode to view Latinx artists and explore the aesthetic realm of Latinx theoretical ambiguity, while also presenting how he is evidence of Decolonialist Posthumanism as an act of liberation from any Post-Conquest identification.

IVB – Psychology, Public Health
Thursday, July 26th, 2:45pm – 3:45pm

Microstates in Fragile X Syndrome
Kara Brown, Psychology
University of Oklahoma

Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is commonly characterized by a hypersensitivity to sensory stimuli. In animal studies, this hypersensitivity has been associated with neuronal network hyper-excitability and reduced ability for habituating to sensory input. This study uses electroencephalography (EEG) to record the neural activity of FXS individuals by recording electric flow throughout the brain in a global manner. The global aspect allows a holistic approach for observing stimulus-related neural activity and transitions, which may reveal general patterns of neural organization and provide unique information about sensory processing abnormalities in FXS. Fluctuations of brain states, or microstates, are brief states (~80-120 ms) of stable spatial topography with swift transitions between subsequent states. This study will be the first to observe FXS microstates in resting and pre-stimulus states. We hypothesize that people with FXS will have unique aspects to their resting microstates and also will have abnormal pre-stimulus microstates. These microstates are potentially associated with increased activity in primary sensory cortices, leading to hyper-excitability and hypersensitivity to auditory stimuli. The research is ongoing, but we hope to find the microstates that characterize FXS. People with FXS likely spend more time in an “activated” sensory microstate, which is not ideal during the stimuli pre-processing stage, thus revealing a potential cause of the increased sensory hypersensitivity and sensory processing abnormalities of FXS.

Exposures and Nutritional Lifestyles of an Arizona Tribe
Veronica Lugo Lerma, Public Health
University of Arizona

Within an Arizona Tribe, prevalence of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease has increased. Previous studies elaborate on food insecurities within rural American Indian reservations leading to lack of fresh food and lack of resources for tribal members (Bauer et al., 2012). The objective of this study is to evaluate the nutritional intake of Tribal members and determine the most common food consumption that has led to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other adverse health effects. To do so, this study examined on forty-one houses within the Arizona Tribe and targeted one member of the household to collect their dietary intake. A 24 – hour dietary recall (via questionnaires) for respondents to provide nutritional reporting on daily meals which will then be divided into specific food categories (Willett, 1998). Thus, data is still being analyzed for individual household reports and communal Tribal report. Currently, fourteen households have data collected for further analysis. At the end of the study, the Tribal council will receive the communal results and each household participant will receive personalized results. Further studies must be conducted to evaluate food quality within this population. These data will be specific to the household member and educational interventions will be implemented to help promote healthier food options and modify traditional dishes to reduce health risks within the Arizona Tribe.

Acknowledgements: We thank the Ronald E. McNair Accomplishment Program for funding.

Bauer, K. W., Widome, R., Himes, J. H., Smyth, M., Rock, B. H., Hannan, P. J., Story, M. (2012) High food insecurity and its correlates among families living on a rural American Indian Reservation. American Journal of Public Health, 102(7), 1346-1352. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2011.300522
Willett, W. (1998). Monographs in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. New York, NY; Oxford University Press.

How Does Early Parental Care Alter Oxytocin Receptor Expression in the Brain and Behavior?
Susanna Zheng, Psychology
University of California, Davis

All mammals, including humans, depend on early parental care for their future well-being. Children who lack adequate parental care often develop emotional and psychological problems. One valuable model for human parental care is the prairie vole, a rodent species where parents form monogamous pair bonds and provide biparental care. Alterations in parental care are associated with a variety of long-term consequences in offspring, ranging from behavioral changes, differences in neuroanatomy, neuronal connections, and gene expression. In our study, we explore possible neural mechanisms behind these behavioral differences. Oxytocin (OT), a neuropeptide involved in social bonding, is one candidate. Previous research has shown that oxytocin receptor (OXTR) expression in the prairie vole cortex–the part of the brain responsible for complex social behaviors–is highest in regions that are involved in multisensory integration. In this project, we use autoradiography to quantify and compare OXTR expression in the nucleus accumbens, insula, prelimbic cortex, temporal association area, parietal association area, primary motor cortex, primary somatosensory cortex, and auditory cortex of prairie voles that received different amounts of parental care. We hypothesize that prairie voles with low parent contact will have higher amounts of oxytocin receptor expression than those with high parent contact because prior research shows that male prairie voles with low parent contact speeds up pair bonding. The results of this study will give us insight into how early experiences influences brain organization and behavior.
Authors: Susanna Zheng, Adele Seelke, Karen Bales

IVC – Biochemistry, Chemistry
Thursday, July 26th, 2:45pm – 3:45pm

Examining MRP4 as a Potential Target for Vascular Protection in Stroke
Samantha Serna, Biochemistry
University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

The blood brain barrier (BBB) is disrupted under pathophysiological stressors such as ischemic stroke where the body is deprived of glucose and oxygen. Such BBB disruption can contribute to neuronal cell death and cerebral edema. To protect against breakdown of the BBB in the setting of ischemic stroke, the multidrug resistance protein 4 (MRP4) has become significant as a possible therapeutic target (Brzica et al. 2017). MRP4 is an active efflux transporter of substances such as the endogenous antioxidant glutathione (GSH) (Ronaldson & Bendayan, 2008). Under hypoxic stress conditions, MRP4-mediated efflux of GSH is enhanced, an effect that can contribute to BBB disruption (Ronaldson, P.T., & Davis, T.P. 2015). The current study focuses on characterization of MRP4 localization and functional expression at the BBB in Sprague-Dawley rats. Sex is a significant biological variable that impacts stroke therapy (Appelros, P., Stegmayr, B., & Terent, A. 2009), therefore all studies will be conducted in male and female experimental animals. Since preliminary data from our laboratory indicates increased MRP4 expression in female rats as compared to male rats, we hypothesize that significant differences in MRP4 localization, expression, and function exist based on sex. Current studies in the laboratory are focused on confirming MRP4 protein expression at the BBB via western blot analysis and MRP4 localization in rat brain microvessels by confocal microscopy. These studies are significant because they will establish sex differences in transporter functional expression, thereby providing critical insights into development of personalized medicine strategies to target MRP4 for stroke therapy.

Key References

Appelros, P., Stegmayr, B., & Terent, A. (2009). Sex differences in stroke epidemiology: A systematic review. Stroke, 40(4), 1082-1090.

Brzica, H., Abdullahi, W., Ibbotson, K., & Ronaldson, P. T. (2017). Role of transporters in central nervous system drug delivery and blood-brain barrier protection: Relevance to treatment of stroke. Journal of Central Nervous System Disease, 2017(9), 1-12.

Ronaldson, P.T. & Bendayan R. (2008). HIV-1 viral envelope glycoprotein gp120 produces oxidative stress and regulates the functional expression of multidrug resistance protein-1 (Mrp1) in glial cells. Journal of Neurochemistry, 106(3), 1298-1313.

Ronaldson, P. T. & Davis, T. P. (2015). Targeting transporters: Promoting blood–brain barrier repair in response to oxidative stress injury. Brain Research, 1623, 39-52.

Authors: Samantha Serna, Dr. Patrick Ronaldson
Acknowledgment of Funding: University of Arizona McNair Scholars Program

Identifying substrates of a putative protein O-fucosyltransferase that facilitates pollen tube penetration through the stigma-style interface in Arabidopsis thaliana.
Edward R. Cruz, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
University of Nevada, Reno

Sexual plant reproduction ultimately leads to the formation of a seed and surrounding endosperm tissues as a result of pollen-pistil interactions which allows a pollen tube to penetrate the stigmatic papillae and traverse down the style to eventually fertilize an ovule. Previous studies in Arabidopsis thaliana have characterized a gene mutant knockout of a putative O-FUCOSYLTRANSFERASE 1 (AtOFT1) which is compromised in the reproductive process causing less seed formation. To determine whether AtOFT1 was a true protein O-fucosyltransferase, phylogenetic comparison of AtOFT1 revealed conserved amino acids with known metazoan POFTs. Furthermore, AtOFT1 was altered in important catalytic residues which demonstrated that it bears the same residues required for GDP-fucose binding like the previously described crystallized structure of Caenorhabditis elegans POFUT1 in the presence of GDP-fucose. The overarching goal of our research is to biochemically investigate putative protein O-fucosyltransferase 1 (AtOFT1) by determining its sugar-nucleotide and protein substrate(s). This research will facilitate the establishment of the enzyme’s identity and will further lead to critical insight into this enzyme family and their important roles in plant systems.

Authors: Edward R. Cruz, Devin K. Smith, Jeffrey F. Harper and Ian S. Wallace
: E.R.C. was supported by an ASPB 2019 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship along with the Nevada Undergraduate Research Award and the McNair Scholars Program.

Beer, Biology and Sustainability: Reducing Resource Consumption with Synthetic Biology
Ty Perez, Chemistry and Chemical Biology
University of California, Berkeley

Over the last decade, the craft brewing industry has quintupled, blossoming into a $26 billion market that now accounts for over 23% of all beer sales. To keep up with this surge in consumer interest a swift increase in hop production is necessary, however the long agricultural cycles (2-3 years) of Humulus. lupulus have led to a substantial disconnect between supply and demand. Further, current hop production is both water and energy intensive. 726 gallons of water are needed to produce a kilo of dry hops – enough for one barrel of a typical IPA –  requiring farmers to construct costly irrigation systems. Harvested hops must then be dried in combustion powered kilns, milled, and refrigerated throughout storage and transport – all contributing to a sizable carbon footprint. To address these challenges, we have deployed metabolic engineering strategies to alter the metabolome of brewer’s yeast and emulate a flavor spectrum ordinary derived through dry hopping. Novel transcriptional units (TUs) were constructed from edible plant genes using a golden gate assembly MoClo system, and introduced to each yeast strain via lithium acetate transformation. Strains generated by this process were initially screened using benchtop wort fermentations and GCMS analysis. Promising strains were subsequently brewed at scale and assessed qualitatively. The expression level of each TU was then optimized to yield the most favorable flavors and aromas. We expect the strains produced during this project to yield beverages with enough hoppy character to significantly reduce the quantity of hops needed to achieve desirable flavor profiles in craft brewing, and in some cases, eliminate the need for hops altogether. Reducing the brewing industry’s dependence on natural resources is a necessary step to ensure that further expansion of craft beer remains an environmentally sustainable venture.

IVD – Mathematics, Computer Science
Thursday, July 26th, 2:45pm – 3:45pm

A Survey of Classic Examples from the Calculus of Variations
Gathoni Kamau-Devers, Pure Mathematics
University of California, Berkeley

This detailed survey will explore some classic examples from the calculus of variations and from optimal control theory, including simple mechanical systems and basic economics models. The goal of calculus of variations is to find functions that maximize or minimize certain integral functionals. These integral functionals reveal useful geometric and physical information. To find the extrema of these functionals, we look for the functions where the ” functional derivative equals zero” in an appropriate sense. Such functions turn out to be ordinary differential equations (ODEs), called Euler Lagrange equations. This survey will derive the Euler Lagrange equations for various models, and will solve them using either calculus methods or numerical methods (from MATLAB). The field of Control Theory falls under Calculus of Variations and asks how we can optimally steer various systems modeled by ODE. This survey will also apply the Pontryagin maximum principle to solve some interesting control theory applications.

Enhancing Patient Medication Adherence Through User-Driven Smartphone-based Intervention Systems
Alex Erwin, Computer Science
University of Arizona

Medication adherence, which is defined as taking a prescribed medication on-time and as directed, is currently a significant topic in health care. This issue has great significance due to the exorbitant costs, which total between 100 and 300 billion USD yearly, that triage and emergency services patients receive due to underlying condition manifestations exacerbated by the patient’s, and possibly their families’, lack of adherence to prescribed medication treatment protocol. Will including patients as stakeholders in an iteratively developed and collaboratively patient sourced smartphone-based medication adherence application increase their own medication adherence outcomes? The purpose of this study is to determine if increasing the role of the patient in the development process of a smartphone-based adherence tool will enhance their medication adherence rates due to the patient’s perceived elevation of stature, expended collaborative effort, and the resulting evocation of a sense of accomplishment. The study solicited the patients’ perceptions, observations, and feedback on their low adherence susceptibility, comfort and usefulness perceptions of a smartphone’s potential as a health care tool, and the required versus desired application functionality. Surveys, personal interviews, a focus group, and an iteratively developed adherence tool were utilized. The study is expected to conclude mid to late August. Preliminary data reveals that patients strongly perceive using a smartphone as an adherence tool is of great importance and prefer the tool to be aggressively persistent in reminding them to take their medications.

Dayer, L., Heldenbrand, S., Anderson, P., Gubbins, P. O., & Martin, B. C. (2013). Smartphone medication adherence apps: Potential benefits to patients and providers. Journal of the American Pharmacists Association: JAPhA, 53(2), 172-181. doi:10.1331/JAPhA.2013.12202

Fenerty, S. D., West, C., Davis, S. A., Kaplan, S. G., & Feldman, S. R. (2012). The effect of reminder systems on patients’ adherence to treatment. Patient Preference and Adherence, 6, 127-135. doi:10.2147/PPA.S26314

Santo, K., Richtering, S. S., Chalmers, J., Thiagalingam, A., Chow, C. K., & Redfern, J. (2016). Mobile phone apps to improve medication adherence: A systematic stepwise process to identify high-quality apps. JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 4(4), e132. doi:10.2196/mhealth.6742

Bias Clustering for Online Political Articles
Lauren Alvarez and Sofia Ruiz, Applied Mathematics
Loyola Marymount University

Readers of online political articles can receive vastly different perspectives on the same subject depending on the sources of the articles—a problem that has been implicated in the currently divisive U.S. political climate. The present study provides a technique for exposing bias to consumers, with the intent of providing a more holistic perspective of current events. Previous efforts have examined biased language within articles using trained models, whereas our work performs an inter-article clustering from a variety of news sources using Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) topic modeling. Crucially, we assume that different political slants will employ distinct vocabularies in their discussions on ostensibly the same subjects, and then explore the efficacy and informativeness of this clustering. We then fashion a web-application that allows users to query Google on a subject and, using our technique, compare the slants of recent articles from a wide swath of online news sources.

This research was supported by Loyola Marymount University’s Ronald E. McNair Scholars program.

IVE – Communication Sciences, Cognitive Science, Neuroscience
Thursday, July 26th, 2:45pm – 3:45pm

Sleep Duration and Objective Cognitive Function: Data from a Nationally-Representative Sample
Nakayla Griffin, Neuroscience and Cognitive Sciencea
University of Arizona

Habitual sleep duration has been associated with obesity, cardiometabolic disease risk, and decreased cognitive function (Grandner, 2017; Brzecka et al., 2018).  Insufficient sleep in particular leads to cognitive impairments such as decreased processing speed and inattention (Goel, 2017). These studies are largely confined to the laboratory, though. The goal of the present analysis is to extend these laboratory findings to a population-level sample.

The combined 2011-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) was used. Sleep duration was assessed as hours of sleep on a typical night and categorized as very short (≤4h), short (5-6h), normal (7-8h), or long (≥9h). Cognitive function was assessed using the Digit Symbol Substitution Task (DSST), a test of processing speed, and Animal Category Fluency (ACF), a test of verbal functioning. These were administered to a nationally-representative sample of N=2,949 adults. Covariates included age, sex, and education. Regression analyses were weighted using NHANES sample weights.

In adjusted analyses, very short sleep was associated with impaired performance on the DSST (B=-5.15;95%CI[-8.57,-1.72];p=0.003) and ACF (B=-1.45;95%CI[-2.49,-0.40],p=0.007). Short sleep was also associated with impaired DSST (B=-1.87;95%CI[-3.39,-0.35);p=0.016) and ACF (B=-0.56;95%CI[-1.12,-0.0001];p<0.05). Long sleep was also associated with impaired DSST (B=-3.63;95%CI[-5.75,-1.51];p=0.001) and ACF (B=-1.08;95%CI[-1.94,-0.21],p=0.015).

Overall, both short and long sleep duration were associated with worse cognitive performance at the population level. This suggests that cognitive effects of sleep deprivation and excessive sleep are experienced outside of the laboratory and in real-world settings. Future research should examine a broader range of tests and effect modifiers (e.g., are some individuals resilient to the effects).

Key References:

Grandner, M. A. (2017). Sleep, Health, and Society. Sleep Med Clin 12(1): 1-22.

Brzecka, A., Leszek, J., Ashraf, G. M., Ejma, M., Ávila-Rodriguez, M. F., Yarla, N. S., … Aliev, G. (2018). Sleep Disorders Associated With Alzheimer’s Disease: A Perspective. Frontiers in Neuroscience12, 330.

Goel, N. (2017). Genetic Markers of Sleep and Sleepiness. Sleep Med Clin 12(3): 289-299.

Acknowledgement: Special thanks to the Ronald E. McNair Achievement Program for funding this research

Investigating the Role of the Cerebellum in Semantic Prediction Using Event-Related Potentials
Katherine D. Andrade
University of California, Berkeley

Cumulative evidence in typical and atypical development has shown the importance of the cerebellum in language. Individuals with cerebellar degeneration show impairments in various aspects of language function, though their lexicon remains intact. It has been hypothesized that the cerebellum uses internal models, that are key to its role in facilitating movement, to support linguistic prediction. Additionally, the cerebellum is known to have a role in processing temporal structures. This study examines the role of the cerebellum in automatic semantic prediction, and the possible involvement of periodic temporal structure. First, we will use a lexical decision task to examine semantic priming; a phenomenon in which linguistic processing is facilitated when preceded by a semantically related vs. unrelated task-irrelevant prime word. Following, we will use electroencephalography to measure a neural response, termed N400, that is typically elicited when the last word in a highly predictive sentence violates the semantic expectation. We hypothesize patients with cerebellar degeneration will elicit a reduced semantic priming and N400 response, compared to healthy adults. In addition, if patients show reduced reaction times in both tasks compared to controls, this would provide further evidence for feed-forward internal models and cerebellar involvement in predictive language processing. Furthermore, to further examine the importance of timing in the cerebellum, we will manipulate the time intervals in which sentences are presented. If the N400 in patients is sensitive to this manipulation, this would indicate that circuits within the cerebellum use rhythmic temporal structures to improve predictability in language.

Resting State Functional Connectivity in Schizophrenia
Maliah Wilkinson , Communicative Sciences and Disorders
University of Mississippi

Olfactory dysfunction and hallucinations are commonly found in Schizophrenia. Here, we examined whether olfactory functional connectivity is associated with hallucinations. Olfactory functional connectivity was analyzed using resting state functional connectivity data from 82 individuals with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder with the assessment of hallucination severity. Among four olfactory regions examined (the olfactory bulb, olfactory tract, anterior piriform cortex and posterior piriform cortex), the functional connectivity between the anterior piriform cortex (APC) and right pars opercularis showed inverse association with the hallucination scale. The results suggest that the APC’s functional connectivity may inhibit the emergence of hallucination.

Keywords: Schizophrenia; Schizoaffective Disorder; Hallucinations; resting state functional connectivity; Broca’s Area; Olfaction

IVF: Sociology
Thursday, July 26th, 2:45pm – 3:45pm

Single Sex Education, Policy, & Multiple Masculinities
Nicole Contreras, Sociology
University of California, Los Angeles

This study will explore the multiple masculinities prevalent in all-boy high schools where gender stereotypes and ideologies are oftentimes fostered. This can include violence, misogyny, verbal abuse, and harassment (Burke, 2011). These institutions sometimes further cultivate hypermasculinity through little to no repercussions for those who act violently and/or create other issues such as bullying and victimizing. (Pascoe, 2007). Educators encourage heteronormativity by reinforcing these notions in school settings, without acknowledging those students who embody multiple masculinities (Pascoe, 2007).

To guide and develop this study, I will be utilizing symbolic violence by Bourdieu (1998) and hegemonic masculinity theory by Connell (1993). This study will employ ethnographic methods to more deeply understand how school policies contrast with student and staff behavior, to determine how policy implementation might impact the boys’ interactions with others. These methods include 1) individual interviews with faculty/staff members, 2) unstructured observations of classrooms and events, 3) focus groups with students and 4) content analysis of school policies. Larger implications of this study include addressing how institutionalized hegemonic masculinity operates, which could inform ways to lessen avenues of violence for young boys in society. The ways in which same-sex high school policy implementation relative to boys’ behavior must be addressed and immediately acted upon to prevent tragedies and long-term psychological, emotional, and physical damage. This study hopes to provide recommendations for single-sex schools, which include comprehensive reform of curriculum and pedagogical practices to ensure the encouragement of healthy gender expressions, integration of gender education in classrooms and more administrator oversight.

Microaggressions: How micro aggressions affect the academic experience of Black Male Student Athletes
Marina Edwards, Sociology
University of California, Berkeley

Research has shown how micro-aggressions can negatively impact the academic experiences of students of color. Expanding on this scholarship, this qualitative study explores the academic experiences of Black male student athletes at the University of California Berkeley. By bringing to the forefront the opinions, observations, and perceptions of Black male student athletes, this study examines how Black male student athletes encounter micro aggressions and how these experiences influence and shape their academic trajectory.  Drawing on in depth interviews with Black male student athletes from the UC Berkeley football and basketball teams, this work highlights the process by which Black Athletes navigate and straddle their academic and athlete identities in response to micro-aggressions and/or what can be hostile and racial learning environments. The findings in this study add to a growing body of work on micro aggressions in the academic setting and aim to further our understanding of why Black student athletes historically perform lower academically on predominately white institutions of higher learning compared to their white peers.

Rebuilding the Foundation: Centering Black Love Narratives on Television
Eryn Jones, Sociology
University of California, Los Angeles

Previous works (Harrison 1999; Weitz & Gordon, 1993; West, 1995) have concluded the Sapphire stereotype was first popularized by the controversial Amos n Andy show. At the height of its popularity Amos n Andy had a weekly audience estimated at 31 million (McLeod, 2001). Sapphire Stephens, the nagging and emasculating wife, casted Black women as consistently hostile and confrontational (Bell-Scott, 1982; Gosden & Correll, 1952). Black love and Black femininity have been used in television to construct racial ideologies surrounding Black relationships and interactions. More recently, there has been an upsurge in Reality Television or unscripted series. My research seeks to understand the ‘Sapphire’ stereotype on reality television; as well as the different depiction of this character between Black/ and non-Black television networks. To delve into this understanding, I will conduct a content analysis featuring Love and Hip Hop Atlanta and Love is, a relationship drama based on a real couple. I will be conducting a character analysis specifically analyzing Sierra Gates from Love and Hip Hop and Nuri from Love is, and their relations throughout the duration of seven episodes (Mangello, 1998). Critical content analysis lacks the historical cultural and sociopolitical specificity to fully capture the multi dimensional experiences of Black women, therefore Black feminist thought will guide my study. This study is important because it includes a positive narrative documenting the ways Black women are regularly executing transformative resistance through Black feminist agency.

Breakout Session V: Thursday, July 26th, 4:00pm – 5:00pm

VA – Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Exercise Science
Thursday 4:00pm – 5:00pm

Augmented-Reality Multi-Player Quadcopter Game System: Control & Localization
Gabriel Simmons, Mechanical Engineering
University of California, Davis

Abstract: Control of quadcopters in indoor environments lacking GPS availability is integral to making quadcopter-based indoor games accessible to novice pilots. Solutions to this problem could also provide benefit to the fields of package delivery, personal robotics, and the military. This research aims to investigate the indoor control of the commercially-available 3D Robotics Solo quadcopter using fiducial marker-based localization data, in the context of an augmented reality (AR) video game. Robot Operating System (ROS) software is used as a framework for developing the control algorithm. The success of the control algorithm will be reflected in the quadcopter’s ability to maintain an arbitrary position specified by the user. The algorithm will be applied to the problem of collision avoidance in the context of the AR video game, and success will be evaluated by the quadcopter’s ability to avoid collision with the real-world game enclosure and other quadcopters. If successful, this experiment would serve as a proof of concept for a simple, cost-effective method of control of a popular, commercially available quadcopter platform.

Funding Acknowledgements:
UC Davis Data, Informatics & Application Launch (DIAL) Grant Program
UC Davis Science Translation and Innovative Research (STAIR) Grant Program

Effect of Static and Ballistic Stretching on Muscle-Tendon Unit Stiffness, Work Absorption, Strength, and Power.
Francis J. Gesel, Exercise Science
University of New Hampshire, Durham NH

Different stretching modalities are performed prior to exercise with little understanding of their effect on passive and active muscle force production. The purpose of this study was to evaluate effects of static and ballistic stretching on Muscle-Tendon Unit (MTU) stiffness, work absorption (WA), strength, and power. It is hypothesized that static stretching will decrease MTU stiffness, WA, strength, and power, compared to control and ballistic stretching conditions.  METHODS: To date, 9 recreationally active men and women (22.6±4.1 yr, 72.8±16.0 kg, 1.7±0.1 m) participated in the study. Stiffness, WA, strength, and power were measured for the ankle plantarflexors on an isokinetic dynamometer on three separate days, following an acute bout of static, ballistic, or no stretching. Subjects lied prone on the dynamometer and the ankle was dorsiflexed 0-30° and joint position and torque were recorded. Subjects then performed 3-5 maximal isometric plantarflexion efforts to determine strength, and 3-5 maximal plantarflexion efforts at 180 deg·s-1 to determine power. Results: In control, ballistic, and static conditions, respectively, mean MTU stiffness was 78.4±33.2, 75.2±31.3, and 73.4±30.4 Nm·rad-1, mean WA was 5.0±2.8, 4.7±2.6, and 4.3±2.1 Nm·rad, mean strength was 135.9±48.0, 130.5±51.6, and 134.6±52.8 Nm, and mean power was 78.6±31.9, 78.8±33.8, and 69.7±23.4 Watts. Conclusion: Compared to control and ballistic conditions, respectably, static stretching decreased MTU stiffness by 6.8% and 2.4%, WA by 14% and 8.5%, and power by 11.3% and 11.8%. Clinicians, researchers, and coaches should appreciate that static stretching prior to exercise impairs both passive and active muscle force production.

Determining Hepatotoxicity with Organ on a Chip (OOC) Technology
Christina Loera, Exercise Science
University: University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Herbal medicine, a burgeoning health trend in Western medicine, has touted a variety of health benefits, such as weight loss and immune support. Due to limited regulatory oversight, many supplements that are readily available to consumers can cause dangerous side effects such as liver failure (hepatotoxicity). Therefore, it is of grave importance to clinically test the effects of herbal medicine on liver function. To address this challenge, research has been directed toward Organ on a Chip (OOC) technology, a 3-D cellular microenvironment that mimics an entire human organ by emulating flow conditions, and operates on a time scale of roughly 28 days (No et al., 2015; Prodanov et al., 2016). This study is pursuing a two-pronged approach, both aiming to address issues with OOC technology while continuing research into hepatotoxicity related to herbal medicine. Our goal is to design an efficient microfluidic chip that can model both acute and chronic toxicity in a human liver. By changing certain variables such as the geometry of the flow channels of the microfluidic chip, and by creating an apparatus that mimics the nutrient flow of a human liver, this study aims to recreate a testing environment that can predict potential cell toxicity.  Upon estimated completion in December, this study’s apparatus can be utilized to dramatically decrease the time needed to test for hepatotoxicity. Eventually the apparatus can be utilized in personalized medicine to determine safe dosages of medication for individual patients.

Key References
Prodanov, Ljupcho et al. “Long-Term Maintenance of a Microfluidic 3D Human Liver Sinusoid”. Biotechnology and Bioengineering 2016.
No, Da Yoon et al. “3D liver models on a micro-platform: well-defined culture, engineering of liver tissue and liver-on-a-chip”. Royal Society of Chemistry 2015.

Kattika Kaarj (PhD), Jennifer Ngo, Patarajarin Akarapipad and UA Biosensor Lab
Ronald McNair Achievement Program

VB – Sociology, Psychology, Medical Humanities
Thursday 4:00pm – 5:00pm

An Investigation of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) as a Predictor for Type II Diabetes Mellitus In Adults
Elise Garza Williams, Medical Humanities
The University of Texas at San Antonio

The United States is experiencing rising rates of type two diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Previous research has linked inflammatory biomarkers from stress signaling to insulin resistance. The Adverse Childhood Experiences survey (ACEs) is a tool used to quantify several types of childhood abuse and household dysfunction. High ACEs scores are linked to cell inflammation from repeated stress signaling and diseases that result in detrimental health outcomes. We hypothesize that due to the connections between T2DM, toxic stress, and cell inflammation, people with T2DM will have higher ACEs scores than people who do not and that the ACEs survey can be a strong predictor of T2DM. The ACEs survey was modified to include questions concerning demographics and health history and was distributed on social media using Qualtrics survey systems. Preliminary results for the survey show a correlation between detrimental health outcomes, including diabetes, and high ACEs scores. There has been little research on how ACE scores may relate to the etiology and prevalence of type II diabetes mellitus and the rates of T2DM. Past research linking biomarkers of cell inflammation due to stress signaling to insulin resistance has warranted continued research on ACEs as an upstream approach to reduce rates of T2DM.

Power and Discourse: An analysis of Jehovah’s Witnesses Doctrinal Changes
Markus I. Hicks, Sociology
University of California, Los Angeles

Concerning domination, Foucault (1990) focused his studies on discursive practices that reinforces marginalization. He was interested in challenging the prevailing norms, regimes of truth, and ways of thinking about reality that are thought of as natural, standard, and therefore taken-for-granted (Given, 2008). This study will seek to trace the origins of discursive practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) to see how discourse interacts with power, namely the power to determine what is true or false. JWs throughout their 148 years of existence have had many significant doctrinal changes.1 Consequently, this research will investigate the various JWs teachings that have changed. Will consider the consequences for the individual and the organization once a particular discourse is no longer considered the “prevailing truth.” Also, will explore the origins of JWs established discourses that concern rules of conduct and evaluate their normalizing effects on the adherent. The methods will consist of content analysis with the majority of the research stemming from primary sources such as the Watchtower, which has been in print since 1879. These publications will be analyzed through Foucault’s ‘Bio-Power’ theory which examines the ways discourses “inscribed the body, at the level of people’s movement and perception of themselves” (Foucault, Faubion & Hurley, 1998 p. 9). This study is significant because as a site of power JWs has a normalizing effect to breed or create assumptions of marginalization communities within the faith. Further analyzing JWs discourses allows for understanding the role language plays in perpetuating social inequality.

1. For more details regarding this topic please visit Jehovah’s Witnesses official website: Why Have Jehovah’s Witnesses Changed Some of Their Beliefs? (n.d.). Retrieved July 11, 2018, from https://www.jw.org/en/jehovahs-witnesses/faq/jw-doctrine-changes/

Works Cited

Foucault, M. (1990). The history of sexuality: An introduction, volume I. Trans. Robert Hurley. New York: Vintage.

Foucault, M., Faubion, J. D., & Hurley, R. (1998). Aesthetics, method, and epistemology (Vol. 2). New York: New Press.

Given, L. M. (2008). The SAGE encyclopedia of qualitative research methods (Vols. 1-0). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Ltd doi: 10.4135/9781412963909

Don’t Tell: Sexual Assault, Institutional Environment, and Mental Health in the U.S. Department of Defense
Carolyn Herrera, Psychology
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Sexual assault is a highly prevalent and individually destructive issue within the United States Department of Defense. Sexual assault survivors face long-term mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Depression and an insecure work environment can compound these issues. This study investigated the effects of institutional trust, leadership response to sexual assault, and workgroup retaliation on PTSD and Depressive symptomatology of sexual assault survivors. Method: The study was a secondary analysis of the 2012 Workplace and Gender Relations Survey of Active Duty Members (WGRA). Service members who had survived a sexual assault within the last twelve months were included in the analysis (n = 832). Results: Workgroup retaliation behavior was the most significant variable examined, accounting for over ten percent of the model’s variance in both PTSD and Depression; leadership response to sexual assault added significant variance in addition that caused by workgroup retaliation, and institutional trust contributed a smaller, but still significant amount of variance. Conclusions: Results (1) suggest the need for serious investigation into workgroup retaliation behaviors, (2) reinforce the necessity of increased military sexual assault training, and (3) broaden the clinical understanding of factors impacting sexual assault survivors’ mental health.

Key references:

Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC). (2013). 2012 workplace and gender relations survey of active duty members (Note NO. 2013-007). Retrieved from http://www. sapr.mil/public/docs/research/2012_Workplace_and_Gender_Relations_Survey_of_Active_Duty_Members-Survey_N ote_and_Briefing.pdf

WGRA (2012). Workplace and gender relations survey of active duty members: Administration, datasets, and codebook. Defense Manpower Data Center. Retrieved from: http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf&AD=ADA591052.

VC – Animal Biology, Biomedical Engineering
Thursday 4:00pm – 5:00pm

Artificially Engineered Protein for Antimicrobial Material Production
Miguel Pena, Biomedical Engineering
University of Arizona

The rise of antimicrobial resistant bacteria has inspired the search for alternative treatments for infection. Antimicrobial peptides (AMP) have shown potential but have an efficacy range known to be toxic to humans and degrade rapidly in the bloodstream (Kumar et al., 2018). Our goal is the development and production of an AMP tethering platform comprised of artificial elastin-like polypeptide (ELP) that can be biosynthesized in Escherichia coli (E. coli) in high yield and non-chromatographically purified using the reversible solubility of ELP below and insolubility above a programmed temperature. The ELP-AMP protein enhances AMP stability in vivo and adding tyrosine residues to ELP {ELP(Tyr)} enables material production through tyrosine photo-crosslinking. The necessary genetic sequence, provided by Ingrole et al. (2014), was introduced into BL21 E. coli cells, and then used to express the protein. The solution was purified using the Inverse Transition Cycling (ITC) method, and a final protein yield of 356 +/- 47mg per liter of expression was obtained. ELP(Tyr) hydrogels were produced using ruthenium mediated photo-crosslinking of tyrosine residues (Fancy and Kodadek, 1999). Mechanical properties of ELP(Tyr) hydrogels were investigated for the translation to potential ELP(Tyr)-AMP material applications.

Key References

Chow, D. C., Dreher, M. R., Trabbic‐Carlson, K., & Chilkoti, A. (2006). Ultra‐High Expression of a Thermally Responsive Recombinant Fusion Protein in E. coli. Biotechnology Progress, 22(3), 638-646. doi:10.1021/bp0503742

David A. Fancy, & Thomas Kodadek. (1999). Chemistry for the analysis of protein-protein interactions: Rapid and efficient cross-linking triggered by long wavelength light. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 96(11), 6020-6024. 10.1073/pnas.96.11.6020 Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/47817

Ingrole, R. S., Tao, W., Tripathy, J. N., & Gill, H. S. (2014). Synthesis and Immunogenicity Assessment of Elastin-Like Polypeptide-M2e Construct as an Influenza Antigen. Nano LIFE, 4(2). doi:10.1142/S1793984414500044

Kumar, P., Kizhakkedathu, J., & Straus, S. (2018). Antimicrobial Peptides: Diversity, Mechanism of Action and Strategies to Improve the Activity and Biocompatibility In Vivo. Biomolecules, 8(1), 4. doi:10.3390/biom8010004


The project was funded by the UA Office of Research, Discovery & Innovation. M. Pena thanks the University of Arizona, Ronald E. McNair Achievement Program for their generous funding.

Authors: Miguel Pena, Chris Camp, and Minkyu Kim, Ph.D.

Development of Genetic In Situ Sensors for Development in Cartilage Tissue Engineering
University of California, Davis

According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis limits the quality of life for approximately 54 million adults in the US and affects approximately two-thirds of adults who are of working age (18-64 years). One proposed solution is to engineer new cartilage for patients.  However, current engineered cartilage lacks mechanical properties, does not integrate well in vivo, and may trigger a destructive immune response. One of the challenges to producing cartilage that mimics native tissue properties is an inability to dynamically monitor the developmental process and to dynamically modify growth conditions in response to developmental cues. We hypothesize that being able to monitor development stages in real-time can allow the bioengineer to make better tissue. To tackle the challenge of monitoring the developmental stages of tissue growth we propose to engineer cells that could act as in situ reporters of the developmental and/or physiological state. These reporters will tell the bioengineer how to adjust or terminate growth of the new tissue. We plan to accomplish this by creating genetic constructs that link promoters known to be active in a specific developmental stage to a fluorescent reporter gene. When transformed into cells, these constructs should allow us to visually monitor what stage of development the cells are at in the dish and how external stimuli influence development. Ultimately, these new tools will be used to help engineer improvements to the mechanical properties of engineered cartilage.

VD – Chemical Engineering, Chemical Physics
Thursday 4:00pm – 5:00pm

Benchmarking computational models of thermodynamic hydricities in organic and organometallic compounds
Minh Nguyen, Chemical Physics
University of California, Davis

Hydricity is a measure of a molecule’s thermodynamic ability to donate a hydride ion and is an important factor in selecting and designing molecular electrocatalysts for clean energy chemistry such as carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction. Computational methods can aid catalyst design by predicting thermodynamic hydricities specifically through the use of Density Functional Theory (DFT). Although DFT has the advantage of being computationally cheaper and reasonably accurate compared to wavefunction based methods such as second order perturbation theory, the accuracy of DFT depends on various choices of models and approximations including the density functional approximation, atomic basis set, and solvent model. In our work, we seek to benchmark these parameters for their accuracy in predicting thermodynamic hydricities. We use ordinary least squares linear regression to map computed hydricity half-reaction free energies (∆G_HHR) against experimentally determined hydricity values (∆G_H) of various organic and organometallic hydride donors. Through the comparison of root-mean-squared errors, correlation coefficients, and interpreting the fitted parameters from the regression, we can compare the quality of different models and approximations. Preliminary data shows that the use of a larger atomic basis sets improves the quality of the linear fits. Future work will expand on parameters to be tested and molecules to be benchmarked.

Quaternary Ammonium Containing Multi-Block Poly(arylene ether sulfone) Based Anion-Exchange Membranes
Ashleigh Herrera, Chemical Engineering
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Anion-exchange membranes (AEMs) hold great potential for advancing the development of state-of-the-art membrane-based electrochemical devices such as fuel cells. Though Nafion, a proton exchange membrane (PEM), serves as a benchmark for proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs), no such standard exists for anion exchange membrane fuel cells (AEMFCs). Structure-property investigations of a wide range of ionomer materials are needed to develop a benchmark AEM for AEMFCs. This study focuses on investigating a series of quaternary ammonium containing multi-block poly(arylene ether sulfone) ionomers as AEMs. Our research efforts strive to understand the effect of hydrophilic and hydrophobic block length on the transport and physicochemical properties of these multi-block AEMs. The water uptake, swelling ratio, and ion conductivity were subsequently measured for the ionomer membranes. Membrane’s percolation characteristics were also recorded in terms of conductivity as a function of conversion time. The highest hydroxide ion conductivity recorded was 62.1 mS/cm at 30 °C, which belonged to the Q:N[24k:Y] series. This study found that an increase in the hydrophilic block length resulted in an increase in ion conductivity at a given ion-exchange capacity (IEC). The highest water uptake (171%) was also observed for the largest hydrophilic block AEM series (Q:N[24K:Y]). This was attributed to not only IEC but an increase in the hydrophilic block length. In addition, the swelling ratios followed a similar trend to water uptake, increasing with increasing hydrophilic block length and IEC. All these results suggest that block length plays a significant role on the properties of multi-block AEMs.

1. Li, X., Wang, L. & Cheng, S. Investigation on structure and properties of anion exchange membranes based on tetramethylbiphenol moieties containing copoly(arylene ether)s. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 132, 1–8 (2015).
2. Larminie, J. & Dicks, A. Fuel Cell Systems Explained. (2003). doi:10.1002/9781118878330
3. Mei, W. & Wang, Z. Anion exchange membranes based on chloromethylation of fluorinated poly(arylene ether)s. Chem. Res. Chinese Univ. 31, 1056–1061 (2015).
4. Zhang, Z., Shen, K., Lin, L. & Pang, J. Anion exchange membranes based on tetra-quaternized poly(arylene ether ketone). J. Memb. Sci. 497, 318–327 (2015).
5. Yan, J. & Hickner, M. A. Anion exchange membranes by bromination of benzylmethyl-containing poly(sulfone)s. Macromolecules 43, 2349–2356 (2010).

Funding Acknowledgements: University of Nebraska–Lincoln McNair and Nebraska Public Power District
Authors: Herrera, Ashleigh; Khan, Wayz R; Cornelius, Chris J.*

Life Cycle Analysis of Latex Gloves in Healthcare
Marc Nabhan, Chemical engineering
University of Nevada, Reno

Latex, being inexpensive and elastic, is one of the leading raw materials for gloves manufacturing and is widely used in the healthcare system in the US. Studying the impact of these materials on the environment is significant as the number of hospitals and clinics keeps on rising. A life cycle analysis (LCA) is used to study the ecological footprint caused by the usage of latex gloves in the healthcare system. This LCA tracks latex gloves from the plantation of natural rubber until the disposal of the final latex product. Data about the emissions of these various stages have been collected, as well as data about the consumption of latex gloves in a hospital setup. Primary results showed that 3.50 grams of latex are used per day per bed. The waste generated from that consumption can follow different paths. For the most part, that waste is either incinerated or directly sent to landfills. Other studied ways of disposal are pyrolysis in a fluidized bed and autoclave steam sterilization. Impacts such as global warming, acidification, eutrophication, and human health are examined for each case where different emission factors are being compared. To reduce any uncertainties in the data collected, a stochastic Monte-Carlo simulation is adopted. The implications of the current waste disposal and management methods are thus being compared to the two alternative processes with the purpose to assist the healthcare sector in reducing energy consumption and providing greener approaches for the disposal and management of latex gloves.

VE – Psychology, Linguistics
Thursday 4:00pm – 5:00pm

San Francisco Bay Area Vietnamese Language Schools: Administrators and Teachers’ Perspectives on Vietnamese Language Developments among Second Generation Vietnamese American Adolescents.
Hoa Luong, Linguistics and Psychology
University of California, Berkeley

Studies on heritage language (HL) development have shown that HL schools provide ethnic minority populations with social, cognitive, and cultural benefits, including intergenerational connections (Wang 2004), higher cognitive development (Bialystok 2001), and bicultural competence (Maloof, V.M., Rubin, D.L., & Miller, A.N., 2006; Aberdeen, 2016).

However, despite these benefits, little research has been conducted to uncover the extent to which HL schools fulfill their goals of maintaining heritage language in immigrant adolescents. This study explores the factors that impact Vietnamese Language developments among second generation Vietnamese American adolescents through 6 in depth semi-structured interviews with Vietnamese Language Schools (VLS) administrators and teachers of three VLS in the San Francisco Bay Area. Through an analysis of these interviews, this study indicates that parents’ positive attitude towards HL, the social and emotional support from speech community peers, and cultural resources in HL schools and community are facilitating factors for heritage language maintenance while the pressure of assimilation into American society, the fear of disrupting English language growth, and the lack of acknowledgement on rich benefits of HL maintenance are inhibiting factors for heritage language development. This research project raises awareness for the importance of HL schools’ roles in providing a protective environment for Vietnamese American adolescents particularly, and for ethnic minority adolescents generally, to explore their identities and maintain their heritage language cultural practices while also developing and appropriating their repertoires of practice in ways that allow them to adapt to mainstream society.

Keywords: Heritage language (HL) development; Vietnamese language schools (VLS); traditional culture preservation; Vietnamese American adolescents

Investigating how the perception of school climate factors influences bystander behaviors of high school students during instances of dating and sexual violence
Hannah Nordstrom, Psychology
University of New Hampshire

Previous research suggests that the perception of one’s school climate has a significant influence on bystander intervention. However, there is very little research that addresses how the perception of school climate factors involving school opportunity and involvement, school authority, and student independence and autonomy may influence bystander intervention in high school students. This study investigated high school students specifically, exploring how the perception of their school environment may influence bystander behaviors during instances of dating and sexual violence. It was hypothesized that the more positively a student perceives their school environment, the more likely they are to participate in positive bystander behaviors. In person surveys were gathered in one New England high school (N=996) which collected measures of school climate and bystander behaviors. After analyzing the data collected from the surveys, a relationship between school climate factors and bystander intervention in high school youth were more clearly defined after obtaining and interpreting the Pearson’s correlation produced by a bivariate correlational test. In order to gain a better understanding as to why high school students may be more or less likely to intervene during instances of dating and sexual violence, it is crucial to study the influence that school climate factors may have on youth, which could result in positive actions or lack thereof. Increasing information that is known about how school climate factors could influence bystander behaviors could lead to creating prevention programs that could help increase good behaviors as well as decreasing negative behaviors.

Banyard, V. L., & Moynihan, M. M. (2011, April 11). Variation in bystander behavior related to sexual and intimate partner violence prevention: Correlates in a sample of college students. Psychology of Violence, 1, 287-301. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0023544

Paul, L. A., & Gray, M. J. (2011). Sexual assault programming on college campuses: Using social    psychological belief and behavior change principles to improve outcomes. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 12(2), 99-109. doi:10.1177/1524838010390710

Cook, E. M., Wildschut, T., & Thomaes, S. (2017). Understanding adolescent shame and pride at school: Mind-sets and perceptions of academic competence. Educational & Child Psychology34(3), 119-129.

Examining the Characteristics of Student Leaders
Meice Hamad, Psychology
Cal Poly Pomona

Significant findings have indicated that the college years are a critical period of students’ personal, social, and professional growth (Astin, 1985, 1993). This exploratory research aims to understand the dynamic characteristics of student leaders. The purpose of this study is to examine the profiles of leaders among undergraduate students attending California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. The research is driven by three fundamental questions: 1) Who are student leaders? 2) What motivates individuals to become student leaders? 3) What impact does student leadership have on the individual? The methodology for this project will consist of an interview with ten student presidents, across disciplines. Factors that were examined are the students’ motivation, demographics, and aspirations. The results include five emerging themes; benefits of being a part of an organization, challenges of leading an organization, similar characteristics of student leaders, importance of diversity in teams, and lastly, the advocacy for others. The outcomes of this study could be beneficial to the understanding of diverse student leaders and the creation of programs that would nurture and increase the professional development of undergraduate students’.

VF – Physics
Thursday 4:00pm – 5:00pm

A Chandra survey of one-armed spiral NGC 4725
Victor Alaniz, Physics
The University of Texas at San Antonio

We conducted a Chandra ACIS survey of nearby Coma I Group galaxy NGC 4725 as a study for X-ray sources in nearby spiral galaxies. NGC 4725 is a one-armed barred spiral galaxy with an assumed distance of ~12 Mpc. Using Chandra’s data analysis software CIAO we limited our search into three energy bands: hard, medium, and soft, with energy bounds of 2-8 keV, 1-2 keV, and 0.3-1 keV respectively. We then matched up the sources from the sub-bands to the full band. Preliminary findings yield 30 total detected sources with 16 that match up positionally to the detections in the full band. Of these 16 sources, the majority were found to be in the galactic center and in the spiral arm. Two of these sources were found to be background objects with infrared counterparts. We hypothesize that there must be obscurity from gas or dust due to the low count values of sources close to the galactic center of the galaxy. Possible explanation for this obscurity could be due to tidal interactions from the companion galaxy NGC 4747. Future plans include taking infrared data of NGC 4725 and constructing an IR color-color plot in order to better understand these sources.

Simulation of the Propagation of Low Energy Electrons
Taylor Billington, Physics
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

The purpose of this study is to develop an apparatus that is capable of producing very short pulses of low energy electrons to be fired on a sample of molecules. Producing and observing these pulses would allow scientists to better study the effects of radiation damage, but this has not yet been accomplished in a laboratory. Low energy electrons are known to break apart molecules when interacting with them, but the physical process by which this happens is not yet fully understood. Production of low energy electron pulses in a lab setting will allow us to study these interactions more extensively. To accomplish this, simulations will be run on General Particle Tracer to find the optimal configuration of parameters for such an apparatus. We expect that the use of a radiofrequency cavity to reverse the velocity distribution of a propagating electron bunch will cause the bunch to compress after exiting the cavity and produce a short pulse without adding energy to it. The findings of these simulations will aid in our development of a device capable of producing short low energy electron pulses.

Centurion, J. Phys. B At. Mol. Opt. Phys. 49, (2016). Zandi, (2017).

D.S. Slaughter, A. Belkacem, C.W. McCurdy, T.N. Rescigno, and D.J. Haxton, J. Phys. B At. Mol. Opt. Phys. 49, (2016).

I.I. Fabrikant, S. Eden, N.J. Mason, and J. Fedor, in Adv. At. Mol. Opt. Phys. (2017), pp. 545–657.

M.J. De Loos and S.B. der Geer, 5th Eur. Part. Accel. Conf. 1241 (1996).

Data Analysis in the Search for Dark Matter with a Network of Precision Measurement Tools
Guglielmo Panelli, Physics
University of Nevada, Reno

Describing the essence of dark matter (DM) which permeates throughout the Milky Way and galaxies alike remains among the most extraordinary problems in modern physics. Although the evidence for dark matter through galactic scale gravitational effects is widely accepted, and this cosmological evidence indicates that 85% of the matter in the universe is DM. Yet, evidence beyond this gravitational interaction remains to be observed and its microscopic composition also remains a mystery[1]. The GPS constellations provides us with the luxury of a 50,000km aperture sensor and over a decade of archival GPS atomic clock data from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). We seek to detect DM at the terrestrial level and describe potential non-gravitational interactions with baryonic (ordinary) matter through analyzing the high accuracy timing data of a network of satellite and Earth-based atomic clocks. Here we discuss developments of a new signal to noise ratio (SNR) technique based on the Bayesian statistical approach already used by the GPS.DM Collaboration[1]. This technique has been tested on the thin domain wall DM signal template with simulated GPS data and has proven to be effective at detecting DM events. However, cross-clock correlations were neglected in these initial tests and must be considered in future work with more complex DM signals such as thick domain walls, strings and monopoles.
[1] B. M. Roberts, G. Blewitt, C. Dailey, M. Murphy, M. Pospelov, A. Rollings, J. Sherman, W. Williams, and A. Derevianko, Nat. Commun. 8, 1195 (2017).

Break-out Sessions VI: Friday, July 27th, 9:40am – 10:40am

VIA – Anthropology, American Studies, Ethnic Studies
Friday 9:40am – 10:40am

How Queer Hip Hop Artists Cultivate a Space on the Internet
Carissa Tang, Anthropology
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

By creating a space on the internet, Queer Hip Hop (QHH) artists can expand their audience and create their own agency in controlling their respective social media. This is highlighted especially in the political climate of the United States today, where mainstream media paints members of the Queer [1] community as well as the Hip Hop community in a negative light. Alternative media such as YouTube, has traditionally been a haven for LGBT+ creators. These media platforms are increasingly filtering and censoring LGBT+ creators, bringing dire consequences on artists relying on social media to promote their work, ultimately their livelihood.
This paper analyzes the internet spaces of ten Queer Hip Hop artists by their respective music videos as well as collecting top comments and other auxiliary data from five of their top individual songs published online within the past decade [2]. Emphasis will be on the lyrical content as well as the audiovisual content of the music videos. By doing so, this compilation of primary sources will test the hypothesis that these individual artists are cultivating a political space of their own.

[1] The term “Queer” is used as an umbrella term for the LGBT+ community. This does not includes LGBT+ individuals who identify as Queer.

[2] Individual songs are songs that are performed by the artist and only the artist. Individual songs do not include collaborations.

Mental Health Through the Eyez of THUG LIFE
Ivan Miranda, American Studies
University of California, Berkeley

Hip-hop music is not merely an expression or form of entertainment rather an apparatus that can potentially save human lives. The waves of music undeniably resemble waves of emotion as they reverberate with many of its listeners. Since the birth of hip-hop music, scholars have attempted to understand the complex interpretations of the culture as many pioneers of various forms of rap have received many apprehensions regarding the content of their lyrics. Although hip-hop came from an underground movement throughout the 1970s in the Bronx, New York, it has continued to expand profoundly into the mainstream music industry and now has major influence throughout the world. Hip-hop music continues to act as the platform to speak to the youth of low-income urban communities where the narratives take place.

Various hip-hop scholarship explores the nuances of this culture as a form of empowerment, healing, resistance, and pedagogy but have not explored the ways in which mental health issues such as depression and anxiety are understood and analyzed. While mental health has been acknowledged by many scholars exploring the culture of hip-hop, the analyses of this relationship has been limited. Rap music has been interpreted to simply advocate for empowerment, healing or resistance with lyrics of advice and upliftment. However, these discourses do not talk about the darker aspects that come right before the healing, resistance, or empowerment. Hip-hop in many ways, masks toxic social issues such as hypermasculinity/misogyny, drug addiction/romanticism, narcissism, and many more. Therefore, this paper aims to investigate the following: Do the lyrics of hip hop provide a lens to understand mental health in low income urban communities? Building on the work of Dr. Raphael Travis Jr., I will explore the relationship between various forms of trauma and stress in low income urban communities to the content of several popular artists in genres such as but not limited to gangsta rap, trap, and social conscious rap. Through the content analysis of 5 songs from Tupac Shakur, YG, Kendrick Lamar, Logic, and many others, my preliminary findings reveal a strong association with attempting to understand depression and anxiety in hip-hop music. I will also examine music videos and films based on the tracks while identifying themes, images, and narratives to the representations of mental health in black and brown communities. With these findings, my research aims to reveal a sense of understanding of the mental health endemic in these communities that raise the rappers themselves.

Hegemonic Visions of Futures in Outer Space: A Discourse Analysis on the “Colonization” of Mars
Pan Narez (She/They), Ethnic Studies & Gender and Women’s Studies
University of California, Berkeley

The decisions we make about who and what we allow to be in our visions of the future are indicative of our situatedness within power relations and the influence structures of domination have on our world-making capacities (Calanchi, 2017). For example, during NASA’s early spaceflight missions, the figure of the astronaut was constructed as a white, hegemonically masculine man who possessed all of the right stuff (Sage, 2009). The right-stuff discourse stems from the tradition of speculative fiction and science writing, popularized during the space race of the 1950s, called astrofuturism. Astrofuturism is concerned with “America’s dream of its future,” where imperial expansion, exploitation, and colonization are extended into outer space (Kilgore, 2003). Afrofuturism—the speculative fiction that centers African-Americans and the issues they experience in a technologically-intensive world—stands in opposition to astrofuturism (Dery, 1993). It is informed by enslaved people’s past, acknowledges the material consequences enslavement has had on their descendants, and is invested in reclaiming histories of their past and future (Yaszek, 2006). This struggle between astrofuturism and Afrofuturism makes it evident that visions of futures in outer space have historically been subjective. If we are invested in creating anti-oppressive futures “for real,” then it is important to critically examine the discourses that get promoted and re-presented (Bonilla-Silva, 2012). This research takes on this task and looks at the current iteration of colonizing Mars. Using a qualitative approach, I examine Elon Musk’s vision of colonizing Mars—a vision that has garnered substantial real estate in mainstream popular imagination and billions of dollars in government contracts and subsidies—through his company SpaceX by conducting a discourse analysis of relevant primary sources, including their official website and media coverage. By unearthing and contextualizing their logics, I offer knowledge that helps us better envision anti-oppressive futures (Kilgore, 2003).

VIB – Mathematics
Friday 9:40am – 10:40am

Applying the van Hiele model in Taxicab Geometry in Undergraduate Prospective Teachers
Jose Saul Barbosa Jr., Mathematics
The University of Texas at San Antonio

Non-Euclidean Geometries are commonly used in educating prospective mathematics teachers to enhance their understanding of Euclidean Geometry. Van Hiele developed a model to determine the level of understanding in Euclidean geometry for students of the subject (van Hiele, n.d.). Scholars have theorized that working in non-Euclidean geometries requires thinking at the highest van Hiele level, but have not pursued this empirically. This empirically-based project seeks to develop levels of geometric thinking for students of Taxicab Geometry. In this study, prospective teachers in a college geometry course were audio-recorded as they completed tasks that challenged their thinking in Taxicab geometry, and their written work was collected.  Preliminary levels of geometric thinking for Taxicab geometry were developed by coding and analyzing participants’ dialogue and completed assignments, which yield a portrait of the participants’ thinking about Taxicab geometry. Future plans for this research involves testing the validity of these preliminary findings and assessing the hierarchy property. Ultimately, understanding levels of thinking of Taxicab geometry might help us improve prospective teachers’ understanding and future instruction of Euclidean geometry.

Ground State Degeneracy of Quantum Spin Systems
Kerstin Fontus, Mathematics
University of California, Davis

We consider quantum spin systems with a Hilbert space V(N), defined as the tensor product of N finite-dimensional complex Hilbert spaces. Each tensor factor in the Hilbert space is a copy of Cn, for some n ≥ 2. The time evolution and energy spectrum of the system are defined by the Hamiltonian, given as a Hermitian operator HN acting on V(N). These Hamiltonians model interactions between spins within the system. The goal of the project is to study the ground states, or the lowest energy states, of the system. These are given as the unit vectors in the eigenspace belonging to the smallest eigenvalue of HN. We are interested in the dimension of this eigenspace, which is commonly referred to as the ground state degeneracy. Currently, we are studying two specific models: the Heisenberg model and the Majumdar-Ghosh model. The Heisenberg model is a sum of fixed operators, t, each of which acts on a pair of nearest neighbor tensor factors. The Majumdar-Ghosh model deals with next-nearest neighbor spins, and is a sum of operators, h, which acts on three consecutive spins. The ground state degeneracy depends on N. For the Heisenberg model, it is N+1, and for the Majumdar-Ghosh model, it is 4 if N is odd, and 5 if N is even. In these models, the nature of the correlation of spins depends on the different interactions within each model. Certain Hamiltonians produce an effect called dimerization, which leads to structures in the system being formed.

Reporting perceived direction: Motion estimation in human and non-human primates
Zoe Stearns, Mathematics
University of Oklahoma

In what ways do top-down influences shape visual perception? How do perceptual systems extract task-related information from sensory data to ultimately achieve a goal or action? What are the physiological properties of the perceptually relevant neurons that compute the percepts guiding such decision-making? Motion is a unique perceptual attribute that offers the opportunity to study information processing from sensation to action. More than 90% of neurons in the middle temporal visual area (MT) are direction-selective neurons, but the relationship between the neural response and the visual perception of motion is unclear. This study compares marmoset—New World monkey— performance to human behavior in the identical estimation task. This task required subjects to estimate the direction of motion of a dot field by making a saccade to an outer ring in the perceived direction of the stimulus. Both marmoset and human choices reflect a pooling of direction signals. This study concludes that marmoset direction-estimation sensitivity is similar to human performance on estimation tasks and that both human and non-human primate exhibit a systematic bias; the subjects implicit bias increases as the signal strength is reduced. Further directions of this research include modeling the contextual biases involved in motion processing.

VIC – Community Health Science, Global Disease Biology, Physiology
Friday 9:40am – 10:40am

The Affect of IGF-1 and IGFBP-2 Interactions on IUGR Fetal Ovine Islets
Elizabeth Ogunbunmi, Physiology
The University of Arizona

The present study focuses on the affects of Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) on fetal ovine pancreatic islets. Intrauterine growth restriction refers to infants that failed to reach their genetic growth potential, due to maternal obesity, diabetes, hypertension, or other factors that affect the intrauterine environment (Barry & Anthony, 2008). The intrauterine environment is sensitive to changes caused by the environment that negatively impact the fetus; this can lead to influences in fetal growth rate and organ development. Characteristic of Type 2 diabetes is decreased insulin secretion, which is reflective of beta-cell dysfunction. Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1) is crucial for beta-cell proliferation; IGF-1 is associated with elevated beta-cell mitosis. Insulin-like Growth Factor Binding Proteins (IGFBPs) regulate IGFs via transport and distribution (Duan & Xu, 2005). In IUGR fetuses, decreased IGF-1 and increased IGFBP-2 have been observed (Chen, Rozanxe, Hay Jr., & Limesand, 2012). Current research is investigating the role of increased IGFBP-2 in IUGR fetal islets. Control and IUGR islets were cultured respectively in: 5% FBS, 5% FBS+ IGF-1, 5% FBS+ IGFBP-2, 5% FBS+ IGF-1+ IGFBP-2, 5% FBS T3. After culture the islets were prepared for histology fixation and staining. Insulin-positive cells were immunostained with guinea pig anti-porcine insulin polyclonal antibody. Cellular proliferation was measured by treating islets with EdU and DAPI. Fluorescent images taken with Leica DM5500 at 20x and digitally captured with an ORCA-Flash4.0 LT Digital CMOS Camera C11440. According to the analysis of previous studies, the expected results are for IGFBP-2 to increase IGF-1 binding activity and proliferation.

Key References:

Barry, J. S., & Anthony, R. V. (2008). The Pregnant Sheep as a Model for Human Pregnancy. Theriogenology, 69(1), 55–67. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.theriogenology.2007.09.02

Duan, C., & Xu, Q. (2005). Roles of insulin-like growth factor (IGF) binding proteins in regulating IGF actions. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 142(1–2), 44-52. doi.org/10.1016/j.ygcen.2004.12.022.

Chen, X., Kelly, A. C., Yates, D. T., Macko, A. R., Lynch, R. M., & Limesand, S. (2017). Islet adaptations in fetal sheep persist following chronic exposure to high norepinephrine. Journal of Endocrinology, 232, 285-295.

Assessing Vitamin A Treatment to Combat Multi-Drug Resistant Invasive Non-Typhoidal Salmonella (iNTS) Disease
Nicoel White, Global Disease Biology
University of California, Davis

Background: Non-typhoidal Salmonella (NTS) typically cause diarrheal disease; however, in children, iNTS can cause a deadly systemic infection. The CDC reports 3.4 million cases of iNTS and 681,316 deaths annually.  Some strains have become multiply drug resistant (MDR), limiting treatment options. The association of malnutrition with invasive disease suggests that adding missing nutrients to the antibiotic regimen may increase efficacy against MDR strains.

Objective: The goal of this pilot study was to assess the efficacy of Vitamin A co-treatment with a subtherapeutic dose of enrofloxacin in lowering the bacterial burden of NTS in malnourished mice as compared to antibiotics alone.

Methods: A titration experiment was performed to ascertain a sub-therapeutic dose of enrofloxacin for a resistant S. Typhimurium isolate (JK1128). Mice were placed on either control or vitamin A-deficient diets and challenged with JK1128. Mice were assigned to one of 3 treatment groups: vitamin A and subtherapeutic enrofloxacin co-treatment, enrofloxacin alone, or mock group. Disseminated infection was quantified by determining tissue loads of Salmonella.

Results: Preliminary results showed that mice co-treated with retinol and antibiotics had a trend for reduced bacterial burden compared to mice treated with antibiotic alone, but that the difference was not statistically significant. However, the enrofloxacin dose administered proved not to be subtherapeutic, which may have influenced the outcome.

Conclusions: Further experiments are needed to test our hypothesis that co-treatment with vitamin A may boost the effect of subtherapeutic antibiotic administration. Future studies will assess the variance in the subtherapeutic dosage and repeat the pilot study.

Aspergillus Method Development
Lourdes Valdez, Community Health Sciences
University of Nevada Reno

The Aspergillus fungal strain is a type of mold that commonly grows on soil and is classified as an airborne aflatoxin. The Aspergillus species Fumigatus, Flavus, Niger, and Terreus are believed to be present on Hemp that is often used for marijuana. The presence of Aspergillus has the potential to cause pulmonary aspergillosis in patients with immunocompromised systems; therefore, the efficient detection of Aspergillus on Hemp is critical for safe consumption purposes of marijuana especially by those who are immunocompromised. However, there is currently no efficient and cost-effective detection method currently on the market that can be used by marijuana testing facilities to screen their product for the presence of this mold. Therefore, this project focused on the development of such a detection method in which we extracted samples of Hemp in both the flower, and extract matrix that was spiked with the four most common strains of Aspergillus previously mentioned.  Using the Clear Scientific homogenization method, and PCR we were able to successfully establish an efficient detection method for the species using primer/probe sets. In the future I hope to expand this project by reverse engineering this method using SYBR Green for a melting temperature method of detection.



Wednesday, July 25th
10:00 am – 5:00 pm Registration and Check-In
12:00 pm Buses load for California Institute of Technology campus visit*
1:00 pm Buses load for University of Southern California campus visit*
2:00 pm UCLA Campus Tour begins*
5:00 pm – 6:30 pm Welcome Reception (appetizers included)
7:00 pm McNair Directors’ Dinner; Students do dinner on their own**
*Campus visits include lunch. Campus visits happen concurrently. Choose only one per person.
*Dinner on your own. The Westwood Village is a 10 minute walk from the conference venue and a 20 minute walk from the dorms where students will be staying and offers many dining and shopping options.
Thursday, July 26th
8:00 am – 9:30 am Breakfast and Plenary
9:40 am – 10:40 am Break-out sessions – Oral Presentations, Poster Presentations, Graduate School Prep workshops
11:00 am – 12:00 pm Break-out sessions – Oral Presentations, Poster Presentations, Graduate School Prep workshops
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm Lunch and Plenary
1:30 pm – 2:30 pm Break-out sessions – Oral Presentations, Poster Presentations, Graduate School Prep workshops
2:45 pm – 3:45 pm Break-out sessions – Oral Presentations, Poster Presentations, Graduate School Prep workshops
1:30 pm – 4:00 pm Graduate Opportunities Fair
4:00 pm – 5:30 pm Plenary
**Dinner on your own.
Friday, July 27th
8:00 am – 9:30 am Breakfast and Plenary
9:40 am – 10:40 am Break-out sessions – Oral Presentations, Poster Presentations, Graduate School Prep workshops
11:00 am – 12:00 pm Break-out sessions – Oral Presentations, Poster Presentations, Graduate School Prep workshops
9:30 am – 12:30 pm Graduate Opportunities Fair
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm Lunch
1:30 pm – 2:30 pm Break-out sessions – Oral Presentations, Poster Presentations, Graduate School Prep workshops
2:45 pm – 3:45 pm Break-out sessions – Oral Presentations, Poster Presentations, Graduate School Prep workshops
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm Conference Closing Plenary
**Dinner on your own.
7:00 pm Evening outing in LA (optional)


All visits include lunch and occur on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 25th. Tours happen concurrently, so each person can only attend one.

Schedules are as follows:
12:00 pm Buses load for California Institute of Technology campus visit*
1:00 pm Buses load for University of Southern California campus visit*
2:00 pm UCLA Campus Tour begins*


See On Your Feet! The Emilio and Gloria Estefan Broadway Show at the historic Hollywood Pantages Theatre. The $60 per person cost includes both the movie ticket and transportation to and from the show.

On Your Feet! is the inspiring true story about heart, heritage, and two people who believed in their talent – and each other – to become an international sensation: Gloria and Emilio Estefan. Now their story has arrived on a national Broadway tour in an exhilarating original production that’s already won the hearts of critics and audiences alike. Prepare to be on your feet from start to finish!

The Hollywood Pantages Theatre first opened its doors in 1930. The grand opening was marked by a plethora of movie stars walking the red carpet and searchlights sweeping the skies. It is located in the heart of Hollywood, on Hollywood Boulevard. The theatre has as varied a past as Hollywood itself. It started as a motion picture house with live vaudeville acts between features. In the 1950s it was the home of the Oscars. Today, it is Los Angeles’ home of theatre and a favorite “location” for tv shows, movies, and music videos. In 2000 it was beautiful renovated to restore it to its original luxury and charm. More information can be found on the Hollywood Pantages website.



Reservations for dorm rooms are for students only as dorm accommodations are limited.

UCLA Dorm Housing (For STUDENTS Only)

Dorm Housing – Double Occupancy
$132/room per night

UCLA Meyer & Renee Luskin Conference Center

Luskin Hotel King Bed
$249/room per night

Luskin Hotel Two Queen Beds
$249/room per night


The Westwood Village is a 10 minute walk from the conference venue and a 20 minute walk from the dorms where students will be staying and offers many dining and shopping options.






Luskin Map & Directions

UCLA Meyer & Renee Luskin Conference Center
425 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, California 90095


From Los Angeles International Airport
Take the San Diego Freeway (I-405) North and exit at Wilshire Boulevard East. Turn right onto Wilshire Boulevard and proceed a half mile to Westwood Boulevard. Turn left and the UCLA Luskin Conference Center, a premiere Los Angeles meeting venue and hotel, is located one mile ahead at end of the turnaround.

From San Fernando Valley (Bob Hope Burbank Airport)
Take the Interstate-405 South Freeway toward San Diego. Take the Sunset Boulevard exit and turn left onto North Church Lane. Turn left onto Montana Avenue and continue onto Gayley Avenue. Turn left onto Strathmore Place and take the second left onto Westwood Plaza. The UCLA Luskin Conference Center and Hotel will be on the left.

From Downtown Los Angeles
Take the California-110 South/Harbor Freeway and continue onto the Interstate-10 West Freeway. Merge onto the Interstate-405 North Freeway toward Sacramento. Take the Wilshire Boulevard exit toward Westwood and merge onto Wilshire Boulevard. Turn left onto Westwood Boulevard and proceed onto Westwood Plaza. The UCLA Luskin Conference Center and Hotel will be on the left.

From Orange County
Take the California-22 West Freeway and merge onto the Interstate-405 North Freeway toward Sacramento. Take the Wilshire Boulevard exit toward Westwood and merge onto Wilshire Boulevard. Turn left onto Westwood Boulevard and proceed onto Westwood Plaza. The UCLA Luskin Confernce Center and Hotel Destination will be on the left.

From San Diego
Take the Interstate-5 North Freeway and merge onto the Interstate-405 North Freeway toward Sacramento. Take the Wilshire Boulevard exit toward Westwood and merge onto Wilshire Boulevard. Turn left onto Westwood Boulevard and proceed onto Westwood Plaza. The UCLA Luskin Conference Center will be on the left.

From Palm Springs
Take the California-111 North Freeway and continue onto the Interstate-10 West Freeway towards Los Angeles County. Merge onto the Interstate-405 North Freeway toward Sacramento. Take the Wilshire Boulevard exit toward Westwood and merge onto Wilshire Boulevard. Turn left onto Westwood Boulevard and proceed onto Westwood Plaza. The UCLA Luskin Confeerence Center will be on the left.


Self-parking is available underneath the Luskin Conference Center and in UCLA Parking Structure 8, Level 4, directly across the street from the Center. There is a convenient Pedestrian Walkway/Bridge connecting Parking Structure 8 (on Level 3) to the Los Angeles Conference Center property. There is a daily fee to park in either location.

To locate Parking Structure 8, enter the campus by heading north on Westwood Boulevard and make a left onto the Structure 8 Driveway (located just before the Parking Information Kiosk on Westwood Boulevard). Proceed up the ramp to Level Four and park in any of the “Pay-by-Space” parking spots. You will need to purchase parking at a nearby Parking Kiosk.

To access the UCLA Luskin Conference Center via the Pedestrian Walkway/Bridge from Lot 8, take the east stairs down one level (from Level 4 to Level 3) and cross over Strathmore Place. Elevator access (located in the northeast corner of Level 3) allows access to the Conference Center via the pedestrian crosswalk at the traffic light at the intersection of Strathmore Place and Westwood Plaza.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
The parking garage located under the Luskin Conference Center offers complimentary charging stations (first come, first served). Each station supports two parking spaces which are located in the northwest corner of the garage—spaces 114-15 & 118-19 — which are reserved exclusively for electric vehicles.


UCLA Transportation maintains a helpful list of alternative forms of transportation which includes local transit options and airport shuttles.

The Luskin Conference Center is just a five-minute walk from the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and the UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, and is a short drive from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. This UCLA hotel an ideal place to stay in Westwood for patients and their families.

UCLA McNair Research Scholars Program

UCLA McNair Research Scholars Program

The UCLA McNair Research Scholars Program was established at UCLA in 2003 as a two-year research-based intensive program that prepares undergraduate students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. to apply to and excel in the best graduate school programs in the country.

Each year, the program maintains a cohort of 28 juniors and seniors from a variety of majors in the Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences, and applied or interdisciplinary Sciences. The UCLA McNair program particularly attracts young scholars who are committed to social change and who use scholarship and research as a means to achieve social justice. The program applies Critical Race Theory to prepare participants to become change agents within academia and beyond, thus fulfilling the program’s motto: “Transform the Academy.” Additionally, UCLA McNair Alumni work in a variety of professional positions that advance a social justice agenda.

McNair Brochure

Program Curriculum

Program Curriculum

UCLA McNair Research Scholars complete a comprehensive and rigorous two-year academic program under the supervision of the Program Director, the Assistant Director, and multiple Graduate Student Mentors.

During their first year in the program, McNair Scholars participate in the UCLA Student Research Program (SRP) under the guidance of a faculty mentor, and attend weekly seminars designed specifically for the program. These seminars guide students through navigating the academy and developing research proposals.

In the summer between their first and second year in the program, McNair Scholars participate in the six-week UCLA McNair Summer Research Institute. This six-week program includes: workshops and seminars on academic career opportunities; standardized test preparation; writing and research skills; writing a statement of purpose; obtaining letters of recommendation; and completing the graduate school application process. In addition, McNair Scholars begin their independent research projects and present their current findings at the UCLA Summer Symposium.

During their second year in the program, McNair Scholars apply to graduate school and complete, present, and publish their research project and senior thesis. Every Scholar has the opportunity to donate her or his research materials and senior thesis to the Southern California Library.

Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility Criteria

Students must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Be a low-income AND first generation college student
  • Be a member of an underrepresented group within graduate education

Students must also:

  • Be a United States citizen or permanent resident
  • Be a currently enrolled UCLA undergraduate student majoring in the humanities or social sciences
  • Be a third-year or a transfer student who has completed between 90 and 175 units by Fall of the application year
  • Demonstrate academic potential for graduate study
  • Be available during the McNair Summer Research Institute (typically Summer Session A)

How Do I Apply to McNair?

If you, or anyone you know, is interested in applying to the UCLA McNair Research Scholars Program or would like to learn more about the program requirements, please come to the UCLA McNair Office in 1202 Campbell Hall or contact:

Liliana Islas
Assistant Director
(310) 794-4186
1202 Campbell Hall

Contact Us

Contact Us

For more information about the program and/or the application process, please visit our office in 1202 Campbell Hall or email McNair@college.ucla.edu.

Like us on Facebook   at UCLA McNair Research Scholars Program. You will receive up-to-date information on application updates, upcoming McNair events, graduate school workshops, and much more!

UCLA McNair Alumni

We are always happy to hear from our UCLA McNair alumni! Would you like to update us on your most current adventures? Are you interested in mentoring or serving on one of our panels? Are you simply looking to update your contact information? Please contact us at any time at mcnair@college.ucla.edu.