2015 Celebration of Undergraduate Research Poster Program

The poster session for the sixteenth annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research will be held in the Great Hall of the Frank Porter Graham Student Union. Odd-numbered posters will be in poster session 1 (1:00-2:00); even-numbered posters will be in poster session 2 (2:15-3:15).

Click on the title of the student's poster to read the abstract and see any other research contributors.

Please also view the Panel Program or use the Searchable Program of All 2015 Presenters.


001. Alexandra Aponte Psychology
Supporting English Language Learners: Advocating for Transitional Bilingual Education Programs within North Carolina
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (Education)

Abstract: Throughout this paper, we discuss the current problems with the policy on English as a Second Language education within the state of North Carolina and possible solutions to the shortcomings of these programs. The current policy, while well intentioned, can lead to feelings of inadequacy within students as well as negative feelings associated with their native language, as such a strong emphasis and value are placed on English. Discussing and attempting to find alternative, supportive programs will help students feel empowered in both their native language as well as English. It has also been found that teaching students to read in their native language at the same time as English literacy instruction can lead to increased literacy skills in both languages. Because of this, we will advocate for Transitional Bilingual Education programs to be implemented throughout the state of North Carolina. Transitional Bilingual Education programs are the most common form of bilingual education in the nation and have been proven to have a number of advantages. Some of these advantages include increased confidence in one???s native language, above average reading comprehension in English when compared with monolingual peers, and increased communication between teachers and parents. Overall, this paper advocates for the implementation of Transitional Bilingual Education programs and hopes to lead to a more supportive, caring, and empowering educational environment for English Language Learners
002. Dylan Kite History
Moving Beyond a Whitewashed History: Advocating for a Culturally Responsive History Curriculum
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (Education)

Abstract: This paper examines current education policy regarding history curricula in North Carolina public schools and advocates the implementation of a culturally responsive alternative. Current policy, promoted by the Bill of Rights Institute and backed by the conservative Koch brothers, offers a politicized, historically selective curriculum. This curriculum focuses primarily on European exploration of the New World, the Founding Fathers, and the development of America as a world power. This Euro and American-centric model diminishes the historical role of non-whites and caters learning to those of Anglo-American descent. With this in mind, multiple studies indicate that academic achievement increases when students study culturally relevant material, which places non-whites at a distinct disadvantage. The adoption of culturally representative content should act to narrow the history achievement gap and provide students with a more accurate and inclusive historical interpretation.
003. Alexis Duckett Psychology
Parental Racial Socialization and Adolescents' Self-Esteem: Influences on Academic Achievement
Track: Education
Advisor: Beth Kurtz-Costes (Psychology )

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to examine the impact that two types of racial socialization messages (preparation for bias and racial pride) and self-esteem have on the academic achievement of African American adolescents. Parents reported their racial socialization practices with their children and children reports of academic achievement and self-esteem were assessed in 287 African American 10th graders. By gaining a deeper understanding of the relationship between racial socialization and achievement as well as self-esteem and achievement, we are able to better understand which messages produce positive outcomes in African American youth. Contrary to study hypotheses, racial socialization practices did not increase the likelihood of academic achievement or higher self-esteem. Nonetheless, the study results supported the positive relationship between self-esteem and academic achievement.
004. Stephanie Krider Psychology
Autism and Anxiety in Fragile X Syndrome
Track: Education
Advisor: Jennifer Arnold (Psychology)
Undergraduate Co-Authors: Stephanie Krider

Abstract: Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common inherited cause of intellectual disability. FXS is often co-morbid with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and anxiety. Many symptoms of FXS and ASD overlap, and symptoms of anxiety may appear to be symptoms of ASD. Further, changes in DSM-5 ASD criteria may affect the prevalence of ASD in FXS. The present study examined the prevalence of individuals with FXS who met diagnostic criteria for ASD, especially social communication impairments within the context DSM-5 changes, and examined parent-reported anxiety as a predictor of ASD diagnosis. A total of 75 participants between the ages of 12 and 40 were administered the Stanford-Binet, 5th Edition, Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, 2nd Edition (ADOS-2), Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ), and Anxiety Depression and Mood Scale. ASD symptoms were examined across 4 methods: 1) Met based on ADOS-2; 2) met cut-off on the SCQ; 3) met for both ADOS-2 and SCQ; and 4) met for DSM-5 criteria. The percentage of individuals meeting study diagnostic determination (ADOS-2 + SCQ) for ASD (28%) was similar to previous reports, and was slightly lower than the percentage meeting for the DSM-5 (37%). More individuals met SCI criteria than RRBI criteria. More males met criteria for all ASD variables than females. Multiple regression analyses indicated that parent-reported anxiety did not predict any ASD variables; rather age and non-verbal intelligence were predictive of most ASD variables.
005. Mary Evans Undecided
Communication Re"yak"tions: An Ethnographic Study of Yik Yak at UNC
Track: Education
Advisor: Courtney Rivard (English & Comparative Literature)

Abstract: Compact and unique college towns across the United States are cultural bubbles that provide students the opportunity to be part of a tightly knit community that has its own set of defining characteristics. With the creation of Yik Yak, two recent college graduates took advantage of these ideal communication bubbles and created the social media app that is taking the nation???s college campuses by storm. This ethnographic report looks at how Yik Yak???s use of anonymity, its small radius, and its implementation of self-policing mechanisms foster communication between students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill by controlling barriers that commonly inhibit conversation. Through observation of anonymous interaction on Yik Yak and student interviews, this report challenges the rash assumptions of those who accuse the app of being nothing more than a prime outlet for cyberbullying by providing evidence that it can be and is utilized as an effective method of communication on the campus of UNC.
006. Amber Majors Psychology
Perceptions of Adolescents with ASD and Peers about Peer-Mediated Interventions
Track: Education
Advisor: Kara Hume (FPG Child Development Institute and UNC SOE)
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Jessica Dykstra, Ph.D.

Abstract: Research indicates that peer-mediated interventions have positive effects on students with and without disabilities, including those on the autism spectrum. Few studies, however, include the perception of intervention acceptability from peer participants, and fewer still include the perceptions of the focal students, or those with disabilities. The current study examines the perceptions of all participants in a peer-mediated intervention which included high school students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and peers without disabilities. Survey methods were used to gather perceptions of twenty-three students participating in peer-mediated intervention. Overall, students with ASD and students without disabilities reported positive experiences with the intervention and wanted to continue spending time with their partners. Results will assist school personnel in designing and implementing peer-mediated interventions that best match the preferences of students with ASD and their peer partners, thus increasing the likelihood for ongoing participation and improved student outcomes.
007. Sofia Gonzalez Political Science
GEAR UP: An Analysis of Postsecondary Education Awareness in America
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (Department of Education)

Abstract: This study examines the primary federal policy addressing the issue of access to and participation in postsecondary education for low-income students in America: Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP). Implemented in 1999 as an amendment to the Higher Education Act of 1965, GEAR UP aims to increase the postsecondary educational opportunity realization through the discretionary funding that can be used in ways that familiarize students, parents, teachers, and school administrators with the variety of opportunities available to students after high school. Though audits and evaluations conducted by the U.S. Department of Education suggest that GEAR UP high schools show higher scores on standardized tests than non-GEAR UP schools, policy alternatives generally stem from feelings of lack of resources, lack of time, and lack of overall project leadership and staff support provided by GEAR UP. This study adds to the current literature on GEAR UP by comparing it with policy alternatives with regard to costs and benefits and effectiveness with regard to college readiness, learning, accountability, and equity.
008. CrysAne McCallum Psychology
The children's garden of today: What teachers want parents to know about their child's transition into kindergarten
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (Education)

Abstract: Today???s kindergarten classroom is structured differently from the ???children???s garden??? that existed even just ten years ago. As such, a disconnect exists between what kindergarten teachers expect from families and what families are actually prepared for during this transition into kindergarten. This disconnect is exacerbated by the disparity between different children???s level of preparedness due to varying backgrounds, experiences, and age. This investigation attends to such disparities by exploring a research-based educational practice to more effectively prepare all families during this transition into kindergarten. The practice is developed taking into account is developed utilizing the historical development of the kindergarten classroom in conjunction with surveys of Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools kindergarten teachers. The result of this research produces a brochure to be widely distributed across Chapel Hill Carrboro Schools and to the families of incoming kindergarten children across the United States. The brochure includes a set of essentials of what families should know as their child prepares and transitions into kindergarten.
009. Crystal Ibe Psychology
Loneliness and Academic Disengagement among African American Students: Examining the transition from high school to the first semester of college
Track: Education
Advisor: Mitch Prinstein (Psychology)
Graduate Student Contributors: Dr. Laura Widman

Abstract: African American enrollment is typically low in universities, and dismal retention rates add to academic disparity issues. Additionally, many African American students underperform, and it is important to identify key factors in this process to help inform remediation efforts. Attempts to improve African American student academic performance should give greater attention to social-psychological factors driving experiences with educational environments that are in effect before students even enter college, particularly experiences of loneliness and racial disparity. A confidential email survey was sent to incoming African American students at a large southeastern university. Responses were received from 203 students (74% female, 18-20 years old). Students completed a number of well-validated surveys on ethnic identity, high school racial composition, sense of belonging both within and outside of the African American community, racial discrimination experiences, high school involvement, and loneliness (primary study outcome). After controlling for ethnic identity, greater experiences of racial discrimination were associated with higher reported loneliness. Additionally, regression analyses found a significant positive relationship between percentage of African Americans in one???s high school and loneliness (all p???s <.05). The results add to the research suggesting that African American students at predominately white institutions face additional social challenges to success.
010. Katie Petry American Studies
Allied for a Better Future: The Importance of Supplemental Teacher Training in LGBTQ Affairs
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (School of Education)

Abstract: Current studies indicate that LGBTQ youth are coming out at increasingly younger ages than in previous generations. Consequently, schools and educational bodies are facing growing demands to handle LGBTQ-related concerns and affairs. However, current teacher preparatory programs and policies do not require specific training in LGBTQ-related social justice, leaving teachers and school personnel feeling inadequately trained and equipped to confront LGBTQ-related harassment and other homophobic situations often encountered at school. This project attempts to rectify the situation by proposing a mandatory training module which would equip pre-service teachers and current school personnel with the skills and experience necessary to confront situations of LGBTQ bullying and harassment within the school setting. The training program stresses the importance of combatting heteronormative school climates and/or personal biases, and prepares school personnel to become effective allies capable of actively confronting instances of LGBTQ-related harassment. Successful implementation of the proposed program aims to facilitate the creation of a safer, more inclusive school environment and promote improved psychosocial and behavioral functioning for LGBTQ-identifying youth.
011. Mari Norcross History
Charter School Retirement Funding Alternatives and Their Affects on North Carolina State Funding
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (Education)

Abstract: Charter schools were implemented into North Carolina law almost two decades ago for educational policy and practice innovation. Current legislation pertaining to North Carolina charter schools and retirement funding states that charter schools can choose to participate in regulation state funding or opt-out and implement their own funding programs under corporate funding programs, such as a 401 (k) or 403 (b). This option was put in place by the state of North Carolina as an alternative to the standard North Carolina state law to test alternatives retirement funding options and see if these would benefit the state. In other studies throughout the United States with this same legislature a trend has identified that districts not required to include their teachers in Social Security tend to choose the alternative method of retirement funding, leaving them with more options. This research presents data collected from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction pertaining to state retirement funding and charter school alternative funding, the pros and cons of this option in North Carolina, which type of policy should be implemented statewide, and if an alternative policy would be more helpful than the current legislation.
012. Andrew Soboeiro History
Race and Culture in 19th-Century Children's Periodicals
Track: Education
Advisor: Susan Pennybacker (History)

Abstract: As one of the most popular and accessible sources of children's literature in the nineteenth century, periodicals provide a window into what British children of all class backgrounds would have read as they grew up. As such, it helps us to understand the way in which the concepts of British, white, and Western superiority were passed on to younger generations. Most children's authors accepted the premise that Britons were superior to other peoples, but disagreed over whether that superiority was inherent and racial in nature or merely the result of better cultural practices. This distinction was not always hard-and-fast given that many authors believed that cultural superiority could have effects as permanent as racial superiority. Racial and cultural stereotypes were so heavily ingrained in British society that even authors who deliberately tried to challenge racism ended up reinforcing many stereotypes.
014. Paige Reeves Psychology
Teacher Burnout: Stress Management and Psychological Support
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (Education)

Abstract: Attrition and burnout rates among teachers tend to be highest within the first few years of teaching. Teachers are faced with emotional distress, overall stress, exhaustion, and more. This project articulates why adequate teacher support is necessary. A current policy in NC public schools in place is called the ???the beginning teacher support program.??? There are several strong components of the policy already implemented. However, teacher burnout continues to be an issue. This project suggests a new policy advocacy plan that would focus more on the psychological factors that detract from teacher productivity and lead to teacher burnout. This project observes the psychological effects of teaching on individuals and suggests how this new policy advocacy plan could compensate for these effects. This new support system would be a social worker designated for the support of beginning teachers. Adequate teacher support has suggested a decrease in psychological factors that have been detrimental to teacher productivity.
015. Allison White Psychology
Gender Differences in Elective Science Course Enrollment: Influences of Stereotypes and Causal Attributions
Track: Education
Advisor: Beth Kurtz-Costes (Psychology)

Abstract: More females enroll in high school and college science courses; however, more males are employed in the science domain. In the study, the stereotype that males are better at science than females was investigated. Stereotype threat, the fear of confirming a negative stereotype, can be detrimental to academic performance (Steele & Aronson, 1995). The awareness of a positive stereotype about one???s group can produce an achievement boost (Walton & Cohen, 2003). Gender stereotype endorsement and beliefs about science success due to ability were investigated as predictors of elective science course enrollment. Participants reported stereotype endorsement and ability attributions for science success during the 10th grade, and transcript data was collected after completion of the 12th grade. The relationship between stereotype endorsement and ability attributions was marginally significant for girls. There was a significant gender by stereotype interaction, such that stereotype endorsement predicted science course enrollment more strongly for boys than for girls. Ability attribution was also related to course enrollment for both boys and girls. Science grade, ability attribution, and parent education accounted for 38% of the variance in the sample. This provides support for the hypothesis that both gender stereotype endorsement and ability attributions play a role in elective course selection, and that stereotype lift may play a role in maintaining gender disparities in the science.
016. Hillary Stroud American Studies
Textbooks vs. Teaching: Evaluating Multicultural History Education in North Carolina Secondary Schools
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (Education)

Abstract: This paper presents and analyzes current North Carolina Department of Public Instruction policies regarding history textbooks and classes in secondary schools as they reflect (or fail to reflect) attention to multicultural competence. I examine the textbook selection processes in place and their manifestations in specific schools and classrooms, contextualized with respect to the legislatures responsible for them and the ways in which these policies have developed over the years to their present condition. I then analyze the texts themselves and the degree of cultural competence they offer according to standards set by education researchers; we consider the texts in terms of educational efficacy broadly understood. Lastly, we explore the ways that textbooks interact with teaching practice in the classroom in communicating or not communicating multicultural understandings of American history. The purpose of this paper is ultimately to evaluate current history education policy in North Carolina and to consider how it might be improved.
017. Fareeda Zikry Global Studies
Looking to Jordan to Improve STEM Education in the United States
Track: Education
Advisor: Catherine Scott (Education )
Undergraduate Co-Authors: Samantha Harrington and Kathleen Borden

Abstract: Our research provides new fundamental understandings and analyses of the differences in women's preparation, attitude, and interest in pursuing STEM fields at the university level in the United States and Jordan. Our research proposes an understanding of why the Jordan education system has been successful in attracting female students to undergraduate engineering programs, and how this can be applied to improving female STEM enrollment and gender equity in the United States. There are essential factors in the Jordanian academic environment that have yielded a significantly higher, in comparison with the United States, enrollment rate in engineering undergraduate programs, and those factors remain largely unexplored in the engineering education and STEM policy literature. The specific research question we focus on is: what are the dominant factors that have resulted in Jordan having STEM enrollments that are almost twice of that of the United States. Our findings include a summary and analysis of the cultural differences between women from the United States and from Jordan pursuing STEM degrees. We investigated this discrepancy by conducting a qualitative assessment of female undergraduate engineering enrollment at University of Jordan in Amman the summer of 2014, through the VIMY Global Team Award through the Center for Global Initiatives at UNC-Chapel Hill.
018. Michael Thornburg Political Science
Anti-Bullying Policies and Their Effectiveness in US Middle Schools
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (Education)

Abstract: Bullying is seen as one of the key issues in k-12 education because it can drastically effect students and their educational outcomes, especially when experienced in the more formative years (elementary and middle school). This paper will compare anti-bullying policies and their effectiveness across US middle schools. The research method will be a synthesis of the research already out there regarding anti-bullying policies and will culminate with policy suggestions that have strong evidence of positive change in different environments (rural, urban, etc.).
019. Griffin Lerner History
From Bantu to Broken: Educational Inequity and the Persistent Achievement Gap in South African Education
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (Education)

Abstract: With its 1994 transition from the overtly racist apartheid regime to a democratic political system, South African leaders promised to ???redress imbalances generated by historical inequalities.??? The Bantu Education Act, passed in 1953, allocated fewer resources and educational opportunities to black Africans as compared to whites and the achievement gap molded by apartheid legislation endures today. While enrollment between black and white students is nearly equal today, student outcomes are considerably dissimilar. Persistent poverty, poor quality schooling, low student achievement, and a lack of a ???culture of learning??? contributes to a marked lack of success among black students, as white completion rates are over 50 percent higher than African rates. In a country still recovering the scars of apartheid, the road to a truly equitable South Africa is paved with uncertainty. If South Africa is to achieve the dream of a racial democracy envisioned by its first black President, Nelson Mandela, it will need to embark upon a radical restructuring of educational opportunity for its greatest resource, the next generation of South Africa???s leaders in its educational system today. In a country where 90% of the population is nonwhite, South Africa can ill afford ignoring the achievement gap plaguing the vast majority of its student population.
020. Osvelia Valverde Psychology
Hidden Needs of Latina@ Students
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (Education)

Abstract: Latina/o students are constantly faced with challenges throughout their K-12 experience and score consistently and attend higher education at lower levels than their non-Hispanic peers. Many of these students are not classified as ELL, yet there are barriers that they face which the schools are consistently not addressing. In this paper, I will address the various factors that non-ELL Latina/o students face and best practices that should be implemented by the various schools to provide an environment that is supportive to these specific needs. I will address the various barriers which include low expectations/biases from teachers, lack of positive cultural representation, home environment, underrepresentation of positive role models, socioeconomic barriers, preventing parental involvement, notions of intelligence, and forms of caring teachers.
021. Kristin Baddour Political Science
Read to Achieve: The Path to Retention and its Consequences
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (Education)

Abstract: This policy analysis examines the implementation of North Carolina???s Read to Achieve program. Read to Achieve is a part of the Excellent Public Schools Act which became law in July of 2012. Through this law, third-grade students who are not at reading level will receive extra help to ensure they are capable of work in fourth grade. The extra help comes in forms of summer reading camps or interventions. A student who does not read proficiently at the end of the third grade, and does not attend summer reading camps and/or pass re-assessments or does not meet a ???good cause exemption??? is retained. The analysis will also highlight that grade retention increases high school dropouts, negatively impacts student behavior and school attendance, and does not improve student achievement. Additionally, retention is not applied equally; students of lower income and of color are retained more frequently. I will offer an analysis of the Read to Achieve program and offer insight to other states??? retention policies, particularly Florida.
022. Emily Wallace Psychology
ReVAMping Teacher Evaluation: Exploring The Consequences of Value Added Modeling
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (Education)

Abstract: This study examines the effects of using value-added modeling as a component of teacher evaluation. Value added modeling contributes to a varied proportion of teacher evaluation measures across states, and this research specifically compares the diverse policies of Florida, New York, and Indiana. The results conclude that, although beneficial as a standardized, non-subjective tool to hold teachers accountable, problems exist with the use of such measures. The results show that VAM incentives teacher to avoid certain students, encourages narrowing of the curriculum and teaching to the test, promotes competition between teachers, and indirectly encourages cheating. This analysis concludes that value added modeling should be included in teacher evaluation, but as a less significant factor in combination with other measures.
023. Kendra Benner Journalism & Mass Communication
Innovations in College Journalism Education at Select Institutions
Track: Education
Advisor: Lois Boynton (School of Journalism and Mass Communication)
Undergraduate Co-Authors: N/A
Undergraduate Contributors: N/A
Graduate Student Contributors: N/A
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: N/A

Abstract: This paper inquires into current innovations in college journalism education. It aims to identify how innovations at select institutions were developed and put into effect; the goals, motivations, and processes of the educators who work with the innovations; and what???s working in journalism education innovation. Furthermore, it examines the role of evaluation in innovation, the characteristics of an innovator, and the meaning of innovation. The author interviewed college journalism and strategic communication educators who were identified as innovators by their peers. Participants included undergraduate and graduate educators at institutions in the U.S. and Spain, including UNC-Chapel Hill, Syracuse University, University of Florida, and University of Navarra. This paper draws connections between what the innovators described as their successful practices and how they recommend approaching evaluation when innovating. Additionally, it discusses what the innovators believe demarcates an innovator and how they define innovation. The author hopes that this paper (1) provides information on new things that are happening in journalism education (there is hope for the future of journalism!), (2) helps college journalism educators innovate more and innovate more effectively in the rapidly changing media world through looking at these select innovations, and (3) provides a jumping off point for future researchers who study journalism education innovations on a broader scale.
024. Yuman Wang Economics
Impact of ESL Ideologies and Policies on Student Experiences in a Newcomers Classroom
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (Education)

Abstract: Past literature reveals that many ESL programs in the U.S. are governed by a narrow English-dominant view that often bars ELLs from advancing in school. This paper seeks to explore language ideologies underlying newcomer???s programs and how they impact student experiences. Focusing on North Carolina, the key questions I attempt to answer include the following: What are the language ideologies that steer ESL programs? What are the policies that result from these ideologies and their effects on programming and practices? And finally, how do students experience these structures and practices? To investigate these questions, I first synthesize national, state and local ideologies and policies. Then I analyze specific school policies and teacher practices by using field notes I collected from a local Newcomer???s Program. I also included an interview of one student in detail to gain a deeper understanding of student experiences. Based on past research, I expect to find traits of the newcomer???s program that suggest alternative approaches should be considered in future programming.
025. Erica Brownlow Exercise & Sport Science
Including More Physical Activity in North Carolina High Schools
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (EDUC)

Abstract: According to the CDC, high school students are recommended to participate in at least 225 minutes of weekly physical activity (PA), but studies reveal that only 17% of high school students meet these recommendations. There are many barriers for students to engage in PA outside of school, and the current North Carolina policy is that high school students complete 1 credit in health and physical education in order to graduate. Although there are many arguments claiming that students need to spend more time learning core subjects such as math and English, the short- and long-term benefits of implementing more PA into the school day outweigh the benefits of adding more time learning other subjects. Failure for students to meet PA requirements has problematic long-term effects because students are not developing healthy lifestyle habits, and this has contributed to the current obesity epidemic in the United States. Right now, 2/3 of American adults are overweight/ obese, and taking steps to change this for future generations should be a primary concern of this nation. Several studies have provided evidence to suggest that PA has a positive effect on psychological variables, weight status, musculoskeletal pain, balance, blood pressure, and adiposity. There is also evidence for a correlation between the engagement in daily PA and improved academic performance. Therefore, the implementation of a new policy needs to be considered that requires all students to engage in daily PA.
026. Elizabeth Williard Chemistry
Into The Woods: How to Assess Wildlife Education, A Systematic Review
Track: Education
Advisor: Candace Killian-Farrell (School of Social Work)

Abstract: The goal of this study is to develop a program assessment survey appropriate for elementary aged students to accurately assess the effectiveness of weekly after school wildlife education courses. After school programs are a way to expose children to learning opportunities that would not be present in the classroom. These types of programs are often taught by instructors from non-profit organizations through education grants. In order to provide information about the programs to receive funding, it is important to have a way to assess how children are impacted by these programs. For this purpose, it is important that the surveys are designed to minimize bias. This project aims to provide a survey that will adequately measure changes in children???s perception of the environment while minimizing bias related to survey design.
027. Shakeia Burgin Psychology
Improving social and communication outcomes for non-verbal students with autism spectrum disorder
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (Education )

Abstract: Alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) methods are interventions that can be used to promote speech and language development in individuals with intellectual and communication disabilities. Assistive technologies such as iPads, iPhones, iPods, and other tablet devices enable individuals to express speech in a visual manner and have the ability to generate electronic verbal speech. Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder present major deficits in social communication, particularly individuals who lack the ability to use verbal speech. Assistive technologies for communication are effectively used to allow these non-verbal students with ASD to communicate functionally but are not utilized to their full potential to promote social and vocational communication. Implementation of social groups with non-verbal students with assistive technologies with students who communicate verbally will help develop these student???s abilities to communicate in their communities, thus increasing the likelihood of their success in the work-force after completing school.
028. Kimberly McCullough Sociology
The Effectiveness of Afterschool Programs on Increasing Student Engagement
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (Education)

Abstract: In education, student engagement refers to the degree of attention, curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion that students show when they are learning or being taught, which extends to the level of motivation they have to learn and progress in their education (edglossary.org). In underprivileged schools with a high minority presence, students are less engaged, with a lack of motivation to learn and participate in the classroom. As a potential solution, an increase in afterschool programming has been linked to an increase in student engagement, especially for those minorities who may not be exposed to caring adults and mentors. Research has shown a positive effect on school engagement with effective afterschool programming, however, there is little to no data for minority high school students concentrated in underprivileged/impoverished areas. This demonstrates a need for further intervention to further investigate the true effectiveness on populations that need to utilize afterschool programs most. For my research, I will focus on a practice perspective where I observe minority students in after-school activities, and assess their engagement compared to those in another area High School that do not engage in after-school programs.
029. Meghan Cabell Political Science
Growth Mindset: Implementation to Further the Success of High School Students
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (Education)

Abstract: ???In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work???brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment,??? (Dweck 2010). This paper explores growth mindset in the specific setting of Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools using a ninth grade world history classroom in Chapel Hill High School as a case study. Presently, the school district has a plan to use more growth mindset practices in the classroom but no concrete plans to implement this strategy. This paper explores the possibility of implementing a more in depth plan, specifically in high school classrooms. Current research shows that growth mindset and the belief that one???s own intelligence is malleable is more influencing on academic achievement than actual intelligence, (Dweck 2007). While the district is moving in the right direction by introducing growth mindset, growth mindset is not yet evident in everyday practices in the classroom at the high school level. The proposed policy implementation explores concrete ways teachers can promote growth mindset in the classroom setting.
030. Hayle Austin Romance Languages
It's Elementary: Foreign Language Learning and the Benefits of Childhood Bilingualism
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (Education)

Abstract: Research suggests that bilingual children have many cognitive and developmental advantages in comparison to their monolingual peers. In advocating for foreign language learning in the elementary school classroom as a ???specials??? rotation supplement, I discuss the importance of creating an education policy that encourages bilingualism at an earlier age. I assess the benefits of childhood bilingualism and use them to influence policy makers to understand and support the necessity of foreign language instruction at earlier grade levels by highlighting the positive implications that would result for society in the future. Additionally, I use schools already practicing similar programs to assess, not only the successes of this practice, but also the limitations, in order to suggest the most advantageous process for implementation. By introducing foreign language to younger students, cultural competency will be encouraged at an earlier age???better equipping American students for communication with diverse populations and creating well-informed global citizens.
031. Caitlyn Carmean Music
Music Education: Furthering Student's Brain Development and Improving Learning
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (Education)

Abstract: The importance and relevance of music education in school curriculums has been discussed for many years, especially with the cuts schools have been forced to make when burdened with low budgets. Music, and arts education as a whole, has been previously viewed as a frivolous topic not necessary for student???s success in school, however, many studies have shown that music education in particular can have positive benefits in brain development, language acquisition, memory and creativity. Incorporating music into school curriculums also have a positive impact by keeping students engaged in the classroom and helping to encompass a larger range of teaching styles for students. The benefits of music education have also shown to expand outside of the classroom experience and into creating higher self-esteem for students and making them more comfortable addressing groups of co-workers, employees or supervisors. Music education should not be overlooked just because it is not what many consider a core class. Rather, the positive long term and intellectual development should be recognized and addressed by school and political officials in order to provide students with the best possible education.
032. William Brown History
Integrating Language Literacy Policy for ESL/ELL Students
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (Education)

Abstract: My research topic is focused on the integration of language literacy policy in the schooling of ESL and ELL students with a focus on increasing English comprehension and mastering the English language. As of right now many ESL/ELL students in North Carolina are taught in English-only classrooms, and are pulled from those classrooms at various times of the day to work with ESL teachers in ESL classrooms. This kind of instruction works for many ESL students, but it lacks intensive inter-disciplinary vocabulary instruction that would increase the ability of ESL students to work and learn effectively in English only environments. Research done has shown that ESL students respond well to integration of language literacy policy, especially when this is coupled with an environment where they feel safe and where the teachers are culturally aware of needs the students have and challenges they face. In implementing the integration of language literacy, teachers would teach students English language vocabulary across many subject areas. Students then would not learn language for a subject only in that subject. For example, science vocabulary could be taught in English class. The integration of language literacy has the intention of increasing the ESL student???s English vocabulary skills and their ability to abstractly think in English as they master the language through their classes. Policy therefore needs to be enacted to help ESL students achieve their full potential.
033. Bays Coppedge Health Policy & Management
Breakfast After the Bell - Benefits of Breakfast in the Classroom Policy
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (Education)

Abstract: The common phrase, ???breakfast is the most important meal of the day,??? is supported by various studies, professionals, and most importantly, academic results. A student beginning their school day hungry can lead to negative behavior as well as impact their performance in the classroom. The purpose of this research is to provide a supportive position for the Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) policy. The current policy in place gives free and reduced breakfast to qualified students before school starts, excluding other students who would also benefit from this meal. The BIC policy provides breakfast to all students and moves breakfast to being provided in the classroom, rather than in the cafeteria. The need for BIC is demonstrated by results from various studies. All of these studies show the benefits on students??? behavior, performance and attention span. By moving breakfast from the cafeteria to the classroom, students will not lose valuable instructional time and ensure 100% participation from the student population. Various stakeholders??? participation will be needed in order accomplish the implementation of the BIC program.
034. Joshua Conger-Kallas History
Education that works: instructional practices that effectively engage underserved students in secondary [social studies] classrooms.
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (School of Education)

Abstract: Inequalities in U.S. public education are exacerbated by poor instructional practices that fail to engage historically underserved high school students. Problems with standardized testing measures to enact accountability, fairness, and access to quality education are that ideals do not match up to reality and prescriptive norms oversimplify complex identities and diverse social structures. Practices in response to these policies generally fail to account for the various needs of students, schools, and communities since a ???one size fits all??? model, established by members of the dominant society, disproportionately empowers some while disenfranchising other populations. However, pervasive achievement gaps may be ameliorated by instructional practices that involve, attach, and commit underserved youth to the academic and social activities correlated with greater levels of positive associations and experiences in school (Li & Lerner 2013). Specifically, more flexible teaching practices and theories - involving interdisciplinary, multicultural, and project-based learning - are needed. Engaging learners varied interests, intelligences, and backgrounds, educators can de-emphasize labeling students into restrictive categories. Then resources can be better allocated to help underserved students develop the necessary skills to attain success so they can become optimally-productive citizens.
035. Victoria Cummings Linguistics
An Overlooked Problem: Chronic Absenteeism in Middle School
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (School of Education)

Abstract: Chronic Absenteeism is defined as missing at least 10% of class during a given school year. In elementary school, parents are held accountable for their children???s absence while students are held accountable for being at school in high school. Middle School is a period where students are trying to become independent while still being supervised by their parents. Social workers are typically the ones who work with chronically absent students and their parents and intervention programs vary by age. Previous research suggests that a combination of those practices that work best in both elementary and high schools, which are phone calls home and before/after school activities, respectively, work best in middle school. Other practices that address specific causes of absenteeism, such as bullying, have also been researched. This project explores which practices, if any, are used in middle schools that report high absenteeism rates and their effectiveness.
036. Marielle DeJong American Studies
Combatting Declining Civic Participation Rates by Educating North Carolina Students to be Informed and Active Citizens
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (Education )

Abstract: This project seeks to outline a potential supplementary curriculum for civics classes in North Carolina public high schools. Nationwide, civic participation rates such as voting are declining. Students often exit high school lacking the skills necessary to navigate procedures of local, state, and federal systems of government. Some areas of difficulty include financial literacy, voter registration, and the technicalities of the legal system. Providing students with high quality civics education generates citizenship agency???effectively making civics education a tool of combatting social inequalities. This project offers a framework for a new course that supplements already existing civics classes in North Carolina public schools. It takes the form of a required elective that emphasizes learning concrete skills. I drew on existing civics curriculums and studies on the effectiveness of civics teaching methods, with a special focus on curriculums that emphasize involving community members.
037. Calvary Diggs Psychology
Middle School Students and Character Education: Empowering Students in Social Decision Making
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (Education)

Abstract: Character education programs are often used as a form of primary prevention in the public school setting. A goal of character education is to develop the skills necessary for students to approach the vast array of conflicts, dilemmas, and choices that occur throughout the lifespan. In particular, during the middle school years, students are often faced with newly emerging challenges. In a similar trend, entry into middle school for early adolescents has been associated with declining grades and higher rates of antisocial tendencies. However, despite the possible positive educational outcomes, deliberate character education practices typically decline following the elementary school years. Yet, a forthcoming meta-analysis of character education programs in middle school has suggested that character education has modest effects on various academic, behavioral, and social outcomes for students. The current presentation explores results of the forthcoming meta-analytic review, common practices in character education, research on effectiveness, and how elementary school character education practices can be adapted and integrated at the middle school level. Findings are anticipated to provide further insight and strategies concerning character education???s potential to impact the social-emotional and decision making development of middle school students.
038. Katherine Frame Computer Science
12-Bit Relay Computer Design and Construction
Track: Education
Advisor: Henry Fuchs (Computer Science)
Undergraduate Co-Authors: Andrew Vitkus, Daniel Chiquito, Neal Siekierski
Graduate Student Contributors: Alex Blate

Abstract: The goal of this project is to develop a functioning 12-bit computer made from dual pole - dual throw relays that can be displayed in the computer science building at UNC for use as an educational tool for students and guests. We designed this computer around the concept of approachability. Anyone with some knowledge of computer architecture should be able to understand exactly what is happening everywhere in the computer, but people with no experience whatsoever should also be able to operate the inputs and outputs just as effectively. With this in mind, we decided that a modular, wall-mounted display would provide the best readability, with LEDs acting as data indicators. Every component has LEDs indicating inputs, outputs, and data flow so that users can watch every part of the computer at work. Users will be able to provide input to a number of programs, like a calculator and a bubble-sort implementation, and will be able to regulate clock speed, including manual stepping. The computer is constructed to perform all logical functions using relays. Since an eight-bit architecture would have limited functionality, and a sixteen-bit architecture would have been too large to display effectively, we designed a twelve-bit architecture as a happy medium. The instruction set was chosen to be simple in functionality, consisting of only 32 instructions, while still enabling the flexibility required to run our sample programs.
039. Rachel Gentry Public Policy
School Mentorship: A Necessity for Students with Disabilities
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (Education)

Abstract: There are few opportunities for older students with disabilities to assume mentoring roles and for younger students with disabilities to be mentored by their older counterparts. There are no existing policies that mandate mentorship for these students, but there have been isolated cases in which mentorship in the disability community has been very successful. This project addresses the need of disability mentorship within the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School System by developing a mentorship program at Carrboro High School. The program allows high school students with moderate intellectual disabilities to serve as mentors to middle school students with similar disabilities. The aim of the program is to foster leadership skills and confidence in older students and give younger students a role model to whom they can look when navigating the challenges that come with having a disability in a school setting. This practice creates protocol for matching mentor pairs, a curriculum that aims to foster the development of organic friendships, and an evaluation plan by which teachers evaluate the effectiveness of the program. The program aims to provide a structure that yields benefits for all students with disabilities as well as the entire CHCCS community by fostering a culture of acceptance and support for these students. Future public policy action might use this practice and its results to establish educational policy that would allow for positive outcomes to be more widespread.
040. Allison White Psychology
Talk It Out - Second Grade Reading Comprehension Intervention
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (Education)

Abstract: Many reading difficulties begin to become prominent during the second grade. At this point students are transitioning from learning to read to reading to learn. However, a large portion of reading comprehension interventions focus on third grade proficiency because many states implement standardized assessments during the third grade. The proposed intervention plan will explore a reciprocal learning and metacognitive learning strategies at the second grade level. Reciprocal learning is the practice of students engaging in learning together and taking on the role of teaching in small groups. Metacognitive strategies build upon the understanding of one???s own thoughts and knowledge. I predict that this intervention plan will help students critically think about what they are reading rather than merely identify words. Both strategies build upon the idea that discussing readings and reading out loud will increase comprehension. Previous researchers have studied similar intervention plans with third grade students, but there is little research regarding second grade students specifically. This intervention plan will be implemented in a second grade classroom with students who were identified by the teacher as struggling with reading comprehension.
041. Desiree Grier Psychology
Tracking and Transitions through Middle School Mathematics: Hidden Impacts of Educational Trajectories
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (Education)

Abstract: Almost every secondary school nationwide applies some form of course tracking. Tracking is known for categorizing and classifying students by ability groups, teacher recommendations, test-taking skills, curriculum standards, or career objectives. But despite its ubiquity, the assignment of students based to certain instructional groups is a highly controversial practice. As previous researchers has noted out, in addition to the negative effects on learning, tracking can also contribute to group stratification, learning opportunities, differentiated representations of self-concept, students??? falling behind, and status maintenance. Initial small differences in students' achievement, resulting mainly from differences in socio-economic background, become emphasized over time through a continuing process of tracking and organized selection. This presentation presents findings from qualitative investigations on students' middle school placements in mathematics and the hidden impacts of tracking.
042. Mary Ward Psychology
Exposing Students in Special Education to STEM Through Engineering
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (Education)

Abstract: Many students with disabilities are not involved in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) fields of study or career options. STEM learning is not only valuable for these students but also for our global society because it helps them stimulate new contributing ideas to STEM conversation in schools and in the community. Currently, the North Carolina School System follows the Common Core Standards, which focuses on mathematics and English language arts. This policy practice does not effectively give students the opportunities to focus on learning a larger diversity of STEM subjects. Research suggests various teaching techniques when teaching STEM material to special education classes. Some of these techniques include co-teaching, self-efficacy training, universal design, inclusive educational system, station teaching, and technology-focused learning. I plan to use a combination of these individually successful methods of teaching in a practice by creating an engineering curriculum that teaches a small group of high school students with moderate intellectual disabilities to build models. This curriculum will also teach them skills to solve tangible engineering problems. I will also evaluate these techniques to see how successful the curriculum was when practiced with this small group of high school students. Exposing students with disabilities to STEM learning through engineering will teach them various skills applicable to their everyday lives.
043. Jessica Hockham Psychology
A Positive Lens: What works best for African American male high school completion?
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (School of Education)

Abstract: Dropping out of high school is correlated with many negative consequences, including future low SES and increased incarceration rates. Previous research by Rashid (2009) has shown that African American males graduate at a disproportionately lower rate than their female counterparts or individuals of other races. Scott, Taylor and Palmer (2013) suggest that high suspension rates, high teacher turnover, low educational expectations and lack of family support are correlated with increased dropout rates for African American males. Prior research on African American male dropout rates has been primarily focused; there is very little research on what factors are most helpful for African American males to successfully graduate from high school. This research analyzes public data for correlations between low African American male dropout rates and school factors such as discipline procedures, type of school and number of students. By focusing on protective factors, the results of this study suggest areas to optimize in order to increase African American male graduation rates.
044. Douglas Jampol Economics
Why do Baseball's Top Prospects Endure Failure
Track: Diversity & Equity
Advisor: Robert Cunningham (STOR)

Abstract: Seventy percent of the best prospects in Major League Baseball will not succeed at the Major League level. Young men are not likely to achieve their potential - from scouting projections- due to failure in player development. The uncertain odds that prospects face result in negative outcomes for highly rated players coming out of college and high school. A player's future may be more or less successful depending upon which organization selects him in the draft. Favorable evaluation of players in scouting, player development, and roster management can push a prospect closer toward the Major Leagues. To properly understand a Minor League player's value, I examine several years of a player's performance, and seek to find a set of distinct statistics that will lead to future success for top prospects.
045. Danielle Hunt Psychology
STEMulating Interest: Encouraging Students to Embrace STEM Through Culturally-Relevant Activities
Track: Education
Advisor: Patrick Akos (Education)

Abstract: Previous research shows that by middle or high school, many minority students lose interest in subjects related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Studies report that this phenomenon occurs because by the time students reach these grade levels, youth are often placed on tracks for success that may be discouraging and thus cause less motivation towards performing well in these subjects. Consequently, there is a lower percentage of minority students who participate in schools that perform well in STEM compared to individuals of the majority race. The current practice integrates previously supported techniques such as helping students to establish relatable role models, discussion-based exploration of STEM and supporting the expression of creative strengths to positively impact self-confidence of fourth grade African-American female students and encourage interest in STEM subjects. This practice was designed in order to increase the number of African-American female participants in growing STEM-related career fields and help these individuals combat against the frequent sexism and cultural disconnection that usually acts as a barrier for students that fit the demographic of interest in these subjects.
046. Hillary Stroud American Studies
Situating Spectatorship: Latina and Chicana Responses to Representations in American Popular Culture
Track: Diversity & Equity
Advisor: Michelle Robinson (American Studies)
Undergraduate Contributors: Carla Salas, Carolina Carrasco, Natalia Gonzalez Chavez, Manuela Nivia,
Graduate Student Contributors: Rachel Gelfand

Abstract: This project, developed as part of an honors thesis for the American Studies department, collects oral history interviews and firsthand testimonies that consider the politicized representations of Latina women in popular media. While existing academic texts on the subject tend to situate stereotypes of Latina women in cultural and historical contexts and set forth primarily structuralist critiques of media trends, this paper attempts instead to privilege the role of viewers in interpreting meaning through the lenses of cultural identity. The interview data contained herein function as individual case studies in theories of spectatorship and cultural identity contextualized by an existing body of Latina/o studies literature. I began by studying the work of Stuart Hall in cultural studies and Chon Noriega, Charles Ram??rez Berg, Mary Beltr??n, and Myra Mendible, among others, in the field of Latina/o representation studies. I then conducted interviews with four Latina students from UNC-Chapel Hill. Combining the data, I identified certain aspects of representation that spectators prioritize while viewing, such as body type and sexuality, as well as certain factors that influence spectators??? relationships to these aspects, such as educational background and location within power structures. I also theorize how the women I interviewed conceptualize themselves as media spectators. Finally, I generalize my findings in terms of cultural standards for evaluating contemporary media.
047. Casey Crow Political Science
Disability Rights in the 21st Century: Sexual Gender-Based Violence in the Context of Forced Displacement
Track: Diversity & Equity
Advisor: Gyula Csurgai ()

Abstract: In this paper I seek to highlight the specific challenges faced by women and girls with disabilities in context of forced displacement, and how these challenges impact the level of risk for sexual violence against women and girls in both refugee camp settings and urban settings. I critically examine the central factors making women and girls with disabilities more vulnerable to sexual gender-based violence during displacement, and how these factors can be addressed practically and through policy. I explain that the prevalence of SGBV (sexual gender-based violence) in situations of forced displacement, and against women and girls with disabilities, is linked to extreme poverty, social stigma, isolation, and credibility issues. However, I also argue that sexual violence against disabled refugees is indicative of the complex intersectionalities people with disabilities face on a regular basis, complexities that until recently have been overlooked by prominent disability discourse, legal frameworks, and humanitarian networks. In order to effectively and holistically address the needs of persons with disabilities, legal frameworks must be built upon the social, rather than medical, model of understanding disability, and protections for persons with disabilities must be disseminated into broader human rights institutions using a mainstream-integrated approach.
048. Chang Zhao Anthropology
Performing Community in the Lilong among the Long-time Residents of Two Shanghai Neighborhoods
Track: Diversity & Equity
Advisor: Donald Nonini (Anthropology)
Undergraduate Co-Authors: Isaac Warshauer

Abstract: Shanghai's traditional neighborhoods, lilong, are known for their vibrant public life in semi-public alleys. We studied two of these neighborhoods--Bugao Li and Xingye Li--in order to understand how community is perceived and performed by long-time residents in the presence of growing numbers of migrant workers. Shanghai, as a flagship city within China, has been growing at an incredible rate over the past two decades, and essential to that growth have been migrant workers--people from other provinces who have flocked to Shanghai for low-paying employment. Many of these workers have settled in the old lilong, which offer cheap housing close to center-city employment. Through interviews with long-time residents and observation of alley activities, we found that long-time residents have conceptualized themselves as a community in opposition to migrant workers, who they associate with uncomfortable changes to Shanghai and their neighborhoods. This sense of community seemed pervasive among these residents in both neighborhoods, but we found that the performance of this community, in the form of social gatherings, depended on alley conditions and was encouraged by wider alleys and greater foot traffic
049. Rachel Atkinson Interdisciplinary Studies
The Native Nut: Investigating the North Carolina Pecan Industry
Track: Diversity & Equity
Advisor: Rudi Colloredo-Mansfeld (Anthropology)

Abstract: Pecan trees are native to much of the Southeast, and grow well in Eastern North Carolina, where many farmers struggle in the post-tobacco economy. Over the past decade, the global market for US pecans has been transformed by a dramatic rise in demand from China. This study, conducted during the summer of 2013, investigated North Carolina???s pecan industry to assess the extent of its participation in the global pecan trade, and the viability of pecan growing in NC's struggling agricultural regions. The research took an ethnographic approach, consisting of semi-structured interviews with Eastern NC pecan growers. Interview questions pertained to practical orchard operations, as well as to the cultural and personal significance of the pecan to the grower. The study found that NC growers are not participating in international pecan trade. However, because many growers sell nationally via internet sales, they have benefitted greatly from globally increased pecan prices.
050. Madelyn Usher Political Science
Asylum Policies in Southeast Asia: A Comparative Perspective
Track: The US & Foreign Relations
Advisor: Frank Baumgartner (Political Science)

Abstract: This project seeks to compare the experiences of Burmese refugees living in Thailand and Malaysia before being resettled to the US. I contrast the respective policy approaches of both countries against international standards for the treatment of refugees, and utilize extensive interviews with the local Burmese refugee population to illustrate how these policies are implemented in practice. The paper will conclude with an argument for a shift towards more integrative policies in this context.
051. Emma Rich Psychology
Stressors of Interracial Versus Intraracial Relationships
Track: Diversity & Equity
Advisor: Enrique Neblett (Psychology)
Undergraduate Co-Authors: NA
Graduate Student Contributors: NA
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Lori Hoggard

Abstract: Interracial relationships have become more common in the United States over the last fifty years; the number of interracial marriages increased from 157,000 in 1960 to 1,674,000 in 2002. Even though these numbers are increasing, as of 2003 only 64% of Americans approved of interracial marriages. The following study investigates whether individuals in interracial relationships report higher levels of stress and depression and lower levels of relationship commitment than those in intraracial relationships and if these higher levels of stress and depression will be mediated by racial discrimination faced when with their partner and because they will experience less social support from friends, family, and society because of their relationship. A survey was distributed via email to 29 individuals who identified as members of an interracial relationship and 39 individuals in a same-race relationship. This survey included questions about relationship investment, relationship with family and friends, perceived discrimination, and stress and depression levels. Preliminary results show no correlation between relationship investment and type of relationship, nor a correlation between family and friend relationships and type of relationship. There was, however, a significant difference in perceived discrimination between types of couples. Overall findings do not support the hypotheses however this could be due to the sample that was surveyed. Implications of findings are discussed.
052. Anna Roberson Political Science
Latin American Immigration as a Determinant of US Foreign Aid Allocation
Track: The US & Foreign Relations
Advisor: Layna Mosley (Political Science)

Abstract: This research investigates US foreign aid to Latin America in the years 1991-2012. All else equal, I consider the role of Latin American immigration as an additional factor in foreign aid allocation. I argue that because migrants often move in search of economic improvement, and because foreign aid is believed to be able to improve the economic situation in recipient countries, policy-makers allocate more aid to immigrant-sending countries as a way to curb migration to the US. Through statistical analysis as well as archival research of Congressional Hearings and a series of elite interviews, I find that immigration from Latin America to the US leads to increases in US aid to the immigrant sending country, especially in low-income recipient nations and in the second half of the years sampled.
053. Courtney Shepard Anthropology
Assessing the Sustainability of Impulse Social Enterprises
Track: Diversity & Equity
Advisor: Townsend Middleton (Anthropology)

Abstract: For my research, I examined whether or not Impulse Social Enterprises based in Shillong, India is running in a sustainable (including environmentally, socially, and financially) manner. Impulse Social Enterprises is an organization that aims to act as a bridge between women weavers across Northeast India and the greater global marketplace to provide a better livelihood for these women. I conducted this research over two months in the Summer of 2014 in the Northeastern Indian states of Meghalaya and Assam. I employed common Anthropological research methods of interviews and observation working with directors, interns, and weavers at Impulse Social Enterprises. My research was funded by a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship from the OUR at UNC-CH.
054. Kaitlin Shinn Global Studies
Transnational Connections and the Influence of the Mass Media in the Global Sixties
Track: The US & Foreign Relations
Advisor: Donald Reid (History)

Abstract: The ???long 1960s???, a unique period in modern history, was marked by tumultuous uprisings across the globe led by individuals who refused to accept conformity and silence as a response to oppression and imperialism. Much of the pervasiveness of ideologies in the sixties owes itself to increased use of mass media to disseminate knowledge about global events. Utilization of mass media such as film, literature, and periodicals created a sort of ???group identity??? akin to the nation, a sort of union between consumers ???before the same vision, enthralled by a common illusion.??? This phenomenon accelerated the current of global change, and movements gained momentum through their visions of one another. In spite of this, due to the static and simplistic nature of these images in the media, over time they often grew increasingly divergent from the context in which they originated. Radical groups in the sixties viewed themselves as part of a global fabric of revolution, relying largely on the representations in the media to create images of their international counterparts. This is displayed well through the framework of the interaction of the Black Panther Party, specifically in the context of the Panther???s Minister of Information Eldridge Cleaver and his wife Kathleen, with the post-Independence Algerian state.
055. Olivia Abrecht American Studies
U.S. Corporate Accountability for Human Rights Abuses: A Case Study of Ford Motor Company in Argentina
Track: The US & Foreign Relations
Advisor: Tim Marr (American Studies)

Abstract: This presentation will explore the responsibility of U.S. multinational corporations in gross human rights violations and the particularly complex and transnational obstacles to corporate accountability efforts they pose by focusing on a particularly important company in the history of the Untied States, Ford Motor Company. This presentation hopes to expand our understanding of Ford Motor Company???s history beyond the borders of the United States and incorporate the experience of workers at Ford that have gone overlooked. On May 20th, 2013, three former Ford Argentina executives were the first executives to be charged with crimes against humanity by an Argentine court for participating in the kidnapping and murder of 24 Ford workers during the last dictatorship. This case will be contextualized within a global history of Ford Motor Company???s complicity in human rights abuses that raise important questions about the responsibility of parent companies for the actions of their subsidiaries. As the home state of Ford Motor Company and more multinationals that any other country, the United States has become a battle ground for debates about the responsibility of parent companies. Through the lens of the case against Ford in Argentina, this presentation will explore whether U.S. corporations can and should be held responsible in the United States for the actions of their subsidiaries abroad.
056. Kayla Leonard History
The Wandering Collection: The India Museum as a Representation of Empire
Track: Fine Arts
Advisor: Susan Pennybacker (History)

Abstract: In 19th century Britain, the India Museum existed first as a holding of the East India Company, then as an institution of the India Office, before finding its home with the South Kensington Museum. Throughout its lifespan in these three establishments, the museum was used a tool through which the British government and the British public could discuss varying perceptions of empire. From 1869-1879, the curators of this museum utilized its collections to promote trade and education. Eventually, however, due to public interest in the collections the museum became less about promoting an image of empire and more about promoting an image of the British people themselves.
057. Jon Tostoe Sociology
Silence in Rwanda: Rationalizing International Response 20 Years Later
Track: The US & Foreign Relations
Advisor: Neal Caren (Sociology)

Abstract: In the spring of 1994 the world largely stood by as Hutu extremists slaughtered an estimated 800,000 Tutsi citizens in the small central African country of Rwanda. Although the slaughter in Rwanda captured the attention of media and people worldwide, many of those external to the genocide attributed the violence to being part of an ???ongoing civil war???, offering little to no action on behalf of the international community outside of Africa to stop or slow the killings. This lack of a meaningful response to the Rwandan genocide has widely been considered to be a blatant and devastating humanitarian failure. Many scholars and records point out that the United States and the United Nations were in the best position to help, and that they could have and should have stepped in to stop the murders in Rwanda, but not only did they not intervene, they removed any available troops in Rwanda, and ignoring requests for backup, left a nation to defend for itself in the face of genocide. General Romeo Daillaire, the UN official in charge of the peacekeeping mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) was simply told by U.S and U.N officials to ???stay out of it??? and ???stick to the U.N mandate??? as he pleaded for reinforcements to stop the massacre. Scholars and people alike wonder why, in the dark shadows of the Holocaust and Cambodia, was the international community (In this case mainly the U.S and the U.N) so unresponsive, and in many ways, directly opposed to responding at all? In my research, I examine how the world, after the promise of ???never again???, was so unresponsive in the face of the mass-murders in Rwanda. I turn to current and past research regarding international relations and I draw from rhetorical strategies in analyzing the lack of response. Both U.S and international government documents serve as primary sources that I use to show how the international communities rationalized their lack of response. By examining the international reaction through the lens of relational-constructivist theory, I offer insight into how atrocities like the genocide in Rwanda could be averted. I intend to show the connections between international politics and the rhetoric surrounding the Rwandan genocide and draw from other similar events as I provide a framework for understanding the problem. I anticipate my results to show that, through the relational-constructivist theory mentioned above and analysis of the surrounding rhetoric, the lack of a humanitarian or military response to the Rwandan genocide can be better understood as a complex interplay between certain international players, mainly the United States and the United Nations. After highlighting and discussing my findings, I offer ways of examining international responses to crises like genocide in hopes to prevent humanitarian failures such as the one of Rwanda in the future.
058. Antonio Porras Mathematics
Reasonance and Margin Flexibility Upon A Modeled Oblate Jellyfish
Track: Environment
Advisor: Laura Miller (Department of Mathematics)
Graduate Student Contributors: Alexander Hoover

Abstract: To further explore how jellyfish optimize their swimming, we analyzed the role of flexibility in jellyfish jet propulsion using computational fluid dynamics. Flexibility has been shown to play a role in propulsion throughout the animal kingdom when examining it in context with resonance phenomenon. In our study, we explored Reynolds number effects on the resonance properties of the bell, and we focused on how flexible oblate bells optimize jellyfish propulsion. We used the Immerse Boundary Method to simulate jellyfish flow movement to measure its vertical velocity, resonant frequencies, bell elasticity and viscosity. Jellyfish have been shown to tune their swimming movement to the resonant frequency of their bell (DeMont and Gosline, 1987). More recently, work has been done to show how flexibility at the bell margin influences propulsion in oblate jellyfish (Colin et al, 2013). Our study concluded that for high viscous environments, the resonant frequency of the bell increases and as the stiffness of the bell increases, so does its natural frequency.
059. Ashley Conrad Art
Finding a Voice Amongst the Rocks: An Artist's Approach to Activism
Track: Fine Arts
Advisor: Beth Grabowski (Studio Art)

Abstract: This summer I was provided the opportunity to engage in research under well-renowned South African artist, Robert Slingsby. We traveled from Cape Town to the Richtersveld desert in the Northern Cape, in order to research rock engravings made by the marginalized Nama tribe for hundreds of years. Slingsby discovered these drawings at a young age, and began his obsession for the archiving and preservation of the endangered community through his art works, which often employ rock iconography. Robert???s work is laden with controversial themes of human rights, race relations, environmental politics, history and so much more. With Robert as guide, I trampled through the barren land, meticulously documenting the vestiges left behind by a people forced further and further out of society. Robert showed us the land with these markings, providing clue to the culture of this group of people that have been marginalized by the radical politics and societal forces of white ruling and the apartheid era. He told us the history found in the drawings of the shamanistic people, which I recorded via documentary style video and photos for preservation and promotion of the spread of this story. My research was multifaceted in that not only was I researching petroglyphs that are vital to the preservation of a culture, but I was also investigating the process of art making that professional artists employ.
060. Kaylyn Flanigan Biology
Cognitive Functioning in Dolphins
Track: Environment
Advisor: Leslie Frost (English)

Abstract: Research once supported that great apes were second to humans in the processes linked to thinking and behavior; however, recent research has proposed that dolphins have a higher brain to body mass ratio associated with higher intelligence. The increased mass of the brain accounts for larger cortices responsible for social awareness and an elevated number of spindle cells associated with heightened cognition. As a result porpoises and some whales exhibit elevated declarative, procedural, social, and self-knowledge. They are highly trainable and are often exploited for entertainment purposes. Although much of what we have learned was gained through interaction with these animals in captivity, the application of their knowledge could be used for more important scientific discovery. Through this paper I will explore the positive applications that could result from studying the cognitive functioning of porpoises.
061. Maura Thornton Biology
Documentary Film and the Recovery of Historical Memory in the Southern Cone
Track: Fine Arts
Advisor: Samuel Amago (Romance Studies)

Abstract: This project explores themes of historical memory in documentary films produced between 2010 and 2015 in Chile and Argentina. Designed for Western audiences, these four documentaries illustrate the transmission of memory from the private, familial sphere to the global, public domain and demonstrate how the "mute trace" of memory marks and characterizes a space, whether urban or rural. In the aftermath of historical trauma, the formal strategies of representation within these films confront the "surfeit of memory" in contemporary society, dynamically balancing the dissemination of traumatic experience with its commercialization.
062. Sierra Gray Physics & Astronomy
Simulating the Dynamics of Galaxy Interactions
Track: Environment
Advisor: Sheila Kannappan (Physics and Astronomy)
Graduate Student Contributors: Elaine Snyder

Abstract: Galaxies in our universe take on a large range of configurations. Unlike stars, which are more commonly spoken about, galaxies differ in shape and often interact with each other. The present form of a galaxy may be the result of different interactions that have occurred between multiple galaxies or just a single other galaxy over a long period of time. In order to gain a better understanding and to explain these shapes and sizes we want to model these interactions. We first examine galaxy-galaxy fly-by interactions using the code GADGET (Galaxies with Dark matter and Gas intEracT, http://www.mpa-garching.mpg.de/gadget). We go onto analyze interactions between two merging galaxies using the pre-packaged Merger Simulation from GADGET. To be certain that these simulations are accurate we test to make sure that energy is being conserved as the galaxies interact. We then attempt to modify the simulation by making a small change to the initial set up, such as altering the collision angles or the initial size of one of the two galaxies. Our aim is to compare the original results of the simulation to our new results to see if our changes alter the final size or shape of the newly formed merger galaxy.
063. Caroline Hamilton Environmental Science
Ecology of Fear and the Striped Hermit Crab: An Analysis of Clibanarius vittatus Feeding and Defense Behaviors in the Presence of a Predator
Track: Environment
Advisor: Charles Peterson (Marine Science)

Abstract: The ecology of fear describes the non-consumptive effects that predators have upon prey???changes to foraging, reproductive, and migratory behaviors, for example. This study analyzed whether the striped hermit crab, a valuable scavenger, demonstrates the ecology of fear in the presence of a predator, the Florida stone crab. Mesocosm experiments were conducted using two treatments: presence vs. absence of a caged stone crab and presence vs. absence of a marl dome refuge. Dead baitfish were used to quantify hermit crab foraging behavior. There was not a statistically significant difference in the proportion of dead fish biomass consumed in the presence vs. absence of a predator. There was a statistically significant difference in the proportion of fish fed off of in the presence vs. absence of a stone crab, with hermit crabs feeding off of fewer fish in the presence of a stone crab. Hermit crabs may have reduced predation risk by consuming the same overall amount of biomass off of fewer fish in the presence of a caged stone crab. With an increasing population of stone crabs in North Carolina and the potential for ocean acidification to degrade hermit crab shells, hermit crabs may become more vulnerable to predation in the future. In the face of a changing world, it is increasingly crucial to understand how organisms that provide valuable ecosystem services, such as scavengers, will be affected by these changes, and how these effects may propagate throughout ecosystems.
064. Rebecca McCoy Chemistry
Design, Synthesis, and Analysis of Molecular Photoelectrochemical Ligand Design
Track: Environment
Advisor: Alexander Miller (Chemistry)
Graduate Student Contributors: Kate Pitman

Abstract: Production of hydrogen from light-driven water splitting is an attractive method to store solar energy for later use. One method for hydrogen evolution is photoelectrochemical water-splitting. Typically, photoelectrocatalytic systems require an expensive high purity semiconductor light absorber (e.g. silicon) and a hydrogen producing catalyst (e.g. platinum). When the light hits the semiconductor, an electron is promoted to the conduction band. The electron is then transferred to the platinum, which catalyzes the formation of the H-H bond and reproduces the catalyst. The Miller group recently discovered a semiconductor-free approach to photoelectrochemical hydrogen evolution with a single homogeneous photoelectrocatalyst, [Cp*Ir(2,2???-bipyridine)(H)]+ (Cp* = pentamethylcyclopendienyl). To better understand this approach to hydrogen production, the limits of this system have been explored by seeing how structural changes to the catalyst affect reactivity. Replacing bpy changes the characteristics of the catalyst and understanding the behavior of structurally different ligands will inform future catalyst design. Complexes containing bis(pyridine), di(2-pyridyl)ketone, and various alpha-diimine ligands have been synthesized and studied using electrochemical techniques such as cyclic voltammetry and cyclic amperometry under irradiation. A new catalyst, [Cp*Ir(pyridine)2(Cl)][OTf], was discovered for molecular photoelectrochemical hydrogen evolution.
065. Jonathan Garrick Geology
Master Chronology: A late Holocene sclerochronological analysis of the bivalve Arctica islandica from the Mid-Atlantic Bight
Track: Environment
Advisor: Joel Hudley (Geological Sciences)

Abstract: Recent temperature variations in the western Atlantic have impacted the biogeographic ranges of benthic, infaunal organisms. Evidence of this thermal shift is likely encoded in the shells of long-lived organisms. Past marine climate variations were reconstructed using the annual growth patterns in the shells of Arctica islandica (Linnaeus, 1767) by previous workers. Many paleoclimate studies were completed in the intensively sampled regions around Iceland and the North Sea; however, no chronologies exist for the Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB). The MAB is the most southern extent of A. islandica???s modern biogeographic range. The goal of this study is to reconstruct the climate of the MAB during the time of the lifespan of live collected bivalves. Surveys conducted by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NOAA-NEFSC) obtained live samples from across the MAB during the summers of 1994 and 1997. Chronologies and growth indices were constructed to determine variations in environmental conditions during the years that the clams were alive. A total of 73 shells have been processed for sclerochronological analyses. ??? Analysis of the growth patterns revealed ontogenetic ages of up to 203 years for individual specimens. Growth increment width time-series were used to construct a composite chronology. Variations in increment time series may be related to regional environmental variations from 1791-1997.
066. Jesus Meza Physics & Astronomy
Improvements to Calibrations of Astronomical Spectra.
Track: Environment
Advisor: Christopher Clemens (Physics and Astronomy)
Graduate Student Contributors: Erik D. Dennihy, Josh T. Fuchs
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Bart Dunlap

Abstract: Astronomical spectra are imperative to the study of a body???s composition, rotation, temperature, and gravity. Before these measurements can be extracted however, the raw data must be reduced to a usable form. This involves Bias Subtraction, Flat Fielding, Wavelength Calibration, and Flux Calibration. The project???s focus is on improving Wavelength Calibration processes. In Wavelength Calibration, the stellar spectra are compared to the spectra of lamps with known wavelengths. To accomplish this comparison, the known wavelength features in the lamps are matched to fits of the measured spectral line centers. Then typically a polynomial function is used to interpolate wavelengths in between the matched lines. This process is often long and tedious, and incorporates functions unrelated to the physics of dispersion by the diffraction grating used to produce spectra. This costs valuable time and introduces significant and unnecessary error. To improve the process a computer model based on light diffraction is introduced in order to quickly calculate where wavelengths will be positioned within a stellar spectrum. By using the correct functional from, the comparison to reference lamp lines can be automated, and the wavelength error decreased. A careful comparison of spectra calibrated in the conventional method and with the new model is presented.
067. Blake Morgan Chemistry
Analysis of Agrochemical Stability Using Paper Spray Mass Spectrometry
Track: Environment
Advisor: Gary Glish (Chemistry)
Graduate Student Contributors: Steven Reeber

Abstract: Paper spray ionization is a mass spectrometry ionization technique performed by applying a high voltage and solvent to a pointed paper strip to which the analytical sample has been applied. An electrospray is generated from the tip of the paper, ionizing the analyte. Current research is focused on the stability of dried agrochemicals on paper strips. In this experiment, separate samples containing 100 ppb atrazine were stored either at room temperature or in the freezer on paper strips, and a 100 ppb atrazine-d5 internal standard was applied before analysis. Analyte stability was evaluated by measuring the internal standard:analyte ratio weekly using paper spray mass spectrometry. Preliminary results indicate that significant atrazine degradation occurs seven days after application to the paper strip. Ongoing experiments aim to confirm the observations made in this experiment and to determine the stability of other compounds on paper strips.
068. Emily Riederer Mathematical Decision Science
Stochastic model for chemotactic cell response dynamics
Track: Environment
Advisor: Wait-Tong (Louis) Fan (Statistics & Operations Research)
Undergraduate Co-Authors: David Clancy

Abstract: Chemotaxis is the process of the movement of an organism or system of organisms in response to a chemical stimulus. This general process has numerous applications in diverse systems such as the movement of slime molds, the growth of cancer cells, and communication in ant colonies. Chemotactic systems have been described on a macroscopic level, considering the movement of the entire organism/chemical system as a whole, with partial differential equations by use of the Kellar-Segal model. To understand the specifics of chemotactic movement on the microscopic level, understanding the movement of each individual organism in the system, we investigate the use of a system of a partial differential equation (heat equation) to describe the movement of the chemical messenger and stochastic differential equations describing the random movement of each organism in the system.
069. Chelsea Tyler Chemistry
Reaction of Ions from Pyrolyzed Levoglucosan with Adventitious Water in a Quadrupole Ion Trap
Track: Environment
Advisor: Gary Glish (Chemistry)
Graduate Student Contributors: Sandra E. Spencer
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Gary Glish

Abstract: The pyrolysis products of natural polymers often exhibit very similar and structurally uninformative neutral losses, such as the neutral loss of a water molecule, during collision induced dissociation (CID) in ion trap mass spectrometers. However, some ions undergo uncommon, and therefore characteristic, reactions. Protonated levoglucosan ions (m/z 163) react with adventitious water vapor in the ion trap to generate a product [M+H+18]+ (m/z 181). By trapping the protonated molecule of levoglucosan at m/z 163 for different times after isolation, the reaction kinetics for the production of m/z 181 from m/z 163 have been studied. Data has shown that the different solvent systems produce different reaction kinetics of protonated levoglucosan. When water is completely removed from the solvent, the extent of reaction does not change with time. However, when water is replaced by deuterium oxide, the same ions are produced with different reaction kinetics; suggesting production of different isometric structures dependent on the composition of the solvent. Such reactions allow levoglucosan to be uniquely identified in the presence of several other isomers/isobars formed during the pyrolysis process.
070. Michael Sokoletsky Physics & Astronomy
Quasiparticle Random Phase Approximation of Inelastic Neutrino-Lead Scattering
Track: Environment
Advisor: Jonathan Engel (Physics & Astronomy)

Abstract: Understanding how subatomic particles called neutrinos work is one of the biggest challenges in contemporary physics. Unfortunately, not only is it difficult to construct experiments that can detect them, but it is also often difficult to distinguish the detection of neutrinos from the detection of other particles. In this study, we tackle the latter challenge by considering one possible source of such non-neutrino particles -- lead shielding surrounding the experiments. Although designed to repel background neutrinos, lead shielding can also react with the experimental neutrinos to produce more particles called neutrons. An analysis of such reactions is carried out in several stages. First, models from nuclear physics are used to understand the different states lead can be in. Second, these models are combined with the theory of how neutrinos react with matter to find out how likely they are to react with lead. Finally, statistical methods are used to determine the number of neutrons produced in these reactions. Our analysis can ultimately help scientists account for the presence of neutrons in neutrino detection experiments, thereby improving their accuracy.
071. Nathan Vaughn Physics & Astronomy
Dynamics of Viscous Thin Films
Track: Environment
Advisor: Jeremy Marzuola (Mathematics)

Abstract: Understanding the behavior of thin, viscous films is integral for many engineering and biological applications. In this case, we are investigating a viscous thin film on the inside of a cylinder, an analogous situation to oil flowing through a pipe. Liquid plugs form when the average film height reaches a certain level. Plugs may be undesirable for efficient fluid transport, be it the viscous film such as oil or the core medium such as air. Understanding when the liquid plug formations occur will allow engineers to more effectively balance pipe designs and flow rates. The differential equations governing thin film flows are nonlinear and cannot be analyzed analytically; therefore we must simulate the thin film flows numerically and ideally verify the results experimentally. I use a combination of numerical techniques (pseudospectral codes, ODE solvers, and continuation software) to analyze the parameter dependent behaviors of the thin film surface.
072. Arthur Wood Physics & Astronomy
Characterizing Electrochemically Deposited ZnO / Cu2O Heterojunction Solar Cells and Resolving Structural Issues to Optimize Efficiency and Create Cheap, Easily Manufactured Solar Devices
Track: Environment
Advisor: Rene Lopez (Physics)

Abstract: In recent years, huge advancements have been made in the efficiency of solar devices but the costs and difficulty of manufacturing these high efficiency cells still limit their role as major sources of electricity. Major expenses in efficient solar cell production come from: the need for rare and expensive materials, and highly specialized and demanding production processes. ZnO/Cu_2 O thin film solar cells are promising for their relatively high efficiency, low cost of key materials, and potentially inexpensive and environmentally friendly production. These devices still face problems of their own however, such as difficulties in production, structural stability and a narrow range of parameters for high efficiency operation. Many research groups have sought to solve these problems and boost efficiency by using methods that once again rely on rare, expensive, or hazardous materials and highly specialized production; defeating part of what made these devices so attractive. We believe we will be able to create higher efficiency devices through use of relatively simple, inexpensive, and clean electrodeposition of Cu2O on top of ZnO films, using previous works to fine tune the layers and resolve some of the fatal structural defects associated with films created in this fashion. Having a clean, simple, and inexpensive production process would allow poorer and less technologically equipped nations to produce solar cells and begin replacing their own traditional sources of energy.
073. Tashana Detwiler Chemistry
Effects of NOx in Duke Forest
Track: Environment
Advisor: Jason Surratt (Environmental Sciences and Engineering)
Graduate Student Contributors: Ying-Hsuan Lin

Abstract: NOx is the sum of NO2 and NO in the atmosphere. Air samples were collected on a diurnal cycle from the Duke field site. Samples are collected on quartz filters. NOx concentrations vary at different parts of the day which will have an affect of the air. Gas chromatography will be used to determine the composition of chemicals on the samples to determine the effects.
074. Ryan Beauchemin Physics & Astronomy
A Comparison of Kinematic and Photometric Inclinations in the RESOLVE Survey
Track: Environment
Advisor: Sheila Kannappan (Physics and Astronomy)
Graduate Student Contributors: Kathleen Eckert, Kirsten Hall
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Erik Hoversten

Abstract: Using standard prescriptions relating axial ratios to inclinations, the inferred distribution of inclinations for galaxies in the REsolved Spectroscopy Of a Local VolumE (RESOLVE) survey departs from theoretical expectations for a complete volume-limited sample. We compare kinematic inclinations from velocity fields of ~200 disk galaxies in RESOLVE with their respective photometric inclinations to examine the origin of this discrepancy. We further investigate which galaxy properties may correlate with differences between inclination estimates, considering morphology, mass, optical size, and rotation curve asymmetry. Our test sample spans galaxy masses between 109 and 1011 M&sun;, axial ratios between 0.2 and 0.9, rotation curve asymmetries between 0% and 30%, and the full range of morphological types, which are representative of the distribution for the parent survey, RESOLVE. However, the test sample does not represent the optically largest or smallest galaxies in RESOLVE, denoted by 90% r-band light radii greater than 70" or less than 6". The kinematic data for our sample galaxies were acquired with our custom image slicer on the SOAR telescope/Goodman spectrograph, and inclinations were measured using DiskFit. This analysis will contribute to the RESOLVE kinematic database in preparation. This research was supported by the National Science Foundation under an REU supplement to CAREER award AST-0955368.
075. Clark Cunningham Biology
Forming an Ectopic Histone Locus Body in Human Cells with a Mouse Histone Gene Cluster
Track: Environment
Advisor: William Marzluff (Biology)

Abstract: Because of their role in DNA packaging, most histone genes are replication dependent; expression of these histone genes occurs exclusively during the S-phase of the cell cycle when DNA is replicated and their mRNAs are rapidly degraded at the end of S-phase. The rapid synthesis of histone mRNA occurs at clusters of histone genes which are regulated by protein complexes called Histone Locus Bodies (HLBs). While the process of HLB formation is presently unknown, experiments in D. melanogaster have shown that the intergenic region between a pair of H3-H4 genes is necessary and sufficient for HLB formation. In M. musculus, a long, non-coding RNA (lncRNA) has been identified by deep sequencing in between a highly conserved pair of duplicated histone H2a and H3 genes at the mouse histone 2 locus. My experiments are designed to examine the role of this lncRNA on HLB formation and histone gene expression at mouse histone locus 2. I have created several transgenic lines of HeLa cells by transfecting human cell lines with a copy of the entire mouse histone locus 2 on a 187 kb BAC. These cells express the mouse histone genes present in histone locus 2. In future experiments, I plan to knockdown the lncRNA and/or mutate the lncRNA promoter region on the BAC and observe the effect on mouse histone gene expression and HLB formation in human cell lines.
076. Emily Davidson Chemistry
Shifts in aqueous carbonate chemistry by Siderastrea siderea corals under elevated temperatures
Track: Environment
Advisor: Christopher Martens (Marine Sciences)
Graduate Student Contributors: Clare Fiesler and Caleb King
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Additional Advisor: Karl Castillo

Abstract: Since the start of the industrial revolution in the mid-eighteen hundreds, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations have increased from 280 to 395 ppm. An increase in average global sea surface temperatures by approximately 1.7 ??C has accompanied this rise in carbon dioxide concentrations. Such changes pose immediate threats to the calcification of some shallow marine organisms. The magnitude of temperature change in this study was equivalent to the observed rise in sea surface temperature over the last century, or approximately 0.2 ??C per decade over the last 30 years. This trend is expected to continue, increasing global temperatures by another 1 ??C or more in the coming century. This experiment observed the effects of gradually elevated seawater temperatures on the carbonate chemistry of aquaria housing Siderasterea siderea coral colonies. The increased temperatures resulted in an increase in pCO2 concentrations and thus a subsequent decrease in total alkalinity and pH. The calcite saturation state (Cal??), or the thermodynamic potential for the skeletal mineral calcite excreted by S. siderea to dissolve, dropped from as high as 10.16 to as low as 5.51 but remained above saturation conditions (Cal??>1). The decline of Cal?? may be linked to increasing pCO2 levels or elevated respiration in the aquaria, which if left unabated could lead to stressful water chemistry conditions for the corals.
077. Kasey Evans Physics & Astronomy
Optimization of Optical Properties of VO2 Films Through Manipulation of Periodic Structure
Track: Environment
Advisor: Rene Lopez (Physics)

Abstract: Heat lost through windows accounts for an estimated 15% of the 150,000 TWh of energy consumed annually in the US. To reduce this waste, our research group investigates passive VO2 window coatings that adaptively regulate the amount of heat that radiates through windows without the need of electrical power. VO2 is a thermochromic material: In response to heat, its optical properties change. Above room temperatures, VO2 reflects infrared (IR) light that would otherwise continue to undesirably heat an indoor environment. Below room temperatures, it transmits IR, helping to warm the indoors. The difference in IR reflectance between the two phases is referred to as IR modulation. Current approaches to utilizing VO2 window coverings poorly modulate IR light, heavily attenuate visible light transmittance, and appear orange. In response to this, we explore an aspect of the technology mostly ignored by other groups: films comprised of periodic arrays of VO2. Through the use of simulation software, we investigate the effects of various parameters of periodic arrays (such as periodicity, height, shape, and multiple layerings) on the IR modulation and visible transmittance of the films. Through this process, we design patterns which optimize the IR modulating affect while minimally impacting the visible light transmittance. We hope to present cheap, easily mass-produced, and highly functional VO2 coatings that can be retrofitted onto existing windows for the general consumer.
078. Alex Flores Chemistry
Site-Selective C-H Chlorination via Chloroamide
Track: Environment
Advisor: Erik Alexanian (Chemistry)
Graduate Student Contributors: Ryan K. Quinn

Abstract: Currently, there exist very few chlorination reactions that are site-selective due to the indiscriminate reactivity of chlorine radical. Hereby, we demonstrate site-selective C-H chlorination using a chloroamide as the chlorine source, which functions through a radical mechanism but bypasses the formation of indiscriminate free-radical chlorine.
079. Christopher Folmar Physics & Astronomy
Branching Ratios for the Nitrogen 14 Proton Gamma Reaction
Track: Environment
Advisor: Art Champagne (Physics)

Abstract: The Nitrogen 14 proton gamma reaction is an integral part of the CNO cycle in main sequence stars. Using monte carlo simulations of the accelerator and detector at The Laboratory for Experimental Nuclear Astrophysics (LENA), we hope to better characterize the the low energy spectrum of the 14N(p,g)180 reaction. This begins with simulating reactions at the 284keV resonance,for which data as already been collected, and creating efficiency curves for the simulation. We will then use the simulated data to better calculate the branching ratios for the reaction. This is accomplished by simulating each reaction branch, and fitting these simulated spectrum to the experimental data. As the low energy reactions that occur in a star occupy time scales that are far too long to simulate in the lab, better constraining the mid energy spectrum will lead to a better extrapolation to stellar energies.
080. Sangeetha Kumar Environmental Science
Identifying determinants of exposure to household air pollution in rural Malawi
Track: Environment
Advisor: Pamela Jagger (Department of Public Policy/ Carolina Population Center)
Undergraduate Co-Authors: Sangeetha Kumar
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Joe Pedit

Abstract: The very high exposure of people in developing nations who use solid fuels (mainly wood) as the only source of fuel for cooking, often in inefficient stoves and with poor ventilation, is an important public health and environmental issue. A research study done by UNC???s FUEL (Forest Use, Energy, and Livelihoods) Lab collected data on determinants of exposure to household air pollution in rural Malawi. The field study collected carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter (PM2.5) for a period of 24 hours in each of the 100 households in the study. Additionally, they collected both personal (the cooks of the household wore the monitors) and area (placed in the primary cooking area) concentration measurements along with completing an in-depth questionnaire with the household owners. Analysis is currently being done to compare personal and area concentrations of CO and PM2.5 as well as measures of BC (Black Carbon). The end goal is to do a multiple regression analysis of household pollutant levels to see how different factors ??? the type of fuel, fuel quality, stove design, ventilation conditions, etc ??? influence indoor air pollutant exposures.
081. Adam Kunesh Physics & Astronomy
Reducing the Angle-Dependence of Light Emitted by Artificial Butterfly Wings
Track: Environment
Advisor: Rene Lopez (Physics and Astronomy)
Graduate Student Contributors: Cary Tippets

Abstract: The Amazonian Morpho butterfly, characterized by its vibrant, iridescent coloration, is a prime example of structural color found in nature. On the scales of each wing of the blue Morpho, many microscopic structures exhibit interference and diffraction, resulting in an emission of brilliant blue color. Though this color has been reproduced by man-made nanostructures, there has been difficulty in fabricating these structures over a large area. Further, the samples produced lack a wide range of viewing angles from which synthetic ???wings??? are observed to emit the desired color of light. To reduce this angle-dependence, a new method which randomizes the periodicity of the structures by writing each micro-line individually was implemented. In contrast to previous methods, in which the structures were formed using perfectly-periodic light interference patterns, we made use of a laser, an Arduino microcontroller, and a microstepper to ???carve??? the structures at random intervals. Initial data indicates that this method does reduce the angle-dependence of the samples. This method may help to enable the production of elastic ???wings,??? for which the emitted color could be actively manipulated based on the stress applied to the ???wing.???
082. Ian Mercer Chemistry
Investigation of C1 reduction via hydride transfer by Ru polypyridyl complexes
Track: Environment
Advisor: Cynthia Schauer (Chemistry)

Abstract: Crucial to optimizing the solar generation of fuels is a mechanistic understanding of catalytic reduction of simple, one-carbon (C1) molecules by ruthenium polypyridyl complexes, commonly employed catalysts for photoelectrochemical cells. A previous study was conducted on the hydride transfer ability of Ru(terpy)(bpy)H+ (terpy = 2,2???,6???,2??????-terpyridine; bpy = 2,2???-bipyridine) to C1 species CO2, CO, and CH2O using water as a solvent. Results of this investigation warrant attention because, for one, the use of water as a solvent yields a four orders of magnitude increase in hydride transfer rate constant compared to acetonitrile. Secondly, the metal-coordinated products of hydride transfer are oxygen-bonded, an unexpected outcome when considering the nucleophilicity of the hydride. For my thesis, I wish to reproduce the experiments from the previously mentioned research to confirm its results. Then, I will study the kinetics and synthetic products of these C1 reductions with analogous complexes namely Ru(bpy???)2(CO)H+ (bpy??? = 5,5???:2,2???-dimethylbipyridine) of which I have already isolated and characterized by 1H NMR. Additionally, I will be preforming DFT calculations to compare the free energies of the O-bonded and C-bonded hydride adduct isomers. Through this research I hope to gain a better understanding of the pathway by which this class of hydride transfers occurs as well as the factors affecting the reactivity of metal hydride complexes.
083. Christopher Miller Physics & Astronomy
Modeling and Optimizing of Photovoltaic Performance in Periodic Patterned Colloidal Quantum Dot Solar Cells
Track: Environment
Advisor: Rene Lopez (Physics & Astronomy)
Undergraduate Co-Authors: Kristina T. Vrouwenvelder
Graduate Student Contributors: Yulan Fu, Abay Gadisa, Yukihiro Hara

Abstract: Due to the wide-spread absorption range of colloidal quantum dot (CQD) solar cells, they have attracted tremendous attention for applications in optoelectronic devices. The efficiency of these CQD solar cells however, continues to be limited by their low carrier mobility. Through our research we show that the overall power conversion efficiency (PCE) can be easily tuned by implementing unique photonic structures capable of enhancing both the charge generation and collection efficiencies simultaneously. By employing a two-dimensional numerical model in COMSOL Multiphysics, we have comprehensively calculated the optical and electronic characteristics of patterned CQD solar cells. Our calculation predicts a PCE as high as 13.5% with a short circuit current density of 37.3 mA/cm2; a value nearly 1.6 times larger than the conventional designs; which highlights the great potential of patterned quantum dot solar cells.
084. Christopher Sato Chemistry
Development and Catalysis of Iridium NCOP Pincer-ligand Systems
Track: Environment
Advisor: Alexander Miller (Chemistry)
Graduate Student Contributors: Matthew Kita

Abstract: Herin we report the synthesis, characterization, and preliminary catalytic data of (RNCOPiPr) iridium pincer complexes, where NCOPiPr is amino-methyldiisopropylphosphinitobenzene with R = morpholine or diethyl. These (RNCOPiPr) ligands have been previously reported for the synthesis of organometallic Ni complexes, but have not been used to form iridium complexes. Meridonally coordinating tridentate pincer ligands represent an extensive class of ligands for iridium. Representative examples include PNP, PCP, POCOP, and PCOP pincer-ligands which have been investigated for many catalytic reactions including alkene hydrogenation, olefin isomerization, and CO2 hydrogenation. Asymmetric NCOP pincer ligands bearing a pendant aza-crown-ether group have recently been investigated, but crown-free versions have yet to be reported. We report the synthesis and characterization of Ir(III) species, (RNCOPiPr)Ir(H)(Cl), and related iridium carbonyl complexes, (RNCOPiPr)Ir(H)(Cl)(CO) and (RNCOPiPr)Ir(CO). Catalytic activity will also be discussed.
085. Jason Surbrook Physics & Astronomy
Spectral Study of a Broad Energy HPGe Detector for First Measurement of Coherent Neutrino Scattering
Track: Environment
Advisor: John Wilkerson (Physics and Astronomy)
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Matthew Green, Oak Ridge National Lab

Abstract: Intense neutrino flux at the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in the energy domain below E = 50MeV makes SNS a suitable location for measurement of Coherent Neutrino Scattering. Coherent scattering is assumed to occupy vital roles in supernovae (SN) events and measurement offers promising insight into SN mechanics and advancements in SN- detection. Furthermore, this interaction is well-calculable and therefore, a strong test of the Standard Model. P-Type Point Contact High-purity germanium detectors are excellent candidates for this measurement due to their sensitivity to low-energy nuclear recoils. One such, a Canberra Broad Energy HPGe detector, was tested for quality degradation from exposure to fast neutrons in the SNS target building, to assess usefulness in a future coherent scattering experiment. Analysis of the lead-shielded spectra was handled using tools developed for the Majorana Demonstrator neutrinoless double-beta decay experiment. Broad spectrum energy resolution and 68Ge decay rates were calculated. This poster will present findings that will help determine this detectors eligibility and exposure limitations for measurement in a future coherent neutrino scattering experiment at the SNS.
086. Amanda Sutter Geology
Zircon U/Pb Radiogenic Dating of the Great Valley Formation
Track: Environment
Advisor: Drew Coleman (Geology)

Abstract: Using zircon U/Pb radiogenic dating methods, I gathered geologic ages of a number of samples of ash layers from the Great Valley Formation in central California to better determine the boundaries between ages in the Lower Cretaceous period of the Geologic Time Scale. By precisely dating these samples, we can better determine the order of events of various geologic, biologic, and climatic events during this time period. Through the completion of my project, I have found that the Berriasian-Valanginian boundary is around 138 Ma, the Valanginian-Hauterivian boundary is 133.66 +/- 0.14 Ma, and the Barremian-Aptian boundary is 124.07 +/- 0.13 Ma; all of which shift the previously decided boundaries of these ages in the currently accepted Geologic Time Scale.
087. Kristina Vrouwenvelder Chemistry
Patterned vs. Rough Surfaces: Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) in Flexible Electronics
Track: Environment
Advisor: Rene Lopez (Physics)
Undergraduate Contributors: Kai Shin, McKean Tompkins
Graduate Student Contributors: Qian Dong
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Yukihiro Hara

Abstract: The development of conductive materials for use in flexible substrates is currently of great interest. Flexible conductive substrates, with potential applications in electronics ranging from displays and touch screens to flexible thin-film transistors and photovoltaics, have previously been approached from an organic materials perspective. However, the inorganic material indium tin oxide (ITO) ??? conductive, transparent, and easily deposited over large areas as a thin film - is a promising new material for these flexible substrates. We demonstrate the use of two patterning techniques to improve the conductivity of ITO on a flexible substrate: nanoscale photolithographic patterning to create an ordered, spring-like ITO structure on the substrate, and deep-reactive ion etching to ???roughen??? the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) surface and create random, nanoscale structures in the ITO.
088. Cora Went Physics & Astronomy
Spectroscopic Characterization of Colloidal PbS Quantum Dot Solar Cells
Track: Environment
Advisor: Rene Lopez (Physics)

Abstract: If solar energy is to lead a global transition to renewable energies, researchers must innovate solar cell technologies that are more cost-effective and more efficient. Colloidal quantum dot (CQD) solar cells have the potential to meet both requirements. Colloidal quantum dots are semiconductor particles that are so small that they develop unique properties. For example, it is possible to change the wavelength of light that a quantum dot absorbs just by changing its size. CQD solar cells can employ quantum dots tuned to absorb different wavelengths of sunlight, meaning that they absorb a large percentage of the solar spectrum, which translates to high efficiency. Furthermore, CQD solar cells can be processed into thin films from the liquid phase, which is an inexpensive processing method. The Lopez laboratory explores different structures for lead sulfide (PbS) CQD solar cells both theoretically and experimentally. I will diagnose the poor experimental performance of PbS CQD solar cells by using a technique called photovoltage transient spectroscopy to quantify the amount of defects in these devices. By collecting data from PbS solar cells produced using different processing methods and different structures, I intend to determine which factors during solar cell processing contribute to higher amounts of defects.
089. Julian Willett Biology
Tetraethylene glycol coating of gold nanoparticles limits inflammatory response in mice.
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Oliver Smithies (Pathology)
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Oliver Smithies

Abstract: In recent years, nanoparticles have become more frequently used for medical treatment via drug delivery; however, there remain issues regarding their safety. Previous studies have found that in mice, gold nanoparticles coated with polyethylene glycol (PEG) are stable in blood, but they induce an inflammatory response, liver damage, and kidney damage upon administration via intraperitoneal injection. In this study, I synthesized gold nanoparticles and coated them with tetraethylene glycol (TEG) to determine if this smaller polymer caused similar effects to PEG or if the effects were bypassed. I performed retro-orbital injections into male mice with a solution of either saline, particles our lab knows to be fairly inert in mice, or TEG coated nanoparticles. I collected whole blood prior to injection, at two minutes, thirty minutes, and sixty minutes to submit for complete blood cell count. It was found that injection of nanoparticles, whether coated with TEG or the previously determined inert coating, caused a net decrease in white blood cell count, suggesting decreased inflammatory response. In addition, TEG coated nanoparticles appeared to trigger rapid and significant platelet removal or destruction compared to both controls. This suggests TEG coated particles bypass the inflammatory response, although this may be due to interaction with platelets. Thus, further research into TEG coated particles is needed before they can be considered viable delivery agents.
090. Ashley Bittner Physics & Astronomy
Estimating black hole masses in active, star-forming galaxies
Track: Environment
Advisor: Sheila Kannappan (Physics & Astronomy)
Graduate Student Contributors: Elaine Snyder

Abstract: Most galaxies follow an evolutionary track that begins with their formation as spiral galaxies along the ???blue sequence???, named for the blue color seen from star-forming galaxies. As galaxies exhaust their dense gas, a necessity for star formation, they become redder spheroids as their internal stars age. The galaxy type investigated in this project, ???blue sequence spheroids??? deviate from this track due to a period of late star formation. This ???starburst??? is due to a concentration of gas in the galactic center, often thought to be the consequence of a merger of two galaxies. This central gas may fuel two types of nuclear activity; starbursts or Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN), a term used to describe mass accretion by the black hole. While nuclear starbursts may explain our observations of increased star formation and depleted gas reserves, some of the gas depletion observed might be due to AGN activity. In an attempt to probe the effects of AGN activity on galaxy evolution, we estimate central black-hole masses and measure properties related to the central BH and its possible AGN activity. BH-mass values can be estimated based on a correlation with the typical orbital velocities of stars in the galaxy. These velocities are obtained by using a public code on spectroscopic data available for the galaxies in the RESOLVE survey. In future work, we aim to pinpoint a detectable signature of AGN activity through a literature review and search for this signature in our sample.
091. David Clancy Mathematics
Random Walk Approximation to Brownian Agents
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Wai-Tong Fan (Statistics and Operations Research)

Abstract: Brownian motion is a process that arises in many scientific fields. This research attempts to model one of the aspects of the continuous Brownian motion by simulating discrete random walks. More specifically, Monte Carlo methods allow the random walk simulations to approximate the time a particle spends near the boundary of a domain and compare this result to the theoretical result given by the continuous model. The theoretical results are given by solutions to partial differential equations on a square domain and by changing the way the particle interacts with the boundary gives approximations to solutions of these partial differential equations with differing initial conditions.
092. Helin Park Anthropology
Nisbet & Old Town: Piecing Together Catawba History
Track: Environment
Advisor: Steve Davis (Anthropology)

Abstract: The Catawba Project is a body of research that the Research Laboratories of Archaeology at UNC-Chapel Hill has cultivated since 2001, under excavations led by Dr. Steve Davis and Dr. Brett Riggs. This research encompasses excavations taken place in seven archaeological sites, including Nisbet and Old Town, which were excavated by UNC's 2014 archaeological field school. The goal of the 2014 field school was to start excavation at the Nisbet site, which was discovered in 2006, and to revisit the Old Town site, which was discovered in 2003, and had been previously excavated by the 2003 and 2009 field schools. This poster is based on my participation in the 5-week archaeological field school in the summer of 2014 and documents the students' process of learning first-hand the archaeological methods used by researchers to piece together the history of a past community through the artifacts and their contexts. Students learned to orient themselves to the field sites using historical knowledge about the area and became familiar with the pre-existing archaeological work on the sites. This knowledge guided the students' learning of how to investigate a site archaeologically and the techniques involved in level and feature excavations, including: flotation sampling, features and soil identification, troweling for photography and mapping, screening to recover artifacts, and recording and analyzing the data. This learning process culminated in the incorporation of new data into the pre-existing body of work in the Catawba Project.
092. Hannah Kiser Exercise & Sport Science
ACL Injuries: the growing epidemic
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Leslie Frost (English )

Abstract: Imagine that you just tore your Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) that connects your femur and tibia under your patella that is a very common story for many young female athletes today. Ever since the implication of Title IX, there has been an increasing rate of females participating in sports. Females that play basketball or soccer are two to eight times more likely to suffer from an ACL injury than males due to weaker muscles, ligaments and wider pelvises. Though weak ligaments and muscles are to blame, the causes of these weak ligaments and muscles may be females who are overtraining. In my research, I will assess data in order to better understand the reasons for ACL injuries in female soccer players to suggest that overtraining causes ACL injury. Though many training programs have come along, I think that it is deeper than just weak muscles or ligaments. Ever since women???s soccer have been getting attention from the World Cup and other means of publicity, parents and coaches have been pushing young girls to their limits. The growing competitiveness in soccer causes females to overwork or strengthen the wrong parts of their bodies like the rectus femoris, also known as upper quad, to cause an increase risk of ACL related injury. I hope that by raising awareness to young female athletes, parents, and coaches that we can limit the injuries and help keep young athletes on the fields instead of in the O.R.
093. Ashley Creese Psychology
Informational processing in PTSD/TBI veterans with alcoholic behavior
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Ayse Belger (Psychiatry)
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Danielle Rogers

Abstract: Veterans that have been diagnosed with posttraumatic brain disorder (PTSD) typically engage in binge drinking behavior to regulate their negative emotional symptoms resulting in hyperarousal to stimuli (Stewart, Pihl, Conrod, & Dongier, 1998). Studies have revealed that binge drinking affects an individual's cognitive function through reduced and/or delayed neural and informational processing in evoked related potential (ERP) components (Maurage et al., 2012). Thus, the current study examines the extent alcoholic behavior interferes with executive functioning and affective processing in recent combat veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Ninetysix veterans with PTSD and TBI (91.67% male) aged 24-59 participated in an oddball paradigm where their task was to respond to an infrequent target stimuli amongst standard stimuli. Electroencephalogram (EEG) was used to record their brain activity during the tasks. By examining the clinical administered PTSD scale (CAPS) score and their drinking behavior score we were able to assess if their diagnosis and/or drinking behavior influenced their response. The results indicate that veterans with a high CAPS score may have a significant positive correlation with their drinking behavior and performance on the oddball task. Consequently, PTSD/TBI veterans who have a high CAPS score and engage in heavy binge drinking behavior have an increased reduction in executive functioning and corresponding brain activity.
094. Natalie Deuitch Biology
Defining mechanisms by which Axin and APC regulate Wnt signaling
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Mark Peifer (Biology)
Graduate Student Contributors: Mira Pronobis

Abstract: The Wnt signaling pathway controls cell fate and cell proliferation through down-regulation of the transcriptional co-activator ??-catenin (??cat) by a protein complex called the destruction complex (DC). Mutations in one component of the DC, tumor suppressor APC, account for over 80% of sporadic colon cancer cases leading to formation of colon polyps. APC functions together with the scaffold protein Axin and two kinases. Interestingly, both DC components share redundant regions such as ??cat binding sites and domains that allow for self-polymerization, but it is unclear how APC and Axin use these regions to work together in ??cat destruction. We were able to define the essential regions in APC and in Axin needed for ??cat degradation. To study how these regions work together we created constructs of APC and Axin that maintain just the essential regions and tested them for ability to target ??cat. We also created a chimeric APC-Axin protein that links these essential regions of APC and Axin. We found that the chimera is able to reduce ??cat levels and well at Wt APC and Axin when co-expressed. We also found that a small fragment of Axin associates along microtubules and were able to map it to a highly conserved motif in Axin proteins. We hypothesize that Axin-microtubule association plays a role in the recruitment of the DC from the cytoplasm to the plasma membrane when Wnt signaling is activated.
094. Kyndal Lemelin Undecided
Murder or Mistake? Mental Deficiencies of Murderers
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Leslie Frost (English)

Abstract: Throughout my research, I will be looking into the mental illnesses and personality disorders most common to killers and will analyze their role in the violent actions that arise. My thesis will attempt to uphold the idea that if these common disorders were more widely recognized and understood, it would be possible to take preventative actions that may alleviate the number of killings occurring by the hand of those who have violent urges due to psychological factors.
095. Tsion Ghedamu Public Policy
Family Planning: Economic Impacts on a Woman
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Trude Bennett (Maternal and Child Health )

Abstract: Every woman in our global community should have the right to access family planning services. Ethiopia has had recent successes in family planning and sexual and reproductive health, by doubling the contraceptive rate in the past couple of years. It is only one of the few countries that have incorporated family planning into many of its health programs. Socioeconomic status has been widely acknowledged as being connected to the use of health services, but information on the use of these services impacting income has been very sparse especially in family planning. This research project is a study of the impact of the economic impacts of family planning on women in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This information was collected by a survey that included information on household income, economic status, and employment history of women entering four specific family planning clinics through out Addis Ababa. My findings will be a significant contribution to the literature on the impacts of family planning and socioeconomic status of women in developing nations.
096. Samir Patel Mathematics
Studying the genealogy of cancer cells using the Biased Voter Model
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Louis (Wai-Tong) Fan (Department of Statistics and Operations Research)
Undergraduate Co-Authors: Lili Chen, Samir Patel
Undergraduate Contributors: Dongzhi Zheng

Abstract: Our project explores the genealogies of cancer tumors by both mathematical modeling and computer simulations. As a first step, we modeled the random growth of a solid tumor by a stochastic spatial model, the biased voter model. In this model, cancer cells and healthy cells change the cells around them with different rates, where cancer cells invade other cells faster. Our simulations statistically verify the shape theorem proved by Bramson and Griffeath (1980, 1981). We also find that if we mark the initial cancer cells with different colors and run the simulation for a long time, there will be color segregation within the tumor, where some colors coexist in asymptotic sectors and the other colors die out. Through the colors of cells, we can trace back the ancestors of the newly appeared cancer cells. Studying this genealogical phenomenon in two dimensions is very difficult, so to simplify our study, we again ran simulations in just one spatial dimension. Our results suggest that the growth occurred in a wave-like fashion, similar to the theoretical prediction by the stochastic FKPP (Fisher-Kolmogorov-Petrovsky-Piscunov) equation. ???
097. Steven Hartman Biology
Effect of Obesity on Influenza Infection Response
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Dr. Melinda Beck (Nutrition at the Gillings School of Public Health)

Abstract: The effect of obesity in humans on H3N2 influenza infection response has never been studied before. In this study consisting of 3,000 participants from UNC hospitals, the post vaccination antibody titer levels for both lean and obese individuals will be measured. This poster will specifically discuss the blood analysis tests from the obese individuals from the study who were vaccinated but still got infected with influenza during the 2014 flu season. The antibody titer levels at different times post vaccination will be conducted using ELISA tests. Different protein measurement tests will be performed as well to look for any trends of why the infection could have occurred.
098. Zijian Zhou Chemistry
Protein Stability Under Biomolecular Crowding Conditions
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Gary Pielak (Chemistry)
Graduate Student Contributors: Austin Smith

Abstract: I examined the effect of biomolecular crowding on protein stability. My hypothesis was that non-specific attractive weak interactions of crowding biomolecules would overcome their stabilizing hard-core repulsive forces, and destabilize a model protein, the SH3 domain of the drosophila drk protein (drkN SH3). To test this, I used fluorine nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) to determine the free energy of opening, i.e. a measurement of protein stability, of drkN under different crowding conditions. Our results showed that crowding inside cells destabilized drkN relative to the stability in dilute solutions.
099. Catherine Keller Biology
Analysis of Potential Anticoagulants by Conventional Assays
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Frank Church (Pathology)
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Jasmine Dennis

Abstract: Blood clots affect over half a million Americans each year and have a high mortality rate. Current anticoagulants have been historically successful, but can dangerously increase bleeding risk. Using chromogenic substrate assays, I tested almost 1,000 compounds from the Tidwell library of cationic compounds and analyzed their ability to inhibit five specific coagulation proteases. A small number of promising compounds inhibited only one coagulation enzyme. Another member of my lab performed Prothrombin Time (PT) and Activated Partial Thromboplastin Time (APTT) assays for each of these compounds. Further analysis showed that the compounds that were deemed successful in the PT and APTT had very little overlap with those that successfully inhibited only one coagulation enzyme. These results suggest that current clinical assay methods may not be ideal indicators of thrombotic state. These studies provide useful insight into how to assess successful anticoagulants and will ideally result in a new therapeutic antithrombotic.
100. Daniel Barrus Psychology
Astrocyte Modulation of Hippocampus-Dependent Fear Learning
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Don Lysle (Psychology)

Abstract: Pro-inflammatory immune signaling has been implicated in the onset of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Additionally, preclinical rodent findings suggest a role of pro-inflammatory cytokine release by hippocampal astrocytes in Stress-Enhanced Fear Learning (SEFL), an animal model of PTSD in which animals are exposed to a severe stressor (Context A) and subsequently exposed to a mild stressor in a distinct context (Context B). However, little is known about the precise role of hippocampal astrocytes in the brain???s fear circuitry. We utilized Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Design Drugs (DREADDs) in a modified version of the SEFL paradigm in order to isolate the contribution of Gq-pathway cytokine signaling in the hippocampus to SEFL induction. Gq-DREADD technology enables the selective stimulation of Gq-pathway G protein-coupled receptors (Gq-GPCRs), which allowed us to pharmacologically induce hippocampal astrocyte activation without the use of a severe stressor (Context A of SEFL). As such, we were able to test the response of pharmacologically activated hippocampal astrocytes to a mild stressor (Context B of SEFL) in the absence of exposure to Context A. The pharmacological stimulation of the Gq-signaling pathway in the hippocampus prior to exposure to Context B resulted in a strong behavioral fear response that was resistant to extinction. This finding suggests that pro-inflammatory immune signaling in the hippocampus is critical to the induction of SEFL.
101. Paige Kinsley Chemistry
Nitric Oxide-Releasing Electrospun Polyurethane Coatings for Electrochemical Glucose Sensing
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Mark Schoenfisch (Chemistry)
Graduate Student Contributors: Robert Soto

Abstract: The foreign body response (FBR), the body???s natural reaction to a foreign object, is a significant impediment to the accuracy and utility of implantable glucose sensors. My research involves fabricating porous electrospun fiber materials capable controlled nitric oxide (NO) release, a bioactive gas with central roles in wound healing and inflammation, for use as sensor coatings in an attempt to improve glucose sensor function. Initial experiments focused on optimizing the electrospinning process used to fabricate NO-releasing fibers, and demonstrating their compatibility with commercially-available glucose sensors. In addition, NO-releasing silica nanoparticles have been developed to achieve NO release from the fibers. In the future, the anticipated benefits to glucose sensor performance as a result of this chemical strategy will be evaluated in a physiologically-relevant animal model. The broad implications of this original research project may positively impact continuous glucose monitoring for individuals suffering from diabetes.
102. Samuel Brotkin Psychology
Future Self Continuity and Health Behavior
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Paschal Sheeran (Social Psychology)
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Aya Avishai-Yitshak

Abstract: The current study tests whether future self-continuity,or perceived connection with one's future self,predicts key health behaviors relevant to mortality and morbidity.This study employed Hershfield???s (2011) composition of self-continuity: perceived vividness, similarity, and evaluation.In study 1, participants (N=300) completed an online questionnaire to test (a)whether future self-continuity predicts key behaviors relevant to mortality and morbidity(smoking, diet, physical activity, alcohol consumption, sleep)over and above the influence of established self-concept variables(self-esteem, self-compassion, self-affirmation),and (b)whether consideration of future consequences mediates the influence of self-continuity on behavior.Of each of the components of self-continuity, evaluation of one???s future self had the strongest association with health behavior.In study 2,participants(N=90)will be randomly assigned to a condition in which their evaluation towards their future self will be manipulated to assess whether evaluation of one???s future self affects the intentions/willingness of health behavior.In study 3, participants'(N=90) evaluation towards their future self will be manipulated to test if one???s view towards their future self alters their preference between long-term health and immediate gratification.The study will offer insights into the role of the self in determining health behavior, and suggest novel strategies that could be used to promote health behavior change.
103. Matthew Leming Computer Science
Synthetic Group Difference Generator for Testing of Group Analysis Tools in DTI studies
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Martin Styner (Computer Science)

Abstract: Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) is a tool often used in studies of white matter for comparison of the integrity of white matter across populations. Differences in white matter integrity are frequently indicative of the effects of drugs and mental disorders on neurobiology. A number of software tools have been designed in recent years, such as TBSS and FADTTS, that are able to detect and quantify average differences in measurements of DTI, in order to compare different populations of datasets. However, the effectiveness of these tools is often assessed by testing them on datasets of current subjects, whose group differences would be harder to assess. Synthetic Group Differences is a tool that deliberately creates average differences between groups of subjects by altering the principal eigenvalues of diffusion tensor datasets within a number of localized spheres across the dataset. In this way, group population tools can effectively be tested by the amount they detect such differences in the pre-defined dataset.
104. John Cuningham Biology
Determining the Tissue-Specific Importance of Centrosomes and the Spindle Assembly Checkpoint in Mitotic Fidelity
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Mark Peifer (Biology)

Abstract: During mitosis, cells must accurately segregate chromosomes to daughter cells. This is accomplished by the mitotic spindle, which is primarily formed by a pair of centrosomes. However, acentrosomal cells can still build spindles. We therefore used developing Drosophila wings and brains to investigate the importance of centrosomes in vivo. In wing epithelia, we found centrosomes are important for mitotic spindle assembly, chromosome segregation, spindle orientation, and cell viability. The Spindle Assembly Checkpoint (SAC), which monitors microtubule-kinetochore attachment, buffers acentrosomal wing cells, as loss of both centrosomes and the SAC leads to complete loss of wing epithelia. Interestingly, brain cells appear robust to centrosome loss, as no cell death was detected there. However, lack of centrosomes and the SAC dramatically perturbed brain development, including loss of neural stem cells. We are working to understand the basis for these phenotypes and the tissue-specific differences in the importance of centrosomes and the SAC.
105. Emily Lobos Psychology
Correlation between dose-volume parameters and patient-reported quality of life (QOL) during image-guided intensity modulated radiation therapy (IGRT) for prostate cancer
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Ronald Chen (Radiation Oncology)
Graduate Student Contributors: K Diao, J Mintz
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Y Hou, LH Hendrix, AK Wilson, SM Miller, AZ Wang, XF Zhu RC Chen

Abstract: Limited research has examined the relationship between radiation dose-volume parameters and quality of life. We analyzed the relationship between dose-volume parameters of the rectum and bladder with prospectively collected patient???reported Bowel and Urinary symptoms.
106. Daniela DeCristo Biology
Collaborative Cross recombinant inbred inter-crosses (RIX) for the study of antipsychotic pharmacogenomics
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Patrick Sullivan (Genetics)
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: P Giusti-Rodr??guez, JJ Crowley, RJ Nonneman, A Ryan, DR Miller, GS Shaw, V Zhabotynsky, W Sun, PF Sullivan, and F Pardo-Manuel de Villena

Abstract: Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disorder affecting ~1% of the global population. Antipsychotics are the mainstay of schizophrenia treatment, but the majority of patients discontinue assigned treatments due to intolerable side effects and/or inefficacy over short periods of time. Currently, there are no compelling algorithms to predict adverse drug reactions (ADRs) or efficacy by the genetic makeup of a patient, an ability that would make drug treatment of schizophrenia safer and more effective. Human genetic studies of ADRs are difficult to perform. The laboratory mouse can instead be used as a proxy to study some human pharmacogenetic phenotypes. For example, chronic treatment with the typical antipsychotic haloperidol causes the ADR tardive dyskinesia in ~30% of patients, effectively modeled in rodents by means of vacuous chewing movements. A major goal of the UNC Center of Excellence is to harness the genetic diversity of Collaborative Cross recombinant inbred inter-crosses (RIX) to elucidate the genetic basis of antipsychotic side effects. RIX mice treated with haloperidol have been subjected to a panel of behavioral assessments to monitor side effect development. Here we present our preliminary findings of the behavioral characterization of RIX mice. We aim to correlate these phenotypes with strain genotypes and RNA-seq data to understand how genetic variation, gene expression, and epigenetic features act and interact to impact these phenotypes.
107. Sloane Miller Health Environmental Sciences & Engineering
Toxic metal levels in children residing in a smelting craft village in Vietnam: a pilot biomonitoring study
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Rebecca Fry (ESE)
Graduate Student Contributors: Alison P. Sanders
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Viet Nguyen, Jonathon B. Kotch

Abstract: In Vietnam, environmental pollution caused by small-scale domestic smelting of automobile batteries into lead ingot is a growing concern. Despite the concern of toxic metal exposure in smelting craft villages, biomonitoring among susceptible populations, such as children, has not been conducted. The aim of this study was to determine the body burden of toxic metals in children residing in a smelting craft village. Twenty children from Nghia Lo were selected for capillary whole blood and toenail biomonitoring. Whole blood lead levels (BLLs) and toenail levels of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, manganese, and mercury were measured. The findings show that all 20 children had detectable BLLs that exceeded the CDC guideline level of 5 ??g/dL. Eighty percent of tested subjects had BLLs higher than 10 ??g/dL. Five children had BLLs greater than 45 ??g/dL, the level of recommended medical intervention. In addition to blood lead, all of the children had detectable levels of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, manganese, and mercury in toenail samples, with notably high average toenail lead, manganese, and mercury levels. Linear regression showed that reducing the distance to the nearest active smelter by half was associated with a 116% increase in BLL (p < 0.05). The results suggest that children in battery recycling and smelting craft villages in Vietnam are co-exposed to toxic metals. There is an urgent need for mitigation to control metal exposure related to domestic smelting.
108. Luma Essaid Nutrition
Role of Hepatocyte Growth Factor on Obesity-Mediated Basal-like Breast Cancer
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Liza Makowski (Nutrition)

Abstract: Recent studies in mice and humans have demonstrated the significance of obesity-induced hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)/c-MET pathway in promoting basal-like breast cancer (BBC), an aggressive triple negative subtype of breast cancer with no targeted therapy. HGF is a protein released from stromal cells, such as fibroblasts, in an inactive form. Once activated, HGF binds to its receptor c-MET, a proto-oncogene, which activates pro-tumor signaling pathways. We have previously demonstrated that obesity increased HGF/c-MET in murine mammary glands and drove early tumor onset in a genetically engineered mouse model of human BBC, C3(1)-TAg mice. To test our hypothesis that weight loss reversed the effects of obesity, mice were weaned onto either a low or high fat diet. We sought to investigate changes in the pro-tumor pathway after a diet switch to induce weight loss prior to tumor onset. Importantly, HGF/c-MET expression in normal mammary glands and c-MET in tumors was elevated with obesity and was significantly reversed with weight loss. We confirmed previous findings that obesity increased expression of HGF from fibroblasts isolated from obese animals compared to lean animals. Interestingly, many of the HGF/c-MET regulators were modified by weight loss after obesity. In summary, weight loss reversed the obesity-mediated pro-tumorigenic pathway. Future research aims to inhibit the HGF/c-MET pathway to evaluate potential treatment for obesity-driven BBC.
109. Christine Nam Biology
Mechanisms of Attention in the Pulvinar of the Ferret
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Flavio Frohlich (Psychiatry)
Graduate Student Contributors: Charles Zhou, Kristin Sellers
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Chunxiu Yu

Abstract: I participated in a research project in which I worked with ferrets and trained them in a behavioral paradigm task to assess the role of the pulvinar in attentional tasks. To accomplish this goal, I went in daily to train ferrets in a bottom up fashion. The task was completed in a meticulous fashion in which the animals would learn to associate the stimulus on the screen with a reward and then touching the stimulus with a reward. I went in daily to train the animals at a certain time to keep confounding factors from influencing the experiment as much as possible. The ferrets started becoming increasingly familiar with the task. To determine when they could move on to the next level, I took data on the frequency with which they correctly touched the stimulus as opposed to when they missed it entirely or touched the wrong screen. When they reached the top level and excelled at it, graduate student Kristin Sellers and post doctorate Chunxiu Yu performed a surgery to implant two 16-channel silicon probes in the brains of the ferrets. After recovery, we retrained the ferrets to get back to the original task. We recorded timing and accuracy of the tasks with the probes while also filming them. With this timing, accuracy, and videos, we can place them in juxtaposition in assess the pulvinar recordings in the task. By learning more about the pulvinar, it is hoped that the information could be implemented in treating mental illnesses in which attentional deficit a hallmark symptom.
110. Amber Gautam Nutrition
Mapping Social Determinants of Cardiovascular Risk in Rural NC
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Alice Ammerman (Nutrition (Intervention and Policy))
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Postdoc contributor: Esther Thatcher, PhD, RN, APHN-BC

Abstract: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity among adults in NC and in the US. Risk factors for CVD exist at all levels of the socio-ecological model. While studies related to individual-level determinants focus on medical and behavioral risk factors, this study focuses on community-level social determinants. Hertford County, NC contains underserved, rural populations at disparate risk for CVD and falls within a region referred to as the ???stroke belt.??? In this study, data for particular social and demographic variables associated with CVD risk were obtained from US Census data for Hertford County and pooled together. GIS-mapping tools were then utilized to create a layered map of Hertford County that geographically presents the prevalence of CVD risk factors throughout the county. This map can be utilized to identify health disparities and better target public health interventions in the community.
111. Esita Patel Nursing
Identifying Elements of Business Case Model for Certified Nurse Midwifery led Birth Center Care in the U.S.
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Cheryl Giscombe (Nursing)
Undergraduate Co-Authors: n/a
Undergraduate Contributors: n/a
Graduate Student Contributors: n/a
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: n/a

Abstract: Childbirth has been repeatedly cited as the leading cause of hospitalizations and source of hospital costs in the United States. Despite evidence suggesting that the certified nurse midwife-(CNM) led free standing birth center (FSBC) care model provides safe, effective care, with less resource utilization and costs, and increased patient satisfaction for low risk births, less than 0.5% of births in the U.S. occur through this model. The absence of a formal business case that demonstrates a financial return on investment for models shown to improve health care, such as the CNM-led FSBC care model in the US, is often cited as a reason for not implementing quality improving innovations in health care. Currently, guidelines to assist in the analysis of the business case for establishing and operating a free standing birth center are unavailable. This study aims to identify elements of the business case for the CNM-led FSBC model. A systematic literature review of the CNM-led FSBC model in the U.S was conducted. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted with FSBC representatives and CNMs. Results of the review and interviews were collectively analyzed to identify elements necessary, including financial factors involved in initial investments, cash inflows, and cash outflows, to consider when developing a business case for CNM-led FSBCs. This information may allow stakeholders to better understand factors necessary to consider when starting and/or operating a CNM-led FSBC.
112. Sarah Griffin Psychology
The broad autism phenotype: birth order as it relates to pragmatic language and self-competence in siblings
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Steven Reznick (Developmental Psychology)

Abstract: According to the CDC, in 2014, 1 in 64 children in the United States are diagnosed with autism. Based off of data from the concurrent US census, 297,428 US households are living with at least 1 child with autism and 1 typically-developing child. There are many existing studies on parental outcomes associated with having a child with autism, but less so concerning sibling outcomes. This study focuses on birth order and its relation to social language use. In turn, this study follows the theory that social language use will predict a typically-developing sibling's self-competence. Based off of previous studies, younger siblings will have lower social language use and, subsequently, self-competence scores. Parents of both a child with autism and a typically-developing child in the North Carolina Autism Registry were emailed and asked to complete two surveys themselves and have their 10-14 year old typically-developing child complete one survey online. Based off of initial data, there does not appear to be any significant birth order differences, but a larger sample size may illuminate trends.
113. Alexander Rennie Psychology
The Effect of Adopting a Care-giving Role on Help-Seeking Behavior
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Kurt Gray (Psychology)
Graduate Student Contributors: Chelsea Schein

Abstract: This study assesses why caregivers such as parents and doctors exhibit less help-seeking behavior than the general population, even though the incidence of stress, anxiety, and depression are significantly higher for caregivers. We hypothesize that adopting a caregiving role will decrease help-seeking behavior due to a decreased ability for a caregiver to recognize their own vulnerability to negative health. Past research has shown that compared to the general population, doctors are perceived to have more mental capacity/stamina and less vulnerability pain/negative emotion, which we predict will lead to less need to seek help. This study examined help-seeking behavior in 3 populations: amazon mechanical turk participants, parents of children under 18, and UNC medical school students. All 3 populations completed a writing task which either served as a control, or primed participants with a caregiving role. Participants were then asked questions assessing self-perceptions of mental capacity/stamina, vulnerability to pain/negative emotion and help-seeking behavior. We predict that those who received the caregiving prime writing task will show less self-perception of ability to feel pain/negative emotion and thus less help-seeking behavior than those in the control group. We also expect the caregiving populations (parents and medical students), to exhibit less help-seeking behavior than those who identify less as caregivers (MTurk participants).
114. Karina Javalkar Health Policy & Management
Transition readiness, self-efficacy, health utilization and medication adherence of youth with chronic conditions as predictors of caregiver burden
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Maria Ferris (Medicine (Pediatric Nephrology))
Graduate Student Contributors: Meredith Johnson, Jessica Cuttance

Abstract: Objective: To characterize the burden among caregivers of youth with chronic conditions who attended therapeutic camp. Design/Methods: Parents responded to web-based surveys that measured caregiver burden (Zarit 1980) and their child's health services utilization (inpatient and emergency room visits in the past 12 months). Their youth responded to surveys measuring health care transition readiness, self-efficacy (Iannotti 2009), and medication adherence (Morisky 1986). Linear regressions were conducted with each predictor, controlling for the child's age, race, gender, and diagnosis. Results: We enrolled 157 caregiver-youth pairs. 94% of caregivers were mothers. The youth's characteristics were: 53% males and 76% Whites with a mean age of 12.19 (??2.54) and with many different chronic conditions. Caregiver burden was significantly different based on diagnoses, with spina bifida having the highest burden and sickle cell the lowest. There was a significant direct relationship between caregiver burden and youth's ER visits and hospitalizations. Caregivers whose youth had greater transition readiness and self-efficacy had lower levels of burden. Number of medications, but not but not adherence, predicted caregiver burden. Conclusions: Caregiver burden varies by diagnosis. Transition readiness, self-efficacy and health services utilization were significant predictors of caregiver burden, while the child's medication adherence was not. Further study is underway.
115. Sudheer Vemuru Biology
Effects of Chronic Intermittent Ethanol Exposure on Pavlovian Conditioned Approach to Alcohol Cues
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Donita Robinson (Psychiatry)

Abstract: Alcohol use disorders (AUDs) represent a pervasive public health issue in which alcohol-related cues can attract excessive attention and contribute to relapse. This attentional bias (AB) to alcohol cues has been widely documented but the neurobiology remains poorly understood. We used Pavlovian conditioning to pair a light cue with an alcoholic or non-alcoholic reward and assessed AB through Pavlovian conditioned responses (CRs). Rats, which were used to transition from human to animal models, were exposed to chronic intermittent ethanol (CIE) to model binge drinking and to test whether CIE increases alcohol AB. We also administered naltrexone (NTX), a drug used to treat AUDs, to see its effects on CRs. Our results suggest rats exhibit reduced CRs to alcoholic versus non-alcoholic rewards. Moreover, CIE and NTX had minimal effect in changing alcohol AB. These findings may provide a framework for future experimentation on neural pathways and processes involved in alcohol AB.
116. Justin Lackey Biology
Analysis of the composition of e-cigarette liquids using LTPI-mass spectrometry
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Gary Glish (Chemistry )
Undergraduate Contributors: Rachel A. Harris
Graduate Student Contributors: Steven L. Reeber

Abstract: Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are an increasingly popular mode of nicotine delivery, available in many flavors from tobacco and menthol to numerous varieties of food and candy flavors. E-cigarettes are often thought to be safer than conventional tobacco products. However, the composition of e-cigarette liquids is not commonly disclosed by manufacturers and is essentially unregulated. These liquids typically consist of a humectant such as propylene glycol for consistency, a variety of flavorings, and nicotine. To volatilize nicotine and flavoring compounds the liquid is heated in an e-cigarette and the resulting vapor is inhaled. The first step in understanding the chemistry of e-cigarette vapor is determining the composition of the liquids. A selection of e-cigarette liquids was purchased from a local e-cigarette liquid manufacturer and distributor (The Vapor Girl, Chapel Hill NC). E-cigarette liquids were first analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, using a library search to identify the compounds detected. Low temperature plasma ionization (LTPI) was used to measure volatile compounds in the e-liquids. Electrospray ionization mass spectrometry experiments were carried out to detect less volatile species. Several different e-liquid samples including Vanilla Tobacco and Hot Cinnamon Candy were analyzed using tandem mass spectrometry to determine constituent compounds.
117. Teresa Martz Biology
Retinal Vessel Oxygenation in Diabetic Retinopathy
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Seema Garg (Department of Ophthalmology)
Graduate Student Contributors: Abhi Guduru, B.S.
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Alexa Waters, B.S.

Abstract: Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a disease caused by damage to the blood vessels in the retina as a result of chronic hyperglycemia, and thus has been linked to inner retina hypoxia as a result of blood supply deprivation. It is further suggested that poor oxygen distribution in the retina of DR patients leads to high SO2 (oxygen saturation) in retinal blood vessels. However, constraints in non-invasive measurement techniques have limited the understanding of this relationship. For this reason, retinal oximetry, a new noninvasive imaging method to measure retinal vessel hemoglobin oxygen saturation, may be an effective diagnostic tool to evaluate patients with a range of severity of diabetic retinopathy. In this study, retinal vessel oxygenation was found using retinal oximetry image analysis for six stages of disease: no diabetes, diabetes without DR, mild nonproliferative retinopathy (NPDR), moderate NPDR, severe NPDR and proliferative DR. Results indicated that there was a significant increase in both arteriole and venule oxygenation in patients with moderate NPDR, severe NPDR and PDR, with venous oxygenation values increasing more significantly. There is also a significant increase in arteriole and venule oxygen saturation in PDR patients in comparison to patients in the health control and DM w/o DR groups (venous: p=0.000 and 0.004; arterial: p=0.003 and 0.001), as well as a significant increase in venous oxygen saturation between healthy patients and moderate NPDR patients (p=0.038). The results indicate a decrease in the efficiency of the oxygen exchange due to ischemia and endothelial damage as the severity of diabetic retinopathy increases. However, significance was not found in the arterio-venous difference in oxygen saturation, suggesting that in response to the damaged endothelium of the vessels, there is a concomitant increase of arteriole saturation alongside the venous saturation. The significant correlation between increasing severity of DR and increases in venous and arterial oxygen saturations suggests that retinal oximetry may prove to be a useful tool in a diagnostic clinical setting.
118. Sudarshan Mohan Biology
Comparison of Gene Signatures in Breast and Renal Cancers
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Kimryn Rathmell (Medicine - Genetics)

Abstract: Cancer is a fundamentally genomic disease, thus, understanding the relationship between cancer and various genomic and molecular aberrations is key to learning more about the onset and development of tumors. New systematic cancer genomics projects provide a way to identify new oncogenic drivers and disease related pathways with speed and accuracy. Such research has fostered an increased appreciation for similarities and differences among various tumor (i.e. disease) types, and may lead to new advances in treatments and therapies. In our project, we use RNA Sequencing data from the Cancer Genome Atlas Project to compare the expression of various gene modules across multiple tumor phenotypes. In initial exploratory analyses using this method, we find similar gene expression signatures between Breast and Renal carcinomas. Both Breast Cancer (BRCA) and Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC) tumors show similar expression signatures in the PAM50 Luminal A Centroid module, luminal/ER+ estrogen response module, and mouse luminal breast cancer module, all of which are gene groups typically associated with breast cancer tumors. Breast and Renal tumors also show similar gene expression signatures in modules relating to tumor proliferation and p53 mutation. These results seem to suggest that breast and renal tumors may develop and behave similarly, and that Renal tumors may be considered ???luminal??? based on the PAM50-LumA, MMTV, and Luminal/ER+ Breast Cancer signatures.
119. Chelsea Fisher Health Policy & Management
The Effect of Stress on Weight
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Leslie Frost (English)

Abstract: My project is about the effect of stress on the weight of college age individuals, by affecting their eating, drinking, and sleeping habits. Research has provided different conclusions of this psychological phenomena, including weight gain, weight loss, and no changes in ones body weight. In my research, I will analyze the relationship between the psychological state of stress in college students, and its impacts on food intake, as well as the larger effect on their long-term body weight.
120. Rizul Naithani Clinical Laboratory Science
The Development of a Thermoelectric Vaccine Cooler through the Utilization of Liquid Metal as a Thermal Diode
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Kenneth Jacobson (Department of Cell Biology and Physiology)
Undergraduate Contributors: Katherine Driscoll, Justin Douglas, Mary Killela, Pratik Patel, Jamie Sabo, Skye Westra,
Graduate Student Contributors: NA
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Dr. Ken Jacobson, Bing Yang

Abstract: Vaccines are an important way of preventing many infectious diseases. However, interruptions in the cold chain, which is the storage path taken by vaccines from production to patient, in vaccine storage prior to delivery, is responsible for over 50% of vaccine wastage worldwide. In many cases vaccines are administered to recipients with a loss of potency. Presently, vapor compression refrigeration systems, which use a circulating liquid refrigerant to absorb and remove heat from cooling areas, and cold boxes are the most common cooling systems in use. However, vapor compression systems are heavy, noisy, and costly; in contrast, the cold boxes are lighter and cheaper but provide cooling for a limited time and cannot accurately monitor temperatures which can lead to freezing of some of the vaccines. In contrast, the thermoelectric cooler can solve these issues because it is more precise in monitoring and adjusting temperature. However a problem with this system is the fast warming times (from 4degC to 8degC) upon cooling shutdown. Our group focuses on elongating this warming phase by the creation of a thermal diode that consists of a chamber containing a liquid metal that is positioned between the cooling thermoelectric device and the heatsink; hence when the metal is removed during warming phase, the heat sink is not able to conduct its heat back into the cooler. With the current model, we have improved warming by atleast 50% of initial warming phase without any disjunctions.
121. Teresa Frasca Psychology
Win Together, Lose Alone: Attributions of Praise Broaden, Blame Narrow
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Kurt Gray (Psychology)
Graduate Student Contributors: Chelsea Schein
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Kurt Gary

Abstract: We???ve all encountered a child acting out in public and wondered why their parent wasn???t controlling them. When a child helps an old lady, however, we don???t search for a parent to applaud. Through several studies we examine this phenomenon. We asked people to make judgments about a child and their nearby parent for either saving a classmate from getting hit by a car, or causing them to be. Results showed that children were praised regardless of their moral responsibility, r= - .07 (p=.56), but blamed in accordance with it, r=.252 (p=.05). Parents were blamed to an even greater extent than their children, r=.85 (p=.01). In the second study, we examined how the child???s age affected the same judgments. Results showed blame, but not praise, to be hydraulic across age, meaning that as children grow older they become more responsible for their actions. and parents less so. One possible explanation is that negativity narrows thought and positivity broadens it. Once we find one person to blame (i.e. the parent) then we stop looking for others. The positive nature of praise however broadens our circle so that we praise many. We use 6 surveys to apply this asymmetry and narrowing-broadening effect to other domains, including corporate relations, athletics, and group projects. Initial data analysis shows a similar effect where more individuals are praised than individuals who are blamed. This speaks to the way we assign praise and blame in daily life and how we navigate the moral arena.
122. Tuong Nguyen Biology
Preventing Peptide Non-Specific Adsorption to Tissue Culture Surfaces
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Nancy Allbritton (Biomedical Engineering)
Graduate Student Contributors: Emilie Mainz
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Angie Proctor

Abstract: Fluorescently tagged peptide substrates are a fairly simple and inexpensive method to track enzymatic pathways and activities in single cells. This method, coupled with capillary electrophoresis with laser-induced fluorescence detection, yields sensitive measurements (on the order of 10^-20 moles) for analysis of single cell enzymatic activity. A problem that arises from this method is the non-specific adsorption of the peptide to the surface that the cells grow on. Solutions for reducing or eliminating the problem of non-specific adsorption can be to coat or covalently bond the tissue culture surface with another compound to block this unfavorable interaction. One such method to ameliorate the non-specific adsorption will be to use APDIPES, a compound that contains a hydrophobic di-isopropylethoxysilane group to repel peptides and a primary amine group to let cells adhere for growth. This compound was covalently bonded to the surface of the glass tissue culture surface through chemical vapor deposition (CVD). NHS-PEG is another hydrophobic compound due to its ethylene chain, which can also repel peptide. Combining NHS-PEG and APDIPES can produce a surface that repels peptide but is simultaneously viable for cell growth. The surface was characterized by measuring its contact angle and infrared absorbance. Peptide adsorption was reduced significantly but not completely prevented. This work represents a promising way to solve the problem of non-specific peptide adsorption.
123. Elizabeth Jones Psychology
Polysubstance Use Associated with Lower Distress Tolerance Compared to Single-Substance Use
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Stacey Daughters (Psychology)

Abstract: Polysubstance users face a number of severe outcomes in comparison to single-substance users. In line with negative reinforcement theory, it has been postulated that polysubstance use occurs as a result of the desire to avoid unwanted effects that come from using either a stimulant or depressant alone. The current study examined a proxy for negative reinforcement behavior, distress tolerance (DT), among single-substance and depressant-stimulant polysubstance users. DT is defined as the ability to persist in a goal-directed behavior while experiencing psychological distress. Polysubstance users were hypothesized to have lower DT compared to those who used only substance. 176 drug users' data were used from a larger longitudinal study. Participants were recruited through a residential treatment center, where they completed a battery of self-report measures and a distress tolerance task. Results from a logistic regression showed that individuals with low DT were 2.4 times more likely to be a polysubstance user compared to those with high DT. This finding suggests depressant-stimulant polysubstance users have a lower ability to tolerate psychological distress in comparison to single-substance users. This is the first study to examine distress tolerance among polysubstance users, and results may have important clinical implications in the treatment of addiction.
124. Claire Pauley Psychology
Ethnic Differences of PTSD Symptoms Development After A Major Thermal Burn Injury
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Sam McLean (Anesthesiology Research)

Abstract: More than 700,000 individuals seek care for major thermal burn injuries (MThBIs) in the US each year. MThBI often results in long-lasting, highly morbid psychological sequelae such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Between 7 and 45% of burn patients develop PTSD after MThBI. Gender, total body surface area (TBSA), and acute stress disorder (ASD) have been researched as predictors of PTSD after MThBI, but ethnicity has not been researched. The goal of this study is to evaluate differences in rates and predictors of PTSD after MThBI in European Americans (EAs) and African Americans (AAs). Burn patients were eligible if they were 18-59 years of age, EA or AA, suffered from a thermal burn injury that covered <30% TBSA, and required an autograft surgery. All interviews assessed PTSD severity using the posttraumatic symptom scale interview version (PSS-I). Life events checklist (LEC) score was assessed at day 7. Gender, age, and TBSA were documented from hospital records. Differences in PTSD severity between EAs and AAs were analyzed using a linear mixed effects model adjusting for gender, age, study day, TBSA, and LEC score. AAs experienced greater severity of PTSD than EAs across all time points, but not at significance. The differences reached significance when the model was adjusted for gender, age, study day, TBSA, and LEC score. Results suggest that PTSD severity is greater in AAs than in EAs after controlling for these factors. Further studies are needed.
125. Katelyn Jones Psychology
Does a Manipulation of Socioeconomic Status Influence One's Susceptibility to the Nocebo Effect
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Keith Payne (Psychology)

Abstract: Because individuals with low socioeconomic status (SES) are exposed to greater stressors and perceive having more limited resources, they may be far more susceptible to the nocebo effect than individuals with higher SES. The nocebo effect is a negative reaction to the suggestion that a person may feel negatively, despite no environmental reason why this suggestion alone should induce a negative state. We examined the effects of a nocebo suggestion and social status on health symptoms. After administering our nocebo???a suggestion that the lab environment was potentially harmful???we manipulated participants??? subjective social status. We then examined health symptoms. Our results indicated that being low in subjective SES caused greater health symptoms. However we did not find any differences in health symptoms caused by the nocebo, nor did we find an interaction between our nocebo and subjective SES. Overall, the findings provide unique insight into the nature of SES and the nocebo effect, and the implications of the findings are discussed.
126. Allison Pinosky Applied Sciences
Finite Element Modeling, Computer Simulation, and Experiments of Shear Wave Propagation for Tissue Mechanical Property Assessment
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Caterina Gallippi (Biomedical Engineering)
Graduate Student Contributors: Tomek Czernuszewicz

Abstract: The goal of this project is to develop a novel approach to tissue mechanical property measurement. This approach will not require spatial averaging, as alternative methods do, and will therefore better reflect the mechanical properties of heterogeneous tissues. Current noninvasive ultrasound imaging approaches to delineating tissue mechanical property include acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) imaging and shear wave velocity (SWV) imaging. Shear wave imaging may be improved by statistical signal separation techniques, such as regression filters. Using statistical signal separation techniques, this project aims to incorporate the quantitative nature of SWV imaging with the minimal lateral displacement requirement of ARFI imaging to develop a novel approach to tissue mechanical property measurement. Many diseases, including atherosclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and fibrosis in the liver and kidneys, alter the mechanical properties of tissue. This approach would allow for better differentiation and diagnosis of diseases by noninvasive ultrasound imaging.
127. Dalia Kaakour Public Policy
Physicians' End-of-Life Healthcare Decision-Making
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Krista Perreira (Public Policy)

Abstract: Through a qualitative approach, this thesis seeks to gain a better understanding of end-of-life healthcare decision-making among physicians as well as non-physician elderly individuals. I investigate both attitudes and knowledge regarding advance directives, decision-making concerning end-of-life healthcare, and the patient-doctor relationship in order to understand why physicians make relatively more conservative end-of-life healthcare decisions than the general public does. Ten non-physician individuals living in retirement communities primarily in the Chapel Hill/Durham area and ten physicians of different specialties working in this region were surveyed and surveyed. Using non-physician participants' and physicians' own words, this study explains the different factors important to these two groups in the end-of-life healthcare decision-making process. Results indicate that the current healthcare system regarding end-of-life healthcare defaults to life-prolonging treatments which non-physician individuals are generally ill-informed about and do not want. Physicians' backgrounds and experiences greatly influence their personal decision-making and their ability to successfully navigate the healthcare system. Non-physicians and physicians did not desire heroic measures and the role of families was essential to both groups. These results suggest that non-physician individuals are generally not receiving the end-of-life circumstances they desire due to the ineffectiveness of the PSDA and the unsuccessful implementation of advance directives as well as barriers in communication.
128. Keren Tseytlin Mathematical Decision Science
Tobacco Point of Sale: Examining marketing within stores that sell tobacco products and accept WIC or SNAP
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Kurt Ribisl (Health Behavior)

Abstract: The point of sale is where tobacco companies spend the overwhelming majority of their annual marketing budget and have enjoyed the greatest freedom from regulation. In this project I will examine, 1) do tobacco retailers that accept WIC of SNAP market and promote tobacco products in a manner that has higher youth appeal than stores that do not accept WIC or SNAP?, and 2) is there an intersection in the relationship between WIC/SNAP and youth appeal such that it is higher in low income areas than high income areas? The data used in this analysis comes from a proportional data sample composed of tobacco-selling stores across the continental United States.
129. Julia Lukacs Psychology
Being Blue and Seeing Blue: The Impact of Amber Lenses on Sleep Quality and Mood
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Eric Youngstrom (Pyschology)
Graduate Student Contributors: Tate Halverson (B.A.)

Abstract: The connections between sleep and mood disorders have prompted speculation in the field of psychology for some time. The human circadian rhythm, the biological mechanism which has a significant impact on the diurnal highs and lows of both wakefulness and mood, is impacted by a variety of endogenous and exogenous factors. One of the most potent of these factors is light, but it has recently been proven that the absence or presence of blue wavelength light (446-477 nm) has a particularly strong effect. With the use of blue light blocking amber lenses, one may be able to influence and regulate sleep, mood and potentially mental health for the better, especially in individuals for whom these cycles are disrupted. Approximately 60 students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, aged 18-??, in which they were required to wear either control blue or experimental amber lenses for three hours prior to a calculated average bedtime for 12 days of an 18 day protocol. Participants completed self-report measures of sleep quality, mood, and physiological complaints on a daily basis. Approximately 18 of the participants also wore GENEActiv watches, measuring activity such as movement and body temperature. The 6 days they did not wear glasses were compared to the 12 days during which they did wear glasses.
130. Alissa Vanderlinden Biology
Exploring the role of adipocytes in breast tumor progression
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Andrew Dudley (Cell Biology and Physiology)
Graduate Student Contributors: James McCann, Lin Xiao
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Andrew Dudley, Raghu Murthy

Abstract: Among women in the United States, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of death. During breast tumor progression, the surrounding breast tissue, largely composed of adipose tissue, becomes hardened and fibrotic, promoting inflammation and angiogenesis in tumors. However, the origin of the fibroblasts, major stromal support cells, remains uncertain. My hypothesis to explain the increase in fibrotic tissue and the decrease in adipose tissue is that the adipocytes de-differentiate into fibroblasts. I am also exploring the origin and role of HMGB1, a pro-inflammatory factor highly expressed in adipocytes, in the growth of breast tumors. I have isolated mature adipocytes from mouse mammary fat pads and performed in vitro characterization of these cells. The morphology and adipocyte and fibroblast gene expression are compared before and after co-culture with tumor cells. An in vivo study was also done, in which tumor cells were injected into the mammary fat pads of female mice, half of which were treated with an HMGB1 blocking antibody and half with an igG control. The size of tumors in mammary fat pads of the treated and untreated mice was compared and blood vessels were quantified to observe the possible role of HMGB1. Determining the origin of tumor-associated fibroblasts and identifying tumor promoting factors will offer potential means of cancer therapy by targeting stromal support cells and pro-inflammatory factors.
131. Helen Robertson Exercise & Sport Science
The Effects of Static Stretching and Self Myofascial Release on Range of Motion and Muscle Stiffness: A comparative study
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Claudio Battaglini (Exercise and Sport Science)
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Eric Sobolewski

Abstract: Static stretching is a common way to loosen tight muscles. Recently, research has shown positive effects of self-myofascial release (SMR) on increasing range of motion (ROM), but there is limited data on stiffness. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the effects of static stretching and SMR on ROM and muscle stiffness in the calf, as an attempt to evaluate which method provided the best results on reducing muscle stiffness and ROM. Twenty-five subjects ages 18 to 28, were tested on two days. One day subjects performed 3 minutes of static stretching using an incline board and the other day 3 minutes of SMR using a foam roller. ROM and muscle stiffness were assessed using an isokinetic dynamometer immediately following stretching. Dependent samples t-tests were used to compare the changes (??=Post-intervention??? Pre-intervention) on muscular stiffness and ROM. There was no significant difference between static stretching and foam rolling for max ROM (5.37?? 2.88 and 4.72?? 3.38 respectively, p=0.50), Stiffness at 15?? (-0.025?? 0.745 and -0.366 ?? 1.225 respectively, p=0.13) and stiffness at 80% of maximum ROM (0.063?? 0.255 and -0.163?? 0.617 respectively, p=0.43). In conclusion, static stretching and SMR using a foam roller are effective at increasing ROM and decreasing stiffness but neither one appears to be superior to the other. Based on the results of this study, static stretching and SMR could be used interchangeably to increase ROM and decrease stiffness.
132. Kelly White Anthropology
Osteobiography of the Sauratown Woman with a focus on osteologic abnormalities.
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Dale Hutchinson (Anthropology)

Abstract: In 1972 Archaeologists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill identified the Upper Sauratown at a site on the Dan River in Stokes County, North Carolina. The site is associated with the Sauratown Indians which were a part of the larger tribe know as the Cheraw, a medium sized group with a strong military. The first burial they recovered was a female, aged to late teen and early twenties, with elaborate grave goods such as copper jewelry, game pieces, a silver spoon, silver bells, clothing, and a glass bead headpiece. The quality and quantity of the grave goods along with the presence of occipital cranial deformation lead us to believe she was a woman of higher status. This individual came to be known as the Sauratown woman. Skeletal analysis shows some unusual findings such as retention of deciduous teeth, cervical abnormalities such as the malformation of articular processes and evidence for primary or secondary spondylolysis of the axis (un-fused axial body). The presence of various skeletal abnormalities leads us to believe that this individual may have had a genetic osteochondrodysplasia.
134. Julia Whitley Biology
Identification of DNA Regulatory Elements Active in Chronic Intestinal Inflammation Using FAIRE-seq
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Shehzad Sheikh (Medicine, Genetics)
Undergraduate Contributors: Vishal Iyer
Graduate Student Contributors: Maren Cannon, Matthew Weiser
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Gregory Gipson, Jeremy Simon, Eric Lee, Shehzad Sheikh

Abstract: The inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are a group of chronic inflammatory conditions that affect the gastrointestinal tract. IBD affects between 1 and 2 million Americans, and there is no cure. Several genetic variants (SNPs) have been linked to IBD, but it is unknown which of these variants are causative. The majority of disease-associated variants occur in regions of the genome that do not code for proteins, suggesting that these SNPs play a role in gene regulation. I tested the potential regulatory function of the IBD-associated SNP rs10896788. This variant was cloned into a liver cell line and analyzed using a luciferase reporter assay. When compared to the non-risk allele, the variant displayed an increase in gene expression. These results suggest that this variant may act as a regulatory element that increases gene expression. Understanding the function of IBD-associated SNPs may elucidate the role of genetic variation in IBD pathogenesis.
135. Benjamin Badger Biology
Tension and Force Generation in the Yeast Kinetochore
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Kerry Bloom (Biology)

Abstract: Effective chromosome segregation is not possible without forces from microtubules and chromatin acting on kinetochores. We introduce a novel tension sensor in the yeast: a F??rster/Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) probe consisting of two fluorophores connected by a flexible linker inserted into Ndc80, an evolutionarily conserved subunit of the Ndc80 complex that directly links microtubules to the rest of the kinetochore. By measuring the FRET between excitation and emission fluorophores the relative distance between the donor and emitter may be extrapolated and thus tension in the Ndc80 molecule (which is necessary to pull the fluorophores apart) may be inferred. FRET varies significantly during the cell cycle: we find that Ndc80 experiences the most tension during metaphase and the least in late anaphase. We also inserted the FRET probe at the C-terminal end of the Nuf2 subunit of the Ndc80 complex as a control. By measuring the energy transfer we find that there is much less separation compared to the intramolecular Ndc80 probe and moreover that the force does not appreciably differ throughout the cell cycle. To find how the high tension in metaphase created, we correlating the intensity of a tdTomato-tagged Stu2 protein (a component of the spindle that associates with polymerizing microtubules) to the FRET during metaphase, we find that polymerization of kinetochore microtubules contributes to the higher average tension found at Ndc80 during metaphase
136. Eleanor Brightbill Chemistry
Local Drug Infusions to the site of Voltammetric Measurement of Dopamine in the Nucleus Accumbens
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Donita Robinson (Psychiatry )
Graduate Student Contributors: Leslie Wilson
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Tatiana Shintko, Donita Robinson, Leslie Sombers

Abstract: The role of the brain dopaminergic (DA) system in mechanisms of reward-based learning and addiction is widely studied with fast-scan cyclic voltammetry (FSCV) in behaving and anesthetized animals. This system is regulated by many different receptors including D2 autoreceptors, mu- kappa- and delta- opioid receptors, and GABA receptors. However, little is known about specific somatodendritic and axonal sites of the receptor actions on DA release. Drug application focused on a specific brain region rather than systemic injections allow for detailed study of the mechanisms of the DA system. Therefore, in this study, we investigated whether drugs affecting DAergic neurotransmission can be infused in the axonal site of DA neurons using an infusion cannula, while DA release is measured with FSCV. We evaluated effects of nomifensine (NOM) and vehicle locally applied to the side of DA recording on the dynamic of evoked DA release and uptake in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) of anesthetized rats. Male Long-Events rats were used in this study. DA efflux was measured with FSCV and NOM was dissolved in saline and infused to the NAc at a concentration of 20 ??M at rate of .25 ??L/min for 2 min. DA release in the NAc was induced by electrical stimulation delivered in the VTA. Effect of the drug on [DA], Vmax and Km were evaluated using Michaelis-Menten kinetic method and compared to vehicle using two-way RM ANOVA.
137. Miriam Brinberg Psychology
An empirical comparison of three psychometric measures of adolescent substance use
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Patrick Curran (Psychology)

Abstract: Adolescent substance use is common and often accompanied by many negative consequences. The psychometric assessment of substance use, however, is highly varied and may misrepresent actual substance use. This study examined three competing measurement models of substance use and their differential predictability of academic achievement and internalizing and externalizing symptomatology. Participants were drawn from the public-use Add Health data set (N = 5,857). The three measurement models were determined from seven items that assessed the lifetime use of different drugs. The first model grouped participants as abstainers and users. The second model refined substance users by accounting for the proportion of the seven drugs they endorsed. The final model created factor scores through confirmatory factor analyses that allows each item to be differentially weighted as a function of severity. Nine separate regression analyses were estimated in which age, race, gender, and measurement model predicted either academic achievement or externalizing or internalizing symptomatology. These analyses indicated that all three substance use measures were significant predictors of each outcome measure, but the proportion and factor scores models accounted for substantially more of the variance within each model. These results suggest the proportion or factor scores would be better predictors of substance use, although the choice of model should be based on relevant theory.
138. Lindsey Broadwell Chemistry
Effect of the PE Domain on the Activity of the Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Lipase, LipY
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Saskia Neher (Biochemistry and Biophysics)
Graduate Student Contributors: Brian Garrett

Abstract: Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the causative agent of tuberculosis (TB), which resulted in 9 million new cases and 1.5 million deaths in 2013. Approximately 90% of newly infected individuals are asymptomatic due to the M. tuberculosis bacilli entering a dormant state. While dormant, M. tuberculosis accrues lipids from the host in the form of triglycerides (TAGs). In order to mobilize the TAGs for energy, lipases must break them down into free fatty acids. The only characterized M. tuberculosis TAG lipase, LipY, is part of the PE/PPE family of proteins named for a unique N-terminal domain with a proline glutamate or proline proline glutamate motif beginning at the ninth amino acid position. Although the function of PE/PPE proteins is not well defined, this protein family is specific to pathogenic mycobacterium and is assumed to contribute to the pathogen???s virulence. Our lab recently demonstrated that purified LipY??PE (without the PE domain) is more active than full length LipY. In order to specifically test the effect of the PE domain on the activity of LipY, we recombinantly expressed and purified LipY??PE and the PE domain using nickel affinity- and size exclusion-chromatography. Next, we tested the activity of LipY??PE incubated with different concentrations of the PE domain. Surprisingly we observed very little difference in lipase activity as a function of PE domain concentration. We concluded that the PE domain must be attached to LipY in order to regulate its activity.
139. Demitra Canoutas Biology
The Role of PIK3CA Mutations in Proliferation and Migration of Immortalized Human Astrocytes
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Ryan Miller (Pathology and Laboratory Medicine)
Undergraduate Contributors: Emily Stroobant
Graduate Student Contributors: Robert McNeill
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: C. Ryan Miller

Abstract: Glioblastoma (GBM), grade IV astrocytoma, is incurable and has minimally efficacious therapeutic options. The PI3K effector arm of the receptor tyrosine kinase pathway has an established role in cancer and is frequently mutated in GBM. One gene in this pathway that is often mutated is PIK3CA, which encodes the catalytic subunit of PI3K. Missense mutations in this oncogene are heterogeneously distributed across three functional domains (adaptor binding, helical, and kinase), but their role in GBM tumorigenesis and response to targeted inhibitors has not been experimentally determined. In order to define the effects of PIK3CA missense mutations on gliomagenesis and efficacy of PI3K inhibitors, we overexpressed two mutations per mutated domain in immortalized normal human astrocytes (NHA), either with or without oncogenic RAS. The presence of PIK3CA mutations increased proliferation of NHA in low serum culture in the absence of oncogenic RAS, but their effects were minimal in its presence. Moreover, these mutations increased migration across a wound in NHA with and without oncogenic RAS. Whether the presence of PIK3CA mutations influence the response to treatment with a PI3K inhibitor is as yet unknown, but will be determined in the future.
140. Yen-Ling Chen Psychology
The Relationship Between Sleep Disturbance and Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder: Testing Incremental Effect after Controlling for Age and Gender
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Eric Youngstrom (Psychology)
Graduate Student Contributors: Tate Halverson, Mian-Li Ong

Abstract: Sleep disturbance is a salient symptom of pediatric bipolar disorder (BD). Common sleep problems in pediatric BD include decreased need for sleep, nighttime awakening, and hypersomnia (Roybal et al., 2011; Lunsford-Avery et al., 2012). However, BD course and outcomes differ with age and gender (Rasgon et al., 2005; Altshuler et al., 2010). We hypothesize that sleep disturbance incrementally predicts BD diagnosis even after controlling for age and gender. Out of 746 outpatient youths (age 5-17), 153 met DSM-IV criteria for BD based on K-SADS diagnostic interviews with them and their primary caregivers. Caregivers completed the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL; Achenbach, 2001; 6 sleep items) and the General Behavior Inventory (GBI; Depue et al., 1981; 7 sleep items). Binary logistic regressions assessed the relationship between sleep disturbance and BD after controlling for the effects of age and gender. Sleep disturbance significantly predicted BD diagnosis after controlling for age and gender (GBI: OR = 1.2; CBCL: OR = 1.2; ps <.0005). Results from two widely used instruments suggest that sleep disturbance plays an important role in pediatric BD. Limitations include sole reliance on caregiver report of sleep disturbance. Future research could add objective measures of sleep, such as actigraphy. Sleep???s strong association with bipolar diagnoses supports the value of investigating treatments that work to stabilize sleep and activity (Harvey et al., 2015).
141. Kirsten Nicole Consing Psychology
Local shape analysis in children at high risk for autism (IBIS)
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Martin Styner (Computer Science)
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Beatriz Paniagua, Joseph Piven, Mark Shen, Martin Styner

Abstract: Statistical shape analysis allows us to specifically pinpoint morphological changes in the subcortical structures of the hippocampus, caudate, putamen, and thalamus of infants at high familial risk (HR) for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at 12 and 24 month time points. In the first study of its kind, we perform shape analysis on the subcortical structure data from the Infant Brain Imaging Study Network (IBIS). Subcortical structures were computed on a large sample using the SPHARM-PDM framework. Statistical analysis measured medial profiles of local thickness, volume, and surface area at each time point. We also analyzed SPHARM-PDM surface vertices to perform quantitative morphological assessment at all surface locations. Medial and surface thickness analysis show that HR infants with ASD compared to those without ASD show significant group interactions in the left hippocampus at 12 months and 24 months, right hippocampus at 12 months, left putamen at 24 months and both thalami at 12 months. Surface coordinate analysis show that significant regional mean differences in the left and right caudate, putamen, and thalamus at 12 months as well as significant regional mean differences in the left caudate, left putamen, and both hippocampi at 24 months. This suggests that at the pre-diagnostic stage, HR infants with ASD have certain areas of local size reduction in the subcortical structures particularly in the caudate, hippocampus, and thalamus compared to HR infants without ASD.
142. Caroline deSaussure Psychology
Exploring Adaptive Behavior and Social-Behavioral Variables in Females with Full Mutation Fragile X Syndrome
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Heather Hazlett (Psychiatry)

Abstract: Purpose: To examine potential contributors of adaptive behavior in females with fragile X syndrome (FXS), including IQ, autism symptoms, executive function (EF), and anxiety. Hypothesis: After controlling for converted nonverbal IQ, autism symptoms, EF, and anxiety will be significant predictors of adaptive behavior, with EF serving as the greatest predictor. Experimental approach: Data from females with FXS who participated in a larger study was examined. A multiple regression analysis was conducted to examiner predictors of adaptive behavior in females with FXS. Summary of results: Of the twenty-one females assessed, only one has enough autism symptoms to suggest a clinical diagnosis, although each participant???s autistic symptoms were assessed on a spectrum. Adaptive behavior was significantly correlated with EF, IQ, and parent-reported autism symptoms. IQ accounted for a significant amount of variance in adaptive behavior, R2 = .43, F(1,19) = 14.15, p < .01. After controlling for IQ, EF, anxiety, and autism symptoms did not account for a significant proportion of adaptive behavior variance, R2 change = .22, F(3,16) = 3.21, p = .051, nor did they contribute individually as significant predictors. Conclusions and implications: Women with FXS have a great diversity in their functional independence, autism symptoms, intelligence, and EF. Although limited by the small sample size, this study provides valuable information on the varying outcomes of females with FXS.
144. Laura Doherty Biology
Photopolymerization of Acrylate Polymers Using Visible Light and Ethyl Cobalamin Mediator
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: David Lawrence (Chemistry)
Graduate Student Contributors: Zach Rodgers

Abstract: The aim of this research is to use a vitamin B12 derivative, ethyl cobalamin, to control radical polymerization of acrylates in aqueous solution using visible green light. This enables the formation of polymers that have uniform size and molecular weight that can be tuned by changing the time length of light exposure. Ethyl cobalamin acts as a photoinitiator to begin the reaction, and it also serves to control the rate of propagation by reversibly binding to the growing polymer chain ends. The conversion was measured over time using proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and the molecular weight and polydispersity were measured with dynamic light scattering. When the light is on, the polymer conversion increases, and when the light is off, the conversion does not increase, indicating the cobalamin is reversibly capping the growing polymer chains. Furthermore, the vitamin B12 derivative can attach small molecules to the end of each polymer chain in the initiation step of the reaction. A fluorophore was covalently bound to the cobalamin, so that when it initiated polymerization, the fluorophore was bound to the end of the polymer. The initiator also controls the polymerizations of other monomers, so this technique can be used to make specific, functionalized block copolymers.
145. Alexandra Edwards Psychology
Examining the Factor Structure of Therapist Fidelity in First-Episode Psychosis Intervention: Relationships with Treatment-Related Variables in Individual Resiliency Training
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: David Penn (Psychology)
Graduate Student Contributors: Julia Browne

Abstract: Abstract: Evidence-based approaches and early intervention have improved the long-term prognosis of individuals with schizophrenia. However, little is known about the processes involved in individual therapy in first-episode psychosis. A comprehensive psychosocial/psychiatric program for this population, NAVIGATE, includes an individual therapy component, Individual Resiliency Training (IRT). Fidelity of clinicians??? adherence to the IRT protocol has been collected to ensure proper implementation of this manual-based intervention. These data can provide insight into the elements of the therapeutic process in this intervention. To achieve this goal, I first examined the factor structure of the IRT fidelity scale with exploratory factor analysis. Secondly, I explored the relationships of the IRT fidelity ratings (and any derived factors) with clinician years of experience and years of education, and client???s baseline symptom severity and duration of untreated psychosis. Results and implications of the analyses are discussed.
146. Matthew Fay Chemistry
Contribution of the UGT2 enzyme family to the metabolism of xenobiotics
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Beverly Koller (Genetics)
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Trang Nguyen, Jay Snouwaert, and Beverly Koller

Abstract: Glucuronidation is an important defense mechanism against drugs, toxins, and endogenous wastes in humans. UDP-Glucuronosyltransferases (UGTs) conjugate a sugar acid, glucuronic acid, to a variety of lipophilic substrates, decreasing toxicity and increasing water solubility to facilitate excretion. Based on genetic phylogeny, UGTs are divided into the UGT1 and UGT2 families, each comprising several isoforms. Determining which isoforms target a compound in vivo is essential to understanding the compound???s pharmacokinetics and toxicity, but this is complicated by the large number of UGTs and by the substrate promiscuity of many isoforms. To address this limitation, we have created a mutant mouse in which the entire Ugt2 family has been excised. Using this line, termed ??Ugt2, we show that UGT2 enzymes are essential for metabolism of the NSAID Naproxen. In contrast, ??Ugt2 animals show decreased excretion of the environmental pseudoestrogen bisphenol A (BPA), but glucuronidation still occurs. At least in mouse, clearance of BPA is jointly carried out by UGT1 and UGT2 enzymes, and the affinities for BPA of both families in vitro are similar. Our data suggest that human neonates, identified as highly vulnerable to BPA toxicity due to UGT2 deficiency until 7 months of age, may be protected by the UGT1 family, which is expressed rapidly after birth. These studies demonstrate the utility of this mouse line in determining the contribution of the UGT2 family to metabolism of xenobiotics.
147. Meredith Griffin Psychology
Evidence Based Persuasion: Effects of Speaker Description, Gender, and Evidence Type on Perceptions of Warmth and Competence
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Nicole Heilbron (Psychology)
Graduate Student Contributors: Jenna Clark

Abstract: Should scientific information or narrative stories be used to convey public health information? Previous studies show conflicting results about which type of evidence is preferred (De Wit, Das, & Vet, 2008; Kopfman, Smith, Ah Yun, & Hodges,1998). This study explores how evidence type, descriptions of the speaker, and speakers??? gender influence perceptions of warmth and competence. Participants were recruited through Amazon's MTurk for two studies, which manipulated vignettes about Genetically Modified Foods. In Study 1, the speaker, Mary, was labeled as a scientist, a mother of two, or no label and she presented either statistical or narrative information, resulting in a 2x3 ANOVA design. In Study 2, the speaker's gender was manipulated, Mark or Mary, and each presented either statistical or narrative information, resulting in a 2x2 ANOVA design. Results indicate that statistical information is significantly associated with perceptions of competence and narrative information is significantly associated with perceptions of warmth, consistent with previous findings (Fiske, Cuddy, & Glick, 2007). Results further indicate a weak association between gender of the speaker, evidence type, and perceptions of warmth ( F=3.707; p= .056). This supports women and warmth stereotype (Ebert, Steffens, & Kroth, 2014). Future studies should explore how the speaker should be described and how the message should be tailored to cause the most attitude change.
148. Savannah Jacaruso Biology
Dynamic Facial Soft Tissue Analysis
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Dr. Carroll-Ann Trotman (Orthodontics, School of Dentistry)

Abstract: Patients who undergo craniofacial soft tissue repair surgeries may remain with altered capacity for facial movements. Dr. Carroll-Ann Trotman?s Facial Animation Lab is exploring a method to potentially improve treatment results. This study analyzes facial movements to provide diagnostic information that can be used to accurately plan and assess craniofacial soft tissue surgeries through 4D computer software. Dynamic facial movement information is collected from control patients and from those with craniofacial abnormalities that affect their facial movement. Patients are recruited through the UNC School of Dentistry Craniofacial Center and are age and gender stratified. Four monochrome cameras are used to capture movements as patients perform a series of common facial expressions. Facial animation is recorded by tracking the movement of thirty-nine 3 mm reflective markers positioned at specific locations on the face. This study is currently ongoing at the UNC School of Dentistry and at Tufts University School of Medicine. Potential applications of this data include the generation of diagnoses, surgical planning, and outcome measures for patients undergoing repair surgeries for congenital facial abnormalities, dentofacial disharmonies and facial trauma all of which affect the functionality and aesthetics of the face.
149. Danielle Jameison Psychology
Modeling Intimacy and Commitment in Emerging Adulthood
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Don Baucom (Department of Clinical Psychology)

Abstract: Intimacy and commitment are constructs essential to a successful romantic relationship, but for emerging adults navigating the world of dating, it is not always clear how these two elements interact. Data from a self-report survey of 162 undergraduate students were used to better understand how intimacy and commitment are related to one another as a function of gender and perceived social power. Results showed that intimacy predicted commitment, but differentially for men and women based on their levels of social power. For men, increased social power was associated with a decreased effect of intimacy on commitment. Among men with low social power, intimacy most strongly predicted commitment, whereas for men with high levels of social power, intimacy ceased to be associated with commitment at all. The opposite effect was found in women, where for women with greater social power, intimacy much more strongly predicted commitment than it did among women with little power. These findings suggest that men and women may both be using social power to achieve their goals in romantic relationships, but that, consistent with evolutionary theory, men ultimately desire intimacy without commitment and women, intimacy with commitment.
150. Alexander Kenan Chemistry
Engineering a Photoactivatable Designed Ankyrin Repeat Protein
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Brian Kuhlman (Biochemistry and Biophysics)
Graduate Student Contributors: Ryan Hallett

Abstract: Designed Ankyrin Repeat Proteins (DARPins) are a class of scaffold proteins that have been engineered to bind to a wide array of protein targets, including caspases and kinases which play important roles in developmental and cellular biology. The goal of this project was to develop a generalizable approach for creating photoactivatable DARPin fusions whose activity could be controlled using light. This inhibition of DARPin activity was to be implemented using the interaction between the Light Oxidative Voltage (LOV) domain and an engineered Z protein that only binds LOV in the dark, disassociating when exposed to light. Short peptide linkers attaching these proteins to the two termini of the protein would then be engineered so that the LOV-Z complex would sterically occlude the binding site of the DARPins in the dark state, but upon light activation would disassociate reactivating the DARPin. Computational modeling and preliminary experimental results demonstrated that native DARPin structures would likely not be caged by a LOV- Z protein interaction due to the orientation of the DARPin termini, and therefore work was done to design and test an anti-parallel helix extension of the C-terminus of the DARPin in order to provide an ideal geometry for the interaction. Testing of these designs by crystallography failed to yield a promising result, but provided insight into future approaches using high throughput techniques for testing designed helices and linker lengths.
151. Erin King Psychology
The Evoked K-Complex in Infants: Effects of Prenatal Nicotine Exposure
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Aysenil Belger (Psychiatry, Psychology)
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Karen Grewen, Aysenil Belger, Alana Campbell

Abstract: Smoking cigarettes during pregnancy is detrimental to the health of the unborn child, yet 15% of expectant mothers smoke. Prenatal nicotine exposure correlates with sensory processing deficits and increased risk of developing disorders of attention (Horst et al., 2012; Heath & Picciotto, 2009). The K-complex is produced by the GABAergic networks in the brain, and these networks have been implicated in attention. The K-complex can first be seen in infants around 4 months of age (AASM Manual for Scoring Sleep, 2007) and indicates the degree of sensory processing (Andreassi, 2007). In this study, brain activity was recorded during a paired-click paradigm to elicit auditory K-complexes in 4-month-old infants exposed to nicotine prenatally and healthy controls during a nap. Stage 2 sleep was then identified, the epoch of the EEG recording around the K-complex was analyzed, and the amplitude and amount of delta band (1-4Hz) power in the K-complex were computed. The prenatal nicotine exposure group shows a smaller amplitude and less delta power than the control group. This may suggest that infants exposed to nicotine do not appropriately gate out sensory information and fail to proceed into deeper sleep necessary for typical development. It is possible that the K-complex can be used as a biomarker for the development of attentional deficiencies in the future.
152. Bridget Larman Chemistry
Role of RNA Genome Structure in the Function of STMV
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Kevin Weeks (Chemistry )

Abstract: Icosahedral plus-strand RNA viruses make up a large and diverse portion of known viruses including poliovirus and hepatitis A virus. Satellite tobacco mosaic virus (STMV) is a plant virus member of this family. It???s RNA genome is 1058 nucleotides in length and is encased in an icosahedral capsid. It relies on co-infection with tobacco mosaic virus to replicate. It has been shown that in icosahedral plus-strand RNA secondary and tertiary structures of the genome govern many aspects of RNA function. STMV is one of the most simple plus-stranded icosahedral viruses and can thus be used as a model system to provide insights into RNA structure and function relationships of more complex viruses. A model of the secondary structure of the viral RNA has been developed using nucleotide resolution chemical probing techniques. The data suggests three structural domains: a well defined central ???T??? domain is flanked by the untranslated 5??? and 3??? domains, which each consist of many flexible short range stem-loops. Differences observed between the RNA structure within the capsid and when released from the capsid indicate that the virus undergoes conformational change upon decapsidation. Future investigation will look into tertiary structures adopted by the RNA using newly developed technologies, such as RING-MaP. The goal will be to locate the regions where the capsid protein binds and understand how capsid binding alters the structure and position in space of the RNA genome.
153. Quoc Mac Chemistry
Characterizing the Dynamic Tertiary Interaction that Promotes Cleavage in an Extended Hammerhead Ribozyme
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Qi Zhang (Biochemistry and Biophysics)
Graduate Student Contributors: Bo Zhao

Abstract: Recent bioinformatics studies have revealed the ubiquitous presence of hammerhead ribozyme, a small self-cleaving RNA, in all domains of life, from bacteria to complex eukaryotes. Their fundamental catalytic activity as well as genomic locations suggest some important biological functions, especially in gene regulation. While a minimal hammerhead catalytic core is essential for cleavage activity, the presence of transient tertiary interactions between stem I and stem II of the extended hammerhead helps to enhance cleavage by 1000 fold. In this study, we attempted to characterize the tentative tertiary interaction of c10orf118 hammerhead ribozyme, an ultra-conserved hammerhead found in mammalian species. While it is suggested that a pseudoknot interaction helps to bring the two stems together, we identified that this interaction is in fact facilitated by several base pairs within the bulge of stem I and the loop of stem II. By using CEST, a newly developed NMR dynamic experiment, we were able to detect the presence of a lowly-populated excited state thought to be the active state of the ribozyme. A mutant that carries a UUCG loop at stem II, surprisingly, not only reduces the cleavage rate, but almost completely abolishes the catalytic activity. From this evidence, we believe that not only the identities of residues in the loop-bulge region but also the relative orientation of the two stems are fundamental for cleavage enhancement.
154. Jesus Martinez-Alvarado Chemistry
The Importance of Field Strength in the Low Field Portion of a Differential Ion Mobility Spectrometry Waveform
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Gary Glish (Chemistry)
Graduate Student Contributors: Brandon Santiago

Abstract: Differential ion mobility spectrometry (DIMS) is a rapid separation technique that can be used to reduce chemical background in complex mixtures prior to analysis by mass spectrometry. DIMS separations use the dependence of ion mobility on electric field strength to separate ions. Through application of an asymmetric waveform alternating between ???high??? and ???low??? electric field strengths, the difference between high and low field mobilities is sampled. Ideally, this waveform would be rectangular in shape, but due to power requirements less ideal waveforms are typically used. One such waveform is a harmonics based waveform that capacitively couples two sinusoidal waveforms across the DIMS gap. Here we discuss the instrumental limitations of a two harmonic DIMS waveform in regards to its ability to truly sample between high and low electric fields.
155. Sarah McShane Biology
Microbial H2S Producers, Characterizing and Inhibiting "Bad Actor" Proteins
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Matthew Redinbo (Chemistry)
Undergraduate Contributors: Kunal Patel
Graduate Student Contributors: Kristen Biernat

Abstract: Geneticists and doctors have long looked to link chronic diseases to gene mutations and familial history or lifestyle behaviors. In recent years, the microbiota has emerged as a new factor in chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, asthma, cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). With these findings and the increase in DNA technologies, there is potential for new approaches to understanding and mediating disease. My project focuses on the role of microbially produced H2S in intestinal disorders and cancers. Increased levels of H2S in the GI are associated with increased inflammation, the exacerbation of colorectal cancer, development of irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and ulcerative colitis and reduced expression of the host H2S detoxification response. Of the set of microbial proteins that produce H2S, I have identified three potential ???bad actors??? based on the prevalence of their host genome in the disease states. This year, I have cloned, overexpressed, purified, and crystallized Taurine:pyruvate aminotransferase from Bilophila wadsworthia. Through structural and enzymatic characterization, I hope to elucidate its potential function in these diseases.
156. Sean McWeeny Psychology
Developmental Aspects of Reward Processing in Individuals with and without ASD
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Gabriel Dichter (Psychiatry/Psychology)
Undergraduate Contributors: Jasmine Shah, Jeremiah Hartsock, Nadia Peyravian
Graduate Student Contributors: Maya Mosner, Julia Katz
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Jessica Kinard

Abstract: The purpose of this investigation is to examine developmental trajectories of social motivational processes in individuals with and without autism spectrum disorders (ASD). It is well established that ASD are characterized by deficits in social cognition, social perception, and social communication. However, there has been recent emphasis on addressing motivational aspects of social deficits in ASD (Chevallier, Kohls, Troiani, Brodkin, & Schultz, 2012). Although current conceptualizations of reward processing deficits in ASD have focused specifically on processing of social rewards, there is evidence that processing of non-social rewards is impaired in ASD as well (Dichter & Adolphs, 2012). Specifically, our research group recently reported that adults with ASD are characterized by impaired effort-based decision-making in the context of monetary rewards (Damiano, Aloi, Treadway, Bodfish, & Dichter, 2012). The present study is a downward extension of this finding and seeks to explore developmental trajectories of social motivation in children, adolescents, and adults with ASD.
157. Meredith Mock Exercise & Sport Science
Effects of Macronutrient Intake on Substrate Utilization: Potential Sex Differences
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Abbie Smith-Ryan (Exercise and Sport Science)
Graduate Student Contributors: Katie R. Hirsch, Erica J. Roelofs, Eric T. Trexler

Abstract: PURPOSE: To explore sex differences in the relationship between habitual macronutrient distribution and substrate utilization (RER) during exercise. METHODS: Twenty-eight recreationally active subjects completed a three-day food log to assess total intake of calories, estimated energy requirements (EER), carbohydrate (CHO), fat, and protein (PRO). Respiratory exchange ratio (RER) was analyzed via indirect calorimetry during a six-minute lactate threshold cycling test. RESULTS: For men, there was a significant positive correlation between CHO and RER at 4 and 6 min (p=0.012; p=0.013), with no significant relationship between PRO and RER or fat and RER. For women, there was a significant positive correlation with PRO and RER at the end of a high-intensity bout (6 min; p=0.010) and between CHO and RER at 5 min (p=0.008). Independent of sex, macronutrient intake demonstrated a significant positive correlation with total calories (p<0.01). Evaluation of the total group EER demonstrated a positive relationship between PRO and FAT when intake was less than recommended. CONCLUSIONS: Contrary to expectation, a positive correlation between RER and PRO intake was seen in women, whereas men reported an expected relationship between RER and CHO. Future studies should evaluate long-term effects of dietary changes on exercise fuel utilization, as well as evaluate more moderate intensity exercise.
158. Chloe Paterson Psychology
The Behavioral Approach System/Behavioral Inhibition System (BIS/BAS): A State or Trait?
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Eric Youngstrom (Psychology)
Graduate Student Contributors: Tate Halverson, Mian-Li Ong

Abstract: Behavioral Activation System (BAS) dysregulation may be a vulnerability for mania and depression (Meyer, Johnson, & Winters, 2001, Alloy et al., 2009). It is not certain whether this is more of a trait or mood state. We hypothesized that after controlling for demographics and bipolar diagnosis (BD), current mood would incrementally predict caregiver-reported BIS and BAS scores, but BD status would not show significant effects after controlling current mood. 795 outpatient youths (age 5???17; 153 BD) and caregivers completed diagnostic interviews, current symptom ratings and BIS/BAS scales. Regressions assessed the relationship between youth BD diagnosis controlling for effects of age, race, gender and current mood; and current mood, controlling for age, race, gender and BD. Current mood predicted both BAS and BIS scores (BAS: F(2,788)=10.30, ???R2=.02; BIS: F(2,788)=5.38, ???R2=.02; ps<.0005). Both caregiver-reported KMRS and KDRS significantly predicted BAS scores (KMRS: t(788) = 3.98, p < .0005; KDRS: t(788) = 2.74, p < .01), but only KDRS predicted BIS scores (KDRS: t(788) = 3.98, p<.0005). BD did not predict BAS nor BIS scores after controlling for current mood. Results suggest that BAS appears more state- than trait-dependent in youth with BD, and that manic symptoms share more variance with BAS than depressive symptoms. Limitations include the sample not extending past age 17 and only having a single timepoint of data.
159. Elizabeth Raines Psychology
Inhibitory Control and Internal State Language in 30 Month Old Toddlers
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: J. Steven Reznick (Psychology)

Abstract: Inhibitory control, an aspect of executive functioning, which also includes cognitive processes such as working memory and planning, specifically refers to the ability to inhibit a natural response in favor of a novel response. Internal state language refers to words that are self-referent and is related to Theory of Mind. Examples of these words include: hungry, thirsty, love, sleepy, look, see, and watch. Both of these abilities undergo rapid development in the preschool years, and previous research suggests that the development of these processes is related. Bellagamba and colleagues (2014) found that inhibitory control is significantly related to Internal State Words in 24 month old children. Behavioral data was collected during lab visits where the child completed various tasks while one caretaker filled out a language measurement, the MacArthur Bates Communicative Development Inventories (MCDI) Words and Sentences. Inhibitory control was measured using a sticker delay task in which the child was instructed to wait for the assessor to ring a bell before retrieving a sticker placed under a clear cup. It is hypothesized that children who exhibit high self-regulation during the sticker delay task will exhibit larger internal state vocabularies than those who exhibit lower self-regulation during the task. Analyses regarding the present study are currently in progress, but preliminary results suggest trends supporting this hypothesis.
160. Hannah Robinson Psychology
Behavioral characteristics in high-risk children of mothers with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder during laboratory-based observations
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Barbara Goldman (Psychology)

Abstract: Objective: The primary aim of this study was to examine behavioral differences between child offspring of parents with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder and offspring of parents that are free from psychiatric illness. Method: A behavioral measure based on the Children???s Behavior Questionnaire for children aged three to seven (Rothbart et al., 2001; Putnam & Rothbart, 2006) was used to assess behavior in offspring of parents with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder and offspring of parents that are free from psychiatric illness during laboratory-based observations lasting approximately one hour. Results: Two sample t-tests will be used to compare mean behavioral scores and mean behavioral dimension sub-scale scores between the two offspring populations. Limitations: Behavioral data was collected from laboratory-based observations and no self- or parent-report data was collected. Due to the limited sample size, schizophrenia offspring and bipolar offspring were not examined separately. Conclusions: If there are differences between the two offspring populations, assessment of behavior may be useful in characterizing child offspring of parents with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Longitudinal studies that examine self- and parent-report data, as well as observational data, to determine if certain behaviors inform treatment response and prognosis in this population are needed.
161. Millicent Robinson Psychology
Superwoman Schema, Stigma, Provider Characteristics, and Religion: Factors that Influence Mental Health Service Utilization among African American Women
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Dr. Cheryl Giscombe (UNC School of Nursing)
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Dr. Cheryl Woods Giscombe and Dr. Dana Carthron

Abstract: A national study conducted by the California Black Women???s Health Project (2003), revealed that 60% of African American women experience symptoms of depression, but only 12% of African American women seek help and/or treatment (National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2009). As illustrated by the previous statistics, African American women experience significant disparities with mental health. There are many factors that may play a role in this phenomena. The Superwoman Schema (SWS) Conceptual Framework was developed in order to understand health and stress disparities among African American women through a culturally relevant perspective. African American women endorsing this framework exhibit characteristics such as perceiving obligations to project strength, suppressing emotions, maintaining independence, and prioritizing caregiving over self-care. Through the application of this culturally relevant conceptual framework, the current project aimed to assess barriers and facilitators to mental health service utilization among African American women to discover existent trends as well as attitudes in order to contribute to the development of culturally relevant practices and services for African American women. Themes and subthemes such as the SWS conceptual framework, stigma, spirituality, and (culturally) sensitive providers were identified as relevant factors contributing to mental health service utilization among African American women.
162. Nicole Seider Psychology
Differences in White Matter Microstructure between Heavy and Light Drinkers
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Charlotte Boettiger (Psychology)
Undergraduate Contributors: Michael Parrish
Graduate Student Contributors: Chris Smith

Abstract: A common characteristic of individuals with alcohol use disorders (AUDs) is impulsive behavior, as quantified by a Delay Discounting (DD) task; those with AUDs are more likely to choose smaller, sooner rewards relative to control participants. This tendency is also observed among heavy, subclinical drinkers, and emerging adults (ages 18-25). DD can be reduced in healthy controls by visualizing oneself in the future (episodic prospection); the magnitude of this behavioral change positively correlates with functional connectivity between the medial prefrontal cortex and the medial anterior temporal cortex. We hypothesized that the structural connectivity between these regions may vary as a function of age and of alcohol use, specifically in the cingulum, uncinate, and fornix, and that there are structural differences within the frontal and medial anterior temporal lobes. In a sample of XX healthy subjects (ages 18-40), we found significant effects of current alcohol consumption, current binge drinking, and binge drinking before age 21 on the white matter microstructure of bilateral cingulum and uncinate. We observed no statistically significant effects of alcohol use on the cortical and subcortical regions analyzed. Our findings suggest a stronger association of subclinical binge drinking with the microstructure integrity of the white matter bundles connecting frontal and temporal lobes than with the structural properties of the cortical and subcortical regions themselves.
163. Joshua Sheetz Chemistry
Systematic Analysis of Yeast F-box Proteins Reveals a New Role of Ubiquitination in Polarity Establishment
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Henrik Dohlman (Biochemistry & Biophysics)

Abstract: Ubiquitination is a post-translational modification that regulates protein activity by tagging specific substrates for degradation. Regulation of proteins by ubiquitination has been demonstrated to help terminate the response to mating pheromone in budding yeast. The yeast pheromone response is comprised of two branches, one leading to MAPK activation and gene transcription, the other leading to cellular polarization and shmoo formation. The Skp1/Cdc53/F-box (SCF) ubiquitin ligase employs different F-box subunits to recruit specific substrates for ubiquitination. In yeast, F-box proteins have been identified as interchangeable components of the SCF complex. We characterized the abilities of yeast deletion mutants to affect either the MAPK or the polarity branch of the pathway. Our study reveals that one F-box protein, Pfu1, selectively regulates the polarity branch. Using live cell imaging in a microfluidic chamber, we demonstrate that Pfu1 is required to restrict the cell to a single polarity site. In contrast, Pfu1 is has no effect on MAP kinase activation or transcriptional induction. While polar axis formation is a fundamental and well characterized feature of budding, the mechanisms used to regulate cell polarity components during mating are largely unknown. The existence of an F-box protein exclusively involved in mating projection development reveals ubiquitination as a means to independently regulate branches of a signal transduction pathway.
164. Emily Stroobant Chemistry
The Role of PIK3CA Mutations in Driving Gliomagenesis
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: C. Ryan Miller (Pathology and Lab Medicine)
Graduate Student Contributors: Robbie McNeill

Abstract: Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most aggressive form of brain cancer, and is currently incurable. Major treatment advances have not been made for a decade. Molecular diagnostics will potentially enable patients to be stratified according to their mutation status, to direct treatment and improve patient outcomes. Successful implementation of precision medicine will be aided by preclinical investigations of the role of individual mutations in tumorigenesis and their response to targeted drugs. Mutations in PIK3CA, the p110?? subunit of phosphatidylinositide 3-kinase (PI3K), are highly implicated cancer pathogenesis, and drugs targeting PI3K are in clinical development. PIK3CA is mutated in 12% of GBM, and recurrent mutations are distributed across three functional domains (adaptor binding, helical, and kinase). However, their role in GBM tumorigenesis is unknown. We examined six mutations known to occur in GBM, two per mutated domain, for activation of biochemical signaling pathways, as well as for response to PI3K inhibitors. These mutations were introduced into immortalized human astrocytes, with and without oncogenic RAS. The downstream signaling molecule AKT is activated by all of the mutations in human astrocytes, with the greatest increase from mutations in the helical and kinase domains. The presence of oncogenic RAS increases the ability of mutations to activate signaling. Preliminary data shows that treatment with the pan-PI3K inhibitor BKM120 inhibited PI3K signaling.
165. Katarina Swaim Psychology
The Effects of Moderate Alcohol Drinking on the Nucleus Accumbens Proteome of C57BL/6J Mice
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Todd Thiele (Psychology)
Graduate Student Contributors: AE Agoglia
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: GT Reid, T Thiele, S Faccidomo, CW Hodge

Abstract: Intro: The neural mechanisms that mediate reinforcing effects of alcohol consumption are not fully understood. Proteomic analysis of the mouse amygdala after 28 days of home cage drinking shows significant changes in protein expression for alcohol-drinking mice. Objective: To extend proteomic studies of chronic alcohol-drinking mice to the nucleus accumbens (NAC) brain region to assess its role in the development of alcohol dependence. Methods: Male C57BL/6J mice were separated into water and ethanol (EtOH) drinking groups and singly housed. A voluntary two-bottle choice paradigm was used with 24hr access to fluids. EtOH was introduced at 6% w/v concentration and increased to 10% w/v, with a final concentration of 20% w/v EtOH maintained after day 4. Dependent variables were water intake, EtOH intake, EtOH preference, and EtOH dose. After 28 days of drinking, mice were rapidly decapitated and the brains were flash frozen. Tissue from the NAC was sent to Applied Biomics for 2D DIGE analysis. Tissue from the prefrontal cortex, amydgala, striatum, NAC, and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis of the remaining mice was homogenized and used for Western Blotting. Preliminary results: Water group drank average of XX mL water/day. EtOH mice drank on average XXXmL water and XXX mL EtOH, showing XX EtOH preference and an average dose of 13 g/kg.
166. Justin Jones Political Science
Examining the Impact of State Government Actions on the Affordable Care Act
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Virginia Gray (Political Science)

Abstract: My thesis examines the role that state governments played in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act during the first enrollment period. It analyzes two actions that state governments had to choose from (exchange creation and medicaid expansion) and the effect of these actions on the goals of the ACA (better access to care, more affordable coverage).
167. Brian Davis Psychology
Embodied Emotion Concepts and Aging: Differences in Older versus Younger Adults' Emotion Concepts
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Kristen Lindquist (Psychology)
Graduate Student Contributors: Jennifer MacCormack

Abstract: Growing evidence suggests that concepts are embodied and represented by sensorimotor representations of internal feelings, exteroceptive sensations, and actions (for review, Kiefer & Barsalou, 2013). Yet bodily feedback from the nervous system becomes less intense or clear with older age, giving rise to "maturational dualism" (Mendes, 2010). Maturational dualism suggests that aging adults may rely less on interoceptive feedback to inform their emotion conceptualizations. The present studies are a first step towards understanding the nature of older adults??? emotion conceptualization. To do so we compare older and younger adults??? interoceptive, behavioral, and situational conceptualizations of discrete emotion to determine if older adults do indeed rely less on interoceptive emotion properties than younger adults do. In the present studies, we adapted a property verification task from embodied cognitive methods (Pecher et al., 2003) to help us assess the difference between older and younger adults??? modalities of emotion-relevant experience. Specifically, we hypothesize that older adults rely less on the interoceptive modality of their experience and focus more on the externalities of the current situation (such as emotion-relevant behaviors like smiling or frowning) and also their cognitive appraisals (which tap into the situational properties of emotion???such as a situation that is unjust, or where harm is being done) when making situated conceptualization.
168. Rita Meganck Biology
Development of snRNA reporter genes to investigate the role of PHAX in snRNP biogenesis
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Gregory Matera (Biology)

Abstract: Sm-class small nuclear RNAs (snRNAs) are major components of the spliceosomal complex, which is required for the splicing of introns in eukaryotic pre-mRNAs. In order to assemble into biologically active small nuclear ribonucleoprotein (snRNP) complexes, the snRNAs must exit the nucleus, which requires the snRNA export adaptor, PHAX. Mutations in this gene would be expected to be lethal, as snRNPs cannot properly assemble. However, about one quarter of flies with a homozygous null mutation in PHAX survive to adulthood. To investigate this effect, we created reporter genes of the snRNAs U1, U2, U4, U6, and LU by replacing the coding region of each gene with the fluorescent RNA aptamers Broccoli and Mango. Transgenic flies will be created that contain the reporter gene and will be crossed to PHAX mutants. These will be imaged to determine if snRNAs are able to leave the nucleus in the absence of PHAX. As most eukaryotic species export their snRNAs into the cytoplasm prior to snRNP assembly, the results found here should provide insight into the mechanisms of snRNA transport.
169. Kelci Schilly Chemistry
Synergy of Nitric Oxide-Releasing Dendrimers and Vancomycin against Gram-positive Pathogenic Biofilms
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Mark Schoenfisch (Chemistry)
Graduate Student Contributors: Brittany Worley

Abstract: The increasing prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains has led to a growing demand for antibacterial agents capable of eradicating such bacteria without fostering additional resistance. We have previously demonstrated that nitric oxide-releasing, alkyl chain-modified poly(amidoamine) (PAMAM) dendrimers are effective against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative biofilms, including antibiotic-resistant strains. However, the large concentrations required to eradicate Gram-positive biofilms in particular were often toxic to mammalian cells. As such, we sought to reduce these toxic effects by employing the co-administration of nitric oxide-releasing dendrimers with traditional antibiotics. Herein, we describe the combined effects of the G3 butyl/NO or hexyl/NO PAMAM dendrimers and vancomycin at eradicating Gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus biofilms, including methicillin-resistant strains, to identify any possible synergistic effects. It was observed that both control and nitric oxide-releasing dendrimers demonstrate greater than additive killing with vancomycin against MRSA biofilms, with the addition of nitric oxide release resulting more effective biofilm eradication. Further, the co-administration of G3 hexyl/NO dendrimers and vancomycin resulted in synergistic killing against MRSA biofilms. These results demonstrate the potential of combination therapies in both reducing toxicity to mammalian cells and lessening the development of bacterial resistance.
170. Alyssa Vassallo Chemistry
Physical Properties of Mucin Molecules Extracted from Saliva
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Michael Rubinstein (Chemistry)
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Philippe Lorchat

Abstract: Cystic Fibrosis patients possess an abnormal gene that causes thick, concentrated mucus secretion. The high osmotic pressure crushes the cilia layer covering airways. As a result, they are not able to efficiently clear mucus. This study focuses on the physical properties of solutions of mucin, extremely large, charge-bearing macromolecules. In order to obtain clean mucin samples, saliva is first purified using ultracentrifugation, PAS staining, and dialysis. Light scattering is then used to determine the average size of mucin molecules. Using small angle x-ray scattering, the internal structure of mucin is investigated. Saliva osmotic pressure measurements are taken with semi-permeable membranes of varying pore sizes to compare to mucus osmotic pressure. The difference in these pressures may reveal useful results to design new therapeutic drugs decreasing the osmotic pressure of mucus in order to achieve increased mucus clearance.
171. Jenny Sun Biostatistics
Nonspecific orofacial symptoms as risk factors for first-onset TMD and chronic TMD
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Eric Bair (Biostatistics)

Abstract: Previous studies found that nonspecific orofacial symptoms were one of the most important predictors of first-onset TMD. We examined the influence of these symptoms (jaw siftness, cramping, fatigue, pressure, soreness, and ache) on first-onset TMD and chronic TMD among U.S. adults aged 18 to 44 years in the OPPERA study. We identified 259 first-onset cases and 185 chronic cases. Hazard ratios were computed to estimate the association between each nonspecific orofacial symptom and first-onset TMD. We calculated odds ratios to measure the association between each symptom and chronic TMD. A principal component analysis was used to determine if all 6 symptoms are measures of a single underlying construct or largely independent of one another. Multivariable cox models quantified the combined effects of non-specific orofacial symptoms, pain measures, and first-onset TMD. Multivariable logistic models examined these same associations on chronic TMD. Each nonspecific orofacial symptom was associated with increased incidence of first-onset TMD and greater odds of chronic TMD. Results from the PCA suggest we can summarize the six variables by simply counting the number of symptoms reported. In multivariable analysis, nonspecific orofacial symptoms significantly predicted first-onset TMD (HR=1.33; 95% CI:1.11-1.59) and chronic TMD (OR=3.06; 95% CI:2.03-4.97). This suggests the count of nonspecific orofacial symptoms is an independent risk factor and not a surrogate variable for pain.
172. Samthosh Alahari Business Administration
Atherosclerotic Plaque Stability in Aged ApoE-/-/SOD2+/- Mice: The Role of Calpain 1 and 2
Track: Health & Well-Being
Advisor: Nageswara Madamanchi (Department of Medicine)
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Aleksandr Vendrov; Marschall S. Runge

Abstract: Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality in developed countries. Plaque made of cholesterol, fat, and fibrin builds up in atherosclerotic arteries, which may partially or totally block blood flow causing myocardial infarction and stroke. Apolipoprotein E-deficient (ApoE-/-) mice are a model of atherosclerosis exhibiting elevated cholesterol levels, oxidative stress and a propensity to develop aortic atherosclerosis. Superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2), a mitochondrial matrix enzyme, converts superoxide radicals into less toxic hydrogen peroxide and protects against oxidative stress and atherosclerosis. Aortic atherosclerosis is greater in ApoE-/-/SOD2+/- compared with ApoE-/- mice and increases with aging. SOD2 deficiency increases apoptosis of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) in the atherosclerotic fibrous cap which increases the risk of plaque rupture and thrombosis, causing myocardial infarction and stroke. Calpain 1 and 2 proteases promote VSMC apoptosis. We observed increased Calpain 1 and 2 expression in the aortas of aged ApoE-/-/SOD2+/- mice versus young ApoE-/- mice, which is correlated with increased VSMC apoptosis in the fibrous cap and greater predisposition for plaque rupture. A better understanding of this relationship might lead to new therapeutic strategies to prevent atherosclerosis complications in aging.