The platforms sessions for the fourteenth annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research will be held in rooms located on the third floor of the Frank Porter Graham Student Union. Platform session have been organized according to discipline. Each presentation will last a maximum of 15 minutes. There is a 15-minute break in each session from 2:00-2:15.
Click on the title of the student's presentation to read the abstract and see any other research contributors.
Disciplines are noted to the side of each platform session: Arts and Humanities (AH), Social Sciences (SS), and Natural Sciences (NS).
Platform Session I
Moderator: Prof. Sarah Shields, History
1:00-1:15 — Yuruo Li AnthropologyGloomy Russians:Death and Depression of Former Soviet Immigrants in Israeli Films
Advisor: Leslie Frost (English)
Abstract: The Former Soviet Union Immigrants (FSUI) community is the largest minority group in Israel since 1989. They are also one of the most depressed community in Israel. To express their depression, the FSUI create a new form of film, Israeli films with Russian accent, as known as accented films to distinguish themselves from the mainstream Israeli community. This study reviewed both accented and mainstream Israeli films with the present of FSUI figures to explore and compare the representations of death and depression ideas in these films. I analysis each scene carefully and how these scenes could be interpreted as death and depression ideas. By studying the death and depression ideas in films, this study conclude the collective mindset of the FSUI community and their relationship with the mainstream Israeli community. It could bring people?s attention about the mental health problems and understand the deeper social and cultural causes of their depression. The accented films of FSUI could also become a good sample of the immigrants group find a way to communicate with the host society to other countries which have the similar problem.
1:15-1:30 — Marquis Peacock Religious StudiesImagining God: American Colonialism, Power and Oppression in the African-American Community
Advisor: Laurie Maffly-Kipp (Religious Studies)
Abstract: My research engages the historical use of Christianity as a tool for expanding colonial power within the African-American community and the simultaneous adaption of Christianity by African-Americans to achieve liberation. Through my exploration of various literary, scholastic, and primary sources I have found that: 1) Slave owners originally used Christianity to control, manipulate and colonize native African slave populations in America; 2) In order to survive, African-Americans reworked history and religion to imagine a better place for themselves and to rationalize their state of enslavement; 3) As the mechanisms and justifications for oppression changed, African-Americans were forced to transform their beliefs and perspectives to counter the claims of their oppressors.
1:30-1:45 — Layla Quran International & Area StudiesA Masterpiece of Resistance: The Impact and Role of the Arts in Palestine
Advisor: Sarah Shields (History)
Undergraduate Contributors: none
Graduate Student Contributors: none
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: none
Abstract: The goal of my research was to discover the current impact and role of the arts in Palestine (particularly the West Bank occupied territory). I attempted to understand the attitude towards the arts in the area, the obstacles it faced, and the importance, or lack thereof, of the arts in the lives of the Palestinians. My research included interviews with nearly 50 Palestinian artists, including musicians, actors, dancers, and photographers, in 10 major Palestinian cities. I filmed all of the interviews and many of the concerts, theatre productions, art exhibitions, and rehearsals of the artists I met. I determined that funding is one of the biggest problems facing artists across Palestine, concluding that the Palestinian Authority does not provide adequate funding for the promotion of culture and the arts. Another problem facing the arts is the Palestinian city of Ramallah and its transformation into a cultural center, while towns and villages of the West Bank are not exposed to music and consider it far from a means of political resistance. In terms of the role of the arts, a majority of artists considered their art as a mean to express their lives under occupation, though many simply perform out of enjoyment of their craft.This research will demonstrate the artistic talent of the Palestinians and provide valuable insight into means of peaceful expression for Palestinians living under military occupation.
1:45-2:00 — Karen Alderfer Asian StudiesQueer Arab Women's Voices in Film, Fiction, and Cyberspace
Advisor: Sahar Amer (Asian Studies)
Abstract: This thesis examines queer women's blogs and other forms of Internet writing in the Arab world and how these new forms of writing are inserting themselves into more traditional forms of cultural production—the novel and film. It first explores queer writing on the Internet in the form of blogs and online literary journals asking the questions: how do queer women represent themselves on the Internet? Is there greater freedom of expression? Secondly, it investigates new trends in fiction and film "techno-writing" and how this works to break down boundaries between "reality" and cyberspace and attempts to extend online liberation of identity into a wider liberation.
2:15-2:30 — George Kuehnert HistoryDream Matrix: the Popular Response to Civil Rights in North Carolina, 1954-1964
Advisor: James Leloudis (History)
Abstract: Focusing predominately on the popular white response to civil rights in the tumultuous decade between 1954 and 1964, this honors thesis argues that the response to civil rights reform in North Carolina was never uniform, politically consolidated, or easily categorized. At the local level, there was widespread disagreement about the extent and substance of the problem that civil rights legislation presented to white interests, the means of arriving at a solution to that problem, and the solutions themselves. The popular response to civil rights exhibits characteristics of what might be called a dream matrix: a web of interrelated but distinct visions about the future of society and social morals within the context of civil rights reform. Using constituent letters written to North Carolina Senator Sam J. Ervin, this paper probes this matrix and its evolution in order to reevaluate and humanize the effects of the civil rights movement on people in North Carolina in-time. The civil rights era has often been quantified in terms of political and institutional advances, but more fundamental reforms occurred deep within the popular dream matrix, that is, within the subtle and often complicated array of responses of everyday people in North Carolina as they encountered challenges to the racial status quo and began envisioning a different future. This research was funded by a Boyatt Award and Honors Thesis Research Grant.
2:30-2:45 — Justin M. Randolph HistoryA Different Picture of the Civil Rights Movement: Rural Activism in Clay County, Mississippi
Advisor: W. Fitzhugh Brundage (History)
Abstract: My senior research project explores the rural civil rights movement in northeast Mississippi's Clay County. Seventy air-line miles east of the infamous community Money, where Emmett Till was lynched in 1955, and on the same fertile Black Belt land of Selma, Alabama, black farmers joined northern activists of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) from 1964-65 to seek social justice unique to a rural time and place. From desegregating a local livestock sale barn to running black farmers in community USDA elections, Clay County's movement challenges the overwhelming undergraduate perception of civil rights as merely school desegregation and voting rights. It likewise shows that not all conservative white Mississippians resorted to murder in attempts to save Jim Crow. Instead, their economic methods of intimidation could be almost equally punitive. Clay County's story is here captured in one activist farm family's dramatic (and violent) oral history: The Day family lost employment, property, and peace of mind in their struggle for equal rights in rural Mississippi. I also utilize manuscripts from the MFDP and the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission's spy files.
2:45-3:00 — Jashawnna Gladney PsychologyBehind the Curtains of the Sex Trade and Women's Rights in Cyprus
Advisor: Leslie Frost (English and Comparative Literature)
Abstract: The sex trafficking industry exposes the global nature of the issue that has extended across international boundaries over time due to the lack of efforts made to address or combat sex trafficking. The political energy focused on the ethnic divide in Cyprus has removed attention from the problem of sex trafficking. The history of sex trafficking in Cyprus traces back to the early 1990s, when thousands of Asian women were lured to the island by the promise of high-paying legitimate jobs. With increasing financial difficulties, sex trafficking has become a financially lucrative business. Once the curtain is drawn and the reality of sex trafficking is revealed, the circumstances portray the profit sex traffickers earn for each sexual activity a woman performs.
Sex trafficking exposes these women to debt bondage, involuntary servitude, violence and abuse with a lack of government protection. It will be used to analyze the conditions in which these women live, how they are treated, viewed by society and efforts being made by Cypriot officials to discourage sex trafficking. By closely analyzing the presented issues, I will portray the connection between the sex trade, women?s right and efforts made to acknowledge these women who have become victims of such difficult circumstances.
3:00-3:15 — Hannah Single UndecidedGraffiti in Gaza: Fighting Back and Making Known
Advisor: Leslie Frost (English)
Abstract: Since the beginning of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, graffiti has been used by Palestinians as a means of political protest and community expression. Specifically, the anti-Israeli group, Hamas, has fully taken up the practice of graffiti. I believe underlying Hamas\' practicing of graffiti is an either conscious or unconscious to assert their power and ideals within Gaza.
Platform Session II
Moderator: Prof. Jane Danielewicz, English and Comparative Literature
1:00-1:15 — Dillon Crockett English & Comparative LiteratureStorm of the Late Eighteenth Century: Fuseli's Reinvigoration of Nature in Shakespeare's The Tempest
Advisor: Janice Koelb (Comparative Literature)
Abstract: Nearly two centuries after the stage premier of Shakespeare's The Tempest, the Boydell Gallery in London hosted a different kind of premier—an exhibition of paintings and engravings which encapsulate the dramatic and literary elements of Shakespeare's plays into new visual forms. Among the artists commissioned for such a monumental challenge was Henry Fuseli, and included among the paintings Fuseli produced is a rendering of Act I, Scene II from The Tempest, of which an engraving is located at the Ackland Art Museum. What happens to Shakespeare's play as it transcends two centuries of social and aesthetic change, and what happens to his narrative as it transcends media? Fuseli draws upon the natural cues present in the early-seventeenth-century play while simultaneously creating a truly original landscape painting for his late-eighteenth-century audience.
1:15-1:30 — Hannah Clager ArtThe Dak'Art Dilemma: Curating Vision Beyond Politics in Dakar's Contemporary Art Scene
Advisor: Carol Magee (Art Department)
Abstract: The Dak'Art Biennale is a state-sponsored contemporary and pan-African artistic event and exhibition held in Dakar, Senegal, that brings together international artists and curators from all continents to engage with and to promote African artists on a global platform. Contemporary African artists have been historically marginalized in the global art scene, as such Dak'Art offers itself as a corrective to this as the only major pan-African art biennale of its kind. Despite international and local support for Dak'Art, there are often tensions and conflicting agendas between the Senegalese government, including biennale organizers who work under the heading of the Ministry of Culture, and the participating artists, art professionals, and financiers. These politics often hinder and challenge the vision, execution, and success of large-scale global art exhibitions. This ethnographic case study examines these relationships within the Dak'Art Biennale over the last 20 years, in order to better understand the government's role and influence over this important artistic event. By looking directly at the author's interactions at the 2012 Dak'Art Biennale, and through interviews held with local artists, curators, critics, and Dak'Art organizers, this investigation analyzed the various strategies and measures government officials have taken in continuing this Dak'Art model, and assess whether the organizers are successful in this endeavor.
1:30-1:45 — Jim Dennison PhilosophyExplanation, Relevance, and Humean Laws: A Response to Loewer and Lange
Advisor: John Roberts (Philosophy)
Abstract: In this paper, I propose a solution to the self-explanation problem for Humeanism about scientific laws. The self-explanation problem states that Humean laws cannot be used to non-circularly explain particular phenomena, since those phenomena are what explain the Humean laws. I consider a solution proposed by Loewer that relies on distinguishing between scientific and metaphysical explanation. I discuss a problem that Lange raises for Loewer?s approach, based on his transitivity principle, which states that if A helps metaphysically explain B and B helps scientifically explain C, then A helps scientifically explain C. I argue that any given fact that helps ground a Humean law is irrelevant to that law?s explanatory power since it is not a difference-maker for its lawhood. Therefore, explanations that appeal to Humean laws do not involve self-explanation. In this argument, I draw on Michael Strevens?s kairetic account of scientific explanation, which defines explanatory relevance in terms of difference-making.
1:45-2:00 — Brandon Rafalson American StudiesComedic Exposure: Improv in Chicago and the World
Advisor: Marianne Gingher (English, Creative Writing)
Abstract: Chicago has long been viewed as ?the Mecca of improv comedy,? but I discovered that that?s just a sliver of the truth. I originally set off to explore the history and techniques of the major schools of improv in Chicago. Over the summer, I explored a wide array of improv books and podcasts, took classes in Chicago with some of the leading improv schools; took notes on those classes; and spoke with industry insiders?all with the intent of applying my research to UNC?s sole improv group, The Chapel Hill Players (CHiPs) while also making my newfound knowledge available to the campus community through free public workshops. What I didn\'t anticipate when going to Chicago was how much I learned about improv outside of Chicago. Improv has been growing across the country, and the world. I spoke to individuals who had founded grassroots companies in Nashville and Atlanta, who were involved in the larger communities of Austin, TX and New York, New York; I met improvisers from Canada, England, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, France, and Australia. What?s more, my SURF experience spilled into my time spent studying abroad. While in London, I worked with individuals whom I had met in Chicago, attended an improv-festival in Germany, and explored the scene in Holland and Poland. Since returning to UNC, I have compiled a library of resources for CHiPs, have held several free public workshops, and, in sum, have been applying what I?ve learned about improv in the US and abroad.
2:15-2:30 — Hudson Vincent English & Comparative LiteratureThe French Spinoza Renaissance: Immanence in Philosophy
Advisor: Gregory Flaxman (English & Comparative Literature)
Abstract: Spinoza has become, since the 1960s, perhaps the most influential historical figure in contemporary French philosophy. Spinoza?s influence itself is well described in works like The New Spinoza (2008), but no one has adequately shown why and how French intellectuals first turned to Spinoza in the 1960s. By conducting archival research at l?Institut de M?moires de l?Edition Contemporaine and interviewing key members of this renaissance in France, including ?tienne Balibar, Pierre Macherey, and Toni Negri, as well as an eminent historian of French philosophy, Alan Schrift, I discovered the reasons for the revitalization of Spinoza in the 1960s. The reasons were twofold: First, Nietzsche?s reintroduction to French philosophy in the late 1950s and early 1960s provided an alternative reading of Spinoza to French academics. Second, the seminal lectures of Ferdinand Alqui? and Martial Gueroult inspired French scholars to return to Spinoza in a rigorous way. These two movements in France culminated in the works of Ferdinand Alqui?, Andr? Malet, Martial Gueroult, Alexandre Matheron, Louis Althusser, Bernard Rousset, and perhaps most importantly Gilles Deleuze. These works culminated in a new practice in philosophy ? immanence in philosophy.
2:30-2:45 — Caleb Agnew English & Comparative LiteratureSeamus Heaney Experimenting Through the Tercet
Advisor: George Lensing (English)
Abstract: This presentation will examine Seamus Heaney?s development of poetic technique from his first collection, Death of a Naturalist (1966), to his sixth, Station Island (1984), by looking at his use of the tercet as a stanzaic form. The intervening books will also be discussed in this particular point of technical usage, and the thematic implications of this form will be explored. This examination will touch on some of Heaney?s most important political poetry as a point of contrast, establishing the entirely different character of his tercet poems. His rural upbringing, poetic influences, and relationship to Dante through Catholicism will all have significant bearing on this issue. His relationship to the Italian poet, expressed through his poems on dead subjects and his use of terza rima in ?Station Island,? will be the focal point of this presentation. The tercet form in Heaney?s work connects to experimentation and more importantly, the mediation between what Helen Vendler refers to as the ?virtual? and reality. Looking at this trend in the first half of his career will also lend us insights into his more recent poetry, in which he has dedicated a greater portion of his writing to the tercet form.
Platform Session III
Moderator: Prof. Jacqueline Hagan, Sociology
1:00-1:15 — Alexandra Snedeker Environmental ScienceLessons Learned: Youth Environmental Education Programs and Community Sustainability
Advisor: Judith Blau (Sociology)
Abstract: For years, the Rogers-Eubanks Community has been plagued by limited access to healthy food and clean water, illegal dumping, a lack of basic public amenities and utilities, and nearby Orange County waste management facilities. The Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association (RENA) provides valuable services to residents and their families including political advocacy, social and educational programs, and community events. Teaching environmental concepts in this setting is especially essential to promote active citizenship, environmental justice, and human health in the community. The goals of this project were to provide students age 7-13 with the knowledge and skills necessary to responsibly and effectively address environmental issues in their communities, to foster a mindset of sustainability and environmental justice throughout the Rogers-Eubanks community and beyond, and to create the physical products of an environmental education curriculum along with a set of recommendations for environmental educators wishing to implement these programs that can be employed in the community for years to come. This presentation will focus on these recommendations and how they can be successfully applied to a variety of subjects, settings, and audiences.
1:15-1:30 — Mattis Hennings International & Area StudiesThe Migration-Development Nexus in Jordan
Advisor: Sarah Shields (History)
Abstract: Jordan is both a migrant sending and receiving country. The country?s complicated migration dynamics have had a fundamental impact on its sociopolitical and economic development. In recent years, scholars and policy makers have paid close attention to the potential for migration to have a positive impact on development outcomes. Widely optimistic about migrant?s development potential, much of recent scholarship lacks appropriately nuanced conceptualizations of the interplay of migration and development. Migration must be understood as a constituent part of the development process, but also as an independent factor affecting it ? and as a factor that has the potential for negative, as well as positive, impacts on human development. The Jordanian case reveals the great potential for migration to positively shape a country?s development, but it also highlights the need for caution in policy approaches. Overly sanguine attitudes towards the migration-development relationship are not justified, as positive outcomes are heavily contingent on societal context and policy frameworks.
1:30-1:45 — Madhulika Vulimiri Health Policy & ManagementPatient and Provider Perspectives of Community-Based Diabetes Health Promoter-Led Intervention
Advisor: Morris Weinberger (Health Policy and Management)
Graduate Student Contributors: Ashley Collinsworth
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Christine Snead, James Walton
Abstract: Background: Community health workers represent a growing health care workforce with potential to improve diabetes management. The Diabetes Equity Project (DEP) in Baylor Health Care System employs bilingual Diabetes Health Promoters (DHPs) to provide diabetes education, nutritional counseling, and social support. The goal of this study was to better understand patient & provider perceptions of how DHPs enhance delivery of care for diabetes patients.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews with DEP patients (N=12) & providers (N=8).
Results: DEP patients & providers reported that DHPs had key roles in various aspects of diabetes & self-management education. Patient priorities include collaborative care, nonjudgmental support, & having the DHP as a safety net. Provider priorities include direct communication, assessing patient barriers, & providing follow-up care. DHP best practices include coordinating appointments, encouraging family members to attend visits, & reinforcing concepts with patients.
Conclusions: There is consensus that DHPs are valuable clinical team members who serve as educators, counselors, & navigators in patients? diabetes management. Providers viewed DHPs as bridging cultural gaps & filling a unique niche in coordinating care for underserved patients. DHP-delivered diabetes management shows promise in improving quality of care for patients. Wide-scale implementation of DHP model will require further evidence of DHP effectiveness & physician acceptance.
1:45-2:00 — Walker Rutherfurd Business AdministrationJULES: Joint Underwritten Logically Empowered Structures to Catalyze Renewable Energy Projects
Advisor: Albert Segars (Entrepreneurship)
Abstract: Distributed renewable energy has many advantages over fossil infrastructures, yet its adoption is mired by a host of factors; foremost of which is the lack of standardized financing for innumerable small scale projects less than $1 million. The engagement of stakeholders and the establishment of acceptable ranges to prompt agreed upon actions will be incorporated into the proposed Joint Underwritten and Logically Empowered Structure (JULES); the then potential joule Purchase Agreement (JPA) being the specific mass marketable standardized derivative instrument correlated to monetized power production. The ultimate result being a standardized, repeatable, adaptable web based platform for financing and implementing renewable energy products and projects. The 2012 Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act provided for equity based crowd funding for amounts less than $1 million; rules for which are overdue from the Securities and Exchange Commission. This structure goes further and suggests that all aspects of the framework are better served if they allow for mass collaboration and promote transparency, efficiency and innovation. Inherent is the migration of all interactions and functions to a web based platform that not only optimizes communication and knowledge dissemination, leverages technology advancements for value creation, and allows for mass collaboration of disparate and/or local stakeholders; but also enables real time data collection, reporting, ratings and accountability.
2:15-2:30 — Wendy Song International & Area StudiesPerceptions of Oral Health in Peru
Advisor: Amanda Thompson (Anthropology)
Abstract: In 2000, the Pan American Health Organization identified Peru as a country with one of the worst oral health profiles, with 95% of the population affected by tooth decay and a 5.6 DMFT index. My research investigated the underlying factors affecting oral health in Peru. My research methodology involved the Health Belief Model to examine the perceptions of susceptibility, severity, benefits, barriers, and self-efficacy. I sought to determine the impact of these beliefs on oral health behavior, specifically on preventative hygiene. Through qualitative interviews and quantitative surveys, I found the key factors of poor oral health to include excessive sugary beverage consumption, limited dental physician care, and little concept of preventative practices. Aggravated by lack of access to purified, potable water, Peruvians customarily drink sugary sodas or juices rather than pure water. Cost and time constraints, due to occupations and the extensive waiting period to see public dentists, are the main barriers to dental care. Moreover, regular cleanings and check-ups from dentist are luxurious expenditures, and thus visits to the dentist only occur as a last resort, upon unbearable pain or agitation. It is essential to understand the root causation of poor oral health in order to confront these issues with evidence based intervention methods. Further research should investigate cost-effective preventative oral health measures, such as water fluoridation or oral health education.
2:30-2:45 — Danielle Cuddington SociologyMexican and Central American Migrant Religiosity Change: Impact of the Journey North
Advisor: Jacqueline Hagan (Sociology)
Abstract: Sociological research concerning migration and religion, though an increasingly popular avenue of study in the context of recent influxes in Mexican and Central American immigration, fails to consider religious behaviors and practices beyond the church, and changes in the religious practices of migrants over the course of the migratory process. Drawing on findings from interviews with 312 recent arrivals in the United States, this research examines how Mexican and Central American migrants' religiosity changes in pre and post migration religious practices. In doing so, the thesis introduces new, multidimensional measures of religiosity. In addition, influence of migrants' religious affiliation and gender on religiosity change is analyzed. Data come from the Religion and Migration Survey (RMS), which includes quantified interviews with documented and undocumented Mexican and Central American migrants. Findings move beyond traditional unidimensional measures of religiosity and demonstrate that change depends on frequency and type of religious practices and activities.
2:45-3:00 — Natalie DeMasi AnthropologyRefining Point Types in Southwest Mississippi
Advisor: Vin Steponaitis (Research Laboratories of Archaeology)
Abstract: Projectile points are largely overlooked in studies of the Lower Mississippi Valley despite the potential value they may add to an archaeological assemblage. I am studying a collection of points from and around Feltus, a site dating to about AD 750-1100, which is located near Natchez, MS. The goal of this study is to tighten our understanding of point types and manufacture in this area. To perform this research, I classified the points in this collection and tested my classifications through statistical analysis. Further, I sought out rock quarries around Feltus in order to compare the local raw materials to the types of rock present in the point collection. This study aims to improve our knowledge of stone tools in the Lower Mississippi Valley and to also explore the possible uses this information may have in future studies.
Platform Session IV
Moderator: Prof. Drew Coleman, Geological Sciences
1:00-1:15 — Maite Ghazaleh Environmental ScienceImpact of ocean acidification on the gross dissolution of biogenic carbonates
Advisor: Justin Ries (Marine Science)
Graduate Student Contributors: Kim Horvath, Isaac Westfield
Abstract: Anthropogenic increase of atmospheric pCO2 since the Industrial Revolution has caused seawater pH to decrease, a process known as ocean acidification. Ocean acidification reduces the availability of carbonate ions (CO32-) in seawater, which marine calcifiers require for shell and skeletal production. Thus, CO2-induced ocean acidification is expected to impact marine calcifiers? ability to produce their shells and skeletons. However, several recent laboratory studies (e.g., Ries et al., 2009) on a wide range of species of benthic marine calcifiers have demonstrated that ocean acidification has both positive and negative impacts on net calcification rates (gross calcification rate minus gross dissolution rate). Here, we present the results of experiments designed to quantify gross rates of shell and skeletal dissolution for five species of marine calcifiers (the conch Strombus alatus, the temperate coral Oculina arbuscula, the mussel Mytilus edulis, the coralline red alga Neogoniolithon sp., and the oyster Crassostrea virginicus) under three pCO2 conditions (400, 1200, and 5700 ppm) and two temperatures (10, 25oC). Addition of the gross dissolution rates of these marine calcifiers to their previously determined net calcification rates (Ries et al., 2009) reveals the impact that CO2-induced ocean acidification has on the gross calcification rates of these organisms under various pCO2 scenarios.
Ries, J.B., Cohen, A.L., McCorkle, D.C., 2009, Marine calcifiers exhibit mixed responses to CO2-induced ocean acidification. Geology, 37 (12): 1131.
1:15-1:30 — Serena Hackerott BiologyNative predators do not influence invasion success of Pacific lionfish on Caribbean reefs
Advisor: John Bruno (Biology)
Graduate Student Contributors: Abel Valdivia, Courtney Cox
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Stephanie J. Green, Isabelle M. Cote, Lad Akins, Craig A. Layman, William F. Precht
Abstract: Biotic resistance is thought to be an important mechanism limiting community colonization. The idea is that predation by and competition with resident species can prevent or limit colonization by new species. We examined whether biotic resistance by native predators on Caribbean coral reefs has influenced the invasion success of red lionfishes (Pterois volitans and Pterois miles), piscivores from the Indo-Pacific. We surveyed the abundance (density and biomass) of lionfish and native predatory fishes that could interact with lionfish either through predation or competition on 71 reefs in three regions of the Caribbean. We also recorded protection status of the reefs, as well as abiotic variables such as depth, habitat type, and wind/wave exposure at each site. We found no relationship between the density or biomass of lionfish and that of native predators. However, lionfish densities were significantly lower on windward sites, potentially because of habitat preferences, and at protected sites, most likely because of ongoing removal efforts by reserve managers. Our results suggest that interactions with native predators do not influence the colonization or post-establishment population density of invasive lionfish on Caribbean reefs.
1:30-1:45 — Kelly Speare BiologyCombined effects of sedimentation and water temperature on the growth and development of coral spat
Advisor: John Bruno (Biology)
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Dr. Gretchen Goodbody-Gringley and Dr. John F. Bruno
Abstract: Coral reefs are threatened by anthropogenic impacts worldwide, resulting in widespread reef degradation. Resilience and recovery of reefs are, in part, dependent on recruitment of juvenile corals. Here we investigated the impacts of two known stressors to coral reefs, sedimentation and increased water temperature, on juvenile coral spat. Favia fragum spat were exposed to four experimental treatments: warm-filtered (~30?C; 5μm filer), warm-unfiltered, ambient-filtered (~25?C; 5μm filter), and ambient-unfiltered. After 8-weeks, growth and zooxanthellae density were highest in the ambient-filtered treatment compared to all other treatments. Zooxanthellae chlorophyll concentration increased in single stress treatments (warm-filtered and ambient-unfiltered) relative to the ambient-filtered treatment, suggesting that increased chlorophyll is a mechanism of photosynthetic compensation for zooxanthellae loss. Notably, there was no difference in survival between the ambient-filtered (86.2%), ambient-unfiltered (91.7%), and warm-filtered treatments (89.1%), indicating that coral spat may be able to tolerate exposure to sedimentation and increased temperature in isolation. Survival was significantly reduced, however, in the warm-unfiltered treatment (54.4%), demonstrating that the combined effects of sedimentation and increased temperature may have a greater impact on survival than either individual stress.
1:45-2:00 — Kelsey Ellis Environmental ScienceVariations in vitamin B12 requirements among bloom-forming marine diatoms
Advisor: Adrian Marchetti (Marine Sciences)
Graduate Student Contributors: Natalie Cohen
Abstract: The need for cobalamin (vitamin B12) among diatoms is primarily a function of the forms of methionine synthase in their gene repertoires. Diatoms with an obligate requirement for vitamin B12 only possess a cobalamin-dependent methionine synthase (MetH) whereas those with a facultative requirement possess MetH and a cobalamin-independent version (MetE). Pseudo-nitzshia and Fragilariopsis are two ecologically important diatom genera that often dominate phytoplankton assemblages following iron enrichment in iron-limited oceans. P.granii appears to possess MetH whereas F. cylindrus possesses both MetH and MetE, suggesting a fundamental difference in vitamin B12 needs between members of the two closely related genera. Here we show that P. granii has an obligate requirement for cobalamin whereas F. cylindrus growth is unaffected by varying B12 availability. P. granii cells ceased growth without vitamin B12, while MetH was constitutively expressed under vitamin B12-deficient and replete conditions. MetH in F.cylindrus was also constitutively expressed under both treatments. MetE was highly expressed when F. cylindrus cells were grown without vitamin B12, whereas upon resupply of the vitamin the expression of MetE decreased 102-fold. Our findings provide a mechanism for observed differences in diatom assemblages following iron-enrichment within iron-limited regions and highlight the important role vitamins could play in areas where their supply may be variable and limiting.
2:15-2:30 — Piya Kerdlap Environmental ScienceAn environmental life cycle assessment of solar water disinfection systems for rural Thailand
Advisor: Richard Kamens (Environmental Sciences and Engineering)
Abstract: According to the Thai Ministry of Public Health in 2011, 70.7% of drinking water in rural Thailand goes untreated. About 79% of survey respondents reported bacterial contamination as the main cause for poor drinking water quality thus arising the need for a sustainable method of disinfection. Solar water pasteurization (SWP) has proven effective in eliminating waterborne bacteria and microbes using solar thermal collectors. This technology can reduce a community?s reliance on conventional methods of disinfection that requires electricity or other fuels. This study evaluates the environmental impacts of implementing a solar water pasteurizer in a rural primary school in Thailand to provide bacterially disinfected drinking water with the excess disinfected water distributed to households in the school?s surrounding community. The standardized life cycle assessment methodology quantifies the environmental impacts of this technology and incorporates the benefits of distributing the excess disinfected water. The results of this study indicate that distributing excess disinfected drinking water to nearby homes can reduce the environmental impacts of the SWP system due to the avoided environmental impacts of disinfecting drinking water through boiling. These reductions however are sensitive to the type and source of fuel used to boil the water within households. The benefits of this technology can be extrapolated for applications in Laos, Cambodia, and greater Southeast Asia.
2:30-2:45 — Laura Pianowski GeologyUsing high precision titanite data to examine U/Pb zircon age data spread on concordia
Advisor: Drew Coleman (Geological Sciences)
Abstract: With recent advancements in high precision zircon dating, we are now able to determine the crystallization age of a zircon with an error of around 0.1% by measuring uranium and lead isotope ratios with a mass spectrometer. While such precision has allowed us to more accurately pinpoint the crystallization age of an igneous rock, it has also revealed spread in the zircon ages on the U/Pb concordia within a group of zircon grains from a single rock sample. Obtaining an age higher than the actual crystallization age of the magma is possible if part of the zircon grain was inherited from an earlier crystallization event, and obtaining an age lower than the actual age is possible if lead has escaped from the crystal lattice of the zircon grain since crystallization. In order to determine which age is accurate, a secondary dating method can be implemented. This study measured U/Pb isotope data from titanite grains extracted from four samples that had already been dated using zircon grains, each of which had a spread of about one million years in the zircon ages. The measured titanite ages did not consistently line up with either the higher or lower zircon ages, but instead varied with each sample, indicating that zircons are affected by both inheritance and lead loss, or a combination of the two, and that high precision zircon data should be combined with a secondary dating method to determine an accurate crystallization age.
Platform Session V
Moderator: Prof. Christopher Clemens, Physics and Astronomy
1:00-1:15 — Shunzhi Wang ChemistryA new type of pincer-iridium catalyst for dehydrogenation and related reactions of alkanes
Advisor: Maurice Brookhart (Chemistry)
Abstract: The project focuses on synthesizing and examining the mechanism of a new class of alkane dehydrogenation catalysts based on triptycenepincer Iridium (Ir) ligand (sp3 hybridized). Although several (PCP)Ir- and (POCOP)Ir- based catalyst complex have already been synthesized, diverse (pincer)Ir catalysts show very different effectiveness and regioselectivity for varied co-catalysts and reactions. Our design of new dehydrogenation catalysts is guided partly by an exploratory density functional theory (DFT) study tailoring ligand design to affect metal-based properties. A series of (iPrPC(sp3)P)Ir triptycene-type catalysts were obtained from substituted anthracene derivatives through Diels-Alder reactions and their structures were verified with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. These ligands are expected to improve catalytic activity, as they possess labile deformed C(sp3)-Metal bond as well as excellent thermal stability. Currently, the author is studying model reactions catalyzed by the developed system and conducting mechanistic studies to explore possible catalytic pathways and intermediates.
1:15-1:30 — James Lancaster ChemistryTransition-metal-catalyzed cycloadditions
Advisor: Erik Alexanian (Chemistry)
Graduate Student Contributors: Andrew Brusoe and Brendan Lainhart
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: none
Abstract: An enantioselective, intermolecular, transition-metal-catalyzed approach to the synthesis of eight-membered carbocycles is described. These [4+2+2] cycloadditions generate multiple carbon-carbon bonds and stereocenters in a single step, improving upon previous carbocycles synthesis strategies. This method demonstrates high regioselectivity, high diastereoselectivity, and good enantioselectivity.
1:30-1:45 — Leena Patel Business AdministrationDevelopment of Novel Filtration Technologies for Hyperphosphatemia
Advisor: Melanie Joy (Medical School & Pharmacy School)
Abstract: Excessively high levels of blood phosphate is associated with morbidity and mortality. Approximately 90% of hemodialysis patients have elevated blood phosphate levels, and 50% of these patients have unacceptably high levels of blood phosphate. Patients accumulate phosphate through diet and protein intake. Reducing protein intake would lead to an increased death risk; therefore, blood phosphate levels should be controlled through oral phosphate-binding drugs or blood dialysis.
Oral phosphate-binding drugs have a finite biding capacity, poor patient compliance, and undesirable side effects. Therefore, blood phosphate is preferably removed through dialysis. Currently hemodialysis only use simple diffusion for phosphate removal and therefore, does not have the capacity to remove adequate amounts (450mg/session) of phosphate.
This study aims to develop a marketable novel hemoadsorption device that can be incorporated into the hemodialysis circuit to remove blood phosphate using an additional adsorption mechanism. This study develops a process to bind two selective phosphate adsorption compounds to blood filtration fabrics and a prototype hemoadsorption device that can be incorporated into existing dialysis circuits. The study ultimately seeks to recommends a marketable device with the most effective medical filtration fabric treatment for optimal selective blood phosphate adsorption.
1:45-2:00 — Lauren Scheetz BiologyForce Response of Macropinocytosis and Lipid Raft Endocytosis to Enhance Cell Transfection
Advisor: Richard Superfine (Physics)
Graduate Student Contributors: Kris Ford
Abstract: This project is exploring the applications on macropinocytosis and lipid raft endocytosis of transfection and magnetofection efficiency and investigates the reasons why macropinocytosis and caveolae-mediated endocytosis are the two most used pathways by particles during transfection. This involves the use of a magnetic force to direct the oligonucleotide-wrapped bead through the cellular membrane. The oscillation of the magnetic force has been found to catalyze the rate as well as changing media before the AC application.
2:15-2:30 — Patrick Heenan Physics & AstronomyOptimal Varioptic Lens Focus for Biophysical Microscopy
Advisor: Russell Taylor (Computer Science)
Abstract: Panoptes is a 12-way parallel microscope used by the Center for Integrated Microscopy and Manipulation (CISMM) at Chapel Hill. Currently, the drivers of the lenses, which operate at high voltage, interfere with each other. The voltages driving adjacent channels contribute significantly to their neighbor?s voltage amplitudes. It is desired that these lenses be independent for optimum imaging. In order to prevent crosstalk between the drivers of the lenses, this project will improve the shielding of the drivers to decrease parasitic capacitance, phase lock the modulation frequencies of the drivers, and implement a PI feedback loop to maintain the desired control voltage and hence focus. Using microcontrollers with pulse width modulators, interrupts and analog-to-digital converters, the desired root mean squred (RMS) voltage in the range 0-60 Volts was maintained within an error of 30 milliVolts RMS. The overhead of a single iteration of the PI loop is approximately 41 microseconds, with a settling time of approximately 10 iterations.
2:30-2:45 — Patrick Short BiologyNanoparticle Delivery of Therapuetics for Autoimmune Diseases
Advisor: Joseph DeSimone (Chemistry and Biomedical Engineering)
Graduate Student Contributors: James Byrne, Tim Eitas, Reid Roberts
Abstract: Nanoparticle delivery of therapeutics have wide potential due to the ability to simultaneously increase the effective dose by targeting a particular area (such as a tumor growth site in cancer) or by timing the slow release of drug over an extended time period. This can result in lower costs by allowing smaller doses of expensive therapeutics as well as less frequent dosing due to the extended release. In addition, by targeting specific areas with particles that can be selectively trafficked by the body, some side effects may be eliminated that are otherwise present when therapeutics are taken in large doses and spread throughout the entire body. While chemotherapeutic delivery for cancer treatment has long been a focus of nanoparticle delivery systems, we show that PRINT particles can be used to delivery therapeutics targeted to treat autoimmune disorders and have shown efficacy in in vitro models using human T-cells and dendritic cells. This use of biodegradable PRINT particles loaded with a therapeutic cargo has incredible potential for further development.
2:45-3:00 — Amanda Sergesketter ChemistryNitric Oxide-Releasing Silica Particles as Anti-plaque Therapeutics
Advisor: Mark Schoenfisch (Chemistry)
Graduate Student Contributors: Chris Backlund
Abstract: Nitric Oxide (NO) is a broad spectrum antimicrobial agent naturally produced by the body to combat infection. As such, strategies have been developed to store and deliver NO for use as a bactericidal agent. For example, NO-releasing silica particles have demonstrated efficacy against a multitude of pathogens. Herein, we describe the synthesis and efficacy of NO-releasing silica particles against putative dental pathogens. Free-floating cultures of Streptococcus Mutans and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans were exposed to NO-releasing silica particles with similar NO totals and release kinetics (half-life). The minimum bactericidal concentrations (MBCs) of the particles after 2 hours were determined to evaluate the efficacy of NO-release. This study demonstrates the potential of NO-releasing silica particles as future oral therapeutics.
Platform Session VI
Moderator: Prof. Scott Magness, Cell Biology and Physiology
1:00-1:15 — Gabriella Brown BiologyInvestigating the Role of Bye1 in Transcription
Advisor: Brian Strahl (Biochemistry/Biophysics)
Graduate Student Contributors: Deepak Jha and Glenn Wozniak
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Dr. Brian Strahl and Lab
Abstract: The eukaryotic genome is organized in a relatively compact structure called chromatin. The cell is able to contend with this structure by remodeling the chromatin and therefore making the underlying DNA accessible. There are many processes that modulate chromatin structure, and in turn, affect cellular processes such as gene transcription, DNA repair, etc. Our lab is primarily interested in the role histone modifications play in regulating gene transcription, particularly transcription elongation. Here, we investigated the biological function, particularly in the context of transcription, of a poorly characterized gene, BYE1. We deleted the BYE1 gene from the budding yeast and subjected it to transcriptional stress (induced by 6-Azauracil, 6-AU). We observed that bye1Δ are resistant to 6-AU suggesting a negative role of BYE1 in transcription elongation. Additionally, we have performed in genome-scale genetic interaction analysis to show that BYE1 functionally interacts with genes involved in transcription elongation. We are, in the process of, determining if the known chromatin interacting domain of Bye1 are necessary and sufficient for its function in transcription elongation.
1:15-1:30 — Nicole Zalles BiologyRapid Genetic Manipulation of Patient-derived Breast Tumors for Metastatic Study
Advisor: Charles Perou (Genetics)
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Dr. Chuck Harrell
Abstract: While surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy remove or destroy the primary tumor in cancer patients, the spread and growth of cancer cells in secondary sites contribute to subsequent morbidity and mortality. There are five genetically distinct types of human breast cancer, each with a distinguishing set of genes defining their inherent biology, response to therapy, and metastatic behavior. Our goal is to identify and target specific genes that may be responsible for metastatic behavior of each subtype. Our study is focused on a basal-like tumor derived from a patient and maintained in-vivo through xenografting in mice (WHIM2); we aim to identify the genetic determinants of the metastatic abilities of this human basal-like tumor. We are developing a procedure for the labeling of this tumor so that it can be tracked/imaged in-vivo, to determine its pattern of metastasis. We established a protocol where cells were rapidly labeled with lentivirus that expresses GFP and Luciferase. Preliminary results found that the rapid labeling protocol successfully incorporated into the genome in as little as one-hour. Subsequent FACS for GFP-positive cells further purified the cell population. Future studies will incorporate metastasis promoting/inhibiting genes into the rapid labeling protocol. These will establish a baseline from which we can rapidly modify patient derived samples for further metastatic research to better understand how to improve the prognoses of patients.
1:30-1:45 — Anna-Lisa Doebley BiologyAnalysis of a Germ Cell Immortality Mutant
Advisor: Shawn Ahmed (Genetics)
Graduate Student Contributors: Matt Simon, Jacinth Mitchell
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Aisa Sakaguchi, Shawn Ahmed
Abstract: Germ cells are immortal in that they are passed down generation after generation without suffering the effects of aging. To better understand forms of stress that may be relevant to aging as somatic cells proliferate, we are studying how germ cells remain immortal over the generations. We have defined genes relevant to germ cell immortality by isolating C. elegans mortal germline mutants, where germ cells proliferate normally for several generations but then all offspring become sterile. Our model is that the sterility of mortal germline mutants is likely to result from a form of heritable cellular damage or stress that is passed on from parent to offspring and builds up over the generations until it becomes intolerable. By elucidating the genetic basis of germ cell immortality, we can begin to understand what processes enable wild type worms to maintain their germ cells in a pristine or ageless state. Here we present analysis of the 7d mutation, which is a temperature sensitive mortal germline mutant that becomes sterile after growth for 6-8 generations at 25?C. At this temperature, the strain displays meiotic chromosome nondisjunction, which becomes more severe at sterility. Genetic and phenotypic analysis of the 7d mutation will be presented, providing insight into a novel gene involved in a pathway that promotes germ cell immortality.
1:45-2:00 — Megan Blanton PsychologyMechanisms of Cocaine Memory Reconsolidation: The role of SFK's in the Dorsal Hippocampus
Advisor: Rita Fuchs (Psychology)
Graduate Student Contributors: A.M. Wells
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: X.Xie, A.A. Arguello
Abstract: Environmental context-elicited relapse depends on associations between a drug-taking context, (e.g. a crack house) the drug-taking response, and the reinforcing properties of the drug. The functional integrity of the dorsal hippocampus (DH) is critical for the reconsolidation (i.e., restabilization following retrieval) of memories that trigger cocaine seeking. Thus, a greater understanding of the molecular mechanisms of reconsolidation in the DH is desired from a relapse prevention perspective. The Src family of tyrosine kinases (SFKs) has been implicated in synaptic plasticity, spatial learning, and long-term potentiation in hippocampal slices. A previous study conducted by our lab indicated that SFKs are necessary for the expression of context-induced cocaine seeking. Thus, the present experiment utilized a rodent extinction-reinstatement model of relapse to test the hypothesis that SFKs are critical in the DH for the reconsolidation of context-response-cocaine memories, which drive context-induced cocaine seeking. We show that administration of SFK inhibitor, PP2, into the DH of rats following brief re-exposure to a previously cocaine-paired context (i.e. cocaine-memory reactivation), but not following exposure to a novel context (no-reactivation control), significantly attenuates cocaine-seeking behavior relative to vehicle-treated rats (VEH). These results indicate that SFK activation in the DH is required for the reconsolidation of context-response-cocaine memories.
2:15-2:30 — Brooke Wolford BiologyEvolutionary Development of Gain-of-Function Stripes in Zaprionus indianus
Advisor: Corbin Jones (Biology)
Graduate Student Contributors: Eric Earley
Abstract: The rich diversity of novel structures and features found in all living things, including humans, evolved from simpler forms. How genetically and developmentally this occurred remains enigmatic. My work investigates the molecular mechanisms and genetic changes behind the species-specific adaptations that give rise to this diversity. An example of new species-specific feature is the ?racing stripes? of the fruit fly, Zaprionus indianus. I show that this species is an ideal model for analysis of the evolution of phenotypic novelty. Species identity was confirmed and whole genome sequencing was performed. I hypothesize this novel phenotype results from a mutation in an existing developmental gene. To test this hypothesis, I developed a mutagenesis scheme and performed a screen to identify the stripes? causal gene(s). I recovered a mutant that results in the disorganization of part of the stripe. This is the first step towards revealing the mechanism underlying this species? novel phenotype.
2:30-2:45 — Pratik Kanabur Applied SciencesEffects of Paneth Cell Secretions in the Small Intestinal Crypts
Advisor: Christopher Dekaney (Pediatric Surgery )
Abstract: Paneth Cells are special intestinal cells that reside intercalated among the intestinal epithelial stem cells in the small intestine crypt. The cytoplasm of Paneth cells is mostly filled with large granules that contain a variety of proteins compounds that are important in cell immunity and host-defense. They have been recently suspected of playing a role in protection of the small intestinal stem cell niche, especially after damage. Secretions containing these granules were collected and used to evaluate various parameters. The secretions were added to bacterial cultures, and a 50% decline in colony formation was noted. Furthermore the secretions were added to a small intestinal stem cell line to test for cell migration. A scratch-wound assay was performed and it was observed that cells treated with these secretions had a 90% closure after 24 hours compared to a 40% closure with control cells. Next, it was observed that treating intestinal crypt cultures with the secretions enhanced the formation of buds. In addition, these secretions were added to intestinal crypt cultures in minimalistic media, which rescued the ability for the crypt to bud and grow. Thus, we believe that the Paneth Cell plays a significant role in maintaining equilibrium in the intestinal epithelium.
2:45-3:00 — Matthew Givens Health Environmental Sciences & EngineeringDeveloping a Nonradioactive Heteroduplex Tracking Assay to Identify Relapsing P. vivax Parasites
Advisor: Jonathan Juliano (Infectious Disease/ Epidemiology)
Faculty/Postdoc Contributors: Jessica Lin
Abstract: Malaria is a devastating global disease causing about 216 million infections and 655,000 deaths worldwide. Five species of Plasmodium parasites cause infection in humans. Compared to the dominant malaria-causing species (P. falciparum) little work has been done on understanding P. vivax, a species that causes extensive morbidity in South Asia and South America. Infected mosquitos inject multiple strains of P. vivax into the human host. The Heteroduplex Tracking Assay (HTA) is the primary molecular tool for detecting this intrahost diversity of P. vivax. The HTA is used to determine differences in nucleotide sequences. A polymorphism in the primary sequence can be detected by running DNA fragments on an electrophoresis gel that separates bands based on the frictional forces that slow the fragment as it migrates through the gel. However, this assay is limited in its usefulness because it uses a radioactive probe and thus is subject to local laws and regulations. This project developed a new non-radioactive, capillary electrophoresis-based HTA to quantify the number of variants in a particular host. The new method is applied to the merozoite surface protein 1 of P. vivax isolated from patient samples from the Anlong Veng district in Northern Cambodia. We found that the number of variants within a host ranged from 1 to 6 with a mean of 2.5 variants. This successful new method will allow HTAs to be exported to endemic countries to be used for clinical and research purposes.
3:00-3:15 — Alejandro Antonia BiologyNovel Potential Drug-Resistant Mutations in P. falciparum in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Advisor: Steve Meshnick (epidemiology)
Abstract: Within a decade of the first use of Chloroquine (CQ) to treat malaria, P. falciparum developed resistance to CQ (CQR). Throughout much of Africa CQR is conferred by a mutant CVIET haplotype in codons 72-76 of pfcrt rather than the chloroquine sensitive (CQS) wildtype CVMNK. Alternative genotypes at these loci, such as the Amodiaquine resistance associated SVMNT, have recently been reported in Africa as well. In order to describe the epidemiology of these genetic markers of CQR in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), parasites were genotyped from 180 parasitemic individuals sampled in the 2007 Demographic and Health Survey. These parasitemias were genotyped at pfcrt codons 72-76 using PCR amplification and direct sequencing. Of 166 (92.2%) samples successfully genotyped: 73 (44.0%) harbored pure wild-type CVMNK parasites, 55 (33.1%) harbored pure CVIET parasites, 31 (18.7%) harbored a mix of CVMNK/CVIET parasites, and 7 (4.4%) harbored minority genotypes. The SVMNT haplotype was not observed. Of the minority genotypes, 4 contained a novel lysine to glutamine substitution at codon 76 (K76Q), instead of the usual K76T. The novel mutations warrant additional investigation to assess their potential role in drug resistance to CQ and other drugs. This snapshot of the genetic landscape of pfcrt in the DRC at a single time point highlights the importance of continued surveillance of the genetic markers of drug resistance to effectively inform public health decisions about drug use.