Using DNA Sequences to Determine the Geographic Origins of Agriculturally Important Invasive Leafmining Flies
Mentor: Sonja Scheffer
UC Ballroom | Noon – 2:00 p.m.
The increased global movement of people and goods has resulted in introduction of agricultural pests into new areas. Understanding the patterns and processes of colonization by introduced species is crucial in planning interventions and management strategies. However, determining the origin and colonization patterns of invasive species can be difficult. Molecular markers such as DNA sequence data can help determine the history of movement by an invasive species. Liriomyza huidobrensis is a leafmining fly that feeds within leaf tissue of crops, including potatoes and beans. Although native to South America, it has spread throughout the world and is of great concern. Understanding the origin and pathways of dispersion can determine the means of spread, possibly leading to the development of interception and control programs. We analyzed 2125 base pairs of mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase genes (COI & COII) in a phylogeographic approach to uncover distribution of genetic variation of L. huidobrensis. Our phylogeographic analysis of mitochondrial COI and COII found substantial geographic structure within L. huidobrensis in its native range, but almost none within and between invasive populations around the world.The data suggest that the invasive populations trace to the Peru/Ecuador region. We are collecting additional data to test this hypothesis.
Experimental and Computational Analysis of Lift Generation by Wing Morphing Bird
Mentor: Meilin Yu
UC Ballroom | 10:00 a.m. – Noon
This research aims to study and mimic the lift of a barn swallow via computational and experimental analysis, by meeting finite dynamic constraints such as flapping amplitudes and frequency. This bird was selected because of its maneuverability, efficiency and conical morphing wing-flapping motion. An animation of a simplified lifting process was obtained by creating a three-dimensional scan of a representative bird from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. In addition to the animation, we constructed a physical aerial robot prototype that mimicked the take-off process of the bird in its natural environment. Using the physical model, the generated lift force caused by the morphing flapping structure was measured and then compared with the force derived by a conventional flapping structure. Our analysis and measurements support the hypothesis that the lift generation is highly affected by a characterization of changes in the bird’s wing due to geometry. In particular we hypothesize that leading-edge vortices (LEVs) play an important role in lift generation and should be further parametrized for the making of safer, more efficient wing-morphing commercial aircraft.
The Social Impact of Air Pollution in China
Mentor: Constantine Vaporis
UC Ballroom | 10:00 a.m. – Noon
In 2015, a TEDtalk-style documentary produced in China entitled “Under the Dome” went viral on the internet, alerting the entire world to the problem of air pollution and the lack of environmental safeguards in place in China. In a modern society, the protection of the environment is vital to the health of the people, not to mention the legitimacy of the government. This research addresses the question of how the government has managed environmental policy, the nature and scope of the health crisis facing Chinese society, and the strategies the Chinese people have taken to cope. To assess the impact of pollution on society, I analyzed government policies, popular media and scholarly reports, focused on air pollution in major cities, especially Beijing. The paper concludes that the Chinese state is continuing to put economic expansion above environmental health and leaving the people to defend themselves from the ever-growing problem.
Seung Ho Choi and Hannah Carter
Probing the Secondary Structure of the Monomeric Conformation in the HIV-1 5`-Leader RNA by NMR Spectroscopy
Mentor: Michael F. Summers
UC 310 | 2:15 p.m.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the AIDS pathogen, proliferates within infected human helper T cells, compromising an otherwise healthy and responsive immune system. Viral replication is mediated by the 5`Leader (5`L) element in viral genomic RNA. This 5`-L RNA exists in an equilibrium of two structural conformers – monomer and dimer, by which it directs and mediates viral assembly and replication. Here, we demonstrate an approach to probe for and characterize secondary structure in the 5`-L monomeric conformer by high-field nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, a technique used for high-resolution biomolecular structural studies. Signal assignment and validation of characteristic peaks in NMR experiments designed to explore the through-space interactions of base-paired residues provide evidence to support the formation of distinct secondary structures in our proposed model. Our study of the HIV-1 5`-L monomeric conformer structure and the processes that this highly conserved RNA sequence mediates in retroviral replication not only provide further insight into our current understanding of the functional and dynamic nature of three-dimensional RNA structure, but also highlight potential therapeutic value in the monomer as a drug target in clinical medicine.
DJ Rekha: Ambassador of Bhangra
Mentor: Anna Rubin
ENG 023 | 2:30 p.m.
I will present DJ Rekha’s “Basement Bhangra Anthem” and discuss the various influences this piece reflects. DJ Rekha is a New York-based DJ, producer, educator, and curator. The New York Times called her the “Ambassador of Bhangra.” Bhangra is a style of folk music and dance from the Indian state Punjab. DJ Rekha is known for being one of the first DJs to merge the classic sounds of Bhangra and Bollywood with contemporary hip-hop and dance-hall beats. One of her notable songs is “Basement Bhangra Anthem.” Musician and composer Wendy Carlos can be seen as an influence. Carlos popularized the Moog synthesizer with the release of her 1968 album Switched-On Bach, which featured Bach compositions played on a Moog synthesizer as well as film scores in a more popular musical language. Carlos combined classical music with electronic music. DJ Rekha is also a musical pioneer. She was raised in an Indian family and faced criticism for being passionate about hip-hop. She took her passion for music and made a career out of it by fusing different musical styles to create a new musical genre. I am investigating the cultural melting pot of her music.
Braxton Dubin, Samantha McDonald, Niara Comrie, and Nicholas Carter
Empowering Occupational and Physical Therapists with 3D Printing Technology
Mentor: Amy Hurst
UC Ballroom | 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Standardized assistive technology provides minimal customizations for users and lead to ill-fit devices and user abandonment. Our goal is to use 3D printing technology to empower therapists to create customizable and inexpensive assistive technology for patients. We plan to familiarize medical professionals with 3D printing to make highly specific modifications to assistive devices and provide them with software to make 3D models. We trained therapists to 3D print through a series of classes. Through qualitative research, we gauged the rate of adoption and formulated the user specifications for the software. Employing user requirements, we developed a software from the GripFab program using tools such as html, css, and github. Our project’s success is determined by the adoption rate of this technology among therapists and decrease in user abandonment of assistive technologies. Therapists can use medical expertise to tailor adaptations to existing assistive technologies, but current efforts to customize assistive technology are limited to materials like tape, clay, Velcro, and foam padding.
Analysis of Psychosis-Risk Screener and Interview Response Mismatch
Mentor: Jason Schiffman
UC Ballroom | 10:00 a.m. – Noon
Brief self-report questionnaires of psychosis-risk symptoms (e.g., PRIME) correlate highly with clinician-administered gold-standard interviews (e.g., Structured Interview for Psychosis-Risk Syndromes, SIPS), indicating screener utility for assessing attenuated psychosis symptoms. Nonetheless, in some instances, psychosis-risk questionnaires produce false-positives and mismatched responses relative to clinician interviews. Examination of mismatches (e.g., when an individual’s response on questionnaires differs from clinical interview) may help elucidate when and why discrepant responses occur. The current study attempted to identify patterns of response mismatches between the PRIME screen and corresponding items from the SIPS for 108 help-seeking adolescents who were administered both instruments. Mismatch response rates for PRIME items ranged from 5.9-29.4%. Participants who met criteria for psychosis-risk had a tendency to report interview/questionnaire mismatch regarding “mind-reading” experiences compared to non-at-risk participants. Male participants were more likely to have inconsistent reports about the experience of “hearing a person mumbling or talking when there is no one near.” Finally, mismatch rates of reported experiences of “hearing their own thoughts being spoken out loud” were greater for younger aged participants. These patterns of mismatch may clarify possible reasons for discrepancies between screener and interview measures, ultimately helping to improve screener effectiveness towards early identification of psychosis-risk.
Mentor: Lia Purpura
UC 312 | 2:15 p.m.
By Ear describes an experimental approach to the composition of poetry, drawing upon my own experience of “writing by ear.” As a writer, prior to working on this project, my compositional method was based upon hearing spoken phrases, jotting them down, and returning to them later. By the time I returned to them, however, I had lost the intensity and honesty of the phrase, or was too worried about forcing deliberate meaning into it. I set for myself the task of writing as much as possible as soon as I heard one of these suggestive phrases, exploring where it led until the idea was spent. This process forced me to write by ear and instinct, paying attention to patterns, rhythms, and stresses in natural and organic ways. I would later refine and edit these pieces into their finished states. My presentation and performance will focus on a discussion of this method as I explore my own work, as well as incorporating interviews from professional writers about their practices of “writing by ear.” It will also discuss how there is still an element of writing poetry that remains mysterious, despite an intentional and organized method.
Parental Stress Impacts Children’s Effortful Control through Maternal Psychological Well-Being and Physical Coercion
Mentor: Charissa Cheah
UC 312 | 10:30 a.m.
Children’s effortful control (EC) predicts their behavioral, emotional, and academic outcomes. Parents can undermine children’s EC by employing highly controlling parenting practices such as physical coercion (PC). Asian-American parents are characterized as more controlling than European-American parents. However, the processes through which contextual and personal characteristics lead to controlling parenting practices and ultimately Asian-American children’s EC is unknown. Asian-American mothers may experience high levels of parenting stress (PS) as immigrants navigating their new environment, which may impair their psychological well-being (PWB). Furthermore, mothers with decreased PWB might be more likely to use PC, which undermines their children’s EC. The present study examined if Asian-American mothers’ (N=111) PS predicted their PWB, which in turn predicted maternal use of PC, and ultimately their preschool children’s EC, using questionnaire data. Serial mediation analysis indicated that higher PS predicted lower levels of maternal PWB (a1=-0.90, SE=0.17, p<.001), which in turn was associated with an increased use of PC. Higher PC was ultimately associated with lower levels of children’s EC (a3=-0.02, SE=0.01, p<.01). All indirect effects were significant. Implications for the implementation of culturally-appropriate programs will be discussed.
Changes in Thin Film Metallic Glass Microstructures upon Annealing in the Supercooled Liquid Region
Mentor: Yanhui Liu
UC 310 | 11:30 a.m.
Bulk metallic glasses (BMGs) are great candidate materials for many technological applications because they have high strength, ductility, corrosive resistance, and tuneable properties. We are applying an approach using thin film metallic glass (TFMG) where we simultaneously create many different TFMGs and measure their properties. We then develop the BMGs with the same composition as the TFMGs with the best properties. In this approach microstructures form in TFMGs that prevent precise measurements of some properties. We believe that without these microstructures TFMGs properties can be measured more accurately. We studied changes in TFMG microstructures upon annealing near their glass transition temperature (Tg) to see if we can eliminate them. We used two films, Mg74.5Cu15Y10.5 (Tg of 149.9°C) and Au59Cu21Ag8Si12 (Tg of 135.7°C) made via magnetron co-sputtering. The films were cut into 1 cm2 samples and annealed in a vacuum furnace Mg74.5Cu15Y10.5 at .95Tg , Tg, and 1.05Tg , and Au59Cu21Ag8Si12 at .88Tg , .92Tg and .97Tg all for 10, 20, and 30 minutes. The samples were then characterized using x-ray diffraction (XRD), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Our findings indicate that the diameter of TFMG microstructures increased when annealed at temperatures above Tg and how much the annealing conditions affected its atomic structure.
Mastering The Purposes, Principles, and Structure of U.S. Government Through Scaffolded Instruction
Mentor: Linda Oliva
UC Ballroom | 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Comprehending the principles and powers of United States government is vital to becoming a responsible and informed adult. However, high schools struggle with comprehending the structure of U.S. government because they cannot make personal connections to their lives. This study investigated the effectiveness of differentiating and scaffolding instruction to promote students’ abilities to evaluate how the principles of government are demonstrated in today’s society. Examples of instruction include formative assessments like scenario exit tickets, newspaper headline classwork, debates, quote jigsaw stations, jeopardy games, and close-reading activities. The study population was twenty-two students enrolled in standard government classes. The target was for each student to achieve a fifty-percent improvement between their initial score and the maximum score, in order to track growth and mastery. The results indicate twenty students reached the target.
Brittney Kramer, Elizabeth Chen and Alexa Abee
Mill Girls in Nineteenth-Century Print
Mentor: Lindsay DiCuirci
UC 312 | 1:30 p.m.
This digital exhibition examines the lives of nineteenth-century mill girls, American women who left their rural homes to work in the first industrial factories, by recovering pieces that were published by and about these women in American newspapers and magazines. The exhibition is composed of archival holdings from the American Antiquarian Society (AAS), on whose website the exhibition is permanently housed. We conducted primary-source research in digital archives to select exhibit items and the AAS located the items in their stacks, supplying images of the items and metadata. The goal of our research was to understand the conditions and challenges that Mill Girls faced by curating the writings they produced and examining how they were viewed by society. We organized our exhibit into three sections based on prevalent themes: Culture, Working Conditions, and Activism and Reform. By presenting our findings as an online exhibition, visitors to the site can navigate through a range of texts, such as engravings, song lyrics, and newspaper columns. This research provides access to archival texts from a critical era in labor history and challenges us to consider how, two centuries after the fact, women in the workforce still face inequities today.
Mentor: Corrie Parks
UC 204 | 10:40 a.m.
The Cliff is a self-portrait piece depicting a creature made of rock who tries to follow his father up a cliff, but struggles to figure out how his father made the climb. This is a short film, 1:26 minutes in length, made using cutout paper animation. I found this kind of animation was much faster to do than hand-drawn animation, and consequently chose to do more than a minute of it. All the animation was captured in DragonFrame and edited together Adobe Premiere. The sound effects were original and were edited and synced in Adobe Audition. The music, “Bumbly March” by Kevin Macleod, was picked for the combination of its tuba and drums creating an impression of a slow march, contemplation, and a sense of achievement at the end. The music was chosen after the story was animated since it connected to the story so well. In my original storyboard, the main character was to run into several obstacles to prove that he is a slow learner, but to my peers, it only proved that he was an excellent problem solver. Therefore, it was decided to give a rock creature one formidable obstacle, getting up a cliff.
The Influence of Accelerated Photoperiod on Molt, Fat, and Body Weight in Grasshopper Sparrows (Ammodramus savannarum)
Mentor: Bernard Lohr
UC Ballroom | 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Migration and molting in many birds are key stages of their lives that are essential for their survival. Birds that migrate typically rely on their physiological clocks to keep their bodies synchronized with environment changes and to provide them with necessary cues about when to begin the processes of migrating and molting. Physiological clocks, for example circadian rhythmicity, are often dependent on the photoperiod that a bird experiences. Here we investigated the effects of an accelerated photoperiod on physical changes in a captive flock of Grasshopper Sparrows (Ammodramus savannarum). We manipulated the birds’ photoperiods in the laboratory by speeding up the rate of change of day length of “spring” and “fall,” and adjusting the luminance of the flock room accordingly. Over the course of three years we measured the birds’ weight weekly, which is indicative of overall condition and migratory stage. In the last year we also scored detailed fat and molt data on a weekly basis. Based on these data, we found correlations between photoperiod alterations and physical changes in the birds in molt rate, fat deposition, and weight gain/loss that paralleled those normally occurring at more gradual photoperiod transitions typical of seasonal changes in the wild.
Torn: An Animation
Mentor: Corrie Parks
UC 204 | 11:20 a.m.
Torn is an abstract animated short film, 1:09 minutes in length, that combines hand-drawn and paper-cutout styles of animation. The purpose of the project is to explore my interests in both art and science. The film starts with the notion that one must choose between the two fields. However, the character finds herself happy only she accepts both. This film adds to the body of animated work utilizing abstraction and stream-of-conscious approaches to express conflict and resolution. For this project, I used an overall story arch with checkpoint goals for the hand-drawn animation. I carefully followed the plan and met the checkpoint goals. I created the cutout animation using Dragonframe. It took many hours to hand drawn each frame. The frames were then each transcribed into Photoshop. In order to convey my internal struggle of art vs. science through the body language of my animated character, I acted out each specific motion. My abstract visuals were made by individually crafting each frame with several cutouts and watercolor paintings. In the end, the animation shows that I am only whole when I engage both parts of my mind.
Maureen McGowan, Priya Surapaneni and Danielle O’Neill
Addressing Location, Literacy, and Cultural Barriers for a Prenatal Health Intervention in Haiti
Mentor: Jasmine Abrams
UC Ballroom | Noon – 2:00 p.m.
Maternal and infant mortality rates in Haiti are the highest in the Western hemisphere. However, group prenatal care can be utilized to reduce mortality and improve birth outcomes. The goal of group prenatal care is to improve health outcomes via pregnancy education, appropriate prenatal care, and community building. This approach results in prenatal care attentiveness, pregnancy healthcare knowledge, and decreased frequencies of premature births. There are many challenges associated with foreigners implementing such interventions in Haiti, including access to the intervention, cultural differences, and high rates of illiteracy. This review has identified several strategies for overcoming implementation barriers by synthesizing related literature and data on the topic. To address the barrier of access, we researched geographical data (i.e., location, terrain, available community centers) to determine the most accessible settings for pregnant women. To address culture, we gathered information on Haitian values and customs to adapt the intervention. Finally, we identified intervention materials used with illiterate societies to address the barrier of illiteracy. We present our literature review to provide suggestions for solving the previously mentioned issues. Our research can assist health professionals implementing interventions in Haiti and other developing countries by offering strategies for overcoming location, literacy, and cultural barriers.
Between the Lines
Mentor: Preminda Jacob
UC 204 | 10:30 a.m.
Between the Lines, a two-minute-long stop-animation short, is a hand-drawn project including hundreds of drawings and photographs. Set to French composer Yann Tiersen’s Toujours La, this project’s main concept arose from my self-image as an artist. The film is about the common thread connecting all my artwork, from a rough sketch to an elaborated final project, despite the unique context and stylistic approach of each creation. The story line revolves around two little characters, who, as children, share a similar kind of gentle and innocent personality. While both are simply drawn, the characters live in different worlds: one has been sketched into a class notebook in a rough, doodle-like format, while the other has been drawn more carefully into a sketchbook, and has been colored in fully. I purposefully chose a seemingly simplified approach to animation style in order to embody the sweetness of the relationship not only between the characters, but between artist and artwork. This project was created with Adobe Premiere Pro.
Paul Oh, Humza Ghani, Vishnu Yogendran, Allie Meadows, Sahrish Rukhsar, Stefan Wroblewski, Dozie Oguike and Saad Javed
Mentor: Christian Valiente
UC 204 | 2:15 p.m.
Monster is a short horror film made by UMBC undergraduate students. The film is six minutes long and revolves around a young college student being confronted by her friends about her abusive relationship. Monster’s surreal plot pays homage to the horror films of John Carpenter, known for They Live and The Thing. Taking a post-modern approach of the horror film genre, Monster utilizes the conventional aesthetics commonly found in these films and moves towards an alternate conclusion. These aesthetics include dim lighting, moody sound design, and hand-held filming. The dialogue was all improvisational from non-professional student actors, resulting in a quirky style of interaction among the cast. Filmed over one evening, Monster is the result of team collaboration with each member voicing their opinion into the creative process. With the inevitable arrival of the protagonist’s abusive spouse, the film’s ending contorts the audiences’ expectations into absurdity. Monster is a self-aware narrative that questions the definition of horror in scary movies.
Ethnic Differences in Perceived Parental Psychological Control During Emerging Adulthood
Mentor: Charissa Cheah
UC Ballroom | 10:00 a.m. – Noon
Between 18 and 25 years of age, emerging adults encounter new challenges, including changes in the parenting they receive. Parental psychological control includes practices that induce child compliance through psychological and emotional manipulation, and undermine children’s autonomy development. These practices have been found to be associated with negative psychosocial outcomes among emerging adults. However, differences in psychological control and associated child outcomes across U.S. ethnic groups have not been examined, despite potential cultural variations. This research compared self-reported responses from 98 African American, 155 Asian American and 251 European American emerging adults regarding (1) their perceptions of their parents’ level of engagement in two forms of psychological control (dependency-oriented and achievement-oriented), and (2) the relations between perceived parental psychological control and emerging adults’ depressive symptoms. Significant ethnic group differences were found in the levels of psychological control; Asian Americans perceived their parents as using the most psychological control. Both forms of psychological control predicted depressive symptoms for all ethnic groups. However, achievement-oriented psychological control was more strongly associated with depressive symptoms for Asian Americans. These findings illustrated the significance of culture when attempting to understand both parenting and the effects of parenting on emerging adults’ psychosocial outcomes.
Amanda Perera, Sarah Moshman
Prior Video Game Experience and the Effectiveness of Video Game Distraction
Mentor: Lynnda Dahlquist
UC Ballroom | 10:00 a.m. – Noon
Research has previously examined the effectiveness of video-game distraction in reducing children’s experience of pain. However, the mechanisms of the relationship are not fully understood. Research and theory suggest that cognitively demanding tasks are more effective at reducing pain than less cognitively demanding tasks. Furthermore, well-practiced tasks demand less cognitive effort than less-practiced tasks. This study examines the relationship between experience with video games and the effectiveness of video games as a distracter from pain during a cold water task. Participants were 96 children ages six to 13 and their parents. Parents reported estimates of the child’s video game playing during the previous week. Experimental tasks included children immersing their non-dominant hand in uncomfortably cold (7 °C) water while playing a video game, and without video game distraction. Children’s pain tolerance was measured as the amount of time that children successfully kept their non-dominant hand immersed in the cold water. Data will be analyzed using Pearson correlations to examine relations between prior experience with video games and pain tolerance. It is hypothesized that video-game distraction will improve pain tolerance for all children, but that children with more video-game experience will benefit less from video-game distraction than children with less experience.
Ribosomal Protein Binding During Ribosomal RNA Maturation
Mentor: Lasse Lindahl
UC Ballroom | 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Genetic and biochemical studies of the ribosome show that ribosome formation is a complex process of synthesis and assembly of individual components, namely ribosomal proteins (rp) and ribosomal RNA (rRNA). However, the exact timing of individual rp addition to ribosome assembly RNA intermediates is not fully understood. This project was designed to develop a method for determining these binding patterns without interrupting ribosome biogenesis. Individual tagged rp’s were expressed and co-immunoprecipitated, along with the specific rRNA segment to which the rp binds. RNA was extracted from the immune precipitate and loaded onto slot blots. The blots were then probed with segment-specific oligo-probes loosely corresponding to rRNA cleavage sites (a process we termed “slot-northern”). When a signal showed the slot-northern indicating a probe had bound to the rp/RNA complex, it was viewed against the known specific probe-segments of the binding probe and used to deduce the location of binding for that individual rp onto the maturing rRNA. By gaining this information about ribosomal proteins, we may better understand the ribosome in its entirety and add to the foundational understanding of the important process of translation.
Effects of Demographics and Risk Factors on the Elastic Strain Energy of Human Superficial Femoral Arteries
Mentors: Alexey Kamenskiy, Jason MacTaggart
UC 310 | 1:15 p.m.
Occlusive disease of the superficial femoral artery (SFA) is associated with significant morbidity and quality of life impairment. Understanding SFA remodelling as it relates to patient characteristics could improve diagnostic and treatment modalities for peripheral artery disease. Fresh SFAs were obtained from n=27 human subjects, age 33-80 years old. Arterial morphology measurements were obtained, followed by mechanical property characterization using planar biaxial extension with multi-ratio protocols. Raw data were used to determine parameters of an invariant-based, structurally motivated model accounting for passive contributions of collagen, elastin and smooth muscle. Nonparametric bootstrapping was performed on each parameter to establish uniqueness. Elastic strain energy (ESE) was calculated at physiologic stretch conditions corresponding to 120 mmHg internal pressure and in situ longitudinal pre-stretch. Data analysis with respect to demographics and risk factors demonstrated a decrease in ESE with age and Body Mass Index (BMI). Age had a stronger effect (r=-0.704, p<0.001) than BMI (r=-0.348, p<0.1), and strongly correlated with constitutive parameters representing loss of elastin, accumulation of collagen and stiffening of smooth muscle. ESE reduction with age and BMI suggests degenerative changes in the elastic properties of the SFA likely due to degradation and fragmentation of intramural elastin and accumulation of tissue damage.
Negative Modernism: Djuna Barnes, Theodor Adorno, and the Problem of Nightwood
Mentor: Jessica Berman
UC 312 | 2:00 p.m.
The purpose of my research is to investigate how Djuna Barnes, a groundbreaking woman modernist, used – and subverted – modernist conventions of literature to portray love between women early in the 20th century. Her 1937 novel Nightwood is a mostly forgotten and often misunderstood work of fiction that has evoked wildly divergent responses from critics. The language of the book is at turns thorny and poetic, and its social message seems self-contradictory and indeterminate. How can we, in the 21st century, look back on Nightwood and understand it as a barometer, a diagnostic of the modern age? To that end, I use the philosophy of Theodor R. Adorno to investigate negation and negativity, the gears on which the novel turns. Queer theory, deconstruction, postmodernism, animal studies: all these theoretical approaches try to encompass the peculiarities of Nightwood but in my opinion fall short. This talk will try to find ways to think through Nightwood without letting its purpose fall to the wayside.
Investigating the Function of the shep Gene in Cell Migration
Mentor: Michelle Starz-Gaiano
UC Ballroom | 10:00 a.m. – Noon
Cell migration is an important process as it is necessary for proper immune function, embryonic development, and injury repair. Border cell migration in Drosophila melanogaster is used as a model to study cell migration due to similarities between fly genes and human genes, the ease of manipulating gene function in flies, and the fact that migrating cells can be observed in their native tissue. During border cell migration, a group of cells travels from one side of a developing egg chamber to the other. Previous investigations into a D. melanogaster gene called shep have indicated it may have a role in this important developmental process. We tested this hypothesis using immunohistochemistry, RNA interference, and a transposase experiment. A GFP reporter insertion in the shep locus showed specific expression of Shep protein in the border cells. Knockdown of shep via RNA interference caused delayed migration in developing eggs. The transposase experiment to generate shep alleles is ongoing but has not yet yielded affected offspring. Thus, another method to generate mutant alleles, CRISPR-Cas9, will be used. This work may reveal that Shep regulates cell migration in D. melanogaster and lead researchers to investigate the functions of similar proteins in humans.
Mapping the Specific Molar Extinction Coefficients of Organometallic Compounds
Mentor: Lee Blaney
UC Ballroom | 10:00 a.m. – Noon
Organometallic chemicals are used for a variety of applications, including agriculture, medicine, and electronics. This project focused on four organometallic classes (i.e., organo-arsenic, platinum, -selenium, and -tin). These compounds are introduced to the environment through wastewater treatment plants (Pt, Sn), the shipping industry (Se), and agricultural runoff (As). The unique properties of these compounds, and the corresponding inorganic metals, present distinct environmental and human health concerns; however, few studies on the photolytic transformation of these organometallics in the environment have been undertaken. One critical aspect of photolysis is determination of molar extinction coefficients across the solar irradiation spectrum. In this study, we used the Beer-Lambert law to measure the apparent UV-visible absorbance for 190-900 nm along a pH gradient for organometallics. With these data, we mapped molar extinction coefficients and deconvoluted the apparent molar extinction coefficients with respect to pH to determine extinction coefficients for protonated/deprotonated species. The results of this study provide insight into how organometallics absorb solar irradiation. That information will be used in ongoing work to identify the photodegradation kinetics of organometallics in environmental systems.
The Costs of Good Karma: The Effects of Fangsheng on the Chinese Environment and Society
Mentor: Constantine Vaporis
UC Ballroom | 10:00 a.m. – Noon
Since the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976, a resurgence of religious practices had unintended environmental consequences across China. The Buddhist practice of fangsheng, releasing captive animals to obtain good karma, has been on the rise. Fangsheng has introduced large quantities of non-native species to China’s environment and heavily influenced the likelihood of a non-native species becoming invasive, which has caused numerous problems. An example from 2015 is one Fangsheng association’s singular liberation of thousands of loach into the Shanghai’s Huangpu River. Given that there are 281 different fangsheng organizations in China, with at least one in almost every province, the potential for environmental damage is great. In Hong Kong, too, liberation of non-native bird species has raised environmental and health concerns, including the disappearing of native bird populations and the spread of different avian flu strains. Fangsheng has also impacted the economy, causing an increasing demand among practitioners of Buddhism wishing to liberate animals. This activity is often quite expensive; many young people spend upwards of 5,000 yuan (about 765 dollars) per year on animals to release. Utilizing previous research of other scholars, this paper addresses these and other effects of fangsheng and proposes solutions for them.
Remote Sensing Monitoring of Canadian Wildfire Smoke and its Impact on Baltimore Air Quality
Mentor: Ruben Delgado
UC 310 | 2:00 p.m.
High spatial and temporal resolution elastic light detection and ranging (lidar) measurements allow monitoring of long-range transport of particulates, such as dust and smoke, that impact local and regional air quality. These lidar measurements enhance current knowledge and understanding of how vertical layering and long-range transport of natural and anthropogenic particle pollution may alter the relationship between column aerosol optical depth and surface particle pollution concentrations. We examined the impact of a strong haze event in June 9-11, 2015. Particle pollution associated with this event yielded a 245% increase in aerosol optical depth values compared to the average mean June values for the last decade. We present how air mass back trajectory analysis, aerosol intensive and extensive parameters from lidar, sun-photometer and satellite observations revealed the presence of Canadian wildfire smoke impacting the Baltimore air quality during those days.
Mentor: Doug Hamby
PAHB 337 | 11:15 a.m.
My creative project merges elements of both modern dance and classical ballet through a dance performance piece titled Limitless. In the summer of 2015, my studies at Maryland Youth Ballet gave me the opportunity to take professional dance classes in ballet and pointe. Alternatively, while at UMBC, my primary focus has been to learn modern dance methods, e.g., Graham, Horton, and Limon. Classical ballet has its origins in the 18th and 19th centuries, emphasizing elegance, beauty, and regimentation, and has a choreographic process directly related to a musical score. Modern dance, a product of the 20th century, is often abstract and uses a wide variety of choreographic processes not linked to the musical score. Combining these varied techniques has been a personal challenge and a pursuit of self-exploration. In creating this piece, I emphasized beauty as a classical ballet choreographer, while using choreographic methods commonly found in modern dance. My work in progress piece, Limitless, is the culmination of this creative process combining modern dance with classical ballet. The intention of this fusion of styles into one piece is to motivate others to embark on their own exploration of movement modalities to create one that is uniquely their own.
Light Inhibits Light
Mentor: Steven Silberg
UC 204 | 2:00 p.m.
With light pollution an ever-increasing problem, fewer people are aware of the night sky and the wonders it holds. Through a comparative study of the visibility of deep space objects and the Milky way as affected by light pollution within the Northeastern United States and New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada, Light Inhibits Light aims to bring attention to the sky in order to show what is missing from the skies above our cities. To protect this natural resource, awareness must first be raised in order for people to want to make changes and work to fight the over abundance of light pollution. Presented as a time-lapse photography film, light pollution measurements and GPS coordinates are displayed with each night-scene, to contrast the light polluted skies with the non-light polluted skies. The materials show how far removed these dark sky sites are from us, as well as how bad the light pollution is. Attention of the general public must be brought to the issue of light pollution before this ever-fading resource is too far gone from our lives.
Rationality and the North Korean Nuclear Program: How the International Status-Quo Affects Pyongyang’s Nuclear Pursuit
Mentor: Constatine Vaporis
ENG 023 | 11:45 a.m.
North Korea has pursued nuclear weapons for the majority of its short history. Four times – 2006, 2009, 2013, 2016 – it has conducted nuclear tests, which have brought international condemnation and sanctions. A study of the western perceptions of North Korea, based on news footage and reporting, shows the nuclear program to be an irrational pursuit; these accounts also assert that North Korea grossly misinterprets the status-quo. A more thorough study of the program, however, using sources from North Korean official media, such as Rodung Shinmun, Korean Central News Agency and Korea Today magazine, reveals that for North Korea the program is seen as the only way it can gain political attention, as well as deter a possible military attack. In order to denuclearize North Korea, the international community must acknowledge the political and security concerns of North Korea. Through this presentation, I will argue that North Korea has developed its nuclear weapons program as a rational response to the current state of international affairs on and surrounding the peninsula, and it is unlikely to abandon its nuclear weapons unless its political and security concerns are addressed.