Student Research Forum
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Student Research Forum Winning Abstracts


First Place Winning Abstracts - Graduate

Incorporating Elastic and Plastic Work Rates into Energy Balance for Long-Tern Tectonic Modeling
Md Sabber Ahamed (Earth Sciences), Presenter

We derive an energy balance equation that accounts not only for heat energy but also for elastic and plastic work. Following the theory of large deformation plasticity, we start from the assumption that Gibbs free energy (g) is a function of temperature (T), the second Piola-Kirchhoff stress (S), density ( ) and internal variables (qj, j=1...n). We then simplify the generic equation to one involving more familiar quantities such as Cauchy stress and material density assuming that the small deformation formulation holds for our applications. The simplified equation is implemented in DyanEarthSol3D code.

An Adaptive Approach for Continuous Multi-Factor Authentication
Abhijit Kumar Nag (Computer Science), Presenter

 Multi-factor authentication is the current trend to identify authorized users through the active authentication process using passwords, biometrics, cognitive behavior metric, etc. As new and improved authentication modalities are available, they open up the opportunities for the security researchers to discover solutions facilitation continuous authentication to the online systems. This paper focuses on describing a framework for continuous authentication where authentication modalities are selected adaptively by sensing the environment, which include the device and communication media. Empirical studies are conducted with varying environmental parameters and the performance of the adaptive selection of multiple modalities is compared with other selection strategies.

Synthesis and Activity Investigation of Novel Autotaxin Inhibitors
Lauren Ragle (Chemistry), Presenter

Autotaxin (ATX) is a tumor-promoting ectoenzyme with lysophospholipase-D activity which cleaves lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) to the bioactive lipid, lysophosphatidic acid (LPA). LPA acts on G-protein coupled receptors to elicit downstream effects leading to cellular motility and survival. Upregulated ATX, through increased LPA signaling, has been linked to diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Previous computational modeling has lead to the discovery of novel inhibitors with the best compound, GRI392104, having a 4 µM potency. Synthetic modification of this inhibitor has been shown to improve potency to 770 nM. Work toward a second series based on this lead will be discussed.

An Interns Kaizen Implementation in Japan
David Kennedy (International Masters of Business Administration), Presenter

This paper describes the methodology used by an American Intern, at a Japanese company, who proactively discovered, presented, implemented, and checked the results of an improvement plan at a distribution center. The process the intern used in order to present the information to management and the challenges he encountered in adhering to the cultural norms will be discussed. The final approved implementation plan will be presented along with the before and after results of the Kaizen activities.

Cerebellar Pathology Results in Compensatory Neural Adaptations Within Cerebellar-Prefrontal Cortex Pathways: Relevance to Autism-Related Disorders
Eric McKimm (Psychology), Presenter

Autism is characterized by at least two neural abnormalities: cerebellar pathology that includes Purkinje cell loss or functional dysregulation as well as compensatory changes in prefrontal cortex (PFC) dopamine (DA) transmission. The inter-relationship between these two abnormalities is unknown. The results of the present study show significant and non-significant differences in certain areas along the explored Dentate (DN) to PFC pathway. Considered together, these compensatory changes or lack thereof, between these two circuits modulating PFC DA release may have implications in understanding the cognitive deficits as well as impairments in social reward commonly observed in autism.

Preliminary Evaluation of Chitosan/Polyethylene Glycol Sponges for Local Delivery of Antifungals and Antibiotics
Ashley Parker (Biomedical Engineering), Presenter

Invasive fungal infections (IFI) can be a devastating wound complication, resulting in high healthcare costs and mortality rates. In 2010, 78% of wounded U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan with IFI required extremity amputations; an IFI outbreak also occurred after the 2011 Joplin tornado in which 38% of infected patients died. Because systemic toxicity can be an issue with antifungals, local delivery is desirable. Chitosan sponges modified with polyethylene glycol (PEG) locally delivered both antifungals and antibiotics in vitro. These cytocompatible blended sponges degraded faster and released more antifungal than chitosan sponges. Chitosan/PEG sponges also prevented Staphylococcus aureus biofilm growth in vivo.

Promoting Good Health in the Central Plateau: Constructing a Health Communication System in Rural Haiti
Christine Platt (Communication), Presenter

The need in rural Haiti is beyond great. Each year, curable diseases are killing thousands due to the lack of health systems and education. A history of natural disasters and unstable political environment compounds these public health issues. This qualitative study, showcasing communication research methods, addresses the critical lack of health communication and education in the rural Haitian village of Layaye. Through utilization of qualitative inquiry, village participants worked with the researcher to identify specific, doable health communication tactics. These tactics will fuse long-term, into an empowering health communication system managed by residents of the area.

Autonomy, Competence, and Relatedness: Using Psychological Needs to Understand Educational Persistence in URM Health Students
Constance Tucker (Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Research), Presenter

Underrepresented minority (URM) student persistence is critical to developing a diverse pool of health professionals as research demonstrates that an increase in the number of URM physicians contributes to an increase in culturally competent health care (Riley, 2007). Students' ability to successfully achieve a health career is driven by three basic psychological needs: competence, autonomy, and relatedness (Deci & Ryan, 2000). Students who meet all three of these needs are more likely to achieve career persistence than students who do not and experience increased alienation. This study examined how autonomy, competence, and relatedness is satisfied, experienced, and expressed in URM pre-health students' career persistence process.

Second Place Winning Abstracts - Graduate

Delay Minimization for Controller Assignment in Software-Defined Networking
Poonam Dharam (Computer Science), Presenter

Software-Defined Networking (SDN) has emerged as a new paradigm offering programmability for dynamic network configuration and control through a logically centralized controller. Large-scale networks may need distributed controllers to manage a large number of OpenFlow switches. Typically, each OpenFlow switch is statically assigned to a master controller, hence possibly resulting in an uneven load distribution among the controllers. Based on mathematical models for SDN architecture, we formulate a delay minimization problem for controller assignment and design an efficient algorithm that quickly discovers an appropriate master controller for each OpenFlow switch. The efficacy of the algorithm is verified through extensive simulations.

Novel Single Unit Wind Generator Connected with Multiple Turbines
Md Maruf Hossain (Electrical and Computer Engineering), Presenter

A novel single unit wind generator connected with multiple wind turbines system has been proposed. This is completely a new idea where more than one wind turbine will be mechanically connected to the common shaft of a wind generator to increase the accumulated mechanical torque, and consequently upgrade the capacity of the generator. The proposed technology will reduce the size of the turbine and also lessen the weight carried by the tower. This system will also facilitate to install large wind generators where the wind speed is lower than that of requisite for the conventional wind generators.

How a Computer-Assisted Instruction Program Affects the Reading Fluency of 2nd Grade Students
Sharlese James (Instruction and Curriculum Leadership), Presenter

This study examined the effectiveness of Headsprout Early Reading to augment fluency abilities for second grade students in an urban public school system. Headsprout, a Computer- Assisted Instruction program (CAI), provided internet-based reading instruction based on the National Reading Panel's recommendations. All second grade students were assessed to determine who would use the program. Second grade students who participated in Headsprout sessions were compared with second grade students who did not use Headsprout. All students were assessed again at the end of the study. Results were more significant for those students who had participated in the program.

Parent Recognition of Functional Flexibility in Early Infant Vocalization: Diary Report from Taiwanese and American Parents
Yuna Jhang (Communication Sciences and Disorders), Presenter

Both Taiwanese and American parents used an online diary to report the communicative functions of their infants' vocalizations. We compared speech-like vocalizations (protophones) to non-speech-like signals (i.e. cry/laugh). The results show that parents in both countries recognize that protophones can express much greater flexibility in function than cry/laugh.

Design and Synthesis of a Fluorescence Based Sensor for Sphingosine Kinase Activity Determination
Babatunde Raji (Chemistry), Presenter

Sphingosine Kinase1 (SK1) catalyzes the phosphorylation of sphingosine to form the bioactive lipid sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P). Increased S1P leads to cell survival, making SK1 inhibition a therapeutic target for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases. With an increased interest in SK1 inhibition, a rapid and efficient activity assay method is required. Current assays are cumbersome and/ or require expensive instrumentation or radioisotopes. This study aims to develop an efficient and reproducible in situ method to determine SK1 activity by employing a chromogenic substrate which forms a highly fluorescent product after enzyme-mediated phosphorylation.

Preliminary Research of School Wide Positive Behavior Support and Teacher Efficacy in Rural Middle Schools
Beth Stratton (Instruction and Curriculum Leadership), Presenter

There are many prevalent behavior problems in rural middle schools such as: bullying, fighting, vandalism, truancy, and drug use. Consistent problem behaviors interfere with a teacher's ability to teach students in an effective manner (Sugai & Horner, 2008). Therefore, a positive, proactive intervention system is needed to help improve these reoccurring behaviors. School Wide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS) is an approach to help reduce the amount of problem behaviors in various school settings and aide teachers in increasing personal efficacy.   The purpose of this study is to see if teacher efficacy rates increase as the result of implementing SWPBS.  

System Sourcing and Information Processing Capability in Supply Chains: A Study of Small Suppliers
Son Bui (Management Information Systems), Presenter

Although the adoption of inter-organizational systems (IOS) has been studied extensively in the existing literature, relatively little research attention has been paid to how small firms in supply chains are influenced by their larger partners in making their system sourcing decisions. In this study, we examine how small suppliers may choose their system sourcing approaches to better serve and collaborate with their large customers in supply chains. Our empirical findings suggest that information processing requirements and collaboration needs drive small suppliers to adopt more commercial off-the-shelf software package (i.e., external sourcing) to build their IOSs. Moreover, we find that small suppliers take such external sourcing as a way to achieve system effectiveness and enhance their information processing capabilities. The findings of this study generate important theoretical and managerial implications to IOS adoption and organizational information processing.

Association between Infant Feeding Modes and Gastoesophageal Reflux (GER)
Pei-Lin Chen (Public Health), Presenter

GER is a frequently reported health concern in neonates, which may motivate changes in infant feeding modes and addition of solid food as a milk thickening agent. We analyzed repeated measurements in the Infant Feeding Study II. A delayed model, taking the time order into account, showed that any combination of infant feeding with formula was a risk for reflux. Addition of solid food was not protective. Considering a reverse association (reflux --> feeding), preceding reflux significantly reduced direct breastfeeding. There seems to be a risk that mothers of infants with reflux stopped protective breastfeeding in the following month.

Deciphering Symbols and Identity in an Ambiguous Online World:The Case of "Innocence of Muslims" 
Brian Heslop (Communication), Presenter 

In six months, the film Innocence of Muslims went from an ill-attended movie premier to millions of views on YouTube. It motivated hundreds to protest in dozens of countries, resulting in death and destruction. The film has issued a debate about identity, symbolism, and expression in a boundary-less international venue during an era of convergence culture. This study looks at the symbolic appropriations of the film and the (dis)placement of identity as a consequence of its permeating online presence. It considers the implications of how formally disparate cultures are brought together and collide because of new media.

First Place Winning Abstracts - Undergraduate

Hot Dog: The Effect of Weather on Dog-Bite-Related Fatalities
Joshua Canterbury (Economics), Presenter

Between the years of 2003 and 2013 at least 308 Americans died from dog bite related injuries. After a fatality has occurred various weather events are often cited as possible causes. This research set out to find the effect of weather on the occurrence of dog on human attacks that led to death. Available fatality data from 2003 to 2013 was compiled in addition to weather data. Linear regression and comparison analysis were used to analyze the data on fatality and control dates. Results suggest that the variables included have little statistical influence on the occurrence of fatalities.

Effect of Adenosine and Glutathione on Collagen Production of Normal Human Dermal Fibroblasts
Elizabeth Duncan (Biomedical Engineering), Presenter

Diabetic patients have a high risk for foot ulcers with abnormal healing processes due to limited vascularity. Previous studies have shown that adenosine and glutathione can increase growth of fibroblasts, and we hypothesize that they may also boost collagen production essential for wound healing. This study tested the collagen production of normal human dermal fibroblast cells with media at different glucose levels containing adenosine, glutathione, or both for a period of 3, 7, and 14 days. In the future, adenosine and glutathione could be applied locally to improve wound healing for diabetic foot ulcers and other chronic wounds.

An Investigation of Summary-KR Effect in Motor Skill Learning: An EMG Study
Calvin Henry (Health and Sport Sciences), Presenter

While previous research support the guidance hypothesis that is too much external feedback during practice, such as knowledge of results (KR), will have negative influences on learning, data limited to the use of performance outcome. The present study tested the effects of Summary-KR on learning a simple force production task by using surface electromyography (EMG) for neuromuscular control assessment. Participants were required to produce a hand grip force at 50% of their max as accurate as possible under either 100% KR or Summary-KR practice conditions. The results would provide important insight on the process of motor skill learning.  

Using Transparent Casper Zebrafish to Determine at What Age Gonadal Maturation Will Occur
Kathryn Jones (Biological Sciences), Presenter

Little is known about basic reproductive physiology of zebrafish. In wildtype zebrafish the internal organs are concealed by long horizontal dark stripes and iridescent scales, thus direct visualization of the gonad is not possible. In this study, a relatively new line of transparent, double mutant zebrafish called casper was used to directly view the gonad of juvenile and adult fish in vivo. Images of both sides of the fish were taken using a dissecting microscope. This direct visualization of the gonad in living, developing zebrafish overtime allows us to identify at what age gonadal maturation and puberty onset occurs.

Political and Economic Responses of the United Kingdom and Germany to the 2008 Financial Crisis
Nicholas Mastron (Political Science & Economics), Presenter

The 2008 Crisis demonstrated that economics fail to totally calculate causal mechanisms and models. State actors' policies aided and hindered the development and the response to this downturn. The British and German political and economic systems affect individual national responses to the crisis arguably more than actual policies. This paper evaluates the efficacy of both the policies and the systems incorporated within each state's economy through the "varieties of capitalism" perspective. Germany, the coordinated-market economy, has a greater number of intra-state actors that determine policy responses; whereas, the United Kingdom, the liberal-market economy, allows for greater market flexibility.

On-Site Analysis of Trihalomethanes and Haloacetic Acids in Drinking Water Using Standard Addition and FIA
Robyn Snow (Chemistry), Presenter

Disinfection by-products (DBPs) are formed during the chlorination of drinking water. DBPs are regulated by the USEPA due to their adverse health effects; the two major classes of DBPs are trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs). The USEPA has many standard methods to analyze DBPs in drinking water which are expensive and require skilled operators. As a result, an inexpensive and reliable alternative method is needed for water treatment plants to perform daily DBP monitoring. The portable CMS-FIA kit is able to analyze two samples in an eight hour shift while minimizing labor on the analyst.

Second Place Winning Abstracts - Undergraduate

Analysis of Five Online Health Information Guidelines
Eun Kim-Jones and Charlotte Joure (Nursing), Presenters

The effect of online health information guidelines was investigated. Hypothesis was that the colossal numbers of online health information sources can be confusing as well as contradictory. Research aimed to analyze five of the top online health information guidelines to facilitate consumers in making safe informed health care decisions. Health information guidelines are principles to provide ethical guidance for websites. Health information guidelines are established principles that a website should meet that indicate that a website upholds standards of quality and ethics. Through health information guidelines, websites can be evaluated through a standardized set of criteria.

Determining Motion Patterns in Daily Activities Using Fused Sensor Technology
Rina Nguyen (Biomedical Engineering), Presenter

Motion capture is used to provide better understanding of normal and abnormal human motion. This requires multiple optoelectronic cameras and many reflective skin mounted markers. Commercial inertial measurement units are being explored as a less restrictive alternative. In this study fused sensors (3D accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers) are placed on the sacrum and sternum regions and investigated for possible use to distinguish movement patterns during walking, sit-to-stand, and stairs ascending/descending. This ongoing research is exploring the optimal number and placement of such fused sensors to differentiate movement patterns during various activities of daily living.

Effect of Lipid Recycling on the Finite Size of Lipid Rafts in Symmetric Bilayers
Charissa Shiver (Physics), Presenter

Plasma membranes are composed of various types of lipids form nanoscale domains known as lipid rafts. The cause of the finite nanoscale size of lipid rafts remains poorly understood. This research uses molecular dynamics to investigate lipid recycling due to trafficking. Our goal is to investigate whether trafficking affects the size of lipid rafts. Our simulations show that the system achieves a steady state with microphase separation. The size of the domains is found to decrease with increasing the rate of recycling. An extrapolation to biological recycling rates shows average domain size approaching that in plasma membranes.

The Relationship between College Students and News in the Digital Era
Taylor Smith (Journalism), Presenter

Digital media is rapidly becoming the primary source for news in the United States. A recent study asked readers to evaluate the same story in three different formats – a tweet, an article with one paragraph, and an article with multiple paragraphs. The content of each was the same, but readers found the tweet to be "less credible and less important." This project explores college students' perceptions of digital media and determines how they judge the credibility of a news platform. It is important to examine what college students think of news media because journalists need to anticipate future trends.

Behavioral Sensitization to Cocaine is Altered after Perinatal Exposure to Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
Jason Voeller (Psychology), Presenter

PCBs have been shown to alter standard brain dopamine function. As a result, it is believed that the reinforcing properties of psychostimulants may be modified by PCB exposure. This project used a cocaine behavioral sensitization paradigm to assess the effect of developmental exposure to PCBs on locomotor activity as an indirect measure of modulated DA activity. On testing days 2-7 and 14, 0, 3, 6 mg/kg/day PCB exposed subjects received an intraperitoneal (IP) injection of 10 mg/kg COC immediately prior to 60 min of activity testing. Significant differences between the PCB exposure groups were seen following the second (males) and third (females) injection of COC. Thus, perinatal PCB-exposure can alter the locomotor activating effects and behavioral sensitization of COC – perhaps due to differences in dopamine function. (Supported by NIEHS R00ES015428)

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Last Updated: 4/3/14