Blog #4: Rising Waters: Implications and Actions

As Professor Angelo Spillo and I begin to conclude our research, we are thrilled with the progress we have made this far. Rising Waters: Implications and Actions is a project serving us well that has opened our eyes to the vulnerability that the southern New York coastal region is exposed to.

This research project focused briefly on the coastal municipalities of Westchester County and mainly the coast of New York City, two very highly populated areas in New York. Several months ago when we were roughly half way through our research, there were many municipalities in Westchester County that professor Spillo and I had reached out to in hopes of determining their plans to protect the coastline from rising waters. At this point in our research we have received feedback from most of the municipalities that we originally reached out to, which brings us much closer to the overall status of Westchester County.

Our Current status of New York City’s plans to defend against rising waters remains as thorough research. We stated in our last blog that former Mayor Bloomberg had proposed a $19.5 billion plan to protect New York City against rising waters and higher intensity storms and also that we were in the process of sending the current Mayor, Bill de Blasio a letter explaining our research and asking a few questions about the plan to help us further our research. This letter has not been responded to as of this time although we hope we will receive a response in the future. We are understanding of his and his representatives positions and the great responsibility they face, therefore we have done extensive research on any and all plans that exist or are being proposed to help mitigate and/or prevent the damage that rising waters will create.

Currently in New York City, Bloomberg’s nearly $20 Billion plan is not the only plan set in motion to address this issue of rising waters as professor Spillo and I have uncovered additional projects as well. Resilient Neighborhoods is a project where the Department of City Planning will work with communities to help them withstand and recover from future storms and climate events. The 2014 Hazard Mitigation Plan will identify and assess risks from disasters and provide strategies to reduce their impacts. Sustainable Communities Climate Resilience Studies has provided ways to help NYC and other urban waterfront communities to improve their resilience to coastal flood risks and promote livable, sustainable neighborhoods.  In addition to these three projects, also in action are the Flood Resilience Zoning Text Amendment, The NYC Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, The Waterfront Revitalization Program, DCP Green Initiatives and more.

 

Blog #4

Rising Waters: Implications and Actions

 

As Professor Angelo Spillo and I begin to conclude our research, we are thrilled with the progress we have made this far. Rising Waters: Implications and Actions is a project serving us well that has opened our eyes to the vulnerability that the southern New York coastal region is exposed to.

This research project focused briefly on the coastal municipalities of Westchester County and mainly the coast of New York City, two very highly populated areas in New York. Several months ago when we were roughly half way through our research, there were many municipalities in Westchester County that professor Spillo and I had reached out to in hopes of determining their plans to protect the coastline from rising waters. At this point in our research we have received feedback from most of the municipalities that we originally reached out to, which brings us much closer to the overall status of Westchester County.

Our Current status of New York City’s plans to defend against rising waters remains as thorough research. We stated in our last blog that former Mayor Bloomberg had proposed a $19.5 billion plan to protect New York City against rising waters and higher intensity storms and also that we were in the process of sending the current Mayor, Bill de Blasio a letter explaining our research and asking a few questions about the plan to help us further our research. This letter has not been responded to as of this time although we hope we will receive a response in the future. We are understanding of his and his representatives positions and the great responsibility they face, therefore we have done extensive research on any and all plans that exist or are being proposed to help mitigate and/or prevent the damage that rising waters will create.

Currently in New York City, Bloomberg’s nearly $20 Billion plan is not the only plan set in motion to address this issue of rising waters as professor Spillo and I have uncovered additional projects as well. Resilient Neighborhoods is a project where the Department of City Planning will work with communities to help them withstand and recover from future storms and climate events. The 2014 Hazard Mitigation Plan will identify and assess risks from disasters and provide strategies to reduce their impacts. Sustainable Communities Climate Resilience Studies has provided ways to help NYC and other urban waterfront communities to improve their resilience to coastal flood risks and promote livable, sustainable neighborhoods.  In addition to these three projects, also in action are the Flood Resilience Zoning Text Amendment, The NYC Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, The Waterfront Revitalization Program, DCP Green Initiatives and more.

At this point in our research, as we begin to gather our findings, professor Angelo Spillo and I believe we have of course learned a lot, but we also believe that we have encountered many dead ends, many successes and at times weren’t sure the best way to approach our dilemmas. We are very pleased with our research so far and we are also very excited to present it at the showcase in May, however I have realized that conducting extensive research about a major topic can have its road bumps. Granted the result of this project is the major winner, I have still learned that conducting research takes time and requires change of direction in many cases. For example, we were not able to receive direct feedback in several situations as we had planned, making it difficult to further our research. However, we still were able to figure out a way to advance our findings and make our research work wonderfully. I believe this research has impacted me in a completely positive way. Even when we had to come up with solutions to our problems, this experience was nothing but beneficial to me. Whether it was evolving my skills, working with a great mentor, or just simply learning the topic and the process of conducting research, I am grateful for the experience and all that came with it.

The Relationship Between the Regulatory Retinoblastoma Protein and the Pro-apoptotic Protein BAK in Cancer Cells

About 15% percent of women in the U.S. will develop breast cancer. With such an alarming number, understanding the disease has become a critical matter. Cancer happens when mutated cells starts to show uncontrolled growth and will no longer undergo the process known as apoptosis, or cell suicide. The Retinoblastoma (Rb) protein is tumor suppressor protein, meaning it works to regulate the cell division and prevent the uncontrolled growth of cells. The cell division cycle is a highly regulated process that controls the growth and division of mammalian cells.  The role of Rb in cell cycle control is to prevent proliferation in the absence of mitogenic signals. RB is one of the most critical proteins related to cancer, therefore understanding its mechanism in the cell is crucial in order to understand the disease.

Bak is a pro-apoptotic protein also present in cells. Bak is involved in determining the time in which cells should be terminated. It plays an essential role in the induction of apoptosis as it is responsible for mitochondrial fragmentation.  We know that the retinoblastoma protein works with many other proteins inside the cell. It was recently discovered that both proteins, Rb and Bak, are associated with each other. However the physiological relevance of this interaction is still a mystery to us.

Our main goal in our research is to determine the functional significance of Rb association with Bak, find out if the activation of Rb regulates the interaction with Bak and to understand if Bak binds to the full length Rb or only a section of the protein.

Our first step toward the answers to our questions involve the use of C33A cancer cells and a technique known as transfection. Transfection is a technique that allows us to introduce a plasmid caring a gene into a cell. C33As are known to have a dysfunctional Rb. Then use a technique known as gel electrophoresis that will allows us to observe and compare the relationship between bak and rb. In another set of experiments we will use bacteria cells to determine the parts of Rb that bind to Bak.

Finally, with these experiment we hope to understand these two proteins more fully so an understanding of cancer apoptosis is possible.

Blog Post #2

Professor Zaslow and I have begun working on our literature review, which has produced some absolutely fantastic previous research within the realm of experiences of coming out, whether from the adolescent’s perspective as well as the parent and close family’s perspective. We have already reached out to the communities we had hoped to gain access to, but have not been successful in attaining the necessary permissions to bring our research onto the next step. Though a disappointing setback, we have not lost faith in our project and we will be meeting within the week to discuss our options and how we should continue on from here.

Personally, aside from the previously mentioned setbacks, I’m excited for this project to get going. This research is important for many reasons and I know the work that both Dr. Zaslow and I are putting into it will produce a great project by year’s end.

Blog Post #1

Hello! My name is Brian Rentas and I am a senior at Pace’s New York City campus. This year, I will be working with Dr. Emilie Zaslow of the Communication Studies department on a project analyzing online communities for parents with LGBTQ children in order to explore the ways in which knowledge about parenting, advocacy, care, childhood and sexuality are constructed by parents of the community.

The coming out process is an extremely critical action within the development of self-identity of adolescents, making this research both timely and important. We want to examine online communities specifically to see if there has been a paradigm shift in knowledge: in the past, it was considered the norm for parents of LGBTQ to reach out to other family members, friends, peers or professionals after experiencing the delicate nature of having a child come out – advice and knowledge seemed to be spread, typically, through very small social circles. With the increasing popularity of the internet, we are curious to see if online communications such as forums, listservs and blogs have fostered a sense of community, and if so, what sort of knowledge is spread through these communities.

We will be reaching out to various communities for permission to examine any available communications, and once permission is granted, qualitative analysis will provide us with various results. We want to see if there is a steady increase in parents reaching out via the internet to other parents, or if the paradigm is still keeping it within the realm of close family and friends. We have just started pinpointing some communities we would like to reach out to, so by the next blog post I will possibly clue you in on anything we have found at that point!