Blog 4

A Comprehensive Study of Disability Film Media at a Major Metropolitan University

Blog #4

In this study we attempted to learn from focus groups of students without disabilities if disability film media enables discernable engagement and advocacy of the students for the rights of individuals with disabilities. We also attempted to learn from focus groups of families and individuals with disabilities at AHRC New York City if the disability film media facilitates engagement and self-advocacy of the individuals for themselves.

The study ultimately was a success.

“The authors confirmed the benefits of disability film media in representing authentic and credible portraits of individuals with disabilities. The study definitely disclosed further the benefits of engaging students without disabilities on disability media projects, in learning of others with disabilities through pronounced proper realities and representations in the disability film media. Lastly, the study divulged ideal proper portrayals for others with disabilities in the Hollywood mainstream media, a media that is often flavored by fear, focus on impairments and prejudice.”

Looking back at my experience, I learned a lot and gained a lot. I learned how to be a leader and how to conduct focus groups. I also learned how to create a film festival which was used for our study. Over all my experience was life changing and rewarding.

 

 

Blog 3

A Comprehensive Study of Disability Film Media at a Major Metropolitan University

Blog #3

After I finished conducting all my focus groups I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. Though I would have loved to continue with even more focus groups, I was quite satisfied with the outcome of my project’s data collection. I had pages and pages of notes filled with great comments and data. Though the outcomes were great, I still had a few bumps I encountered along the path.

During my second focus group many of the students did not show up. We predicted 35 and only 22 came. Out of those 22 people 18 of them were an hour late. This really delayed everything, but with a strong 4 people we began and watched the first film.

After looking back at that day, I realized we were quite productive for the horrible circumstances we were in. After the first film the other students came. They were participating and they had so much to say. I learned that even a bad focus group can bring a lot of useful and interesting data.

 

 

Blog 2

A Comprehensive Study of Disability Film Media at a Major Metropolitan University

Blog #2

A Comprehensive Study of Disability Film Media at a Major Metropolitan University

Blog #2

I started off my research this semester reading literature about disability media. I read about the positive and negative portrays of individuals with disabilities. I also read about the different movements across the country focused on disabilities.  All these books and articles gave me a better understanding of what to look for in the focus groups and what types of films to show all three focus groups.

When I first started my project with Dr. Lawler I did not know what exactly to expect. I thought I would just show a bunch of films to a bunch of people and record their reactions, but it was so much more than that.

My first focus group was quite an experience. I got to meet many different types of people who all had some sort of disability. The films I thought spoke more loudly to their cause seemed to not get approval from the majority. It was interesting to see a film through the eyes of someone who actually had a disability. Most of the films I showed where not produced by people with disabilities. The directors were people who were just interested in the topic, but for my focus group they were not just interested…they were living it.

After my first focus group many of my questions were answered, yet ambiguity still seemed to linger. I still had so much to ask, so much to learn, and so much to discover.

Blog #1

A Comprehensive Study of Disability Film Media at a Major Metropolitan University

This semester I am working with Dr. Lawler on a study titled, A Comprehensive Study of Disability Film Media at a Major Metropolitan University. We will be looking at how students at Pace University and other metropolitan universities can benefit from Disability film media to inform them about about disabilities. As we all know, many students who have never been exposed to speaking or conversing with an individual with a visible disability can become quite uncomfortable when confronted with a person with a disability. This is due to their lack of knowledge and experience with the disability world.  

In this study we will be speaking to 3 focus groups ( one of pace students, one of people with disabilities, and one from NYU). We will show them independent disability films and mainstream media films on disability. We will ask questions and give all participants surveys to get numerical and concrete data.

I expect to achieve a better understanding of how film media can  inform students about individuals with disabilities. I also expect to get a better understanding of how people with disabilities want to be represented. 

End of the Year Report: Forensic Drug Analysis of Amphetamine Using SPE with Different MIP sorbents

Solid Phase Extraction of Amphetamine Using Different Commercially Available Molecularly Imprinted Polymer (MIP) Sorbents

 

            Analysis of illicit drugs such as amphetamines are typically done by chromatographic methods like gas chromatography (GC) and liquid chromatography (LC). However, even with the introduction of LC-MS and GC-MS, sampling pretreatment still plays a very important role in drug analysis. Solid phase extraction (SPE) materials were developed to capture illicit drugs and their metabolites in complex samples such as blood and urine. They have become commercially available to improve drug analysis. Molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) are are a class of polymer-based recognition elements tailored to target a specific chemical or class of structurally related compounds. In this study, analysis using a sample pretreatment method (SPE) with MIP was compared with analysis without treatment. In addition, the performance of two commercially available MIPs are compared by extracting amphetamine from water and synthetic urine.

Using amphetamine standard, the MS spectra obtained using both negative and positive mode is shown in Figure 1. In negative mode, several peaks were observed but none corresponds to amphetamine. The peaks observed in negative mode scan especially m/z = 141 is also observed in blank samples (water). However, the spectra using the positive mode, a peak at m/z = 91 corresponds to amphetamine transition 136 to 91. In this regards, positive mode was utilized in the analysis of amphetamine water and synthetic urine samples.

The role of sample pretreatment was assessed by analyzing the spiked water and synthetic urine samples without pretreatment method. Figure 2 shows the mass spectra of amphetamine mixed with water and synthetic urine samples where the signal obtained from synthetic urine samples is very low compared to the water samples. This is also lower compared to the one obtained in with sample pretreatment method or MIP (Figures 3 and 4). The recovery of amphetamine is similar to one another regardless of whichever MIP cartridge or sample utilized (Figure 3 and 4).

Upon using commercially MIPs, the percent recovery in either water samples or synthetic urine samples are similar. This means doing a sample pretreatment method is more effective to achieve a higher recovery. The AFFINIMIP is more superior to Supelco in terms of time preparation. This is due to shorter drying time (30 sec) in AFFINIMI-SPE Amphetamines in comparison to Supelco-MIP (5-10 mins).

I would like to thank Maximillian Baria and Eric Nguyen in the preliminary trials of this study and my mentor, Dr. Elmer-Rico E. Mojica for his support in the project. I would like to thank Prof. Nigel Yarlett for the amphetamine standard, Prof. Zhaohua Dai for the amphetamine standards and the use of GC-MS, Prof. Rita K. Upmacis for assistance in MS analysis.  I also like to thank Pace University Undergraduate Research Initiative for the research grant.

Since the beginning of the fall semester, I have been working with Dr. Mojica on different experimental methods for performing drug analysis. I have presented my research at number of conferences.  The most novel experience in my research were the poster presentations that I have done in different scientific meetings. I presented my research as poster at the American Chemical Society (ACS) National Conference in Dallas, the Eastern Colleges Scientific Conference (ECSC), William Patterson University Undergraduate Research Symposium, and Dyson Society of Fellows Annual Meeting. I will be presenting it orally next week at the ACS URS in St. Johns University. I have learned a lot of things in doing these presentations and attending these conference. I was able to gain professional experience on how to interact with other people or some sort of real world experience. In addition to this, I was lucky to meet people that I never expect to, like Prof. Donna Nelson which is the science supervisor for the AMC series “Breaking Bad” which I met in Dallas and Sir Harold Kroto, a Nobel laureate in Chemistry whom I met in WPU URS. I was also inducted as an associate in the Dyson Society of Fellows because of my participation in the annual meeting.

I may be graduating but I intend on continuing my research with Dr. Mojica, because I will be attending Pace for the Master’s program in Forensic Science.  I will use other MIP sorbents as well as possibly using real urine samples along with other illicit drugs like methamphetamine to further our results. I am very fortunate to work personally with a mentor on performing experimental research since not all undergraduate students have this opportunity.  When in the labs I have learned professional techniques in utilizing laboratory instruments as well as how to troubleshoot problems that arise during the analysis.  I am grateful to be a part of such an extraordinary research team under the mentorship of Dr. Mojica.  I have learned various skills and techniques that will be beneficial when entering the professional world; hopefully working with a government agency as a forensic chemist.

 

Figure 1. Mass spectra of amphetamine standard obtained using negative mode (above) and positive mode (below).

 

 

 

 

Figure 2. Mass spectra of amphetamine mixed with water and synthetic urine samples analyzed without sample pretreatment.

 

 

Figure 3. Mass spectra of amphetamine standard in water samples recovered by Supel-MIP (above) and AFFINIMIP-SPE (below).

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 4. Mass spectra of amphetamine standard in synthetic urine samples recovered by Supel-MIP (above) and AFFINIMIP-SPE (below).

Final Understandings

Through analyzing the impact of assistive devices for two participants with cerebral palsy much has been learned for each individual what works well for them.

As both participants used felt tipped metal rods or “head-sticks” for use on computers and tablet devices with touch screens two alternative methods were used to test greater efficiency and ease for the participants. The two methods that were tested were an altered felt tipped glove that was used on the participants hands and fingertips, and a Brian control interface that was used with a computer.

In terms of the felt tipped gloves, they did not provide a great enough improvement for the participants in order for them to be used ordinarily. The “head-sticks” provided equal to better help and the participants are more comfortable with how they work as they are more used to them.

Due to difficulties in acquiring a Brain Control Interface there was limited time that the device could be tested.

In terms of the Brain control interface the results are inconclusive thus far. The time that would be needed for the participants to completely be comfortable with the device requires longer than the program will allow for. The Brain control interface has had some improvement with one of the participants, but requires much more practice and understanding in both participants in order to attain more concrete results.

Ultimately the decisions to alter the assistive devices that each participant currently uses and to implement a new assistive device such as the Brain control interface remain entirely up to the participants and what they feel comfortable with.

final blog

Thus far, Dr. Emtage and I were able to conclude the molecular chaperone, Hsp42, helps to target and metabolize mutant Huntingtin protein aggregates in S. cerevisiea models. What we have set out to do has been successful! There is very literature out now which elaborates on Hsp42’s, in particular, role in processing mutant Huntingtin.

Currently, Dr. Emtage has pushed our research even deeper.  We are now working on figuring out how Hsp42 proteins localize within the cells. To do this, we are attempting to label specific proteins associated with the spindle pole body (SPB), such as Spc42, with a fluorescent protein( FP) in order to image both the SPB and Hsp42 proteins. This will allow use to determine if Hsp42 does move about the cytoplasm using the SPB. We are currently looking at other SPB proteins to label with FP as well.

I am currently working on making  inducible mutant Huntingtin plasmids with polyglutamine lengths of 25Q (control) and 72Q (pathogenic) controlled under a GAL1 promoter. This will allow us to essentially mediate the amount of Huntingtin protein aggregates generated within the cells. Our current Huntingtin plasmids use a constitutive promoter, GPD, which means the Huntingtin is always expressed. With a GAL1 promoter, we will be able to “switch on and off” Huntingtin expression. With these new plasmids, we hope to investigate how aggregates are processed and in what amount of time within our models. Doing this in conjunction with FP labeling certain proteosome proteins will hopefully allow use to determine the individual steps of mutant Huntingtin metabolism or catabolism. The hypothesis here is the Huntingtin aggregates are targeted by Hsp42 either for re-folding or ubiquitination. We hope to determine which one to be the case very soon.

This will be my last blog. Thank you for reading and thank you Pace University for allowing this research to reach this point.

Drug Analysis: Comparing Pretreatment Techniques using SPE

The results are in! I finally have gotten results from my experiments.  Not only did we compare the effect of different sorbents with SPE, but we also showed how pretreatment using SPE gives better results in drug analysis.  The use of the two sorbents gave similar results when they were compared indicating both are effective for pretreatment of drugs for forensic analysis.  We could state that due to the faster recovery time of pretreatment with MIP 2 it could be more efficient in the labs.  Pretreatment was shown to benefit the analysis of drugs because without pretreatment with SPE, only a small amount of the target drug was detected.  Future experiments will be done and these include using methamphetamine along with amphetamines for drug testing, the use of other commercially available sorbents for comparison with the presently used and using a variety of different biological fluids for analysis like blood.

All great things come to an end, but it is bitter sweet.  I have concluded research and have produced a poster; presenting our results.  The week of spring break, my fellow research comrades and I presented at the American Chemical Society (ACS) national conference in Dallas, Texas.  This was my first time presenting a poster to an audience, but it was a wonderful experience and I loved doing it.  I learned a lot from attending this conference and met a lot of great people that work in the field of chemistry.  We met the science advisor for the AMC television series “Breaking Bad”, Donna Nelson, she is campaigning to become the head of ACS.

I will be presenting my research at many more conferences this semester.  I will be presenting my research every weekend for the next month.  I will present at the Dyson’s Society of Fellows, the Eastern Colleges Scientific Conferences (ECSC)  at Marist College, Wayne Patterson University Undergraduate Research Symposium  and ACS URS where I will be doing an oral presentation that will be also presented at the Undergraduate Student – Faculty Research Initiative  showcase day.  It will be a long journey but I am ready for the challenge, and I look forward to gaining more experience.

 

The Drug Analysis using Solid Phase Extraction of Amphetamine with Different Sorbents

I finally have gotten results from my experiments.  Water and synthetic urine samples w spiked with amphetamine and examined using mass spectrometry (MS).  We tested the instrument in both positive and negative modes to determine which would give a better peak when analyzing the samples.  In the negative mode, no peak was present at 134 indicating it could not be ionized.  There was a peak present at around 91 in the positive mode which indicated a transition from 136.  With this information we decided to run all of our samples using MS. in positive mode.  We tested the two MIP sorbents; each with the two spiked samples of water and synthetic urine.  The four spectra showed a higher peak at around 91 indicating amphetamine was present.  Not only did we compare the effect of different sorbents with SPE, but we also showed how pretreatment using SPE gives better results in drug analysis.  Faster recovery times for pretreatment with MIP 2 could be a more efficient sorbent in crime labs as compared to MIP 1.  The use of SPE as a pretreatment technique concentrates the specific sample in order to achieve a higher peak on the spectra.  Our standard solutions were tested using MS to show the difference in sample analysis without pretreatment.  The peak for amphetamine was barely detected in the synthetic urine samples without using the SPE for pretreatment.  This showed that using a pretreatment techniques to concentrate the sample before preforming instrumental analysis gives a better result and higher recovery of the sample.  Future experiments will be done and these include using methamphetamine along with amphetamines for drug testing, the use of other commercially available sorbents for comparison with the presently used and using a variety of different biological fluids for analysis like blood.

In concluding our research, we have produced a poster presenting our results.  The week of spring break, my fellow research group members and I presented at the American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting in Dallas, Texas.  This was my first time presenting a poster to an audience, but it was a wonderful experience and I loved doing it.  I learned a lot from attending this conference and met a lot of great people that work in the field of chemistry.  We met the science advisor for the AMC television series “Breaking Bad”, Donna Nelson, she is campaigning to become the head of ACS.  I will be presenting my research in many more conferences this semester.  I will be presenting my research every weekend for the next month.  I will present at the Dyson’s Society of Fellows, the Eastern Colleges Scientific Conferences (ECSC) at Marist College, Wayne Patterson University Undergraduate Research Symposium and ACS URS where I will be doing an oral presentation that will be also presented at the Undergraduate Student – Faculty Research Initiative  showcase day.  It will be a long journey but I am ready for the challenge, and I look forward to gaining more experience.

This program is a great experience.  I have learned a lot not only from doing my research through papers and online, but also in the chemistry labs.  I have learned a lot about the instruments I worked with even though some of them we were unable to get results.  I have become an expert in changing the columns for the HPLC instrument.  The GC-MS was very temperamental in providing us with solid results from different concentrated samples, but I learned how to change some aspects of protocols to better acclimate to the instruments present to us in the labs.  We went to Haskin’s lab to use the mass spec. to help analyze our drug samples when all other instruments have failed.  I feel doing research related to my field of study has broadened my experience and I am considering in pursuing a professional career in forensic research.  Attending conferences has been an amazing gift to share the hard work we have put together to minds to listen and learn.  This would not have been possible without the impeccable Chemistry Department at Pace University.  I would like to thank Dr. Dai, Dr. Yarlett, and Dr. Upmacis in providing some helpful techniques and materials needed to continue my research.  Most of all I would like to thank Dr. Elmer-Rico Mojica! He is not only a professional and a down to earth mentor, but an individual who does what is necessary to help us succeed in everything that we do in the labs and outside of the chemistry department.  He is a wonderful professor, mentor, and friend and without him, this research would not have been impossible.

“And if There is God? Christianity in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and Its Film Adaptations”

For my research I read the original text as well as an international collection of analysis by various critics and philosophers. It was a bit difficult to plan out my paper and follow the outline, but the blogs helped me to do that. After analyzing the novel, I sampled multiple films in order to see how different regions and time periods effected the interpretation of the original text.

This was the first experience that I had with a research project of this scale. It taught me how to search for relevant information, analyze it and present my findings. My biggest worry was not being able to find a lot of different sources, but the library’s database provided me with useful manuscripts that lead to other articles and so on. During the creation of this research paper I faced some challenges. One of them was not to be sidetracked from my main topic. When writing my drafts I caught myself talking about the people that influenced Dostoesvky and were present in his life and other novels by Dostoevsky that had religious themes. This is where the help of my mentor, professor Danilenko came in. He was able to read and pick up on things that I was already used to in my paper, and simply did not notice when rereading it. He said that I should take my topic and be able to as thought a thread put it through my paper, having a strong intro, smooth transitions and a closing conclusion

Overall this research has taught me how to work on projects of a bigger scale, keep deadlines in mind and search high and low for useful and relevant sources. I would recommend any student to participate in the Undergraduate Student and Faculty Research Program in order to gain the skills and experience that will benefit the participant no matter in what field they will be working.