From the limited data that we gathered from our research it appears that screen exposure impacts certain individuals differently, making some more susceptible to reduced ability of inhibition and attention. The data, however, was not confined to one effect. It was found that some participants who played videogames on a regular basis were still able to successfully perform the tests measuring their attention and inhibition after completing the videogame control whereas some scored the same as they had when measured before the control, others improved, and other declined. Participants who were less accustomed to screen exposure also had the same results: some scored higher after the electronic control whereas others scored a lower or an equal amount.
Time was an important factor. It may be that the 10 minutes each subject was given to complete each control was not long enough. The amount of time each subject was allotted could also have contributed negatively to our results because in the real world the average college student isn’t exposed to only 10 minutes of screen time.
Practice effects also appear to be influencing results. Some subjects had already been exposed to the STROOP Color and Word test through school and the internet, I also noted that majority of subjects scored higher on the STROOP the second time it was given to them after each control because they were more familiar with what it entailed and what was expected of them to achieve a higher score. For example, one subject in particular vocalized when he received the STROOP for the first time that he couldn’t read the words quickly in fear of making a lot of careless mistakes, however, when given the test for the then second time after the control he was able to read more quickly because now he knew what the test entailed and was no longer worried about making errors. This possibly shows that those who obtained a higher score on this test did so because they were familiar with it not because one control affected their cognition negatively or positively.
This project has given me insight on how to work with people from a researcher standpoint. When working with human subjects patient and persistence is highly essential. From scoping, to contacting, to reminding, to participating each step requires the researcher to make the subjects feel important by knowing that they are contributing to data that can have a profound impact of the community at large.
We use two theoretical models to show how specific factors have affected U.S.’s GDP from 1971 to 2010, and China’s GDP from 1990 to 2010. The theoretical models consist of data about each of these factors: household consumption to average income, interest rate, export. The GDP is composed by these three factors. The data set shows each of these factors affects the demand for goods and service and how that relates to GDP.
Aside from the study of GDP performance in macroeconomics there are many other issues that can affect a nation’s growth. Living standards and productivity are major issues that we will discuss in this study. We will compare these issues to the percent distribution of the consumption, interest rate and export value to identify which factors have the most significant impact.
I cannot believe this is my final blog. It’s strange to think nearly an entire year has past since I first applied to participate in this program last July. Conducting this study on ePortfolios with Dr. Anstendig has been such a rewarding experience. Although, I had to complete this research project from a distance – this situation has not hindered our project in any way.
Over the last few months – with the assistance of the ePortfolio eTerns – we interviewed nine students in order to uncover evidence of student learning. The interviewees provided great insight into the benefits of using ePortfolios in their courses, programs, student life, and career development. For example, one of the greatest benefits of ePortfolios is its ability to help secure employment after graduation. One hundred percent of the students said they would show their ePortfolios to a potential employer. As Mathew Indix explained, ePortfolios can “work to [a graduate’s] favor when applying for a position and interviewing with a potential employer.” These interviews also highlighted students’ understanding of the importance of reflection. For example, as Stephanie Moody said, “Reflecting on other people’s responses opens up the discussion instead of just in class, but also through writing.”
At the same time, Dr. Anstendig and I continued to evaluate student’ (thirty in total) completed ePortfolios online. We read their reflective blog post entries and analyzed external links, embedded information, and the files/documents uploaded. While reading student blog posts, we searched for common themes and shared traits. Ultimately, we found that more than seventy-five percent of the students demonstrate growth in their ability to reflect.
We decided, appropriately, to create an ePortfolio page to highlight our work for the upcoming showcase. Over the last two weeks, we have spent a great deal of time building the page and including important artifacts, such as these blog entries and our final paper. I created and uploaded a story digital story that highlights the benefits of ePortfolios. In addition, we have included a “working draft” of the article we hope to submit to the International ePortfolio Journal.
The biggest challenge we faced was the lack of time to fully complete our project. Despite the great headway we have made and the results we have already uncovered, we have more work to complete before publishing an article. Currently, we are still in the process of interviewing students. We have also reached out to Professors asking to arrange interviews. For this reason, I do not view the conclusion of the Undergraduate Research Initiative as an end point for our research. Even though, I graduate next month, I remain committed to enhancing our research – and to helping ensure the article’s completion and publication.
These past few months have been filled with many lab trials, beginning initially with the analysis of the mid-logarithmic M. bovis-BCG cultures supplemented with glutathione. Each time, these trials showed inconsistent optical density readings and only one general trend. The cells both those in liquid broth media, conditioned with and without glutathione, would lyse. Dr. Kelly and I are now currently in the process of ordering (and eagerly awaiting!) new M.bovis-BCG for that particular set of experiments.However, more importantly to my research are the latent infection cultures. In replication of my lab’s previous work with the mycobacteria and glutathione, I have manipulated the protocol to my needs, specifically tripling the culture size (and thus 3-fold more bacteria) in order to have a sufficient RNA yield. Data analysis of these samples recently revealed very similar results in accordance with the growth trend on days 4 and 5, however were not the best possible results I believe we are able to obtain.
Initially, this appeared to be a huge obstacle. We theorized ways to compensate for the physical limitations of upscaling the culture size, which resulted in the inadequate volume displacement (due to the glass beads addition to achieve anaerobic conditions), preventing bacterial contact. Although strikingly, this observation then led my lab to a new hypothesis on the effects of reactivation tuberculosis at the cellular level, illustrating the scientific method at its best. From these results, we suggest that the mechanism of resuscitation from dormancy in the previous cultures was dependent on quorum sensing, or cell to cell communication. Little is currently known about how tuberculosis may function in reactivation, however it is possible that glutathione is, or highly resembles, a small peptide that which mycobacteria may recognize/import as a means of determining cell density, promoting virulence, and resuscitating from long-established dormant cultures. I spent many hours with Dr. Kelly methodically reviewing results from our lab and discussing possible outcomes. I am truly grateful for this experience in biological research, and not only for the kinesthetic practices of techniques and handling of microbial systems, but especially for the mentorship that has progressed my analytical thinking in the methods and developments of biological research.
The Predictive Relationship Between Obesity Criteria and Neuropsychological Deficits Final Blog
To begin, it has truly been a very long and hard journey. I was hoping to have more progress completely then this, or even truly beginning, but it is what it is, and I am not going to make any excuses. Dr. Adams and myself have had many issues delaying our progress, main issue was obtaining IRB approval. We have done our prep work prior to getting approval, such as organizing how we are to collect participants, what tests we are planning on running, self measuring sheets for the participants, and scoring the results. We have finally been granted approval and have begun our progress collecting participants, and I am happy to say we have some lining up. Therefore, we hopefully in our short time left be able to have good results at the end of this research.
Furthermore, I like to add that we are also planning on continuing our research when this program is over. We will hopefully be able to prove our hypothesis no matter how long and how difficult it will be.
This year has certainly flown by in an instant! As a graduating senior, I look forward to May 15 and ‘the rest of my life’ and whatever it may bring. With this being said, the end of the year also means the final blog post of this academic year’s undergraduate research program. As you know from my previous blog posts, Dr. Zaslow and I have had quite an experience with our choice of topic. Thankfully, our most recent attempts to nail down a working thesis and to begin our research has proved to be successful, and we are well on our way to a comfortable position in our research in order to present at the end of this month.
As a general update to our last blog post, Dr. Zaslow and I have been able to and distribute the frames that we are bringing to light throughout our project and are currently analyzing our selection of five moments that we have chosen to focus on during this research. Though our presentation will allow us to fully elaborate on the moments we have chosen to analyze, I am happy to say that we have a great selection of stories dealing with gender ambiguity and gender non-conformity and the coverage we have been able to work with has been nothing short of eyeopening and a bit controversial.
From here on out, we are hoping to continue working on the project through the summer while also gearing up for the possibility of publishing our work. I’m excited for the future of this project and am thankful for the UGR program for matching Dr. Zaslow and I up — a great work pairing indeed!
This project, as well as its frequent ups and downs, has been a great experience to be a part of during my senior year. As mentioned before, I am graduating in just a handful of weeks, but this program has really pushed the urge for me to continue my education on the graduate school much further than I originally thought. I find myself interested in pursuing research within the realm of the LGBTQ community as well as focusing on the adolescents within this large community in the future, and I believe that this experience has really had an effect on my wanting to do this.
The purpose of my research began as finding the impact of heat stress on stigma receptivity in Arabidopsis thaliana, a model organism. At the beginning, I did not realize how broad this purpose was, it eventually developed into finding the increase or decrease in various levels of specific enzymes associated with stigma receptivity, the altered time window associated with the change in peak enzymes, thus altering the entire timeline for plant reproduction, and eventually opening up a ton of new questions about the impact of these seemingly small changes in plant growth and reproduction.
The majority of the work I have done this semester was familiarizing myself with the anatomy and physiology of Arabidopsis thaliana in order to properly analyze the importance of the changes in enzyme levels and morphological changes in the stigma due to heat stress. Stigma receptivity to pollen has been associated with the presence of specific enzymes including peroxidase, esterase, and alcohol dehydrogenase. We have been growing all plants at 23 degrees Celsius (optimal growing conditions), then in the 6th week, for two weeks, the plants were split up into the optimally grown group and the heat stressed group, the heat stressed being grown under 29 degrees Celsius. This protocol is more in line with actual field conditions (rather than the previously mentioned “cook and look” approach) and thus more applicable to what is likely to happen as plant community’s change along with climate change. Both heat stressed and optimally grown plants were grown under optimal conditions for the initial 6 weeks of growth, until they were split into their test in groups for the remaining 2 weeks.
As my plants are growing now in their appropriate groups, we are approaching the period of vigorous testing, occurring during the final 8th week around a 5 day period. The testing of a high n number of plants will allow for acceptance in scientific journals and the 5 day period occurs around the time previously determined at a peak of stigma receptivity to pollen. This period is used in order to incorporate any changes to the enzyme peak window, thus the period of receptivity. The quantitative analysis of these enzymes during the 8th week of growth is pertinent to understanding the ecological and morphological changes we assume will occur as a result of the heat stress. I have also been looking into the biochemical properties of these enzymes and processes during periods of importance for stigma receptivity because the analysis of the impact is based on the lack of function in these plants due to halting of their progression toward reproduction.
This past year has presented an incredible amount of opportunity for growth in the biology field, vastly expanding my knowledge of the research process and application of previous knowledge. Though, I have a difficult time dealing with the failures of the research experience, it only make the successes that much greater! Prof. Kipp and I have spent the past several months working on extensive literature reviews on our topic in order to interpret the bigger picture results, ultimately what this will mean for plant life as we dive further and further into a world damaged by global warming. I am lucky to be continuing research with Erica Kipp into the summer and fall semester, working towards publication in an academic journal and extending the results of my research into the biochemistry field of application. Overall, I am extremely grateful to have had this experience and am excited to continue working toward greatness!
Since my last blog post, Professor Bauce and I have been making tremendous progress with our research. We finished meeting with Provost Uday Sukhatme and Angelo Spillo. At both of the meetings Professor Bauce and I obtained some quality information that will be added to our end of the year report. We were both very excited to find out that our Provost is a vegetarian and supports Pace’s sustainability efforts!
Also, Professor Bauce and I have decided to create a petition. The purpose of the petition has not been decided yet. We are in the works of deciding whether or not we would like a sustainability officer on campus or to have funds allocated to the Green Pace Sustainability group.
Not too long ago I met with Tyron Ellen who works for Chartwells at the New York City Campus. The focus of our conversation was Food Waste and establishing a Food Waste Recovery Program at Pace University’s NYC Campus. Pace University is protected under the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act established in 1996 by Bill Clinton, to donate any not sold or served food items to a Non-Profit organization. We are working with Chartwells to setup a food donation agreement with The Bowery Mission. Profesor Bauce and I will be incorporating a food waste initiative into our end of the year report.
This research project has tremendously impacted my life. Through the relationship I have established with Professor Bauce, I have been able to expand my knowledge on Food Sustainability, and also enroll in an Independent Study on Food Waste. Professor Bauce has been helping me, on top of our Undergraduate Research meetings, during our weekly colloquium meetings; to finish my documentary on Food Waste and Homelessness in New York City. Our relationship is becoming a lot stronger and I am honestly blessed to have this opportunity. I recently messaged a former supervisor on Facebook to thank her for introducing me to Professor Bauce and convincing me to take his AOK1 Environmental Studies class (ENV 201 – Animals in Society). Our conversations are always very deep and rewarding. Professor Bauce has inspired my interest in food studies while also fine-tuning my business communications skills. Also, because of this research I have decided to get more involved with food studies and recently I was accepted to work at a Not for Profit called Food Shift in Oakland, California. I also recently applied for a Summer Research Project with the Dyson College to expand my research of Food Waste in San Francisco.
The purpose of this project is to figure out whether or not if PNUTS can be knocked down and see an increase in apoptosis will occur in cell lines MCF7 compared with MCF10A which are both grown in 3D cell cultures. After Trouble shooting for almost two months we have received very promising results. The red Stain, which is called Ethidium Homodimer, and the green fluorescent stain is called Calcein AM was used from the Live/Dead kit to analyze cell death. We saw that in the cell line MCF7 (cancerous cell line) when transfected with a RNA strand there were more dead cells which were stained bright red (an indicator that the cell died) then the cells that were not transfected with RNA (control group). We saw that the control group was stained brighter fluorescent green, which is a good indicator that many of the cells were alive and healthy. These results showed us that not only did the Live/Dead kit apoptosis analyzer work, but that cancerous cells in 3D shape when treated with drug have higher death numbers then the cancerous drugs that are not treated with drug. In the MCF10A cells when we stained them with the live/Dead kit it gave us great images of their morphology. The MCF10A when grown in a 3D shape are suppose to take the shape of an Acini, which is a circle of cells with no cells in the middle. Our results showed us that the outer cells were alive and bright green, but the cells in the middle were dead bright red. We are thinking that the dead cells in the middle that are stained red are the ones that die in order to create this Acini shape. This is something we will investigate in future experiments. We also saw a fair amount of equal live cells in the MCF10A control group and drug group which is what we predicted would happen being that MCF10A cells are normal and not cancerous. We would like to continue our experiments to make this project publishable in the near future, but so fair our results have been very promising.
This project has taught me many skills such as independence, maturity, responsibility, and many other skills. I learned how to do certain math in order to figure out how much volume to use of substance depending on the cell type. I learned how to talk about my research fluently in a language that is understandable to individuals that have little knowledge in this field. I am able to give presentations on my research and write reports on it, which makes me happy because when I first started this project I was unable to do this. I see a big improvement in my skills and really love being in the Undergraduate Research program. Thank you.
Undergraduate Research Initiative – Blog 4
Over the past few months, Dr. Nigel Yarlett and I have been working on characterizing the substrate specificity of Spermidine:spermine N1 – Acetyltransferase (SSAT). In this time we have isolated and expressed the C. parvum SSAT for kinetic studies in order to classify the enzyme either as a true SSAT or a general N-acetyltransferase (GNAT). Previous research has shown that the polyamines: putrescine, spermidine, and spermine have all been found to be essential for the growth, development, and metabolism of C. parvum. SSAT is a major regulator for polyamine synthesis, particularly spermine, and without it the parasite will surely die. Applying chemical kinetic studies allowed us to gauge and study the rates of chemical processes. We can also investigate how different experimental conditions (different substrates) can influence the speed of a chemical reaction and then construct mathematical models, in the form of graphs, describing this chemical reaction based on how much of a certain substrate and varying concentrations are reacting. Initial results indicate that spermine is the preferred substrate for SSAT with minor activity being demonstrated for spermidine, histone 2A, para-amino benzoic acid (PABA), and dapsone. This information was collected through both kinectic analysis of spermine, spermidine, and histone 2A and high–performance liquid chromatography analysis (HPLC) using PABA and dapsone. Upon completion of our kinetic studies and HPLC analysis we may be able to confirm the true substrate specificity for SSAT. If spermine is shown to have the highest activity out of all the substrates tested we can then exploit these biochemical characteristic for rational drug design. This project was very beneficial for me because it has allowed me to use and understand advanced techniques in the science field. My future goal for this project is to synthesize a polyamine analogue structurally similar to spermine. Considering SSAT is substrate specific for spermine, this analogue may be able to act as inhibitor for SSAT, prohibiting parasitic growth and promoting death of C. parvum. These findings will generate a manuscript and will be published in the Journal of Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology. I am glad that I was able to receive so much support from the undergraduate research initiative team in my pursuit of greater knowledge of scientific research. I have learned so many different techniques, how they work, and how I can analyze and interpret raw data. My mentor, Dr. Nigel Yarlett, was definitely inspiring and very supportive in times of frustrations and failures. Overall, I truly enjoyed this experience and thank Dr. Nigel Yarlett and the rest of Haskins Laboratories for this experience.