Electron Transfer via Quantum Systems

My understanding of the processes involved in heat transfer has been expanding greatly in the past few weeks of research with Dr. Walczak. We are exploring quantum heat flux with the Landauer formula, which allows us to calculate thermal conductance. The Landauer formula along with the Fermi-Dirac distribution factors, for left and right heat reservoirs, follows.

We have employed a Taylor expansion with respect to temperature difference for this formula; allowing for a non-linear correction to heat flux in the quantum systems.

We are applying these and other functions so as to define the probability for electrons to be transferred via systems of coupled quantum dots. In such, we have employed different interference conditions which will affect electron transport. The particular couplings can be controlled by applied voltages by external gate terminals.

There are 8 differing configurations which we are analyzing currently. We are analyzing them with the aid of Mathematica and MATLAB, in which Dr. Walczak has created codes that allow for computation.

As our reasearch continues, we are working to create another code in MATLAB to integrate the convolutions of our transmission functions which will allow us to obtain the thermal conductance of samples. We aim to analyze all 8 configurations in depth and provide computation results and graphs within the final weeks of the summer.

Blog Post #2: Update

Following up from the prior blog post, this research project requires a lot of trial and error, which has proven to be very tedious and requires a lot of patience. Since the last blog post, we have yet to successfully extract the RNA required to perform the gene insertion into. This could be due to the fact that the primers that have been designed are not binding to the specified binding sites and cutting the RNA enough for it to be visible in the gel.

As previously mentioned, there have been a lot of PCR conditions that were previously tested and manipulated but we have yet to find the right one for the experiment that will give us the results we need. Other changes we have made to the experiment were creating dilutions of the RNA because it actually found in a capsid – or shell, that may be hard to break if using too much concentration of RNA. When using the dilution of the RNA, there is less to work with, therefore may be easier to break the capsid. Once the dilutions were made – 5x,10x, 20x; a gel was run but the results we hoped to obtain did not work.

The two main research goals for the rest of the summer and the rest of the research project is to extract RNA by creating the right primers and conditions, and successfully inserting the GFP gene into the RNA of the parasite.

From this research, I have found that the patience is definitely key because we aren’t just tweaking one part of the research for the results we require, but are actually tweaking multiple aspects of it at the same time and seeing what works and where. Also, this research helped me to be a lot more focused on minor details because it could be the smallest thing that needs to be adjusted or changed to create a very major difference.

Thankfully, I believe that my professor and this research project has prepared me for the steps I will be taking once I graduate in the spring. This research has helped to perfect my skills in various techniques such as PCR and proper pipetting that will be useful when I work in a lab as a forensic scientist. Hopefully, the results in this research will positively impact the science community and further studies and research will be conducted to expand on this topic.

Inelastic Heat Conduction in Molecular Quantum Systems

After several weeks I have challenged and learned many things about physics. This subject may be hated by many people which is understandable but there is still many things to be discovered which makes me more impatient.                                                                               The quantum heat transporters for lattice vibration, phonons, electrons and electromagnetic fluctuations which distance is very short compared with our macroscopic world. The purpose of my research is to study electron-phonon coupling effects on electronic heat transfer at molecular levels. How electron interaction work and how does it lead to phonon-mediated changes the characteristics in transport. A brief definition of thermal conductivity is defined as a ratio of energy flux and temperature gradient. Once the phonons move freely, arbitrary energy flux will be there without temperature gradient so the finite phonon velocity will not make the thermal conductivity final. So basically, the conductivity increases with temperature because the phonons carry more energy.              In this work, we used non-perturbative functions and well known formulas  in order to present atomic preciseness combining microscopic Maxwell equations and atomic Green’s function to grasp the physical picture of the transition from photon-mediated thermal radiation to phonon-mediated heat conduction at connection. That is why with the help of these formulas we have formed a scheme described as the“Ladder Model” to help understand and generate definite results.

After couple of trials the scheme above used to conclude that there is dynamics which the electron-phonon interaction on the molecule connected by  two different thermal reservoirs. This effect is thermal rectification proving that the thermal properties of molecular systems are conducted as finite temperatures and this action of molecular transport is in the presence of molecular vibrations- phonons. Appropriate graph  model of thermal conductance and temperatures easily presents that at low temperatures there is a stronger electron-phonon coupling interaction where at higher temperatures there is more dynamic phonons in the inelastic conduction process.                                                                    As for our future studies we will be contemplating high intensity heat fluxes and their disruptions, expanding used energy-domain transport preciseness onto  time-dependent development to analyze the relaxation processes in the presence of strong electron-phonon interaction effects. An important factor for future studies will be a detailed analysis of phonon sidebands onto heat conduction along with realistic biological systems due to their molecular complexities.



The need for more research

While continuing my research the further in depth more questions began to arise. Moving closer to more recent years, allowed for more sources overall however still presented many limits. Many of the cases are currently still be reviewed or are going through the legal process currently.  This was one of the challenges I faced while completing this research.

I began to contemplate what factors play a role in the shootings that perhaps aren’t as obvious or as apparent as race or gender. One factor that I began considering is mental health. I became curious as to what the mental state of both the officer who committed the shooting and the victim of the shooting was on the date of the shooting.

I was curious to how many of these victims had diagnosed or undiagnosed illnesses that led to their victimization at the hands of police? Perhaps if these illnesses were diagnosed or treated the victim would have never been in the situation to get shot or injured in the first place. On the other hand, how many police officers had diagnosed or undiagnosed illnesses that made them more prone to the discharging of their weapon? As a psychology minor having basic knowledge that mental health impairs decision making. I came to the realization that there is a need for research in this topic. Mental health is stigmatized in social media. It is a very delicate topic, therefore leaving a hole in research on this aspect. The mental health of the officer, who was involved in the shooting might present certain symptoms of this social issue. Associating mental health with law enforcement might further cause tensions between law enforcement and citizens.

One take away from this project, which I really enjoyed was being able to use my knowledge from Criminal Justice and Psychology to look at aspects a certain way with certain perspectives. It provided different types of insights and complimented my work.

Moving forward these questions and thoughts are ones that I will keep in mind when drawing overall conclusions of the research. I plan on continuing my work in this research because it is imperative to my field and also current to this time period.

Characterization of the Microbial Community of the Accessory Nidamental Gland of the Longfin inshore squid, Loligo pealei

The 16srRNA gene from cultured isolates from the squid accessory nidamental gland was amplified using PCR and sent out for sequencing. Results from the 8 initial isolates came back, allowing us to identify the different genera of bacteria associated with the squid. The amplified 16srRNA gene that was amplified was almost the entire length of the gene allowing for a reliable identification of each bacterial isolate. The two different primers (8F, 1514R) utilized caused replication from different sides of the DNA strand. From the two independent sequencing reactions, a contiguous DNA sequence was aligned with CodonCode Aligner. We performed a Standard Nucleotide BLAST (NCBI) in attempt to find closely related bacteria and other invertebrates that might be associated.

These basic molecular and microbiological techniques were applied to an unsuspected discovery of invasive Clinging Jellyfish, Gonionemus vertens,  that were discovered in July during research in the Long Island Sound. I have isolated 31 different bacterial colonies derived from a single cling jellyfish specimen. We have gone through the process of isolating several samples, amplifying the 16srRNA  gene as well as characterizing the basic bacterial morphology. The process of isolating these Clinging Jellyfish bacterial isolates revealed a number of colonies that had a green or orange iridescence. We are interested in identifying these novel bacteria and would like to discover the role of this iridescent bacteria with this jellyfish. After the 16srRNA gene is amplified, cleaned up and sequenced, they will be sent out for sequencing. From there, we will once again be able to further classify and explore the different type of bacteria that are associated with the Clinging jellyfish.

Blog #2

Since the last blog, our research project has developed and we have made many strides and have crossed many tasks off of our research checklist. Some of those tasks include reviewing in depth the current research on our topic and beginning a literature review, registering with IRB, creating an informed consent document for the human research subjects, and creating a flyer to attract nursing majors to participate in our study, and compiling a list of questions for our student interviews.

Some of our successes include frequent and open communication between Dr. Northrup and I and swiftly completing tasks to get our research to where we want it to be. Some difficulties include needing to wait for the school year to conduct our nursing student interviews and not having many current articles or research about our specific topic to use as a guide.

I have learned that the research process is always changing. I have learned to let the process guide the project instead of letting my original idea of the project control the process. The ending product may be very different from the original idea, but that is the beauty of research.

This research project has made a lasting impression on me. As someone who has always found research very intimidating, I have learned that by taking it step by step, it can be an enjoyable journey. For this upcoming year, Dr. Northrup and I will be conducting interviews on junior nursing students, compiling the data, and obtaining conclusions based on the interviews.

Blog Post 2

                    The desire to make a change has allowed me to make tremendous strides in both the research and the development of the application.  Our team worked on the development of a virtual reality application to assist Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers, specifically during the sundowning period.  Our app, DiscoVeR takes the user into three distinct worlds, a jungle, a city, and a farm.  In each of the worlds, the user looks around to interact with the various objects and animals.  Simply glancing at the animal assigns the user a quest to find a certain food/drink that the animal is looking for which appears randomly around the world.  The user then finds the item and returns it to the animal.  My favorite part of the application was a late addition, a music room.  Instead of animals, the user interacts with various instruments and each glance plays a different clip of the respective instrument.  Also included in the music room is a jukebox that contains about 20 classic songs that the elders should remember from their childhood and adulthood.  Music therapy is a proven technique to help these patients, so including it in the application was a necessity. 

               Although a working application is currently completed, there are still many questions that need to be answered to further enhance the project.  First off, the application needs to be tested with more seniors and those suffering from Alzheimer’s.  What might make sense to us as the developers might not make sense to a senior citizen using the app, and that is something that has to be strongly taken into account.  Directions need to be clear so that the senior is able to use the app with minimal difficulty.  The potential additions to the application are endless, and our team of developers and researchers are constantly looking for ways to improve upon our project.  The music room seems to be a favorite among those who have tried the app, so enhancing the features of that would be ideal.  Customization of the songs in the jukebox along with the user adding their own pictures to a wall could make the experience different and personalized for each individual. 

               Working on the app thus far has been an awesome experience, and one that has only just begun.  It really has expanded my knowledge into a field where I never saw myself taking any interest.  It’s amazing to think how much of an impact this technology can truly have on these individuals with Alzheimer’s, and I am honored and ecstatic to be one of the many people working towards bettering the lives of all those involved!


The Progress, Successes, Challenges, and Reflections of Analyzing Athletes’ PR Scandals Link to Endorsements

At this point in our research we are still continuously gathering data needed to measure the financial effect created when an athlete with major endorsements endures a public relations scandal. Our focus has been on a top-down secondary research approach collecting quantitative data. At the beginning of the project we decided we were going to collect and analyze the data for a minimum of 35 athletes. The initial list of athletes compiled had 43 subjects. For each subject, we must determine who their biggest endorsement deal is with, as well as the date they acquired that endorsement. The data variables we are analyzing for each subject include the intensity of the athlete’s scandal, the company’s revenue and stock price (at the date of the scandal, one week after, one month after, and three months after), and the S&P 500 (at the date of hire, at the date of the scandal, and one month after). The intensity of the athlete’s scandal represents how harsh or vivid the scandal is to the public. What is the difference in economic shock created by an athlete with abundant endorsements who gets caught using performance enhancing drugs versus that of an athlete with the same degree of endorsement acclaim who is alleged to have abused his spouse? By assigning a number that represents intensity to the scandal, we are able to account for this concept of severity of the scandal.  Currently we have a good amount of data we still need to unfold. Thus far along in the data collection, it is obvious that measuring the impact a player has on a company he endorses is very complex and intricate.  


The data we have collected has not raised any puzzling questions so far. Collecting the revenue and stock price numbers has been straightforward. The biggest challenge we have faced in the data collection process is determining when two key dates occurred: when the athlete acquired the endorsement, and when the athlete created the scandal. These dates are important in determining the trends of stock prices and revenues that occur after the addition of the athlete to the company all the way up to the day the scandal breaks out, and then from the day the scandal breaks out to the day the fall out tapers off. Another issue is that some of the subjects we planned to use in the research did not have prominent enough endorsements to include them in the study. For example, an ex-Cowboy named Greg Hardy was at the front of a domestic violence case that was a popular sports’ story last year. After hearing more and more about Greg Hardy’s case all throughout last football season, we figured he’d be an excellent subject to consider for our study. It took one search to find out he had no worthy endorsements to evaluate. That rules out Greg Hardy’s case.


On the other hand, we have experienced success. In our opinion, our biggest success thus far is coming to the realization of how detailed we can make this study. There are many microscopic variables that affect the economic relationship between an athlete and the company they endorse. This project is a conglomerate that we will continuously add different elements and variable topics to. Although this is a quantitative-heavy study, we have learned that the relationship that exists between athletes and their endorsements can also be analyzed qualitatively. What I mean is that when a scandal occurs it ultimately affects people, and these people perceive the scandal in a multitude of different ways. Companies that are sponsoring these athletes can argue that they had no clue about the athletes’ decadent behaviors prior to the endorsement deal. If the rest of the public perceives the situation the same way, then the economic impact created from the scandals’ occurrence could be slim to none.


The opportunity to complete this research has been advantageous to our academic careers. The final material we produce will truly be an asset to us. Currently, our immediate plans include continuing to add data to our set, and continuing to add detailed ideas about how scandals economically affect an athlete’s endorsement company. Our future goals include presenting it to an economics panel for potential publication.

A Taxonomy of Central Bank Data Visualization

Central Banks around the world release huge amounts of data continuously. This data is then used by policy makers, business owners, and the general public in order to make sensible choices regarding public policy, investment, and business decisions. The format in which central banks release their data varies. The purpose of this research project is to identify some of the major differences between how central banks choose to communicate with the public through their data releases and whether or not this has a significant impact on the economy and the financial system. In order to accomplish this, Professor Weinstock and I will be comparing the taxonomy of six main central banks including the Federal Reserve, the BOE, the BOJ, the Riksbank, the Swiss National Bank, and the ECB.
We hope to uncover the chronology in which central banking systems began a variety of visual communication tools such as fan charts, which are now commonly used by many central banks around the world. Despite the fact that many central banks use fan charts to visually represent their forecasts to the public, the manner in which these fan charts are created and displayed varies greatly from one central bank to another. We would like to determine which central banks have been more innovative than others and whether or not the marginal benefits of releasing such forms of data have had a positive impact on the economy. Our research involves indicating which central banks began such trends in transparency and communication to the public as well as which central banks followed in the footsteps of others. We will study the various forms of data releases and their effect on economic growth, employment, inflation, and financial stability.
How this data is then perceived by the public is what determines how the economy will grow or regress. Professor Weinstock and I are interested in the extent in which data visualization released by central banks impacts expectations and decision making. Central Bankers may try to influence the decisions made by investors by emphasizing some economic indicators while downplaying others. Central banks can alter the display of visual data. Does this affect how the public then responds to this data? Central banks know that a lot of smart people are watching them, so they may feel that there are some things they can get away with but they also want to be careful. This research definitely investigates central bank transparency and its impact on central bank credibility.

Blog Post # 2

For my research project with Professor Sean Daly, we have made significant progress toward coming to a conclusion on our research questions.

In our research, we have utilized various risk metrics such as the information ratio (set with the ACWI as a world benchmark) to arrive at our conclusions.  The information ratio is computed by dividing an ETF’s excess returns (“excess” beyond its benchmark return) by its “excess risk” (that volatility above and beyond the chosen benchmark).  It allows us to see if an ETF’s returns are really impressive compared to its benchmark and the added risk it entailed.

Most recently, we have measured two separate groups: the PIIGS – a group of developed European countries– and the “Urdanetas,” a name we use to describe a select group of Emerging Market ETFs that have outperformed most other nations in terms of growth.

The PIIGS acronym stands for Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain.  With the exception of Ireland, these countries have information ratios that continue to decline even years after the initial PIIGs Crisis of 2010.  Though they are well-known and established markets, these countries are simply not delivering the right risk-adjusted returns from the standpoint of the universe of international ETFs that are now available to US investors.

Named after the famous Spanish navigator that pioneered the Acapulco-to-Manila trade route in the 16th century, the Urdanetas consist of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Peru and Chile. As a group, they have significantly out-performed their benchmark over the past three years.

As one collective group, these Emerging Markets have triple the annualized returns of the S&P 500 – with a much lower beta (vis a vis the ACWI) and less volatility.  This was surprising because during the past three years, there has been a real downturn in oil and commodities.  Some of these countries benefit from low commodity prices (the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia) while others benefit from higher prices (Peru, Colombia, Chile), so there is an interesting internal balance at work.

When comparing the emerging markets of the Urdanetas, the only negative information ratio for the period was Sri Lanka. If as an investor, you were to remove Sri Lanka from this list, then the group would yield an information ratio of 1.48 during 2014-2016, which is remarkable.

Though hardly know to US investors, Peru had an information ratio of 3.24 for the period of 2014 to 2016 – a stunningly great achievement when you consider that anything positive is considered outperformance.

We have also been researching the Nigeria ETF (NGE) as possible “mean reversion” trade, comparing its monthly returns to the Brent futures market since its currency depreciation in June 2016.