Summer Research Colloquium

The Summer Research Colloquium is an opportunity for summer research scholars to share what they've been working on all summer with the summer research community. 


Alex Ramirez 
Mentor: Gregory Severn
A New Plasma Discharge Device for Fundamental Research with ’Electronegative’ Plasmas
Two main species of plasma, the 4th state of matter, exist, ‘electropositive’ (consisting of electrons and positive ions) and ‘electronegative’ (consisting of negative ions, electrons and positive ions). Since its discovery as a new state of matter in the 1920’s, research in plasma physics has driven the creation of advanced technology (e.g., discharge fluorescent lighting, Large scale (VL and UL) integrated circuit fabrication, and magnetic confinement fusion) and has deepened our understanding of the universe. Where plasma encounters material boundaries, a thin region near the edge usually forms to isolate the plasma from the boundary, permitting the plasma overall to remain charge neutral. This thin region is called the sheath. Understanding sheaths and associated phenomena is fundamental to understanding all bounded plasma. Many properties of the sheath are still not well understood or experimentally verified, especially in electronegative plasma. Experiments to be performed in a new plasma discharge device being built at the University of San Diego (USD) will answer questions such as whether internal double sheaths form near the boundaries for sufficiently electronegative plasma, and whether Bohm’s criterion for sheath formation is satisfied there for the first time. We describe here a new device (Pyrex vacuum chamber, 6” tubing) and diagnostics (emissive probes for plasma potential measurements and tunable diode laser-based laser-induced fluorescence for ion velocity measurements) designed and built to test these questions. We report on the progress of fabrication and the first plasma potential measurements in the new device, initiated with nitrogen discharges.

Alexandra Unapanta
Mentor: Rachel Blaser
Analyzing Alzheimer Model Rats through the Traveling Salesman Problem
The traveling salesman problem--a task that requires a solver to find the shortest route possible between a series of targets -- has been used to study spatial cognition and memory in both human and non-human subjects. Alzheimer’s Disease is a form of dementia that negatively affects cognitive abilities and can worsen over time. Because of the neurological similarities between rats and humans, our research uses transgenic Alzheimer model rats and control rats in order to 1) characterize the change in control rats' TSP performance with age and 2) determine if their trajectory differs from that of Alzheimer’s rats. We first familiarized and pre-trained a cohort of rats to the TSP procedure. After pre-training, each rat was tested in a series of configurations which varied in solution difficulty. Their behavior was video-recorded and later coded for various behavioral measures such as latency, contacts, and memory span. When comparing across age, younger rats showed better overall task performance than older rats. Females also showed better task performance than males in general. Ultimately, the goal is to be able to establish these cognitive differences between Alzheimer’s and control rats in order to test possible drug treatments that could improve the cognitive deficits that occur with Alzheimer's disease.

Alexee Silva
Mentor: Victoria Rodriguez
Race: Perceptions From and Towards People with Albinism
Albinism is a genetic mutation that strips those affected of the pigment in their skin, hair, and eyes. This alters the appearance of the affected and at times, subjects them to ostracism when interacting with their ethnic group(s.) Albinism affects less than 1%of the population and it is for this reason that understanding their attitudes and opinions on their identity is important. The goal of this study is not only to gather these attitudes on ethnicity and race, but to spread awareness of the mutation once the data has been collected. This will be done by surveys and interviews based on the survey responses. Although the findings have yet to be made, they will prove to be one of the few psychological studies on Albinism. This study’s findings also aim to provide information to families of those with Albinism to better care for an individual who has it.

Amanda Ezell
Mentor: Jeffrey Malecki/James Fabionar
The Musician's Muse: A Review of Motivation and its Implications for Percussion Pedagogy
In order to best advocate for music in schools, educators must understand what motivates students to become involved in music and continue pursuing it so that pedagogy will best meet the needs of their students. To this end, I set about conducting a literature review to assess the current body of knowledge as it pertains to the relationship between motivation and student music engagement. The results of this study highlight important correlations and trends that can aid educators in improving the quality of music education, as well as providing suggestions for areas of research that can deepen our understanding of the key role motivation plays in music education. One area in particular is the experiences of percussion students, which can differ significantly from those of their peers who chose other instruments, leading to differences in motivation and musical development. I propose that further exploration of this subject will improve the quality of music education for percussion students and the musicians with whom they interact.

Antonio Rojas
Mentor: David De Haan
Determination of Aerosol Deliquescent Point and Hygroscopic Growth Factor
We know that models assume Secondary Organic Aerosols (SOA) particles to be amorphous, semi-solid mixtures. As relative humidity (%RH) increases these aerosol particles begin to take up water. The hygroscopic growth of SOA’s changes its size, morphology, phase, chemical composition and reactivity. Here we demonstrate how we measure the hygroscopic growth factor and deliquescence point of various SOA’s. We measure this by developing a system to send wet aerosol through Nafion tubes to control the RH of aerosol particles over a large range of humidifies. We Atomize solutions into wet aerosol particles and send through a RH controlled Nafion tube, and send RH adjusted aerosol particles to Condensation Particle Counters (CPC’s). A Microorifice Uniform Deposit Impactor (MOUDI) measures the bounce factor of these aerosols determine at what %RH these SOA’s are deliquescing. We have tested Ammonium Sulfate ((NH4)2SO4) and Sodium Chloride (NaCl) as Primary Organic Aerosols (POA) to standardize the system. We will report on the hygroscopic growth and deliquescent point of various SOA’s in the future.

Brandon Kennedy
Mentor: Rico Monge
The Light in the Abyss of Technology
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) are subjects that hold great promise but fail to actualize solutions to humanity’s most pressing problems. While the world’s population could have been fully fed, clothed, and housed since the 19th century thanks to the technological advancements of that era, the gap between the rich and poor has increased, aided in large part by STEM fields. These fields have been rigorously and blindly pushed for in the American education system; rigorous for profit and blind because critical thinking is not part of the process anymore. Students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are the ones most affected by this due to the need of breaking the cycle of poverty in their families: there is more money to be made in STEM related fields of work. Technology is made on command by students entering the workforce without understanding the implications of their work as they are stuck in a calculative way of thinking; the answer to their lack of wealth is doing blind science. In a world full of deadly weapons, the technology behind them will not be the cause of human destruction but the increasing inability for people to think in a meditative way. Technology can be a catalyst for positive change, but the one unique characteristic of people to think must first be brought back to the front lines of anything STEM related.

Brendan Qiu
Mentor: Nathalie Reyns
Defensive morphologies in the barnacle Chthamalus fissus
The barnacle Chthamalus fissus, commonly found in the upper intertidal of southern California, is known to exhibit three different morphologies: an oval operculum, a narrow operculum, and a bent operculum opening on the side. The narrow and bent morphs are for defensive purposes, likely against the predatory snail Mexicanthina lugubris lugubris, which have begun to be more prevalent at higher latitudes then they were originally acclimated to. The goal of my research was to determine if the barnacle C. fissus can develop certain adaptive morphologies during early juvenile development or during the adult stage. I also wanted to expand on earlier studies of barnacle and snail surveys done in La Jolla, California by repeating the surveys and comparing data to see if the how the frequency of certain morphologies in barnacles has changed over the years. I also examined if the predatory M. lugubris population in La Jolla has increased or decreased compared to the earlier study. In lab, I had four experimental groups containing three replicate barnacle groups. For three groups, I exposed barnacles to snails once at different stages in their development (at settlement, two weeks after settlement, and four weeks after settlement). I also had one control group that was not exposed to snails. All groups were photographed and measured weekly. My preliminary results indicate that barnacle mortality is higher the earlier the barnacles are exposed to snails after settlement, but my research is still ongoing.

Caroline Riedstra
Mentor: Ryan McGorty
Characterizing Liquid-Liquid Phase Separation
Recent work has shown that the intracellular environment is organized not only through membrane-bound organelles but also through fluid droplets that have phase separated from the cytosol. Intracellular liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) has attracted more attention recently because fluid droplets within the cell may play roles in cells’ responses to stress, gene regulation and in neurodegenerative diseases. Our understanding of intracellular liquid-liquid phase separation has advanced through multiple quantitative biophysical techniques. Here, we describe an undergraduate lab module that highlights some of these biophysical techniques. Using various optical microscopy techniques and quantitative image analysis, we characterize liquid-liquid phase separated samples in terms of their viscosity and surface tension. We use different phase imaging techniques, differential interference contrast and phase contrast, and fluorescence microscopy to observe droplets coalescing, beads diffusing in the different liquid phases and photobleaching. We compliment experimental work by computationally investigating the Flory-Huggins model to understand phase separation.

Catherine Shorb
Mentor: Divya Sitaraman
Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Neural Circuits Underlying Decision-Making in Drosophila melanogaster
The goal of my research project is to identify and characterize the effects of sleep deprivation on neural circuits underlying decision-making. In order to study these processes, the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) is widely used, as this genetic model organism has the ability to make simple decisions in light of competing choices. Preliminary experiments show that sleep-deprivation in male flies leads to a reduction in courtship behavior, and can be mapped to P1 neurons (courtship command neurons) which are present only in male flies. Alterations in decision-making processes in sleep-deprived female flies remain largely unexplored.
For my project, I observed and compared the courtship behavior of both sleep deprived and sleep replete male flies. In order to determine whether behavioral modification occurs in response to sleep deprivation in females, oviposition preferences were assayed. The decision to lay eggs in specific locations depends on many factors, including nutritive value of the substrates and is crucial to ensure the success of the progeny. Pregnant sleep-deprived females were given a binary choice between yeast and sucrose/yeast agarose media on which to lay eggs, and their preference was compared to sleep-replete flies.
Sleep deprivation was achieved by utilizing genetic alterations to sleep circuits, as well as mechanical techniques. In addition to behavioral analysis, two key regions of the brain (mushroom body and central complex) in sleep-deprived and replete animals will be imaged and compared to test whether the circuits involved in decision-making undergo changes that support the behavioral results.

Christelle Matsuda
Mentor: Ryan McGorty
Diffusion in Cytoskeletal Networks Using Light Sheet Microscopy
The purpose of this project is to study diffusion in crowded cell-like environments of cytoskeletal protein networks. We create networks of actin, microtubules and composites of both actin and microtubules. Measuring the movements and conformations of particles and of macromolecules in such environments will further our understanding of transport phenomena in within cells. We add 1 micron fluorescent beads to the various networks and record videos of the samples using light sheet microscopy. The dynamics of the beads in the different networks are then analyzed using two techniques: particle tracking and differential dynamic microscopy. These two techniques produce complementary data and allow for comparing transport of particles in the different networks. We find that the diffusion in these networks is anomalous to varying degrees. We also find that there is a significant difference in the heterogeneity of bead dynamics between the actin and the microtubule environments. We are currently using this data of bead dynamics to interpret similar data of DNA molecules diffusing in these environments.

Daniel Rodriguez
Mentor: Daniel Lopez-Perez
Investigating Tensegrity: Experiments in Light-Construction
In their lightness, tensegrity structures help create something enormous of such light weight and very limited material, and they enclose the maximum amount of space with the minimum amount of means. Given the environmental challenges today, there is an urgent need for the world to start to become environmentally highly conscious of the actions made and how they affect the built and natural environment at a global scale. This study examines multiple case studies, from as early as the 1940’s to the present, and how they are constructed. The study includes a variety of 3D and 2D models from radial, to linear, and nonlinear. It compares 40 models and categorizes them into families that make it easy to understand the relationships within each of them and the possibilities for construction. Through this study, researchers are able to further understand the complexity of these tensile structures and imagine ways to integrate them into architecture.

Daniela Abouchedid
Mentor: Jena Hales
Histological processing procedures following stereotaxic hippocampal lesion surgery in the rat
Animal models in neuroscience research are invaluable for better understanding how our nervous system functions. Using a combination of behavioral testing and stereotaxic surgical procedures to lesion site-specific regions of the brain, we can better determine how individual brain areas are involved in certain cognitive processes and behaviors. A critical component of this research is performing brain tissue histology, in which we examine the lesioned brain tissue and thoroughly characterize the damage. Histology is a multi-step procedure that is essential for the validation of data throughout research. After transcardial perfusion with paraformaldehyde, the rat brain is extracted. The fixed brain is then placed on a freezing platform of a sliding microtome so that it can be sectioned coronally at 40 µm thickness. These sections are then placed into sodium azide, which allows safe refrigerated storage of the tissue. After preparing mounting solution, the sliced coronal sections is mounted onto glass microscope slides. Once the slides and sections are dry, the tissue is stained using cresyl violet so that the cells in the tissue can be easily viewed under the microscope, and the hippocampus can be viewed clearly. Comparing lesion tissue to control tissue, we can characterize and quantify the extent of the lesions and use this information to inform our interpretation of the behavioral data.

Danielle Velazquez
Mentor: Lukasz Pruski
Web Visualizations of Cube Unfolding in 3D and 4D
Mathematics has many qualities that allow for real-world problems to be studied and solved theoretically with multiple algorithms. The purpose of my research was to use the power of abstraction in mathematics in order to create web visualizations of unfolding 3-dimensional cubes and 4-dimensional hypercubes. The term ‘unfolding’ means representing an n-dimensional object in (n-1)-dimensional space. The ability to create visuals of the 4-dimensional object is important because such an object cannot be seen in the real world. One of the complications that was encountered in the program was obtaining the layout of how to properly unfold the cube while maintaining the legal possibilities of different moves and unfolded shapes. An algorithm was created in order to assist with the proper placing of squares in the 3-dimensional and 4-dimensional cases. Javascript, HTML and CSS were used to develop the program that can be accessed by anyone in the world. Our research allowed us to solve the problem of visualization in an innovative way which uses the concept of associated cube graph.

Dominic Trento
Mentor: Greg Prieto
The Price of Justice: An Investigation of the Exploitation of the For-Profit Bail Bond Industry by Global Insurance Companies
As the prison industrial complex continues to grow, money bail has become a centerpiece in debates surrounding prison reform efforts. According to the report conducted by the ACLU and Color of Change, money bail’s use has increased from thirty-seven to sixty one percent in between 1990 and 2009 (ACLU, 12). The broad guiding question for this research is why and what effect has this transformation had on low income families who are disproportionately affected by the money bail system?

This increase is the result of attempts by global insurance companies and major corporations to profit from restricting freedoms of the accused. One particular group, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), has channeled corporate funds to conservative politicians and legislators to advance a variety of conservative policy positions that benefit their corporate sponsors, including the obstruction of bail reform. As a result of the growing influence of high finance in the bail bonds industry, today thirty global insurance companies underwrite millions of bonds written per year, yielding industry profits of more than two billion dollars annually (ACLU, 5).

This ethnographic project traces this legislative effort by lobbying groups to pass legislation designed to increase the use of money bail within courts and to restrict services, including prohibiting contact by PTS (Pre-Trial Services) within fourty-eight hours of the arrest. The project includes analysis of the language of bail within local courts compared to congressional record and testimony. The final component is building upon the existing literature around bail through inclusion of excerpts of interviews with those in the bail community.

Elena Beckhaus
Mentor: Jennifer Prairie
The effect of marine snow particle distribution on copepod behavior
The biological pump is a process by which particles of high carbon content descend from the surface layers of the ocean to the deep ocean, which is known to be the largest carbon sink on Earth. A major component of the biological pump is marine snow (aggregates of phytoplankton and other organic matter). These marine snow aggregates can often form layers, which have been hypothesized to be hotspots for zooplankton foraging. When the copepods feed on the marine snow aggregates, they cause the aggregates to break up and remain in the surface ocean, which would prevent as much carbon from being exported to the deep. Although it is known that copepods feed on marine snow, no study has looked at how the presence of a marine snow layer could affect copepod foraging behavior. This study examined the effect of marine snow thin layers on copepod swimming properties. Three different treatments were used in the experiment: a tank with a thin marine snow layer, a tank with a homogenous mixture of marine snow particles, and a tank with no marine snow (for the control). Two cameras were set up to obtain 3D images of copepod behavior. Preliminary results have shown that the copepods are more active in the treatment with the homogenous marine snow distribution. This finding indicates that marine snow thin layers may not represent enhanced regions of foraging as previously thought.

Elisenda Guerra-Delgado
Mentor: Bradley Bond
LGBT and POC: Media Effects on Youth at the Intersection of Sexuality and Race
Previous research has demonstrated that the emotional well being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth can be positively influenced by exposure to LGBT individuals in the media. However, little empirical research has examined the influence of media on the emotional well being of LGBT youth at the intersection of race. Previous studies examining media effects on LGBT individuals primarily have White participants and do not account for the different cultural upbringings that can influence overall identity development for racial minority youth. The present study intends to examine the intersection between LGBT sexual identities and racial identities as they relate to youth and youth media exposure through a quantitative survey of LGBT youth. Researchers anticipate that the data analysis will support previous research that focuses on the importance of media representation for youth with a minority status. However, researchers expect there to be a significant difference between White LGBT youth and racial minority LGBT youth.

Elizabeth Bushnell 
Mentor: Nathalie Reyns
Growth and Mortality of Chthalamus fissus in the Context of Climate Change
This research examines the impact of temperature increase due to anthropogenic climate change on California barnacle species, Chthalamus fissus. Given the prominence of the species in southern California, impacts to the species could translate to environmental impacts to intertidal ecosystems. I tested the hypothesis that different temperatures will have an effect on mortality and growth. To evaluate the effect of temperature on Chthalamus fissus, I cultivated barnacles in the lab at average temperatures of 14.23°C, 21.57 °C and 28.31°C. Daily mortality and weekly growth of the barnacles was tracked. Preliminary results show increased mortality with elevated temperature. My results also suggest that barnacles have a short-term tolerance to extreme temperatures, as mortality in the 28.31°C treatment was comparable to the other treatments for the first 3 weeks, but those barnacles had all died by the end of week 6. It appears that barnacles are at increased risk of mortality as sea surface temperatures increase due to global warming.

Elizabeth Petty
Mentor: Jena Hales
The role of the Hippocampus in the Traveling Salesman Problem
The Traveling Salesman Problem (TSP) is a spatial navigational task that differs from many other laboratory-based behavioral tasks in that it only requires natural foraging behavior. The goal of the task is not to verify if an animal can do a certain behavior, but to record how the animal behaves. Performing this task can involve a variety of cognitive functions, such as spatial processing, memory, attention, route planning, and decision making. Given the established role of the hippocampus in both spatial processing and spatial memory, we examined how hippocampal damage affects rats’ performance in the TSP. The rats were trained on the TSP, which involved learning to retrieve bait from targets in a variety of spatial configurations. Rats were then matched for performance and divided into two groups; one group received bilateral excitotoxic hippocampal lesions and the other group received a control sham surgery. After recovering from surgery, the rats were tested on eight new configurations. A variety of behavioral measures were recorded, including distance traveled, number of revisits, span, and latency. The results showed that the sham group outperformed the lesion group on most of these measures. These results will be discussed in terms of hippocampal involvement in various cognitive functions related to performance on the TSP.

Emma Heflin
Mentor: Maura Giles-Watson
Race and Representation in Four Plays by Shakespeare
Racial thought which emerged during the sixteenth century still affects how race is perceived today. In this project, I contextualized representations of marginalized characters found in Shakespeare’s Othello, Titus Andronicus, The Merchant of Venice, and The Tempest. I analyzed Shakespeare’s representations and how they reflect the racial thought of the early modern period, as well as how he complicates notions of race at that time through these figures. Using W. E. B. Du Bois’ theory of double consciousness as a guide, I analyzed how these marginalized characters reflect the opinions of society and dialectical tensions relating to identity. This project will ultimately assert what developments of the early modern period shaped the creation of these characters and the impact of racial representation in these plays on the world today.

Francisco Aguilar
Mentor: Imane Khalil
Kelvin-Helmholtz Instability
The Kelvin-Helmholtz instability is a fluid dynamics phenomenon which has been an area of active research for decades. The instability occurs at the interface of two fluids, with different densities, which are undergoing a shearing motion. The instability can be seen in many different fields of study across many orders of magnitude from interstellar gases to micron-scale films. 

Although the mathematical theory of this phenomenon has been previously reported, there is opportunity to perform a novel quantitative comparison between theory, computational modeling, and experiment. Through modern techniques of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and digital image processing, we will analyze the Kelvin-Helmholtz (K-H) instability from a new perspective.

The Goal of this research is to compare experimental data gathered from the ‘Tilt-Tube’ digital images with a CFD model matching the properties of the experimental results. We hope to see strong correlation between the computationally synthesized experimental data, and the CFD model.

Gequesha Collins
Mentor: Jena Hales
The role of memory in solving the TSP and the effect of hippocampal lesion in rats
Without episodic memories, we would constantly forget where we are or how we got there and we would be unable to remember what to do next. The hippocampus is critically involved in the formation and maintenance of episodic memory, which has both spatial and temporal components (Squire, 2004). The Traveling Salesman Problem (TSP) is a spatial navigational task that has been used in both human and animal research. However, the contribution that brain regions involved in learning and memory have on performance in the TSP has not been thoroughly examined. Given the important role of the hippocampus in learning and memory, we wanted to directly examine the role of the hippocampus in TSP performance in rats. Sixteen rats were trained on the TSP for 10 days. Following training, rats were matched for performance and assigned to receive bilateral excitotoxic hippocampal lesions or sham lesions. After two weeks of recovery, rats were tested on the TSP and given a modified testing protocol that was designed to place greater demands on memory. This memory test involved 10 days of testing during which the same configuration of 10 target locations was always used for all rats. For the first five days of testing, four of the targets were baited each day and the locations of these four selected baited targets remained the same for days one through five. For the last five days, the location of the four baited targets switched to different target locations, and these baited target locations remained consistent for days six through ten. Once testing was complete, all rats were perfused and their brains fixed for histological processing. Results from this study will be discussed in terms of hippocampal involvement in this modified version of the TSP.

Hannah Rouret-Valencia
Mentor: Cid Martinez
Motivations for Gun Related Homicides in San Diego in 2015
Since there is limited research on motivations for homicide with firearms, San Diego can provide a critical view into the wider problem of gun violence in California and the nation. The following study focuses on the personal motivations people have when acting out gun violence. Looking at people living in San Diego’s neighborhoods that suffer from concentrated disadvantage, we can see how they are disproportionately affected by gun-violence. Working with the Gang Division of the San Diego District Attorney and community organizations, homicide files are coded to create a trace analysis of where these incidents occur, while officers and victims of gun-violence are interviewed in order to draw a narrative. Our preliminary findings from Southeast San Diego and Escondido indicate that a significant number of guns carried and used in homicides are stolen and imported out of state from Arizona. Findings from the study have major local, state and Federal policy implications regarding gun availability and violence. Drawing on the homicide files and supplementing them with news coverage and press release from law enforcement agencies, the policy brief will also sketch the context, motivations and meanings for firearm possession as it relates to firearms used in homicides.

Ilana Rivera-Larrea
Mentor: Drew Talley
Fundulus parvipinnis in Mission Bay: Understanding Patterns of Fecundity and Reproduction
The California killifish (Fundulus parvipinnis) is a ubiquitous species to the Southern California marsh habitats, yet there is limited knowledge of their ecology, specifically their reproductive biology. Due to this limited knowledge, our current understanding into the reproductive habits of F. parvipinnis is derived from a few natural history notes and studies of congeners of the species found along the Atlantic coast. This study examined the reproductive patterns of F. parvipinnis, and their fecundity, measured in terms of gonadal weight and oocyte density. To assess fecundity, gonadal tissue of female F. parvipinnis individuals was extracted, weighed, and oocytes counted. Additionally, the diameter of a subset of oocytes from each individuals was measured to determine their stage. Reproductive patterns of F. parvipinnis were assessed by measuring and weighing individuals collected in the field and then calculating changes in length/weight ratio through time as an indication of reproductive activity. In doing so, potential correlations between reproduction and lunar cycles were determined. Preliminary results show the average fish was 72 mm (TL) and 6.95 g. Of the females collected and examined, the average ovary wet weight was 0.16 g, with an average of 144 oocytes per ovary, and an average oocyte diameter of 1.85 mm. Furthermore, preliminary analysis suggests that F. parvipinnis individuals prepare for spawning during the cycle of the full moon. This was determined by an average decrease of 0.50 g in total weight after the occurrence of the full moon.

Isabel Gonzalez 
Mentor: Victoria Fu
Looking For America
Looking for America is a short film about the everyday struggles and triumphs young people in the United States face in 2018. It touches on the social, environmental, political, cultural, and racial issues present in America. It follows characters of various backgrounds and ethnicities to show the viewer different perspectives on life in America in 2018. Through character development, the viewer will be able to empathize with the character no matter how different they are. It will show specific experiences the characters have faced, whether it be in the present or the past through the use of flashbacks. The film will not only show the textures and dynamics of the country and its land, but its people and the experiences they go through.

Jasmyn Sosa-Houston
Mentor: Perla Myers
Math Moves
Compared to many other dance forms, hip-hop dancing has a relatively short history. People with a desire and instinct to move, but no technical or professional dance training, brought dance to the streets. Now hip-hop is widely used in the media, and those who choreograph exceptional hip-hop dance routines are sought-after to create pieces for commercials, concerts, TV shows, movies, etc. But what is considered exceptional hip-hop? A limited number of studies have quantitatively evaluated the movement of professional dancers compared to those considered amateurs to identify what makes one a better hip-hop dancer than the other. However, there is very little research that does this with choreography. In our project Math Moves, we are evaluating the choreography of the most popular and sought after choreographers of today to identify what commonalities makes their creations the best in the business. We have created graphical representations by hand and examined video. We have also learned and performed certain routines, and are working on capturing, quantifying and evaluating data to examine patterns and similarities using an Xbox One Kinect Sensor. Once complete, the results of this study can provide aspiring choreographers with the knowledge of what to keep in mind during their choreographing process and what to incorporate into their pieces to better their choreography.

Jordan Castro
Mentor: Peter Iovine
Iodine Release Kinetics from Novel Starch Biomaterials as Environmentally Friendly Biocides
The release kinetics of molecular iodine (I₂) from a small guest inclusion complex in amylose helices of Hylon-7 have been elucidated across different solvent sink conditions and chemical modifications. Iodine-loaded native granules were spun in distilled water before analysis with UV-Vis spectroscopy and titration with sodium thiosulfate to evaluate the released iodine species. The supernatant was also tested for its biocidal effect through inoculation with E. coli. When phosphate buffered saline 1x (PBS) and 0.3M NaCl were used as the solvent matrix, no quantifiable amount of iodine was released into solution. For chemical modification, starch granules were “swelled” via lyophilization after a soaking process with H₂O at 1 atm and 50 °C. These lyophilized starch granules exhibited both a higher I₂ content by weight percent and a heightened release profile over time. Thus far in the research, a method for increasing and decreasing the rate of release of iodine have been investigated.

Jorge Saavedra
Mentor: Sarah Gray
Sediment Texture and Dissolved Oxygen in the California Continental Borderland Offshore of Southern California
The aim of this study is too evaluate sediment texture, sediment organic matter, and dissolved oxygen off shore of Southern California. This region consist of a series of northwest trending basins and ridges which were created in association with the San Andreas fault system that extends offshore of Southern California. The relationship between foraminifera abundance, bottom water oxygen, and sediment composition and texture is poorly understood in this area. From June 1st to June 4th 2018, the RV Sally Ride was used to collect sediment and water samples from various locations and depths (200m-1000m) along the flanks of basins the California Continental Borderland. A CTD and dissolved oxygen meter where used to measure water column and sea floor dissolved oxygen concentrations. Bulk sediments and cores to 40cm depth where collected using a Van Veen Grab sampler and an Ocean Instruments Multicorer. The samples were analyzed in a lab using a Cilas Particle Size Analyzer for texture and loss on ignition (LOI) for percent organic matter. Foraminifera were counted and sorted. Mean grain size offshore ranged from 16 to 98 microns. Generally, findings show sediment texture tends to be finer at greater depths and distance from shore. There does not appear to be a relationship between dissolved oxygen and sediment grain size. The relationship between sediment texture, abundance and diversity of foraminifera, and bottom water oxygen will be presented. Understanding the relationship between these variables can offer insight into benthic habitats because organic matter provides nourishment for organisms while sediment texture denotes habitat accessibility. Organic matter and sediment texture is also sensitive to ocean oxygen concentrations which vary with climate, currents, and upwelling.

Julia Norman
Mentor: Can Bilsel
Building the Model from the Broken City: Ideals, Instabilities, and Reconstructing Identity in West Berlin’s International Building Exhibitions 1957-1987
This research examines West Berlin in the Cold War period to understand how the city’s housing initiatives shaped its physical character into a manifestation of its visions and limitations. The goal is to develop a relationship between the sociopolitical climate of divided Berlin and the architecture commissioned in response to extensive housing shortages, using the International Building Exhibitions of 1957 and 1987 as models. Sponsored by the Berlin Senate, the International Building Exhibitions invited architects from around the world to develop alternative models to meet the city’s housing shortage and give direction to urban architecture. The outcomes were publicised extensively as a result of their promotion by famed architects that sparked international interest. Through maps, plans, and diagrams of housing projects produced by the building exhibitions, this research exhibits the physical traces of this relationship as it develops throughout the city’s period of division. What emerges from these approaches to reconstruction is a series of themes: the latent insecurities in ideals, the destabilization of methods and roles, and the interplay between historical and physical continuity and discontinuity. This project studies how the two exhibitions responded to these themes while parading the concepts of “living in the city of tomorrow” (1957) and “the inner city as a living space” (1987), ultimately producing a chronology of architecture that defines the instabilities of West Berlin’s place in Germany and the Western World.

Justin Olivares-Vermillion
Mentor: Matt Zwolinski
A Literature Review on Empowerment Based Youth Development Programs in Underserved Communities
The contemporary discussion regarding underclass education, is part of a much larger and older discussion concerned with inequalities between socioeconomic classes. Previous research illustrates a strong inverse relationship between education, and the many vicious cycles concentrated within underserved communities (e.g. cyclical poverty, incarceration, violence). The following literature review focuses on empowerment based programs in underserved communities who aspire to evoke social change through empowering youth. Furthermore, this work will not only identify and discuss elements that prove to be accurate and effective in delivering program philosophies to youth, but this review will also serve as a guide for implementers to better understand the underlying principles of what makes an accurate and effective empowerment based program.

Kathryn Querner
Mentor: Jeanie Grant Moore
A Literary Inquiry into Class Discrimination and the Law
Literary, legal, and historical texts from the fourteenth to early nineteenth centuries have provided a strong basis for me to explore the role of the British legal system in enforcing class inequalities and marginalizing the lower classes. I have focused particularly on literary presentations and implications of penal codes, vagrancy and begging laws, and the Old and New Poor Laws. These laws are directly and indirectly referenced in Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, Sir Thomas More’s Utopia, Shakespeare’s King Lear, Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, and Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist. In these works, among various others, the results of class-related laws are shown to include a legally reinforced wealth disparity, negative perceptions of charity, a belief in the inherent immorality of the lower classes, and a bias against the lower classes in the court system. The inhumanity and ineffectiveness of these laws is demonstrated as authors satirize laws and legal proceedings, demonstrate appalling conditions and treatment of the poor, present alternative legal solutions to poverty and crime, and challenge common perceptions of the lower classes. Tracing the development of laws and social perceptions through a literary frame of reference has illuminated the function, effectiveness, and development of class-related laws in Britain, and, indirectly, America.

Kerri Wong
Mentor: Can Bilsel
California’s Affordable Housing Crisis:  The Housing‐Element Law, Noncompliance, and its Effects on the Local Community 
In 1969 the state of California passed the Housing-Element Law in an effort to subside the growing unaffordability of housing. This Housing-Element Law mandated that all local communities to reach a certain quota of affordable housing units; however, despite this state mandate, California’s increasing affordable housing crisis has not been resolved. This project examines the changes in the Housing-Element to identify patterns and changes since 1969, as well as the process of the state institutions in allocating the number of affordable units through the Regional Housing Needs Assessment. In addition, in order to determine how the current system has failed to provide adequate housing for several communities, this project examines the results of the mandate in the form of completed units to demonstrate how the continuation of developing market rate units has failed to meet the state’s housing law. Then, I will study the city of Encinitas where the city’s lack of compliance has perpetuated the ongoing crisis of affordable housing to ultimately identify the social and urban conditions the Housing-Element Law creates.

Larissa Olivas
Mentor: Jena Hales
Analyzing the Role of the Hippocampus in Temporal Memory in Rats
The hippocampus is necessary for the formation and retrieval of long-term declarative memories. A critical component of most long term memories is the feature of time and place. Besides its role in memory, the hippocampus also has neurons that fire with spatial specificity, known as place cells (O’Keefe and Dostrovsky, 1971), and with temporal specificity, recently termed time cells (MacDonald et al., 2011). While the role of hippocampal place cells in spatial memory has been an ongoing area of study, the behavioral relevance of the temporally-selective hippocampal time cells remains unclear. Our research investigates the function of the hippocampus in temporal aspects of memory. We have designed a novel time duration object discrimination task to explore the ability of rats to learn elapsed time in order to make an object discrimination judgements. During the task, rats are exposed to either a 10-second or 20-second tone and learn to make a decision to displace an object, A or B, depending on the associated preceding delay duration. Choosing to displace the correct object indicates that the rats learned a specific response based on a certain amount of elapsed time. After rats reach criterion performance of 90% correct object discrimination, they receive complete bilateral excitotoxic hippocampal lesions or sham lesions and are retested on this discrimination. Results will eventually be discussed in terms of hippocampal involvement in learning object discriminations based on elapsed time duration.

Madison Francis
Mentor: Rae Anderson
Determining how crosslinker protiens influence the mechanics of the cytoskeleton
The strength, architecture and motility of cells is dependent upon the interactions between two protein filaments that comprise the cell cytoskeleton: actin and microtubules. Studies on wound healing suggest microtubule and actin filaments are interconnected with one another as actin flowing towards the wound borders transports microtubules with them. This research focuses on how varying the concentrations of crosslinkers in networks of actin and microtubules influences their viscoelastic properties, response to stress and strain, and their relaxation after release from stress. We created co-polymerized, fluorescent-labeled networks of actin and microtubules with varying concentrations of crosslinkers that crosslink only actin, only microtubules, or both filaments. We use optical tweezers to apply microscale strains to these networks by trapping embedded microspheres and oscillating them at various frequencies or dragging them various distances at different speeds. We measure the force the networks exert to resist these strains. Results indicate that increasing the concentration of crosslinkers surprisingly yields a decreased resistive force as well as lower viscoelasticity of the system.

Matthew Lucas
Mentor: Joan Schellinger
Microwave Assisted Solid-Phase Peptide Synthesis: Applications for the Origins of Life
In the RNA World Hypothesis, ribonucleic acid (RNA) was the source of genetic information as well as having catalytic activity (ribozymes). However, in all conditions that allow for the prebiotic synthesis of nucleotides, amino acids are also generated. This current study addresses the question whether the presence of peptides could improve the function of ribozymes in a prebiotically plausible scenario. To answer this, we are collaborating with Dr. Uli Müller’s lab (UCSD) where the function of ribozymes will be compared in the presence and absence of prebiotically plausible peptides. Our lab focuses on the synthesis and characterization of peptides which were generated from a chiral mixture of amino acids in order to represent early Earth. The syntheses were completed using solid-phase peptide synthesis techniques, while the characterization was performed with reverse-phase high performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry (LC-MS). The peptides will be co-incubated with ribozymes to determine if they enhance their function. The results of this investigation may lead to new insights about the chemical interactions between macromolecules that ultimately led to the origins of life.

Maya Young
Mentor: Jennifer Prairie
The effect of distribution on copepod ingestion of marine snow particles
The biological pump is one of the most important pathways within Earth’s carbon cycle, by which carbon is transported through biological processes to the deep ocean. Sinking marine snow aggregates are one of the primary contributors to this process, because as these particles sink out of surface waters they carry with them particulate organic carbon. Because marine snow aggregates are a known food source for copepods, it is important to study the way in which these organisms feed in order to gain a better understanding of how they may be affecting the ocean carbon cycle as a whole.

We conducted experiments investigating differences in copepod ingestion of marine snow between different feeding environments: one tank was formed with a thin layer of marine snow aggregates, one tank was formed to have a homogenous distribution of marine snow throughout, and the third tank served as a control with no marine snow. Copepods were collected for the experiments off the coast of San Diego, and were then placed in these various feeding environments. Gut pigment analysis was used to estimate ingestion by the copepods for each feeding environment. Preliminary results indicate that a homogenous distribution of marine snow aggregates may result in increased copepod ingestion compared to a layered distribution. These results suggest that in regions where aggregates are distributed homogenously, less carbon may be exported to the deep ocean through the biological pump, having important potential implications for marine carbon cycling on larger scales.

Meredith Amspoker
Joel Gruber
The Guru/Student Relationship of Vajrayana Buddhism and its Transferal to the West
This paper is an ethnography-based study comparing the experiences of Tibetans and Judeo-Christian converts practicing an Americanized version of Tibetan Buddhism in the United States. The project is focused on Buddhists of Boulder, CO, a community with a significant population of both Tibetan and convert Buddhists. Though much has been written on the increasing popularity of Buddhism in the United States, the research has almost exclusively addressed the religiosity of converts, often ignoring the experience of lay Tibetan Buddhists. While recent movement towards the globalization of Buddhism have been religiously and politically beneficial for Americans, as well as Tibetans, the speed with which the traditions of two very different cultures have become entangled has created a problematic situation. The Vajrayana practices of Tibet are hierarchically and ritualistically complex, and require an in-depth understanding of a Tibetan culture with different values and social mores. Most notably, the relationship between guru and student, particular to Tibetan Vajrayana, has traditionally required absolute trust and absolute obedience from the student for the guru (lama) to properly train the student. On the one hand, Americans are not accustomed to this type of hierarchy, and on the other there have been several clear instances of abuse on the part of Tibetan lamas involving their convert students. Without disregarding or dismissing the experiences of abuse reported by members of the American Buddhist community, an understanding of the operative and religious complexities of this guru/student relationship is necessary to an authentic and positive Western adoption of Tibetan Buddhism

Mia Godoy
Mentor: Adam Haberman
Amyloid-B in Fly Eyes
Alzheimer’s is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases, characterized by the presence of amyloid-ß, which are created from the amyloid precursor protein (APP). High levels of the naturally occurring amyloid-ß clump together, forming a plaque that can disrupt cell function, allowing the disease to progress. We will the fruit fly (drosophila melanogaster) to study the cellular aspects of neurodegenerative diseases, due to the fly’s expression of specific genes and quick aging. A fruit fly of two weeks has characteristics of old age, providing neuronal aging and disease conditions needed to simulate Alzheimer’s. We will analyze the affect of amyloid-ß on lysosomes, one of the structures in the neurons that degrade unwanted protein. The presence of amyloid plaques has been shown to reduce lysosome function in fly eye neurons in our previous experiments. Instead of expressing amyloid beta, we will be expressing APP which simulates the natural disease conditions. We are expecting to see the same kind of degeneration caused by amyloid-ß, in APP.

Michael Sween 
Mentor: Gordon Hoople
The Shape of The Universe
One theory on the shape of the universe is that it has a dodecahedral shape. This theory is supported by astronomer Edwin Hubble who discovered that the universe is expanding leading us to believe that the universe may be negatively (hyperbolically) curved. The conclusion that the universe is a Poincare Dodecahedral Sphere comes from the fact that pentagons are capable of completely tilting a hyperbolic space, and a dodecahedron has spherical symmetry. To explore and communicate this fascinating concept through interactive art, we created a large-scale kinetic sculpture which will evoke the sensation of standing at the center of a dodecahedral universe. The sculpture is a 13 foot tall dodecahedron with mirrored internal faces. The interior is illuminated by LED lights to represent stars and galaxies. In the spring semester concepts and ideas of how to make the kinetics of this structure function were brainstormed and developed. In the beginning of the summer Computer Animated Drawings (CAD) of all the parts of this structure were created and Finite Element Analysis (FEA) was conducted on the structure for certain wind conditions and safety factors. Components were fabricated and assembled into the structure. Throughout the summer issues developed within the kinematic systems of the structure, using the engineering process the devices were redesigned and implemented into the sculpture.

Morgan McLaughlin
Divya Sitaraman
Drosophila melanogaster, dopamine regulation, and Fmr1 expression
The goal of this project is to build on the ongoing studies in the lab and utilize the amenability of the Drosophila system to genetically manipulate dopamine receptors in neurons of the MB in addition to identifying the mode connectivity between sleep-regulating DANs and the MB. This study includes measuring neural activity of dopamine neurons as a function of sleep and wake states. I used Drosophila Activity Monitors (DAMs) which record movement of individual flies. In addition to using the DAM system, we measured Ca++ (reporter of neural activity) in identified sleep regulating DANs in sleep-deprived and sleep-replete flies by using a Drosophila shaker and GFP fixing. This will allow us to see if activity of these neurons is directly correlated with sleep and arousal. In addition to collecting data for this project, I have begun a new project involving Fragile X syndrome. Intellectual disability and sleep dysfunction is present in humans with Fragile X. In Drosophila melanogaster, there is one gene associated with the disease, dFmr1, while there are three analogs in humans. The amenability of Drosophila allows researchers to see direct effects of gene mutations. The goal of this project is to see if/how over and under expression of dFmr1 affects dopamine and therefore affects sleep.

Natalie North-Cole
Divya Sitaraman
The Neural Circuitry Behind Simple Decision Making in Drosophila Melanogaster
This research uses genetic manipulations of Drosophila Melanogaster to outline the neural circuitry of output neurons within the mushroom body of the brain. The mushroom body is known to host the neural processes of simple decision making in the fruit fly brain. Oviposition is the vital choice of where to lay eggs. This behavior is essential to the survival of a species and serves as an excellent model of simple decision behavior. Preference assays using various concentrations of sucrose and yeast in agarose were tested using wildtype to establish a repeatable finding to be used throughout future assays. UAS Shibire flies were crossed so that it was possible to manipulate specific ion channels within single output neurons. By effectively shutting off one neuron at a time and testing the effect on oviposition behavior, it was possible to begin screening output neurons. In addition to oviposition, this project delves into the effects of food deprivation on simple decision behavior. Male flies were tested in courtship assays and females were tested in oviposition assays to determine the effect of various nutritional deficits on simple decision making.

Natalie Chuang
Mentor: Timothy Clark
Mechanistic Study of Iridium-Catalyzed Ortho C–H Borylation of Benzylic Amines
The installation of boron atoms in organic molecules is of interest in chemistry for its synthetic utility, enabling reactions to take place at otherwise unreactive positions to yield many diverse products. The Clark group has previously reported an iridium-catalyzed C–H borylation reaction of the ortho position in benzylic amines. This current work examines the mechanism of the reaction. From preliminary data, a rate law has been proposed indicating a first order dependence with respect to all reagents. The electronic nature of the rate-determining step, which appears to be C–H bond cleavage, is also discussed in the context of kinetic isotope effect and Hammett equation methods.

Nicholas Bail
Satyan Devadoss
Unfolding Regular Polytopes with Simplicial Facets
Last summer, a group of students working with Professor Satyan L. Devadoss established that in arbitrary dimensions, any cube unfolding guarantees a net. Motivated by them, our work is an investigation into the unfolding of n-dimensional regular polytopes with simplicial facets. By combining combinatorial and geometric properties to create an unfolding algorithm constructed using simplices, we are able to establish a novel proof that any unfolding of an n-simplex yields a guaranteed net and significant progress in proving that the same property is true for the n-orthoplex as well.

Nina Montejano
Mentor: John Halaka
Made You Look
Realists such as Edward Hopper, Lois Dodd, and Philip Pearlstein focused on the real and the ordinary, often depicting the human figure within its surroundings. However, these artists also included subtle details within their paintings that never offered complete answers to the narratives they created. My project, Made You Look, is a series of large-scale graphite drawings that construct the ordinary, yet force viewers to question it. The drawings included are detailed scenes based on real environments, each containing peculiarities within those details. Dramatic lighting and careful placement of objects and figures work together to create a quiet tension between the familiar and unfamiliar. The work ultimately causes viewers to question the accuracy of their own perception.

Nina Tabrizi
Jena Hales
Effect of Hippocampal Lesions on Time Discrimination Learning in Rats
A central feature of long-term memory is that it is grounded in time and space. It is well established that brain structures, such as the hippocampus, are required for forming and retrieving these memories. In addition, the involvement of the hippocampus in spatial processing was first described following the discovery of neurons, known as place cells, which fire with spatial-specificity (O’Keefe and Dostrovsky, 1971). More recently, hippocampal neurons, known as time cells, have been discovered which show time-dependent firing, even when the rat remains positioned in a fixed spatial location (MacDonald et al., 2011). Although these cells fire in a time-dependent manner, the behavioral relevance of their firing is unclear. In order to directly study the behavioral relevance of hippocampal time cells, and the hippocampus in general, in learning elapsed time, we created a novel time duration discrimination task. Twelve rats were tested on a figure 8 maze and experienced a 10- or 20-second time delay in the center arm. During this delay, a 2000Hz tone played for the 10- or 20-second duration. Rats learned to make a decision to turn left or right out of the delay box depending on the associated tone duration (10 seconds = left turn; 20 seconds = right turn). Once the rats reach criterion performance of 90% correct on two out of three consecutive days, they receive either an excitotoxic hippocampal lesion or a sham lesion surgery. After recovery, rats will be tested to determine hippocampal involvement in discriminating time duration. Results from the time discrimination task will be discussed in terms of hippocampal involvement in making right or left turn decisions based on the processing of elapsed time.

Peter Walhout
Can Bilsel
Otay Mesa: Surfacing of the Social Order
This research project concerns the border town of Otay Mesa in East San Diego County, which contains a catalogue of biopolitical structures and effects. In an area visually defined by binaries (the U.S. and Mexico), I conduct an analysis which draws from philosopher Michel Foucault and which uncovers the much more nuanced relationships and discourses of power which take place along this stretch of the border. The goal is not simply to prescribe a Foucauldian language to describe phenomena in this space, rather it is to subject the structures in this location to an analysis to see the ways in which they are connected and discover new arrangements of space and power. Through researching building regulations, zoning, and planned developments I find the degree to which the seemingly distinct sides of the border possess a much more surreptitious relationship. The Maquiladora factories and mental institutions lining the Mexican side, the detention centers and corporate offices lining the American side, and between them, the new commercial point of entry slated for construction early in the next decade, are all subjects of my investigation.

Raechel Hill
Mentor: Drew Talley
Otolith Increment Validation of the California Killifish
California’s wetlands are greatly endangered as 95% of marsh area has been destroyed or developed. Understanding the health of southern and northern Baja California wetlands requires clear knowledge of the natural history of organisms in these marshes. This study therefore focused on Fundulus parvipinnis, a key mesopredator in the Mission Bay wetland of San Diego, CA, in an effort to better understand its life history. This work validated otolith increment formation for F. parvipinnis, which will help to determine growth patterns and population dynamics of this species. Weekly samples of a continuously growing population of F. parvipinnis were dissected and the otoliths analyzed to determine the increment formation of one ring in the otolith. A second method of using a biological dye to stain live fish and the currently forming otolith ring was used to corroborate the results of the first method. The expected validation time of formation of a single ring is approximately one day. This finding allows for accurate age determination of any F. parvipinnis caught, which can be used for future population and ecosystem dynamics study.

Ramon Solis
Mentor: Arietta Fleming-Davies
Density Dependence of Nucleopolyhedrosis Virus in Agraulis vanillae Larvae
Nucleopolyhedrosis virus (NPV) is a pathogen that causes deadly disease in the larvae of Agraulis vanillae, the Gulf Fritillary. Larvae use and consume the host plant Passiflora spp., passionflower. When infected larvae die on the host plant, the host plant becomes contaminated with the virus. Healthy larvae then consume the contaminated host plant and become infected with the virus. This research project aims to determine if NPV is density dependent.

Diseases that are density dependent spread faster and become more prevalent in high host density populations, compared to low host density populations. Field experiments were conducted to test the effect of high and low plant host density on the transmission rate of NPV in the larvae. Mathematical models will be created and used to simulate the behavior of NPV in insect populations.

Rebekah Furr
Mentor: Juliana Maxim
Wooden Architecture of Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, and Russia
My research objective is to expand the neglected study of wood architecture. Through bibliographic research, I will examine the history of a marginalized medium, typically associated with low-level buildings of the countryside rather than the monumental stone architecture the cities. I will focus my research on Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and Russia, regions where wood construction was omnipresent and technologically elaborate.

Renee Lawrence
Jessica Bell
Characterizing the cellular location of Wound Inducible Transcript 3.0 and suppressor of IKK epsilon
Wounds created in the oral cavity heal at a rapid rate and leave minimal scarring. Wound Inducible Transcript 3.0 (WIT3) has been shown to be responsible for this process. Initial studies implicate an interaction between WIT3 and the cytoskeleton in this mechanism. WIT3 shares 51% sequence identity with an innate immune protein of unknown function, suppressor of IKK epsilon (SIKE). SIKE has also been shown to interact with cytoskeletal proteins. The primary goal of this work was to determine the location of WIT3, and if it colocalizes with SIKE in five cell lines: epithelial ovarian cancer (DOV13), leukemia cells (HAP1), HAP1 with SIKE knocked-out (SIKE-CR), HAP1 with WIT3 knocked-out (WIT-CR), and astrocytoma (CCF-STTG1). Immunofluorescence assays for SIKE and WIT3 were conducted using rabbit-α-SIKE, rabbit-α-WIT3, and mouse-α-WIT3. SIKE was found to be located in puncta throughout the cytoplasm. The mouse-α-WIT3 antibody showed WIT3 spread out evenly in the cytoplasm in all cell lines. The rabbit-α-WIT3 antibody indicated that WIT3 is in puncta surrounding the nucleus and throughout the cytoplasm in the three HAP1 cell lines. In DOV13 cells, WIT3 is spread evenly throughout the cytoplasm with small clusters of puncta. Immunofluorescence studies do not demonstrate colocalization between the two proteins. An immunoblot conducted to examine if there was any cross-reactivity between the antibodies showed that the two WIT3 antibodies may react with SIKE. These studies show that both SIKE and WIT3 do not occupy the same location in the cytoplasm however this finding could be due to the cross-reactivity of the antibodies.

Sara Desalegne 
Mentor: Joseph Provost
The Generation of CHP - Fluorescent Fusion Proteins for Evaluation of NHE Regulation in Cancer Cells
The integral membrane protein Sodium Hydrogen Exchanger 1 (NHE1) plays a critical role in pH regulation. NHE exchanges an intracellular hydrogen ion for an extracellular sodium ion to prevent cells from becoming too acidic and is therefore a pH regulator essential for a cell’s survival. Calcineurin Homologous Protein 1 and 2 (CHP1 and CHP2) are G proteins that are key regulators of NHE, but little is known about what this entails. To better understand NHE regulation I have cloned the gene for a fluorescent protein (either GFP or RFP) into a pAAVS1-CHP plasmid into to create a fused protein (either CHP1-RFP or CHP2-GFP). This summer we have learned how to purify and detect plasmid DNA, conduct a restriction digest, and we have been working on restriction enzyme subcloning and Gibson cloning to create these products. By creating the one fused protein to code for two genes, we will have beneficial insight as to CHP’s function in a cell while interacting with NHE.

Shermee Randolph
Mentor: Cory Gooding, Suzanne Walther
What's For Dinner? A Look at Housing Segregation and Food Deserts in Chicago
Housing segregation has been an ongoing issue for major cities in the United States. From the 1930s- 1970s, federal and state legislations were put in place to keep blacks and whites in different housing areas, as well as unintegrate neighborhoods where blacks and whites once lived together. These laws created urban slums or ghettos that are still present in big cities today. Many of these slums were, and still are, populated by African American. In these living conditions, it is very easy to discover many forms of environmental racism. One injustice that sticks out is the creation of food deserts. The lack of access to quality and fresh foods can cause varies issue for the people that live in those neighborhoods. Using Chicago as a study area, this project looks at the relationship between housing segregation and food deserts through maps created in ArcMap. The objective is to see if there is a correlation between housing segregation and food deserts as well as the affect food deserts have on neighborhoods specifically in education and health. Lastly, this project will present possible solutions to food deserts.

Stanley Ryan 
Mentor: Brianna Rigg
My summer research project, Crash, will be an immersive installation that fills the Visual Arts Center Gallery space with a large armature for a steel track in which balls descend to create a chaotic and overpowering soundscape. Crash is intended to create an embodied experience for the viewer who will explore the work as they follow the path of the balls through the track and notice how the soundscape shifts relative to their movement.
I plan on the piece having multiple tracks and several balls running continuously. With the tracks filling the space the viewer will need to spend time moving within the work to begin to understand each path and its intricacies. The viewer will be bombarded by constant, loud noises. The sounds will move as the balls collide with materials along the tracks; the viewer will also move to create an awareness of the interdependency of space and sound.
I have been creating this work in raw steel to fill the Visual Arts Center Gallery with the large armature. I am building this armature by fabricating modular components in the metal shop facilities on campus. Modular construction will allow me to quickly install and uninstall the piece in the gallery.
With Crash I hope to create a dichotomy between the viewer's intrigue and the anxiety caused by the barrage of sound and the works sharp, protruding forms.

Sydney Platt
Mentor: Diane Hoffoss
The Shape of the Universe
One theory on the shape of the universe is that it has a dodecahedral shape. This theory is supported by astronomer Edwin Hubble who discovered that the universe is expanding leading us to believe that the universe may be negatively (hyperbolically) curved. The conclusion that the universe is a Poincare Dodecahedral Sphere comes from the fact that pentagons are capable of completely tilting a hyperbolic space, and a dodecahedron has spherical symmetry. To explore and communicate this fascinating concept through interactive art, we created a large-scale kinetic sculpture which will evoke the sensation of standing at the center of a dodecahedral universe. The sculpture is a 13 foot tall dodecahedron with mirrored internal faces. The interior is illuminated by LED lights to represent stars and galaxies. In the spring semester concepts and ideas of how to make the kinetics of this structure function were brainstormed and developed. In the beginning of the summer Computer Animated Drawings (CAD) of all the parts of this structure were created and Finite Element Analysis (FEA) was conducted on the structure for certain wind conditions and safety factors. Components were fabricated and assembled into the structure. Throughout the summer issues developed within the kinematic systems of the structure, using the engineering process the devices were redesigned and implemented into the sculpture.

Sylas Anderson 
Mentor: Rae Anderson
Dynamics of Microbeads Diffusing Through Cytoskeletal Protein Networks
The cytoskeleton of cells, which is comprised of varying concentrations of semi-flexible protein filaments known as actin and stiff rodlike proteins known as microtubules, is key to the structure and motility of cells. These proteins also act to hinder the diffusion of biological molecules through the cell. Here we study the diffusion of microbeads through networks of actin and microtubules to characterize the impact of these networks on intracellular transport. We do this by using in fluorescence microscopy to track single one micron polymer beads diffusing through actin networks, microtubule networks, and equimolar composite networks of both proteins. Using custom-written software, we track the center-of-mass of each microbead and determine the corresponding mean-squared-displacements and diffusion coefficients. We show that microbead diffusion is most restricted in actin, while microtubules have the least impact on suppressing diffusion.

Tatiana Zamora
Mentor: Brandon Carlisle
The relationship between self-concept and self-handicapping behaviors among ethnic minority college students
The purpose of the present study was to examine the relationships between self-concept and self-handicapping among Hispanic/Latino college students. Self-handicapping involves actions or inactions that inhibit performance and provides an individual with an external explanation for potential failure. Four hundred sixty-nine undergraduate students from a diverse southern California university completed survey instruments measuring academic self-handicapping, ethnic identity, imposter feelings, and self-esteem. Academic self-handicapping was positively associated with experiencing impostor feelings and negatively associated with self-esteem and ethnic identity development. These relationships are further examined by exploring gender differences and other participant demographic information such as grade point average. The current research contributes to literature that aims to understand maladaptive cognition and behavior in academic settings as well as how they may relate to the psychological experiences of ethnic minority students. Implications for potential intervention are discussed.

Yessica Green Rosas
Mentor: Kristen McCabe
Creating Reliable Guidelines to Code Parental Imitation
The Dyadic Parent-child Interaction Coding System (DPICS; Eyberg, et al., 2013) is an observational coding system used by therapists to measure progress in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT; Eyberg, 1988). However, the DPICS does not currently include guidelines for coding parent-child imitation, one of the key skills taught during PCIT to promote prosocial child behaviors (Carpenter, Uebel, & Tomasello, 2013), and enhance the parent-child relationships (Meltzoff & Gopnik). This is likely to lead therapists to spend less time coaching parents to imitate their child’s behavior and also makes it impossible to answer research questions about the effects of parental imitation on child behavior. The current study aims to address this issue by developing a reliable set of guidelines to code imitation in similar language to the DPICS. We are currently using 10 pre-and-post-treatment DPICS videos in order to develop and refine imitation guidelines. We will then apply these guidelines to 40 session videos obtained from a subsample of 40 Mexican-American families with a young child with clinically significant behavior problems obtained from a previous PCIT clinical trial (McCabe et. Al. 2012) which will be coded by two lab members. We will determine interrater reliability by calculating the kappa reliability of the code. Furthermore, we will be examining the relationship between imitation and outcomes by comparing the frequency of imitative acts during pre-and-post-treatment. A reliable method of coding imitation would give therapists the tools needed to effectively track parental imitation progress, and better engage parents to facilitate the development of this beneficial skill.

Zachary Schaaf
Mentor: Kate Boersma
A Biodiversity Survey of Aquatic Invertebrates in Anza Borrego Desert State Park
In deserts, seasonal changes such as flooding and drought affect aquatic ecosystems. Water bodies are categorized as either lotic (flowing) or lentic (non-flowing), and these two habitats respond differently during seasonal changes. Aquatic invertebrates reside in these fluctuating habitats, and their community composition can be indicative of ecosystem health. However, there is little research about how aquatic invertebrates respond to seasonal changes in Southern California. Anza Borrego Desert State Park (ABDSP), located 2 hours east of San Diego, provides a diversity of aquatic habitats. I chose ABDSP as my study site because little is known about its aquatic invertebrate community composition. My overall research question is, which aquatic invertebrates are present in ABDSP? Additionally, how does aquatic invertebrate community composition in these habitats change seasonally? To address these questions, we collected aquatic invertebrates from three lotic and two lentic sites over 2 years. The aquatic invertebrates were then identified to the taxonomic family level. To date we have identified 34 families and calculated diversity indices on samples from one lotic and two lentic sites. Preliminary analysis shows high levels of diversity in the lotic site and one of the lentic sites, but low diversity in the other lentic site, possibly due to low water flow, small/fragmented habitat, and high temperature. Once my analysis is complete, I predict that there will be differences in community composition both spatially, between sites, and temporally, within sites. My research will help ABDSP prioritize conservation for its fragile aquatic ecosystems.

Zani Moore
Mentor: Divya Sitaraman
Neural circuitry behind simple decision making in Drosophila melanogaster
One of the commonly studied choice behaviors in Drosophila melanogaster is oviposition, the crucial decision females make about the environment in which they place of their eggs. After encountering conflicting published results, we designed our own binary-choice experiment to test D.melanogaster preference for egg-laying substrates. At 25℃, flies show strong aversion to laying eggs on agar containing both sucrose and yeast and prefer the plain agar instead, but prefer to lay eggs on agar containing yeast over plain agar. Using this data, we investigated dopamine neurons involved in oviposition behavior. Using Shibirie, a temperature sensitive neuron inhibitor, we inhibited certain dopamine neurons and measured outcomes of individual knockdowns. With this technique, conclusions can be drawn about the role of each neuron in this preference. The results indicate that TDC2 inhibition affects oviposition, because the mutation causes D.melanogaster to reverse their typical preference, laying eggs on sucrose and yeast substrates over plain. Further investigation through repeated testing and confocal imaging is required to confirm these results. In combination with results from output neuron experiments, we will be able to map the dopamine neural circuit underlying ovipositional preference in D.melanogaster.