Undergraduate Research: Let There Be Light

the fourteenth-century Church, from gluttony to lust, from hypocritical greed to simple ineffectuality. Together, they signify the passionate call of ...
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the fourteenth-century Church, from gluttony to lust, from hypocritical greed to simple ineffectuality. Together, they signify the passionate call of the late fourteenth century for drastic spiritual change. Heroes, Hobbits, and Coming Home from War Kristin Noone Mentor: Victoria Silver J.R.R. Tolkien, a man who saw firsthand the tragedies of two world wars, wrote The Lord of the Rings to show his readers the power of choice, and how to choose for good or evil. Evil in Tolkien’s eyes is marked by selfishness and desire for power; good, its opposing force, is the power of self-sacrifice, of selflessness, and concern for others. In his masterpiece, however, Tolkien is not content to offer merely this simple duality of good and evil; he also offers readers a choice of heroes, and thus a choice of ways in which to deal with the evils in the world. This choice of heroes is revealed in the two characters who are charged with destroying the Ring, the symbol of evil in Middle-Earth: Frodo, the chosen one who must struggle against the insurmountable power of the Ring, and Sam, the companion who epitomizes the values of loyalty, selflessness, and humility, the figure Tolkien himself acknowledged as a descendent of the soldiers he saw in the trenches. Frodo, a character drawn from medieval archetypes, is a creature of the old world, a person who, though he gives everything to the noblest of causes, is doomed to fail and to fade away. Sam, by contrast, represents the new values of a war-scarred generation, the one who faces and achieves the greatest challenge: that of forging a new life after looking upon the face of evil. Sam is the hero we are left with at the end. Effect of Topical Cytokinins on Reducing the Cutaneous Side Effects of Tretinoin in the Hairless Mouse Model Kiana Nouri Mentor: Jerry McCullough Cytokinins are plant growth hormones that have recently demonstrated anti-aging properties in both plant and human cells. Furthermore, kinetin (N6-furfuryladenine), a common cytokinin, has clinically been shown to improve the appearance of photodamaged skin without causing the irritation that is characteristic of tretinoin (all trans-retinoic acid), a topical retinoid commonly used in treating acne and photoaged skin. On the basis of these findings, we used the hairless mouse model in two separate studies to evaluate the cutaneous effects of topical kinetin and tretinoin. The first study compared the effects of kinetin on skin to that of tretinoin, a known irritant. The second study investigated whether pre-treating skin with kinetin would alleviate the cutaneous aggrava-

tion caused by tretinoin. In a 3-week study, the dorsal skin of hairless mice was treated with topical kinetin (0.1%) and compared to tretinoin (0.05%) versus an untreated and vehicle control. Erythema was assessed daily based on a standard criterion. Skin moisture content was measured using a conductance probe at weekly intervals. At the end of the treatment period, skin biopsies were obtained and analyzed histologically. Results of the first study indicate treatment with tretinoin significantly increases skin irritation, causes loss of skin moisture, and increases skin thickness in hairless mice. Results of the second study indicate that pretreatment with kinetin produces a reduction in tretinoin-induced irritation, but does not prevent the loss of skin moisture or the increased skin thickness. These findings suggest that cytokinins may increase the skin tolerance of tretinoin and other anti-aging irritants. Pathway to Asian American Politcal Empowerment: A Case Study of Asian American Political Mobilization and Incorporation in Southern California Soo Oh Mentor: Caesar Sereseres Despite the significant growth in population observed by numerous scholars, Asian-Americans are still underrepresented in American politics. The number of Asian American elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels is relatively low compared to other minority groups such as Latinos and African Americans. While existing research on Asian-American politics attempts to explain current Asian-American political behavior, there is a clear lack of literature on Asian-American elite political behavior. Asian Americans seem to have barriers to achieving and sustaining political office at the higher levels of government. My research sheds light on whether barriers exist for Asian Americans and, if so, how Asians face these political barriers. From interviews with Asian-American politicians at the local and state levels in Southern California, I discover that Asian American political candidates have to spend much more on their political campaigns than their white counterparts in order to gain minimum votes for securing victory. Moreover, Asian-American elected officials are faced with inability to make greater influences at the state and federal levels in American politics. Lastly, the research ascertains to extent to which Asian Americans are politically incorporated in American politics. Two-Tone: Contemporary Afro-Caribbean Cultural Influences within England and France Alison Okuda Mentor: Laura Mitchell Through colonization, European empires were able to change the composition of most of the world. In the

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Caribbean, Britain relinquished control over Jamaica, but Martinique and Guadeloupe still remain territories of France. The settlements and cultures resulting from slavery are still visible on these islands. While colonial powers, through the institution of slave-based economies, had a profound cultural effect on Africans forced to adapt to these systems, a reverse cultural exchange from Afro-Caribbean migrants occurred in England and France during the twentieth century. This movement continues today; cultural aspects from Jamaica, Martinique, and Guadeloupe are more visible in England and France due to the influx of migrants from these islands. One key element of my research has involved the music of this Afro-Caribbean culture invasion of Europe, but there are other components that mix with European culture, such as clothing styles and alcohol. Yet, there are still facets of the two societies that remain separate, such as cuisine. There are incentives to integrate when a person relocates to a new society: to find employment or become part of a community, but there is also a crucial reason to maintain cultural differences: pride in one’s heritage and identity. Oftentimes, people try to combine the best of both societies and eventually produce a different, but equally significant culture. Scholarly works, newspapers, memoirs, album liner notes, and field work in England and France have helped me to gain understanding of the reasons for and ways in which European and Afro-Caribbean cultures mix or remain separate within these countries. Vagus Nerve Stimulation Alters Neurogenesis and Gliogenesis in the Dentate Gyrus of Rats with Pilocarpine-Induced Seizures Mayu Onozaki Mentor: Charles Ribak Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders, and is characterized by seizure activity. For 25 percent of the total epilepsy population that does not respond well to pharmacotherapy, brain surgery and vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) are used as an alternative treatment. VNS is known to reduce seizure activity by sending current through the vagus nerve, although the precise mechanism of action remains elusive. Because seizures are known to increase neurogenesis and alter the morphology of neurons and several classes of glial cells, it is possible that VNS exerts its therapeutic effects on these classes of cells. The goal of this experiment was to examine what effects VNS has on seizure induced neurogenesis and morphology of glial cells in the epileptic brain. This was done by implanting a VNS electrode into adult rats and inducing seizures with an injection of pilocarpine. Analysis of doublecortin and GFAPimmunohistochemical reactions showed that there is a significant increase in neurogenesis in the pilocarpine-

sham VNS group compared to the control group. We also found morphological differences of astrocytes in the hilus and molecular layer of the dentate gyrus in the pilocarpine-sham VNS and PVNS groups. Future studies should examine how VNS affects behavioral manifestation of seizures. Demanding Equal Protection: The Right of Undocumented Students to Post-Secondary Education Yadira Ortega Mentor: Michael Montoya In 1982, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Plyler v. Doe that it was a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to deny undocumented students the right to a K-12 education. The introduction of the DREAM Act, an amnesty making its way through Congress, which provides more rights to undocumented students, and state legislations that allow undocumented college students to pay in-state tuition, have sparked major debate on the rights of undocumented students. The purpose of this study is to show that undocumented students have the same rights that legal state residents have. Using content analysis, this study analyzed court cases, law reviews, and pieces of legislation. This study found that: 1) undocumented students have the right to receive post-secondary education, 2) denying undocumented students in-state tuition benefits is unconstitutional, and 3) legislation that denies in-state tuition benefits is unconstitutional. Under the Fourteenth Amendment and established case precedent, undocumented students have the right to receive the same educational benefits that other state residents receive. This study seeks to further the attempts to facilitate post-secondary education for undocumented students, as well as to prove that legislation like the DREAM Act is consistent with case precedent. Estrogen Modulation of Cerebrovascular Inflammation: Changes with Increasing Age Christa Osuna Mentors: Sue Duckles, Diana Krause & Lorraine Sunday Menopause is marked by decline in a woman’s production of estrogen; however, it is unclear if this decline contributes to increased chances of stroke. Although this hormone can regulate stroke-associated inflammation in cerebral vessels, it is unknown if it has the same effect with increased age. This study examined the effect(s) of estrogen on pro-inflammatory mechanisms in cerebral vessels: NFκB translocation, induction of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2), and production of nitric oxide (NO) and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). Three-month and 12-month female rats were used. Each age category contained two groups: ovariectomized and ovariectomized with estrogen treatment for four weeks. Vascular inflammation

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was induced using lipopolysaccharide (LPS), both in vivo and in vitro. DNA binding assays measuring the NFκB subunit p65 indicate that 12-month animals have more nuclear NFκB activity than 3-month animals. The estrogen-treated groups of both ages showed lower levels of NFκB activity than the untreated groups. Western blots indicated that LPS upregulation of iNOS and COX-2 was markedly increased at 12 months compared to three months. Estrogen decreased the levels of inflammatory mediators in 3-month rats, but had less of an effect at 12 months. These results suggest estrogen has significant anti-inflammatory effects in the cerebrovasculature of young, but not in middle-aged, animals where the inflammatory response is greater. Thus estrogen in premenopausal women may be protective against stroke, but changes in the blood vessels resulting from age may prevent estrogen from providing its anti-inflammatory effects in the cerebrovasculature of older women. A Social Ecological Response to Community Based Man-Made Trauma: Analysis of Laramie, Wyoming and Jasper, Texas Michael Ousdahl Mentor: Roxane Silver The effects of disaster and trauma on communities have become a popular topic of study. Currently, most studies focus on natural disasters, like hurricanes or floods. This study, however, considers how two communities, Laramie, Wyoming and Jasper, Texas, were impacted by a man-made trauma—in these cases, murder. The study seeks to examine community response to two particular community traumas—the Matthew Sheppard murder in Laramie, Wyoming, and the James Byrd murder in Jasper, Texas—to assess alterations in the community’s ecological structure. A man-made trauma, with its source within the community, has the ability to involve and affect the community in a way natural disaster cannot. The goal of this study was an examination of the community as something more than a group of individuals and instead as a holistic whole. The study’s primary aim was to identify the specific mechanisms to trauma through the framing of the community as a collective unit victimized and to analyze them holistically from a social-ecological perspective. Using a qualitative and quantitative research methodology, both communities were comparatively analyzed. Specifically, each community was analyzed quantitatively utilizing longitudinal archival analysis to compile data on economic, health, education, and social capitol measurements from a period of three years prior and four years post-incident. Both qualitative and quantitative analyses support the general hypotheses by demonstrating community-wide victimization and feelings of a collective social disaster by each community.

Reactions to 9/11: The Developmental Implications of Parental Death and Other Types of Loss Michael Ousdahl Mentor: Roxane Silver As human beings muddle through the chores of daily living, the curtain of past experience shrouds our eyes. The act of bereavement, which literally means to leave desolate or alone, especially by death, is one of life’s givens, yet cruelest penalties. As individuals adjust to bereavement experiences, differences in coping result from the unique social, emotional, and cognitive psychological response mechanisms that are formed following the trauma. Each of these responses affects the entire bereavement experience, which has the power to influence the interpretation of future events across the lifespan. This study involves an investigation into how psychological responses to trauma, specifically following the attacks on 9/11, differed among those who have experienced parental death across their lifespan. Additionally, the study involves a comparison of parental death to other forms of loss (i.e. parental divorce) specifically occurring during adolescence. The data originates from the study Coping with a National Trauma: A Longitudinal Study of Responses to the Terrorist Attacks of September 11th led by Dr. Roxane Silver (2005). The sample consists of a nationally representative panel of individuals, originally recruited by Knowledge Networks, Inc. using randomdigit-dialing. This sample subsequently completed anonymous Web-based surveys in exchange for a free Internet connection. Over 2,000 individuals were assessed within the first month of the attack and over the subsequent three years. Results indicate significant differences, both developmentally and on other types of loss occurring in adolescence, on the psychological response mechanisms to the attacks of 9/11. Sex Differences in Begging Calls of Young Zebra Finches Jenny Ouyang Mentor: Nancy Burley Avian parents are known to preferentially rear young of one sex in ways that maximize their reproductive success, but the basis of recognition of offspring sex is little understood. I aim to examine whether there is a difference between male and female chick begging calls in Zebra Finches, Taeniopygia guttata castanotis. Pairs of finches were allowed to breed in cages, and offspring begging calls were recorded to produce sound spectrograms. Spectrograms from one cohort of young will be examined to identify possible sex differences in calls; observed differences will be then used to see if they reliably predict the sex of individuals in a second cohort. A follow-up experiment will explore whether parental feed-

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ing behavior can be altered by selective playbacks of begging calls of male vs. female offspring. Double Eyelid Jenny Paek Mentor: Zuzana Bic “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Does this hold true, today? Men and women all over the world continue to strive to enhance their appearance. The media promotes what the society should accept as beauty. In Asian countries, the majority of the featured models in magazines and stars in the entertainment industries all have double eyelids or will undergo surgery (blepharoplasty) to obtain them. Many Asians and Asian Americans get the double eyelid surgery to create a crease above their eyes. Can double eyelid surgery be an influence on perception of Asian Americans in the United States? It is important to understand if modifying facial features effects how others perceive him/her. If it does, people can use the changes of their facial features to better adjust in the Western society. The purpose of this research was to find if there were any differences on how people distinguished single eyelids and double eyelids (a feature that is distinct to Asians). The data were collected through surveys, and showed that there were statistically significant differences between single eyelid and double eyelid perception. Although not all of the data portrayed noteworthy results, there was enough to conclude that double eyelid surgery does impact the perceptions of Asian Americans. Nonetheless, the research does not suggest that obtaining double eyelid surgery is a mean of adjusting into the society. TrkB Activation by BDNF Increases Integrin α5 and β1 Surface Expression Vijay Pandyarajan Mentors: Christine Gall & Ching-Yi Lin Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) has been shown to be critical for neuronal growth and long term potentiation (LTP), processes that are implicated in learning and memory at the cellular and molecular levels. Previous studies have shown that cell surface expression of TrkB, the receptor for BDNF, can be influenced by another class of cell surface protein—the integrins. Integrins are transmembrane receptors that bind to the extracellular matrix and mediate bidirectional communication between the inside and the outside of a cell. What these studies have not elucidated is whether crosstalk exists in the opposite direction—i.e., whether BDNF binding to TrkB influences integrin surface expression or signaling. To investigate this, we studied the effects of BDNF treatment on integrin surface expression in cultured rat hippocampal neurons. After various BDNF treatment intervals, surface proteins were biotinylated,

precipitated, and evaluated for integrin content by Western blot analysis. The results show that BDNF treatment increases total levels of the α5 and β1 integrin subunits exposed at the cell surface. Using a modification of the surface protein biotinylation technique, we further found that integrins newly inserted into the plasma membrane after BDNF treatment were also increased with the largest effects evident after 15 min and 45 min of BDNF exposure. BDNF is known to be secreted with LTPinducing patterns of synaptic activity. Our results suggest that synaptic release of BDNF most likely increases integrin surface expression at synaptic membranes, leading to increases in integrin signaling in association with the consolidation of synaptic potentiation and memory. Optimizing Platforms for Biological Probes Jung Park Mentor: Regina Ragan Biological sensing devices based on surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) of noble metal nanocrystals (NCs) are a promising avenue for use in gene arrays and proteomics. Metallic nanostructures have strong near field coupling between closely spaced particles, which offers the possibility of single molecule detection limits. We demonstrate a unique technique for fabricating ordered arrays of noble metal nanostructures of monodisperse size that can be integrated with polymer microsystems. The low cost integration of NC arrays on polymer substrates is achieved via self-assembly of metallic nanostructures and select attachment to diblock copolymer substrates. The Best Books for Joint Reading Alisa Patel Mentor: Alison Clarke-Stewart There will be about 50 to 60 first graders and their parents participating in this true experiment to assess the effects of joint reading with hard, easy and adaptive books. It is hypothesized that adapted books and easy books will show greater significance in terms of enjoyment, attention, and fluency than harder books. Three books written for second graders were adapted so that one book was written easier, one harder, and one mixed (adapted). The three books will be jointly read by parents and children, and a number of measurements will be taken to see which book had the greatest effect on the children in terms of enjoyment, attention and fluency. A Comparative Analysis of Local Treatments for Hepatocellular Carcinoma Dharmi Patel Mentor: David Imagawa Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the 5th most common malignancy in the world, is a primary cancer of the liver

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that is difficult to diagnose in its early stages. Treatments include radiofrequency ablation (RFA), which entails the thermal ablation of tumors, and transarterial chemoembolization (TACE), which delivers chemotherapeutic agents to tumor sites via arteries. In some cases, TACE is performed after RFA to further ablate remnants of the tumor. The goal of our study is to compare survival for patients who received RFA only, RFA with TACE, and TACE only. To evaluate this, a retrospective chart review of patients treated for HCC from 1999 to 2003 at the UCI Medical Center, was completed. Our research pool consisted of 14 patients treated with RFA only, 8 with RFA+TACE, and 14 with TACE only. KaplanMeier survival curves were constructed and log-rank tests performed. Patients treated with RFA only had survival rates of 57%, 43%, and 29% at 1, 3, and 5 years respectively. Others treated with RFA+TACE had survival rates of 100% and 63% at 1 and 3 years respectively. Patients treated with TACE had survival rates of 71%, 57%, and 38% for 1, 3 and 5 years respectively. Results indicate that patients who underwent RFA+TACE had slightly better actuarial survival than those treated with RFA only or TACE only, though the p values were not significant. These results allow us to conclude that, though RFA remains as an effective treatment for patients with smaller tumors, RFA+TACE can potentially extend survival for such patients. Quantifying the Effects of Dificiencies of Klarsicht, ∆Halo, and Midway Proteins in Embryonic Lipid Droplet Deposition Rishin Patel Mentor: Steven Gross Lipid droplets are the main store of lipids in eukaryotic cells. In Drosophila, they play a crucial role in metabolism during early development. Moreover, it was recently suggested that they might act as a buffering surface that could release maternally provided proteins only when needed. Molecular motor-based active transport of lipid droplets in the embryos has been shown to be developmentally regulated. I proposed that the proteins involved in developmental transport of embryonic lipids also control the deposition of lipids into the egg via the nurse cells at an earlier stage. I investigated the extent of protein control on lipid deposition by developing a method for in situ quantification of the amount of lipid within embryos of different mutant backgrounds. The amount of lipids in ∆halo, klarsicht (klar A) and Midway (mdyQx25) mutant backgrounds was compared to wildtype (Or-R). ∆halo and KlarA embryos have previously been shown to alter lipid droplet distribution within the embryo at early stages of development, and Midway (mdyQx25) was shown to have reduced levels of neutral lipids in the oocyte. These results show changed lipid levels among

these mutants consistent with the notion that these proteins might also play a role in the early lipid deposition in the egg. The role of these proteins in lipid deposition will be further explored by detecting changes in their concentration and interactions at various stages of development to determine whether varied protein activity throughout these stages causes altered lipid deposition. The Effects of Perceived Educational Barriers, Cultural Congruity, Coping Strategies on Indian American Undergraduates’ Psychological WellBeing: A Quantitative Study Shivani Patel Mentor: Jeanett Castellanos The maladjustments among Asian-American undergraduates have been under-noted out of all Asian subgroups. Indian Americans are more likely to experience psychological distress due to their high degree of educational attainment and the model minority myth. This study examines the effects of perceived educational barriers, cultural fit, and coping strategies on the psychological well-being of Indian American undergraduates. One hundred and twenty questionnaire packets were distributed to Indian American undergraduates at a fouryear university. It is hypothesized that, as more perceived educational barriers exist, undergraduates will report lower levels of psychological well-being. Similarly, as higher levels of cultural fit and positive coping mechanisms exist, undergraduates will possess higher levels of psychological well-being. Lastly, it is projected that all variable clusters (psychological, social and cultural) will have an influence on the criterion variable. It is anticipated that the psychological cluster will be the greatest contributor to the model. Results will contribute to a better understanding for an integrative framework addressing Indian American college students’ well-being, and will provide recommendations for improving counseling services for the population. What’s so Funny?: Humor and Inequality in America Raul Perez Mentor: David Frank There are many sociological theories on inequality and stratification; however, most have not paid significant attention to the role of humor as a factor in the social construction and maintenance of prejudice and inequality. Humor may be one of the key factors behind inequality. The study of the social repercussions of racist, sexist, and homophobic humor might help us understand how the issues of racism and sexism continue to be a problem in contemporary society. This project consists of a dual-method analysis. It uses ethnographic data gathered from popular comedy clubs in the Los Angeles area to analyze the use of this kind of humor in main-

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stream popular culture by coding the use of the humor in relation to the reaction and approval of the audience. The second part of this study uses focus groups to discuss and analyze similar usages of racist or sexist humor and how they relate to society outside of the club environment. If it happens that this kind of humor is not as tolerated when removed from the context of its appropriate usage, questions should then be raised with regards to the true implications of its usage in a historical and social perspective. A Seasonal Study of Methane Emissions From a California Rice Paddy Robert Perez Mentor: Stanley Tyler The emission of methane (CH4), a greenhouse gas, is environmentally important because of its increasing effect on global climate. Rice paddies are a principal source of CH4 to the atmosphere. This is because bacteria are given the opportunity to operate under anaerobic conditions provided by the flooded soil in paddies. These conditions produce CH4 as a product of anaerobic bacterial reactions on carbon-containing compounds in the paddy field soil such as organic material (soil organic matter, organic fertilizer, and algae) and inorganic dissolved CO2. In comparison to other CH4 sources, however, rice paddy fields stand apart because of the unique role they play in providing a principal food source for over 50% of the world’s population. Because of this, growing less rice is not an option to controlling CH4 emissions. The goal of this project is to better understand CH4 production and oxidation pathways and their relationship to growing practices such as water management and timing of rice straw input. In my research, I have analyzed CH4 in air samples collected as emissions from paddy fields in Northern California during the year 2000 growing season. Two different agricultural treatments, each with added rice straw as a nutrient, were studied. In one case, the paddy field had undergone winter flooding the previous fallow winter season. In the other, the field was drained the previous winter. I have contrasted the two field treatments with respect to the total CH4 flux emitted from each and will measure the stable carbon isotope ratio in the CH4 to discern details about the pathways of CH4 production and the amount of CH4 oxidized before it can be released to the atmosphere. SXR: The Novel Target for Breast Cancer Therapy Charlene Pham Mentor: Bruce Blumberg SXR is a nuclear receptor that expresses in liver to mediate cellular response in detoxification of steroids and xenobiotics. It was observed that there was a variety of

ligands that can bind to SXR at low affinity that can lead to antiproliferative effect. We are testing to see if SXR also expresses in breast cancer cells, and the level of expression in different cancer cell types. There are several compounds that are active in breast cancer that we believe are able to activate SXR in breast cancer cells. Therefore, we hypothesize that these compounds can have antiproliferative effect on breast cancer cells through SXR activation. Several approaches were done to measure the proliferation in breast cancer cells before and after the treatment of these compounds to examine the difference in cell proliferation. Cell Death Detection Elisa and Flow cytometry were used to measure the amount of cell death in breast cancer cells after the treatment. It was found that treatment of SXR activators led to the inhibition of proliferation in breast cancer cells, and that cell death started to occur after 48 hours. Through literature, we identified several possible SXR possible target genes, and the results showed that p53 expression level was increased due to the treatment of SXR activators. These results provide support to the hypothesis that SXR activators may inhibit breast cancer proliferation through the SXR pathway. Redesign and Structural Analysis of ANITA Catherine Phan Mentors: Steven Barwick, David Goldstein & Lizhi Sun Ultra high-energy (UHE) neutrinos are created in extreme environments in the universe, such as black holes and gamma-ray bursts, and offer a unique view of the universe above ~1018 eV, because they can traverse enormous distances unimpeded by matter or magnetic fields. The Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) is a balloon-borne radio telescope designed to detect transient radio pulses emitted from Antarctica’s ice sheets, which would be produced by UHE neutrino interactions with nuclei in the ice. The tools and methods of mechanical and structural engineering have aided ANITA’s structure. Its entire assembly has been drawn in Mechanical Desktop DX 2004, to help estimate the total weight and to produce all the new and modified part drawings that are sent to the manufacturers. ANITA’s structure, made up of beams, tubes, and linking plates, is fabricated of 6061-T6 Aluminum. It has been determined that the structure must be lightened to stay below the specified 4,000 lb. limit. Analyzing the stress distribution caused by external and reaction forces on individual parts has guided decisions upon where material can be removed. ANSYS, a finite element analysis (FEA) program is also being used to check that ANITA can withstand loads of up to 10 g in the axial direction, and 5 g in the diagonal direction, which are expected from the opening of a parachute at the end of its mission flight. The construction of ANITA has been

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a collaborative effort among engineers and researchers from University of Hawaii at Manoa, UCLA, and UCI. Novel RAD-50 Associated Protein, RINT-1, Has an Essential Role in Maintaining Centrosome Integrity Lise Phan Mentor: Wen-Hwa Lee Rad50 is a protein responsible for maintaining the structural integrity of chromosomes in cells, and it interacts with Mre11 and NBS-1. Mre11 defects are embryonically lethal and NBS-1 mutations are associated with sensitivity to ionizing radiation and an increase in chromosomal instability. RINT-1 interacts with Rad50 specifically during the S and G2/M phases and localizes to the centrosome throughout the cell cycle. To investigate the function of RINT-1 in the centrosome, RINT-1 was knocked down in HeLa cells, using siRNA-based methods, and then analyzed by immunostaining. The inhibition of RINT-1 expression increases the incidence of centrosome abnormalities and misaligned chromosomes in metaphase cells. Consistent with this, blastocysts from RINT-1-/- mice display centrosome amplification. Furthermore, 81% of RINT-1 heterozygous mice develop tumors. These results suggest that RINT-1 maintains the integrity of centrosomes in the cell, which then ensure the fidelity of chromosome distribution. Prompt Fast Ion Losses in Plasmas at the DIII-D Tokamak Lori Pickering Mentor: William Heidbrink Fast ion loss detector signals gathered at the DIII-D tokamak are compared and analyzed with injected neutral beam signals, various mean-value plasma parameters, and ion cyclotron radio frequency measurements. Fast ions are a source of heat energy fueling the plasma fusion process. Thus, fast ions escaping the plasma pose a limit on the amount of fusion that takes place. We seek to determine the sources of these fast ion losses. Correlations are observed between the 210 left and 150 right injected neutral beams and the fast ion loss detector signals. The strength of the correlation provides strong evidence that these are prompt fast ions, striking the detector without interacting with the plasma. Simulation of the fast ion orbits originating from the 210 neutral beam and hitting the detector shows that prompt ion losses are probable. A strong correlation between ion cyclotron radio frequency waves and fast ion detector signals is also readily noticeable. The strength of the correlation and orbit simulations also indicate that these are prompt fast ions. Other correlations also exist between the poloidal current, electron density, ion and electron temperature, and rotational kinetic energy mean values and the 210 left injected neutral beam and fast ion loss

detector signal correlation coefficient. Both poloidal current and rotational kinetic energy affect the trajectory of prompt fast ions as they course from the neutral beam to the detector. Electron temperature and density and ion temperature should not affect prompt fast ion trajectories, although they could affect fast ion losses. A knowledge of the sources of all prompt fast ion losses could bear useful information regarding plasma heating theory and experiments in tokamaks. Effects of Irradiation on GFAP-Expressing Astrocytes in Normal and Pilocarpine-Induced Epileptic Rats Jessica Pon Mentor: Charles Ribak Epilepsy is a common neurological disorders characterized by behavioral and physiological seizures. Temporal lobe epilepsy is a prevalent form of this disorder that is characterized by various neuroanatomical changes to the human hippocampus. In rats, pilocarpine can be used to induce seizures that result in neuroanatomical changes to the hippocampus that are analogous to many of the neuroanatomical changes observed in human temporal lobe epilepsy. These changes include: cell death, increased generation of neurons and glial cells, aberrant growth and migration of newborn neurons (NNs) and astrocytes, as well as glial activation. However, it is not known whether glial activation occurs as a consequence of the other changes observed in the epileptic brain, or if it is a direct response to the seizures. This study addresses this issue by using proton irradiation to ablate progenitor cell proliferation five days after the induction of pilocarpine-induced seizures. To determine what effects the irradiation has on glial activation, glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-immunocytochemistry was used to analyze the GFAP-expressing astrocytes. The results show that following pilocarpine-induced seizures, irradiation alters the morphology of GFAP-labeled astrocytes in the granule cell layer and molecular layer of the dentate gyrus. In both regions, the GFAP-labeled astrocytes were smaller and less complex. Taken together, the results suggest that proton irradiation might directly, or indirectly alter the progression of astrocyte activation. Future studies are needed to determine if this effect can decrease the frequency, duration, or severity of seizures. Molecular Dynamic Simulations of Oleic Acid Monolayer on Liquid Water Nicholas Potter Mentor: Douglas Tobias A Langmuir monolayer is a thin layer of organic molecules that coats the surface of water. Experimental studies and field measurements show organic films on aqueous droplets in the atmosphere affect evaporation

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and solubility of trace gases in the water phase, and can undergo reactions that affect human health and the cloud condensation propensity of the water droplets. The scope of experimental studies of monolayers is limited because it is extremely difficult to monitor their molecular scale and chemical dynamics on short time scales. These problems are overcome by using molecular dynamics computer simulations, a computational method that uses Newtonian physics to model the behavior of complex molecular systems with atomic detail. In this study, molecular dynamics simulations were conducted using a monolayer of oleic acid, a primary constituent of olive oil and charbroiled meat, and an important component of particles in urban atmospheres. Several tons of oleic acid are emitted from fast food restaurants every day in the LA basin alone. In the simulations, the oleic acid monolayer traps incoming ozone molecules and prevents ozone from reaching the aqueous core. The structure and orientation of the monolayer, the extent of ozone trapping, and the number of collisions of ozone with oleic acid’s double bond depend on the monolayer surface density. High-density monolayers are too rigid to allow efficient trapping of ozone. The simulations suggest that surfactants drastically change the heterogeneous chemistry on aqueous surfaces, and provide a theoretical understanding of the chemistry on interfaces when exposed to organic surfactants. Electrostatic Multilayers: A Prospective Approach for Biosensors Abraham Qavi Mentor: Robert Corn Electrostatic multilayers are consecutive layers of positive and negatively charged polymers held together via electrostatic interactions. While electrostatic multilayers have typically found applications in large-scale industry and drug development, they are of increasing interest in the field of biosensors. The purpose of this project was to determine whether complementary, single-stranded DNA and RNA can “communicate” with one another within electrostatic multilayers; that is, bind to form a double-stranded helix despite the presence of layers between the two. Multilayers were constructed on a gold substrate using Poly-L-Glutamic Acid, Poly-L-Lysine, and complementary sequences of DNA and RNA. The adhesion of the multilayers was monitored using Polarization-Modulation Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (PM-FTIR), and interaction between the layers of DNA and RNA was gauged through the use of enzymatic reactions. While interactions between complementary DNA and RNA strands were not observed, it was concluded that larger nucleic acid or smaller polypeptide polymers might yield better results.

The Role of Non-Profit Organizations on Immigration Policy, Reform, and Implementation: Assessing the Affects of Research and Advocacy Methods Ariana Rambuyan Mentor: Caesar Sereseres Traditionally, the immigration debate surrounded the social, economic, and political cost-benefit analysis of pro- and anti-immigration sentiments. However, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S., the context of the nation’s immigration debate shifted towards that of national security and the 11 million undocumented immigrants within America’s borders. While members of Congress ultimately determine immigration policy legislation, non-profit organizations are increasingly influencing public opinion and the legislative process through research and advocacy. These organizations represent alternative perspectives and lobby the decision makers. Given current events throughout the nation, there is a need to understand their role in an effort to better understand patterns and trends that affect the immigration debate and how legislation could or will be affected. The purpose of the study is to investigate how organizations such as the Center for Immigration Studies, the Migration Policy Institute, the National Immigration Law Foundation Immigration Policy Center, and the Pew Hispanic Center, collect and produce research to shape immigration policy reform. It is hypothesized that constituent needs, mission and goals, past and present actions, projection of views, and networks influence the manner in which organizations collect and produce research for the purpose of affecting the immigration debate and the content of legislation. Qualitative research was used, in which secondary data and individuals representing the organizations demonstrated general support for the hypothesis. Identifying the Roles of NOS Isoforms in rVLM Responsible for Excitatory Cardiovascular Responses Rajiv Ramdeo Mentors: Zhi-Ling Guo & John Longhurst Previous studies indicate that activation of nitric oxide synthase (NOS)-containing neurons in the rostral ventrolateral medulla (rVLM) occurs during excitatory cardiac reflexes. Also the non-selective inhibition of NOS in the rVLM is has been shown to attenuate these reflexes. NOS exists as three isoforms in the rVLM, neuronal NOS (nNOS), inducible NOS (iNOS), and endothelial NOS (eNOS). Their specific roles in cardiac sympathoexciatory reflexes are yet to be determined. This study provides information about the roles of the NOS isoforms during excitatory cardiac reflexes during cardiac stimulation with bradykinin (BK). Cardiac pressor responses and increased renal sympathetic nerve ac-

Thirteenth Annual UCI Undergraduate Research Symposium - 112 -

tivity were induced by epicardial application of BK (10µg/ml, 50µl) on an anesthetized cats. We then unilaterally microinjected an inhibitor specific to each NOS isoform. 7-Nitroindazole (7-NI, 5-10pmol/50 nl; 31±5 to 18±4 mmHg, and 18±2 to 5±1% of basal discharge, respectively; both P