Inductive Coding of Provider Reports for the TranS-C Treatment Program

The specific question that my research investigates is how might we better understand and optimize implementation outcomes for a novel transdiagnostic sleep intervention designed for psychiatric populations. More specifically, the goal of this project is to inductively code providers evaluations of the Transdiagnostic Intervention for Sleep and Circadian Dysfunction (TranS-C), thus providing important insight into the efficacy of this sleep-focused program’s implementation. This project contributes new knowledge to the field of psychology by attempting to more deeply understand how to properly and effectively implement novel therapies, especially for those with severe mental illness (SMI) and in community-based health centers (CBHC). It is incredibly important to meet the needs of both patients and providers when creating and implementing a novel treatment, and this project aims to precisely understand to what extent the TranS-C program is doing so. Thus, my research will inductively code providers assessments of the TranS-C treatment for the […]

...Read More about Zia Bajwa

Piobaireachd, Clans, and Colonialism: The Decline of Highland Society

In 1746, the Battle of Culloden ended in a defeat of the Jacobites and quickly spelled the end for the unique Gaelic-speaking society that had developed in the Scottish Highlands. This is the common narrative for the decline of Gaelic-speaking Scotland and the clan system that was associated with it. My project seeks to investigate how this narrative might be complicated because of the ways in which Highlanders and their culture had become increasingly Anglicized since the reign of King James IV, the last Gaelic-speaking King of Scotland. One of the ways this cultural shift will be investigated is through the analysis of shifts in Highland bagpiping from a more Gaelic tradition to a more typical Western tradition.

...Read More about Colin Chamberlin

Dance as a Tool for Building Healthy Communities

Research across artistic disciplines has demonstrated that participation in the arts has a profound positive impact on the life of an individual, and on communities at large. An ecological public health model even enlists access to the arts as a core factor in shaping an individuals response to their social determinants of health. The art form of ballet, however, is working against a 400-year history of exclusionary practices and elitism that challenges the its relevancy and solvency in contemporary society. Increasingly, ballet companies are designing programming to be accessible to more diverse populations, including neurodiverse communities; however, this is an understudied field. My research aims to fill this gap in knowledge with a specific focus on dance programs designed for neurodiverse communities. The goal of my research is to create a framework of practices, interventions, and strategies that can be adopted by ballet companies to increase accessibility of the art […]

...Read More about Alexandra Cunningham

Morphology of Sulci in OFC Predict Emotionally-Related Impulsivity

The characteristics of the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and measures of emotionally-related impulsivity (ERI) offer strong diagnostic potential in the identification of internalized and externalized disorders (Nakamura et al., 2020; Johnson et al., 2013). Yet, nearly two dozen papers attempted to locate the neural correlates of ERI with no success (Johnson et al., 2020) until recently, with the discovery of a morphological link between the OFC and measures of ERI (Elliott et al., 2021). Of interest to the present project, separate and prior work identified that the patterning of indentions (sulci) in OFC were different between healthy controls and neurodiverse populations, as well as predicted symptom severity and various outcomes (Nakamura et al., 2020). In the present study, we aim to link these two branches of research to understand the role of sulcal morphology in ERI. Preliminary results support both the qualitative perspective that the number of sulci and quantitative perspective […]

...Read More about William Hastings

Impact of Sequences of Flavivirus Infections on Dengue Immunity

Dengue virus (DENV) is a viral disease endemic in subtropical and tropical regions that causes one of the most important mosquito-borne viral disease affecting humans, with around 50 million cases annually. Infections are caused by four genetically related but distinct serotypes, DENV1-4, which can lead to individuals becoming infected with multiple serotypes during their lifespan. Primary DENV or ZIKV infections generate antibodies that protect against infection from the same serotype, but they also lead to generation of cross-reactive antibodies that can increase the risk of a secondary symptomatic DENV infection and enhance dengue disease severity. Importantly, the mechanism by which the host immune response provides either protection or enhancement of subsequent infection is not fully understood. My research project aims to describe the complex profile of antibodies generated after primary DENV and ZIKV infection and fill important knowledge gaps regarding the understanding and prediction of epidemics and the development and […]

...Read More about Julia Huffaker

Mechanics and Defensive Functions of Gastropod Shell Ornamentation

Mollusk shells have been objects of fascination throughout human history, in part due to their striking ornamentation in the form of knobs, ridges, and spines. These elaborate structures are hypothesized to be so prevalent among mollusks because they protect against breakage by shell-crushing predators. However, the mechanisms by which ornamentation contributes to defense remain largely unknown. This project will use compression tests of 3D-printed shell models to study the mechanical behavior of spines in gastropod mollusks, in order to better understand how spine morphology affects resistance to forces such as those applied by predators. Using 3D prints eliminates many of the confounding factors that typically accompany studies of biological specimens, allowing the influence of morphology to be isolated and investigated. These results will contribute to our understanding of the selective pressures driving mollusk evolution on geologic timescales and help to explain the high morphological disparity observed today. Knowledge of how […]

...Read More about Leah Kahn

A Duopoly of Violence: Conflict and Competition in Canada's Fur Trade

For two hundred years, the Hudson’s Bay Company exercised de facto colonial rule over most of central and western Canada. While many concessionary regions monopolizing extractive production have experienced negative developmental outcomes, Canada is one of the world’s most prosperous countries, and has a less negative record of native persecution. I seek to analyze whether this paradoxical result can be in part explained by the HBC’s competition with the French and several independent British firms during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, which may have created “outside options” that increased indigenous bargaining power.

...Read More about Davis Kedrosky

Neural Mechanisms of Recovery from Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and strokes are ongoing public health crises, taking millions of lives annually and leaving survivors chronically disabled. They commonly affect the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), an integrative center for the brain’s reward and decision-making circuit. Thus, damage to the OFC can cause behavioral deficits, including impulsivity and impaired decision-making. My research examines the brain’s capacity for compensatory and functional reorganization in intact tissue following injury or lesion, which is crucial to furthering the clinical potential of neurorehabilitation. Previous analyses done by the D’Esposito Lab have found that connectivity between two other subcortical reward regions, the midbrain and hippocampus, mediates impulsivity in OFC lesion patients. However, a baseline analysis with healthy subjects is needed to clarify whether these changes in hippocampal-subcortical connectivity are a direct compensatory response to OFC lesions or just spontaneous variations, which is the purpose of my research. If my hypothesis is correct, the relationship […]

...Read More about Erin Lee

Ghetto Ebraico: A Medieval History of the Jewish People of Bologna

In early January 2022, I arrived in Italy for the start of my semester abroad at the University of Bologna. While exploring Bologna, I discovered that I was living in what was the city’s Jewish ghetto in the Middle Ages. I was immediately intrigued and, upon conducting further research, was convinced that this important history should be the subject of a research project. This project will carefully construct and analyze a cohesive and holistic history of the Jewish community of Bologna during the Middle Ages. By using a variety of primary sources, I aim to paint a complete picture of the social, economic, intellectual, religious, and personal history of this community. Particularly, I hope to reveal how, despite facing oppression and limitations, the Jewish community of Medieval Bologna experienced a long period of prosperity and was embraced and valued by the general Bolognese population. I thus hope to connect this […]

...Read More about Tessa Mouw

Coercion, Consent, and Illicit Love in the Time of Abolition

What can be said of love created under duress and continued into freedom? This question will guide my research into interracial couples who began seeing each other under slavery and continued through Abolition in Louisiana. My research will straddle the two periods immediately preceding and following Abolition, in order to pinpoint couples who weathered unsteady sociocultural and legal realities out of a commitment to their love. This project will therefore fill a lacuna of ambiguity in the study of interracial love during slavery; rather than focusing on legal history, I will specifically tackle the possibility that coerced love may have eventually grown consensual and find instances in which the two scenarios existed at once. Using primarily court cases in which interracial couples were tried, as well as manumission documents and contemporary slave narratives, I will explore the topics of consent, love, coercion, and power within these relationships, ultimately uncovering the […]

...Read More about Tiger Schenkman

Validation of GBM Chemosensitizing Hits From in vivo CRISPRi Screen

Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and lethal primary brain tumor in adults. Although research has enhanced GBM diagnosis and clinical stratification, overall patient outcome has not significantly improved. This is because GBM is incurable with current treatments, which include surgery, radiation therapy, and Temozolomide (TMZ) chemotherapy. The development of CRISPR-Cas9 systems presents opportunities to study human diseases, and it can be leveraged to create therapeutics. Specifically, CRISPR interference (CRISPRi)-based screens help study GBM dependencies and growth vulnerabilities without DNA damage. I have assisted with in vivo and in vitro parallel CRISPRi screens in combination with TMZ treatment in order to identify potential chemosensitizers for GBM. As a result, we identified multiple genes that warrant further study to determine if they can serve as therapeutic targets. I will begin with validating target knockdown in vitro using tissue culture and molecular biology techniques. Then, I will perform experiments with small molecule […]

...Read More about Mihir Shah

Biochemical Characterization of Endogenous GFP-BRAF

My research focuses on a kinase in the MAPK/ERK pathway called BRAF, which is commonly mutated in cancer. This summer, I will isolate BRAF endogenously from 293FT cells and analyze their structure by native mass spectrometry and cryo-electron microscopy. This strategy differs from most conventional approaches, as I will not overexpress the protein. Rather, I aim to study BRAF isolated from its native stoichiometric environment, circumventing assumptions that must be made with overexpression. With this strategy, I seek to learn about BRAFs activation and native binding interactions. This knowledge could inform anti-cancer drug discovery by revealing new structure-informed strategies to inhibit BRAF and gain greater control over MAPK/ERK regulation. Considering that past attempts of BRAF inhibition have had mixed results clinically within the current constraints of structural understanding, BRAF poses potential as a hopeful drug target that has yet to be harnessed. Furthermore, the endogenous tagging approach being refined in […]

...Read More about Jessica Stewart

Highland Chontal Core Grammar in Language Revitalization

In my research project, I will create a partial grammatical description of Highland Chontal, a highly endangered indigenous language of Oaxaca, Mexico, through collaboration with elder master speakers. I will use this information to produce pedagogical materials for use in classrooms where the language is being taught. I will also conduct a workshop to train Chontal language activists and speakers in linguistics in order for them to understand and be able to use these materials, in addition to other skills such as literacy in the language, language documentation methods, and language revitalization methods.

...Read More about Jasper Talwani

Treating Nearsightedness with Atropine Eye Drop

People with high level of nearsightedness will have a 5- to 10-fold chance of developing glaucoma, cataract, and sight-threatening diseases such as retinal detachment later in life. Atropine eye drop is one of the most effective therapies for nearsightedness control. I will conduct a small-scaled randomized controlled trial to understand the impact of eye color on the effectiveness of atropine eye drop. Many studies on atropine have focused on Asian populations, and few studies have compared the effect of atropine between Asians and Europeans, who tend to have much lighter iris color and might respond to the drug differently. A prior animal study has shown that the effect of atropine diminishes quicker in rabbits with lighter iris color but has a more sustained and long-lasting effect on rabbits with darker iris color. Therefore, I aim to investigate if the drug has less therapeutic efficacy on light-irides subjects. and see if […]

...Read More about Jiayi Tan

Computing the Distribution of the Maximal Average of a Random Walk

Suppose that we have a (finite or infinite) series of independent, identically distributed real-valued random variables (increments of time). From this series, we can form a random walk. We can consider the partial sums of this series and analyze the average value of the walk the partial sum divided by the number of increments up to that point at each of its time increments. This project is focused on studying the distribution of the maximum average value of a random walk through a variety of computational algorithms. While there already exists an explicit formula for the probability that the maximum average value is at most any given real number 0 x 1, this formula presents computational challenges for small values of x. What is especially interesting is the asymptotic aspect: how quickly does the probability that the maximal average is at most x approach zero as x approaches zero from […]

...Read More about Alexander Toller

The Impact of Mitochondrial Dysregulation in LC-NE Neurons on Sleep

Mitochondrial dysregulation has emerged as a cause for certain forms of Parkinson’s disease. Investigations of the mechanisms linking mitochondrial function to Parkinson’s have focused on the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc-DA neurons). Norepinephrine-releasing neurons in the locus coeruleus (LC-NE neurons) rely on mitochondria for their daily activity in healthy individuals and also severely degenerate in Parkinson’s. Both SNc-DA neurons and LC-NE neurons are crucial for maintaining various aspects of wakefulness, but it is unclear whether mitochondrial dysregulation in each neuron population distinctly impacts sleep disturbances characteristic of Parkinson’s. For my project, I will address the hypothesis that mitochondrial dysregulation in LC-NE neurons versus that in SNc-DA neurons will have different effects on sleep in a mouse model, which could provide insight for targeted therapies to improve sleep in patients. Toward this goal, I will study mice using a targeted genetic approach where a key […]

...Read More about Yufan Zhang