User Perceptions of Hand Sanitizer in Water-Constrained Communities: A Field Study in Hubli, India

Diarrhea and respiratory infection are the two leading causes of death among children in India. Hand hygiene is arguably among the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent these diseases. In particular, alcohol-based hand sanitizer solutions are shown to be as or more efficacious as handwashing in preventing diarrheal and respiratory disease. Yet at present, information about hand sanitizer within the cultural and socio-economic contexts of developing nations is scarce. In response to this gap in knowledge, I will implement a study using qualitative focus groups and quantitative questionnaires to collect data on the cultural and socio-economic factors that may influence the use of hand sanitizer in South Indian slum communities. This project should provide important information that can be integrated into culturally-sensitive hand hygiene health projects.

...Read More about Christopher Andersen
Humanities and Social Science

Edison Carneiro and Afro-Brazilian Cultural Activism

Throughout my 6 month journey through Brazil I will investigate and experience the conflicts of race relations in a different colonial and historical context. Since arriving in January, I have explored through personal travels and a 3.5 month UCEAP program in Salvador, Bahia studying the History and Culture of Afro-Brazilians. My SURF research focuses on the legacy of Sociologist Edison Carneiro, who worked as one of the first Afro-Brazilian Ethnographers to analyze the history and culture of African descended people in Brazil in the 1930-1950’s. His academic, journalistic and activist work served in the Black Movement to recreate the historically negative and inferior image of black people upheld by the government, the academic and corporate elite. He worked with literary, artistic, cultural and theatrical activists, functioning in both formal and informal institutions to change the consciousness regarding the role of African influence in the construction of the Brazilian identity and […]

...Read More about Jamie Andreson
Humanities and Social Science

Thought and Discourse about Israel Among American Jewish Young Adults

I am interested in developing a deeper understanding of the current system of thought and discourse surrounding Israel among the new generation of American Jewish young adults, seen as the stakeholders for the future of American Jewry. This new generation’s commitment to Judaism and Israel are bitterly debated in public articles and community events; unfortunately, none of this debate has been grounded in rigorous ethnographic study.I am taking the first step in this direction by using anthropological public observation, survey, and open-ended interview methodologies to study Jewish university students and leaders of organizations working with these students through case studies of the UC Berkeley Jewish Community and a Taglit-Birthright Trip to Israel, as well as a case study of Israeli Jewish young adults intended to enlighten points of comparison and contrast. I seek to understand students’ socialization into the American Jewish Community, their understanding of their own identity as it […]

...Read More about Roi Bachmutsky
Humanities and Social Science

Exploring seizure-like aberrations in the rat hippocampal mossy fiber pathway and medial prefrontal cortex following neonatal sevoflurane general anesthesia

Sevoflurane, a popular pediatric and veterinary general anesthetic, is known to cause deficits in learning and memory when administered to neonatal rodents. Since sevoflurane can trigger epileptiform activity when administered during development, and since neonatal epileptic seizures cause the formation of aberrant neural networks, it is possible that sevoflurane administered during development does the same. If present, this may contribute to the observed neurocognitive deficits. We will explore this possibility by retrovirally labeling the hippocampal mossy fiber pathway and medial prefrontal cortex in neonatal rats, then comparing the connections of these structures in rats given sevoflurane anesthesia to controls under a microscope. As sevoflurane may affect neuroblasts differently than more mature neurons, we will label these cell populations separately. With time, the results of this project may be relevant to the use of sevoflurane in animal anesthesia and possibly even to clinical pediatric anesthesia, as well as in guiding future […]

...Read More about Kyle Barbour
L&S Sciences

The Social Impact of the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 on Single Mother Students Pursuing Higher Education

Single-mother students on welfare are a small, unique demographic in institutions of higher education. My preliminary research shows, more often then not, that social service caseworkers use discretion to impede, rather than support single-mother students in pursuit of higher education. In my Interdisciplinary Studies Field Major (ISF) thesis project, I will conduct a qualitative study of the academic trajectory of single mothers (SMs) on welfare who pursue higher education by transferring from community colleges to universities in California and Hawaii. My research question is: How are single-mothers supported or discouraged throughout their experiences as students and welfare recipients? By critically assessing the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 as the legal framing of the contemporary welfare to workfare ideology, I will investigate how implementations of this statutory law create bureaucratic controlling processes and moralist state gatekeepers, as well as facilitates the need for advocacy organizations to enable success for SM students. […]

...Read More about Melissa Barker
Humanities and Social Science

Developmental Emmetropization in Guinea Pigs

Emmetropization is a normal developmental process in which the eyes growth is regulated to achieve a match between eye length and its refractive power. It results in the reduction of refractive errors present at birth and has been observed in all animal species, including humans, studied thus far. The guinea pig is increasingly used to model myopia (near-sightedness), but there appear to be differences between guinea pig strains in their susceptibility to myopia-inducing stimuli. To understand the origin of these differences, I plan to compare the emmetropization of different strains of guinea pigs by tracking changes in their ocular dimensions and refractive error during the course of their development.

...Read More about Alina Boltunova
L&S Sciences

Thinking in Mirrors: The Divine Mirror in the Epic Poetry of Dante Alighieri

The mirror literally and symbolically reflects opposites. In medieval times, it seems that the mirror symbolized a gateway to the divine; now the mirror is more often associated with the monstrous. Spending the summer studying Dante’s Divine Comedy, I will begin my research into how the evolution of the meaning of the mirror perhaps parallels the move from a societal focus on religion to a focus on individual actions and psyches. I aim to prove or disprove the assertion that the perceived split between the body and soul mirrors the one between the self and the other, and what light this connection can shed on defining what would constitute a modern American secular religion.

...Read More about Megan Clement
Humanities and Social Science

Thinking in Mirrors: The Divine Mirror in the Epic Poetry of Dante Alighieri

The mirror literally and symbolically reflects opposites. In medieval times, it seems that the mirror symbolized a gateway to the divine; now the mirror is more often associated with the monstrous. Spending the summer studying Dante’s Divine Comedy, I will begin my research into how the evolution of the meaning of the mirror perhaps parallels the move from a societal focus on religion to a focus on individual actions and psyches. I aim to prove or disprove the assertion that the perceived split between the body and soul mirrors the one between the self and the other, and what light this connection can shed on defining what would constitute a modern American secular religion.

...Read More about Megan Clement
Humanities and Social Science

The Political Implications of Misunderstandings of the Mechanism of Climate Change

Climate change, whether one believes in it or not, is an undeniably large presence in discourses about environmentalism, policy, and morality. Though the consensus among scientists about the reality and anthropogenic origin of global warming is solid, the general public is much less convinced. I am therefore interested in examining how an individuals understanding of the mechanism of the greenhouse effect is related to their political attitudes about climate change. To study this association, I will be running a survey project in “America’s Finest City,” San Diego. Once the data is collected, I will analyze the data to see if people with more complete understandings of the mechanism of climate change also have more “green” political beliefs. Examining this link will help illuminate the contested relationship between knowledge and attitudes; this, in turn, will help us understand how to create effective global warming mitigation policy.

...Read More about Sarah Cohen
L&S Sciences

The mechanism of the immune response against ERAAP-deficient cells

The immune system monitors the inner workings of all cells of the body in its search for abnormal cells, whether they be infected or otherwise transformed. Every cell displays its intracellular peptides on its surface, and specialized cells of the immune system called T cells examine these peptides. The repertoire of peptides presented on the surface is a representation of the state of the cell; an abnormal peptide repertoire indicates an abnormal cell. An important part of the processing pathway that peptides undergo before being presented is ERAAP, an enzyme that trims peptides. The immune system can detect inhibition of ERAAP, and my project explores the mechanism of this immune response. I will study this with regards to one specific gene that is in the altered peptide repertoire of ERAAP-inhibited cells. By understanding this gene and its presentation on the surface, I hope to elucidate the mechanism of immune response.

...Read More about Hasan Dani
L&S Sciences

The mechanism of the immune response against ERAAP-deficient cells

The immune system monitors the inner workings of all cells of the body in its search for abnormal cells, whether they be infected or otherwise transformed. Every cell displays its intracellular peptides on its surface, and specialized cells of the immune system called T cells examine these peptides. The repertoire of peptides presented on the surface is a representation of the state of the cell; an abnormal peptide repertoire indicates an abnormal cell. An important part of the processing pathway that peptides undergo before being presented is ERAAP, an enzyme that trims peptides. The immune system can detect inhibition of ERAAP, and my project explores the mechanism of this immune response. I will study this with regards to one specific gene that is in the altered peptide repertoire of ERAAP-inhibited cells. By understanding this gene and its presentation on the surface, I hope to elucidate the mechanism of immune response.

...Read More about Hasan Dani
L&S Sciences

Schwann cell growth and migration on peptide amphiphile based gels

My research focuses on peripheral nerve injury and treatment. Peripheral nerve injury requires medical attention when the severed ends of the nerve are further than a few millimeters apart. If the distance is small, the two nerve ends can regenerate and heal, but if the distance is greater (approximately a couple centimeters), then the two ends must be bridged by a nerve autograft or tubular conduit. My research specifically focuses on potential biomaterial fillers for tubular conduits, which can be modified to create an environment supportive of nerve regeneration. The summer research involves synthesis of the biomaterial filler and testing growth and migration of Schwann cells (nerve cells specific to the peripheral nervous system) on these biomaterial fillers.

...Read More about Seema Desai
L&S Sciences

Profane California and the Gilded Years

In his diary after the initial 1848 gold strike, the Scottish artist and writer J.D. Borthwick described the terribly violent bull & bear fights drawing crowds of as many as six thousand. Soon after, those fights would be banned, paving the way for new ventures like the Empire Casino in San Francisco. Finally, Jackson Lears describes the abolition of the casinos, only to be replaced by more ‘civilized’ and contemporary speculative ventures. My research question asks what factors fostered the emergence of such a seeming anomalous California gambling culture between 1849-1859, and what caused its steady shift from the “profane” to the “civilized?” To answer this question I will engage in historical analysis of primary sources using selected secondary sources to maintain a conceptual framework. Other supporting questions of interest include whether and/or how the emergence of women caused moral shift, or whether the changing economic conditions, from speculative extraction […]

...Read More about Kristopher Gibson
Humanities and Social Science

Na Kanaka'ai Kukae: The Archaeological Re-envisioning of the Ancient Hawaiian Commoner

Through the course of my summer research, I will be looking at an assemblage of archaeological materials from pre-European contact commoner household sites in the southeastern region of the island of Maui, Hawaii. This assemblage includes materials such as lithics (stone tools), charred plant remains, and faunal remains. These materials will hopefully illuminate the oft-untold story of the commoner in ancient Hawaiian society, who was largely responsible for the surplus agricultural production that fed the development of an elaborate and extravagant statehood up until the moment of Cooks arrival in the Hawaiian Islands in 1779, and may go so far as to indicate patterns of subsistence, trade, and political standardization within and between commoner households.

...Read More about Rose Guthrie
Humanities and Social Science

Creativity in Nietzsche and Heidegger: The Relation of Art and Artist

Friedrich Nietzsche spent much of his philosophy denying Being and replacing our conception of it with a notion of becoming. In sharp contrast Martin Heidegger produced a work titled Being and Time and saw the illumination of Being as the central task of philosophy. This tension is reproduced in the way each philosopher deals with the creation of art, yet there is a peculiar way in which the aesthetic philosophies of Nietzsche and Heidegger interact and seem to complement each other. My research is concerned with the connection between these diverging views on art. I am especially interested in the notion of creativity, both in the artist and in the act of creating. To get clearer on this, I will be focusing on the relationship between the artist and the work of art, and with the link between the act of creation and the world out of which it emerges.

...Read More about Justin Hauver
Humanities and Social Science

Sichuan Earthquake: Civil Society or Participant Culture?

My project is a study of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in China. I have chosen the Sichuan crisis to examine because the Chinese state’s fast and transparent reaction to the earthquake was both surprising and contrary to traditional expectations. My research seeks to answer this fundamental question: has participating in the Sichuan relief efforts changed state-society and society-citizen interactions in China? The wider implication of my project is whether a higher level of participant culture post-Sichuan is an indicator for an emerging civil society in China. I shall approach my research using a combination of theories such as civil society, Chinese nationalism and participatory culture, and empirical studies of media reports during the three month period immediately following earthquake.

...Read More about Ariel Hsian-Au Hsiung
Humanities and Social Science

Common Ground: Co-habitation of Humans and Carnivorans in the Berkeley Hills

The area in and around Tilden Regional Park in North Berkeley is home to both a growing human population and a number of species of wild carnivorans. Little is known about the population densities and distributions of the latter and their interaction with human populations in this area. In this study, I will use camera traps to determine baseline densities of ubiquitous species, such as the coyote (Canis latrans) and the bobcat (Lynx rufus). Camera traps with scent lures will be used to establish the presence of the more elusive puma (Puma concolor). From this project I hope to gain a better understanding of the ecology of the unique interface between human-dominated landscapes and the preserved wilderness that characterize the North Berkeley Hills.

...Read More about Gwendolyn Hubner
Humanities and Social Science

Measuring the Kerr constant and its temperature dependence in new zero-birefringent materials

Laser light has been proven to be an effective and elegant method of probing sensitive physical systems, providing many seminal, precision methods in experimental physics. These experiments must prove free of systematic errors and be minimally perturbative to the phenomena to be examined. Along these lines, I am researching the properties of zero-birefringent acrylic polymers in a range of temperatures from room temperature down to a couple Kelvin. In exhibiting this unique property of zero-birefringence, these materials do not affect the polarization of light passing through them, even when under stress. Yet no measurements have been made of how their transmission properties may change under high electric field, a consequence called the Kerr Effect. In measuring what is known as the Kerr constant and its temperature dependence to high accuracy, I will provide an important characterization of useful new materials that are to be used in sensitive high-precision physics research.

...Read More about Geoffrey Iwata
L&S Sciences

Song variation among subspecies of Sage Sparrows (Amphispiza belli)

I am studying song variation and population subdivision in two named subspecies of Sage Sparrow (Amphispiza belli) in California. California Coast Range populations (A. b. belli) are physically much darker in color and have more contrasting patterns than Central Valley and Mojave Desert populations (A. b. canescens). Though all the A. b. canescens populations look exactly the same, previous genetic studies have shown Central Valley A. b. canescens populations to be closer genetically to Coast Range A. b. belli than to the Mojave Desert population of A. b. canescens (Cicero and Johnson 2007), indicating population subdivision between the Central Valley and Mojave Desert populations of A. b. canescens. My research involves recording Sage Sparrows in the field at a number of different sites and analyzing the songs of these populations to determine the evolutionary relationships among the populations described.

...Read More about Benjamin Karin
L&S Sciences

Modelling an Emerging Class of Fast and Faint Stellar Explosions

Several newly discovered supernovae, or stellar explosions, are unusually faint and fast-evolving and defy our usual classification schemes. Their light curves (brightness over time) in particular show how quickly they rise to maximum brightness and then decline. They are also unlike any previously known supernovaeand unlike each otherin their electromagnetic spectra. Several attempts have been made to identify the properties of these supernovae and their progenitor stars based on their spectra and light curves, such as the energy of the explosion, the amount of mass ejected, and the elemental composition; but these estimates are often very rough and lack physical constraints. I have begun to run radiative transfer simulations of how light propagates from the explosion centers of these supernovae in order to give a much more accurate physical picture of what properties are required to produce the observed data for these new peculiar cases.

...Read More about Io Kleiser
L&S Sciences

Mutational Analysis of the Interactions between the Cytoskeletal Protein WHAMM and Membranes

My research project involves investigating a cytoskeletal protein named WHAMM- WASP homolog associated with actin, membranes, and microtubules. The cytoskeleton is a crucial component of the cell that facilitates protein transportation, structural support, and ultimately the movement and division of cells. It does so through actin polymerization, which is the formation of filaments using actin molecules. An important stimulator of actin polymerization is the Arp 2/3 complex. It is regulated by nucleation-promoting factors, one such example being WHAMM. My project focuses primarily on the WMD domain of WHAMM, which is responsible for the proteins binding to phospholipids on membranes. Using computational studies, I will deduce which residues are essential for membrane binding. I will then introduce point mutations at these sites using biochemical experiments to verify if the membrane binding ability of WHAMM has been abolished. In doing so, I explore the specifics of how WHAMM targets proteins to specific […]

...Read More about Nicole Wong Meng Lai
L&S Sciences

Investigation of contact zone interaction by DNA analysis of historical specimens of the California ground squirrel (Otospermophilus beecheyi)

Comparison of DNA sequences between different populations often reveals genetic lineages that warrant further study to assess the validity of current species delineations. Recent genetic work on the California ground squirrel uncovered three morphologically cryptic lineages. The Northern and Central lineages come into contact near Lake Almanor. The Central and Southern lineages meet near Mono Lake. Preliminary work found genetic differences distinguishing the Northern and Central lineages, despite the apparent absence of a geographic barrier to gene flow. In contrast, the Central and Southern lineages are genetically mixed (based on nuclear and microsatellite data), although the crest of the Sierra Nevada mountains appear to divide much of their range. My research seeks to understand the processes that lead to species formation and the biological barriers that keep species apart in this system. This summer, I will continue the genetic analysis for these three lineages and add assessments of hybrid viability.

...Read More about Marisa Lim
L&S Sciences

Solving the Structure of MB11 Bound Beta-Tubulin

My project seeks to solve the structure of the binding interaction between Mb11 and -tubulin in microtubules. Microtubules are dynamic cytoskeletal polymers essential to life, composed of tubulin subunits, heterodimers of – and -tubulin, which align longitudinally into linear protofilaments and assemble laterally into a cylinder, forming the microtubule. Mb11 is an antibody that has been found to bind specifically to tubulin in the GTP bound conformation. In contrast to GDP bound tubulin, GTP-bound tubulin is straighter and more stable. This difference allows for the specific recognition of the antibody at this site and I will investigate the nature of this conformational specificity. Using electron microscopy, I will obtain sub-nanometer resolution of this binding interaction. Achieving this three-dimensional structure will enable me to hypothesize about the interactions that give specificity for this antibody to GTP-tubulin on an atomic level.

...Read More about Elaine Liu
L&S Sciences

The Appeal for Readerly Sympathy in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Villette

Because reading any piece of literature is a personal experience for me, I was drawn to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre because of how its first-person narrative voice strongly solicits feelings of sympathy from the reader, thus emphasizing the importance and necessity of the reader’s role and response to the novel. My interest in Jane Eyre led me to read Bronte’s Villette, a novel which still conjures sympathetic feelings from the reader, but makes problematic this sympathy with its narrative voice that minimizes the role of the reader and which treats its addresses to the reader almost as an afterthought. While Jane Eyre gives the reader a role to fulfill with a promised sense of readerly privilege and satisfaction, Villette leaves the reader aware of her inadequacies as a reader and the banality of her role. My research seeks to understand how and why Villette is a critique of the readers […]

...Read More about Stephanie Lo
Humanities and Social Science

Regimes of Parenthood: Race, Familia, and the State in Latino Los Angeles

My research will look comparatively at how the ideology of public education, the ideology of American parenthood, and the ideology of the Latino cultural community come to intersect into existing and developing parental practices. Using participant-observation methods and a framework of discourse theory, I will analyze the linguistic practices of the Latino mothers and fathers at the Centro Latino for Literacy in Los Angeles as they index values of parenthood, education, and power hierarchies. By engaging in ongoing discussions about parenthood and conducting personal interviews, I hope to gain an understanding of the infrastructure of strategies and perceptions that affect interaction between Latino parents and experts, parents and other parents, and parental-child interchange. I am interested in analyzing how a parent is subject to influence by ideologies and institutions which stress new forms of family interaction, social responsibility, and academic involvement.

...Read More about Jessica Lopez
Humanities and Social Science

The Mechanism of Glioblastoma-Derived Endothelial Cell Evasion of TGF-B1 Induced Apoptosis

My research this summer focuses on battling Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), the most common and malignant type of brain tumor. Despite invasive surgical resection and pharmaceutical therapy, patients with GBM have a mean survival time of 12-15 months following diagnosis, making GBM among the most aggressive of human cancers. Tumors growth is dependent upon vascularization through the formation of new capillaries from pre-existing blood vessels, a process called angiogenesis. Numerous cytokines and growth factors have been shown to regulate angiogenesis while modulating cell invasion, growth and differentiation; however, these mechanisms remain poorly defined. GBM cells have the ability to become endothelial cells (ECs) that contribute to abnormal tumor vasculature. I will examine specific molecular targets to investigate the following: are GBM-derived ECs more resistant to apoptosis than host-derived ECs? Does this result in increased aggressiveness of tumors that have the potential to generate GBM-derived ECs?

...Read More about Alex Yang Lu
L&S Sciences

The Effaced Teacher: Yoga to the People, Embodied Practices and theCreation of Ethical Communities

My project is a discourse analysis of the community-donation-based Vinyasa yoga studios of Yoga to the People (YTTP). I will explore issues of embodiment, technique and aesthetics and whether they incite, affect or create a potential space for a community to form within a individualized practice. Yoga teachers at YTTP are kept anonymous (simply, their names are not placed on the schedules) in an attempt to promote an ego-less space. Yet, I believe it is the teachers – through vibrational dialogue, vocal manipulation (timbre, tone, pronunciation etc) music and movement – who facilitate the development of community. This summer I will spend much time reading about the history of yoga, discourse, embodiment and aesthetics, as well as interviewing teachers, yoga practitioners, and taking the Teacher Training Program myself. I will be working with Professor Ramona Naddaff, Professor of Rhetoric and Undergraduate Faculty Advisor.

...Read More about Katie McCarthy
Humanities and Social Science

The effect of the implementation of a national health insurance scheme on mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS in selected nations of Sub-Saharan Africa

My project will examine the effect of national health insurance on rates of mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS (MTCT) in Sub-Saharan Africa. I will compare five nations of the region that have implemented national health insurance and compare their rates of MTCT to a control group of another five that have not. I will utilize data from various sources to compile a large data set on each of the ten nations and thus control for the necessary variables so that the two groups of 5 may be compared and statistical significance of results can be determined. From this data I hope to find what, if any, aspects of national health insurance help to reduce MTCT and provide recommendations for future health policy.

...Read More about Halea Meese
L&S Sciences

Moving Left: Examining Ideological/Political Shifts within Israeli Society

I am studying the Israeli perspective of the Israeli-Palsestinian Conflict as a case study to understand how personal perspectives shift in directions contrary to the dominant national discourse. I will be interviewing individuals who have shifted their perspective from the right-wing ideology common in Israel today to a more liberal (pro-Palestinian/anti-Zionist) viewpoint. My research will shed light on the types of life-histories which promote ideological resilience and curiosity, by identifying common life experiences, interpersonal interactions, and historical contexts which this small group of Israelis share.

...Read More about Ariella Megory
Humanities and Social Science

Stomatal variations with height in remarkably tall trees, Sequoia sempervirens

Coast Redwoods can grow over three hundred and fifty feet tall—well overtopping Sather Tower’s three hundred and seven. An individual Redwood might live in multiple above-ground micro-climates that can be especially noticeable on a sunny day: from low, perhaps shady to dry, hot, dizzyingly high-up. Macro-morphological features of their leaves (e.g. surface area and connection to the stem) have been demonstrated to correlate with such great height, suggesting that variable leaf structures work together with towering stature. What the stomata, pores, are up to meanwhile has yet to be as well documented in the literature. Some stomatal changes may be observable at everyday scales as congregate stripes along one or both surfaces of the leaf. Other features, such as the occurrence densities of the pores, become noticeable with cuticle microscopy. A razor and needle are just small enough to unfold the waxy layer to make slides. A panorama that is […]

...Read More about Meriel Melendrez
L&S Sciences

Characterizing the microtubule-binding activity of CENP-F, an essential kinetochore protein

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States . It has long been known that improper cell division often leads to proliferation of tumors eventually resulting in cancer. Thus, studying the proteins involved in cell division is important to the process of eventually preventing and curing the malignancy. My project involves the characterization of a protein, CENP-F (mitosin), associated in the outer kinetochore of cells that is known to bind microtubules, an essential component that drives cell division. I aim to characterize the microtubule binding activity of CENP-F both biochemically and using electron microscopy. In addition to being a fascinating topic, the findings of this project have potential to reveal important components in an essential cellular process. These findings will also help contribute to therapeutic uses, especially in the treatment and prevention of cancer.

...Read More about Vivek Musinipally
L&S Sciences

The Role of PTEN Tumor Suppressor Gene in Regulating the Elimination of Neural Stem Cells in Drosophila

Neurogenesis, the production of new neurons, occurs via the asymmetrical division of neural stem cells in specific regions of the mammalian and Drosophila brain. It is a highly regulated process as proper neuron type and number is crucial to allow the proper formation and functioning of the brain. In Drosophila brain, much is known about the pathways that regulate asymmetric cell division. However, little is known about the mechanisms that regulate its termination. In PTEN tumor suppressor gene mutants, neural stem cells aberrantly persist in the brain of adult Drosophila. My research aims at determining the role of PTEN in regulating the elimination of neural stem cells in Drosophila. It is hypothesized that PTEN mutants have aberrantly persistent neural stem cells because the insulin pathway is no longer being antagonized. Understanding the role of PTEN is significant because mutations of this gene are found in cancer patients such as those […]

...Read More about Sivapratha Nagappan Chettiar
L&S Sciences

Message in a Bottle: An Advertising Campaign's Appropriation of Inclusive Political Rhetoric, and What This Reveals about National and Global Identity

My research examines a current, multinational advertising campaign, analyzing in detail the campaigns appropriation of inclusive political rhetoric used by president Barack Obama, and what this reveals about American nationalism and global identity. Using multimodal discourse analysis and other more specific visual semiotic frameworks for decoding print and billboard advertisements, I will be analyzing advertisements marketed in the United States and Europe as part of this campaign. Since this advertising campaign relies heavily on the rhetoric of unity, and is multinational in its scope, what can this tell us about the debate over an emerging global nationalism, as opposed to an Americanization of culture across the world?

...Read More about Tyler Naman
Humanities and Social Science

Photofragment translational spectroscopy of the 1-propyl radical at 248nm

Degradation reactions of alkyl radicals are of interest in combustion chemistry, planetary atmospheres, and the interstellar medium. However, the nature of their reaction pathways is not easily understood as the intermediates are highly reactive. My project will investigate the dissociation dynamics of a simple primary alkyl radical, 1-propyl, upon excitation at 248 nm using a detection scheme known as photofragment translational spectroscopy. Four distinctive product channels are assessed at this wavelength. A preliminary experimental work seems to indicate that the C-C bond cleavage is energetically the most favorable product channel. This observation motivates my research to determine whether the methyl loss channel is the sole and dominant dissociation pathway, and what reaction mechanisms are involved molecularly and electronically.

...Read More about Dayoung Park
L&S Sciences

Language, Narratives and the Social Imagination: Lessons in Reading for Gandhi's Nonviolent Movement

I am researching Gandhi’s nonviolent movement in India, particularly the importance that Gandhi subscribed to language and his belief that language too can be violent. If language does not merely describe the world as it is but is an active part of creating that very world and thus the possibilities for action, then how we choose and use our words is not trivial in the least but significantly influences the success of any political action. Moreover, as an extension upon language in general, I am exploring the narrative function in Gandhi’s movement. If we think of narratives as open-ended, on-going and composed of multiple voices and perspectives, then political action composed in a kind of ‘narrative imagination’ allows for an on-going process, a process that responds to movements of an individual situation and is not forever determined by a sound-bite slogan that slowly fades in meaning. Through a thorough analysis […]

...Read More about Justine Parkin
Humanities and Social Science

Language, Narratives and the Social Imagination: Lessons in Reading for Gandhi's Nonviolent Movement

I am researching Gandhi’s nonviolent movement in India, particularly the importance that Gandhi subscribed to language and his belief that language too can be violent. If language does not merely describe the world as it is but is an active part of creating that very world and thus the possibilities for action, then how we choose and use our words is not trivial in the least but significantly influences the success of any political action. Moreover, as an extension upon language in general, I am exploring the narrative function in Gandhi’s movement. If we think of narratives as open-ended, on-going and composed of multiple voices and perspectives, then political action composed in a kind of ‘narrative imagination’ allows for an on-going process, a process that responds to movements of an individual situation and is not forever determined by a sound-bite slogan that slowly fades in meaning. Through a thorough analysis […]

...Read More about Justine Parkin
Rose Hills

Species or lineages? Distribution modeling of ancient, phylogeographic lineages of California ground squirrels under present, past, and future climates

Species Distribution Models (SDMs) provide one of the only methods for projecting the future distribution of species and are increasingly used to prioritize conservation efforts. SDMs correlate species’ occurrence points with climatic variables (e.g., temperature and precipitation) to produce a distributional map of the climatic limits of a species. Genetic studies of geographic variation within species, or phylogeography, often uncover cryptic lineages that have remained evolutionarily isolated for thousands to millions of years. My research assesses how identifying cryptic diversity within species affects the predictions of SDMs. Faced with climate change, accurately identifying critical regions for management remains a key issue in effectively conserving Earth’s biodiversity. See Mark’s interview on the Understanding Evolution web site, a project of the University of California Museum of Paleontology.

...Read More about Mark Phuong
L&S Sciences

Species or lineages? Distribution modeling of ancient, phylogeographic lineages of California ground squirrels under present, past, and future climates

Species Distribution Models (SDMs) provide one of the only methods for projecting the future distribution of species and are increasingly used to prioritize conservation efforts. SDMs correlate species’ occurrence points with climatic variables (e.g., temperature and precipitation) to produce a distributional map of the climatic limits of a species. Genetic studies of geographic variation within species, or phylogeography, often uncover cryptic lineages that have remained evolutionarily isolated for thousands to millions of years. My research assesses how identifying cryptic diversity within species affects the predictions of SDMs. Faced with climate change, accurately identifying critical regions for management remains a key issue in effectively conserving Earth’s biodiversity. See Mark’s interview on the Understanding Evolution web site, a project of the University of California Museum of Paleontology.

...Read More about Mark Phuong
L&S Sciences

Multimodality and the Post-9/11 Trauma Narrative in Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

After September 11, American author Don Delillo announced: “Many things are over. The narrative ends in the rubble, and it is left to us to create the counter-narrative.” Although a multitude of literary, psychoanalytic and political discourse has speculated on how, years after the fact, we now tell the “story” of 9/11, a cohesive picture of this counter-narrative remains unclear. By using Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (a novel whose fragmented speakers struggle to reconcile their pre- and post-9/11 traumatic experiences) as a springboard for my research, I will explore how postmodern literary techniques have changed, interacted with, and transformed the genre of the trauma narrative in the post-9/11 world.

...Read More about Trisha Remetir
Humanities and Social Science

Molecular Protection Mechanism of the Gastric H,K ATPase

The H, K ATPase is a P-type ATPase proton pump that is highly expressed in the gastric parietal cell. This enzymatic proton pump is responsible for creating the highly acidic environment in the lumen of the stomach. The protein is comprised of a larger catalytic “alpha” subunit that creates the high proton gradient and a smaller “beta” subunit. The goal of my research project is to gain a deeper insight into how it is that the H,K ATPase protects itself from digestion by the very acid that it produces to break down other ingested proteins. Previous work in our lab suggests that the -subunit may act in a protective capacity to allow the -subunit to remain operational even in the highly acidic (pH 1-2) environment of the stomach lumen, however the molecular mechanism of protection still requires further investigation. Using a combination of enzymatic activity assays and immunoblotting/immunoassays we are […]

...Read More about Jared Rosen
L&S Sciences

The use of modular, synthetic scaffolds for modeling pathway kinetics using a synthetic n-butanol pathway in engineered E. coli

The current energy crisis in the US has demanded the production of alternative, renewable fuels to replace our current petroleum-based fuels. However, the limitations of the current biofuel standard, ethanol, require the development of second-generation fuels that can be used with existing engines and infrastructure. One such fuel is n-butanol, which the M. Chang group has successfully produced at good yield using a synthetic metabolic pathway engineered into E. coli. The Dueber Lab has demonstrated that synthetic protein scaffolds can be used to colocalize enzymes in metabolic pathways in varying ratios and thus optimize the flux through these pathways and improve production. By observing the effects of such scaffolds on the M. Chang group’s synthetic butanol pathway in E. coli, I can gain a more complete picture of the overall flux through the pathway, allowing for further increases in both butanol production efficiency and our understanding of cellular enzymology.

...Read More about Timothy Roth
L&S Sciences

Biodiversity and the Courts: Endangered Species Law in the US, Australia, and Canada

How effective are the endangered species laws in the US compared with those of other countries? Throughout the social science literature, scholars have noted that US courts have much broader powers of review over agency decisions than judges in other English-speaking nations, encouraging American interest groups to challenge agency rulings through the legal system. As such, in my project, I extend this comparative observation to pose a specific question: does the court-centric approach to policymaking in the United States provide for a more effective system of endangered species protection than alternative systems in Australia or Canada? Utilizing the conservation efforts on behalf of polar bears and green sea turtles as case studies, I hope to identify some of the advantages and the limitations of the current endangered species laws in the United States, and to identify ways in which those statutes might be improved in the future.

...Read More about Robert Schaffer
Humanities and Social Science

Functional Analysis of the Protein Channel KCNK18

KCNK18 is a two-pore potassium channel that is hypothesized to play a key role in pain and touch. Mutations in the KCNK18 gene have been found in people suffering from familiar migraine. Furthermore, this channel is targeted by a variety of anesthetics as well as hydroxy–sanshool, the active ingredient in Szechuan peppercorn responsible for its tingling and numbing analgesic properties. Since the parts of the protein responsible for function and modulation of the channel have not been identified, the specific goal of my project is to create and screen a KCNK18 mutant library to investigate which parts of this protein are required for normal channel activity. I am specifically interested in identifying the parts of the protein that are responsible for its sensitivity to sanshool. In order to do this, I first introduce random single-point mutations into the KCNK18 gene, which goes through a series of molecular cloning techniques and […]

...Read More about Elina Serrano
L&S Sciences

Exclusion and Access in San Francisco Unified School District

How does the urban geography of San Francisco shape access to education? By studying the San Francisco School District archives and exploring the city on foot and by bus, I seek to illuminate the relationships between transportation, housing, and the quality of public of schools. In light of the Districts unique student assignment policy, how does the relative accessibility or inaccessibility of a school lend shape to its demographics, performance, and ability to meet students needs? In order to understand the present conjuncture in San Franciscos school system, my research will attempt to evaluate the effectiveness of the School Districts policies, ranging from desegregation, integration, and bussing in the 1960s and 1970s to the present moment.

...Read More about Alex Siegel
Humanities and Social Science

Identifying the Causes of Health Related Social Isolation among African American Seniors

My summer research will take place in Washington D.C. the hub of senior based organizations such as AARP and the Department of Health and Human Services. My research will consist of examining specific health disparities that exist among African American elders that can cause them to fall into social isolation. While in a socially isolated state, many of these seniors can succumb to depression and even suicide. As more research is conducted on ways to identify specific health conditions among African American elders that lead to isolation, preventive measures can be taken to stem the tide of those afflicted by the many ill affects isolation brings.

...Read More about Delane Sims
Humanities and Social Science

Palynological Analysis of a late Carboniferous Channel Fill Assemblage

This project is investigating conflicts in the representation of plant assemblages in the middle Pennsylvanian (Moscovian, 311.7 1.1 to 306.5 1.0 Mya) fossil record. Currently, the held belief is that the tropical lowlands of the Moscovian were dominated by swamp forests (coal forests) during periods of deglaciation. However, recent studies of the Baker Coal from the Cottage Grove mine of southeast Illinois show xerophytic (dry) plants sandwiched in-between layers dominated by the more common coal forest plants. This discovery infers that these floras may have been growing in close proximity to the coal forests, but are generally under-represented due to taphonomic (preservation) bias. Palynological (pollen and spore) samples from the Cottage Grove study will be studied for a more regional signal. These results will be compared to the macrofossil record and sequence stratigraphic data to better elucidate and resolve the species diversity in the Cottage Grove locality.

...Read More about Robert Stevenson
L&S Sciences

The 35 Hour Work Week in France and the Political Economy of Andr Gorz

Social theorist Andr Gorz explores the irrationality of a society dominated by distinctly economic motives in his book Critique of Economic Reason. A practical philosopher, Gorz ends his theoretical work with suggestions on limiting the sphere of economics, expanding the role of leisure, and allowing individuals to pursue work they actually enjoy, instead of simply pursuing a wage by limiting the amount of time a person can work. My research focuses on France’s highly contested 35-hour work week legislation, which limits the amount of time an employer can demand from employees. By searching for and organizing economic data in the food service sector and collecting and analyzing the arguments for and against the legislation in France’s National Assembly, my research matches Gorz’s philosophy with his ideas. My findings will add to a growing body of work questioning if and under what circumstances such anti-capitalist legislation can be effective.

...Read More about Adam Storer
Humanities and Social Science

Export Laws, British Coal, and the Netherlands in the 17th and 18th Centuries

My research will look at the impact of English laws on the importation and use of coal in the Netherlands in the 17th and 18th centuries. During this period, both England and the Netherlands were prosperous nation with high demands for fuel. The English increasingly relied on coal, which influential theories tie to Englands being the worlds first country to industrialize. Due to the location of mines, however, it would have been easy to deliver coal to the Netherlands instead of central England. Various historians have examined the historical prices of coal and other fuels in the Netherlands, but none have attempted to correlate price fluctuations with English laws regarding the exportation of coal. By doing this, I hope that my research might provide a better understanding of how state policies and laws shaped early industrialization in Europe and industrialization in general.

...Read More about Gregory Swain
Humanities and Social Science

San Francisco Beat and Spoken Word Movements: Beating the American Bandwagon Mentality

The written word has been used to comment on cultural trends and mindsets for centuries. My research focuses on the Beat and modern spoken word movements, seeing how the poets during those times commented on American bandwagon mentality. The Beat poets focused primarily on the post-World War II stoicism that was permeating through the American culture. The modern spoken word poets write about the modern hysteria to join multiple causes that span from global warming to ending world hunger. Both poetry movements seem to have qualms with how people do not have a clear and individual reason for why they choose to follow these trends. The goal of my research is to compare and contrast the social and historical issues these poetry movements explore to see how their commentaries are similar, explaining how past verse writers continue to influence modern poetics.

...Read More about Ciara Williams
Humanities and Social Science

Bringing the War Back Home: Narratives of Iraqi Refugees and US Veterans of the 2003 War

The 2003 war in Iraq displaced 4.2 million Iraqis, deployed over 170 thousand American troops, and changed the lives of many. Its repercussions are seen among the 40 thousand Iraqi refugees in the US, most of whom left behind successful lives as doctors, journalists, and artists. The wars aftermath is also evident among American veterans, who returned home to a community that had a shallow connection with the intense experience the troops had just lived in Iraq. For my senior honors thesis, I will examine the local effects of the 2003 Iraq war by documenting narratives of the professional class of Iraqi refugees that resettled in northern California, alongside those of recently returned US veterans who are now attending a competitive university, also in northern California.

...Read More about Maia Wolins
Humanities and Social Science

The Ministry of Education or the Ministry of Truth? Using Educational Content to Shape Political Ideology in China's High Schools

Between 2004 and 2011, China implemented the largest secondary education reform in its history. Although the reformed textbooks embody many shifts in ideology (such as perspectives on Confucius), the primary goal of secondary education remains to enforce an overt set of ideologies onto Chinese students. My research project asks: how effective is Chinas centralized education system in passing down these changed ideologies to students through the textbooks? This project consists of two major stages. First, I will quantitatively measure and compare the ideological content across different textbooks. Then, I will conduct a survey online and among colleges in Nanjing and Shanghai. While the textbook analysis provides precise evidence on government’s intention, the carefully controlled survey is able to measures the actual impact on students’ ideology. Chinas secondary education is an unique case that allows me to to identify an causal effect between school curricula and students ideology. This will be […]

...Read More about David Yufan Yang
Humanities and Social Science

The Mechanism of Glioblastoma-Derived Endothelial Cell Evasion of TGF-B1 Induced Apoptosis

My research this summer focuses on battling Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), the most common and malignant type of brain tumor. Despite invasive surgical resection and pharmaceutical therapy, patients with GBM have a mean survival time of 12-15 months following diagnosis, making GBM among the most aggressive of human cancers. Tumors growth is dependent upon vascularization through the formation of new capillaries from pre-existing blood vessels, a process called angiogenesis. Numerous cytokines and growth factors have been shown to regulate angiogenesis while modulating cell invasion, growth and differentiation; however, these mechanisms remain poorly defined. GBM cells have the ability to become endothelial cells (ECs) that contribute to abnormal tumor vasculature. I will examine specific molecular targets to investigate the following: are GBM-derived ECs more resistant to apoptosis than host-derived ECs? Does this result in increased aggressiveness of tumors that have the potential to generate GBM-derived ECs?

...Read More about Alex Yang Lu
Rose Hills