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