Algorithmic Models for Intervention-Oriented Social Media Platforms

The California Report Card (CRC) is a social media platform that collects public feedback on timely issues and uses a peer-to-peer evaluation network to filter for the most constructive and insightful comments provided. Already successfully deployed with over 8000 visits, the CRC has already indicated high public interest in disaster preparedness. My lab is working to create a new version of the CRC focused on disaster preparedness. We hope to use the CRC as a tool to foster public awareness and dialogue around earthquake safety and wildfire prevention. Since the new platform is more educational/interventional by the nature of content, the deployment of this new platform raises questions about how the data collected can be used to assess and predict disaster readiness. I will work on developing algorithmic approaches that model and assess this.

...Read More about Amit Akula
Rose Hills

Characterizing Dopamine D1R and D2R expressing neurons in the medial prefrontal cortex

Many years of research have established dopamine as a key neuromodulator required for learning and adapting behavioral responses to a changing environment. Dopamine actions are mediated by two classes of receptors, with largely antagonistic effects: the D1 group mainly leads to excitation-like effects in neurons, while the D2 group has inhibition-like effects. Particularly, the medial prefrontal cortex contains neurons expressing both D1 and D2 receptors, which have been implicated in a large number of normal and pathological behaviors. Although recent research links dopamine receptor D1 expressing neurons to working memory in the PFC, most studies do not explain how normal dopamine release, acting through both D1 and D2 receptors is able to produce a coherent behavioral effect. How does dopaminergic neuromodulation in the medial prefrontal cortex lead to plasticity and learning? The goal of my project is to characterize the role of dopamine receptor D1 and D2 expressing neurons in […]

...Read More about Nadir Bilici
Rose Hills

Developing a Model of the Basal Ganglia and Cerebellum

Everyday actions require both the selection of the correct action and then the correct execution of this action. For example, when playing tennis, one has to both select the correct stroke to use and then correctly execute this stroke. The basal ganglia and cerebellum are two systems in the brain thought to be responsible for action selection and execution respectively. My research aims to develop a computational model of these two systems in order to investigate how they interact to produce complex motor actions. This model will be biologically constrained to best approximate actual biological function and will connect the two systems based on existing anatomical connections. By comparing the performance of this model with actual behavioral results, I hope to better understand the functional pathways in the brain that are responsible for producing actions as well as test hypotheses about how these two systems influence each other’s learning.

...Read More about Matthew Boggess
L&S Sciences

The Internal Gym: Engaging Internal & External Variables of Motivation in Exercise Self-Efficacy

In search of methods to best galvanize people into healthy action, our modern culture has turned health and fitness into an industry that focuses primarily on external factors such as weight, shape, and sex appeal. Though these aesthetics may work at getting people into the gym, they have not been as successful at helping them stick to their exercise routines. Statistics have consistently indicated that 50% of those who begin an exercise program abandon such regimens within three to six months. For this reason my research aims to identify which internal and external motivational factors deter and promote exercise adherence. I will do this by examining the roles that both social and physical exercise environments play in helping individuals maintain lasting habits of health. It is my hope that this project contributes to the body of knowledge in exercise psychology and ultimately aids in efforts to facilitate exercise environments that […]

...Read More about Berk Brown
Humanities and Social Science

Comparing Worker Experiences in Conventional and Cooperative Workplaces

My research project seeks to compare worker experiences from cooperatives and conventional businesses to discover whether a cooperative workplace is a more effective way to organize labor in regards to happiness and fulfillment. My research will utilize interviews and surveys of workers in comparable cooperative and conventional workplaces in Berkeley and Oakland in order to better understand how workplace structures influence and shape worker happiness and fulfillment. Theoretically, I am drawing from Marx’s arguments on alienation to examine these experiences. My hope is that my research will spur debate on workplace structures and question whether conventional workplaces are in fact the most effective way for workers to be happy and fulfilled. In a larger sense, I hope to demonstrate that there exist a variety of workplace structures and to dispel the myth that there is no alternative to capitalism.

...Read More about Jason Budge
Humanities and Social Science

Evaluating Chromatins Role in Sex-Specific Aging with Drosophila Lifespan AssaysDoris Bachtrog

While research concerning the molecular aspects of aging exists, there remain unanswered questions regarding aging differences between males and females. Differences in aging between males and females is a phenomenon that has been observed in many different animals with XY sex determination, including humans. These differences are manifested in the observation that females outlive males. Recent studies have provided insight into the potential role of sex-specific chromatin in aging. My project will focus on conducting lifespan assays for Drosophila flies with altered sex chromosome configurations to directly test the effect of chromatin on aging. By using males that lack a Y chromosome, females with a Y chromosome, and flies with varying degrees of X-linked genomes, I hope to elucidate the influence of Y and X-linked chromatin on sex-specific aging.

...Read More about Xiao Hua Chen
Rose Hills

Characterization of lipid droplet, nitric oxide, and cytokine production in primary macrophages from mice susceptible to Mycobacterium tuberculosis

A hallmark of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection in humans is a latency period where the bacteria remain dormant in granulomas. Lipid droplets within macrophages, a component of these granulomas, are hypothesized to be a source of energy for Mtb. Research suggests that lipid droplet formation may be mediated by large quantities of nitric oxide produced by infected macrophages. This project aims to characterize lipid droplet formation and nitric oxide production in macrophages from C3HeB/FeJ mice in the context of TLR stimulation, IFN-, and infection with Mycobacterium marinum, a close genetic relative of Mtb. I will also investigate whether enhanced IFN- and IL-10 production, cytokines believed to interfere with Mtb killing, is a general property of activated C3HeB/FeJ macrophages. Understanding Mtb dormancy will aid development of newer or more effective antibiotics for the treatment of infected patients.

...Read More about Katherine Chen
Rose Hills

Confirming the Presence of Functional CatSper Ion Channels in Primate and Rat Sperm Cells

There is an abundance of what humans consider to be pest animals in the world, such as a high population of rats or an uncontrollable populace of monkeys. These pest animals can often act as vectors for disease and they can damage property or endanger human life. It is crucial to control these growing populations in order to avoid these problems. One major way to control population growth is through effective and humane methods of sterilization. I intend to do this by creating an antibody vaccine against the principal calcium ion channel of sperm, CatSper. However in order to create a successful vaccine, it is crucial to first confirm the actual presence and functionality of CatSper in monkeys and rats, which is what my project aims to achieve. Through this project, I hope to lay the foundation for creating a sterilization vaccine to combat these excessive populations of pest animals.

...Read More about Sravya Chilukuri
Rose Hills

Albumin-Induced Reactive Astrocytosis Following Blood-Brain Barrier Disruption: A Model for Age- Related Seizure Susceptibility

Post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE), occurring after brain insult, is one of the most common epilepsies, affecting millions of people worldwide. The progression of PTE is marked by a period of neuronal network reorganization in which post-injury inflammatory responses are thought to contribute to a hyperexcitable neural environment, ultimately leading to chronic and spontaneous seizures. Previous research found that the breakdown of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) during injury allows the serum protein albumin from the blood to enter the brain. Serum protein albumin binds selectively to transforming growth factor beta receptors (TGF-R) on astroglia, causing inflammatory TGF- signaling and initiating a variety of effects including reactive astrocytosis, increased neuronal excitability and epileptogenesis. Over the summer, I will be investigating the identity of potentially epileptogenic astrocytes, along with probing their possible roles in causing susceptibility to seizure onset, which could elucidate the cellular and molecular factors underlying epileptogenesis.

...Read More about Gregory Chin
Rose Hills

Identifying Upstream Kinases in JUNB Macrophage Activation

Despite the rapid evolution of medicine and technology, half the global population still remains at risk for malaria, a common tropical disease that has been one of the leading causes of death in children. While public health and macro level efforts have been highly successful in attempting to curb the mosquito-borne disease, researchers have been looking into molecular and biological based defenses against malaria. Macrophages are an essential part of the immune system that promote elimination of malaria infected cells, so the immune systems regulation of such macrophages are of great interest to researchers. Through this project, I will investigate the specific transcription factor JUNB, which has been associated with macrophage regulation, and its underlying regulatory pathways. I will accomplish this by using pharmacological inhibitors of several kinase families associated with activation of members of the transcription factor family of which JUNB is a member and by generating bone marrow […]

...Read More about Me Ree Chung
Rose Hills

More Than Meets The Eye: A Textual Examination of Old English Color Resonances

A native English speaker will not, generally, be surprised to hear that the color pink is associated with love, or green with envy; we are naturally attuned to the color symbolism embedded within our own language. One challenge of working with the literary tradition of a reconstructed language like Old English, however, is that many such tacit symbolic resonances have been lost to us. This summer, I will analyze the contexts in which the Old English color words sweart, rad, and fealo appear in existing Old English literature, systematically tracking patterns of color association. Does rad, for example, in being used to depict both blood and gold, create an intuitive connection between wealth and violence? In exploring such resonances, I hope to contribute to the reestablishment of a frame of reference for Old English color symbolism, and thus to restore some small piece of what has been lost.

...Read More about Amy Clark
Humanities and Social Science

Photosystem II Assembly in Cyanobacteria

Nearly all life on Earth depends on oxygenic photosynthesis, the process by which light energy is used to create sugars and oxygen from water and carbon dioxide. In plants and algae, it is carried out in organelles called chloroplasts, which are cousins of photosynthetic bacteria known as cyanobacteria. Both chloroplasts and cyanobacteria contain membrane-enclosed sacs called thylakoids, and the light-dependent reactions of photosynthesis take place in the thylakoid membrane. Here, light hits the protein complex Photosystem II (PSII), and this energy is used to split water into oxygen, protons, and high-energy electrons, which are carried through a transport chain that ultimately produces NADPH and ATP. PSII is composed of 20-30 proteins and ~70 cofactors, and my project is to develop and characterize mutants in cyanobacteria where these are not correctly assembled. This includes rubA in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 and Thermosynechococcus elongatus BP-1, as well as slr1470 in Synechocystis.

...Read More about Ron Cook
L&S Sciences

Changing Views on Gun Control: The Effects of Moral Framing and Ingroup Conformity on Attitudes Towards Gun Laws

The debate over gun control has become an increasingly divisive political issue among Americans, so much so that both liberals and conservatives appear to be talking past each other. According to Moral Foundations Theory, such political schisms arise because liberals and conservatives hold different moral intuitions and respond to different forms of moral rhetoric. While the intuitive and discursive asymmetries between liberals and conservatives may seem insurmountable, recent research suggests that moral framing can actually persuade partisans to change their attitudes by appealing to their moral intuitions. Expanding on this new line of research, I intend to run an experiment that tests whether moral framing can change conservative and liberal attitudes toward gun control. I will recruit participants to read fake op-eds arguing for or against gun control. By employing moral rhetoric in the op-eds that resonates with conservative and liberal moral intuitions, I will attempt to persuade conservatives to […]

...Read More about Edgar Cook
Humanities and Social Science

Investigation of the ttr genes in C. elegans and their role in regulating development and lifespan, potentially through hormonal signaling

Antagonistic Pleiotropy, an evolutionary theory of aging, states that traits beneficial early in life are selected for even if they become detrimental later in life. Very few molecular examples of Antagonistic Pleiotropy have been observed, but our lab recently discovered a protein in C. elegans that fits the proposed theory. This protein, KGB-1, protects developing worms from environmental stress, but sensitizes worms in adulthood to the same stresses shortening lifespan; the cause of this switch is unknown. An observed change in gene expression was the result of this age-dependent switch; a prominent group among them was the transthyretin-like (ttr) genes, an expanded family of genes homologous to the single gene in humans. Transthyretin in humans transports hydrophobic thyroid hormone and retinol. Thus, the 58 ttr genes likely perform similar roles of transporting age-specific hormones in C. elegans, and through which potentially mediate some of KGB-1s age-dependent effects.

...Read More about Dustin Cox
Rose Hills

Charcoal Identification as Means of Central California Landscape Reconstruction

Paleoethnobotany is an archaeological research method which allows plant remains surviving from the archaeological past to be studied and identified. In doing so, researchers can analyze plants that were used by Native peoples and deposited in sites pre-European colonization. Utilizing this methodology, past landscapes can be reconstructed as means to determine how Native peoples interacted with their surroundings, as well as to hypothesize about landscape change over time. Using paleoethnobotanical methods, I will systematically study recovered charred wood remains from a prehistoric, Central California archaeological site and create a charcoal reference collection for the area. This project will allow me to identify the representative taxa (populations of organisms) of the site with the intent that these plants may be restored to the region in the future. By completing this project, it is my hope that a better understanding of human interactions with the pre-Contact Bay Area landscape can be reached.

...Read More about GeorgeAnn DeAntoni
Humanities and Social Science

Following Changes: A Study of Botanical Illustrations Modeled After Jacques Le Moyne de Morgue

I intend to look at three sets of botanical illustrations by three artists, all produced in Europe between 1585 and 1614 and all copied from the earliest of the three sets of illustrations, an album of watercolors by the French Artist Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues. The realm of botanical illustration is one which straddles the lines between art and science and as such these illustrations are ripe with assumptions about what artwork can do, how the artists related to the natural world and how to gain and communicate information about the natural world. I want to study the modifications made by each artist to the original subject matter to mold the illustrations to their particular purpose. In doing so I want to understand what exactly these artists wanted their art to do, how and if the illustrations carry scientific authority while still remaining aesthetically enticing, and the balance between […]

...Read More about Olivia Dill
Humanities and Social Science

Charge Transport in mK Ge and Si Detectors for the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search

Dark matter is ubiquitous in this universe yet has not been detected directly. The leading candidate particles for dark matter are Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs). The Cryogenic Dark Matter Search utilizes measurement of ionization and phonons in order to discriminate between background particles and rare WIMP interactions. Achieving complete charge collection by the ionization readout is challenging due to trapping within the low temperature Germanium and Silicon detectors. The charge transport experiment will provide great insight into the phenomenon of charge trapping and this information will have wide implications in low temperature semiconductor physics. Examining the trapping curves will also allow us to better understand the charge collection mechanism for the CDMS detectors. With this information we can more accurately distinguish between background particles and rare WIMP interactions, eventually leading to the detection of dark matter.

...Read More about Akash Dixit
Rose Hills

Interplay between LKB1 and mTOR in hepatocellular carcinoma cells

Cancer is characterized by uncontrolled cell growth, which is in part dependent on mTOR, a serine/threonine kinase that controls protein translation. Although mTOR is almost never mutated in cancer cells , mutations upstream of mTOR can influence the rate at which the cells grow. The Shokat lab has studied the effect of mTOR inhibitors in liver cancer cells, identifying the tumor suppressor kinase LKB1 as a potential modifier of mTOR inhibitor sensitivity. LKB1 has multiple targets with different effects on cancer cell behavior. Through pharmacological and signal transduction analysis, I aim to understand which targets of LKB1 can alter mTOR inhibitor sensitivity. My hope is that by understanding the molecular processes behind cancers response to chemical inhibitors, we can better target these drugs to patients who will benefit from them.

...Read More about Lisa Du
Rose Hills

Cell-Free Nucleic Acids as Biomarkers for Shock in Human Dengue

“Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease that places about three billion people at risk for infection yearly in tropical and sub-tropical regions worldwide. Infected individuals can be asymptomatic, or they can show clinical disease, including an acute debilitating fever (Dengue Fever) that can progress to life-threatening conditions of severe dengue, including Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS). The goal of this research is to investigate whether cell-free nucleic acids in patient serum can serve as biomarkers to distinguish between cases of mild and severe dengue disease. I will accomplish this by characterizing the population of circulating nucleic acids in individuals with mild dengue versus DSS using high-throughput sequencing methodologies and subsequent data analysis. The availability of such prognostic tools, combined with existing warning signs for DSS, would allow hospitals to better triage cases for intensive management, with a considerable economic impact on dengue healthcare and improvement in clinical management in endemic countries.”

...Read More about Meghana Eswarappa
L&S Sciences

Ultrafast Charge Separation in Carotenoid-Porphyrin-Quinone Molecular Triad, Tetrad and Pentad

A promising approach to generating clean and sustainable energy is artificial photosynthesis, which aims to mimic photosynthesis in plants or bacteria and improve upon its energy conversion efficiency. Charge separation is a key step in artificial photosynthesis, but its mechanism is not yet fully understood. Recent evidence for ultrafast (sub-picosecond) charge separation in a wide variety of organic donor-acceptor materials has revived interest in the topic. Since the timescale of ultrafast charge separation is comparable to typical decoherence timescales, quantum coherent effects may play a significant role in this process. The proposed research will assess the importance of delocalized orbitals and hot excitonic states for charge separation in model systems: a carotenoid-porphyrin-quinone molecular triad, tetrad and pentad. We will employ open system dynamics simulations based on a Markovian master equation with a basis set of delocalized states. Density functional theory (DFT) will be used to calculate Hamiltonian parameters.

...Read More about Michael Forsuelo
Rose Hills

Host Water Stress Effects on Mealybug Vector Preference and Survivorship

Limited water availability in areas of drought can have implications on disease spread in crops. The goal of my research is to study water stress dynamics in grape plants and mealybugs, one of the major vineyard pests. Mealybug vectors transmit a family of viruses leading to Grapevine Leafroll Disease (GLD), causing uneconomical losses in vine health, grape quality, and yield. It is especially important to understand the effects of water stress on mealybug movement, as it may subsequently affect pathogen spread. I will be examining 1) mealybug settling preference between low stress and variable (low, medium, high) stress grapes, and 2) mealybug survivorship on low, medium, and high stress grapes. My results will inform irrigation management practices in response to disease, and may have implications for predicted climate change and disease dynamics.

...Read More about Megan Fu
Rose Hills

IQGAP's Mechanism and Role in Vascular Function

In asthma, contraction of the airway smooth muscle leads to increased work of breathing and respiratory failure. Smooth muscle contraction is regulated by the GTPase RhoA, whose active form inactivates myosin light chain phosphatase. The inactivation of MLC phosphatase then sensitizes smooth muscle to Ca++ within the cytosol and leads to smooth muscle contraction. In preliminary data, we have found that IQGAP1 affects RhoA activity by acting as a scaffold for the recruitment of a known inhibitor of RhoA activityp190A-RhoGAP. This summer, I propose experiments that will further test the hypothesis that IQGAP1 inhibits RhoA activity through p190A-RhoGAP. These experiments will provide new information on the molecular determinants of airway smooth muscle contraction, which could ultimately provide therapeutic targets for the treatment of airway smooth muscle contraction in asthma.

...Read More about Previn Ganesan
Rose Hills

Investigating Inhibitory Effects of the Pre-SMA in a Response Inhibition Paradigm

We are frequently required to halt or alter ongoing actions when an unexpected event is presented. For example, when we start crossing the street and we see an unanticipated car, we have to suddenly halt. In neuroscience, this sudden suppression of movement is referred to as response-inhibition. Response-inhibition deficits have been linked to disorders such as ADHD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and substance use disorders. However, the exact neural pathways engaged in response inhibition are undefined, which I am interested in uncovering. For my project, I will focus on three proposed areas of the brain involved in response-inhibition known as the pre-supplementary motor area, pre-motor and primary motor cortex. Specifically, Im interested in uncovering key information regarding the role of the pre-supplementary motor area in the stop-inhibition network. Understanding of this network may provide insight into diseases with impaired response-inhibition, and potentially provide a basis for the development of therapies.

...Read More about Nicole Goldberg-Boltz
L&S Sciences

Boxed In: Precarity and Affect in Coupland and Wallace

My project explores the intersection of notions of precarious labor with the depictions of office culture in the work of Douglas Coupland and David Foster Wallace. My approach focuses on the simultaneity of multiple conflicting forces as the driver of anxiety, an affliction that, at its root, results from uncertainty. The “turn” from the road of an earlier generation to the office suggests a turn from a “free” or open-ended life to a static existence, but we find in Coupland and Wallace office workers who are mobile and uprooted. The interior of the cubicle suggests a lonely, segregated professional existence, but the office also demands fraternity. In reading Coupland and Wallace in conversation with labor theorists such as Andrew Ross and Franco Berardi, I will be examining the conflicting nature of the contemporary office as a public space with ever increasing demands and ever decreasing returns

...Read More about Dylan Grant
Humanities and Social Science

Impact of Individual Motor System Variability on Motor Learning

Learning a motor skill takes a use of error-based learning to devise new strategies towards mastering that skill. Motor skills are perfected through attempting new solutions based on previous movement errors. The presence of motor noise, which is variability between repetitions of the same motor movement, can interfere with error learning as the previous movement error could be from incorrect planning or baseline motor noise. Past research on motor learning has found that while under certain conditions high motor noise is beneficial in learning during a motor task, it is hindering in other tasks. This investigation will expand current research on motor learning by looking at what task-specific conditions benefit an individuals learning rate due to a high initial motor noise. Understanding the contribution of inherent motor noise to learning ability can help develop individualized training models to promote motor learning in people with neurodegenerative disorders.

...Read More about Jeni Hagan
L&S Sciences

Optogenetic Control of Peripheral Nociceptor Activity

How do our brains create the perception of pain? In order to study this question, researchers need a way of controlling the stimulus while looking at circuits in the brain. Unfortunately, inducing pain in animal models causes tissue damage and immune responses, which makes interpreting responses difficult. My current project seeks to develop a method of controlling the firing patterns of the neurons that sense painful heat. We employ the new and promising technique of optogenetics, which allows us to control the firing patterns of desired neurons using light. I will be using mice that posses specially engineered genes that allow for specific populations of neurons to fire in response to red light; since these neurons have their sensory endings in the skin, shining high intensity red light on certain skin areas should activate the pain signals and evoke a behavioral response.

...Read More about Richard Hakim
Rose Hills

Defining the interaction between c-Met and beta-1 integrin in invasive resistance to anti-angiogenic therapy in glioblastoma

Glioblastoma is one of the most aggressive brain cancers. Recent studies have shown that only a subset of patients exhibit enduring response to anti-angiogenic therapy, which inhibits the growth of blood vessels, approximately half developing acquired resistance after initial response (anti-angiogenic factors include VEGF and bevacizumab). A key feature of anti-agniogenic resistance is the manifestation of a more invasive tumor, and it has been identified that tumor cell invasion is dictated by chemotaxis, cellular movement due to a soluble factor gradient, and haptotaxis, cellular movement due to molecules within the extracellular matrix. Recent work in the Aghi lab has shown that c-Met, a chemotactic factor, and beta-1 integrin, a haptotactic factor, are both up-regulated in patients with bevacizumab-resistant glioblastomas (BRGs). My project aims to examine the physical and functional interaction between c-Met and beta-1 integrin in hopes of better understanding the aggressive and invasive nature of BRGs.

...Read More about Sung Won Han
Rose Hills

Analyzing and Experimenting with Acoustic Laser Wave Guide

What is a laser? The current world perception of a laser is a strong intensified beam of light that is projected in a directionless way. But what if we could change that? What if we can shine a beam of light in 1 direction but actually have the light in the other without any physical interaction. We are doing 2 experiments. First using hydrophone to cause density differential to guide the laser; using the principle of total refraction. Secondly we will be doing an experiment where we process LED light into a fiber optics and to a Waveguide to see if we can be able to guide light efficiently. This opens up new horizons in the medical field and much more as this gives an illusion of light to become a tangible.

...Read More about Min Young Huh
Rose Hills

Characterization of Delayed Fluorescence in Mixed Single- Crystal Organic Scintillator Materials

In many research facilities and nuclear reactors, data collection relies on diagnostics in neutron spectrometry, which involves measurement of neutron scattering energies. Facilities often manufacture and utilize organic scintillatorscrystals that luminesce in response to excitation from radiationfor neutron spectrometry. Over the years, current uses of scintillator crystals has led to the development of novel crystals with short temporal responses. The scintillation light yield must be characterized in order to further development. A mathematical model has been derived for a mixed organic scintillator composed of bibenzyl doped with stilbene, which suppresses a component of its light yield. However, this model must now be compared to real data and adjusted accordingly. Over the summer I will be collecting this data in order to validate the model for this organic scintillator.

...Read More about Gabriel Kaufman
Rose Hills

Fourth and Goal: A Comparative Analysis of Student-Athlete Educational Experiences

When student-athletes are in the midst of managing their athletic and academic obligations, what factors contribute to higher rates of graduation success? Looking at the academic readiness of student-athletes, the culture of the campus, and academic support, I will attempt to understand how student-athletes from two UCs navigate through the academic rigors of a research university in addition to fulfilling their personal and contractual obligations as athletes. Employing a mixed-methods approach, using both surveys and interviews, I will attempt to study what athletes feel works for them, and what doesnt. The key aspect of my research that differs from current studies is that I will focus solely on UCs, which are dear to me as I grew up watching the then Pac-10, and now Pac-12 conference. Current research on graduation success does not fit the characteristics of the UC system, and this project intends to explore student experiences.

...Read More about Sean Khalifehzadeh
Humanities and Social Science

Unveiling Bio-activity: A Computational Approach to Bioaction of Leukotriene B6

Inflammation is the bedrock of the bodys chemical and biological responses to deleterious agents. Whether the negative stimuli is of biological, physical or chemical origin an inflammatory response is critical to the healing process, as it mediates the removal of a negative stimulus and promotes restoration of homeostasis to local physiological conditions. The experimental compound leukotriene B6 (LTB6) is postulated to be of an anti-inflammatory nature, given its structural similarities to other well studied and fish oil derived -3 compounds serving to temper immune and inflammatory responses. Using quantum mechanical methods which allow for the development of large scale models I will evaluate the structural features and physical properties which confer the biological behavior of LTB6. The calculations I shall perform will allow for the development of relationships between the structure of LTB6, other -3 signaling molecules and the enzymatic receptors which tie physiological responses to the presence of -3 […]

...Read More about Henry Kilgore
Rose Hills

Evaluation of Dengue Virus Anti-NS1 Antibody Responses Following Live Attenuated Tetravalent Vaccination in a Clinical Trial

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection endemic in many of the tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world and lacks commercially available vaccines or dengue virus (DENV)-specific chemotherapeutics. During DENV infection, DENV non-structural protein 1 (NS1) is the only secreted nonstructural protein and can be found in the blood of infected individuals from as early as day 1 of symptom onset, and has been hypothesized to contribute to vascular leak during dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome. We hypothesize that DENV serotype NS1 specific antibodies may be protective against development of severe disease following heterologous challenge and serve as a correlate of protection during evaluation of clinical vaccine trials. The focus of my project is to evaluate the DENV NS1 serotype cross-reactive between anti-NS1 antibodies following both natural infection and clinical tetravalent vaccine trial.

...Read More about Alexander Kim
Rose Hills

Soft Boiled Detectives: Adolescence, Genre, and Masculinity in the Hardy Boys

The Hardy Boys series of young adult mystery stories began publication in 1927. At the same time, psychologists were beginning to view adolescence as a stage of development distinct from childhood and adulthood, the concept of generational identity was gaining traction in popular discourse, and the hard-boiled genre of mystery novel was in its early developmental stages. Hardy Boys novels were published yearly throughout most of the twentieth century, both recording and influencing the development of models of youth, the new concept of teenagerhood developed in the forties, and the popular adventure literature that would so strongly influence standards of masculinity in the twentieth century. Despite all this, there have been virtually no detailed literary-critical analyses of these texts. My project will undertake such a detailed analysis, with a particular eye toward gender constructions and portrayals, and how these portrayals could affect adolescent gender socialization.

...Read More about Alexander N. Kraft
Humanities and Social Science

Cold Hardware Design and Verification for the SuperCDMS SNOLAB Experiment

One major area of experimental physics research is the search for dark matter, a hypothesized type of matter that does not emit nor absorb light. In an effort to directly detect the leading candidate for this new type of matter (weakly interacting massive particles or WIMPs), the Super Dark Matter Search (SuperCDMS) experiment utilizes germanium crystal detectors to observe the energy imparted to a nucleus in the crystal structure from a collision with a WIMP. After a successful run at the Soudan Underground Laboratory, the experiment is moving to SNOLAB and plans to upgrade the hardware used. In this stage of designing and prototyping new hardware, many tests need to be performed to ensure functionality and detect any design deficiencies. As part of a branch of the SuperCDMS experiment at UC Berkeley, I work with both thermal and structural design and testing to ensure success of our experimental engineering setup.

...Read More about Erik Kramer
Rose Hills

Toric degeneration of the wonderful compactification

An algebraic variety is a generalization of a solution set to a family of polynomial equations. De Concini and Procesi developed a canonical method of compactifying any symmetric variety. This resulting compactification, called the wonderful compactification, has many favorable algebraic and geometric properties. Alexeev and Brion developed a method of degenerating any spherical variety to a toric variety. Many tools, such as combinatorics, can be used to study toric varieties in great detail. Thus, my main goal is to develop and study toric degenerations of the wonderful compactification. Eventually, I will compare properties of the degeneration and those of Gelfand-Zeitlin integrable systems. This may have applications in mirror symmetry.

...Read More about Priya Kshirsagar
L&S Sciences

Serum IgG avidity after dengue virus vaccination in humans: Breadth of response to tetravalent DENV vaccination

Despite the great burden of dengue worldwide caused by infection with the four dengue virus serotypes (DENV1-4), neither specific antiviral therapy nor vaccines for dengue are commercially available. Several vaccines are currently being tested in clinical trials; however, the first proof-of-concept dengue tetravalent live attenuated vaccine efficacy results have proven disappointing due to incomplete pan-DENV protection. The purpose of this study is to investigate DENV-specific serum IgG avidity generated against DENV following the clinical trial of a tetravalent DENV vaccination in humans, utilizing an in vitro ELISA-based system. This study is critical because it will address the breadth and strength of response generated against all four serotypes of DENV. A balanced cross-reactive response against the 4 different serotypes could prevent antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE), a process thought to enhance disease severity in heterotypic secondary DENV infection.

...Read More about Louis Lau
Rose Hills

Accurately Measuring Retrotransposon Expression Levels in Tumorigenesis

Retrotransposons are sections of our DNA that can replicate and insert themselves into our genome to create duplicates and invite mutations. They make up around 40% of our genome, yet their roles in most biological pathways is not yet completely understood. We see a significant derepression of certain retrotransposons when we analyze the expressions levels of retrotransposons in cancer cells. This derepression tells us that they are activated and take part in tumorigenesis, though the precise mechanism is unclear. To begin to understand these retransposons, we must first develop an accurate assay that can detect the expression levels of certain retrotransposons and be able to differentiate from the rest. This assay must also take into account the fact that because retrotransposons inherently amplify themselves in the genome, over time, some of these copies have become non functional. We want to know how much of the functional gene is activated during […]

...Read More about Grace Lee
Rose Hills

Bouncing Droplet

My research is centered around the mechanics of a bouncing fluid droplet, whose bouncing motion can be sustained indefinitely above a bath of the same fluid. This system has gained interest lately due to a mathematical similarity between the motion of these droplets and the behavior of quantum particles. My project aims to test the leading hypothesis for the dynamics behind the droplets bouncing motion through a thorough investigation of air viscosity.

...Read More about Zachary Lentz
Rose Hills

Studying the Role of Progranulin in Frontotemporal Dementia

My research looks specifically at Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD), the most common cause of dementia in people under 65 years of age. This disease results in neurodegeneration in the frontal and temporal lobes often resulting in changes in personality, language, and/or behavior. Even at the cellular level there is evidence of FTD pathology. This disease exhibits lysosomal dysfunction and endosomal enlargement, indicating a possibility of an ineffective system of degradation in the cell. Furthermore, this disease is often accompanied by a genetic mutation of a secreted glycoprotein, progranulin, resulting in lower levels of active protein. Evidence of lysosomal localization of this protein highlights the possible role it may play in the progression of FTD. My project looks at the effect of restoring progranulin levels on lysosomal size and function in mouse models and cell lines for the disease. Ultimately, the hope is to discover a novel treatment for FTD utilizing progranulin.

...Read More about Shannon Leslie
Rose Hills

Induction and confirmation of an EMT spectrum in SKOV-3 cells with TGF- & thrombin

Ovarian cancer is one of the most difficult to study because of its extreme heterogeneity due to its increased likelihood of undergoing epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a progression towards malignancy. Cells undergoing EMT not only seem to evade detection, but also are resistant to chemotherapeutic drugs. I propose to evaluate the relative gene expression levels of selected epithelial and mesenchymal markers throughout phases of EMT. I will induce EMT in ovarian epithelial cells, SKOV-3, through introduction of either transforming growth factor (TGF-) or thrombin. The morphing phenotype can be evaluated via expression of specific markers, including E-cadherin, pan-cytokeratin, and vimentin. I will sort via expression levels of various genes, utilizing quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) to quantify gene expression levels specific to ovarian cancer. With more comprehensive understanding of ovarian cancer cells changing phenotypically and genotypically, my work potentially allows for earlier diagnosis, improved treatments, and new therapies.

...Read More about Christina Lin
Rose Hills

Losing My Religion: Evidence of Religious Doubt and Anxiety in Black Plague Literature from 1553 to 1603

King Henry VIIIs split with the Catholic Church in 1534 brought about the social and political turmoil known as the English Reformation. This religiously tumultuous time period was made more challenging by a resurgence of the Black Death. In order to study the social, political, and emotional responses to the politically imposed mass religious conversion of England during the English Reformation, I plan to research Early Modern print books that involve the Bubonic Plague. I’m asking the questions, how can literature be used to express doubt in a society ruled by religion and what textual themes arise in order to psychologically and theologically rationalize mass catastrophe? To answer these questions I will read testimonials, dialogues, pamphlets, and prayer books on EEBO. My study of these texts will be a way into understanding the impact of the Bubonic Plague on this pivotal moment in Anglican religion.

...Read More about Caitlin Lowe
Humanities and Social Science

Who are we? - Japanese History Textbooks and the Creation of a National Identity

In the early twentieth century Japan stood at the apex of East Asia. It ceased to be a secluded island and became an empire that stretched from Sakhalin to Taiwan, an empire that even the West feared. However, securing the empire required the Japanese state to turn away from territorial expansion and to focus on articulating a national identity appropriate for the new empire. To assure the Japanese people of its continuity and legitimacy, this national identity had to be built upon the past. History textbooks, therefore, became one of the key mediums used by the Japanese state to construct and convey a new identity. By examining state elementary school history textbooks published from 1905 to 1926, my research will analyze the national identity promoted by the Japanese state. My project also seeks to measure the success of that identity by studying the publics reaction towards state-compiled textbooks.

...Read More about Yu-Han Serena Ma
Humanities and Social Science

An Ocellar-Based Flight Control System for Flying Insect Biobots

Many insects use ocelli to aid in determining their orientation in flight. Ocelli are a set of small eyes that are separate from the large compound ones on insects such as grasshoppers and dragonflies. We have designed a device that can be mounted on the head to optically stimulate these ocelli. Preliminary results show stimulation of these ocelli to be correlated with head movements. This summer, we will work to show that these movements correspond to a change in the insect’s perceived orientation and can be exploited to produce directed flight. The non-invasive nature of insect flight control through optical stimulation means that it is extremely well suited for long-term control applications. Furthermore, by stimulating the senses we are able to utilize some of the insects own control capabilities. These insect biobots could be used as a platform for sensors, or for further investigation of insect flight.

...Read More about Kaylee Mann
Rose Hills

Afrocentric Curricula: A Powerful Enough Force to Curtail Negative Classroom Behavior?

My research project will ask if a consistent classroom discourse on relevant curriculum to ones ethnic group, historical ethnic heritage, and cultural makeupspecifically African Americans in this caseis a powerful enough force to curtail or positively shift the behavior of African American adolescent students who display negative behavior in a classroom setting. This research is not to suggest that African American students are intrinsically ill behaved; thus, a curriculum needs to play the role of mediator. However, it is to acknowledge that these children, more often than not, bring economic and familial stresses into educational spaces, which inform their behavior. Therefore, the rationale behind this research is to explore the intersection between student, social condition, curricula, and behavior, and understand if Afrocentric curricula can mitigate these traumas by exposing students to culturally relevant curricula that might enlighten them to their lived experiences.

...Read More about Larry E. McDaniel Jr.
Humanities and Social Science

Genetic Analysis of Evolved Gill Raker Reduction in Sticklebacks

Discovering the genes underlying evolved morphological changes is a major goal of evolutionary biology. The threespine stickleback fish (Gasterosteus aculeatus) is an excellent model for dissecting the genes underlying evolutionary adaptation. Recent freshwater stickleback populations have evolved dramatic morphological changes relative to ancestral marine populations. I propose genetic analysis of freshwater gill raker reduction, a change in head skeletal bones known to be important in feeding on larger prey present in freshwater. Previous work has mapped gill raker reduction to multiple regions of the genome, including a strong-effect region (termed a Quantitative Trait Locus, or QTL) on chromosome 4. I hypothesize that the gene on chromosome 4 contributing to gill raker reduction is Fibroblast Growth Factor 20 (Fgf20). I will test my hypothesis in two ways. First, I will perform recombinant fine-mapping genetic experiments of the chromosome 4 QTL to test whether Fgf20 is included in the narrowed QTL interval. […]

...Read More about Kari Miller
L&S Sciences

Nowhere to Go: Agnews State Hospital and the Politics of Deinstitutionalization

In the 1960s and 1970s, the U.S. started to change the ways in which states engaged with those with mental illness and developmental disabilities. Broadly, these changes were part of a phenomena known as deinstitutionalization, where states sought to care for fewer mental patients and work towards incorporating them back into the community. California was at the forefront of this movement, ending many of its services for the mentally ill with the intention of shifting care to the communities. As a result, the early 1970s saw many of California’s mental hospitals shuttered, notably Agnews State Hospital in San Jose in 1972. As a result, hundreds of people with mental illness were released into San Jose, with no effective plan for their care in place. This project will investigate the failure to successfully transition to community-based mental health services in San Jose, and the broader politics of deinstitutionalization in California.

...Read More about Edward Mogck
Humanities and Social Science

The Sacred and the Secular: Catholic Missionary Work in the Land of the Rising Sun

Wherever religion is, its Siamese twin secularism follows closely behind it. The border between the two concepts is not so clear, though, particularly among practicing Catholics who hold to orthodox Church views in modern democratic nations. These borders are not inherent to either religion or secularism; instead, they are drawn by the modern state in order to regulate religious groups for political ends. My project explores the boundaries of religion and secularism in modern in Japan in the context of the Catholic institution of Opus Dei. The Opus Dei center is an organization known for their orthodoxy and adherence to Church teachings; however, the concept of religion as defined and regulated by the Japanese government forces the missionaries of Opus Dei to adapt unique methods of evangelization. I look into the possibility of creating a distinct, Japanese Catholicism which may or may not be in tension with the Vatican.

...Read More about Hoa Francisco Ngo
Humanities and Social Science

Invisible Voices: Hearing Queer Women and Queer Spaces in Amman, Jordan

Conversations about sexuality abound among the youth of Amman, Jordan, where same-sex sexual activity is permissible by government law, yet the general public is still very hostile towards the queer community. In such a stigmatized environment, queer identities are legal, but hardly publicly permissible. Nevertheless, clubs, cafes, and bars known for their toleration have emerged as hotspots for members of the local queer community. Through my research in Amman, I hope to experience the citys underground and public queer spaces, and explore how people interact both within and across them. Amman presents a unique opportunity with respect to studying queer culture because the queer community is flourishing, yet it remains relatively untouched by Western interest. This allows Ammans queer spaces to grow very organically. Ultimately, I will examine how queer women interact in, contribute to, and are marginalized by these spaces.

...Read More about Kelley O’Dell
Humanities and Social Science

Political Representation in Information Filtering Algorithms

Given the vast amount of information on the internet, filtering is inevitable. No one can see, hear, or read everything. However, information filtering algorithms generally lead to anti-democratic outcomes in the distribution of political speech. Algorithms that rank by popularity or average rating tend to disproportionately suppress minority viewpoints, causing a ‘tyranny of the majority’ situation in which people see only the least controversial information. Meanwhile, algorithms that involve personalization tend to suppress information that diverges from readers’ own viewpoints, creating polarized ‘echo chambers’ where like-minded people speak only with themselves. In this research project, I investigate information filtering from the perspective of political representation. For example, I explore algorithmic techniques designed to maximize exposure to as many divergent viewpoints as possible. My strategy is to extend existing techniques from collaborative filtering in order to formulate algorithmic abstractions for political representation instead of homogeneity or mere serendipity.

...Read More about Rodrigo Ochigame
Humanities and Social Science

How is gene expression controlled during development? Identifying minimal promoters in Ciona Intestinalis

Proper gene expression relies on the precise communication between promoters and enhancers. It is not well understood how promoters and enhancers work to ensure the expression of the right genes at the right time. I plan to create minimal functional promoters in order to find the smallest unit of the promoter capable of driving gene expression in Ciona intestinalis, a sea squirt. Currently, the promoters used are longer than the core functional promoter and therefore may contain other, unknown information. With a minimal promoter of about 100 base pairs, it will be easier to analyze the necessary and conserved sequences in the promoter that allow the promoter and enhancer to communicate.

...Read More about Katrina Olson
Rose Hills

Identifying a novel genetic modifier for cataracts in mouse genetic models

Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide. 53% of all Americans over the age of 75 have cataracts or have had cataract extraction surgery. Connexin protein subunits form gap junction channels in the lens and transport metabolites required for lens transparency. Previous work has indicated that when connexin is knocked out in the 129SvJae mouse strain, severe cataracts results. Disruption of the same connexin in the C57BL/6J (B6) strain displays a mild cataract that is hardly noticeable. Several loci in the B6 background likely containing genes that function to suppress cataract severity have been mapped; one of these genes is a cytoskeletal scaffolding protein called periaxin. We have hypothesized that a gene recently mapped to mouse chromosome 2 is a membrane/cytoskeleton complex related to periaxin. I hope to test this hypothesis and, in the process, identify a new gene that acts as a second genetic modifier for cataract formation.

...Read More about Alex Onishi
L&S Sciences

Development of novel superoxide probes to study function of superoxide in vivo

Reactive oxygen speciesincluding hydrogen peroxide, superoxide, and hydroxyl radicalare commonly blamed for causing a variety of oxidative damages in cell. However, there are scientific papers published that suggest these reactive oxygen species actually play fruitful, not harmful, roles in cells. The increasing need for studying these reactive oxygen species calls for the development of tools that can be used for effectively detecting these reactive oxygen species in vivo. Hydroethidinethe reduced state of ethidium bromide, a common DNA dyeis recognized as a reliable superoxide probe. However, hydroethidine can be much improved by turning it into a targetable or trappable probe inside the cell. This summer, I plan to use Halo, SNAP, and CLIP protein methods to make hydroethidine a targetable probe. Also, I will synthesize different versions of hydroethidine with alkyl chains to see if this makes the probe more trappable in cells.

...Read More about Jae Ho Paek
L&S Sciences

History of the Prose Poem

Past attempts to define the prose poem as a genre depend on the oppositional status of prose and poetry, thinking then of the prose poem as a space for synthesis. However, because these accounts imagine stable definitions of prose and poetry, specific prose poems can only invokeand not reconfigurethose definitions. Through literary analysis, I will trace the development of the prose poem in American literature in the twentieth century, with attention to how individual literary texts rework the aforementioned opposition between prose and poetry, and how these texts in turn inform and challenge our concepts of genre.

...Read More about Yaul Perez-Stable Husni
Humanities and Social Science

Amphibians, Agency & Affect: On the Production of Scientific Knowledge in the Anthropocene

More than one third of the 6,300 amphibian species are threatened with extinction, and if all of these species go extinct, the rates of extinction would be 25,000 to 45,000 times the background extinction rate for amphibians. From the view of amphibians, our earth is on the brink of the sixth mass extinctionthe only extinction event to be caused by a single species: Homo sapiens. Amidst this alarming loss in biodiversity, conservation biology has emerged as the authoritative body of knowledge by which we come to understand extinction and what can be done to prevent it. Using a case study of scientific research on amphibian declines and extinctions, my research seeks to understand the production of scientific knowledge in this time of ecological precarity. With an attention to both human and nonhuman actors, my research asks: What multispecies assemblages are at play in this scientific research? What kinds of interspecies […]

...Read More about Meg Perret
Rose Hills

Macrophage metabolic changes due to AKT inhibition during Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection

AKT is a serine/threonine kinase that is critical in multiple signal transduction pathways that regulate cell growth, survival, and metabolism. Inhibition of AKT during Mtb infection of resting macrophages results in a decrease in Mtb burden. AKT may play a different role in IFN- activated macrophages, where it is required for full macrophage activation. AKT inhibition of IFN- activated macrophages leads to a decrease in RNS that may be due to changes in cellular metabolism. Aerobic glycolysis describes a cells preference for ATP derived from glycolysis rather than oxidative phosphorylation even in the presence of excess oxygen. We believe that this metabolism switch is also required for full macrophage clearance of intracellular Mtb. I will investigate connections between changes in cellular metabolism that occur as a result of AKT inhibition/IFN- activation and immune responses that are required for controlling M. tuberculosis infection, including the production of RNS, autophagy, and lysosomal […]

...Read More about Robert Potter
Rose Hills

Development of Kinetic Inductance Phonon Sensors

Dark matter makes up about 23% of the total mass energy in the universe, a significant portion compared to the 5% of ordinary matter (atoms). However, dark matter has yet to be directly detected. Science is thus pushing towards better detectors. Currently Dr. Sadoulets lab is helping develop Kinetic Inductance Detectors (KIDs). These detectors are easier to fabricate and provide uniformity in performance between detectors. I will investigate a few issues or challenges that need to be overcome to develop an effective sensor technology. Firstly, I will resolve a discrepancy between designed and actual parameters of the detector. Secondly, I will help improve the signal to noise ratio of KIDs. Accomplishing these tasks will help establish KIDs as a reliable and sensitive detector.

...Read More about Winston Pouse
Rose Hills

Activity-Dependence of Synaptic Maturation in Zebrafish Visual Circuits

The way that brain cells wire together to form circuits underlies almost every facet of mental function, whether that be memory, thinking, or sensation. In my project, I seek to better understand what happens on a molecular level that allows for these specific circuits to form. Specifically, I want to elucidate the role that the maturation of synapsesthe connections between neuronshas on the shape, structure, and connectivity of the neurons making up these circuits, and how experience drives these changes. I will do this using the zebrafish visual processing system, which can be easily manipulated through optogenetic techniques of controlling cells with light flashes. In my experiments I will manipulate both optogenetically and pharmacologically a specific voltage gated ion channel, NMDAR, that is known to facilitate experience-dependent neuron wiring, and observe the effects on both synapses and cell structure to make a conclusion regarding NMDARs role in synapse-driven development.

...Read More about Carson Quinn
L&S Sciences

Blue Berry Trial

The purpose of the experiment is to understand why obese people are four times as likely chance of getting cancer as non-obese people. We believe blue berries contain valuable nutrients that are absent in obese people’s diets and cause cancer. This experiment will measure the effect that blue berry consumption has on DNA damage levels and mitochondrial efficiency. High DNA damage and low mitochondrial efficiency have shown to be influential factors for cancer development.

...Read More about Jay Ramsay
Rose Hills

Calcium Imaging in Drosophila Melanogaster

One of the fundamental aims of current neuroscience research is to understand how external sensory inputs and internal states are represented in the brain, and how neuronal circuits process these inputs to ultimately alter behavior. In order to decipher the underlying mechanisms behind this process, my research looks at how different tastes are distinguished by the brain in Drosophila Melanogaster. Calcium ions serve as a primary intracellular messenger in neurons. During electrical activity, intracellular calcium concentrations rise 10 to 100 times higher in active neurons. My project will use transgenic flies expressing calcium-sensitive fluorescent proteins in taste neurons. These fluorescent proteins allow for calcium imaging experiments, which will enable me to monitor in vivo taste responses in gustatory neuronal populations with single-cell resolution. Ultimately, this will allow for a better understanding the anatomy of neural connectivity as well as provide information on how gustatory neuronal populations participate in relevant activity […]

...Read More about Sara Ratican
Rose Hills

Because Science: Language Change and Iconicity in Internet Speak

The pace and nature of language change has significant impact on everything from grammar textbooks to natural language processing. With the internet providing new and inventive avenues for this change, we have an opportunity and a necessity to study these avenues. My SURF project researches a new grammatical construction which has emerged on the internet wherein because can be followed by a single word, usually a noun, but in some cases an adjective or interjection. I will create a database with quantitative and qualitative data, a sub-corpus extracted from the internet, to catalog how and why this Because {NOUN, etc.} construction has caught on. My goal is to find 500 instances of the new construction, annotate them linguistically, and organize them into categories based on meaning.

...Read More about Anneliise Rehn
Humanities and Social Science

Quantum Gate Optimization

A stable and controllable quantum system is necessary for a quantum computer to operate reliably. The quantum system is generally composed of qubits, which are the information-storage elements of the quantum computer. The computer must be able to operate on this system in a controlled fashion as to not destroy the fragile state of the quantum system. My project involves optimizing the quantum computer’s operations so that their control of the qubits is maximized. I will employ a computer algorithm similar to gradient ascent optimization to optimize the operations. In this way, the quantum computer’s qubits can become more stable, increasing its reliability.

...Read More about Miles Rusch
Rose Hills

Unveiling Travel Mode Shift Since the 2007 Beijing Public Transit Fare Reform

In 2010, Beijing, Chinas capital and second largest city, topped the Worlds Worst Traffic list by Foreign Policy. Back in 2007, Beijing cut transit fares up to 80% to increase transit ridership and reduce traffic congestion ahead of the Olympics. The purpose of reducing car use was not achieved, but large shifts occurred between usage of non-car travel modes bicycles, subways and buses. How have urban residents in Beijing, China shifted their primary travel modes since the 2007 Public Transit Fare Reform? Low fare prices have been insufficient for attracting transit demand; other factors such as time, service quality, personal preferences and demographics have been overlooked. Government surveys only record respondents means of travel each year but do not track how or why their choices have switched over time. Through a survey, my research will bridge this gap by studying the rationale of travel mode shifting, and recommend policies that […]

...Read More about Diwen Shen
Humanities and Social Science

Modeling and Manufacturing of Microfluidic Diodes for Lab-On-A-Chip Applications

Microfluidics represents the future of global health care. The future of the microfluidic work which I will be doing is critical to lab-on-a-chip applications, where point of care health services will be able to be provided worldwide with small devices. What I specifically am working on is computer modeling of different microfluidic diodes and valves. Lab-on-a-chip devices are made up of many of these diodes and valves combined, and using advanced computer simulation techniques to predict the fluid flows will provide valuable insight into device design. Additionally, I will be working hands on in the lab to manufacture the diodes and test them with different flow rates. The devices are manufactured using optical lithography, which means that they are blasted with U light which hardens the material into the proper shape.

...Read More about Chasen Sherman
Rose Hills

Organismal Effects of Oncogenic Stress in Drosophila

I intend to study how oncogenic stress weakens and kill animals using the model organism Drosophila melanogaster, because currently it is not clear how and why cancer kills animals. It is known that cancer patients suffer with cachexia, the major loss of fat tissue and skeletal muscle mass, which is a significant factor in increased mortality rate in cancer patients. I have already established a working system by expressing an oncogene Ras in the intestinal stem cells of adult flies to induce cancer. In order to manipulate additional genes in different tissues affected in cachexia, such as fat cells, I will generate a new system. Using this new system, I will perform genetic screens with over-expression of Ras in intestinal stem cells and gene knockdown in chachexia related tissue to better understand how tumor developments lead to the debilitating effects on animals.

...Read More about Christina Shih
L&S Sciences

Overexpression of protein Hfq causes adverse effects to small RNA-mRNA duplex formation

Can there be too much of a good thing in biochemical systems? We propose that in a system where one component interacts with two different substrates, there can be too much of the dual substrate-binding component such that the rate of reaction will begin to decrease. To test this hypothesis, we study a model regulation system: small noncoding RNA have been identified that work to tune mRNA expression. Hfq is a protein that aids in formation of a small RNA-mRNA duplex. Hfq is the dual substrate-binding component, and the sRNAs and mRNAs are the two substrates. The sRNA-mRNA duplex forms if one Hfq molecule acts on both the sRNA and the mRNA. In excess Hfq, all of the sRNAs and mRNAs each bind an Hfq protein, so a single Hfq molecule is unable to bind both sRNA and mRNA. This can be considered a flooding effect, where too much Hfq […]

...Read More about Jung-Eun Shin
L&S Sciences

AAV9 for Treatment of Inborn Error of Cholesterol Synthesis

Cholesterol is an essential molecule to survival. Some of its functions include being a precursor to steroid hormones, a component of cell membranes and cell signalling. Without cholesterol, we would lose control of blood pressure and our body’s cells would fail to acquire nutrients necessary for survival. My project investigates Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome (SLOS), which is an inborn error of cholesterol synthesis. Because only one non-functional gene causes SLOS, we can apply gene therapy to integrate a functional gene into the genome of a SLOS cell. To date, we have improved cholesterol levels, except in the central nervous system. The blood-brain barrier causes this shortcoming. This natural barrier prevents cholesterol from entering the brain’s extracellular fluid. However, the vector AAV9 has been characterized to cross the blood-brain barrier. My project tests how efficiently AAV9 can transduce cells in the central nervous system compared to other methods.

...Read More about Sean Sun
L&S Sciences

Sustainable Urban Farming Practices in Pikine

Urban Agriculture has been proclaimed around the world in the past few decades as an extremely effective method for not only providing food to a community, but also for providing jobs & more stable income generation. As the majority of the populations in the world are projected to live in cities by 2030, urban agriculture is becoming more recognized for poverty alleviation. However, in many places, such as Pikine, a city in the Dakar region of Senegal, urban farmers are struggling to find the economic support and land they need to continue and expand their production of perishable foods in and near urban areas. This summer I will be conducting independent research while working with urban farmers & members of Provania, a small farmers association, in Pikine. The purpose of this study is to research how current farming methods and possible waste-reuse strategies, such as composting, are managed and/or supported […]

...Read More about Asia Tallino
Humanities and Social Science

Estimating Time to Disease Course Transition in Multiple Sclerosis Patients

This summer, I plan on studying the longitudinal effect of multiple sclerosis on patients who have different disease courses. Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system that is characterized by patterns of disability over time. Some patients experience a single episode of disability while others experience tremendous disability after onset. When treating a patient, physicians are uncertain how a patients disease will evolve over time. Since the beginning of the UCSF MS Epic study in 2004, patient data in the form of electronic medical records (EMR) have made it possible to analyze not just clinical traits, but also neuroimage and genetic traits. With the data from the longitudinal study, I plan on conducting survival analysis on patients who progress from one stage of the disease to another in the hopes of elucidating trends in disability.

...Read More about Wendy Tang
Rose Hills

Statistical inference of recombination-inducing genic features

Genetic inheritance is the mechanism for natural selection, and understanding it can give us insight into, for example, the heredity of disease immunity, and the genetic differences between males and females. Meiosis is the main process of genetic inheritance, shuffling the genes of parents to create the genes of offspring. During the process of meiosis, chromosomal DNA can split and trade nucleotides with each other while recombining. This recombination is a substantial additional source of genetic mutation, and has been shown to occur preferentially in certain hotspot locations on DNA. Using statistical techniques to analyze genomic data sets of Drosophila melanogaster (the common fruit fly), we will be working on finding these hotspots and inferring the nucleotide sequences that signal their presence.

...Read More about Neil Thomas
Rose Hills

Spectroscopic Analysis of Surface Ion Traps for Scaling Quantum Information Processing

A quantum computer applies the concepts of quantum physics to make near instantaneous calculations. It is perhaps the best method for creating smaller and faster computers and it is able to apply Shors algorithm to break even the strongest contemporary encryption. The method of trapped ions is able to create a quantum computer by manipulating atoms suspended above and shuttled between surface traps by means of an electromagnetic field. Engineering these devices relies on scaling them up to simultaneously control many ions individually. At the moment, a major challenge to this scaling is electrical noise that appears to come from hydrocarbons deposited on the surface during the vacuum baking phase of cleaning. We plan to use Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) to identify the molecular structure of the contaminants, which will help us determine how exactly the materials create noise and how best to remove them.

...Read More about William Tokumaru
Rose Hills

Dengue Virus Intrahost Diversity in Human Infections

The goal of this research project is to investigate the genetic diversity profile of dengue virus populations within each human host. Dengue, like other RNA viruses, can evolve through the accumulation of genetic mutations that arise due to the error-prone nature of the replicase. This virus also undergoes population bottlenecks and genetic recombination that affect the viral diversity profile. During my 2013 SURF-Rose Hills experience, I processed pediatric samples of infected PBMCs (peripheral blood mononuclear cells) and serum (cell-free fluid separated from blood) using high throughput sequencing technology. We are currently investigating hotspots of diversity found within specific genes and domains (namely the envelope and pre-membrane structural genes) and are performing follow-up functional studies in order to survey their effects on predicted protein function and antibody-mediated neutralization of dengue serotype-3. This type of study is important in understanding dengue virus evolution and the host immune system’s detection of dengue virus.

...Read More about Surbhi Trivedi
Rose Hills

Alpha Oscillations and its role in the Fronto-Parietal Network and the Default Mode Network

The brain, the seat of cognitive and behavioral control, and the mechanisms that give rise to these thoughts and behaviors are still widely unknown. My research aims at exploring the neural circuits that aid in our everyday decisions and behavior. Using electroencephalography (EEG) as well as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) we are examining neural oscillations in the alpha band (8-12 Hz) and its relationship in regulating the integration of information over large cortical areas, specifically in the fronto-parietal salience network as well as activity in the default mode network. This research has the potential to give us insightful information as to how humans exert cognitive control. Examining the components of the regulation mechanism in humans could allow us to link and anticipate behavior to novelty and unexpected events in a goal directed manner.

...Read More about Taylor A. Vega
Rose Hills

Imaging Quantum states of light using Field Programmable Gate Arrays

Squeezed light is a quantum mechanical state of light with smaller uncertainty in a component of interest (i.e., amplitude or phase) than what is observed in classical light. This reduced uncertainty is equivalent to reducing noise in the component of interest, which thereby allows ultraprecision measurements. Parametric Amplifiers are devices that can generate squeezed light. Experiments have shown that these devices have some non-ideal behaviour, but there is insufficient data to rigorously characterize these non-idealities. This project aims at developing efficient and fast methods to quantitatively measure the squeezed microwaves produced by these parametric amplifiers. A Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) will be used to calculate the components required to image squeezed state of light and will facilitate fast acquisition of data. This data will allow further analysis into the behaviour and improvement of the parametric amplifiers, potentially guiding the design of more effective amplifiers.

...Read More about Aditya Vignesh Venkatramani
L&S Sciences

How Does Art Exhibition and Production Impact the Community Support for a Recovered Factory in Buenos Aires, Argentina?

In Argentina, during the economic meltdown of 2001, many factory owners fled the country, leaving hundreds of workers with no income and no clear idea of what lie ahead. In the months that followed, workers centered in Buenos Aires occupied their factory buildings and restarted production as a worker-owned cooperatively managed workplace. Some of these factories created Cultural Centers, hoping to make their factory a hub for the local community by providing health services, teaching classes, or holding art exhibitions or craft fairs. This research will focus on how an artistically oriented Cultural Center impacted community support for the IMPA factory, by comparing it with the UST factorys health oriented Cultural Center, and the Ghelco factory, which does not have a Cultural Center at all.

...Read More about Natasha vonKaenel
Humanities and Social Science

Calcium-Sensitive Dosimeters to Monitor Neuronal Activity

One of the central objectives of modern neurobiological research is to elucidate the relationship between structure and function in the human brain. Neuronal activity is often monitored indirectly through calcium sensors, but imaging thousands of neurons in three dimensions in real time remains a challenge. Subcellular localization of calcium ions at

...Read More about Kendall Wong
Rose Hills

Applications of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells (hPSC) Derived Dopaminergic (DA) Neurons in Treating Parkinson's Disease in Rodents

Parkinsons Disease (PD) affects approximately seven to ten million individuals worldwide and is the result of the progressive degeneration of neurons within the brain. The neurological disease is commonly associated with numerous debilitating motor and non-motor features. Recently, transplantation of fetal midbrain tissues to the SN has been investigated to treat PD in humans. However, this therapy is limited by the fetal tissue availability, low reproducibility, and ethical issues. A solution for these limitations is to engineer DA neurons from hPSCs. We recently developed and reported a simple, defined, efficient, scalable, and good manufacturing practice (GMP) compatible 3-dimensional culture system for hPSC expansion and differentiation. Using the previously reported system, we will aim to address questions pertaining to the safety, integration, and efficacy of a PD treatment using hPSC-derived DA neurons in a rodent model. We hope that our findings will help push the field of regenerative medicine closer to […]

...Read More about Jifang Xiao
Rose Hills

Mapping and phenotypic characterization of sax-5 and sax-9 genes involved in anterior-posterior guidance and migration

Axon polarity and migration are essential for the development of connections in the nervous system. The molecules that guide axons along the dorsal-ventral axis in the model organism C. elegans have led to the discovery of conserved molecules in mammals. Surprisingly, much less is known about how cells or axons are guided along the anterior-posterior axis. Two genes in C. elegans, sax-5 and sax-9, have been identified to have roles in axon pathfinding and extension in the anterior-posterior axis. Mutations in the genes show additional defects in migration and axon extension of the canal-associated neuron and an axon reversal defect of the hermaphrodite specific neuron. I plan to map and characterize sax-5 and sax-9 using rapid single nucleotide polymorphism mapping and fluorescent transgene reporters. The products that these genes encode are yet unknown and their identification will likely shed new light on how cells and axons are guided during development.

...Read More about Annie Yau
Rose Hills

Investigating the Effects of Trait Anxiety Vulnerability on Fear Association to Compound Stimuli

With a prevalence of about 18% of the American adult population, anxiety disorders are an increasingly important focus of mental health research. Such disorders can severely diminish the quality of an individuals daily life. In both the animal and human literature, fear conditioning has provided an important model of the abnormal development of learned fear responses associated with anxiety disorders. One important question has been whether anxiety is characterized by greater generalization of fear responses. This is typically examined by testing stimuli that vary along some dimension in similarity from a conditioned stimulus. In my study, I ask whether anxious individuals show a differential tendency to condition to the parts versus the whole of compound stimuli. This research expands upon current studies of conditioned fear in individuals with elevated trait vulnerability to anxiety, and has significant implications for advancing our understanding, and potentially the treatment, of anxiety disorders.

...Read More about Jimmy Yin
L&S Sciences

Modulation of epileptic seizures in mammalian cortices via Anderson localization

Epilepsy currently afflicts more than 50 million people worldwide. While anti-epileptic drugs are effective at treating 70% of this population, the rest have to resort to invasive surgeries to alleviate their seizures. The electrical interactions of neurons in the brain are described by a set of stochastic partial differential equations. Seizures can be thought of as electrical waves propagating on the brain. In this project, I intend to manipulate the mathematical model to develop a new noninvasive way to control seizures in conjunction with a concept from physics called localization. Due to localization, water waves traveling in the ocean lose energy since the wave is scattered by a seabed that is randomly rough. Similarly, since seizures can be considered as waves on the brain, by applying appropriate random signals (e.g. electrical) to the brain during a seizure, I can scatter the seizure waves thereby attenuating the seizure.

...Read More about Jiahong (Benjamin) Zhang
L&S Sciences

Gecko-inspired Bandage

Most tapes in use today, are composed of a viscoelastic polymer spread on a plastic backing film, which often cause inflammation and damage, especially for infants and the elderly with sensitive skin. As an alternative technology to adhesive tape, synthetic gecko adhesives inspired by the adhesive foot-pads of geckos can be used to solve this problem. These new tapes attach to a surface with a dense array of micro- and nano-scale hair that maximizes the van der Waals interaction.

...Read More about Zizhou Zhao
Rose Hills

Disk Resonator Format for Kinetic Inductance Detectors

Microwave kinetic inductance detectors (MKIDs) are an emerging technology in the field of radiation detection and have broad applications in physics, including understanding star formation as well as directly detecting dark matter. MKIDs are particularly useful for their ability to be combined easily into the arrays of hundreds to thousands of sensors needed for these experiments. However, MKIDs have not reached the fundamental energy resolutions provided by other incumbent detector technologies like transition edge sensors or micro-calorimeters. We have proposed a design, which should increase the performance of these detectors, but we have an incomplete knowledge of its electromagnetic properties. Obtaining a complete characterization of the sensor’s properties is critical to our ability to manufacture and test the design. The development of this new MKID geometry may significantly improve our ability to detect radiation.

...Read More about Nicholas Zobrist
L&S Sciences

Redefining Worker Identity in the 1920s

From 1923 to 1929, a period characterized by economic prosperity in the United States, Mather and Company created and distributed hundreds of motivational workplace posters that were hung in offices and factories across the country. Covering a broad range of topics, the posters sought not only to inform workers on matters related to workplace safety but also to redefine worker identity by using the language and ideology of the labor movement, while dramatically reshaping the meanings of such language. My research project, which will form the basis of my senior thesis, will explore the ways in which the Mather and Company workplace posters redefined fundamental ideas such as cooperation and fairness, which had for decades been the moral ground staked out by the labor movement, while masking a reinforcement of traditional ideas of hierarchy and discipline.

...Read More about Carolyn Zola
Humanities and Social Science