The Print Culture and Gender RElations of Amateur Minstrelsy

Blackface minstrel shows in the 19th century are well documented, but their parallel counter-part, amateur minstrelsy, is believed to be a peripheral phenomenon implemented by scattered radicals. Thousands of blackface plays were written and distributed in the 20th century with crucial contributions to both racial and gender construction that have not been cataloged or analyzed. I will track amateur minstrelsys print culture between 1890 and 1960, expanding its chronology, increase minstrel researchs geography to the American Midwest, further illuminate the cross-dressing gender conflict in minstrelsy, and provide a bibliographical analysis of amateur minstrelsy by tracking its print culture. This bibliographic database will fill the baffling 100-year gap between 19th century professional minstrelsy and contemporary coverage of its traces in film and television.

...Read More about Rhae Lynn Barnes
Humanities and Social Science

The Novel at Twenty-Four Frames per Second: Adapting Proustian Time to the Cinema

I am researching the relationship between Marcel Prousts la recherche du temps perdu and cinema in light of how each produces images. The prose of Marcel Proust is often termed cinematic, yet it is executed in a medium that is vastly different from film. What is it then about the image at this point in its history that allows for a comparison between this major work of literature and the fundamental techniques of the cinema? To answer this question I am researching the underlying philosophy of Prousts imagery of time and memory alongside the philosophy of cinematic representation. In doing so I hope to draw out a more general trend in the production and perception of images, as well as the psychological insights they allow for.

...Read More about Branda Brehm
Humanities and Social Science

Developmental role of Gremlin2 in the Mouse Dorsal Spinal Cord

Development of the nervous system depends on the migration, differentiation, and axonal projections of neurons to their appropriate targets. In the dorsal spinal cord where many sensory and interneurons are born, signaling cues specify the development of neuronal precursors into an array of cell types. However, the process by which these signals regulate neuronal growth is still unclear. This summer, I will examine the function of the Gremlin2 gene, which is expressed in a specific population of dorsal interneurons. Taking advantage of Gremlin2 knock-out mice, I will use immunocytochemistry to determine the precise anatomical location of Gremlin2 expression and analyze defects in specification, migration, and connectivity of these interneurons.

...Read More about Chung Yan Cheung
L&S Sciences

Physiological Costs for Cabbage Aphids Sequestering Glucosinolates

Studies have shown that cabbage aphids (Brevicoryne brassicae) that eat black mustard (Brassica nigra) can sequester toxic compounds to ward off their predators. This summer, I am building on these studies by examining the eco-physiological costs to aphids of processing and sequestering these toxins. The concentrations of the toxins will be analyzed to determine the difference in chemical load for aphids that eat broccoli (Brassica oleracea) versus mustard. My main goal is to study the physiological costs of this chemical load by examining differences in development and reproduction of aphids on the two food sources. The results of these experiments will be important in discovering methods to study and control agricultural aphid populations in a sustainable manner.

...Read More about Andrea Chiem
L&S Sciences

Decision-making structures and participation in heterogeneous worker cooperatives

I am studying how decision-making structures affect participation in heterogeneous worker cooperatives. Worker cooperatives are businesses or organizations owned and democratically managed by their workers. Previous research on worker cooperatives indicates a tendency towards homogeneity, meaning that worker-owners in a given cooperative share very similar backgrounds. However, since these studies were conducted in the 1970’s and 1980’s, worker cooperatives have become more diverse. A recent case study on a large and diverse worker cooperative suggests that formalizing decision-making structures might facilitate widespread democratic participation. I will expand upon this research by using participant observation and interviews to study two heterogeneous Bay Area worker cooperatives. I hope that my project will make a valuable contribution to the existing knowledge about cooperatives, possibly helping to create more democratic workplaces.

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

Foundation Funding and the Effects of Donor-Driven Community Projects in the United States

The U.S. government budget cuts of the 1980s and the international financial institutions economic policies of the late 1980s and 1990s crippled government-run social services in the U.S. and across the Third World. To fill the void left by the defunct government services there has been an unprecedented rise in the number of non-profit and community organizations in the U.S. and abroad. This begs numerous questions: To whom are these organizations accountable? From where does funding come? Who is deciding which projects get financial priority? My research attempts to understand how/if funding opportunities shape the missions and philosophies of secular civil society organizations, and how those relations, in turn, affect the ability of community organizations to address the needs of the communities they serve. I will be focusing on Seattle-based community organizations and foundations as a case study for how these relations play out in the U.S.

...Read More about Jenny Cooper
Humanities and Social Science

Kudziletsa, Kukulupirika, Kudzipimba: Understanding the Link between Discourses on Sex and HIV transmission in Malawi

HIV/AIDS remains a significant threat to many countries in sub-Saharan Africa. In order to understand HIV transmission in this context, it is crucial to understand the practices and understandings that facilitate its spread. In Malawi, HIV is spread primarily through sex, and sex itself constitutes a deeply culturally embedded practice. With this in mind, I will be spending this summer in Malawi examining the way in which discourses on sex influence HIV/AIDS patterns. Drawing on a collection of conversational journals collected by the Malawi Diffusion and Ideational Change Project of the University of Pennsylvania, in addition to closely examining Chichewa terms and phrases, I will use language as a compass to navigate through Malawian perspectives on sex. In doing so, I am to reach an understanding of how local understandings of sex shape HIV transmission in Malawi.

...Read More about Yael Danovitch
Humanities and Social Science

Let survive the Khmer People: Khmer Transnational Activism and Survial in the Diaspora

The majority of studies on Khmer refugees in the United States focus on their status as victims of war and displacement. I am undertaking a research project highlighting the transnational political movement of Khmer refugee communities in opposing and removing the Vietnamese occupation in Cambodia (1979-1993). Through examining the Hann So Collection on Cambodia Archives at the UC Berkeley Southeast Asian Studies Library, I hope to show how Khmer refugees were active agents in mitigating the pains of displacement by acting in very concrete measures to recuperate and rebuild Cambodia even when overseas or in refugee camps. I believe that the refugees’ activism to save the nation-state was simultaneously a mechanism for their own survival in diaspora, and it is the management of this survival on which I will shed light on through this project. This summer I am reviewing the Hann So Archives as well as conducting background reading […]

...Read More about Jude Paul Dizon
Humanities and Social Science

The origin and evolution of duplicated mitochondrial genes in the parthenogenic gecko, Heteronotia binoei

There are forms of the gecko species, Heteronotia binoei, that reproduce sexually that gave rise to forms that reproduce asexually through the process of parthenogenesis. Parthenogens have sections of duplicated genes in their mitochondrial genome while sexual forms do not. My project is to sequence and compare the mitochondrial genes of the sexual and parthenogenic forms to characterize their evolution since their divergence. I will also compare duplicated gene copies to one another within the parthenogenic individuals to characterize evolution of each gene since the duplication event. Gene duplication and subsequent mutation may lead to gene rearrangements within the parthenogenic gecko. Gene rearrangements are found in many other animal species but a mechanism remains unclear. Heteronotia may provide valuable insight into this phenomenon.

...Read More about Brandon Endo
L&S Sciences

Aeolic Words in Hesiod's Ionic Theogony

Hesiod’s Theogony belongs to the genre of Classical Greek Epic Poetry, a genre most popularly exemplified by Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. Every known epic poem was written almost entirely in the Ionic dialect of Classical Greek. Despite this fact, both Homer’s and Hesiod’s poems contain words unique to the Aeolic dialect. I will study the use of these Aeolic words in Hesiod’s poems, and I will compare his use with Homer’s in an effort to explain the presence of these unexpected dialectal forms. This will have implications regarding the development of Epic Poetry as a genre, and regarding the place of Aeolic speakers within the Classical Greek world.

...Read More about Douglas Fraleigh
Humanities and Social Science

The Habitus of the Protestant Work Ethic: How Social Distance Is Mediated via Social Class versus Economic Status

Habitus is the acquired expression of personal taste in art, dialect, comportment, zip code, literature, entertainment, etc. established by the wealthy (unconsciously) as a means to set themselves apart from the working class. Yet mere expression of habitus by the lower economic strata changes their social class (Bourdieu, 1976). The Protestant Work Ethic (PWE) is best captured by the colloquialism pull yourself up by your bootstraps and is the belief that anyone can achieve wealth and success if s/he is willing to do the hard work. Notwithstanding, the social cues indicating economic status are incongruent with those revealing social position. My research examines the correlation between habitus, PWE, and sensitivity to rejection among members of the same racial/ethnic group.

...Read More about Sharyn Hall
Humanities and Social Science

The Activist Mystique: Personal-Political Transformation in Israel

I am interested in the personal and political transformations that occur at the beginning and throughout the process of mobilization for social change. In particular, I am interested in the activities of the Jerusalem Open House, a grassroots organization that is the politically active community center of the LGTBQ community in Jerusalem, a city deeply divided along various lines where even close daily contact does not translate into mutual understanding between different communities. By volunteering and interviewing individuals in the Open House, I hope to understand the personal-political transformations that are associated with processes of community-building while negotiating complex existing boundaries. I hope to contribute to the understanding of the transformative capabilities of grassroots organizations.

...Read More about Itamar Haritan
Humanities and Social Science

Communication of Power: Moral Education in Modern China

With the amazing economic transformations China has shown the world in the past several decades comes an expectation for the country to show signs of also transforming politically. What is the ideological glue that holds the country together after the obsolescence of Marxist-Leninism and Maoist thought? Nationalism seems to be the new official religion of China. Through participant observation in a few Shenzhen high schools, I want to see how nationalism is conceptualized and combined with morality specifically within the Chinese education system. I hope to observe the effect that moral education or deyu has on the students’ views on morality and nationalism via interviewing students and teachers from normal and vocational schools.

...Read More about Jenny Hua
Humanities and Social Science

Corporealizing Identity: Competitive Eating and the Cultural Meaning of American Bodies

Competitive eating is a vernacular form of cultural criticism masquerading as mass entertainment. My research into the significance of competitive eating in American culture will unveil collective but inarticulated perspectives on consumerism, gender roles and our economic climate. Competitive eating is at once a glorification of American excess and an indictment of it; a direct challenge to idealized human form and a confirmation of its strength. Historically, I believe competitive eating served to homogenize immigrant diet in 19th century America. By tracking the foodstuffs of competition, I hope to prove that as American politics globalized, home-grown traditions like competitive eating grew more regional and divisive.

...Read More about Adrienne Johnson
Humanities and Social Science

The Effects of Labor Market Deregulation on Human Capital: Evidence from Costa Rica

While economic consensus defined Development in terms of output growth, the Costa Rican state pursued human development both as an end in itself and as a means of achieving economic growth. Previous investments in human capital under a protective labor regime have ensured todays Costa Rican employers a stable, high-skilled work force. Yet in the context of mounting pressure to create a flexible labor market, the Costa Rican labor force risks losing the protections which are in fact the source of its competitiveness. Using national census data, interviews with union officials, and sector reports for high and low skill export manufacturing I will empirically and qualitatively explicate changes in human capital accumulation over the period 1995-2007. My purpose in conducting this study then, is to clarify the role of labor market regulation in determining human capital and to assess the case for a more protective labor regime in Costa Rica.

...Read More about Jennifer Kampe
Humanities and Social Science

Characterizing the Formation and Phylogenetic History of an 81-Member Tandem Duplicated Pre-tRNA Gene Cluster in Arabidopsis thaliana

My research fuses the disciplines of genomics and phylogenetics in order to characterize the evolution of large gene arrays. My research focuses on an eighty-one member pre-tRNA gene array located on chromosome one of Arabidopsis thaliana. The array itself is subdivided into twenty-seven triplet gene units, each triplet consisting of a single pre-tRNASer gene and two pre-tRNATyr genes, respectively. Using genomic data, such as syntenic analysis with outgroup species, and phylogenetic reconstruction of the evolutionary history of the genes in the array, my research aims to elucidate the history of the arrays formation, and the mechanism that formed, or equally-possible mechanisms that would have formed, the array as it exists today.

...Read More about Joshua Kane
L&S Sciences

Psychiatric Misdiagnosis of Patients with Neurodegenerative Disease

Frontotemporal Dementia patients suffer behavioral disturbances which mimic primary psychiatric illnesses such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Unfortunately, awareness of this neurodegenerative disease is limited in the psychiatric world and often demented patients are misdiagnosed. The Memory and Aging Center (MAC) at the University of California San Francisco conducts one of the largest investigations into the frontal variant dementias in the nation. I plan to systematically review 450 patients research charts at the MAC in order to precisely quantify the rate of psychiatric misdiagnosis for each of the dementia subtypes. This quantification has the potential to reduce psychiatric misdiagnosis and promote better patient care.

...Read More about Baber Khan
L&S Sciences

The role of IGF signaling in cell migration and axon guidance in the developing mouse cerebellum

Growth factors are not traditionally known to play a role in cell migration. However, preliminary data suggest that insulin-like growth factor (Igf) functions in the guidance of granule cells within the cerebellum. The cerebellum is an important structure, responsible for the fine control of balance and movement and also involved in motor learning and memory. The cerebellar granule cell is the most abundant neuron in the brain, and investigating its development and wiring could provide insights into the functioning of the cerebellum and into diseases that affect its function. Using modern genetic techniques, my research approach is to conditionally inactivate the Igf1 receptor in mice cerebella. I will then assay for aberrant granule cell localization and axon pathfinding in these mutant mice.

...Read More about Alix Mary Lacoste
L&S Sciences

Power and Ideology through Language: The Formulation of the Vernacular in the Allegory of Good and Bad Government by Ambrogio Lorenzetti

One of the earliest fresco cycles to be of secular imagery and subject matter solely, the Allegory of Good and Bad Government (c. 1337-40) frescoes by Ambrogio Lorenzetti portray an idealized portrait of Sienese society under one of its most potent ruling bodies, the Nine. Within and around these frescoes are inscriptions in the italian vernacular, which have been given insufficient attention and analysis by scholars. The images and inscriptions operate in conjunction, forming a dialogue. This simultaneous operation was utilized by the Sienese government as a form of self-construction and propaganda to legitimize and promote their authority. Through the inscriptions, images, and constitution the Nine used the vernacular language as a form of communication that embodied specific ideals. I hope to demonstrate the importance of the vernacular as it was conceived within the frescoes and by the Nine, and to raise larger questions about the notion of literacy both […]

...Read More about Zoe Langer
Humanities and Social Science

Life Stories behind Chinese Restaurants in Mexico

As a third generation ethnic Chinese in Mexico, my research interests focus on the Chinese communities in Mexico. The Chinese people have reached many corners of the world primarily to search for new job opportunities and to start new homes. Especially active during the 19th century, the Chinese mostly migrated as coolies or contract workers, attracted to developing areas like Mexico where emerging economic needs and activities offered them job opportunities. Like my great-grandfather, with time and hard work, Chinese migrants in Mexico eventually started their own businesses, like Chinese restaurants. Chinese restaurants were lucrative because Chinese food was and continues to be considered as an exotic cuisine. Many Chinese in Mexico today work in Chinese restaurants and eventually open their own Chinese cafe or restaurant. Although Chinese migration to Mexico can date back to the colonization of Spain and the current population is over 50,000, they still remain an […]

...Read More about Cristina Lau
Humanities and Social Science

DNA Damage Checkpoint Activation in Heterochromatin

It is essential that the cell preserves the integrity of its DNA by initiating a proper response when there is damage to its genome. As a fellow of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships, I am utilizing this summer and the senior academic year to study the DNA repair pathway in heterochromatin. Using Drosophila melanogaster as a model system, I propose to fluorescently tag different DNA repair proteins and conduct experiments to understand the kinetics of these proteins following DNA damage induced by X-ray treatment. This research is promising: knowledge of how cells repair DNA damage in heterochromatin can contribute to a better understanding, and therefore, potential treatments of diseases associated with damage to our genome (e.g., cancers).

...Read More about Hai Le
L&S Sciences

Differential response of wild-type and mutant small heat shock protein alpha-crystallin to chemical and thermal stresses

Cataracts, caused by the aggregation of proteins inside lens cells, are the leading cause of blindness in the world. Alpha-crystallins, members of the small heat shock protein family, are essential for eye lens transparency in humans and mice. Using mouse models with different mutations in aA-crystallin, I am investigating the mechanisms for establishing and maintaining lifelong lens transparency. This summer I will be challenging these cells with a compound called Withaferin A, a chemical that causes changes in cell architecture. By observing the response of intracellular proteins to this compound, I will be able to explore some of the causes of protein aggregation and malfunction inside lens cells. If successful, my research may provide clues for preventing or treating cataract formation.

...Read More about James Lee
L&S Sciences

The Effects of Depression on Interpersonal Emotional Responding

My research project focuses on depression to determine how it impacts interpersonal relationships and depressed individuals’ emotional responses. I am studying depression through a couple’s study involving 80 romantic couples. During the study, couples engage in a series of conversations about a sacrifice they made for each other, a time that they felt great love for their partner, and a time of suffering they experienced on their own. By analyzing the participant’s physiological, behavioral, and emotional responses during and after these conversations, I aim to find answers to the following four questions: (1) Do depressive symptoms predict specific emotional responses in romantic relationships? (2) Are the emotional responses of depressed individuals context-specific? (3) How does depression influence relationship satisfaction? (4) Is there a change in depressive symptoms as a function of emotional responding? Through exploring these questions throughout this summer, I hope to gain insight into how depression affects interpersonal […]

...Read More about Angela Li
Humanities and Social Science

Systematically Detect Fine Scale Crossover Breakpoints with High Density SNP Markers in Three Generation Tri-Trio Pedigrees

The importance of studying genetic variants in humans has given rise to the worldwide HapMap Project, which can potentially lead to techniques to diagnose, treat, or prevent illnesses according to each persons different genetic makeup, thus enhancing efficacy. This project tests a method to identify crossover breakpoint regions at a higher resolution than previous studies have. Because single nucleotide polymorphisms are bi-allele, their limited number of states can be analyzed case by case in advance; studying families of three generations using tri-trio pedigree charts allows for the deduction of information about the child, thus enabling the detection of crossover breakpoints regions within chromosomes. An automation in R language is being developed, which can test larger data sets efficiently.

...Read More about Janet Luo
L&S Sciences

Elucidating the structure and function of lens protein Lim2

The human lens is made up of two types of cells: a monolayer of lens epithelial cells, and its differentiated progeny, lens fiber cells. The differentiation process is a complex sequence of events in which lens epithelial cells slowly lose all their organelles, and elongate into lens fiber cells. There is a lens membrane protein called Lim2 that appears to exist only in lens fiber cells, and not in lens epithelial cells. Lim2 is known to be critically important for maintaining the integrity of the lens, and its role will be the focus of my summer research project. I will be conducting various in vitro experiments to determine the structure and functional domain of this protein.

...Read More about Vibha Mahendra
L&S Sciences

Documenting Terror: DIY Aesthetics in Post-9/11 Horror Films

After the success of The Blair Witch Project (1999), the shaky camera disappeared from the horror genre. But on 9/11 Americans witnessed a new horror on their television screens from footage by professional news crews and amateur film recorders. Since then a recent trend of cheap, amateur filmmaking (DIY) aesthetics has resurfaced in mainstream horror films which unavoidably recall the events of 9/11. Simulating fact, these films act impregnable to interpretation, yet their intentionally degraded recordings suggest a disconnect between representation and material reality. To research this paradox, I will compare the stylistic and thematic uses of DIY aesthetics in Cloverfield (2008), Diary of the Dead (2007), and the Spanish film [Rec] (2007) within today’s paranoiac cultural fear of terrorism. In doing so I hope to contribute a filmic understanding of human identity and memory in a post-9/11 technocratic society.

...Read More about Cheryl Mak
Humanities and Social Science

Neurogenesis from Neuroglia

Neurogenesis, the process by which new neurons form, was thought to be impossible in mature brains for most of the 20th century. However, recent studies have found that neurogenesis in intact adult brains does occur in specific regions. I will be studying neurogenesis in vitro using neuroglial cells, which are neuron supporting cells, by treating them with Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) and Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF). Following treatment, I will perform functional tests to evaluate the extent to which these factors were able to promote the transdifferentiation of these neuroglial cells into functional neurons. Learning the pathway to inducing neurogenesis could ultimately lead to important implications for the treatments of countless neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons disease.

...Read More about Shila Manandhar
L&S Sciences

Thermal Ecology and Physiology of two Cryptic Skinks, Emoia cyanura and E. impar, on Mo'orea, French Polynesia

I am interested in the thermal ecology of two tropical skinks, Emoia cyanura and E. impar, in Tahiti, French Polynesia. Since these skinks are so similar in morphology and ecology, they likely compete for essential resources, including sources of heat. So far, through field observations and lab experiments, I have found that E. cyanura prefers open canopy habitats and warmer body temperature relative to E. impar. To expand my study, I will test sprint speed of each species at different body temperatures to see if they are thermal “generalists” or “specialists”. My investigation into thermal niche partitioning of these two lizards provides an important test case for how tropical lizards might change their behavior and habitat usage during climate change in the near future.

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

Screening for Silence: Bypassing Sir2 deacetylation in yeast

Because any given cell carries an overwhelming excess of genetic information, they need a way to selectively pinpoint what they need, when they need it. Silencing entire regions of the genome via chromatin modifications is one method that eukaryotes have developed to great effect. The four SIR (Silent Information Regulator) genes are absolutely critical to silencing in yeast. Wild-type Sir3 typically requires Sir2s deacetylation activity, and not just the deacetylation itself, in a mechanism that is still unclear. I will use sequencing and protein structural analysis to study PCR generated point mutations in the SIR3 gene that recover silencing in order to help me identify key functional regions in the Sir3 protein.

...Read More about Jane O
L&S Sciences

Development of Cryogenic Si-Ge Amplifier for L and X Bands

My project is to design, test and construct an electronic amplifier customized for data-taking in low temperature experiments (liquid helium cooled) at the Quantum Nanoelectronics Laboratory. Electrical signals from experiment samples are too weak to be measured directly, so this amplifier will make the signals stronger. For the transistor, the essential part of the amplifier, I will use a commercial Silicon-Germanium transistor, which is known for its low cost. Using computer simulations and testing of the amplifier characteristics, amplifiers for various experiments in the lab demanding different frequency ranges can be made (for example 5-6GHz, 1-3GHz). I will optimize the amplifier to work at cryogenic temperatures with minimum power dissipation and noise for maximum gain.

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

Poverty and Maternal Health in Piura, Peru: A Community Study

Women in Peru have one of the highest chances of dying from childbirth in all Latin America. Maternal mortality is devastating at both the familial level and the national level, as it is an indicator of health and development. Research on maternal health in Peru focuses on either rural areas or the Lima metropolis. This binary does not provide a complete understanding of the complexities of maternal health within the nation. Therefore, this study will examine maternal health in Piura, a small city with considerable poverty. I will document how women utilize or do not utilize different maternal health resources during their pregnancy, and why. Participant observation of government, religious, and private maternal care services will be combined with interviews of community members in order to provide an understanding of maternal health in Piura.

...Read More about Deborah Owen
Humanities and Social Science

Single-molecule analysis of the AMPA receptor2 TARP interaction

This summer I will be researching the interaction between Transmembrane AMPA-receptor regulatory proteins (TARPS) and AMPA glutamate receptors at the single molecule level. In order to do this I will have to make constructs containing fluorescent proteins paired with various members of the TARP family and AMPA glutamate receptor family. The interaction between TARPs and AMPA receptors particularly interesting because TARPs play a critical role in the regulation of synaptic AMPA receptor trafficing. While TARPs are not the only protein involved in this regulation it is believed that the regulation of these receptors underlies some forms of synaptic plasticity, a molecular correlate of learning and memory.

...Read More about Eric Pang
L&S Sciences

Economic Preference Parameters for Ambiguous Decision-Making

Cognitive control is the mechanism of coordinating actions with internal goals. I am primarily interested in the role of cognitive control in decision-making, particularly how internal states such as economic preferences can influence decision-making under probabilistic outcomes. Individuals differ in their tolerance for the amount of uncertainty in decision-making, and behavioral economic models, such as expected utility functions can create parameters that capture preference or aversion for risk and ambiguity. Using the choice history of each subject between pairs of gambles, my project will investigate how economic preference parameters may change for ambiguous conditions if probabilities are fixed. Will people show the same aversion for ambiguity if they believe experience with ambiguous conditions can help them learn the probability of outcomes?

...Read More about Karina Sakanaka
L&S Sciences

Educational Attitudes across Borders: Mexican Mothers' Views on Education in Mexico and the United States

Mexican students have lower levels of educational attainment when compared to other groups. Parental involvement is essential for the success of students, thus it is important to understand how Mexican mothers in Oakland, California perceive the educations system and the obstacles they face. In addition, analyzing how mothers in Atotonilco el Alto, Jalisco, Mexico understand and navigate the educational system can illuminate the experiences Mexican mothers have in their home country. Through my comparative study, an understanding of how Mexican mothers view the educational system in the US can be gained.

...Read More about Roxana Sandoval
Humanities and Social Science

Technology Buy-In: Gaps between the Ability to Pay and the Willingness to Adopt Point-of-Use (POU) Water Treatment Technology

Anecdotal evidence suggests an information gap isn’t the sole propagator of preventable water-borne diseases in urban slums: behavior change is multivariate. Through household surveys, I wish to understand how financial decision-making structures and other socio-economic factors condition the likelihood that a particular household will or won’t treat its water. To challenge the idea that with limited income, spending is allocated first to some universal standard of basic needs and then to “unessential” goods, I am also recording current technology investments (such as televisions, radios, etc.) within households to reconfigure “affordability” and more accurately estimate payment for point-of-use filters. By identifying the determinants of demand for water treatment technology, I hope to fuel more effective policy and sustainable technological interventions as we attempt to bring safe drinking water to 1.2 billion people across the world.

...Read More about Pronita Saxena
Humanities and Social Science

Characterizing Drug-Resistance Determinants in Gram-negative Bacteria from Blood Stream Infection

The core goal is to identify the origin of antibiotic drug-resistance determinants, with the hypothesis that drug-resistance determinants, in particular integrons carrying gene cassettes coding for drug resistance, from bacteria that is ingested through uncooked food (spinach, animal meat) can horizontally transfer to commensal bacteria in the human intestine, and under selective pressure of antibiotics, and ultimately lead to complicated multi-drug resistant bloodstream or urinary tract infections. Integrons are mobile genetic elements, found on transposons, plasmids and chromosomes that capture and express gene cassettes by site-specific recombination. This summer I will analyze bacteria isolated from bacteremia samples for prevalence of integrons using PCR, sequence and identify gene cassettes using bioinformatics such as BLAST, and compare results with those from spinach and animal studies.

...Read More about Julia Selezneva
L&S Sciences

Mathematical analysis of DNA unknotting by type II topiosomerases

Type II topoisomerases are enzymes that can change the topology of circular DNA molecules. These enzymes are essential to every living organism, which makes them good targets for anti-cancer and anti-bacterial drugs. DNA topology assays are used to determine the efficiency of topoisomerase inhibitors in drug design. In my research, I focus on the unknotting probability of knots by type II topoisomerases. In our previous study, our group built a mathematical model in simple cubic lattice to simulate how random strand passages generate the knotting distribution. We intended to use a sophisticated theoretical framework and efficient computer simulations to test and compare some of the existing models and propose new ones. I aim to implement the random strand-passage model in the Dowker code level to discover how topo II simplifies knots under the thermal dynamic equilibrium level.

...Read More about Yannan Shen
L&S Sciences

Violence, Landscapes of Mourning, and the Technologies of Memory and Witnessing

In my ethnography I explore the question of justice and memory in the aftermath of mass atrocities in Cambodia. For Cambodians, who have had to engage in a daily process of reckoning with the memory of (social) death, re-making a world has necessarily involved a delicate reweaving of kinships torn asunder by the violent alterations of life. I wish to look more carefully at these everyday practices of living as practices of bearing witness. With the anticipated commencement of the Khmer Rouge Tribunals, I seek to interrogate the role of transitional justice institutions in bringing justice and reconciliation for the memory of mass violence, torture, and social trauma, through an exploration of how justice is imagined and enacted in the everyday: how extant quotidian forms of witnessing-practices, existing alongside and despite a juridical anamnesis, form a disjuncture with its legal witnessing ethic, as well as its concomitant modern western notions […]

...Read More about Jeremy Soh
Humanities and Social Science

Probing the Necessity of Intestinal Stem Cells for Renewal of the Adult Drosophila Midgut

In adult animals, many tissues undergo continuous renewal, a process in which older cells die and are replaced by newly born cells. These new cells are generated by the proliferation of tissue stem cells, which divide continuously throughout the animal’s lifetime. The process of tissue self-renewal has long been thought essential for the maintenance of tissue structure and function; however, this presumption has never been explicitly examined. In my SURF project, I will explore the necessity of tissue renewal using the Drosophila epithelial midgut as a model system. Specifically, my research entails the genetic elimination of Drosophila intestinal stem cells and determining the effects of stem cell loss on the structure and function of the midgut.

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

The vascular organization of the cat inferior colliculus

I am analyzing the vascular organization of the cat inferior colliculus (IC), a major auditory structure in the midtbrain, to determine whether its divisions share a common pattern. The IC consists of the central nucleus (CN), the dorsal cortex (DC), and the lateral cortex (LC), each with different roles in auditory behavior and perception. I am comparing the IC capillary distribution to quantify differences between subdivisions using plastic-embedded material from two adult cats in 1 m-thick semithin sections stained with toluidine blue. Ten non-overlapping random 200 x 200 m2 samples will be selected from each CN, DC, and LC for analysis. The purpose of this study is to demarcate the borders of these subdivisions based on the vasculature. Inconsistent anatomical definitions may be the basis for past contradictory findings on the IC.

...Read More about Yohan Song
L&S Sciences

Mary Rich, Countess of Warwick: A Case Study of Gender Roles in Seventeenth Century England

This summer I will be studying the life of Mary Rich, Countess of Warwick (1624-1678) as a case study for understanding the lives of aristocratic women in Early Modern England. Mary Rich is important and intriguing because aspects of her personality and lifestyle simultaneously conformed to and challenged the gender roles in her society. Both in the Countesss semi-independent attitude toward her marriage prospects and in her important role in community affairs in her local community in Essex, she defied traditional gender roles. However, with her conversion to a Puritan lifestyle, she became a model of piety widely regarded throughout her community and throughout England as an ideal woman. These two components of her lifestyle and personality seem somewhat contradictory, and through the use of her extensive manuscripts available on microfilms from the British Library, I will study how Mary Rich herself dealt with these issues and her place in […]

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

Zooarchaeological Analysis of Upper Paleolithic Faunal Remains from Myshtulagty Lagat (Weasel Cave) Located in the Northern Caucasus Mountains, Russia

The Caucasus Mountains acted as a gateway for early hominids, who migrated into and through these regions, perhaps multiple times. Myshtulagty Lagat (Weasel Cave) is the first intact stratified cave studied in the Caucasus dating from 500,000 years BP to the Holocene. The cave lacks a well-stratified early upper Paleolithic sequence (c. 40.000-30.000 years ago, associated usually with our own species, Homo sapiens sapiens). Tracking Neanderthal climatic adaptations through faunal analysis allows for reconstruction of behavioral and dietary changes providing data imperative to interpreting site use and formation processes. Connections between these relative behavioral adaptations through time will help us to ultimately discover any regional causality of Neanderthal extinction and repopulation of the Eurasian gateway by anatomically modern humans. Ill develop models of regional hominid behavioral processes by addressing the following questions and studying the faunal assemblage from Weasel Cave: What part of the faunal assemblage results from hominid activity? […]

...Read More about Shannon Swan
Humanities and Social Science

Use of chemical olfactory cues in colonial tuco-tucos, Ctenomys sociabilis

I work in Professor Eileen Laceys lab with a colony of tuco-tucos, which are subterranean rodents in the family Ctenomyidae. Although there are more than 50 species of tuco-tucos in South America, the species I am studying is unique in that they live in groups and related females share a single burrow system. As a result, social relationships between females are very important in this species. I am studying chemical communication between females. Specifically, I am testing the hypothesis that olfactory cues in urine may serve as indicators of individual identity. The results of my work may yield new insights into the role of olfactory communication in the social structure of this unusual species.

...Read More about Maressa Takahashi
L&S Sciences

Mapping Curly in Xenopus tropicalis Using Gynogenesis and Natural Mating Techniques

It has been discovered that Curly, the early developmental mutation in Xenopus tropicalis, a frog model for human biology, leads to an abnormal number of Mitotic cells during the cell cycle. The mutant phenotype is possibly due to the abnormal expression of cell cycle factors. Mapping the location allows us to study these factors, creating a greater understanding of cancer. My project focuses on using primers to map the Curly mutation by using a combination of two methods. One involves natural mating between hybrid Curly carriers, and the other generates diploid mutant embryos from only Curly mother DNA, a process called gynogenesis. Testing the fraction of mutants per embryos allows us to calculate the mutation’s genetic location from the centromere.

...Read More about Toral Trivedi
L&S Sciences

Food Origins of Multi-Drug Resistant Hospital-Acquired Infections

This summer, the aim of my project is to investigate the origin of drug resistance in hospital acquired, multi-drug resistant bacteria. This project challenges the idea that human overuse of antibiotics is dominant in selecting for drug resistance in bacteria, and instead investigates the role of food as the primary source of new drug resistance for bacteria in our body. This is a particularly dangerous and has wide public health implications because of the ability for pathogenic bacteria in hospitals to rapidly acquire new drug resistances. Bacteria can harbor drug resistance through mobile genetic elements such as integrons and plasmids. This summer I will work on identifying such drug-resistance determinants on saprophytic sources and compare those sequences with drug resistant bacteria found in human blood stream infections.

...Read More about Lisa Wong
L&S Sciences

Exploring the Difference between Thermophilic and Mesophilic Proteins Using Protein Engineering

T. thermophilus RNase H (TthRNase H) is a protein that is stable at high temperatures. In my project, I will examine how the amino acid sequence of TthRNase H determines its folding properties that lead to its thermostability. To approach this question, I am going to construct two proteins, one containing the core of C. tepidum RNase H (a protein stable at moderate temperatures) and the periphery of TthRNase H and another containing the core of C. tepidum RNase H and the the periphery of E. coli RNase H (a protein stable only at low temperatures). Using CD spectroscopy to analyze these proteins, I hope I will be able to get more insights on folding mechanisms of proteins.

...Read More about Wing Shing Yip
L&S Sciences

The Effect of Birth Order on the Induction of Mixis in the Rotifer B. calyciflorus

The basis of sexual reproduction is a perennial topic of interest in evolutionary biology. The rotifer, Brachionus Calyciflorus, is an interesting system to compare sexual and asexual reproduction because it is cyclically parthenogenetic, meaning it alternates between generations produced sexually and asexually. By understanding the mechanisms controlling the timing of sexual reproduction in such organisms, we can better understand how natural selection determines the balance between asexual and sexual reproduction. In this study I look at the contributions of three related factors in determining the proportion of sexually reproducing daughters a female produces. This study aims to answer how birth order, days since mictic egg and generations since mictic egg and/or their interactions, best explains the patterns of mixis inducibility.

...Read More about Lauren Zerbib
L&S Sciences