2022 Undergraduate Research Exposition

University of Rochester

The Undergraduate Research Exposition is a College-wide event in which University of Rochester students at all levels and in all areas of study are invited to present their investigative and creative work. The Expo reflects the passion for learning that enlivens the University, professors and students alike, and that finds expression in varied forms, in every area of study.


More info: https://www.rochester.edu/college/ugresearch/events/expo.html

Filter displayed posters (310 keywords)

Award Consideration (54) Depression (3) Brain (2) Community Engagement (2) Computational Biology (2) Computational Fluid Dynamics (2) Economics (2) Genomics (2) Machine Learning (2) Material Science (2) Microbiology (2) Neuroscience (2) Stroke (2) Vision (2) aptamers (2) biology (2) biomarkers (2) cancer (2) cell division (2) genetics (2) iGEM (2) qPCR (2) sepsis (2) synthetic biology (2) show more... 3D printing (1) Acoustics (1) Amygdala (1) Animal Behavior (1) Antagonism (1) Anti-Predator Defense (1) Antibiotics (1) Antioxidants (1) ArcGIS Pro (1) Argentina (1) Audio Signal Processing (1) Auditory Signal Detection Task (1) Autism (1) Auto-encoder (1) Avian species (1) BME (1) Bacteria (1) Bacterial keratitis (1) Bacterial printing (1) Basal ganglia (1) Bioinformatics (1) Biology (1) Biomedical Engineering (1) Biomedical Genetics (1) Brain & Cognitive Sciences (1) Breast Cancer (1) Breastfeeding (1) Brooding (1) C.elegans (1) CFD (1) CNS injury (1) COVID-10 (1) COVID-19 (1) Cancer (1) Cartilage (1) Catalysis (1) Cell Differentiation (1) Childhood Trauma (1) Choreography (1) Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (1) Chronic Pain (1) Cognition (1) Cognitive Science (1) College Students (1) Community Gardens (1) Community-Engagement (1) Complement (1) Complement inhibitors (1) Computational Modeling (1) Corticogeniculate Feedback (1) Cosmetics (1) Covid-19 (1) Creative Research (1) Creative Writing (1) Criminal Justice (1) Cross-Coupling (1) Crowding (1) Crypsis (1) Cyberball (1) DNA damage (1) DNA damage response (1) Dance (1) Deaf (1) Decarceration (1) Deep Brain Stimulation (1) Deformation Mechanisms (1) Dermatology (1) Diffusion MRI (1) Dislocations (1) Dll4 (1) Drug intervention (1) Dystonia (1) ELISA (1) Ecology (1) Education (1) Electrical Engineering (1) Emotion Regulation (1) Endometriosis (1) English (1) Epigenetics (1) Epilepsy (1) Equation of State (1) Ethnography (1) Exclusionary Zoning (1) Eye (1) First-Person Singular Pronouns (1) Fluid Dynamics (1) Fovea (1) Frog Virus 3 (1) Functional Genomics (1) GIS (1) Gardening (1) Gender (1) Gentrification (1) Glutathione (1) Glymphatics (1) Grand Challenge Scholars Program (1) HIV (1) HIV Risk (1) HMO1 Gene (1) Hardware design (1) Health (1) Helium Nanobubbles (1) Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) (1) Human Vision (1) Hyperpigmentation (1) Immunology (1) Incarceration (1) Infection (1) Inorganic Chemistry (1) Intellectual Disability (1) Italians (1) LGN (1) LIWC (1) Language (1) Learning Disability (1) Limbic System (1) Lipid Production (1) MRI (1) Macaque (1) Macrophage Annotations (1) Maya concrete construction (1) Mechano-Biology (1) Mental Health (1) Microglia (1) Mixing (1) Molecular Dynamics (1) Molybdenum (1) Monocytes (1) Motion Processing (1) Mouse Model (1) Mouse Study (1) Movement Disorders (1) NICU (1) Neurodegeneration (1) Neurology (1) Neuronal Tuning (1) Non-human primates (1) Novel-Treatment Options (1) Nuclear Fusion (1) OB/GYN (1) OPC (1) Organic Chemistry (1) PET (1) Parasitology (1) Parkinson Disease (1) Pelli (1) Perception (1) Physical Chemistry (1) Physics (1) Psycholinguistics (1) Psychology (1) Psychophysics (1) Psychotherapy Use (1) Public Health (1) Pumping (1) R-loop (1) RNA-Seq (1) Racial Disparities (1) Radiation Therapy (1) Ranavirus (1) Refugees (1) Responder/Nonresponder (1) Rochester (1) Rotator Cuff (1) SARS-CoV-2 (1) Saccharomyces cerevisiae (1) Science Communication (1) Sepsis (1) Side-channel Attack (1) Sign Language (1) Skin lightening (1) Skin-to-Skin (1) Sleep (1) Stress (1) Striatum (1) Substance Use Disorders (1) Suicide Ideation (1) Sustainability (1) Synapses (1) Synaptic Pruning (1) Synergy (1) Texas (1) Thalamus (1) Transcription (1) Transglutaminase 2 (1) Trustworthiness Task (1) V1 (1) Ventral striatum (1) Virology (1) Water (1) Zoning Law (1) affordable housing (1) aging (1) attention (1) biomarker (1) brain and cognitive science (1) c-Cbl (1) chemical (1) child development (1) chromatin modulation (1) chromatography paper (1) climate data (1) climate networks (1) clinical decision support (1) computational (1) concrete damaged plasticity (1) contact angle (1) corbelled vaults (1) correlation matrix (1) cortical development (1) culture (1) diagnosis (1) diagnostic (1) diagnostics (1) dimethylsiloxane (1) eccentricity (1) epithelial tissue (1) ethnocentrism (1) exogenous attention (1) football (1) force (1) gene Knock out (1) genetic (1) global health (1) goniometer (1) hydromethylsiloxane (1) hydrophobic (1) immigrants (1) infancy (1) infants (1) infection (1) interdisciplinary (1) lipid nanoparticles (1) mRNA (1) machine learning algorithm (1) mapping (1) materialism (1) mechanical (1) micro pads (1) microfluidics (1) myelin (1) nanowire (1) nationalism (1) neuroscience (1) non-invasive detection (1) nonlinear FE analysis (1) orientation transformation (1) outline (1) pancreatic cancer (1) parasite dynamics (1) pattern (1) perceived duration (1) perception (1) perceptual learning (1) phase transition (1) play (1) play behavior (1) policy (1) polymer (1) primitivism (1) printing (1) proteostasis (1) psychotic-like experiences (1) radiation therapy (1) redox (1) reintegration (1) scRNA-Seq (1) seismic vulnerability (1) service (1) sex differences (1) soccer (1) social defeat hypothesis (1) social exclusion (1) spindle orientation (1) stereotactic body radiotherapy (1) sweat (1) time-series (1) trauma triage (1) tumor (1) vaccine hesitancy (1) vinylphenylboronic acid (1) virus (1) visual science (1) war (1) zoning codes (1)
Show Posters:

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Disarming Power Side-channel Attack Countermeasures Using Machine Learning

Jiamin Gan, Selçuk Köse

Abstract
Computer side-channel is defined as a communication channel that is not designed for communication. Power side-channel attacks exploit the fact that different power is consumed depending on whether a 0 or a/1 is processed. By looking at the power trace of a device, one can infer some information about the secret key and eventually break the mathematically secure encryption system. However, simple countermeasures that introduce additional Gaussian-like noise or time-domain disturbance can easily disable traditional attacks. One approach for weakening the countermeasures is to preprocess the trace using machine learning techniques such as Auto-Encoder(AE) and use the denoised traces for further attack. This paper improves the early proposed AE by using residual connections, requiring only <5 training samples for a successful denoise, while early work requires >1000 traces. The denoiser is tested for different noise combinations and succeeds in most of the cases using limited samples.
Presented by
Jiamin Gan
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Keywords
Side-channel Attack, Machine Learning, Auto-encoder

A Mixed-Method Analysis of the Trauma Triage Process at an ACS-Verified Level 1 Trauma Center

Loralai Crawford1; Adam Dziorny, MD, PhD1,2; Nicole A. Wilson, PhD, MD1-3

Abstract
Presented by
Loralai Crawford
Institution
1. Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 2. Department of Pediatrics, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 3. Department of Surgery, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY
Keywords
trauma triage, machine learning algorithm, clinical decision support, Award Consideration

Analysis of Velocity and Pressure Gradients to Predict Stroke Using Carotid Artery Simulations

Mauricio Araiza Canizales, Priscila Passerotti Vaciski Barbosa, Lauren E. Redus, Jonathan J. Stone, and David G. Foster

Abstract
The purpose of this poster is to demonstrate the combination of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and medicine to better characterize the early signs of stroke and aid in medical decisions. Stroke is one of the leading causes of death in the world. In the US alone, strokes account for one in twenty deaths, out of which 87% are identified as ischemic strokes. Reliable prediction of stroke is inherently challenging but is important to prevent long-term adverse effects in patients who require surgery and to avoid unnecessary surgeries in other patients. This project aims to correctly predict which patients will benefit from surgery by using CFD to analyze flow patterns in patients’ carotid arteries, with the ultimate goal of creating a predictive tool that helps physicians make informed decisions regarding stroke patients. CFD is a computational technique that uses finite element analysis (FEA) to discretize a fluid domain and determine the flow characteristics and pressure gradients. The combination of CFD and a patient’s specific carotid artery geometry can provide greater insight into the flow patterns of stroke and non-stroke patients. Therefore, the goal of the project is to create a patient specific CFD model to predict stroke. Computerized tomography angiography (CTA) scans from a patient’s left and right carotid artery are used to generate a 3D geometry to import into a commercial CFD simulation software. In collaboration with the University of Rochester, Department of Neurosurgery, the analysis of 48 different pairs of carotid arteries (26 stroke and 22 non-stroke) has been completed. A laminar viscous flow model was utilized to model blood flow in the patient’s carotid and each patient’s specific peak systolic velocities (PSV) were used as boundary conditions. Results showed that stroke patients have irregular velocity gradients and high velocity values in the ICA’s sinus. Recent work has shown that stroke patients have small regions of high-pressure gradients around the walls of the carotid which could be an indicator of potential stroke.
Presented by
Priscila Passerotti Vaciski B
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
Computational Fluid Dynamics, CFD, Stroke, Award Consideration

CFD Analysis of Mixing a Non-Newtonian Fluid in the Transition Regime

Hailey J Baker, Wanqing Yu, and David G Foster

Abstract
Mixing is a common process in the manufacturing and processing industry. To optimize the mixing efficiency, understanding the process details inside the tank is a crucial step. Industrial mixing is typically studied and modeled in the laminar or turbulent regimes, as the equations governing these regimes are well understood. Due to the complexity of transition mixing, there has been minimal modeling done despite transition mixing being a common working regime for many industrial processes. The lack of accurate transition mixing models hinders industries in optimizing their processes and inhibits the investigation of the behavior of the transition regime. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations are used to analyze the properties and behaviors of fluid domains within a mixing tank. ANSYS Fluent, a commercial CFD software package, is used to model various physical systems to analyze velocity profiles, streamlines, volume fraction distribution, and numerous other fluid and flow properties. The goals of this research are to investigate the behavior of a non-Newtonian fluid, Carbopol, being mixed in the transition flow regime using CFD, and to adapt these computer-generated models to physical systems to increase the accuracy of the transition mixing models. Existing viscous models were tested and assessed to determine their accuracy, but also how they fail to predict the flow domain in certain cases.
Presented by
Hailey Baker <hbaker4@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Chemical Engineering
Keywords
Fluid Dynamics, Computational Modeling, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Mixing, Award Consideration

Development and Printing of a Boronic Acid-Containing Siloxane Polymer

Shannon D. Murty

Abstract
The polymer known as BorSilOx being developed by the Yates Group at the University of Rochester has several applications related to µ-Pads and photonic sensors. The study of this polymer over the summer of 2021 consisted of testing its performance in µ-Pads with qualitative tests supplied by Jeffery Beard in the Miller Group at the University of Rochester Medical Center, modifying the polymer printer, and varying the type of copolymer used to make BorSilOx. It was found that its hydrophobic properties were promising when used to create µ-Pads and that reactions with several other copolymers behaved similarly when used in the same reaction to create BorSilOx.
Presented by
Shannon Murty <smurty@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Chemical Engineering
Keywords
hydrophobic, polymer, micro pads, chromatography paper, pattern, printing, goniometer, contact angle, outline, vinylphenylboronic acid, hydromethylsiloxane, dimethylsiloxane, Award Consideration

Molecular Dynamics Modeling of Helium Nanobubble Growth in Irradiated Copper Matrix

Ognjen Bosić, Ali K. Shargh, Niaz Abdolrahim

Abstract
Irradiation of metals under high energy alpha particles is often accompanied with formation of helium nanobubbles in the matrix and leads to moderate degradation in their mechanical properties and structural integrity. Experiments have demonstrated that the extent of such degradation depends on thermodynamic characteristics of helium bubbles such as internal pressure. However, little is known on atomic-scale deformation mechanisms responsible for controlling bubble pressure. Using molecular dynamic simulations, we present a novel deformation mechanisms map for copper matrix containing helium nanobubbles with different morphological parameters such as: bubble diameter and helium to vacancy ratio (He/V). Different deformation mechanisms such as: crystallization, formation of immobile stacking-fault octahedra as well as punching out of prismatic loops will be discussed. In addition, we develop an equation of state based on Donnelly model for predicting the nanobubble pressure from its diameter as well as He/V at various temperature.
Presented by
Ognjen Bosic
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Keywords
Material Science, Molecular Dynamics, Helium Nanobubbles, Deformation Mechanisms, Equation of State, Dislocations

Phase transition mechanism in Molybdenum nanowires

Zheming Guo, Linh Vu, Ali K. Shargh, Niaz Abdolrahim

Abstract
In metallurgy study, finding the crystallographic orientations to enhance the strength and ductility of the materials under the loading has been a huge interest. Molybdenum (Mo), a metal with high melting point and stiffness, has not been well studied compared to other common metals such as Copper, Steel, etc. Higher ductility observed in Mo nanowires under specific lattice orientations has been observed before; however, the specific reasonings behind the phase transition and orientation transformation have not been answered thoroughly. This research studies the higher second yield stress and higher ductility in Mo nanowires and focuses on explaining the mechanisms of phase transition and orientation transformation.
Presented by
Linh Vu, Zheming Guo <lvu4@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester, Mechanical Engineering Department
Keywords
Material Science, nanowire, phase transition, orientation transformation, Molybdenum

Physics-based unsupervised deep learning for rapid DTI tensor estimation

Nejat Yigit Can, Qiyuan Tian, Berkin Bilgic

Abstract
Physics-based unsupervised deep learning for diffusion tensor estimation is a high fidelity and feasible alternative method to the LLSQ estimation. Estimating the diffusion tensor with our method is 17.5 times faster than the conventional LLSQ method.
Presented by
Nejat Can
Institution
Martinos Center of Harvard-MIT-MGH, University of Rochester
Keywords
Diffusion MRI, Machine Learning, Award Consideration

Piezo1 and Mechano-Susceptibility of Chondrocytes Post-Rotator Cuff Injury

Katherine G. Broun, Devon E. Anderson, MD, PhD, Alexander Kotelsky, PhD, Sandeep Mannava MD, PhD, Whasil Lee, PhD

Abstract
One of the most common orthopedic injuries, rotator cuff tears (RCT) cause substantial pain and disability; the possibility of disease in the rotator cuff increases with age due to tendon degeneration which can lead to partial or full tears and subsequent changes to joint biomechanics and osteoarthritis (OA). There is a significant gap in knowledge between how the major mechanosensors drive cartilage degeneration and chondrocyte death in cuff tear arthropathy. This gap also is seen in terms of understanding chondrocyte changes due to wear and tear on the cartilage in the glenohumeral joint, termed cuff tear arthropathy (CTA). Through this initial phase of the project, we identified the functional expression of PIEZO1 in articular cartilage of the humeral head with wild type C57BL/6 mice control mice which contributes to cell death induced by mechanical loading (mechanical vulnerability). Initial tests to elucidate baseline Piezo1-mediated mechano-vulnerability of articular chondrocytes are done and show a significantly increased area of mechanically-induced cell death between the control group and a treated group with Yoda1 (PIEZO1 agonist). Further, we established a RCT model to understand the role of PIEZO1-mediated mechanotransduction after a RCT injury. We observed reduced RC cartilage thickness by 15% in 4-weeks post injury suggesting early onset osteoarthritis (OA) progression after RCT. Our results suggest a potential therapeutic strategy reducing cartilage death in RCT mice by inhibiting PIEZO1 and potentially activating other ion channels, which will be determined through further experimentation. Further, we plan to monitor gene regulation of injured mice at 14-weeks post injury and will continue testing the effect of Piezo1 modulation on OA progression post RCT using a mouse model.
Presented by
Katherine Broun
Institution
University of Rochester, Biomedical Engineering
Keywords
Cartilage, Rotator Cuff, Mechano-Biology, Biomedical Engineering, BME, Mouse Study, Award Consideration

Structural Assessment of Concrete Vaulted Maya Temples of Bonampak, Chiapas, Mexico

Omar Hamad ‘22, Humfrey Kimanya ‘23, Dung Nguyen ’22, Justin Sennyondo ’22 supervised by Professor Renato Perucchio (ME), Selman Tezcan (ME PhD ‘22)

Abstract
Our research aims at evaluating the seismic vulnerability of concrete vaulted buildings of the Late Classic Maya complex of Bonampak, Chiapas, Mexico (circa AD. 580-800). Bonampak is famous for the Maya murals present in Structure 1, which are arguably the most complete and best-preserved murals of the ancient Americas. Structure 3 – the focus of the present initial study – is located on a platform at the edge of an earth-filled terrace. The platform is inclined towards northeast by an average 6°, likely due to a settlement of the terrace. We use 3D nonlinear FE models built in Abaqus CAE Explicit to evaluate the structural response under gravitational and lateral accelerations applied with a quasi-static approach. The concrete damaged plasticity formulation available in Abaqus is adopted to represent the masonry behavior. Material parameters are derived from published experimental tests conducted on Maya lime mortar and concrete from Yaxchilan, an archaeological site near Bonampak. The time evolution of strain, kinetic, and dissipative energies is used to detect conditions of structural collapse. We systematically explore the sensitivity of the lateral capacity to the assumed material tensile strength, the inclination of the base platform, and the presence of the structure’s bounding (lateral) walls in analyzed models. The lateral capacity of Structure 3 in its current state is found to vary depending on the assumed tensile strength of the material, with values between 0.14 g and 0.59 g for sectional plane strain models, and between 0.33 g and 1.0 g for full 3D models featuring bounding walls. FE analysis of our sectional models shows lateral capacities and failure mechanisms which converge towards the results from the vulnerability assessment of Structure 3 conducted by Flores and Orea in 2016 using a 2D rigid-body kinematic model based on limit analysis.
Presented by
Dung Nguyen ’22, Omar Hamad ‘22, Humfrey Kimanya ‘23, Justin Sennyondo ’22
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
Maya concrete construction, corbelled vaults, seismic vulnerability, nonlinear FE analysis, concrete damaged plasticity, Award Consideration

TSUBASA: Climate Network Construction on Historical and Real-Time Data

Yunlong(Draco) Xu, Jinshu Liu, and Fatemeh Nargesian

Abstract
A climate network represents the global climate system by the interactions of a set of anomaly time-series. Network science has been applied to climate data to study the dynamics of a climate network. The core task to enable network dynamics analysis on climate data is the efficient computation and update of the correlation matrix for user-defined time-windows on historical and real-time data. We present TSUBASA, an algorithm for efficiently computing the exact pair-wise time-series correlation based on Pearson’s correlation. By pre-computing simple and low-overhead sketches, TSUBASA can efficiently compute exact pairwise correlations on arbitrary time windows at query time. For real-time data, TSUBASA proposes a fast and incremental way of updating the correlation matrix. We provide a detailed time and space complexity analysis of TSUBASA. Our experiments show that with the same space overhead as a DFT-based approximate solution, TSUBASA has a lower sketching time and is on par with the approximate solution with respect to query time. TSUBASA is at least one order of magnitude faster than a baseline for both historical and real-time data.
Presented by
Draco (Yunlong) Xu
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Computer Science
Keywords
time-series, climate data, climate networks, correlation matrix, Award Consideration

Two-Pronged Approach to Study Epithelial Monolayer Architecture

Mimi Jüng1, Christian Cammarota2, Nicole Dawney3, Dan Bergstralh2,3

Abstract
A tightly packed organization of epithelial cells is critical to the function of epithelial tissues. As epithelial tissues develop and densify, the underlying architecture must adapt to the varying mechanical influences that occur during morphogenesis. During cell division, mitotic cells typically change shape and increase in size which presents a challenge to this organization. Our lab has found that architecture is largely determined by a balance of counteracting forces from cell-cell and cell substrate adhesion. I am interested in the mechanical interactions between cells during the development of the epithelium and hypothesize that cells go through an active relaxation process to drive epithelial monolayer architecture. To test this, we are using a two-pronged approach to study the role of passive and active mechanical forces during reintegration as well as observe any relationship between cortical stiffness and layer architecture. First is developing a two-dimensional computational model of cells in the XZ plane and second is bench experiments using chemical and genetic manipulations to modulate cortical stiffness.
Presented by
Mimi Jung <mjung8@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
Departments of 1Biomedical Engineering, 2Physics, and 3Biology, University of Rochester, NY, USA
Keywords
epithelial tissue, cell division, reintegration, force, mechanical, computational, chemical, genetic, Award Consideration

“Singing Glasses” – Digital Adaptation of the Glass Instrument

Tianwei Jiang, Zilin Zeng, and Michael C. Heilemann

Abstract
Rubbing one's finger along the rim of a wine glass produces a unique sound that has been a popular party trick for generations. Though the sound has made its way into popular music recordings, the ergonomics of the instrument make it impractical for widespread use. To make this effect easier to implement, we developed an audio plug-in that simulates the sound of the glass digitally. We have also developed a prototype device that uses a MIDI keyboard to spin a particular glass via a DC stepper motor when the appropriate key is pressed. This gives the potential for a single user to generate multiple pitches simultaneously.
Presented by
Tianwei Jiang, Zilin Zeng <tjiang14@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
Dept. of Audio and Music Engineering, University of Rochester
Keywords
Acoustics, Audio Signal Processing, Electrical Engineering, Award Consideration

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Does Personality Influence Individual’s Movement Quality?

Undergraduate Research by Jessica Oh | Supervised by Anne Wilcox and Rose Beauchamp

Abstract
The distinct postures and internal bodily relationships are the movements that bring uniqueness and individuality to a person’s movements. In the esteemed somatic work, Making Connections, Peggy Hackney describes body attitude as a “person’s habitual constellations of movement and body alignment.”(Hackney) The body attitude is an embodied habit developed from individuals’ “particular tendencies” in choosing repetitive postures and internal somatic relationships when acquiring movement (Whal). However, the majority of studies have limited scope that lacks focus on the causality between individuals’ preference of movement qualities and the factors that influence these preferences. An extensive understanding of these factors is pivotal as the movement qualities affect individuals’ non-verbal communication ability, which directly relates to individuals’ well-being. This research study will explore this matter from a psychosomatic perspective, specifically personality, to see to what extent these factors influence an individual’s movement quality. To examine the relationship between personality and individuals’ movement qualities, this research study will implement Myers-Briggs-Types Indicator (MBTI) to evaluate different personality types and adapt the Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) system to create standard movement criteria to observe and compare movement qualities of research populations. Carl Jung and his pioneering work extensively influence both MBTI and LMA systems. Utilizing these applications that share common groundwork allows an authentic analysis and discussion of study observations. Moreover, the study designs movement workshop to vividly observe participants’ movement qualities and to discover how movement qualities alter across different personality traits. The workshop eliminates biased movement cues in the activities to prevent participants from contaminating authentic movement qualities that are genuine and indicative of their personality. 
Presented by
SEUNGYEON Jessica Oh
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
Award Consideration

Dynamic Confinement: The Viability of Dance as a Method to Communicate and Engage a Disparate Audience with Physics Concepts

Margaret Porcelli

Abstract
Dance acts as a non-verbal language that allows us to explain abstract ideas and expand our ability to express concepts through movement. It is thus feasible to communicate complex topics through dance by capturing the essence of these ideas in movement. In the natural sciences, including the field of physics, communication occurs most often through written papers and spoken presentations—non-verbal explanations are few and far between. However, many artists are inspired by this power of dance as a non-verbal language and engage themselves in interdisciplinary projects that aspire to bridge the perceived gap in modes of communication between the fields of physics and dance. Most often these projects take shape as collaborative efforts in which the artist works closely with a scientist to display and explain scientific concepts through the non-traditional mode of movement. But how effective are these works in communicating science to the audience? Subsequently, the overarching research question, how does having a scientific background impact one’s viewing of viewing experience of a physics-based movement piece, will be considered. A creative movement project will endeavor to communicate the fundamental physics concepts involved in a direct-drive inertial confinement fusion experiment with dance. The structure, geometry, and actual physics concepts involved will be used as inspiration to create an abstract dance model of the experiment itself. A survey process will then be utilized, before and after viewing the work, to observe if there is a correlation between an increased understanding and engagement with the scientific concepts in the piece and the previous scientific background of each audience member.
Presented by
Margaret Porcelli
Institution
University of Rochester, Program of Dance and Movement
Keywords
Dance, Science Communication, Nuclear Fusion, Physics, Choreography, Award Consideration

Football, Italian Immigrants, and Argentinidad: Luis Monti, Raimundo Orsi, and Guillermo Stábile as Agents of Nationalism

Philip Cavallo

Abstract
This project analyzes three Argentine footballers and their impact on the national identity of male Italian immigrants in Argentina in the 1920s and early 30s. Luis Monti, Raimundo Orsi, and Guillermo Stábile were of Italian descent and played for three of the most popular clubs in Argentina at the time, San Lorenzo de Almagro, Independiente, and Huracán, respectively. Local newspapers built up the trio as Argentine icons because of their success domestically and internationally, including the 1928 Olympics and 1930 World Cup. Italian immigrants connected to the immigrant ancestry of the trio and perceived them as Argentine symbols. Articles from newspapers La Nación and La Prensa, and report and balance sheets for the Argentine leagues in the 1920s and 30s serve as the main sources for this research. The projects adds a new dimension to English language scholarship on football in Latin America and contributes new analysis of individual players as agents of nationalism through football.
Presented by
Philip, Cavallo
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
Argentina, football, soccer, immigrants, Italians, culture, nationalism, Award Consideration

In The Main: Exploring the Interdiciplinary Anthropological Work of Zora Neale Hurston

Sasha Nakita Murray

Abstract
Harlem renaissance writer Zora Neale Hurston, popular for her 1937 novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, was also very interested in dance. Fed by her anthropological studies of folk dance and songs in the US and Bahamas, Hurston put on a folk show on January 10th,1932 that aimed to portray these findings as close to the way in which she found them. Hurston’s goal was to accurately represent black dance on stage. Hurston’s contributions to dance are seldom talked about in part. This study aimed to contribute to the existing conversations surrounding Hurston’s impact on dance by investigating the connection between literature and dance in her work. The study consisted of a creative dance project that aimed to reflect the findings of this research, translated to the concert stage.
Presented by
Sasha NMurray
Institution
Program of Dance and Movement, University of Rochester
Keywords
materialism, primitivism, ethnocentrism, Award Consideration

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The Demographic and Environmental Forces Driving Microfilariae Infections in the Florida Scrub-Jay

Kristin Hardy, Felix Beaudry, Reed Bowman, John W Fitzpatrick, Angela Tringali, Nancy Chen

Abstract
Parasites can have important impacts on population dynamics and are responsible for the extinction of several wildlife species. It is therefore crucial to understand the factors that drive variation in parasite prevalence in natural populations. Microfilariae are a common blood parasite that affects avian species. They are transmitted from infected individuals by flying insects and can lead to fatal diseases in several bird species including heart inflammation, tissue death, and immune response dysfunction. Here, we investigate the demographic and environmental factors underlying variation in microfilarid prevalence and load in the Federally Threatened Florida Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens). We used mixed models to identify demographic and environmental variables that contribute to microfilariae infection rates in the Florida Scrub-Jay over a 10 year period. We found that age has a significant effect on microfilariae infection rates.
Presented by
Kristin Hardy
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Biology
Keywords
Parasitology, Avian species, parasite dynamics

Genetic Interaction Between the HMO1 Gene and Genes Involved in R-loop Formation in yeast

Xin Li

Abstract
DNA damage is important for human diseases since it can change cell physiology and cause some diseases such as cancer and neurodegeneration. The Hmo1 is one of the most unique proteins in the HMGB ( high mobility group box) family, which can participate in DNA damage repair by influencing chromatin dynamics. The R-loops are three-stranded nucleic acid structures and can cause DNA damage by the accumulation of these harmful mutations. The RNH1 and RNH201 are two important genes for RNase H enzymes that can eliminate R‐loops that disrupt DNA replication. The HPR1 is another gene responsible for R-loop formation. This paper tries to explore the mechanism of the DNA damage at the genetic level, and primarily investigate the functional relationship between Hmo1 and R-loops in the cellular response to DNA damage in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Our project is to examine the phenotype of the genetic interaction between the HMO1 gene and three genes involved in R-loop formation, RNH1, RNH201, and HPR1. Our genetic analyses indicate that cell proliferation during DNA damage is markedly reduced by the deletion of the HPR1 gene, but this is suppressed by the deletion of the HMO1 gene. The deletion of the RNH1 gene can also greatly suppress cell proliferation during DNA damage, but the deletion of the HMO1 gene can increase this suppression of cell growth. However, the deletion of the RNH 201 gene may stimulate cellular growth during the DNA damage, and even the deletion of the HMO1 gene cannot largely suppress this cellular growth.
Presented by
Xin Li
Institution
University of rochester
Keywords
DNA damage, HMO1 Gene, R-loop, Award Consideration

An exploration of how lipogenic enzymes cooperate with antioxidants to drive breast cancer growth

Katherine Rodriguez, Gloria Ansantewaa, Marco Zocchi , Leonid Schiller, Emily Tuttle, Dr. Fabio Hecht, Dr. Isaac Harris

Abstract
Breast cancer is a devastating disease worldwide, taking the lives of thousands of patients each year. To better understand breast cancer progression and to develop novel treatments to combat the disease, we must consider the role of lipid metabolism. Glutathione (GSH) serves as an antioxidant in the body. The inhibition of GSH production will compromise the cell membrane’s structural integrity, and potentially require lipids produced from the de novo synthesis pathway to be instead shunted towards membrane repair. Without this lipid supply, the cell membrane will collapse, and the cell will die. We aimed to find out how fatty acid synthase (FASN), which produces lipids, relies on GSH to buffer reactive oxygen species (ROS) and prevent lipid oxidation. Here we show cerulenin, an inhibitor of FASN, and MK-8245, an inhibitor of stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD), another key lipogenic enzyme, significantly impacts the cell’s viability in combination with buthionine sulfoximine (BSO), an inhibitor of GSH synthesis. We find that FASN and SCD inhibitors alone at lower concentrations are insufficient to cause any impact on cellular viability but are effective when combined with BSO. Further, our results demonstrate that if we treat HCC-1806 cells early on (before reaching their peak confluency) with Cerulenin and MK-8245, we can impact the lipid production pathway, stop the production of viable lipids, and potentially stop the cancer cells from surviving. We anticipate expansion of these studies to in vivo experiments with mice will demonstrate similar effects. Overall, we hope this research leads to the implementation of a therapy to stop the progression of breast cancer, thereby benefitting patients.
Presented by
Katherine Rodriguez <krodrig9@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester: Department of Biomedical Genetics (Harris Lab)
Keywords
Breast Cancer, Antioxidants, Glutathione, Novel-Treatment Options, Biomedical Genetics, Lipid Production, Award Consideration

Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 Defective Viral Genomes from RNA-Seq Data

Terry Zhou, Simone Spandau, Yan Sun PhD

Abstract
Defective viral genomes (DVGs) have been identified in many RNA viruses as a major factor influencing antiviral immune response, such as respiratory syncytial virus and influenza. In this paper we aim to elucidate DVG generation in SARS-CoV-2 and its relationship with host antiviral immune response. We identified genomic hotspots for DVG formation in vitro and autopsy tissues of COVID-19 patients using both bulk RNA-Seq and single cell RNA-Seq (scRNA-Seq) datasets. We observed an upregulation of Type I/III interferon responses in infected samples with high DVG and viral loads, suggesting that DVG and viral enrichment stimulate interferon response. In the context of scRNA-Seq, ciliated and basal cells were found to be the most enriched with DVGs and SLC16A7+ cells had high DVG percentages but comparatively low viral loads. DVG positive cells also had higher viral loads than DVG negative cells. Furthermore, analysis of the relationships between viral load and gene expression showed that DVG positive cells with moderate SARS-CoV-2 infection level expressed robust primary IFNs fast compared to DVG- cells with similar virus level, which can then alert neighboring cells to express ISGs. These findings call for further inquiry into the mechanisms of DVG generation in SARS-CoV-2 and how DVGs modulate host responses and infection outcome.
Presented by
Terry Zhou, Simone Spandau
Institution
University of Rochester Medical Center, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Keywords
COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, RNA-Seq, Virology, Bioinformatics, scRNA-Seq, Computational Biology, Immunology, Microbiology, Biology, Genomics, Award Consideration

C-Cbl as a hub: a review of c-Cbl and its new role in cell cycle regulation

Camille Stevenson, Vidhya Dhar, Mark Noble, PhD, Katherine Padilla

Abstract
We have discovered a new molecular mechanism that appears to be crucial in the regulation of the cell cycle. The pathway that is in part responsible for this regulation is the redox/Fyn/c-Cbl pathway, but how exactly it regulates the cell cycle has yet to be determined. The protein of key interest, c-Cbl, is a ubiquitin ligase that is unique in that it functions as a tumor suppressor protein. It targets specific pro-division receptors for degradation, thus preventing excessive cell division without stopping it altogether. In contrast, we found that oxidation leads to the “super-activation” of c-Cbl, which then causes cell cycle exit. C-Cbl does this by decreasing the levels of proteins that promote cell division, and increasing levels of protein that inhibit cell division. The mechanism by which c-Cbl controls cell cycle proteins is unknown. We hypothesize proteins that are affected by c-Cbl super-activation but are not direct targets of c-Cbl will show lower levels of gene expression, while those that are directly controlled by c-Cbl will have the same levels of gene expression as in the controls. This area of research will provide insight into a new role of c-Cbl in regulating the cell cycle, and also will provide insights relevant when c-cbl function is inhibited in cancer cells.
Presented by
Camille, Stevenson and Vidhya, Dhar <csteve29@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester Medical Center, Department of Biomedical Genetics
Keywords
c-Cbl, redox, OPC, qPCR, cancer

Characterization Of Putative Virulence Determinants Of The Frog Virus 3 Ranavirus

Thandolwethu Shabangu, Francisco De Jesús Andino, and Jacques Robert

Abstract
Increasing ranavirus (RVs) infections of fish, amphibians and reptiles worldwide are posing serious economic and ecological concerns. Despite this, ranavirus immune evasion mechanisms remain poorly understood. A knockout (KO) methodology was used to assess the role of Frog Virus 3 (FV3) genes in virulence and immune evasion. This methodology involves gene disruption by site specific integration of a dual selection marker consisting of the puromycin resistance gene fused in frame with the enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) reporter under the control of the FV3 immediate-early 18K promoter. KO-FV3 mutants are constructed by replacement of the target genes with the knockout Puro-EGFP cassette, followed by successive rounds of selection for puromycin resistance and GFP expression. This study focuses on KO of two immediate early genes of unknown function, p31K protein (ORF 25R) and the immediate early protein ICP-46 (ORF 91R). Recombinant vectors were generated and transfected into BHK-21 cells, followed by successive rounds of selection for puromycin resistance. We are currently working on selection for GFP expression using plaque assays. The specificity of recombination will be confirmed by PCR, sequencing and immunofluorescence microscopy. Our animal model, Xenopus laevis, will then be infected with these two KO-FV3 mutants and the viral immune response will be compared to wild type FV3 infected animals.
Presented by
Thandolwethu Shabangu
Institution
University of Rochester Medical Center, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Keywords
Ranavirus, gene Knock out, Frog Virus 3, Award Consideration

Chronotherapy using KL001 for stroke and glymphatic

June Kim, Sophia Stafford, Daniel Garcia, Emma Waight, Lauren Hablitz, Maiken Nedergaard

Abstract
Stroke is one of the most devastating cardiovascular diseases and it is very important to give treatments to stroke patients as soon as possible to prevent long-term disability. Recent work has shown that many stroke patients exhibit disrupted 24-hour activity and we found that the glymphatic system, a waste clearance system that has 24-hour rhythm, was also disrupted in the chronic stroke model. In this present work, we investigated whether targeting internal rhythms using drug intervention, KL001would improve stroke in the mouse model. Stroke was induced with laser (photo-thrombosis) and KL001 was given for 9 days after 2 days of stroke. CM injection was done to analyze the glymphatic influx and perfusion and TTC staining was done to analyze the area of stroke region to see if KL001 worked. Our data indicate that KL001 intervention successfully improved a 24-hour internal rhythm and also improved the area of stroke region in a stroke mouse model.
Presented by
June, Kim
Institution
University of Rochester, Center for Translational Neuromedicine
Keywords
Neuroscience, Stroke, Drug intervention, Award Consideration

Color Polymorphism and Its Effects on the Substrate Preference of European Green Crabs (Carcinus maenas)

Regan I. Collins

Abstract
Crypsis, commonly known as camouflage, is a defense tactic against visual predators that relies on the morphological and physiological traits of prey organisms to avoid detection by blending into their environment. Given the expansive color polymorphs of the European green crab (Carcinus maenas), the primary goal of this study was to determine if C. maenas will prefer substrate that closely matches its polymorphic color pattern when given the choice between light and dark substrate in order to increase crypsis and avoid visual predation. Individual crabs (n=20) were photographed and caught in their natural environment to observe their substrate preference. They were placed into four different experimental conditions to test substrate preference when presented with two highly contrasting substrates both with and without rock cover. The initial substrate choice of the crab was recorded, as well as their subsequent substrate choice every 60 seconds for five minutes. It was found that though the crabs had little substrate preference when rock cover was available, when rock cover was removed, the majority of C. maenas (>80%) preferred the darker substrate regardless of carapace color (p<.01). This result highlights the interplay of both the behavioral and morphological components of crypsis as an anti-predator defense.
Presented by
Regan Collins
Institution
University of Rochester and Shoals Marine Lab
Keywords
Ecology, Animal Behavior, Crypsis, Anti-Predator Defense

Complement Dysregulation and Intellectual Disability: The Effect of Missense Mutations On Sez6 Family Members and the Link to Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Jennetta Hammond, Minh Loi, Nina Silver, Alison Hobbins, Jack Randolph

Abstract
The complement pathway is an important innate immune mechanism to clear pathogens and dead or dying cells from the body. It is also an active participant in inflammatory immune responses. In the nervous system, complement triggers synapse elimination that is necessary for normal brain development. Specifically, complement deposits on neuronal synapses and instructs microglia to remove them by phagocytosis. However, dysregulated complement-mediated synaptic pruning has been implicated as a potential contributing factor to various neurodevelopmental disorders. In the aging or diseased brain, excessive complement can also be a driver of neurodegeneration. Self-directed complement activity is usually held in check by complement inhibitors. The Sez6 family are a group of complement inhibitors primarily expressed by neurons throughout the brain and consist of Sez6, Sez6L, and Sez6L2. Its members have been genetically linked to various neurological and psychiatric disorders and may additionally play a role in some autoimmune disorders of the nervous system. The goal of this study is to investigate the effect of mutations in the Sez6 family on complement deposition so that we may gain insight into how these mutations may alter the complement pathway and, on a larger scale, lead to ntellectual and learning disability.
Presented by
Minh Loi
Institution
University of Rochester Medical Center, Department of Neurology
Keywords
Complement, Complement inhibitors, Synapses, Synaptic Pruning, Intellectual Disability, Learning Disability, Microglia, Autism

Construction and Evaluation of Intein Constructs in Mammalian Cells

Loren Cardani, Tyler McCullock, Paul Kammermeier

Abstract
Inteins are protein constructs with the ability to self-splice. Named thusly due to their similarities with introns in RNA, these inteins can spontaneously remove themselves from within a larger polypeptide. Although these are generally investigated in prokaryotes and in purified protein systems, our lab is seeking to use a split version of them in eukaryotes as a tool to force heterodimer formation in metabotropic glutamate receptors. For this, it was necessary to evaluate how certain split inteins performed in mammalian cells in terms of their selectivity, splicing efficiency, and localization within the cells. Intein constructs Npu and Gp41-1 were attached to fluorescent labels and observed in HEK293T cells using fluorescence microscopy and Western blotting. Here, we discuss the behavior of these split inteins and consider their broader applications towards mGluR heterodimer formation.
Presented by
Loren Cardani
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
Award Consideration

Cytotoxicity of Kojic Acid on Human Keratinocytes and Its Side Effects on Human Inflammatory System

Joanne Yoonjin Lee, Sarah Morgan, Lisa A. DeLouise

Abstract
Presented by
Yoonjin Lee
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
Dermatology, Cosmetics, Hyperpigmentation, Skin lightening, Award Consideration

Developing a Nanobody Screen Using Plasmid Display

Victoria Shwe, Katherine Edwards, Joseph J. Porter, and John D. Lueck

Abstract
Nanobodies are single-domain antibodies made up of a single heavy domain derived from camelids and cartilaginous fish. This is in contrast to the conventional antibody consisting of two heavy chains and two light chains. Despite this difference in structure and size compared to antibodies, camelid-derived nanobodies can bind to antigens with as high specificity and affinity, making them an effective diagnostic tool for therapeutic applications. Traditionally, obtaining specific nanobodies involves immunizing llamas or alpacas, followed by the generation of nanobody libraries from circulating blood for subsequent selection by phage or yeast display methods. Because of this, the generation of nanobodies is not only expensive but also limited to outsourcing companies or laboratories that have the ability to perform these selection methods. Our goal then is to create a synthetic nanobody screen format that utilizes plasmid display, which if successful would be inexpensive and available for most laboratories to perform.

Before investing in a synthetic nanobody library, we wanted to first determine if plasmid display method is efficient enough to enrich nanobodies over a few rounds of selection. Here we started with a reductionist approach using two well-characterized nanobody sequences to Immunoglobulin G (IgG) and Enhanced Green Fluorescence Protein (EGFP). To link our desired nanobodies to the encoding plasmid, we utilized the high affinity of the P50 DNA Binding Domain (DBD) for the NF-κB DNA sequence (see Figure 1)2. By using a GFP protein column, we expected to obtain a relatively high yield of EGFP cDNA after running the E. coli lysates through the GFP-bound column, while the IgG nanobodies bound to cDNA should not.
Presented by
Victoria Shwe
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Pharmacology and Physiology and Department of Neurology
Keywords
Award Consideration

Effect of Retinal Eccentricity and Training with Attention on the Estimation of Time

Qiyuan Feng, Qianying Wu, Ashish Behal

Abstract
Understanding whether and how the retinal location of a stimulus affects temporal perception becomes crucial for a better understanding of how the visual system works and how stimuli across the visual field are processed. Previous literature has shown conflicting findings when it comes to how retinal location may affect perceived duration. Based on the study by Kliegl & Huckauf (2014), we hypothesized that perceived duration decreases, the further a stimulus is located from the fovea, otherwise known as increasing eccentricity. Here, we tested the hypothesis by replicating Kliegl & Huckauf (2014)’s experiment in which human subjects completed a two-alternative forced choice task. Foveal disks were presented at the center and peripheral disks were presented at different eccentricities, and subjects were instructed to report their perceived duration (longer or shorter) with respect to the foveal stimulus. As predicted, subjects (N = 8) on average showed a shorter perceived duration as the stimulus eccentricity increased. Surprisingly, participants gradually improved their performances throughout the course of the experiment. To gain further insights into how spatial attention may influence the learning effect that we saw, we are conducting a follow-up experiment to investigate temporal perceptual learning with and without the engagement of spatial attention. We hypothesize that when exogenous spatial attention is engaged, it facilitates the ability to estimate an event’s duration with training, and the effect can be transferred and generalized to other untrained spatial locations. We plan to begin our data collection in the first three weeks of April, and finish data analysis before the end of May.

Presented by
Qianying Wu, Qiyuan Feng, Ashish Behal <qwu26@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Brain and Cognitive Science
Keywords
brain and cognitive science, perception, perceptual learning, exogenous attention, attention, visual science, eccentricity, perceived duration

Effects of Optogenetic Activation of Corticogeniculate Feedback on Macaque Lateral Geniculate Nucleus Neurons

Sabrina Mai, Allison Murphy, Farran Briggs

Abstract
The corticogeniculate (CG) pathway is an anatomically robust pathway from the primary visual cortex to the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) in the thalamus whose function and role in vision processing remains unclear. To study the feedback effects of the CG pathway, electrophysiological recordings were obtained from macaque LGN neurons while the population of corticogeniculate neurons located within layer VI of primary visual cortex was optogenetically stimulated using a LED light. Various types of visual stimuli were presented in order to analyze the effects of optogenetic stimulation on LGN spatial receptive field properties. We observed that CG feedback has a subtle effect that is observed in the LGN for certain tuning metrics and it varies among the different types of LGN neurons within the parallel processing streams (magnocellular, parvocellular, koniocellular streams). Ultimately, there needs to be further analysis to identify and confirm currently observed trends.
Presented by
Sabrina Mai
Institution
Center for Visual Science, University of Rochester and URMC– Department of Neuroscience
Keywords
Vision, LGN, Thalamus, V1, Corticogeniculate Feedback, Macaque, Non-human primates, Neuronal Tuning, Award Consideration

Elucidating how Viral Infection Impacts Neuronal Proteostasis in Caenorhabditis elegans.

Kaitlyn Phillips, Andrew Samuelson

Abstract
Orsay virus (OV) is a naturally occurring pathogen that infects the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and provides an emerging system to investigate viral infection and neurodegenerative disease. One common pathology of neurodegenerative disease is disruptions in protein regulation (proteostasis). Neurodegenerative diseases can be modeled in C. elegans by creating stress on protein regulation mechanisms (proteotoxic stress). Recent connections between COVID-19 and neurodegenerative disease raise questions about the impact of viral infection and proteotoxic stress on neuronal health. The goal of this research was to investigate how OV infection affects neuronal proteostasis and how neuronal proteotoxic stress affects OV infection. Loss of the transcriptional cofactor, homeodomain interacting protein kinase 1 (HPK-1) was used to cause neuronal proteotoxic stress, and neuronal health was observed through quantification of axon breaks during aging. It was found that Orsay virus infection alone caused no increase in the number of axon breaks relative to uninfected animals, while loss of HPK-1 increased the age-associated accumulation of axon breaks. Surprisingly, concurrent loss of HPK-1 and OV infection caused decreased axon breaks compared to loss of HPK-1 alone, indicating a protective effect of OV infection.
Presented by
Kaitlyn Phillips
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
genetics, C.elegans, proteostasis, infection, virus, aging, biology, neuroscience

Evaluating Uptake and Translation of IL-12 mRNA Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer

Caroline A Stockwell, Bradley N Mills, Tara G Vrooman, Angela Hughson, Joseph D Murphy, Scott A Gerber

Abstract
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a dismal disease with a five-year survival rate of just 10% due to the lack of effective therapies to address these malignancies. Lipid nanoparticles are a promising drug delivery vehicle for nucleic acids. IL-12 mRNA encapsulated in lipid nanoparticles have shown to be curative in a mouse model of PDAC when combined with stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT). In this study, an assay is established to evaluate the delivery of the IL-12 mRNA LNPs to cells in order to evaluate what cells are playing a role in the anti tumor immune response. In vitro studies revealed that cells have the highest uptake around 24 hours, and that all cell types have similar levels of mRNA uptake. However, only macrophages and tumor cells were able to translate significant amounts of IL-12 protein in vitro. Overall, this study establishes a method for evaluating the uptake and translation of IL-12 mRNA therapy for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.
Presented by
Caroline Stockwell
Institution
University of Rochester Medical Center
Keywords
mRNA, cancer, qPCR, ELISA, pancreatic cancer, tumor, lipid nanoparticles, radiation therapy, stereotactic body radiotherapy, Award Consideration

Evaluation of Brain Structure and Function in Currently Depressed Adults with a History of Childhood Trauma

Joshua Jones, Samantha J. Goldstein, Junying Wang, John Gardus, Jie Yang, Ramin V. Parsey, Christine DeLorenzo

Abstract
Structural differences in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), hippocampus, and amygdala were reported in adults who experienced childhood trauma; however, the functional consequences are unknown. This multimodal imaging study examined structural and functional consequences of childhood trauma in adults with major depressive disorder (MDD). Participants with MDD completed the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) and simultaneous positron emission tomography (PET) / magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Structure (volume and cortical thickness, n=83) was quantified from MRI using Freesurfer. Function (metabolic rate of glucose uptake) was quantified from dynamic 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)-PET images (n=77) using Patlak graphical analysis. A linear mixed model was utilized to examine the association between structural/functional variables and discrete or continuous childhood trauma measures while controlling for confounding factors. Bonferroni correction was applied. DLPFC cortical thickness was significantly different between two discrete childhood trauma levels. Hippocampus and amygdala volumes were significantly inversely correlated with continuous CTQ scores. Specifically, hippocampus and amygdala volumes were lower by 12.96 mm3 (95% Confidence Interval [CI]: -23.30, -2.61) and 7.95 mm3 (95% CI: -12.72, -3.18), respectively, per point increase in CTQ. Examining childhood trauma within MDD as discrete and continuous measures uncovered unique relationships with thickness/metabolism and volume, respectively. While longitudinal studies are required to establish causation, this study provides insight into potential consequences of, and therefore potential therapeutic targets for, childhood trauma in the prevention of MDD.
Presented by
Joshua Jones
Institution
Stony Brook University, Center for Understanding Biology using Imaging Technology
Keywords
PET, MRI, Depression, Childhood Trauma, Brain, Award Consideration

Foveal Crowding – A Replication Study from Pelli et al. (2016)

Aaron Ngoc Lan Huynh, Ashley M Clark, Luke O'Connor, Martina Poletti

Abstract
While only including the central 1 degree of the visual field, the foveola is responsible for nearly all high acuity vision and is required for everyday tasks, including reading and driving. These tasks, however, rarely involve stimuli in isolation, but rather stimuli in complex environment(s). Crowding, the inability to appropriately process target stimuli when surrounded by other objects (i.e., flankers), is traditionally studied in peripheral vision. Comparatively, relatively few studies have investigated how crowding affects foveal vision and remains unclear how crowding affects central vision.

Pelli and colleagues have reported how current tests used to measure crowding are unideal; as they require too much time, good fixation, and “are mostly not applicable to foveal vision” 1. Further, tradition optotype shape, often 1:1 sizing, limits the ability to test smaller spacing without sacrificing stimulus size. The “Pelli” font 1 was subsequently optimized for testing foveal vision. This font allows for measuring both critical spacing and acuity thresholds together, rather than separately. Because of anticipated benefits, we conducted a replication study to confirm if (1) crowding is exhibited in foveal vision based on performance of crowded and uncrowded stimuli and (2) the effect of crowding is indeed independent of spacing limitations.

We found a significant effect of crowding using the Pelli font stimuli. When stimuli were presented with surrounding flankers, there was a significant increase in threshold (paired t-test, p = 3.8692e-04). Further, our results supported reported findings where spacing thresholds are limited by spacing rather than size of stimuli (linear regression slope = 0.01). These results support previous work and emphasize how foveal vision is not immune to crowding.
Presented by
Aaron Huynh <ahuynh2@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences
Keywords
Fovea, Crowding, Human Vision, Vision, Pelli, Eye, Cognition, Brain & Cognitive Sciences, Brain, Psychophysics, Award Consideration

Functional Interactions of Saccharomyces cerevisiae HMGB protein Hmo1 with histone chaperones in DNA Damage Resistance

Hoang-Anh Tran

Abstract
Chromatin modulation determines DNA accessibility and therefore plays an important role in various essential genetic processes, including DNA damage response. The high mobility group box protein family are conserved non-histone proteins that interact with DNA and participate in modifying chromatin. One such protein in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Hmo1, has been shown to remodel chromatin structure during DNA damage response and is required for DNA damage checkpoint signaling. Loss of Hmo1 suppresses the sensitivity of mutants lacking histone chaperones CAF-1 or Rtt106 to genotoxin methyl methanesulfonate (MMS), suggesting a link between Hmo1 and histone chaperone function in damage response. In this study, we explored such relationships further by analyzing the effect of Hmo1 deletion on cac1Δ rtt106Δ double mutant via epistasis analyses. Our preliminary data indicate that suppression of MMS sensitivity of cac1Δ rtt106Δ mutant by hmo1Δ was more pronounced relative to suppression of either single mutant. This suggests that Hmo1 interacts with CAF-1 and Rtt106 independently to negatively impact DNA repair.
Presented by
Hoang-Anh Tran
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Biology
Keywords
biology, genetics, DNA damage response, chromatin modulation, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Award Consideration

How well can patients report their dystonia symptoms? Comparing a patient self-report measure to a dystonia clinical rating scale

Emily O’Brien; Karlo J. Lizarraga, M.D., M.S.; Jonathan W. Mink, M.D., Ph.D.; Angela L. Hewitt, M.D., Ph.D.

Abstract
Dystonia is a disorder characterized by involuntary muscle contractions causing abnormal sustained postures and movements. During the COVID-19 pandemic, online screening tools became invaluable in maintaining healthcare accessibility. Despite this, research has yet to confirm a validated, online self-report measure for dystonia. Creating a convenient, comprehensive scale for patients to report dystonia symptoms has the potential to aid clinicians in telemedicine visits and provide patient perspectives prior to in-person visits. The current study asked participants (n=3) with primary or secondary dystonia approved for GPi deep brain stimulation therapy to fill out a symptom survey for three days before and after a series of five research visits. We sought to measure how much symptom severity scores varied surrounding each research visit in order to gauge the degree of symptom fluctuation for dystonia patients. In addition, we sought to correlate these self-reported scores with clinical scores using the Unified Dystonia Rating Scale (UDRS), in order to investigate whether this self-report measure accurately captured symptom severity. Self-reported symptom severity scores did not correlate with clinical scores as we hypothesized (R2 = 0.08). One subject only reported dystonia in one area of the body, but had voice changes related to side effects of the DBS that were scored clinically, resulting in a large discrepancy between clinical and self-reported severity scores. When adjusting for this discrepancy, correlation improved (R2 = 0.48). These large differences between clinical and self-reported scores illuminated troubles in discerning dystonia symptoms from DBS side effects or primary disorders. Further research should seek to confirm whether patients can accurately assess and report their symptoms and provide evidence that self-reported symptom diaries may be a useful tool in tailoring treatment plans for dystonia patients.
Presented by
Emily O'Brien
Institution
University of Rochester Medical Center
Keywords
Dystonia, Movement Disorders, Deep Brain Stimulation, Neurology, Parkinson Disease, Award Consideration

Inducing wing development in the pea aphid to study the genetic basis of phenotypic plasticity

Julia McDonough

Abstract
Organisms have developed numerous adaptations to respond to their given environment, which evolve across many generations. Through natural selection and genetic mutation, adaptations can evolve to act within an individual’s lifespan. One such adaptation is phenotypic plasticity; the ability of an organism to change their phenotype to reflect the highest fitness in the given environment. The pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum, is a model system to study these mechanisms due to their short regeneration time and the aphid’s wing plasticity. Wing development can be induced when the aphid is placed in a crowded environment. Using crowding experiments on F1 lines from low- and high-inducing parental biotypes, I was able to determine the F1’s wing-inducing phenotype. Phenotyping the F1generation is critical in the process of QTL mapping, which is this project’s ‘bigger picture’. I found that most F1 biotypes were intermediate-inducers of winged offspring, suggesting that there are multiple genomic regions involved in triggering the phenotypic plastic response.
Presented by
Julia McDonough <jmcdono4@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
Award Consideration

Investigating Mud isoforms in D. melanogaster and other organisms

Isabel lopez Molini

Abstract
A key process in the life of any multicellular organism is its development from a single egg into a full grown adult. The first step in this process often consists of forming a tissue layer out of cells on the surface of the egg. During planar division, epithelial cells typically round up, constrict in the middle to form the cytokinetic furrow, and divide symmetrically with respect to the apicobasal axis to produce two equal daughter cells. Determining the direction in which cells divide is essential for understanding many cellular processes including tissue growth dynamics such as epithelial tissue morphogenesis. This direction is set up by the orientation of the mitotic spindle at metaphase. One evolutionarily conserved factor involved in this process, called Mud/NuMA/Lin-5 (D. melanogaster, vertebrates, C. elegans) is known to work through direct interaction with another conserved factor, called Pins/LGN/GPR1/2 (D. melanogaster, vertebrates, C. elegans). (Bowman et al., 2006) Multiple isoforms of Mud are expressed in D. Melanogaster. Intriguingly, not all of these isoforms include the predicted Pins-binding domain (PBD). Pins was first characterized in neuroblasts and in the sensory organ precursor cells (SOP) as a regulator of cortical polarity, since it is required for correct localization of the cell-fate determinants Numb and Pon at metaphase (Yu et al. 2000). Based on these observations we can hypothesize that Mud isoforms in other organisms may lack the Pins Binding Domain. This could suggest that in some cases Pins can be superseded by a stronger alternative anchor for Mud. By using RT-PCR to follow up on preliminary work from the lab examining the expression of these isoforms in different tissues; and bioinformatic techniques to determine whether other organisms also encode Mud isoforms that lack the Pins-binding domain. We will gain a deeper understanding of Mud function, and what the Pins-independent function of Mud may be.
Presented by
isabel lopez
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Biology
Keywords
spindle orientation, cell division, Award Consideration

Investigating the Catalytic Properties of Colloidal Cu and Cu₂O Nanoparticles

Brian Ganeles, Mehrin Tariq, and Kathryn E. Knowles

Abstract
Copper nanocrystals are inexpensive and sustainable catalysts with applications in the Ullmann-type cross-coupling reaction, commonly part of organic synthesis. In this study, physical and optical properties of these nanoparticles are observed and characterized using TEM and UV/Vis before being correlated with catalytic ability. Effects of nanoparticle quality, oxidation, and optical absorbance are all considered and compared to determine their effects on the catalytic ability of nanoparticles. This allows for refined focus on which physical and optical properties might be most responsible for determining the catalytic ability of synthesized and applied nanoparticle samples. Further methods of controlling and analyzing these nanoparticles are discussed, with focus on future applications to learn more about the Ullmann-type cross-coupling reaction itself, and ways to optimize its characteristic copper catalysts.
Presented by
Brian Ganeles
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Chemistry
Keywords
Catalysis, Cross-Coupling, Organic Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Award Consideration

Investigation of rhythmic coordination as a more general mechanism for mediating functional conflicts within and between cognitive processes

Miral Abdalaziz, Zach Redding and Ian C. Fiebelkorn

Abstract
We have previously demonstrated that neural and behavior effects associated with spatial attention wax and wane on a sub-second timescale (i.e., about four times per second). We proposed that theta-rhythmic neural activity (at ~4–6 Hz) helps coordinate competing sensory and motor functions in the large-scale network that directs environmental sampling (i.e., spatial attention and saccadic eye movements). For example, rhythmically occurring periods of worse visual-target detection, at a spatially cued target location, are associated with a greater likelihood of eye movements (i.e., a release from motor inhibition). On the poster, I will present neural (electroencephalographic recordings) and behavioral evidence from humans that this theta-rhythmic coordination of neural activity is a more general mechanism for mediating functional conflicts in the brain. Here, I will specifically present results from a study demonstrating that the strength of competing item representations (i.e., neural representations of to-be-remembered items), during a working memory task, wax and wane over time. Behavioral performance during the working memory task was linked to the phase of theta-rhythmic neural activity. Our findings further demonstrate that different theta phases are associated with better behavioral performance in response to different to-be-remembered items. These findings suggest that the relative strength of neural representations associated with different to-be-remembered items alternate over time. We therefore propose that theta-rhythmic coordination of neural activity not only helps to coordinate functional conflicts during environmental sampling, but also helps to mediate representational conflicts during working memory.
Presented by
Miral Abdalaziz <mabdela2@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
Award Consideration

Keratinocytes Demonstrate a Differentiation Dependent Susceptibility to S. aureus Invasion in Accordance With 𝜶𝟓 Expression

A.R. Morgenstern, L.A. Beck, M.G. Brewer

Abstract
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic, inflammatory skin disease characterized by increased rates of Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) colonization and infection. It is thought that uptake of S. aureus into keratinocytes (KC) associates with the increased incidence of AD skin infections. A unique feature of KC is their ability to differentiate, which forms the layers of the epidermis. Studies have shown that 𝛼!, a subunit in the 𝛼!𝛽" integrin found on the surface of keratinocytes, contributes to both S. aureus binding and invasion. Therefore, we hypothesized that 𝛼! expression may dictate S. aureus invasion of keratinocytes during differentiation. Bacterial binding/invasion assays and flow cytometry for 𝛼! expression were used to determine the relationship between 𝛼! and S. aureus invasion into KC. In both assays, KC were left either undifferentiated or differentiated by exposure to Ca2+ containing media. Additionally, these assays were performed in the presence of AD-relevant cytokines, IL-4 & IL-13 or IL-22, which are overrepresented in the skin of patients. This was done to determine how AD-specific inflammatory environments may affect S. aureus invasion. Our results demonstrate a concomitant decrease in S. aureus invasion and 𝛼! expression on the surface of KC upon differentiation, indicating a potential role of 𝛼! in S. aureus invasion during KC differentiation. Importantly, diminished bacterial invasion upon differentiation of KCs suggest that S. aureus infections may be mitigated if bacteria are unable to reach the lowest level of the epidermis. Surprisingly, the cytokines used throughout these experiments impacted bacterial invasion in unanticipated ways. IL-4 & IL-13 treatment diminished S. aureus invasion, while treatment with IL-22 had minimal effects. This suggests not all patients with AD may be at an increased risk for bacterial infections depending on multiple factors including skin barrier function, KC differentiation status and inflammatory milieu in the skin.
Presented by
Alexis Morgenstern
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Dermatology
Keywords
Award Consideration

Machine Learning approaches unmask chromatin state reprogramming events in tune with Neural Crest specification across early zebrafish development

Fabian Halblander

Abstract
A UMAP re-analysis of publicly available chromatin accessibility data (ATAC-seq) across two studies from 3-12hpf (fertilization to gastrulation) in Zebrafish NC progenitors shows that genome-wide chromatin accessibility scores group by replicate and by stage. Further parsing and analysis elucidates the regional chromatin accessibility patterns that underlie this separation, which are predominantly increasing or decreasing across time. Upon investigation of parsed regions, we find that H2A.Z is enriched in increasingly accessible regions and depleted in decreasingly accessible regions at 6, 24, and 36hpf. ANP32E signal is low in increasingly accessible regions that are high in H2A.Z, and ANP32E is high in decreasingly accessible regions that are low in H2A.Z. Increasingly accessible regions in cluster 1 are enriched for Gene Ontology (GO) terms associated with the differentiation of Neural Crest (NC) and are also enriched for Sox10 motifs (Sox10 is widely held as the master TF for NC lineages). Taken together, this supports a role of H2A.Z-ANP32E antagonism in NC specification and differentiation where H2A.Z and ANP32E distributions match with expected trends in chromatin accessibility.
Presented by
Fabian Halblander
Institution
University of Rochester, Biomedical Genetics
Keywords
Functional Genomics, Epigenetics, Cell Differentiation

Mapping centromeres with CENP-A CUT&Tag data in Drosophila Melanogaster populations

Miraz Ahammad Sadi, Cécile Courret, Amanda Larracuente

Abstract
Centromeres are regions that maintain kinetochore assembly and spindle fiber attachment during cell division.Centromeres are epigenetically defined by the presence of the histone H3 variant CENP-A, which is independent of the DNA underlying it.The contribution of epigenetic determinants to centromere function is the topic of research in various eukaryotes and our research is about trying to identify the contribution of DNA sequences to centromere function.To study centromere evolutionary dynamics, we used CUT&Tag to identify CENP-A-enriched DNA in Drosophila Melanogaster population. These data will allow us to identify the centromere sequences and compare their organization and composition amongst the different populations of Drosophila Melanogaster. The data would be interpreted in terms of overlapping and enrichment within the specie amongst different strains.
Presented by
Miraz Ahammad Sadi
Institution
Larracuente Lab, Department of Biology, University of Rochester
Keywords
Genomics, Computational Biology, Award Consideration

Mechanisms underlying the Flow Parsing Effect

Chenyang Li, Yiping Yuan

Abstract
The brain has mechanisms for computing object movement during self-motion. Previous research has shown that optic flow, which is defined as the retinal motion of objects that are stationary in the world due to the observer's self-motion, induces a sense of self-motion in observers. Flow parsing is a process in which the brain identifies and subtracts optic flow patterns across the visual scene, to compute how objects move in the world (Warren & Rushton, 2005). However, whether the flow-parsing effect is due to global or local mechanisms remains unclear. Warren and Rushton (2009) compared subjects’ direction percepts of a probe object under different optic flow backgrounds to differentiate between global and local mechanisms. The angular difference between subjects' reported probe directions and onscreen probe directions is called the relative tilt. Warren and Rushton found that both local and global cues contribute to flow parsing. In our Experiment 1, which was a replication of Warren and Rushton (2009), we found very little flow parsing effect when optic flow was in the hemifield opposite to the probe object, suggesting that local mechanisms dominate over global mechanisms. One possible explanation is that we placed probe and optic flow in the left and right hemifields in our ‘opposite’ condition, whereas Warren and Rushton (2009) compared upper and lower hemifields. In our Experiment 2, we examined how flow parsing effects depend on the relative timing of optic flow and probe stimuli to explore whether flow parsing effects have temporal dynamics. Our preliminary findings show that flow parsing only occurs when optic flow and probe stimuli are presented simultaneously, suggesting a largely sensory interaction.
Presented by
Chenyang Li, Yiping Yuan
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
Motion Processing, Perception, Neuroscience, Cognitive Science

Modeling Satellite DNA organization

Sherif Negm and Amanda M. Larracuente

Abstract
Repetitive DNAs comprise large portions of eukaryotic genomes. Satellite DNAs (satDNAs) are abundant tandemly repeated DNA sequences found near centromeres, telomeres, and on sex chromosomes. SatDNAs originate through polymerase slippage, recombination between repeat elements, or TE-mediated mechanisms. Arrays of satDNA repeats are highly dynamic over short periods of evolutionary time: they vary in copy number and organization through unequal exchange, and other processes. SatDNA array expansion is thought to decrease organismal fitness but the relative importance of processes shaping satDNA evolution in natural populations is poorly understood. Population genetics studies have primarily focused on studying estimating copy number variation in satDNA arrays, due in part to limits in empirical data, as the repetitive nature of satDNAs make them difficult to study in detail. Recent advances in DNA sequencing now make it possible to infer satDNA organization at the sequence level, providing a richer source of empirical information. Here we provide a novel population genetics approach to study sequence variation in satDNA arrays. We simulate the effects of mutation, unequal exchange, gene conversion, drift, and selection on satDNA array sequence, structure, and organization in populations in a forward simulation framework. We designed a new probabilistic model for unequal exchange and gene conversion that takes into account sequence divergence between monomers in the repeat array. We have identified summary statistics that capture the variation in repetitive satDNA arrays independent of copy number. We use Bayesian inference and regression approaches to infer recombination rate and gene conversion from simulated data and empirical data from a natural population of Drosophila melanogaster. We show that our approach could be useful for understanding how mutation, recombination and drift shape satDNA evolution under neutral evolution and selection.
Presented by
Sherif, Negm
Institution
Department of Biology, University of Rochester
Keywords
Award Consideration

Monocytes derived Dll4 promotes brain vascular remodeling in mice

Laith Awad Mohamad, Shumin Wang, Yara Rose, Tiffany Nyugen, Giovanni Schifitto, Jinjiang Pang

Abstract
Background:

There were approximately 38 million people across the globe with HIV/AIDS in 20191. Even though the yearly infection rate is in decline; we still see a significant number of people living with the disease because of the better development of medicine to treat HIV, which means fewer people die of HIV than in previous years. However, we still see an annual death rate of approximately 1.5 million a year due to HIV. Monocytes are essential for persistent inflammation and the progression of cardiovascular diseases in HIV patients undergoing antiretroviral treatment. There is a significant increase in circulating cytokines such as LPS (lipopolysaccharide), TNF (tumor necrosis factor), IL-1b et al, in HIV-positive patients, which plays a vital role in monocyte activation2 and development of brain small vascular diseases. The Notch signaling pathway is crucial for cell-cell contact, as it entails gene regulation pathways that regulate various cell differentiation processes during embryonic and adult life. Involvement of the Notch signaling pathway in vascular development has been demonstrated by both gain- and loss-of-function mutations in humans and animals. Notch ligand (Delta like 4, Dll4) is usually restricted in endothelial cells and Dll4-mediated Notch signaling has a unique role in angiogenesis and vessel regression by regulating endothelial cell proliferation and differentiation. However, recently Dll4 has also been proved to be an essential molecule for macrophage and inflammation. TNF and LPS can increase the Dll4 expression and Notch activation.3 Enhanced Dll4 increases inflammation in macrophages by elevating TNF and IL-1b expression. Our lab found that Dll4 could be detected in culture media of TNF and LPS treated monocytes (we call it extracellular Dll4, exDll4).
Presented by
Laith Awad
Institution
University of Rochester Medical Center, Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute
Keywords
HIV, Dll4, Monocytes

Myelination Differentiates Postnatal Cortical Development Across Functional Regions

Lejla Sose, Claudio Toro Serey, Julia Lehman, Suzanne Haber

Abstract
Myelin insulates axons to facilitate fast conduction of electrical impulses. Maturation of complex circuitry in the prefrontal cortex necessary for high-level cognitive function is dependent on myelination. Many psychiatric disorders emerge during postnatal development, a period critical for establishing behavior guiding rules. Specific cortical areas linked to these disorders are prefrontal cortex Brodmann areas 10, 14, 32, and 25. This study aimed to quantify postnatal myelination across the four functional areas and neocortical layers in the rhesus macaque which follow similar myelination development sequences to humans. We used NeuN stained samples to differentiate supragranular and infragranular layers which were transferred to the adjacent myelin basic protein (MBP) stained digitized samples. MBP samples were converted to grayscale. We used optical density to quantify the rate of myelination. We found that cortical myelination significantly increases with age across all areas and layers. The rate of myelination is dependent on specific cortical areas and layers, with infragranular layers myelinating first. This study is the first to quantify myelin development and suggest area and layer specific myelination patterns across functional regions in postnatal development.
Presented by
Lejla, Sose
Institution
University of Rochester Medical Center
Keywords
myelin, cortical development, Award Consideration

New-Onset Seizures among Children Living with HIV in Zambia

Musonda Nkhoma for the CHASE Study Team

Abstract
Children living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (CLWHIV) frequently experience seizures. However, the cause of these seizures and best management are unclear particularly given the significant risk of drug interactions between the available antiseizure drugs (ASD) and antiretroviral therapies (ART). The aim of this study was to determine seizure etiology and the risk of and risk factors for seizure recurrence (i.e. epilepsy) among CLWHIV who experience a first seizure. CLWHIV presenting with their first seizure were enrolled in a prospective cohort study across 3 sites in Zambia. Demographic and clinical data regarding the index seizure and HIV disease history were captured at enrollment. Seizure etiology was independently assigned by two Zambia-based physicians with consensus by joint review. Quarterly follow-ups assessed recurrent seizures and death. Because death was a common outcome that might preclude the development of epilepsy, potential risk factors for epilepsy were determined using a Fine-Gray model that adjusted for the competing outcome of death. Subjects were censored if they were lost to follow-up or did not have a recurrent seizure before the end of the study. 73 children were enrolled, mean age 6.6 (SD= 4.6) years, 39 (53%) male. Seizure recurrence occurred in 18 (25%) and 28 (38%) died with most deaths being within 30 days of enrolment. The Fine-Gray regression model included age, sex, prior brain injury, worst World Health Organization HIV Stage, seizure semiology, and seizure etiology as covariates. Children with a CNS opportunistic infection (OI) as the etiology of their index seizure were less likely to develop epilepsy 0.34 HR (95%CI 0.12-0.95). In this prospective study of CLWHIV and new-onset seizure, 25% developed epilepsy. CLWHIV who experience seizure(s) due to an OI may not warrant chronic ASDs once the underlying OI is treated. Death remains a common outcome despite wide availability of ART highlighting the need for programs to identify at-risk children and support caregivers in ART access and adherence.
Presented by
Musonda Nkhoma
Institution
University of Rochester, Center for Health and Technology, University Teaching hospital
Keywords
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Epilepsy, Award Consideration

Optimization of 3D Bacterial Printing for Precise Prints with Extended Survival

Marie Olland, Ram Gona, Anne S. Meyer

Abstract
The applications of 3D printing bacteria are tremendous, and the ability to make this method cheap, accessible and easily reproducible would be an incredible step forward. This technology could be used to study enzymatic degradation, multifunctional sensors, self-healing materials, wound dressings, and biofilms. However, this technology is still very expensive, inaccessible and aspects such as print gelation rate and structure complexity are not consistent and difficult to achieve. Therefore, we looked at the process of altering a standard $300 3D printer to modify and optimize it for 3D bacterial printing. We designed, printed and mounted a new extruder, and altered various settings and code to transform the plastic filament printer to a bacterial printer. We tested different alginate solvents and calcium gel concentrations to optimize visual quantification of the bacteria. Various incubation methods were tested as well to allow for the longest growth and lifespan of the bacteria. Finally, the code and settings were further optimized to adjust for retraction of the syringe extruder to produce the clearest prints possible. We found that a retractable syringe pump minimized streaking between prints and alginate dissolved in LB produced the brightest bio-ink. This bio-ink produced the most successful growth particularly when incubated in an LB bath. Overall, this project is looking promising and future directions involve further optimization for even more precise prints and the printing and use of other bacteria.
Presented by
Marie, Olland
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Biology
Keywords
3D printing, Bacterial printing, Microbiology, Award Consideration

Radiation Therapy Elicits a Responder/Nonresponder Phenomena

Lauren B. Gradzewicz, Taylor P. Uccello, MS, Nicholas Gavras, Scott A. Gerber, PhD

Abstract
Rectal cancer is a devastating malignancy, ranking as the second leading cause of cancer-related death. Historically, the standard of care for patients diagnosed with rectal cancer is surgical excision, however this procedure greatly affects patients’ quality of life. In an effort to avoid or delay surgery, patients are treated with pre-operative radiation therapy (RT). Approximately 20% of patients respond positively to preoperative therapy while the majority are nonresponsive. Currently, there are no predictive factors that determine why certain groups of patients respond to RT (responders), while RT has little to no impact on others (nonresponders). This responder/nonresponder phenotype following a clinically relevant short course radiation therapy (SCRT; 5 Gray x 5 fractions) is observed in previous work utilizing an orthotopic injection of MC38 tumor cells syngeneic to C57BL6 mice. The work presented here demonstrates that the responder/nonresponder phenotype can be reproduced in an additional rectal cancer model of CT26 that is syngeneic to the BALBc mouse strain. This secondary study of CT26 orthotopic tumors in a BALB/c mouse model generates reproducibility of the original MC38 tumor model. Findings can be used to explore what factors drive a response to SCRT, and could inform clinical trials for patients with rectal cancer.
Presented by
Lauren Gradzewicz
Institution
1 Department of Microbiology, University of Rochester 2 Immunology, Microbiology and Virology, University of Rochester 3 Department of Surgery, University of Rochester Medical Center 4 Departments of Surgery, Microbiology/Immunology, and Radiation Oncology, University of Rochester Medical Center
Keywords
Cancer, Radiation Therapy, Mouse Model, Responder/Nonresponder, Award Consideration

Representative Cancer-Associated U2AF2 Mutations Occurring at the Inter-RRM Interface Alter RNA Interactions and Splicing

Emily Butler, Debanjana Maji, Eliezra Glasser, Jermaine L. Jenkins and Clara L. Kielkopf

Abstract
Recurrent missense mutations of pre-mRNA splicing factors involved in the early stages of splicing are associated with hematologic malignancies. Most mutational hotspots recur at the protein–RNA interfaces of SF3B1, SRSF2 and U2AF1. At lower frequencies, we identified cancer-associated mutations of an essential pre-mRNA splicing factor, U2AF2. These mutations either lie at the inter-RRM interface or the RNA interacting interface of U2AF2. Normally, U2AF2 recognizes the polypyrimidine (Py) tract preceding the 3 ́ splice site and initiates spliceosome assembly. We investigated representative mutations at the U2AF2 inter-RRM interface, including Q190L, L187V, and A318V associated with leukemia, lung cancer, and colorectal cancer. We determined the high resolution crystal structures of these mutant U2AF2 proteins bound to a prototypical Py tract and compared the baseline structure of the wild-type complex. The hydrophobic Q190L residue lost its interaction with the RNA. Accordingly, Q190L-mutant U2AF2 showed a decrease in apparent RNA binding affinity to both a uridine-rich Py tract from the well-studied AdML splice site and a uridine-poor Py tract from a cancer-relevant FMR1 splice site. Neither of the L187V nor A318V residues directly contacted the RNA site. Although the L187V and A318V mutations did not penalize U2AF2 binding to the uridine-rich AdML Py tract, these mutations significantly reduced affinity for a uridine-poor FMR1 Py tract. This result implies that L187V and A318V mutations influence U2AF2 – FMR1 RNA recognition indirectly, for example by modulating the inter-RRM packing. Currently, we are in the process of testing the generality of our observations for a variety of splice sites. Altogether, our results contribute to understanding the effects of disease-associated mutations on normal U2AF2 structure and function.
Presented by
Emily Butler
Institution
University of Rochester School of Medicine, Center for RNA Biology
Keywords
Award Consideration

The 'Other' Limbic Striatum in Non-Human Primates

E. Wu and J. L. Fudge

Abstract
The striatum is part of the basal ganglia, which is a group of structures traditionally known for their role in motor coordination. It is now known that the striatum participates in reward-related, cognitive, and motor behaviors based on wide inputs from the cortex. In both human and nonhuman primates, the striatum is functionally divided into dorsal, central, and ventral functional regions based on inputs from the prefrontal cortex (PFC). The dorsal (motor-related) striatum receives inputs from sensorimotor cortices, while the central caudate nucleus and putamen receive inputs from the association cortices that are largely responsible for cognition. The ventral (limbic) striatum, composed of the ventromedial caudate nucleus, the nucleus accumbens, and the ventrolateral putamen, receives strong inputs from cortical regions associated with emotion and motivation, and also from the amygdala, and hippocampus. The classic 'limbic' striatum is known for its role in rewarded learning and approach behavior. Previous work in our laboratory shows that the amygdala, a key limbic structure, projects past the classic ventral striatum, to innervate larger regions of the posterior striatum. We asked what 'functional' cortical inputs define this 'other' limbic striatum. In Macaques, tracer injections were placed into these posterior striatal regions that receive amygdala input. Since the posterior striatum is known to receive sensory inputs, I mapped the distribution of retrogradely labeled cells throughout the temporal cortex to examine input from cortical regions involved in the processing of salient visual and auditory stimuli. I found that different injection sites in the posterior ventral striatum result not only in labeled cells in the amygdala but also in specific patterns of retrogradely labeled cells in sensory association cortices. Depending on the location of the injection site, visual association cortices (area TE, ventral bank of the superior temporal sulcus (STS)), and auditory association cortices (auditory belt and parabelt, superior temporal gyrus) have different magnitudes of contribution. Together, these results suggest that the amygdala inputs to the caudal ventral (‘limbic’) striatum are involved in auditory and visual information processing in this unique region. We propose that amygdala inputs may ‘gate’, or mediate, this critical sensory information for primate auditory and visual processing and behaviors. These findings have translational implications in understanding the auditory, visual, and emotional disturbances in psychosis and social learning disorders in humans.
Presented by
Estee Wu <ewu18@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Departments of Neuroscience and Psychiatry
Keywords
Amygdala, Basal ganglia, Limbic System, Striatum, Ventral striatum, Award Consideration

The Efficacy of Ocular Antibiotics When Used in Combination

Elianna Dunster, William Johnson, and Rachel Wozniak

Abstract
Bacterial keratitis (corneal infection) is a severe, sight-threatening disease of the eye that can cause permanent damage and vision loss. However, often unclear etiology leads physicians to treat infections with a variety of broad-spectrum agents, including antibiotics such as fluoroquinolones, antifungals such as voriconazole, and even anti-Acanthamoeba drugs. While the efficacy of these ophthalmic drugs has been analyzed individually, their efficacies in combination had not been tested. First, the minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) of the antibiotics Vancomycin, Tobramycin, Gentamicin, Moxifloxacin, PolyTrim, Ceftazidime, Cefazolin, Erythromycin, and Rifampin were determined to set a standard of efficacy against both S. aureus UAMS-1 and P. aeruginosa PA01. The drugs were then systematically combined to determine their fractional inhibitory concentrations (FIC) and whether the combination was antagonistic, indifferent, additive, or synergistic. A multitude of combinations were additive against both UAMS-1 and PA01 and a few combinations displayed synergy, including polymyxin B/trimethoprim and rifampin against UAMS-1 and PA01. These results allow us insight into what antibiotic combinations are more effective against bacterial keratitis and therefore should be used in future.
Presented by
Elianna Dunster <edunster@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Ophthalmology
Keywords
Bacterial keratitis, Infection, Antibiotics, Bacteria, Synergy, Antagonism, Award Consideration

The Ground Truth

Alyssa Graegin

Abstract
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) is a hugely common lymphoid malignancy amongst adults in the Western World; monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapy has shown great strides as a treatment option for CLL. However, patients tend to develop a resistance to the therapy as treatment progresses - and this resistance can be linked to a loss of antibody-dependant cellular phagocytosis (ADCP). The mechanism behind ADCP is not yet fully understood, but the Chu Lab has made it a goal to understand. A group of “ground-truth” team students manually annotate large video datasets that capture the movement of macrophages undergoing ADCP. The use of an automatic tracking software would be quite useful, however, the currently existing automatic tracking systems are not as reliable as manual annotations. Ground-truth annotations can be compared to computer-generated data, in order to improve and advance the way that the automatic software work. In the past, it has been shown that ground-truth annotations are highly reproducible and consistent. Current data from the Ground-truth team is expected to show the same.
Presented by
Alyssa Graegin <agraegin@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, Macrophage Annotations

The Impact Chronic Pain has on Glymphatic Influx

Sophia Stafford, June Kim, Lauren Hablitz, Maiken Nedergaard

Abstract
The glymphatic system cleanses the central nervous system (CNS) of harmful waste products, fluids, and soluble proteins. When working properly, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flows into the brain, mixes with solutes, and clears waste along the perivenous space. In the brain, the glymphatic system’s dysfunction is linked to many different neurological disorders, like chronic neuropathic pain, which may lead to differences in pain processing. Using the sparse nerve injury pre-clinical model of chronic neuropathic pain, we test whether glymphatic function is diminished after pain induction and whether melatonin can relieve glymphatic deficits due to chronic pain. Using two forms of behavioral assessments, the Von Frey test and a thermal allodynia assessment, we objectively quantified the progression of chronic neuropathic pain over three weeks. After performing glymphatic analysis, we have shown that glymphatic influx is worsened in animals who experienced chronic neuropathic pain. We hypothesize that melatonin, an anti-inflammatory molecule, will improve glymphatic function and relieve symptoms of chronic neuropathic pain. This project has the potential to introduce a new therapy for those affected by chronic neuropathic pain and other diseases where glymphatic dysfunction occurs.
Presented by
Sophia Stafford
Institution
University of Rochester, Center for Translational Meuromedicine
Keywords
Chronic Pain, Glymphatics, Sleep, Award Consideration

The Snuggle and Pump: A Shirt Engineered to Facilitate Skin to Skin Care and Pumping

Priya Mandava and Jasmine Moon

Abstract
Skin-to-skin care and breastfeeding have been shown to have significant benefits for sick neonates and their parents (AAP 2012), but due to numerous competing demands, many lactating parents struggle to find the time and resources to establish a skin-to-skin and pumping regimen (Ikonen 2015). A novel garment for lactating parents was designed to facilitate the simultaneous practice of skin-to-skin care and breast pumping. Our goal was to test the acceptability and feasibility of this garment. After educating NICU nurses and enrolled parents on garment use, we observed parents performing skin-to-skin with and without the garment. Among other measures, we collected data concerning frequency of skin-to-skin practice, adverse events associated with the garment, and parental experiences of garment use. Of the 9 dyads who completed study procedures, 75% of parents reported that the garment helped them practice skin-to-skin more often than before garment use, and 55.5% reported it helped them to express milk for their babies. When practicing skin-to-skin with the garment, 55.5% of mothers felt more confident and less stressed than without it. On observation as well as chart review, no infants suffered adverse events during the use of the garment. Overall, the use of the garment resulted in positive feedback from parents, suggesting that the novel skin-to-skin garment may be effective in increasing ease, frequency, and confidence surrounding skin-to-skin care and breast pumping for new mothers.
Presented by
Priya Mandava and Jasmine Moon
Institution
URMC, Department of Breastfeeding and Lactation Medicine
Keywords
Skin-to-Skin, Breastfeeding, Pumping, NICU, Award Consideration

Transglutaminase 2 Attenuates the Beneficial Response of Astrocytes to Injury: Underlying Molecular Mechanisms

Jacen Emerson, Gail Johnson

Abstract
Astrocytes play a key role in promoting neuronal health after CNS injury. The molecular mechanisms underlying this key feature of astrocytes are not well known. Our lab has shown that Transglutaminase 2 (TG2) plays a key role in mediating the astrocytic response to injury. These studies begin delineating the mechanisms by which TG2 facilitates the repression of beneficial gene expression post injury. In initial studies we investigatedTG2’s interaction with the DNA binding protein, Zinc Finger and BTB Domain Containing 7a (Zbtb7a) which was originally identified in a yeast two hybrid screen. Zbtb7a can act as a gene repressor or enhancer depending on the context of its action. We hypothesize TG2 may mediate these differential functions of Zbtb7a. Further, previous studies have demonstrated that TG2 can bind histone deacetylase 1(HDAC1). Co-immunoprecipitation (co-ip) experiments showed an interaction between TG2 and Zbtb7a in the nucleus of astrocytes. Additionally, co-ip experiments using constructs with each domain of TG2 selectively deleted revealed that Zbtb7a binds TG2 via the catalytic domain of TG2. To investigate our hypothesis that TG2 binds HDAC1 and is recruited to the chromatin by binding to Zbtb7a we examined the levels of histone H3 acetylated at lysine 9 by immunoblotting of nuclear fractions from TG2-/- astrocytes and wild type astrocytes. These data clearly demonstrated that deletion of TG2 results in a significant increase in histone acetylation. These findings suggest that TG2 impacts the gene expression of astrocytes, through an interaction with Zbtb7a, by mediating histone deacetylation.
Presented by
Jacen Emerson
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
CNS injury, Transglutaminase 2, Neurodegeneration, Award Consideration

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Effects of Maternal Adverse Childhood Experiences on Placental Vascularization

Lejla Sose, Zoe Duberstein, Jessica Brunner, Richard Miller, Emily Barrett, Thomas O'Connor

Abstract
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are events in childhood such as maltreatment, poverty or caregiver mental illness that have been associated with health risks in adulthood and have a long-lasting negative impact on mental health. An emerging line of research examines the far-reaching transgenerational consequences of ACEs. Maternal ACEs have been associated with increased rates of preterm birth as well as infant health complications after birth, but mechanisms underlying these associations are unclear. The placenta, as a key organ in maternal-fetal interaction and fetal development has high potential to transmit transgenerational effects. To assess the potential of the placenta to serve as a mechanism of transgenerational impact of ACEs, through a linear regression we examined the effects of maternal ACEs on placental arterial development in 183 normal pregnancies within Understanding Pregnancy Signals and Infant Development (UPSIDE) cohort study in Rochester, NY. Placental vascularization was operationalized through measurements of arterial mean thickness and number of branch points. We found that ACEs were not significant predictors of these variables. Further research will assess more placental vascularization variables and additional measures of early stress.
Presented by
Lejla Sose
Institution
University of Rochester Medical Center
Keywords

An Examination of Variation in Oil and Gas Leases Across Jurisdictions, Time, and Firms

Pramod Manohar, Max Harleman, Elaine Hill

Abstract
Using production data and novel lease clause data from the Marcellus Shale, this paper studies how oil and gas lease clauses and royalty rates have evolved over time and space, as well as what drives the evolution of clauses and royalty rates. We also investigate whether there is a tradeoff between clauses and royalty rates. Evidence from OLS regressions suggests that no tradeoff exists between clauses and royalty rates. Time plots of clauses and royalty rates indicate that there is an upward trend in both, which we hypothesize is due to mineral owners learning and firms consolidating.
Presented by
Pramod Manohar
Institution
Health and Environmental Economics Lab, University of Rochester
Keywords
Economics, Award Consideration

Covid-19, War and Mistrust: Vaccine Hesitancy in Armenia – A Mixed Methods Approach

Astghik Baghinyan, Nancy Perini Chin, PhD, MPH

Abstract
Covid-19 and Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy are currently major issues in the world, especially for vulnerable and low-income countries and communities. War and conflicts complicate pandemic control. Armenia, a small, low-income country located between Europe and Asia, had managed to bring down its daily new cases to 328 by end of Summer of 2020. On September 27th of 2020, Azerbaijan launched a full-scale war with Armenia. One month into the war, the new daily cases had risen to 2484, the second highest country in the world with cases. Even when Covid-19 vaccines became available in early months of 2021, vaccine hesitancy was still preventing Armenians from getting vaccinated. As of August 2021, Armenia had only 3.9% of its population vaccinated; and while as of March 30th of 2022 it has reached 38%, many still refuse to get vaccinated. Previous studies conducted in various settings have hinted that sociodemographic characteristic, such as age, marital status, occupation, education level are indicators of vaccine hesitancy, but no qualitative analysis had been completed to understand the reasons (Fossen et al, Syed Alwi et al, Harapan et al.). Given the collectivist nature of Armenian society, the political distress because of the war, as well as cultural misconceptions about the vaccines, this study aimed to understand the various reasons of vaccine hesitancy. The study conducted a web-based survey which was distributed on Facebook through convenience sampling. The survey, consisting of both open-ended and close-ended questions, collected 209 responses, out of which around 68% were vaccinated, while 32% not. The Chi Square tests revealed no significant associations at p<0.05 between many characteristics (sex, age, marital status, education status, location) and the decision to get vaccinated. However, a significant correlation was observed between the occupation of participants and their vaccination status (X2 (4, N = 209) = 54.694, p < 0.00001). The results of the qualitative analysis revealed that at the policy level of the social-ecological model, 52 claims were made by both the unvaccinated and vaccinated groups (out of the total 209 total), regarding the Government requirements for vaccination. This further explains that those who were required to get vaccinated for work, in fact, did get their vaccines proving the policy regulations to be an effective strategy to increase the vaccination rates. Moreover, at the intrapersonal level, 74 out of 209 participants (35.4%) had doubts and worries about the vaccines, creating an opportunity for awareness campaigns to target these beliefs. The interpersonal aspect of the model revealed that those who were vaccinated did so to protect their families, hence, emphasizing this while providing information about the vaccines could be another possible intervention.
Presented by
Astghik Baghinyan
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Public Health Sciences
Keywords
Covid-19, global health, vaccine hesitancy, war, Award Consideration

Depression and Substance Use Outcomes of Worth Transitions

Zainab Shah, Karen Johnson, Lisa Puglisi, Amali Epa-Llop, Johanna Elumn, Nabila El-Bassel, Louisa Gilbert, Timothy Hunt, Ashley Leung, Ben Chapman, Diane Morse

Abstract
Women recently released from incarceration with substance use disorders (SUDs) are at an increased risk for developing or worsening depression symptoms due to stigmatization, a lack of access to quality treatment, and other comorbid individual, social, and structural risk factors. This study examines the change in depression symptom and substance use levels pre- and post- participation in WORTH Transitions, an evidence-based HIV/STI/HCV prevention and treatment program for women transitioning from jails and prisons with SUDs and high levels of HIV risk. Substance use type, intervention exposure, PTSD symptoms, HIV risk behaviors, and various sociodemographic factors are examined as potential predictor variables for change in depressive symptoms using bivariate regression analysis. Results indicate that depression symptoms and substance use levels significantly decreased post intervention. Analyses show race, marijuana use, attending WORTH sessions, and HIV risk behaviors to be potentially significant predictors for depression symptom change. This study underscores the importance of WORTH Transitions on the mental health of criminal legal-involved women with comorbid substance use and depression behavioral health needs. Results serve to inform future interventions and improve care for this underserved and under-researched population.
Presented by
Zainab Shah <zshah3@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester School of Medicine Depts. of Psychiatry & Medicine, Rochester, New York; Columbia University School of Social Work, Social Intervention Group; Yale University School of Medicine, Dept. of Medicine
Keywords
Depression, Psychology, Criminal Justice, Substance Use Disorders, HIV Risk, Award Consideration

Developing a Feminist-Centered Measure of Self-Determination to Assess Quality of Life Transitions for Women in Menopause

Dhara Patel, Jennifer Risako Niwa; Timothy D Dye; Catherine Cerulli

Abstract
Menopause is the permanent cessation of menstruation that occurs after the loss of ovarian activity. Menopausal transition is marked by fluctuations in hormone levels due to the slow down in ovarian function, and typically occurs at a time of life characterized by numerous developmental processes and transitions that are composed of stressors and challenges. Collectively, these symptoms may negatively impact a woman’s quality of life, self-esteem and sexual intimacy. Over the years, discourse regarding menopause has remained highly clinical in nature, regarded simply as a medical condition which needs to be treated. Treatment has persisted in a uniform fashion, as a disease, excluding the different circumstances and lived experiences that patients go through during this sensitive period. When we fail to treat menopausal symptoms appropriately, there is a large, avoidable burden of suffering. Our study suggests that the ‘science’ of menopause is class, race and gender biased, as we present a feminist analysis of the concerns facing mid-life menopausal women.
Presented by
Dhara Patel
Institution
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Susan B. Anthony Institute, University of Rochester.
Keywords

Evaluating the impact of social exclusion on psychotic-like experiences

Mars Scharf, Gloria Liu, Bridget Shovestul, David Dodell-Feder

Abstract
A leading theory of schizophrenia states that being excluded sensitizes the mesolimbic dopamine pathway and causes psychotic symptoms. While there is strong correlational data, there is little experimental work to support it. We aimed to evaluate whether socially excluding individuals in the laboratory leads to psychotic-like experiences in the form of auditory perceptual errors and mistrust of strangers. We hypothesized that compared to socially included participants, socially excluded participants would make more perceptual errors (i.e. more false alarms on a voice detection task) and judge neutral faces to be less trustworthy. 100 participants first played Cyberball, a digital ball-tossing game in which they were randomly assigned to be included or excluded during the game. Then they completed two tasks: (1) the Auditory Signal Detection Task (ASDT), in which participants listened for a voice in clips of white noise and indicated when they heard one; and (2) the Trustworthiness Task in which participants rated how trustworthy they found a selection of neutral faces. Participants also completed self-report measures of everyday experiences of paranoid thoughts and hallucinations. The social exclusion manipulation was very effective as excluded participants reported feeling significantly more feelings of ostracism compared to included participants. On the ASDT, excluded participants reported more false alarms than included participants, although the difference was small (mean of 0.31 for exclusion and 0.27 for inclusion) and not significant (p<0.001). On the Trustworthiness task, excluded participants reported higher trust scores than included participants, but again the difference was small (mean of 6.02 for exclusion and 5.88 for inclusion) and not significant (p=0.653). Daily experiences of paranoid thoughts and hallucinations did not significantly moderate these group differences (hallucinations and ASDT: b=.004, t=.19, p=.850; referential thoughts and trust: b=-.04, t=1.71, p=.092; persecutory thoughts and trust: b=-.04, t=1.80, p=.078). These results suggest that the effect may take a long time to develop over several instances of exclusion, or perhaps takes place through another variable we have not accounted for.
Presented by
Mars Scharf
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Psychology
Keywords
social exclusion, social defeat hypothesis, Cyberball, psychotic-like experiences, Auditory Signal Detection Task, Trustworthiness Task, Award Consideration

Impact of Interparental Conflict and Parenting on Children's Moral Development

Yoomin Hwang, Hannah Swerbenski, Dr. Melissa Sturge-Apple

Abstract
Presented by
Yoomin Hwang
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Psychology
Keywords
Award Consideration

Racial disparities in psychotherapy use among Asian, Asian American, and White domestic students with suicide ideation

Emily Han, Erika C. Esposito, MA, Raksha Kandlur, MA, Emily Kumpf, BA, & Catherine R. Glenn, PhD

Abstract
Suicide ideation (SI: i.e., thoughts of killing oneself) is a transdiagnostic indicator of poor mental health among youth (Nock et al., 2013). While therapy can reduce SI and improve functioning (Fledderus et al., 2012; Glenn et al., 2019), untreated mental illness is associated with lifelong physical and mental health difficulties (Gee et al., 2020; McLachlan & Gale, 2018). Notably, rates of therapy use are low among individuals of color (Cook et al., 2016), especially Asian Americans and Asian international students (Xiong, 2018). This may be due to more cultural and practical barriers to care among Asian and Asian Americans (e.g., cultural mistrust, availability of mental health resources; Cadigan et al., 2019; Kung, 2004). The purpose of this study was to examine if barriers to treatment (e.g., language barriers, privacy concerns) explained differences in lifetime therapy use between White and Asian university students with a lifetime history of SI. It was hypothesized that White domestic (WD; i.e., US residents) students would have fewer barriers to care and thus be more likely to report lifetime therapy use than Asian domestic (AD) and Asian international (AI; i.e., non-US residents) students.Data was analyzed in SPSS (v.27) using PROCESS model 4 (Hayes, 2012). WD students were significantly more likely to access therapy in their lifetime (81%) compared to both AD (50%; b=-1.26, se=.44, p=.004), and AI (55.6%) students (b=-1.43, se=.58, p=.013); AD and AI students did not differ significantly from one another (b=-.17, se=.64, p=.788). However, the number of barriers did not differ by racial group (p>.13), was not associated with lifetime therapy use (p=.08), and did not explain racial differences in lifetime treatment use. Therefore, future research is needed.

Presented by
Emily Han
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Psychology
Keywords
Suicide Ideation, College Students, Mental Health, Psychotherapy Use, Racial Disparities, Award Consideration

Sex-Typical Play Behavior Observed in Early Infancy

Abigail M. Rosenberg, Hannah R. Murphy, Jessica Brunner, Emily S. Barrett PhD, Tom O’Connor PhD

Abstract
Gender differences in play behavior have been reported starting in early childhood across many cultures, however the extent to which these differences in play reflect societal gender norms vs biologically-based phenomena remains unknown. Studying sex-typed play behavior in younger children may help to identify various exposures influencing sex-typical play. Using data from Understanding Pregnancy Signals and Infant Development (UPSIDE), a longitudinal pregnancy cohort study, we were able to perform an observational play behavior task, adapted from Lamminmäki et al. (2012). We characterized play behavior in male and female infants and found that boys play significantly more with masculine toys than their female counterparts (p<0.001), and girls play significantly more with feminine toys than did boys (p<0.001). There was no difference in neutral play between boys and girls. We did not find any significant associations between children's sex-typical play behaviors and any of the maternal sociodemographic predictors we evaluated. Our study is the largest to date to evaluate sex-typical play behavior in 12 month-olds and will add to our understanding of the role of nature and nurture in the development of early sex differences. Future analyses will examine the degree to which variation in sex-typical play behavior is predicted by prenatal maternal biology (stress physiology, sex steroids) and environmental chemical exposures (including endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as PFAS).
Presented by
Abigail Rosenberg <arosen24@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester Medical Center, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Keywords
child development, play, play behavior, infants, infancy, OB/GYN, sex differences, Award Consideration

The Effect of Gentrification on Health Outcomes: Evidence from Three Texas Cities

Karla Zendejas

Abstract
Gentrification is commonly known as the process that occurs when a low-income neighborhood, with a high minority population experiences a revitalization through the arrival of high income and educated individuals. The effects that gentrification has on residents are scarcely studied and the effects that gentrification could have on health outcomes are studied even less. This paper intends to expand on the existing literature by examining the effects that gentrification has on the health outcomes of census tracts in three Texas cities: Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio.
Presented by
Karla Zendejas
Institution
University of Rochester, Economics Department
Keywords
Gentrification, Economics, Health, Texas, Award Consideration

Understanding depression through speech: Creating a transcription procedure for the UCLA Life Stress Interview

James S. Sheinbaum, Gwyneth DeLap, Angela Santee, and Lisa Starr

Abstract
The UCLA Life Stress Interview (LSI) is a gold-standard tool for assessing life stress exposure. While LSI stress scores have been associated with depressive symptomatology and etiology, they have not yet been used as a source of psycholinguistic information. Increased usage of first-person singular pronouns (FPSP) has been associated with increased depressive symptoms and related constructs like brooding. In the current research, we describe a protocol developed to extract psycholinguistic data from existing LSI recordings, and utilize preliminary data to analyze relationships between increased FPSP and depressive symptoms, brooding, episodic and chronic life stress, and emotion dysregulation in an adolescent sample. Using QSR Nvivo and Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC), a process has been designed to transcribe LSIs which were collected as part of a longitudinal study on depression etiology in adolescents. This poster elaborates on the transcription process of the LSI, presents preliminary data (n=55) from LSIs, and discusses the promise of the LSI as a source of psycholinguistic information on internalizing disorders.
Presented by
James, Sheinbaum
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Psychology
Keywords
Depression, First-Person Singular Pronouns, Stress, Emotion Regulation, Brooding, Language, Psycholinguistics, LIWC, Transcription, Award Consideration

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Pitt Litter Control: A Community-Engaged Inquiry Surrounding Strategies for Beautification in the City of Pittsburgh

Lila Balistrieri

Abstract
Presented by
Lila Balistrieri
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords

A Look into East High School’s Garden Project: How One School’s Visions of Creating a Garden Blossomed into an Archive for Other Organizations to Follow

Tessa Shlonsky

Abstract
My community engaged capstone was completed in collaboration with the 4-H Youth Development Program at Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) and East High School. Susan Coyle, the 4-H Program Leader, was my community partner supervisor, and Dr. Nancy Chin in the department of Public Health Sciences was my faculty supervisor. At East High School, I worked closely with the Global History Teacher Sara Gotham, with support from Deon Rogers (a principal), several other teaching staff, and a team of passionate students. The objective of this project was to understand and illuminate the process of community engagement in real time. By documenting the process of creating a community garden space within this specific Rochester City School - East High - it allows for the process to be repeated in more efficient and manageable ways in other schools, churches, or other community organizations. Community gardens have shown to provide many positive benefits that go beyond beautification, actually impacting health. These green spaces contribute to improved access to food, improved nutrition, increased physical activity, improved mental health, and promote social health and community cohesion (Wakefield et al., 2007). To collect the data for how to develop a community garden, I worked with East High School on their journey to turn their courtyard into a garden space. We held weekly “Garden Club” meetings with a group of students who shared their visions and ideas for the space, pieced together insights from other successful gardens, and utilized all of the amazing resources CCE could provide. We learned that a project like this is not linear, and came across several different roadblocks we had to creatively overcome. At the completion of this project, I will have created a guidebook for how to start, plan, and carry out a new community garden space. This resource will be accessible online and in hard copy form available through CCE. For something to be repeated, it needs to be documented. By having this guidebook as a resource based on a real, raw experience starting a garden space at East High School, it will serve as a pathway for other schools to start their own community garden journey.
Presented by
Tessa Shlonsky
Institution
University of Rochester, Center for Community Engagement
Keywords
Community Engagement, Gardening, Community Gardens, Sustainability

An Ethnographic Analysis of COVID-19 Vaccination Strategies among the Latino Community in Rochester, New York

Marguerite Curtis

Abstract
This project partnered with the Father Tracy Advocacy Center to understand how COVID vaccine-hesitant individuals make the decision to get the COVID vaccine, with a focus on the Latino community in Rochester, New York. The New York State Department of Health has identified several zip codes in Rochester (14621, 14613, 14611, 14605) with dangerously low vaccination rates. In addition to low vaccination rates, populations in these zip codes face underlying health conditions—such as homelessness, substance abuse, diabetes and asthma— that increase risk of COVID-19 infection as well as severe illness, hospitalization and death. As local organizations work to address vaccine hesitancy and increase vaccination rates in their communities, this project uses an ethnographic approach to understand community members’ perspectives on vaccination and vaccine hesitancy. The student conducted 20 interviews in English and Spanish with anti-vaccine, vaccine hesitant and pro-vaccine individuals. The student transcribed and translated the interviews and analyzed them alongside the community partner. Vaccine hesitant and anti-vaccine participants revealed that work mandates, conversations with family members, and mobility concerns all played an important role in deciding to get the vaccine. Participants in all categories also discussed higher-order structures that influence attitudes toward the vaccine such as economic vulnerability, mistrust in the US government and healthcare system, and workplace dynamics. The findings of this project show that many members of the Latino community—including those who are vaccinated—continue to deal with vaccine hesitancy despite interventions on the county and organizational level. These findings culminate in a report to the Father Tracy Advocacy Center analyzing interview data and detailing program recommendations to better meet the needs of vaccine hesitant community members.
Presented by
Marguerite Curtis
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
Public Health, COVID-10, Ethnography

Exclusionary Zoning in Monroe County

Annie Rosenow and Evon Mahesh

Abstract
Exclusionary “single-family only” zoning policies reinforce racial segregation and restrict the supply of affordable housing. The elimination of single-family only housing restrictions on its own, however, may not result in the development of high-quality affordable housing in locations that are poorly served by transit and lack walkable amenities. By compiling county-wide data on zoning codes, bus routes, amenities, rent costs, income, and race, we have created an interactive map to identify locations in the county where elimination of single-family only zoning could facilitate development of high-quality affordable housing. This map functions as an accessible tool for students, educators, and activists alike to utilize in learning and advocacy in their various civic spheres. Additionally, this map proposes a focus on particular areas in historically exclusively-zoned neighborhoods as sites of potential inclusion. Using an interdisciplinary approach that utilizes GIS systems, political science methodologies, and community-centered understandings of history, politics, and inequity, we present an accessible but still comprehensive understanding of the everyday impacts of zoning policy.
Presented by
Annie Rosenow and Evon Mahesh <arosenow@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Political Science
Keywords
policy, zoning codes, affordable housing, mapping, GIS, Rochester

History of Zoning in Pittsford, NY

Benjamin Schiffman

Abstract
As a part of the Antiracist Curriculum Project, this research aimed to explore in depth the history of exclusionary zoning laws and the expansion of exclusive zoning in Monroe County, and in Pittsford, NY, in depth. Exclusionary zoning is aimed at cultivating a specific demographic through strict land use regulation. While still a mostly rural municipality, Pittsford’s first zoning law went on the books in 1929. Over the next several decades, exclusive zoning laws crept throughout the town slowly consuming more and more as the towns laws themselves got more exclusive. Historic hand drawn zoning maps, town hall and planning board meeting minutes, newspaper legal notices, and zoning ordinances were viewed and documented in person at the Pittsford Town Hall. These core primary source documents serve as the foundation toward building an accessible narrative representing the town’s exclusionary zoning history from its first ordinance through the late 1960s. Using these sources with Geographical Information Software, ArcGIS Pro, data can be pulled from maps to better analyze the progression of exclusionary zoning.
Presented by
Benjamin Schiffman
Institution
University of Rochester, Center for Community Engagement
Keywords
Zoning Law, Exclusionary Zoning, ArcGIS Pro, Community Engagement

Our Community, Sustaining Itself: Providing Capacity Support to Local Action through Student Organization Partnership

Wesley Mawn

Abstract
Rochester houses a wide variety of organizations fighting for positive change in our city. However, much of the University’s resources still remain untapped, particularly the student body. But in 2022, performative activism is being called out nationwide as the public becomes more socially aware as social media provides a larger platform for activists and organizations. After hearing that The Rochester Mutual Aid Network had an interest in connecting with the University Community, I began the process of transitioning my fraternity into a partner of their organization and disconnecting from our previous national philanthropy sponsor. Instead of fundraising for a well-supported national organization and having no awareness of the impact our donations have, the focus is shifted to collaboration with the local community. This model fosters regular communication between students and the organization which allows us to coordinate our efforts in direct response to what they need in the moment. This also allows students to contextualize social issues outside of the campus bubble through direct exposure and contribution. This project defines the process in which a community-engaged transition can be conducted on our campus, showcasing the trials and tribulations along the way, and the incredible reward once it takes off. While my “Capstone Project” has officially concluded, this has set the foundation for the fraternity to continue a successful local partnership indefinitely.

Partner Organization: The Rochester Mutual Aid Network Organization Supervisor: Corey Davis Faculty Supervisor: Alvin Lomibao
Presented by
Wesley Mawn
Institution
University of Rochester Center for Community Engagement
Keywords

Understanding and Accommodating Education Practices for Deaf Refugees

Aimee Pina

Abstract
Deaf Refugee Advocacy (DRA) is a Deaf volunteer-run organization here in Rochester that promotes Deaf refugees’ autonomy in America through assistance with paperwork and the citizenship process, and access to interpreters, driver’s education, and local Deaf mentors.This project was established to strengthen the education department by asking teachers what they wanted to see in a curriculum, breaking down already established curricula, planning a workshop for the teachers, and even bringing some Deaf-friendly ASL learning tools into the same place.
Presented by
Aimee Pina <apina@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester, Center for Community Engagement
Keywords
Deaf, Refugees, Education, Sign Language

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BIO-SPIRE: Designing a novel aptsensor for sepsis diagnosis using sweat

Muskaan Vasandani

Abstract
Presented by
Muskaan Vasandani
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords

Continuous Detection of Sepsis Risk Using Biomarkers in Patient Sweat

Amanda Adams

Abstract
Presented by
Amanda Adams
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
Sepsis, diagnostic, synthetic biology, biomarker, aptamers

Creating a novel, non-invasive diagnostic device for the continuous monitoring of biomarkers in sweat

Ena Haseljić and 2021 iGEM Team Bio-Spire

Abstract
Sepsis is a condition characterized by a life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated host response to an infection. Every year, approximately 1.7 million American adults develop sepsis, and 270,000 people die from sepsis. In fact, one-third of all patients who die in American hospitals have sepsis. As terrible as these statistics are for wealthy countries like the United States, the problem is even more severe in poorer countries. 85% of worldwide sepsis cases occur in low-mid income countries. The most reliable technique for diagnosing sepsis is to make a blood culture. Unfortunately, this takes 24 hours. As a member of the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) 2021 Team, my team and I wanted to make a difference and introduce a quicker, non-invasive method of diagnosing sepsis using biomarkers in sweat. We made a functioning proof-of-concept aptasensor that could reliably differentiate between various biomarker concentrations in sweat. The team focused on safety, inclusivity, and ethics and we did outreach and education programs with local organizations and consulted with medical professionals.
Presented by
Ena Haseljic
Institution
Department of Biology, University of Rochester, Rochester NY, 14627
Keywords
sepsis, biomarkers, microfluidics, diagnostics, service, iGEM, synthetic biology

Engineering the Tools for Scientific Discovery - Sepsis Diagnosis

Anca Frasineanu, UR iGEM 2021 team

Abstract
As part of the Engineer the Tools for Scientific Discovery Grand Challenge program, I participated in the international Genetically Engineered Machines Competition where we worked on a biosensor that uses sweat biomarkers to predict the chances that a post-surgical patient develops sepsis. Our prototype successfully worked for one biomarker, and eventually the data from five different biomarkers will be combined to calculate the risk of sepsis.
Presented by
Anca Gabriela Frasineanu
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
aptamers, sepsis, biomarkers, sweat, diagnosis, interdisciplinary

GCSP Engineering Better Medicines: Designing a Novel, Noninvasive Diagnostic for Endometriosis using Menstrual Affluent

Helen Shammas

Abstract
Presented by
Helen Shammas
Institution
University of Rochester, Biomedical Engineering Department
Keywords
Endometriosis, non-invasive detection, Hardware design, iGEM

Grand Challenge Scholars Program - Providing Access to Clean Water

Claude Mulindi

Abstract
The Grand Challenge Scholars Program aims to provide a framework for students to address one of 14 broad problems facing society in sustainability, health, security, and knowledge. My Grand Challenge was Providing Access to Clean Water.

As part of the program, I was tasked with developing skills in five competencies; a hands-on project or research activity, interdisciplinary studies, an entrepreneurial or innovative experience, a global dimension, and service-learning.
Presented by
Claude Mulindi <cmulindi@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester, Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences
Keywords
Water, Grand Challenge Scholars Program

Grand Challenges Scholars Program - Access to Clean Water

Joshua Batres

Abstract
An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Application of Community Engagement Models to Water Chlorination Project Development in North America
Presented by
Joshua Batres
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords

Grand Engineering Challenges Scholars Program: Engineering the Tools of Scientific Discovery

Anis Idrizovic

Abstract
Presented by
Anis, Idrizovic
Institution
Institute of Optics, University of Rochester
Keywords

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Salt of the Earth: a Short Story Collection

Olivia Alger

Abstract
Under the guidance of the Meliora Scholar program, I compiled a collection of six short stories and workshopped them at two writing conferences, the Middlebury Bread Loaf Conference and the New York State Summer Writers Institute, for further exploration. Each of the stories focuses on a major societal issue and subsequent emotional theme. For example, “Salt of the Earth,” the story after which this collection is named, follows the disparity of a young woman at the height of the opioid epidemic in 2009. When writing, I wanted to illustrate the intricacies of her own experience and the much larger scope of the crisis as a whole in order to create a multifaceted narrative that felt simultaneously personal and accessible. I also experimented with a variety of creative techniques with which I was previously unfamiliar in this project, including a lack of dialogue tags, first-person present narratives, and a minimalist approach.
Presented by
Olivia Alger <oalger@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
Meliora Scholar
Keywords
Creative Writing, Creative Research, English

The Gendered Carceral Experience in Albion, NY: A Cross-Disciplinary Approach to the Relationship Between Gender and Incarceration

Hannah Yeager

Abstract
For my Meliora Scholars project, I conducted a cross-disciplinary analysis of the relationship between the community of Albion and the Albion Correctional Facility with regard to the women incarcerated there through what I call “gendered carcerality.” The anthropological approach to my project included conducting interviews with Albion locals and several figures involved with prison work in upstate New York, as well as field trips to Albion in order for me to establish a working foundation of the town’s layout and attributes, including advertising and local business. Historically, I accessed the correctional facility’s archives at the Hoag Library in order to nuance my project historically and understand the prison’s past. In keeping with the findings of others who have studied women’s prisons, I found that the experiences of the incarcerated women in this facility were largely ignored, as well as their mere existence. Many locals see the prison as a source of income without critically thinking about the implications on those held inside. However, through my conversations with several community members, I found that there is a willingness to renegotiate the community’s relationship with the prison through awareness and education. As part of this awareness-raising initiative, I created a blog that will be published on the Hoag Library website. My blog includes the highlights from both the anthropological aspects of my research and the historical side.
Presented by
Hannah Yeager
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Anthropology
Keywords
Incarceration, Decarceration, Gender, Community-Engagement