MindExpo Abstracts 2018

  

 

 
          

 


Biology

Author: Bret Andrew
Proposal title: The interactive impacts of CO2 and Biochar on Bromus inermis
Faculty sponsor: Ramesh Laungani
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Increasing atmospheric levels of CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels are a significant driver of global climate change including rising global temperatures.  Recent studies using biochar added to soil have shown promising effects on plant productivity while also increasing long-term storage of carbon in the soil. Although biochar additions can be an effective method of storing carbon, its impact on the growth and success of invasive species remain unclear.  We addressed this question by examining the impact of biochar (from used coffee grounds) on the growth of Bromus inermis (Smooth Bromegrass; an invasive species).  Additionally, we examined how the effect of biochar interacts with elevated atmospheric CO2 by growing B. inermis with and without biochar under elevated and ambient CO2.  We set up tanks in which we could control the atmospheric levels of CO2 and added 2 levels of biochar (low and high). Bromus inermis biomass is currently being harvested. We hope to find that the presence of biochar has a positive effect on the plant biomass of Bromus inermis while in an elevated CO2 environment. Biochar positively affecting the biomass of plants in an elevated CO2 environment could present a potential solution to climate change in the sense that carbon is being stored and plants, which consume CO2 from the air, are experiencing an increase in growth. Inversely, if we discover that biochar inhibits the growth of this invasive species, then we may have found a way to enable native grasses to outcompete the Brome whilst storing carbon in the soil.

 

Authors: Ivy Banks, Erin Lahowetz and Alexis Fletcher
Proposal title: THE EFFECT OF BIOCHAR ON THE GROWTH OF PRAIRIE GRASS SPECIES
Faculty sponsor: Ramesh Langauni
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Increases in atmospheric CO2 from burning of fossil fuels is a key driver of climate change. Biochar, plant carbon (C) that is pyrolyzed, has been the focus of several studies to help combat climate change. However, its impact on prairie plant species is unclear. We examined the effect of biochar on the growth of native, exotic, and invasive prairie plants to ensure addition of biochar is safe to sequester C in prairie reserves without harming the local ecosystem. This was done by using 2 different types of biochar, grass biochar and coffee biochar, and adding it to the soil of three different prairie grasses, Bromus inermis, Lolium multiflorum, and Schizachyrium scoparium. The experiment lasted 39 days. The coffee biochar decreased below ground root allocation and total biomass. Grass biochar increased the total biomass of L. multiflorum and decreased the total biomass of S. scoparium. C storage via biochar has a direct impact in the growth of prairie grass species, and B. inermis may be managed by the use of coffee biochar but further experimentation is needed.

 

Author: Shavin Barnhart
Proposal title: How has the health of the Blue River changed in the last 20 years?
Faculty sponsor: Dr.  Russ Souchek
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Oral
Abstract: This experiment was designed to determine the pollution factors that affect water health in the Big Blue River located around Crete, Nebraska, over an extended period of time. The factors tested include nitrate, carbon monoxide, dissolved oxygen, pH, atrazine and water temperature. Water samples were taken from four locations, within a 10-mile radius of the town of Crete. Testing the pollution factors previously outlined to identify the trend of pollution. Data has been collected over the last twenty years from Crete High School student, at the same locations and has been preserved in files. Water samples are taken by hand at designated locations and tested in the field for each parameter. Results have been recorded in a field manual.  The data collected in this research is being compared to the findings of the high school students. Results from this research will conclude which parameters are more polluted and which are less polluted. In testing, there were no significant differences from the period the tests were taken meaning pollution has nether increases nor improved over time.

 

Authors: Emily Belak, Jonathan Zuniga
Proposal title: TOWARDS INVESTIGATING THE RATE OF CHROMATIN REORGANIZATION THROUGH USE OF INDUCIBLE HETERODIMERIZATION DOMAINS
Faculty sponsor: Brett Schofield
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Chromatin, consisting of proteins and DNA, is present within the nucleus of eukaryotic cells and has a dynamic structure. Chromatin organization ranges from loosely organized structures called euchromatin to the most compact configurations called heterochromatin. This research seeks to investigate the rate at which chromatin can be reorganized from one state to the other. Inducible heterodimerization domains were designed in order to initiate the architectural changes and visualize chromatin.  One heterodimerization domain was fused to a DNA binding protein with a fluorescent protein. The other dimerization domain was fused to Satb2, a chromatin architectural protein, and mCherry, a fluorescent protein. The use of a dimerizer brings together the two dimerization domains, therefore recruiting the architectural protein to the DNA binding site, initiating compaction. The two plasmids were added to cells through transfection.  After the addition of the dimerizer, the array size of changing chromatin was measured using fluorescent microscopy. The results obtained give preliminary insight into the methodology used for chromatic visualization over time.

 

Authors: Danny Bogert, Russ Souchek
Proposal title: SEXUAL SELECTION IN FLORIDA STONE CRABS
Faculty sponsor: Russ Souchek
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Florida Stone Crabs are one of the most popular seafoods around the Gulf of Mexico.  They are typically identified by the size difference between their two claws.  This size difference is known to be used for dietary purposes such as crushing shells with their dominant (bigger) claw and carefully picking out the meat with their small claw.  Along with dietary functions, sexual selection might be driving this size difference if males have larger claws than females.  With this information in mind, measurements of claw sizes between male and female Florida Stone Crabs were taken and it was found that on average, male crabs had larger dominant claws compared to their smaller claws than female crabs.  This research leads to the conclusion that claw size in Florida Stone Crabs is driven by sexual selection.

 

Authors: Breeanna Burkinshaw, Alex Hamilton, Sharmin Sikich
Proposal title: Using a Java-Based Processing Program to Produce Reduced Amino Acid Alphabet Versions of Query Sequences and Databases in Order
Faculty sponsor: Sharmin Sikich
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Reduced Amino Acid Alphabets (reduced AAA) were used to determine if mutations that occur throughout long periods of time could create proteins with various sequences, but maintain a similar fold and function. This was done by utilizing the codon chart. Multiple reduced AAA were produced based off of the the codon chart. This was done by examining which base/bases in the codon could change, while still coding for the same amino acid. By looking at the codon chart we could determine which amino acids to group together and produce a reduced AAA that would be able to determine similarity between distantly related proteins. We also examined how the percent conservation of an amino acid could have an effect on the reduced AAA, and how changing the representative letter can effect protein fold.

 

Authors: Lindsey Dietz, Brett Schofield
Proposal title: YEAST MATING UNDER STRESS FACTORS
Faculty sponsor: Brett Schofield
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Yeast are unique organisms that survive in either a haploid or diploid stage. Haploids are able to possess and a or α type and when mating occurs, one type from each schmoos together to form a diploid cell. While studying yeast, I wanted to get a sense of how these yeast actually “mate” with one another. They do this in the form of a shmoo, which happens to be one cell essentially reaching out to the other. In these experiments we only worked with yeast that were S. Cerevisiae, and we tested mating factors by exposure to pH and UV radiation. In order to detect successful mating, I needed to figure out which haploid cell had lost a function in a mutated gene, either Ade1 or Ade2. With a mutation like this one in the haploid cell, it eventually prevents the cell from growing due to a lack in supplementation to adenine. Since there is an absence of adenine, a buildup of a byproduct, turns the colonies of yeast pink. If successful mating took place, then a diploid cell would result in a functional copy of both genes and will be able to survive without supplementation of adenine and all colonies will remain white. By completing these studies, we will be able to grasp a better understanding of how these yeast mate in the wild.

 

Author: Lauren Doane
Proposal title: INSULATOR ACTIVITY OF HUMAN CHROMATIN ARCHITECTURAL PROTEINS IN YEAST
Faculty sponsor: Brett Schofield
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Oral
Abstract: Heterochromatin is a densely compacted region of DNA often found to silence the genes with which it is associated. Heterochromatin forms as a result of histone protein modification causing DNA to wrap more tightly than normal. These histone epigenetic markers have a tendency to spread heterochromatin to adjacent chromatin causing the silencing of genes that would otherwise have been active. Boundary elements and the insulator proteins that bind them regulate the spread of the epigenetic markers that lead to the compaction of DNA sequences into transcriptionally silent stretches of heterochromatin. Several insulator proteins have been identified in fruit flies and yeast (D. melanogaster and S. cerevisiae) however, CTCF is the only known mammalian protein to be an effective insulator that maintains insulator functions in yeast. In such an instance, a fusion protein will be constructed with the desired binding protein (Gal4) and a candidate human protein. These fusion proteins will then be used to test the different candidate human proteins’ ability to act as insulators by shielding a gene from being silenced by heterochromatin spreading from a nearby telomere in yeast. This research offers a potential mechanism for the identification of other insulator proteins in humans and other mammals.

 

Authors: Truc Doan, Tessa Durham Brooks, Erin Doyle, Andrea Holmes,  Christina Wilson
Proposal title: AN IMPROVED COLORIMETRIC SENSOR METHOD TO LOCALIZE AND QUANTIFY  FREE AMINES IN ROOT EXUDATES OF MAIZE.
Faculty sponsor: Tessa Durham Brooks
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Oral
Abstract: Interactions between plants and microorganisms in the soil are mediated by exudates produced by the plant roots. The major components of  exudates are amino acids, sugars and organic acids. They provide a unique chemical signature that can vary from plant to plant, across developmental stages, and change in response to environmental stress. Greater understanding of exudate composition and localization to root structures during the plant lifespan will drive development of agricultural innovations. A detection assay was developed to observe and localize the production of exudates containing free amines in the root architecture of maize seedlings throughout its early development. Ninhydrin, a sensor commonly used to detect free amine groups, was printed onto paper-like surfaces using an ink-jet printer. After testing a variety of surfaces, nylon membrane was found to produce the the best combination of background and signal uniformity and color development. Methods to reproducibly apply calibration standards were developed to facilitate more accurate signal quantification. In addition, the blotting and imaging elements of this new method are being formulated to make the method more time-efficient, accurate, and easier to use for high throughput studies.

 

Author: Emma Frerichs
Proposal title: TESTING WHETHER HUMAN CTCF PROTEIN CAN SERVE AS AN INSULATOR PROTEIN IN YEAST
Faculty sponsor: Brett Schofield
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Our research is looking at heterochromatin formation. Heterochromatin is tightly wound DNA and is a strategy to control gene expression. If genes are wrapped up in heterochromatin they are likely silenced. We are specifically focusing on what causes heterochromatin to stop spreading to all of the DNA. It is known there are insulator proteins that can stop the spread of heterochromatin. They bind to boundary elements which are specific sequences within the DNA. We looked into the human candidate protein, CTCF, and if it has abilities to alter gene expression. We posed the question, does CTCF have the ability to limit the spread of heterochromatin by acting as an insulator protein within mammalian cells? We addressed this question by creating a custom plasmid containing the CTCF gene and the Gal4DB gene. We transformed the plasmid into bacteria and replicated it. From there the plasmid was transformed into yeast cells. The yeast cells were grown on two types of media, the control and without Tryptophan, Trp. The reason we grow the yeast on the -Trp was to see if it the cells could make its own Trp. If it would be able to make its own Trp. CTCF acted as an insulator protein because the CTCF protein would bind between the TRP1 and URA3 gene stopping heterochromatin spreading to the TRP1 gene.

 

Authors: Addyson Harland, Brad Elder
Proposal title: THE EFFECTS OF AN AQUAPONICS SYSTEM ON THE MACRO DECOMPOSER ORCONECTES VIRILLIS
Faculty sponsor: Brad Elder
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: The oldest recorded use of hydroponics was by the Aztecs and it later showed up in other cultures and it was modified by the Chinese who introduced fish into the system and thus creating aquaponics.The goal of this project was to create a more stable and thus self-sustaining system by adding a macro decomposer; crayfish (Orconectes virilis). As crayfish are bottom feeders they are consuming waste food and fish waste at the bottom of the tanks. The increased the breakdown of plant materials into more readily usable nutrients for the plants. Cafeteria style trails were carried out to determine which types of food would be consumed by the crayfish and best suited for an aquaponics system. Crayfish were found consume spinach, tot soi, cucumbers, zucchini and red apples (only the soft tissue). Our initial hypothesis was that crayfish would eat everything. However, we found that crayfish avoided snap peas. While the above research was performed on tanks with only crayfish, ongoing research indicates that the crayfish work extremely well when housed in tanks with fish.

 

Authors: Jami Hillman, Brad Elder
Proposal title: DEVELOPMENT OF A SELF-SUSTAINING AQUAPONICS SYSTEM USING GOLDFISH (CARASSUS AUTATUS).
Faculty sponsor: Brad Elder
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: The history of aquaponics is large and has made a come back in recent years. An aquaponics system uses the waste products of fish to fertilize plant, but the fish are fed commercially made fish food. This commercial food is what acts as the fertilizer for the plants and is man made.The goal of this project was to create a more efficient and self sustaining system by using herbivorous fish that could eat local waste produce. Goldfish (C. auratus) are often used in traditional aquaponics systems as a source of fertilizer for plants because they are hardy and easy to feed. They are traditionally not fed waste produce because they lack strong jaws and teeth.  We chose to use them for this study because they have a wide diet, are hardy and cheap and thus are good candidates for industrial application. In this study we ran cafeteria style feeding experiments to determine what they could eat and what parts of the plant they can eat. For instance will they eat zucchini at all and if so can they eat the rind or just the soft parts?  We ran this experiment for twelve weeks and found that they ate among other things spinach, zucchini, and tangerines. They avoided food such as apples, legumes, rhubarb. As suspected they were unable to consume the rind/skins of the produce. As predicted the goldfish were unable to eat the rinds of produce. This makes goldfish an unviable option for this style of aquaponics. However, with the addition of crayfish as a bottom feeder nearly all of the produce was consumed. This demonstrates that goldfish might be a viable option if a more complex ecosystem was created

 

Authors: Blake Kostal, Dylan Mayfield
Proposal title: USE OF SUP-TALS TO SUPPRESS GENE EXPRESSION OF GFP IN PSEUDOMONAS AERUGINOSA 14
Faculty sponsor: Erin Doyle
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: The common plant pathogen Xanthomonas infects plants using proteins known as transcription activator-like (TAL) effectors. TAL effectors are injected into the host plant cells. In the nucleus, they bind to highly specific promoter sequences, and recruit transcription machinery to induce expression of host plant target genes for susceptibility or resistance. Each TAL effector contains a central repeat domain which contains similar 33-35 amino acid repeats. The repeats vary at residues 12 and 13 which are known as repeat variable diresidues (RVDs). Each repeat interacts with a single nucleotide, so that the RVD sequence specifies the target nucleotide sequence. Knowledge of predictable RVD-nucleotide interactions allows us to design and build TAL effectors known as designer TAL effectors (dTALEs) by assembling a series of RVDs that are specific to the intended target. A previous experiment showed that dTALEs targeting a promoter result in suppression of the downstream gene in prokaryotic organisms. Therefore, dTALEs expressed in prokaryotic organisms are known as suppression TAL effectors (SUP-TALs). Previous work on SUP-TALs targeted exogenous gene promoters encoded on plasmids. Here, we will expand this work by targeting a stable GFP insertion in the genome of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA14) to determine if SUP-TALs can also suppress genes in the genome. TAL effectors will be assembled using the Golden Gate assembly protocol, will be transformed into PA14, and GFP expression will be quantified. Multiple SUP-TALs targeting locations in the gene and promoter will be built and tested to determine the best location to target for optimal gene suppression.

 

Authors: Lance Lucas, Connor Long, Nate Meier, Billy Garver, Tessa Durham Brooks
Proposal title: ANALYZING SUGAR COMPOSITION OF CORN ROOT EXUDATE TO IDENTIFY BIOMARKERS OF COLD TOLERANCE USING NMR SPECTROMETRY
Faculty sponsor: Tessa Durham Brooks
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Lengthening the growing season in Zea mays (corn) increases the percent yield of the crop, but also can cause problems with the plants’ survival.  Growing corn earlier can lead to seedlings being exposed to cold stress, potentially causing dramatic changes in adult phenotypes.  Improving cold tolerance genetically at the beginning stages of corn growth could prevent death and increase percent yield by adulthood.  Identifying an early biological indicator for cold tolerance would help to more quickly discriminate specific genotypes that are cold tolerant from the ones that are not.  Corn’s exudates vary with its genetic makeup.  Exudates are found near the root of the plant and contain sugars, amino acids, and other organic molecules that assist in overall health of the plant to withstand environmental stress via their ability to attract beneficial microbes.  In a previous study, 12 different genotypes were investigated.  Half of the seedlings in every genotype were cold stressed for 24 hours at 10°C.  At two weeks of age they were transplanted to a field.  Height, and plant biomass data were collected.  Two genotypes were identified that responded differently to cold stress.  Genotype CML103 was unresponsive (canalized) to cold stress and genotype B73 had a tolerant response.  This research aims to analyze the chemical makeup of the exudates of genotypes CML103 and B73. NMR spectrometry will be used to discriminate differences in specific components of CML103 and B73 that could serve as a biological marker for cold tolerance.  Root exudates were extracted and the two genotypes and were prepared for NMR spectrometry.  Spectra of each genotype were overlaid to compare similarities and differences.  Within each set of spectra for both genotypes, the sugar region (3-4 ppm) was found to differ between cold and control conditions.  Identifying specific sugars in genotypes B73 and CML103 that could serve as an indicator of cold stress is being further examined.

 

Authors: Justin Matthews, Brea Murnan, Jennifer Pashby, Grace Su, Kiley Taylor, and Catie Welty
Proposal title: THE DIVAS PROJECT: TEACHING BIOLOGICAL AND PHYSICAL SCIENTISTS TO CODE
Faculty sponsor: Erin Doyle
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: The Digital Imaging and Vision Applications in Science (DIVAS) project main goal is to teach physical and biological scientists to code. This year we have DIVAS scholars from Doane University in Crete, Nebraska and St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. By learning to code as undergraduates, DIVAS scholars will be able to write their own programs to collect and analyze quantitative data from images. Throughout the project, we will learn what an image is, how to extract data from images, and the basics of the Python programming language. This semester, we are creating individual photo diaries that contain images or videos we’ve taken about something that interests us, including the weather, our friends, or sports. We will use the images and videos to see patterns and/or how things change over time.  We have to make sure the images and videos are clear enough to gather and measure data from. Over the summer, the DIVAS scholars will expand on what we will have learned this semester and apply our coding skills to analyze images and process image data. The first week of this project will be spent at a coding bootcamp at St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas. After the bootcamp, we will apply our image processing skills to two image-based group research projects focusing on color and shape detection. Once we feel comfortable coding and programming, and have finished the group research project, we’ll apply our image processing and Python coding skills to a variety of individual research projects.

 

Authors: Reid Melani, Brad Elder
Proposal title: QUANTIFYING NUTRIENT TRANSFER IN AN AQUAPONIC SYSTEM
Faculty sponsor: Brad Elder
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Aquaponics allows for the commercial production of produce and fish in a much more efficient way than soil based farming. Traditional methods of agriculture require relatively high amounts of land per pound of production compared to aquaponics. Due to the closed nature of the aquaponic system theres is less loss of nutrients and also a more focused delivery of nutrients. The fish provide essential nutrients for the plants via their waste, while the plants ensure that the environment remains stable and habitable for the fish by extracting  nutrients.  Developing a more complete understanding of how macronutrients are used and transformed in an aquaponics system can result in lower waste while also increasing productivity. Tatsoi was chosen as the target plant because it is an ideal plant to grow in this type of system. It is an ideal plant because tatsoi grows rapidly and its nutrient requirements can be easily met by an aquaponics system. A mixture of goldfish and silver dollar were selected due to their omnivorous diet and small size. The experiment focused on available nutrients at the various stages of consumption by the fish and uptake by the plants. Samples were taken of the raw food, fish tank water, plant water, and the plant tissue itself.   This information will aid in the development of cheaper and more environmentally friendly aquaponic systems.   Results will be presented.

 

Authors: Brea Murnan, Grace Su, Brandon Gannon, Kate Grint, Gage Herron, Jason Ilitz, Teryn Koch, Kaitlyn Mahnke, Ali Osborn, Dani Schreiber, Jaime Troester
Proposal title: GENOME ANNOTATION OF BREAD AND FUDGETART, TWO CLUSTER C1 MYCOBACTERIOPHAGES
Faculty sponsor: Erin Doyle, Dane Bowder
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Bacteriophages are an ancient and diverse population of viral entities that infect and destroy host bacteria. Phages comprise of the majority of all biological material in the biosphere, exhibiting different morphologies and infect a variety of host bacteria, although each phage is host specific. Many Mycobacterium smegmatis phages were isolated from soil samples collected around the Doane University Crete campus in August of 2017 using Mycobacterium smegmatis as the host bacteria. The phages were plated from enriched soil samples, purified and then concentrated into a lysate. These lysates were used for TEM imaging at the University of Lincoln, Nebraska and DNA extraction. Two phages, Bread and FudgeTart, were selected for DNA sequencing. Both Bread and FudgeTart’s genome sequences were chosen for annotation because they are both part of the C cluster and C1 subcluster. Bread and FudgeTart are both in the myoviridae group of phages. Bread’s genome is 153,796 bp in length with a GC content of 64.8%. The initial annotations predicted that the genome contained 260 ORFs.  Fudgetart’s genome is 154,658 bp in length with a GC content of 64.8%. The initial annotations predicted that both genomes contained 262 ORFs. We will continue to evaluate predicted ORFs and start sites and identify the functions for each gene.

 

Authors: Josiah Oyebefun, Tessa Durham Brooks
Proposal title: PRE-TREATMENT OF ARABIDOPSIS ROOTS WITH HEAT-KILLED PSEUDOMONAS AERUGINOSA TO PREVENT BIOFILM GROWTH
Faculty sponsor: Tessa Durham Brooks
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a bacterium that can infect multiple organism. It is a leading cause of hospital-borne infections (approximately 51,000 per year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Bacterial biofilms are simply a cluster of individual microbial cells that make up a multicellular “structure” with unique physiological properties and are an effective tool in a pathogen arsenal. While the pathogenicity of P. aeruginosa is well documented, current treatments for limiting or even preventing infection are not sufficient. There are many strains of this bacterium. In this study, the clinical isolate PA14 and the environmental isolate PA01 were utilized. In order to develop a treatment against P. aeruginosa biofilm formation, the A. thaliana root was used as an easy to acquire biological surface for growing biofilms. PA01 and PA14 were heat-killed and introduced to roots before inoculation with the corresponding live bacteria. Two positive-control groups and a negative-control group were also included. Roots were imaged regularly for three days. Biofilm growth was measured using ImageJ and compared between treatments. We have observed that PA01 vaccination of the A. thaliana root significantly reduces the formation and growth of biofilm on the root’s surface while PA14 vaccination did not. In addition, biofilm formation and growth of the two strains occur at different rates with PA14 growing slower than PA01. Further evaluation and analysis of the root images showed that bacteria on the roots inoculated with water prior to inoculation with live bacteria, tended to grow from a distance away, then toward the root surface. The ‘vaccinated’ roots grew from the root surface outward. To investigate this phenomenon further, we repeated the previous experiment with two new treatments. Two groups were treated with heat-killed peptidoglycan solution before inoculation with PA01 or PA14 in addition to the two experimental-groups and the two positive-control groups utilized in the previous experiment. We hypothesize that the addition of the peptidoglycan solution will mimic the 'vaccination' condition, helping to better understand the phenomenon observed. Images were taken at several points over 72 hours for each treatment and were analyzed as in the previous experiment using ImageJ in order to measure biofilm growth.

 

Authors: Blayne Parisher, Russ Souchek
Proposal title: THE ADDITION OF TESTOSTERONE TO A CICHLID FISHES HABITAT LEADS TO MORE AGGRESSIVE FISH
Faculty sponsor: Russ Souchek
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Testosterone is a steroid hormone that stimulates development of male secondary sexual characteristics. Testosterone boosters are an artificial supplement used to increase testosterone level when an insufficient level is becoming the normality. Testosterone boosters are usually administered by doctor prescriptions, pills, or injections. Testosterone is often grouped with the word aggression. In many cases when someone is overly aggressive they are said to have “too much testosterone”.  The question then becomes is this true for animals as well. This study will measure the effects of aggressive behaviors between Cichlid fish when they are exposed to increased levels of testosterone. Through gill absorption the Cichlid fish may hypothetically raise their testosterone levels and like humans and when these levels are high, react with much more aggression. The behavior will be documented with trials being ran at 24 and 48 hour intervals throughout the course of 8 months using a gamepad and a strike simulation tube. Humans who increase testosterone levels often do so with synthetic testosterone and documented accounts have been recorded in the bodybuilding community of aggressive acts.  This research tested the hypothesis that when exposed to testosterone booster, fish would become more aggressive towards other fish. The data indicates that there is a positive correlation between aggression increase and the addition of testosterone boosters.

 

Author: Nick Scalora
Proposal title: DCAS9 TOOL DEVELOPMENT
Faculty sponsor: Brett Schofield
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: One way cells regulate gene expression is by placing genes in regions with  different levels of DNA compaction. Genes placed in areas of highly compacted DNA tend to be silenced, where genes found in loose or open areas of DNA are more likely to be expressed. This project aims to develop a tool to alter compaction of DNA. To perform this research we have to create custom plasmids, which will create the proteins that will alter the compaction of the DNA. The protein that will be made can be thought of as three individual proteins being tethered together into one. The first protein is a fluorescent protein that we will be used for fluorescence microscopy in data collection. The second protein is dCas9 which will serve as the guide to DNA for the other proteins tethered to it. The third protein will be a Chromatin Architectural Protein (CAP), and will be altering the compaction of the DNA.Once plasmid construction is completed, chromatin compaction will be monitored with fluorescence microscopy. We have multiple CAPs we plan to use that will direct DNA to either loose or more tightly compacted states. If this system can be shown to be functional, it would allow for targeted reorganization of any native DNA sequence.

 

Authors: Michael Shavlik, Erin Doyle, Tessa Durham Brooks
Proposal title: EPIGENETIC MODIFICATIONS IN ARABIDOPSIS THALIANA MAY CONTRIBUTE TO PLASTICITY OF ROOT GRAVITROPIC RESPONSE PATTERNS
Faculty sponsor: Erin Doyle
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Gravitropism is a physiological response where the plant moves in the direction of gravity. This is a critical process in early development of seedlings in which the plant roots navigate their environment. This response has been shown to be highly plastic and responsive to environment according to previous studies. While prior research has investigated genes that are involved in the beginning stages of this response, little research has been done on comparing genetic pathways in late and early developmental stages. We hypothesized that significant, genetic pathways would differ amongst conditions that have shown varying gravitropic responses. We analyzed RNA-seq data previously collected from Arabidopsis thaliana root tissue. This data was collected from six discrete conditions by seedling age (2 or 3 days) and seed size (212 - 250 μm or 300 - 355 μm) at two time points (initial gravity response or 3 hours later) during gravitropism. Using R statistical software to fit gene expression data to a linear model, we found differentially expressed genes amongst conditions, which were then categorized into enriched pathways using AgriGO. Other studies have found that different genetic pathways were significantly expressed among different time points in the gravitropic response. In our study, surprisingly, no genes were found to significantly contribute to the gravitropic response in time point comparisons. However, thousands of genes were found to be significant due to seed size, including genes involved in nucleosome assembly and regulatory RNA synthesis. Suggesting that epigenetic modifications may contribute to the plasticity of this response.

 

Author: Michael Shavlik, Erin Doyle, Tessa Durham Brooks
Proposal title: EPIGENETIC MODIFICATIONS IN ARABIDOPSIS THALIANA MAY CONTRIBUTE TO PLASTICITY OF ROOT GRAVITROPIC RESPONSE PATTERNS
Faculty sponsor: Erin Doyle
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Oral
Abstract: Gravitropism is a physiological response where the plant moves in the direction of gravity. This is a critical process in early development of seedlings in which the plant roots navigate their environment. This response has been shown to be highly plastic and responsive to environment according to previous studies. While prior research has investigated genes that are involved in the beginning stages of this response, little research has been done on comparing genetic pathways in late and early developmental stages. We hypothesized that significant, genetic pathways would differ amongst conditions that have shown varying gravitropic responses. We analyzed RNA-seq data previously collected from Arabidopsis thaliana root tissue. This data was collected from six discrete conditions by seedling age (2 or 3 days) and seed size (212 - 250 μm or 300 - 355 μm) at two time points (initial gravity response or 3 hours later) during gravitropism. Using R statistical software to fit gene expression data to a linear model, we found differentially expressed genes amongst conditions, which were then categorized into enriched pathways using AgriGO. Other studies have found that different genetic pathways were significantly expressed among different time points in the gravitropic response. In our study, surprisingly, no genes were found to significantly contribute to the gravitropic response in time point comparisons. However, thousands of genes were found to be significant due to seed size, including genes involved in nucleosome assembly and regulatory RNA synthesis. Suggesting that epigenetic modifications may contribute to the plasticity of this response.

 

Authors: Charlene Skillett, Brad Elder
Proposal title: EFFECTS OF DIET MODIFICATION ON NUTRIENT AND CHEMICAL LEVELS IN AN AQUAPONICS SYSTEM
Faculty sponsor: Brad Elder
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Oral
Abstract: The purpose of this research is to assemble a self-sustainable aquaponics system.  Aquaponic systems incorporating both fish and plants have been researched and developed; however, an entirely self-sustaining system in which multiple species of fish cohabitate and consume organic sources to support the plants of the system has not been developed to this respective complexity.  In particular can we control the nutrients fed to the plants by controlling the vegetables fed to the fish. In this experiment, goldfish (carassius auratus), silver dollars (metynnis argenteus), and crayfish (procambarus clarkii) were fed a series of fruits and vegetables as their food sources. We tested methods with varying sensitivities to monitor nutrient levels in the fish tanks.  Results will be presented.

 

Author: Zackry Stevenson
Proposal title: ISOLATION OF A NOVEL BACTERIOPHAGE SPECIFIC TO PROPIONIBACTERIUM ACNES FROM HUMAN SKIN
Faculty sponsor: Erin Doyle
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Individuals everyday are suffering from the devastating effects acne has on the mental and physical aspects of life. Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) bacteria grows in the hair follicle which in turn causes pimples to form on the skin. The treatment of acne is normally done through antibiotics or creams that contain harsh chemicals.  Antibiotics are one solution to the acne problem, but due to the evolution, bacteria become resistant to this type of treatment. Humans have bacteriophage, which are viruses that help to destroy the bacteria that live on the skin. These viruses will infect the bacteria in order to replicate their DNA inside the cell and destroy the cell by lysing it open, releasing multiple viruses that were formed.The relationship created by the bacteriophage and P. acnes bacteria creates a balanced microbiota on the human face and allows for the design of specified phage therapy.  Recent data shows the effectiveness of the addition of bacteriophage in a cream based solution through the study of in vitro experiments. Therefore, we hypothesized that we could isolate a virus from Biore pore strips that would infect the P. acnes bacteria. Further experiments will be to characterize the virus by titering and imaging by Transmission Electron Microscopy. Future experiments will be conducted to test the effectiveness of the cream on both the in vivo and in vitro experiments in order to figure out if this is an effective alternative treatment.

 

Author: Patrick Thimes
Proposal title: THE EFFECTS OF BIOCHAR ON CARBON SEQUESTRATION IN SOIL
Faculty sponsor: Ramesh Laungani
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: There is a global issue with climate change, because of our use of fossil fuels and our extra emissions of carbon dioxide. Two are being examined in order to combat climate change: planting trees to store the CO2 in the trees and pyrolyzing plant biomass and adding the product of this pyrolysis (biochar) to soil in order to store the CO2 in the ground. One large problem with planting trees is that once they die, the microbes will start decomposing the plant material and release the stored CO2 back into the atmosphere. Conversely, biochar is largely resistant to microbial decomposition. I examined the impact of pyrolysis temperature on biochar decomposition and release of soil carbon by soil microbes. I did this by using two different techniques: measuring soil respiration and decomposition of biochar.  Additionally I chemically characterized the biochar using NMR. I incubated soil with and without biochar (made at two different pyrolysis temperatures, 400C and 500C) in sealed jars and measured biochar decomposition and CO2 release from soil.  We predict that there will will be less CO2 released over time and less CO2 released in total over the 400C and 500C. We also predict that there will be less biochar decomposition in the 400C compared to the unamended soils and less decomposition in the 500C compared to the 400C.

 

Author: Jayla Trosper
Proposal title: DIET PREFERENCES OF METYNNIS ARGENTEUS IN AN AQUAPONICS SYSTEM
Faculty sponsor: Brad Elder
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Hydroponics is the process of growing plants in water without soil.  Hydroponics is better than farming because it ensures that the nutrients are utilized by the plants more evenly. Taking that a step further, aquaponics is a hydroponics system that uses fish to create nutrients for plants that would otherwise would have to utilize industrially manufactured fertilizer.  Aquaponics is beneficial as well because after the plants are grown, the fish can be later used for human consumption.  The drawback of the traditional aquaponics system is that industrially manufactured fish food must still be applied to the system.  This can be avoided by using human food waste to feed the fish. This can be difficult because very few fish can actually eat a wide variety of food waste. In this experiment, food waste from a local grocery store was used as a nutrient source for the fish and, ultimately, for the plants.  Finding the right fish to use was a challenge.  The type of fish required for this experiment needed to be omnivorous because of the potential food waste fed to them.  We settled on silver dollars (Metynnis argenteus) because they seemed to have the widest diet range.  Silver dollars readily consumed spinach, cucumber, and zucchini.  These specific fish have strong enough teeth to eat the rinds, thus they did not require a second organism, such as crayfish, to break down the leftovers.  The downside of using silver dollars is that they are not regularly consumed by humans.  Additionally, silver dollars require more care than the average goldfish (Carassius auratus).  Results will be presented.

 

Authors: Michael Tross, Tessa Durham Brooks, Truc Doan
Proposal title: DETERMINING THE EFFECTS OF SEED SIZE ON THE PRODUCTION OF AMINO ACIDS IN ROOT EXUDATES OF CORN.
Faculty sponsor: Tessa Durham Brooks
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Increasing corn yield and production is one method of combating the problem of world hunger and has thus been a focus for many plant physiologists. Currently, there is an understanding that the interaction of plant roots and microbes is an important aspect in figuring out how to improve the general health of corn and ultimately increase its production. Root exudate is a secretion that influences the root environment, nutrient availability and interactions of the root with microorganism as well as adaptations to environmental stresses. It is largely composed of amino acids, sugars, phenolic acids and  plant hormones. Scientists are now trying to comprehend what genetic factors are responsible for the composition and production of root exudates. However, maternal environment may also contribute to exudate production and composition. Seed size is a major indicator of plant maternal environment. Therefore, if seed size affects exudate production then the maternal environment of a plant needs to be considered in studies of the genetics of exudate production. This paper aims to investigate whether the amount of amino acids that is released in the exudate of a seedling root is dependant on the relative size of the seed it came from. In this experiment, seeds were separated and grouped into small, medium and large seeds depending on their relative masses. Each seed is then imbibed and sterilized together with their size group and then planted vertically on blotter paper. Three days after each radicle breaks the seed coat, the root is blotted with a paper containing the colorimetric indicator ninhydrin and the paper is allowed to develop overnight. The RGB values of the colour changes on ninhydrin paper due to amino acids in exudate is then measured. The results are composed into a scatter plot graph to compare the results  of the output of amino acids for the small, medium and large seeds. Preliminary results have shown a general trend of bigger seeds producing relatively more exudate.

 

Author: Tanner Webster
Proposal title: CRISPR PROJECT
Faculty sponsor: Brett Schofield
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: The research we are conducting utilizes a genome editing tool called CRISPR, and its associated Cas9 protein which is targets and cuts specific DNA sequences according to a guide RNA (gRNA). Here we use a deactivated form of Cas9 (dCas9) that binds to DNA, but fails to cut it. This allows us to direct proteins covalently linked to dCas9 to specific target DNA sequences by changing the sequence of the gRNA used. We intend to use this system to direct different chromatin architectural proteins to native DNA sequences. If the system works as intended, it will allow us to specifically control the organization of nearby chromatin fibers. At present, we are working to create this system and test its function.

 

Authors: Jordan Zonner, Erin Doyle
Proposal title: IMAGE BASED DETECTION OF INDUCED HYPERSENSITIVE RESPONSE IN NICOTIANA BENTHAMIANA
Faculty sponsor: Erin Doyle
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: During a plant's life cycle, they face a number of potential threats including viral, bacterial, and fungal infections. To protect themselves, plants have developed durable resistance mechanisms to combat potential invaders. A model non-host plant-pathogen system is between ornamental tobacco plant Nicotiana benthamiana and tomato bacterial speck causal agent Psuedomonas syringae pv. tomato (Pto). When N. benthamiana is exposed to Pto, resistance responses can generally be observed as a hypersensitive response (HR). HR is a targeted cell death plant defense mechanism that initiates cell apoptosis to limit non-host pathogen spread and growth. Previous studies have characterized the phenotype of the HR by subjective assessments which leaves ambiguity amongst human raters about the extent and severity of HR. Destructive methods have been used to gain a more distinct quantification of HR however, they require direct damage to the plant. Ions and electrolytes are leaked out of the plant cells when targeted cell death is conducted by the plant. For example, by punching out areas of HR from plant leaves, the leakage of ions and electrolytes can be detected and quantified. A high throughput image based HR detection system could provide a non-destructive assessment of HR spread and severity. By taking consistent images of the HR and implementing them into the detection system, the system can be written to quantify a more precise amount of HR. In this study, we sought to define the optimal Pto concentration in order to elicit HR in a timely and precise manner, as well as characterize the amount of plant stress response by measuring the conductivity of stressed plant disks in water. By fine-tuning the methods to elicit and characterize HR in this model plant system, the images taken can be implemented into the HR detection system and used for better HR differentiation.

 

Authors: Jonathan Zuniga, Emily Belak, Brett Schofield
Proposal title: Measuring the rate of change in Chromatin Organization and changes in Gene Expression
Faculty sponsor: Brett Schofield
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Chromatin is a complex of macromolecules found in cells, which consists of DNA, RNA and protein (wikipedia). Chromatin comes in two different forms, which are euchromatin and heterochomatin. Euchromatin is the form of chromatin that is spread out and this form of chromatin expresses high levels of gene expression.  Heterochromatin is chromatin that is more tightly wound and compact and this type of chromatin produces lower levels of gene expression. This research seeks to find the rate at which one state of chromatin changes to the other and the effect that this change would have on gene expression. In order to conduct this experiment we fused an inducible heterodimerization domain to a DNA binding protein, and fused a second dimerization domain  to our chromatin architectural protein. Addition of the dimerization agent will cause the two domains to bind together, effectively recruiting the architectural protein to our DNA binding site. Once this has occurred, fluorescent microscopy will be used to monitor the changes to the structure of chromatin and to measure the rate at which they occur.

 

Authors: Helena Valquier-Flynn, Arin Sutlief, Chris Wentworth
Proposal title (all caps): THE EFFECT OF SHEAR STRESS ON THE MORPHOLOGY OF PSEUDOMONAS AERUGINOSA BIOFILMS
Faculty sponsor: Chris Wentworth
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Biofilms are complex microbial communities that grow attached to a surface or at an interface and are embedded in an extracellular polymeric substance secreted by the microbes, which provides a stable environment microbial growth. The complexity of these communities is evident in the spatial structures that can develop over time in response to environmental conditions.  In this study we investigated the effect of shear stress provided by the liquid medium flowing over a developing Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm on morphological features that can be measured from microscopic images. The bacteria was grown in a glucose-based minimal mineral media.  Using a BioFlux 1000z integrated microscope and controlled shear flow microfluidic device, we obtained microscopic images over a 24 hour period and used image analysis software to calculate morphological properties including surface roughness and textural entropy.


Business

 
          

Authors: Bailey Brigham, Christina Wilson, Jasmin Sandoval, Michael Kangas, Brett Schofield, Arin Sutlief, Andrea Holmes
Proposal title: PSEUDOMONAS AERUGINOSA STRAIN 14 BIOFILM ATTACHMENT ON SLIPPERY BMA-EDMA SURFACE
Faculty sponsor: Andrea Holmes
Field of Study: Chemistry
Session type: Oral
Abstract: Biofilms present a problem in the medical field because of their resistance to treatments such as antibiotics which can lead to infections and costly medical procedures. Biofilms are able to form because of the initial attachment of a bacterial cell to a surface. Therefore, one promising method to prevent biofilm adherence is surface coating. Slippery Lubricant Infused Polymers (SLIPS) has been shown to possess anti-biofouling properties that could be utilized to prevent the attachment of bacteria to medical devices and other surfaces. The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of slippery BMA-EDMA, a liquid  erfluoropolyether infused porous polymer, on Pseudomonas Aeruginosa (PA) strain 14 biofilm formation in a drip flow reactor. To assess how the biofilms react to this environment, fluorescence microscopy and ImageJ were used to visualize and quantify the attachment and growth. Contradictory to our hypothesis, the results show that more growth was visible on the BMA-EDMA surfaces than on the glass control surface.

 

Authors: Tanner Harsin, Brady Stuhmer, Jaysa Hoins, Chris Huber
Proposal title: ATTACHMENT OF PSEUDOMONAS AERUGINOSA STRAIN PAO1 TO CHANGED SURFACES
Faculty sponsor: Chris Huber
Field of Study: Chemistry
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Biofilms are groups of microorganisms that grow together on various surfaces such as medical equipment, metals, and human teeth. Given their community nature, biofilms have a unique ability to adapt and be more resilient to stress caused by a change in pH; or the addition of antibiotics. This problem of biofilm resilience and attachment to many surfaces is what fuels this research. We have decided to specifically focus on the attachment of Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain PA01 bacteria, in an attempt to show the difference in the amount of growth among various surfaces such as; glass slides, glass slides coated in gold, and glass slides with a silica-like layer on top. We grow the PAO1 bacteria in an overnight culture and inoculate using a shaker table method. The growth is measured using a crystal violet staining assay with a UV/Vis spectrometer. The data collected has suggested surfaces, such as glass, encourage PAO1 biofilm growth; whereas surfaces, such as gold, have less biofilm attachment. This could prove useful in the identification of what bonds are being used in the attachment of PAO1 bacteria.

 

Authors: Jaysa Hoins, Brady Stuhmer, Tanner Harsin, Chris Huber
Proposal title: PSEUDOMONAS AERUGINOSA ATTACHMENT TO DIFFERENT SUBSTRATES
Faculty sponsor: Chris Huber
Field of Study: Chemistry
Session type: PosterAbstract: Biofilms are groups of microorganisms that grow together on a surface and function as one community. In these biofilms, bacteria cells communicate chemically with each other to ensure the survival of the community, becoming more resistant to antibiotics in the process. Due to the complexity of biofilms, we decided to focus on bacterial attachment. Specifically, we are trying to determine what surfaces Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain PA01 bacteria can or cannot develop biofilm on to gain insight of what chemical bonds are being used to attach biofilms to surfaces. We will be considering how biofilm attachment is affected when trying to grow on glass slides, glass slides coated in gold, and glass slides coated in gold with a silica-like layer on top of it. We will quantify our biofilm growth using a crystal violet staining assay via UV/Vis spectroscopy. The data collected from this experiment will help in identifying what surfaces and components encourage biofilm growth. These results indicate that the surface chemistry is critical in the attachment and growth of PA01 biofilms.

 

Authors: Nathan Kyes, Dr. Michael Kangas and Dr. Andrea Holmes
Proposal title: DEVELOPMENT OF A COLORIMETRIC SENSOR ARRAY TO DETECT FRUIT RIPENESS IN KIWIS
Faculty sponsor: Andra Holmes
Field of Study: Chemistry
Session type: Poster
Abstract: There are different methods to determine fruit ripeness like visual inspection of a banana that is  turning colors from green to yellow or to brown. However, when fruit ripeness is not easily visible, colorimetric detection of molecules that are present when the fruit is ripe may be helpful.  In addition, colorimetric sensors could be incorporated in the packaging to indicate the ripeness to the consumer. Kiwis were selected for testing fruit ripeness with colorimetric sensors because they are available year around, and the literature precedence indicates that volatile compounds have been detected using GC/MS. This presentation will show preliminary data that shows color changes in the presence of esters and aldehydes that are present in ripe Kiwi.

 

Author: Kieran Lynch
Proposal title: USING GOLD PLATED SUBSTRATES TO STUDY GROUNDWATER REMEDIATION
Faculty sponsor: Chris Huber
Field of Study: Chemistry
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) is a technique that can be used to detect and study small molecules in a way that would be difficult to achieve using other, similar methods of spectroscopy. While this technique shows great promise in a variety of applications, my research group was particularly focused on using Raman Spectroscopy for the purposes of groundwater remediation. However, to obtain any usable data from SERS a key component that is needed for this project is gold plated substrates used in laser experiments. Gold is a particularly useful metal for our purposes because it responds well to SERS enhancement and also has the added property of being able  to ‘grab’ common pollutants out of groundwater. SERS just serves as a great way to monitor the overall remediation. The majority of my contribution to this broader research project was to create and optimize these substrates using a plasma sputter-coater for the purpose of data collection. By the end of my time on this project, I developed a procedure for making multiple substrates suited for our experiments that were used to collect useful data. Development of a technique for consistent substrate production is an important piece to this project as repeated laser experiments are needed to collect usable data to progress the overall project.

 

Author: Brady Stuhmer
Proposal title: DETERMINATION OF ATTACHMENT BY PSEUDOMONAS AERUGINOSA STRAIN PAO1 TO A SILICA-LIKE LAYER USING SURFACE ENHANCED RAMAN SPECTROSCO
Faculty sponsor: Dr. Chris Huber
Field of Study: Chemistry
Session type: Oral
Abstract: Biofilms are a collection of microorganisms that form on a surface and act as a single entity to overcome a wide variety of threats. Biofilms are almost everywhere and each carries out a varying set of functions. The affects of different biofilms can range from a series of damaging affects, such as sepsis, to restorative properties, such as purifying wastewater. The development of these ecosystems is complex and there is still a lot to be discovered about the mechanisms by which these biofilms attach to a surface. We have set out to directly measure the attachment of Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain PAO1 bacteria to SiO2 using Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS). In this work, the surface enhancement is generated by a gold film deposited on top of polystyrene nanoparticles. A thin film of silica is then deposited onto the surface using a combination of self-assembled monolayer and sol gel techniques, providing a hospitable environment for the bacteria.  The work presented here details the construction of the SERS substrates and the subsequent growth of biofilms on these surfaces via drip flow reactor. Data collected from this experiment is a step towards decoding the complex mechanisms of biofilm attachment and may bring forth a better understanding of biofilms as a whole. This research is funded by National Institute for General Medical Science (NIGMS) (5P20GM103427), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

 

Author: Rebekah Thimes
Proposal title: GROUND WATER POLLUTANT REMEDIATION BY HOT ELECTRON TRANSFER
Faculty sponsor: Chris Huber
Field of Study: Chemistry
Session type: Poster
Abstract: The Ogallala Aquifer is the main water source in the Great Plains for agricultural usage and drinking water; however, improper pesticide use in farming has contaminated the water supply.  Due to reduced efficiency of the current application of permeable reactive barriers, there has been an increased need to develop a new method of groundwater pollutant remediation. Our goal is to use Au nanoparticles of various sizes to remediate groundwater pollutants through a process called hot electron transfer. We are going to monitor the ability of the NPs to produce these hot electrons through surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy. Over the past year we have successfully synthesized the Au nanoparticles and have been able to obtain enhancement of the Raman signal. Our Au-NPs have shown the ability to perform hot electron transfer through the dimerization of 4-nitrobenzylthiol.

          

        

Author: Megan Chelle
Proposal title: HABITAT SELECTION IN THE PLAIN POCKETBOOK MUSSEL, LAMPSILIS CARDIUM
Faculty sponsor: Russell Souchek
Field of Study: Environmental Science
Session type: Oral
Abstract: The Plain Pocketbook mussel are native to Nebraska while the number of species are limited. The research was to determine the habitat by investigating how long the mussels stays in a sand or gravel substrate. To record the mussel behavior time lapse photographs were taken over a twelve-hour time periods with a picture taken every thirty seconds. Significant differences were found between the preference of sand and gravel.

 

Authors: Jordan Kort, Brad Elder
Proposal title: THE EFFECT OF ENVIRONMENT TO RACCOON PELT COLOR
Faculty sponsor: Brad Elder
Field of Study: Environmental Science
Session type: Poster
Abstract: The purpose of this research was to determine the effect of environment to raccoons’ pelt color. There are many different shades/colors of raccoons, so for this study they were categorized into: Black, Mixed, and Yellow pelt colors. Next each raccoon was put into one of these three groups by the majority of their color percentages. this project happened because it has really peaked interest in knowing why some raccoons have different colored pelts than others. Through observations it looks like they showed up having different colors in different regions. Some ideas why their colors vary include; their environment type such as where they are found, genetics, and their food source. Environment types around Colfax County were found; such as near the Platte River, in marshes, corn fields, Shell Creek, and dry pastures. Raccoons were then assessed as part of normal harvesting procedures. Hunting cite was then documented exactly where they were found with a mile radius to see what percentages of cornfields, bean fields, trees, and pasture were around them. Initial observations are final, yet the research is not yet done.

 

Author: Buzz Niederklein
Proposal title: Efficient Use of Underground Air Ventilation for Cooling Synthetic Turf Surface Temperatures
Faculty sponsor: Brad Elder
Field of Study: Environmental Science
Session type: Poster
Abstract: This research investigated the issue of heat related injuries in sports caused by increased heat on synthetic turf fields. The main focus of the research was to decrease the surface temperature of the turf caused by sunlight. This was done by blowing air up through the turf from underneath using PVC pipes and a utility fan. Experimenting on a 3 x 3 m plot of turf we took measurements of the surface temperature. The turf showed temperature decreases in each test with the fan and basically no change without the fan. After examining the results we then modified the pipes underneath the turf to cool the turf most effectively. Modifying the pipes below the turf proved to be affecting the outcome of the surface temperature significantly therefore the hypothesis was that if the pipes were changed there would be the greatest reduction of temperature. Continued research on this issue could lead to safer playing conditions causing less injuries to athletes when competing on artificial turf fields.

 

Author: Christopher Smith
Proposal title: NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE INTERNSHIP
Faculty sponsor: Russ Souchek
Field of Study: Environmental Science
Session type: Oral
Abstract: This internship was with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a federal agency within the Farm Production and Conservation Mission Area of the United States Department of Agriculture. While interning exposure of the many aspects of the NRCS will be presented. More specifically, intensive on the job training to prepare for a career working for the NRCS as a soil conservationist after graduation. This on the job training dealt with a variety of NRCS programs and other duties required by the 1985 Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Compliance farm bill. A couple of the NRCS programs interacted with include the Environmental Quality Incentive Program and the Conservation Stewardship Program. When dealing with Highly Erodible and Wetland Compliance determinations are done to analyze compliance with this law. While these are two main areas the NRCS handles, there are still many other facets related to the roles of the NRCS.

 

Author: Donavon Thomas
Proposal title: B2 ENVIRONMENTAL INTERNSHIP
Faculty sponsor: Russ Souchek
Field of Study: Environmental Science
Session type: Oral
Abstract: The internship was to become an industrial hygienist and become a certified asbestos inspector and safety site supervisor. Asbestos inspectors are required to take specific amounts of samples of all suspect material in a building or structure. Site safety supervisors are asked to accompany asbestos removal employees, to ensure that asbestos is removed thoroughly and properly without destroying the area around them and preventing the spread of asbestos. The intern experience and what asbestos is, as well as the process of the internship will be presented. Interning with B2 Environmental provided the opportunity to learn how to take material and air samples in the field as well as examine them, and turn the information collected into a professional report with environmental standards to determine actions to be taken for asbestos removal or monitoring.

 

Authors: Elizabeth Kurtz
Proposal title: THE GERMAN PRESS IN THE EARLY TRUMP ERA
Faculty sponsor: Kristen Hetrick
Field of Study: German
Session type: Poster
Abstract: This project investigated the response of the German press to the first 100 days of the Trump presidency.  The newspapers examined were "Das Bild" and "The Frankfurter Allgemeine," with particular attention paid to articles concerning the economic policies and the differing views of protectionist policies.

 

 

         

Authors: Matt Antholz, Karee Hustedde, Chris Wentworth
Proposal title: A COMPUTER SIMULATION STUDY OF THE EFFECT OF GLUCOSE CONCENTRATION ON SURFACE ROUGHNESS OF PSEUDOMONAS AERUGINOSA BIOFILMS
Faculty sponsor: Chris Wentworth
Field of Study: Information Science & Technology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Biofilms are microbial communities that grow on a surface or interface in a extracellular polymeric substance secreted by the microorganisms. Physical, chemical, and biological factors all impact the manner of biofilm growth creating challenges for theoretical understanding.   Computer simulation models can inform our understanding by allowing for detailed studies of the growth dynamics while controlling all the hypothesized relevant properties of the system. In this study, morphological features of the film were calculated from simulation data for the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa grown in a glucose-based medium. A Michaelis-Menten kinetics model was used for the study.  The time behavior of surface roughness, surface cell to total cell ratio, and textural entropy were studied as glucose concentration changes.

 

Author: Zach Lane
Proposal title: 10-POINT-PITCH
Faculty sponsor: Alec Engebretson
Field of Study: Information Science & Technology
Session type: Oral
Abstract: An application was developed as part of senior seminar requirements.  The application is a mobile-based game that allows the user to play 10-point pitch. The application is a one to four player game. The number of computer players will depend on the number of human players. The computer players are run mainly on a point-based system where the cards are each assigned a point value and certain combinations of cards combine for extra points. Based on the point value of the hand the computer player will make a bet that corresponds to that point group. The application was developed for Android-based devices using Microsoft Visual Studio and C#.  It has since been ported over to the iOS platform.  Presented will be the steps used to develop this application including understanding the requirements for playing the game, designing an interface and algorithms in order to address the requirements, and implementing the design and algorithms.  It will also cover some of the ideas implemented with grouping and reusing code, and will discuss some of the issues that arose while developing the project.   Finally, a demonstration will be provided.

 

Author: Seth Levos
Proposal title: ANDRIOD DEVELOPMENT
Faculty sponsor: Alec Engebretson
Field of Study: Information Science & Technology
Session type: Oral
Abstract: Android development can be challenging, especially for newcomers unfamiliar with its unique development techniques. Your Finance, an Android application designed and developed for a senior project, was a means of diving headfirst into the world of Android development. Your Finance is a personal finance manager that allows users to create and manage expenses and budgets. This tool is useful to those who are on the go and want to stay ahead of their finances, without running into those dreadful moments where they lose track of how much money they spent and thus exceed their budget. The purpose of the project, which has resulted in a prototype of an Android app, was to build and develop skills in Android development, including most aspects of the development cycle. The presentation will cover the development cycle of the project. This includes the recognition of the problem; the analysis of the project resulting in a set of achievable and challenging specifications; the design of a solution to address those specifications; the implementation of the solution; and, finally, the current and future support of the project, including outstanding issues with the app and potential changes that should be implemented. A demonstration of the application will also be given.

 

Author: Daniel Martin    
Proposal title: THE GAME OF TRASH
Faculty sponsor: Alec Engebretson
Field of Study: Information Science & Technology
Session type: Oral
Abstract: Due to the fast-paced world that we live in today, there is hardly ever enough time to sit down and relax with friends and family. Mobile phones have been used for some time now as a form of short-term escape during our busy schedules. Trash is a fun, easy to learn, card game that will bring user involvement and competition back into the mobile platform. The Game of Trash was created to play cards on a mobile device with friends, allowing users to quickly escape their busy schedules. The Game of Trash is a mobile application that implements the card game, Trash. This application was developed specifically for the iPhone and other iOS devices. The Game of Trash was created to play player-versus-player cards on a single device. At this time, The Game of Trash application for iOS is a prototype that needs to be finished and polished before sale on the App store for iOS. The purpose of this presentation is to describe the process of designing and developing a mobile application for Apple iOS. In this presentation the requirements of the project, specifications and goals, design, and summary of the implementation process will be reviewed. Also included will be a list of speed bumps and known issues that need more work in the future.  Along with a description of the project, a product demonstration will be provided.

 

Author: Phillip Walker
Proposal title: CONSTRUCTION OF A VIRTUAL REALITY LABORATORY AND A VR RACQUETBALL GAME
Faculty sponsor: Alec Engebretson
Field of Study: Information Science & Technology
Session type: Oral
Abstract: Construction of a Virtual Reality Laboratory and a VR Racquetball Game. In partial fulfillment of senior seminar requirements, a two-part project was undertaken.  The first part of the projected involved researching multiple models of virtual reality (VR) headsets, developing a proposal to acquire the one that best fit the Department of Information Science and Technology (IST) needs, and then acquiring, installing, and testing the headset and appropriate software in a newly created VR Lab.  The second part of the project involved creating a sample VR program.  The program designed and developed plays a game of virtual racquetball. This presentation will present information on both parts of the project.  For the first part of the project, the presentation will include the needs of the IST Department, the options researched, and the final option proposed and obtained.  Also discussed will be the steps taken to acquire, install and test the hardware.  For the second part of the project, the process of designing and implementing the game will be discussed.  In addition, a demonstration of the VR game will be provided.

 

Authors: Benjamin Zwiener, Marisa Foster, AdreAnna Ernest, Keeliann Mark
Proposal title: DIGITAL IMAGING AND VISION APPLICATIONS IN SCIENCE
Faculty sponsor: Mark Meysenberg
Field of Study: Information Science & Technology
Session type: Oral
Abstract: Our presentation describes our experiences with the DIVAS (Digital Imaging and Vision Applications in Science) Project. Our coding experience started with a five day coding boot-camp at the beginning of the summer and continued throughout the summer where we worked on both group and individual projects. During the five day boot-camp, we obtained skills in bash, git, Python, and OpenCV. The individual research projects, focusing on genuine scientific problems, included detection and quantification of free amines secreted by maize roots, automating width detection of biofilms on Arabidopsis thaliana, area quantification of maize seedlings, and real time color detection of acid titrations.

 

Author: Drew Klein
Proposal title: THE APPLICATION OF CONCEPTS FROM MULTIPLE COURSES IN CREATING A USEFUL APP FOR THE UNIVERSITY
Faculty sponsor: Alec Engebretson
Field of Study: Information Science & Technology
Session type: Oral
Abstract: For individuals not familiar with Doane University, finding their way around the 300-acre campus can be a bit tricky.  A need was identified for a solution that would help navigate the campus.  Combining concepts and experience gained from a Geographical Information Systems (GIS) course, a mobile applications course and a design patterns course, along with learning to develop on a new platform, a solution has been created as part of a senior seminar project.  The solution is an iOS application (Doane Map), created using the Swift programming language in the XCode integrated development environment.  The application utilizes a topical map of the campus created with ArcGIS software, GPS functionality, and the model view controller (MVC) pattern.  It provides any student, staff member, or visitor of Doane University a way to easily visualize and navigate the campus using their smartphone.  With the app, the user has the ability to create a list of classrooms stored locally on the device.  This list ultimately gives the student the ability to quickly learn and track their class schedule, including the classroom location.  Another potential use for the application would be giving virtual campus tours to visitors such as prospective students and alumni.

The paper and presentation will include:
•       The concepts learned and applied from a GIS course using the ArcGIS software including creating topical layers, feature classes, and shapefiles.
•       The concepts learned and applied from an Android-based mobile applications course including working on a mobile platform, utilizing the tools of a smartphone (GPS), and the overall structure of a mobile app.
•       The concepts learned and applied from a design patterns course including the MVC design pattern.
•       The independent learning applied in IOS development including the Swift programming language, XCode, and the process for submitting an application to the App store.
•       The challenges encountered in the development of the application, and how they were addressed.
•       A virtual demonstration of the application.


Leadership

Author: Brittney Amezquita
Proposal title: MISSION: SAVING LIVES
Faculty sponsor: Carrie Petr
Field of Study: Leadership
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Puerto Rico suffered a devastating hurricane where all President Trump did to help was toss toilet paper to the victims. Mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz;  helped the victims during this terrible time when these victims couldn't get help from the President of the United States. She fought and answered back against Donald Trump and she made a name for herself. "It was about saving lives, it's not about politics," said Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz. This poster will be about how the mayor was a servant leader and went against the President of the United States. She was always the voice of the people. She fought for what she truly believed in and didn't care what people said about her. All she cared about was being the voice of the people regardless if they were with her or against her.

 

Author: Haileigh Arthur
Proposal title : CONFRONTING THE PROBLEMS
Faculty sponsor: Carrie Petr
Field of Study: Leadership
Session type: Poster
Abstract: I will be presenting on the mayor of New York during 9/11, Rudy Guiliani. Within my presentation I will include why he was a good leader, his form of leadership, how this effected New York during his time of Mayor (his followers), and how his leadership may have impacted us today. 9/11 is a huge time that had to have many strong leaders stand up and move very quickly. Guiliani is one of the most recognized and I believe will make for a great presentation.

 

Author: Jamie Bohlen
Proposal title: PROVIDING A VOICE FOR ALL: AN ANALYSIS OF THE GROUP-CENTERED LEADERSHIP STYLE OF ELLA BAKER
Faculty sponsor: Carrie Petr
Field of Study: Leadership
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Ella Baker (1903 - 1986), born in Norfolk, Virginia and raised in Littleton, North Carolina, became one of the most prominent female black voices during the Civil Rights and Women’s Rights Movements spanning from the 1930s to the 1970s (Ransby, 2003). After graduating from Shaw University in 1927 as valedictorian of her class, Baker began to fully immerse herself in political activism. Baker would eventually go on to be an active and prominent member of both the Young Negroes Cooperative League (YNCL) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She later helped to found and launch the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP). However, while prominent Civil Rights figures like Martin Luther King, Jr. and W. E. B. DuBois have historically been championed for their leadership at the time, Baker was known for criticizing their elitist and leader-centered style of leadership (Ransby, 2003). As a result, this research serves to provide an analysis of the group-centered leadership style of Ella Baker and how this impacted her surrounding community, as well as the Civil Rights and Women’s Rights Movements at the time.

 

Author: Dylan Borer
Proposal title: LEADERS EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW
Faculty sponsor: Carrie Petr
Field of Study: Leadership
Session type: Poster
Abstract: A poster presentation over Gregg Popovich and his leadership style. Will discuss the leader's major accomplishments, discussion of the impact of historical context on the leader's work, own lessons the leader has taught me, photos to help make the poster more interesting and informative, and anything relevant that needs to be discussed about the leader.

 

Author: Nick Christiansen
Proposal title: ELON MUSK
Faculty sponsor: Carrie Petr
Field of Study: Leadership
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Elon Musk is a 46 year old South African born businessman and entrepreneur. He is the CEO and founder of SpaceX, Tesla Inc, and Neuralink. It’s said that Elon has revolutionized the electric car. Some of Musk’s current endeavors include working to make a smooth transition in the car industry to electric and solar powered vehicles and he wants to make living on Mars a reality. Elon has a very good reputation for treating his employees well. Last year he was even ranked the eighth best CEO to work for. Elon has three tips for new leaders, that he lives by. These tips are to hire people that are smarter than you, do not go with the flow, and to focus on your foundation first. A quote from Elon that ties into Servant Leadership says, “We want our leaders to find ways of motivating and inspiring their teams, reduce the noise in their work and help remove blockers. If you are leading at any level at SpaceX, we stress that your team is not there to serve you. You are there to serve your team and help them do the best possible job for the company.” In our Leadership Seminar this semester we are primarily dealing with servant leadership and I believe Elon tries to embody some of those behaviors. Something that I have taken from Elon is that if you are passionate about something, you must pursue it and that if you aren’t failing, you're not trying hard enough.

 

Author: Corbin Heller
Proposal title (all caps): A LEADER EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW
Faculty sponsor: Carrie Petr
Field of Study: Leadership
Session type: Poster
Abstract: My project will analyze  and explain the impact of a  of a lesser known leader on their respective field.  I plan to discuss different aspects of this leader, such as their background, leadership style, and their impact on whatever they are passionate about. I plan on discussing Marc Cuban, a leader in the business world that strove to make a difference and pave the way for individuals in his similar circumstance.

 

Author: Cheyanne Jessen
Proposal title: BETTY FRIEDAN
Faculty sponsor: Carrie Petr
Field of Study: Leadership
Session type: Poster
Abstract: An analysis and report on the leadership style of American writer, activist, and feminist, Betty Friedan

 

Author: Jennifer M Sorensen
Proposal title: LEADERS EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW
Faculty sponsor: Carrie Petr
Field of Study: Leadership
Session type: Poster
Abstract: This project will be a leader of my own choosing. I will demonstrate what kind of leader he or she is or was, what they have accomplished in their life. How they have inspired me and more. I will create a poster and present all of this information.

 

Author: Kayla Starbuck
Proposal title: A LEADER EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW: FERIAL PEARSON
Faculty sponsor: Carrie Petr
Field of Study: Leadership
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Ferial Pearson was inspired by the Sandy Hook tragedy, questioning what would happen if adults began to teach students to carry out small acts of kindness in the schools. Pearson is a published author, TedX speaker and highlighted by Hallmark for her work. Pearson is also currently a faculty member at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  Pearson is a service leader because she first wants to improve society, and second has taken an active role in leading others to her vision.

 

Author: Peter Strobel
Proposal title: ROBERT E LEE: LESSONS TO BE LEARNED FROM A CONTROVERSIAL LEADER
Faculty sponsor: Carrie Petr
Field of Study: Leadership
Session type: Poster
Abstract: A presentation on the leadership qualities of Robert E. Lee.  The flaws of Lee (i.e. siding with Confederacy, owning slaves, etc.) will be examined alongside his noteworthy character, military career, and post-war life.

 

Author: Eric Tapper
Proposal title: THE LEADER JJ WATT
Faculty sponsor: Carrie Petr
Field of Study: Leadership
Session type: Poster
Abstract: JJ Watt has always been an amazing athlete and leader on the field. Football players have the shortest careers of any sport athletes do to injury's. Unfortunately for JJ the injury bug has struct and he has been out for the last two years. JJ hasn't stopped leading though. This time he is leading and serving his community in several different ways. JJ has won the 2018 Walter Payton Man of the Year award.

 

Author: Maddie Elder
Proposal title: SERVANT LEADERSHIP: MIKE MATHENY'S COACHING TECHNIQUE
Faculty sponsor: Carrie Petr
Field of Study: Leadership
Session type: Poster
Abstract: I will be researching and presenting on Mike Matheny and his role as a servant leader and baseball coach. Matheny is the current Manager of the St. Louis Cardinals. He played college baseball for the University of Michigan, and then played 13 years professionally. After his playing career, Matheny coached little league baseball and became famous for his letter to the parents, explaining that the parents will have a very, very small role in their child's baseball experience and he will not tolerate a "coach from the stands." Matheny as a leader lends support rather than lists players' flaws. Fans and media have questioned his tactical skills, but, due to his experience playing a position (catcher) that imputes the requirement for leadership, it further increased his potential as a successful MLB manager will little experience on the coaching side of the pros. I will be diving into his autobiography, "The Matheny Manifesto: A Young Manager's Old-School View on Success in Sports and Life" to hear more on his goals and practices through the perspective of a servant leader.

 

Author: Mikayla Bankson
Proposal title: BILLY GRAHAM
Faculty sponsor: Carrie Petr
Field of Study: Leadership
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Leader's major accomplishments; Leader's style of leadership, with any analysis of the style's effectiveness and shortcomings; Discussion of the impact of historical context on the leader's work; Lessons the leaders has taught you


 

Mathematics

Author: Charles Burtwistle
Proposal title: DEFINING RADIUS FOR ABSTRACT SHAPES
Faculty sponsor: Kris Williams
Field of Study: Mathematics
Session type: Oral
Abstract: Finding the radius of a circle is a simple task due to well-established definitions that exist for the shape and this measurement. However, there is not presently a definition of a characterizing quantity analogous to a radius for non-convex shapes in two real dimensions. Due to the lack of a definition, many problems arise when questions are asked that require a measurement of radial size for an answer. Specifically, for this project formal definitions were needed to explain how the “radius” of fractals changes after each iteration. Another issue that needed addressing was describing the “radius” of a shape composed only of two intersecting lines. As no definitions previously existed that could answer these questions, new ones were formed. These definitions take the idea of radius of a circle and apply it to irregular shapes in two real dimensions, similar to those mentioned previously. These definitions will produce a numerical measurement that accurately captures how the points lying on the shape are distributed. The definitions of “radius” are difficult to apply analytically, so numerical methods were developed to approximate the values. This method provides a way to compare these shapes and ensure that the approximation fits what a person would intuitively think the radius should be.


Philosophy

 

Author: Anna Bauerle

Proposal title: A Review of God’s Ethics

Faculty sponsor: Dr. Patrick Monaghan

Field of Study: Philosophy

Session type: Poster

Abstract: The purpose of my research was to review God’s Own Ethics, a book by contemporary theistic philosopher Mark Murphy. In this book, Murphy concludes that God has no obligation to love his creations, that is, he loves them continently. I argue against this conclusion using evidence from Scripture and common beliefs of Christians to conclude that God necessarily had to love his creations.

 

Authors: MaKayla Parriott

Proposal title: Murphy v. Nagasawa

Faculty sponsor: Patrick Monaghan

Field of Study: Philosophy

Session type: Poster

Abstract: One major subcategory in philosophy is religion. This category discusses many things; the problem of evil, the problem of the trinity, God's Ethics, the afterlife and many other various topics. This project was centered around God's Ethics. There are two contrasting views that were researched,  one is known as the distributive assumption (Murphy) and the other is known as the revisionist Anselmian (Nagasawa). After researching both of these views in depth it was concluded that neither of these were accurate conceptions of the Anselmian being. Murphy's view does not render an accurate picture because the attributes that make it up are incoherent. Nagasawa's view, while better, still has issues of its own. Since neither of these views present an accurate conception of God, an alternate theory is provided that expands on Nagasawa's view.

       

Authors: Karee Hustedde, Matt Antholz and Christopher D. Wentworth

Proposal title: A COMPUTER SIMULATION STUDY OF THE TIME DEVELOPMENT OF BIOFILM SPATIAL MORPHOLOGY

Faculty sponsor: Dr. Christopher D. Wentworth

Field of Study: Physics

Session type: Poster

Abstract: This research project looks at simulated biofilm in 2D and 3D forms using the iDynomics simulation framework. This study simulated the growth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm in a 0.25% glucose-based minimal mineral media using Michaelis-Mentin growth kinetics model. We asked, “What are the spatial dimensions of the system that must be simulated to get realistic simulation measurements?” and “Will the simple growth kinetics model used to describe cell growth lead to any significant heterogeneity in spatial morphology?” We first researched ways to quantify biofilm morphology; we narrowed it down to these three properties: average surface roughness, the ratio of surface cells to total cells in the biofilm, and textural entropy. Textural entropy is a grey level image analysis to point out heterogeneity in an image. We then have to consider finite size effects when dealing with simulation frameworks, such as molecular dynamics or Monte Carlo simulations, in condensed matter physics or individual- based simulations in biology; this concept is shown in figures 1 and 2. Figure 3 shows spatial plots of cell positions in 2D while figure 4 shows spatial plots of cell positions in 2D. Figures 5-9 shows the morphological property measurements for both 2D and 3D biofilm systems. It was found that the system requires at least a grid size of 129 (1024) for 2D simulations and 65 (520) for 3D simulations to avoid significant finite size effects. Also, a 3D system simulations required more than 120 [h] of simulation growth to reach steady-state. For both the 2D and 3D systems, average surface roughness decreases over time; however, the 2D systems shows a leveling out around the 90 [h]. Both systems decreases over time when it came to ration of surface cells to total cells. Lastly, in the 3D system, tectural entropy increases over time.

 

Author: Braden Knuth

Proposal title: OPTICAL DENSITY SENSOR DESIGN FOR A BIOFILM REACTOR SYSTEM

Faculty sponsor: Chris Wentworth

Field of Study: Physics

Session type: Poster

Abstract: Investigations of biofilm growth require reactor systems that can run for long periods of time under controlled conditions. One requirement for long running systems is a mechanism for reusing the media to eliminate unnecessary waste. This requires keeping the suspended cell concentration of the media below a set amount. To meet these requirements an optical density sensor was designed and developed for controlling a peristaltic pump. The sensor design was based on an LED and phototransistor combination optimized for use in the 800-850 nm wavelength range. The control circuit was based on an Arduino microcontroller. The design and operation of the prototype sensor with associated electronics will be discussed.

 

Author: Taylor Wehrs

Proposal title: THE EFFECT OF INITIAL CONDITIONS ON DEVELOPMENT OF SPATIAL MORPHOLOGY IN AN ARTIFICIAL LIFE SYSTEM

Faculty sponsor: Chris Wentworth

Field of Study: Physics

Session type: Poster

Abstract: Multicellular organisms can generate complex morphologies. However, there are many multicellular organisms that do not generate such complexity. For example slime molds form very simple shapes such as mobile slug bodies and dispersal structures. In contrast, drosophila melanogaster form complex shapes such as arms, legs, a head, etc. In general, it is observed that complex shapes start from single cells or affixed clonal groups. In contrast, when cells aggregate or are not clonal they seem to be limited in the complexity they can produce. To test whether these starting points constrain the organism’s morphology or ability to generate complex shapes, we use the digital evolutionary software Avida. Avida is an artificial life software platform with self -replicating and evolving computer programs. Through the use of this system, we evolve the shape of an organism. An analysis of the complexity of these structures is given by the spatial patterns formed in isolation and in a population. These findings will help us understand how the structure of specific organisms came to be.

Political Science

     Authors: Ashley Van Fleet, Tim Hill

Proposal Title: JUMP SCARE POLITICS: THE POLITICAL IMPACT OF NONPOLITICAL HORROR FILMS

Faculty sponsor: Tim Hill

Field of Study: Political Science

Session type: Poster

Abstract: After analyzing data from participants that were either primed with a horror movie or from a hopeful movie we attempted to see if fear had a relationship with the political ideas and preferences participants had.

       

Authors: Jamie Bohlen, Natalie Homa
Proposal title: AN ANALYSIS OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN WHITE RACIAL ATTITUDE TYPES AND RACIAL MICROAGGRESSIONS USING A NATIONWIDE SAMPLE
Faculty sponsor: Natalie Homa
Field of Study: Psychology
Session type: Oral
Abstract: What is arguably becoming increasingly important in the United States today involves the ways in which we think about, talk about, and address racial issues. While the need for addressing blatant racism in the United States is still apparent, other more unconscious, insidious forms of racism continue to be practiced, often undetected and unchecked. Just one of these forms exists in use of racial microaggressions (Nadal, 2011). Racial microaggressions consist of “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color” (Sue et al., 2007, p. 271). Therefore, the current study analyzes the relationship between whites’ racial attitude types and participant ratings of appropriateness of racial microaggressions. Results, implications, and ideas for future directions are also discussed.

 

Authors: Sydney Looper, Brianna Kempel

Proposal title: MENTORING JUVENILES

Faculty sponsor: Kari Gentzler

Field of Study: Psychology

Session type: Poster

Abstract: We will be presenting the benefits and challenges of mentoring at-risk juveniles. We will also discuss the lessons we learned from mentoring these individuals, including what we found to work and what did not work in our situations.

 

Authors: Kailey Meyer, Natalie Homa

Proposal title: ROLE CONFLICT IN HIGHER EDUCATION

Faculty sponsor: Dr. Natalie Homa

Field of Study: Psychology

Session type: Oral

Abstract: The current study applied the work-family conflict literature to explore schoolwork-social life conflict of traditional college students. Survey results from 97 undergraduate students examined how schoolwork-social life conflict related to academic burnout, life satisfaction, and views of the transition-to-work and anticipated family-work conflict. A series of multiple regression analyses examined schoolwork-to-social life conflict. Both schoolwork-to-social life  (β=.23, p< .05) and social life-to-schoolwork conflict (β=.36, p< .01) positively predicted academic burnout, which replicated findings in non-academic settings (e.g. Carlson, Kacmar, & Williams, 2000; Coyle, Van Leer, Schroeder & Fulcher, 2015). Schoolwork-to-social life conflict predicted anticipated work-to-family conflict (β=.29, p< .05)  and social life-to-schoolwork conflict predicted anticipated family-to-work conflict (β=.43, p< .01). Furthermore, social life-to-schoolwork conflict predicted a less positive

transition into the workforce (β=-.36, p<.01). The examination of  schoolwork-social life conflict served to begin the exploration of a very limited literature as well as make links to the established work-family conflict literature. Higher education may be a pivotal time period to teach and encourage good balance to not only impact current academics but life after graduation.

 

Authors: Sophie Tonjes, Jocelyn Schock King, Dylan Boror

Proposal title: RESPONSE MODALITY INFLUENCES THE  FORMATION OF FALSE MEMORIES IN THE DRM PARADIGM FOR CHILDREN.

Faculty sponsor: Jocelyn Shock King

Field of Study: Psychology

Session type: Poster

Abstract: The Deese–Roediger–McDermott, commonly known as the DRM paradigm, is a procedure that is used in cognitive psychology to study false memories. Previous research has led to two major theories (activation monitoring theory and fuzzy trace theory) of how false memories are formed in the DRM paradigm. One way of discriminating between these theories is to assess the developmental trajectory of performance. Activation monitoring theory suggests that false memories should decrease with age, indicating that adults should make fewer false memories than children do. In contrast, fuzzy trace theory suggests that false memories should increase with age, arguing that adults create more false memories than children. Previous research examining this issue has had children write their responses, therefore causing them to place more attention on sublexical information and less on meaning information. This may lead to children having a decreased amount  false memories. The current study provided separate DRM lists for adults and children based on age appropriateness. The children were read lists aloud and then asked to recall the information either verbally or written in order to compare the two. Results, implications, and future directions are also discussed.

Authors: Hannah Schievelbein, MaKayla Parriott

Proposal title (all caps): MENTORING AT-RISK JUVENILES

Faculty sponsor: Kari Gentzler

Field of Study: Sociology

Session type: Poster

Abstract: This presentation will discuss the benefits and challenges of mentoring at-risk youth; as well as, addressing some do's and do not's for a mentoring relationship with such youth.

 

Authors: Hannah Schievelbein, Kari Gentzler

Proposal title: USE OF CONTROL ON RESISTING AND ASSAULTIVE SUBJECTS: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE LINCOLN POLICE DEPARTMENT

Faculty sponsor: Kari Gentzler

Field of Study: Sociology

Session type: Oral

Abstract: This presentation is an assessment of the Lincoln Police Department’s (LPD) Assault on Officer and Use of Control cases. Analyses were run to look at basic characteristics of suspects in both types of cases, and the progression of officers’ average use of control compared to suspects’ average use of resistance over the course of an incident. Results showed that officers’ average levels of control are lower than suspects’ average levels of resistance in both sources of data. Additionally, several significant differences were found in the progression of incidents based on the suspects’ race/ethnicity and gender. Finally, officers and suspects are more likely to sustain an injury during an incident when altercations go to the ground.


Author: Ronnie Brust

Proposal title: "LATINOS IN NEBRASKA: ORAL HISTORIES FROM THE HEARTLAND" ORAL HISTORIES PROJECT

Faculty sponsor: Jared List

Field of Study: Spanish

Session type: Oral

Abstract: Collaborating with my faculty sponsor, Jared List, I carried out the “Latinos in Nebraska: Oral Histories from the Heartland” oral history project over the summer of 2017 in Crete, Nebraska. The project contributes to a historical archive that aims to document increasing Latino presence in Nebraska since 2000. The project’s goal was to video record 10 - 15 interviews where Latino individuals in the community share their stories. Through these interviews, the oral history project hoped to raise awareness of the presence and contributions of Latinos in the Crete community specifically. The interviews and videos were transcribed and translated and then uploaded to Doane’s website for public access. In the presentation I detail the objectives, process and outcomes of the project.

 

Authors: Delainy Baker, Hannah Burch, Rachel Burch, Marcus Manley, Ana Pérez-Méndez, Estrella Urenda-Rodríguez

Proposal title: THE NARRATIVITY OF LIFE

Faculty sponsor: Jared List

Field of study: Spanish

Session type: Oral

Abstract: Everything we have grown to know and love has been organized in a construct based out of language. Humans read in a language, learn in a language, dream in a language and further construct our own self worth using a language. The phrase ‘Narrativity of life’ is a paradox in every culture.  Life, being the most natural of things, surrounds our entire world in plants, animals, and humans all living together as a system. However our narrative, while necessary, is the most unnatural concept we face. Our lives are spelt out through language to describe what constructs we fall into and what image we wish to present ourselves. The paradox we face through language to create meaning in life, holds bar on ability to actually communicate and understand life. The presentations in “The Narrativity of Life” will focus on the individual’s perceptions, implications and performance of identity through societal norms through various examples. The presentations will also discuss narratives presented in our daily lives.

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