Undergraduate Poster 2018-05-15T12:34:51+00:00


Undergraduate Research Poster Presentation

Library Room 401
Friday, April 20, 2018

Grambling State University

First Poster Session: 10:40 am – 11:30 am
Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha (TNF-α) and p38/MAPK Cross-Talk Stimulates NF-kβ Activation in Pentachlorophenol-Challenged and TIB-73 Mouse Hepatocytes
D’Errah Nelson, Dr. Waneene, C. Dorsey, Anditia Wyke, Ca’Myla Taylor

We examined signal transduction activity between cytokines and the serine/threonine p38. Cross-talk between mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) members and cytokines produce a matrix of intracellular signaling systems that augment physiological processes. The p38/MAPK pathway is a distinct phosphorylated MAPK tier that responds to multiple stress signals. TNF-α is a pro-inflammatory cytokine with multifaceted signaling abilities and a key mediator of downstream signaling that involve cell survival, differentiation, proliferative activity, cell death, and the transcriptional activation of pro-inflammatory genes. Pentachlorophenol (PCP) is a manufactured organochlorine chemical and has been used worldwide in agricultural, domestic, and industrial applications with its primary use as a wood preservative agent. PCP has been established as a probable human Group B2 carcinogen by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. We hypothesized that PCP will induce an inflammatory response through TNF-α and p38/MAPK signaling in TIB-73 mouse hepatocytes. We assessed ATF-2, IK-Bα, phospho-p38/MAPK, NF-kB, phospho-NFkB/65 and TNF-α in PCP-treated hepatocytes at concentrations of 0 μg PCP/mL, 4 μg PCP/mL, and 8 μg PCP/mL, following 48 hr of exposure. Employing the Western immunoblotting technique, a dose-dependent upregulation of the 54 kDa ATF-2, 51 kDa NF-kB, 65 kDa phospho-NF-kB/p65, 38 kDa phospho-p38, and 25 kDa TNF-α was observed in 4 μg PCP/mL, and 8 μg PCP/mL. We also observed a significant increase in the expression p38/MAPK, NF-kB, TNF-α at transcriptional and protein levels in PCP-challenged TIB-73 mouse hepatocyte cells. PCP has the ability to induce both cytokine and chemokine production in TIB-73 mouse hepatocytes, including IL-1B and MCP1.

First Poster Session: 10:40 am – 11:30 am
Study of the functional domains and their organizations of ten proteins in six vertebrates
Tiffany Francis, Dr. Hung-Tat T. Leung, Rubilia Xavier

The functions of a protein are characterized by the functional domains and their organization. We studied ten proteins found in six vertebrates (three mammals, one bird, one amphibian and a fish) to see if there are major differences in the functional domains and their organization. Our preliminary study revealed that six proteins showed no major changes, two with minor changes, and two with major changes in the amino acid sequence identities. However, we found only minor changes in the functional domains of these proteins. We came to a preliminary conclusion that differences in amino acid identity in homolog proteins in most cases reside in the non-functional domain regions.

Second Session: 1:00 pm – 1:50 pm
Layered FePt/Fe2O3 nanoparticles annealing in furnace or by laser for magnetic storage media applications
Deidre Henderson, Dr. Naidu Seetala

FePt nanoparticles can be used to increase magnetic storage capacity to 1 TB/in2, but as synthesized particles need to be heated to above 500 °C to get required magnetic property. Self-assembled FePt nanoparticles layer was placed between two layers of Fe2O3 nanoparticles on Si and Cu substrates to minimize aggregation during annealing to get required phase transformation for high magnetic properties. Annealing was performed using vacuum furnace at 600 °C for an hour and laser at 20 W and 40 W for 1.5 ms. The coercivity increased from 148 Oe to 366 Oe and 246 Oe for furnace annealed samples on Si and Cu substrates, respectively; while it remained almost unchanged in laser annealed samples. The magnetization increased upon furnace annealing, while it decreased upon laser annealing. This can be explained considering temperature during laser annealing is enough to bring a phase change in Fe2O3 and not high enough for FePt phase change and the observation where single layer Fe2O3 showed a decrease in magnetization upon annealing. In summary, the power or duration of laser exposure used in the laser annealing of FePt nanoparticles seems to be insufficient and most of the laser energy used used-up to decompose the surfactant molecules.
*This work is supported by CIMM grant funded by NSF EPSCoR cooperative agreement OIA-1541079 and the Louisiana Board of Regents.

Second Session: 1:00 pm – 1:50 pm
An Examination of Black Feminism’s Theory of Intersectionality in Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child
AShayla Woolfolk, Dr. Evelynn Wynn, Bridgett McDaniel, Savannah Williams

This study examined the effects of Black feminism’s theory of intersectionality in Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child (2015), her first novel set in the twenty-first century. As race is one of the intersecting factors examined in the novel, Morrison asserts that “Distinguishing color – light, black, in between – as the marker for race is really an error: It’s socially constructed, it’s culturally enforced and it has some advantages for certain people . . . . the ranking of color in terms of its closeness to white people or white-skinned people and its devaluation according to how dark one is and the impact that has on people who are dedicated to the privileges of certain levels of skin color” (NPR). This research, then, was driven by two questions: (1) How does Morrison apply the theory of intersectionality through her African American protagonist, Bride? (2) How does Bride’s experiences, specifically with racial issues, align itself with Kimberlé Crenshaw’s definition of the theory of intersectionality?

Louisiana Tech University

First Poster Session: 10:40 am – 11:30 am
The Use of Biomimetic Hydrogels to Direct Stem Cell Differentiation for Tissue Engineering Applications
India Pursell, Dr. Jamie Newman

Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) are a multipotent stem cell used in cell based regenerative therapies with over 600 clinical trials being conducted for the treatment of conditions like leukemeia, autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease, and orthopedic injury. hMSCs have the ability to self-renew and the potential to differentiate into many cell types, including those that make up bone, fat, and cartilage. In order to harness the potential of stem cells for regenerative medicine applications, there is a growing interest in the generation of biomimetic scaffolds to facilitate the growth and differentiation of specified tissue types. However, despite the research in the area of biomaterials for regenerative tissue scaffolds, there remain many questions about how cells interact with these scaffolds and how the properties of the materials influence cell behavior. We have analyzed the response of hMSCs seeded on Poly (ethylene glycol) dimethacrylate (PEGDMA) hydrogels to determine how the cells behave on materials of different elasticities. Attachment studies, immunofluorescence staining, and qRT-PCR were used to quantify and verify adipogenesis of hMSCs. Hydrogel biocompatibility was confirmed in mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) and hMSCs as they adhered to and surved on hydrogels of different elasticities. In addition, IF and qRT-PCR confirmed an influence of hydrogel elasticity on cell state, contributing to the field striving to characterize and optimize biomaterial-cell interactions for tissue engineering applications.

Second Session: 1:00 pm – 1:50 pm
Analyzing Bitcoin Price Volatility
Kishan Desai, Patrick Scott

We analyze bitcoin price volatility with other macro financial indicators. We use the Granger causality test to see if there is a relationship between any of the following time series pairs: bitcoin price and S&P500, bitcoin price and VIX, bitcoin price and gold prices, and bitcoin prices and trade weighted US Dollar index. We conclude that there are no significant results in the pairings of bitcoin prices. However, gold price volatility does Granger cause US Dollar index volatility at the 5% significance level. Also, the VIX Granger cause gold price volatility at the 5% significance level.

Second Session: 1:00 pm – 1:50 pm
The Impact of NAFTA on North America Business Cycle Volatility
Mallory Schwarz, Dr. Patrick Scott

There is an agglomeration of research and analysis on the North American Free Trade Agreement and its effects on the economies of the United States, Canada, and Mexico. This paper looks at NAFTA in regards as to how it has impacted business cycle volatility in the aforementioned countries. Business cycle volatility is the changes of economic activity as an economy moves through cycles of recessions and periods of growth. By employing the GDP of the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and applying macroeconomic tools such as an ARIMA model, ARCH test, and Chow test the results of the study showed that Canada was the only country to experience a decrease in volatility after the implementation of NAFTA.

McNeese State University

First Poster Session: 10:40 am – 11:30 am
Monitoring the Effects of Sunlight on Aerobic Septic System Effluent Quality
Tallen Cavenah, Chris Struchtemeyer, Robert Rutz

Aerobic septic systems are used to treat wastewater in rural areas of the Louisiana. Many of these systems discharge effluent directly into ravines, which rely on sunlight for disinfection purposes. In spite of this practice, few studies have examined whether this effluent is adequately disinfected by sunlight or if it negatively impacts the water quality of ravines that serve as discharge points. The goal of this work was to assess the environmental impacts of aerobic septic system effluent by: 1) Determining if sunlight disinfects effluent by comparing the concentrations of heterotrophs, fecal coliforms, and E. coli in aerobic sewer system effluent samples that were incubated in the presence and absence of sunlight and 2) Monitoring the microbial quality of water from ravines where aerobic sewer system effluent was discharged by measuring concentrations of heterotrophs, fecal coliforms, and E. coli. Sunlight did not appear to disinfect any of the effluent samples that were collected. This observation was further supported by the fact that all of the ravine samples that were monitored in this study contained high concentrations of heterotrophs (2.4 x 105-1.1 x 1010 MPN/100ml), fecal coliforms (1.3 x 104-greater than 1.5 x 106 CFU/100 ml), and in some cases E. coli (0-8.4 X 104 CFU/100 ml). This study shows that aerobic septic systems release large numbers of bacteria, which will likely impact the environment. The results of this work also show that additional disinfection steps are needed to ensure the proper function of these systems.

First Poster Session: 10:40 am – 11:30 am
A World-Wide Review of Vectorborne Disease Outbreaks: 1996-2017
Veronica Stewart, William H. Dees, Kara L. Ashworth

Over the past 20 years the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported disease outbreaks from all over the world via Disease Outbreak News (DON; www.who.int). We reviewed vectorborne disease outbreaks and other applicable information occurring since 1996 using DON and other sources. Only the vectorborne disease outbreaks that were reported through DON are included in this review. The biome in which each outbreak occurred was determined. Outbreaks also were categorized by disease, region, and anthropogenic biome. For each disease, a timeline was constructed to show outbreak occurrence. The vectorborne diseases reported by DON include: chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue, Japanese encephalitis, leishmaniasis, malaria, O’nyong-nyong fever, plague, relapsing fever, Rift Valley fever, St. Louis encephalitis, tularemia, typhus (louse-borne), Venezuelan equine encephalitis, West Nile fever, yellow fever, and Zika. The five most reported diseases were yellow fever, dengue, Zika, plague, and Rift Valley fever. The anthropogenic biome in which three of the five most reported diseases occurred was rangelands. Aedes species vectored the majority of diseases reported. Plague was the only non-mosquitoborne pathogen reported of significance. Understanding how disease transmission is affected by environmental conditions may provide further information to prevent and control vectorborne disease outbreaks.

Second Session: 1:00 pm – 1:50 pm
Comparison of Quarter and Thoroughbred Race Horses’ Equipment and Behaviors
Haley O’Hara, Edward Ferguson

This study compared and contrasted differences in equipment used and behaviours of racing Quarter Horses (QH) and Thoroughbreds (TB) at Delta Downs Racetrack. Over 350 races were evaluated including QH (n=1036) and TB (n =1019). The QH were evaluated in the spring (April until June) and the TB Horses in the winter (December until February). Seven different observations were recorded; lead chain placement, use of blinkers, starting gates behaviour, race-finish type, leg wrapping position, use of hock pads, and effect of variable on finish in top three places. Significantly (P<0.05) more QH had the chain on the nose (65%) compared to TB also, more TB had the chain on the mouth (60%) compared to Quarter Horses (28%). Racing Quarter Horses used blinkers significantly more often (94%) than racing TB (60%). Quarter Horses showed a statistical difference in acting- up in the starting gates calculating they acted up more often (3%) rather that TB being less likely to act- up (1%). Thoroughbred were more likely to finish a race tired (36%) rather than QH (6%). Quarter Horses were more likely to finish the race running (91%) compared to TBs (58.5%). Significantly more TB ad all legs wrapped (14%) compared to QH (7%). Likewise, TB were more likely to have just the back legs wrapped (32%) compared to QH (3%). 114 Second Session: 1:00 pm – 1:50 pm Comparison of GnRH vs Estradiol in CO-Synch+CIDR Estrus Synchronization Protocols McNeese State University Logan Richard, Bill Storer, Edward Ferguson A total of 40 beef heifers (predominantly Angus breed-type) were housed at the McNeese State University Heifer Development Program at Kinder, LA. These heifers were randomly allotted to one of two treatments with only the hormone administered at end of synchronization protocol differing: control (Co-Sync+CIDR+GnRH) or treatment (CO-Synch+CIDR+Estradiol17B). All heifers were AI-bred with fertile semen and by one of two AI technicians. The pregnancy rate between control (53%) and treatment (63%) groups were not statistically different (p>0.05). However, the time to complete the AI trended to be less (P<0.06) in the treatment group (2:20±0.006) compared with control group (2:43±0.008). There was no effect of chute score on AI pregnancy rates; chute score 1 (15/28, 54%) and chute score 2 or higher (13/23 (67%). Also, there was no difference in pregnancy rates between AI technician; AI Tech 1 (10/17, 59%) and AI Tech 2 (13/23 (57%). The chute score had no effect on time to complete AI with chute score 1 averaging 2:32±0.007 min and chute score 2 or higher averaging 2:29±0.008. Lastly, time to complete AI had no effect on pregnancy rates with pregnant heifers averaging 2:32±0.008 min and non-pregnant heifers averaging 2:29±0.005 min. These data suggest that either protocol will yield equivalent pregnancy rates but if large numbers of animals are to be AI bred, the estradiol protocol will tend to reduce the time required to perform all the inseminations.

Second Session: 1:00 pm – 1:50 pm
Bechdel Test, Test Performed on Movies
Alexandra Mason, Tracy Standley

The Bechdel Test is a test performed on movies to show the movie’s inclusivity (or lack thereof) of female characters and the dependency on male characters. The three criteria are as follows: there must be at least two named female characters, they must have a conversation, and they must converse about something other than a man. In this research, the Bechdel Test was applied to Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and the newest Power Rangers movie. The test was applied to each scene for each movie to see which movie had the most passing scenes. The number of female characters and number of scenes with two named females not passing the Bechdel Test were also measured. Women are often characterized as background extras, with the occasional supporting role, and rarely as a lead. This research looks at how women are characterized in science fiction movies according to the Bechdel Test.

Nicholls State University

First Poster Session: 10:40 am – 11:30 am
Biodegradation of Phenol by Bacteria Isolated from Termite Hindgut
Christopher Oubre, Dr. Raj Boopathy

The subterranean Formosan termite (Coptotermes formosanus) is an insect pest in Louisiana, causing billions of dollars annually in damage. There has been research reported on the microbiome of this termite, but more research is needed on factors affecting the termite microbial ecosystem. Information about nitrogen fixation, carbon utilization, and chemical breakdown is available, but to our knowledge, the breakdown of phenolic compounds produced from lignin metabolism in the termite gut has never been reported before. In this study, termites were collected from dead fragments of red maple, tupelo, nuttal oak, and live oak. The termite gut samples were enriched with different media with various substrate including phenol, glucose, and acetate. Two bacteria were isolated and identified that used phenol as the sole carbon source. Both were Acinetobacter species, namely, Acinetobacter tandoii and A. berenziniae. Both species converted phenol to acetate via the production of metabolites, catechol, cis-cis muconic acid, succinic acid, and oxaloacetate. These bacteria are effectively using the Kreb’s cycle to produce TCA cycle intermediates from phenol to achieve complete metabolism of this compound. The bacteria were able to tolerate high concentrations of phenol of more than 300 mg/L and degrade 100% of the compound. Further research is needed to confirm the use of these organisms in bioremediation of phenol contaminated soil and water.

First Poster Session: 10:40 am – 11:30 am
Bacteriophage Capable of Lysing Drug Resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae Isolated from External Nares
Callie Scull, Angie Corbin

Multi-drug resistant bacteria have become a global health crisis both environmentally and in health care facilities. Antibiotic resistant bacteria (ARBs) evolved through excessive exposure to antibiotics and through the development of antibiotic resistant genes (ARGs). Transient colonization of the external nares with gram negative rods has been reported. Bacteriophages have become a new prospective resolution to the growing number of pathogens. Cultures of the external nares of thirty microbiology students were tested against two isolated strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae Carbapenemase (KPC) for lytic bacteriophage. Student’s samples were separate into three groups based on health care exposure: health care workers, family in health care, and non-health care associated. Bacteriophages were found to be capable of lysing each of the Klebsiella pneumoniae strains, ARLG 1332 and ATCC BAA 1705. Thirteen samples demonstrated lytic bacteriophage. The recovery of lytic bacteriophage was highest with KPC ATCC BAA 1705 in the non-health care associated group.

First Poster Session: 10:40 am – 11:30 am
Synthesis of Ferrocene-fused Acenes for Organic Opto-electronic Applications
Jonathan Bergeron, Dr. Uttam Pokharel

The small molecular polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (commonly known by acenes) are the potential alternatives of traditional silicon-based semiconducting materials for opto-electronic applications. However, organic acenes have shorter life and poor performance under ambient conditions to use them in electronic devices for commercial purposes. To address the limitations of organic acenes, our group decided to incorporate a redox-active metal center on them via cyclopentadienyl moiety. Currently, we are working on developing synthetic methodologies to synthesize ferrocene-capped acene complexes. We have successfully optimized the conditions to synthesize ferrocene-fused quinones in multi-gram scale starting from ferrocene and organic anhydrides as outlined in the reaction scheme below. In order to study the effects of extended conjugation in opto-electronic properties of acenes, we have synthesized tricyclic and tetracyclic quinones by varying organic anhydrides in the very first step of the synthetic procedure. The quinone will be subjected to aromatization using electron-withdrawing cyano groups as shown in the scheme below. Synthesis and characterization of different organometallic compounds will be discussed.

First Poster Session: 10:40 am – 11:30 am
Utilizing Conventional Drilling Methods for Renewable Energy
Heath Freyou, Dr. Alireza Edrisi

This research seeks to determine the practicality of conventional drilling methods for delivering and converting biomass into liquid hydrocarbon fuels. Utilizing porous rock formations with the assistance of geothermal heat and high pressures, the process of hydrothermal liquefaction is expected to be induced in a slurry of water and biomass. This experiment simulates formation conditions in a geothermal hotspot by placing biomass feedstocks into a pressure vessel of porous rock and subjecting the slurry to expected temperatures and pressures. Temperature, pressure, duration, and slurry conversion is recorded for each experimental run using slurries made from algae, corn, sugarcane, and potatoes. Such a process can also be used to dispose of unwanted waste products, potentially control the API gravity of the oil being created, and justify the use of costlier environmentally friendly drilling methods. By exploring the feasibility of geothermal injection wells and different feedstocks, this research seeks to find less costly methods to produce liquid hydrocarbon fuels from biomass. Innovations like this are desirable because oil is a finite resource and without a renewable process, will be depleted.

Second Session: 1:00 pm – 1:50 pm
A Sympathetic View of Outsider Art
Drew Charpentier, Dr. Deborah Cibelli

Outsider Art has been a concept in society and art history for decades. It involves the separation of one group from another in the art world: the untrained and the classically trained artist. Outsider Art is something that challenges from the traditional concept of an artist being trained by old masters in an academic setting. Outsider Art can refer to many people such as the mentally ill, and folk artists, but they all have a binding factor, which is being an untrained artist. According to Encountering Difference Within, by Diepeveen and Van Laar, Outsider Art, it can be categorized by its “formal aspects, its obsessive qualities, and its awkwardness as a category of art” (65). There is no concrete definition of what constitutes Outsider Art. In this review, it is argued that Diepeveen and Van Laar use outdated and demanding terms that have its roots in appropriation and oppression of minorities within the art world. They use a 20th-century view that needs to be abandoned.

Northwestern State University

First Poster Session: 10:40 am – 11:30 am
The degradation of acetaminophen under aerobic conditions
Jasmine Juarez, Dr. Christopher Lyles

Acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol, is a medication widely used in the United States to treat pain and fever. Generally, taking acetaminophen is safe and effective as directed; however, accumulation of this compound in surface water, treated wastewater, and treated drinking water has raised growing concerns on the possible toxic effects in the environment. Enrichment cultures were established using a defined basal medium amended with PIPES buffer (pH 7.3) and 500 µM of acetaminophen. The medium was inoculated with 100 µl of wastewater sludge obtained from an active commercial treatment system. Acetaminophen depletion was measured over time using liquid chromatography and after a four-day lag phase, the acetaminophen degraded at a rate of 64.6  32.4 µM/day. Additionally, agar plates were made from the same basal medium described above and spread for isolation using 100 µl of inoculum from the enrichment cultures. Isolates were analyzed using the MALDI-TOF Biotyper software (v4.1.70) and were identified by MALDI-TOF as Rhodococcus equi (Log score 2.060) and Pseudomonas nitroreducens (Log score 1.926). MALDI-TOF was also used to visualize the metabolome the analysis showed a decrease of acetaminophen related peaks at m/z 144.231, 163.865, and 182.377 and the increase of potential intermediates or end products at m/z peaks 527.274 and 634.075. Our study suggests that under aerobic conditions acetaminophen is being readily degraded by Rhodococcus and Pseudomans sp., though the intermediates for this metabolism are not fully understood. Further, GCMS analysis will help elucidate potential intermediate compounds.

First Poster Session: 10:40 am – 11:30 am
Toxicology report on the ZnO nanoparticles and their biological relevance
Rayvin Gaudet, Dr. Shreyashi Ganguly, Dr. Christopher Lyles

Quantum dots have been used for myriad of applications: starting from solar cells to sunscreen lotions. But it has been an ongoing debate whether usage of these nanoparticles are biologically favorable or not. Researchers from all over the world are trying to investigate the biological implications of the nanoparticles. However, the studies have not been concrete as of yet.
This presentation will describe firstly, the colloidal based strategies to produce water soluble ZnO nanoparticles as well the effect of the nanoparticles in bacterial cells specifically E. coli. The phase of the particle will be detected by Powder X-ray diffraction and the functional groups will be detected by Infrared spectroscopy. In addition, the effect of capping ligand of the nanoparticles on the bacterial cell will be described. This information will be gathered by optical density testing and protein assay.
In conclusion, the toxicology of ZnO nanoparticles will be thoroughly explored in this project.

First Poster Session: 10:40 am – 11:30 am
The Effect of Doping on the Titania-Silica Based Sol-Gel Composites
Cassandra Osborne, Dr. Jafar Al-Sharab, Ariell Shield, Harley Godwin, Shreyashi Ganguly, Curtis Desselles

Sol-gels are colloidal gels that have already been studied as self-cleaning materials and have been studied for their various industrial and biomedical applications. The objective of this work is to prepare titania-silica-based thin-films using sol-gel technique and to test their optical and mechanical properties. Three different compositions were investigated by varying the ratio of SiO2 to TiO2 (5%, 10%, and 15%). Additionally, the incorporating of iron nanoparticles was also investigated. Thin films were applied onto glass substrates, and then spread evenly via spin rotation. All prepared samples were characterized using UV-Vis for absorption. The presentation will compare absorption results. This is work on process and future work will include details on structural and chemical analysis of all investigated samples using X-ray diffraction (XRD), Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS), X-ray fluorescence (XRF), and mechanical testing.

Second Session: 1:00 pm – 1:50 pm
Evaluation of paint primers on weathered wood.
Aura Hernandez Canedo, Dr. Jafar Al Sharab, John Lindsey, Bailey Walker, Guadalupe Mendez

NSU IET/EET students’ project design I course requires that student(s) identify a local problem, research possible solutions, and propose a viable solution. In this case, student(s) takes an outgoing project from the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training that consists of evaluating the durability of paint/primers systems on weathered wood. Students applied theory and technique learned through the IET/EET Curriculum to solve problems of the type that they will encounter in the real-world. Preliminary research, application of theory, and analysis of the proposal was guided by faculty members to ensure that student(s) remain on target.

Second Session: 1:00 pm – 1:50 pm
Design and Implementation of Portable Gas Sensing System With Wireless Warning Capabilities
Caleb Haire, Jafar Al Sharab, Trace Evans, Greg Green, Logan Lapaire, Trenton Parker

The MQ-5 gas sensor is capable of detecting combustible gasses such as H2, LPG, CH4, CO, and Alcohol. Our goal is to mobilize the MQ-5 sensor, allowing for wireless detection of LPG gasses while simultaneously providing a real-time monitoring and three-pronged alert system. Upon LPG detection, the device will give alert the user with an audible alarm, a text warning via the LCD screen, and 3 SMS text messages via Bluetooth.

Southeastern Louisiana University

First Poster Session: 10:40 am – 11:30 am
Larval life history of the Southern Two-lined Salamander, Eurycea cirrigera, in the Florida Parishes
Jonathan Bynum, Dr. Christopher Beachy, Stuart Wells, Joseph Incandela

The family Plethodontidae has more diversity in life cycle than the other eight families of salamanders combined. There are three basic variations of life cycle: metamorphic, paedomorphic and direct-developing. Those plethodontid species that are biphasic differ from most amphibians in that larval growth is very slow and the larval period is long (9-60 months). There are few studies of species that occupy the coastal plain of the southeastern United States. We collected bimonthly samples of larval Eurycea cirrigera from a locality at Bogue Chitto State Park in Washington Parish, Louisiana for a full year cycle to estimate larval density, larval growth rate, timing of oviposition, timing of hatching and timing of metamorphosis. Larval growth is slow, although faster than many montane populations of E. cirrigera. Hatching takes place in early summer month in and metamorphosis occurs in late summer. We estimate the larval period to be 12-15 months.

First Poster Session: 10:40 am – 11:30 am
Novel 2,2′-Bipyridine Synthesis
Zackary Araki, Dr. Ben Wicker

We have designed a synthesis for diphenyl-bis(2-pyridiyl) phosphonium (dipyphos) salt ([Ph2P(2-Py)2] [X]), where X = Cl, Br, BPh4, BF4, Tf2N. Attempts to install dipyphos onto Mo(0) and Pd(0), has resulted in the generation of known 2-2′-bipyridine (bipy) complexes, (bipy)Mo(CO)4 and (bipy)PdBr2. This poster presents our research into the potential synthesis of bipy via phosphorus extrusion as hinted at by the above results. Our attempts at elucidating the mechanism of decomposition via systematic reaction have mostly resulted in the formation of (2-pyridyl)diphenylphosphine oxide (Ph2P(2-Py)P=O), as seen by 1H and 31P NMR. However, we have been able to observe some formation of 2,2′-bipyridine via 1H NMR with certain nucleophiles.

First Poster Session: 10:40 am – 11:30 am
Graphical User Interface for Cybersecurity Workforce Development
Brandon Maulding, Dr. John Burris

A significant challenge to maintaining security within an organization is the training of a non-technical workforce to respond appropriately to cybersecurity threats. This work describes an online environment that utilizes experiential learning to give non-technical workers an increased exposure to issues in cybersecurity. We present a simulation-based approach that provides a better understanding of specific cybersecurity threats through experiential learning. The presented interface uses simulations of cybersecurity threats to provide concrete experiences rather than descriptions. While moving through the simulation, the user can attempt multiple actions and is provided with an “awareness” measure. For each, the system provides continuous feedback to allow active experimentation. After each threat has been exposed, the environment provides a narrative of the user’s actions with suggested improvements to allow for reflective observation. This work includes a user study of the interface, shows the results of usability testing, and evaluates the effectiveness of the training through simulation.

Second Session: 1:00 pm – 1:50 pm
The Relationship between the Misinformation Effect and the DRM Paradigm
Kaitlyn Jackson, Christina Parker

The present research observed whether the misinformation effect had an effect on the DRM paradigm. We hypothesized that when participants were presented with the misinformation before the recall test, they would recall the critical words at almost the same rate, if not more frequent, as the presented words. A total of 108 men and women over 18 years old participated in our study, 50% being women. The study utilized a between-subjects, one-way, two groups design. Participants in both groups listened to five fifteen-word word lists read aloud. After hearing the lists, the experimental group completed a recognition task and then completed a recall test while the control group simply completed the recall test. To compute our statistics, we used an independent samples t-test. In support of our hypothesis, there was a significant increase in the number of critical words that the experimental group recalled compared to the number of critical words that the control group recalled. There was also a significant increase in the number of non-presented, unrelated words recalled by the control group compared to the number of non-related words recalled by the experimental group. A significant negative correlation between age and the number of presented words recalled was also found; older individuals remembered less words.

Second Session: 1:00 pm – 1:50 pm
The Relationship Between Humor, Adjustment to College and Resilience
Anna Crawford, Dr. Susan Coats, Scout Savoy, Olivia Moreno

Humor is thought to help people adjust to many issues in life. The purpose of the current study was to explore the relationship between individuals’ sense of humor, their adjustment to college, and general resilience. It is hypothesized that individuals who report a greater sense of humor would score higher on measures of resilience and college adjustment. In particular, we wished to examine whether the relationship between sense of humor and college adjustment and resilience depends on the dimension of humor assessed. Appreciation of humor and humor production are related but different aspects of humor and may have different effects. 194 college students enrolled as undergraduate students at Southeastern Louisiana University completed online surveys on humor, college adjustment, and resilience. The hypotheses were largely confirmed as those reported a greater sense of humor showed higher levels of resilience and adjustment to college. Further, we found that humor production is more strongly and reliably related to these measures of adaptive functioning than is humor appreciation. Resilience was found to be suggested to be positively correlated to positive attitudes towards college and college adjustment. Future research should investigate the associations between humor, the use of humor and resilience.

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Second Session: 1:00 pm – 1:50 pm
Porous Scaffolds Composed of Chitosan, Collagen, and Hydroxyapatite for Use in Cancer Therapy Studies
Katelyn Musumeche, Dr. Dilip Depan, Sarah Papadakes, Melanie Sanders, Caleb Chauhan

One of the main obstacles in the initial phase of cancer therapy research is the creation of a three-dimensional environment which adequately mimics the environment of cancer cells in the human body. Historically, the testing of potential cancer therapies has been done in two-dimensional spaces, such as a petri dish. This two-dimensional evaluation does not allow for the considerations that human bones are both three-dimensional and highly porous. The fabrication of an environment that closely resembles the extracellular matrix (ECM) of human bone is crucial to the study of interactions between cancer cells and normal cells inside the body. This project focuses on creating such an environment to study the ECM interactions between breast cancer cells and osteoblasts. Three dimensional scaffolds were created using chitosan (CS), a natural biopolymer, collagen (CO), and hydroxyapatite (HAp) to optimize the mechanical and biological properties of the scaffolds. Glutaraldehyde (GLU) was used as a cross-linker between the CS and CO biopolymers. The GLU concentration was varied to evaluate the optimal concentration for mimicking the mechanical and physical properties of the ECM of human bone. The CS-CO-HAp scaffolds were prepared using lyophilization techniques to create porous scaffolds. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and confocal microscopy were utilized to study porosity, pore size, and pore interconnectivity. Fourier transform infra-red (FTIR) spectroscopy was used to determine the degree of crosslinking for each concentration of GLU. Physical properties studied were water absorption, retention, and swelling. Our goal for this project is to create a three-dimensional environment to be used for cell culture to study the ECM interactions of bone cells and breast cancer cells in a laboratory setting. The scaffolds created in this project will be used in future studies to evaluate changes in the ECM before, during, and after cancer treatment therapies.

Second Session: 1:00 pm – 1:50 pm
d33 Testing of Piezoelectric/Carbon Nano-Fiber Composites
Christian Gary, Dr. Ahmed Khattab, Ryan Saucier, Tyler Hacker, Oluwakemi Ajala

Piezoelectric ceramics are used in a number of industries for their sensing capabilities, and in some cases power generation. By effectively generating a voltage potential under loading, and vice versa, piezoelectric ceramics aided in the development of sonar, ultrafine focusing of optical instruments, microphones, and even push-start propane barbecues. One solution for an alternate source of energy has been the integration of piezoelectric ceramics with road and highway systems to harvest lost kinetic energy from vehicles. Amongst various piezoelectric materials lead zirconate titanate (PZT) ceramics have distinctive energy conversion functions. Nanomaterials, such as carbon nanofibers (CNF), hold the potential to redefine the field of traditional materials both in terms of performance and potential applications. CNF have a high performance per cost ratio and good interfacial bonding with the matrix materials. CNF are an economical alternative to carbon nanotubes (CNT) and more easily manufactured. In this study, PZT ceramics will be modified with CNF to enhance its piezoelectric effects. Testing was performed on CNF/PZT disc samples to find the amount of charge produced in the test material due to applied dynamic load known as the d33 value. Samples were made by mixing pre-measured CNF and PZT and pressing each of the mixtures in a cylindrical mold before cooking them. The developed CNF/PZT samples were subjected to vertical forces that activated the materials’ charge output. Each mixture had a different percentage of CNF in it, allowing for the examination of the difference in production of charge based on the amount of CNF it contained.

Second Session: 1:00 pm – 1:50 pm
Public Opinions and Attitudes Toward Mental Health Care and Mass Shootings
Jourdan Monfrey, Dr. Ami Stearns

This project was conducted for a class assignment previously and is currently being re-written with new, more rigorous collection methods. The study examines the attitudes towards a possible relationship between mental health care and mass shootings in order to better understand the way the public perceives this relationship. The updated study explores perception through the lenses of race and religion to investigate possible differences. The data were collected via an online survey distributed to students in introductory psychology and criminal justice classes during the fall of 2017. Preliminary results from the original study suggested that the majority of respondents recognized the relationship between mental health and crime, but were slightly less likely to agree on a relationship between mental health and mass shootings. Additionally, when asked about specific mass shooting incidents, respondents were varied in placing blame on lack of mental health resources. The updated research study includes demographic questions about race and religion in order to theorize about differences in attitudes that exist among certain groups.

Second Session: 1:00 pm – 1:50 pm
The Effect of Classical Music in College Aged Students on the Oxygenation and Total Hemoglobin in the Pre-Frontal Cortex
Kaitlyn Culotta, Dr. David Bellar

Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) is a brain imaging technique that measures the oxygenated, deoxygenated and total hemoglobin after exposing the skull to near-infrared light. PURPOSE: In this study, using the Functional NIRS technique, we monitored the oxygenated and total hemoglobin in the pre-frontal cortex during a fifteen-minute time frame while exposing the subjects to music. The first five minutes was a baseline test where there was no music playing. The second five minutes, the participants were exposed to the piece “Mars the Bringer of War” from the Planet Symphony by Holst. The third five minutes the participants were exposed to the piece “Ride of the Valkyries” by Wagner. METHODS: Six college aged students participated in this investigation. The oxygenated and total hemoglobin of the pre-frontal cortex were monitored using the NIRS brain imaging technique. The data was recorded and analyzed. RESULTS: Data were analyzed via least squares regression. The results of the analysis of the oxygenated hemoglobin in the pre-frontal cortex by treatment were not significant (Pre-Music M=1.18830 mol/L, Classical Track 1 M=1.73970 mol/L, Classical Track 2 M=1.42719 mol/L). These results were similar to those measures of the total hemoglobin in the pre-frontal cortex during treatment (Pre-Music M=-0.32604 mol/L, Classical Track 1 M=-0.79368 mol/L, Classical Track 2 M=-0.77768 mol/L). CONCLUSION: The addition of classical music to the environment did not result in significant differences between pre-music, classical track 1 and classical track 2 of the oxygenated and total hemoglobin of the pre-frontal cortex. PRACTICAL APPLICATION: It is important to a variety of populations to understand that the addition of classical music to someone’s daily activities will not increase the oxygenated or total hemoglobin in the pre-frontal cortex.

Second Session: 1:00 pm – 1:50 pm
Through the Eyes of a Millennial: Millennial Perceptions of Entitlement
Courtney Suire, Dr. Vanessa Hill, Dr. Curtis Matherne, Dr. Keith Credo

Within the last decade alone, the research community has gained great interest in the Millennial Generation, particularly in regard to their level of entitlement. While existing studies have sought to discover how this most recent generation should be expected to fit in with society in a number of ways, few have ventured to understand exactly what entitlement means to Millennials. An exploratory study was performed to unearth how Millennials conceptualize the idea of entitlement for themselves, and what themes they feel they are most entitled to in three situational categories: College, Work, and Life. After developing a qualitative survey, frequency results were analyzed to discover which entitlement themes occurred most often in each situational category. Findings provide a basis for future explorations in research in regards to entitlement differences among generations, differences in entitled attitudes across demographic categories, as well as what ultimately causes entitlement.

University of Louisiana at Monroe

First Poster Session: 10:40 am – 11:30 am
A role for takeout and juvenile hormone in the high fat diet obesity state of Drosophila melanogaster
Caleb Green, Dr. Matthew Talbert, Zachary Palowsky, Sumit P Patel

We observed an increased head capsule expression of takeout during an RNA sequencing and expression microarray in adult flies exposed to high fat diet (HFD). The HFD is a 10% w/v sucrose/yeast medium supplemented with 20% w/v coconut oil. There are known links between takeout and longevity, foraging behavior, and food intake in adult Drosophila melanogaster. There is also a known binding interaction between takeout and juvenile hormone. By using existing Met mutant strains, GAL4-UAS lines, as well as the juvenile hormone analogue methoprene, we can begin to appreciate their respective roles in the context of a HFD and the obesity-like state in Drosophila. We observed triglyceride content, negative geotaxis reflex, feeding quantity, and average lifespan for mated female Canton-S flies that were administered methoprene dissolved in ethanol. In our negative geotaxis assay, the obesity-like state induced by HFD caused an expected decline in climbing performance, but consistent methoprene administration for adults resulted in a significant increase in climbing pass percentage for HFD flies after 7 days of adult diet exposure (P=.0024, as per ANOVA). The climbing performance of HFD/methoprene exposed flies was not significantly different from normal diet/methoprene exposed flies. Any effect of methoprene on climbing was not discernable at 14 days of consistent drug and diet exposure, although the effect of HFD remained. HFD increased triglyceride content of whole flies, but methoprene exposure had no effect on triglyceride content within either diet. Neither HFD or methoprene exposure impacted feeding quantity significantly. Lifespan decreased as expected with HFD.

First Poster Session: 10:40 am – 11:30 am
Purification and Enzyme Activity of Giardia lamblia eIF4A
Gillian Holder, Dr. Srinvas Garlapati, Adebanjo Adedoja

Translation initiation factor eIF4A, a DEAD-box helicase, is required for unwinding secondary structures in the 5’UTR of mRNAs during translation initiation in higher eukaryotes. It exists as part of the eIF4F complex with two other initiation factors: eIF4G (scaffold protein) and eIF4E (5′ cap binding protein). However, in Giardia lamblia, a primitive Protozoan parasite, the mRNAs have very short (0-6 nucleotides) 5’UTRs, and G. lamblia has also been shown to lack eIF4G. To test the function of this unique initiation factor, a 6XHis-tagged eIF4A was over-expressed, purified using Ni-NTA column chromatography, and dialyzed. The results were visualized through SDS-PAGE and Western blot. An ATPase assay was performed, and a homology enzyme model was established using the Homo sapiens eIF4A. The protein was successfully over-expressed and purified to 100%, and the ATPase assay demonstrated no increase in light intensity with the addition of protein or with increasing concentrations of eIF4A. The homology model demonstrated 47% identity and 67% similarity, suggesting the possibility that the G. lamblia eIF4A could be targeted through gene therapy or small molecule therapy without affecting the human eIF4A. Future methods will include a helicase assay and creation of a dominant negative mutant of the G. lamblia eIF4A, as well as enzymatic assays of the mutants to compare to the wild-type eIF4A.

The small molecular polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (commonly known by acenes) are the potential alternatives of traditional silicon-based semiconducting materials for opto-electronic applications. However, organic acenes have shorter life and poor performance under ambient conditions to use them in electronic devices for commercial purposes. To address the limitations of organic acenes, our group decided to incorporate a redox-active metal center on them via cyclopentadienyl moiety. Currently, we are working on developing synthetic methodologies to synthesize ferrocene-capped acene complexes. We have successfully optimized the conditions to synthesize ferrocene-fused quinones in multi-gram scale starting from ferrocene and organic anhydrides as outlined in the reaction scheme below. In order to study the effects of extended conjugation in opto-electronic properties of acenes, we have synthesized tricyclic and tetracyclic quinones by varying organic anhydrides in the very first step of the synthetic procedure. The quinone will be subjected to aromatization using electron-withdrawing cyano groups as shown in the scheme below. Synthesis and characterization of different organometallic compounds will be discussed.

Second Session: 1:00 pm – 1:50 pm
Assessment of Precipitation in CMIP5 Models using TRMM Data
Taylor Aydell, Dr. Todd Murphy

General Circulation Models (GCMs) often have difficulty accurately predicting annual rainfall rates in the tropics, specifically when detailing the difference between convective and stratiform precipitation. Five of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 (CMIP5) models were selected and their corresponding parameterizations for stratiform and convective precipitation were recorded. Parameterizations for both convective and stratiform precipitation describe how the models formulate these processes and can ultimately reveal why the different precipitation types are often forecasted inaccurately. The five chosen CMIP5 models, with data ranging from 1990-2005, were read in, averaged annually for the given years, and plotted in units of mm/day. The data was then looked at in plots of annual total, convective, and stratiform precipitation, stratiform rain fraction, and seasonal averages of all three types of precipitation. Data output from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite was manipulated similarly. Comparing the model data to the observed satellite data will reveal if the five chosen CMIP5 models accurately represent the types of precipitation in the tropics. Preliminary results show that the models are inaccurately predicting stratiform precipitation primarily in the middle latitudes and underestimating stratiform precipitation in the tropics.

Second Session: 1:00 pm – 1:50 pm
Cloud Structures in the Pacific ITCZ
Nick Slaughter, Dr. Todd Murphy

Previous studies show that the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) has narrowed over the past few decades and that there is large interannual variability in the ITCZ width and precipitation intensity. However, it is currently unknown as to how the cloud distributions and cloud structures vary with the characteristics of the ITCZ. This project investigates the relationship between the ITCZ width and cloud features by creating a cloud climatology for 2007 – 2010. Clouds within the Pacific ITCZ region are identified as one of eight cloud types and variables such as mean height, cloud extent, precipitation fraction, and frequency are related to ITCZ extent is investigated through frequency histograms, as well as time-series and correlation analysis. The total number of clouds increases across all cloud types as the ITCZ increases in width. However, the relative distribution of clouds in the ITCZ changes in a different manner as deep convection, nimbostratus, and high cloud percentages show the largest increase. Monthly mean cloud variables will also be compared to the Multivariate ENSO Index for a better understanding of the interseasonal changes of the cloud distributions in the ITCZ

University of New Orleans

First Poster Session: 10:40 am – 11:30 am
Characterization of recombinant enzymes involved in blue green chromatic acclimation in the marine cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. A 15-62.
Suman Pokhrel, Dr. Wendy Schluchter, Adam Nguyen

First Poster Session: 10:40 am – 11:30 am
The Effects of Passive Integrated Transponder Tagging on Cortisol Release in the Gulf Killifish, Fundulus grandis
Ariel Hernandez , Bernard Rees, Jasmine Harris

Passive integrated transponder (PIT) tagging is a method of identifying and monitoring individuals in biological studies. It entails injecting an individual of interest with an electronic microchip containing an alphanumeric code that is detected by a scanner. Due to its ease of use, low cost, and essentially limitless number of unique codes, PIT tagging has become the favored technique for tagging individuals. However, studies employing PIT tagging generally assume that stress due to the injection and presence of a tag has no influence on the experimental results. This study assessed the effects of PIT-tagging on levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the Gulf Killifish, Fundulus grandis, an estuarine fish of the Gulf of Mexico that is prone to daily or seasonal environmental stressors. Cortisol was measured non-invasively by extracting and quantifying cortisol excreted by individual fish into their aquarium water. Cortisol was measured in water samples from fish prior to, immediately after, and over four weeks following PIT-tagging. Tagging caused an immediate, significant increase in cortisol release by fish. Cortisol release by tagged fish returned to control levels by one week after the procedure. The results suggest that fish be allowed to recover at least one week after PIT tagging prior to other experimental manipulations. Future work will measure cortisol release by uniquely tagged fish exposed to natural and anthropogenic stressors.

First Poster Session: 10:40 am – 11:30 am
Synthesis and Analysis of a Doped Lanthanum Nickelate as Possible Analog for Superconducting Cuprate
Alana Dixon, Dr. Viktor Poltavets, Naeyma Islam, Michael Shabetai

The goal of this research was to synthesize a doped lanthanum nickel oxide to be tested for high temperature superconductivity. The target compounds were of the general formula LaNi1-xMxO2 (where M = Cu or Co) and should be structural and electronic analogues to CaCuO2, the parent high temperature superconducting cuprate. The choice of Ni1+ nickelates is based on structural and electronic properties sought which would result in similarities to the parent compound for high temperature superconductors (HTSC), CaCuO2. Desired properties include a square planar layer with d9/d8 or d9/d10 mixed valence orbital and the presence of mixing between the 3d and 2p orbitals. Sufficient 3d 2p mixing should enable electrons to flow through the mixed valence d orbitals. This project will serve as a test of the correlation of these structural and electronic properties with the ability of cuprates to exhibit high temperature superconductivity.

As LaNi1-xMxO2 is metastable due to the inclusion of Ni1+, the LaNi1-xMxO3 with perovskite structure was prepared first using Pechini sol-gel methods. Analysis of synthesized nickelates showed the presence of impurities; synthetic methods have been re-evaluated and a second series of samples are being prepared. Reduction to the infinite layered LaNi1-xMxO2 will be performed using low-temperature solvothermal topotactic oxygen deintercalation or solid state reduction using H2 under pressure. X-ray diffraction data will be used to determine the purity of the synthesized nickelates. Measurement of magnetic properties will be performed with a superconducting quantum interface device (SQUID) magnetometer.

Second Session: 1:00 pm – 1:50 pm
Elevated Separation Anxiety in Parents Predicts Elevated Separation Anxiety in Children with Chromosome 11q11.2 Deletion Syndrome (22q11.2DS)
Jasmine Mobley, Dr. Elliott Beaton

We compared self-reported separation anxiety in children with 22q11.2DS versus typically-developing children (TD) in relation to parental reports about their children. Anxiety associated with parent-child separation is central to psychosocial development across the life span (Hock, McBride, & Gnezda, 1989). Separation anxiety in children with 22q11.2DS can make everyday life difficult and may lead to added stress for the children later in life. Stress in this population is associated with short-term memory impairment, decrease in brain volume, and higher risk of psychosis (Sanders et al., 2016; Angkustsiri, 2014). The most common risk factor for elevated separation anxiety is experiencing a major stressor during early development which is common in children with 22q11.2DS (Beaton & Simon, 2011).

Second Session: 1:00 pm – 1:50 pm
Examining the French Theater of WWI through the Collection of Harry Deyo.
Michael Indest

The collective memories of societies are always fading. Therefore, it is important that we collect and preserve our experiences as a nation and a community. Given the distance in time, acquiring personal accounts of veterans and participants of the First World War has become increasingly difficult as time passes. It is rare that the entire personal papers of an American veteran of World War I become available. The UNO History Department has been lucky in receiving such a collection of private papers. My research seeks to create a narrative of Harry Deyo’s World War I experience in France through the photographs and personal papers from his collections. He volunteered and served as an ambulance driver during the war. This brought him in close contact with both the casualties of battle and the local population of France. His photographs depict the lives and experiences of those behind the frontlines of WWI His pictures also leave us with a visual record or the tasks of an ambulance driver. After his return from Europe, Deyo compiled a collection of his wartime photographs and wrote commentaries and descriptions of each photo. These captions, along with the photos themselves, are the primary focuses my research. Through the study of the Deyo Collection, I seek to gain a clearer insight on what daily life was like for those living near or fighting on the frontlines of French theater of war during WWI.

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