Undergraduate Research Exposition

University of Rochester / Office of Undergraduate Research

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


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

Filter displayed posters (330 keywords)

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Show Posters:

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Analyzing Graphene Polymers with Time-Resolved THz Spectroscopy

Alaina Attanasio and Roman Sobolewski (advisor)

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Abstract
Transient THz radiation uses a femtosecond laser optical pulse to excite electrons with a short carrier lifetime in a semiconductor creating radiation between 0.5 and 30THz. This process can be used in various applications including the measurement of graphene in complex polymers. THz spectroscopy is used to study properties such as refractive index, absorption, dielectric constant, and reflection which can reveal characteristics of materials. For graphene nanocomposites, it can be used to assess the dispersion of graphene in a non-destructive way. These properties can also be used to examine properties of other materials such as biological samples where it can identify cancerous cell tissue.
Presented by
Alaina Attanasio <aattanas@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester, ECE Department
Keywords
Terahertz, Imaging, Spectroscopy, Graphene Nanocomposites

A Photonic Electro-Optic Modulator for On-Chip Quantum Frequency Processing

B. E. Nussbaum, H. H. Lu, N. B. Lingaraju, J. M. Lukens, A. N. Vamivakas

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Abstract
Quantum logic gate operations are central to quantum computing and quantum information processing. Whereas a fiber-based system covers optical table space on the scale of square meters, an integrated photonic counterpart takes up only a few square millimeters at most. In addition, since the field of integrated photonics builds on the established technology of integrated electronics, photonic devices have the potential to be more cost-effective than bulky fiber-based systems. Further, with proper tuning, photonic integrated circuits offer lower internal optical losses compared to fiber-based optical systems. This benefit makes integrated photonics all the more important to the growth of quantum information science—where every photon counts. This project will explore the use of a frequency mode space for quantum information processing in the mature platform of silicon photonics, focusing on the fundamental operation of a Hadamard transformation.
Presented by
Benjamin Nussbaum
Institution
The Institute of Optics, University of Rochester
Keywords
Quantum information, integrated photonics, silicon photonics, quantum computing, electro-optic modulator, quantum frequency processing
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Available April 16th, 12:00-1:00pm EDT
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Femtosecond Carrier Relaxation and Coherent Acoustic Phonon Generation in Bi2Se3 Nanolayers

Charles Chimera, Jing Cheng, Peter Francis, Genyu Chen, Ivan Komissarov, Roman Sobolewski

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Abstract
We report the generation of excited carriers and coherent acoustic phonons (CAPs) in Bi2Se3, a topological insulator, 6-nm to 32-nm-thick layer excited by femtosecond optical laser pulses. We use a time-resolved optical pump/probe spectroscopy technique, where 100-fs-wide optical pump pulses with photon energy above the Bi2Se3 bandgap create hot electrons, while time-delayed probe pulses (100 fs) measure electron relaxation dynamics. The results are modeled based the time evolution of nonequilibrium/hot carrier concentrations within the material. During this relaxation process excess energy is converted into lattice vibrations creating CAPs. Half of the Bi2Se3 samples were deposited directly on a silica substrate and the other half having a graphene nanolayer between the Bi2Se3 and silica. We measured both transmissivity (T) and reflectivity (R) transients simultaneously, since this way we can find the absorbance (A) changes, using the relationship T + R + A = 1. The simultaneous experiments in both the reflection and transmission mode, gave a holistic view of the electron lifetimes as well as CAP generation and their respective lifetimes.
Presented by
Charles Chimera
Institution
University of Rochester Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Keywords
Coherent Acoustic Phonons, Topological Insulators, Semiconductors
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Available April 16th 12:00pm - 1:00pm
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Technology for Enabling Haptic Interaction with Panel Displays

Charles Fleischmann

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Abstract
Smart interactive surfaces that display images and video, radiate and receive sound, and respond to user touch are an emerging trend in human-computer interfaces. However, employing large flat panel displays with touch interfaces remains a challenge, as capacitive touch screens are impractical and prohibitively expensive for displays larger than a tablet or laptop computer. We have demonstrated that by affixing a small array (3-5 sensors) of inexpensive accelerometers to a panel one can infer the user touch location employing sensor array processing and machine learning algorithms. The collection of a large volume of training data is necessary to improve the accuracy of the predicted touch location. This project focused specifically on the development of a computer-controlled “robot” that can repetitively and controllably touch a panel at any point on its surface. A linear actuator affixed to the robot arm can touch or tap the panel with varying levels of force, while the acoustic response of the panel can be measured by the sensor array. Employing large amounts of consistent training data obtainable from this device is proving to be a critical step in the development of a low-cost panel touch-sensing system.
Presented by
Charles Fleischmann
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
Panel Displays, Acoustic Surfaces, Haptics, Data Acquisition
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Available April 16th 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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CFD Analysis of Cross Currents on the St. Lawrence River

Eli Kosson, Claire V. Wilson and David G. Foster

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Abstract
In recent years, the water in Lake Ontario has been rising to dangerously high levels, affecting communities all around the lake. The level of the lake rose to a record 247.75 feet in 2019, a height at which widespread flooding is already occurring (Gigas 2019). The water level is predicted to rise more, and if it reaches a level of 250 feet, flood damage around the lake will be widespread and destructive. One possible solution to lower this level is by allowing more water through the St. Lawrence River, the primary outlet of the lake. However, one concern is that an increase in flowrate creates cross currents that make ship navigation dangerous. A cross current is movement of water which flows in a different direction than the course of the river. As they increase in power with flowrate, these cross currents can be strong enough to tip a commercial ship at sufficiently high velocities, and therefore must be avoided. One area of particular cross current impact is known as Polly’s Gut. By modeling this area using Computational Fluid Dynamics, possible methodologies to reduce these currents can be evaluated. This would allow the flowrate through the St. Lawrence River to be increased, thus aiding with relief on the floods on Lake Ontario.
Presented by
Eli Kosson
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Chemical Engineering
Keywords

Tibiofemoral Articular Cartilage and Meniscal Segmentations from MR Images

Kate E. Lindsey (1), Sofia L. Guarnieri (1), Erin C. Argentieri (2), Amy L. Lerner (1)

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Abstract
Hello, my name is Kate and in addition to all the cool research I do, I am also a member of the UofR women's lacrosse team and unfortunately, my team and I are traveling to Ithaca, NY right now on a bus to play Ithaca College. Feel free to join my zoom link and ask questions, but I am unsure how my connection will be on the road, so if my camera is off or my audio is cutting out, we can discuss my poster via the zoom chat feature! __________________________________________________________________

Abstract: Patient-specific finite element models constructed from segmentations of MR Images allow for better understanding of the contact mechanics and geometries of the knee’s anatomy. Unfortunately, the process of segmenting components of the model is time consuming, thus limiting the number of FE models possible. This study is focused on establishing a robust workflow such that precise segmentations of MR Images of the tibiofemoral joint can be efficiently made. The goal is to have precise enough segmentations to be able to detect deformations of the meniscus and articular cartilage during 1⁄2 body weight axial loading. The segmenting methodology is described including the quality checks implemented before reviewing with a radiology and imaging expert to finalize the segmentations to be handed over to the FE modeling team.
Presented by
Kate Lindsey
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Biomedical Engineering (1) ; Hospital for Special Surgery (2)
Keywords
MR Imaging, Segmentation, FE Model, Finite Element Model, Biomechanics, Knee, Tibiofemoral Joint, Biomedical Engineering
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Available April 16th 12-1pm EST
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Decoding “Cocktail Party” Attention using Brain Responses to Relative Pitch

Kexin Li, Kevin D Prinsloo, Edmund C Lalor

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Abstract
Speech is of paramount importance to human communication. As a representation of phonemic and syllabic transitions, the speech envelope has been widely investigated and shown to have predictive power in cocktail party problems, where one chooses to attend to only one stream of speech in a noisy environment. However, prosodic measures and specifically relative pitch, i.e. the emphasis the speaker places on a sentence, conveys additional information that is not captured by the speech envelope. This project aims to find if relative pitch of human speech can also be decoded to predict human attention. A backward decoding model was developed to predict relative pitch measures of the stimuli using electroencephalogram (EEG) data. It was found that the trained model was in general much better at predicting relative pitch of the attended stimulus than predicting the unattended one, and the right frontal lobe of the brain was most active performing relevant tasks. The result shows that not only what we say, but also how we say it, conveys meaning and encodes information in our brain. It also sheds light on the potential of improving the prediction accuracy of our model by incorporating speech envelope and relative pitch measures, and possibly other speech features.
Presented by
Kexin Li
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Keywords
Speech, EEG, cocktail party, attention, relative pitch

A high-throughput assay for identification and isolation of virus-neutralizing monoclonal plasma cell

Khoa Hoang, Lindsay Piraino, Jonathan Rebhahn, Lisa Delouise

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Abstract
Virus neutralizing antibodies can be used as passive immunization to reduce infection load. During the COVID-19 pandemics, it has been widely used and demonstrated to reduce viral loads of infected patients. Besides neutralizing antibody discovery and production methods such as phage display and humanized antibodies, neutralizing antibodies could be obtained from plasma cells of patients early after infection. An efficient method for identification and isolation of virus-neutralizing monoclonal plasma cell is needed to facilitate this process. Current experiments in our lab has shown the efficacy of a high-thoughput assay for neutralizing plasma cell screening based on Microbubble technology. We have shown that the current assay can achieve specificity of more than 95% in neutralizing Vaccinia infection as a proof of principle. The application of deep learning in image analysis yields high precision and data-rich assays outputs.
Presented by
Khoa Hoang <khoang2@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
Department of Biology, University of Rochester; Goergen Institute for Data Science, University of Rochester; Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Rochester; Department of Microbiology and Immunology, URMC
Keywords
Virus Neutralization Assay, Image Analysis
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Available April 16th 12pm - 1pm
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MR Image-Based Characterization of Medial and Lateral Meniscal Geometries for Patient-Specific Finite Element Modeling

Madison Lang, Kathryn Colone, Kate Lindsey, Sofia Guarnieri, Amy L. Lerner

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Abstract
The menisci are essential in reducing contact forces on the tibial articular cartilage within the knee joint. Partial meniscectomy (PM) is a surgical treatment for meniscal tears, but may reduce the effectiveness of the menisci in dissipating compressive stresses, leading to increased contact forces on the tibial cartilage and a greater risk of developing osteoarthritis. By investigating meniscal geometry relationships, our study aims to help recover the intact meniscal footprint, which may be used to map regional material property variations across the tibial cartilages in patient-specific finite element (FE) models of the tibiofemoral joint. Our main objectives were to (1) perform MR Image-based meniscal measurements, (2) assess the interobserver reproducibility and intraobserver repeatability of these measurements, and (3) identify a systematic approach to make predictions of the intact meniscal geometry. Two independent observers performed independent MR image-based measurements on 20 subjects to characterize six key geometries for both the medial and lateral menisci. Intraclass correlation coefficient and root mean square difference results showed strong interobserver reproducibility and intraobserver repeatability in measuring meniscal dimensions. While linear regression analysis indicated insignificant relationships between many of the meniscal geometries relative to the tibial plateau width, there were significant intrameniscal relationships relative to the midbody widths on both the medial and lateral sides. These results suggest that the midbody width geometry could potentially serve as a predictor for estimating other meniscal geometries and approximating the meniscal footprint; however, subject-specific FE modeling may be necessary.
Presented by
Madison Lang, Kathryn Colone <mlang7@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Keywords
biomechanics, orthopedics, osteoarthritis, biomedical engineering, engineering, MR Imaging
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Available April 16th, 12-1 pm
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Computational Model for Epithelial Cell Reintegration

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

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Abstract
The tightly-packed organization of component cells is critical to the function of epithelial tissues. As these tissues develop and densify, the addition of new cells can present a challenge to tissue organization; mitotic cells typically change shape and increase in size before dividing, causing them to crowd and potentially displace their neighbors. One way for a cell to alleviate crowding is to move apically to divide. After protruding from the layer and dividing, the daughter cells can reincorporate basally into the parental layer through an adhesion-based process called reintegration. In the Drosophila follicular epithelium, reintegration failure causes tissue disruption. I hypothesize that reintegration is a passive process that emerges from the physical properties of cells. An alternative possibility is that cells play an active role in reintegration, potentially through migratory or contractile behavior. We are developing a computational model, composed of polygonal cells in the XZ plane which simulate passive cell-cell and cell-substrate interactions, to distinguish between these hypotheses.
Presented by
Mimi Jung <mjung8@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
Departments of 1Biomedical Engineering, 2Physics, and 3Biology, University of Rochester, NY, USA
Keywords

LungMAP Project: Characterizing Airway Development in Children’s Lungs

Phuong Le, Cory Poole, Gloria Pryhuber, Thomas Mariani, Timothy M. Baran

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Abstract
The LungMap project is a national research project which seeks to create a molecular, genetic, and imaging database of the developing lung. At the University of Rochester, donors’ lungs are imaged post-mortem with computed tomography (CT). Through further data processing using the software Amira, each of the CT scans is segmented into a 3D structure in order to illustrate the lungs’ airway structure. Useful data about the bronchiole tree, such as the mean radius and mean length of each bronchus/bronchiole, is collected from this software. The current goal of the project is to perform statistical analyses on the bronchiole tree data for subjects with no known lung disease, in order to understand variability between and within age groups. In the long-term, the project aims to analyze the lung data to understand its relationship with genetic factors and comorbidities.
Presented by
Phuong Le
Institution
Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Rochester; Department of Imaging Sciences, Pediatrics-Division of Neonatology, University of Rochester Medical Center
Keywords
bronchi, bronchiole, neonatal, branch length and radius, LungMAP
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Available April 16th 12pm - 1pm
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Automatic bone-based femoral coordinate system based on MR images

Sofia Guarnieri, Kate Lindsey, Erin Argentieri, Amy Lerner

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Abstract
Bone-based coordinate systems allow researchers to make accurate measurement comparisons across subjects and within subjects across different scans. Previous coordinate systems have used a large portion of the bone, which may not always be available or used manual segmentations that introduce human error. In addition, the anatomic meaning of theses coordinate systems is unclear. The purpose of this study was to develop an automatic bone-based femoral coordinate system for use in shorter bones segments and to evaluate the amount of bone that is optimal to create a consistent coordinate system. A coordinate system was developed using two iterations of calculating the axis of the diaphysis and using a cylinder fit to the condyles. The evaluation of this coordinate system showed that at least 2.5% of the bone should be used in order for the coordinate system to be consistent. The SI axis pointed medially and anteriorly compared to the mechanical axis of the femur for all subjects. Understanding how CS’s vary for different amounts of bone used could guide decision in imaging on field of view to ensure the same percent of the bone is being captured regardless of the patient’s height. Using an automatic method also reduces human error and improves overall efficiency.
Presented by
Sofia Guarnieri
Institution
University of Rochester, Biomedical Engineering Department; Hospital for Special Surgery, Radiology and Imaging
Keywords

Markerless Motion Tracking for Human Subjects using Open Source Deep Learning Software

William T. Phillips, John F. Drazan, Todd J. Hullfish, Josh R. Baxter

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Abstract
COVID-19 has necessitated finding new ways of collecting data for researchers in many fields, including biomechanics. The advent of easy-to-use, free, and open source deep learning software offers promise to replace traditional motion capture systems, however the need to validate these systems against traditional marker-based motion tracking approaches exists. Using one of these open source software packages, DeepLabCut, and free-to-use motion capture and video data, we were able to train a model and validate our results against traditional motion capture

Using coefficient of multiple correlations (CMC), we found high levels of agreement between the traditional motion capture data and the results from our trained network. The whole body motion resulted in a CMC >0.991 and RMSE<3.22°. CMC values for the hip (0.853 ± 0.23), knee (0.963 ± 0.471), and ankle (0.970 ± 0.055) sagittal motion also show high degrees of agreement between the two sets of data.
Presented by
William Phillips
Institution
University of Rochester, University of Pennsylvania
Keywords
Biomechanics, machine learning, deep learning, orthopedics

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Closer Than We Realize

Angelica Aranda

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Abstract
Drag is much closer to all of us than we realize, which is evident in the fact that it has become more popular in film, television, and media over time. Through this growing popularity, the audience for Drag has changed as well, shifting from mostly gay audiences to a much broader audience which is increasingly composed of young women and girls. Along with that shift has come the evolution from Drag providing a punchline for an uninformed American mainstream audience in the 1950s, especially in film, to Drag queens/kings taking control over their own content, especially in digital media. My discussion will conclude with my biggest takeaways from my research thus far: Drag is art, Drag is expression, and it is much closer to all of us than we realize.
Presented by
Angelica Aranda
Institution
University of Rochester, Meliora Scholar
Keywords
Drag, Drag Culture, Drag Queens, Media, Drag Kings, Film

Human Being : Being Human

Callista Zaronias

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Abstract
In this qualitative research project, the question being investigated was “how does one define ‘being human’?” The aim of this project was to compare and contrast the perspectives on this question from the fields of psychology, philosophy, dance and medicine. Throughout the 2020-21 school year, informational research was conducted by interviewing professionals from each field of study to understand their field’s perspective on the definition of being human. From the interview process, it was found that the only true way to define being human is through biology, while being a person is different from being human and involves the unique experiences that each individual has. Given the broad nature of the question, anyone being interviewed may offer a different perspective, which in itself provides information to the research question that ‘being human’ can’t truly be defined. These qualitative findings from the interview process were then used in a studio inquiry process to create a culminating dance film to be shown at the University of Rochester Department of Dance and Movement Spring 2021 show, titled “Opening the Frame.” This project matter is relevant because it investigates the essence of one of the only aspects of human life that is shared across time, culture and domain. The final product of this research project will be significant in affirming qualitative and studio research as relevant forms of research and it will fill a gap in interdisciplinary knowledge.
Presented by
Callista Zaronias
Institution
University of Rochester, Program of Dance and Movement
Keywords
Dance, Human, Arts

Know Your Audience: Crafting a New Theory of Expertise in Literary Criticism

Jessica Sgambati

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Abstract
This research centers on the degree to which genre conventions are important in the display of expertise within literary criticisms, and whether the relationship between genre and expertise is mediated by the different audiences that literary criticism attempts to reach. In order to determine the accessibility of an expert’s paper, underlying questions that we must ask ourselves are who is literary criticism for and how is genre affected by the target audience? Over the past few centuries, the targeted audience for literary criticism has slowly shifted from the general public to a more esoteric, scholarly audience, aligning with a similar shift in the function of literary criticism. In balancing the different expectations of these two audiences, literary critics are presented with the difficult task of proving their expertise to each of these audiences. We assume that the genre conventions of the field dictate how literary critics display their expertise, but it is unclear whether this signal of expertise is recognized both by other scholars and by laypeople. By evaluating the effectiveness of genre as a lens for the audience’s level of understanding, this research aims to elucidate the degree to which experts rely on genre as evidence for their expertise and how genre complicates the display of expertise to different audiences.
Presented by
Jessica Sgambati
Institution
University of Rochester; Writing, Speaking and Argument Program
Keywords
genre, literary criticism, legitimation
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Available April 16th, 12pm-1pm
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This Body Is Home: Investigating the Normalization of Disordered Eating Behaviors in College-Aged Women Through Movement

Kayla Ucciferri

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Abstract
I investigated the normalization of disordered eating behaviors (DEB) in college-aged women to produce a screen dance about the fine line between disordered eating and eating disorders. Using principles of dance movement therapy, this dance film is meant to serve as a form of micro-intervention for mindset around DEB. The produced dance film will be shown to an audience as part of the Program of Dance and Movement’s Spring Showcase, “Opening the Frame.” Following the film, the audience will be surveyed about the film’s impact on them to determine the film’s success as a micro-intervention for attitudes surrounding DEB. Investigative movement workshops centered around unhealthy eating habits guided the development of the movement vocabulary for the choreography for the narrative dance film about the relationship between unhealthy habits with food, self-image, and the connection between the mind and the body. Workshop results indicated that DEB is a common experience for undergraduate women, whether they have experienced it personally or witnessed a peer partake in disordered eating behaviors, and most of these behaviors can be linked to a busy student lifestyle. Additionally, through movement analysis, it was confirmed that eating disorders and DEB are a disconnect in the mind-body connection, evident by the similarity in action and succession of movement but difference in dynamic and embodiment between reflections on negative and positive relationships to food. Movement served as a powerful tool in contextualizing the psychosocial aspect of attitudes surrounding eating disorders and disordered eating behaviors in college-aged women.
Presented by
Kayla Ucciferri
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
Dance/Movement Therapy, Dance Studies, Eating Disorders, Psychokinetic Approach
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Available April 16th, 12-1PM EST
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Ideological and Identity Disagreement in the Writing Center

Morgan Farrow, Anh-Tho Antoinette Thi Nguyen

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Abstract
Our research examines disagreement in the Writing Center, which is under the UR Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program (WSAP), through discussions of “othering,” racial and gender differences, and identity politics. We conducted a qualitative survey of University of Rochester Writing Fellows and Consultants about their experiences handling specific conflicts in the writing center. In addition to this survey, our research draws on published texts from a variety of writing journals. The results of our research were conclusive in supporting our hypothesis that disagreement within tutoring sessions in the University of Rochester Writing Center is prevalent and should be addressed by tutors. We found that addressing these findings in tutor training courses would be beneficial for tutors to both understand and better prepare for such scenarios. Finally, we garnered that disseminating the results to the greater academic community would stimulate discussion and open dialogue about issues surrounding race, gender, and class in writing centers.
Presented by
Morgan Farrow, Anh-Tho Antoinette Thi Nguyen
Institution
University of Rochester, Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program
Keywords
Writing, Identity, Disagreement

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Renal GLUT2 is Essential in Regulating Systemic Glucose Homeostasis by Glycosuria

Abhiyudh Rajput, Leticia M. de Souza Cordeiro, Kavaljit H. Chhabra

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Abstract
Diabetes increases renal GLUT2 levels and consequently, worsens hyperglycemia by enhancing glucose reabsorption. We recently demonstrated that renal GLUT2 is a primary effector of the central melanocortin system in regulating glucose homeostasis. Therefore, we hypothesized that renal GLUT2 is essential for maintaining systemic glucose homeostasis by regulating glycosuria. To test the hypothesis, we generated kidney-specific inducible Glut2 knockout (KO) mice [Glut2LoxP/LoxP x KspCadCreERT2 (inducible by tamoxifen)]. These mice exhibited 90% reduction in Glut2 expression selectively in the kidneys, without affecting the expressions of other renal glucose transporters, such as Glut1, Sglt1, and Sglt2. To evaluate the physiological contribution of renal GLUT2 in systemic glucose homeostasis, we performed oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTT) in kidney-specific Glut2 KO mice and their control littermates (Ctrl). We observed that the kidney-specific GLUT2 deficient mice exhibited improved glucose tolerance compared to their Ctrls (AUC for OGTT, 41,950 ±2,014 vs. 52,165 ±1,686 mg/dL.min). To measure glycosuria in the kidney-specific Glut2 KO mice, we placed the mice in metabolic cages and collected 24h urine after acclimating the mice in the new cages. Indeed, the GLUT2 deficient mice had ~1,800-fold increase in urine glucose levels (53.5 ±11 vs. 0.03 ±0.005 mg/24h) and exhibited an increased urine volume (2.5 ±0.3 vs. 0.9 ±0.3 mL/24h) and water intake (7.6 ±0.7 vs. 4.9 ±0.7 mL/24h) compared to their Ctrl littermates. The improvement in glucose tolerance in the kidney-specific Glut2 KO mice was independent of the insulin signaling because we did not observe any changes in insulin tolerance tests (ITT) (AUC for ITT, 10,982 ±414 vs. 11,275 ±583 mg/dL.min) and serum insulin levels (1.07 ±0.14 vs. 1.05 ±0.13 ng/mL) between the groups. Importantly, the kidney- specific GLUT2 deficient mice had normal serum creatinine (0.42 ±0.02 vs. 0.41 ±0.03 mg/dL), free fatty acid (0.43 ±0.14 vs. 0.53±0.14 nmol/μL), β-hydroxybutyrate (0.29 ±0.01 vs. 0.27 ±0.02 mM) and glucagon (14 ±4 vs. 10 ±1 pg/mL) levels. Moreover, the kidney-specific Glut2 KO mice had normal glomerular area (4,190 ±119 vs. 4,219 ±186 μm2) as measured by kidney histology and normal glomerular filtration rate (153 ±9 vs. 173 ±10 [μL/min/b.w.]/100) compared with their Ctrl littermates, indicating the absence of any known renal injury. Altogether, we have developed a new mouse model in which we can knock out Glut2 selectively in the kidneys in adult mice. We show that loss-of-function of kidney-specific GLUT2 improves glucose tolerance due to elevated glycosuria without producing any known side effects. In conclusion, blocking kidney-specific GLUT2 has the potential to treat diabetes.

Presented by
Abhiyudh Rajput
Institution
University of Rochester Medical Center
Keywords
Diabetes, Genetics, Endorinology

Bee Hotels: Conservation Innovation or Greenwashing?

Akhil S Kholwadwala, Nina S Fogel

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Abstract
While originally designed for ecological research, bee hotels––artificial nesting sites for cavity nesting bees––have been commercialized, with increasing numbers of people purchasing them to place in their garden. As their popularity increases, due to increasing desire to “save the bees,” there are mounting concerns that commercial bee hotels may be more detrimental than beneficial to native populations of cavity-nesting bees. The design of bee hotels–with cavities too broad in regard to width and with unsuitable depths–may make bee hotels ineffective, and the inherent high nesting density, may make nesting bee populations more vulnerable to parasitism. Even adequately designed bee hotels are subject to user error, in terms of hotel placement and orientation, that may ensure less than ideal nesting conditions that fail to attract cavity nesting bee species or subject nesting bees to predation. This study aims to a) describe the hotels utilized by urban and suburban homeowners in St. Louis, MO and b) examine whether the presence of a bee hotel was correlated with more cavity-nesting bees. Of the hotels surveyed, only 23% met the best-practice bee hotel guidelines for bee hotel height, cavity depth, and cardinal orientation. Further, 46% of bee hotels surveyed saw simultaneous colonization by predatory insects including wasps (some of which were parasitoids), ants, and spiders. A t-test comparing the ratio of cavity nesting bees to total bees at sites with and without bee hotels showed no significant difference (p=0.60). While limited in scope, our research suggests that the value of bee hotels has been overestimated. Further research is needed not only to determine the effectiveness of bee hotels but also to improve designs and guidelines so that we may capitalize upon the growing citizen conservation movement to better conserve native bee species across the globe.
Presented by
Akhil Kholwadwala
Institution
Department of Biology, University of Rochester and Department of Biology, Saint Louis University
Keywords
Urban Ecology, Bees
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Dynamic Corrections of Object Motion Under the Influence of Self Motion

Yihe Chen, Arya Frost, Ji-Ze Jang, Kepler Palacio-Soto

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Abstract
Vision is central to our ability to navigate the world. A problem of particular importance is how the brain estimates object motion during self-movement. To address this question, we tested the flow parsing hypothesis, which states that the brain uses patterns of retinal image motion (optic flow) to infer self-motion, then subtracts the inferred self-motion from the visual image motion to compute object motion in the world.[2] We replicated the study by Warren and Rushton (2009) to investigate mechanisms of flow parsing in two experiments, using a 2D optic flow stimulus with stationary observers. Experiment 1 examined the effect of flow parsing when optic flow was present in the vicinity of the moving object (i.e., local) or further away from the object (i.e., global). We found that increasing global optic flow information in the visual field resulted in a greater degree of flow parsing. While the results are broadly consistent with those of Warren and Rushton (2009), they did not reach statistical significance most likely due to limited data. Experiment 2 examined the transferability of flow parsing across the visual field. Our findings are again consistent with those of the original study, showing that flow parsing effects grow with distance from the fovea and persist when optic flow is confined to the hemifield opposite the test object. However, effects again were not statistically significant. The fact that our replication results were not statistically significant in either experiment likely reflects a lack of statistical power, and will likely be overcome by collecting more data from subjects. We will extend the original study by Warren and Rushton (2009) by investigating whether the strength of flow parsing is tailored to the natural statistics of optic flow in the lower visual field. Prior research has shown that optic flow in the lower hemifield has a larger effect on subjects’ heading responses than optic flow in the upper hemifield.[1] Therefore, we expect to see a larger effect of flow parsing in the lower hemifield than in the upper hemifield in our on-going study.
Presented by
All authors <gjang@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
flow parsing, optic flow, vision, computation

Ranavirus and chytrid fungus co-infection effects in Xenopus laevis immune system

Anton Davydenko, Francisco De Jesús Andino, and Jacques Robert

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Abstract
Ranaviruses like Frog Virus 3 (FV3) are large dsDNA viruses that infect many species of amphibians worldwide.  In the frog Xenopus laevis, the kidneys are the primary site of FV3 replication; however, the virus can persist dormant and hidden in macrophages. Evidence from previous studies suggest that FV3 can get reactivated after secondary bacterial or fungal stimulation leading to systemic infections often lethal. In addition, co-infection of FV3 with the major amphibian chytrid fungus pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has been observed in multiple species in the wild. However, it is unclear whether Bd affects host pathogen relationship between X. laevis and FV3 due to its ability to inhibit immune response. Thus, the objective of this research is to address the hypothesis that pre-exposure to heat-killed Bd will increase susceptibility of X. laevis to FV3 activation by comparing viral loads and immune gene expression responses following FV3 infection in frogs pre-treated with heat-killed Bd. 
Presented by
Anton Davydenko
Institution
University of Rochester, department of Microbiology and Immunology
Keywords
Co-infection, FV3, inflammatory genes
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Phagocytic Engulfment: A focus on Kinetics, Persistence, and pH Change

Clare Heffernan (Presenter), Toni A. Hahn, Vu Bui, Dr. Charles Chu, Dr. Clive Zent, Joshua Zent

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Abstract
A major form of treatment that has been shown effective for chronic lymphocytic leukemia is the use of a monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapy, which is used to clear tumor cells. This treatment is a way to take advantage of antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis, ADCP. Along with this treatment, time-lapsed videos of macrophages were taken to track phagocytic events that are occurring. In these videos, there were tissue culture TAMRA-dyed macrophage cells engulfing mAb-coated target cells, which produced visual “voids” in the dye-labeled macrophages during engulfment. The target cells were labeled with a pH sensitive Cypher5 dye. Using a Seg2Tracks program, created by Joshua Zent of Ohio State University, in Fiji, which is the ImageJ processing software bundled with imaging plugins, time-lapsed videos were used to annotate macrophage and voids manually to provide the “ground truth” dataset to create and validate an automatic annotating system. In a previous project, overlays of the macrophages were annotated and analyzed. In this project, the macrophage overlays on the TAMRA channel were taken independently and manually annotated for voids. As the voids were tracked, analysis was done to measure the change in area over time, the change in integrated density over time, and the persistence length of the voids during the phagocytic process. In addition to this, while looking at the Cypher5 channel, the voids were observed and noted for the change in integrated density, a measurement of area x mean gray value, which was seen to relatively increase throughout the absorption process within the macrophages. This would mean to show a decrease in pH due to the processing of phagocytic events. A future goal for this project would be to be able to automatically track the void progress through phagocytosis.
Presented by
Clare Heffernan
Institution
Unversity of Rochester, Wilmot Cancer Center
Keywords

Positive Allosteric Modulation of the α7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor After Controlled Cortical Impact

Dinesh K. Sangadi, Akhila Sangadi, Orlando Martinez, David J. Titus, Timothy Johnston, Derk Hogenkamp, Kelvin W. Gee and Coleen M. Atkins

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Abstract
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) results in several pathological changes within the hippocampus resulting in adverse effects on learning and memory. Therapeutic strategies to enhance learning and memory after TBI are still in the early stages of clinical development. One strategy is to target the α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR), which is highly expressed in the hippocampus and contributes to formation of long-term memory. Positive allosteric modulation of this receptor using the drug AVL-3288 has been shown to increase attention and memory in rodents and has been tested extensively in clinical trials with human subjects. To determine if AVL-3288 improves outcome after TBI through the α7 nAChR specifically, we utilized Chrna7 knockout mice and compared their recovery to wildtype mice treated with AVL-3288. We hypothesized that AVL-3288 treatment would not improve learning and memory in Chrna7-/- mice after injury. To test this hypothesis, adult male C57BL/6 wildtype and Chrna7-/- mice received sham surgery or moderate controlled cortical impact (CCI) and were allowed to recover for 3 months. Mice were then treated with vehicle or AVL-3288 at 30 min prior to contextual fear conditioning. Treatment of wildtype mice after CCI with AVL-3288 significantly improved contextual fear conditioning, whereas no beneficial effects were observed in Chrna7-/- mice. Cortical and hippocampal atrophy were not improved with AVL-3288 treatment in either wildtype mice or Chrna7-/- mice. Thus, our results indicate that AVL-3288 improves cognition during the chronic recovery phase of TBI through modulation of α7 nAChR.
Presented by
Dinesh Sangadi <dsangadi@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
Department of Neurological Surgery, The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL
Keywords
α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, Chrna7, controlled cortical impact, hippocampus, learning and memory, traumatic brain injury
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Metabolomics Studies Reveal Altered Gut Metabolites in Metabolic Syndrome Mice that Disrupt Pparg Gene Expression

Eduardo Peralta-Herrera and Eliseo F. Castillo

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Abstract
Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a cluster of conditions including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, abdominal obesity, and abnormal cholesterol levels that increases an individual’s risk to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. MetS affects about one-third of the US population and one-fourth of the world population. Currently, there are no medications to treat MetS, so identifying contributing etiological factors for future therapeutic targets is critical. The goal of this study was to determine the functional role of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract in MetS. Therefore, we examined the GI tract of healthy controls (C57BL/6J) to mice with MetS (MS Nash). MS Nash mice were obese, had more peritoneal fat, fatty livers, and longer colons. Further examination of the MS Nash colon revealed decreased Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (Pparg) gene expression, a major gene that maintains intestinal homeostasis through fatty acid oxidation (FAO), maintenance of the microbiota and dampening of inflammatory pathways. Metabolomic analysis of colonic samples revealed significant differences in concentrations of metabolites allantoin and phosphorylcholine, which can be produced by bacterial species in the phylum Firmicutes and are upstream of PPARγ, to be decreased in MS Nash mice. Additionally, we found propionic acid, a short chain fatty acid and its precursor threonine, that are involved FAO also decreased in MS Nash mice. Overall, our results show factors (e.g. PPARγ, FAO metabolites) that are crucial for intestinal homeostasis are dysregulated in MetS mice suggesting a dysfunctional GI tract may be a contributing etiological factor in MetS.
Presented by
Eduardo Peralta-Herrera
Institution
University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine
Keywords
Metabolic Syndrome, Gut Microbiota, Metabolomics, Pparg
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Collagen:Fibronectin Interaction Inhibitor Regulates Angiogenesis

Elizabeth L. Rath, Feyone La, Ryan Hasselkus MS, Angela Glading Ph.D.

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Abstract
Angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels, is a crucial part of development and wound healing. Abnormal angiogenesis is present in various diseases, and is accompanied by an increase in the levels of the cellular fibronectin, an extracellular matrix protein. The overexpression of cellular fibronectin results in the up-regulation of collagen I deposition allowing for disease progression, a process that requires binding of fibronectin and collagen. Angiogenesis is also required for tumor growth, and the increase in collagen deposition due to overexpression of fibronectin can promote the growth of tumor cells. We hypothesized that the interaction between fibronectin and collagen could regulate angiogenesis. We therefore tested the ability of R1R2, a peptide inhibitor of the collagen:fibronectin interaction for its ability to block angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo, as well as explored its effect on pro-angiogenic signaling in endothelial cells.
Presented by
Elizabeth L. Rath <erath@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester Medical Center, Department of Pharmacology & Physiology
Keywords
Angiogenesis, Collagen, Fibronectin, ECM

Utilizing Signs of Altered Immunity to Develop a Theoretical Diagnostic for Endometriosis

Emily Laskey, Emily Schiller, Linh Hoang, Hanwen Gu, Lynn Sidor, Roger White, Anne Meyer, Nancy Chen

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Abstract
Endometriosis is a chronic disease that affects more than 200 million women of reproductive age worldwide. Endometriosis is characterized by the aberrant growth of endometrial-like tissue outside of the uterine cavity, resulting in severe symptoms such as dysmenorrhea, menorrhagia, and infertility. There are currently no diagnostic methods available for endometriosis except for exploratory laparoscopic surgery – an expensive procedure which is only available to a subset of patients suffering from this condition. This project aims to identify signs of altered immunity in endometrial tissue to theorize a novel, noninvasive diagnostic using an in-depth literature review and modeling approaches. Six promising immune biomarkers were identified through a survey of current literature that had high predictive power of diagnosis for endometriosis in combination. Furthermore, a hypothetical immunoassay was developed to inform future researchers on possible applications of these biomarkers to create a lower cost, more accessible diagnostics for this condition. All results were supported by modeling analysis.
Presented by
Emily Laskey
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
Immunity, Endometriosis, Theoretical Design, Modeling, Diagnostic

The Interaction between Dlg and GPSM2/Pins: an evolutionary perspective

Emily Schiller & Dan T. Bergstralh

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Abstract
The spindle orientation complex is a conserved set of proteins that orient metaphase spindles. This complex is important in animal development as the orientation of cell division contributes to tissue shape and determines cell fate. In Bilaterian animals, the complex component GPSM2 (G-protein signaling modulator) is thought to interact directly with Dlg (Discs large) in a manner dependent on GPSM2 phosphorylation at the linker region. The functional consequence of this interaction is unclear. I am using an evolutionary approach to address this problem. Using next generation bioinformatic techniques, I have identified the amino acid sequences of GPSM2 and Dlg in Cnidarians, Placozoans, and Porifera, basal animals outside the Bilaterian clade. I show that a functional GPSM2 linker arose in cnidarians demonstrating that the interaction between GPSM2 and Dlg appeared in this phylum. Interestingly, neurons also originated in Cnidaria and spindle orientation is necessary for proper development of neural, but not all epithelial, tissue. Additionally, I show that Dlg diverged in organisms with unique requirements for spindle orientation including C. elegans and the syncytial sponge O. minuta. This work is revealing the evolutionary history of the GPSM2/Dlg interaction and suggesting new possibilities for its importance in spindle orientation during epithelial and neural tissue development.
Presented by
Emily Schiller
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Biology
Keywords
spindle orientation, bioinformatics, Dlg, GPSM2, Pins, sequence alignment, evolution, bilateria, cnidaria, placozoa, porifera

ROS Generation and Antioxidant Defense in Bowhead Whale

Ena Haseljić

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Abstract
Few model organisms with exceptional longevity have been used to understand molecular mechanisms responsible for long lifespan and resistance to cancer. One of the model organisms is bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus), the longest-lived mammal on Earth with maximum lifespan 211 years. Although there is a big progress with some model organisms, such as naked mole rats, molecular mechanisms leading to longer lifespan in bowhead whale is still a mystery. Few factors believed to be essential for aging are effective DNA repair, lower level of oxidative stress and more efficient mitochondria. Data from our lab showed several unique features of whale fibroblasts in comparison to human cells: resistance to oxidative stress, lower total level of reactive oxygen/nitrogen species (ROS/RNS) but higher level of superoxide. In attempt to address molecular mechanisms responsible for these phenotypes, we measured total mitochondria mass in bowhead whale cells and checked functional activity of mitochondria. We showed that bowhead whale has much less mitochondria per cell comparing to human, but cellular respiration parameters were comparable to human cells, potentially indicating more active mitochondria in the bowhead whale. We also measured the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) in cellular extracts of both species. We observed lower activity of both SOD and GPx in whale cells. Lower SOD activity together with more active mitochondria in whale cells could explain the previously observed phenotype of an increased level of superoxide. But lower GPx activity cannot explain the lower total ROS level in bowhead whale cells as well as their resistance to oxidative stress. Therefore, additional assays like measurements of catalase and peroxiredoxins activities are required to get a better picture of ROS/antioxidants and their role in bowhead whale longevity.
Presented by
Ena Haseljić <ehaselji@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Biology
Keywords

Define the function of mTOR pathway in mammalian male germline

Karen M Doersch, Kadijah Abston, Hannah Kim, Amanda Pereira, Xiaoyang Su, and Xin Zhiguo Li

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Abstract
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a central regulator of biological homeostasis that is associated with protein synthesis, glucose metabolism and cytoskeleton organization, and cells use this pathway to sense and signally diverse stresses. The mTOR pathway inhibitor, rapamycin, has been experimentally shown to extend aging from yeast to mice. It is safe to assume that rapamycin extends the life span of other organisms as well. However, its application to humans leads to male infertility, and similar testis degeneration has been observed in mice. We do not know whether this side effect is due to non-specific inhibitor of pathways other than mTOR, or whether it causes an impact on somatic cells or germ cells. Compared to our understanding in somatic cells, we know little about mTOR functions and its targets in the germline. We therefore inhibited mTOR via rapamycin injections. We observed degeneration of testis in the rapamycin treated group compared to the control group. In addition to that, we observed a decreased sperm count and sperm motility. Based on preliminary analysis using chromosome spread and squash staining, we identified that the mTorCKO mutants display round spermatid arrests. Using metabolomic studies, we found that the NTPs decreases and free amino acid increases in mTorCKO mutants, suggesting a deficient energy supply. We will use diverse methods including ribosome profiling, RNA sequencing, and mass spectrometry to investigate the mechanisms underlying these round spermatid arrest due to mTOR deficiency by inhibition via rapamycin. Our study indicates that the effects of rapamycin on male reproduction is not due to non-specific targeting to pathways other than mTOR, and spermatids, although isolated in their protected niche, still directly require functional mTOR pathways. Our research will increase our understanding of mTOR’s role in male fertility as a result we expect that mTOR defects will be identified as a new etiology for male infertility.
Presented by
Hannah Kim <hannahkim@rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Keywords
Germline, Infertility, Spermatogenesis
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Presaccadic Motion Integration Drives a Predictive Following Response

Iqra Hasan, Nicole Kuznetsov, Lauren Sigda

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Abstract
Rapid eye movements known as saccades allow us to take in visual information from our world by directing the fovea, our processor of high acuity vision, towards relevant sites of interest. During natural vision behavior, saccades are used in conjunction with smoother eye motion to track moving objects, predict these targets’ future positions, and account for processing delays. Post-saccadic following response (PFR) consists of smooth eye movements after a saccade. These are indicative of enhanced pre-saccadic attention because the eye integrates peripheral and foveal information to piece together visual input. Between 20 and 150 ms following a saccade, information is sent to and processed by the brain in a timespan called the open loop period. During this open loop period we are able to isolate any pre-saccadic information and observe how the eye moves in response to peripheral targets before the brain can even perceive the stimulus foveally. While previous literature has established that saccades are predictive of targets’ future motion, it is unknown if these predictions influence PFR. We explored if pre-saccadic attention recruits eye movements automatically and what role it plays in selecting the motion features (ie. velocity, orientation, etc.) of saccade targets. Our measurement of interest is PFR; we extended previous work by Kwon et al. (2019) which found that pre-saccadic attention perceptually enhances and predictively selects target features to lead to automatic post-saccadic following responses. While Kwon only utilized moving dots stimuli, we added a stimulus condition of moving Gabors to explore if PFR can be generalized across motion stimuli and how this effect could change depending on stimulus condition. While previous studies with Gabors failed to identify PFR (Schafer & Moore, 2007), these works were not designed to specifically measure this following response. During the trials for each type of stimulus, participants fixate on the center of the screen before performing a saccade to one of three peripherally presented motion apertures. Our main study results indicate that PFR is observable in moving dots and Gabor stimuli. Our findings support our hypothesis that pre-saccadic attention integrates motion before a saccade during the post-saccadic movements. Understanding how PFR generalizes to different experimental conditions could allow us to better unpack our visual system’s automatic processes.
Presented by
Iqra Hasan
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
Vision science, Fovea, Saccades
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Characterizing efferocytosis in multipotent stromal cells (MSCs) using confocal time-lapse imaging

Ivana Pačar, Emily R. Quarato, Yuko Kawano, Noah A. Salama, Laura M. Calvi

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Abstract
Housed within the bone marrow microenvironment, multipotent stromal cells (MSCs) are known for their tri-lineage differentiation into chondrocytes, osteoblasts, or adipocytes and their ability to support hematopoiesis. While macrophages serve as the primary agents of efferocytosis, a specialized form of phagocytosis in which apoptotic cells are cleared, recent discoveries in our lab have demonstrated that MSCs can also participate in facultative efferocytosis. Preliminary data in our lab suggests that there are time-dependent differences in levels of efferocytosis, from as early as 3 hours. Flow cytometry and confocal imaging show that loss of the efferocytic receptor Axl results in a decreased level of efferocytosis in bone marrow MSCs but not macrophages. Using confocal time-lapse imaging we aim to better characterize the dynamics of phagocytes within the bone marrow microenvironment during the loss of Axl. Using WT and Axl -/- mice, we created two in vitro culture systems; one in which primary MSCs and macrophages were co-cultured and the second in which MSCs were isolated using tri-marker magnetic depletion (CD45+/F480+/Ly6C+). The confocal time-lapse imaging procedure is currently being optimized to confirm previously obtained results in primary murine (mMSCs) and to further characterize the dynamics of efferocytosis in MSCs. Thus far, both the dye type and concentration have been selected through a series of dose-response trials to minimize cell death while simultaneously optimizing the optical parameters to maximize image quality. Following the 24hr time-lapse using the optimized cellular and optical parameters, we plan to use imaging analysis to quantify the number, type, speed, and duration of interactions between MSCs and apoptotic targets.
Presented by
Ivana Pacar <ipacar@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Keywords
Stem cells, confocal microscopy, efferocytosis, multipotent stromal cells, macrophages, aging
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Linking the Function of Heat Shock Factor (HSF) in Tumor Progression with Normal Development in Drosophila melanogaster

Jinghong (James) Tang, Jordan Aronowitz, Michael A. Welte

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Abstract
Heat shock factor (HSF) is the master transcriptional regulator for the eukaryotic heat shock response, induced by elevated temperature and other stressors. HSF also promotes cancer: in mammalian tumor models and cultured cancer cells, HSF supports malignant transformation and cell proliferation. However, the exact mechanism remains obscure. To better understand the role of HSF in tumor progression, we tested if HSF has a similar role in the model organism Drosophila melanogaster. We employed mutations in the gene lethal giant larvae (lgl) to induce larval brain tumors. We find that when the genetic dosage of HSF is reduced, brain tumors are dramatically smaller. This result suggests that HSF promotes tumor progression not only in mammalian cells but also in Drosophila. To understand why animals normally express a factor that promotes tumors, we asked whether HSF plays a beneficial role during normal Drosophila development, especially at times of massive growth. We used the UAS-Gal4 system and RNA inference to generate tissue-specific knockdown of HSF in larval wing discs, larval salivary glands, and the adult ovary and confirmed successful knockdown by immunostaining. Knocking down HSF in larval wing discs also leads to defects in adult wings, indicating HSF is necessary for cell proliferation. Reduced HSF in the female germ line results in developmental arrest during oogenesis as well as embryonic lethality. Salivary gland secretory cells show reduced nuclear and cell size, suggesting that HSF is required for cell growth and endoreplication. The HSF knockdown salivary glands do not secret ecdysone receptor (EcR) induced glue protein, including the ecdysone signaling pathway is impaired. In these salivary glands, the expression and localization of EcR does not change, suggesting HSF does not regulate EcR expression. The requirement of HSF in tumor progression and normal development leads to the hypothesis that HSF’s role in tumor growth is co-opted from its normal role in development where it promotes a metabolic state that supports rapid growth. We are now testing if HSF promote normal development though ecdysone signaling pathway.
Presented by
Jinghong (James) Tang
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Biology
Keywords
Heat Shock Factor, Tumor growth, Drosophila, Ecdysone, Cell growth
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Examining the Fitness Trade-Off of the Wing Polymorphism in Male Pea Aphid

Joel Reiter, Omid Saleh Ziabari, Jennifer Brisson

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Abstract
Presented by
Joel Reiter <jreiter2@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Biology
Keywords
Genomics, Evo Devo, aphid, polymorphism, sexual selection

 Identifying the Mechanism Responsible for the Quantum Dot-Catalyzed Dehalogenation of 2-Chlorobiphenyl

Kaelyn McFarlane-Connelly

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Abstract
Colloidal quantum dots are a class of semiconductor governed by the principles of quantum mechanics. Recently, quantum dots have been shown as promising photocatalysts in organic photo-redox reactions due to their photostability, size tunability, and strong absorption; however, the mechanisms of catalyzation are not fully understood. In this work, the photo-redox dehalogenation of 2-chlorobiphenyl is studied to elucidate the methods by which a quantum dot can catalyze a previously unfavorable photo-redox reaction. Wavefunction models of quantum dots were employed to identify nanomaterials aimed to experimentally distinguish two possible mechanisms of catalysis. These materials were then synthesized and are being studied spectroscopically to recognize their electronic transfer properties under various reaction conditions. Currently, additional studies using infrared spectroscopy are being done to assess the probability of another proposed catalyzation process. We aim to determine the mechanism which explains the photo-catalysis to demonstrate the unique methods possible with quantum dots.
Presented by
Kaelyn McFarlane-Connelly <kmcfarl5@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Chemistry
Keywords
Chemistry, Quantum Dots, Nanoscience, Photo-redox

The Mediterranean Diet on Cancer-related Fatigue

Lisadine Cherubin, Amber Kleckner

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Abstract
The purpose of this study is to assess the effects of the Mediterranean Diet as it relates to cancer-related fatigue. The hypothesis proposed is that due to the liberalized format of the Mediterranean Diet given to the intervention group, the participants would experience a change in their cancer-related fatigue at a higher rate than those in the control group. This study is a randomized control trial, where participants complete a baseline assessment before being randomized. Those in the intervention group are provided with meals for 4 weeks based on the Mediterranean diet and encouraged to supplement those meals according to their needs. The control group continues to receive usual care and both are re-assessed at 4 weeks, after which the intervention group provides food on their own using a Mediterranean cookbook. They are educated on how to properly implement a Mediterranean Diet into their homes and lifestyles and are encouraged not to stress about wanting to eat something that’s not a part of their diet. All participants undergo an exit interview to assess their experience and as the Research Assistant, I transcribe these interviews and identify patterns within the control and intervention groups. We transcribed a total of 7 interviews: all being female breast cancer patients ranging from 41-74 years old. Two were in the control group and five were in the Mediterranean intervention group. The purpose of this analysis was to qualitatively assess participants’ experiences. Based on our results we found that participants enjoyed the major components of the intervention like nutritional education they received. Based on their feedback, the intervention will be refined and adapted for further use of understanding cancer related fatigue.

Presented by
Lisadine Cherubin
Institution
University of Rochester Public Health Major Department and Cancer Control and Supportive Care at the University of Rochester Medical Center
Keywords
Cancer-Related Fatigue

Quantifying Rehabilitation: A Video Survey of Occupational Therapy Exercises after Acute Stroke

Madeline White

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Abstract
Objective: To perform a survey of upper extremity (UE) exercises performed by patients with recent stroke in our inpatient rehabilitation gym in order to count number of exercise repetitions, identify active and inactive time, and assess the relative use of the affected and unaffected limbs during therapy sessions. Background: Both animal and human studies suggest that repetitive exercises improve motor outcomes after stroke, however which features of an exercise regimen are critical for optimizing recovery remain to be determined. Our lab is using wearable sensors and machine learning to develop a system to classify and quantify therapy exercise repetitions performed during the inpatient rehabilitation period. As part of this study, we are performing a video survey of occupational therapy sessions occurring in our inpatient rehabilitation gym. Design: Individuals with UE weakness due to recent (<4 weeks) unilateral stroke admitted to our inpatient rehabilitation unit gave permission to have their routine clinical occupational therapy sessions video recorded. The video data set was reviewed by 2 independent study investigators and the activity for each frame was labeled to identify the exercise/activity being performed, role of the affected arm, level of difficulty for the patient, type of exercise (active, passive, functional-salient, and functional-exercise), and number of repetitions. The total duration of each exercise was calculated as well as the amount of inactive time spent not performing any exercise. Results: The mean percent active time over total time in therapy was normally distributed around a mean of 57%, while mean percent of active time spent performing challenging exercises was highly skewed to the right with a mean of 69% and median 74%, and the total number of repetitions was highly skewed to the left with a mean of 203 and median of 139. The total session time was normally distributed with a mean of 30 minutes and the total active time was also normally distributed with a mean of 17 minutes. Repetitions/30 minutes was calculated using the total number of repetitions divided by the number of minutes and standardized to a 30-minute session, the mean session time. Conclusions/Future Direction: Similar to prior studies, we see a wide range of number of repetitions performed during a standard rehabilitation session, indicating that time spent in therapy is a poor indicator of rehabilitation dose. There was also a wide range of time spent in therapy: mean session length was 30 minutes (IQR 22-40) and mean 50% active time compounds this range. In addition, we found that there was minimal adaptive therapy occurring; the mean percent of exercises performed with the affected arm in the primary role was 74%, with the healthy arm in the primary role only 7%. Investigators concluded there was an emphasis on functional exercises over ROM (Range of Motion) exercises. The mean percent of functional activities was 66%, the mean percent of range of motion activities was 34%. Future studies will continue to investigate the role the affected arm and attempt to classify all exercises into 10 broad categories.
Presented by
Madeline White
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
Stroke, Rehabilitation

Using visual context for causal inference during speech perception

Menghan Yang, Shawn Cummings, Gevher Karboga, T. Florian Jaeger

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Abstract
Humans’ ability to communicate complex thought through speech sets us apart from all other species we know. Central to this ability are powerful perceptual learning mechanisms that operate continuously during speech recognition, typically subconsciously. In three experiments with >350 participants, we investigate whether these learning mechanisms implicitly ‘reason’ about the likely cause for otherwise unexpected pronunciations (known as causal inference). One of the central challenges in speech perception is that the mapping from linguistic categories (sounds or words) onto the speech stream differs between talkers. These differences can be stark, so that one talker’s “s” might be physically identical to another talker’s “sh”. Research over the past 15 years suggests that rapid perceptual learning plays a central role in overcoming such cross-talker variability: within as few as a handful of words, listeners adapt their interpretation of an unfamiliar talker’s speech. Questions remain, however, about the nature of these adaptive mechanisms and how ‘smart’ they are. Specifically, any deviation from expected pronunciation could be a speech error, or due to incidental factors (such as a pen, or food, in the talker’s mouth; temporary tiredness, intoxication, etc.), rather than necessarily being characteristic of future pronunciations by the same talker. Adapting to these sorts of incidentally caused deviations, rather than those that are characteristic of a talker, would be counterproductive. Does our brain take this into account when changing how subsequent input from a talker is interpreted? If so, might input be stored in such a way that it is later applied only to future input within the same context or plausibly resulting from the same cause? These are the questions we address here, through a novel audiovisual exposure and test paradigm.
Presented by
Menghan Yang
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Keywords
causal inference, speech perception, perceptual recalibration, adaptation mechanism
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The Role of Arylsulfatase b in Morph Determination

Merle Becker, Lauren Gregory, and Jennifer Brisson

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Abstract
This experiment investigated the role of Arylsulfatase b in the wing morphology and fecundity of aphids. There were two parts to this experiment. For the first part, sulfate ions were injected into aphids to see whether there was a significant difference in phenotypes among different groups. The hypothesis was that the injected ions would act as competitive inhibitors for Arylsulfatase b and cause there to be more wingless aphids. In the second part of the experiment, RNAi was used to investigate whether Arylsulfatase b influences the phenotype of aphid morph determination with the hypothesis that there would be a significant difference in phenotypes. There was no significant difference in either case.
Presented by
Merle Becker
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Biology
Keywords
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Exposure to Oxygen at Birth Suppresses DLK1-Meg3 Locus in Alveolar Epithelial Type II Cells

Molly Behan, Min Yee, Andrew N. McDavid, Philip Spinelli, Martha Susiarjo, and Michael A. O’Reilly

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Abstract
Adult alveolar epithelial type 2 (AT2) cells are considered bi-potential stem cells because they can self-renew and transdifferentiate into alveolar epithelial type 1 (AT1) cells. Recent lineage mapping studies, however, suggest neonatal AT2 cells lack these properties because they can self-renew but do not contribute to the population of adult AT1 cells. Identifying transcriptional differences in neonatal versus adult AT2 cells may help explain developmental differences in the AT2 cell phenotype. RNA-sequence analysis identified 24,155 transcripts in AT2 cells isolated from PND1 mice, of which 2800 (12%) were expressed significantly higher and 3233 (13%) were significantly lower than PND56 AT2 cells. The change in expression of delta like non-canonical ligand (DLK1) was of particular interest because it is a paternally inherited gene known to be involved in notch signaling and lineage restriction. It was also one of the most abundantly expressed genes in PND1 AT2 cells but was barely detected in adult AT2 cells. Immunohistochemistry revealed DLK1+ cells were detected on embryonic day 12.5 in the fetal endoderm, then became restricted to distal Sox9+ epithelial cells around embryonic day 16.5, and ultimately were restricted to AT2 cells at birth. Surprisingly, DLK1’s expression rapidly declined after birth such that it was not readily detected by postnatal day 7. Interestingly, expression of other genes (Meg3, Meg8, Meg9, Rtl1, and Dio3) on the DLK1-Meg3 locus showed similar rapid decline in AT2 cell expression after birth. These findings reveal neonatal and adult AT2 cells express unique sets of genes that may regulate the stemness of AT2 cells, and data with the DLK1 locus suggests that their expression may change in response to early oxygen exposure at birth.
Presented by
Molly Behan <mbehan@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
Department of Pediatrics, Department of Biostatistic, Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, 14624
Keywords
Neonatology, Hyperoxia, Lung
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Available April 16th 12-1pm EST
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Investigating past methane fluxes in sediments from the Barents Sea using the carbon isotopic composition of microfossils

Molly Robinson, Chiara Borrelli, Claudio Argentino, Giuliana Panieri

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Abstract
The Arctic Ocean is an important component of the climate system and of the global carbon cycle. Here large quantities of methane are stored within sediments as gas hydrates, ice-like structures of water and gas. The sensitivity of gas hydrates to the current climate change is a topic of hot debate and studying methane release in the geological past is one of the approaches used to better understand how climate, but also tectonic, changes can affect gas hydrate stability. Methane seeps represent natural laboratories to understand methane sources and sinks in marine sediments today, as well as in the geological past. In this study, we analyzed samples collected at Ingøydjupet, a site in the SW Barents Sea. The goal of this study is to reconstruct migrations of the Sulfate-Methane Transition Zone (SMTZ) from the late Pleistocene to the present as an indicator of changing fluxes of methane during this time. In order to do so, we used the carbon isotopic composition of minuscule fossils called foraminifera. Specifically, we analyzed three species of foraminifera, namely Melanis barleeanus, Cassidulina neoteretis, and Neogloboquadrina pachyderma. Based on the sediment geochemical profiles of barium and calcium through the core, we hypothesized that the SMTZ migrated at least three times during the time frame investigated. However, the benthic foraminiferal carbon isotope record suggests that the peaks in the sediment Ba and Ca are not due to carbonate precipitation indicative of a previous SMTZ but they reflects organic matter-rich intervals.
Presented by
Molly Robinson
Institution
University of Rochester, University of Tromso
Keywords
Paleoclimate, geochemistry, micropaleontology
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The role of Staphylococcus aureus nitric oxide reductase (Nor) on biofilm formation

Peri S. Goldberg, Ann L. Gill, Steven R. Gill

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Abstract
Staphylococcus aureus is an opportunistic pathogen that is responsible for a variety of infections in both healthcare and community settings. Clonal complex 30 (CC30), a particular lineage of S. aureus grouped based on genetic similarities, is known to be especially virulent and encodes a nitric oxide reductase (Nor). Located upstream of nor in the S. aureus genome lies lrgA, a gene which acts similar to an antiholin in order to regulate cell lysis and biofilm formation. Previous studies have investigated the effect of lrgA on biofilm adherence and structure, but the effect of nor has yet to be clearly defined. This study will determine the role of lrgA and nor on biofilm formation in aerobic and anaerobic conditions. To examine the dependence of S. aureus on nor for biofilm formation and the potential interactions between lrgA and nor, ∆lrgA and ∆lrgA/∆nor mutants were constructed by allelic deletion. A static biofilm assay was performed to determine the ability of ∆lrgA, ∆nor and ∆lrgA/∆nor mutant strains to form biofilms. Lastly, RNA isolation and RT-qPCR were conducted to evaluate the expression of nor and lrgA as a function of biofilm growth and time.
Presented by
Peri Goldberg <pgoldber@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Keywords
Microbiology, Biofilms

Effects of Corticogeniculate Feedback on Macaque Lateral Geniculate Nucleus Neuronal Visual Tuning Metrics

Sabrina Mai, Allison Murphy, Farran Briggs

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Abstract
The corticogeniculate (CG) feedback pathway from the primary visual cortex to the lateral geniculate nucleus in the thalamus is an anatomically robust pathway whose function and role in visual processing remain unclear. In order to study the effects of the feedback pathway, electrophysiological recordings were obtained from the macaque LGN while the corticogeniculate neurons in layer VI were optogenetically stimulated using a blue LED light. Various types of visual stimuli were presented in order to analyze potential optogenetic effects from the feedback pathway on LGN tuning metrics. Previous results have shown that there is a subtle effect that is observed in the LGN in certain tuning metrics like surround-suppression. Additionally, there are also temporal discrepancies that were observed previously during trials with the LED. Ultimately there needs to be further analysis to identify and confirm currently observed trends.
Presented by
Sabrina Mai
Institution
Center for Visual Science, University of Rochester– Department of Neuroscience
Keywords
Vision, LGN, V1, Corticogeniculate Feedback, Neuronal Tuning
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Available April 16th, 12pm- 1pm
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Exploring Intratumoral Hypoxia in Rectal Cancer

Sarah A. Kintzel, Taylor P. Uccello, Edith M. Lord, Scott A. Gerber

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Abstract
Rectal cancer is a devastating malignancy and ranks as the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in the US. The current and most common therapy to combat rectal cancer is preoperative radiation therapy (RT) which targets the tumor to kill proliferative cells, followed by total mesorectal excision surgery. Unfortunately, RT is not 100% curative in this patient population and there are a variety of potential explanations for this response, including an imbalance between RT-induced immunosuppression and immunostimulation. Our laboratory and others have shown that RT efficacy is mediated by the immune response triggered by this treatment modality, however this response can be limited by reduced amounts of oxygen. In cases where oxygen is inadequate in the tumor microenvironment (TME) (hypoxia), the efficacy of RT is significantly reduced as radiation requires oxygen to induce damage. However, a new mechanism has emerged suggesting that hypoxic conditions also dampen the anti-tumor immune response by suppressing the main anti-tumor effector population, CD8+ T cells. As expected, hypoxia in rectal cancer correlates strongly to patient outcome as patients with more hypoxic tumors have a worsened overall survival. Therefore, to further investigate the role of hypoxia in the rectal TME, we have established an orthotopic murine model of rectal cancer. We utilized a novel technique optimized in the lab to identify intratumoral hypoxia by injecting pentafluorinated derivative [2-(2-nitro-1H-imidazole-1-yl)-N-(2,2,3,3,3-penta-fluoro propyl) acetamide] of etanidazole (EF5) intravenously. This molecule covalently binds to cells in regions of hypoxia and can be detected by a fluorescent-labeled antibody (ELKCy3). Using this method, we quantified the level of intratumoral hypoxia and the degree of hypoxia in specific immune subsets by flow cytometry at various time points following tumor injection. We determined that the level of hypoxia increased from day 9 to day 16 within all immune subtypes (CD45+) as well as in the CD45- tumor cell population. Additionally, we used this model to assess how therapies such as radiation affect the level of hypoxia intratumorally and found that while hypoxia increases in untreated tumors from day 9 to day 16, when tumors are treated with radiation therapy on days 9-13, the level of hypoxia on day 16 is decreased compared to the untreated day 16 tumors. By quantifying hypoxia in our mouse model, we can test therapies targeting hypoxic regions of the tumor in order to enhance treatments for rectal cancer patients.
Presented by
Sarah A. Kintzel <skintzel@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
immuno-oncology, tumor immunology, hypoxia, rectal cancer
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Modeling satellite DNA organization

Sherif Negm, John S. Sproul, Tuan Pham, Songeun Lee, Amanda M. Larracuente

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Abstract
Repetitive DNAs comprise large portions of eukaryotic genomes. Satellite DNAs (satDNAs) are abundant tandemly repeated DNA sequences found near centromeres, telomeres, and on sex chromosomes. SatDNAs originate through polymerase slippage, recombination between repeat elements, or TE-mediated mechanisms. Arrays of satDNA repeats are highly dynamic over short periods of evolutionary time: they vary in copy number and organization through unequal exchange, mutation, and other processes. The expansion of satDNA arrays is thought to decrease organismal fitness but the relative importance of processes shaping satDNA evolution in natural populations is not well understood. Models of unequal crossing over and selection on satDNA arrays mainly focused on copy number number changes. We used an Approximate Bayesian Computation approach to fit one of these models (Stephan 1986) to simulated data and determine the suitability of this model for estimating parameters of recombination (and selection) in populations. Summarizing satDNA arrays by properties of the copy number distribution alone, however, was not informative. Instead, conditioning on the structure and organization of the arrays may be more informative about underlying mutation and recombination processes. We developed a model that tracks structural changes and mutations in satDNA arrays. Our model simulates both sequence and copy number evolution for a population of size n over x generations. We designed a method to determine the site of recombination breakpoint based on satDNA copy numbers using the transition probabilities described in Stephan’s 1986 model and the sequence composition of the monomers. We also incorporate random nucleotide mutation and natural selection on copy number. Introducing sequence composition and organization to models of satDNA evolution may prove useful for estimating the impact of recombination and natural selection on satDNA arrays from empirical data.
Presented by
Sherif Negm
Institution
Department of Biology, University of Rochester
Keywords
Satellite DNA, modelling, Computational Biology, Bayesian Inference.

Bayesian Analysis of Ambient Noise Cross Correlation Functions using a Low-Quality Seismic Network (in progress)

Siyu Xue, Tolulope Olugboji

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Abstract
Although ambient noise dispersion measurements are being published on the African continent, how these measurements compare to previous results, affect updates to global lithospheric models, or should be used in joint inversion schemes, is not well understood or often rarely investigated. In this study, we apply a hierarchical Bayesian technique to extract ambient noise phase dispersion and its uncertainties using station-pairs within sub-arrays from different classes of networks on the continent. Unlike iterative schemes, this approach requires limited a-priori constraints, and employs a global search for constraining the measurement uncertainty during the inversion for phase and group velocity dispersion using the ambient noise cross correlation functions. Since data quality varies across the entire region, we report on how the uncertainties in phase dispersion measurements depend on structural and non-structural parameters: i.e., duration of operation, metadata quality, and sediment or low-velocity zones. A continent-wide reference dataset with uncertainties derived from data will be useful for updating lithospheric models during joint inversions with other seismic datasets. For example, global lithospheric models are heavily cited and widely used across the broader geoscience community, so ensuring that they fully incorporate short-wavelength, short-period ambient noise surface wave measurements, especially in regions that have only recently been instrumented, e.g., Africa, will be beneficial.

We present a comprehensive catalog of surface-wave velocity measurements using publicly available data from approximately 80 stations spanning approximately 20 seismic networks (because this research is still ongoing, these numbers might grow in the future) deployed in and around the African continent in the past three decades. These datasets are useful for preparing phase and group velocity maps and for assessing and updating widely used global and regional seismic velocity models of the crust across a diversity of terranes on the continent.
Presented by
Siyu Xue <sxue3@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester Seismology and Computational Geophysics
Keywords
Geophysics, Seismology, Natural Science, Bayesian
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Available April 16th. 12:00-1:00 pm
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Sez6L2 is a Complement Inhibitor for C3

Stefanie Ma, Jennetta Hammond, Harris A. Gelbard

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Abstract
Sez6 family of proteins, Sez6, Sez6L, and Sez6L2, are highly expressed throughout the brain. They are also linked to various neurological and psychiatric disorders, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD). All Sez6 family proteins contain five complement control protein domains (CCPs), suggesting that they may be involved in complement regulation. In vitro assays show that Sez6L2 acts as a complement inhibitor at the level of the C3 convertases. Factor I cleavage assays with Sez6L2 showed that Sez6L2 acts as a cofactor for Factor I in helping it cleave C3b, but not C4b. ELISA assays to measure the decay accelerating activity of Sez6L2 on C3 convertases showed a larger reduction in the amount of convertase remaining with the alternative pathway C3 convertase, C3bBb, than the classical/lectin pathway convertase, C4b2b. This shows that Sez6L2 is a stronger complement inhibitor for the alternative pathway and only a modest complement inhibitor for the classical pathway. We are currently investigating if the complement inhibitory activity of Sez6L2 is affected by four Sez6L2 missense variants identified in ASD patients and reported in literature.
Presented by
Stefanie Ma
Institution
University of Rochester Medical Center, Department of Neurology/CNDD
Keywords
Neuroscience, Complement, Sez6L2, Neural Development, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
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Available April 16th 12:30pm-1:00pm
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Finding the Ground Truth: Macrophage Tracking in Cancer Research

Toni Hahn*, Clare Heffernan, Vu Bui, Joshua Zent, and Charles C. Chu

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Abstract
To better understand some of the underlying mechanisms behind antibody therapies and their effects in cancers and autoimmune diseases, we are working to develop an “automatic” computer program capable of tracking phagocytosis. We prepared and annotated live cell video images through microscopy that we used to detect, quantitate, and track phagocytic events using ImageJ, a Java-based image processing system. We established “ground truth” datasets via student annotations that were used to troubleshoot software and track phagocytic events. Ground Truth data obtained from multiple lab assistants was then compared to data collected from an “automatic” tracking program to determine the program’s accuracy. This was completed over hundreds of frames of cropped video. Based on our results, we concluded that the current program’s identification method was not highly accurate in following macrophages across periods of time; however, we are currently working to obtain more data for comparison via larger image files and to improve our program to increase accuracy.
Presented by
Toni Hahn <thahn4@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester, James P. Wilmot Cancer Center
Keywords
CLL, phagocytosis, technology, mAb therapy

USING MACHINE LEARNING TO IDENTIFY ASTROPHYSICAL TRANSIENTS IN THE DESI SURVEY

Vashisth Tiwari, Amanda Wasserman, Segev BenZvi

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Abstract
During the next five years, the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) will carry out a massive redshift survey of 35 million galaxies and quasars, mapping the large scale structure of the universe out to a redshift of 3. During the DESI survey we expect to nd galaxies that host bright transients such as supernovae, tidal disruption events (TDEs), and compact binary mergers. The identi cation of transients is important not only to ensure correct estimates of the host redshifts but also because it provides an opportunity to obtain serendipitous spectra of the transients themselves. Spectroscopic classi fication is the "gold standard" in the categorization of transients, making these discoveries invaluable when combined with data from large photometric surveys.

We have developed machine learning tools to identify and classify transients in galaxy spectra. In this contribution, we describe these tools, characterize their performance using simulated spectra, and estimate the sensitivity of DESI to transients important for both astrophysics and cosmology.
Presented by
Vashisth Tiwari
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
Machine Learning, Astrophysics, Dark Energy, Physics and Astronomy

Toll-Like Receptors and Viral Persistence in Xenopus laevis

Vignya Dontu, Francisco De Jesus Andino, and Jacques Robert PhD

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Abstract
Previous research with Xenopus laevis adult frogs revealed an unexpected association between the stimulation of toll-like receptor 5 (TLR 5), recognizing bacterial flagellin, and a resurgence in quiescent infection by the ranavirus frog virus 3 (FV3) persisting in asymptomatic frogs, leading to systemic, often lethal, infection. In contrast, TLRs 7 and 22, that both detect RNAs from pathogens, did not play critical roles in reactivation of infection in asymptomatic FV3 carriers. This raised the question as to whether these TLRs that are usually involved in host antiviral responses are involved during the primary FV3 infection. To determine whether TLR7 and TLR 22 participate in early X. laevis host response against FV3, we monitored their gene expression response in different tissues of adult frogs following infection with wild type FV3 and different recombinant FV3 deficient for putative immune evasion genes. It was hypothesized that the frogs infected with FV3 KO (∆64R- or ∆18K- FV3) strains would show higher expression of TLR 7 and 22 compared to the frogs infected with the WT-FV3 or mock infected with APBS. The data from this study indicates a rapid and significant increase of TLR 22 transcripts upon FV3 infection, but not TLR 7. Furthermore, we found that viral loads and macrophage recruitment at the site of infection was higher in the frogs infected with the WT strain compared to the recombinant KO FV3 strains. However, no other significant differences in gene expression response of immune or TLR genes were detected among the groups.
Presented by
Vignya Dontu <vdontu@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester Medical Center, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Keywords
Toll Like Receptors, Virology
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Manganese Promoted Oxidative Radical Addition Reactions

Yeonseong Seo

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Abstract
The theorized manganese-bound radical intermediates in manganese promoted oxidative addition reactions present an interesting opportunity for achieving chemo-, regio-, and stereoselectivity by tuning the steric and electronic properties of the chiral ligands bound to the metal center. The substrate scope of manganese mediated or catalyzed intramolecular cyclization, intermolecular addition, and ring-opening reactions was investigated for the introduction of elements that may result in the preferential formation of the desired product over the other(s).
Presented by
Yeonseong Seo <yseo8@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Chemistry
Keywords
Selectivity in Organic Synthesis, Transition Metal Catalysis, Single Electron Transfer Chemistry

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Observational Study of the Vaping Cessation Resources on North American Quitline Consortium Websites During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Astghik Baghinyan, Derek Guo, Dianna Cacace, Mufida Asmar, Hong-Lun Tiunn, Manpreet Kaur, Krystalyn Bates, Jacqueline Attia, Philip M Vaughan, Holly Widanka, Deborah J. Ossip, Scott McIntosh

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Abstract
Vaping (e-cigarette use) among youth has reached epidemic proportions despite steady declines in traditional smoking. Research increasingly indicates that many of the appealing vaping product flavorings are toxic, but dissemination of these harms remains limited. In the United States vaping has recently turned deadly with thousands of cases of e-cigarette or vaping associated illness (EVALI) and death. More resources for vaping cessation are needed to combat this newer epidemic of nicotine addiction among youth. In a previous study (September, 2020), the authors examined all NAQC (North American Quitline Consortium) member “quitsites” to identify and characterize information pertaining to vaping cessation across all 50 U.S. states, all 13 Canadian provinces, 3 U.S. territories and Washington D.C. Currently, there are additional concerns that e-cigarette users may be at greater risk for succumbing to Covid-19, which is an acute respiratory disease that attacks the lungs. The present study further analyzed the NACQ quitsites 1) to identify updates to information and resource related to vaping cessation, and 2) to determine whether or not quitsites provide information about COVID-19 concerns in relation to vaping. Although 42 of 66 quitsites (63.7%) presented information on the harms of vaping, only 26 (47.3%) had messaging to indicate that flavors are harmful, and 43 provided information related to COVID-19 and vaping. Of the 66 sites, 22 (33.3%) recommended speaking to a health care provider, although some websites included information and resources targeting healthcare providers and patient referral. Although ongoing research is needed to track this trend, an increase in the number of quitsites that include information on the harms of vaping (and specifically vaping flavors) and resources for vaping cessation was observed. The inclusion of information about the association between vaping and COVID-19 may also continue to increase as new research comes to light.
Presented by
Astghik Baghinyan
Institution
University of Rochester Medical Center, Department of Public Health Sciences
Keywords
Vaping, e-cigarettes, quitlines, Covid-19, flavored tobacco
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Available April 12th, 12-1pm
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Thematic Analysis of Facebook Advertising Messages for Tobacco Products Before and After a Statewide Ban of Flavored Tobacco

Astghik Baghinyan, Matthew Quick, Ahona Shirin, Manpreet Kaur, Liane Schneller, Krystalyn Bates, Jacqueline Attia, Zidian Xie, Dongmei Li, Philip M Vaughan, Holly Widanka, Deborah J. Ossip, Scott McIntosh

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Abstract
Over the past few years vaping prevalence has increased in the U.S. as people either switch to electronic cigarettes from traditional cigarettes thinking they are safer or due to influence by tobacco companies’ strategic marketing efforts. In addition to an increase of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) the nicotine vapor industry itself has boomed with thousands of new “vape shops”. The majority of consumers who use ENDS also use social media networks and follow ENDS brands. With the rise of vape shops and successful marketing strategies to create a trusted community of vapers, it is important to study observable social media strategies to better understand their impact on consumer behavior and addiction. The present study explored vape shops’ Facebook marketing strategies in the Rochester, New York Metropolitan area before and after a state wide flavor ban that went into effect May 2020. Another key secular trend greatly impacting marketing strategies and success is the COVID-19 pandemic. In the preliminary study, we examined 15 vape shops’ Facebook pages in or around Rochester from January 31, 2020 to July 1, 2020. Using open coding thematic analysis, Facebook posts were theme coded into eight major themes with subthemes and categorized into two time frames - before and after the May 2020 flavor ban. Identified Facebook theme categories were “Promotion”, “Flavor”, “Community”, and “Regulations”. After the flavor ban, vape shops promoted, via "Promotion" posts on Facebook, their products 21.39% more than prior to the flavor ban (84.36% vs. 105.75%). Most of this increase is observed due to the increase in all sub-themes of "Promotion": “Accessories”, "Brands" and "Drugs" which increased by 13.12%, 4.77%, 3.91% respectively. There was also a substantial decrease in posts about vaping "Flavors": from 17.70% to 12.64%. This is likely due to their inability to legally sell flavored nicotine products. Substantially fewer posts, post-ban, were observed in theme categories “Community” (decrease by 7.39%) and “Regulations” (decrease by 7.01%), which likely reflects a decreased need to challenge flavor regulations and a decreased need to ask their customer communities for support for such challenges. Interestingly, a decrease in the prevalence of COVID-19 related posts (22.22% vs. 9.77%) was observed over time, likely reflecting the various retail re-opening phases in New York State. Future studies will further examine misleading posts that target youth and/or promote vape products via false health claims.
Presented by
Astghik Baghinyan
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Public Health Sciences
Keywords
Vaping, E-cigarettes, Facebook, ENDS, Covid-19, Flavor ban
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Available April 16th, 12-1pm
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Associations Between Historical HOLC Grades and Current Adult Asthma Prevalence: an Ecological Study on the Influence of Redlining

Erin J. Campbell

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Abstract
“Redlining” and Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) mapping, a historical mechanism of segregation in U.S. cities, has been linked to health outcome discrepancies in California, Massachusetts, Detroit, Michigan, and Austin, Texas. Correlates of HOLC mapping including socio-economic status measures are also found to explain a significant proportion of observed racial and ethnic asthma morbidity. Using an ecological study design, I examine associations between cities which were HOLC categorized and included in the 500 Cities database’s historical HOLC categorization (n = 169) and current adult asthma prevalence. I find that tracts experiencing historic grades of C and D have increased prevalence of adult asthma (p < 0.001), with adjustments for city, gender, age, and population density.
Presented by
Erin J. Campbell
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
segregation, asthma, redlining, health-outcomes

Spatial and Temporal Changes in Traffic Related Air Pollution in 2020: A Natural Experiment Using COVID-19

Evan T. Volkin, Mary D. Willis MPH PhD, Elaine L. Hill PhD

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Abstract
Emissions from traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) have been linked to adverse health effects, exemplifying the importance of evaluating the unsettled relationship between vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and air pollution. In March and April of 2020, states instituted executive orders and advisories intended to limit travel, except for essential reasons. This provides a useful natural experiment to quantify the impact of the shutdown on VMT and TRAP. In this study, we evaluate the resultant changes in VMT and TRAP between January and June of 2020 from the shutdown. We find statistically significant changes in VMT, and resultant statistically significant changes in Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and Particulate Matter (PM2.5) in this period. We also found statistically significant changes in Ozone (O3), though we attribute these changes to seasonal variation in O3 concentration, rather than VMT. Our findings demonstrate a significant decrease in VMT and the concentration of NO2 during the shutdown, revealing the possible effects of a decrease in VMT on TRAP, which may inform future research evaluating the health effects of a decrease in VMT and TRAP.
Presented by
Evan Volkin
Institution
University of Rochester Medical Center, Department of Public Health Sciences
Keywords
Economics, Public Health, Pollution, Traffic, COVID-19, Air Quality, Air Pollution

Maternal Executive Functioning Partially Mediates Effects of Early Socioeconomic Risk on Child Executive Functioning

Grace Messina, Hannah Swerbenski, B.S., & Melissa Sturge-Apple, Ph.D.

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Development of children’s executive functioning (EF) can be influenced by socioeconomic status (SES) and maternal EF, particularly in early childhood. In a diverse, socioeconomically stratified sample of 152 mother-child dyads, this longitudinal study found that maternal working memory mediates associations between SES and child EF, but inhibitory control does not.
Presented by
Grace Messina
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
Executive functioning, development, risk
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Sleep Quality and Dietary Intake during Pregnancy

Jennifer Lee, Amber Kautz, Ying Meng, Tom O'Connor PhD, Emily Barret PhD, Jessica Brunner

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Proper nutrition during the gestational period is critical for both the mother and fetus. However, there are several barriers that can alter feeding habits and nutritional intake. Specifically, there have been investigations indicating an association between sleep quality and its impact on feeding and fasting cycles and neural hedonic feeding pathways. Interrupted and poor sleep quality can result in increased caloric intake with decreased nutritional value during pregnancy leading to health risks such as hypertension, preeclampsia, and hyperlipidemia. Additionally, there have been associations with child behavioral issues and increased child adipose tissue with increased maternal lipid intake during pregnancy. In this analysis, 227 pregnant women associated with the UPSIDE study were analyzed to see if there was an association between sleep quality, caloric intake, and fat intake due to potential increased risk of hedonic feeding. This cross-sectional analysis observes the sleep quality and fat intake during the third trimester of pregnancy.
Presented by
Jennifer Lee
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Psychiatry
Keywords
Maternal Health, Sleep
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Available April 16th 12PM - 1PM
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Maternal Prenatal PFAS Exposure and Infant Sex-Typical Play at 12 Months

Jessica Mitchell

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Classified as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), perfluorinated alkyl acids (PFASs) are ubiquitous in our environment and can be found in food packaging, cookware, fire-fighting foams, and carpet protection (Domingo & Nadal, 2017). Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) are the most widely produced and researched PFASs. A primary exposure pathway of PFOA and PFOS is through dietary intake (Rovira et al., 2019), and during pregnancy, PFASs can transfer through the placental barrier (Kim et al., 2011). Given that the fetus’s hormone axes begin developing within the early trimesters, this prenatal exposure to PFASs may be particularly harmful to fetal development. Previous studies show EDCs are linked to changes in sexually dimorphic play (Winneke et al., 2014), measured by maternal questionnaire via the Pre-School Activities Inventory. Other work found that PFAS exposure effects may be sex-specific (Quaak et al., 2016), yet the literature currently lacks in-depth investigation into prenatal PFAS exposure and child sex-typed play via more objective measures. The present analysis aims to examine concentrations of maternal prenatal PFOA and PFOS and infant sex-typed toy preference in 12-month-olds through direct observation. Our study population is derived from a longitudinal pregnancy cohort study, Understanding Pregnancy Signals and Infant Development (UPSIDE). It is hypothesized that greater maternal prenatal concentrations of PFOS and PFOA will be associated with less masculinized play in boys and more masculinized play in girls. The PFAS concentrations were measured in maternal blood serum in the second trimester. To assess child toy preference, a sex-typical play behavior task was administered to 12-month-olds, in which the child could choose from nine toys classified as either masculine, feminine, or neutral for 10 minutes of recorded play. Predictors of masculine and feminine typed play were identified a priori to include, but not limited to, child age, maternal age, maternal education, maternal BMI, race, and ethnicity based on previous literature. We looked at sex-stratified associations between second trimester PFOS and PFOA concentrations and sex-typed play, both unadjusted and adjusted for covariates selected a priori. While we saw no significant associations after adjusting for selected covariates, the direction of association remains of interest. A negative beta estimate (β=-0.12) produced from the regression with PFOS and STPB among boys indicates an inverse relationship between PFOS and masculinized play, the opposite was observed within girls (β=0.11); this is consistent with our a priori hypothesis and warrants further exploration.
Presented by
Jessica Mitchell <jmitch36@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Psychiatry
Keywords
PFAS exposure, infant play, sex-typed toy preference, psychology
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Postpartum Depression and Infant Growth Outcomes

Jack Feliciano, Allison Avrich Ciesla, Jessica Brunner, Emily Barrett, Thomas G. O'Connor

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Postpartum depression (PPD) is a depressive disorder found in roughly 10-20% of moms following childbirth categorized by symptoms of depressed mood, loss of pleasure in activities, appetite disturbance, loss of energy, suicidal thoughts, diminshied concentration, and feelings of worthlessness or guilt. While there is much prior research documenting the effects of PPD on child cognitive development and temperament, few studies have looked at the effects of the disorder on child physical development and growth. The Understanding Pregnancy Signals and Infant Development (UPSIDE) cohort study in Rochester, NY has enrolled 326 pregnant women in their first trimester and followed 294 subsequent term-birth children, with continued follow-up through age 4. For this research project, we explore socioeconmic risk factors for PPD and their effects on infant growth and PPD prevalence within the UPSIDE ECHO cohort. For analysis, participants were grouped as “No PPD” and “PPD Suggestive” according to self-reported Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Survey (EPDS) scores at one month postpartum, and child growth was measured by weight-for-length z-scores calculated from applying WHO growth standards to measurements taken at six months postpartum. Based on the bivariate analyses of EPDS scores and infant weight-for-length compared to various PPD risk factors, there were no significant associations. Additionally, ANOVA testing showed no significant difference in the mean for weight-for-length z-scores between “PPD Suggestive” and “No PPD” groups. Although we had no significant associations when modeling EPDS as a continuous outcome (could be due to many overlapping variance between our exposure variables), we made a number of interesting observations when using the recommended EPDS cutoff of 13 for PPD: compared to those with a college degree, those without a college degree in the UPSIDE study had a 194% increase in odds of being "PPD suggestive"; compared to married women, single women in the UPSIDE study have a 44% increase in odds of being PPD suggestive. Compared to non-Hispanic women, Hispanic women in the study had a 127% increase in odds of being PPD suggestive. We had a relatively small sample, so it would be interesting to look at this again with multiple cutoff points in future research to prevent data loss. Among all PPD risk factors, marital status had the strongest positive association with EPDS scores and infant weight-for-length when considering both individual and adjusted linear models. While this result was not statistically significant, it would be interesting to examine this variable more closely in future research in different models containing less overlapping variance
Presented by
Juan Ramon Feliciano
Institution
University of Rochester Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry
Keywords

Online Distraction at Work as a Moderator of the Relations of Need Thwarting to Subjective Vitality and Work Engagement

Kayla Zilke and Dr. Christopher Niemiec

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Using self-determination theory (Ryan & Deci, 2017) we explored the moderating effect of online distraction in the workplace on some of the negative effects need thwarting. Through self-reports of work engagement, vitality, basic psychological need satisfaction, need frustration, and need thwarting, the following hypotheses were tested in a sample of 242 individuals: basic psychological need thwarting and frustration in the workplace is negatively associated with work engagement and vitality (Hypothesis 1), while need satisfaction is positively correlated with them (Hypothesis 2). Need thwarting and frustration are in turn associated with greater involvement with online distractions, such as social media use (Hypothesis 3). Finally, engagement in online distractions buffers the adverse effects of need thwarting on subjective vitality and work engagement (Hypothesis 4). In line with Hypothesis 1, need thwarting and frustration were both negatively correlated with work engagement and vitality. Structural equation modeling revealed that need frustration and thwarting were positively correlated with online distractions. Finally, a moderation analysis showed a small buffering effect of online distractions on the negative effects of need thwarting, namely vitality and engagement, in line with Hypothesis 4. Understanding the relations among online distraction, need thwarting, need frustration, need satisfaction, subjective vitality, and work engagement helps to identify behaviors employees can engage in to improve, however slightly, their psychological work environment.
Presented by
Kayla Zilke
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
Psychology, work, SDT, online distraction, employee engagement
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Effects of Prenatal Stress on Cytokine Levels and Placental Vascularization

Lejla Sose

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Stress has been associated with increased pro-inflammatory and decreased anti-inflammatory cytokine levels, which have been shown in previous research to negatively affect pregnancy and child development. Additionally, pro-inflammatory cytokines have been shown to negatively impact placental vascularization which has been associated with poor peri- and post-natal outcomes. In this study, I examined the relationship between stress, levels of IL-6, IL-10 and TNF-a cytokines in the first trimester, and the placental surface area/vascularization ratio in 130 normal pregnancies within Understanding Pregnancy Signals and Infant Development (UPSIDE) cohort study in Rochester, NY. Multiple linear regression and correlation analyses showed that stress did not significantly affect the levels of cytokines or the surface area/vascularization ratio of the placenta, but several trends were observed. Cytokines alone did not significantly affect the surface area/vascularization ratio. Age, family poverty income ratio and education were significant predictors of stress scores, but not of cytokines or surface area/vascularization ratio. The results suggest that other mechanisms are at play and provide opportunities to expand the research question to include different cytokines and placental measures across trimesters.
Presented by
Lejla Sose
Institution
University of Rochester Medical Center
Keywords
Stress, Cytokines, Inflammation, Placenta, Prenatal health
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Let’s,,, talk about it: The comma ellipsis in computer-mediated communication

Lily Steiger, Chung-Lin Martin Yang

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The purpose of this study is to investigate the use of the comma ellipsis (,,,) as a pause in computer-mediated communication (CMC). We hypothesize that the comma ellipsis is used to mark a shorter pause than the regular ellipsis (...) through analysis of its use and perception. Studying CMC can provide insight into the ways that language is changing and is being molded by its users especially through social media. Prior researchers (e.g., Kalman & Gergle, 2014) have investigated many CMC tools, but, to our knowledge, no published study to date has explored the comma ellipsis. This study presents participants with identical sentences containing either the comma ellipsis or the regular ellipsis to examine differences in production between the two. As internet language can lead to miscommunications between those who are familiar with its customs and those who are not, this research attempts to bridge that divide by shedding light on one rapidly growing CMC tool.
Presented by
Lily Steiger
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Keywords
Language, Linguistics, Computer-Mediated Communication, Internet Language, Ellipsis
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A Systematic Review of Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) Teaching Interventions

Mackenzie Steen, Jennifer Raynor, M.L.I.S., Constance D. Baldwin, Ph.D., Sandra H. Jee., MD, MPH

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Abstract Context: Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) impact long-term health. Pediatricians need training on ACEs and trauma-informed care (TIC). Objective: To summarize published educational interventions for health professionals on ACEs and TIC. Data Sources: Pubmed, Embase, Web of Science, CINAHL, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, PsychInfo, and MedEdPORTAL databases were searched from database inception through January 2021. Study Selection: Inclusion criteria were: (1) teaching interventions on ACEs, TIC, child abuse, and child maltreatment, (2) targeted learners are health providers or trainees, (3) English language articles with abstracts, (4) description of curriculum, evaluation, and outcome measures. Data Extraction: We independently reviewed 2,263 abstracts, abstracted data from 79 studies, and selected 51 studies for final, qualitative synthesis. Results: Categorized studies focused on: ACEs/TIC (n=27), child abuse (n=14), domestic violence/intimate partner violence (n=6), child maltreatment (n=3), and physical punishment (n = 1). Learners included medical professionals (n=33), and students only (n=18). Duration and content of curricula were highly variable (range 15 minutes to semester-long), and primarily in the U.S.(n=38/51). Study outcome measures to assess knowledge, attitudes, and confidence included pre/post surveys (n=38), post surveys only (n=7), and qualitative analysis (n=12). Only one study evaluated impact of teaching intervention on patient care by chart review. Search trends suggest shift to more general TIC training for medical and nursing students. Limitations: Studies were limited to English language studies and subject to publication bias. Conclusions: Breadth of studies suggest concepts of ACEs are increasingly relevant to teaching health professionals TIC. Systematic Review Registration Number: PROSPEROCRD42020148077
Presented by
Mackenzie Steen <msteen@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester, Division of General Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics
Keywords

"Cultural War" And Partisanship: Evolution Of Divide Between US Parties Over Abortion

Moeed Baradaran Hosseini, André Eisenburg, Gerald Gamm, Justin Phillips, Matthew Carr

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The roots of modern-day partisan polarization lie in the “culture war,” the battle over social issues that began in the 1960s and 1970s. Whereas the touchstones of the culture war—abortion and gay rights—were virtually invisible in American politics until the 1960s, a “bottom-up revolution” in the states brought these issues to the national scene. These issues were not partisan when they first emerged on the political agenda. However, the two parties began diverging sharply on these issues in the past three decades. This project aims to look at the roots of this partisan polarization by collecting records from all 50 states to understand the origins of the culture war at the state level—in party platforms, in state legislation, in political activity generally. By inquiring about where & when the partisan divide begins on abortion and what can explain variation in the position-taking of legislators, the project has found significant evidence that in the early stages, politicians were not driven by partisan forces but by other factors, such as religion.
Presented by
Moeed Baradaran Hosseini
Institution
Department of Political Science, University of Rochester; Department of Political Science, Columbia University
Keywords
Abortion, Gay, Partisan, Cultural War, US parties, US politics, Reproductive rights
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Motivational and Moral Foundation Differences in Liberals and Conservatives

Plamena Powla and Karen Gilbert

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This research will expand on a previous study that measured how approach and avoidance motivation are related to political opinions on government involvement in economic and equity issues. Using 485 participants recruited through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform, we will examine how political orientation moderates the relationship between approach and avoidance motivation and the farm/care and fairness/reciprocity moral foundations (the individualizing moral foundations). Due to previous research stating that the approach-based motive of self-reliance is positively related to social justice for liberals but not for conservatives, we predict that political orientation will moderate the relationship between approach motivation and the individualizing foundations, but not the relationship between avoidance motivation and the individualizing foundations.
Presented by
Plamena Powla
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Psychology
Keywords
Motivation, Morals, Political Orientation
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The Impact of Weather Shocks on Crop Yields: Evidence from India

Pramod Manohar

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Agriculture is highly dependent on weather conditions, and previous research at the country-level suggests that poorer countries are more significantly affected by climate change than richer countries. Moreover, evidence from climate science research suggests that extreme weather events are more likely to occur and that temperature and rainfall is becoming more volatile. This will have wide-ranging and damaging effects in poorer countries as a large proportion of the population in poorer countries are dependent on the success of agriculture. By exploiting annual variation in temperature, rainfall, crop yields, and crop prices within 313 apportioned Indian districts, I test whether higher temperature and less rainfall significantly decreases the aggregate output value of 13 major crops. I find that a 1℃ deviation above the temperature trend line leads to a 27% decrease in output value within a state for a given year, indicating massive losses from large fluctuations in temperature.
Presented by
Pramod Manohar
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Economics
Keywords
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Available April 12th 12pm-1pm EST
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American Identity and Attitudes Towards COVID-19

Selin Toprakkiran, Jonathan Gordils

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Using the dual identity model, we examined wow Democrats and Republicans define the American identity, and how this might impact the relationship between identifying as an American and COVID-19 outcomes (attitudes and precautions). Data was collected shortly before, during and after the 2020 presidential election (n=1292). Results suggest that how people define what it means to be an American moderates the relationship between American identity and COVID-19 outcomes.
Presented by
Selin Toprakkiran
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
American Identity, COVID-19, Partisanship

Neural Responses to Emotional Faces As a Mediator of the Association between Social Victimization and Psychotic-like Experiences

Shangzan Liu1, Abhishek Saxena1, Elizabeth D. Handley1,2, & David Dodell-Feder1,2

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Abstract
Adolescent psychotic-like experiences (PLE) are linked to the increased likelihood of later psychopathology making it important to identify experiences that increase the risk for PLE. Both experiences of social victimization and atypical neural activity have been independently associated with PLE. However, few studies have examined the relationship between social victimization, neural activity, and PLE. This study utilizes structural equation modeling and the data from 4479 eleven- and twelve-year-old who participated in the two-year follow-up of the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study to examine these associations, as well as potential mediators and moderators. To this end, a latent variable representing social victimization was constructed from child-report of relational, reputational, and overt victimization, cyberbullying, and perceived discrimination. Neural responses to emotional faces during the Emotional N-Back task in brain regions of interest (ROIs) were used as neural activity. ROIs were identified by identifying brain areas involved in the neural networks that are found to be active during experiences of social victimization, exclusion, or defeat, and are implicated in psychosis, namely the default mode network (DMN) and salience network (SAN). Finally, child responses to the prodromal-questionnaire brief child-version were used to represent PLE. We found that social victimization was significantly associated with PLE, such that more social victimization was related to both the more experiences of PLE and more PLE-associated distress. Mediation analyses indicated that this association was partially mediated by DMN, but not SAN, activity to emotional faces in comparison to neutral faces. Further, mediation of the social victimization-PLE association through the DMN was specific to PLE and did not generalize to internalizing or externalizing behavior. Future work should examine whether the pathways continue to be independent in older adolescence and examine the effect of potential moderators, such as genetic risks for psychosis or social support. These results indicate that bullying and discrimination may be good targets for intervention to reduce PLE in adolescents and thus their risk for later psychopathology.
Presented by
Shangzan Liu
Institution
University of Rochester1, University of Rochester Medical Center2
Keywords
social defeat, psychosis, default mode network
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Trends in Lab-TAB Coding for Anger Frustration: 6-month and 12-month Infants by Sex

Simone Greenberg, Tom O’Connor PhD, Jessica Brunner, Jishyra Serrano

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Childhood temperament traits develop early on in childhood and form the basis for later personality and diverse coping mechanisms (Goldsmith et al., 1987). The Laboratory Temperament Assessment Battery (Lab-TAB) was used to evaluated infants’ responses to stimuli in a controlled laboratory setting. The arm restraint episode of Lab-TAB was used for the anger frustration measure. 6-month and 12-month infants were made excitable by a motion toy and allowed to play with the toy for a period of time. An adult restrained the infant’s arms so the infant could no longer play with the toy, and the infant’s responses were coded. The four indicators measured were latency to anger, intensity of struggle, intensity of facial anger, intensity of and vocalization. We hypothesized that there would be a significantly higher composite score amongst all indicators in males compared to females and in 12-month infants compared to 6-month infants. In a 95% confidence interval (p<0.05), there were no significant p-values for any of the indicators. Despite the insignificance of the data, there were a few potential trends distinguished that support some aspects of the existing literature. 12-month infants had a greater anger frustration response than 6-month infants. However, the results diverge from previous studies concerning sex differences. The insignificance of the data was likely due to its large variance and a small subsample size (N=31). Future studies must be conducted with a larger subsample size and adequate adjustments for confounders to verify the results.
Presented by
Simone Greenberg
Institution
University of Rochester Department of OB/GYN
Keywords
Temperament, Anger, Frustration
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Children’s Temperament and Associated Externalizing Behaviors: The Moderating Role of Family Representations

Yensy N. Sanchez, Lucia Q. Parry, Patrick T. Davies

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Presented by
Yensy Sanchez <ysanche3@u.Rochester.edu>
Institution
Department of Psychology, University of Rochester
Keywords
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Describing Community Health Worker Implementation of WORTH Transitions, an Evidence-Based Program for Justice Involved Women with Substance Use Disorders and HIV Risk

Zainab Shah, Timothy Hunt, Amali Epa-Llop, Johanna Elumn, Karen Johnson, Lisa Puglisi, Kiranpreet Sekhon, Emily Wang, Hannah Bonbrest, Rachel Chen, Helayne Drell, Thinh Le, Ashley Leung, Diane Morse

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Abstract
Women recently released from incarceration are at greater risk for HIV, Hepatitis C, substance use, trauma, and mental health disorders. To address these problems, we aimed to assess community health worker (CHW) and client participant perceptions in the context of implementing WORTH Transitions, an integration of two evidence-based programs: Women on the Road to Health (WORTH) and Transitions Clinic (TC). WORTH is a structured five-session intervention, efficacious in decreasing HIV risk behaviors, intimate partner violence episodes, and substance use among justice-involved women. TC provides culturally-informed primary care and peer navigation to those reentering from incarceration, and is efficacious in improving health and retention in care. We utilized the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) “characteristics of individuals” construct by focusing on the three CHWs who implemented the WORTH Transitions program, and nine clients that they served. As peer CHWs, they shared socioeconomic status and life experiences with the women recently released from incarceration that they served. We conducted and used thematic qualitative analysis of CHW and client interviews in the course of the project in a pragmatic design to inform intervention and retention strategies. CHWs were able to learn and implement an evidence-based intervention for women with whom they share life experiences. Clients responded favorably to their CHWs having shared experiences and were able to access necessary resources through their CHWs. These findings support implementation of needed evidence-based programs for justice-involved women and build the knowledge base for needed research on efficacy of peer-driven and implemented approaches in this population.
Presented by
Zainab Shah <zshah3@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester School of Medicine Depts. of Psychiatry & Medicine, Rochester, New York; Columbia University School of Social Work, Social Intervention Group; Yale University School of Medicine, Dept. of Medicine
Keywords
Psychology, Criminal Justice, Substance Use Disorders, HIV Risk
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Resisting Gentrification: Then & Now: A Virtual Conference to Facilitate Conversations about Gentrification in the City of Rochester

Casey Ryu

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This project involved partnering with 540WMain, a local virtual antiracist education platform that promotes justice for all within the City of Rochester, to develop and deliver a virtual conference about the effects of gentrification with the theme of Resisting Gentrification: Then & Now to explore the historical roots of policies and practices that still exist in the present.
Presented by
Casey Ryu
Institution
University of Rochester, Center for Community Engagement
Keywords
community-engaged, gentrification, racism, housing
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All About the Green: Supporting Green Energy and Green Grant Projects For Taproot Collective

Christina Krewson

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Taproot Collective is a nonprofit organization committed to urban agriculture and neighborhood development in the city of Rochester. While Taproot Collective writes grants and seeks properties for future programming, they also evolve their original garden space. This capstone project consists of two stages, one tied to future expansion of the organization (research), and the other tied to developing the present farm infrastructure (green energy). In the research stage, I compiled data about neighborhoods surrounding potential farm sites that Taproot can use for grant-writing and stakeholder investment. In the green energy stage, I helped manage and document communications with Engineers without Borders about a solar energy project to ventilate the greenhouse.
Presented by
Christina Krewson
Institution
University of Rochester, Center for Community Engagement
Keywords
urban agriculture, green energy, community engagement
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Reconnecting Communities Through Play: Building an Equitable Playspace in Rochester, NY

Deniz Cengiz

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19th Ward Community Association, 540WMain and the Barbara J. Burger iZone at the University of Rochester Libraries are leading an effort to bring an innovative playspace to a Rochester neighborhood. We have been awarded $27,000 by Kaboom!, a nonprofit working on achieving playspace equity in the US, to build an accessible, joyful, innovative PLAYce in a play-desert neighborhood. We want our playspace to serve as a focal point for multi-generational engagement, storytelling, innovative thinking, and creative confidence. To guide our vision, we have created a community advisory board consisting of 20+ individuals ranging from council members to local designers to neighborhood and permitting experts. To finalize a location where a play infusion is most needed, we have utilized the City Owned Properties GIS map, then created our own map using ArcGIS to input location information and pictures. Lastly, we have conducted on-foot surveys of sites and phone interviews with local neighboring partners to get background information on locations. Moving forward, we will be conducting series of co-creation sessions with local neighbors and families in the vicinity of the playspace location to prototype design ideas. Our team of designers will then turn prototypes into build-ready design renderings which we will use to bring our playspace into reality.
Presented by
Deniz Cengiz
Institution
Barbara J. Burger iZone, 540W Main, 19th Ward Community Association
Keywords
playspace, equity, playground, community engagement, community-led design
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People over Profit, People over Property: Keeping New Yorkers Housed During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Lia Nelson

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No one should lose the roof over their head, let alone in the middle of a pandemic. My senior capstone project for the Certificate in Community-Engaged Scholarship explores how the Legal Assistance of Western New York (LawNY) is working to help low-income renters and homeowners prevent evictions and foreclosures in a global pandemic. I conducted research on the Federal and New York State eviction and foreclosure moratoria put in place to protect residents who are behind on rent or mortgage payments due to Covid-19 related financial hardships. I also researched the protections granted to homeowners with federally backed mortgages. I produced a portfolio of deliverables which improved community access to up-to-date legal information, such as articles available on the LawNY website and handouts distributed to tenants in the community with information on the eviction moratorium, SCIP, and illegal evictions.
Presented by
Lia Nelson <lia.nelson@rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
Community Engagement, Covid-19

Rochester's Rental Assistance Programs During COVID-19: Lessons for the Future

Madeline Bordo

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This project examines the impact of the Monroe County Eviction Prevention Pilot Initiative (EPPI) and EPPI 2.0 on housing instability in Rochester during the COVID-19 pandemic. This research focuses on the programs’ strengths and areas for improvement, with a focus on issues under state and local jurisdiction. The analysis is based on first-hand qualitative data from Rochester gathered in partnership with Connected Communities, plus program data from the past year. Both EPPI and EPPI 2.0 create a streamlined process of applying for all available assistance programs through one single application, but faced significant challenges in assisting people in need due to the funding’s eligibility requirements and regulation at multiple levels of government.
Presented by
Madeline Bordo
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
Affordable Housing, Eviction Prevention, Housing, Rental Assistance
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Financial-exclusion Syndrome Pervasive in Capitalist America, Rochesterians Seek Crowdfunded Loans

Michael Vilakazi

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This capstone project is in partnership with Kiva Rochester at the Mayor’s Office of Innovation, a microlending institution that empowers Rochesterians with interest-free loans of up to $15,000 to start or grow an existing small business. The Kiva Rochester program targets individuals excluded by lending institutions such as those with low or no credit scores, formerly incarcerated folks with an entrepreneurial spirit, and does not require collateral as it is determined through social capital. The project involves work to provide more support to small business owners to position their business for success through community resources, getting more trustee organizations to be able to vouch for and endorse our borrowers, creating avenues for networking and relationship building, assessing impact of the microloans through qualitative research, and some marketing material for social media that spotlights our borrowers.
Presented by
Michael Vilakazi
Institution
University of Rochester, Center for Community Engagement
Keywords
Micro-lending, Microfinance, small business economy, crowdfunded loans
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Community-Building & Citizen Action: Setting the Foundation for Fundraising

Owyn Guinnip

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Abstract
Owyn is co-founder and secretary of the fundraising committee for the Rochester chapter of Citizen Action. In partnership with this social justice grassroots organization, the fundraising committee was formed to empower the members and deliver independent funds needed to lead community political educational events, while building the organizing power and sustainability of the chapter. She is collaborating to produce an outline and agenda for the fundraising committee, plan and hold a virtual fundraiser, as well as delivering a sustainable committee focused on fundraisers that both supports local vendors, highlights the work of Black and brown owned businesses, and connects Citizen Action with the Rochester community.
Presented by
Owyn Guinnip <oguinnip@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester, Center for Community Engagement
Keywords
Community Engagement, Fundraising, Citizen Action
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Space-Making in the Flower City

Reanna Salvador and Breanne Fong

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Abstract
“each of us has the power to help each [other] feel more, heal, and move toward our longings for liberation and justice together” - adrienne maree brown, Pleasure Activism

The focus of this community-engaged capstone project is to help develop an organizational and outreach infrastructure for Flower City Noire Collective (FCNC), with the intention of reinforcing FCNC’s holistic approach to activism in the Rochester community. Over the course of the semester, we produced a manual of procedures and a graphics portfolio to act as a guide and resource for FCNC operations. In addition, we have worked alongside FCNC’s assistant, who will take on these administrative tasks after May 2021. We believe it is necessary that the University of Rochester establishes sustainable relationships with community organizations, as we demonstrate with this project, given its institutional power.
Presented by
Reanna Salvador and Breanne Fong
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
community engagement
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Available April 16th, 2021 from 12pm - 1pm
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Growing Together: EcoReps Community Engagement Committee in Partnership with St. Mark’s & St. John’s Episcopal Church

Renee Sipos

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Abstract
This project establishes a sustainable partnership structure between the EcoReps Community Engagement Committee (CEC) and St. Mark’s and St. John’s Episcopal Church (SMSJ) as part of the EcoReps: Intro Leadership & Sustainability curriculum. As a result of inclusion in the course, dedicated students are introduced to community-engaged work in sustainability, food justice, and urban agriculture while working on projects that connect their skills, resources, and passions to unmet needs identified by SMSJ to improve environmental equity in the Beechwood community of Rochester, NY.
Presented by
Renee Sipos
Institution
University of Rochester, Community-Engaged Learning Capstone
Keywords
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Available April 16th 12-1 pm EST
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Re-envisioning Bedside Stories: A Virtual Adaptation of the Hospital Elder Life Program for Isolated Seniors at Risk for Delirium

Rui Ting Liang, Divya Naidu

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Abstract
The increased isolation of elderly patients, especially those in hospital quarantine due to COVID-19, can lead to greater risk of delirium. Delirium is a decline in mental state and results in a sudden confused state of mind and can make it more difficult for the patient to recover from illness. The restrictions put in place to limit visitors and volunteers due to the pandemic have exacerbated the isolation of patients. This project focuses on implementing virtual volunteering to increase contact with elder patients enrolled in the HELP program. Guides for volunteers will be created to support virtual engagement such as question prompts for memory recall, steps for video conferencing with patients, and exercise interventions. The effectiveness of virtual volunteer visits will be evaluated through surveys and questionnaires to the participating patients in isolation and measuring delirium rates.
Presented by
Rui Ting Liang, Divya Naidu <rliang7@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
Highland Hospital, Center for Community Engagement, University of Rochester Medical Center
Keywords
Delirium, COVID-19, Isolation, Virtual, HELP, Patient-Care, Geriatrics

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Access to Clean Water through EZ Water

Afnan Ahmed

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Abstract
Presented by
Afnan Ahmed
Institution
University of Rochester, Grand Challenges Scholars Program
Keywords
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Restoring & Improving Urban Infrastructure

Alec Jorge Tapia

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Abstract
Infrastructure is the combination of fundamental systems that support a community, region, or country. Society faces the formidable challenge of modernizing the fundamental structures that will support our civilization in the centuries ahead. My poster briefly discusses how I have gained insight and experiences to address this challenge and fulfill the five competencies outlined in the Grand Challenges Program.
Presented by
Alec Tapia <alec.tapia@rochester.edu>
Institution
Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences
Keywords
Urban, Restoration, Infrastructure, Improvement, Grand Challenges
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Improving Access to Clean Water in Rural Dominican Republic

Andrew Carter Balogh

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Abstract
In many parts of the Dominican Republic, the infrastructure to adequately supply easy access to clean water is lacking. As a result, people must purchase jugs of water that have been purified by a company with a water treatment facility. The cost of clean water is difficult to meet for an entity that needs to supply a large quantity of people with potable water, such as a school. The Escuela Taller Santa Maria Josefa Rosello, a K-8 school in the rural village of Don Juan, has been spending an estimated $500USD each month on water.

The University of Rochester Chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) has spent 7 years working at the Escuela Taller Santa Maria Josefa Rosello implementing a chlorination system to the existing water infrastructure. My involvement with EWB resulted in a 4-year-long effort to build the resilience of the school's water system and improve the water testing capabilities of the school. Through two trips to the project site, twice a week EWB planning meetings during the school year, and classwork, I was able to monitor the water quality of the implemented chlorination system and develop improved monitoring methods using image processing of bacterial tests.
Presented by
Andrew Balogh
Institution
University of Rochester, Hajim School Grand Challenges Program
Keywords
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Available April 12th 12-12:30PM EST
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HospiPal

Deric Toro

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Abstract
Last year, I founded HospiPal, a mobile application that will tackle the lack of interoperability found in medical technology that limits physician-patient, as well as physician-physician communication. It builds a network that:

- Allows physicians to securely share and discuss medical records irrespective of their hospital system - Allows physicians to have access to their patient’s health journal in which patients provide details of their daily physical and emotional state - Creates a central repository of a patient’s health record - Removes the need of using various hospital apps to communicate medical history with their care team - Allows 24/7 communication with their care team

During my time volunteering on the pediatric cancer floor of Hospital Pediatrico Universitario, I noticed an overwhelming trend: patients with low socioeconomic status often received worse care, in part due to a lack of proper communication with caregivers. This adverse disparity unfairly affects the health outcomes of people around the world as well as the disadvantaged communities of my own home.

With HospiPal, I plan to eliminate the communication barriers that maintain this unruly cycle by creating a network that will allow physicians to provide holistic care. Using telehealth platforms that will promote the active conversation of a patient’s social and situational hardships between physicians is only the start of how I plan to improve our healthcare system.
Presented by
Deric Toro
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
HealthCare

Engineering Better Medicines for Endometriosis

Emily Laskey

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Abstract
Poster for National Grand Challenges Program.
Presented by
Emily Laskey
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
Grand Challenges Scholar Program, GCSP

Symptoms based diagnosis of endometriosis

Emily Schiller

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Abstract
Endometriosis is a disease characterized by the growth of endometrial-like tissue, the tissue that lines the uterine cavity, outside of the uterus. While the symptoms of endometriosis vary between patients, common symptoms include incapacitating pelvic pain, abnormal uterine bleeding, and even infertility in as many as 40% of patients. Despite affecting at least 10% of women worldwide, the only current method of diagnosis is laparoscopy, a surgical procedure that enables physicians to view the pelvic area. However, not only is this procedure invasive and costly, but it has technical limitations as a diagnostic tool for endometriosis and there is still an 11-year diagnostic delay (time between the onset of symptoms and diagnosis of endometriosis) in the United States. This diagnostic delay is likely due to a lack of research and awareness of endometriosis among physicians and the general public. As part of the international Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) 2020 team, I have developed a non-invasive method of diagnosing endometriosis. By addressing this project through five competencies (Research, Interdisciplinary, Entrepreneurship, Global, and Service), I have contributed to the National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenge of Engineering the Tools for Scientific Discovery.
Presented by
Emily Schiller
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Biology
Keywords
endometriosis, noninvasive, diagnostics, symptoms, predictive modeling, random forest, machine learning

Development of a Novel, Noninvasive Diagnostic for Endometriosis using Menstrual Euent

Hanwen Gu

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Abstract
Presented by
Hanwen Gu
Institution
Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Rochester
Keywords
Diagnosis, Biology, synthetic biology, engineering

A Novel Non-invasive Diagnostic for Endometriosis

Isabel Lopez-Molini and iGEM 2020 team

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Abstract
Currently the only way to diagnose Endometriosis is through an invasive surgical procedure known as laparoscopy. This procedure can be risky, expensive and causes overall pain and discomfort post operation. Additionally, endometriosis is an under researched disease in which scientists still don’t understand the pathways that underlay it. The availability of diagnostic tools as well as general knowledge of this disease is scarce. Aftermath is women spending an excessive amount of years enduring disruptive and agonizing discomfort on a daily basis. Development of a non-invasive diagnostic tool is critical. As part of the International Genetically Engineered Machinery (iGEM) 2020 team, my team as well as I were determined as well as inspired to tackle the underdiagnosis of endometriosis.
Presented by
Isabel Lopez-Molini
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
women's health, molecular biology, endometriosis, diagnostics

Design a Novel, Noninvasive Diagnostic for Endometriosis using Menstrual Effluent

Jinghong(James) Tang

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Abstract
Presented by
Jinghong (Tang) Tang
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Biology
Keywords

Access to clean water through partnership

Leonor Teles

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Abstract
Presented by
Leonor Teles
Institution
University of Rochester, Hajim School of Engineering, Grand Challenges Scholars Program
Keywords

Grand Challenge-Engineer the tools of scientific discovery-Robotics and discovery

Madhavan Murali

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Abstract
When the National Academy of Engineers decided upon the Grand Challenge of "engineering the tools of scientific discovery", for many people, space jumped into their minds. But the act of discovery encompasses a wide variety of fields, from oceanography to geography and, perhaps most importantly, robotics. For my presentation, I hope to show the growing influence of robotics and mechanical design in scientific experimentation and exploration, including robotics applications for clearing space debris for future space missions and analyzing samples for deep-sea expeditions.
Presented by
Madhavan Murali
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
Robotics, Grand Challenges Scholars Program, Discovery
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Available April 16th 12-1 pm
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A non-invasive approach to diagnosing endometriosis

Meghan Martin

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Team UteRus, the 2020 University of Rochester international Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) Team, sought to create a novel, non-invasive diagnostic for endometriosis using menstrual effluent. Endometriosis is a chronic disease that causes abnormal endometrial-like tissue growth outside of the uterine cavity. It affects more than 200 million women worldwide and can lead to severe symptoms impacting reproductive health. No diagnostics are currently available except for exploratory surgery. Our team developed a diagnostic test for endometriosis using synthetic biology. The design is similar to pregnancy test, detecting biomarkers in menstrual effluent that are implicated in endometriosis patients in abnormal quantities. Not only is our design accessible and low-cost, we utilized an interdisciplinary approach to further the effectiveness of the project including raising endometriosis awareness and creating a symptom-based predictive model to indicate likelihood an individual has endometriosis.
Presented by
Meghan Martin
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Biology
Keywords
iGEM, Synthetic Biology, Endometriosis

NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program: Provide Energy from Fusion

Samantha Kapushy

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Presented by
Samantha Kapushy
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords

Humanistic Perspective on Advancing Personalized Learning

Shannon Lue Chee Lip

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Presented by
Shannon Lue Chee Lip
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords

Engineering a Novel Diagnostic for Endometriosis Using Menstrual Effluent

Zivile Vebraite

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Abstract
Endometriosis is a disease, characterized with aberrant endometrial-like tissue growth outside of the uterine cavity. This chronic disease affects more than 200 million women worldwide. The current diagnostic is an invasive exploratory surgery. The patients suffer from severe symptoms, impacting reproductive health and overall well-being. The 2020 University of Rochester Team, participating in the International Genetically Engineered Machine 2020 competition, created a novel, non-invasive diagnostic for endometriosis using menstrual effluent. Upon collaboration with physicians and researchers in the field of endometriosis, the wet lab team identified biomarkers for endometriosis in menstrual effluent and designed lateral flow assays to detect the presence of the biomarkers in menstrual effluent. The hardware team created a menstrual cup best suited for the collection of menstrual effluent and the comfort of endometriosis patients as well as inexpensive laboratory equipment for clinics without easy laboratory access. The Policy and Practice and Education teams focused on ensuring that the diagnostic addresses ethical, global and sustainability aspects of the disease treatment. As a result of these multidisciplinary efforts, the diagnostic designed for endometriosis can be used to provide a cheaper and faster parameter-based diagnosis of one’s status in terms of endometriosis
Presented by
Zivile Vebraite <zvebrait@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Biology
Keywords

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Atonement & Reconciliation: Germany’s Path in Moving Forward With its Past

Alyssa Nelson

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Abstract
My historical honors thesis centers around two themes of German political memory, atonement and reconciliation. As Germany reunified in 1990, a new, national identity was established in reaction to their chaotic twentieth century past. Part of this identity was national memorial projects for citizens and tourists to learn about this appalling past. In my research, I focus on two of these national projects in the Memorial of the Murdered Jews of Europe and Berlin Wall Bernauer Straβe Memorial. Both memorials are located in Berlin and continue to be important monuments for the German people. I argue that Germany needed to acknowledge its horrific Nazi past to become a responsible, respected country. The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe stands as central Holocaust memorial, and it serves as an impactful example of striving to atone. In another German remembrance theme, reconciliation is at the forefront of the Berlin Wall Bernauer Straße Memorial. The creators of this memorial fought for reconciliation by always striving for an agreement in design and collective identity. Memorialization was at the forefront of these conversations, and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and the Berlin Wall Bernauer Straße Memorial are powerful symbols of a nation atoning for its horrifying past while reconciling its future. My methods to this research project included studying abroad and traveling to Berlin during the summer of 2019, researching newspaper articles of the time reacting to the memorials, reading several historical books and journals about the Holocaust and the Divided Berlin Era, and examining other photographs and videos of the memorials in question. Studying aboard was made possible by the Humanities Research and Innovation Grant and the Meliora Scholars Grant.
Presented by
Alyssa Nelson <anels28@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of History
Keywords
History, Political Memory, Gender, Holocaust, Berlin Wall, Atonement, Reconciliation, Political Identity, Berlin

Mẹ ơi!: A collection of transgenerational narratives from Vietnamese-American mothers and daughters living in Little Saigon in Garden Grove, California

Anh-Thơ Antoinette Thị Nguyễn

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This research project is an ethnographic study of Vietnamese women living in Little Saigon in Garden Grove, California. It begins as a collection of transgenerational life-histories of Vietnamese women who are grandmothers, mothers, and/or daughters and transitions into an analysis of how these kin relations work in a contemporary American context in light of the Vietnam War and subsequent diaspora. My major research question is as follows: what are the sociocultural and geopolitical histories and climates that shape the lives of Vietnamese refugees in America and how do they influence how Việt kiều women mother their children? My analysis encompasses the construction of motherhood, of identity, of community for Vietnamese women living in a microcosm of their home country of Vietnam – a Little Saigon. Using the anthropological frameworks of refugee, rescue, and immigrant and diasporic kinship studies, I attempt to reconcile notions of American and Vietnamese kinship, and how those harboring novel hyphenated identities (Vietnamese-American) must adapt. I use life-histories – intimate personal narratives – to understand what it means to be a mother, to make kin, to find belonging as a Vietnamese woman in America.
Presented by
Anh-Thơ Antoinette Thị Nguyễn
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of Anthropology
Keywords
Anthropology, Vietnam, Diaspora, Kinship, Motherhood, Refugee
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Available April 16, 12 pm - 1 pm
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“Bomingham”: A Look at Buildings and the Use of Space in the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement

Britney Waldrop

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Abstract
The Birmingham Campaign of the Civil Rights Movement, which took place from April to May 1963, occurred in a very condensed space. Little to no research has been done on the reasons behind the space used in the Birmingham Campaign of the Civil Rights Movement and what this meant for how the movement played out. My research looked at why the movement happened in such a small area and what this meant for the use of buildings and space in the movement. In this presentation, I look at the use of racial zoning and intimidation techniques to control the space that Black people were allowed to occupy and briefly mention how this institutional racism still impacts Birmingham (and many cities) today.
Presented by
Britney Waldrop <bmwaldrop01@gmail.com>
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
Civil Rights Movement, Birmingham, Racial Zoning

Shadows and Delusions: The "Indian Burial Ground" Superstition

Eddie Hock

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Abstract
A hallmark of horror cinema, campfire ghost stories, and bad omens in general, the “Indian burial ground” superstition emerged in something resembling its modern form during the early 1970s and has been a staple of American suburban folklore ever since. The central idea of the myth is malleable but distinctive: the presence of an “Indian burial ground” beneath white-picket-fence America holds the power to bring bad luck, produce supernatural phenomena, and/or cause unsuspecting non-Native people to become violent or murderous toward one another. The superstition is fundamentally married to the world of seventies and eighties horror, but it has proven resilient in the decades since, and it engages with powerful questions about place, indigeneity, colonialism, and violence that have been present in the American zeitgeist for centuries. My history honors thesis, Shadows and Delusions: The “Indian Burial Ground” Superstition, evaluates portrayals of indigenous grave sites in fiction, academic literature, and especially film throughout American history to understand the contemporary burial ground superstition, the issues it raises, and what it is to live on stolen land.
Presented by
Edward Hock
Institution
University of Rochester, Department of History
Keywords
History, Indigenous, Colonialism, Folklore, American History, Film
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Available April 16th, 12-1 PM
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Scandinavian Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture

Grace Romania

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Presented by
Grace Romania
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
Food, Urban, Agriculture, Sustainability

Dead and Unburied: Human Remains in Museums

Julia Granato

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Abstract
Human bodies, usually no longer living, have been the subject of spectacle and intrigue for centuries. Before modern museums, early collections of curiosities, called “Wunderkammer” or “wonder rooms,” housed human remains alongside magical stones, paintings, sculptures, and taxidermy animals. In the 15th and 16th centuries, anatomical collections with vast human osteological specimens were assembled, studied, and put on display to be viewed by anthropologists, physicians, anatomists, phrenologists, other students of science, and even the general public. Today, both antique and fresh corpses can be found in nearly every museum and countless exhibits across the United States and all over the world. Despite the popularity of such attractions, there is still discourse surrounding the display of human remains. This research project explores the archaeological and philosophical perspectives of the treatment of human remains in museums today, particularly those who do not fall under NAGPRA’s jurisdiction. After establishing a broad historical backdrop of the collecting and display of human remains in the Western world, this project investigates a single case study: the Hyrtl crania at the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia, PA. Using this case study, the topics of dark tourism, structural violence, and the implications of such dealings with the dead are examined. Additionally, the complex and meaningful relationship between society and their dead is illuminated.
Presented by
Julia Granato <jgranato@u.rochester.edu>
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords
Human Remains, Dark Tourism, Structural Violence, Physical Anthropology, Phrenology, NAGPRA, Repatriation
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Available April 16, 12-1 PM EST
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Imagined Roots: Adopted Lineages in Caribbean Literature

Shannon Lue Chee Lip

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Abstract
Presented by
Shannon Lue Chee Lip
Institution
University of Rochester
Keywords