Fatima Ahmed, Bioengineering, College of Engineering
Mentor: Karin Wang, Bioengineering
The effects of breast cancer epithelial cells on the microarchitecture of the extracellular matrix
Carmel Alexander, Bioengineering, College of Engineering
Mentor: Evangelia Bellas, Bioengineering
Defining Lymphatic Vascular Transport Parameters in Engineered Adipose Tissue Models of Lipedema
Mahasin Bintuabdulkareemidris, Film and Media Arts, School of Theater, Film and Media Arts
Mentor: Chet Pancake, Film and Media Arts
The Missing Couple: The Lack of Representation of Black Women and South Asian Men in Romance Films
Thais Costa Macedo De Arruda, Neuroscience, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Laura Sinko, Nursing
A Tale Untold: Using Innovative Neuroimaging Technologies to Explore the Relationships Between Opioid Use Disorder, Emotional Recognition and Social Impairment
Luciano Fantini, Music Technology, Boyer College of Music and Dance
Mentor: Greg Kettinger, Jazz Studies
A Personal Jazz Exploration
Bridget Frame, Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Bryant Simon, History
Sticky Fingers: A Study on Organized Retail Crime in Philadelphia
Ari Gewirtzman, Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Jennifer Pollitt, Sociology
Understanding Homelessness and Housing Insecurity in Philadelphia's Transgender Community
Nala Hamilton, Biology, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Rob Kulathinal, Biology
Analysis of genes that escape X inactivation and their role in disease
Salvin Kabir, Biology, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Jinhua Wu, Fox Chase
Characterized the marine natural products that modify integrin activity
Danielle Krasnove, Speech, Language and Hearing Science, College of Public Health
Mentor: Elizabeth Heller Murray, Communication Science
How Children's Vocal Mechanism is Impacted by Dysphonia
Camryn Krumbhaar, Neuroscience, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Mathieu Wimmer, Psychology and Neuroscience
The hippocampus plays a role in the incubation of craving for sucrose
Eve Matthew, Marketing, Fox School of Business
Mentor: Vinod Venkatraman, Marketing
Understanding Purchase Behavior for 3D vs 2D Bespoke Fashion
Nicholas Scheri, Psychology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Peter Marshall, Psychology and Neuroscience
Predicting infant fine motor skills at 14 months from earlier grasping kinematics
Suruthikha Vijay, Bioengineering, College of Engineering
Mentor: Rouzbeh Tehrani, Civil Engineering
An Independent Study of Commercially Available Dialyzers Efficacy in Retaining Albumin and Removing Beta 2 Microglobulin
Michael Kegel, Bioengineering, College of Engineering
Mentor: Karin Wang, Bioengineering
The Effect of pH in Chronic Wounds on Fibronectin Matrix Formation
Chronic wounds affect 6.5 million Americans and $25 billion is spent annually on the treatment of chronic wounds. Therefore, there is need to understand the underlying biological driver that creates this expensive healthcare expenditure. Fibronectin is a molecularly flexible glycoprotein that is involved in several stages of the wound healing process. During the inflammation stage in acute wound healing, fibronectin, with molecularly relaxed conformation, acts as provisional scaffold for cells to remodel into a permanent collagen matrix. During chronic wound repair, the microenvironmental pH is alkaline, which is known to alter fibronectin conformation which disrupts chronic wound repair. However, what is unknown is if the molecular unfolded fibronectin exposes binding sites that impair fibronectin matrix maturity, matrix alignment, and fibril assembly rate.
Rida Ayub, Neuroscience, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Evangelia Bellas, Bioengineering
Neuro-Adipocyte Crosstalk in Engineered Adipose Tissue
Skylar Jennings, Speech, Language & Hearing Science, College of Public Health
Mentor: Gayle Dede, Communication Sciences and Disorders
Does Interest Level Matter? Turn Taking During Conversation Treatment for Aphasia
Group conversation treatment is aimed to improve communication and rebuild social interaction for individuals with aphasia (IWA). Participants in group conversation treatment can connect with other IWA and advance their everyday communication skills. The goal of this study was to examine how frequently participants initiate conversational turns when the topic is and is not relevant to their personal interests. IWA’s self-reported interest in planned topics on a survey prior to treatment. IWA then completed 10 weeks of treatment, with sessions twice per week for one hour each. The large group condition comprised six individuals with two clinicians and the dyadic condition comprised three groups of two IWA with one clinician. We predicted that IWA would produce more conversational turns about topics that they reported finding more interesting. In our initial analysis of the data, we found no significant difference in number of turns in relation to reported high interest level of topics.
David Devine, History, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Bryant Simon, History
Beautiful, Dirty, Rich: Recession, Queerness, and Lady Gaga's 'The Fame'
Abigail Derrico, Physics, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Alexander Gray, Physics
Combining ultrafast optical and x-ray spectroscopies for the study of emergent ferromagnetism at the LaNiO3/CaMnO3 interface
Epitaxial superlattices consisting of antiferromagnetic CaMnO3 and paramagnetic LaNiO3 exhibit emergent ferromagnetism that can be tuned by varying the thickness of individual layers. The thickness dependence of the interfacial magnetic moment can be attributed to the changes in the LaNiO3 layer, which undergoes a metal-insulator transition in the ultrathin (few-unit-cell) limit. Here, we use a combination of resonant soft x-ray reflectivity and time-resolved magneto-optic Kerr effect, optical reflectivity, and transmissivity spectroscopies of variable-thickness LaNiO3/CaMnO3 superlattices to disentangle multiple interrelated electronic and magnetic processes driven by ultrafast high-field THz electric-field pulses. Our new understanding of these phenomena makes the LaNiO3/CaMnO3 system a prime candidate for high-density spintronic devices wherein energy-efficient magnetic switching could be accomplished with electric fields or other external stimuli.
Tannishtha Nandi, Physics, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Maria Iavarone, Physics
Surface Characterization of Superconducting Materials used for Quantum Bits
Superconducting quantum devices are among the leading platforms of quantum computation due to their ease of fabrication and scalability. However, the problem of decoherence still remains to be understood.This project aims at understanding the science behind different decoherence mechanisms in Niobium, which is a key material of superconducting qubits. Interfaces and defects are believed to contribute significantly to the decoherence of the system. In this work we focused on the interface with the top native oxide of a Nb(100) single crystal. The sample was annealed in ultra-high-vacuum at high temperatures and the removal of hydrides along with partial oxygen dissolution was studied with the help of a low temperature scanning tunneling microscope for different annealing temperatures. It was found that at 400℃ the pentoxide is reduced to NbO2 and NbO while oxygen diffusion into the sample lowers the superconducting gap and introduces scattering close to the interface. At higher temperatures a (3x1) oxygen reconstruction was observed while the surface of Nb recovered the bulk superconducting gap.
Ethan Quinn, Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Elizabeth Hayes Alvarez, Religion
The role of the Protestant Reformation in the German Peasants War of 1525
The German Peasants’ War of 1524-25 was an uprising of German-speaking peasants and farmers against the feudal aristocracy in the Western and Southern areas of the Holy Roman Empire. Unprecedented in its size and scope, the War coincided with the Protestant Reformation following Martin Luther’s writing of his 95 Theses. By looking at primary source documents to analyze the demands of the peasants, this paper seeks to explore the link between the Protestant Reformation and the beginning of the Peasants’ War. I come to the conclusion that while the Peasants’ War originated distinctly from the events of the Reformation, the peasants were able to use the Reformation’s central ideas in their rhetoric to capitalize upon the underlying economic tensions of the time and spur on a widespread revolt of the peasantry.
Kathrine Kyrylchuk, Biology, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Cagla Tukel, Lewis Katz School of Medicine
Adaptive Immune Response Elicited by Curli-amyloid Presenting Dendritic Cells
Chronic bacterial infections are often associated with the presence of biofilms, structured communities of bacteria that form in tissues and on organic and inorganic surfaces. These biofilms contain amyloid proteins such as curli, which forms a natural complex with DNA in biofilms. From prior research, it has been found that curli/DNA trigger activate conventional murine dendritic cells (cDCs) and that the immune system produces antibodies in response to curli/DNA fibers. Infections from biofilms cause a varied response in individuals due to distinct immune systems but those with autoimmune disorders are especially at risk. This project aimed to determine whether DCs (Dendritic Cells), the main Antigen Presenting Cells (APCs) that initiate adaptive immune responses by activating T lymphocytes (T cells), can stimulate a T cell response against the protein curli, therefore exploring the first step in the initiation of curli-accelerated autoimmunity.
Alexandra Hehn, Neuroscience, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Debra Bangasser, Psychology and Neuroscience
The Effect of Early Life Stress on Cocaine Self-Administration and the Incubation of Craving
Substance use disorder (SUD) is a world-wide phenomenon; understanding the neural mechanisms of SUD are vital for progress in designing interventions. Though stress can increase the risk for SUD, some stress, such as mild early life stress (ELS), can foster resilience towards stress later in life. Our lab studies ELS utilizing the limited bedding and nesting (LBN) model. Prior research out of our lab found that male rats that underwent LBN self-administered less morphine, suggesting that LBN promoted resilience towards opioid addiction. Our research looks to see if this resilience extends to stimulants. This was done utilizing cocaine intravenous self-administration; we also assessed the incubation of craving by testing drug seeking during a 30 day abstinence period. We found that LBN had no effect on the self-administration of cocaine in both sexes, but did find a female-drive LBN effect on the incubation of craving suggesting an increased likelihood of relapse.
Mollee Feeney, Speech, Language, and Hearing Science, College of Public Health
Mentor: Jing Shen, Communication Sciences and Disorders
Context Effect on Perception of Complex Speech in Background Noise
While difficulty understanding speech in noise is one of the common complaints associated with age-related hearing loss, current clinical measures do not reflect the complexity of real-world communication scenarios that contribute to this challenge. The current study examined the effect of linguistic context on speech processing in background noise. One hundred spoken pairs of sentences were recorded and segmented to create three final-word completion conditions: expected exemplar, within-category violation, and between-category violation. A group of young adult native speakers of English completed a speech comprehension task with reaction time and accuracy as dependent measures. The results demonstrated a facilitative effect of a semantically congruent final word on speech processing in noise. Utilizing theory and methodology from both psycholinguistic and hearing science research, the present study sheds light on the complex mechanisms underlying our ability to perceive speech in background noise.
Olivia Bishop, Psychology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Jason Chein, Pyschology and Neuroscience
Online Misinformation Belief and Engagement in Media-Savvy Young Adults
To date, little is known about the psychological factors that might account for variation in the degree to which individuals believe in, and engage with, misinformation. Our study had two specific aims: (1) investigate belief in and sharing of nonpolitical news headlines, and (2) examine how individual differences in psychological traits relate to fake news engagement and belief. Participants viewed news headlines formatted as Facebook posts, decided whether or not to “like” and “share” them, and rated each for accuracy (Phase 1). After completing a series of surveys assessing intelligence, digital media use, need for cognition, overclaiming, and “bullshitting,” participants then repeated Phase 1 procedures with a further set of headlines (some repeated, some novel). These headlines were subdivided into “true” news, verified fake news, or fabricated. Results show interesting associations between engagement, belief, and intelligence, digital habits like Phone Checking, and evasive bullshitting. Implications and future directions are discussed.
Lily Rossi, Speech, Language & Hearing Science, College of Public Health
Mentor: Edwin Maas, Communication Sciences and Disorders
Examining the Relationship Between Acoustic Measures of Stress Patterns and Diagnosis and Severity of Childhood Apraxia of Speech
The purpose of this research is to create a reliable and valid diagnostic and severity measure for childhood apraxia of speech (CAS). Specifically, this study focuses on acoustic measures of lexical stress, one of the hallmark features of CAS that is currently only evaluated perceptually in clinical practice. In this study, acoustic measures were taken from 4 words produced by 4 children, including 2 with CAS and 2 children without communication disorders. Acoustic measures were descriptively compared between groups and related to CAS severity to validate these measures. We predicted that acoustic measures like abnormally long vowel duration would differ between groups (with longer durations for children with CAS) and that vowel durations would be related to CAS severity. The long-term goal of this research is that Speech-Language Pathologists will be able to use such measures to accurately diagnose children with CAS and provide appropriate and effective treatment for these children.
Seren Palacio, Biology, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Xavier Grana-Amat, Lewis Katz School of Medicine
Understanding the Substrate and Inhibitor for the PPP2R2A Tumor Suppressor
Protein phosphorylation is a reversible post-translational modification that regulatescellular processes,andis maintained by protein kinases and phosphatases, respectively. PP2A is a highly conserved Serine/Threonine phosphataseexistingas a heterodimeric “core enzyme” or a heterotrimeric holoenzyme. Regulatory subunits of the trimeric holoenzyme determinesubstrate specificity, however there is much to be understood about substrate recognition. Previous workin the laboratory identifieda Short Linear Motif with sequence R/K-V/L/I-x-x-V/I/L inB55α/PP2A substrates (Fowle et al, 2021). This project investigates twoproteins known to interact with PP2A, either as substrates or inhibitors. Focus is onthep107 conserved SLiM to regulate bi-directional dephosphorylation at varying distances, and the role of phosphorylation in the inhibitor protein FAM122A’s ability to bind B55αand inhibit holoenzyme substrate binding. Binding and enzymatic assays revealed p107-R1R2showed SLiM dependency for dephosphorylation of the S640 phosphorylation site, and unique phosphorylation of the protein FAM122AimpactsB55αbinding.
Susan Schramfield, Bioengineering, School of Engineering
Mentor: Andrew Spence, Bioengineering
The Effect of Electrocutaneous Haptics on Task Performance in Virtual Reality Environments
This study aimed to demonstrate whether touch feedback through external electrical stimulation to peripheral nerves (electrocutaneous haptics) improves task performance in virtual reality (VR) environments. The study collected data from typing tests performed by human participants on a real keyboard, a virtual keyboard, and a virtual keyboard with electrical haptic stimulation. The metrics evaluated were error rate, and words per minute (WPM). Fewer errors per test and more words per minute are considered improved task performance. Each of 12 participants were given three unique prompts on each type of keyboard and asked to type them using only their index fingers. Performance on the real keyboard was better for all participants in both metrics. There were no significant differences in performance between the virtual keyboard with and without haptics. Future work may repeat the project with different study design to minimize confounding errors in hand tracking.
Keri Kern, Biology with Teaching, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Amy Freestone, Biology
The Effect of a Large-Scale Climate Driven Disturbance on Carbon Storage Capacity of a Mature Temperate Forest
Forests can sequester large amounts of carbon in soils and woody biomass. Large-scale disturbances, however, have been increasing in intensity and frequency due to climate change, causing a more chronic stress and reducing the climate buffer effect of forests. To investigate the contributions of a recent large-scale tornado disturbance on the shift in carbon storage capacity, we calculated the above ground biomass and carbon fraction pre- and post-disturbance of all woody stems in a 2.56 ha older growth forest located in Northeastern United States. We hypothesized that the large-scale wind disturbance substantially reduced the carbon storage capacity of the woody community, contributing to a sudden increase in deadwood carbon. Our results show a dramatic reduction in standing biomass and therefore carbon storage capacity of the woody community. In general, Temperate forests show a relatively higher susceptibility to weather-related perturbations, and this low resistance may limit the ability of future terrestrial ecosystems to continuously buffer against atmospheric emissions.
Sarah Coleman, Bioengineering, College of Engineering
Mentor: Evangelia Bellas, Bioengineering
The Effect of Macrophage Crosstalk with Vascularized Adipose Tissue
Adipose tissue (AT) is a highly vascularized endocrine organ that regulates many metabolic functions. In obesity, AT’s vascular network cannot meet the needs of hypertrophic adipocytes, leading to pathologies that trigger an inflammatory response of macrophages. There is a lack of physiologically relevant models that study how macrophages engage in crosstalk with AT and regulate adipocyte and vascular function and organization. Here, we create a 3D engineered vascularized AT model with macrophages to study this crosstalk. Macrophage crosstalk with 3D vascularized AT was confirmed by the downregulation of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1). Adipocyte maturation factors were decreased yet adipocyte size was increased, implying that macrophage crosstalk allows for this normal growth. Downregulation of fibronectin suggests a change in ECM remodeling, impacting metabolic activity. Studying how AT changes during crosstalk with macrophages can help develop a better understanding of AT function in normal and obese conditions, offering insight into potential therapeutic targets for obesity treatments.
Jo Dean, Architecture, Tyler School of Art and Architecture
Mentor: Eric Oskey, Architecture
Learning from South Street: Main Street in the Modern Day
What makes for a vibrant street? What encourages people to hang out in an area? To live there? To work there? In 1899, W. E. B. Du Bois performed one of the first statistically driven sociological studies on Society Hill, which contains the eastern half of South Street. Beginning in 1968, Denise Scott Brown, architect and urban planner, followed up her and her husband’s success with their book Learning from Las Vegas by helping the community fight an existential threat. Alice Lipscomb was the community leader then, pushing back against a highway that would destroy South Street and every home and business on it. The street recovered, and thrived. Last year, the pandemic forced the street to close its doors again. With the rise of digital life, main streets like this one have been in trouble all across the US. But in the summer of 2020, South Street was busier than ever. Why? What keeps people coming back? The previous theorists mentioned, as well as Jane Jacobs, author of Death and Life of Great American Cities, have theories that could help explain the street’s continued vitality.
Alyssa Eder, Communication Studies, Klein College of Media and Communication
Mentor: Deborah Cai, Communication and Social Influence
The Planned Kidnapping of Governor Whitmer: What Happened, Who Are the Wolverine Watchmen, and How Did Michigan’s Government Respond?
In October 2021, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced the arrest of 14 men on the offense of conspiracy to kidnap American politician, Gretchen Whitmer, the Governor of Michigan. The 14 suspected men, were a part of a paramilitary group called the Wolverine Watchmen. The group in their continued congregation, made the plan to kidnap Governor Whitmer and hold her on a mock trial. The purpose of this paper a case study of the planned kidnapping of Governor Whitmer. The case study is focused on this event by providing a greater a context of the political and social landscape in which the plot was enacted. The investigation is qualitative, compiling research from press releases, the criminal complaint, court documents, and journal articles. Insight and analysis of the events are proposed throughout the paper. Final research questions will be proposed at the end of the paper for continued study.
George Emory, Psychology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Deborah Drabick, Psychology
Do Child Temperament and Parenting Practices Confer Risk or Resilience for Externalizing and Internalizing Problems?
Many factors influence trajectories of externalizing and internalizing behaviors from childhood to young adulthood, including youth temperament and parent-child interactions. However, there is a dearth of literature jointly considering these features across developmental periods. Several models consider the fit between children and caregivers, such as the Goodness-of-Fit, diathesis-stress, and differential susceptibility models. Participants were 775 youth (69% male, 76% Caucasian) who were assessed at five timepoints, beginning when the index child was 10-12 years until they were age 21. Results identified six profiles of youth that differed in terms of parent-child relationships, parenting practices, and child temperament. Auxiliary analysis showed that profiles of parent and child features differed on levels of internalizing and externalizing symptoms. The profile high in psychological autonomy had consistently higher symptoms compared to other profiles across multiple timepoints, whereas the high relationship/high psychological control profile had the lowest symptomology relative to other profiles.
Chloe Gehret, Biology, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Amy Freestone, Biology
Examining Spatial Distribution and Effect of a Large-Scale Disturbance on Northern Red Oak Population within an Old Growth Forest
The northern red oak (Quercus rubra) is a dominant tree in Eastern deciduous forests and provides many ecosystem services. Spatial distribution of a tree species is indicative of ecological interactions within the community, and large-scale natural disturbances are one example of shaping processes that can affect the structure of the entire ecosystem. With an increase in climate change, large-scale disturbances are becoming more frequent and widespread. The red oak population at Temple University Ambler was examined through mapping the red oak adults and saplings preceding an EF2 tornado, then analyzing the population’s survival rate and response following the disturbance. The goal of this experiment will be to determine the spatial distribution of the adult red oak and the sapling to find the life history characteristics the red oak evolved and how these traits impacted their ability to withstand a disturbance.
Harmehauk Kaur, Bioengineering, College of Engineering
Mentor: Bojana Gligorijevic, Bioengineering
Measuring Mechanical Forces of Leader and Follower Cancer Cells During 3D Collective Invasion
Sydney Keller, Speech, Language, and Hearing Science, College of Public Health
Mentor: Edwin Maas, Communication Sciences and Disorders
Self-Reported Communication Attitudes of Children with Childhood Apraxia of Speech
Much of the research literature on childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) has focused on understanding, diagnosing, and treating the impairment, rather than examining its broader impact. The present study focuses on the Personal Factors component of the World Health Organization model. Two validated communication attitude questionnaires were administered to 12 children with CAS enrolled in an intensive speech-focused intervention. Children’s scores were compared to the questionnaires’ typically developing norms. Relationships to CAS severity, parental perceptions of communicative participation, frustration ratings during therapy, and change over a brief period were also investigated. Preliminary findings indicate that older but not younger children with CAS are more likely to have greater negative self-perceptions about their speech. No significant correlation was found between parents’ perceptions of communicative participation in various contexts and communication attitudes, highlighting the need to include more child self-report measures in research. Further implications for CAS assessment and intervention are discussed.
Yesh Khanna, Global Studies, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Alan McPherson, History
Analysis of the Influence of American Public Opinion on American Foreign Policy Response to 1971 Genocide in Bangladesh
Emily Koch, Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: David Nickerson, Political Science
An Analysis of Public Risk Assessment in the Wake of Disaster
Merley Lafleur, Bioengineering, College of Engineering
Mentor: Karin Wang, Bioengineering
Fibronectin Fragments in Breast Cancer
Proteolytically cleaved fibronectin fragments from the full-length 500kDA fibronectin are known to be bioactive, but how each fragment contributes to breast cancer remains unclear. We explore the effects of the 30kDa and the 120kDa fibronectin fragments on biological roles, specifically, how these fragments will affect breast cancer cell adhesion, migration rate, and migration phenotype. To study this, we generate fibronectin fragments using metalloproteinases and validate the sizes using western blotting. Cancer cells will be seeded onto fibronectin fragment-coated gels, and time-lapse microscopy performed to observe adhesion and migration. Overall, we expect that 120 and 30kDa fibronectin fragments' increased presence will drive breast cancer cells to persistently migrate. Cells on the 30kDa will show de-adhesive properties, and cells on the 120kDa will have a stronger binding characteristic. These findings will advance our understanding of how proteolytically altered fibronectin may drive breast cancer pathology and potentially lead to novel cancer drug therapies.
Juliya Medyukh, Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Kimberly Goyette, Sociology
High School Experience and Career Trajectory
The effectiveness of educational institutions in America constantly undergoes rigorous debate. Many can agree that one of the purposes of high school is to help plan for post-graduate success. Not all high schools, though, can provide the resources students may need or want to reach their goals. This study evaluates how high school resources like faculty, extracurriculars, and school-sponsored mobility are perceived to have affected the trajectories of high school graduates. Factors such as the expectations of parents and peers will also be analyzed. The purpose of this project is to add to the literature on the similarities and differences between the resources provided by well-funded, under-funded, and average high schools.
Charlotte Nesbitt, Bioengineering, College of Engineering
Mentor: Evangelia Bellas, Bioengineering
Effects of Microenvironment Stiffness on Adipocyte-Macrophage Crosstalk in Engineered Adipose Tissue
In obese adipose tissue (AT), pathologic adipocyte hypertrophy can lead to necrosis and inflammation, resulting in fibrosis and macrophages infiltration. Increased stiffening and extracellular matrix deposition associated with fibrosis alters mechanical signaling and adipocyte expression This research explores the effects of altered matrix architecture on crosstalk between adipocytes and macrophages in a 3D collagen hydrogel. Here, increased crosslinking is achieved via ethylene glycol-bis-succinic acid N-hydroxysuccinimide ester (PEGDS) and effects on macrophage polarization and AT remodeling are investigated. Additional PEGDS crosslinking increased storage modulus (via rheometry) and decreased collagen fiber length (via second harmonic imaging). Adipocytes encapsulated in highly crosslinked gels adopt a smaller, more circular morphology and an antifibrotic genetic phenotype. Macrophages in indirect coculture were regulated toward an antifibrotic phenotype through soluble factors. These results indicate that macrophages could be a therapeutic target for reducing obesity-associated fibrosis, and future studies will determine whether this relationship holds in direct cocultures.
Willow Neske, Bioengineering, College of Engineering
Mentor: Erica McKenzie, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Understanding the Effect of Copper on Denitrification in Bioretention Systems with and without an Internal Water Storage Layer
Internal water storage (IWS) layers are a bioretention system design feature increasingly utilized in place of the typical drainage layer to control stormwater flow and improve microbial nitrate removal via denitrification. Biochar (pyrolyzed organic material) is an experimental drainage layer media amendment used to increase dissolved organic carbon concentration (DOC) and promote denitrification. The project tested the influence of copper and the presence of biochar on denitrification in bioretention systems with and without an IWS during intermittent storm simulations. The experiment sought a better understanding of copper ion’s inhibition of denitrifying organisms in bioretention systems, and whether the inclusion of an IWS layer and/or biochar amendment could counter this hindrance. By analyzing the effect of an IWS layer and biochar on denitrification and copper removal, engineers can evaluate whether to implement either feature in bioretention system designs to optimize copper and nitrogen pollution during intermittent storms.
Kathryn Perrone, History and Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Ralph Young, History
Grassroots Environmentalism: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Philadelphia’s First Earth Day
Over 10% of the U.S. population participated in the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970 all across the United States. Philadelphia held one of the largest Earth Day events in the country, with over 20,000 residents involved in the movement. There has been a significant amount of research conducted regarding the effectiveness of the first Earth Day on a national scale, but there are no studies that consider the unique qualities of Philadelphia’s Earth Week. This study evaluates three main questions in order to study the tangible impact of the Earth Week movement in Philadelphia: 1) Did the first Earth Week lead to an increase in media coverage on environmental issues? 2) What policy changes occurred after the first Earth Week? and 3) How did environmental grassroots initiatives change after Earth Week? Ultimately, it is concluded that the first Earth Day encouraged politicians to promote progressive environmental policies, but led to no significant developments in regards to media coverage and grassroots activism.
Áine Playdon, Art History and Classics, Tyler School of Art and Architecture
Mentor: Jane Evans, Art History
Atalanta: Liminality and Gender in Classical Greece
Atalanta is a Ancient Greek huntress and athletes who appears in three of her own myths: the Calydonian boar hunt, the footrace, and wrestling at the funeral games for King Pelias. She often assumes a position in the masculine world in both art and literature. Her character has three myths attached to it, and her role in each of them adds layers of interest to her: Atalanta races against her suitors, hunts alongside men, and wrestles against famous heroes. She operates outside of societal bounds in each of her myths, placing her in the same category as the Amazons and the maenads: societal threats. A shift occurs in the visual imagery of Atalanta during the fifth century; she moves from being an active participant in her vase paintings to being passive. This essay explores her liminality and her visual shift by examining both the literary and visual evidence available about her.
Sophia Rothstein, Photography, Tyler School of Art and Architecture
Mentor: Rebecca Michaels, Photography
Behind the Lens: 8 Women on Visual Storytelling
I am surrounded by a tight-knit community of creative women with whom I share a passion for photographic storytelling. The stories these women told me about their experiences has inspired my research, the portraits, and the final book format. These women talked openly about their creative processes, their anecdotes about their time in the industry, and their viewpoints on being tagged a “female photographer.” Having these conversations allowed me to see these women as not just incredible photographers, but also as inspiring, creative people. Behind the Lens: 8 Women on Visual Storytelling showcases the work and stories of eight female photographers. Sharing these conversations is the first step in giving voice to a female perspective in visual storytelling.
Haley Tavares, Architecture, Tyler School of Art and Architecture
Mentor: Fauzia Sadiq Garcia, Architecture
Architectural Innovation in Sustainability Using Passive and Biophilic Design Strategies
Sustainable architecture is not only beneficial to the environment, but it's design approach can often lead to more humane and comfortable architectural spaces. This research consists of analyzing both passive and biophilic design strategies to design an affordable housing building that efficiently and innovatively utilizes them. The project stresses the importance of site and climate analysis and how it influences a building's orientation, form, and detailing. When used effectively this leads to a reduction in energy consumption and increase in thermal comfort. Through passive design the building implemented strategies that reduce overall energy consumption thus decreasing utility costs and increasing thermal comfort; and through biophilic design, strategies were implemented to improve air quality, reduce the heat island effect, and to increase green space. Overall the research resulted in a building design that provides a comfortable and welcoming microclimate for its inhabitants, while reducing energy consumption and positively impacting the environment.
Melanie Thomas, Speech, Language and Hearing Science, College of Public Health
Mentor: Rebecca Alper, Communication Sciences and Disorders
Variability in Parent Conversational Turns Based on Child Gender
Early turn-taking conversations teach children communication skills that are essential for their cognitive development. The purpose of this study is to examine if and how child gender affects the way parents coordinate conversational turns. We conducted secondary analyses using baseline data from a longitudinal study which included English-speaking and Spanish-speaking participants. Twenty-one dyads of English-speaking mothers and 1 to 2-year-old children were observed during play. We compared the number of interruptions and reprompts along with the temporal latency provided based on child gender. There were no significant differences in the average number of interruptions, reprompts, or wait time based on child gender. A non-significant trend was observed, such that more mothers of daughters interrupted their child than mothers of sons. Analysis of the Spanish dataset is pending and may provide further information.
Sophia Tran, Psychology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Chelsea Helion, Psychology
Social Network Learning Across Evaluative Domains
Previous studies focused on how individuals learn about and perceive others at the individual level, especially within social networks. This has been a central focus of social psychology, along with concepts, such as person perception, attribution theory, and stereotyping. However, people often need to make inferences not only about what other individuals are like, but also about the organization and structure of existing social groups. Learning and understanding group dynamics relies upon the interconnectedness of multiple psychological processes, including, but not limited to, person perception, reward valuation, prediction, and theory of mind. Most of the work done on this process largely focused on how individuals learn group structures that are based on power or hierarchy. However, these evaluative dimensions do not necessarily characterize all groups, which may instead be organized according to features like perceived warmth, kindness, deception, empathy, etc. Our project aims to identify how individuals learn and the rate at which they learn non-hierarchial social networks’ attributions and the interconnectedness of people in that network. Using a social group of seven contestants from the show, Survivor, we will test whether beliefs about these social network structures and its attributions and the rate at which they are learned differ as a function of network features present within a social network/group.
Deanna Waggoner, Political Science and Spanish, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Patricia Moore-Martinez, Spanish and Portuguese
Rural and Urban Latino Mental Health and the Role of Language Concordant Mental Health Care
Language concordance has been shown to be a vital component in delivering effective healthcare to speakers with Limited English Proficiency. However, language concordance in mental healthcare is understudied. Previous research is limited; therefore, this study investigates several implications and consequences of language concordant mental care. A comparison is made between accessibility to language concordant services in urban and rural areas. Additionally, data collected from Pennsylvania Death Statistics and OverdoseFreePA is used to establish deaths of despair percentages among Latinos, divided by county, which is analyzed along with accessibility ratings using robust linear regressions to determine if there is a relationship between the two variables. The findings of this study conclude that there is a significant difference between urban and rural accessibility levels, but there is not a relationship between accessibility and deaths of despair. However, the ruralness level of counties does predict deaths of despair percentages. Therefore, it can be tentatively concluded that other characteristics of rural counties besides mental health accessibility levels are influencing deaths of despair percentages.
Chavisa Arpavoraruth, Mathematical Economics, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Pedro Silos, Economics
Accounting for the 2010s Recovery: A Business Cycle Accounting Approach
The goal of this project is to analyze the U.S. 2010s recovery through a standard growth model augmented with time-varying shocks and wedges. These wedges are constructed in a way that makes the model replicate the behavior of real gross domestic product (GDP), investment, consumption, and the employment rate. I use a Business Cycle Accounting method, which allows me to isolate each individual wedge from the model in order to evaluate its influence during the recovery. The result shows that output is mostly driven by the efficiency wedge. However, government consumption and the investment wedge have a sizable impact on output later in the recovery.
Rachel Berson, Communication Studies and Political Science, Klein College of Media and Communication
Mentor: Scott Gratson, Communication Studies
World Pride’s Rhetorical Vision: A Fantasy-Theme Analysis
This paper analyzes the evolution of World Pride’s identity between the first occurrence of World Pride in 2000 and contemporary celebrations of World Pride using a Bormannean fantasy-theme analysis. Specifically, this paper seeks to understand the way in which World Pride has rhetorically transformed from an event conducted for the purpose of staking claims on contested spaces to celebrating existing pre-established gay spaces. Ultimately, this paper concludes that World Pride’s rhetorical identity has been fundamentally reimagined in a manner that is detrimental to both World Pride’s central mission and the global queer community overall.
Alefiyah Bookbinder, Bioengineering, College of Engineering
Mentor: Karin Wang, Bioengineering
Analytical Methods for the Quantification of Cell Morphology
Cells sense physical cues from their microenvironment and translate them into biochemical signals that modulate their behavior. The extracellular matrix (ECM) is the microenvironment that surrounds the cells, providing them with a network of macromolecules, such as collagen and glycoproteins, which provide structural and biochemical support to the surrounding cells. The stiffness of the ECM is a major physical cue that influences cells in many aspects, and although recent research explores the connection between ECM stiffness and migration, little to no research has been done on the influence ECM stiffness has on cell shape and morphology. Therefore, the goal of this research project was to examine the influence of varying extracellular matrix (ECM) stiffness on cell shape (morphology) and migration.
Nicholas Carmack, Sociology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Kimberly Goyette, Sociology
Students and Race: Understanding How Undergraduate Students Discuss and Comprehend Race and Racism
Devlin Eckardt, Neuroscience, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Vishnu Murty, Psychology
Behavioral Mechanisms of the Adaptive Communication of Memory
Memories are not veridical representations of our past, rather they are adaptive, serving future goals. One adaptive function of memories is communication. We do not only store memories for personal recall, but also to share information to others. In this study, we investigate how individual’s goal states to retrieve memories or communicate them to others changes the content and structure of free recall. We study healthy participants in a purely behavioral paradigm. Critically, half of our participants are experts at communicating memories to other individuals (i.e., improvisors and storytellers). Participants play an exploratory game where they discover a new environment. Later, during free recall, individuals recall their memories to themselves or as if to a friend. We analyzed these free recall narratives using the autobiographic interview. This work provides a deeper understanding of how we transform memories in order to communicate information to others.
Nikki Fackler, Psychology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Jamie Reilly, Communication Sciences and Disorders
The Moderation of Individual Differences on Physiological Arousal while Cursing
Neurogenic cursing is characterized by the excessive or involuntary production of taboo words. This is a problematic behavioral symptom present in numerous neurological disorders and interferes with communicative functioning. As the mechanism behind cursing is not fully understood, I investigated whether individual differences in profanity use/exposure, anger, and impulsivity moderate physiological arousal while producing taboo. Participants engaged in three reading/speaking tasks consisting of taboo and non-taboo (control) stimuli. Individual differences were measured using self-report questionnaires. Physiological arousal was measured through a multitude of vocal parameters that have been hypothesized to be indicators of physiological arousal (i.e., fundamental frequency, amplitude, jitter, shimmer). Using this novel methodology, physiological arousal was significantly higher during taboo word production than non-taboo word production. Some trends were found supporting the moderation of profanity use/exposure, anger, and impulsivity on the relationship between tabooness and physiological arousal. Future research is needed to draw conclusions.
Sid Feinberg, Sociology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Max Andrucki, Geography and Urban Studies
“We Went Out There and Turned His Town Upside Down”: The Use of Domestic Space in ACT UP Philadelphia Home Protest
This research focuses on the AIDS activist organization ACT UP Philadelphia from 2000-2020. It relies on online archives and oral histories, and specifically looks at ACT UP’s ‘home protests,’ which occur outside the domestic spaces of local government officials. The actions help to illustrate the ways that queer Black people, unhoused people, and poor people living with HIV are made vulnerable to illness and death. The actions further show how the home spaces of the political elite, and the reproductive labor that takes place in them, are connected to the maintenance of structural inequalities, and disrupt the illusion of the autonomous and political home.
Michelle Joyce, Bioengineering, College of Engineering
Mentor: Andrew Spence, Bioengineering
Gait Control for Obstacle Negotiation in Canines
Understanding the biomechanics of how animals overcome cluttered and complex environments has significant implications in biology and engineering. These include obstacle negotiation, neural and mechanical control, and applications in robotics as biological systems remain superior in this domain. Here we examine how flexibly controlled quadrupedal obstacle negotiation is constrained by the mechanical and temporal structure of typical animal gaits and the environment. Past research has shown that as a quadrupedal robot moves over a regular array of domed obstacles, patterns of trajectories emerge based on gait type and direct interaction between the robot’s legs and the obstacles. This results in stable locomotion with a systematic change in direction. As dogs have additional flexibility and must consider tradeoffs between desired gait, navigation, and energy expenditure, we hypothesized that in a similar array, dogs would change gait parameters including duty factor, limb phase, stride length, as well as direction of locomotion. To begin investigating the effect of space between obstacles, we quantified the natural step length of eleven dogs, and used this to normalize spacing for body size. Spacing was also increased and decreased by 20% from that value. For one adaptation, we hypothesized that with longer spacing, dogs would spend less time with their paws on the ground, thus having a lower duty factor. Feature tracking of the dog’s front left and back left paws do indicate a negative relationship between spacing size and duty factor. Using a generalized linear mixed effects model, for the front left and back left paw respectively, the effect size was -0.435 and -0.519, with standard error 0.032 and 0.035, both with p<0.01, for n=9 dogs. Continuing analysis of additional parameters will further investigate a dog’s ability to cope with obstacle fields. Adapting these strategies in robotic systems will allow for greater flexibility in cluttered environments by employing more stable and economical locomotion.
Jess Levine, Religion, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Elizabeth Alvarez, Religion
If American Civil Religion Really Existed, It Would be Necessary to Abolish It: Towards a Critical Sociology of American Civil Religion
This paper contends that the sociological study of American civil religion, which has descended primarily from the work of Robert Bellah, has been beset by an essentialized, Protestant understanding of religion and a naturalized perspective of American exceptionalism. It proposes a series of new analytical frames which could be used to construct a critical sociology of American civil religion. These frames emphasize behavior over belief, without reference to divinity or other traditional markers of Christian religion, to better analyze the role of American civil religion in legitimating the American state. This effort composites the work of marginalized sociologists of religion and critical scholars outside the field to suggest new conceptualizations and operationalizations of American civil religion that are better suited to that analysis, in order to support efforts to challenge that legitimation.
Alexandra Margolin, Environmental Science, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Erik Cordes, Biology
Differences in Habitat and Species Distributions of Seep-Associated Fauna Based on Underlying Geology at Active and Passive Margins
Cold seeps harbor massive reservoirs of hydrocarbons that fuel their associated ecosystems. These inventories of organic compounds are susceptible to exploitation by offshore oil and gas operations. The factors that control species distributions at cold seeps is not well understood. A study determining which environmental variables most influence the distribution of three important seep-associated fauna at a passive and an active margin was undertaken, producing a model that showed that the distribution of bacterial mats, bathymodiolin mussels, and vesicomyid clams—key habitat-forming species present at cold seeps worldwide—is influenced by temperature and seafloor terrain features. Specifically, the distribution of bacterial mats is most influenced by its Bathymetric Positioning Index (BPI), or its elevation relative to other points within 1 km. Bathymodiolin mussels and vesicomyid clams are most influenced by aspect of the seafloor, or the direction it faces. Mussels occupying the Blake Ridge seep on the passive margin of the US east coast prefer to settle on a slope that faces North. Clams at Blake Ridge prefer slopes that face South, and at Jaco Scar, the seep on the active margin of Costa Rica, prefer slopes that face North. This study has implications for conservation and exploration, where the methods outlined would be useful for predicting cold seep and fauna presence. This study is the precursor to a broader study that aims to predict the presence of cold seeps and associated fauna at a higher resolution than ever attempted before.
Gillian McGuire, Bioengineering, College of Engineering
Mentor: Peter Lelkes, Bioengineering
Mathematical and Computer Modelling of 2D Stem Cell Growth for Potential Future Application into 3D Organoid Systems
There is a bit of interest into understanding the mechanisms of which stem cells proliferate and divide since understanding these processes can generate better clinical outcomes when it comes to tissue engineered constructs and cell-based therapies. For my research, I was interested in mathematically and computer modelling for cell count N and several parameters that effect stem cell growth such as: cell density, doubling time, lag phase, asymmetrical division, mitotic fraction, and cell death. Through literature review mathematical models were constructed and modified to explore these parameters and their effect on cell count N over time. All models were solved and used within the program MATLAB. The exploration of these models leads me toward future work in generating more complex models in 3D environments such as stem cell organoids. With these models, the goal is to make better hypotheses about 3D behaviors and mechanisms that can later be confirmed experimentally.
Jediael Peterson, Global Studies and Anthropology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Benjamin Talton, History
War Is War: Ethnicity and Nation Building in Nigeria
Since its independence, Nigeria has been tasked with answering the question of what their national identity is. From its disastrous civil war and rise in militant forms of ethnic nationalism to the present day #EndSARS movement, the country is continuously reconstructing what it means to belong to Nigeria with ethnicity as a political tool. Through interviews, secondary materials; such as academic journals, and literary texts, we can see the role ethnicity plays in Nigeria's political mobilization while also wondering if it is a sustainable method.
Claudia Tangradi, Secondary Education and English, College of Education
Mentor: Sarah Cordes, Policy, Organizational, and Leadership Studies
An Investigation of Differences between Teachers of the School District of Philadelphia and Teachers of Suburban Districts Surrounding Philadelphia
Funding inequities and the differing qualities of education that students receive as a result have been heavily studied in recent years. With the acknowledgement that teachers are one of the primary factors that influence student academic outcomes, this study seeks to investigate the differences of former teachers of the School District of Philadelphia and current teachers of suburban districts surrounding Philadelphia in terms of overall quality and satisfaction. Utilizing interviews with both former teachers of the School District of Philadelphia and current teachers of districts in suburban counties surrounding Philadelphia, this study illustrates how these inequities play out in this specific area through the achievement gap and attests to the need for new educational policy. Findings of this study support the hypothesis that teachers of suburban districts are generally older, more educated and experienced, and satisfied with their jobs than teachers when they taught in the School District of Philadelphia.
Daniel Taratut, Biology, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Brent Sewall, Biology
Ecological Changes Brought on by Fungal Invasion and Pathogenesis
Fungal epizootics are on the rise, and the variety of biological invasions associated with human influences continues to put stress on ecosystem health. Emerging mycotic diseases have cascading impacts on biodiversity, rapidly shifting and destabilizing the community structure of ecosystems. What promotes or limits the spread of many pathogenic fungi remains an elusive concept to wildlife managers, inhibiting adequate and timely responses to effected host species. I first consider here why fungal invasions have long been overlooked in terms of multi-host susceptibility, and how indirect effects through species interactions increase pathogenicity within an ecosystem. I then review several case-studies underlining the success of invasion for certain fungal pathogens in diverse species groups. Highlighting the adaptive and evolutionary changes of host-pathogen interactions, I discuss how specific characteristics of fungal invasions lead to drastic transformations in ecosystems. In hopes of shining light on ecological changes attributed to fungal invasions, my aim is to provide a comprehensive analysis of emerging mycotic diseases, and how their ultimate effects on other species within ecosystems is often overlooked.
Anabella Thompson, Jazz Studies Performance, Boyer College of Music and Dance
Mentor: James Earl Davis, Urban Education
Gender and Jazz: The Experience of Young Women in Jazz Education
The number of young women who participate in instrumental high school jazz education programs peaks in middle school, then drops precipitously throughout the high school years. With most high school jazz bands populated by only a small percentage of female instrumentalists by the later years of high school. While this disparity is well documented, efforts to understand and address the issue have often lacked the perspective of the young women themselves. This qualitative research study, based on in-depth interviews conducted with 16 female instrumentalists, from different regions of the US and Canada, examines ‘band culture’ from the perspective of young women taking part in it. The result is a portrait of their experience and how they make sense of it, offering valuable insight into the challenge of creating music education environments that sustain and support young women.
Allison Amodea, Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Lindsay Craig, Philosophy
The Evolution of Female Focused Care: Linking the Hidden History of Women's Medical Care to Today's Failures
Selena Baugh, Sociology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Kimberly Goyette, Sociology
Understanding the Black-White Achievement Gap: Academic Achievement by Race and Parents' Education
Researchers have long puzzled over the Black-White achievement gap and its relationship with family income and parents’ education. Findings from previous studies indicate that education and income are positively correlated with academic achievement, however the extent to which they account for the achievement gap is still debated. Therefore, using the High School Longitudinal Study 2009-2016 dataset from the National Center for Education Statistics, this study seeks to clarify this issue. Results from a bivariate crosstabulation of race and GPA reflect previous research which shows that Whites outperform Blacks academically. A tri-variate analysis controlling for parents’ education reveals that as parents’ education increases, so does the strength of the relationship between race and GPA. Furthermore, among those with a GPA exceeding 3.00, the gap remains largely constant regardless of education. An interaction model controlling for both parents’ education and income reflects the crosstabulation results with the additional finding that White GPAs are predicted to suffer more when their parents lack a college degree. The study therefore calls for further exploration of the connection between parents’ education and the relationship between race and GPA as well as the unique effect lower education has on White students.
Kiana Burton, Physics, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Matthew Newby, Physics
Main Sequence Turnoff Star Properties of PanSTARRS Globular Clusters
Using data from the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS), we define the absolute magnitude distribution of main sequence turnoff stars (MSTOs) for 45 globular clusters in the Galactic halo. We follow the method of Newby et al. (2013) and fit all clusters with two half-gaussian functions centered at 3.74 with bright side 0.14 and faint side 0.27. We also obtain a set of distances, ages, and metallicities for all 45 clusters.
Dylan Chirman, Biology and Sociology, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Nancy Pleshko, Bioengineering
Evaluation of Chemically Induced Hypoxia in Porcine Tissue Engineered Cartilage
The purpose of this study is to identify the optimal cell culture conditions that will enhance thedevelopment of tissue engineered cartilage. The physiological environment of articular cartilage is bothavascular and hypoxic with oxygen tensions between 1 and 5%. Previous research has indicated that whenculturing cells in vitro, hypoxia improves chondrogenic commitment and more closely replicates thephenotypes of in vivo articular cartilage. This study aims to investigate the effects of chemically inducinghypoxia with a hydroxylase inhibitor, dimethyloxalylglycine (DMOG), in engineered articular cartilage,providing an inexpensive alternative to cell culture in hypoxia chambers.
Leah DeFlitch, Neuroscience, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Susan Patterson, Biology
Distinct Differences in Hippocampal Gene Expression Patterns in Aged vs. Young Rats Following an Acute Immune Challenge
Aging increases the risk of an abrupt cognitive decline, termed delirium, following an injury or illness. An episode of delirium is associated with a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, yet very little is known about the underlying mechanisms. Data from rodent models suggests that aging primes cells of the innate immune system in the brain to produce a dysregulated response to immune challenges. To more closely examine differences in young and aged animals’ responses to an acute immune challenge, genetic expression of whole hippocampal fractions of young (3-month-old) and aged (24-month-old) rats was studied. mRNA samples were screened against a curated gene expression panel of over 700 genes, which were selected for their involvement in immune responses and neuronal structure and functioning. A time-course was used to ask whether aged animals display different inflammatory mechanisms from young animals or if their mechanisms are similar but follow a delayed time course. Results show that aged animals may mount a distinct and more limited response to infection than their young counterparts, suggesting aged animals’ inappropriate immune response is associated with abrupt cognitive failure.
Niko Di Caprio, Bioengineering, College of Engineering
Mentor: Evangelia Bellas, Bioengineering
Collagen Stiffness and Architecture Regulate Fibrotic Gene Expression in Engineered Adipose Tissue
Adipose tissue (AT) has a dynamic extracellular matrix (ECM) which surrounds adipocytes, allowing for remodeling during metabolic fluctuation. During obesity, AT has increased ECM deposition, stiffening, and remodeling resulting in a pro-fibrotic dysfunctional state. Here, incorporation of ethylene glycol-bis-succinic acid N-hydroxysuccinimide ester allowed for control over 3D collagen hydrogel stiffness and architecture to investigate its influence on adipocyte metabolic and fibrotic function. Upon stiffening and altering ECM architecture, adipocytes did not exhibit any dysfunctional metabolic markers. However, they did increase in presence of actin stress fibers, pro-fibrotic gene expression, ECM deposition, and remodeling within a stiffer, 3D collagen hydrogel. Furthermore, inhibition of actin contractility resulted in a reversal of pro-fibrotic gene expression and ECM deposition, indicating adipocytes mediated mechanical cues through actin cytoskeletal networks. This study demonstrates ECM stiffness and architecture play a regulatory role in adipocyte fibrotic function and contributes to the pro-fibrotic dysfunctional state of AT during obesity.
Chau Do, Neuroscience, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Mathieu Wimmer, Psychology and Neuroscience
Molecular Underpinnings of Opioid Craving in Rodent Models of Addiction
The opioid epidemic is a national health crisis and relapse contributes as a major factor to the ongoing crisis (Hostin, Hodge, and Noe, 2017). Relapse is often precipitated by intense drug craving following extended abstinence, a phenomenon known as incubation of craving (Grimm et al., 2001). Identifying the underlying biological mechanisms of drug craving may prevent relapse and improve treatment outcomes for patients suffering from substance use disorder (SUD). This project used a pre-clinical rodent model, the self-adminsitration paradigm, and RNA sequencing to study incubation of morphine craving and accompanying changes in gene expression. The nucleus accumbens shell was analyzed for changes in gene expression, following short-term or long-term abstinence from chronic morphine taking. This project delineated divergent patterns of gene expression elicited by chronic morphine and extended abstinence in males and females that lay the foundation for further experimental validation and potential new gene-directed treatments.
Madeline Dunne, Speech, Language and Hearing Science, College of Public Health
Mentor: Gayle DeDe, Communication Sciences and Disorders
Development and Assessment of a Theater Group for People with Aphasia
The Philadelphia Aphasia Community at Temple (PACT) utilizes a group therapy approach for people with aphasia (PWA) by providing opportunities for PWA to enhance communication skills in an interest-driven setting. Recent research demonstrates how theater can improve the communication of ideas through both non-verbal and verbal means and can offer a medium through which PWA can interact and share their experiences. The main goal of this project was to examine how theater has been used with PWA and how theater games and experiences can be adapted for PWA at PACT. Existing studies were reviewed in regards to the benefits of theater for people with communication disabilities and the theories underlying different theater games. These concepts were applied to a pilot theater group at PACT. Nine PWA attended six weekly sessions throughout Summer 2019. Sessions incorporated different theater games and activities to gauge interests and skills, with support from Physical Therapy. Pre-/post-group testing included the Communication Confidence Rating Scale for People with Aphasia and a theater survey examining participant’s interests, skills, and knowledge of theater. Results from pre-test and post-test were compared to determine changes in perception of theater, enjoyment, and overall benefits of a theater group for PWA.
Steven Hamilton, Economics, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Dimitrios Diamantaras, Economics
Social Welfare Functions: Ethical Categorization and Usage
In this article I discuss social welfare functions (SWFs). These are mathematical functions that represent the welfare of a society. Within economics,SWFs are used by fictitious individuals called social planners whose only job is to maximize a SWF for their society. I suggest that this concept of social planner needs to be expanded,as whether a social planner is simply fictitious or is approximated by certain elements of technocratic or authoritarian decision-making,this planner is expressing a preference over both ethics and informational availability with their choice of a SWF due to the inherent normative value judgments built into these functions. I am not attempting to justify the use of a SWF in making policy decisions (see Adler (2012) for such an attempt), Iam instead recognizing that SWFs (and other technical tools) are used in policy-making and analysis and that it isreasonable to move towards more transparent decision-making. The fact that SWFs are actually used in policy analysis in the United Statesand other countries make this issue more than just theoretical. The contributionof this paper is to emphasize the ethics inherent in the use of these tools and to offer a way forward –this is done through a clear analysis of the ethics underpinning common SWF and then showing that it’s possible to organize them using a flow-chart model so as to be useful for non-expert, actual social planning exercises.
J. Anderson Harris, Philosophy, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Lara Ostaric, Philosophy
Craft, Surface, & Function: An Interpretation of Kant’s Notion of Adherent Beauty
There are three major interpretations of Kant’s notion of adherent beauty in the Critique of the Power of Judgment. Currently, to make sense of adherent beauty, philosophers agree that the constraint model, additive model, and interactive model all have an equal interpretive grounding in the text. I find this conclusion incorrect. Instead, I argue that the interactivemodel is the only correct reading of adherent beauty in Kant’s work. To do this, Imovebeyond the current literature on the interactive model by drawing attention to works of craft as paradigmatic examples of interaction by their possession of both surface beauty and practical function.My argument concludes with my suggestion that theinteractive modelI propose nullifies the constraint and additive models.
Christopher Hsieh, Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Roselyn Hsueh, Political Science
Understanding Yuanzhumin Identity In Relation to Taiwanese Self-Determination Movement
Janessa Hughes, Speech, Language and Hearing Science, College of Public Health
Mentor: Lisa Bedore, Communication Sciences and Disorders
Tres Tristes Tigres and Error Codes: Understanding Bilingual Language Processing Through Tongue Twister Analysis
The purpose of this study was to analyze the errors produced by bilingual children with and without Developmental Language Disorder as they repeated tongue twisters in both Spanish and English. It was hypothesized that patterns of error-production would emerge. Fifty participants between Grades 1 and 5 completed the task over the course of 2-3 years, and their responses were transcribed, coded, and analyzed. Descriptive results indicated that there were between-group differences for the TD and DLD groups in the frequency of errors, as well as for the participants’ performances in Spanish and English. Longitudinal changes in relative frequency did not emerge as predicted; the groups demonstrated similar trajectories over time.
Jarryd Kainz, Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Lauren Farmer, Political Science
The Kurdish Question: Pathways to Autonomy and Unification
The Kurds of Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and Iran have fought for an independent Kurdish state since the colonial division of borders in 1923 that placed the historically inhabited Kurdish lands under the control of the Iraqi, Turkish, Syrian, and Iranian states. The Kurds of each state have faced a near century of repression under these states with Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and Iran each using different methods of repression to prevent Kurdish autonomy. This paper will track the political developments of the Kurds since the division of their lands into Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and Iran and provide a contemporary overview of the Kurdish dilemma by state followed by proposals to resolve the intra- and interstate conflicts. Then, this paper will examine the requisite preconditions towards various levels of political unification, how the Iraqi and Syrian Kurdish groups currently satisfy or fail to satisfy these preconditions, and how the Iraqi and Syrian Kurdish groups can make progress on these preconditions to further political unification between the groups.
Nina Mucciolo, Bioengineering, College of Engineering
Mentor: Chetan Patil, Bioengineering
Development of a Coherent Raman Microscopy Protocol for Imaging of Engineered Adipose Tissue
We present the development of a multifunctional nonlinear optical microscope designed to perform Coherent Anti Stokes Raman Scattering (CARS) microscopy, in addition to Second Harmonic Generation (SHG) and two-photon fluorescence (TPEFF). CARS microscopy is a type of imaging that can perform biochemically specific label-free imaging of cells and tissues, with well-established sensitivity to lipids. Prior work in our lab resulted in a 1st generation microscope platform and demonstrated ability to perform label-free imaging of lipids in engineered adipose tissue samples, however identified limitations with microscope configuration, spectral resolution, image channel-crosstalk, and a lack of environmental controls for living specimens. Here, we report developments in redesigning microscope physical and optical configuration, as well as initial results in SHG and TPEF imaging as well as their ultimate potential for CARS imaging of engineered adipose tissue.
Makayla Peterson, Dance, Boyer College of Music and Dance
Mentor: Sherril Dodds, Dance
A False Narrative: The Hypersexualization of the Caribbean
The cultural richness of the Caribbean is expressed through dance as it navigates and combats the interplay between a history of colonization, societal structure and politics. The interactions between culture and structure inform how the Caribbean dancing body exists in relation to the evolution of Caribbean dance, history of enslavement and dehumanization of Africans at the hands of European colonialism. The politics of religion and colonization has resulted in the construction of stereotypes about and hypersexualization of the black body through the overlapping lenses of race, gender, class and sexuality. The dance forms of soca dance, traditionally performed at Carnival, and dancehall and are rooted in slavery and social and political upheaval in the islands of Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica. By examining the dichotomy that exists between the Euro-American and Caribbean view of sexuality that permeates American society and pop culture, one can understand its relation to stereotypes of the Caribbean.
Jared Radichel, Jazz Performance, Boyer College of Music and Dance
Mentor: Greg Kettinger, Jazz
Muses: Richard Davis and the Synthesis of Tradition and Innovation
Joseph Salzer, Mathematical Economics, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Douglas Webber, Economics
Institutional Responses to State and Local Appropriations
Economists, educators, and politicians alike have attempted to explain the surging cost of college in the United States. Most notably, as the 2020 U.S presidential election rolls around, Democratic candidates have advocated for several different policies to change the post-secondary education landscape of America. However, as we examine different policy responses, we must consider how public institutions respond to one of their main sources of revenue: state and local appropriations. Given a shock to previous year appropriations, institutions might adjust their tuition revenue or total expenditures. Since tuition costs and institutional spending play significant roles in enrollment and attainment rates, as well as post-education outcomes, estimating responses to state divestment is critical for future policy. Data comes from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and specifically the Delta Cost Project that has made the data longitudinally consistent. To reduce biased estimates, an instrumental-variable fixed effects model is utilized that accounts for non-random appropriation allocation. I find that for every $1,000 decrease in per student appropriations, an average student will pay $303 more in direct tuition and fees. Moreover, the institution will cut per student spending by $563 including a $247 per student decrease in instructional spending.
Megan Shaud, Psychology and Criminal Justice, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Jeffrey Ward, Criminal Justice
Normalization of Violence in an Urban Youth Sample: Gender Differences
Exposure to violence (ETV) in youth has been observed to have a wide range of negative effects on individuals over time, including depressive symptoms and aggressive behavior. The Normalization of Violence model introduced by Ng-Mak and colleagues (2002) attempts to explain the role that moral disengagement plays in the relationship between ETV, depressive symptoms, and aggressive behavior in urban youth. There is significant empirical support for the overarching model, but there is still a question of whether there are significant gender differences in this model. In the current study, data from the Pathways to Desistance study is utilized to empirically test whether the model is tenable. Structural equation modeling is utilized to identify the impact that moral disengagement has on the relationship between exposure to violence, depressive symptoms, and aggressive behavior across gender. According to the present study’s findings, the Normalization of Violence model seems to be both theoretically and empirically sound when it is applied to a sample of high-risk youth, with significant gender differences. In comparison to females, males display significantly higher levels of normalization of violence. Further research is needed to empirically explore this model and determine whether it is applicable to the general population of urban youth.
Kyra Skoog, Speech, Language and Hearing Science, College of Public Health
Mentor: Edwin Maas, Communication Sciences and Disorders
Predicting Intelligibility: An Investigation of Speech Sound Accuracy in Childhood Apraxia of Speech
The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between the accuracy of speech in children with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) and the intelligibility of their productions. CAS is a neurological disorder in which children have difficulty coordinating the oral movements needed to produce speech, but typically have no muscle weakness. The study was executed through having adult listeners, who were unfamiliar with children with CAS, listen to recordings of children performing the Goldman-Fristoe Test of Articulation and type what they thought the child said. The responses were then compared against the target to determine intelligibility. Separately, the children’s utterances were also scored for accuracy using various methods by a trained research assistant. The relationship between these accuracy measures and intelligibility were examined using correlational analyses. Preliminary findings suggest that there is a relationship between intelligibility and accuracy among children with CAS.
Sean Starosta, Economics, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Douglas Webber, Economics
Responsibility Centered Management at Temple
Responsibility Centered Management (RCM) is the budgeting model in place at Temple University along with many other public research universities and private universities. This paper sought to answer questions about RCM’s effects on student outcomes and student body demographics. In the process of investigating these questions, RCM presented considerable obstacles for research. It was found that RCM itself, along with the opaque nature of universities, presents considerable obstacles for paper seeking to identify a causal relationship between RCM and meaningful outcomes. This paper proposes that RCM might create perverse incentives by placing faculty in positions where they have conflicts of interest in regard to student’s interests and their own. It also suggests potential paths forward for RCM researchers in the future.
Ellen Taraskiewicz, History, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Lila Corwin Berman, History
Avukah: Student Zionism on Temple University’s Campus (1925-1941)
The landscape of American Zionism shifted slowly and significantly over the course of the early to mid 20th century, culminating in the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. In that tumultuous period of history, American Zionism was not one single traceable ideology, but a great mass of intersecting and opposing ideologies, formed in the shadows cast by a desire for American Jews to assimilate and in the pervasive anti-Semitism in the United States and Europe. One particular student Zionist organization, known as Avukah, cultivated its own Zionist ideology and attempted to inculcate its message in universities across the country. However, as American Zionism transformed and took root in normative American Jewish society, Avukah struggled and ultimately failed to instill its Zionist ideology into the mainstream. Avukah’s strict adherence to its singular, yet ultimately unclear Zionist ideology and inability to adapt to the shifting tides of American Zionism provide a unique lens into the world of early American Zionist culture and the limitations of organizations founded on pure ideology. The study of Avukah’s rise and fall through the prism of the Avukah chapter at Temple University offer a close examination and microcosm of the limitations of Avukah’s Zionist ideology in the face of American Zionism’s period of great change.
Hibby Thach, Sociology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Adrienne Shaw, Media Studies and Production
A Cross-Game Look at Transgender Representation in Video Games
Despite a history of tracking, analyzing, and discussing transgender representation in media (GLAAD History and Highlights), research on video games is lacking. In this project, I analyzed 63 games from 1988 to 2019 documented on the LGBTQ Game Archive (Shaw, 2016) as having transgender characters. A textual analysis revealed four overarching tropes in how video games represent transgender characters (dysphoria/physical transition, mentally ill killers, trans shock/reveal, and ambiguity), with each noticeably changing across time or country. I also demonstrate how transgender representation in video games manifests in similar ways to film/television. Three out of four tropes in transgender representation appear in videogames, film, and television, but gender ambiguity, mostly from Japanese translations, only appears in video games. As video games are not the only media consumed transnationally, this signals a possible lack of research on gender ambiguity in both media and game studies.
Aurora Trainor, Public Health, College of Public Health
Mentor: Heather Murphy, Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Exploring the Survival of Enteric Viruses in the Public Water Distribution System
This research aimed to evaluate the efficacy of the chlorine disinfectant residual on MS2 bacteriophage inactivation in the Philadelphia public drinking water distribution system. Six annular reactors (ARs), which simulate the flow of water through pipes, were assembled. Three contained cast iron material, and three contained cement, representing two common pipe types in Philadelphia. These were connected to the distribution system in Ritter Hall, and then inoculated with a known concentration of a harmless virus called MS2 in order to simulate a pipe break and the subsequent influx of microbes. I monitored viral decay over time in the water flow through machines (bulk water) and on the build up of organic material on the pipe surface (biofilm) using bacterial culturing methods and found that the MS2 survived for between 4-6 days in the bulk water of the ARs and between 4-14 days in the biofilm. In both cases, the virus survived longer in the cement pipes, despite higher chlorine residuals. This indicates that pipe type may be more important in disinfectant processes than previously identified.
Madeline Colker, Media Studies and Production, English, Klein College of Media and Communication
Mentor: Steven Newman, English
Art for Television's Sake: Feminist Aestheticism Dramatized
Creating a bridge between Media Studies script writing and English-based research, my project focuses on the female writers of the Aesthetic movement. Although writers such as Oscar Wilde are widely recognized for their contributions to the literary movement and hailed for their radical thinking, women Aesthetes were making equally radical statements about gender, sexuality, and social conventions. My research looks at how these writers were affected by the Aesthetic movement and how, in turn, their perspective as women in a highly patriarchal society contributed to or critiqued Aesthetic doctrines. This central question is the basis for the deliverable of my research: a completed television pilot script. Drawing inspiration from Aesthetic writers such as Amy Levy and Vernon Lee, as well as television writers such as Daisy Goodwin and Amy Sherman-Palladino, the script dramatizes the lives of the women of the Aesthetic movement in 1885 London and explores how academic research is best transferred onto the small screen.
Ariana Davis, Psychology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Lauren Alloy, Psychology
The Relationship between Social Anxiety and Stress Generation among Adolescents
We examined the relationship between social anxiety symptoms and stress generation in adolescents. We hypothesized that participants reporting greater social anxiety symptoms at Time 1 (T1) would be more likely to report more peer victimization and interpersonal dependent life events at Time 2 (T2). The sample consisted of 249 12-13-year-old youth diverse in sex, race, and SES. At T1, participants reported on their depressive symptoms and social anxiety symptoms, and at T2, 7 months later, they reported on peer victimization and negative life events. Linear regressions were conducted, controlling for depressive symptoms at T1 and demographic variables that were significantly associated with peer victimization and interpersonal dependent events. Consistent with hypotheses, greater social anxiety symptoms at T1 predicted more interpersonal dependent events at T2. Social anxiety symptoms marginally predicted interpersonal independent events. These results suggest that social anxiety symptoms uniquely predict interpersonal dependent events above and beyond the effects of depressive symptoms.
Peter Dennis, Jazz Performance, Boyer College of Music and Dance
Mentor: Gregory Kettinger, Jazz
Tapestry In Sound: Meditations on the Tones and Life of James Emory "Jimmy" Garrison
This document is the product of my research on the bassist James Emory Garrison. "Jimmy" Garrison was John Coltrane's longest collaborator, a Philadelphia native, and a pillar of the avant-garde movement in jazz and American music. James Garrison's unique and beautiful bass playing created richly textured landscapes in sound through the use of non-traditional techniques combined with the universal soul blues. Within this project, a variety of topics are covered; primarily, it is a combination of his biography and an analysis of his highly influential, astoundingly creative unaccompanied solo bass improvisations.
Tanya Dhingra, Public Health, College of Public Health
Mentor: Heather Murphy, College of Public Health
Understanding Menstrual Hygiene Management Among Adolescents in Indian Urban Slums
Menstruation is perhaps the most important change during a young girl's adolescent years. In resource-poor countries like India, menstrual hygiene is heavily compromised and steeped in silence, myths, taboos, and stigma due to its common associations with impurity. Many girls are uneducated about menstruation and how to manage it. They lack access to social support resources, both at home and at school, that could provide them with access to adequate menstrual hygiene management. Insufficient sanitary facilities, safe spaces, clean water, and pads are additional environmental barriers. The most stressful psychosocial factor, however, is the inability to address and discuss these matters openly.
Melissa Eisgrau, Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Sean Yom, Political Science
The Power of Place in Modern Day Ukraine
External forces, rather than internal efforts, will be the cause of unification in Ukraine. Large scale, successful protest movements were not the catalyst needed to unite Ukrainians into one sovereign, democratic nation. Corruption and political sabotage consumed the Soviet-era, and the implications are still evident today. Few people trust the government, and most want distance from Russian influence. When Moscow ordered the invasion of the Crimean peninsula, Ukrainian public opinion favoring Russia diminished. The resulting displaced persons crisis forced eastern Ukrainians from their homes towards western oblasts. In western cities such as L'viv, known for their activist culture, eastern Ukrainian are shedding the historical narratives of their Soviet past. Through interviews, historical analysis, and data, this research frames the importance of regional spatial identities in Post-Soviet countries. Ukrainian regional identities are crucial to understanding an individual's interpretation of and response to issues of national salience.
Talia IrgangLaden, Linguistics, Computer Science, College of Public Health
Mentor: Edwin Mass, Communication Sciences and Disorders
Proportional Vowel Duration as a Tool in Diagnosing Apraxia of Speech
Apraxia of speech (AOS), a neurological speech disorder, remains poorly understood, making diagnosis difficult. Differentiating between AOS and aphasia is challenging because perceptual judgments, the basis of clinical diagnosis, have limited precision. This research attempts to use current theories on the underlying processes that cause AOS and develop materials that can facilitate differential diagnosis of AOS. This study examined the so-called vowel shortening effect, in which stressed vowels get shorter as the word gets longer (e.g., the vowel in zip is shorter in zipper and zippering). In this study, we examined the vowel durations in a set of words that get progressively longer, as produced by 8 people with AOS and 4 people without AOS but with aphasia. The findings suggest that people with AOS have abnormal vowel shortening effects, particularly with respect to 3-syllable words. As such, the vowel shortening effect may hold promise for diagnosing AOS.
Courtney Jones, Speech Language and Hearing Sciences, College of Public Health
Mentor: Gayle DeDe, Communication Sciences and Disorders
Effects of Conversational Treatment on the Use of Enactment and Correct Information Units
Although aphasia treatment is administered in individual therapy sessions, group conversational treatment is also said to reduce social isolation and improve communication among individuals with aphasia (IWA). Participating in conversation with other individuals with the same language impairments, as well as learning other methods of communicating in everyday interactions may give IWA the confidence to effectively and functionally communicate outside of clinical settings. The main goal of this study was to determine whether people with aphasia improve the quality of their spontaneous speech through group conversational treatment. This was addressed by comparing pre and post treatment speech samples in both experimental and control groups. The experimental group consisted of 13 IWA, who received 10 weeks of conversation treatment in the summer 2017. The control group consisted of 6 individuals who did not receive treatment until fall 2017. Two picture description tasks within the samples were the main focus for this specific study. Samples were analyzed using Correct Information Units (CIU), which measures the informativeness of discourse. We also analyzed use of enactment before and after treatment. We predicted that the experimental group would improve in informativeness in conversation as assessed by CIUs in comparison to the control group, and that the experimental group would use enactment more frequently after treatment. The results showed no consistent pattern of changes across the groups. The variability in the data could be due to the several physiological and cognitive changes that may occur within a participant between and within the testing sessions.
Pearl Joslyn, History, Global Studies, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Alan McPherson, History
Barriers to Conflict Resolution in International Organizations: A Case Study of the Falklands/Malvinas War
The Falklands/Malvinas War proved to be an extremely difficult problem for the international community, with no clear solution. Shrouded in legal ambiguities surrounding questions of sovereignty and decolonization, no effective diplomatic solution was reached and the outcome of the war was instead determined by Britain's military victory. The ability of the international community to lead Britain and Argentina in negotiations was greatly complicated by issues within the United Nations and the Organization of American States, as well as cooperation issues between the organizations. These issues raised serious concerns about the effectiveness of both of these organizations, and their ability to function in complex legal situations. This paper draws upon sources from the United Nations and Organization of American States, along with US, British, and Argentinian Government and secondary sources to investigate these cooperation issues.
Patrick Kelly, Public Health, College of Public Health
Mentor: Heather Traino, Public Health
A Scoping Literature Review of Transgender Experiences with Kidney Transplantation from Evaluation to Post-Transplantation Care
Despite existing literature demonstrating significant disparities by racial and ethnic identity related to kidney transplant and documented healthcare disparities across the life course of transgender individuals, the experiences and health outcomes of transgender individuals pursuing kidney transplantation has gone understudied. This scoping review aimed to examine and summarize existing literature on transgender individual's experiences with kidney transplant. A scoping literature review was conducted using three thematic search strings regarding transgender identity, kidney transplant, and hormones to search Embase, PubMed, and Scopus databases. Of 5,003 article records identified and screened for inclusion, only 2 were relevant to the objective of the study. The first article presented a guide for the management of end stage renal disease in transgender individuals. The second was a case study of a transgender man who was evaluated for kidney transplant. Both articles are limited in scope, study design, and methodology; neither examined the kidney transplant experience from the perspective of a transgender individual. The dearth of empirical research on the intersection of transgender identity and kidney transplantation indicates that more research is needed. Avenues for future research are explored, with suggestions for ensuring high quality, culturally sensitive care for transgender persons from evaluation to post-transplantation.
Demetrius Lee, Neuroscience, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Debra Bangasser, Psychology
Early Life Stress Has Lasting Effects on Development and Sex-Specific Effects on Cognition in Rats
Early life stress (ELS) is associated with the development of psychiatric disorders, which have cognitive deficits embedded in their symptomatology. Unfortunately, the processes that lead to disease is unclear. To study this we induced ELS in rat pups by limiting bedding and nesting materials from rat dams. This stresses the dam inducing stress in the pups. The data has shown that stressed mothers spend more time on pups and less time on themselves, but their pups still develop at a slower rate. Once the pups mature into adults, some were chosen for chronic variable stress (CVS), which consists of 6 days of 3 stressful activities. Cognitive deficits were measured using the novel object recognition task. Data has shown that only males exposed to ELS and CVS showed impairments. These findings indicate sex-specific stress-induced cognitive deficits and may explain why men are more likely to suffer from these deficits clinically.
Monica Lessen, Neuroscience, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Eric Borguet, Chemistry
Detection and Removal of Iodide on Stabilized Gold Nanoparticles and Their Effect on Catalytic Ability
Deciphering the viability of gold nanoparticles as reusable, efficient catalyst is important for industrial uses like energy production. Contact is essential for catalysis. Substances that layer onto gold will obstruct the catalytic process. Such blockage is seen when iodide interacts with gold nanoparticles. Due to the ubiquitous nature of iodide in the water supply, this is a problem that needs to be resolved before gold nanoparticles can be used economically. To understand this phenomenon, UV-vis spectroscopy was used to monitor the stability of gold nanoparticle and the accumulation of iodide over exposures. After contact with a dilute sodium iodide solution, gold nanoparticle peak intensity decreased. After introduction of a dilute silver nitrate solution, gold nanoparticle peak intensity increased to a similar value as before iodide contamination. The nanoparticles recovered because of the reaction of the silver and iodide layer on gold to create a precipitate.
Alleh Naqvi, Political Science, English, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Alexa Firat, Arabic
In a world where global warming has eradicated agriculture production and led to an increase in desertification, the Catastrophe took place. Eventually, it was decided that agriculture would be produced on space. While water still exists on Earth, though in limited capacity, it is currently under the control of Leviathan, who has an iron fist on the land of what was originally Cannan. Now with rising crackdowns on the Canaanites and dissent brewing everyday, the Farad subsequently open fire in Cadasa city and cause eighteen year old Somaiya to flee for her life. However, betrayal, loss, and friendship are all tested as Somaiya learns to not only survive but live. She goes on an adventure to escape arrest with the help of her newfound friends, family, and even a Droid, as she embarks on an intergalactic journey to undermine the regime that took away her right to exist.
Micaela Robalino Teran, Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies; Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Rujuta Mandelia, Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies
Document-Deportation Pipeline: The Production of Legible "Aliens"
Stereotypes are explicit representations of assumptions made upon limited information. Documents, as the institutional counterpart to stereotypes, also simplify the complexities that make up a human being. Nevertheless, government-issued documents and forms are taken as neutral tools for the sole purpose of bureaucracy. For this reason, the institutionalized forms of those stereotypes and their implications need further investigation, particularly within the construction of an "immigrant other" in today's political climate. It is the object of this study to understand how booking processes in immigrant detention centers function as deportation pipelines delivering necropolitical consequences to immigrant communities. Drawing from Michel Foucault's contributions on disciplinary power, Achille Mbembé's concept of necropolitics, and the work of activist organizations such as Freedom For Immigrants, this study examines government forms that are used during booking processes, which (1) contain othering language, (2) have the potential to turn someone into a "crimmigrant," and (3) are key to the flow of the deportation pipeline. In this way, the simplification of identity, the lack of due process, and the racialization of immigrants comes to light through the objectifying quality and the streamlining capacities of interoperable documentation. This study concludes that the production of legible people has necropolitical consequences and racist undertones.
Adelia Scheck, Music History and Music Theory, Boyer College of Music and Dance
Mentor: Jeffrey Solow, Instrumental Studies
Mechanik und Ästhetik des Violoncellspiels, by Hugo Becker and Dago Rynar: A Partial Translation and Summary
In 1929, Hugo Becker, a prominent German cellist, and Dago Rynar, a medical doctor, published Mechanik und Ästhetik des Violoncellspiels, or The Mechanics and Aesthetics of Cello Playing. Perhaps the most comprehensive account of the nature of cello playing during the time that exists, the book has never been translated from German into English. Further, it is the first book about cello technique that seeks to combine the anatomical and physiological aspects of cello playing with the musical requirements of the craft. I have summarized and partially translated the expertise of Becker and Rynar to provide an analysis of cello playing that has previously been unavailable to English-speaking audience. Also, I have researched the accounts of other cellists from Becker and Rynar's time to compare their ideas about performance and technique in order to fully depict the ideas about cello performance and technique in the early twentieth century.
Alanna Watters, Linguistics, Classical Literatures and Languages, College of Public Health
Mentor: Robin Aronow, Communication Sciences and Disorders
Vowel Reduction in Salasaka Kichwa: A Pilot Study
Salasaca Kichwa (SK), an under documented dialect of Ecuadorian Quechua (EQ) (ISO 639-3 =qxl), is spoken in the Andean Highlands. Underlying forms of the native vowel inventory consist of /a, i, u/. Initial observations of natural speech samples of native speakers showed vowel reduction tendencies in surface forms. Since vowel reduction is a salient phonological process in languages across the world it would be expected that SK would show the same tendency. Thus, it is anticipated that vowel reduction and the distribution of schwa in SK will be constrained by phonological environments. Schwa is a reduced, centralized vowel which can be a ‘default' vowel with stable qualities, or a more variable vowel based on prosody and phonological environment. This study examines the latter, which tends to have the properties of being centralized, shorter in duration, and an overall weak quality.
Tyler Wong, Geology, Mathematics and Computer Science, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Jonathan Nyquist, Earth and Environmental Science
Monitoring Stormwater Infiltration in a Vacant Lot Using a 24/7 Electrical Resistivity Tomography System
Stormwater runoff has become a major agent for the pollution of Philadelphia's waterways due to urbanization. In Philadelphia, there are over 40,000 vacant lots, and although these lots are typically grassy and covered with soil, they may not infiltrate runoff very well due to compacted soils and debris. This study investigates the ability of a long-term electrical resistivity tomography system to record infiltration responses from storms of varying intensity and duration in a vacant lot. Soil resistivity depends on water saturation and fluid conductivity which change during storms. To automate data processing, I developed a Python-based computational workflow. Early issues with telemetrically transferring data, powering the system, and configuring the system limited our ability to obtain a substantial dataset. However, newer data show a complex pattern of wetting, recovery, and pore water chemistry in the studied lot, demonstrating the potential of geophysical techniques to study stormwater infiltration in urban settings.
Evan Calvo, Psychology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Lauren Ellman, Psychology
Impulsivity, Substance Use, and Subthreshold Psychotic Symptoms in a Non-Clinical Population
Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders are debilitating mental conditions that affect every area of functioning including thought, perception, language, emotion, cognition, and behavior. Rates of substance use among psychosis samples are high, with nearly half of individuals with schizophrenia having a comorbid substance use disorder. Additionally, recent findings suggest that schizophrenia patients are more impulsive than non-psychiatric controls, especially schizophrenia patients that have comorbid substance use disorders. While there has been considerable research regarding substance use and the onset of psychotic disorders, research regarding impulsivity among those at risk for developing a psychotic disorder is lacking. Thus, it is worthwhile to determine whether or not impulsivity impacts the relationship between substance use and psychotic-like experiences (PLEs), which are symptoms of psychotic disorders that are subthreshold in terms of clinical and diagnostic significance. Specifically, the current study's hypothesis is that impulsivity will mediate the relationship between substance use and PLEs. Data on PLEs, substance use, and impulsivity have already been collected by Dr. Ellman, whose current study investigates risk factors for psychosis in a non-clinical sample of undergraduates. In further characterizing those at risk for psychosis, we may help to prevent conversion to serious mental illness within individuals at risk.
Chia-Mei Chang, Biology, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Michael Wilhelm, Chemistry
Time-Resolved Second-Harmonic Light Scattering (SHS) as a Method for Characterizing Antimicrobial Peptide (AMP) Action on Bacteria Cell Membranes
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are a diverse group of molecules produced by many plant and animal species and have long been viewed as promising candidates for new drug designs. However, the exact mechanism(s) and specific timing in which AMPs interact with cell membranes and damage bacteria is still a topic of active debate. In this project, we will use time-resolved second-harmonic light scattering (SHS) to characterize the time-dependent and surface-specific interactions of AMPs with bacterial cell membranes. While AMPs are likely not SH-active, we propose that their induced changes to membrane permeability can be monitored as a perturbation in the previously deduced MG transport response. Using E. coli as a model organism, we will establish time-resolved SHS as a means of characterizing AMP antimicrobial activity. We will repeat the MG transport experiments using bacteria samples treated and untreated with an AMP. By varying the concentration of the AMP, as well as the dose duration, we can interrogate the associated kinetics of AMP induced pore-formation in E. coli membranes. We also hypothesize that different College of Liberal Artssses of AMPs would exhibit different interactions with cell membranes, and we would test this hypothesis by characterizing the activity of different College of Liberal Artssses of AMPs against E. coli. Using time-resolved SHS, we intend to quantitatively monitor the different AMP/membrane interactions.
James Cunneen, Kinesiology & Anthroplogy, College of Public Health
Mentor: Judith Stull, College of Education
Understanding Prevailing Attitudes toward HIV in Uganda
While HIV is relatively common in Uganda, is a taboo subject among the local community members. This project seeks to analyze the prevalence and perception (knowledge, communication, and attitude) of HIV among community members. Clients of the Buseesa Community Development Centre in Kiryabicooli, Uganda will be administered a survey to begin to understand the prevailing norms and values toward HIV and those who have contracted it. The goal is to collect both quantitative and qualitative data to capture the broad picture of what is continuing to happen.
Daniel Deegan, Biology, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Erik Cordes, Biology
Studying Anthropogenic Threats on the Cold Water Coral Lophelia pertusa from the Gulf of Mexico
Lophelia pertusa is an important cold-water coral that is found in the deep sea at depths between 200-1,000m. This crucial species is one of the few corals that's able to build reef structures in the deep sea. Unfortunately, Lophelia is extremely susceptible to several anthropogenic threats, including ocean acidification, rising sea temperatures, and oil spills. Using four experimental tanks, the coral will be exposed to either a low pH of 7.6 or a high temperature of 12°C for a two week period and then placed into jars containing seawater with optimal pH (7.9) and temperature (9°C) and an oil mixture for varying lengths of 24, 48, or 96 hours. The findings of the experiments will be analyzed according to the variable being tested. For the acidified conditions, the skeletal weight of the coral will be measured before and after the exposure period and for both oil treatment and high temperature, polyp health and activity will be recorded. The expected results of the experiment are a decrease in skeletal weight for the low pH treatment due to reduced calcification rates and an overall decline in health along with polyp death in the high temperature and oil spill conditions.
Julia DeVoto, Biology, Neuroscience: Cellular and Molecular, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Mahmut Safak, Neuroscience
Mapping All the Splicing Products of JC Virus Early Transcripts
JC virus (JCV) is the etiological agent of the fatal neurodegenerative disease of the human central nervous system (CNS), known as progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). PML primarily occurs in patients with underlying immunosuppressive conditions, including leukemia, lymphoma and AIDS, where JCV destroys the myelin producing cells, oligodendrocytes, in CNS. In recent years, however, PML is also steadily increasing among patients with autoimmune disorders, such as multiple sclerosis and Crohn's disease, who are treated with antibody-based drugs (natalizumab), which makes JCV as a risk factor for autoimmune disease populations. Many viruses, despite their limited genomic size, amplify their coding capacity by an RNA splicing event where various combinations of exons from pre-mRNA molecules are joined together to generate multiple mRNAs encoding different protein isoforms. The splicing process mostly takes place within a single RNA precursor molecule called cis-splicing. However, there are various reports indicating that exon joining can also take place between two independent pre-mRNA molecules. This mechanism was first observed in Trypanosome brucei and later in the nematodes (C. elegans) and was designated trans-splicing. In both organisms, a species-specific non-coding small leader RNA (SL RNA) with a singular 5' splice donor site was detected to be spliced to various 3' splice acceptor sites on separate pre-mRNA molecules. The complete splicing patterns of JCV early and late genes are currently unknown. However, predictions and experimental evidence suggest that early and late genes produce several known regulatory and structural proteins. Recently, Dr. Safak's lab at Neuroscience Department, the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University has discovered two novel open reading frames (ORF1 and ORF2), generated from the JCV late transcripts by trans-splicing. This new discovery provided a new idea that perhaps JCV genome generates additional novel splice products. To achieve this goal, we propose to map the complete splice variants of JCV early transcripts by employing various biochemical and molecular biology techniques. These include, but not limited to, viral infection of SVG-A cells by JCV and isolation of total RNA, amplification of the early transcripts by RT-PCR using various combination of PCR primers, resolving the PCR-amplified products on agarose gels, subcloning of the PCR products into specific vectors and sequencing of the inserts. Finally, sequencing data will be analyzed by bioinformatics approaches to map all the splicing products of the JCV early genes.
Marcus Forst, Physics, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Maria Iavarone, Physics
Investigating Few Layers Thick Molybdenum Disulfide Films
Since the discovery of graphene in 2004, there has been a large interest in two-dimensional (2D) materials. This is because, when materials are only few atomic layers thick, they exhibit exotic electronic properties very different from bulk. As silicon-based technology reaches its minimum size, 2D materials have the potential to be the future of nanoscale electronic devices. For this project, I will be growing thin films of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2)—a semiconducting 2D material that can be used to harvest energy and to make optoelectronic devices. I will then characterize these films using atomic force microscopy (AFM), low energy electron diffraction (LEED), and scanning tunneling microscopy/spectroscopy (STM/STS). In particular, I will examine how different defects impact the electronic properties of MoS2.
Samantha Gilbert, Music Education/Jazz Studies, Boyer College of Music
Mentor: Gregory Kettinger, Jazz Studies
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Memory, and Its Effects on Improvisation: A Look into the Music and Life of Keith Jarrett
Musical improvisation is the spontaneous composition of music without prior conscious planning or preparation. Although the process is chronologically spontaneous, the action of improvisation is heavily reliant on working memory. Improvisation involves the statement and development of a motive or theme. Impairments to working memory suggest a decrease in thematic development during solo improvisations. Jazz pianist Keith Jarrett (b. 1945) began publicly performing solo improvisations in 1973. His solo concerts, also termed "spontaneous improvisations", derived from no preconceived ideas or structures. At the pinnacle of his career in 1996, Jarrett was diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis, later referred to as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). CFS is characterized by severe fatigue as well as impaired working memory over an extended period of time. During the peak of his symptomatology, Jarrett took a two-year hiatus from performing, playing, or actively listening to music. When he returned in 1998, his solo improvisations were shorter and less developed. Despite extensive literature addressing Jarrett's unique approach to compositional organization and thematic development, very little has been studied to reveal how impairments in working memory affected his ability to develop themes. To reveal this relationship, I am transcribing and analyzing the thematic development of three solo improvisation concerts from before, during, and after Jarrett's diagnosis. I predict that his musical output before his diagnosis will have more new and recurring material than during and afterwards, indicating change in working memory. Because CFS impairs only working memory, the underlying organizational techniques used in his improvisations should remain consistent as indication of long term memory. This project seeks to College of Liberal Artsrify the relationship between Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, memory and the spontaneity of improvisation. Through this symptomatic review, one can begin to further understand the cognitive processes associated with memory and its influence on musical and language-based improvisatory activities.
Owen Glaze, Biochemistry, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Graham Dobereiner, Chemistry
(Z)-Selective Isomerization of Terminal Alkenes Using Phosphine-Ligated Mo(0) Catalysts
Terminal olefin isomerization with transition metal catalysts has emerged in the past decade as a useful means of generating regio- and stereo-selective internal alkenes. In this work, an array of characterized and uncharacterized molybdenum(0) phosphine complexes were synthesized and tested by their ability to catalyzed olefin isomerization for a variety of reagents. These catalysts generally produced an excess of the higher energy (Z)-2-alkene isomer from terminal olefin substrates with reasonable selectivity. Importantly, the phosphine Mo(0) complexes discussed here are air-stable, simple to produce and isolate, and demonstrate activity with low catalytic loading (0.5%) and under mild conditions (66 °C in THF). These efficient catalysts offer unique access to these materials often without generating significant reagent or solvent waste.
Nicholas Hall, Music Education and Instrumental Performance, Boyer College of Music
Mentor: Deborah Confredo, Music Education
A Common Thread: Uniting General Music Practices with the Wind Ensemble Repertory
Lillian Ham, Psychology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Elizabeth Gunderson, Psychology
The Influence of Familiarity on Children's Proportional Reasoning Knowledge
Previous studies have found proportional reasoning knowledge to be correlated with fraction knowledge and later math achievement (Siegler, Thompson, & Schneider, 2011). Children's development of proportional reasoning depends on how proportions are represented as discrete or continuous units (Boyer College of Music, Levine, & Huttenlocher, 2008). Interestingly, this development may also depend on a child's familiarity with the context in which the proportions are introduced. The proportional reasoning equivalence task used in Boyer College of Music and colleagues (2008) is a computerized task involving discrete and continuous, unidimensional proportions. Elementary-aged children were instructed through a narrative to choose the proportion that is equivalent to the one displayed. In the narrative, a character named "Wally-bear" makes juice mixes by combining various proportions of juice and water. Because this computerized, juice narrative may be abstract or unfamiliar to children, our study implements 3-D blocks and an alternative narrative which we hypothesize are more familiar to children. Our alternative narrative consists of the same "Wally-bear" character who builds skyscrapers by combining various proportions of doors and towers. Because the structure of the 3-D blocks is discretized, only discrete units will be administered. Four between-subject conditions will be randomly assigned to 2nd and 3rd graders in surrounding Philadelphia schools.
Hoang Ho, Mathematical Economics, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Douglas Webber, Economics
Difference in Education Attainment and Returns among Racial Groups
The paper investigates households' investment in higher education and their returns between racial groups. Using data from Current Population Survey collected by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics from 1990 to 2016, I build a linear regression model to analyze what exogenous variables affect higher educational spending and returns of different ethnic groups. The paper gives results on how much each exogenous factor cause difference in educational investment and returns for different ethnic groups. The paper also analyzes changes in higher education spending and returns among races from 1990 to 2016. My project should provide results that may have policy implications regarding eliminating racial discrimination, equalizing employment opportunity, decreasing barrier to higher education, and improving lower education.
Tammy Huynh, Jazz studies; voice performance, Boyer College of Music
Mentor: Thomas Lawton, Jazz studies
Jeanne Lee and the Reinvention of the Jazz Vocalist
The fundamental purpose of this project is to revive the legacy of Jeanne Lee and discuss how she subverted the role of the jazz singer. According to Lee, "as an improvising singer, there was always be the option to scat, thus imitating the jazz instrumental sounds. There were also jazz lyricists who set words to instrumental solos. Neither of these options allowed space for the natural rhythms and sonorities or the emotional content of words" ("Narratives"). Lee also states that "the voice is a very important instrument, it's part of the body and can emulate bodily feelings […]. When your body is working you don't have to think of a horn but you can think of body movement" (Riggins 5). I argue that Lee challenged the banalities of the jazz singer through her improvisation, multi-disciplinary practices, and vocal experimentations. The final product will be a tribute album that re-imagines Lee's works in a way that embodies her art and celebrates her life. I will be analyzing her recorded works (musical content and style) through transcriptions and performance practice. In addition, I will be examining key events in Lee's life and how it correlates with her musical development. This project seeks to encourage more openness and variety in approaches to jazz singing.
Joshua Jenkins, Piano Performance (Spanish Minor), Boyer College of Music
Mentor: Noriko Manabe, Music Studies
Rhythms of the Gods: The Batá Patterns of Rodriguez and Díaz Alfonso
Batá drums are a set of three double-headed percussion instruments used in many aspects of the Yoruba religion, and subsequently in the Santería/Regla Lukumi tradition. Their primary role is in connecting practitioners with the Orishas, or gods. The instruments are ceremonially consecrated and are believed to please the Orishas, and there is a corresponding rhythm/group of associated rhythms for each Orisha. Players of a batá ensemble facilitate spirit possessions, worship ceremonies, and other rituals. Giraldo Rodriguez (1920-?) and Amado Díaz Alfonso (1908-1989) were two master percussionists of the batá tradition. They each made landmark recordings of the music of the Orishas, praise music that worshipped these entities. I will choose three Orishas from the Lukumi tradition (Elegua, Ogun, and Changó) and will be transcribing and analyzing their patterns as executed on the recordings of Giraldo Rodriguez and Amado Díaz Alfonso, comparing and contrasting their polyrhythmic structure, placement within the song as a whole, complementation of the voice, and manner of progression and/or development. I will then discuss how these rhythms can be perceived as metaphors for understanding the function of the Orishas in the daily lives of Lukumi practitioners. Changó, for example, represents thunder and lightning; my goal is to convey the diverse ways in which his patterns constitute a symbolic depiction of storms. The result of this research will be a more complete understanding of the differences and similarities between two seasoned batá drummers, and how their executions of the Orisha patterns can help even an outsider to the culture understand the musical conception of these complex divinities.
Julia Kay, Painting, Sculpture, Tyler School of Art
Mentor: Gerard Brown, Foundations Department Head
Ambiguous Spatial Dimension
Working with a physical and digital library of geometric shapes, I assemble paintings with a symmetrical organization of visual elements, such as lines, color values. The shapes are taken from various sources such as Philadelphia hex signs, the internet, a movie clippings, kids toys…etc. I choose a shape based on its ability to push the boundaries of geometry and if I can easily replicate it to create a pattern. Creating a collage or a drawing out of number of these shapes helps me see the final grouping. I decide intuitively what color arrangements would work with the shapes and how they would interact with each other. It is not until the final painting is completely painted and assembled together that one can see the kaleidoscopic effects. After I decide on the final design, I disassemble the painting and trace each shape on illustrator so they can be laser cut out of acrylic. This painting includes easily a hundred shapes or more and each is painted and glued to one another to form a symmetrical painting. The process is intuitive and meditative for me and the outcome is for the viewer to interact with on an aesthetic level.
Christopher Lazzaro, Music Composition, Boyer College of Music
Mentor: Maurice Wright, Music Studies, Boyer College of Music College of Music and Dance
Visualizing an Original Musical Composition in Virtual Reality
Throughout the 20th century, College of Liberal Arts-trained composers have in various capacities attempted to visualize their works of non-rhetorical music. The recent development of virtual reality technology presents a fascinating new medium and unique opportunity for composers interested in this pursuit within academic music and beyond. The focus of this project is to create an emotionally captivating multimedia composition by leveraging techniques found in Impressionist music and the immersion offered by virtual reality. A piece will be written in standard notation software and subsequently exported into a DAW for production using professional sample libraries. It will then be mapped into binaural space and synchronized with a game engine, which will facilitate the construction of a 3D visual "scene," featuring moving objects and images that reflect the developing characteristics of the piece. The final version of the project will be optimized for output on a VR head-mounted display, resulting in a listener experience that is augmented by visual stimuli in an isolated and fully immersive setting. It will also demonstrate the artistic effectiveness of writing a piece of concert music for a "performance" not limited by the physical, logistical, cultural, or other assorted inhibitions to accessibility imposed by the traditional concert venue space.
Dana Macfarlane, Biological Anthropology, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Heather Murphy, Epidemiology and Biostatistics
The Impact of Water Quality on Flesh Decomposition
The research will be conducted using euthanized mice and water samples from the Delaware River, as well as a pure water sample for control. The rate and style of decomposition will be monitored over several months until the flesh is almost or completely decomposed. Several trials will be done per sample and at various temperatures to mimic real life scenarios. The trials will be done in glass containers so monitoring the decay does not interrupt the experiment, as one may simply peer inside to determine the stage of decomposition. The parameters of the water will be taken upon initial retrievement of the water and throughout the experiment. Additionally, the water will be tested for heterotrophic bacteria to understand the level of microorganisms present in the water supply. Stage of decomposition, water quality variables, and time will be analyzed in Excel to determine what relationships exist between water quality and the rate and characteristics of decomposition. This research has the potential to aid forensic investigators by helping to identify the alterations to the normal rate and style of decomposition to decomposition in alternate water environment, specifically those affected by heavy pollution.
Mary Mash, Speech-Language-Hearing Science, College of Public Health
Mentor: Gayle DeDe, Communication Sciences and Disorders
Effect of Group Size on Language Outcomes Following Conversational Treatment for Aphasia Therapy
In the United States, approximately one million people are living with aphasia. Aphasia is the reduction or loss of language following brain damage. Despite a diverse literature addressing the elements of conversational therapy for aphasia, not much has been studied to reveal the optimal number of members that should be present in a group during treatment. The dosage hypothesis predicts that dyadic groups, which consist of two individuals with aphasia (IWA) and one clinician, will exhibit more improvement following conversational treatment due to the greater number of turns taken in conversation within therapy relative to larger groups consisting of 7 IWAs and two clinicians. This is a reflection of the expectation that the IWAs will have more practice trials within treatment when fewer clients are present. This study will compare the language outcomes in seven IWAs who participated in a large group and 4 IWA who participated in dyads. The primary outcome measures will be performance on the Comprehensive Aphasia Test (CAT), specifically on naming and picture description measures. Results will provide a clearer understanding of differences in language outcomes following conversational treatment for aphasia as a function of group size.
Katia Matychak, Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Brad Rothberg, Medical Genetics and Molecular Biochemistry/Medicine
Determining T. Volcanium K+ Channel Structure through X-Ray Crystallography
Potassium (K+) channels are proteins that gate the flow of K+ ions across cell membranes in nearly every living cell. In bacteria, K+ channels modulate physiological functions that include electrolyte balance, cell movement, and signaling, and in humans, these channels control the duration and frequency of neuronal action potentials, as well as muscle contraction, hormone release, and kidney function. My research is focused on determining the atomic structures of K+ channels and their regulatory domains. The initial focus of this work will be on a calcium-activated K+ channel cloned from the thermophilic archaea Thermoplasma volcanium. This channel is a member of a large family of channels that includes the human calcium-activated K channel (BK channel) found in nerve and muscle cells. The archaeal K+ channel serves as a model system that can be readily expressed, purified, and crystallized, to yield structural insights that contribute to our understanding of human K+ channels. I will determine the structure of the channel's regulatory RCK domain using X-ray crystallography, and I will use this structure to identify changes in protein conformation that may underlie channel activation.
Aaron McLeod, Chemistry, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Katherine Willets, Chemistry
Super-Resolution Imaging of Fluorophores Bound to Silica-Coated Gold Nanorods
Gold nanorods are coated in silica shells of different thicknesses, which are functionalized with fluorophores via a (3-aminopropyl)trimethoxysilane linker. These particles are utilized in a super-resolution imaging technique where the attached fluorescent dye molecules are excited using a laser. The conditions of these experiments are controlled such that only one dye molecule fluoresces at any given time, producing diffraction-limited emission. Movies of these individual fluorescence events are recorded using an EM-CCD camera and are processed using MATLAB. Each diffraction-limited spot is fit to a 2-dimensional Gaussian function and the center position of the function in the x and y directions is recorded. Compiled center positions from each fluorescence event are mapped onto a histogram, recreating the underlying structure of the silica- coated gold nanorod. Reconstructed images of rods with silica coatings of different thickness lend insight into the effect of rod-dye spacing on coupling between dye fluorescence and plasmon modes of the gold nanorods.
Omar Mustafa, Bioengineering, Engineering
Mentor: Mohammad Kiani, Mechanical Engineering/Bioengineering
A Novel Microfluidic System for Developing Anti-inflammatory Therapeutics
I am investigating the effect of a novel anti-inflammatory therapeutic (PKC-delta-TAT inhibitor or PKC-delta-i) on both human and murine neutrophil-endothelial interactions. PKC-delta is a molecule that has demonstrated meditation characteristics in systemic inflammation processes, where neutrophils roll and adhere to endothelial cells, and finally transmigrate across the endothelium where they cause tissue damage. As endothelium display significant heterogeneity, I will characterize the impact of endothelial cell phenotype on neutrophil-endothelial interaction. I am currently researching the best method to quantify the rolling events of neutrophils, and then characterize how PKC-delta-i affects velocity or number of rolling neutrophils. To conduct experiments, I will utilize microfluidic devices that are imprinted with anatomically realistic vascular and tissue models consisting of various compartments (e.g. microvascular compartment, tissue compartment, blood-brain barrier, etc.), along with the methodology to co-culture various cells in these compartments, depending on the tissues/organs investigated. The broader impact of my research encompasses developing an alternative way to modulate inflammation for patients who, for example, undertake cancer treatments (e.g. radiation) or suffer from autoimmune diseases.
Jaclyn Navarro, Speech, Language, Hearing Sciences, College of Public Health
Mentor: Gayle DeDe, Communication Sciences and Disorders
Patient Reported Outcomes and Language Ability in Aphasia
Aphasia, a communication disorder typically resulting from a stroke, is associated with impairments in expressive and/or receptive language. Past research has shown that aphasia can also lead to decreased life participation in avocational activities and less engagement with loved ones. Although clinicians tend to focus more on standardized language assessments, occasionally patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) are administered in order to quantify quality of life and self-perception in people with aphasia (PWA). Since PROMs are relatively infrequent, there is little knowledge on how language impairments specifically influence the way PWA rate themselves in terms of quality of life. The goal of this study is to examine the relationship between PROMs and standardized measures of language ability in individuals with aphasia. Ten PWA will complete the Lubben Social Network Scale and the Aphasia Communication Outcome Measure as PROMs and the Comprehensive Aphasia Test (CAT) as a standardized language assessment. Evaluation of specific language measures such as naming ability, auditory comprehension, connected speech, and repetition will then be compared to the individuals' PROMs. It is predicted that there will be a positive correlation between the specific measures of the CAT and PROMs, with the exception of repetition.
Anh Nguyen, Journalism/IST, Klein College of Media and Communication
Mentor: Jillian Bauer, Journalism
"After the fact" - Seeing beyond Fact Checking Donald Trump's Twitter and Fake News in Journalism
While there is still much attention paid to the partisanship of newspapers, a big gap exists when it comes to our understanding of how journalists handle misinformation and debunk lies to their readers. During the 2016 U.S. presidential election, fake news dominated social media and were perpetuated by false College of Liberal Artsims made by then Republican candidate Donald J. Trump's Twitter account. A great deal of time, space and commitment were spent by national newspapers to stop the spread of "alternative facts" and inform voters, yet the effectiveness of fact checking during the election was questionable, as we have seen with the rise of Trumpism. Specifically, my research looks at the activities on Trump's Twitter between Trump's nomination and his election. Factors such as the originality of the tweets, accuracy of his College of Liberal Artsims, likes, and retweets will be examined for significance. Based on these data, my research seeks fact checking articles from well-known newspapers and unravels how journalists respond to fake news that spread on Twitter. Is fact checking an intuitive reactionary component or a strategic decision put in place to guarantee maximum impact? Is fact checking the shortcut to winning back public trust? The results of this study might provide valuable input to standard journalistic practice and potentially change how we perceive truth in the news.
Spencer Nitkey, English, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Douglas Greenfield, Intellectual Heritage
From Sisyphus to Dexter: Tracing Camus' Absurd Hero through Contemporary Television Antiheros
The explosion of high quality television in the 21st century has been driven, and in many ways defined, by the proliferation of the "antihero," typified by characters like Walter White, Dexter, Don Draper, and Jackson Teller. This project will investigate a number of prominent series and their protagonists, including Dexter, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Sons of Anarchy, UnREAL, The Young Pope, and The Leftovers. It seeks to comprehend these antiheroes through the lens of French philosopher Albert Camus's concept of the Absurd, whose symbolic hero is Sisyphus, reimagined as a paradoxically hopeless yet happy toiler. I will explore the contemporary crisis of meaning and purpose giving rise to these entertainments, whose shared types, themes, narrative trajectories, and tropes might describe a struggle with, and triumph over, meaningless labors. Finally this project will consider what it may mean that we are facing the absurdity of experience through the medium of television. What does it mean to wage a rebellion against meaning, mediated reality and determinism by escaping in darkened rooms into the bright screens we are letting tell these stories?
Jerry So, Bioengineering, College of Engineering
Mentor: Chetan Patil, Bioengineering
Optical Phantoms for Mobile Phone Based Bilirubinometry
Neonatal hyperbilirubinemia, or neonatal jaundice (NNJ), is a common condition in newborns that is easily diagnosed and treated in high-income countries, but all too often leads to severe neurosensory deficit and even death in low and middle income countries (LMIC) where access to technologies for diagnosis and treatment is limited. Transcutaneous Bilirubinometry (TcB) is an established non-invasive optical screening device that can provide quantitative estimation of serum bilirubin levels based on diffuse reflectance. In an effort to expand access to TcB in LMIC, efforts to develop a mobile phone camera-based TcB are ongoing. The objective of this work is to develop stable, low-cost silicone phantoms of neonatal skin for the purpose of accelerating development of the novel approach. Optical properties of neonatal skin phantoms were characterized conventionally using integrating spheres as well as mobile phone based approaches. Spectrometer and phone images will be used to iteratively develop multi-layer phantoms to localize chromophores in their respective skin layers, and incorporating additional chromophores to mimic hemoglobin and melanin to match physiological absorption and scattering coefficients of neonates. MATLAB will be used to determine absorption and scattering coefficients with Inverse Monte Carlo Method analysis.
Vivek Trivedy, Biochemistry/Mathematical Economics, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Charles Swanson, Economics
Analyzing the Economic Effects of the Influx and Integration of Automative and Learning Technologies in the Financial Sector
The influx and integration of technology within the financial sector has led to alterations within the economic makeup of the industry, sparking changes of economic variables such as structural unemployment and firm productivity. A large result of artificial intelligence and such technologies being introduced into speculative driven financial markets is the augmented ability to compute large amounts of data and make decisions on investments and portfolio management. The use of artificial intelligence technology appears to be driving a trend toward a larger benefit for firms utilizing its decision making technology, while simultaneously reducing the prevalence of the unskilled labor force within the financial sector. This first part of this project analyzes and identifies the extent to which the proliferation of automation and learning technology within the financial industry accounts for variables such as unemployment, duration of new training, and field of reintegration within the work force. The second part of this project delves into the benefits of firms within the financial industry, computing data on how revenue, capital growth, and productivity are increased as a result of the decision making and analysis power of artificial intelligence, as well as the input cost reduction that comes with automation.
Daniel Turner, Environmental Science and Spanish, College of Science and Technology
Mentor: Jocelyn Behm, Biology
Biological Control Strength by Natural Arthropod Predators across a Land Cover Gradient
Pollution runoff in and surrounding cities stresses local water and terrestrial ecosystems, introducing pollutants such as pesticides at a geographically broader scale. Increased resources have been invested into urban farming initiatives in an effort to localize food sourcing. However, ecosystem services related to urban farming, like natural pest control, are not fully understood and studied in the context of local plant community structure and surrounding land cover variation. Here, I observe the abundance and diversity of ground-level arthropod communities and their responses to baited trapping versus non-baited trapping. In this analysis ranging from the urbanized center of Philadelphia to the rural farms of Chester County, I will determine how various plant communities and land cover types play a role in the efficacy of natural pest control in urban, suburban, and rural farms. If certain community and land cover types favor crop pest control without the use of pesticides, the results can guide urban farming planners to mimic environmental conditions that facilitate the greatest pest predation.
Abigail Whitehead, Global Studies, Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Kevin Arceneaux, Political Science
Democracy, Liberalism, Philadelphia
The results of the 2016 election show that location is closely linked to voting patterns. Rural areas tended to support the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, with more densely populated areas supporting his Democratic opponent, Hilary Clinton. Pennsylvania is no exception; though it contains Philadelphia, one of the largest and most liberal cities in the country, the state voted red in the 2016 election. Philadelphia itself is remaining liberal, in fact, leaders have become increasingly liberal, despite both the state capital and Washington turning to conservative leadership. There are many reasons that explain why cities are consistently more liberal than the suburbs; often, it is a question of nature versus nurture: why do people who prefer urban homes also prefer politics that are left of center? This study focuses on Philadelphia in particular, drawing from political patterns demonstrated through voting and policy changes within the city as well as its outlying suburbs. Because of the city's historic importance, as well as its status as a sanctuary city, Philadelphia introduces unique variables to the question. Why do Philadelphians vote liberal, while being in the proximity of many very conservative counties? More importantly, what does this mean for the future of Philadelphia?
Benjamin Winkler, Spanish and Political Science, College of Liberal Arts
Mentor: Sean Yom, Political Science
Revolutionary Aesthetics: Art and Politics in Modern Cuba
Cuban culture since the Revolution, and even prior, under the Bautista regime, is best understood not through a Western model of civil society, in which the government stays out of the way of art production, at least in terms of content, but through the lens of cultural hegemony. The regime views itself as the defender of the arts and sciences against imperialism, and exercises control to guide artistic production on the island. This is sometimes done with a light touch, and other times, as in el quinquenio gris, with more of a heavy-hand. This tendency towards a hierarchical understanding of the role of art means it is left to diaspora artists to explore modern issues of identity, at least, in the ways in which American audiences tend to grasp them. The Cuban government appears to operate in a cyclical manner in cultural policy. Currently, we are in a period of some liberalization, contra the right-wing dissident community in this country. There has been a proliferation of alternative cultural spaces since the Special Period, from la azotea de Reina in the ‘90s to underground magazines like La Noria today, which relies on the state only for the physical printing of editions, with the idea that content is not censored. Further, even in media produced by the state press, writers like Marcelo Morales find they can discuss more controversial subjects with greater openness, as in his poems exploring dissidents in modern Cuban history. However, Internet penetration on the island remains poor, limiting access to this alternative media. By understanding the motivations of the Cuban government in guiding arts production on the island, we can avoid surface-level historicist analysis that posits more creative openness today will necessarily lead to liberal democracy tomorrow. Instead, we can arrive at a fuller understanding of the triumphs and struggles of artistic creation on the island.
Evan Wise, Community Development, Tyler School of Art
Mentor: Elizabeth Sweet, Geography and Urban Studies
The Effects of Uber and Lyft in Low-Income Communities
Transportation options have recently evolved into the sharing economy; however, not all communities have access to it due to multiple historical and contemporary barriers. Is the sharing economy inaccessible to low-income communities? In the context of major transportation, hospitality, and marketplace branches evolving due to new ventures, how will low-income communities adapt to changes in established public transportation modes? The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of Uber and Lyft on low-income communities. Specifically, the services, or lack thereof, being provided to these communities and testing their feasibility as a mode of transportation in comparison with higher-income communities. Six randomly selected low-income and high-income census tracts will be used to explore the service coverage and accessibility of Uber and Lyft. The data collected from low-income census tracts will be compared to those from high-income census tracts using a t-test to determine similarity or difference of service coverage between the tracts. Results are expected to display disparities between high-income and low-income census tracts. Low-income census tracts are predicted to have less service coverage.