Course Description

Science Research Program – Grades 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year – Level H: Incoming freshman and sophomore students must apply for admission to this program in January of the prior academic year. Acceptance into the program will be based on a science teacher recommendation, a written essay, and excellent academic grades.

This is an ongoing program that is taken in conjunction with the student’s regular science course. There are several tiers to the program. During Year 1 students learn the components of scientific research including the scientific method and apply these concepts in various settings including designing and conducting an authentic science research project and communicating results by participation in at least one local science fair. Students also explore various applications of science topics through field trips, guest speakers and class projects. Advanced students (Years 2-4) select their science research topic, locate an out-of-school mentor (either in industry or at a local university) and compete in a variety of science fairs including the CT State Science Fair, Southern CT Invitational Science and Engineering Fair (SCSEF) and the CT Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (CT JSHS). Advanced students pursue their selected research in depth, perform statistical analysis and compete at a number of local and/or national science fairs and competitions. In Years 2, 3, and 4 students are grouped together in a non-traditional classroom setting and are required to meet individually outside of class with their Science Research Instructor biweekly to review individual goals and assess progress. All students participate in the culminating annual activity, Amity’s Science Symposium.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2013 Advanced Research Proposals

Please place your 2012-13 Research Proposal on this Post. Proposals should be approximately 250 words. Be sure to include your name (or initials) and research title followed by a single paragraph including:

Research Question
Mentor (if applicable)


  1. Eeman Abbasi

    The Role of Microglia in Compulsive Behaviour

    Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a neurological anxiety disorder in which people have repeated and unwanted thoughts, feelings, moods, or sensations, that can make them driven to do something. In mice, OCD is characterized with excessive grooming. Microglia are the primary macrophages in the brain, but they are also found in the spinal cord. They act as the premier immune defense cells. Limited research with microglia has made it unclear whether microglia have any direct influence on behaviour. In this study, microglia in the brain will be eliminated, by injecting a monkey cell (only monkey and human cells are susceptible to diphtheria), into the brains of mice with induced OCD. A diphtheria-like chemical will be injected into the brain, to wipe all, but only microglia from the brain. The microglia from the rest of the body will be maintained. The behavioural effects, tics and grooming, on the mice will be measured, determining whether the lack of microglia in the brain lead to any significant effects. It is hypothesized that the ablation of microglia using the DTR system will recapitulate the symptoms of OCD at the behavioural level, in which mice will be scored as excessive grooming. It is has been found that microglia from the periphery (precursor cells in the bone marrow) of the body repopulate the eliminated microglia in the brain in a time-dependent manner, alleviating the symptoms. Thus, data will be collected within two weeks. In addition, it will be determined whether the replacement microglia influence any differences in behaviour. The independent variable will be the presence, or lack thereof, of neural microglia. The dependent variable is the change in behaviour. The control would be the mice that maintain their neural microglia. This researcher proposed examining the replacement microglia, and will be responsible for slicing the brains, staining them, and counting the number of microglia after the two week period.

    Mentor: Dr. Christopher Pittenger
    Dr. Luciana Frick
    CT Mental Health Centre

  2. Harsha Lingareddy

    The efficiency of horizontal rotating wind turbines, which has an overbalanced wheel compared to horizontal rotating wind turbine.

    The purpose of this project is to find whether or not this redesigned turbine will be more efficient then the regular turbine. Design of conventional propeller-type wind turbines; make wind-farms inefficient, because individual turbines have to be spaced far apart so they don't interfere aerodynamically with neighboring turbines. These turbines compensate for the energy loss by making bigger blades and taller towers, to suck up more of the available wind and at heights where gusts are more powerful. This causes higher costs, more complex engineering problems and a larger environmental impact. If Overbalanced wheel are added in the hub cap then, it will produce more energy and it can compensate this to form smaller turbines and cheaper ones as well. The goal of this project is find a way to make a wind turbine more efficient and more economical. The hypothesis is that if the Overbalanced wind turbine is used in this experiment, then it will be much more efficient because along with the force gravity and wind, the turbine will spin faster. Not only is the wind turbine under the force of wind but also gravity. Independent Variable- is The Different type of Wind Turbine. Dependent variable is the amount of Energy made by the turbines.

    Mentor: Dr.Maria-Isabel Carnascial

  3. Evan Fox
    The Correlation Between Environmental Chitinase Activities and Asthma Severity

    The purpose of this study is to analyze and possibly identify the correlation between the levels of chitinase activity in peoples’ environments and their asthma severity. Asthma is a chronic disease involving inflammation of the airways, characterized by variable airflow blockage. Previous studies conducted at the Yale Center For Asthma and Airway Disease suggest that chitinase-like-proteins may play a role in environmental factors leading to asthma as well as host susceptibility to asthma. The research question is: is there a correlation between the levels of chitinase activity in peoples’ environments and their asthma severity? The answer to this question can possibly shed light on whether asthma is a genetically caused illness, or an illness brought on by environmental factors, such as chitinases. The independent variables of this study will be the participant, and therefore, their environment as well. The dependent variables will be the participant’s asthma severity (based off of the changing participant), as well as the chitinase activity in their own living environment (based off of the changing environment). The control will be doing the same asthma severity and chitinase activity tests to non-asthmatics and their environments. The constants include the method of testing asthma severity, the method of testing chitinase activity, and the rooms in the participants’ houses which are tested. It is hypothesized that chitinase activity in peoples’ environments will be directly proportional to their asthma severity. Chitinase activity tests will be done through a fluorescent chitinase assay, proven effective last year through pilot testing.

    Mentor: Dr. Geoffrey Chupp, Yale School of Medicine, Yale Center for Asthma and Airway Disease

  4. Finding a More Aerodynamic Structure of the Ailerons of the Original F4U Corsair Using Cost Effective Modern Day Materials

    Helen Zhao, Benjamin Staniewicz, Thomas Meehan, Zhang Liu, Matt Whitehill, Shaunak Pandit, Arvene Golbazi, Andrew Chen, Helen Liu, Victoria Liu, Matt Kachmar, Arpita Jajoo, Ben Ewing, Victoria Li, Jordan Henck

    The Vought F4U Corsair was one of the most efficient and deadly planes of WWII. It had unique gull wings with a Pratt and Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp 18-Cylinder engine, the most powerful for its size. The Corsair is also unique to Connecticut; it makes our state the only state with its own plane. The innovation challenge this year for the teams of the Sikorsky and CT Innovations Challenge is to rebuild the original F4U's ailerons to make them more aerodynamic and cost effective using modern day materials. Ailerons are used to control the roll of the plane about its center of gravity. This is usually accomplished by putting the aileron of one wing up and the aileron of the other down. Through research and analysis, we will determine the different requirements for ailerons and use this to create a model. We can create this model and test it with different materials and forces using a program called SolidWorks. The teams have access to local mentors and engineers through the website CT iHub.

  5. Arvene Golbazi

    The Effect of Dissolved Lead (Pb) Molecules on the Electrical Resistivity of Carbon Nanotubes

    Carbon nanotubes have been a remarkable breakthrough in the field of nanotechnology, for various scientific and practical purposes. Nanotubes, which are made up of a series of hollow cylindrical shapes, are proven to have an extremely high strength to weight ratio as well as a unique electrical resistivity which changes when the nanotube comes in contact with other particles. Obtaining information on how harmful substances react when exposed to carbon nanotubes could prove useful in creating products to detect these harmful toxins. This experiment deals with one specific hazardous metal found in ionized tap water, lead. The purpose of this experiment is to identify how sensitive carbon nanotubes are at detecting the lead toxin in ionized tap water. The question being explored is whether lead particles (Pb) dissolved in ionized tap water will affect the electrical resistivity of carbon nanotubes to allow for easier detection of the toxin. It is hypothesized that if carbon nanotubes are exposed to lead particles dissolved in ionized water, then their electrical resistivity will increase. The independent variable is the amount of lead particles dissolved in the water, measured in milligrams per liter (mg/L). The dependent variable is the electrical resistivity of the nanotubes, measured in ohm-meters. The variables that will be controlled to the highest possible degree will be the shapes and lengths of the nanotubes used, the amount of time which the contaminated ionized tap water is exposed to the nanotubes, and the amount of water exposed to the nanotubes. The materials used for this experiment are several sheets of carbon nanotubes, lead particles, a timer, an ohm meter, a dropper, and ionized tap water. The experiment will be carried out by preparing 5 separate solutions of 5 ml of ionized water. One will have no lead particles dissolved in it, a second with 0.05 mg/L of lead dissolved, a third with 0.10 mg/L of lead dissolved, a fourth with 0.15 mg/L of lead dissolved (the EPA regulation on the amount of lead in ionized tap water), and a fifth with 0.20 mg/L of lead dissolved. Next, the electrical resistivity of the carbon nanotube being used for the trial will be measured and recorded using an ohm meter. Subsequently, the ionized water without any lead particles will have 1 ml dropped onto the carbon nanotube. Simultaneously, the timer will be started, and after 30 seconds of exposure, the electrical resistivity of the nanotube will be measured and the change in resistivity after the trial will be recorded. This will be performed 4 more times for repeated trials and consistency. This step will be for the control, but the same process will be repeated except for changing the solution used to 0.05, 0.10, 0.15, and 0.20 mg/L of lead dissolved in the ionized water for each trial. The mentor who will supervise the experiment and provide assistance is Dr. Saion K. Sinha, who is a researcher at the University of New Haven and has performed many different experiments regarding nanomaterial synthesis.

  6. Jordan D'Onofrio
    Type of place kicking vs. accuracy and distance of the kick
    The purpose of this experiment is to see what type of place kicking is best for kicking points after touchdown (PAT) and field goals. There are three different ways to kick the ball for place kicking, you can perform a straight away kick (kick with the front of the toes), laces kick (kick the ball with the top of the foot of the laces) , this kick will also be the control for the experiment, and there is soccer style kicking (kicking the ball with the instep of the foot). When the national football league (N.F.L) was first founded in 1920 the most used style of kicking was straight on style. As of now 100% of place kickers in the N.F.L now use soccer style kicking. The professional place kicker to kick straight on style was Mark Moseley, who retired in 1986. Studies show that straight on kicking causes for more distance but is less accurate. It's is because when kicking with the toe there is less surface area making contact with the ball creating more pressure when hitting the ball, (pressure = force / area). The down side is the less surface area causes for less margin of error in the accuracy of the kick. It is vise-versa for soccer style. The more surface area causes less pressure but a larger margin of error. Which style of kicking is best for place kickers to successfully covert PATs and field goals. If the styles of place kicking were to be tested, then the results would show that soccer style is the best style of kicking. The IV is the style of kick. The DV is how accurate and far the kicks go. Laces kick will be the control group for this experiment, because it involves the least amount of change in the ankle.the experiment will use a kicking machine that swings on an axis a mimics the motion of the kicker's leg. The ankle part will be made so that the foot can be moved for the kicking style. The experiment shall be conducted at home with help from parents.

  7. Optimizing K-14 Instruction to Infuse 21st Century Skills

    In our current 21st century workforce, there is a demand for advancement in areas such as renewable energy, advanced materials, national security, and human welfare. As a nation, we must remain globally competitive by producing a highly skilled, well educated workforce. In order to best prepare the next generation, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) related tools and investments must be made in our current educational system, in particular, to achieve the national goal of expedited materials innovation. This study investigates the learning outcomes of courses taught in the K-14 classroom. Specifically, the methods and practices teachers use to develop and encourage 21st Century Skills including critical thinking skills and technology fluency in all subject areas, STEM and non-STEM related. STEM subjects include math, science, technology, tech-ed, pre-engineering, and engineering classes. Non-STEM related subjects include humanities courses such as english, language, and history, as well as the fine and performing arts. Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication as defined by The Foundation for Critical Thinking. Technology fluency deals with the knowledge and/or use of electronic tools and software and requires students to engage in electronic collaboration, create documents and presentations, and use graphical and multimedia technology. Currently, these skills are highly demanded in fields which develop advanced materials and are the backbone of the National Academies developed Frameworks for K-12 Science Education. Phase I participants in this study include high school and college educators while Phase II of the study involves K-14 students. Specifically, educators were asked to identify critical thinking skills and technology fluency components in their current curriculum as well as methods of assessment [e.g., rubrics] and self-efficacy based on a modified ‘Science Teaching Efficacy Belief Instrument' (STEBI). Phase II probes students’ ability to think critically using a variety of instruments including (but not limited to) the Critical Thinking Assessment Test. Additionally, data pertaining to student learning opportunities in critical thinking and technology skills were also gathered. All participants are from the greater New Haven, CT area. Results indicate that STEM related subject areas offer a rich array of opportunities to effectively teach critical thinking and technological fluency at a variety of educational levels. The results of the current study will be summarized and plans for implementation of a followup study will be outlined.
    This study will be done at Amity Regional High School with Deborah Day.

  8. Maha Ghori
    To determine the safety and efficacy of intra operative Ketamine infusion on post operative pain.

    Acute post operative pain is still a challenge for post- operative care providers. Narcotics and other medications are used to control post operative pain. Other modes of pain control like Patient Controlled Intravenous Analgesia, epidural, spinal or regional blocks have been used to control post operative pain. Low dose Ketamine infusion during surgery has shown mixed results in studies performed on human subjects. The blockage of N methyl D aspartate receptors in brain and spinal cord is assumed to be its mechanism of action. It is hypothesized that if low dose Ketamine drug is used during surgery, then there will be decrease in post operative pain. This study is designed as prospective, randomized double blind control drug trial to assess the safety and efficacy of Ketamine to reduce post operative pain. Out of 30 patients 15 patients will receive Ketamine drug and 15 patients will receive Placebo. (A fake solution of normal saline labeled as Ketamine). The study will be performed in a tertiary care referral teaching hospital on patients scheduled for surgery under general anesthesia. Minimum 30 patients, male or female between 18-75 years age will be enrolled in this study. Independent variable will be low dose Ketamine administration during surgery in Ketamine group (KG). Dependent variable will be quantification of post operative pain score in first 36 hours using verbal pain survey called visual analog scale (VAS). Patients who did not get Ketamine but received Placebo will be used as control group. (PG) Materials used in this study will be fixed milligram per kilogram low dose Ketamine solution received from hospital pharmacy. The constants will be the mg/kg of Ketamine and anesthetic drugs used during surgery. The primary outcome results will show that if our hypothesis is true than there should be a decrease in post operative pain score after ketamine infusion during surgery. This study will also quantify the amount of narcotics used in first 36 hours and any psychological effects caused by Ketamine during surgery as a secondary measure by survey. If our hypothesis is true than there should be 20-25% decrease in pain score using power analysis on 30 patients.

  9. Jennifer Zhuang

    Ca2+ sensitive Alginate-Dendrimer FRET System for the Early Detection of MI

    Myocardial infarction (MI), often as a result of post-traumatic heart attacks, causes cellular apoptosis leading to a thinning of the cardiac wall and secretion of Ca2+ from necrotic cells. The purpose of this experiment is to determine if an alginate nanoparticle can be used for early myocardial infarction detection and future preservation. It is hypothesized that through the use of Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) System, the calcium sensitivity of Alginate can be determined to establish detection and aggregation for structure maintenance. FRET involves the excitation of a donor fluorescence, fluorescein isothiocyanate, used for energy transfer to an acceptor fluorescence, Rhodamine B. This shift of energy allows for low excitation with a high fluorescent intensity outcome, multiple cycling, and an estimation of the proximity of particles. Fluorescence were attached to generation-3 dendrimers and synthesized onto an alginate polymer. In the presence of calcium, the alginate nanoparticle was shown to amass, allowing for FRET to occur. Two forms of the polymer was used; Alginate-FITC and Alginate-Rhodamine (to create FRET effect) and its combination, Alginate-FITC-Rhodamine. The presence of calcium was varied to optimize the effects of our system. Fluorescence Intensity (RFU) was measured as an outcome. The control for this experiment was dimethyl-sulfoxide, a buffer. This experiment was performed through the conjugation of the alginate nanoparticle and its various components. A calibration curve was later created with varying dilutions of the stock solution. A spectrometer was used to determine excitation and emissions rates under different conditions. In vivo experimenting will involve the injection of our nanoparticle system into a mouse model. Micro-CT imaging modalities will be used to detect infarction and allow for an in vivo analysis of the aggregation effect of the alginate and preservation possibilities through gel-formation. Blood will be drawn from mice and to determining if calcium concentration can be detected with diabetic test strips to recognize MI in mice. Therefore, future applications could involve an consumer method to detect MI early before permanent damage occurs.

    This experiment is performed at the Malone Engineering Center at Yale University, New Haven under the supervision of PI Dr. Tarek Fahmy, and mentor Donoven Kim.

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  11. A Meta-Analysis of Subthalamic versus Pallidal Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson’s Disease

    Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a disorder of the brain that leads to tremors and difficultly with walking, movement, and coordination. It is caused by a lack of dopamine, a chemical that controls movement and coordination in body, and without that dopamine, the brain cannot send proper signals to the muscles. Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is a technique used to treat Parkinson’s. It involves a device placed near the collarbone that sends out electric pulses through leads to nodes that are implanted in the brain, and the patient can control which regions the electric pulses can reach. The electrical pulses stimulate the neurons around it and counteract this abnormal brain activity, altering it in a way that decreases the disease symptoms. Two Deep Brain Nuclei are targeted for node placement in DBS. One is the Subthalamic Nucleus (STN), which is the more commonly targeted nuclei, and the other is the Globus Pallidus interna (GPi). Both are a part of the basal ganglia system- brain structures responsible for movement. It can control voluntary movement of the body and past studies indicate it is the best structure to use for motor function improvement. The problem statement for this experiment is- which nuclei structure will be a better choice for DBS, the Subthalamic Nucleus or the Globus Pallidus interna, will be a better choice in terms of motor features? It is hypothesized that if the results from the two nuclei structures do have different long term effects, then the Globus Pallidus interna would produce better results because a past meta-regression conducted looking at similar variables found that the Globus Pallidus interna produced better motor function features than the Subthalamic Nucleus over 5 years. The independent variable would be which structure was targeted, and the dependent variable would be the patient’s response over the course of 1 month, 3 months, 12 months, and two years after surgery, using scores from a test called the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale. The UPDRS is a rating scale used to follow the longitudinal course of Parkinson's disease. Improvements on total UPDRS rating scale and multiple other subscales between the two sites in the on-condition at 1 month, 3 months, 12 months, and over 2 years will be examined and compared. There would be no control for this experiment. A few constants include electrical current setting and if the patients are also on medicinal therapy at the same time. To conduct this study, all that is simply needed are databases to find reliable data from Pubmed and other databases. Then a Meta-Analysis will be conducted from the data collected. Dr. Michael Bloch and Dr. Angeli Landeros would be used for guidance.

  12. Proposal
    Noah Gallant
    Daniel Giebisch

    Windbelt 2.0:
    Effect of multiple magnetic generators and different film materials on a Windbelt.

    The Windbelt was designed in 2007 by Shawn Frayne, an MIT graduate. Its design relies on aeroelastic flutter to generate electricity. Windbelt is an elastic film with two magnetic coil generators on one end that convert the fluttering of the belt into electricity. Since the creation of Windbelt, no design changes have occurred, making it inefficient compared to wind turbines. This research aims to develop a more price efficient Windbelt generator. It is hypothesized that if multiple magnetic generators are used across the surface of the film, then the Windbelt will generate more electricity. A secondary experiment will determine the best possible film material, where it is hypothesized that a more elastic film will produce more electricity. The independent variable of the first experiment is the number of magnetic generators, while the independent variable of the second experiment is the elasticity of the film material, measured as tensile stress over tensile strain. The dependent variable for both tests is the price efficiency of the Windbelt, defined as Watts per dollar. The “films” that will be tested are mylar tape, polystyrene ribbon, and synthetic rubber. To test the first experiment, one Windbelt with a mylar film material will be positioned with two, four, six, and eight magnetic coil generators, for a total of four tests. For second experiment, one Windbelt with two magnetic generators will be fitted with mylar tape, polystyrene ribbon, and synthetic rubber, for a total of three tests. Both experiments will be repeated three times to rule out errors. The research and testing will be conducted at the Yale Physiology Electronics Research Lab with Victor Pantani.

  13. Ehsan Khan
    Role of Stellar Wind on Distribution of Terrestrial Building Blocks and Protoplanetary Genesis

    Stellar wind is the radiation-dust combination that comes off of late main sequence stars. These outflows travelling at huge velocities through space are responsible for the removal of matter from nearby stars and/or planetary bodies. Although the stellar wind theory has been doubted because of the immense magnitude of radiation required to propel particles through space, a recent study by Uppsala University has shown that the “perfectly” sized particles – particles small enough to be propelled but large enough to withstand destruction by the radiation - have been found near several red giants, giving life to the stellar wind theory. Planets are rarely formed by a single mass accreting matter over time. Most often, they are formed by the continuous colliding and fusing of progressively smaller terrestrial bodies (planetoids), much like in Earth’s case. The research question in this study is can stellar wind outflows propagate movement of matter enough to form protoplanets/planetoids? It is hypothesized that in a region of space with higher stellar wind activity, more protoplanets can be found near that area than areas with lower stellar wind activity. The independent variable would be activity of stellar wind, and the dependent variable would be protoplanet count. Using online resources provided by the CDS Astronomical Association, the researcher will use calculations to determine the activity of stellar wind (called “torque”) in a region of space and then use the same resources to tally up protoplanetary count. A correlation will then be determined showing whether or not stellar wind may have an effect on protoplanetary genesis. The study will be done with the help of Dr. Elinor Gates and Dr. Uma Gorti.

  14. Elliad Dagan

    Will the Amount of Zoonotic Pathogen Present in Wildlife and the Amount of Human Interaction with it Effect the Risk of Outbreak of the Pathogen

    In a study by The Ecologist it was found that the disturbance of the natural habitat not only increases climate change but also increases the risk of infectious disease outbreak. While many studies and experts believe this theory there is no concrete data yet on the matter. The purpose of this experiment is to find a strong positive correlation between the variables so that a clause preventing excess interaction with the environment can be added to the World Bank’s regulations on mining. The question is will the amount of pathogen present in wildlife and the amount of human interaction with it will effect the risk of outbreak. It is hypothesized that with increased pathogen presence and increased interaction with the wildlife there will be a higher risk of outbreak. The outcome variable is risk of an outbreak in miners. The dependent variables will include number of people contacting animals, amount of infection in animals, amount of interactions. This will necessarily involve some assumptions: the model will therefore be more of a "theoretical model" and once we build it we will be able to run some "sensitivity analyses" by altering certain assumptions. To make our assumptions we will look through the scientific literature. There is no way to simulate repeated trials and the constants are the analysis used and the source of data. The materials needed are data from numerous mining sites in Uganda of the amount of miner interaction with wildlife, the amount of disease in the wildlife, and the calculated risk of outbreak, and IBM SPSS (statistical analysis software.) Miners are being used because of their unique position of working in multiple locations in the area with varied amounts of interaction with the environment. The data would be analyzed to find a strong positive correlation between the amount of pathogen, interaction with it, and the amount of risk of an outbreak. Research will be done at Dr. Rabinowitz’s office at Yale, at home, and at school.

  15. Kristin Zakoworotny and Lamisa Mannan

    The Effect of Stress on Grasshoppers' Diet

    Studies have shown that grasshoppers in the presence of spiders move from areas of nitrogen rich plants to areas of carbohydrate rich plants, thus increasing the amount of carbohydrates in their diet. The spiders induce stress on the grasshoppers, causing a increased metabolic rate. What is unclear is whether the grasshoppers are shifting location to avoid their spider predators or out of mere preference and different diet requirements to sustain their heightened metabolic rate. The problem being investigated is: Do grasshoppers in the presence of spiders eat more carbohydrates? By answering this question, we may be able to deduce the cause of the shift to areas of carbohydrate rich plants. It is hypothesized that if the grasshoppers are put under stress, they will eat more carbohydrates. To test this hypothesis, grasshoppers in terraria will be given a choice of a powdered carbohydrate rich food option or a powdered protein rich food option. Half of the grasshoppers will be put in the presence of spiders. The amount of each type of food the grasshopper has eaten will be carefully measured. The independent variable the presence of spiders. The dependent variable is the amount of carbohydrates eaten by the grasshopper. The control group is the grasshoppers that are not in the presence of spiders and therefore have a normal stress level. The constants include the type of grasshoppers, the type of spider, and the terraria the grasshoppers are in. Each grasshopper will be a trial.

  16. Tanay Lathia
    The Effect of MAPK and PI3K Inhibition on HT29 and CAKI1 Cancer Cells

    One of the most widespread problems in the world today is cancer. In fact, in 2012 there were 1.64 million new cancer cases diagnosed in the country according to the American Cancer society. Even worse, more than half a million die in the United States each year from cancer related causes. Obviously, scientists are working hard to find cures to cancer. One method of treating cancer that has emerged in the past half-century is using specific drugs to treat specific mutations. Each different type of cancer cell has a certain type of problem, such as over-expressing a certain protein. This study aims to follow that example with both HT29 and CAKI1 cell lines. The independent variable is the concentration of inhibitor in the cell, the dependent variables are proliferation and protein quantity. The controls are cells grown without inhibitor. Constants include temperature, time, starting number of cells, amount of growth factor and more. These are a colon and kidney cancer cell lines. Research has shown that in cells, the MAPK and PI3K are linked to proliferation. Therefore, in varying concentrations a PI3Ki and MAPKi will be introduced to the cells while they are growing and then using the Cell Glo-Titer assay the cells will be counted. Using that data, the researcher can calculate IC-50 value. This is the inhibitory concentration 50% or the amount of inhibitor that will inhibit proliferation by 50%. Then to make sure that there is less protein in the MAPK and PI3K pathways a Western Blot protein analysis will be performed under the same conditions. This study, similar to a drug trial, will help to determine the efficacy of inhibition in fighting cancer.

  17. Gabrielle Totten

    Treatment Outcomes of HPV and Non-HPV Associated Oropharyngeal Carcinomas

    Lately incidents and survival rates of oropharyngeal carcinomas have been increasing in the United States. Recent studies have shown that this new trend is in accordance with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Although the studies have generally come to this conclusion, the results are still not certain and the results of some of the studies are even contradictory. This study is a retrospective data review of patients treated at the Smilow Cancer Center in the Hospital-Saint Raphael Campus and it will compare the treatment outcomes of patients with Oropharyngeal Carcinomas that are not HPV positive to those who are positive. It is hypothesized that patients with the HPV virus will have a better prognosis than people without the HPV virus. In the study there are two independent variables: the status of the HPV virus (whether or not the person has the virus) and the fact that the person has oropharyngeal cancer. The dependent variable is the prognosis of how the patient is doing; that is, their overall survival time in months, their weight loss, and their degree of mucositis (inflammation of the mucous membrane lining the digestive tract from ones mouth to their anus). First the researcher must gather previous records of patients with oropharyngeal cancer of the tonsils. Then the patients who have tested positive for HPV are separated from those who are negative. After that the researcher must obtain current evaluations of the patient’s medical records and evaluate the control rate of the cancer and the overall survival. Finally, the outcome of the patients with the HPV virus will be compared to the outcomes of the patients without the HPV virus.

  18. Samantha Austin
    Mentor Jacques Gauthier Peabody Museum

    Xantusia Vigilis is a spices of lizard concentrated in southern California east of the Sierras and San Gabriel Mountains into Baja California. It is a specimen that dwells primarily in desert areas. Due to this its build is flat and long ranging from 1½ to 2¾ inches long with a tail roughly the same length. The lizard's coloring is usually gray, yellow-brownish or olive. Dr. Gauthier came across the left dentary of a extinct lizard that appeared to have been the predecessor of Xantusia Vigilis. However upon closer inspection, it was noticed that the specimen in fact had several distinct differences to the modern day version.This caused speculation on whether it was an ancestor of the now Xantusia Vigilis. The research objective is to determine if the specimen found is within the specie Vigilis. This will be determined by taking a series of twenty eight measurements of the dentary of thirty specimens of Xantusia Vigilis. Then using multivariate statistics, it will be determined if the dentary of the extinct lizard puts it in the specie of Vigilis. If the dentary measurements fall within the morphospace, than the extinct lizard was within the specie Vigilis. An independent variable is not applicable as nothing is changed. The dependent variable is whether the extinct lizard was in the specie of Vigilis. The control is a group of thirty specimens of Xantusia Vigilis that will be measured. It is hypothesized that the extinct lizard is in fact a part of a new specie.

  19. Owais Khan

    The Genomic Correlation Between Childhood Asthma and Adult COPD

    Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that exists in millions of people all around the world affecting the airways that carry air to and from the lungs. This disorder affects both children and adults. Similarly, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) affects the airways, but it has a strong association with cigarette smoking, affecting adults. Do these two respiratory disorders have a relation up to the point where they are genetically similar? According to the Melbourne Asthma Study and The Royal Children’s Hospital, children with asthma are more susceptible to developing COPD as adults than children without asthma. This suggests that there may be a relationship between the two respiratory conditions, which were previously reported by medically reviewed article, Everyday Health, to be unrelated without any solid evidence. This investigation will identify similarities between the two diseases by observing the gene expressions of the two conditions and searching for a match in some of the genes observed through T-tests and the software, GeneSpring. This process is completed by gathering sputum samples of COPD and asthma patients from the online source: Gene Expression Omnibus. The information gained from this study could be used to support the notion that there is a direct relationship between childhood asthma and adulthood COPD. If subsets of genes that connect these two diseases are identified, then childhood asthma’s relevance in the cause of COPD may be identified. These results will be analyzed by learning the fundamental functions of those genes from online sources: Gene Expression Omnibus and PubMed, and by using statistical analysis to quantify the role in airway inflammation and airway remodeling characteristic of both conditions.

    Mentor: Dr. Gomez-Villalobos
    Yale TAC Building

  20. Zhang Liu
    The Effect of TAM Receptors on the Innate Immune Response

    The purpose of this project is to determine the effect of TAM receptors on the innate immune response to the Lyme disease spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb). TAM receptors are cell surface trans-membrane receptors and have two ligands, Protein S and GAS6. In in vivo studies, the TAM receptors (TYRO3, AXL, and MER) have been found to have an inhibiting effect on the cytokine cascades secreted by activated cells, mostly affecting macrophages, dendritic cells, and natural killer cells. Studies have shown that lack of TAM receptors causes a decrease in the expression of suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS) cytokines, showing that TAM receptors act as a controlling agent of the immune system. The main goals of this project are to determine whether TAM receptors dampen the innate immune response to Borrelia burgdorferi, the spirochete which causes Lyme disease. It is hypothesized that in an in vitro setting, TAM receptors will have an inhibiting effect on the innate immune response. The independent variables are the presence of TAM receptors Axl and Mer. The dependent variable is the level of innate immune response measured by the cytokine mRNA expression. The control is the use of mouse cells with normal expression of TAM receptors. This project will be conducted using the RT-PCR method. Dendritic cells and macrophages will be stimulated with live Bb, Bb lysate, or poly:IC. The RNA of the cells will be isolated and the mRNA levels of SOCS1 and SOCS3.

    Location: Yale School of Medicine
    Mentor: Dr. Linda Bockenstedt, M.D Yale Rheumatology

  21. Jennifer Zhu
    Does Mental Rotation of Human Faces Behave Like Mental Rotation of Geometric Shapes?

    Mental rotation is the ability to make a mental image of an object turning in space.
    Previous studies have shown that people take a longer time to identify geometric shapes that
    have been rotated in space. The greater the angle of rotation, the longer it takes. It also is known
    that makes perform slightly better than females on this task. However, researchers have not
    examined how people rotate images of human faces. When meeting a person, the brain takes a
    2D snapshot of their face, and uses that to create a 3D image. How long does it take people to
    recognize a face from different angles? Does mental rotation of faces follow the same rules as
    mental rotation of geometric shapes?

    The independent variable will be the angles from which faces are shown. The faces will
    be computer-generated. Each face will be shown from 5 – 9 different angles. Each set of pictures
    will consist of either male or female faces. The faces will be shown from the neck up, in black
    and white. Participants will indicate whether the face was shown before or not. The dependent
    variable will be reaction time. It is hypothesized that reaction times will be longer the more
    rotated the faces are. The experiment will also clarify whether there are gender differences on
    this task. The purpose is to extend mental rotation research into a new area, explore gender
    differences in this area, and maybe add to our knowledge of prosopagnosia, a condition in which
    people are unable to recognize faces.

    Location: Albertus Magnus College
    Mentor: Dr. Stephen Joy

  22. Thomas Meehan

    How Robot Facial Expressions Affect the Ability to Recall Movement Patterns
    Thomas Meehan
    Mentors: Henny Admoni, Dr. Brian Scassellati
    There have been many studies exploring how the perceived emotion of otherwise plain symbols can affect our ability to concentrate and focus. Studies have also shown us that people are quick to assign emotions and facial expressions to otherwise neutral subjects such as robots. The research question proposed is “How do different robot facial features affect one’s ability to attend and recall prior actions?” It is hypothesized that participants observing robots with positive expressions will recall the most information. The independent variable is the presence of different facial features on the robots. The dependent variable is the participant’s ability to attend and recall that robot’s actions. The control group would observe a robot with random, non-facial markings. Participants would be asked to take an online test utilizing the website “Social Sci”, where they would observe a video of a robot moving in four simple directions (forward, backward, left, and right). After observing the video, participants would indicate what actions they saw the robot make. Videos would range in length from 4-10 moves. This would be repeated many times for the various lengths, but a single participant would only see one face type. Once the participant has observed 40 total videos the experiment will end. After enough trials are completed (about 160 are currently planned) the data will be analyzed to determine if the different face configurations had any affect on how accurate the participants’ responses were, how long each sequence went, and how quickly they were able to input their responses. This research will be conducted with graduate student Henny Admoni in Dr. Scassellati’s Social Robotics Lab at Yale University.

  23. Satish Bhat

    Using Colloidal Gold Nanoparticles in Targeted Cancer Therapy: A Simulation

    Biomedical engineering and cancer therapy are two important fields of research. These fields are important to saving lives and reducing the amount of damage other treatments like chemotherapy cause. This study aims to determine if nanoparticles can be used to target the source of cancer. It was hypothesized that the nanoparticles would be a good idea to use to treat cancer because of a study done by University of Missouri that showed that gold nanoparticles had promising results. To test this hypothesis, literature on rates of pancreatic tumor growth and spread would be obtained to base the mathematical computer model on. The independent variable is the presence of the nanoparticles, while the dependent variable is the volume of the cancerous tumor. The control group is the lack of nanoparticle treatment. Prior to implementing the nanoparticle therapy, the volume of the cancerous tumor would be measured, using a program written in C++. After the tumor was measured, nanoparticle drug delivery would begin and be sustained over a period of time. During this procedure of nanoparticle drug delivery, the volume of the cancerous tumor would be measured at constant intervals. The volume of the tumor could then be graphed vs. time to see the degradation of the size of the tumor with the nanoparticle therapy present. This graph would be analyzed for statistical significance and compared to the no nanoparticle treatment. This study is being done with Dr. Zhiwei Hu at Yale University.

  24. Characterizing the Boundaries of the Lipid Bilayer Surrounding Intramembrane Protease GlpG

    Helen Zhao

    Regulated intramembrane proteolysis is an important mechanism to control cell metabolism, differentiation and development in many organisms, from bacteria to humans. The enzymes responsible for this reaction are embedded within the membrane, which is puzzling because the membrane is hydrophobic, yet a proteolytic reaction requires water. Crystal structures of the rhomboid family of intramembrane proteases showed the membrane bilayer is constricted around the protein. In this research project, WinCoot, a graphics program, was used to study the atomic structure of the rhomboid protease GlpG, and to determine where the boundaries of the membrane bilayer fall, based on the hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties of amino acids located near the boundaries. Then, the program TableCurve 3-D was used to generate an approximate 3D model of the membrane bilayer. Results showed the bilayer around the protease had deviated from the ideal shape: the boundaries were no longer parallel to each other, and the membrane surface has irregular bumps. These unexpected features are potentially important for the mechanisms of intramembrane proteases.

  25. Vimratha Teepireddy
    Ultra-Violet Light System to Reduce Airborne Bacteria and Germs
    Recent research done by Green F. and Scarpino V. suggests that ultra-violet light systems helped efficiently reduce the amount of bacteria in the air. Another research conducted at University of Colorado also suggests the usage of ultra-violet light systems helps decrease air contaminants. Similarly this experiment deals with placing a ultra-violet light system in an air handler to help reduce airborne bacteria and germs. It is hypothesized that if ultra-violet light systems are placed air handlers then the amount of airborne bacteria and germs will decrease. The independent variable is the ultra-violet light system. The dependent variable is the amount of airborne bacteria and germs. The control is the air handler without a ultra-violet system in it. Some constants include location, temperature, time of observations, and type of systems. To conduct this project a ultra-violet light system, along with an air filter, will be placed in an air handler. In another air handler there will be only an air filter. The air filters will be observed every two days. Data will be measured through the amounts of bacteria collected in the air filters. This project will take course over several weeks and will be conducted in Amity High School, Woodbridge.

  26. Neural Approach to Upper Arm Prosthesis: Using Electroencephalography to Analyze and control the human Hand

    Peter Satonick

    Upper arm prostheses are difficult to design. These prostheses are made to grant amputees some with previously lost functionality. Upper arm prosthetists have endeavored to replace one of the most important tools of the human body, the hand. Artificial hands must be able to replicate simple functionality, such as torque, lift, and grasp. In recent years, different models of prosthetic hands have been developed. Each hand features a different design mechanism: hook-style, ballistics gel structure, or shoulder operated. Prosthetists have argued over which prosthetic hand design is best, dependent on the amount of weight a limb can lift the hand’s grasping mechanism. Three hands, the “Hosmer Hook,” “iLimb,” and “Stark Hand,” provided by the Yale University Grab Lab, will be tested on weight lifting and grasping abilities. It is hypothesized that the Stark Hand will be the most efficient hand due to its adaptive grip. After seeking out the most efficient limb, the research will attempt to construct a model hand: the “Addy Arm” (dedicated to mentor Dr. Nii Addy at Yale). Because the three donated hands cannot be used for further testing (due to patents), the Addy Arm will be put to the same tests to assure that the arm is just as efficient as other prosthetic hands. Today’s prosthetic limbs are body operated, usually by the shoulder joint. Individuals who wish to use their artificial limb must move their shoulder to activate different lever and pulley systems. Can prosthetic hands be controlled using brain electricity rather than using one’s body? It is hypothesized that the brain will be able to draw enough voltage to power the Addy Arm. Electrical voltage required by the Addy Arm to lift a tennis ball will be compared with electroencephalography recording. EEGs record the ionic current flows within the neurons via from electrodes. These EEG voltage fluctuations will be recorded when individual lifts tennis ball with opposite limb. The researcher will perform several tasks with the model arm, including picking up a tennis ball, an apple, a rubber bouncy ball, making a pinch grip, and making a clenched fist. During the performance of these tasks, the model arm will be connected to a voltmeter. Voltage fluctuations will be compared to the voltage fluctuations of human participants (which were previously conducted in a separate study completed by Professor Aaron Dollar at Yale University) who have completed the same task using their authentic dominant human hand. If two types of voltages are statistically significant, it can be concluded that the human brain can produce enough voltage to power a model mechanical arm.

  27. Sarah Stein
    Is there a correlation between household income and a mother’s choice to immunize her infant?

    Immunizations help prevent the spread of disease and protect infants against fatal complications. However, some parents choose to avoid vaccinations for their baby, which is against most doctors’ recommendations. Many factors can cause parents to choose not to immunize their child, including religion, ethnic beliefs, and social influence. Some parents even believe that immunizing their infants can slow brain development, an idea disproved at the University of Louisville in a study which performed intelligence, speech and behavior tests on children who had or hadn’t been vaccinated as infants (Dooren). It is sometimes hard to know which groups tend to follow recommendations and which don’t. The following research question can clarify this: Is there an association between household income and a mother’s choice to immunize her infant? The independent variable is the household income and the dependent variable is whether or not she chooses to immunize her child. To answer this question, a survey that has been done by Yale researchers will be reviewed. The percentage of mothers who vaccinate their babies will be examined in 10 different income groups, the 10th of which is “unknown.” Most likely, some income groups will have higher percents of immunization than others. For this survey of 1,488 mothers from 32 different hospitals, constants were not applicable because it is impossible to control variables among humans. For this particular analysis of the data, only one independent variable will be examined, although it is possible that other variables play a role in the choice to immunize. It is hypothesized that income does have an effect on immunizations, but it is not known what effect. All these observations and analyses will take place in my own home. A prospective mentor is Nicole Santomauro, M.P.H. from Boston, Massachusetts with whom I will correspond through email, phone, and video.

    Works Cited

    Dooren, Jennifer Corbett. "No Benefit in Delayed Immunization." The Wall Street Journal: Health (2010).

  28. Joseph Neumann
    The Effects of Precursor Injection Rate on Carbon Nanotube Diameter

    Global interest over carbon nanotubes (CNT’s) have increased greatly because of its widespread applications, such as improved solar cells, computer chips, and even cancer treatment. However, the affordability of carbon nanotubes is the factor that ultimately decides how widespread their use will be. One of the most commonly used techniques for CNT production is through the use of chemical vapor deposition, where process gases such as hydrogen and argon are heated with carbon at 700 degrees Celsius with pure carbon, in order to yield CNT’S. This study is designed to determine if the thickness of the formed nanotubes is a function of precursor injection rate. A 2005 study by the University of Florida suggests that synthesis without precursor injection significantly decreases the amount of material processed. It is hypothesized that if precursor injection rate is increased during chemical vapor deposition, then carbon nanotube fabrication costs will decrease. The independent variable would be the rate of precursor injection, and dependent variable would the diameter of the nanotube. The experiment consists of repeatedly synthesizing CNT’s through CVD with different levels of precursor injection rates. These rates would be at intervals of 0.5 from 0.5m L/m of precursors to 5 mL/m. By knowing the optimized injection rate for a given CNT diameter, carbon nanotube fabrication could be significantly cheaper. This may accelerate and promote research in the area of CNT’s, and the benefits of nanotubes would greatly accelerate the growth of various industries once it is feasible to mass-produce carbon nanotubes.

    Mentor: Dr. Todd Schwendemann
    Southern Connecticut State University Physics Department

  29. Brian Liang
    Investigating the role of p53 in ovarian cancer cell response to chemotherapeutic drugs Cisplatin and Veliparib

    Cisplatin is a chemotherapy drug that has various side effects that increase in severity with increased dosage which discourage people from using Cisplatin treatments, which are very effective against ovarian cancer. Pifithrin is a drug that inhibits p53, a promoter gene. Velaparib is a drug that inhibits Parp-1 and Parp-2, which are proteins involved in DNA repair. The role of p53 in ovarian cancer cell response to chemotherapeutic drugs Cisplatin and Veliparib is being investigated. In order to do so, it is being investigated whether a correlation exists between drug concentrations and cell survival. Hopefully, inhibiting p-53 will increase elimination of cancer cells, resulting in less Cisplatin being used. It is hypothesized that combining all three drugs will be more effective in eliminating cancer cells than the Cisplatin and Pifithrin combination. It is also hypothesized that the Pifithrin and Velaparib combination will be least effective. The first variable is the concentration of each drug in each treatment. The second variable is the cell survival, as measured by counting surviving cells. To carry out this experiment, three experiments will be done, one experiment per combination. Each experiment will have cell culture plates that are treated with each drug alone (control), and then plates treated with the combination. In each plate treated with the combination, the Pifithrin drug concentration will be held constant and the other drug will increase by a fixed amount. For the triple combination, Velaparib and Cisplatin will increase by a fixed amount in a 2:1 ratio (Velaparib:Cisplatin). The mentor had given the student a choice to pursue other studies, but chose to work on the study of this proposal. The study was part of ongoing research. The mentor designed the first assays; the student designed the last assay independently though the mentor was confided with for approval. All assays and procedures mentioned in this proposal were conducted by the student.

    Mentor: Zping Lin
    Yale School of Medicine,
    Department of Pharmacology

  30. The Effects of Cyberknife Radiosurgery on the Treatment of Trigeminal Neuralgia
    - Dana Chung

    Cyberknife radiosurgery is a fairly new treatment method of the disease, trigeminal neuralgia. Cyberknife radiosurgery is a non-invasive alternative to surgery in the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia as well as treatment of cancer and other tumors in the body. Trigeminal neuralgia is a disease located in the Trigeminal Nerve. It causes severe, sharp facial pain that lasts from a few seconds to a minute. Today, the most regularly used treatment of trigeminal neuralgia is Gamma Knife Radiosurgery. Because cyberknife radiosurgery is a more advanced treatment and was proven to be more accurate than gamma knife, and it is wondered: what is the effectiveness of the new non-invasive treatment in the relief of facial pain related to Trigeminal Neuralgia? The purpose of this project is to determine the effectiveness and efficiency of the treatment compared to other existing treatments, especially compared to gamma knife radiosurgery. It is hypothesized that Trigeminal Neuralgia patients who undergo cyberknife surgery will have a effective treatment and relief from pain. The independent variable of this project is the method of treatment, while the dependent variable is the relief of pain/efficiency. In order to conduct this project, sixty former Unilateral Trigeminal neuralgia patients who were treated with Cyberknife Radiosurgery, will be given a questionnaire asking to rate their pain from surgery and the amount of pain they felt once every month after surgery. Also, sixty former patients with Trigeminal Neuralgia who were treated with Gamma knife radiosurgery will be given the same questionnaire. A universal pain scale will also be created to control variables. After, questions will be asked about implications/concerns with their treatment. After all the data is collected, it will be analyzed and compared using chart reviews and graphs such as line, pie and bar graphs.

    Mentors: Vanna Dest, nurse-practitioner from Yale New Haven Hospital, St. Raphael Campus and Frank Cardinale, clinical director of Cyberknife Center at Yale New Haven Hospital, St. Raphael Campus

  31. The Effect of Type 1 Diabetes on Confidence in Academics and Self-Concept
    Julia Goclowski

    The purpose of this study is to find if Type 1 Diabetes affects confidence levels. Often times a diabetic feels like they are weird for having to wear an insulin pump or take shots. It is important to find how the disease affects the children that have it because to take good care of diabetes you have to constantly be watching your blood sugar levels. If someone is uncomfortable sharing about their diabetes they are more likely to not take care of their blood sugar levels. It is hypothesized that if diabetes affects confidence levels, then diabetics will feel less confidence in themselves. The control in this study will be non-diabetics. The constants will be the survey given and the age group (10-17 years old). The independent variable is Type 1 Diabetes and the responsibilities received when taking care of the disease. The dependent variable(s) is how confident Type 1 Diabetics are in academics and self-concept. To be a Diabetic participant, the person must have had Type 1 Diabetes for at least 3 years. The participant will be given a survey to answer. The survey will have multiple parts. The first part will ask questions about confidence at school and in the participants’ academic work. The second part will ask about self-concept. The final part will be only for the diabetic participants and will ask questions about how well they take care of their diabetes. The third part of the study will be compared to the other two parts to see how the responsibility of diabetes affects confidence. The better the care and control of a participant’s diabetes will show that they are responsible with their diabetes. Then the answers of all parts of the survey will be analyzed and looked over. The participant will be asked how truthful they were while taking the survey to make sure their answers are truly what they feel.

    Mentors: Dr. Eda Cengiz, Dr. Stuart Weinzimer, Dr. Jennifer Sherr

  32. Sricharan Kadimi
    Influence of UV radiation on the calcareous plates of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi

    Coccolithophores are phytoplankton that play an important role in the marine food chain and also the global carbon cycle. Appearing in large blooms during optimal conditions, they absorb calcium carbonate from the water to intracellularly create a series of hard plates (coccoliths) that are eventually expelled and form a skeleton around the organism. Thus, coccolithophores engage in two types of carbon fixation – photosynthesis and calcification. When the organisms eventually die, they take their trapped carbon to the sea floor, thus regulating the amounts of carbon in the oceans. However, as the ultraviolet radiation (UVR) – especially that at a wavelength of 280–315 nm, or UVB – increases in the atmosphere due to the depletion of ozone by industry, the processes of carbon fixation are disrupted in phytoplankton such as coccolithophores. This study is designed to investigate how UVB affects the structure of the coccoliths of coccolithophores, specifically the species Emiliania huxleyi, the most widespread and common coccolithophore. It is hypothesized that if UVR affects the internal pH levels of Emiliania Huxleyi, then increasing exposure to UVR will mean a decrease in the area and thickness of their coccoliths. The experiment would be conducted by culturing Emiliania huxleyi in seawater according to past studies and exposing test groups to differing amounts of UVR categorized by wavelength along with length of exposure. The change in the thickness and area of calcareous plates of the coccolithophores would be measured and this data would be analyzed depending on the amount of UVR exposure. The independent variable will be the amount and wavelength of UVR while the dependent variable will be the area and thickness of the coccoliths of the coccolithophores. The mentor for this study is Dr. Carmela Cuomo from the University of New Haven. (First Proposal).

  33. Rachel Marcus
    The Effect and Correlation of Voice Frequency on Adolescent Perception on Attractiveness

    The purpose of this study is to figure out what voice frequency adolescents find the most attractive for both males and females. The hypothesis would be that if the adolescent males and females listen to the opposite sex’s voices, then the males will perceive the higher pitched females as more attractive and the females will perceive the lower pitched males as more attractive. If the adolescent males and females listen to the same sex’s voices, then the males will perceive the lower pitched males as more attractive and the females will perceive the higher pitched females as more attractive. The independent variable would be the pitches of the voices given to each participant and the dependent variable would be the preference of each voice. The constants would be the survey and words said by each speaker. The control would be the average Hertz value for both the males and females. For this study, numerous adolescent and adult males and females will be recorded saying the same passage and then measured for their Hertz value by the spectrum analyzer application for the iPhone 4S. Adolescent male and female participants will listen to each voice then immediately take a questionnaire on the attractiveness of the voice. The listener will also be measured for their Hertz value. The data will then be correlated to see if there is a relationship between the listener’s frequency and the frequency they preferred. Mentoring this study is Emily Gonzalez, psychologist at Amity Regional High School. The study will take place at Amity Senior Regional High School.
    Mentor: Emily Gonzalez
    Amity Senior High School Psychologist

  34. Stem Density as Affected by a Raise in Temperature
    This project will look into whether or not the temperature affects the growth of the plants as measured by stem density, and if so, by how much. It is hypothesized that if the temperature affects the plant’s stem density, then the higher the temperature, the lower the density of the stem. The independent variable is the temperature in which the plant is grown, and the dependent variable is the density of the stem. This project would be completed in 4 marshes along the Long Island Coast, each with 10-20 plots planned, half of which are covered similar to a greenhouse to raise the temperature, the others uncovered at room temperature, the controls. Sections or pre-divided subplots of grasses will be cut from these plots, labeled, dried, and counted. Using the ecology density, the density is calculated in number of stems per unit area, or square meter. Densities will be found of samples taken in two separate seasons. Both densities will be used to find the percentage of change, which are then compared. This could be used to tell if global warming will affect plant growth and used by farmers with what is a better temperature to grow produce in. The hope is to complete this project at home, at the marshes of Long Island Sound, and/or in laboratories at Yale.

    Mentor: Mary Beth Decker
    Research Scientist, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
    Lecturer, School of Forestry & Environmental Studies Yale University

  35. Prediction of cancer tissue-origin based on molecular sequencing evidence using a machine learning-based classifier algorithm

    Traditional methods for classifying pathology samples involve staining of samples and interpretation of visual images (e.g., reading slides of tissue cross-sections under a microscope). With the recent availability of inexpensive sequencing-based technologies it is possible to characterize samples at the molecular level. This provides the potential for more accurate, definitive classification without requiring expert human interpretation to classify samples. With such advances in genetic sequencing technology, can the genes identified as containing somatic mutations be used to reliably predict the tissue of origin of oncology samples? It is hypothesized that a machine learning algorithm can be trained to accurately predict the tissue of origin of an oncology sample based on the genes containing somatic mutations found in that sample. The independent variable of this study is the tissue of origin of oncology sample and the dependent variable is the accuracy of the machine learning-based classifier algorithm to predict. The raw content of the Catalogue of Somatic Mutations in Cancer (COSMIC) database will be obtained. An algorithm will then be developed to read in the data file, incorporate a machine learning classification algorithm, and provide a prediction of the cancer tissue. Cygwin tools will also be used to pull relevant data from the downloaded COSMIC database. The data will then be analyzed in two phases. The first phase will only involve the examination of non-metastatic tumors to establish that this method can be used. The accuracy of the predictive algorithm will be assessed using cross-validation techniques. To reduce variability, multiple rounds of cross-validation will be performed generating different training and testing data sets and then the results will be averaged over the rounds. The training data set will be used in the machine learning algorithm to train the algorithm. Once trained, the algorithm will use the testing data set to deduce its accuracy. Once the method is proven to work at predicating the tissue origin of non-metastatic cancers, the algorithm will be used to predict metastatic cancers. The second phase of the analysis will test to see if the tissue origins for metastatic cancers can be predicted based on training from non-metastatic cancers. The resulting data will then be analyzed to understand the predictive value of the algorithm and its accuracy in identifying the tissue of origin of an oncology sample based on the genes with somatic mutations in the sample.

  36. Sunlight is an easily accessible and harvestable energy. However for many years only the light properties of the sun have been used, when using the sun as a source of heat has been very limited. Already passive solar heating has been used to heat buildings and water for commercial and residential use. But can this affect be amplified and made more efficient?
    It is hypothesized that when four cylinders made of Makrofol film with the varying opacities of clear, translucent white, translucent clear, and opaque black are placed in the sun for 6 hours, then they will each gather and hold heat differently than the clear. The independent variable of this experiment will be the opacity of the acrylic panels. The dependant variable will be the temperature of the inside of each of the tubes. The control of this study will be the temperature of the clear cube. Constants to monitor are the size cylinders, the thickness of each type of film, and the amount of sunlight each cylinder receives.
    Tubes will be constructed out of Makrofol film, cup of water will be inside the tube with a thermometer placed in each cup. The cylinders will be inside, exposed to a south-facing window. From 3:00PM to 9:00PM temperatures will be taken from each tube on an hourly basis over the course of two weeks. The findings of this study may help homes be built with more heat efficient materials/colors, helping to lower heating and cooling costs, while also decreasing our carbon footprint.

  37. Levi Santos

    The effects of video games on hand-eye coordination.

    Do video games help improve hand-eye coordination and give kids a benefit from playing it? Hand-eye coordination is a nice skill to have once one reaches the "Adult" world. If a person has a high video game score, then, in turn, they will also have a hand-eye coordination score. Since this is a correlation study, some of the variables are knocked out. As far as constants, the game being played will be the same as well as time of day and many things related to the hand-eye coordination test as well. While participating, the participant will play the specified game, Planetside 2, for 1 hour before doing a hand-eye coordination test which includes throwing a tennis ball against a wall for 30 seconds. The location of the study will vary, but variables will not be effected by the change of location.

  38. Creating Educational Video Games to Teach STEM
    by Matt Kachmar

    This research project is designed to deduce the educational value of video games and applications that teach Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). This project is conducted in two phases. Phase one entails learning how to program in C#, and creating small mini-games such as a matching game, a maze, and an application like a math test in C#. As a pilot study, the type of game that best supports the hypothesis will be determined, and design ideas and modifications will be the outcome of the participants' feedback. Phase two is designing an educational video game that teaches STEM. The company STEM Fuse provided GAME: IT Advanced, a $500 program that teaches programming, for free. According to STEM Fuse and the Public Broadcasting Station (PBS), educational video games provide opportunities for students to learn STEM skills. The hypothesis is: If an educational video game that implements STEM is created, students will be provided engaging opportunities to learn STEM skills. The materials required are GAME: IT Advanced, Microsoft Visual Studio 2012, Microsoft C#, XNA Studio 4.0, a research log, and personal computer. The procedure is to learn how to program with GAME: IT Advanced, then use Microsoft Visual Studio 2012, C#, and XNA Game Studios 4.0 to create an educational STEM related game or application for students ages five to eight. Participants will be able to run the program on their computer, and other participants will simulate the same activities, hands-on, in real life. A pre/post evaluation is used to determine the skills that were learned which includes topics such as basic geometry and physics, and a questionnaire is given to determine how much the players enjoyed each game.