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, March 13, 2013

2013 Advanced SRP Abstracts

Please post your most current abstract here (250 words max) including (but not limited to):

Your name
Title of your project

Research Question and/or Hypothesis


  1. Dana Chung
    Determining the Effects of Cyberknife Radiosurgery on Trigeminal Neuralgia

    Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN) is a debilitating neuropathic disorder characterized by severe episodic facial pain originating from the trigeminal nerve (V). Cyberknife Radiosurgery (CR) is a new image-guided robotic radiosurgical system that delivers high doses of radiation to a 6mm segment of the trigeminal nerve. The purpose of this project is to determine the effectiveness of CR on the treatment of TN. It is hypothesized that CR is highly effective in relieving pain with low incidences of facial numbness. Between October 2008 and April 2012, 39 patients with TN were treated with CR at Yale New Haven Hospital Saint Raphael Campus. All 39 patients with severe debilitating facial pain were treated with a maximal single dose of 60-70 Gray and evaluated after therapy. A retrospective review of the medical records was performed to determine the presence or absence of pain and facial numbness. Of the 39 patients treated with CR, 92% (36) (92%, 95% Confidence Interval (0.79130, 0.98385)) experienced pain relief with 46% (18) experiencing complete pain relief. 8% (3) experienced no pain relief. Most patients continued to experience pain relief between 13-17 months after treatments. Eight patients (20%) experienced mild residual facial numbness in the post-therapy setting. Median follow up period was 14 months. In conclusion, CR is highly effective in relieving pain in patients with TN. High rates of pain relief (92%) were obtained with this new non-invasive robotic radiosurgical system. Research will be continued to increase patient number and obtain objective long term follow up.

  2. Brian Liang
    Investigating the Role of p53 in Ovarian Cancer Cell Response to Chemotherapeutic Drugs Cisplatin and Veliparib

    Recent studies have indicated that the cisplatin-paclitaxel drug combination treatment is more effective than the commonly used carboplatin-paclitaxel treatment in combating ovarian cancer, but studies have also shown severe side effects resulting from the cisplatin treatment. There is a clinical need for a drug treatment that is both as effective as the cisplatin treatment, but has less severe side effects. The purpose of this study is to find such a drug treatment. The role of p53 in assisting ovarian cancer cells survive during chemotherapeutic drug treatment was investigated to fulfill this purpose. The chemotherapeutic drugs, cisplatin (Cis) and veliparib (PARP), were used in conjunction with the p53 inhibitor pifithrin (PFT). Clonogenic assay layouts were implemented to test the combinations. Using epithelial ovarian cancer cells with wild-type p53, the effectiveness of each drug alone in eliminating cancer cells was first tested (controls). Then, various combinations were tested. The double combinations of Cis+PFT and PARP+PFT required a high concentration of Cis and PARP respectively to eliminate a high proportion of cancer cells. The synergistic triple drug combination of Cis+ PARP+PFT had the lowest effective dose of Cis. All combinations outperformed the single drug controls. In vivo experimentation will be conducted to further assess the effectiveness of the triple combination. Carboplatin-paclitaxel and cisplatin-paclitaxel will also be included in future studies for comparison. The triple drug treatment potentially possesses higher effectiveness and less severe side effects than the cisplatin-paclitaxel treatment clinically.

  3. 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. 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. Results showed that the majority of both genders of adolescents favored the adult male below average voice and the adult female above average voice. Results also show that the all adolescent participants favored the adult voice that belonged to the same gender and voice range as the listener. Although the visual correlation is apparent, there is no correlation at this point in time due to the loose correlations found by Microsoft Word Excel program. All participants favored adult voices. These results prove that my hypothesis is correct, although it could be more valid with the use of more adolescent participant listeners.

  4. Zhang Liu
    Regulation of Borrelia Burgdorferi-Induced Inflammation by TAM Receptors

    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). In in vivo studies, the TAM receptors (Tyro3, Axl, and Mer) have been found to have an inhibiting effect on inflammatory cytokine cascades, mostly affecting macrophages and dendritic cells (DCs). Studies show that lack of TAM receptors causes a decrease in the expression of suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS) cytokines. Thus, TAM receptors act as a controlling agent of the immune system. The project will explore whether TAM receptors dampen the innate immune response to Bb. It was hypothesized that TAM receptors will have an inhibiting effect on the innate immune response to Bb. The independent variables are the presence of TAM receptors Axl and Mer. The dependent variable is the cytokine mRNA expression of socs. DCs and macrophages were stimulated with live Bb, Bb lysate, or poly:IC. The RNA of the cells was isolated and the mRNA levels of socs1 and socs3 measured by RT-PCR analysis. Results indicate that mouse macrophages and dendritic cells upregulate expression of socs1 and socs3 after stimulation. The absence of TAM receptors Axl and Mer resulted in impaired socs1 and socs3 expression. While both socs1 and socs3 are upregulated, socs3 expression may peak earlier than socs1 expression. Further exploration of this pathway will bring new understanding to the mechanism in which our bodies govern the innate immune system and inflammation.

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

    The purpose of this study is to identify and possibly analyze 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. It was hypothesized that there will be a positive correlation between asthma severity and chitinase activity.
    Both asthmatics and non-asthmatics were evaluated concerning their asthma symptoms and severities, yielding a number out of 25 which reflects their asthma. Then, three dust samples were taken from their house, and tested for chitinase activity through an assay developed in a project last year.
    The data in this study show two patterns. The first and most important pattern is that there is a positive correlation between chitinase enzyme activity and asthma symptom scores on the asthma ACT test. Another remarkable pattern is that in almost all cases, chitinase enzyme activity increases in the basement of a participant’s house verses the other areas that were tested.
    These results lead to two conclusions. The first is that asthma symptoms and severity are highly correlated with chitinase activity. Though correlation does not necessarily indicate causation, it is seen that a high chitinase enzyme activity is directly linked to asthma. Also, it can be concluded that basements are typically the most active with chitinases, and are therefore, according to this study, potentially harmful because of this enzyme presence.

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  7. Tanay Lathia
    The Effect of MEK Inhibition on HT29 and CAKI1 Cancer Cells

    Targeted cancer treatment involves the inhibition of pathways like the Phosphoinositide 3- kinase (PI3K) and Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway-responsible for growth and reproduction, respectively. This study will explore the effect of the inhibition of one of these pathways on colon and kidney cancer. It is hypothesized that the inhibition of an activated pathway results in the least proliferation. In order to test this hypothesis, the initial ATP count of the CAKI1 and HT29 cells was compared to the ATP of cells post introduction of a MEK inhibitor. When inhibiting the growth of the cells by 50%, a value important in determining the efficacy of drugs, the inhibitor concentration was shown to be 5.012 *10^-9 molar in HT29 cells and less active in the CAKI1 cells with a flat curve, inhibition not reaching 100% even at 1 μM concentration. Furthermore, a Western Blot was used to quantify the phosphorylation of ERK protein, a substrate of MEK enzyme. MEK inhibitor does in fact reduce the MAPK phosphorylation in HT29 cells, which have an overactive MAPK pathway. However, in CAKI1 cells, a cancer with a wild-type mutation, meaning that the MAPK pathway is not overactive, the MEK inhibitor was not very effective. Future work includes testing of a PI3K inhibitor and also a combination of the two inhibitors in order to determine the optimal amount

  8. Jennifer Zhuang
    Ca2+ Sensitive Alginate-Dendrimer Fluorescent Resonance Energy Transfer System for Myocardial Infarction Detection

    Myocardial infarction (MI), commonly known as a heart attack, is one of the leading causes of death in U.S. MI causes cardiac deformation and leakage of Ca2+ from necrotic cardiomyocytes. According to literature, 22-64% of MI occur “silently,” without obvious symptoms. Furthermore, one third of MI patients develop heart failure later in life. This study demonstrated the synthesis of a Ca2+ sensitive fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) system that can be used for MI early detection and remodeling prevention, even without shown symptoms. FRET, energy transfer from an excited donor fluorescent (fluorescein isothiocyanate, FITC) to acceptor fluorescent (rhodamine B), was utilized as an indicator for calcium concentration change; it allowed for higher fluorescence emission and estimated particle proximity. Alginate was introduced as the backbone to attach multiple dendrimer fluorescences. Once alginate aggregated under the proper calcium concentrations, it formed a hydrogel to prevent remodeling. The Ca2+ sensitive alginate dendrimer nanoparticle was successfully synthesized by the attachment of fluorescence onto generation-3 (G3) dendrimers and alginic acid. FRET sensitivity was optimized with spectrometers by varying nanoparticle and calcium concentration, individually. The FRET system was optimized with the combination of 500ug/mL–1mg/mL fluorescein isothiocyanate and 1mg/mL Rhodamine B when exposed to 20 -200 mg/mL Ca2+. The FRET system would be able to detect change in calcium, even in silent MI, and the alginate-dendrimer will aggregate to form a temporary scaffold to dissuade from future cardiac deformation and heart failure.

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  10. The Role of Microglia in Behavioural Disorders

    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 brains of mice with OCD were eliminated using a diphtheria
    toxin. The microglia from the rest of the body were maintained. The behavioural effects, tics and grooming, on the mice were to be measured,
    determining whether the lack of microglia in the brain lead to any significant effects. It was hypothesized that the ablation of microglia using the DTR system would recapitulate the symptoms of OCD at the behavioural level, in which mice would be scored as excessive grooming. However, microglia from the periphery (precursor cells in distal dorsoventral and distal anteroposterior) repopulated the eliminated microglia in the brain in a time-
    dependent manner (three days) alleviating the symptoms, thus making behavioural tasks difficult. By the third day of the injection, microglia had
    returned with greater-than-original numbers. The optical density of these microglia was greater than the control, suggesting that the new microglia
    were bigger and better. This is a novel discovery: microglia, unlike neurons,have the ability to move throughout the brain. Future work entails developing
    greater diphtheria dispersion methods. In this study, limited dispersion meant that microglia were ablated from a small region of the brain (only proximal injection site).

  11. Sarah Stein
    The Correlation Between Household Income and a Mother’s Choice to Immunize Her Infant

    Although most doctors recommend it, many parents choose not to immunize their infants. This could be for many reasons: religion, education level, fear, lack of affordability, and more. The purpose of this study is to clarify how much of a role income plays in immunization. The research question for this investigation is the following: What is the correlation between household income and a mother’s choice to immunize her infant?
    The methods of this investigation are quite simple: data is gathered from the SAFE Study Survey, a survey that was conducted on 1403 mothers. Almost 1/3 of the mothers are in the lowest income group, earning $0-$10,000 annually. This data, which includes the mother’s income and the amount of immunizations provided to the infant, is analyzed. The researcher creates tables, graphs, and odds ratios to observe trends in the data.
    It was found that, when combined, the lowest income groups averaged the highest rate of “all” immunizations (89.36%). The middle income groups had the highest percentage of “some” immunizations (8.79%). The highest income groups had the highest rate of “none” of the immunizations. The odds of persons with higher income to give “none” of the vaccinations to their children was 1.9410 times greater than that of persons with lower income.
    There is a clear association between household income and a mother’s choice to immunize her infant. Several studies observed that most people are exempt from immunizations because of personal belief. The implications of this study are that it is important to build a trusting relationship between doctor and mother and educate the mother about immunizations, as the biggest influence on a mother’s decision to immunize is personal belief.

  12. Prediction of cancer tissue-origin based on molecular sequencing evidence using a machine learning-based classifier algorithm
    By Jordan Henck

    With the availability of sequencing-based technologies, it’s possible to characterize cancer tissue samples at the molecular level. Can genes identified as containing somatic mutations be used to reliably predict the tissue of origin of oncology samples? It’s 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 the somatic mutations. Using COSMIC database information, an algorithm was developed to read the data file, analyze the data using a machine learning classification algorithm, and provide a prediction of the cancer tissue. The analysis was performed in two phases. First, non-metastatic tumor information was analyzed with cross-validation techniques to establish predictive algorithm feasibility and accuracy. Second, metastatic cancer information was used to test the algorithm based on the training in the first phase. The predictive value generated from the algorithm was 67% for non-metastatic cancer and 44% for metastatic cancer which was significantly more accurate than if randomly predicted at 7%. The algorithm had high specificity with variable sensitivity demonstrating its ability to accurately discriminate between tissue samples but less so in its ability to identify the tissue samples. Overall, not only did this study demonstrate the ability of a computer algorithm to improve the accuracy of classifying oncology samples but also demonstrated that gene mutations can be used to classify cancer tissue origins.

  13. 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. In order to best prepare the next generation, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) related tools must be made in our current educational system to achieve the national goal of expedited materials innovation. This study investigated the learning outcomes of courses taught in the K-14 classroom specifically 21st Century Skills including critical thinking skills and technology fluency in all subject areas, STEM and non-STEM related. Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication. Technology fluency deals with the knowledge 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. Teachers identified 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). Results indicated that K-14 STEM and non-STEM subject areas offer effective teaching in both 21st century skills. One significant factor affecting greater self-efficacy levels in critical thinking skills and technology fluency was professional development. Implications include small K-8 responses and large 9-14 responses from educators.

  14. The Mental Rotation of Naturalistic Human Faces
    Jen Zhu
    Mental rotation tasks involve identifying objects presented from different angles. Previous research has used abstract shapes as stimuli and found that greater degrees of rotation produce lower accuracy and longer reaction times; people actually rotate the mental image until they find a match. After extensive literature search, no previous study was found to have examined whether these principles hold for human faces. The purpose of the research study is identifying whether the mental rotation of naturalistic human faces followed the same principles of the mental rotation of three-dimensional. The independent variable was the angle the target face was in, and the dependent variable the reaction time of participants and their accuracy in identifying the target face. Human faces were generated using the FaceGen program. For each target face, two foils were created, each 30% randomized. Beneath each target, sets of 3 faces (including the target) were presented in 7 orientations (full-face and 30, 60, & 90 degrees rotated, left or right). Participants (N=21) were instructed to identify the match in each of 350 computer generated trials as quickly as possible. Findings were consistent with other mental rotation tasks: the greater the degree of rotation, the lower the accuracy and the slower the reaction time. The only exception was for profile pictures, where accuracy was random.

  15. Harsha Linngareddy
    The efficiency of horizontal rotating wind turbines, which has an overbalanced wheel in the hub compared to horizontal rotating wind turbine.

    The motivation of this project is to determine if the Overbalanced wheel added in the hub cap will produce more energy than a regular HAWT. An overbalanced wheel is a wheel which is powered by gravity using some weight such as marbles, water and mercury. As one of the weights shifts positions it is supposed to cause a chain reaction causing the other weights to turn. To build this hub area of the wind turbine or the center we based it on a overbalanced wheel called the Leupold Wheel. It is a wheel with small ribbets at 30 degree angle connecting the center to the outer edge. There are 1.5 inch metal balls in each of the 12 ribbets. This part was designed on Autodesk program called inventor and then printed on a 3D printing machine. To test the efficiency of this wind turbine we tested using a fan. Independent variable is the different number of metals balls (12, 8, 6, 4, and0) and this redesigned turbine. Dependent variable is the amount of energy. 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. Our hypothesis was not supported by the data because our initial test with 12 metals balls in the modified turbine was too heavy and wasn’t able to spin smoothly. In our first and 2nd trial the test with 6 balls produced more energy than when there were zero balls. In our first trial it was increase of 11.84% when compared to no balls at all. In the second trial it was 11.28% more efficient than zero balls. Our third trial was a comparison of the balls in motion and with a weight similar it glue in to the ribbets. In order to get equal mass the metal balls were glued onto the roof of the ribbets. With 12 balls in motion it was 13% more efficient than when glue in to the ribbets. Our data conclude that this technology does work and it can be improved by trying to limit friction in some way by making it less resistant to friction material.

  16. Victoria Liu
    A Meta-Analysis of Subthalamic versus Pallidal Deep Brain Stimulation in Parkinson's Disease

    Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a disorder of the brain in which there is a lack of dopamine produced. The brain then cannot properly send out signals to the muscles, affecting motor functions in the body. A surgical treatment called Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) has recently arose in popularity for PD. The two possible stimulation sites are the Subthalamic Nucleus (STN) and the Globus Pallidus interna (GPi). The purpose of this project was to determine which stimulation site (STN or GPi) for DBS is better for producing a more effective result in treating some symptoms of Parkinson's Disease. It was hypothesized that the GPi and STN DBS will significantly differ in the efficacy of treating the PD symptoms. To conduct this study, publications were first selected through PubMed, a large medical database. Publications were chosen through four relevant MeSH terms. Data was extracted from these studies, and lastly a meta-analysis was performed using the Comprehensive Meta-Analysis software. Results showed that there was a minimal difference between the two stimulation sites. It only slightly favored the STN (Fixed Effects Model SDM: -4.15E-02, p=0.62) and the 95% confidence interval was between -0.22734 and 0.137216 (Fixed Effects Model), which is very close to the zero mark. These results imply that the stimulation site chosen for DBS is not particularly important, given that both have very similar outcomes. The major limitation for the study, though, was definitely the lack of publications since only four articles fit the requirements.

  17. Owais Khan

    The Genomic Correlation Between Childhood Asthma and Adult COPD

    The purpose of the study, “The Genomic Correlation Between Childhood Asthma and Adult COPD,” is to determine what potential roles the genes identified in both disorders play in these respiratory conditions. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma are conditions that both exhibit extremely similar symptoms, such as airway inflammation. However, there is no known similarity in their causes, hence the reasoning behind this study. It was hypothesized that if the gene expressions of sputum samples from childhood asthmatics and people with COPD are observed and correlated, then specific genes will be found that exist in both disorders. This will then help determine the genes’ roles in the disorders after researching the genes’ functions. In this investigation, 4 sets of 10 sputum samples were gathered from the Gene Expression Omnibus. These samples were then analyzed using GeneSpring ® v.11 and the genes in both conditions were identified. Then, the genes were researched in order to understand their primary functions. Results showed that the genes identified have properties that result in the damaging effects to the respiratory condition. ZBP1 and GIMAP4, the identified genes, are associated with foreign DNA detection and lymphocyte apoptosis. After thorough analysis of the genes’ fold changes and gene ontology, it was determined the two genes have a primary cause in asthma and COPD because of the variation of the genes in the observed conditions. This, thus, proves a genomic correlation. Further analysis of the genes through the use of biological sputum samples will solidify these results and help define the base causes for variation of the genes in asthma and COPD that cause weakness of the respiratory condition.

  18. The Effect of Stress on Grasshoppers’ Dietary Patterns
    Kristin Zakoworotny
    Lamisa Mannan
    Studies have shown that grasshoppers in the presence of spiders or under thermal stress move from areas of nitrogen rich plants to areas of carbohydrate rich plants, thus increasing the amount of carbohydrates in their diet. Stress on the grasshoppers causes an increased metabolic rate. What is unclear is whether the grasshoppers are shifting location to avoid their spider predators, seeking cooler environments, or different diet requirements to sustain their heightened metabolic rate. The problem that was investigated was: do grasshoppers under stress eat more carbohydrates? It is hypothesized that if the grasshoppers are put under stress, they will eat more carbohydrates. Grasshoppers in terraria were given powdered choices of carbohydrate-rich food and protein-rich food. In two separate parts of the experiment, half of the grasshoppers were put in the presence of a stressor, either heat or the predator. The other half of the grasshoppers were not in the presence of a stressor, serving as the control. The overall intake of carbohydrates did not change in the presence of either stressor. The results support the conclusion that the shift of grasshoppers to nitrogen plant-rich areas is due to the grasshoppers’ necessity to avoid the predator or be in a cooler environment, rather than craving carbohydrates. Each factor on its own was not strong enough to elicit a significant response in the overall dietary pattern, even though there was some variability due to spider size. Future research should look at the patterns between spider size and warming as joint stressors.

  19. Sricharan Kadimi

    Correlation between chlorophyll concentration and particulate organic carbon in the oceans

    Chlorophyll is the molecule in plant cells including phytoplankton that carries out carbon fixation and provides a reliable estimate of algal biomass in oceans. However, the oceanic carbon concentration and the concentration of particulate organic carbon (POC) at the sea surface, or the main component of organic carbon synthesized through photosynthesis must be related. This study is designed to investigate how chlorophyll concentration in the ocean is related to POC. The experiment will be conducted by using a satellite database called SeaWiFS that provides data about the concentration of chlorophyll in the oceans, along with that of particulate organic carbon and other factors such as photosynthetically available radiation (PAR) in the ocean. The data would be taken and analyzed to determine if a statistically significant equation or relationship related chlorophyll and POC. It was hypothesized that if chlorophyll levels in the ocean were related to particulate organic carbon concentration, then chlorophyll would be directly related to POC and both would also be directly related to factors such as PAR and temperature. Similar studies of the subject exhibit that increased levels of PAR increase the rate of photosynthesis and also chlorophyll levels, possibly also affecting amounts of POC. Chlorophyll levels are traditionally used to measure algal biomass in the ocean, while particulate organic carbon is a main source of organic carbon in the oceans that contributes to the global carbon cycle along with a determination of organic biomass in the oceans. A relationship between the two factors could exhibit how the relationship between the two might be a better estimate of algal biomass.

  20. 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 a process gas such as NH3 and a carbonic gas 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 cost of nanotube production is a function of precursor injection rate. A 2005 study by the University of Florida suggests that synthesis without precursor injection hinders the amount of material. 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 be the cost of a 10 nanometer 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 0.05 from 0.5 mL/m of precursors to 0.5 mL/m. Although the data has not been fully gathered thus far, past studies would suggest that the hypothesis is supported by the data that will be collected. In particular, a 2005 University of Florida study suggests that nanotubes synthesized without the inclusion of a precursor yield single-walled carbon nanotubes, the thinnest variation in existence. By knowing the optimized injection rate, 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.

  21. Samantha Austin

    A New Stem Xantusiid (Squamata, Xantusiidae) from the Middle Miocene of New Mexico

    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, it’s build is flat and long with a body length ranging from 1½ to 2¾ inches. Likewise, it's tail is roughly the same length. The Principal Investigator of this study originally came across the left denarys of an extinct lizard that appeared to have been the predecessor of Xantusia vigilis. However upon closer inspection, it was noticed that the specimen had several distinct differences to the modern day version. This caused speculation over whether the specimen was an ancestor of the modern day Xantusia vigilis. The research objective was to determine if the specimen found is within the specie vigilis. This was determined by taking a series of twenty eight measurements of the left denarys of thirty specimens of Xantusia vigilis. Then using multivariate statistics, it was determined if the denarys of the extinct lizard was consistent with the specie vigilis. The morphometric statistical analyses showed that the fossils were in fact a part of a new species of Xantusiid. The fossilized denarys were found to be physically larger than vigilis. However, it was proportionately the same. This indicates vigilis was a product of natural selection and the fossilized denarys were a part of a stem Xantusiid. The fossilized specimen was named Xantusia neomexicana.

  22. Ultra-violet Light System to reduce Airborne Bacteria and Germs

    Vimratha Teepireddy

    The purpose of this experiment is to re-new the air ventilation system to its original condition, decrease the amount of airborne diseases, and to decrease the cost and work needed to maintain the air ventilation system. Research done by Green F. and Scarpino V. suggests that ultra-violet light systems helped efficiently reduce the amount of bacteria in the air, without causing harm to people. Similarly this experiment deals with placing a ultra-violet light system in an air handler to help kill airborne bacteria and germs. It was 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. A control is not valid in this research. To conduct this project a ultra-violet light system was placed in an air handler. Bacteria sample was taken before and after the setup of the ultra-violet light system. Data was measured through the growth of the bacteria collected and amount of bacteria collected. Results thus far show a slight increase in bacterial growth and around 4-5 areas of bacterial growth. More samples will be collected during spring and a control will be added.

  23. 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 of 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 the hypothesis is true then 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 the hypothesis is true then there should be 20-25% decrease in pain score using power analysis on 30 patients.

  24. Peter Satonick

    A Neural Approach to Upper Arm Prosthesis: Using Electroencephalography to Analyze and Control the Human Hand

    Upper arm prostheses are difficult to design. 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. Prosthetists have argued over which prosthetic hand design is best. Three hands, the “Hosmer Hook,” “iLimb,” and “Stark Hand,” provided by the Yale University Grab Lab, were be tested on six grasping abilities detailed in a study performed by Dr. Cutkosky at Stanford. Because the three tested hands couldn’t be used for further testing (due to patents), the researcher constructed a model hand: the “Addy Arm” (dedicated to mentor Dr. Nii Addy at Yale). Today’s prosthetic limbs are body operated. The researcher tested whether brain could draw enough voltage to power the Addy Arm. Electrical voltage required by the Addy Arm were compared with electroencephalography (EEG) recording of human hands. EEGs record the ionic current flows within the neurons via from electrodes. These EEG voltage fluctuations were recorded when human participants perform the same six grasping abilities (Cutkosky, Stanford). The Addy arm also performed these six grasping techniques, and the EEG machine recorded voltage fluctuations. Voltage fluctuations were compared to the voltages required by human hands. It was concluded that the human brain produced enough voltage to power the Addy Arm. The researcher began designing a device to control the Addy Arm via the brain.

  25. 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 in 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. 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 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 independent variables are amount of infection in animals and level of contact. This involve some assumptions: the model will therefore be more of a "theoretical model" to use for sensitivity analyses. There is no way to simulate repeated trials and the constants are the analysis used and the sources of data. The materials needed are data from mining sites in Uganda of the level of interaction with wildlife and the amount of disease in the wildlife, the calculated risk of outbreak, and IBM SPSS (statistical analysis software.) The data has been analyzed to find a strong positive correlation between the level of interaction and the amount of risk of an outbreak, however there was no strong correlation with amount of pathogen in wildlife. Research was done at Dr. Rabinowitz’s office at Yale, at home, and at school.

  26. Julia Goclowski
    The Relationship Between Type 1 Diabetes and Confidence in Academics and Self-Cooncept in Adolescents

    The purpose of this study was to find how Type 1 Diabetes is related to confidence levels. It is important to find how the disease affects children mentally because the physical effects are already known. However, the mental effects are just as important. If someone is uncomfortable sharing about their diabetes they are more likely to not take care of their blood sugar levels. In this study the participant was given a survey to answer. The first part asked questions about confidence in academics. The second part asked about self-concept. The final part was only answered by diabetics and asked questions about how well they take care of their diabetes. The answers of all parts of the survey were analyzed and compared. Results so far show that diabetics do not have very different confidence levels in academics compared to non-diabetics. 66.7% of diabetics felt confident in academics. 69.9% of non-diabetics felt confident in academics. This is not a big difference between diabetics and non-diabetics in confidence in academics. However, their self-concept seemed to be lower than the non-diabetics. 52.2% of diabetics felt confident in their self-concept. Only 42.6% of non-diabetics felt confident in their self-concept. The diabetics on insulin pumps felt they were not as attractive as the diabetics on shots did. It was also found that diabetics that had lower A1cs felt they were attractive but diabetics on insulin pumps answered the survey feeling less confident and thought they were not attractive. This showed that diabetics that took better care of their diabetes were less confident in themselves and academics compared to diabetics that didn’t take good care of their diabetes who were confident.