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ART

Title: PSYCHOLOGY OF FACEBOOK AND VISUAL ART
Author: Katy Janousek
Faculty sponsor: Valerie Knobel
Field of Study: Art
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Specifically I wanted to better understand the following: why creating meaningful connections with others is important in todays society; the lack of forming these relations causes isolation and whether Facebook is positively or negatively effecting our feeling about interpersonal relationships.         

To do my research I familiarized myself with both literary and artistic compositions on my topic. For the first two weeks I did research online, through books and publications as well as kept a journal of my findings. For the remainder three weeks I continued my research, created my own artwork that reflected my findings and wrote a 20-page literature review. While doing my artwork I was hopeful that it would spark new questions and insights, that would further my investigation of interpersonal relationships in conjunction to using Facebook.

Through my literature review I found that there are many factors that contribute to forming and sustaining meaningful relationship and that Facebook both facilitates our relationships but is also used as an outlet to voice our sense of loneliness. Also Facebook and other social media provide an interaction that dehumanizes our communication with others, opening ally ways for cyber-bullying and online harassment.

 


BIOLOGY

Title: STUDYING THE IMPACT OF EPIGALLOCATECHIN-3-GALLATE, A COMPONENT OF GREEN TEA, ON BREAST CANCER STEM CELLS
Author: Zach Wordekemper
Faculty sponsor: Dr. Kate Marley
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Breast cancer has become a major issue with increasing human lifespan and is a particular concern in Nebraska, where it is the most common type of cancer. In the past decade, cancer stem cells have been identified in breast cancers. These cells are capable of self-renewal and recreating the heterogeneous character of a tumor. Some naturally occurring dietary compounds, such as epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) found in green tea, are thought to interfere with tumor formation. Breast cancer stem cells can be studied using a tumorsphere assay where breast cancer tissue culture cells are plated on low-attachment plates that select the stem cells. We have hypothesized that incorporating epigallocatechin-3-gallate into the tumorsphere media will interfere with formation of breast cancer tumorspheres and reduce the rate of sphere formation. If EGCG could interfere with tumor formation, further studies could be done to determine if green tea could prevent tumor formation in the body or be used as a cheaper and safer form of chemotherapy.

 

Title: TRANSCRIPTION FACTORS SOX9 AND E47 ARE POTENTIAL REGULATORS OF THE N-CADHERIN GENE
Author: Kurt Harders
Additional authors:
Faculty sponsor: Dr. Kate Marley
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Cadherins are transmembrane proteins that form homodimers with cadherins on adjacent cells. These interactions play an important role in cell adhesion and maintaining normal tissue structure. N-cadherins are a type of cadherin found in neurons, fibroblast, and mesenchymal cells that typically interact with other N-cadherins and mediate adherens junctions. Studies have shown that increased N-cadherin expression in tumor cells is associated with cancer cell metastasis, migration, and invasion.
Previous research in our laboratory used polymerase chain reaction to clone fragments of the N-cadherin promoter to -1975 bp. Luciferase assays indicated a possible promoter region between -462 bp and -1876 bp, and luciferase assays of smaller fragments in this region identified two fragments of interest which caused significantly increased or decreased gene expression. Further testing has explored which transcription factors might be binding to these promoter fragments.
A TRANSFAC database search predicted several transcription factors with possible binding sites in these N-cadherin gene fragments. Three of these transcription factors were assayed by Western Blot analysis using protein extracts from Human Embryonic Palatal Mesenchyme (HEPM) cells, which express N-cadherin. Western analysis indicated that HEPM cells produce two of these transcription factors. Now that their expression in HEPM cells is confirmed, electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSA) are under way to determine the capacity of these transcription factors to bind to the N-cadherin promoter in vitro.

 

Title: RESVERATROL DECREASES THE AMOUNT OF HS578T BREAST CANCER STEM CELL TUMORSPHERES FORMED
Author: Kylee Pernicek
Faculty sponsor: Dr. Kate Marley
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: In a cancerous tumor, the cancer stem cells, which do most of the division to form the tumor, are resistant to traditional chemotherapy methods. Current treatment methods unintentionally leave the stem cells unharmed. One reason for cancer recurrence could be that the cancer stem cells survive and regenerate the tumor. My research focuses on targeting the cancer stem cells with natural dietary substances in the hopes of getting the stem cells to either differentiate into a non-dividing cell or go through apoptosis, programmed cell death.
A common folklore suggests that drinking a small glass of wine a day can possibly prevent cancer. After researching the active ingredients in wine, I found that resveratrol is believed to prevent and inhibit cancer cell growth. Previous studies have shown resveratrol to inhibit cancer growth in bladder, colon, prostate, ovarian, and renal cells using a variety of mechanisms including inducing apoptosis. I hypothesized that resveratrol would have the same effect on breast cancer stem cells. I predicted that adding resveratrol to the culture media would decrease the number and size of breast cancer tumorspheres formed.
The resveratrol treated cultures had tumorspheres similar in size and number compared to untreated, control cultures. These results suggest that non-toxic levels of resveratrol do not have an effect on breast cancer stem cells. Although some research suggests that higher concentrations of resveratrol inhibit cancer stem cell tumorsphere growth and formation, these concentrations are toxic to cells and may create additional problems.

 

Title: THE IMPACT OF A VITAMIN D3 METABOLITE ON BREAST CANCER CELL TUMORSPHERE FORMATION
Author: Mariah Morgan
Faculty sponsor: Kate Marley
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract:Introduction: 1 ±,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3, which is the active metabolite of vitamin D3, is the ligand for and binds to the vitamin D receptor, and together they inhibit cell growth of normal and pre-cancer cells (Rohan 2007, Welsh 2007). I proposed to examine the ability of 1 ±,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 to inhibit breast cancer cells from forming tumorspheres, an in vitro culture system for examining tumor formation.
Methods: Tumorspheres were cultured from Hs578T cells plated 1000 cells/mL in tumorsphere media in low-attachment 6-well dishes, providing conditions that select for the cancer stem cells. The cancer stem cells were incubated with 1 ¼M 1 ±,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3. The impact that 1 ±,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 had on the tumorspheres was determined by counting the number of tumorspheres per well.
Results: The tumorspheres incubated with 1 ±,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 were visibly smaller than the tumorspheres in the control wells in both assays performed. There were also more tumorspheres in the wells containing 1 ±,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 compared to the control wells.
Conclusion: While the number of tumorspheres treated with 1 ±,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 was not lower than the tumorspheres in the control wells, the 1 ±,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 treated tumorspheres were significantly smaller, which may suggest that 1 ±,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 is more effective at limiting tumor growth than at preventing their initial formation.

 

Title: DESPITE HAVING A FASTER MATURATION, DROUGHTGARD DOES NOT LEAD TO AN ENHANCED YIELD.
Author: Brittany Ridder
Faculty sponsor: Ramesh Laungani
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Climate changes, predicted to increase the occurrence of drought conditions, may cause farmers concern about the troubles of raising crops. Water stress can affect the development and growth of corn plants, leading to new drought-resistant hybrids. In our experiment, we compared regular yellow (RY) and Monsanto Droughtgard (DG) corn to determine if the plant types would allocate their energy differently and to compare the overall yield. We planted two acres of each corn type and harvested 50 plants of each at the end of the first reproductive stage. Then each corn plant was separated into four sections; leaves, roots, stalk and cob. Each of these sections was dried and weighed to determine the individual section's biomass. After the data was collected, one-way ANOVAs and regression analyses were done. We found that there was a significant negative relationship between DG and RY percent cob and percent stalk. We also found a significant negative relationship between percent cob and percent leaf in both DG and RY. We did not find a significant difference in yield between the corn types. Even though the percent stalk and leaves, and the percent cob were both negatively related, the DG corn decreased at a more dramatic rate. This lead to the more energy put into the stalk and leaves, the smaller the cob was. Since the DG corn matured faster, more energy was spent on those parts instead of on the cob. This resulting in similar percent yields between the two corn types.

 

Title: DETERMINING TRADE OFFS BETWEEN COPPER TOLERANCE AND ROOT PHYSIOLOGY IN MIMULUS GUTTATUS BY USING TIME-LAPSE IMAGING OF ROOT GRAV
Author: Sarah Genrich
Additional authors: Dr. Tessa Durham Brooks
Faculty sponsor: Dr. Tessa Durham Brooks
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Living organisms have a certain amount of energy that they can allocate towards their life history strategies and how they distribute this energy can play a pivotal role in their survival. Plants do this in a number of ways, such as by allocating energy to above or below ground growth, seed size and number, or even flower size. With changes in the environment occurring, plants need to be able to adapt their phenotypes in order to maximize energy utilization. The plant M. guttatus exhibits remarkable copper tolerance, and the goal of this experiment is to understand if this ability comes at a cost to the root physiology of the plant. The seed was planted in agar plates of various copper concentration groups; 1.0 µgCu/mL and 2.0 µgCu/mL and control group that had no copper. Time-lapse images were taken with scanners from the Doane Phytomorph project. Images were taken during root gravitropism. Images were analyzed with ImageJ and RootTrace to determine root length and tip angle. The data was further used to see if there was a statistical difference in the various experimental groups in the areas of root length and/or tip angle. These data were used to describe trade offs between copper tolerance and root physiology.

 

Title: LNCAP PROSTATE CANCER TISSUE CULTURE CELLS EXPRESS N-CADHERIN AND SHOW EVIDENCE OF CONTAINING PROSTATE CANCER STEM CELLS
Author: Kelsey Stark
Additional authors: Kylee Pernicek
Faculty sponsor: Dr. Kate Marley
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Oral
Abstract: The cancer stem cell (CSC) model is a theory of tumor formation where the tumor begins with stem cells that self-renew and can produce differentiating cells that can divide a few times, forming the bulk of the tumor. Definitive evidence that cancer stem cells exist within prostate carcinoma has not been identified; therefore, by utilizing low attachment culture conditions commonly referred to as a tumorsphere assay it may be possible to select for prostate cancer stem cells. In addition to observing whether or not the prostate cancer cell lines are able to form tumorspheres and therefore likely include CSCs, their N-cadherin protein expression is being studied as a means to look at correlating EMT-like behavior with CSC potential. From experiments in progress indicate that LNCaP prostate cancer cell lines have the ability to form tumorspheres in vitro suggesting CSC potential and appear to express the N-cadherin protein, suggesting EMT-like potential.

 

Title: A COMPARISON OF FROG POPULATION SIZE AND SPECIES DIVERSITY BETWEEN RURAL AND URBAN HABITATS
Author: Ashlyn Myers
Additional authors: Samuel Housch and Brad Elder
Faculty sponsor: Brad Elder
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Frogs are good indicator species, which means that they useful in determining the health of an environment. This is because they are sensitive to environmental change and degradation due to the absorbing characteristics of their skin. Both rural and urban areas expose frogs and their habitats to chemical and physical degradation. We hypothesized that frog populations are greater in rural habitats than urban habitats. We also hypothesized that their species diversity is higher in rural habitats than in urban. We found a significant difference in population counts between urban and rural habitats, with urban environments having more total frogs. Interestingly we found significantly more bullfrogs in urban environments. It is possible that this is due to the lack of natural predators in urban areas. The lack of predators could result in a competitive release for the bullfrogs.

 

Title: SINGLE AND COMBINED EFFECTS OF CAFFEINE AND TAURINE ON AORTA THICKNESS
Author: Ali Jansen
Faculty sponsor: Ramesh Laungani
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Energy drink popularity exploded in the early 2000's and remains one of the most highly-consumed beverages on the market. Greater blood pressure spikes have been observed during consumption of energy drinks versus caffeinated beverages. Physiological changes, such as vasoconstriction and vessel wall thickening, have been found to accompany blood pressure increases, like those seen in atherosclerosis. As caffeine and taurine are two of the most common ingredients found in energy drinks, this experiment focused on examining the impacts of these ingredients on aorta thickness to determine which single component or combination may possibly be responsible for the hypertensive behavior. Eighteen rats were fed either taurine, caffeine, or a combination of taurine and caffeine dissolved in 2% milk for four weeks. Six rats remained control subjects and were fed only milk. Final weights were taken and after CO2 euthanization, a small section of each rat's aorta was removed and fixed. Each vessel thickness was measured and compared using the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) imaging system. Overall, the ingredient type did not have a significant effect on aorta thickness when weight was taken into account. Results suggest that short term blood pressure increases after caffeine or taurine exposure do not lead directly to an obvious rise in aorta vessel thickness. However, the effects of the combined ingredients should still be considered, as increasing thickness trends were evident when compared to the solo treatments.

 

Title: CHARACTERIZING EXPRESSION OF CANDIDATE GENES OF A GLUTAMATE RECEPTOR PATHWAY IN ARABIDOPSIS THALIANA USING REAL-TIME RT-PCR
Author: Julie Wurdeman
Faculty sponsor: Tessa Durham Brooks
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Oral
Abstract: The Arabidopsis thaliana genome contains twenty genes that are analogous to mammalian ionotropic glutamate receptors. There are sixteen mammalian glutamate receptors, which are best known for their roles in neuroplasticity, learning, and memory. The large number of glutamate receptors in A. thaliana suggests they play important roles in the plant's growth and development, possibly serving to regulate function like they do in non-excitable mammalian tissues. A specific glutamate receptor, GLR3.3, is highly expressed in root tissue of plants, and has been found to promote stronger, more coordinated curvature development during the process of gravitropism. Gravitropism is the ability of a plant to change its orientation to that of the gravity vector when displaced from its gravitational set point angle (GSPA). A previous association study identified six candidate genes which were correlated with the same phenotypic characteristics of gravitropism as GLR3.3. Utilizing real time RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) expression profiles were created for each candidate gene, including GLR3.3. A qRT-PCR method was developed to provide a more quantitative and sensitive way for measuring gene expression than traditional PCR methods. Furthermore, MIQE (Minimum Information for Publication of Quantitative Real-Time PCR Experiments) guidelines were followed to ensure data robustness. Expression profiles that were similar to GLR3.3 were hypothesized to be good candidates as cell signaling components of this novel pathway. This is the beginning of a process that will identify a GLR-dependent pathway, the role of this novel pathway in the gravitropic response, and the influence of GLRs in plant physiology.

 

Title: NEGATIVE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GOSS'S WILT BACTERIAL DISEASE AND PLANT LEAF DAMAGE
Author: Philip Thramer
Faculty sponsor: Ramesh Laungani
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Diseases among cornfields within the Midwest are vast and widespread. These diseases have the ability to hinder overall yield from field to field, and in turn reduce profit for the producer. Goss's Wilt bacterial disease is one of these diseases that has the potential to damage cornfields in a given area. This disease is known to contract into healthy plants via contact with past season corn residues that remain on the ground of fields. It is unknown what drives the successful or unsuccessful contraction of this disease into healthy plants. In this experiment we tested prevalence of Goss's Wilt bacterial disease among corn plants. It is hypothesized that an increase in Goss's Wilt prevalence will be driven by an increase in plant leaf damage. A significant negative relationship was found between Goss's Wilt bacterial disease and plant leaf damage. Our data suggests that a high amount of plant leaf damage does not drive an increase in Goss's Wilt bacterial disease. This could be driven by the fact that a high percentage of leaf damage minimizes the area for Goss's Wilt bacterial disease to come into contact with the healthy plant. Therefore, corn producers can now be aware of the relationship between Goss's Wilt bacterial disease and plant leaf damage and take this knowledge to choose a resistance plan against this harmful and yield plaguing disease.

 

Title: INCREASED PRIMARY PRODUCTION SEEN IN ARABIDOPSIS THALIANA WHEN BACILLUS SUBTILIS IS GIVEN THREE DAYS AFTER SOWING
Author: Grant Harms
Additional authors: Dr. Tessa Durham Brooks
Faculty sponsor: Dr. Tessa Durham Brooks
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria, PGPR, have recently become an exciting area of commercial development by chemical companies looking to increase crop yields. With the world population expected to reach 9.6 billion people by the year 2050, farmers will need to become familiar with specialized agricultural techniques. By treating soils with the PGPR, Bacillus subtilis, many beneficial physiological outcomes arise. PGPR have been shown to promote increases in antimicrobial and antifungal properties, plant growth, and trace nutrient uptake. While much is known about the benefits of fostering a healthy microbial environment, little is known about when B. subtilis should be given to plants. By combining weight and image analysis data of rosette growth, we have found that Arabidopsis thaliana, a common research plant, exhibits the greatest final growth when given a B. subtilis solution three days after sowing. These data reflect the idea that there is an optimal time in a plant's life cycle where the addition of PGPR result in the greatest production.

 

Title: EMOTION RECOGNITION USING PROSODIC INFORMATION IN NORMAL AND DEGRADED SPEECH BY CHILDREN WITH NORMAL HEARING AND COCHLEAR IMPLANTS
Author: Brooke Burianek
Additional authors: Dr. Monita Chatterjee, Alison Goren, Mickael Deroche, Aditya Kulkarni, Julie Christensen
Faculty sponsor: Dr. Tessa Durham-Brooks
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: This experiment investigated the ability of normal hearing (NH) child listeners and cochlear implant (CI) child listeners to identify emotions such as angry, happy, sad, scared, and neutral in naturally uttered sentences. Listeners relied on prosodic information such as pitch, stress, sound intensity, and duration to determine the emotion in both normal and degraded versions of the uttered sentences. A child-friendly computer program was used to help listeners remain attentive to the task. The 12 sentences of stimuli, one female and one male narrator version, were produced using a single stereo speaker in a sound-treated booth. We hypothesized that: (1) Child CI listeners would perform lower than NH child listeners in emotion recognition, (2) Age effects would be present with NH children in emotion recognition and CI children in relation to age of implantation, and (3) Loss of distinctive pitch cue by speech degradation would be negatively correlated with NH listener performance. Overall, the CI listeners performed relatively well on emotion recognition with the female-speaker version of the test, but their performance levels decreased on the male-speaker version. The NH children scored very well, as expected, on the normal version of the test but struggled with the 8-channel cochlear implant simulation. There were significant results in age effects with NH children, but no significant age of implantation effects among CI child listeners. Finally, loss of the pitch cue and degradation of speech did result in the performance of NH listeners to decrease.

 

Title: BIOFILM FORMATION OF PSEUDOMONAS AERUGINOSA ON DIFFERENT INTERFACES
Author: Weston Gustafson
Faculty sponsor: Dr. Barb Clement
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Pseudomonas aeruginosa is known to form biofilms and as a result is a major problem in both industry and health care situations. An understanding of its ability to attach to a variety of surface materials could be beneficial in designing equipment used in situations where biofilms can cause problems. Using a four spigot drip-flow bioreactor, which splits a single culture into four separate biofilm-growing chambers, P. aeruginosa in PTSB was allowed to flow over four different substrates (acetate, aluminum, glass, and plastic) for three and a half hours, and the resulting biofilms were fixed and compared using Scanning Electron Microscopy. Distribution and density of cells on the edge of the flow area were counted and compared to distribution and density in the center of the flow area (edge flow vs. alley flow). The results indicate that the most biofilm formation occurs at the edge of the flow area compared to the alley (p-value=0.0067), and that glass > plastic > aluminum foil > acetate in promoting biofilm

 

Title: EFFECTS OF COLLEGIATE WRESTLING DIET AND TRAINING ON KETONE AND PROTEIN LEVELS IN URINE AND ITS CORRELATION TO GRIP STRENGTH.
Author: Karissa Hevelone
Additional authors: Sarah Al-shdifat
Faculty sponsor: Barb Clement
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Wrestling is a sport that is extremely physically demanding not only due to the rigorous training required but also because of severe food restriction often required to meet competition weight. The effects of strenuous exercise can be detected physiologically by an increase in the levels of protein in urine, while a diet low in carbohydrates can cause an increase in the levels of ketones in urine. Since wrestling puts both training and dietary demands on participants it was hypothesized that actively training and competing wrestlers would experience increased levels of protein and ketones in the urine. Such a correlation might provide a simple means of assessing training status in these athletes. It was also hypothesized that with this increase in the protein and ketone levels there would be a negative correlation with grip strength, meaning that it would decrease as stress to the body increases. Eight collegiate male wrestlers from Doane College were weighed, provided urine samples, and had their grip strength measured twice, once prior to their season beginning and once an hour before competing. Results showed that neither of our hypotheses was supported. Although four participants experienced increased urinary protein, and four experienced a decrease in grip strength, there was no correlation between the groups. However, two individuals who lost over 10 pounds showed an increase in protein levels in urine and a decrease in grip strength, but the number of subjects is too small to make valid statistical conclusions.

 

Title: GRASSES CORRELATE TO LESS SOIL NITRATE CONCENTRATIONS THAN TREES
Author: Ben Clausen
Faculty sponsor: Ramesh Laungani
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Nitrate leaching from agricultural fields is causing environment problems. Plant buffers around the fields could result in the nitrates into the biomass of the plant before they have a chance to leach into the environment. The study compared soil nitrate concentrations in grass and tree plots to determine which was correlated to decreased soil nitrates. Grass plots had significantly less soil nitrate concentrations that did tree plots. Grasses also had significantly less soil ammonium and total nitrogen concentrations than tree plots, as well as having less percentage of the total soil nitrogen in nitrate form. Although trees generally have greater overall biomass than grasses, the greater root biomass and diversity of grasses allows them to more aggressively absorb nitrates from the soil. For this reason, grasses would serve as the best plant buffers to absorb nitrates from the soil before they can leach from agricultural fields.

 

Title: ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANT GRAM NEGATIVE BACTERIA SURROUNDING A MIDWEST U.S. CATTLE FEEDLOT LAGOON
Author: Emily Pracht
Faculty sponsor: Barb J. Clement
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Antibiotic resistance has become increasingly common in agriculture settings due to the widespread antibiotic use in farming livestock. Intestinal bacteria of the treated livestock are exposed to antibiotic in feed where they potentially develop resistance, and then are excreted in manure where they can accumulate in feedlot lagoons. The objective of this study was to determine whether antibiotic-resistant Gram negative bacteria can disseminate from lagoon water into mud and soil surrounding the lagoon. It was hypothesized that as the distance from a feedlot lagoon increased, the frequency of antibiotic resistance in Gram negative bacteria would decrease. A series of 10 plots, each one meter away from the next, was defined along the north and east sides of a midwestern U.S. feedlot lagoon. Lagoon water and edge mud samples were taken from each plot along with samples of soil 10 meters out from each plot. Gram negative bacterial isolates from each sample were tested with Benzylpenicillin and Tetracycline antibiotic discs and Etest strips to determine the level of antibiotic resistance for each isolate. For Benzylpenicillin discs, 95.0% of water isolates were resistant, 84.6% of the mud isolates were resistant, and 91.0% of the soil isolates were resistant. For Tetracycline discs, 10.0% of the water isolates were resistant, 38.5% of the mud isolates were resistant, and 54.5% of the soil samples were resistant Etest resistance range values were not available for Benzylpenicillin and Tetracycline. There was no significant difference in resistance levels between lagoon locations for Benzylpenicillin or Tetracycline discs and Etests (p=0.87, p=0.429, p=0.56, p=0.727, respectively). In this study, the hypothesis was not supported. Antibiotic resistance is present in this lagoon, however resistance levels do not significantly increase or decrease as distance increases.

 

Title: ESTABLISHING AN IMAGE ANALYSIS METHOD FOR REAL-TIME MEASUREMENT OF ROOT GRAVITROPISM IN ARABIDOPSIS THALIANA SEEDLINGS
Author: Morgan Karloff
Additional authors: Tessa Durham Brooks
Faculty sponsor: Tessa Durham Brooks
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Gravitropism is a plant's unique ability to sense its position and reorient its growth with the gravity vector as necessary. This is adaptation is crucial for a plant's survival, since growth in the natural environment isn't always optimal. As humans, we rely on many plants for food and production of other materials, so understanding factors that lead to optimal plant growth is also beneficial to our own survival. Understanding the way plants adapt to changing conditions, such as position, can lead to better understanding of how a seedling initially establishes itself in its environment, which is crucial to its ultimate success as an adult. This study aimed to develop a method to measure the gravitropic response of seedling roots at both high spatial and temporal resolution. Using the Marlin AVT camera, high quality images were collected of 2-day-old Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings. Seeds were planted on agar plates where the physical position of the seeds could be controlled. This method also allowed the seeds to be viewed easily. This technology created the opportunity to record images over an eight hour span, with an image being recorded every two minutes. ImageJ and RootTrace were then used to extract information about root length and tip angle from each image so that growth rate and trajectory could be determined.

 

Title: DEVELOPMENT OF COMPOSTING METHODS FOR IMPROVED HEAT YIELD
Author: Arthur Wisecup
Faculty sponsor: Barb Clement
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Although composting is a proven method of recycling organic material, cold winter temperatures present a problem in that as temperatures drop, so do temperatures in the compost pile, slowing nutrient recycling. Recently, there has been interest in using heat generated by composting activity to heat buildings or drive the anaerobic production of methane for home cooking use. This study was conducted to examine the effect of different mixtures of composted materials on the amount of heat generated by a compost pile. The experiment was initiated in the late fall. Two holes that were each 5 foot long, 5 foot wide, and 3 foot deep were dug and each was filled with a mixture. The mixture consisted of a 30:1 (Carbon:Nitrogen) ratio in one hole using woodchips, cornstalks, and grass clippings and 20:1 (Carbon:Nitrogen) in the other hole, each were filled to the soil surface. Temperature and moisture readings were taken daily, and ambient temperatures and weather conditions recorded to determine whether or not the piles were heating up enough to counteract winter temperatures. The piles heated up to over 110 degree Fahrenheit; and in some instances temperatures were recorded that reached 144 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat generated by both piles lasted well into the second month of the trial before winter conditions forced them to go dormant. Limited mixing of the composting material reinvigorated the biological activity so some extend, although it did not persist. Although both piles produced heat, no production of methane was observed. Further modifications are needed to produce a composting system that can survive harsh northern winters.

 

Title: DETERMINING THE EXPRESSION OF CLADE III GLUTAMATE RECEPTORS IN THE ROOT DURING RESPONSE TO A GRAVITY STIMULUS USING RT-PCR
Author: Alyssa Hangman
Faculty sponsor: Tessa Durham Brooks
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: The genome of Arabidopsis thaliana contains a group of 20 Glutamate Receptor-Like (GLR) genes divided into three clades that code for ionotropic glutamate receptors. These genes are similar to the ion channel-forming glutamate receptors of mammals which are known for their role in facilitating communication between neuronal cells. One of the clade III glutamate receptors, GLR3.3, has been found to play a role in the root gravitropic response. Root gravitropism is the process by which roots change the trajectory of their growth in response to a change in the orientation of the root with the gravity vector. Recent evidence suggests that GLR3.3 is involved in a new regulatory pathway present midway through the response. While it is known that GLR3.3 plays a role in root gravitropism, could other glutamate receptors also be involved? Using reverse transcriptase PCR the expression levels of all clade III GLRs were compared to those of GLR3.3 at different time points throughout the gravitropic response. Similar expression patterns support the hypothesis that GLRs form heterotetramers in the root. Overall, a better understanding of channel conformation will help in constructing the first GLR pathway in a plant, understanding the significance of the two phases of root gravitropism, as well as providing a better understanding of plant glutamate receptors and the purpose they serve in plants.

 

Title: MEASURING MEMBRANE POTENTIAL CHANGES IN RESPONSE TO GLUTAMATE IN ROOT CELLS FROM WILDTYPE ARABIDOPSISTHALIANA SEEDLINGS
Author: Muijj Ghani
Additional authors: Tessa Durham Brooks
Faculty sponsor: Tessa Durham Brooks
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Ionotropic glutamate receptors are ligand gated ion channels found in many plants and animals. Mammals typically have 16 genes encoding for these receptors, while the plant Arabidopsis has 20. Although common to plant species, there is still not much known about the functions of these channels in plant physiology. Previous research has indicated that the glutamate receptor gene GLR3.3 of Arabidopsis is involved in root gravitropism. Root gravitropism is a phenomenon where the root of a plant corrects its growth such that it is aligned with the gravity vector. Another study found that GLR3.3 is required for amino-acid induced entrance of calcium ions into the cytosol. To better understand the role of GLR3.3 in root gravitropism, an electrophysiology rig was constructed by a previous student. While it was previously found that this setup could successfully measure the electrical potential of a single human embryonic kidney cell and the glutamate response of a single wild type Arabidopsis root cell, it is still unknown how glutamate-induced responses from this rig compare to previously reported results. The goal of this project is to repeat a previous experiment's result showing the average glutamate-induced depolarization from a population of root cells. Ten successful impalements from two-day-old seedlings and another ten from three-day-old seedlings were performed. These data were compared to the previously published result to validate the accuracy of the electrophysiology setup and to help lay the foundation for further research into the GLR 3.3 cell signaling pathway.

 

Title: INTERACTIONS BETWEEN AN EXOTIC GRASS AND AN INVASIVE WOODY SPECIES MAY DRIVE WOODY ENCROACHMENT IN NEBRASKA GRASSLANDS
Author: Maria Juarez
Faculty sponsor: Ramesh Laungani
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Juniperus virginiana is a highly invasive tree that is rapidly expanding in prairies, streams, and farmland. Studies have shown that introducing carbon amendments to the soil affects the nitrogen availability. In this study we examine the effects of plant derived carbon amendments on the growth of Eastern Red Cedar (J. virginiana) trees. The five specific treatments (Bromus inermis grass litter, Schizachryium scoparium grass litter, sawdust, B. inermis biochar, and S. scoparium biochar) were used to observe the effects of different types of carbon. The different types of carbon were mixed into the soil of the Eastern red cedar trees. Among each of the soil treatments the two biochar treatments were predictable to be the most nitrogen limiting causing a reduction in the growth of the Eastern red cedar trees. Dry weight of root, stem, and total ERC biomass showed a significant difference between treatments whereas percent root and stem biomass did not. Also there was a significant difference in soil nitrogen levels. These results showed the Easter red cedars with biochar amendment had greater soil nitrogen availably that caused greater growth but yet still a decrease when compared to the control. This suggests that biochar could be used as a possible control for the spread of Eastern Red Cedars.

 

Title: TREATMENT WITH RAT LIVER ENZYME ENHANCES QUORUM SENSING INHIBITION OF GARLIC IN CHROMOBACTERIUM VIOLACEUM
Author: Nicholas Morgan
Additional authors: Barb Clement
Faculty sponsor: Barb Clement
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Previous research has suggested that garlic is able to inhibit quorum sensing (QS) in Pseudomonas lung infections in human studies. However, while it has been demonstrated to be antimicrobial in vitro, it has not shown anti-QS characteristics in similar systems. Assuming that garlic compounds are somehow changed by the body, a study was undertaken to ascertain whether treatment of garlic with rat liver enzymes (RLE) enhanced the anti-QS ability of the modified garlic in an in vitro system. Chromobacterium violaceum, a gram negative bacterium that produces a bright purple pigment, violacein, was used as a reporter organism for the detection of QS. A garlic+RLE preparation of equal masses of garlic and fresh rat liver (harvested from adult male rats) was prepared aseptically with sterile phosphate buffered saline (PBS) and incubated for 1 hour at 37C with gentle shaking. Suspensions were centrifuged and the supernatant added to agar medium for a final volume of 10% amendment in the bottom layer of 2% tryptone agar gradient plates. Controls of garlic, PBS, or RLE were added to the bottom layer of similar plates. Plates were inoculated with 100 ml of an overnight culture of C. violaceum in 2% tryptone broth and incubated at 37C. Plates were inspected hourly starting at 4 hours and growth and pigmentation patterns documented. Garlic alone was antimicrobial but not anti-QS; hourly subcultures from freshly inoculated plates yielded viable cells only where concentration of garlic was minimal. Garlic+RLE inhibited QS, as viable cells could be harvested from high concentration areas with no visible pigmentation. PBS and RLE showed neither antimicrobial nor anti-QS activity. It is not understood how ingested garlic shows anti-QS properties while non-physiologically processed garlic lacks this property. This study suggests that freshly harvested RLE may be important in converting an unknown component of raw garlic to an active, anti-QS component.

 

Title: INVESTIGATING LITTER DRIVEN FEEDBACKS ON THE SUCCESS OF EXOTIC SMOOTH BROME GRASS
Author: Tyler Kuhfahl
Faculty sponsor: Ramesh Langauni
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Invasive grass species are threatening the survival of endangered native prairie grass throughout the Midwest. Bromus inermis (smooth brome) is one such invasive grass that has proven to be successful in Nebraska prairies. This investigation looks at the effects of differing carbon amendments (litter) on the success of B inermis. Smooth brome grass was treated with litter deriving from B inermis, Schizachryim scoparium, and Panicum virgatum in order to investigate possible feedbacks on B inermis invasion. We found that the control group (no litter), containing smooth brome grown in native soil, grew the tallest amongst the treatements. We saw that the control contained a significantly higher amount of total biomass/individual plant compared to the other treatments, however, the distribution of biomass (either above or below) was different among different treatments. The total nitrogen levels were seen to be different among the different treatments. B inermis grown in S scoparium litter generated the highest level of nitrogen but had no significant difference when compared to the B inermis in controlled soil, B inermis in B inermis soil and B inermis in P virgatum soil. B inermis grown in P virgatum soil, however, showed significantly less Nitrogen generation. We also saw a negative relationship between total N and percent below ground biomass/individual. From these results, we can suggest that the addition of litter can lead to a decrease in growth and total biomass, which may be due to the available nitrogen. We cannot suggest that B inermis has a feedback response to itself, that is, when B inermis is treated with B inermis litter.

 

Title: THE EFFECTIVENESS OF 1‘±,25-DEHYDROXYVITAMIN D3 TO PREVENT PROSTATE CANCER STEM CELLS FROM FORMING TUMORSPHERES
Author: Alexander Arkfeld
Faculty sponsor: Dr. Kate Marley
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract:
Vitamin D3 could help prevent cancer recurrence by regulating cancer stem cells, thus preventing tumorigenesis. If a medicine or vitamin is able to help regulate healthy stem cells and prevent cancer stem cells from dividing out of control, it could be coupled with chemotherapy to not only kill the tumor cells but also inhibit the cancer stem cells from reproducing the tumor. While Vitamin D3 has been known to function as a chemoprevention agent (So et al., 2011), a link between Vitamin D3 and its effect on prostate cancer stem cells is not clear. While early research suggests Vitamin D3, in the metabolically active form 1‘±,25-dehydroxyvitamin D3, could serve a role in prostate cancer chemoprevention (Schwartz et al., 1998), more recent studies have suggested Vitamin D3 can actually increase prostate cancer risk (Ahn et al. 2008, Datta, M., and G.G. Schwartz, 2012). A tumorsphere assay was completed using LNCaP prostate cancer cells and 1 micromolar 1‘±,25-dehydroxyvitamin D3, a concentration determined through a viability test, to determine the effect of vitamin D3 on prostate cancer stem cells.

 

Title: DISCOVERY OF LYTIC, PODIVIRIDAE BACTERIOPHAGE "MINIPOKE" UNDER THE LIED BRIDGE ON DOANE CAMPUS
Author: Melissa Shadion
Faculty sponsor: Tessa Durham Brooks
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Results of the student's BIO 110 project will be presented in preparation for the national SEA-PHAGES meeting this June.

 

Title: CORN YIELD RESPONSE TO DIFFERING TILLAGE METHODS
Author: Ethan Zoerb
Faculty sponsor: Ramesh Laungani
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: As global populations rise, the world searches for new more efficient ways to feed everyone. Many different functions can be adjusted when growing a crop but one of the most fundamental is the tillage type that it is produced in. Three tillage types were tested is three fields. No Till is a practice that plants into the ground over the previous year€™s crop. Strip Till is a practice that only tills a small portion of the ground. Conventional Till is a practice that totally tills everything in the field. Measurements of yield per acre, ears per acre, number of plants per acre, number of runts per acre were in October. Tillage type was found to have a no effect on the overall yield produced. However it was found that the reason for the lack difference in the results was primarily driven by the differences between the fields that the tests were performed in. The effect of tillage on large ears and total plants per acre tested to show a difference across the three tillage methods. The number of runts were proven to be affected by both tillage type and field. Our results suggest that no one tillage type is most beneficial and that when deciding what method to use the field makeup must be considered to make the best decision for the operation.

 

Title: USING NMR DERIVED METABOLIC PROFILES OF ARABIDOPSIS THALIANA TO FOLLOW AMINO ACID COMPOSITION DURING A ROOT GRAVITROPIC RESPONSE
Author: Danielle Vanicek
Faculty sponsor: Tessa Durham Brooks
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: The sum of the metabolites within an organism at a given time point is known as the metabolome. It is a snapshot of the chemical or physiological processes taking place in an organism at any given time. Root gravitropism is a growth response to a change in the root€™s orientation with the gravity vector in which the root reorients its growth. Gravitropism is a physiological response exhibited by plant tissues that can be better understood by comparing metabolomes over time. Arabidopsis thaliana initiates a novel signaling pathway midway through the gravitropic response. The GLR3.3 gene has been observed to be the gene involved in this orientation change. It has been found to be gated by 6 different amino acids: alanine, asparagine, cystine, glutamic acid, glycine and serine. A previous project has worked to develop an NMR-based method for capturing metabolic fingerprints from Arabidopsis root tissue. These data were able to show a difference in total metabolic composition over a gravitropic response, but the understanding of the particular differences in these metabolic fingerprints is still uncertain. Using NMR, root tissue was analyzed with one amino acid added in a serial dilution. Finding the amino acid peak in a biological sample could be used to find these same peaks in other biological samples. Overall, this will provide a better understanding for identifying the amino acid composition of a metabolome that will help to enrich knowledge about the gravitropic response.

 

Title: DNA REVEALS POTENTIALLY NOVEL SIPHOVIRIDAE "NAPOLEON" FROM SOIL SAMPLES COLLECTED ON DOANE CAMPUS
Author: Caitlin Wissel
Faculty sponsor: Erin Doyle
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: This student project completed in BIO 110 will be presented here in preparation for the national SEA-PHAGES symposium in June.

 

Title: COLLECTING RNA FROM GENETICALLY-IDENTICAL ARABIDOPSIS ROOTS VARYING IN SEEDLING SIZE AND AGE TO CHARACTERIZE MECHANISMS OF GENE
Author: Sean Johnson
Additional authors: Dr. Tessa Durham-Brooks
Faculty sponsor: Dr. Tessa Durham-Brooks
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Phenotypic plasticity plays a major part in making each of us unique individuals. This plasticity comes from the interaction of our genes with our environment and that interaction adjusts our phenotypes to help us adapt and survive. Plants are good organisms for studying plasticity because they are stuck in their environment. One plant in particular that is a great model for plasticity research is Arabidopsis thaliana. This is because of its ability to self-pollinate and in the process create many genetically-identical offspring. Root gravitropism, the ability of a plant's roots to grow with the pull of gravity, is a particular plant phenotype that has been found to be plastic in A. thaliana. A previous study was conducted which showed great phenotypic variance in root gravitropic responses with respect to seed size and seedling age. In the present study the ultimate goal is to discover which genes in the A. thaliana genome are plastic and allow for variations in the root gravitropic response. Seeds of different sizes were planted onto agar plates and root tissue grown to two to four days was collected. Total RNA was extracted from each tissue sample and assayed for its concentration and purity. Three replicates of viable RNA were collected for each condition and time point for future use in a DNA microarray experiment. Collection of this RNA is the first step in determining which specific genes are acting plastically during root gravitropism.

 

Title: ESTABLISHING AN IMAGE ANALYSIS METHOD FOR REAL-TIME MEASUREMENT OF ROOT GRAVITROPISM IN ARABIDOPSIS THALIANA SEEDLINGS
Author: Morgan Karloff
Additional authors: Dr. Tessa Durham-Brooks
Faculty sponsor: Dr. Tessa Durham-Brooks
Field of Study: Biology
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Gravitropism is a plant's unique ability to sense its position and reorient its growth with the gravity vector as necessary. This is adaptation is crucial for a plant's survival, since growth in the natural environment isn't always optimal. As humans, we rely on many plants for food and production of other materials, so understanding factors that lead to optimal plant growth is also beneficial to our own survival. Understanding the way plants adapt to changing conditions, such as position, can lead to better understanding of how a seedling initially establishes itself in its environment, which is crucial to its ultimate success as an adult. This study aimed to develop a method to measure the gravitropic response of seedling roots at both high spatial and temporal resolution. Using the Marlin AVT camera, high quality images were collected of 2-day-old Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings. Seeds were planted on agar plates where the physical position of the seeds could be controlled. This method also allowed the seeds to be viewed easily. This technology created the opportunity to record images over an eight hour span, with an image being recorded every two minutes. ImageJ and RootTrace were then used to extract information about root length and tip angle from each image so that growth rate and trajectory could be determined.

 


BUSINESS

 


CHEMISTRY

Title: USING CIRCULAR DICHROISM AS SPECTROSCOPIC TOOL FOR CONFIGURATIONAL ASSIGNMENT AND ENANTIOPURITY OF CHIRAL PHARMACEUTICALS
Author: Crysta Naylor
Additional authors: Andrea Holmes
Faculty sponsor: Andrea Holmes
Field of Study: Chemistry
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Circular Dichroism (CD) studies were performed on D- and L-alanine methyl ester at various enantiopurities. Between 200 and 240 nm, the D isomer showed a negative Cotton Effect (CE) in CD while the L enantiomer showed a positive CE. The amplitude of the nearly mirror images decreased with decreasing enantiopurity. When the mixture was completely racemic (50% D and 50% L), the CD spectrum showed no optical activity. When the differential extinction coefficient was plotted against the enantiopurity at 210 nm, a linear standard curve was obtained with a correlation greater than 97% for the D isomer and 99% for the L isomer. In order to test our theory of whether CD can also be used for enantiopurity determination of chiral pharmaceuticals, CD studies were preformed on L- and D-thalidomide at various enantiopurities. The L isomer showed a positive CE in CD while the D isomer showed a negative CE between 240 and 270 nm. Just like with the alanine methyl ester, when the mixture was completely racemic, the CD spectrum showed no optical activity. A linear standard curve was obtained with a correlation greater than 99% for the D isomer and 98% for the L isomer.

 

Title: EARLY ATTACHMENT OF GRAM-POSITIVE BACTERIA TO ABIOTIC SURFACES VIA LIPOTEICHOIC ACID INVESTIGATED BY SOLID-STATE NMR
Author: Meghan Uehling
Faculty sponsor: Erin Wilson
Field of Study: Chemistry
Session type: Oral
Abstract: Bacterial attachment is the first step in biofilm formation. Biofilm formation often has negative consequences as the films can form on abiotic surfaces such as those of food processing equipment, ship hulls, and medical implants. In gram-positive bacteria, initial attachment to abiotic surfaces is believed to be facilitated in part by lipoteichoic acid (LTA). In this study, the role of the phosphate backbone of LTA in binding to TiO2 and SiO2 was investigated by 31P solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR). Changes in the 31P chemical shift environment and backbone motion upon adsorption of LTA revealed a role for phosphate in binding to TiO2. Isotropic chemical shift and CSA (chemical shift anisotropy) powder patterns both changed significantly upon binding of LTA to the surface. A Lee-Goldberg proton-decoupled T1rho pulse sequence was also implemented in order to obtain relaxation values reflecting motion on the milli- to microsecond time scale.

Title: DETERMINING TRADE OFFS BETWEEN COPPER TOLERANCE AND ROOT PHYSIOLOGY IN MIMULUS GUTTATUS BY USING TIME-LAPSE IMAGING OF ROOT GRAV
Author: Cystal Naylor
Additional authors: Andrea Holmes
Faculty sponsor: Andrea Holmes
Field of Study: Chemistry
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Circular Dichroism (CD) studies were performed on D- and L-alanine methyl ester at various enantiopurities. Between 200 and 240 nm, the D isomer showed a negative Cotton Effect (CE) in CD while the L enantiomer showed a positive CE. The amplitude of the nearly mirror images decreased with decreasing enantiopurity. When the mixture was completely racemic (50% D and 50% L), the CD spectrum showed no optical activity. When the differential extinction coefficient was plotted against the enantiopurity at 210 nm, a linear standard curve was obtained with a correlation greater than 97% for the D isomer and 99% for the L isomer. In order to test our theory of whether CD can also be used for enantiopurity determination of chiral pharmaceuticals, CD studies were preformed on L- and D-thalidomide at various enantiopurities. The L isomer showed a positive CE in CD while the D isomer showed a negative CE between 240 and 270 nm. Just like with the alanine methyl ester, when the mixture was completely racemic, the CD spectrum showed no optical activity. A linear standard curve was obtained with a correlation greater than 99% for the D isomer and 98% for the L isomer.

 

Title: DETERMINATION OF ROLES OF DIFFERENT CROWDING MECHANISMS WITH SOL-GEL ENCAPSULATION ON PROTEIN SECONDARY VERSUS TERTIARY STRUCTUR
Author: kelsey Christensen
Faculty sponsor: Erin Wilson
Field of Study: Chemistry
Session type: Poster
Abstract: The natural environment in a human cell consists of macromolecules that crowd the environment, this crowding affects folding stability and conformation of proteins by providing protection from denaturation. The crowded environment alters the structures and interactions of the proteins through hydrophobic interactions and volume exclusion effects. We want to develop the best model system of the crowded native environment because of the difficulty of studying proteins in their natural environment. In order to understand how proteins function in vivo. The goal of this research is to define the nature and size of molecular crowding mechanisms on secondary and tertiary levels of protein structure through sol-gel encapsulation using circular dichroism.The proteins of interest, JAK-1 and osteocalcin, both adopt alpha helical secondary structures in folded conformational state, however, ostocalcin includes a disulfide bond to stabilize it's tertiary structure, differing from JAK-1 with only secondary structure. Both proteins are disorded or adopt random coil conformation in solution. Changes in the magnitude of the hydrophobic effect and volume exclusion were explored through a sol-gel encapsulation technique with JAK-1 and osteocalcin. Sol-gel confinement affects structures and energetic stabilities of osteocalcin and JAK-1, as compared to dilute solution. It was found that simply crowding these proteins forces them to interact with themselves to assume secondary structure, increasing alpha-helical structure. The folding of JAK-1 became more energetically favorable in the sol-gel, while the folding of osteocalcin was unchanged.

 

Title: MOLECULAR MECHANICS USING SPARTAN
Author: Gary Batres
Faculty sponsor: David Clevette
Field of Study: Chemistry
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Spartan '14 software is being used to both build and predict chemical properties of different molecules, from AM1 to Hartree-Fock calculations. The program is capable of making really quick quantum mechanical calculations giving us specific information of the molecules in question. The program allows for adjustments to give the most desirable information like atomic charges and predicted spectra. This tool can also be used to illustrate electron cloud densities of molecular orbitals as well to calculate energy values. The software was used to determine directing effects in electrophilic aromatic substitution reactions as well as investigating binding of halide ions to porphyrinogen macrocycles. Additional investigations will also be presented.

 


ECONOMICS

Title: “REACTING TO THE PAST” GREENWICH VILLAGE 1913 GAME
Author: Amanda Duermyer
Additional authors: Brooke Ludemann
Faculty sponsor: Jennifer Bossard
Field of Study: Economics
Session type: Poster
Abstract: The “Reacting to the Past” Greenwich Village 1913 game has been used in an LAR class for the past few years as a chance to introduce students to a new form of thinking and interacting. After playing an active role in this game, we felt that students could benefit from a resource that would provide more information about the time period and social issues to game characters. During a summer research project, we compiled a collection of videos, pictures, newspapers, and brief summaries into a website that LAR students could access during their time in the class. The goal of our project was to provide students with more information about the early 1900s, in hopes that it would create more understanding of the time period and social issues associated with the characters. Through our presentation at MindExpo, our goal is to show the Doane Community the benefits of learning through scenarios like “Reacting to the Past” games, as well as to showcase our website resource that will be accessed by students on campus in years to come.

 

Title: CALCULATING THE PERFORMANCE SALARIES OF MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYERS
Author: Matt Baker
Faculty sponsor: Les Manns
Field of Study: Economics
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Marginal productivity of workers is generally difficult to measure in most industries; however, it has been successfully estimated in a number of professional sports, especially major league baseball. Utilizing a line of inquiry similar to that of Stone and Pantuosco (2008), this project measures the performance salary of first and last place teams in major league baseball in each division for the years 1995, 2000, 2005, and 2010. Using regression analysis, I estimate which variables are statistically significant determinants of the marginal productivity of hitters and pitchers. Then, I use the significant variables to calculate the performance salary of hitters and pitchers for the first and last place teams in each division for the aforementioned four years. I hypothesize that team performance salary will be significantly higher (lower) than actual team salary for first place (last place) teams.

 

 

ENGLISH

Title: The Enemy Revealed: Tom Robbins Shish Kabobs €œJust-World€ Thinking and Theory in Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas
Author: Paul Dewey
Additional authors: BreAnn McCoy
Faculty sponsor: Liam O. Purdon
Field of Study: English
Session type: Oral
Abstract: In his TruthDig.com article, Suffering? Well, You Deserve It, Chris Hedges points out that just-world thinking is a way of thinking that believes the world is just. This outlook does not seem all that inaccurate or dangerous. But appearances can be deceiving. This way of thinking ignores the gap between current social and economic reality and the Neoclassical economic model insisted upon as the principal economic solution to our current economic crisis. This way of thinking also firmly believes that, no matter what happens in the future, the facts of reality can be made to come into alignment with this rational economic model.       

In Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas, Tom Robbins does not investigate the violence that will result from making this €œalignment€ happen. Instead, he wants us to consider Gwen Mati€™s response to being caught in the €œgap€ between social and economic reality and €œjust-world€ thinking and theory. She is a former €œhave€ who suddenly realizes she is about to become a €œhave-not.€ She wants Larry Diamond to help her get out of this jam, but what he does instead is to enable her to discover just how lacking and impractical, not to mention inhumane, €œjust-world€ thinking and theory really are. This process of discovery, for Gwen, consists of four things: 1) understanding Dr. Yamaguchi€™s non-Western approach to treating cancer by making friends with the cancer cell instead of waging war against it, 2) understanding science cannot explain how the West African tribes of the Bozo and Dogon have an accurate five-thousand-year-old knowledge of the Sirius double-star star system that can only be known by means of telescope, 3) understanding Q-Jo Huffington, tarot card reader and €œsurrogate boredom victim,€ is an ideal potential member of the University of Timbuktu€™s outlaw faculty because she emphasizes honesty over self-delusion in her everyday life, and, finally, 4) understanding her former boyfriend€™s desires to become a social worker and to reform his jewel-thief pet monkey, André, are not all that cuckoo since they are expressions of €œreciprocal obligation,€ the same kind of obligation that had previously leveled the playing field for her when, as a minority and female student, she studied for her undergraduate and graduate degrees.

 

Title: FAULKNER: LAW AND JUSTICE IN THE OLD SOUTH
Author: Ben Mulligan
Faculty sponsor: Brad wilson
Field of Study: English
Session type: Oral
Abstract: In this presentation I examine the system of honor and moral codes that made up the unspoken but powerful social contract that defined the South prior to the Civil War. In "The Unvanquished" and other works, William Faulkner showed the effect of life under such codes on those affected by them, tracing the fall of the old 'cavalier' class and the rise of a system predicated less on birth standing and more on merit: the emergence of a new south.

 


GERMAN


 

HONORS

Title: CAREER SERVICES AT DOANE: WHAT DO WE WANT, WHAT DO WE NEED?
Author: Honors Senior Seminar
Additional authors:Whitney Allbery, Caitlin Baker, Muijj Ghani, Ben Mulligan, Michelle Ness, Samantha Pointer, Emily Pracht, Julie Wurdeman
Faculty sponsor: Timothy Hill
Field of Study: Political Science
Session type: Oral
Abstract: A measure of success for any college is the number of its recent graduates who are employed. Are there ways for Doane to improve on the job it's doing with respect to that goal? How should career goals be integrated into a liberal arts curriculum? How do we balance the inherent tension between training young professionals and instilling a love of learning for its own sake? In this presentation of the Doane Senior Honors class, we will examine these questions and provide preliminary answers.

 


INFORMATION SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY

Title: WIRELESS SPECTRUM ANALYSIS OF FREES, HANSEN AND HADDIX
Author: Mark Lucas
Faculty sponsor: Alec Engebretson
Field of Study: Information Science & Technology
Session type: Oral
Abstract: For my senior project, used to fulfill a requirement of my Information Systems major, I conducted a Wireless Spectrum Analysis of three buildings on the Doane College Crete campus. Wi-Fi Spectrum Analysis is the process of monitoring and troubleshooting the physical layer (radio waves) of your wireless network using a tool called a spectrum analyzer. It gives you visibility of Layer 1 (physical layer) of the network, much like a packet analyzer lets you view Layers 2 through 7. My presentation will include a discussion of Wi-Fi Spectrum Analysis, how Wi-Fi Spectrum Analysis was used in my project, the results of that analysis, and my recommendations to the Doane Office of Technology based on those results.

 

Title: TIGER RUNNER
Author: Nathan Little
Faculty sponsor: Alec Engebretson
Field of Study: Information Science & Technology
Session type: Oral
Abstract: For my computer science senior project I created a mobile application(app). The app is named Tiger Runner. Tiger Runner is compatible with Android devices. This app is a game that has the goal of helping people exercise. The basic idea of the game is to give exercisers motivation to keep up their pace by having users of the app try to outrun a tiger that is displayed on screen. The app tracks the user's location using the GPS in the phone. After being generated, the tiger will continue to move towards the user at a steady rate. Once, the tiger reaches the user's location, the game is over.         

I used the RADIS problem solving framework, which is used at Doane College, as the overarching structure for my project. I used the principles of Scrum development during the actual creation of program code for the app. My presentation at MindExpo will cover the goals, design, and functionality of the app and how it was developed and implemented.

 

Title: NETWORK-CONTROLLED CAMERA AT ALDRICH PRAIRIE RESEARCH SITE
Author: John Tatum
Faculty sponsor: Alec Engebretson
Field of Study: Information Science & Technology
Session type: Poster
Abstract:
Doane's Aldrich Prairie Research Site near Grafton, Nebraska stands as an interactive learning experience used by different science classes to study native grasslands, soils, and the easternmost black-tailed prairie dog colony in the state. Located approximately forty miles west of the Crete campus, the APRS provides a valuable source of real-world experience in the sciences for Doane students. The distance can be tricky to cover in a normal class period, requiring extracurricular trips to the site for research. As a result, I have picked up a previously-initiated student project to install a remote IP camera out at the site to monitor prairie dog activity from campus instead of making the trip out west.

 

Title: INFORMATION SYSTEMS AUDITING (IT AUDITING)
Author: Kyle Dimitt
Faculty sponsor: Alec Engebretson
Field of Study: Information Science & Technology
Session type: Oral
Abstract:
As time has progressed, more technological solutions and information systems have permeated our lives. Auditing of organizational systems, such as financial auditing, has been around for many years, while the need for auditing technology has only recently become commonplace. Like financial information, a large degree of reliability on this technology is required as our reliance on it has increased. To assure the quality and security of these information systems, they too need to be audited. Auditing is now a generally accepted and encouraged practice for an organization to thrive and has become compulsory for some organizations due to increased regulation. This paper is a collection of research on the purpose and practice of information systems auditing.         

This research is the result of participating in an internship as an internal IT Auditor at a financial aid company. My intention is to spread awareness of the practice, purpose, and the value of information system auditing as well as share my experience as an internal IT Auditor and the road taken to become a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).

 

Title: IP-CONTROLLED CAMERA IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES/SOLUTIONS, AND THE JOURNEY TOWARDS CERTIFICATION
Author: John Tatum
Faculty sponsor: Alec Engerbretson
Field of Study: Information Science and Technology
Session type: Oral
Abstract: Doane's Aldrich Prairie Research Site (APRS) near Grafton, Nebraska, is used as an interactive learning experience by different science classes to study native grasslands, wetlands, and the easternmost black-tailed prairie dog colony in the state. Located approximately forty miles west of the Crete campus, the APRS provides a valuable source of real-world experience in the sciences for Doane students. However, the distance is impossible to physically cover during a normal class period. As a result, it has been an identified need to be able to visit the APRS virtually. As a result, I have picked up a previously-initiated student project to install a camera out at the site that can be viewed and controlled remotely via the internet that will allow students monitor prairie dog and other APRS activity from the internet instead of making a trip to the APRS. My presentation will cover my experiences in learning about the camera and its installation.For the second project, I have decided to pursue IT certification under Comp-TIA A+, a basic computer industry certification that will allow me to stand out among potential applicants at companies after graduation. According to the Comp-TIA website, the A+ exam is ‰ÛÏthe starting point for a career in IT, covering maintenance of PCs, laptops, mobile devices, operating systems, printers, and basic networking.‰Û My presentation will also cover an overview of certifications, how I chose and studied for this certification, and my experience in taking the exam. 

 

Title: DARK HERESY CHARACTER CREATION WEB APP
Author: Gage Genzmer
Faculty sponsor: Alec Engebretson
Field of Study: Information Science and Technology
Session type: Oral
Abstract: Web application design and development, especially involving access to a database, are skills in high demand in the computing industry. In order to further develop my skills in these areas, I undertook a project in fulfillment of my senior seminar project involving the design and development of a web application to create and manage characters for the board game Dark Heresy. This project provides an experience that combines both my majors, graphic design and information systems.       

In my presentation, I will briefly describe the board game and the need for character creation and management. I will then describe the specifications of the application, the design of the application (including the interface, database, and software), and how I implemented a prototype of the web application. Finally, I will demonstrate operations to create, read, update, and delete character records in the database.

 

Title: INFORMATION SYSTEMS AUDITING (IT AUDITING)
Author: Kyle Dimitt
Faculty sponsor: Alec Engebretson
Field of Study: Information Science and Technology
Session type: Oral
Abstract: As time has progressed, more technological solutions and information systems have permeated our lives. Auditing of organizational systems, such as financial auditing, has been around for many years, while the need for auditing technology has only recently become commonplace. Like financial information, a large degree of reliability on this technology is required as our reliance on it has increased. To assure the quality and security of these information systems, they too need to be audited. Auditing is now a generally accepted and encouraged practice for an organization to thrive and has become compulsory for some organizations due to increased regulation. This paper is a collection of research on the purpose and practice of information systems auditing.     This research is the result of participating in an internship as an internal IT Auditor at a financial aid company. My intention is to spread awareness of the practice, purpose, and the value of information system auditing as well as share my experience as an internal IT Auditor and the road taken to become a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA). 

 

Title: VOLP FOR WINDOWS PHONE 8
Author: Mitch Zatizabal
Faculty sponsor: Alec Engebretson
Field of Study: Information Science and Technology
Session type: Oral
Abstract: Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provides the capability of having a group conversation over the Internet. One use is to allow gamers on Windows, OSX and Linux to communicate with teammates about strategy and also stay in touch. Sometimes one wants to communicate via VoIP on a mobile device rather than on a desktop. Currently Android and iOS have mobile applications for Ventrilo while Windows Phone 8 (WP8) does not. Ventrilo is one of the free, open source VoIP options available on the Internet, and therefore widely used. My senior seminar project involved creating a simple mobile application for WP8 users to connect to Ventrilo servers and communicate via VoIP.       

My presentation will describe the need for the mobile application, the specifications my application addresses, the design of my application, and how I implemented it. It will also include a demonstration.

 


MATHEMATICS


 

RELIGIOUS STUDIES

 

 


SOCIOLOGY

Title: RACIAL AND ETHNIC IDENTITY DISPARITY IN THE NEBRASKA STATE SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY
Author: Kalli Brannagan
Additional authors: Mackenzie Maly
Faculty sponsor: Nathan Erickson
Field of Study: Sociology
Session type: Poster
Abstract:
This project set out to discover whether or not racial and ethnic minorities are as overrepresented in the sex offender registry as they are in other crimes like robbery, aggravated assault, fraud, and vandalism for example. In other words, are sex offenses more likely to be committed by someone with privileged status than those of other racial/ethnic backgrounds? Only four types of races found on the sex offender registry including, White, Black, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaskan Native. The category of white offenders is disproportionately greater at 86% than the percentages of the other three categories. There are two different ways to define race, self-reported and observed, these can both vary depending on perceived privilege or discrimination. This led us to reframe our initial research question, instead of “How” we define race the question should be “Who” gets to define race and what are the implications for that question?

   

 

PHYSICS

Title: BUILDING A CLUSTER FOR HIGH THROUGHPUT COMPUTING
Author: Ramsay Shuck
Additional authors: Jacob Biaggi
Faculty sponsor: Chris Wentworth
Field of Study: Physics
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Solving many of the problems in contemporary science and engineering requires significant computational resources. When the computational problem can be broken up into pieces that can be executed in parallel, a computer cluster can be used to complete the computational job more quickly than a single computer. In this investigation, we constructed a 12 node Beowulf cluster and installed the Rocks Cluster management software to produce an environment for high throughput computing. We initially experimented with Cobbler cluster management software before deciding that Rocks Cluster management software was easier to use and better suited for our high throughput computing purposes. We utilized our cluster to test several different computational programs by submitting them to the cluster using Condor high throughput computing software. Our tests successfully demonstrated the clusters ability to quickly run complex computational programs. Future plans for our investigation include parallelizing the code of our computational programs to further enhance the programs ability to make use of the clusters high throughput computing environment.

 

Title: EMPIRICAL FITTING OF ARABIDOPSIS ROOT VELOCITY FIELD MEASUREMENTS
Author: Frank Mignon
Faculty sponsor: Chris Wentworth and Tessa Durham Brooks
Field of Study: Physics
Session type: Poster
Abstract: The one-dimensional spatial velocity field of a growing root is defined as the velocity of a point on the root a distance x from the root apex measured in the moving reference frame with the origin at the root apex. In this investigation, the velocity field was measured for Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings during a 20 minute period of straight growth. The major objective of the study was to find the best empirical model for describing the sigmoid shaped velocity field curve. We used a statistical analysis of different functions to determine the best fit model. The project used an algorithm coded in Python, an open source computer programming language.

 

Title: QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS OF BIOFILM GROWTH
Author: Christopher Mauer
Faculty sponsor: Chris Wentworth
Field of Study: Physics
Session type: Poster
Abstract: Biofilms are 3D, heterogeneous assemblies of bacteria that have become attached to a surface. They are found naturally in many places, including teeth (plaque), medical devices such as intravenous catheters, prosthetic heart valves, and cardiac pacemakers, in sewage pipelines, ship hulls, and many other non-human environments. To characterize their growth quantitatively, they must be grown under controlled laboratory conditions. This requires using bioreactors designed to control such factors as temperature, substrate concentration, and substrate flow rate. In this investigation, two types of bioreactors were designed and prototyped: the packed-bed reactor and the continuously-stirred reactor. The packed-bed reactor uses small resin beads that allow aggregate bacterial colonies to attach to their surface in high amounts due to their large amount of surface area. The continuously-stirred reactor contains slides suspended in stirred substrate medium. Films growing on the slides can be easily imaged. Both reactors were tested by growing biofilms of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in a glucose substrate.

 

Title: COMPUTER SIMULATION STUDY OF SEAM EFFECT ON BASEBALL TRAJECTORIES
Author: Roth Nathan
Faculty sponsor: Chris Wentworth, Susan Enders
Field of Study: Physics
Session type: Poster
Abstract: The purpose of this study is to investigate the in-flight trajectory of a baseball, and to observe the effects of the size of the seams on the path. This will be done by running computerized simulations using the Sage mathematics program. Effect of seams is included through their impact the drag and Magnus forces. ξData specific to a each seam size tested will be given to the simulator, which will then produce a projection for the flight for each test case. This data will then be analyzed to find any differences in the rise, fall, or spin of the ball during flight. Overall, this will shed light on the minute differences between the college and professional games.

 


PSYCHOLOGY

Title: CREATIVITY: CAN IT BE PREDICTED BY SOMEONE'S PERSONALITY?

Author: Ashley Ayres
Additional authors: Jade Parrerson and Mauro Parnell
Faculty sponsor: Brian Paulwels
Field of Study: Psychology
Session type: Poster

Abstract: This study examined creativity and personality in specific majors (non creative majors, Art, Theatre, Creative Writing, and Music). 57 participants (15 men and 42 women) located on a small Mid-west campus with little to no racial ethnicity and mostly middle class participated field survey regarding the Big Five Personality Inventory (44 items) and a creativity questionnaire created based on previous research. Comparing the creativity means of creative and non creative research participants, it was hypothesized that those who were considered to be creative by means of their majors (Art, Creative Writing, Theatre, and Music) would score, on average, higher on the alternative uses task test. The second hypothesis regarded means being compared between the creative research participants to three of the Big Five Personality Traits. It was suggested that these students would differ in openness to experience, extraversion, and neuroticism. Specifically, Art majors would score higher in neuroticism but lower in extraversion compared to Theatre majors.The last hypothesis predicted that openness to experience would be positively correlated with the creativity scores. As hypothesized, openness to experience was positively correlated with the alternative uses total, while the creative and non-creative individuals did not differ in the alternative uses total test. Art and Theatre majors also did not differ among the three personality traits of openness, extraversion, and neuroticism. Some complications in the research include little evidence supporting the hypotheses, small number size of research participants, little variety of recruits. Further research should be continued because creativity is a predictor of many things such as further success in a career, and ability to work long hours. Things to pursue would include more comparisons between different creative groups, and other ways to measure creativity.

Title: POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY: IS FORGIVENESS ALWAYS POSITIVE?
Author: Sabrina Plouzek
Faculty sponsor: Dr. Brian Pauwels
Field of Study: Psychology
Session type: Oral
Abstract: For years, one of psychology's main focuses is on the negative aspects of humans (e.g. mental illnesses). Positive psychology intends to change that focus to the positive aspects. By doing so, traits are labeled as "positive" or "negative". This literature review provides contexts in which labeling traits, specifically forgiveness, is not always correct. Context matters!
 
Title: CHANGES IN MOOD AND THE ABOVE-AVERAGE EFFECT AS A FUNCTION OF UPWARD SOCIAL COMPARISON AS FACILITATED BY PINTEREST
Author: Bailey Hirsch
Additional authors: Alyssa Boyd and Emily Max
Faculty sponsor: Dr. Brian Pauwels
Field of Study: Psychology
Session type: Oral
Abstract: This study examined whether certain images found on the popular social media website, Pinterest, could induce upward social comparison, and how this would affect mood and the above-average effect. The researchers hypothesized that participants who engaged in upward social comparison would experience decreases in mood and also feel below average.