MindExpo Abstracts 2019

MindExpo Abstracts 2019

 

Authors: Department of Art and Design

Session title: AWARD CEREMONY: ART & DESIGN IN THE FIELDS OF STEM, JURIED COMPETITION

Faculty sponsor: Meghan Gaul

Field of study: Art & Graphic Design

Session type: Oral

Abstract: The Department of Art & Design presents a Juried Exhibition in the fields of STEM. On display will be the works selected as finalists by faculty representatives from each field of STEM and Art & Design. There will also be a brief ceremony recognizing all finalists and awarding 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes.

 

Authors: Caleb Rezac

Session title: THE EMERGENCE OF A SINGULAR NATIONAL DESIGN IDENTITY IN VIETNAMESE VISUAL COMMUNICATION

Faculty sponsor: Meghan Gaul

Field of study: Art & Graphic Design

Session type: Poster

Abstract: Influenced by American advertisements, French colonialism, and Soviet communist propaganda, Vietnam produced posters during the vietnam war based on the communist constructivist style. After the war, capitalistic forms of visual communication, including advertising and mass communication, were removed from the communist state, resulting in a 20 year blackout, with advertising returning in 1995 and gaining steam in the 21st century.

Now, Vietnam is rapidly developing as a nation, and that development will increase its presence on a global scale. The challenges that visual communicators face in Southeast Asia are vast and intriguing, as we have no precedent in our field for how a singular national design identity might develop during a time when people are so readily connected via technology. The current investigation into past and present Vietnamese culture, and the role history played in the failure to develop a singular national visual identity, culminates in this creative exploration.

 

Asian Studies

 

Authors: Shae Richart

Session title: THE GROWING POPULATION AND CHALLENGES OF ASIAN GROUPS IN NEBRASKA

Faculty sponsor: Courtney Bruntz

Field of study: Asian Studies

Session type: Oral

Abstract: For this project, research was conducted through interviews of workers in cultural centers, article readings, and data collection. For this project, I chose to research the Vietnamese and Burmese refugees on their mental health after the trauma of war that had migrated to Nebraska. To start, I looked into why the migration occurred and when it happened. After that, I decided to focus on health issues with an emphasis on their mental health and how they were living currently in Nebraska. Results found that in many neighbors that had a larger amount of Vietnamese and Burmese immigrant population there was a higher percentage in mental health issues such as depression and PTSD, along with high blood pressure and cervical cancer in women. Conclusions I was able to make was that in their process over, their health exams were done partially and that no one was prepared or even aware of the issues these people were dealing with.

 


Biology

 

Authors: Keegan Whisler*, Nicholas Scalora*, Joe Larkin*, Aubrey Schatz and Brett J. Schofield

*These authors contributed equally to the presented work

Session title: INSULATOR PROTEIN SCREEN IN SACCHAROMYCES CEREVISIAE

Faculty sponsor: Dr. Brett Schofield

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Oral

Abstract: Insulator proteins serve as boundary elements in chromatin that serve to limit the spread of repressive histone modifications that lead to the formation of heterochromatin. Although a number of insulator proteins such as Reb1 and Gypsy have been identified in S. cerevisiae and D. melanogaster, CTCF is the only mammalian protein shown to have insulator activity. CTCF belongs to a category of proteins that cause large-scale reorganization of chromatin sequences, and has been implicated in the establishment and maintenance of euchromatin. Here, we test whether other human chromatin architectural proteins, including Satb1, Satb2, and MeCP2 exhibit insulator activity when expressed in yeast. Our insulator assay directs these candidate proteins to a binding site between a telomere and a sub-telomeric gene that would normally be silenced by the telomere position effect. Specific binding is achieved by fusing the candidate protein to the DNA binding domain of the yeast Gal4 transcription factor. This directs the candidate protein to four tandem copies of the UAS binding site. An insulator would activate this gene by sheltering it from the spread of repressive histone modifications, while a non-insulator would leave the gene silenced.

 

Authors: Aubrey Schatz, Brandon Gannon and Nicholas Scalora

Session title: DEVELOPMENT OF A SYSTEM USING INDUCIBLE HETERODIMERS TO SELECTIVELY RECRUIT CHROMATIN ARCHITECTURAL PROTEINS.

Faculty sponsor: Brett J. Schofield

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Oral

Abstract: Chromatin is organized by architectural proteins into a spectrum of compaction from tightly packed regions of heterochromatin - in which genes are typically silenced - to loosed organized regions of euchromatin - in which genes are readily expressed. However, the precise chromatin configuration created by various architectural proteins remains unclear, as does the time required by the protein to reorganize the DNA. In an effort to study these properties, we have created an inducible heterodimerization system that allows for chromatin architectural proteins to be selectively recruited to stable genomic integration of 256 tandem repeats of the lac operator in CHO cells. Protein recruitment and chromatin reorganization can be monitored by fluorescence microscopy in live cells. We have created a series of custom plasmids encoding both parts of our inducible heterodimerization system, and have demonstrated that it is capable of recruiting a chromatin architectural protein to the lac operator array in live cells.

 

Authors: Nicholas Scalora, Joe Larkin, Keegan Whisler, Aubrey Schatz, and Brett J. Schofield

Session title: SCREENING CHROMATIN ARCHITECTURAL PROTEINS WITH HISTONE MODIFICATION PARTNERS FOR INSULATOR ACTIVITY IN SACCHAROMYCES CEREVISIAE

Faculty sponsor: Brett Schofield

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Oral

Abstract: One mechanism cells use to regulate gene expression is modifying the degree of DNA compaction. Genes found in regions of tightly compacted heterochromatin tend to be silenced, while genes in loosely organized euchromatin tend to be readily expressed. The repressive histone markers that cause sequences to condense into heterochromatin have a propensity to spread down chromatin fibers. The boundary between these regions is determined by binding sites for insulator proteins. Although a number of these proteins have been identified in various model systems like S. cerevisiae and D. melanogaster, the only mammalian protein thus far shown to have insulator activity is CTCF. CTCF and other chromatin architectural proteins such as Satb1 and Satb2 cause wide-ranging reorganization of DNA. Our research aims to test whether these other human chromatin architectural proteins can serve as an insulator in yeast if they are co-expressed with human histone modification proteins that they usually interact with. Our insulator assay tests whether specific recruitment of the candidate protein can activate a gene located in a sub-telomeric region, which is normally silenced by the telomere position effect. A protein with insulator properties will shelter this gene from heterochromatin, while a non-insulator protein will have no effect on the gene’s expression.

 

Authors: Dustin Divis

Session title: EFFECT OF SUBSTRATE TYPE ON BURROW LOCATION AMONG GHOST SHRIMP

Faculty sponsor: Russell Souchek

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Oral

Abstract: Ghost Shrimp (Palaemonetes paludosus) are considered one of the most popular freshwater crustaceans for aquarium hobbyists. Due to the difficulty of breeding these shrimp in captivity, a large percentage of those that are sold to the public are collected from their native habitat of marshes, rivers, and ponds in the eastern United States. Due to this and increased habitat loss, ghost shrimp numbers are beginning to decline in the wild. In their native habitat, ghost shrimp often form small burrows for scavenging and hiding. By determining which substrate types ghost shrimp typically form their burrows in, we can gain a better understanding of which areas ghost shrimp will thrive in the best in the wild. Conservationists can then use this information to determine which areas of habitat to protect most in order to ensure ghost shrimp populations do not decline any further than they already have. In this study, ghost shrimp were exposed to coarse white sand, activated carbon, fine black sand, and a sand mixture to determine which substrate they preferred the most. The number of burrows in each substrate were recorded and it was found that ghost shrimp preferred white and black sand the same over the activated carbon. This research leads to the conclusion that ghost shrimp prefer substrates with smaller granule sizes.

 

Authors: Jared Bithell, Erin L. Doyle, Alejandra Huerta

Session title: INCORPORATION OF QTL DATA INTO TAL EFFECTOR PREDICTION WORKFLOW PREDICTS FEWER TARGET GENES FOR TAL7b

Faculty sponsor: Erin Doyle

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Oral

Abstract: The bacterial pathogen Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo) causes the disease bacterial blight in rice. Xoo secretes proteins called Transcription Activator-Like (TAL) effectors that bind to promoter sequences in the host plant genome and activate the expression of plant genes to aid bacterial infection. Based on what is known about TAL effectors, the program TALEN 2.0 and other computational tools predict where TAL effector binding elements (EBEs) are located in the rice genome and rank them. However, the problem with TALEN 2.0  is that there are many predicted EBEs that are not experimentally verified and ranked ahead of known EBEs. To solve this, our aim was to incorporate Quantitative Trait Locus (QTL) data to make the already existent EBE prediction workflow of TALEN 2.0 more accurate by reducing the number of falsely predicted targets. Coordinates of QTLs that were associated with rice susceptibility or resistance to a strain of Xoo over-expressing Tal7b were used to filter predicted target gene lists. After running predictions for Tal7b in TALEN 2.0 over a million EBEs were predicted. By just restricting the predictions to look within the QTL the EBEs were reduced to 374,179. Lists were farther filtered by only listing EBEs either 500 bp upstream of a gene or 100 bp within a gene, reducing predicted EBEs to 12,062 representing a total of 29 candidate target genes. Future work will incorporate transcriptome and SNP data to further narrow these list.

 

Authors: Jordan Sparks

Session title: CATFISH, AMEIURUS MELAS, ARE A VIABLE OPTION IN AQUAPONICS SYSTEMS FOR FOOD WASTE UTILIZATION

Faculty sponsor: Brad Elder

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Oral

Abstract: Global food waste is a systemic problem for both developed and developing countries in the anthropocene. Approximately half of all food is wasted before even reaching the consumer (Lundqvist et al. 2008).  Aquaponics is a possible solution to this mass food waste problem. Hydroponics is the growth of plants using water as the media instead of soil. The benefit of hydroponics is faster growth times, and the ability to grow plants at a higher density. However, this requires synthetic fertilizers to be added into the water.  Aquaponics adds aquatic animals into the equation to provide the nitrogen for plant growth. Normally these fish are feed manufactured fish food to produce nitrogen for the plants. This research attempts to build a aquaponics system with a fish that is capable of consuming the waste produce from a grocery store. To build this system we needed a fish that possessed several criteria: strong jaws, strong teeth, is non aggressive, is schooling, has the ability to survive a wide range of tank conditions, and is an omnivore. For this purpose we looked into catfish, specifically the Ameiurus melas or black bullhead catfish common in North America. The Ameiurus melas checks off all of this criteria except strong teeth. However, when fed a wide range of different fruits and vegetables, the Ameiurus melas was found to eat the majority of the fruits and vegetables fed to them. With the catfish lacking strong teeth, these fruits and vegetables were found to only able to be consumed when the food was chopped small enough for them to swallow. Catfish are not likely to be the single tank inhabitants in this aquaponics system, unless the food is diced small enough. However, the diet flexibility, strong jaws, and calm nature of the catfish can be a vital component to an aquaponics system based on recycling food waste.

 

Authors: Alex Plummer

Session title: RELATION BETWEEN DIETARY CONDITIONS, PHYSICAL AND BEHAVIORAL HEALTH OF RED BELLIED PACU

Faculty sponsor: Dr. Souchek

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Oral

Abstract: The growth rates and behavior of Red Bellied Pacu are affected by the resources they consume depending on the availability of such food resources. Two diets were chosen for the experiment, one being banana and seeds to represent the natural diet, while the second diet consisted of raw shrimp. Pacu fed a diet (banana and seeds) that resembles their normal diet generally grow quicker than Pacu fed a meat heavy diet (shrimp). Aside from the growth rate of the Pacu, their behavior was also observed during the experiment. The regular diet pacu behaved relatively lax and sometimes skittish while the pacu fed shrimp were more bold or voracious eaters. These two observations suggested that the diets of an organism can affect the physical and behavioral characteristics of the said organism, in this case the Red Bellied Pacu.

 

Authors: Madisen Ten Kley

Session title: AN EXPLORATORY ANALYSIS OF PERCEIVED USE OF MOSQUITO SCREENS IN ZAMBIA

Faculty sponsor: Brad Elder

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Oral

Abstract: Almost half of the world’s population is at risk of contracting malaria.With that, the African region is home to almost 90% of malaria cases and 91% of malaria deaths. While this disease has been a prevalent issue for awhile, a cost-effective solution to prevent the transmission of malaria has not be found. For this reason, I decided to look at whether or not it was possible to create a business making and selling mosquito screens in communities in and around Lusaka, Zambia. In order to answer this question, a survey was created addressing areas such as interest in preventative measures, interest in the business aspect, and finances.  It was found that people currently have a few preventative measures, but were interested in a product that would protect the entire household. Members of the community also expressed a great deal of interest in the business aspect. With interest in the product and in the business aspect, a business would be successful in parts of Lusaka and surrounding communities.

 

Authors: Kali Burghardt, Dr. Tessa Durham Brooks

Session title: ROOT EXUDATES FROM YOUNG MAIZE INBREDS EXPOSED TO COLD STRESS ANALYZED BY NMR AND METABOLOMIC ANALYSES

Faculty sponsor: Dr. Tessa Durham Brooks

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Poster

Abstract: Young maize plants in the field experience a multitude of stressors. One such stressor, cold, is especially relevant if planting occurs earlier in the season. However, early planting is a strategy farmers can use to improve their yields. Root exudates are excreted in part to communicate with microbes in the rhizosphere. In the case of cold stress, microbes recruited to the root can produce a protective layer that make the plant more resistant. Therefore, in the event of cold stress, the plant may change the exudates it typically releases from its roots. In maize inbreds that are considered to be cold resistant, patterns of exudation may be observed to differ from those of susceptible inbreds. This is particularly interesting because if there is a relationship between a genotype’s ability to withstand the cold and the exudates that it excretes, sampling exudation patterns in early development could be used to predict how the stress would affect a plant as an adult. In 2016, over 351 exudate samples from 11 maize inbreds grown in cold or control conditions were extracted and frozen. For each genotype, between 14 and 47 spectra were collected by NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) spectroscopy. The spectra were processed in ChemoSpec and analyzed using MetaboAnalyst. A series of statistical analyses were conducted to find peaks that significantly differed between genotypes and between cold and control conditions.

 

Authors: Austin Becker

Session title: PREFERRED SUBSTRATE COMPOSITION OF PLAIN POCKETBOOK (LAMPSILIS CARDIUM) MUSSELS

Faculty sponsor: Russ Souchek

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Poster

Abstract: The plain pocketbook mussel is native to Nebraska and is a fundamental species in every ecosystem it lives in. As a filter feeder, it purifies the water it is in and helps the other organisms around it. However, in recent years the population of the species has started to diminish and they are only found in one river in Nebraska. With this in mind the question of “Do plain pocketbook mussels have a preferred river substrate to live in?” was proposed. Determining if there was a preference could help reintroduce the species to different areas across the state. The study was aimed at answering that question by creating an environment in which the mussels would have to pick a substrate to rest in. We hypothesized that the mussels would prefer the sand substrate over the others it was tested against. The movement and choice of the mussels were recorded using a time-lapse camera and appropriate data was recorded. Analysis of the data shows that there was no significant difference between sand versus gravel or sand versus the mixed substrate. This analysis does not support our hypothesis and concludes that the plain pocketbook mussel does not have a preferred substrate.

 

Authors: Ellen Anderson, Dr. Ramesh Laungani

Session title: THE ADDITION OF BIOCHAR DECREASES PLANT-CARBON DISTRIBUTION

Faculty sponsor: Dr. Ramesh Laungani

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Poster

Abstract: In the past four decades we have observed a consistent rise in Earth’s core temperature as well as an increase in the carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration. Rising CO2 levels have many potential adverse effects on plant ecology, biodiversity, fresh water availability, and global warming. There are many possible ways to mitigate global climate change, but the method being researched here is the addition of biochar to soil. Biochar is an organic compound that locks carbon away so that it can no longer be released back into the atmosphere. It is unclear how biochar and soil fertility will affect root architecture and plant-carbon distribution. In this study, we grew Bromus inermis in soil of high or low fertility and with or without biochar. There was no significant effect of biochar or fertility on below ground biomass, but there was a significant effect observed on root tip count and root area. Together these results suggest that the addition of biochar may affect how a plant distributes its below ground plant-carbon and may impact the ability for ecosystems to store carbon in the long-term.

 

Authors: Cody Starman, Ramesh Laungani

Session title: ELEVATED TEMPERATURES NEGATIVELY IMPACT TOTAL BIOMASS ON PERENNIAL GRASS SPECIES

Faculty sponsor: Ramesh Laungani

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Poster

Abstract: According to reports, atmospheric CO2 concentrations are expected to rise to between 485 and 1000 ppm by 2100. Increases in CO2 concentrations and other greenhouse gases are predicted to cause an average increase in temperature of 1.1-6.4oC by 2100. One way to mitigate the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is by the application of biochar into the soil. Biochar, a highly recalcitrant form of fixed atmospheric carbon, slows the rate at which carbon is returned to the atmosphere, suggesting that biochar can be used as a way to mitigate climate change by reducing the amount of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. However, it is unclear how biochar additions to the soil will affect plant competition between perennial grass species when exposed to elevated temperatures. In this study, we observed the effects of biochar and elevated temperatures on two perennial grass species, B. inermis, and L. perenne and how that affected their overall success. We found a significant main effect of elevated temperatures on both B. inermis and L. perenne total biomass and biochar seemed to lessen the effects of temperature treatment on both grass species. Together these results suggest biochar may mitigate the effect of elevated temperatures in future climate scenarios on total biomass.

 

Authors: Marisa Foster, Jason Iltz, Dane Bowder

Session title: CHARACTERIZATION OF SHEEP IFITM3 AS A RESTRICTION FACTOR OF SMALL RUMINANT LENTIVIRUS

Faculty sponsor: Dane Bowder

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Poster

Abstract: Small Ruminant Lentivirus (SRLV), infects goat and sheep species, causing chronic respiratory and nervous system disease. This group of viruses includes Maedi-Visna Virus (MVV), known to infect sheep species, and Caprine Arthritis-Encephalitis Virus (CAEV), known to infect goat species. Due to the ability of SRLV to integrate its genome into the host’s genome and through the mechanism of reverse transcription, the resulting infection is persistent, leading to an increase in genetic diversity of the virus. Interferon Transmembrane Proteins (IFITMs) have been shown to inhibit HIV and other lentiviruses by impairing viral infectivity in newly formed viruses. Because of the demonstrated ability of IFITMs to restrict or inhibit viruses, like HIV and SIV, we have begun to explore IFITMs as potential restriction factors of SRLV. Investigating the ability of IFITM proteins to restrict SRLV infection is important because of its role as an agricultural pathogen and its similarity to HIV. We hypothesize that the overexpression of sheep IFITM3 will inhibit SRLV infection in vitro. This presentation will describe the development of assays and preliminary data exploring this hypothesis.

 

Authors: Robert Sanner, Ramesh Laungani

Session title: BIOCHAR INHIBITS BROMUS INERMIS BIOMASS; MAINTAINS LOLIUM PERENNE BIOMASS

Faculty sponsor: Ramesh Laungani

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Poster

Abstract: Current atmospheric CO2 levels are higher than ever before in human history and are still increasing, and is a leading cause for climate change. For this reason, environmentalists are looking for methods of reducing atmospheric CO2. Biochar is a carbon-rich product derived from slow pyrolysis of biomass which can be used to store carbon in soils long-term and has also been shown to affect plant biomass. The effect of biochar on various prairie grass species is unclear. Lolium perenne and Bromus inermis are two prairie grass species found throughout the Midwest that are useful for prairie restoration and feed stock. These species were studied under various amounts and locations of biochar in order to obtain optimal biochar-application methods for prairie restoration or grazing areas for livestock. In this study, Lolium perenne biomass was relatively unaffected by biochar. Bromus inermis biomass was decreased significantly by biochar additions across all treatments. Due to this, biochar should not be used in grazing areas with significant amounts of Bromus Inermis, or where Bromus Inermis is necessary for prairie restoration. There should be little concern on the biomass of Lolium perenne from biochar application under these treatment methods.

 

Authors: Ethan Rockwell, Chandler Flynn

Session title: DAILY WEAR CONTACT LENSES PRODUCE MORE ROBUST BIOFILM STRUCTURES THAN THOSE RECOMMENDED FOR EXTENDED WEAR

Faculty sponsor: Dr. Dane Bowder

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Poster

Abstract: The growth of bacterial pathogens in contact lens wearers poses as a serious risk factor relating to the opacification or ulceration of the cornea. Complications that arise due to growth of organisms, like Pseudomonas aeruginosa, are known to be the second most common cause of legal blindness. While lense material, tear composition, wearer habits and many other factors are known to contribute to the likelihood of developing infection, little is known about how the structure of the biofilms responsible is affected. In our study we exploit a three-phase model previously established to closely mimic the in vivo conditions of the human eye and evaluate biofilm growth of P. aeruginosa on soft lenses from different FDA classifications. Lenses were inoculated with bacteria according to the model and allowed to grow overnight before being analyzed using fluorescent microscopy. In doing so, we found that contact lenses recommended for daily disposable wear developed more robust and profuse than those recommended for daily extended or continuous wear.

 

Authors: Paige Lucas, Jaysa Hoins, Teryn Koch, Maitlyn Thomsen, Greg Seir

Session title: CADAVER MUSCLE ATROPHY WITH POSSIBLE SPINAL STENOSIS

Faculty sponsor: Melissa Clouse

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Poster

Abstract: During gross dissection, noticeable atrophy to the right leg was immediately recognized. Taking into consideration the age of the donor at death and the lifestyle that she was living towards the end of her life, multiple hypotheses have been made as to why atrophy to the right leg occurred. We questioned the root problem leading towards muscle atrophy, and what other combined effects could be playing a part. Other anatomical observances were noted that may provide insight. For instance, she had Grave’s disease, only half a thyroid, and calcification in her falx cerebri, aorta, interior skull, as well as a large mass on the medial side of her affected leg. With this information, we predicted that there may be calcification in the spinal foramen pinching the spinal nerve causing spinal stenosis and ultimately leading to atrophy of the affected muscles. Other notes were made on what it appears to be significant adipose infiltration in both legs. Taking these observations into consideration, we measured select representative muscles on both legs to compare length and width, as well as collecting tissue samples which will be used to analyze the muscle versus adipose density in the muscles histologically. Although we cannot determine with absolute certainty the course of events leading to the observed muscle atrophy this case serves as an example of case study based learning in an undergraduate gross anatomy lab.

 

Authors: Jackie Lewis

Session title: EFFECTS OF DRY DISTILLERS GRAINS AND FORAGE BASED MANURE ON B73 and CML103 CORN PLANT GROWTH

Faculty sponsor: Tessa Durham Brooks

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Poster

Abstract: Corn and beef production are two of the biggest sectors of agriculture in Nebraska. Corn is the most widely grown crop in Nebraska and Nebraska is the 3rd largest producer overall in the United States. Corn’s main use is to feed livestock and make ethanol. The beef sector is the largest in Nebraska and most cattle are fed a diet consisting of some sort of corn. With both of these sectors being so prominent in Nebraska, the state has the opportunity to utilize both in an efficient cycle of “cattle eat corn, cattle deposit the corn in waste, the waste is used as fertilizer for corn and more corn is grown”. This lead to asking the question and proposing the hypothesis that using different manures from cattle that were fed different diets, either dry grain distillers’ based or forage based, will have an effect on the growth via height and biomass, of different genotypes of corn. Initially, different levels of manure were tested in order to determine which level to use for the final experiment. The low level showed to have the most positive effect on the corn plants. Ultimately, two different genotypes, B73 and CML 103 were each planted in soil that had been amended with one of two different types of manure, based on the diets of dry grain distillers’ and forage given to the cattle. The corn plants were measured for height and biomass.

 

Authors: Jaysa Hoins

Session title: PSEUDOMONAS AERUGINOSA GROWTH ON TITANIUM AND CHEMICALLY MODIFIED SURFACES

Faculty sponsor: Chris Huber

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Poster

Abstract: Biofilms are groups of microorganisms that grow together on a surface and function as one community. In these biofilms, bacteria cells communicate chemically with each other to ensure the survival of the community, becoming more resistant to antibiotics in the process. Due to the importance of preventing growth of biofilm, we decided to focus on bacterial attachment. Specifically, we are trying to quantify Pseudomonas aeruginosa, strain PA01, biofilm growth on Ti and modified surfaces, that could further inhibit biofilm growth. When biofilm growth occurs on Ti orthopedic implants, it could cause infections in the patients receiving the surgery leading to greater problems. We will be considering how biofilm attachment can be further inhibited by comparing different modified layers deposited on top of Ti, while using a glass slide as a control. We will quantify our biofilm growth using a crystal violet staining assay via UV/Vis spectroscopy. The data collected from this experiment will help in identifying what surfaces can further inhibit the amount of biofilm growth on titanium. We have established that Ti already leads to less growth than on glass, and we will begin studying the biofilm growth on modified Ti surfaces in the near future.

 

Authors: Haley Miller, Trevin Alberts, Ayden Benavides, Lexi Burke, Kylie Carstens, Sam Coy, Nick Crespo, Salvador Delgadillo, Nora Halder, Serenity Kinswoman, Anna Korte, Brenna Mulvey, Reagan Peterson, Lilly Shatford-Adams, Makenna Weddle, Kade Wehrs, Dane Bowder, Erin Doyle

Session title: GENOME ANNOTATION OF MYCOBACTERIOPHAGES DUGGIE, KLOPPINATOR, HOCUS IN THE B1 SUBCLUSTER

Faculty sponsor: Dane Bowder and Erin Doyle

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Poster

Abstract: Small micro-organisms called bacteriophages are found all around the world in abundance. Two Mycobacteriophages, Duggie and Hocus, were discovered in soil samples at Doane University in Crete, Nebraska in September of 2018. Another phage called Kloppinator was found in Baltimore, Maryland in 2012. After isolating, purifying, and amplifying the bacteriophages, we examined their structures through Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) images. By doing this, we were able to discover they are of siphoviridae morphology. Afterward, the phages’ DNA was extracted and sequenced, establishing all three are lytic and part of the B1 cluster. We used the software, DNA Master, in order to predict the start codons of open reading frames (ORFs), and deduce the function of each gene to find its importance in the genome. The lengths of the genomes range from 68,053 to 68,885 base pairs with approximately 100 features in each.

 

Authors: Craig Bramhall, Gage Herron, Hailie Crull, Erin Doyle

Session title: THE STABILITY OF PROPIONIBACTERIUM ACNES (P. ACNES) PHAGE ACNE CREAM STORED IN DIFFERENT CONDITIONS AT VARIOUS CONCENTRATIONS

Faculty sponsor: Erin Doyle

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Poster

Abstract: Acne is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects 85% of people. It is caused by the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes).The most common methods for treatment are antibiotics. Antibiotics are becoming less effective due to bacterial resistance. Bacteriophages (phages) are host-specific viruses that kill bacteria. Phages that infect P. acnes bacteria could potentially be used to create an acne treatment. P. acnes phage was collected from facial pore strips by scraping the material into an enrichment culture, purifying the phage, and collecting a lysate. The P. acnes phage lysates was incorporated into cetomacrogol, a non-ionic cream, and tested for the stability of the phage under different storage conditions and at different concentrations. Phage lysates were diluted by 1/10, 1/100, and 1/1000 in the cream and tested to see if the different concentrations had the same zone of clearing. The phage creams at pH 4, 6, and 8 were stored at either 4oC or at 25oC under dark or light conditions to see how storing the creams at different conditions would affect the shelf life of the creams. Stability was measured by applying cream to a bacterial lawn and measuring the zone of clearing. We found that as the phage concentration decreases, the zone of clearing also decreases. We also found that increasing the pH decreases the zone of clearing, while decreasing the pH doesn’t affect the zone of clearing. We will continue to test the stored creams every two weeks to see how the stability changes.

 

Authors: Nick Iwata, Truc Doan, Danny Tran, Grace Su, Kiley Taylor, Michael Kangas, Tessa Durham Brooks, Erin Doyle

Session title: AUTOMATED DETECTION AND QUANTIFICATION OF FREE AMINES IN MAIZE ROOT EXUDATES USING CUSTOM PYTHON CODE

Faculty sponsor: Erin Doyle

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Poster

Abstract: Root exudates are substances excreted from plant roots that interact with the soil around the plant to optimize growing conditions. Utilizing information about the exudates contributes to knowledge about how plants grow. Previous methods are able to quantify chemical composition of the exudates or to determine where the exudates are located, but there are few methods that can determine both. To fill this gap, students and professors at Doane University created a manual method that used ninhydrin-coated paper that reacts with the free amines in roots exudates which produces a blotted image after being scanned. The blotted images allowed them to visualize exudate location and concentration. However, analyzing the blotted root images was slow, inaccurate, and limited in detectable qualities. A new method was developed to process the images to automatically find a calibration grid, sample the grid, and calculate a linear regression of pixel intensity to concentration conversion. This data can be used for a heat map that displays the concentration and location of the amine exudates on the scanned images. Therefore, these programs coded using Python, are able to analyze the root blot images more quickly and more accurately than our previous method. In addition, this new method can be very efficient at processing mass quantities of data. This will help phenotype different strains of maize plants and their differences in exudate production.

 

Authors: Teryn Koch, James Reddick, Christopher Wentworth, PhD

Session title: SUSPENDED CELL ARTHROBACTER AURESCENS TC1 GROWTH KINETICS SYSTEM IN GLUCOSE + ATRAZINE MINIMAL MEDIA

Faculty sponsor: Chris Wentworth, PhD

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Poster

Abstract: Arthrobacter aurescens TC1 is a possible bacterial strain for use in bioremediation of atrazine-contaminated groundwater.  Developing these technologies requires quantitative growth kinetics data so that bioreactors can be designed for optimal operation.  In this investigation, the growth kinetics of suspended cell Arthrobacter aurescens TC1 was evaluated in a glucose minimal media. To assess the effects of Arthrobacter aurescens TC1 on Atrazine, growth curves were evaluated at varying levels of Atrazine and glucose. The experiments were performed under constant temperatures and monitored over time for a growth curve to be determined from optical density measurements. This data will be used to determine an appropriate growth kinetics model.

 

Authors: Joseph Larkin, Nick Scalora, Keegan Whistler, Aubrey Schatz

Session title: A SCREEN OF MAMMALIAN PROTEINS FOR INSULATOR ACTIVITY IN SACCHAROMYCES CEREVISIAE

Faculty sponsor: Brett Schofield

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Poster

Abstract: Insulator proteins shelter genes from the spread of repressive heterochromatin histone markers, like H3K9 trimethylation along a chromatin fiber. Heterochromatin is tightly compacted DNA that allows for little to no transcription to occur, while genes located within regions of euchromatin can be readily transcribed and expressed. Although a number of insulator proteins have been identified in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the only mammalian protein identified with insulator properties is CTCF. However, it is widely believed that other mammalian proteins can perform this function. Chromatin architectural proteins like CTCF organizes DNA into specific three-dimensional conformations, and thus serve as an excellent candidate proteins for insulator activity. This current research seeks to test several of these chromatin architectural proteins for insulator activity in S. cerevisiae yeast strain GF97. In this assay, candidate proteins are directed to a region of DNA between a telomere and a sub-telomeric gene, which is normally silenced through the telomere position effect. Specific DNA binding is achieved through a fusion of the candidate protein and the Gal4 DNA binding domain. Insulator proteins will allow the sub-telomeric gene to be expressed while non-insulators will have no effect on its activation. The yeast insulator protein Reb1 was used as a positive control, while the Gal4 DNA binding domain alone, with no candidate protein, served as a negative control. Recent results have shown no insulator activity for CTCF, which contradicts previous experiments performed in other labs.

 

Authors: Hailie Crull, Gage Herron

Session title: PROPIONIBACTERIUM ACNES (P. ACNES) BACTERIOPHAGE IS MORE EFFECTIVE IN KILLING P. ACNES IN FACIAL LOTION THAN CREAM AT VARIOUS

Faculty sponsor: Dr. Erin Doyle

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Poster

Abstract: P. acnes is an acne-causing bacteria.  Common acne treatments are salicylic acid and antibiotics. Salicylic acid can be an irritant, and there can be a resistance due to the overuse of antibiotics.  Bacteriophage (phage) therapy could be a alternative treatment. Phages are host-specific viruses that kill bacteria. However, it’s not known if P. acnes phage can be stably stored in a lotion like a nonionic cream.  Our hypothesis was that if a phage can be isolated from P. acnes and incorporated into a cream, and stored at room temperature without light, then the phage would have a longer shelf life. Phage were isolated by scraping a used pore strip into an enrichment culture to create a lysate.  Purified phage lysates were incorporated into a nonionic glysolid cream or a generic lotion in various concentrations by serial addition. The lysates were each diluted into a generic lotion and a nonionic glysolid facial cream at ½, ¼, ⅛, 1/16 and 1/32 fractions. 0.2 mL of each were syringed onto a bacterial lawn, and the area of clearing was measured after three days.  The lysate incorporated into the lotion produced larger zones of clearing than the facial cream. Higher concentrations also produced larger zones of clearing. Each of the concentrations were then stored at 4 C, or 25 C with and without light exposure. These were tested weekly to see if storage conditions affect the zone of clearing.

 

Authors: Jade Prochaska, Dr. Erin Doyle

Session title: ISOLATION OF A BACTERIOPHAGE ON HOST BACTERIA PSEUDOMONAS SYRINGAE TO BE USED IN TREATING PLANT BACTERIAL INFECTIONS

Faculty sponsor: Dr. Erin Doyle

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Poster

Abstract: Bacteriophage are viruses that infect and kill bacteria, making them a potential alternative for antibiotics currently used to treat plant bacterial infections. An example of a bacteria that causes significant problems in agriculture is Pseudomonas syringae. This bacteria causes lesions on plant leaves, and eventually kills the plant itself. This can cause crop loss in a variety of plants such as tomatoes, beans, and peppers. This research was done to see if a phage isolated on the host bacteria, Pseudomonas syringae DC300, could be used to reduce the infection of Pseudomonas syringae on plants. The phage that was isolated was extracted from a soil sample enrichment culture. Spot tests were used  to confirm the presence of phage. Six rounds of plaques assays were performed, resulting in consistent clear plaques of consistent sizes, indicating a single phage was present in the sample.. TEM imaging at the University of Nebraska Lincoln confirmed that it was a single type of phage, with a head diameter roughly 60 nm in length. However this phage does not appear to have a tail, or exhibit other features common to the caudovirales. In this research, were able to isolate a bacteriophage that successfully infects and kills Pseudomonas syringae infections. We are currently unsure of what the exact classification of this phage. Future work will include DNA analysis to identify the phage and testing the phage in plant-bacterial assays.

 

Authors: Emma Frerichs, Garrett Lesiak

Session title: INVESTIGATION OF FELIS CATUS AND BOS TAURUS IFITM3 RESTRICTION OF SMALL RUMINANT LENTIVIRUS

Faculty sponsor: Dane Bowder

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Poster

Abstract: Interferon-inducible transmembrane protein 3 (IFITM3) is a protein found in host cells that is a part of the intrinsic immune system and able to inhibit infection by certain viruses. Lentiviruses are a virus type that have the ability to reverse transcribe and integrate their DNA into the host’s genome upon infection and have long incubation periods. This group includes immunodeficiency viruses that affect humans (HIV), sheep (SRLV), cats (FIV) and cows (BIV). Small Ruminant Lentivirus (SRLV) infects sheep and goats. This causes slightly different symptoms in each species and is characterized by a slow progression to pneumonia and wasting syndrome. Sheep IFITM3 has been shown to cause a decreased infection of SRLV in sheep cells. It has not been investigated whether cat or cow IFITM3 can inhibit SRLV to the same level as sheep IFITM3. In our study we expressed cat and cow IFITM3 in sheep choroid plexus cells and observed the effects on SRLV infection. qPCR was used to quantify the percentage of SRLV infection in the sheep cells. Our study is the first to investigate cross species inhibition of SRLV with IFITM3. Our results suggest that cross-species IFITM3 could play a role in future drug treatments, inform breeding programs and contributes to the understanding of lentivirus infections in mammals.

 

Authors: Anna Korte, Serenity Kinswoman, Kira Reisdorph, Lilly Shatford-Adams, Erin Doyle, Tessa Durham Brooks

Session title: COMPUTATIONAL IMAGING ANALYSIS UTILIZING BIOLOGY AND CHEMISTRY COURSES

Faculty sponsor: Erin Doyle

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Poster

Abstract: DIVAS, Digital Imaging and Vision Applications in Science, is a program developed by Doane University in Crete, NE in partnership with St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX in order to help introduce students to computational biology through visual imaging. Within DIVAS, students learn how to apply computational skills in order to develop and apply programs to solve biology and chemistry problems. The DIVAS Seminar creates a foundation for data collection from images. Students engaged in a 4-week photo diary project, where each collected images of personal interest with a graphic design student. From these projects, these students are introduced into the different aspects of computer programming. Later this summer the students will strengthen this foundation with Python and OpenCV through a coding workshop, pair programming, and optional research. The main aspect of DIVAS is to broaden our computational skills to enhance our understanding of the scientific world and be able to apply this work to any field of science.

 

Authors: Brandon Gannon

Session title: DNA RESTRUCTURING DONE BY CHROMATIN ARCHITECTURAL PROTEINS

Faculty sponsor: Brett Schofield

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Poster

Abstract: The structure or shape of DNA within a nucleus has an impact on the expression of genes in certain areas. Proteins called Chromatin Architectural Proteins (CAPs) are responsible for changing the physical structure of DNA between two extremes where genes are either silenced or expressed. Research has been done to determine that CAPs do impact gene regulation but it is unclear how these proteins work. This is what we want to further investigate. We intend to determine the rate at which a specific CAP changes DNA structure. In order to do this, two different plasmids, containing genes for a binding protein, a CAP, fluorescent proteins, and a dimer system, will be introduced into a cell for them to be transcribed and translated into the proper proteins. When expressed, these plasmid products will allow us to control the timing of the activity of the CAP, track the movement of a region of DNA in relationship to a CAP, and finally determine the rate of change. The work thus far has been on producing these plasmids. At this point, there is evidence to support that the dimer system works properly and CAPs do localize themselves at a higher density in the region of DNA being measured. The future steps for this project include the growth of mammalian cells, transfection of the plasmids into these cells, and finally determining the rate of change due to CAPs through microscopy of these cells.

 

Authors: Davron Hanley, Tessa Durham Brooks

Session title: EFFECTS OF ROOT EXUDATES FROM THREE ZEA MAYS INBRED LINES ON THE GROWTH OF TWO RHIZOSPHERE MICROBES, M. LUTEUS AND E. COLI

Faculty sponsor: Tessa Brooks

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Poster

Abstract: The rhizosphere soil and root tissue is home for a wide array of microbial species. Many of these microorganisms such as Micrococcus species and Escherichia coli have been observed to form strong symbiotic relationships with the roots of Zea mays. It is theorised that these relationships are driven by compounds in the plant’s root exudate that promote microbial growth. Root exudates provide a mechanism by which plants can manipulate the microbial community within the rhizosphere, thereby attracting microorganisms which protect it from infection and stress and promoting production of nutrients in the soil that are essential to plant growth. The chemical composition of root exudates differs between genotypes of Zea mays. Identifying chemicals in root exudate which make this relationship stronger and more efficient can lead to varieties of corn that rely less on soil amendments such as fertilizer. The aim of this project is to determine how the exudates of genotypes of Zea mays compare in their ability to recruit beneficial soil microbes. E. coli and M. luteus were grown in low nutrient liquid cultures containing root exudate extracted from three different genotypes all known to have different root exudate composition; CML103, B97 and B73. The growth of both bacterial species in each genotype of root exudate was quantified using a hemocytometer and image analysis.

 

Authors: Michael Wieduwilt, Chris Wentworth

Session title: COMPARISON OF GROWTH RATES OF SUSPENDED AND BIOFILM CELLS OF PROTEUS MIRABILIS GROWN IN TSB

Faculty sponsor: Chris Wentworth

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Poster

Abstract: Proteus mirabilis is a species of bacteria known to pose health hazards in people requiring urinary tract catheters when bacterial biofilms colonize the catheter surface. Understanding the growth kinetics of Proteus mirabilis will provide information that can be helpful in developing antifouling technologies. In this investigation, the growth rates of suspended cells in TSB media is measured at 37 [°C]. The growth rate of biofilm cells in TSB media is measured at 37 [°C] and a shear stress value of 0.297 [dyne/cm^2] is produced by fluid flow in the bioreactor.

 

Authors: Kate Grint, Christopher D Wentworth

Session title: ARTHROBACTER AURESCENS TC1 BIOFILM GROWTH KINETICS IN A GLUCOSE+ATRAZINE MINIMAL MEDIA

Faculty sponsor: Christopher Wentworth

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Poster

Abstract: Atrazine is a widely used herbicide that can contaminate groundwater used by people and livestock in rural areas. Removal of atrazine contamination using biofilm-based tecnologies is one approach to remediation that is being investigated. Arthrobacter aurescens TC1 is a bacterial strain for which there is some evidence of a bioremediation effect on atrazine-contaminated water. In this investigation, the growth kinetics of the biofilms cell Arthrobacter aurescens was evaluated in a glucose minimal media. In order to assess the effects of the Arthrobacter aurescens on Atrazine, a baseline growth curve was found from varying conditions of glucose without atrazine present. Growth kinetic experiments were performed at constant temperatures and sheer stress in each reactor experiment at varying concentrations of glucose. Biofilm accumulation was monitored over time from which a growth rate could be measured. An estimate of yield was also performed. This growth kinetics data can be used to facilitate the design of a fluidized bed reactor system for bioremediation of atrazine from groundwater.

 

Authors: Kaitlyn Mahnke, Brea Murnan, Halle Weise, Perry Baltz, Jason Iltz, Davron Hanley

Session title: IDENTIFICATION OF QTL LINKED TO CORPUS CALLOSUM MORPHOLOGY

Faculty sponsor: Erin Doyle

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Poster

Abstract: The corpus callosum is a band of nerve fibers that is responsible for connecting the two hemispheres of the brain. Its primary function is to allow communication between the two hemispheres by sending neural messages. Morphologies of the corpus callosum have been found to be associated with disorders such as autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia in humans. Finding genetic associations that are responsible for the morphology may be useful in further research of such disorders. For this study, we observed brain slices of BXD1 mice by collecting measurements of their corpus callosum and comparing those to their total brain volume, body size, and sex. After our data is collected, we will perform a QTL analysis that will identify associated genes that contribute to the morphology of the corpus callosum.

 

Authors: Jackie Lewis, Colin Bramhall, Alexis Fletcher, Makayla Rice, Jon Schleufer

Session title: IDENTIFICATION OF QTL LINKED TO OLFACTORY BULB SIZE

Faculty sponsor: Erin Doyle

Field of study: Biology

Session type: Poster
Abstract: For the most part, all vertebrates have the same type of brain and the same brain structures. One of these structures, the olfactory bulb, is located in the forebrain of vertebrates. This portion of the brain is used for receiving the smell inputs from around the individual. In mice, it is found that the olfactory bulb varies in size in different strains, sizes, genders, etc. In a study conducted by Williams et al., researchers looked at mature mice to see what factors determined bulb size. Once they had data about the bulb size of mice based on weight, gender, age etc. they looked a little deeper and continued their study in order to try and map out the quantitative trait loci for bulb size. This led to the question of, can similar research be done by measuring the olfactory bulb of various mouse strains? Images from the mouse brain library were selected and used for this research. Image J, an image analysis program was used to analyze the photos in order to get the best results. It is hopeful that the results from this research will help better understand the genetic mechanism for the size of the olfactory bulb.

 

 

Authors: Andres Mora, Michael Kangas, Amanda DeBonno, Andrea Holmes

Session title: COLORIMETRIC SENSOR ARRAYS FOR THE DETECTION OF CANNABINOIDS FROM MARIJUANA SAMPLES

Faculty sponsor: Dr. Andrea Holmes

Field of study: Chemistry

Session type: Oral

Abstract: Current methods for the detection of marijuana, specifically for the THC compound, by law enforcement include colorimetric methods such as the Duquenois-Levine test. This test requires the use small quantities of hazardous components, such as hydrochloric acid and chloroform. Furthermore, there has been arrests due to false positive given by this method of field testing. Colorimetric sensor arrays present another method for field testing these substances and many other analytes; including, but not limited to, acids and bases, pesticides and warfare agents (explosives and nerve agents). The ability to have multiples sensors arranged on the array allows for an accurate, fast, easy to use, and low-cost method of detection of analytes. In this study, we analyzed over 800 samples of marijuana flower, concentrate and topicals in which the RGB (Red, Green, and Blue) values of 44 sensors were recovered using an ImageJ macro methodology after the colorimetric arrays were exposed to the analytes. The values were analyzed using Principal Component Analysis (PCA), gathering loading and PC biplots to test the ability of detection of the sensors. As a product, seven sensors were identified as the best detecting marijuana flower, concentrate, and topical at concentrations ranging from 0.15mM to 3.4mM; confirmed by HPLC. The result of this study is a new colorimetric sensor array specific for the detection of cannabinoids based on the 7 sensors selected which colorimetric change can be analyzed using digital methods, which leads to the development of smartphone apps able to perform this analysis.

 

 

Authors: Rebekah Thimes

Session title: USING GOLD NANOSTARS TO REMEDIATE GROUNDWATER POLLUTANTS BY HOT ELECTRON TRANSFER

Faculty sponsor: Chris Huber

Field of study: Chemistry

Session type: Oral

Abstract: The Ogallala Aquifer is the main water source in the Great Plains for agricultural usage and drinking water; however, improper pesticide use in farming has contaminated the water supply.  Due to reduced efficiency of the current application of permeable reactive barriers, there has been an increased need to develop a new method of groundwater pollutant remediation. Our goal is to use Au nanoparticles that are aggregated together to remediate groundwater pollutants through a process called hot electron transfer, which occurs at the spots where the aggregated particles form crevices and points (or “hotspots”). This hot electron transfer will be monitored using a technique called surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy. In the past we have successfully synthesized the Au nanoparticles (in the shape of spheres) and have been able to obtain enhancement of the Raman signal as well as shown the ability to perform hot electron transfer through the dimerization of 4-nitrobenzylthiol. However, these particles were not easily reproducible due to the need to aggregate the particles together and did not produce a reasonable Raman enhancement. By changing the shape of the Au nanoparticles to a star, which has points on the outside that serve as built in hotspots without the need to create them by aggregating spherical particles, we are able to have more reproducible particles that have better Raman enhancement.  We have successfully synthesized these Au nanostars and have seen strong Raman enhancement.

 

Authors: Jared Foote

Session title: PET DEGRADATION USING BIOLOGICAL ENZYME, PETase

Faculty sponsor: Dr. Sharmin Sikich

Field of study: Chemistry

Session type: Oral

Abstract: Biological degradation of poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) can be a much more sustainable alternative to typical recycling techniques. A novel enzyme, PETase, has been discovered in the bacterial strain Ideonella sakaiensis and has a high specificity for PET. This enzyme has shown the ability to return PET back to Terephthalic acid and Ethylene glycol, the two chemicals used to make new PET. Previous studies have shown that mutating 1 or 2 of PETase amino acids in the sequence of PETase can cause more effienct degradation. This study demonstrates the conditions for PET degradation by PETase and characterizes the products.

 

Authors: Tanner Harsin

Session title: THE USE OF FLUORESCENCE MICROSCOPY TO EXAM PAO1 BIOFILM COVERAGE

Faculty sponsor: Chris Huber

Field of study: Chemistry

Session type: Poster

Abstract: Biofilms are groups of microorganisms that grow together on various surfaces such as medical equipment, metals, and human teeth. Given their community nature, biofilms have a unique ability to adapt and be more resilient to stress caused by a change in pH; or the addition of antibiotics. Biofilm growth can lead to a variety of health problems such as bacterial infections and are a particular area of concern for patients with implanted medical devices. The purpose of this study is to examine the overall coverage of PA01 biofilm growth on a glass surface and how that coverage might be affected by the presence of an adjacent modified surface.The biofilm coverage will be quantified using a combination of fluorescence microscopy and crystal violet assay techniques. The focus for this project in the next three months is in method development and analysis of biofilm coverage.

 

Authors: Claire Sintek

Session title: DETECTING LOW LEVELS OF CARBON MONOXIDE USING SURFACE ENHANCED RAMAN SPECTROSCOPY

Faculty sponsor: Chris Huber

Field of study: Chemistry

Session type: Poster

Abstract: Exposure to carbon monoxide leads to carbon monoxide poisoning due to CO binding to hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells. This binding prevents hemoglobin proteins from delivering oxygen to the body. Carbon monoxide can be detected through sensors, such as pulse oximeters, but only alert you when you are approaching poisonous levels. In order to help people, we will be creating a sensor to help avoid prolonged exposure of carbon monoxide by detecting lower levels. We will create this sensor by using a porphyrin, gold surface/nanoparticles, and Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS). SERS is a technique used to enhance Raman scattering of molecules that are absorbed on rough metal surfaces or nanoparticles. This tells us how much carbon monoxide would be present in a sample by directing a laser into our product and observing the peaks that are present. For this being a new research project, many trials and errors have occurred. Our results obtained have proven that we have made our porphyrin and this has been confirmed through NMR and UV-Vis spectroscopy. Also we have confirmed that Raman signal is enhanced by gold surfaces and nanoparticles. After we have attach the porphyrin to the gold surface, the next step will be to test out our sensor using cyanide, a different small blood toxin that is safer to work with. This research will eventually lead to the testing of carbon monoxide levels on a enhanced surface with the Raman instrument.

 

Authors: Jordan Chelle

Session title: REMEDIATION OF ORGANIC CHLORIDES THROUGH METHODS OF SURFACE ENHANCED RAMAN SPECTROSCOPY ON SOLID SUBSTRATES SOAKED WITH GOLD NANOPARTICLES

Faculty sponsor: Chris Huber

Field of study: Chemistry

Session type: Poster

Abstract: In the Midwest, groundwater pollution is a major problem because the Ogallala aquifer is being polluted by a combination of pesticides, fertilizers, and chemical based cleaners. Some of the current cleaners have organic chlorides, which normal methods of filtration do not remediate. Current methods for remediating certain organic molecules from groundwater is a passive zero valent iron method. Iron oxidizes readily in water and degrades, reducing the efficiency of the remediation of groundwater pollutants. Substrates that have been soaked in gold nanoparticles are being tested to replace iron for use of remediating organic chlorides, specifically 2-chlorophenol and 4-chlorophenol. Gold nanoparticles on solid substrates would create a high probability for hot electron transfer to occur the surface of the substrate is exposed to a laser. In order to determine if the hot electron transfer to the chlorine bond occurs, a thiol mock pollutant with the same shape as known groundwater pollutants is used because it bonds to the surface of gold. The solid substrates are prepared by creating gold nanoparticles of various sizes and placing the nanoparticles on various substrates. The substrates then tested using a solution of a solution 4-nitrobenzenethiol (4-NBT) to determine if the substrates will catalyze a known reaction. Using Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy, some of the substrates have shown that the reaction creates a new bond in the 4-NBT leading to the creation of a new peak. The change shown in the spectrum is a bond forming that adds another vibrational wavelength to the spectrum.

 

Authors: Catie Theiler

Session title: DEVELOPING A SENSOR AND USING SERS TO DETECT CYANIDE IN AQUEOUS SOLUTIONS

Faculty sponsor: Dr. Chris Huber

Field of study: Chemistry

Session type: Poster

Abstract: Cyanide is a dangerous chemical that causes severe health effects and is commonly found in a gas form when combined with hydrogen, known as hydrogen cyanide (HCN). Cyanide has a high affinity for hemoglobin and once HCN is inhaled or ingested cyanide blocks the ability for oxygen binding and deprives organs of oxygen. There is little advanced technology that allows for the detection of low levels of cyanide within aqueous solution such as blood. The goal of this research is to develop a sensor that can detect low levels of cyanide within aqueous solution. This is sensor is composed of a porphyrin resembling hemoglobin that is attached to a gold surface. The gold surface is necessary in order to detect such low levels of cyanide using Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS). SERS detects Raman scattering signals that are enhanced by a rough metal surface or nanoparticles. Thus far, we have synthesized the porphyrin by performing esterification and substitution reactions and characterized the porphyrin using column chromatography, NMR, and UV-Vis. We have done multiple attempts of attaching the porphyrin to gold nanoparticles but discovered that our concentration of porphyrin was too great to allow for attachment to the nanoparticles. Raman spectroscopy has been done to characterize the porphyrin to lay out a standard. The next step is to use low concentrations of the porphyrin and attach it to gold nanoparticles or a gold surface and eventually add a cyanide solution to the porphyrin and observe it under SERS.

 

 

Authors: Quinn Baillie

Session title: ANNIE DILLARD AND THE SUBLIME

Faculty sponsor: Brad Johnson

Field of study: English

Session type: Oral

Abstract: In my project, I explore two short stories by contemporary author Annie Dillard through the lens of the sublime.  According to aesthetic philosophy, sublimity is an experience which surpasses beauty. The sublime carries power, mystery, and spiritual substance.  In the stories “Total Eclipse” and “A Field of Silence,” Dillard recounts two personal experiences with the sublime in nature. I examine multiple facets of the sublime moment: its temporary nature, the human reaction to its power, and the need to recapture the experience through language.       

 

Authors: Emily Yokel, Caitie Leibman

Session title: COLLABORATION AND COMPETITION: HOW STUDENTS USE (OR DON'T USE) SIMILAR CAMPUS SERVICES

Faculty sponsor: Caitie Leibman

Field of study: English

Session type: Oral

Abstract: While some institutions breed a competitive mindset among similar services—such as the Writing Center and the College to Career Center—this project considers their collaborative and complementary qualities. How do services offer their strengths and specialties without fearing overlap? What might student demographics teach us about how we serve (or don't serve) campus? Writing Center Director Caitie Leibman and senior English and communications major Emily Yokel will present their latest research findings.

 

Authors: Nicholas Larkin

Session title: POSTHUMANISM IN READY PLAYER ONE

Faculty sponsor: Kathleen Hanggi

Field of study: English

Session type: Oral

Abstract: In this presentation I will discuss my research on Ready Player One, a novel by Ernst Cline. I researched how posthuman identity relates to human identity in the main character Wade Watts. I provide evidence found in posthuman theory and relate it to Wade Watt’s identity as it changes throughout the novel. This research is an attempt to look at what makes us human and whether or not technology in the future will strip humanity away from us and create posthumans.


Environmental Science

 

Authors: Hannah Feagler

Session title: FRESHWATER PRAWNS (MACROBRACHIUM ROSENBERII) ARE A VIABLE COMPONENT TO AN AQUAPONICS SYSTEM AND CAN BE HOUSED SUCCESSFULLY IN HIGH DENSITIES

Faculty sponsor: Brad Elder

Field of study: Environmental Science

Session type: Oral

Abstract: The purpose of this research was to find a more efficient way to run an aquaponics system using food waste instead of fish food or fertilizer. There are billions of U.S. dollars being lost on food waste every year, and most leftover food is sent to landfills to rot. Specifically we looked at bottom feeders of an aquaponic system.  Previous research proved Cambarus bartonii (crayfish) inadequate for this project because they were picky about foods and proved too territorial. We used the territorial freshwater prawn. These prawns consumed a much wider variety of waste food including carrots, bell peppers and mixed beans. In addition, we were able to vertically separate them by adding layers to the bottom of the tank and providing lateral separation by providing shelters on each layer.  This design was successful and while the prawns pushed each other, we did not find evidence that they killed each other. Additionally, the prawns were much less picky about food options than crayfish in previous research. They consumed bananas and oranges without the peel, red/green/yellow/orange peppers, mixed beans, carrots and potatoes. Foods avoided were orange and banana peels and anything that floated. Our data suggest that prawns could be an excellent component of a aquaponics system.

 

Authors: Luke Antholz

Session title: HOW A CONTROLLED DIET AFFECTS THE MOLTING AND SHELL CHOICE IN TERRESTRIAL HERMIT CRABS

Faculty sponsor: Russ Souchek

Field of study: Environmental Science

Session type: Poster

Abstract: Hermit crabs are any crab of the families Paguridae and Coenobitidae. These crabs occupy empty shells or other hollow objects to serve as protection because their bodies have a very soft abdomen and are extremely vulnerable to predators without a hard shell especially when they shed their exoskeleton. There are over five hundred species of hermit crabs, and the one main factor that separates them all is whether they are terrestrial or ocean dwelling. This research project focuses on only the Terrestrial hermit crab. Each terrestrial crab can live up to 10 years and grow up to six inches in length. The two species that this research focuses on are Coenobita clypeatus and Pagurus pollicaris. Coenobita clypeatus are native to the Caribbean and has many common names such as purple pincher crab, Caribbean crab, etc. Pagurus pollicaris is native to North America and is typically found on the Atlantic coast. The goal of this research was to determine if there is a correlation between diet and the amount of adaptations that occur in the two species of hermit crabs. Adaptations that researchers will be looking for are things such as molting of an exoskeleton, shell change, and what type of shell each crab chooses to move into.

 

Authors: Bryce Schouboe

Session title: HEALTHY TURFGRASS WITHOUT NEGATIVE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS

Faculty sponsor: Russ Souchek

Field of study: Environmental Science

Session type: Poster

Abstract: This research investigated the issue of pollution of nitrogen through soil movement. Specifically, turfgrass fertilizers used in lawns across the country. The purpose of the research was to understand how the nitrogen in each different type of turf fertilizer moved through the soil. The goal of the research was to investigate which fertilizer had the least amount of nitrogen percolation while also seeing how it correlated to the appearance of the turf. Four different types of fertilizers were used and consisted of three synthetics (one being liquid, two granular) and one organic. Three different types of turfgrass were used, which were perennial ryegrass, fescue, and Kentucky bluegrass, which made 12 individual testing units. Fertilizing applications were applied to the specifications of the manufacturer. Soil testing for nitrogen was done every two weeks with the LaMotte Soil Test Kit.

 

Authors: Skylar Evans, Russ Souchek

Session title: LOWER BIG BLUE NATURAL RESOURCES DISTRICT INTERNSHIP

Faculty sponsor: Russ Souchek

Field of study: Environmental Science

Session type: Poster

Abstract: An internship was completed through the Lower Big Blue Naturals Resources District (LBB NRD). The LBB NRD office is located in Beatrice, Nebraska. The LBB NRD is known as the watershed capital of Nebraska, as a result of the number of dams which have installed in the LBB watershed for flood control. Through the completion of this internship, knowledge was learned about the steps the LBB NRD takes to manage and care for the numerous watersheds and dams in the LBB district. Some of the main aspects and knowledge which was collected included the management of the LBB NRD nine recreational sites and other wildlife areas. Another aspect was the spraying of LBB NRD and privately owned dams and spillways, during the internship approximately 260 dam and/or spillways were sprayed with chemicals and surfactant for wood vegetation and other noxious weed to insure and maintain the proper function of these structures. The last aspect was the collection of water samples to look at water quality and collected informations, on the established monitoring wells to look and water use effects on the aquifer. This internship provided a service to the communities within the LBB which includes Gage and Saline, and part of Jefferson and Pawnee Counties in southeast Nebraska, by assisting the people through the process of caring for recreational sites and watershed dams and water quality sampling. This experience will be helpful in relation to future careers by providing an opportunity to see what local NRDs are doing to protect the resources in their areas of responsibility.

 

Authors: Bryce Wright

Session title: BEHAVIORAL ANALYSIS OF THE DECORATION HABITS OF DECORATOR CRABS DUE TO THE EFFECTS OF OCEAN ACIDIFICATION

Faculty sponsor: Russ Souchek

Field of study: Environmental Science

Session type: Poster

Abstract: Decorator crabs survive and camouflage themselves by taking pieces of coral and sponges and attaching them to their carapace. This preference differs from different part of the ocean in what types of materials they choose to use. Up the northern east coast they decorate themselves more with a certain type of seaweed but the further south down this coast the decorator crabs choose to use materials that help them blend in more efficiently. This experiment looks at how these crabs decorate themselves normally and their color preference. This study also looks at the effects of ocean acidification on decorator crabs and how it affects their decorating behavior. With water chemistry adjusted to simulate ocean acidification the crabs were given colored pieces of cloth to decorate themselves. The projected outcome of this experiment is that the crabs in the adjusted water will not camouflage themselves as well as in the control tank and will have differing behaviors from the control tank in terms of activity level and possible health issues. In the experiment it is seen that the crabs preferred yellow cloth to any other no matter the background. In the tank with the lowered pH there was a death one day after the change in water chemistry and reduced activity and decoration. In the increased salinity tank there was a noticeable change in the amount of rocks the crabs had on their carapace and one crab became aggressive and killed the other.

 

Authors: Riley Nedved, Chayton Crow & Dr. Tessa Durham Brooks

Session title: HEIGHT AND BIOMASS RESPONSES OF MAIZE GENOTYPES B73, CML103, AND MS71 WHEN EXPOSED TO A MILD COLD STRESS IN EARLY DEVELOPMENT

Faculty sponsor: Dr. Tessa Durham Brooks

Field of study: Environmental Science

Session type: Poster

Abstract: The human population is growing across the world which requires that more food be produced. An important crop to help address this problem is corn. Eighty million acres of land are designated to corn which equals 90% of the grain grown in the country. As the number one crop in the United States, corn is a valuable asset to the American economy. It creates jobs in farming and business. Corn is able to be used as corn meal, corn syrup, ethanol, biofuels, and many other products. With so many people relying on the success of corns’ growth, it is essential that new solutions are found to insure that maize plants produce a higher yield. One possible solution to increasing yield is starting the growing season a few weeks earlier. The main problem with this solution is that there is a greater chance that plants will need to successfully grow in colder temperatures. Finding genotypes that are better suited to grow in colder temperatures would be beneficial to increasing yield. Previously in experiments at Doane University used twelve genotypes, and a few of them have been identified as potential cold tolerant candidates. This experiment will test these genotypes’ ability go grow after a 10  cold stress delivered for twenty-four hours at three days after germination. Growth of the plants were recorded regularly and biomass of shoots and roots were taken after 10 weeks.

 

Authors: Chayton Crow

Session title: THE EFFECTS ON PLANT HEALTH FROM TEMPORARY EXPOSURE TO COLD STRESS FOR DIFFERENT MAIZE GENOTYPES DURING EARLY DEVELOPMENT

Faculty sponsor: Tessa Durham Brooks

Field of study: Environmental Science

Session type: Poster

Abstract: Maize is an extremely important crop in the world, and is the most productive crop grown in the United States. It would be beneficial to the yield and health of the crop if we could expand the duration of its growing season. However, planting earlier in the season exposes the maize seedling to colder temperatures. A cold stress on a maize seedling could affect its germination rate, health, and yield. The main objective of this study was to look at the growth and biomass of the maize plant, after being cold stressed as an indicator of whether the plant is cold-tolerant. In the three year study experiments were conducted in the field for 2016 and 2017, and then a final experiment was done just in the greenhouse for 2018. Each seedling was cold stressed after three days of germination, and stressed at a temperature of 10 degrees Celsius for 24 hours. The control group was kept at a temperature of 23 degrees Celsius for 24 hours.

Measurements of root biomass, shoot biomass, root density, and shoot length were taken. Out of the 12 genotypes used in this study we found that CML103 and CML322 were the most tolerant of all genotypes, NC350 and NC358 were canalized genotypes, then Ki3 and Ky21 were most susceptible to the cold stress.

 

Authors: Drew McClellen, Russ Souchek

Session title: EFFECTS OF LIGHT INTENSITY ON CONVICT CICHLIDS

Faculty sponsor: Russ Souchek

Field of study: Environmental Science

Session type: Poster

Abstract: Animals have been known to act differently under different light conditions. This is evident in animal’s behavior during the day and at night. Different light intensities could have an influence on aggression levels. Animals are aggressive in order to protect their young, protect their food, fight for a mate, and protect their territory. Cichlid fish in particular are known for being very territorial, invasive and aggressive. Research has shown mixed results on the ability of fish to adapt to different light intensities. The purpose of this study was to determine the light intensity at which convict cichlid fish become more aggressive. For the experiment, a resident fish was put under a certain light intensity for 24 hours. After the 24 hours, a glass tube containing an intruder fish was inserted into the tank surrounded by a PVC pipe. The PVC cover pipe was removed after 15 minutes. Following the removal of the PVC pipe, a controller connected to a computer program was used to calculate how many times the cichlid fish attacked and the amount of time elapsed between each attack.

 

Authors: Colin Bramhall, Russel Souchek

Session title: NITRATE FILTRATION THROUGH WHEAT AND PEANUT GROWTH AT DIFFERENT DEPTHS

Faculty sponsor: Russel Souchek

Field of study: Environmental Science

Session type: Poster

Abstract: The rapid increase of nitrogen amendments to the soil for agricultural uses has led to the pollution of our water systems. The extra nitrogen not used by plants washes out into our groundwater or runs off into lakes, rivers, and oceans. This unnatural increase of nitrogen generates an explosion of life unable to be contained by predators resulting in the death of that new life. The decomposition of these organisms uses oxygen resulting in hypoxic regions killing everything within the area. To discover an efficient use of nitrogen, resulting in less nitrogen pollution, a variety of crops were grown at different depths to determine the crops efficiency in collecting nitrogen from the soil. These crops were the grass from the collection site (Bromus inermis), peanuts (Arachis hypogaea), and wheat (Triticum aestivum) which were grown on a soil core at depths of either 12 or 8 inches. Every third day, crops were watered. At the end of the experiment, the percolated water was collected. The amount of water and nitrogen added to the plants is scaled down to be equivalent to nitrogen added to an acre compared to the size of a soil core. To determine the most efficient use of nitrogen, more research needs to be conducted.

 

Authors: Shingirayi Kamucheka, Chris Wentworth

Session title: BIOREMEDIATION OF CONTAMINATED GROUNDWATER USING ARTHROBACTER AURESCENS TC1

Faculty sponsor: Chris Wentworth

Field of study: Environmental Science

Session type: Poster
Abstract: Residents of rural areas in Nebraska and other Midwestern states often obtain drinking water for themselves and livestock from groundwater that suffers from herbicide contamination.  Filter systems can be expensive to operate, so there is interest in developing bioremediation technologies. The bacteria species Arthrobacter aurescens TC1 shows promise in metabolizing the herbicide atrazine.  In this investigation, a suspended-cell culture of A. aurescens TC1 is studied in a batch reactor using minimal media containing glucose and atrazine.

 

 

Authors: Kelli Albracht, AdreAnna Ernest, Nick Iwata, Lauren Schmidt, Alisha Sullivan

Session title: DEVELOPMENT OF A WEB SITE FOR DOANE'S INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS

Faculty sponsor: Timothy Hill

Field of study: Honors

Session type: Oral

Abstract: Much of Doane's vision for its future is focused on its international programs. Despite this fact, the programs' web sites are missing content that would help orient students as they prepare to study abroad, or to attend Doane from beyond America's borders. We have studied the gaps in the current web offerings and designed supplementary materials, in consultation with the International Office and the Office of Communication and Marketing. We will discuss the needs we found and show how we met them.

Authors: John Morton
Session title: SIMPLIFYING SUPERCOMPUTER SETUP WITH THE XSEDE-COMPATIBLE BASIC CLUSTER
Faculty sponsor: Alec Engebretson
Field of study: Information Science & Technology
Session type: Oral
Abstract: Creating a supercomputer can be a complicated, frustrating and highly technical process. To help simplify the process, the National Science Foundation (NSF) funds the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) which provides a set of tools and services for supercomputers. The XSEDE-Compatible Basic Cluster (XCBC) was created by XSEDE in order to help small science departments create supercomputers to educate students on modern research methods. The XCBC installs the necessary packages to make a supercomputer compatible with other XSEDE tools. Much of this simplified setup comes from the open source management tool called Ansible. Using Ansible Playbooks, which are files that control the setup process in the order specified in the playbook, the process of setting up a supercomputer can be dramatically simplified. This project involved creating effective documentation designed to be used by faculty and students in small science departments. This documentation provides  the necessary steps for how to create an XCBC. The documentation can be used for both physical and virtual clusters. This project tested the documentation by having science students attempt to create a virtualized XCBC. This presentation will describe an XCBC, the process of creating an XCBC, the tutorial produced to create an XCBC, the testing of that tutorial by having science students create a virtualized XCBC, and how that documentation can be improved based on student feedback.
 

Authors: Dustin Axline

Session title: RASPBERRY PI CLUSTER

Faculty sponsor: Alec Engebretson

Field of study: Information Science & Technology

Session type: Oral

Abstract: Raspberry Pi’s are small, wallet-sized computers. Although costing around $35 or less, these computers are capable of running programs from word processors and spreadsheets to even games. When two or more of these Pi’s are connected together they create a cluster.  Clusters form today’s supercomputers. A cluster is a very powerful form of computing. It uses the power of all of its computers or worker nodes to perform major tasks very quickly. It spreads the workload to all the nodes, each performing smaller tasks, then sends the results back to the head node to compile all of the outcomes into a final result.

As a senior seminar project, a Raspberry Pi cluster was created and a sample application developed that used the cluster.  The cluster consisted of a number of Raspberry Pi’s owned by the Doane University Department of Information Science and Technology. The project started with the configuration of a single Raspberry Pi, cloning a second Pi from the first, creating a cluster with those two Pi’s, running a test application on both, and then finally scaling up the cluster to include multiple Raspberry Pi’s and running a test application on the larger cluster.

In this presentation, I will describe the process I went through to create a Raspberry Pi cluster, provide information on the final cluster and how it works, and walk through the parallel processing program developed to test the cluster.

 

Authors: Cody Lee

Session title: UPGRADING IST DEPARTMENT’S EDUCATIONAL VMWARE INFRASTRUCTURE

Faculty sponsor: Alec Engebretson

Field of study: Information Science & Technology

Session type: Oral

Abstract: VMware, a subsidiary of Dell Technologies, provides platform virtualization software and cloud-computing services. Vsphere is an umbrella term for VMware’s many different server virtualization products that provide a complete infrastructure for virtualization. For VMware server virtualization, a hypervisor is installed on a physical server allowing for multiple virtual machines (VMs) to run on a single physical server. The user can then use the vCenter server application to manage the VMs, allocate storage and set other specifications. My senior project involved deploying new virtual servers on a new physical device, and the migration of data from old servers to the new. The new servers will house a production environment and a testing environment for Doane’s Information Science and Technolgoy (IST) students and faculty. These servers will allow students to access resources and tools from any device on Doane’s network without having to store data on the actual devices being used to access the servers. My presentation will describe the process I went through to obtain the physical server, set up the VMs and access the servers, manage and allocate resources to the different VMs, and migrate the data.  In the future, an expansion on this project would be implementation of a VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) environment. This allows for a desktop image to be delivered over the network to an endpoint device. Users could then use resources from the desktop image as if stored locally on the device.

 

Authors: Alexander Stout

Session title: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN VIRTUAL REALITY

Faculty sponsor: Alec Engebretson

Field of study: Information Science & Technology

Session type: Oral

Abstract: The Doane Computer Science Department acquired a virtual reality (VR) system in 2018, creating research opportunities for students. This particular project combined working with the VR system and machine learning, an area of artificial intelligence. Specifically, this project implemented an artificial neural network that allows a computer player to autonomously play a modified game of racquetball on the VR system. This project involved making modifications to the existing racquetball game (initially created by another student), collecting data about the racket and ball, training an artificial neural network to recognize when and where to swing the racket at the ball, and finally, implementing the trained artificial neural network into the game so the computer player can consistently and autonomously swing at and hit the ball. In my presentation, I will focus on the VR game modifications developed, major problems faced and their solutions, as well as the process of coding and training an artificial neural network. A virtual demonstration will also be provided."

 

Authors: Justin Matthews, Brea Murnan, Grace Su, Kiley Taylor, Catie Welty

Session title: THE DIVAS PROJECT: TEACHING BIOLOGICAL AND PHYSICAL SCIENTISTS TO CODE

Faculty sponsor: Mark Meysenburg

Field of study: Information Science & Technology

Session type: Oral

Abstract: Our presentation describes our experiences with the DIVAS (Digital Imaging and Vision Applications in Science) Project. Our coding experience started with a five day coding boot-camp in mid-May of 2018 in Austin, Texas at St. Edward’s University and continued throughout the summer where we worked on both group and individual projects. During the five day boot-camp, we obtained skills in bash, git, Python, and OpenCV. The individual research projects, focused on scientific problems, including detection and quantification of free amines secreted by maize roots, detection of the number of plaques on a media plate, writing translations of Python code to C++, parallelizing a piece of Python code, and detection of bone edges in x-ray images.
 

 

Authors: Alan Varela

Session title: ANALYSIS OF CRAM WITH HOUSE SHAPED DOMINOS

Faculty sponsor: Kris Williams

Field of study: Mathematics

Session type: Poster
Abstract: Combinatorial game theory is a branch of mathematics concerned with studying sequential games with perfect information. The game of Cram is played on an empty n-by-m grid where n and m are natural numbers. Rather than use dominos, this project will study the game of Cram played with different sized dominoes rather than the original regular size. The change in the size of the piece will lead to a different game and analysis from the game of Cram. Thus the goal is to analyse what different kinds of games can come from manipulating both the dominoes and later the size of the game board and the amount of dominoes that can be laid on the gameboard itself. Additionally, we will analysis what are the best winning strategies for each game type and if the first player has an advantage or the second player has an advantage, and then explain what exactly is the winning strategy that a player can use to guarantee a win every time.

 


Philosophy
 

Authors: MaKayla Parriott

Session title: STARTING FROM CREATION- PROVIDING A SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM OF EVIL

Faculty sponsor: Pat Monaghan

Field of study: Philosophy

Session type: Poster

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to provide a solution to the problem of evil. The problem of evil was a term coined in 1955 by J. L. Mackie who believed that God cannot exist because evil exists in the world. Mackie believed that God is, by definition, an omnipotent, omniscience and omnibenevolent being, and therefore  would not allow evil to be present. However, evil is present and therefore God cannot exist. I will be providing a solution to this problem by starting from the creation of the universe and explaining how a loving, powerful, and knowledgeable God would allow evil into the world.

 

Authors: Elle Jurgens

Session title: ETHICS OF IMMIGRATION

Faculty sponsor: Pat Monaghan

Field of study: Philosophy

Session type: Poster
Abstract: This is a philosophical debate of the ethics of immigration, as it applies to political policies of border control, that offers a comprehensive analysis of currently open and closed border ideas and strategies, with a final conclusion of a perspective and solvent of open borders that is provided by myself with stipulated conditions. My presentation includes primary arguments for both closed and open borders from other established philosophers and philosophical texts. My inspection of said theories and idea are included with details analysis of anticipated flaws in both arguments, as seen as ethical, political and economic conflicts in the processes of immigration. My final conclusion, that open borders are most suited ethically with my varied conditions, is in response, and as a solvent, to the flaws previously acknowledged in the already discussed concepts of open and closed border and is supported additionally with my further reflection and replies to possible counterarguments against my well-supported conclusion. My project is of theoretical nature as it studies theories of immigration rather than actual political and social movements and events of immigration but is well applied to current political legislative acts, as well as, the realistic future application of a world government, as implied in my theory of open borders.
 


Physics
 

Authors: Sandro Aldana, Cale Stolle

Session title: POWER GENERATION THROUGH THE USE OF THE TRIBOELECTRIC EFFECT

Faculty sponsor: Cale Stolle

Field of study: Physics

Session type: Poster

Abstract: The problem was to find a new way of power generation through the use of the triboelectric effect. Throughout the summer, many experiments were done to figure out the best materials to cause a large reaction for the triboelectric effect, to better understand the triboelectric effect, and to see where this type of technology is headed to. New information was found regarding the triboelectric effect in its uses of power generation. At the end, a prototype was created and tested to prove the effectiveness of cheap materials to create an electric field. The final step was now to prove the differences in mediums traveling through a strong electric field.

 

Authors: Sarah Vaughn, Helena Valquier-Flynn, Arin Suitlief, Chris Wentworth

Session title: FOURIER ANALYSIS OF BIOFILM MORPHOLOGY IN PSEUDOMONAS AERUGINOSA BIOFILMS GROWN UNDER CHANGING SHEAR STRESS CONDITIONS

Faculty sponsor: Chris Wentworth

Field of study: Physics

Session type: Poster

Abstract: The development of biofilm morphology involves a complex interplay of biological, chemical, and physical conditions and processes that operate at various time scales.  Untangling the effect of these properties on morphological development is challenging. Previous experimental work has focused on morphological properties such as surface coverage, surface roughness, textural entropy, biovolume, and interfacial area.  In this investigation, we explore uncovering more subtle structural patterns in microscopic images through the use of Fourier transforms. The images were obtained on P. aeruginosa biofilms using a microfluidics device that can maintain a constant shear stress of the fluid media across the film, coupled with fluorescent microscopy to obtain images as a function of time.  Preliminary results are presented of the Fourier analysis of images as a function of time taken at different shear stress values.

 

Authors: Matthew Antholz, Sandro Aldana, Jason Osantowski, Turner Hill

Session title: C.A.L.E.R.

Faculty sponsor: Dr. Cale Stolle

Field of study: Physics

Session type: Poster

Abstract: Robotics is a very diverse discipline with applications in almost every practice. To build a working robot skills from engineering, physics, computer programming must be merged along with experience in machining and design. Doane University has never had a robotics branch in the past and so the purpose of this year’s senior design team is to create the first prototype of a robot which will be used as a recruiting tool for future students to work on. The goal for this robot is to be able to drive over all terrains while being remotely controlled and have the capability to use a variety of applications. This required the practice of designing the build of the robot such as framework for support, layout to determine center of mass, the gears and chains to ensure smooth conduct, and the overall shape so the robot is able to be used with modular applications. Apart from the structure, a quality programming system is necessary. The electronic components are designed for the robot to be wirelessly controlled using an Xbox controller. With the controller the robot is able to drive, turn, and use the applications.

 

Authors: Matt Antholz

Session title: FORCE CALCULATING BLOCKING SLED

Faculty sponsor: Cale Stolle

Field of study: Physics

Session type: Poster

Abstract: The goal of this research has been to design and build a blocking sled that can measure the amount of force for every hit the sled takes. The sled is used to find the optimal three point stance for an offensive linemen. The force applied to the sled from every impact is measured by a soft potentiometer attached to the sled. The soft potentiometer is also attached to an analog to digital converter and a raspberry pi that will produce the force measured on a small screen. The three point stance can be optimized by changing the angles of the knees, hips, and hands on all the participants who will be hitting the sled. The data is analyzed to find what angles produce the most force. The motivation behind this research was to find new ways to change and improve on the traditional blocking sled model. Seeing that the blocking sled has not changed much throughout the years, there are many open opportunities to improve on this model and come up with a new design. The blocking sled can be used to develop new applications for the traditional blocking technique that can be used by any level of competition.

 

Authors: Jason Osantowski, Kieran Lynch

Session title: SYSTEM AVOIDANCE CODE

Faculty sponsor: Chris D. Wentworth

Field of study: Physics

Session type: Poster

Abstract: With technology progressing at an ever faster rate, the construction of sophisticated machines that was once only achievable by large government agencies is now possible for most people. Merging together engineering, physics, and computer programming, allows us to have the basic knowledge required to create a model for a robotic rover through CAD software, as well as create an obstacle avoidance algorithm to be implemented into the machine. The purpose of this project is to create a prototype code that can be implemented into any rover with a similar collection of sensors compared to our model. Future iterations of these instructions will allow any robotic vehicle to have more autonomy, depending on the task it is trying to accomplish.  

 

Authors: Turner Hill

Session title: SWING SLING

Faculty sponsor: Dr Cale Stolle

Field of study: Physics

Session type: Poster
Abstract: There have been many attempts at making exoskeletons by providing a structure around the legs and arms that bends in the same way the human body does. The problem with these is that they are unable to stretch in the same means as the joints do. In order to fix this, Dr Cale Stolle is working on a new exoskeleton that supports the user by leaving the joints free and utilizing proprioception and leg supports that bend inversely to the joints. This exoskeleton needs a body support system based on the issues that are commonly found in the users at rehabilitation services along with the necessities required by Dr Stolle’s exoskeleton. It can be used to provide full-weight body support, is comfortable enough to wear long term, and universal in order to provide an ease of adornment from user to user. In order to accomplish these goals, the structure to support the user was designed first. This ensured that full body weight was a realistic aspect. The main structure composed of a bar behind the body with a seat to support it and straps to hold the user in. This first iteration proved successful in terms of goals of the project however it was not aesthetic enough and applicable to the market as is. The second iteration featured a simpler back support with a much more adequate application to the market such as ease of production, utilization, and its aesthetics. This project will be continued and adapted by future students.


Sociology
 

Authors: Samantha Schmidt, Katie Meyer

Session title: EFFECTS OF POSITIVE MENTORING ON JUVENILE DELINQUENCY

Faculty sponsor: Kari Gentzler

Field of study: Sociology

Session type: Poster

Abstract: Undergraduate experience with mentoring juvenile delinquents and how having a positive mentor has affected the juvenile.

 

Authors: Hunter Bond, Hannah Bottom

Session title: BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN DIFFERENCES IN MALE AND FEMALE DELINQUENCY

Faculty sponsor: Kari Gentzler

Field of study: Sociology

Session type: Poster
Abstract: This presentation will discuss the challenges of mentoring an at-risk youth; as well as, addressing the differences between having a female and male mentee.


Spanish
 

Authors: Natalie Andersen

Session title: ¿COMO SE USAN LOS TIDLES? SPELLING ACCURACY IN HERITAGE AND SECOND LANGUAGE SPANISH LEARNERS

Faculty sponsor: Joshua Pope

Field of study: Spanish

Session type: Oral

Abstract: Spanish is a primary oral/aural language  for heritage speakers (HS) of Spanish. A heritage speaker is a person raised in a home speaking a non-majority language. Many HSs learn the language from listening to others in an informal context. Therefore they show high abilities of speaking and listening, but have lower abilities when it comes to reading and writing (Schwartz, 2003). Collaborating with my faculty sponsor, Joshua Pope, I carried out my project. The main goal was to learn more about the efficacy of Spanish for Spanish speakers (SSS) courses, as related to orthography, or spelling, a research gap demonstrated by Beaudrie (2017) with a focus on the orthographic skills of heritage speakers who have and have not taken language classes that are designed to meet their needs. Participant groups were comprised of participants who have completed at least one SSS class. Participants who have not taken an SSS class form the second group. I then examined the data to answer the following questions: What is the difference in orthographic abilities between heritage learners who have taken SSS courses and those who have not? Specifically which orthographic errors such as b/v, h/no h etc. are most commonly missed.  What demographic patterns are related to the results? Results indicate frequent and varied errors for various reasons, including academic experience with Spanish. In the presentation I detail the objectives, process, and outcomes of the project that show which spelling and accent errors are most commonly used.

 

Authors: Jesús Lopez

Session title: LATINOS IN NEBRASKA: ORAL HISTORIES OF THE HEARTLAND

Faculty sponsor: Jared List

Field of study: Spanish

Session type: Oral
Abstract: During the summer of 2018, I conducted the “Latinos in Nebraska: Oral Histories from the Heartland” oral history project with my faculty sponsor, Jared List. The storytelling project contributes to a historical understanding of the presence of Latinos in Nebraska. Individuals in the community shared their stories through recorded interviews where their presence is made known. These interviews were transcribed and translated and made available to the public to view. These individuals had the opportunity to share their unique stories and give some insight on their experiences living in Nebraska as a Latino.


Theatre

 

Authors: Jack Wagner

Session title: UBU THE KING SCENIC DESIGN

Faculty sponsor: Joel Egger

Field of study: Theatre

Session type: Exhibition
Abstract: This will be an exhibition of my realized scenic design for Ubu the King, written by Alfred Jarry and adapted by Robin McKercher. I will be offering a retroactive look at the process, from the first concept meeting to the final show. The exhibition will also show the emulated style of the fine artist pair Christo and Jeanne-Claude and how the themes of their work have been integrated into the play. This display will include sample set pieces, a display board, a multi-media element, and a rough scale model.