2011 research symposium

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26th Annual Research Symposium

NORTH CAROLINA SCHOOL OF SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS

MAY 16, 20111:30-4:15 p.m.

Ademide Adelekun Analysis of acceptability and knowledge of HPV & cervical cancer among participants of My Body My Test study (Mentors and Teachers: Jennifer Smith - UNC Chapel Hill; John Kirk - NCSSM) Abstract: There is some disagreement among the scientific world in regards to the significance of HPV knowledge and acceptability on attitudes toward sexual health. I will analyze results from a subset of NC women who are at high risk of HPV contraction that participated in HPV self-test with an embedded survey to see if the data supports my hypothesis that HPV knowledge and vaccine acceptability are both positively correlated to positive attitudes toward sexual health. Based on the data analysis conducted, the null hypothesis that women who return the kit will have the same knowledge score was rejected and an alternative hypothesis can be supported. There was a significant statistical difference in these values, as supported by the Z score of -3.38. The null hypothesis that women who return the kill will have the same acceptability as those who do not was accepted. No significant statistical difference between the acceptability score was found when comparing women who did and did not return their kit. The calculated Z score was .096 and for a standard confidence interval of 95%, a score with a magnitude greater than 1.96 was needed. Avi Aggarwal Effect of thiol containing amino acids on the environmental fate of silver nanoparticles (Mentors and Teachers: Heileen Hsu-Kim - Duke Univ.; Myra Halpin - NCSSM) Abstract: Silver nanoparticles are frequently used in consumer goods because of their antimicrobial properties, but very little is known about their environmental implications. When released into aquatic systems, these particles can remain stable, aggregate and precipitate, or dissolve. Their fate is strongly influenced by organic ligands present in natural waters that may adsorb to particle surfaces and modify their reactivity. The thiol (S-H) group is known to have strong affinity for type B metals such as silver and can potentially attach on silver nanoparticle surfaces. In this project, we studied the effects of thiol containing ligands on silver nanoparticles. We assessed the function of the thiol-containing ligand in the dissolution and aggregation of citrate-coated silver nanoparticles using cysteine, an amino acid containing the thiol group, and serine, a structural analog of cysteine with a hydroxyl group instead of the thiol group. Attachment efficiencies of solutions with adjusted salinity containing cysteine, serine, or no ligands were calculated using time-resolved dynamic light scattering (DLS). Dissolved silver concentrations were measured through filtration and inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES). Our results show that thiols increased both aggregation and dissolution rates of the particles in cysteine solutions relative to serine and no ligand containing solutions. This confirms that the thiol group is critical in the mechanism for cysteine simultaneously sorbing to the nanoparticles and promoting their dissolution.

Avi Aggarwal, Amy Xie SpaceSleeper: An effective sleep solution for space and beyond (Mentors and Teachers: Myra Halpin - NCSSM) Abstract: Astronauts are subject to several conditions that reduce quality of sleep in space. This sleep deprivation can be detrimental to health and missions. To address this issue, we designed a sleeping pod to be implemented in the International Space Station. The features of this pod include comfort, privacy, versatility, collapsibility, noiselessness, melatonin-inducing lighting, air flow, room to stow personal items, and more. There are several terrestrial applications for this pod as well, including airplanes, ships, submarines, hospitals, airports, and trucks. Krunal Amin, Aakash Gandhi, Gayatri Rathod Discovery of competitive ligand interactions on the LasR signal for quorum sensing in Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Mentors and Teachers: Gary Kapral - Duke Univ.; Bob Gotwals, Amy Sheck - NCSSM) Abstract: The opportunistic human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa coordinates the expression of virulence factors using the process of quorum sensing, a signaling cascade triggered by the activation of the protein LasR signal receptor by high densities of a small-molecule autoinducer. Blocking the quorum sensing network in P. aeruginosa has known potential as a highly effective mechanism for attenuating virulence factors to treatment without increasing the likelihood of antibiotic resistance. The signal receptor has been postulated to be the ideal target for quorum sensing inhibition (QSI), through the mechanism of competitive antagonism by the introduction of small-molecule ligands. Previous studies have demonstrated that, in virtual docking screens, the compounds tamoxifen, sertraline, pimethixene, terfenadine, fendiline, and calmidazolium act as QSI compounds in the paradigmatic LuxIR quorum sensing-system of Vibrio fischeri. Here, we apply several computational methods to analyze the potential of these known QSI compounds as competitive antagonists to the complex of LasR and its autoinducer ligand. Preliminary procedures revealed five cavities in the LasR crystal structure in which ligands could potentially bind. In a global docking study of the cavities in LasR, calmidazolium, terfenadine, and tamoxifen were found to be energetically favorable over the autoinducer, thereby demonstrating their potential as competitive antagonists. The objective of future studies would focus on the use of more complex computation methods to determine the effect (inhibitory or otherwise) that calmidazolium, terfenadine, and tamoxifen has on the protein structure of LasR after binding to a given active site.

Elizabeth Ball Disney and DreamWorks: What Messages Are They Sending? An Analysis of Gender Roles in Disney and Dreamworks Movies (Mentors and Teachers: Karen Glumm - NCSSM) Abstract: The things that people watch, read, and listen to in their daily lives affect them. Because of this, it is important to understand the messages that these media are sending. Children are even more impressionable than the general population, so it is even more important to understand the messages in childrens movies. One important thing to understand is how these movies portray gender roles. Which gender is more dominant? More submissive? This is what I set out to discover with my research project. Specifically, I looked at how movies with similar plots, released between 1998 and 2006 by two commonly known rivals, Walt Disney Productions and DreamWorks Animations, differ in regard to the portrayal of gender roles. Michael Bai, Isaac Loh Investigation of a Randomly Colored Chain (Mentors and Teachers: Dan Teague - NCSSM) Abstract: This is an investigation of a simple (no loops or multiple edges), connected graph of n vertices. We play a game where each vertex has its own color (designated by capital letters) which may be viewed in a social context as an individuals particular viewpoint. On each turn of the game, a vertex is selected at random (with probability 1/n) and changes its color (viewpoint) randomly to the color of one of its neighbors, vertices directly adjacent to that vertex. We attempt to predict the probability of vertices winning in the graph given their location, color, and connectedness- and the attributes of other points in the graph. Kaitlyn Bacon Evidence the Risk of Anencephaly is Influenced by Genetic Variation of NOS,MYT1L, and INADL Genes (Mentors and Teachers: Allison Ashley-Koch - Duke Center for Human Genetics; John Kirk - NCSSM) Abstract: Anencephaly is a complexly inherited birth defect that occurs when the neural tube fails to close properly at the cranially end. It has been shown the defect is influenced by both genetics and environmental risk factors. In particular, neural tube closure depends heavily on the folate-methionine pathway. Nitric Oxide Synthase (NOS) has been shown to regulate the methionine synthase activity required for neural tube closure in this pathway, making the NOS gene family candidate genes. Additionally, anencephaly may be dependent on proper tight junction and epithelial migration associated with the INADL gene. The association of MY1TL and anencephaly was also explored due to its high activity in the fetal brain and spinal cord, which result from neural tube closure. The significance of INADL and MYT1L was evaluated in data from 126 families using both a pedigree disequilibrium test and

a genotype-pedigree disequilibrium test. A case control regression analysis was used for NOS examining data from 205 case mothers and 233 control mothers. Each INADL and MYT1L SNP was significant for anencephaly, while only 5 NOS SNPs were significant for anencephaly. The statistical analysis completed suggests an association between INADL, MYT1L, NOS genes and anencephaly. A true association between MYT1L and anencephaly is further supported by a deviation in Hardy Weinberg Equilibrium observed for a specific MYT1L SNPs. Further research is needed to see if these genes are associated with neural tube defects as a whole or just specifically anencephaly. Karsyn Bailey The Effect of a High-fat Diet on Posttraumatic Arthritis after Intraarticular Fracture (Mentors and Teachers: Steven Olson - DUMC ; John Kirk - NCSSM) Abstract: Obesity is a major risk factor in the development of osteoarthritis. Obesity can cause an inability to maintain peak bone mass and consequently causes an accelerated onset and a greater prevalence of osteoarthritis. In this study, we examined bone morphology changes after intraarticular fracture in C57BL/6J mice fed a high-fat diet, and subsequently the effect of a high-fat diet on the development of posttraumatic arthritis. The research was conduct

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