Festival of Scholars

An annual celebration of research, scholarship, and creativity

Science Showcase: Poster Session

Date: Friday, May 3, 2013
Time: 10:30am - 12:00pm
Location: Soiland Recreation Center
Description: Students from disciplines in the Natural Science Division will present their results in an interactive poster format. The featured research comes from honors and Capstone projects, class assignments, and faculty-directed collaborative efforts.

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Student Abstracts at this Session

Student(s):
Thelma Alvarez

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Kristopher Karsten
The Relationship Between Bite Force and Temperature in the Lizard Sceloporus occidentalis

In lizards, performance of ecologically-relevant tasks carries important consequences for survival and reproduction (e.g., sprinting to escape predators and biting to win fights). However, physiological performance can vary greatly in ectothermic lizards depending on temperature. In the western fence lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis), sprint speed has a relatively narrow performance curve with a peak around 35ºC. However, because biting can be beneficial for winning fights and eating prey, ectothermic lizards may have more broad optimal performance temperatures for bite performance. I tested how environmental temperatures affects bite performance. Across nine randomized temperatures between 15-38ºC, I measured maximum bite force performance in 19 males. There was a significant effect of temperature, with males not biting as hard at the colder temperatures, but being relatively unaffected across all other temperatures. I found that in this species, bite force performance is less sensitive to temperature when compared to previous research on sprint performance.




Student(s):
Andrew Anderson

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Kristopher Karsten
The Correlation Between Female Choice and Abdominal Coloration in the Lizard Sceloporus occidentalis

In lizards, female mate choice is generally rare. Instead, male lizards often increase mating success through male-male competition and increased fighting ability, which can exclude rivals from mating opportunities. Male Sceloporus occidentalis lizards show their blue abdominal badges to other males during territorial behavior. I tested the hypothesis that the size of a male’s abdominal blue badge may act as a secondary sexual character in attracting females. I measured the size of blue and black abdominal patches, body size, and bite force and calculated the number of females and males within 5m of 15 test males. I found that larger males have access to more females, but there was no evidence that larger blue patches increased the number of nearby females. However, males with larger blue patches and stronger bite force (both corrected for body size) had fewer nearby males, thereby increasing potential mating success by aggressive exclusion.




Student(s):
Joshua Appel

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Kristopher Karsten
Comparing Different Techniques to Prevent Bacterial Contamination on Toothbrush Bristles

Environmental contaminants can remain viable between brushing on exposed toothbrushes. A common practice to prevent exposure to contaminants is to place a plastic cap around the bristles when not in use. In this experiment, I tested the hypothesis that capping the bristles prevents bacterial contamination. I measured bacterial growth on four different toothbrushes (capped/uncapped and electric/conventional) after brushing my teeth for a three week period. I also tested different disinfecting techniques for reducing the contamination on the toothbrush bristles. The capped conventional toothbrush had twice the bacterial contamination as the uncapped conventional toothbrush. The electric toothbrush had 54-58 times more bacteria than even the capped conventional toothbrush, with the uncapped electric being higher than the capped (700x10^6 CFUs vs. 654x10^6 CFUs, respectively). Storing the toothbrushes in mouthwash between brushing substantially reduced the levels of bacterial contamination in both conventional and electric toothbrushes after a two week period.




Student(s):
Marilyn Arceo

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Grady Hanrahan
Development of Scalable Swarm Intelligence Methodology on a Parallel Computing Framework

The swarm intelligence (SI) computing paradigm has proven itself as a comprehensive means of solving complicated analytical chemistry problems by emulating biologically-inspired processes. As global optimum search metaheuristics, associated algorithms have been widely used in training neural networks, function optimization, prediction and classification, and in a variety of process-based analytical applications. This work showcases the development of particle swarm optimization (PSO) and ant colony optimization (ACO) algorithms on a parallel computing framework. Considerations were given to algorithm development, ease of implementation and neural network model performance, detailing future influences on a number of application areas in the analytical, bioanalytical, and detection sciences. Overall, dedicated coding activities were achieved with critical insight into the efficacy of SI and computing tools as methods for solving complex chemical problems.




Student(s):
Shannon Beagin

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Craig Reinhart
Tetris Development and Conversion from Windows to Android

Introduction: As the demand for Apple and Android applications increases, website and software developers are looking for ways to quickly and smoothly transition their existing code to run on their customers’ smart phones. Transitioning existing code to work in a new environment saves time and money that would normally be spent on developing and testing code. Purpose Statement: In this project, I document the complete process of converting a Tetris program that runs on the Java Integrated Development Environment (IDE) to run on the Android Java IDE. Methods: In order to properly document the process of this code transition, I develop a Tetris program from scratch that runs with the Java IDE on a Windows Operating System (OS). Once I demonstrate that it runs properly on the Windows OS, I proceed to transition my code so that it will run as a mobile application on my personal Android phone.




Student(s):
Emily Casarez

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Louise Kelly and Dr. Steven Hawkins (faculty co-authors)
Relationship of Sugary Beverage Intake, Body Composition and Living Arrangements in College Freshmen

College-aged students consume the most sugary beverages (SB). The purpose of this study was to examine SB consumption, body composition, and living arrangements among California Lutheran University (CLU) freshmen. 52 CLU freshmen students, 43 residential and 9 commuting, were given the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) to determine frequency of SB consumption. Bioelectrical impedance (BIA) was used to obtain their body fat percentage and Body Mass Index (BMI) was calculated. A significant difference was found for BMI between the two groups, with commuters having a higher mean BMI. No other data were found significant. Significance was determined by p ≤ 0.05. It was found that commuters have a higher BMI than residential students, with the mean BMI of 26.32. SB consumption appears to have no significant difference between commuting and residential students; however, BMI is significantly different between the two groups.




Student(s):
Tiffany Failing

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Michele LeBlanc
The Biomechanics of Consecutive a la Secondé Turns in Collegiate Dancers

Dance provides many opportunities for research on balance, turning sequences, and leaps. However, thorough biomechanical studies are scarce and could offer important insight into these complicated movements. A la secondé turns are described by the horizontal rotation of a straight gesture leg held at 90°, while arms and supporting knee flex and extend to complete a rotation. The purpose of this study was to determine how the mechanics of a la secondé turns differ within a sequence of turns. Collegiate dancers with at least four years formal dance training participated in this study. A six-camera Vicon motion capture system and a Kistler force plate were used to collect kinematic and ground reaction force (GRF) data during a series of four a la secondé turns. Dependent t-tests were used to compare GRFs, linear impulses, and ankle height between second and third turns (p < 0.05).




Student(s):
Derek Field
and Michael Evans

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Linda Ritterbush
Visualizing Size Increase in a Cambrian Arthropod: Implications for Survival and Distribution

Utilizing Z-stacking microscopy, previously reported increases in pygidial volume through ontogeny in a Late Cambrian agnostic arthropod from the Great Basin can now be assigned to specific morphologic areas. We report substantial progressive inflation in the deuterolobe and anterior lobe, but not the pleural regions, of Pseudagnostus communis. In the smallest specimens, the axial lode and the middle posterior portion of the deuterolobe display very slight expansion relative to other areas of the pygidium. An expanding deuterolobe in some taxa would have accommodated more rapid expansion of subcylindrical appendage "clubs" housed within the semi-enrolled agnostid carapace. Because these clubs are interpreted as oxygen-absorption structures, this expansion may explain: 1) the preferential survival of this species across a Late Cambrian (Stepoen/Sunwaptan) extinction boundary, and during a time interval with lower oxygen levels as reflected in carbon isotope curves; and 2) the latitudinal size cline observed in some cosmopolitan agnostids.




Student(s):
Morgan Fippinger

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Steven Hawkins
Effects of Self-Monitoring on Strength Improvements Following an 8-Week Resistance Training Program

Self-monitoring is the process of systematically recording target behaviors and is an effective tool for changing behaviors, losing weight, and increasing exercise adherence. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of self-monitoring on measures of strength. Twenty-five participants were separated into a self-monitoring (SM) group and a control group. All participants completed an 8-week resistance-training program. Additionally, the SM group recorded their load-volume for each session. One-repetition maximum (1RM) tests were performed pre- and post-training to measure strength changes. The SM group had a significantly greater increase in lower-body strength (1.32 ± 0.42 kg/kg body mass vs. 0.90 ± 0.43 kg/kg body mass, p = 0.02). The key findings in this study were that the SM group had greater strength gains over the control group for the lower body, and greater adherence rates. These data suggest that self-monitoring may be a useful tool to help enhance strength improvements and adherence rates with resistance training.




Student(s):
Melissa Flores

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Michele LeBlanc
Effects of Ground Reaction Forces and Kinematics on Ball Velocity in Two Styles of Windmill Pitch

The interest and participation of females in fastpitch softball is drastically increasing. Despite its ever growing popularity there is very little research investigating the windmill softball pitch. The purpose of this study was to determine the difference in the ground reaction forces and kinematics between two pitching techniques. Two separate days of participation were required. The subjects were shown a video of the desired pitching technique; they then practiced the technique until they felt comfortable. Once comfortable, the participant performed the technique 5 times and the average values for each trial were taken for analysis. Video analysis using Motus software was performed to obtain trunk inclination angle, hip, knee, and ankle flexion, and extension angles and force plate analysis using Bioware software was used to obtain ground reaction forces. Dependent t-tests were performed to determine differences between techniques (p ≤ 0.05).




Student(s):
Austin Garcia
and Vanessa Bui, Candice Quinton, and Aaron Roth

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Chad Barber
Heart Transplantation Awareness in California Lutheran University Students

Unfortunately, there is not enough public awareness about heart transplantation. Currently, about 3,000 people are on the waiting list for hearts. Many people do not know if they are registered to be a donor. Our aim is to raise awareness and educate the general public about the whole process of organ donation. We administered a brief survey to students and faculty of California Lutheran University (CLU) and results are pending. By increasing understanding we hope to be able to save more lives, increase awareness, and encourage more people to become organ donors.




Student(s):
Rola Hawatmeh
and Lauren Kennedy and Taryn Williams

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Dennis Revie
Isolating, Purifying and Identifying Nucleic Acid of Bacteriophages Collected from Soil at CLU

Being the most plentiful creature on Earth, the bacteriophage is the main focus of biotechnology because it can be easily manipulated and used as an alternative to antibiotics against resistant bacteria and as a bio-control agent. The purpose of this study was to isolate, purify and sequence nucleic acid from isolated bacteriophages collected from Kingsmen Creek soil at California Lutheran University, and to compare known sequences. Exposing soil samples to Escherichia coli, or E. coli, allowed bacteriophage amplification and purification through the use of plaque assays. Nucleic acid was then purified and confirmed by agarose gel electrophoresis and nanospectroscopy. This DNA sequence will be determined by the company htSeq, based in Seattle, Washington, and then compared to known bacteriophage sequences.




Student(s):
Shannon Hilton

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Barbara Collins and Dr. Andrea Huvard
Cross Contamination Through the Use of Reusable Shopping Bags

Cross contamination occurs when disease causing bacteria on food products are transferred to a non-contaminated food usually due to improper handling by the consumer which can lead to food borne illnesses. The purpose of this study is to determine if cross contamination can occur through the use of reusable shopping bags. Cloth and tarp reusable bags were used to transport meat and produce, the bags were swabbed immediately after transportation and through various dilutions the number of colony forming units was found using agar plates. It was also determined if the bacteria present was Escherichia coli. Additionally the viability of E. coli on the reusable bags along with plastic and paper bags was determined.




Student(s):
Ryan Howe

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Dennis Revie
Research on Bovine Milk Production Gene DGAT1 Alleles

Nutrition levels in mother’s milk directly affects the growth of calves. More nutritious milk leads to more mass at the time of slaughter. The DGAT1 gene increases the mother's ability to produce nutritious milk. This research was performed to observe the effects of DGAT1 alleles on calf weight, the better of which could be selectively bred to improve productivity. My goal was to see if cows with a more productive genotype of the DGAT1 gene ultimately produced larger calves. To accomplish this I obtained and purified DNA from the blood of fourteen cows. I then amplified the DNA using PCR. Then I attempted to sequence the gene but encountered a secondary structure problem. I would have then compared the genotype of the mothers with the recorded weight of their calves to see if there is a conclusive difference between the alleles.




Student(s):
Kelly Jensen

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Steven Hawkins
The Effects of Load Carriage and Fatigue on Lower Extremity Gait Characteristics

During basic training, six to 12 out of 100 military recruits become injured with fatigue and load carriage often playing a role. The purpose of this study was to observe the effect of gait on fatigue and load carriage. Subjects were college-aged students and were required to pass the IST for the USMC as well as to participate in four separate treadmill protocols: walking, walking with a load, walking after fatigue, and walking with a load after fatigue. Gait was recorded using a motion capture system. It was expected that walking with a load and fatigue will produce greater trunk, knee, and ankle flexion. It was also expected that walking with a load after fatigue will produce the greatest joint flexion in the lower body.




Student(s):
Raneem Khedraki
and Mike Mayers, Maggie Lemus, and Ryan Marder

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Chad Barber
Kidney Transplantation as a Public Awareness Issue at California Lutheran University

The kidney is the most commonly transplanted solid organ in the United States. Kidney transplantation is performed thousands of times each year, extending the life of recipients by an average of ten to fifteen years. Although this procedure has been in practice for over fifty years, the public understanding of the importance of kidney donation and the limits of transplantation is exceedingly low. We measured the level of knowledge regarding kidney transplantation among California Lutheran University students by means of survey. The need for further public education clearly indicated, we then educated members of the public regarding the increased need for kidney donation due to detrimental immunological effects of type mismatching. Our findings are presented.




Student(s):
Jude Kiesewetter

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Bryan Swig
Evaluation of the Effect of Wetland Restoration on Vegetation Abundance and Richness

The extensive loss of coastal wetlands can be mitigated by restoration efforts. Wetlands function as water filters, flood buffers, and as wildlife habitat for birds and animals. Restoring coastal wetland habitats with intact ecological functions remains a challenging task. Ventura Surfer’s Point is an example of a restored wetland in Ventura County, California. Its restoration took place in the winter of 2012 in an effort to increase wetland functioning. To evaluate immediate restoration success, monitoring of the vegetation abundance and richness pre and post restoration was undertaken. There was a significant reduction in vegetation abundance and richness from pre restoration to post restoration. This suggests that the restoration project did not increase the habitat’s ecological functioning. Perhaps other forms of restoration have to be considered for this area if ecological functioning is to be restored.




Student(s):
Chelsea Killen

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Dennis Revie
Effects of Gene Expression on the P53 and CD-81 Pathways Upon Entry of Hepatitis C Virus

Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) leads to a variety of chronic illnesses, including cirrhosis of the liver and hepatocellular carcinoma. Previous studies by others have looked at gene expression in hepatocytes. However, we are studying gene expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). The cells used in this study, U-937 cancer cells, are mononuclear cells that differentiate into macrophages. Macrophages are important in immune response and therefore important in viral infections such as HCV. RNA was purified from HCV infected and uninfected U-937 cells. The RNA was then reverse transcribed making complimentary DNA (cDNA). The cDNA was amplified using real time PCR to quantitate the amounts of mRNA expressed from CD81 and p53 genes, which are two different metabolic pathways. Significant increases or decreases in expression suggest the changes are due to the presence of HCV, and are therefore targets for further study.




Student(s):
Beatriz Kowalski

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Barbara Collins and Dr. Bryan Swig
Effects of Ampicillin, Chloramphenicol, and Tetracycline on Staphylococcus Aureus From Felis Catus

Staphylococcus aureus is a pathogenic bacterium responsible for causing disease such as localized and propagated staphylococcus infection and toxic shock syndrome. It is found in the nasal cavities of humans and fomites of the human environment. Certain strains of S. aureus have become resistant to commonly prescribed antibiotics. Common household pets may also harbor the bacterium. Felis catus, the domestic cat, is one such example. The purpose of this study is to determine if F. catus harbors antibiotic resistant S. aureus. Samples of the bacterium were swabbed and cultured from 13 subjects from the paw and oral and nasal cavities, and grown onto agar plates with and without antibiotic; ampicillin, chloramphenicol, and tetracycline respectively. It was found that the growth of S. aureus was significantly affected by the antibiotic added to the medium. To conclude, F. catus can harbor strains of S. aureus capable of growth in the presence of antibiotics.




Student(s):
Montana Lara
and Austin Garcia

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. David Marcey
Effects of Defective Proventriculus and Pannier on the Extra Eye Mutation in Drosophila melanogaster

In order to test the hypothesis that the extra eye mutation in Drosophila melanogaster produces over-proliferation of eye tissue due to a de-inhibition of signaling pathways that promote the eye developmental pathway, we are examining the effects of known mutations that perturb normal inhibition of eye fields within developing eye-antennal imaginal discs. The pannier and defective proventriculus gene products negatively regulate eye development, and mutations in these genes can produce enlarged eye fields. We are crossing these mutations to the extra eye (ee) stock in order to observe their effects on the conditional dominance of extra eye. We expect that these mutations will elevate extra eye penetrance relative to control balancer chromosomes. Data collection from the crosses is ongoing, and statistical analysis will be performed in order to assess the relative increase in extra eye penetrance.




Student(s):
Kirsten Larson

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Michael Shaw
Monocultures and Co-Cultures of S. Putrefaciens and S. Oneidensis in a Microbial Fuel Cell

The diminishing supply of fossil fuels has led to a global effort to develop novel renewable energy conversion strategies including microbial fuel cells (MFCs). MFCs operate by producing electricity via the breakdown of organic matter by living bacteria. The purpose of the present study was to characterize the electrical output of mono- and co-cultures of the Shewanella oneidensis and Shewanella putrefaciens bacterial species. Here we present the design of a novel MFC aimed at rapid screening of assays in MFC experiments. Furthermore, we found that co-cultures exhibited a steady-state open circuit voltage of 0.27V ± 0.02V, compared to 0.16V ± 0.04V for the monocultures, indicating potential synergistic interactions between the two species. Finally, scanning electron micrographs of the bacteria morphologies are presented. We conclude that these results demonstrate the feasibility of co-cultured MFCs comprising Shewanella oneidensis and Shewanella putrefaciens bacteria for enhanced output voltage.




Student(s):
Ryan Marder

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Andrea Huvard and Dr. Barbara Collins
Qualitative Analysis of S. Aureus and E. Coli on Right Front Paw and Oral Cavity of Canis Familiaris

Staphylococcus aureus, commonly found in air droplets and on most mammalian skin, can cause Staph infections, and has become resistant to certain antibiotics. Escherichia coli, found in soil, fecal matter, and the mammalian intestinal tract, causes dysentery and gastroenteritis. Both bacterial species can easily spread, causing mild to severe cases of infection. Swabs were collected on eight canines for the presence of S. aureus and E. coli in different breeds to observe if they transmitted zoonotic infections to other canines. It was expected that older, larger dogs living outside will accumulate the most bacteria. Also, it was expected that cohabitating dogs will transmit bacteria to each other. All the canines tested positive for S. aureus on both swabbed areas. Both the Great Dane and Black Labrador, who live together, had E. coli present on them. Besides S. aureus and E. coli, there were four other bacterial species present on the tested animals.




Student(s):
Neika Maryn

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Michele LeBlanc
The Acute Effects of Plantarflexor Muscle Fatigue on Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury Risk

Injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament are common in sports. Many factors are considered when studying probable risk for this injury, but few have focused on ankle biomechanics. The purpose of this study was to determine the acute effects of plantar flexor fatigue on ACL injury risk determined by a single-leg drop jump and a cutting maneuver. Sixteen college-age, recreationally active females with no prior lower extremity injuries in the past year were recruited. Two measures of ankle dorsiflexion range of motion were measured using a goniometer before and after a fatigue protocol. Vicon motion capture cameras and a Kistler force plate were used to gather data. Fatigue was induced by a Biodex dynamometer. Kinematic and kinetic data were analyzed using repeated-measures analyses of variance. Lower ankle dorsiflexion range of motion was expected to lead to increases in ACL injury risk.




Student(s):
Emily Masad

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Bryan Swig
The Implications of Seed Viability on Salt Marsh Restoration of Southern California

Habitat restoration has recently taken on many forms; regardless of the form the end goal is always the same, improved ecosystem functioning. In Ventura, California the salt marsh at Surfer’s Point is currently undergoing a restoration using a multi technique approach that is relying on seeding for the redevelopment of the halophyte community. By growing both Camissoniopsis cheiranthifolia and Atriplex watsonii under different conditions, I hope to show the seed’s reproductive ability and usefulness of the technique of restoration. The plants were grown in sediment conditions that had four different levels of organic content (0%, 5%, 10% and 15%) and all were watered with water with a salinity of 35. It was expected that the sediment with 15% organic content will produce the most growth and the 0% will produce the least amount of growth.




Student(s):
Emily Masad
and Carmen Cotsis and Jason Van Rijn

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Chad Barber
Public Awareness and Knowledge of Liver Transplantation at California Lutheran University

With 43% of the population listed as potential organ donors, transplantation is an important topic in public health, relevant to everyone. About 6,000 livers are transplanted annually, making this a useful focus for a survey assessing public knowledge of organ transplants. 100 students of California Lutheran University were given a five-question survey with a scope ranging from general transplantation facts to more specific biological questions. Organ transplantation was not expected to be a subject many people are familiar with even among an educated sample set. We found certain questions easier to answer with intuition while others seem to require more specific knowledge. The combination of these questions will raise general awareness about the importance of transplantation and hopefully convey a few interesting facts that one is unlikely to learn about without specialized education.




Student(s):
Ryan McAllister
and Montana Lara and Austin Garcia

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. David Marcey
Deduction of Relative STAT Expression in Extra Eye and Su(var)2-10 LOF Drosophila melanogaster

This study uses genetic methods to deduce levels of STAT expression in two genotypes of mutant Drosophila melanogaster. Activated STAT dimers accumulate in the cell nucleus and activate the transcription of their target genes. The two mutations of interest are the extra eye (ee) and Su(var)2-10 LOF mutations. In this study wild-type (control), extra eye, and Su(var)2-10 LOF flies were separately crossed to a homozygous line containing a 10xSTAT-GFP reporter transgene. Because STAT proteins are transcription factors for the transgene, we can visualize levels of GFP expression in the progeny and therefore deduce relative levels of STAT expression in the mutants. Visualization is achieved by first dissecting the ovaries from the F1 female progeny. The specimen is then placed under the confocal microscope and images are taken using a GFP filter cube. Results of this study are still pending.




Student(s):
Zachary McDaniel

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Chad Barber
Analyzing Endothelial and Smooth Muscle Cells as Sources of MiRNA-21

MiRNA are small, 22 nucleotide long pieces of RNA that act as gene regulators. MiRNA-21 has been found to play a role in regulating angiogenesis in endothelial and smooth muscle cells. To allow for ideal future study of miRNA-21 in both cell types, miRNA was collected from wild type and beta-1 integrin knockout mouse aortic endothelial cells (MAEC) and smooth muscle cells (MASMC) after one, two, and three days of growth. The levels of miRNA-21 in each miRNA sample were analyzed using qRT-PCR. It was expected that the comparable levels of miRNA-21 will remain consistent for samples collected on the same day, and that one cell type will prove to produce higher levels of miRNA-21 overall, and therefore be a better source. The beta-1 knockout qRT-PCR data will tell us if removing the integrin bonding of the cells affects miRNA-21 expression.




Student(s):
Samuel Metu

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Kristopher Karsten
Selective Correlation of Sprint Speed and Bite Force in Male Sceloporus occidentalis

In many animal mating systems, evolutionary selection for traits that maximize survival and reproduction can have tradeoffs. For example, brightly colored males may be favored by choosy females (increasing mating success), but they also may be more visible to their predators (decreasing survival). In lizards, sprint performance can determine the ability to escape a potential predator (survival) and bite performance can determine winning or losing a fight with a rival male, therefore increasing access to females (mating success). I tested the hypothesis that two ecologically important performance traits for survival and mating success (sprint speed and bite force) were correlated in male Sceloporus occidentalis lizards. I found no significant correlation between the two traits. Being a fast (or slow) sprinter does not predict if a lizard has a hard (or weak) bite force. Additionally, there is no evidence of a selection tradeoff on performance in these two variables.




Student(s):
Catriona Moody

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Chad Barber
Correlation Between β1 Integrin and MicroRNA-143 and MicroRNA-145 Expression in Smooth Muscle Cells

MicroRNAs (miRNA) are short, single-stranded RNA sequences which have the ability to silence gene expression. A change in miRNA levels has been linked to several cancers and it is possible that miRNA expression could be used as a tool to pinpoint some types of cancerous tissues. Specifically, the loss of the miRNA cluster 143/145 has been shown to allow for cell proliferation and cancer development in smooth muscle cells. The continued study of miR-143 and miR-145 could lead to additional insights into the mechanisms of cancer and related diseases. I am studying the differences in miRNA-143/145 levels in normal smooth muscle cells and those with a β1-integrin knockout. Since both β1-integrin and miRNA-143/145 have an effect on cell adhesion, I am investigating the possibility of a correlation between their expressions. The techniques employed in this study include cell proliferation and viability tests along with real time PCR analyses.




Student(s):
Huong Nguyen

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Grady Hanrahan
An Integrated Model for the Assessment of Pesticide Exposure in Underrepresented Communities

Empirical studies indicate that residents from low-income neighborhoods often suffer high exposure to environmental pollutants. As a result, they are more likely to suffer health problems related to this exposure than residents of higher-income communities. Thus, there is an increasing trend in the fields of environmental science, public health, and political science to redefine and advance methods of assessment regarding environmental exposure and the identification of health disparities. The purpose of this study is to develop a model for environmental assessment in low-income communities based on the anticipated findings. We have developed a novel seasonal water and soil sampling protocol from selected areas within and around agricultural communities. To further assess the potential threat of pesticides, collected urine samples were analyzed for pesticides metabolites, which are biomarkers indicating potential exposure. Finally, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) mapping was used for its ability to capture, analyze, and display location referenced information.




Student(s):
Dylan Perriseau

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Chad Barber
Observing the Regulation of miRNA-27 in Mammalian Endothelial Cells Through Invasion Assay Analysis

Micro RNAs are small regulatory molecules that are still widely misunderstood with regards to their involvement in genotypic and phenotypic expression. The purpose of this study was to see the relationship, if any, between miRNA-27 and β-1 integrin in mammalian endothelial cells. Two cell lines were cultured, one wild type and the other infected with a CRE recombinase virus designed to block the production of β-1 integrin. The obstruction of β-1 integrin is believed to have an effect on the concentration of miRNA-27 due to the angiogenetic involvement of the integrin protein. A cell invasion assay was performed to quantify a difference between the angiogenetic properties of cells with β-1 integrin and without it. In conclusion, my findings should open the door for further research in the direction of seeing the direct relationship between miRNA-27 and β-1 integrin.




Student(s):
Jessica Pruitt

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Hugh Lamont
1RM Strength Test and Power Output Differences in Black and White College Football Players

Do African American athletes really dominate sports? The purpose of this study was to determine the difference in a 1RM strength test and power output that is produced by both African American and Caucasian college football players. 43 members of the CLU football team were recruited for this project (18-25 yrs., 22 blacks and 21 whites). A 13-question survey was given, data from anthropometric measurements were taken to record body composition, and a 1RM strength back squat and a vertical jump test was administered. All the results were analyzed by three different individual t-tests (anthropometric data, strength data, and power data) to determine which group produces the most power output and why.




Student(s):
Michael Quinlan
and Amanda Maharaj, Stephanie Sue, and Veronica Ramirez

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Michael Quinlan
Absorption Studies of Blueberry Juice on Titanium Oxide Surfaces

Photovoltaic or solar cells directly convert visible light to electricity by the promotion of electrons from the valence band of a semiconductor to its conduction band. The efficiency of a solar cell depends upon the fraction of sunlight that can be absorbed. To increase the efficiency, an intermediate compound that absorbs a greater fraction of sunlight is used to initiate the electron transfer process. Natural dyes such as the anthocyanins found in blueberry juice have been widely used. Previous studies have assumed that the surface of the semiconductor is saturated with the dye. This work attempts to quantify the surface coverage of blueberry juice on titanium oxide surfaces through equilibrium adsorption measurements. The dependence of the surface coverage on juice concentration was evaluated using Langmuir and Freundlich isotherms. Preliminary results indicate that coverage of the oxide surface with the anthocyanins is far from saturation.




Student(s):
Lorena Ramos

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Andrea Huvard
Effects of Temperature, Rainfall, pH, and Water Current on Levels of E. coli in Kingsmen Creek

Escherichia coli is common bacteria and its presence can be used to decipher the quality of a water supply. Our study examined the effects of temperature, rainfall, pH, and water current on the levels of E. coli in the water in Kingsmen Creek in Thousand Oaks. Water samples were collected and multiple dilutions were performed in order to assess the presence of E. coli in the water. If E. coli was present, most probable number was determined to see if there was any correlation between the effects of temperature, rainfall, water current, and pH and the amount of E. coli in the water. Antibiotic resistance of the E. coli present was also determined.




Student(s):
Robert Rumer
and Michael Bernal, Michael Berquist, Brito, Ian Broderick, Luis Burgos, Clayton Craig, Cody Douglas, Kirsten Fuchs, Devyn Jeska, Laura Mele, George Nasr, Mackenzie Paul, Nickel Revie, and Matthew Ruffino

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Christina Soderlund and Mr. Bob Rumer
At Home in the Universe Projects

At Home in the Universe (Spring 2013) was split between Bioengineering and Mathematics with projects aimed at combining both disciplines. The first project split the class in two as both teams re-engineered the classic toy; Spirograph. After analyzing the pictures drawn on Spirograph (hypotrochoids) the students learned how to design 3-D objects so that each student could design their own gears and rings which were printed on the 3-D printer. The second project involved polyhedra, three dimensional mathematical shapes. These also were designed by individual students and printed.




Student(s):
Hector Salavarrieta

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Chad Barber
MiR-21 Up-Regulation Analysis Between Cancer Cell Lines

Regulation of miRNA shows potential for a new area of therapeutics in regards to cancer treatments. MiR-21 studies have shown its anti-apoptotic factor elevated in many different types of cancers. Targeting miR-21 may be more effective against cancer cells rather than blocking a single oncogenice's pathway. With libraries of miRNA inhibitors now available, these unique tools can confirm correlations between miRNA and fundamental processes of a cell, like cell adhesion. My research, by way of real-time PCR, quantifies the amount of miR-21 present in multiple cancer cell lines. Analysis of miR-21 concentrations of non-adherent cancer cells to adherent cancer cells, with the comparison to control regular adherent cells, tests a correlations between miR-21 levels and cell adhesion. MiR-21 inhibitors are used on cell lines to observe effects on cell adhesion and overall viability. When inhibiting miR-21, it was hypothesized that cancer cell adhesion will be inhibited, causing eventual apoptosis.




Student(s):
Kelsey Schrage

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Kenneth Long
The Effects of Adrenergic Agonists and Antagonists on the Ventral Nerve Cord of the Cockroach

The American cockroach (Periplanta americana) is easily utilized in the undergraduate laboratory because it has a nerve cord that can be manipulated to generate action potentials in response to tactile stimulation. While the cockroach ventral nerve cord is a common electrophysiological preparation, it has not been commonly used to test the effects of neuroactive drugs. I tested how four different chemicals (the adrenergic agonists epinephrine and octopamine, and the adrenergic antagonists atenolol and phentoalanine) affected neuronal activity. Baseline activity of the nerve cord was measured for each chemical along with the responses to air puffs delivered to the cerci. Three tests were run for each agonist-antagonist pair. Ten cockroaches were used. Results will be analyzed further, but at this time the data shows that octopamine and epinephrine increase neuronal activity, while atenolol and phentoalanine suppress the effects of the adrenergic agonists.




Student(s):
Rachel Smith

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Kenneth Long
Light and Dark Adaptations of Central Ganglion Ring in Aquatic Snail, Lymnaea Stagnalis

Lymnaea stagnalis produces a whole body withdrawal response when exposed to a shadow. This response is associated with other conditions, memory and learning. L. stagnalis contains both dermal and ocular photoreceptors which send signals to the central nervous system (CNS) which is organized into a central ganglion ring. The purpose is to test for molecular changes in the CNS due to long term exposure to light and dark, rather than short term exposure such as a shadow. L. stagnalis was kept on 12 hour light and dark cycle and samples were taken at the beginning, middle, and end of each. Glycoproteins were analysed using gel electrophoresis and western blotting using the lectin Wheat Germ Agglutinin (WGA).




Student(s):
Michael Soucy
and Bryce Truver, Jason Kacena, Kristin Prosser, and Morgan McCardell

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Michele LeBlanc
Kinematic and Kinetic Analysis of Goalie-Independent and Goalie-Dependent Penalty Kick Strategies

Penalty kicks are an integral part of soccer and often determine the outcome of the game. In the goalie-independent strategy (GIS), the kicker disregards any movement cues from the goalie. In the goalie-dependent strategy (GDS), the kicker uses goalie movement cues and kicks the ball to the corner opposite the goalie’s movement. The purpose of this study was to compare kinematic and kinetic characteristics for GIS and GDS penalty kicks for preferred versus non-preferred kicking directions. Twelve male collegiate soccer players shot at targets (0.60 x 0.60 m2) located in the bottom left and right goal corners using an investigator assigned strategy. During each kick, a force plate collected ground reaction forces (1200 Hz), 3-dimensional kinematic data were collected through motion capture (120 Hz), and ball speed was determined by a radar gun. A two-factor ANOVA was used to determine differences for kick direction and strategy (p < 0.05).




Student(s):
Robert Springer

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Grady Hanrahan
Characterization of Natural Bioreactive Compounds Toward Predicting QSAR

This study focused on analyzing bioreactive compounds present in natural medicines. Particularly, ginkgo dietary samples were analyzed via capillary electrophoresis (CE) and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS), two instrumental methods that have yet to be applied in concert for studying these components. Furthermore, we proposed a degradation pathway using cytochrome P450 as the initiator. Overall, new methodologies were developed to analyze these bioreactive compounds that will assist in assessing their quantitative structure activity relationships (QSAR), and thus their overall toxicity.




Student(s):
John Tannaci
and Allyson Dorsey and Vanessa Orr

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. John Tannaci (faculty co-author)
Continued Development of Palladium-Catalyzed Direct Arylation Polymerization (DArP)

Palladium-catalyzed direct arylation polymerization (DArP) is a green alternative to traditional cross-coupling methods for synthesizing organic electronic materials. By avoiding organometallic pre-functionalization, direct arylation limits hazardous waste and synthetic steps while improving atom economy. To further develop this chemistry, we have focused on enhancing the selectivity of C-H activation by thorough optimization of the reaction conditions. Expansion of the substrate scope for DArP has also been explored through small-molecule studies and model polymerizations. Ongoing research on both fronts will be presented in detail.




Student(s):
Christopher Theisen

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Chad Barber
Visualization of Tunneling Nanotubes

Tunneling Nanotubes (TNTs) are tubular structures that create physical connections between cells. Cells use TNTs to send organelles, electrical signals, and signaling molecules to adjacent cells. Pathogenic agents, such as viruses, are capable of using TNTs to send disease particles to healthy cells to infect them. TNTs also help immune cells work more effectively as well as facilitate the regeneration of damaged cells. Imaging of cells under stress conditions showed 3T3 fibroblast cells via fluorescence microscopy using a primary and secondary antibody technique to visualize M-Sec, a protein involved in the formation of TNTs, and another staining technique to visualize individual nuclei. We quantified TNTs within 3T3 cell populations with differing time exposures to hydrogen peroxide to observe the increase or decrease of TNTs formed. Understanding how TNTs are involved in pathogenic, immune and regenerative processes will improve comprehension of viral diseases, cellular regeneration, and immune system functions.




Student(s):
Jacklyn Whitehead

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Chad Barber
Gene Expression in β1 Integrin Knock-out Smooth Muscle Cells

Integrins are receptors for adherent cells that facilitate adhesion and cell signaling either between cells or between a cell and the surrounding extra cellular matrix. β1 integrin is essential for adhesive cell survival. Thus we compared the morphology, viability rate, proliferation rate, and gene expression of smooth muscle cells with β1 integrin versus smooth muscle cells with β1 integrin knocked out using a viral Cre-lox system. We, therefore, tried to demonstrate quantitative differences in both morphology and expression phenotype of the smooth muscle cells. Thus far we have determined that the β1 integrin cannot be deleted in the conditions used. Transient culturing of knock-out lines, however, demonstrated slight changes in proliferation and viability when β1 integrin was suppressed.




Student(s):
Shannon Wirawan
and Tara Leach, Ryan Nunez, and Breann Kinsey

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Chad Barber
Lung Transplantation, a Great Yet Unacknowledged Feat of Surgical Ingenuity

Lung transplantation is considered a great feat of surgical ingenuity, yet lack of knowledge inhibits its awareness. Four undergraduate students at California Lutheran University under the supervision of Dr. Chad Barber will conduct an in-depth study on lung transplantation. A broad audience will be polled, including students of 18 years or older, professors, and outside participants associated with the students, all with different academic disciplines. The poll will consist of a brief 5-minute survey, publicly and anonymously administered. The results will be analyzed in detail and corroborated with national survey results. The intent of this study is to statistically spread a sense of urgency to the general population in efforts to increase lung transplantation awareness and produce an effective outcome. The implications of these proposed findings will serve to increase the lung transplantation donor list and monetary donation to various support organizations.




Student(s):
Yang Yang

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Myungsook Klassen
Improving A* Algorithm Performance With 3D Games

Path finding is a process to find a possibly traversable path in a given environment, and it has been applied to various areas, like robotics, traffic navigation systems, and video games. One of the most famous path finding algorithms is A*. The purpose of this project is to develop and implement A* Algorithm in a three dimensional video game and to improve the algorithm’s performance with heuristic functions crafted for this project’s game. In the project, we first go through the basic concepts of A* with a detailed illustration of how to find a path manually. Then, a brief discussion about how different heuristic functions can affect A* algorithm are presented. In addition, various methodologies are used to simulate the path decision procedure in the real world.




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