Virtual Festival of Scholars

April 27 – May 1, 2020

Schedule of Events


ALLIES in STEM Research Showcase


Student Abstracts

Student(s):
Larissa Balentine

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Andrea Huvard

A Comparison Study on the Number of Microfibers found in 5 Southern California Lakes 
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Washing clothes is damaging our ecosystems due to thousands of microfibers being produced each washing cycle. The purpose of this study is to bring attention to the number of microfibers present in five Southern California lakes. A suction filtration kit was used after multiple gallons of water were collected from the lakes to count the microfibers present under a microscope after cross-sectioning the filter paper. Comparing the Spring 2019 to the Spring 2020 for Lake Piru, there was a slightly higher microfiber count a year later. Comparing all five lakes together, Cachuma Lake had the highest number of microfibers and Lake Piru (2019) had the lowest. My data shows that somehow microfibers are entering our lakes and further investigation should be done to figure out how these microfibers are polluting our Southern California Lakes. 


Student(s):
Britain Chaputa

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Allan Knox

Potential Sex Differences in Cerebral Hemodynamic Response to High Intensity Exercise
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Sex differences in vascular function have been previously reported. Females show better autoregulation, lower premenopausal blood pressure, lower stroke volume, and cardiac output than males. Additional studies have shown that these differences at rest are translated into differences in exercise response. These data may provide insight into sex specific responses which would assist in achieving exercise optimal prescription. Aerobic capacity (VO2Max) and muscular strength were determined in random order over two separate occasions. Resting peak systolic blood velocity (PSV), end diastolic blood velocity (EDV), pulsatility index (PI), resistance index (RI), and blood volume flow (FLOW) of the common carotid artery (CCA) and internal carotid artery (ICA) were calculated using Doppler Ultrasound before each testing session. A one repetition maximum strength test (1RM) with the leg press machine was utilized. VO2Max was determined by an incremental ramped protocol to volitional fatigue. CCA and ICA hemodynamics were re-assessed when participants returned to resting states following exercise cessation. A total of four male and four female participants were included. No main effects of group or time for both VO2Max and 1RM in CCA hemodynamics was observed (p>0.05 for all). A statistical trend for a sex difference at baseline before 1RM FLOW was observed (p=0.067). No main effects of group or time for both VO2Max and 1RM were observed for ICA hemodynamics (p>0.05 for all). The current data suggest that cerebral hemodynamic responses in males and females following acute maximal aerobic and resistance exercise are comparable.


Student(s):
Harleen Kaur

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Paloma Vargas

The Impact of Infectious Diseases on Minority Populations in California
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Populations of minority identities have been disproportionately burdened by infectious diseases. This project aimed to measure the impact of infectious diseases on minority populations in order to suggest improvements in disease prevention strategies. The Infectious Diseases by Disease, County, Year and Sex dataset was obtained from the CA Open Data Portal, which contained data for 48 reportable diseases measured in California throughout 2001-2018. R was used to analyze disease incidence and correlations by sex, and socioeconomic status (SES) by measures of median income per county. Disease prevalence was measured in each of three regions of California, as defined by the California Continuing Education Association (CCEA). Results showed that five diseases were prevalent throughout California (CA): coccidioidomycosis (CM), campylobacteriosis (CB), shigellosis (SH), salmonellosis (SM), and giardiasis (GI). Current results show that CM was the most prevalent of all infectious diseases in CA, and was significantly correlated to SES in Southern CA (p=0.01318) and Central CA (p=0.00285), but no significant relationship for CM was found in Northern CA. All other diseases were significantly correlated to SES (p<0.001) in Central CA and Northern CA. ANOVA tests measured a significant difference between the female and male sexes for GI (p=0.0244) and CR (p=0.0965) in Southern CA, CM (p=0.0154) in Central CA, and SH (p=0.0368) in Northern CA. Future work includes analysis by age, race/ethnicity, and month/seasons of disease incidence.

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Student(s):
Mia Leclerc, Steven Ortez Hernandez

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Andrea Huvard

Investigation of how Microfibers are a Food Source for the Filter Feeders, Mytilus californianus.  
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It’s expected to find higher amounts of microfibers in Mytilus californianus that are located more inland compared to samples found near the delta. My methods consisted of 20 mussels being collected from the 8 different sites along the Southern California coast. The mussels were dissected and the organs of mussels were placed into glass beakers and a hydrogen peroxide treatment was done to digest the organic matter. Beakers were placed in an incubator at 65 °C. A saline solution was added to separate the microfibers from the dissolved liquid of the soft tissue. The liquid was filtered over a 5 μm cellulose nitrate membrane filter. The filter was observed under a microscope. My results showed that the mussels at Newport Beach Harbor contained the most amount of microfibers. Microfibers are polluting the mussels along the Southern California coast and this is negatively affecting humans due to consuming these contaminated mussels. 

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Student(s):
Steven Ortez Hernandez, Mia LeClerc

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Andrea Huvard

Microfibers in the Visceral Mass of the Marine Filter Feeder, Mytilus Californianus
View abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate whether filter feeders are digesting microfibers. The goal of this project was to bring awareness to the community that microfibers are escaping into the ocean; organisms such as filter feeders are being affected by them. In this research, we traveled to different dock sites, harbors, oceanside, and jetties across Southern California. In these sites, we collected samples of California mussel (M. californianus). Different size Mussels were gathered to take back to the lab. At the lab, the visceral mass was dissolved using 50ml of hydroxide, which was placed in a container. The samples were left in an incubator for the night at 65 degrees celsius to dissolve the mass fully. On the final day, we investigated the matter through a microscope to count the amount of microfibers found. The mean amount of microfiber pollution in mussels between the eight destinations were determined by a T-Test. There was no statistical significance p<0.05. 1,038 microfibers in total were found through the different sites. It was predicted that larger mussels would contain more microfiber when compared to the smaller individuals. However, that was not the case; the smaller individual contained more microfibers than the larger population. 

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