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Assessing the Occurrence of Microplastics in the Snake River

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Over the past 40 years, world production of plastic resins increased 25-fold creating a global waste stream comprised of 60-80% plastics. Microplastics, plastic particles less than 5mm in size, are receiving increased attention as a potentially detrimental environmental contaminant. Primary sources of microplastic pollution include plastic pellets and powders produced by manufacturers for industrial sale that enter the waterway via spills, improper dumping or facility accidents and microbeads used as abrasives or exfoliant in commercial products. Secondary sources of microplastic pollution are fibers and fragments from the deterioration of larger plastics. Synthetic fibers enter our waterway as micro-sized fibers shed from laundry in our household sewage effluent that urban wastewater treatment centers are unable to capture. Microplastics have been found throughout our oceans, but little has been done to quantify them in our freshwater systems. This study examines the Snake River for the presence of microplastics. By looking at an entire river system, we hope to identify hot spots and sources of microplastic pollution, such as wastewater treatment facilities or recreational areas. Grab samples (average volume of 1.8 liters) and volume reduced samples with a 100-micron mesh plankton net (average volume of 3,328 L) were collected throughout the summer of 2016 approximately every 50 river miles along the Snake River out to the Pacific Ocean. In this presentation, the results from the grab samples collected at all 28 sites will be revealed. Of the 23 grab samples visually inspected to date, 16 contained putative microplastics.

Assessing the Occurrence of Microplastics in the Snake River

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Over the past 40 years, world production of plastic resins increased 25-fold creating a global waste stream comprised of 60-80% plastics. Microplastics, plastic particles less than 5mm in size, are receiving increased attention as a potentially detrimental environmental contaminant. Primary sources of microplastic pollution include plastic pellets and powders produced by manufacturers for industrial sale that enter the waterway via spills, improper dumping or facility accidents and microbeads used as abrasives or exfoliant in commercial products. Secondary sources of microplastic pollution are fibers and fragments from the deterioration of larger plastics. Synthetic fibers enter our waterway as micro-sized fibers shed from laundry in our household sewage effluent that urban wastewater treatment centers are unable to capture. Microplastics have been found throughout our oceans, but little has been done to quantify them in our freshwater systems. This study examines the Snake River for the presence of microplastics. By looking at an entire river system, we hope to identify hot spots and sources of microplastic pollution, such as wastewater treatment facilities or recreational areas. Grab samples (average volume of 1.8 liters) and volume reduced samples with a 100-micron mesh plankton net (average volume of 3,328 L) were collected throughout the summer of 2016 approximately every 50 river miles along the Snake River out to the Pacific Ocean. In this presentation, the results from the grab samples collected at all 28 sites will be revealed. Of the 23 grab samples visually inspected to date, 16 contained putative microplastics.

The Limiting Effect of Cytoplasmic Volume and Microtubule Dynamics

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Mitotic spindles play a key role in cellular division. These structures, which are composed of dynamic filaments called microtubules, are responsible for separation and segregation of chromosomes during mitosis. Spindles must be the correct shape and size to insure fidelity of this process, however, their formation and assembly are still not entirely understood. For example, the mechanisms that govern spindle shape and determine individual spindle size for a given cell type are still unknown. Based on evidence from recent studies of spindle scaling, in which spindle size effectively scaled with cell size, we hypothesize that within small cytoplasmic volumes, spindle building blocks become limiting and thereby limit spindle size. This hypothesis predicts that microtubule dynamics within the spindle will be adversely affected by changes in cytoplasmic volume. By combining cell-free cytoplasmic extracts, microfluidics, and confocal microscopy, we hope to measure changes in microtubule dynamics and elucidate the relationship between cell volume and spindle size within the cell.

The Limiting Effect of Cytoplasmic Volume and Microtubule Dynamics

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Mitotic spindles play a key role in cellular division. These structures, which are composed of dynamic filaments called microtubules, are responsible for separation and segregation of chromosomes during mitosis. Spindles must be the correct shape and size to insure fidelity of this process, however, their formation and assembly are still not entirely understood. For example, the mechanisms that govern spindle shape and determine individual spindle size for a given cell type are still unknown. Based on evidence from recent studies of spindle scaling, in which spindle size effectively scaled with cell size, we hypothesize that within small cytoplasmic volumes, spindle building blocks become limiting and thereby limit spindle size. This hypothesis predicts that microtubule dynamics within the spindle will be adversely affected by changes in cytoplasmic volume. By combining cell-free cytoplasmic extracts, microfluidics, and confocal microscopy, we hope to measure changes in microtubule dynamics and elucidate the relationship between cell volume and spindle size within the cell.

A Plan for a Long Term Investigation of Human Exposure to West Nile Virus in Fremont County, Wyoming

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

West Nile Virus (WNV) was originally discovered in Uganda in 1937. WNV belongs to the Flaviviridae family and is in the same genus as Dengue Fever, Zika virus, and Yellow Fever. Flaviviruses are persistently emerging and of great concern globally. Individuals contracting WNV may be asymptomatic, experience mild symptoms of fever, malaise, or develop a severe disabling illness such as meningitis, encephalitis, or polio-like paralysis. WNV was first detected in the U.S. in 1999, and rapidly migrated to the West Coast over the course of ten years reaching epidemic proportions in Wyoming in 2007. The majority of these cases were found in Fremont County with 118 infected, twelve neuroinvasive cases, and one death. Its persistence in Fremont County is evident from our testing of the vector Culex tarsalis mosquitoes and from our human serosurveys in 2011 and 2012. Interestingly, our previous serosurveys in 2011 and 2012 identified three subjects with abnormally high levels of IgM antibodies at least five years after self-reported initial infection. This coincides with similar observations from other serosurveys. This interesting humoral response to WNV is currently of great interest. Our proposed investigation will conduct a longitudinal study to identify and track subjects infected or previously exposed to WNV with the specific goal of identifying additional subjects expressing high levels of IgM long after initial exposure. It is planned to observe the seroconversion in these subjects to gain insight into this phenomenon. We also plan to test these individuals for cryptic infection through reverse transcriptase PCR.

Effect of mid-flight trunk motion on landing mechanics

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

ACL injuries are highly prevalent and problematic in day-to-day life, and especially in an athletic domain. Often ACL tears occur when the athlete lands in a non-vertical position, rendering them unable to utilize both legs symmetrically in landing. This subsequently increases the ACL load of the landing leg, which is at least a partial cause of the injury. Mid-flight trunk motion may cause athletes to land in this non-vertical position. The goal of the current study was to analyze the effect of mid-flight medial-lateral trunk motion on Center of Mass (COM) distribution and subsequent landing mechanics. Forty-one recreational athletes (18 males and 23 females) participated. Forty-four markers were placed on each participant’s body and were tracked using 3D cameras. Peak Vertical Ground Reaction Force (VGRF) was measured with two force plates. Participants were instructed to jump vertically, reach straight up, left, or right, and land naturally. Each medial-lateral reach condition (left or right) produced asymmetric landing between legs, with the leg ipsilateral to reach direction landing first (mean difference of 14.0 ms reaching left and 16.7 ms reaching right). Peak VGRF was also greater for the ipsilateral leg in these conditions (2.6 times body weight for both left and right reaching conditions) compared to the contralateral leg (1.7 times body weight). These results indicate that mid-flight trunk motion can cause athletes to land in a non-vertical position, placing more stress on the leg ipsilateral to the reach direction, and increasing their risk of ACL injury in that leg.

Effect of mid-flight trunk motion on landing mechanics

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

ACL injuries are highly prevalent and problematic in day-to-day life, and especially in an athletic domain. Often ACL tears occur when the athlete lands in a non-vertical position, rendering them unable to utilize both legs symmetrically in landing. This subsequently increases the ACL load of the landing leg, which is at least a partial cause of the injury. Mid-flight trunk motion may cause athletes to land in this non-vertical position. The goal of the current study was to analyze the effect of mid-flight medial-lateral trunk motion on Center of Mass (COM) distribution and subsequent landing mechanics. Forty-one recreational athletes (18 males and 23 females) participated. Forty-four markers were placed on each participant’s body and were tracked using 3D cameras. Peak Vertical Ground Reaction Force (VGRF) was measured with two force plates. Participants were instructed to jump vertically, reach straight up, left, or right, and land naturally. Each medial-lateral reach condition (left or right) produced asymmetric landing between legs, with the leg ipsilateral to reach direction landing first (mean difference of 14.0 ms reaching left and 16.7 ms reaching right). Peak VGRF was also greater for the ipsilateral leg in these conditions (2.6 times body weight for both left and right reaching conditions) compared to the contralateral leg (1.7 times body weight). These results indicate that mid-flight trunk motion can cause athletes to land in a non-vertical position, placing more stress on the leg ipsilateral to the reach direction, and increasing their risk of ACL injury in that leg.

Electroencephalogram-based Brain-Computer Interface

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Brain Computer Interfaces (BCIs) are systems that allow people to control devices using brain signals. One goal of BCI research is to provide an additional communication method for the estimated 7 million Americans who are living with motor impairments, ranging from partial paralysis to limb loss (Center for Disease Control, 2007). Electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings can provide a real-time, low resolution image of the electrical activity on the surface of the brain, using non-invasive techniques. The challenge is in accurately classifying these signals, in order to provide an appropriate command signal to the software interface. The goal of this project was to use EEG data to train a neural network to recognize the patterns in brain activity associated with four types of motor imagery. Then, the network was used to classify data gathered in real-time from the Emotiv Epoc+, a commercially-available EEG headset. Output from the interface was used to control the movement of a shape within a graphical user interface, which also provided feedback about the accuracy of the classification method.

Parallel genetic pathways contribute to epidermal structure and resistance of biomechanical force during C. elegans development

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

During development, biomechanical forces shape the embryo from an oval to an elongated cylindrical form. FBN-1 is a C. elegans zona pellucida domain protein that is synthesized and transported to the outside of the worm forming long fibers that bind to the epidermis, allowing for the maintenance of proper shape while undergoing the biomechanical pulling force of the elongating pharynx during embryogenesis. The worm FBN-1 is conserved in vertebrate fibrillin proteins in which mutations cause the disease Marfan Syndrome. The worm SYM-4 is a highly conserved protein in vertebrates and controls endocytic recycling and exocytosis in epithelia. fbn-1 and sym-4 work in parallel pathways to enhance Pharynx- ingressed (PIN) phenotype, a larval synthetically lethal phenotype. PIN is characterized by the posterior displacement of the pharynx and buccal capsule resulting in larvae that are unable to feed. The goal of this project was to determine other genes that may be working with fbn-1 and sym-4 to allow the epidermis to resist the biomechanical force of the pharynx as it develops. Two strains of worms were used each containing a hypomorphic allele for fbn-1 and sym-4, respectively. A RNAi screen was performed to look for enhanced PIN in a hypersensitized sym-4 mutant and produced 32 genes that enhanced the PIN phenotype. These enhancers were then tested in the fbn-1 background to determine which of the parallel pathways, FBN-1 or SYM-4, the gene was in.

Parallel genetic pathways contribute to epidermal structure and resistance of biomechanical force during C. elegans development

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

During development, biomechanical forces shape the embryo from an oval to an elongated cylindrical form. FBN-1 is a C. elegans zona pellucida domain protein that is synthesized and transported to the outside of the worm forming long fibers that bind to the epidermis, allowing for the maintenance of proper shape while undergoing the biomechanical pulling force of the elongating pharynx during embryogenesis. The worm FBN-1 is conserved in vertebrate fibrillin proteins in which mutations cause the disease Marfan Syndrome. The worm SYM-4 is a highly conserved protein in vertebrates and controls endocytic recycling and exocytosis in epithelia. fbn-1 and sym-4 work in parallel pathways to enhance Pharynx- ingressed (PIN) phenotype, a larval synthetically lethal phenotype. PIN is characterized by the posterior displacement of the pharynx and buccal capsule resulting in larvae that are unable to feed. The goal of this project was to determine other genes that may be working with fbn-1 and sym-4 to allow the epidermis to resist the biomechanical force of the pharynx as it develops. Two strains of worms were used each containing a hypomorphic allele for fbn-1 and sym-4, respectively. A RNAi screen was performed to look for enhanced PIN in a hypersensitized sym-4 mutant and produced 32 genes that enhanced the PIN phenotype. These enhancers were then tested in the fbn-1 background to determine which of the parallel pathways, FBN-1 or SYM-4, the gene was in.

Associations Between Perceived Physical Safety, Disengagement, and Trust in a Cohabiting Relationship

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Physical violence in cohabiting relationships is prevalent and is associated with mental and physical health problems. Indeed, domestic violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime committed in the United States (NCADV 2015). From 2003-2012, more than one-third of domestic violence cases that occurred between intimate partners were serious violent crimes and 64% were simple assault (U.S. DoJ 2014). Although rates of domestic violence have decreased 67% since the Violence Against Women act was passed in 1994 (NCADV 2015), the fact that serious domestic violence still happens is simply enough to incite moral concern. In the present study, we test whether people who perceive that their partner has endangered their physical safety are more disengaged (e.g., avoidant and withdrawn) during discussions with their partner and have lower trust levels regarding physical safety. Additionally, we will explore the concept of cognitive trickery/bias: how a person can perceive something about their lives that is in reality not true (e.g., “my partner is very supportive of me in my times of need” when in fact, their partner is not); these individuals might be less likely to behave or feel differently about their partner after experiences of physical violence, so we will examine whether individuals' relationship satisfaction moderates the influence of experiences of physical violence with the partner on their tendency to disengage and their trust in their partner and how it, along with understanding the epistemological limitations of testimony, can have an impact on psychological preconceptions regarding these variables.

TRPV1 Activation Counters Vascular Dysfunction by Increasing PPARs, SiRT-1, PGC-1α and UCP-1 Expression in the Thoracic Aorta

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Obesity foreshadows metabolic diseases. The imbalance between energy intake and expenditure leads to increased visceral fat accumulation, causing obesity. Vascular dysfunction associated obesity causes hypertension and progressively leads to cardiovascular diseases. Recent research suggests that activating TRPV1 is a good strategy to counter obesity and metabolic complications. In this work, we evaluated a hypothesis that activation of transient receptor potential vanilloid subfamily 1 (TRPV1) expressed in the thoracic aorta vasculature suppresses development of hypertension and vascular damage by enhancing expression of metabolically important peroxisome proliferator activated receptors (PPARs), sirtuin-1 (SiRT-1; central cellular metabolic sensor), PPARγ coactivator 1α (PGC-1α) and uncoupling protein 1 (UCP-1). Data show high fat diet (HFD; 60% calories from fat) feeding caused obesity and hypertension and suppressed the expression of PPARs, SiRT-1, PGC-1α and mitochondrial UCP-1. Capsaicin (a TRPV1 agonist) supplementation reversed this. Capsaicin increased the expression of SiRT-1, PPARγ, PGC-1α and UCP-1 in the thoracic aorta of wild type mice but not TRPV1-/- mice. Further, capsaicin enhanced expression of PKCε, which in turn enhanced the phosphorylation of PPARα. Also, capsaicin significantly decreased elevated systolic and diastolic blood pressure (measured by non-invasive tail cuff method) in wild type but not in TRPV1-/- mice. Data show that HFD significantly suppressed expression of TRPV1 in the thoracic aorta and capsaicin countered this. Our data collectively suggest that activation of TRPV1 tightly couples to a SiRT-1-PPARs and PGC-1-dependent signaling mechanism to upregulate mitochondrial UCP-1 to protect vascular damage.

Prisoner Reentry and Parole

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Although many prisoners have been released into society without regards to monitoring post release since the beginning of incarceration, prisoner reentry has become more of a concentration in the criminal justice system recently in attempts to reduce the prison population. Recidivism in released prisoners causes them to return to prison thus, adding to the growing prison population. There have been many programs enacted to reduce this occurrence such as parole. Parole programs allow convicted felons to serve the rest of their time under supervision outside the prison. The programs vary in their policies as to how they release inmates differing depending on where the parole board is located. Focusing on rural areas and data collected from the Wyoming parole board, the purpose of this paper is to assess previous research compared to the current policies in place in an attempt to find a relation as to why an individual breaks parole as well as when this occurs.

Prisoner Reentry and Parole

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Although many prisoners have been released into society without regards to monitoring post release since the beginning of incarceration, prisoner reentry has become more of a concentration in the criminal justice system recently in attempts to reduce the prison population. Recidivism in released prisoners causes them to return to prison thus, adding to the growing prison population. There have been many programs enacted to reduce this occurrence such as parole. Parole programs allow convicted felons to serve the rest of their time under supervision outside the prison. The programs vary in their policies as to how they release inmates differing depending on where the parole board is located. Focusing on rural areas and data collected from the Wyoming parole board, the purpose of this paper is to assess previous research compared to the current policies in place in an attempt to find a relation as to why an individual breaks parole as well as when this occurs.

Analog Guitar Amplifier

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Over the decades since they were invented, transistors have become more and more ubiquitous in everyday life – they’re in our computers, our cars, and even our pockets (in the form of smart phones). But before transistors came into vogue, vacuum tubes were the main electronic device used in all types of “cutting edge” technology, from radios to televisions to early computers. While vacuum tubes and transistors behave on similar principles, they are considerably different in terms of their actual operation, and because of their smaller size and better reliability, transistors eventually won the test of time. Still, even though the market has shrunk considerably, vacuum tubes are still used by a few people, namely guitarists looking for a distinctive tone from an amplifier that you arguably can’t get from a transistor. Over the past year, I have been using my knowledge of modern electronics, combined with research into vacuum tubes, to design and build a guitar amplifier using only vacuum tubes and no transistors. The design includes all of the features of a standard guitar amp – a preamplifier, tone controls, an effects send and return, and a power amplification stage. The amplifier is intended to be connected to an external speaker, and should be familiar to anybody who has spent some time playing electric guitar.

Use of Porous Liquid-Crystalline Elastomers in Glaucoma Treatment Devices

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that cause pathological changes in the retina and optic nerve with corresponding visual field loss and blindness if left untreated. The National Eye Institute concluded in 2014 that an estimated 2.7 million people in the United States are affected by this chronic illness. While there are several short-term remedies available to afflicted individuals, predictable long-term treatments for glaucoma remain elusive, especially at advanced stages. One proposed treatment plan includes surgical implantation of a glaucoma treatment device; however, current devices are prone to complications resulting in subsequent surgeries. The proposed research explores the use of a porous liquid-crystalline elastomer (LCE) as a potential glaucoma treatment device. A transcorneal LCE filter can be designed to mitigate the risk of complication by providing a non-surgical technique to remove and replace a compromised filter, enabled by shape switching LCE properties. Similar microporous filters are commonly applied in research, pharmaceutical, and industrial settings to sterilize fluids by removal of bacteria. Additionally, the unique shape-switching abilities of LCEs combined with microporous filtration capabilities are expected to extend to applications far beyond this single device. It is the goal of this project to determine a suitable technique to create microporous LCEs suitable for use in a glaucoma treatment device. Preliminary test results are encouraging that a prototype could be developed for testing as a potential glaucoma treatment device.

Use of Porous Liquid-Crystalline Elastomers in Glaucoma Treatment Devices

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that cause pathological changes in the retina and optic nerve with corresponding visual field loss and blindness if left untreated. The National Eye Institute concluded in 2014 that an estimated 2.7 million people in the United States are affected by this chronic illness. While there are several short-term remedies available to afflicted individuals, predictable long-term treatments for glaucoma remain elusive, especially at advanced stages. One proposed treatment plan includes surgical implantation of a glaucoma treatment device; however, current devices are prone to complications resulting in subsequent surgeries. The proposed research explores the use of a porous liquid-crystalline elastomer (LCE) as a potential glaucoma treatment device. A transcorneal LCE filter can be designed to mitigate the risk of complication by providing a non-surgical technique to remove and replace a compromised filter, enabled by shape switching LCE properties. Similar microporous filters are commonly applied in research, pharmaceutical, and industrial settings to sterilize fluids by removal of bacteria. Additionally, the unique shape-switching abilities of LCEs combined with microporous filtration capabilities are expected to extend to applications far beyond this single device. It is the goal of this project to determine a suitable technique to create microporous LCEs suitable for use in a glaucoma treatment device. Preliminary test results are encouraging that a prototype could be developed for testing as a potential glaucoma treatment device.

The Design Process of Superhero Origin Comic Books

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

The design process for superhero comic book artists is an overwhelming task and an art in and of itself. Artists face the unseen pressures of spacing limitations, difficulties with the writers or editors, and the fans and fandoms of comics can be harsh critics. There are also a vast number of roles in the comic book creation process and the final product relies on the work of writers, pencilers, inkers, colorists, and letterers. Depending on the company or individual behind the comic, there can be multiple people working on a single comic or just one person performing all the roles. For this project, I developed the concept art and basis for a superhero origin comic book, working as the creator, penciler, inker, and colorist. There is no script and the focus of this project is entirely on art design. The aim is to demonstrate the amount of work it takes to develop a style, a system, and finally a character and world. It is also important to recognize the significance of icons, signs, symbols, and colors within the comic book artwork. Using inspiration from legendary comic book greats, I have catalogued my design process and detailed my experiences using both traditional and new media techniques. Adobe Photoshop served as my primary design program when polishing, inking, and coloring my free-hand sketches.

Lay Profiles of Mass and Serial Killers

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

There have been 78 mass shootings in the United States since 1978, killing a total of 547 people and injuring an additional 476 individuals; this number is rapidly growing and has drawn widespread media coverage (Bjelopera, 2013). As mass shootings have increased, so has media coverage of the shootings, particularly honing in on the shooter(s) themselves, rather than the victims, creating both contagion and copycat effects (Johnston & Joy, 2016) (Mills, 2016). Each new mass killing sparks conversation and widespread concern centered on the individual’s motivation which drives to prevent future shootings (Schildkraut & Elsass, 2016). One assumption by the public and media is that the perpetrator has a mental illness that led to the shooting (Knoll & Annas, 2016). The profile of individuals who are committing mass murders is worthy of researching, as it could provide insights to the question of background, external motives, and prevention (Johnston & Joy, 2016). It was hypothesized society is profiling mass murderers in a specific way contradicting the reality of who the offenders are. Participants were randomly assigned to a mass killing or serial killing condition with a death toll of nine. Participants were asked to profile the killer based on the previously read scenario by first listing assumed profile characteristics then being asked a battery of questions spanning from demographic information to relationship status, education level, and mental health status.

The Effect of Salinity on Grape Embryo Growth and Physiology

Wed, 2017-06-28 05:25

The growth of grape somatic embryos can be affected by elements in their surrounding environment. Improving grapevine tolerance to salinity necessitates the optimization of protocols for screening response of various grapevine species and cultivars to salt stress under in vitro conditions. We germinated Thompson Seedless somatic embryos on MS medium containing 1.0 μM BAP and varying levels of sodium chloride. Salt treatments included MS medium containing: 1) no sodium chloride (control), 2) 5 mM NaCl, 3) 10 mM NaCl, 4) 25 mM NaCl, 5) 50 mM NaCl, 6) 100 mM NaCl and 7) 200 mM NaCl. Cultures were placed in a growth room. The plates were monitored regularly, photographed, and rated on a growth scale of one to four weekly over six weeks. Dry weights were collected, root samples were fixed in Histochoice, and embedded in paraffin to examine root tissue development. Increased NaCl led to decreased growth and development. Shoot and root structures were inhibited. Severe inhibition in shoot and root growth of germinated embryos was observed above 50mM NaCL concentration. Frontenac grape embryos will be tested next. Once the concentration of NaCl that inhibits growth and development of somatic embryos is identified, this method will be used to screen genetically modified embryogenic cultures that carry genes inserted for salinity tolerance. Our in vitro screening technique should allow for rapid identification of embryo lines that exhibit salinity tolerance following genetic modification.

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