Past SROP Scholars

Monica Acevedo-Molina

Monica Acevedo-Molina

Univ of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedres
Participation year
2015
Mentor
Daniel Tranel, Neurology
Project title
The Effects of Music on Feelings in Healthy Young Adults: A Pilot Study
Abstract

Studies have shown that music can evoke a variety of emotions, including joy, fear and happiness. It has been suggested that self-chosen music has a positive effect on behavior and mood in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), possibly because music can evoke pleasant memories from life events. Our study will examine if music can induce feelings and emotions in patients with AD, and if these can persist long after patients have forgotten the emotion-inducing event.

Imani Belton

Imani Belton

North Carolina A&T State
Participation year
2015
Mentor
Shaun Vecera, Psychology
Project title
The Relationship Between the BIS/BAS Personality Scale and Reward-Driven Attentional Capture
Abstract

Stimulus-reward associations have often been discussed in conjunction with cognitive control processes, yet little has been done to investigate how individual personality factors may play a role in reward modulated attention. This study sought to examine associations between individual differences in behavioral inhibition sensitivity and behavioral approach sensitivity with reward based attentional capture (RBAC).

Mileidy Crespo Jones

Mileidy Crespo Jones

Univ of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
Participation year
2015
Mentor
Shaun Vecera, Psychology
Project title
Scene variability and the configuration of attentional selectivity
Abstract

The presence of a salient distractor slows search for a target. In this project we investigate if scene variability influences distractibility.  Participants searched for a target among distractors, and on some trials a single distractor was a highly salient unique color. In each trial we measured the accuracy and the response time (RT), but we only take into consideration the trails were a distractor was present. Targets changed on each block, and some participants were instructed to search for the novel shaped target, whereas others were instructed to search for a specific shape.

Lina Daza Llanos

Lina Daza Llanos

Univ of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
Participation year
2015
Mentor
Maren Rogers, Biochemistry
Project title
Circadian oscillation of the NAD metabolome in brain and liver as a function of diet
Abstract

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) is a coenzyme that is required for the conversion of fuels into energy and for other metabolic processes. Circadian oscillation is the 24 hour process by which organisms have sleep and activity cycles. Molecules in organs such as the liver and the brain may also have circadian oscillations that enable these behaviors. The NAD metabolome is the set of compounds related to NAD including NADP, nicotinamide and ADPribose that mark different metabolic processes.

Mia Fisher

Mia Fisher

Towson University
Participation year
2015
Mentor
David Cwiertny, Civil Engineering
Project title
Environmental fate of herbicide safeners
Abstract

Herbicide safeners are widely used, but there is little known about their effects on the environment. An herbicide, like metolachlor or acetochlor, is a substance that is toxic to plants and is used to destroy unwanted vegetation. Safeners, such as benoxacor, furilazole, dichlormid and AD-67 are combined with herbicides to reduce the effects they have on crop plants and increase their efficacy toward weed species. There has been a magnitude of research on the effects of herbicides, but very few address the safeners that are also present in all herbicide formulations.

Bettine Gibbs

Bettine Gibbs

Butler University
Participation year
2015
Mentor
Robert Kerns, Medicinal & Natural Products Chemistry
Project title
Synthesis of Novel Mitochondrial-targeted Triphenylphosphine Conjugates
Abstract

Mitochondria have a central role in bioenergetics and are most well known for their role in cellular respiration and the production of ATP. Thus, it is not surprising that mitochondrial dysfunction is a large contributor to many human diseases. Previously, the lipophilic mitochondrial-targeted cation, Triphenylphosphonium (TPP+) has been used to target bioactive molecules to mitochondria in vivo. This is accomplished by chemically coupling a TPP+ moiety to the bioactive molecule, typically through a linking group.

Dionte Harris

Dionte Harris

Univ of Maryland, College Park
Participation year
2015
Mentor
Michael Hill, English
Project title
“The Me Locked Inside of Me”: Towards a Theory of Black Queer Male Becoming
Abstract

My project examines the black queer male adolescent in 1980s black gay male literature. Just as the 1979 establishment of the DC (now National) Coalition for Black Lesbians and Gays and the first black pride parade signaled the growing social and political presence of black LGBT communities, the surge during the 1980s in the publication of black gay male literature was an equally significant event.

Maria Hawayek

Maria Hawayek

Univ of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
Participation year
2015
Mentor
Christopher Stipp, Biology
Abstract

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease, with over half a million cancer-related deaths per year. When a cancer becomes highly aggressive, it may undergo metastasis and spread to other areas of the body which were previously free of cancer cells. Metastasis is responsible for 90% of cancer-related deaths, and cancer cells at this stage often develop high resistance to conventional therapies making them much harder to treat. Therefore, there is an urgent need for new treatments that can target advanced cancers.

Shay Hoffman

Shay Hoffman

Kirkwood
Participation year
2015
Mentor
Tonya Peeples, Chemical & Biochemical Engineering
Abstract

A biofilm is a congregation of single or various organismal populations that are attached to either an abiotic or biotic surface through a self-secreted material called extracellular polymeric substance (EPS). Bioremediation is a safe, ecologically sustainable alternative to chemical and physical methods of environmental remediation. One preferred method of in-situ bioremediation is biofilm technology because pollutant-degrading organisms are able to survive and adapt better to environmental conditions within their EPS barriers. In our lab we are using single organism, Pseudomonas sp.

Jason Hong

Jason Hong

UCLA
Participation year
2015
Mentor
Roxanna Curto, French & Italian
Abstract

Although questions of modernity are often at the forefront of debates in Francophone studies, current scholarship has largely neglected the representation of technology, including its fundamental role in community formation, development, and globalization for African and Caribbean authors.

Lorenzo Lones

Lorenzo Lones

Univ of Wisc, Green Bay
Participation year
2015
Mentor
Andrew Pieper, Psychiatry
Abstract

Stathmin family members are ubiquitous cytosolic phosphoproteins found in cells throughout the body, including neurons. Stathmins play important roles in a number of cellular functions, including cell division, cell differentiation, and depolymerization of microtubules. In the nervous system, four members of the stathmin family are highly expressed with varied functions. For example, postnatal neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus is reduced in stathmin-deficient mice, by virtue of its function to control the transition from dividing neuronal precursor to postmitotic neuron.

Jeysla Matos Chaparro

Jeysla Matos Chaparro

Univ of Puerto Rico, Aguadilla
Participation year
2015
Mentor
Daniel Weeks, Biochemistry
Project title
Using Xenopus laevis Embryos to Study Cardiovascular Defects Caused by Actin Mutations in Humans
Abstract

The ACTA2 gene encodes alpha smooth muscle actin; the most abundant protein in the vascular system. ACTA2 gene mutations are dominant negative mutations effecting protein function and interfering with the ability of arteries to adjust to the vascular load. Xenopus laevis is the right organism for the study because of its similarity with the human gene, being the (α)-2 actin 99% identical. Our goal is to understand how mutations in (α)-2 actin affect the development and function of the cardiovascular system.

Dominique Montgomery

Dominique Montgomery

Wiley College
Participation year
2015
Mentor
Venice Berry, Journalism & Mass Communication
Project title
Kool-Aid, King Kong and KFC: Racialism and the Media
Abstract

This study explores the theory of racialism as it relates to African American images and messages in various media products such as advertisements, magazine covers, newscasts, interviews and billboards. Racialism theory articulates the repetitive and intertextual distribution of racial stereotypes, myths and biases through the media. Using framing and semiotic analysis, the study demonstrates how African American images and messages can both normalize and challenge problematic notions about African American culture.

Tanisha Morrison

Tanisha Morrison

SUNY at Fredonia
Participation year
2015
Mentor
Kelli Ryckman, Epidemiology
Abstract

Probiotics are live non-pathogenic micro-organisms administered to improve microbial balance particularly in the gastrointestinal tract. Probiotics can decrease colonization and invasion of pathogenic bacteria that can be life-threatening to the host. Probiotics may offer benefit to the immature system and gastrointestinal tract of the premature neonate. We hypothesized that the risk for complications of premature birth and the need for parenteral nutrition will be lower in babies receiving probiotics compared to not receiving probiotics.

Stephanie Munoz

Stephanie Munoz

Vassar College
Participation year
2015
Mentor
Ryan LaLumiere, Psychology
Project title
Overexpression of acid sensing ion channel 1a in the nucleus accumbens potentiates reinstatement of cocaine-, but not food-, seeking behaviors
Abstract

Acid-sensing ion channel 1a (ASIC1a) in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) is thought to modulate cocaine addiction-related behavior. This study overexpressed ASIC1a in the NAc to determine its effects on reinstatement of cocaine- and food-seeking behaviors. ASIC1a overexpression potentiated incubation of craving, cued, cocaine prime and cued+ cocaine prime reinstatement but had no effect on food-seeking behavior. This suggests that ASIC1a specifically modulates cocaine seeking behaviors while having no effect on natural rewards.

Maku Orleans-Pobee

Maku Orleans-Pobee

College of William & Mary
Participation year
2015
Mentor
Ed Wasserman, Psychology
Project title
Proactive and Retroactive Interference in Pigeons’ Memory
Abstract

The interaction between learning and memory can sometimes produce detrimental effects, such as proactive interference and retroactive interference. Proactive interference (PI) occurs when memory of previously learned information hinders the learning of new information. Conversely, retroactive interference (RI) occurs when more recently learned information impairs the recall of information that was learned beforehand. Darby and Sloutsky (2015) tested the effects PI, RI, and savings—the extent to which previously learned information improves relearning of the same information.

Michael Parisi Mercado

Michael Parisi Mercado

Univ Interamerica of Puerto Rico
Participation year
2015
Mentor
Amnon Kohen, Chemistry
Project title
Investigating the Role of an Active Site Residue of Thymidylate Synthase
Abstract

Thymidylate synthase is an important chemotherapeutic drug target that utilizes N5,N10-methylene-5,6,7,8-tetrahydrofolate (CH2H4folate) to catalyze the formation of 2'-deoxythymidine-5'-monophosphate (dTMP) using 2'-deoxyuridine-5'-monophosphate (dUMP) as a substrate. The product of interest in this reaction is very important for the synthesis of DNA and cellular division, because it is the precursor of one of the DNA’sbuilding blocks: thymidine. Several studies propose that the role of the residue E58 in E.

Dominique Parker

Dominique Parker

Towson University
Participation year
2015
Mentor
Apollina Goel, Radiation
Project title
Hypoxia Regulated Micro-RNA Expression in Multiple Myeloma
Abstract

Multiple myeloma (MM) is a plasma cell malignancy where the hypoxic bone marrow microenvironment influences clinical outcomes. Our preliminary results show that in vitro culturing of MM cells under hypoxia downregulates CD138 expression (flow cytometry and qPCR). Notably, the CD138low fraction constitutes putative MM cancer stem cells and hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) regulate the expression of stem cell transcription factors. This study is designed to identify deregulated micro-RNA (miR) expression to explore novel therapeutic avenues to target the clonogenic MM fractions.

Carmen Piedad

Carmen Piedad

Wheelock College
Participation year
2015
Mentor
Mary Cohen, Teaching & Learning
Project title
Expressing Yourself is a Human Right: The Roles and Possibilities with Music Programs in U.S. Juvenile Detention Centers
Abstract

This research provides an overview of the juvenile justice system in the United States (U.S.) and explores three select music programs for youth who are incarcerated. Presently, U.S. correctional facilities hold the highest prison population in the world, including the largest population of juveniles. Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the right and freedom of "expression." While freedom of expression can be viewed abstractedly, it is nonetheless a significant right that is constantly under attack depending on the political climate of a society.

Kevin Selden

Kevin Selden

Virginia State Univ
Participation year
2015
Mentor
Daniel Tranel, Neurology
Project title
Age and relational memory: Evaluating differences in relational memory performance in healthy young an older adults with explicit and implicit measures
Abstract

Relational memory is memory for the association between two arbitrarily-related stimuli (such as the name belonging to a face) and this type of memory depends upon the brain structures of the medial temporal lobe, especially the hippocampus. Hippocampal volume is known to decrease with age, and these age-related changes in the volume of the hippocampus would be expected to affect relational memory performance.  Specifically, we predicted that with aging, relational memory performance will decline whether measured explicitly or implicitly.

Dmitre St. Surin

Dmitre St. Surin

Miami Dade College
Participation year
2015
Mentor
Chioma Okeoma, Microbiology
Project title
The Role of Human Semen Derived Exosomes on Latent HIV Infection
Abstract

Exosomes are membranous, extracellular nanovesicles secreted by a variety of cell types that contain RNA and protein cargos derived from cellular cytoplasm of cells. Exosomes play a role in cellular signaling, antigen presentation, dysregulation of immune response, and microbial pathogenesis. Previous research from our laboratory has shown that exosomes from healthy human semen suppress HIV-1 replication and impair progeny virus fitness, thus inhibiting viral propagation.

Alexis Vaughan

Alexis Vaughan

Virginia Tech
Participation year
2015
Mentor
Jason Daniel-Ulloa, Community & Behavioral Health
Project title
Associated Risk Factors of Revictimization Among Child Sexual Abuse Victims
Abstract

Background: Women who have experienced sexual abuse as children are more likely to experience abuse as adults (revictimization) compared to other women. Thus, this project was a review of available literature to explore the most commonly discussed risk factors child sexual assault survivors’ acquire. 

Malilk Wheeler

Malilk Wheeler

Grambling St Univ
Participation year
2015
Mentor
Horace Porter, English
Abstract

Everyone loves a winner. Professional sports has the unique aspect of drawing people together from across the country. Important games and sport events provide much of the entertainment for the early 20th century. People tuned in to watch or listen to their favorite athletes compete. Sports pushed Americans to accept blacks in the same locker rooms, playing fields, and arenas. White America could not deny the talents of blacks when it came to athletics. Blacks talented enough to integrate white dominate sports league, transcended race relations in America.

Alexus Williams

Alexus Williams

Grinnell College
Participation year
2015
Mentor
Charles Connerly, Urban and Regional Planning
Abstract

Given that Iowa is a predominantly White state, and is slowly diversifying, how far has it come in allowing African Americans to be equal citizens? This research focuses on social equity in Iowa and how it has changed since the 1800s. Considering Iowa’s critical role in the Underground Railroad, and Iowa colleges and universities being some of the first to admit Black students and allow them to participate in collegiate sports, why has Iowa failed to integrate Blacks fully?

Joy Woods

Joy Woods

Texas Wesleyan University
Participation year
2015
Mentor
William Reisinger, Political Science
Abstract

Infant mortality has numerous causes and previous studies have linked many birth defects to illicit drug use; however, this researches aims to exam a possible correlation between infant mortality and illicit drug use in the Russian Federation. In the past five years Russia’s drug trade and narcotic use has grown faster than any country, making even more at risk of high rates of infant mortality.