The University of Minnesota, Morris Undergraduate Research Symposium offers undergraduates the opportunity to present their research, creative work, or art performances to their peers, faculty, and the campus community. For more information, see the Undergraduate Research Symposium website . The 2018 Undergraduate Research Symposium was held on Saturday, April 14, 2018.
Ernest Hemingway, an iconic American writer of the Lost Generation, frequently traveled to Spain while living abroad as an expatriate. In fact, many of the fictitious accounts in his works are based on real events in the lives of Hemingway and his friends during their time in Spain. Despite the large number of American expatriates traveling and living abroad during the 1920s, the concept of intercultural competence likely did not exist; or at least not in the modern-day sense of the phrase. While much literature already exists on Hemingway’s connection to Spain, there is currently limited scholarship on the portrayal of Spain and Spanish culture in his works. Discussions of cross-culturalization and intercultural competence have appeared in recent scholarship as the world continues to grow more globalized; but very few discussions exist which analyze Hemingway’s works from the viewpoint of intercultural competence. In this project, I investigate how the behavior of the characters in Hemingway’s novel The Sun Also Rises aligns with modern standards of intercultural competence. This research is significant in adding a cross-cultural perspective to the conversation about one of the most iconic works of one of America’s most iconic writers.
In the U.S., gender stereotypes in sports are real. As a result, women who are involved with professional sports, either as players or have professional positions face negative stereotypes. When women have coaching positions, they feel unsupported from administrators and colleagues, which has a direct impact on their involvement and prove their credibility at their jobs (LaFountaine and Kamphoff 2016). My thesis here is that there is a relationship between the impact of negative stereotypes for women who are active in sports and their involvement. For, they do not receive sufficient support. The hypothesis, taken from the above thesis, is that is there a relationship between the negative stereotyping of women and the impact on their involvement in their job? In order to test my hypotheses, I used qualitative research methods, reading extensive literature research from the articles of peer-reviewed journals, books, and stories of personal experiences of professional women in sports. The results showed that women who have profession in sports do receive negative stereotyping and it’s impact on their involvement. Therefore, I believe, this is an area that needs to be addressed and dealt with, so that women can enter in this profession positively.
Problem Statement: Too many people in West Virginia are dying from opioid overdose.
West Virginia’s current policies and regulations are insufficient in addressing the opioid epidemic. West Virginia had the highest rate of overdose deaths in the country in 2016, that being 881 or 52 deaths per 100,000 people (“Drug Overdose Death Data”, 2017), and it is costing the state an estimated $8.8 billion per year (Eyre, 2018a). To address this issue, four different policy alternatives have been formulated in an attempt to decrease the number of opioid overdose deaths in West Virginia. These alternatives are allowing current trends to continue, increasing prescription opioid regulation, transforming the seven existing needle exchange programs (NEPs) into safe injection facilities (SIFs), and expanding Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs).
Possible outcomes, tradeoffs, and limitations were projected for each policy alternative, and four different criteria were used to evaluate the policies and their outcomes. The projected outcomes that were considered for each policy alternative were saved productivity due to decreased overdose fatalities, saved productivity due to decreased opioid addictions, saved resources in the form of healthcare, substance abuse treatment, and criminal justice costs, and the cost of implementation. By subtracting the costs from the benefits, the net benefit of each policy alternative was evaluated. Four different criteria were then selected to evaluate each policy alternative holistically. These criteria were efficacy, efficiency, equity, and political acceptability.
After considering the projected outcomes, tradeoffs, limitations, and applying the criteria for evaluation, the best policy to decrease opioid overdose deaths in West Virginia is a combination of expanding CCBHCs and increasing prescription opioid regulation. These alternatives aim to solve the opioid overdose epidemic in both the short and long term. CCBHCs were the most cost-effective policy, saving the state $437 million annually. With 24-hour crisis care, staff trained in life-saving naloxone administration, and same-day access, CCBHCs provide an immediate short term solution to opioid overdose deaths. Their other services such as outpatient mental health and substance use services, risk-management assessment, and targeted case management will decrease opioid addiction and overdose deaths in the long term as well.
Increasing prescription opioid regulation will also be able to address overdose deaths in the long run, and aims to attack the root of opioid epidemic—prescription opioid abuse. Since 80% of heroin users transitioned from misuse of prescription opioids, limiting opioid prescriptions for acute pain to a seven-day supply will decrease the likelihood of continuous dependency. Enhancing West Virginia’s prescription drug monitoring program to include data sharing amongst prescribers, primary care physicians, law enforcement, and public health agencies provides a greater opportunity to identify individuals at-risk of developing an opioid use disorder, as well as unethical prescribers. With a cost of implementation of only $1 million, and a net benefit of $242 million, this policy is a worthwhile investment for the state of West Virginia. While either policy would succeed separately in decreasing the death rate due to opioid overdose, both policies in tandem is the most efficacious and efficient recommendation for addressing the opioid epidemic and decreasing overdose deaths in West Virginia.
Developing Methods of Processing and Analyzing Genetic Data to Examine Tiger Salamander Population Structure
Dennis Dongmin Kim
Professor Heather Waye and her colleagues conducted a pilot study in 2014 to measure genetic diversity and dispersal pattern in a population of tiger salamanders in west-central Minnesota. The ultimate goal of this research was to analyze the genetic differences between tiger salamander larvae captured in breeding ponds within Pepperton Waterfowl Production Area to understand the population structure and movement patterns. They expected that ponds closer to each other would have more similar genetic information, and that genetic differences between ponds would increase with geographic distance. However, the initial analysis using standard techniques failed to uncover useful patterns in the data. Reorganization of the data and other quantitative approaches are needed to discover any significant patterns in this sample. In my research, I attempted a different modeling method to determine whether re-manipulating samples will uncover hidden patterns of genetic variation. In order to investigate this process, I learned how to install and utilize a software pipeline called Stacks which uses a standard UNIX- like environment operating system called Ubuntu. This software pipeline is a new methodological approach that we are using to build ‘loci’, fixed positions of genetic markers on chromosomes, from short-read sequences to map the relationship between individual tiger salamanders. We hope this technique that interrogates DNA fragments will provide the potential genetic differences between individuals in the sample. My results improve understanding of how to use advanced statistical and computational methods tailored to complex problems with real-world data.
We studied the role of riverbank plant leaves as habitat and food for macroinvertebrates in the Pomme de Terre River. Our objectives were to characterize tree cover along the riverbank using GIS, the decomposition of leaves of 4 native and invasive plant species, and the abundance and diversity of macroinvertebrates colonizing experimental leaf packs. Leaf packs contained boxelder, cottonwood, buckthorn or cattail leaves. Leaves were dried, put into mesh bags and attached to submerged logs in the river. Paper punchers were used to take leaf samples. Tree cover varied among counties. Macroinvertebrate abundance differed significantly between leaf species (ANOVA, p= 0.0284), but taxon richness did not. Riverbank species with more robust leaves such as cottonwood and cattail provide stable habitat to the stream. Delicate leaved species such as buckthorn and boxelder decompose more quickly and may provide food to macroinvertebrates in the form of coarse and fine organic matter.
Maternal Coxsackievirus B Induced Dysregulation of SUMOylation Processes as a Potential Cause of Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome
Bailey Kemp and Sarah Severson
Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) is a life-threatening congenital heart defect with unknown etiology. Here we hypothesize that HLHS has etiologic roots in maternal asymptomatic coxsackievirus B infection. Coxsackievirus has been demonstrated to disrupt normal distribution of small ubiquitin-like modifiers (SUMO) in the cell. The vital cardiac transcription factor, Nkx2-5, has been shown to be dependent on SUMOylation for proper function. Specifically, co-localization of SUMO and Nkx2.5 has been identified, as well as decreased SUMOylation associated with Nkx2-5 mutants. As Nxk2-5 is essential for fetal heart development and mutations in the gene for this vital transcription factor have been linked to HLHS, disruption of the regular SUMOylation patterns of Nkx2-5 may have severe consequences on cardiac development. Considering this evidence, we propose a novel mechanism for the underlying cause of HLHS. Specifically, we propose that asymptomatic maternal coxsackievirus infection crosses the placental barrier and disrupts SUMOylation processes during fetal development. This, in turn alters the function of Nkx2-5, ultimately leading to underdevelopment of the fetal heart and cardiac anomalies such as Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.
The Commercial Driver Medical Examination (CDME) is used to assess the medical fitness of a driver to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle. Hypertension is a disease that has been shown in prior research to cause reduced driving safety performance when not properly managed, and it is therefore important that medical examiners be able to consistently identify it in drivers. However, the CDME has historically been ineffective at screening drivers with safety-related diseases. For example, a report from the US Government Accountability Office showed the existence of a substantial number of drivers who were deemed eligible by the federal government for full disability benefits and yet also passed their CDME’s. To address these issues, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) instituted the Medical Examiner Registry and mandatory training programs for examiners. This project uses data from before these reforms to establish a baseline for comparison to the new version of the CDME. We compare hypertension as captured in CDME records to hypertension as captured in medical insurance claims data on the same drivers. Our initial results indicate that of the 1,320 drivers who were determined from the insurance data to have hypertension, medical examiners were able to correctly identify 74% of them as having the condition. This suggests that while the CDME was moderately successful in screening for hypertension even before the reforms, there was room for improvement.
In the field of composition studies, scholars often explore and debate how educators should train students to use the general forms of academic writing. Of particular interest, a trend has emerged in high schools where students are banned from using the words “I,” “me,” “we,” and “us” to avoid sounding subjective--even though composition studies scholars consistently employ these first-person pronouns for rhetorical effect. In this presentation, I closely examine how scholars use first-person pronouns in award-winning works. In particular, I show how scholars employ “I” and “we” to introduce personal examples, to call readers to action, and to reassert responsibility for their work. Then, I argue that high school teachers must accurately represent these rhetorical techniques, even to younger writers, and I suggest possible lesson plans to help students use their first-person pronouns responsibly.
Amphibians are the fastest known declining taxonomic group in the world with 48% of populations in decline (Stuart et. al. 2004). These declines in amphibian populations are partially due to the lack of basic life history data (Semlitsch 2003). For example, amphibians are known for their bright coloration and ability to rapidly change color. Coloration is key to amphibian survival in terms of defense (as camouflage or a warning sign to predators), thermoregulation (darker skin warms faster), and communication (primarily mating displays) (Rudh and Qvanstrom 2013). One aspect of amphibian coloration that is poorly understood is how much the environment influences amphibian pigmentation.
Amphibian coloration is dictated by three main types of chromatophores underneath the skin. Chromatophores are cells that contain pigments which reflect light. Iridophores contain pigments that reflect light that contribute to bluish coloration. Melanophores are the cells that control expression of melanin that can be expanded and contracted to darken or lighten the skin. Xanthophores are the cells responsible for the red and yellow coloration (Bagnara et. al. 1968) and contain pteridine organelles and dietary carotenoid pigments (Bagnara et. al. 1968 and Kraemer et. al. 2012). There are 600 different derivatives of carotenoids that have two major uses. They can be metabolized into Vitamin A and other antioxidants or used to physiologically change pigmentation. In particular, they are well known for being in orange and yellow vegetables like carrots and causing the bright pink coloration of the skin of some gulls. This coloration of gulls is due to their highcarotenoid diet of shrimp and algae (McGraw and Hardy 2006). Allocating carotenoids toward pigmentation rather than toward Vitamin A is a potential sign of health since that organism is able to use these nutrients for coloration instead of as antioxidants (Hill and Johnson 2012). This suggests that increasing access to carotenoids through diet can affect pigmentation which can reflect health in some organisms. We want to know whether carotenoids consumed through diet will affect pigmentation of amphibians as well.
Professor Heather Waye conducted research studying whether spot patterns in Eastern Tiger Salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum) changed during maturation (Waye 2013). She made the observation that some of the salamanders’ yellow coloration faded during their time in captivity. This may have been caused due to differences in abiotic factors (e.g. lighting, temperature) or diet. Captive salamanders have been fed a diet limited to domestic crickets, fish, and earthworms. Adult salamanders in the wild have been found to eat earthworms, crickets, grasshoppers, small mice, other amphibians (including their own larvae), mollusks, and other small insects (Reese 1969 and Moriarity and Hall 2014). Mollusks have been found to contain carotenoids (Vershinin 1996). I hypothesized that adding carotenoidrich food to their diet will result in an increase in intensity of the yellow in their skin.
The extent to which benzynes react with various trapping agents is an important question in synthetic chemistry due to its versatility to produce products that can be used as pharmaceuticals, dyes and other complex molecules. The hexadehydro-Diels-Alder (HDDA) reaction allows the generation of benzynes in situ which then can be efficiently trapped to synthesize complex products in one step with high yields. Reactions of HDDA - derived benzynes with trapping agents such as thioamides, alcohols, pyrroles, silyl ethers and multifunctional natural products have been studied in previous research. In this research, the reactions of HDDA-derived benzynes with diaziridines is explored because it is possible to form indoles as the final product; indole derivatives play an important role in pharmacological drug discovery and analysis, such as in its use for anticancer, antiHIV and antidiabetic pharmaceuticals. The synthesis, characterization and investigation of several benzyne precursors, diaziridines, and their corresponding reactions were examined in this research along with the optimization of the reaction conditions for the synthesis of diaziridines.
Food is essential to life. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) plays an indispensable role in ensuring people have access to healthy food. However, the data on the USDA website is not easy to access. Users must download many files to get data about animals, crops, the weather, and so on. To make the data more accessible to the general public, I built a web-based application to help make the data easy to access, explore, and compare. My application integrates multiple datasets from USDA website to provide graphic visualizations that enable users to get the exact, specific data intervals and information they want. Moreover, viewers can fully understand the trends of different types of crop yields in last decade and the factors behind those trends by interactively manipulating the information that interests them. To be specific, viewers can easily access and compare the crop yields according to different kinds of crop, state, and year. My research enables users to visualize and interact with many datasets instead of downloading all of them. The achievement of the research is not only to provide the convenience to interact and get specific crop yields tendency, but also explain the reasons behind these trends.