The basic purpose of Raul’s study, which will form the basis for his senior honors thesis in Molecular and Cell Biology, is to understand a characteristic of Salmonella enteritidis (S. enteritidis) that allows it to be the only bacterium to contaminate chicken eggs routinely. The specific objective is to determine the role of a particular set of genes, found in the cadAB operon, in conferring egg albumen/white resistance to S. enteritidis. Preliminary data has shown that a mutant S. enteritidis, with an interruption that disables the cadAB operon, is more susceptible to being eradicated in egg albumen than the wild type S. enteritidis. The cadAB operons function is to code for proteins that are involved in lysine-cadaverine transport and regulation of outer membrane permeability under certain conditions. Raul will determine this operons function when S. Enteritidis is exposed to egg albumen and its role in allowing the bacterium to survive […]
A Molecular and Cell Biology major, Manasa will study the Dengue virus (DEN), which causes the most prevalent arthropod-borne viral illness in humans worldwide, with an estimated 2.5 billion people at risk. Primary infection results in dengue fever (DF), an acute disease. In primary infections, DEN induces an effective immune response that may involve interferons (IFNs). IFNs are proteins produced by cells in response to various stimuli, especially viral infections, and are known for their antiviral and immunomodulatory effects. The role for IFNs in offering protection against the dengue virus (DEN) has been demonstrated in vitro, but neither the in vivo relevance of these in vitro findings nor the mechanisms of IFN action against DEN are known. Therefore, Manasa will explore the role of IFNs a, b and g in primary dengue virus infection, as well as the mechanisms by which the IFN receptor pathways resolve primary DEN infection in […]
Neighborhood associations in east Caracas have been pivotal in organizing the large demonstrations, an average of five per week, that have characterized public protest against Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez during the last year. Laura’s project, which will constitute her senior honors thesis in anthropology, will examine how two middle class neighborhoods in east Caracas exercise power against Chavez’s administration, and how this exercise of power affects other sectors of society. Through participant observation, in-depth and key informant interviews in two east Caracas neighborhoods (Chacao and California Norte) that are specifically active in the movement, Laura will explore how neighbors organize and mobilize in the city: how and where people meet, what kind of rhetoric they use, and why they mobilize. This study will help to understand the socio-political implications of movements led by the middle class.
Crystal will be exploring female performance in Shakespeare, focusing on female actresses portraying male Shakespearean roles. The study will form her honors thesis in English, and will culminate in a creative project, for which she will stage a number of Shakespearean monologues and scenes using an all-female cast. The question Crystal wishes to explore in both these endeavors is what happens to our understanding of Shakespeares plays in cross-gender conditions? In answering this question she hopes to form a unique way of talking about women playing mena discourse that would bring into dialogue two sometimes incongruous approaches to gender in Shakespeare: literary and performance criticism. Crystal will visit the Globe Theater in London this summer to attend two significant all female performances and will conduct interviews with actors and directors involved in the productions. Their insights will inform her paper, as well as her own directing project.
Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a member of the herpesvirus family, and a major cause of disease in people with compromised immune systems, particularly AIDS patients. Through the course of Jonathan’s research, several viral mutants that exhibit a severely attenuated ability to grow in cell culture have been identified. Jonathan will study the function of a protein encoded by open reading frame (ORF) UL 21, in which a mutation causes significantly attenuated growth. Through the process of recombination, the protein can be labeled using an epitope tag. Using antibodies that are coupled to a reporter enzyme, the proteins can then be studied using immunoassays to determine clues as to its possible role in the cell. Once the function of the protein encoded by the gene is understood, it can be used as a possible target for therapy. The research will culminate in an honors thesis in Molecular and Cell Biology.
The aim of Greg’s project, which will constitute his senior honors thesis in sociology, is to create a greater understanding of how gay identities and communities are formed in rural areas. Urban areas have formed not only the backing but also the major theoretical causal concept in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) theory. Rural gay culture and communities have remained unexamined and under theorized. Greg will be doing fieldwork in an area of the Northwest, where a rural community of gays and lesbians has developed. The area he will study has no gay bars, gay ghettos or any of the other institutions that normally foster the development of a gay community. Greg will attend annual community events and interviews will be conducted with members of the gay community, including ranchers, farmers, cowboys and truck drivers as well as local people who work in other occupations.
The vast majority of research associated with combat-related trauma and PTSD is conducted employing psychoanalytical and psychosocial models utilizing quantitative methodology that focuses primarily on the individual. Comparatively, little is known about the social impact of an illness that afflicts a great number of combat veterans and affects the lives of many others. Malcolm hopes to address this deficiency by: exploring it from a sociological perspective which will expand the scope of inquiry beyond the individual to society at-large; applying qualitative methodology which will uncover nuances that are missed by quantitative methods; and gathering data via semi-structured interviews, a method that better lends itself to the depth and sensitivity necessary to elicit meaningful information. From his efforts, Malcolm hopes to provide answers regarding the potential correlation between PTSD, self-perception, and worldview and its broader social implications and to create a quality research study for his senior honors thesis in Sociology.
Zeina, an English major, will write a novel of literary fiction that narrates the lives of three generations of Egyptian-Americans. It explores social issues such as cultural and gender conflict between old world Egyptian-Muslim values and more modern Western values. Intergenerational conflict is examined within the three generations of this family with the first having immigrated in their fifties, the second in their twenties, and the third being born in the United States. The characters struggle with defining an identity for themselves while straddling the cultural rift. The emotional core of the book centers around family relationships and particularly those of estranged parent-child relations due to differing cultural norms, morals, and taboos.
Proteases are a class of enzymes that cleave other proteins. Interestingly, the susceptibility of proteins to proteases differs, with some proteins being more resistant to proteolysis than others. The mechanism for this resistance is unclear. By studying model proteins that resist cleavage by the protease trypsin, Jacqueline hopes to determine the biophysical basis of proteolytic resistance. For her senior thesis in Molecular and Cell Biology, Jacqueline will study the structural properties of three resistant proteins from E. coli: potD, argT, and glnH. By utilizing recombinant DNA technology, protein purification methods, and circular dichroism to obtain information about the thermodynamic stability and unfolding kinetics of these proteins, Jacqueline hopes to uncover the mechanism of proteolytic resistance. An understanding of this mechanism has many potential applications in protein engineering, structural biology, and immunology. For instance, rigid proteins that have a longer lifetime and are therefore more effective as drugs can be designed.
Faisal will examine the changes made to Immigration and Naturalization Service statutes following September 11, 2001, focusing on the ways these changes targeted Pakistani immigrants, who were often detained for months and then were summarily deported. His project hopes to shed light upon the legalistic basis for this treatment of Pakistani immigrants, and its effects upon them. In order to assess the extent of the changes to INS policies — when, why, and how they took place — Faisal will first be working closely with the Migration Policy Institute at NYU Law School, and with the American Civil Liberties Union. He will then travel to Pakistan to interview Pakistani immigrants who were deported following the changes to INS codes, in order to determine their treatment and explore their understandings of why they were deported. His research will be presented as his senior honors thesis in history.