Folate deficiency still remains as the primary culprit for childhood mortality, and a major cause of atherosclerosis and cancer. Yet, we lack a precise method for determination of the long-term folate status of patients. The objective of Nikas project is to develop a more accurate method of quantifying long-term folate status through elucidation of Red Cell Folate kinetics. It is assumed that Red Cell folate (RCF) remains constant in the circulation; nevertheless, erythrocytes are capable of specific uptake of folate, suggesting that RCF is dynamic. Nika will perform experiments in order to develop a kinetic model that incorporates this dynamic nature of RCF. The model will be validated by collaborative clinical studies in Mexico. Hopefully, through this exciting collaboration, the results of this research may extend beyond national boundaries and give rise to more accurate methods for quantifying folate status.
Contemporary nonviolent movements of Muslim youth around the world are often neglected in the western media and deserve more scholarly attention. Emerging in the affluent urban centers of Egypt, Life Makers is an example of such a movement. The group was spearheaded nearly a decade ago by a charismatic and popular leader, Amr Khaled, through his television programs, lectures, tapes, and speeches. Edina will travel to Egypt this summer to look at Life Makers development from a group of youth following Khaleds teachings, to an international nongovernmental organization and now to its potential as a social movement seeking transformation of Egyptian society. While it is recognized that Life Makers is clearly an organization that focuses on social reform and development of society, Edina will investigate to what extent this goal of transformation implies political and economic change.
As part of Professor Shaowen Baos lab, Yoon will expand our understanding of the influence of sensory input on information processing during an epoch of early development known as the critical period. At the behavioral level, he will investigate how early experience of single-frequency tone pips influences frequency discrimination ability in rats. At the physiological level, he will examine the auditory cortex (A1) of tone-exposed rats to extract response properties of the cortical neurons, such as the characteristic frequency, spontaneous firing rate, maximum firing rate, and tuning bandwidth. At the systems level, he will simulate the auditory cortex with a population of model neurons using computational methods with previously extracted properties. By creating a model of the perceptual discrimination process, Yoon will investigate how repeated exposures to a sound influence perception discrimination of acoustically similar sounds.
Matthew hopes to contribute to discussion within scholarship of the Ancient Near East on the study of the Mitanni state, a polity in Upper Mesopotamia that attained international power during the second millennium BCE. He proposes to elucidate one, fairly restricted aspect of the larger question regarding the Mitannian system of governance by comparing recently published information on palatial administrative architecture from a site in the Mitanni heartland, Tell Brak, with the much more extensively documented peripheral sites of Alalakh and Nuzi. Through this cross-comparative study of the three administrative buildings, Matthew proposes to hypothesize potential connections between use of space and structure of empire, and conclude whether the architecture in the periphery was used in the same way, and by the same people, as the Brak administrative center, which can be securely situated in a quintessentially Mitanni framework.
The family is often considered a primary source of emotional support and an institutional constant amidst every day challenges. For military personnel, the circumstances of every day life are more unpredictable, more dangerous, and further complicated by the intensive debate surrounding military duties and functions. Military families are intimately intertwined with the institution, but are not bound to the military in the same fashion as its personnel. What is the role of families in the military? This summer, Mai-Ling will conduct ethnographic research at the Marine Corps Base in Twentynine Palms, California, to investigate how military families manage themselves and how the military manages families within the institution. By interviewing Marine Corps wives and personnel she will investigate both the perceived and expected roles of families, and attempt to discover the actual nature of their relationship with the military.
Darci will be traveling to New York City to conduct anthropological fieldwork on homelessness. Specifically, this work will be an exploration of the way in which the discourse of choice, freedom, and resistance is utilized in the lives of those who view their homeless condition as a choice– those Darci terms “houseless.” The data collected through interviews and surveys will provide means for a comparative analysis with work she has been doing in Berkeley for the past year and a half. Along with interviews and surveys, Darci will be doing her first fieldwork in visual anthropology, taking photographs of houseless people as well as giving cameras to informants, in order to visually depict the dialectical relationship between researcher and informant. This research will culminate in a comparative analysis of houselessness and an exhibition of photographs in the Worth Ryder Gallery.
Dashal’s project will use a recent debate in the Richmond City Council over the proposal to declare a State of Emergency as a focus for questions dealing with violence and politics in the deindustrialized and racialized American landscape. She will investigate how violence and crisis are constructed in various discourses, and how those understandings are deployed in governance. Although the State of Emergency was purportedly proposed in response to a spike in homicide rates, Dashal believes it actually stemmed from a more hidden and deep crisis. In the context of the neoliberal retrenchment of state services and the general financial crisis in deindustrialized municipalities, racialized minorities are increasingly portrayed as dangerous to society, thus providing a rationale for their differential treatment by the law. Using interdisciplinary methods and multimedia, Dashal’s research will reexamine the notion of violence within this more expansive framework.
Salmonella typhimurium (S. typhimurium) is one of the leading causes of foodborne illnesses and mortalities. A major factor behind its virulence is its ability to survive well in the presence of hydrogen peroxide generated by macrophages through respiratory burst. Previous research has shown dsbD mutants of S. typhimurium to be more susceptible to hydrogen peroxide. DsbD works in conjunction with dsbA, B, and C in maintaining periplasmic disulfide bonds. More specifically, dsbD catalyzes the isomerase activity of dsbC by reducing it. DsbA and B help form disulfide bonds by oxidizing thiols. Jihoon will further investigate the role of dsbA, B, and C, and how it confers more resistance of S. typhimurium to hydrogen peroxide. From this research, he hopes to conduct quality senior honors research that will ultimately decrease the number of foodborne illnesses caused by S. typhimurium.
Sun’s project examines how cultural memory and postcolonial consciousness have shaped the notion of justice and reconciliation in post-Khmer Rouge Cambodia. While the newly-established Special Court aims to establish international criminal justice 31 years after the tragic events, whether such justice can redress historical wrongs and bring about reconciliation remains questionable. Therefore an inquiry into the Cambodian social and political imagination, ideological development and notions of national identity and culture becomes appropriate. Through interviews, observations and review of historical evidence, Sun will unearth the non-dominant voice and seek to understand the sentiment regarding the nation’s history of foreign occupation and colonial subjection. The hope is that this research would not only be significant in shaping Cambodia’s memory of its past and future, but that it would elicit informed decisions and creative mechanisms to aid nations arising from violent pasts.
Under the guidance of Dr. Richard Harland and two postdoctoral fellows, Dr. Timothy Grammer and Dr. Mustafa Khokha, Dang will study the novel grinch mutation that affects the lymphatic system of the frog Xenopus tropicalis. Like humans, frogs have a lymphatic system which drains fluids from tissues back to the bloodstream. The lymphatic system influences the course of many human diseases, from lymphedema to tumor metastasis; and currently little is known about the molecular basis of lymphatic development. Dang’s efforts will ultimately result in the characterization and identification of the mutated gene, which will contribute to our understanding of the amphibian lymphatic system and possibly that of humans.