Multidrug efflux pump, which sometimes pumps out almost all of the commonly used antibiotics, plays a major role in bacterial resistance. The design of better antibiotics which will overcome this mechanism will require knowledge of the kinetic behavior of this pumping process. Recently, Cheng participated in a study that determined the kinetic constants for one class of antibiotics, cephalosporins. In this project Cheng will be using other antibiotics as the potential competitor of the cephalosporin flux to develop a more complete understanding of kinetic behavior of the pump. The knowledge of kinetic constants for various antibiotics will allow design of more suitable compounds that will evade the multidrug efflux process and will be effective in the treatment of human infections in the 21st century.
In political struggle, establishing the legitimacy of a cause is the key to founding and maintaining popular support. How then, do political prisoners labeled as “criminals” and “terrorists” by the governments they oppose proceed to gain a semblance of legitimacy? With this question in mind, Thomas will examine the condition of Irish political prisoners within the context of the modern British and Irish penal systems. He will trace the evolution of governmental and institutional policies, aimed at containing Nationalist combatants and suspected sympathizers, which exploited modes of extralegal incarceration. In addition, he will examine responses by prisoners who engaged in acts of protest –both to improve their material conditions and as propaganda to further the Nationalist cause — as part of a coercive dialogue between themselves and the state.
While there has been great scholarly interest in international tribunals such as the Nuremberg and Tokyo, little research has been done on Allied national efforts to prosecute the Japanese in the post-WWII era. Over 700 Chinese nationalist trials were conducted between 1946 and 1949 against the Japanese at twelve different locations in China. This is a wonderful example of domestic applications of an emerging body of international law. While an analysis of the trial judgments is an important part of the project, Chang will also closely examine the Chinese nationalist government’s involvement in the trials. Chang will travel to London to do research at the National Archives of the United Kingdom, which house important documents on the Chinese nationalists and their influence on the tribunals.
In the last 20 years, Yemen experienced a civil war, discontinued aid from the gulf countries, and reforms that cut spending towards health care. Ashwak’s project explores how Yemeni doctors and lay persons view foreign western medicine in comparison to Yemen’s western medicine and how they use communicative practices (Hanks 1996) to explicitly and implicitly co-construct and reproduce these views. This will give insight and space to investigate how medical discourse in Yemen influences consumption and choice of medical practices when faced with the option of local and foreign operated medical institutes. For this project, Ashwak will conduct ethnographic work supplemented by conversational analysis of semi-structured interviews with patients, the accompanying parties, the physicians, the nurses, and the nearby locals at both the Yemen-German and al-Thawrah Hospital in Sanaa, Yemen.
Shawna will travel to New York and Los Angeles to collect her primary text, which will be an extensive photographic record of static advertisements displayed in public space. Using this index of images, along with personal interviews gathering individuals’ responses to advertising, she will produce a collection of lyric poetry that investigates the boundary between the poetic arts and an image-oriented culture. By means of ekphrasis, an aesthetic technique traditionally used to mediate between two art forms, these poems will render the visual constituents of advertising imagery into the temporally distinct realities of linguistic and textual representation. Her research into picture theory, iconology and lyricism will contribute towards an intent to posit and express persuasive images’ resonance within a poetic speaker’s subjectivity, and address poetry’s remarkable separation from public life.
Genetic work with model organisms, such as fruit flies, mice, and zebrafish, has provided invaluable insights into the mechanisms behind human disease and development. One tool for creating these models is direct modification of the genome. Michael is optimizing the use of reagents, called zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs), in order to create specific and targeted modifications in the DNA sequence of a very genetically tractable system, the zebrafish. Using ZFNs, genes can possibly be directly targeted to express desired proteins, incorporate molecular tags, or can even be repaired by a corrected template. He will develop assays to quantify ZFN-mediated targeting and optimize conditions to improve targeting efficiency, with the goal of making this technology broadly accessible to and widely used within the scientific community.
The fact that wilderness can be literally built is a profound one, especially in this era of ecological crisis. Wild plants and animal species are rapidly being lost due to climate change and loss of habitat. What if wildlife were built into the fabric of the city? What if the city, often regarded as the antithesis of wilderness, nurtured a variety of plant and animal life in the midst of dense urban centers? Ben will produce designs for the construction of wildlife habitat at a sample urban site, incorporating Geographic Information Systems and a variety of new environmental analysis tools and media into the design process. Ben will regularly present his project to solicit criticism from faculty and guest jurors, making numerous models and illustrations to accompany his written thesis.
Modernity is characterized by its inclination towards increased speed, production, and efficiency. In most commercially viable theater dance productions this manifests itself as the propensity for constant motion and the execution of virtuosic movement. However, Berlin based choreographers Meg Stuart and Sasha Waltz disrupt dance’s ontology and escape the homogenizing temporalities of modernity by incorporating slower motion and stillness in their choreography. Through an analysis of their creative work, Lauren will expose discursive possibilities pertaining to the body, consumerism, and individualism in relation to both Western cultural theory and traditions of contemporary theater dance. After conducting ethnographic and movement research in Berlin, Lauren will investigate the critical distinctions between the social context of Stuart’s and Waltz’s work in comparison with dance practice and scholarship in the United States.
Since their discovery in 1993, microRNAs (miRNAs) have become an area of active research and are currently believed to rival transcriptional regulation as a means of controlling messenger RNA levels and ultimately protein production within a cell. In response to viral infection, the cellular miRNA profile shifts to regulate specific protein levels and combat infection. Cellular miRNA mir-7 has been shown to be significantly upregulated following infection with Cytomegalovirus, a beta-herpes virus present in up to 80% of the population. However the messenger RNA target and effects on protein levels have yet to be elucidated. In her research, Marissa will use mass spectrometry to monitor protein level changes after overexpression of miR-7 to identify potential messenger RNA targets and downstream molecular pathway effects and their role in Cytomegalovirus infection.
Hillary’s research will take her to the states of Maharashtra and Orissa in central India, to the ancient Buddhist sites of Kanheri, Ellora, Aurangabad, and Ratnagiri, among others, where the earliest relief sculptures of Tara remain in situ. In tracking the early evolution Tara’s form, Hillary’s project will examine how the goddess is increasingly incorporated into Buddhist practice in the 5th-8th centuries CE. As Tara eventually becomes the most significant female figure in Buddhism with the rise of the Vajrayana (Tantric) school, Hillary’s study asks, can these works of relief sculpture – as visual texts – tell us as much as the written word about developing Vajrayana ritual technology? An examination into the origin and early evolution of Tara in Buddhist art, she hopes, will contribute to a better understanding of how and when Tantric Buddhism developed in India (and what it looked like).