Is There Biological Evidence for Quantum Consciousness?

Pushed aside by a tradition of Cartesian dualism, the mystery of consciousness has recently resurfaced as a problem on the cutting edge of intellectual thought. My expanded honors thesis for Systems Biology will investigate if we can better understand what consciousness is, based on processes occurring throughout the whole organism, instead of just inside the brain. I will evaluate the ability of modern theories and experiments on brain processes to account for findings outside of neuroscience that suggest consciousness to exist on an organismal level. I hope to explore alternative grounds from which to create empirical studies about how we might investigate consciousness in other organisms. In doing so, I will achieve a deeper understanding, both for the academic fields involved, and for myself, of what conditions within living systems might give rise to the phenomenon of consciousness, and to scientifically question the distinctions we have placed between humans and […]

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An Analysis of Candidate Genes Involved in Neural Tube Closure during Xenopus Development

The coordination of cell movement is an integral process in development, affecting morphological shape as well as cell fate specification. While the importance of this process has been long realized, the molecular regulation of cell movement remains poorly understood. Saori plans to investigate the roles of two genes, fuzzy (fy) and inturned (in), in establishing cell polarity during convergent extension movements in the early frog embryo. Convergent extension is the process by which a population of cells redistributes itself by converging along one axis, thereby elongating along the perpendicular axis. In cloning and characterizing these genes through loss and gain of function analyses, Saori aims to integrate the results she collects to build upon a developing signal transduction pathway that triggers this intricate array of movements for her seniors honors thesis in Molecular and Cell Biology.

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Developing an Innovative Three-Dimensional Histological System

Histological analysis has been a vital technique for studying biological tissue structures for many decades now. Recent developments have allowed histologists to use fluorescent labels to visualize dynamic events such as bone remodeling. More advanced biochemical developments have expanded histological analysis to gene expression patterns, protein and mineral deposits. In spite of these advances, histology is primarily used for qualitative visual purposes (usually only in two dimensions). The product of John’s research will be a system capable of performing three-dimensional analysis including the complete reconstruction of bone tissue composition and gene expression, as they are in situ. The immediate impact will be an ability to understand the relationships between the mechanical loading and the cell/tissue response in skeletal loading models. Although this is just one specific example of the proposed systems use, we believe that as this technology becomes more widespread, it will be a critical asset to many areas […]

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