Elucidating Mechanisms of Fine Genetic Control by a sRNA in Pathogenic Bacterium Salmonella typhimurium

The bacterium Salmonella is a significant cause of food-borne disease. Its pathogenesis depends on the type III secretion systems (T3SSs) that were acquired by horizontal gene transfer; the invasion of Salmonella into the host cells requires appropriate expression of T3SSs. Recent research has identified small non-coding RNAs (sRNAs) as a class of regulators that fine tune gene expression required for bacterial physiology and pathogenesis. Elton will investigate the specific interaction between one of these newly discovered Salmonella sRNA and its predicted candidate targets; he will characterize the interaction between IsrM and its cognate targets, HilE and SopA, and identify the mechanisms of these interactions. The research work on the interaction between this sRNA and its targets will contribute towards a more complete understanding of the molecular coordination of Salmonella pathogenesis.

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Sciences

Exploring the Mechanism of Protein Scaffolding Toward Improved Metabolic Flux

Metabolic engineering has the potential to provide environmentally friendly routes for the synthesis of a variety of molecules, including therapeutics and biofuels. One way to improve the flux of metabolic pathways is the use of synthetic protein scaffolds that colocalize enzymes in the engineered mevalonate biosynthesis pathway. Susan’s project tests the hypothesis that optimal scaffolds of certain architectures mimic substrate channeling and function by forming large, oligomeric complexes that bring scaffolds into close proximity. Adaptor molecules are synthesized that co-assemble scaffolds to designably control complex size. Mevalonate product titers will be measured using GCMS, and protein colocalization will be verified by fluorescence imaging. The successful engineering of this adaptor strategy can be applied to other pathways due to its modularity.

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Sciences

Women in a Landscape of Change

The recent influx of modernity and opportunity into Ireland has profoundly affected the countrys social, geographical and cultural framework. In response to growing social pressure and the relaxation of the power of the Catholic Church, Ireland has changed many repressive laws regarding divorce and homosexuality and has closed antiquated institutions, such as the Magdalen Laundries. Louisa will research the effects of these changes on the social fabric of Ireland by interviewing women from different facets of Irish society regarding their newly emerging cultural identity. She will also visit historical and geographical sites that are suggested by the interviewees. Utilizing the mediums of film, photography and landscape painting, Louisa will draw on both new and old traditions to illustrate a changing portrait of Ireland and the women that live there.

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Humanities

Role of Peripheral Participants and Staging in Platonic Dialogues

Platonic dialogues usually consist of an interrogative discourse between Socrates and his interlocutor, situated in a specific setting, much like a stage, with other people present and participating somehow. Amin will investigate the role of peripheral participants and the staging of the dialogue in some essential texts known to be mostly concerning modes of discourse, namely Gorgias and Protagoras, as well as two early dialogues, “Crito” and “Meno”. Amin will examine these texts in the light of modern theories of discourse and performance while paying specific attention to cultural significations and the spatial staging of both the ancient Athenian forum and a modern U.S. courtroom. Amin’s analysis involves a comparison of the relations between the platonic characters and their relation to the staging of the dialogue.

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Humanities

A Specter Haunting South Africa': Cuba's Symbolic Importance in the South African Anti-Apartheid Struggle, 1975-1991

Revolutionary Cuba provided international support and financial assistance to the liberation movements throughout southern African. Cuba’s foreign policy of international revolution and its liberation discourse crossed boundaries erected by the apartheid state and influenced the South African emancipation movement. Despite a strong public rapport between Cuba and anti-Apartheid leaders, the majority of research on Cubas foreign policy towards Africa has excluded South Africa. Drawing on archival research conducted at the University of Cape Town and South African national archives, Margaux hopes to contribute to the analysis of Cuba’s symbolic significance to the anti-Apartheid struggle. She will trace the origin of Cuba’s involvement in the South Africa liberation movement beginning in 1975 with Cuba’s increase of support to African revolutionary movements and ending in 1991 with Nelson Mandelas visit to Cuba.

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Humanities

The Loneliest Brides in America: Japanese War Brides and African American Servicemen After WWII

Immediately following the end of World War II, the United States stationed nearly 450,000 troops in Japan. The U.S. occupation of Japan led to intimate relationships between American Servicemen and Japanese women, resulting in a large number of marriages. Between 1947 and 1975, an estimated 45,000 Japanese women immigrated to the United States as wives of U.S. Servicemen. Most scholarship on the subject focuses on the relationships between Japanese war brides and White American GIs. However, a significant number of these Japanese women came to the United States with their African American husbands; yet their stories remain largely untold. Through extensive archival research and oral histories, Sonia will re-examine gender and race relations in the post-war United States through the lens of the Japanese war bride and African-American GI.

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Humanities

Disability Studies, Disabled Student Services: Making the Link in Physical Education at UC Berkeley

In the spring of 2009, UC Berkeley (UCB) offered 98 courses in their Physical Education Department– none designed for disabled students. Forty years after UCB helped forge a civil rights movement for people with disabilities, neither Berkeley nor any UC has a plan or program for addressing the fitness needs of the disabled. Matthew hopes to address that deficiency. He will create and evaluate a pilot program to create boxing opportunities for the disabled, and travel to learn the successes and limitations of several other California adaptive fitness programs, creating a documentary film and enhanced thesis with his findings. He will then initiate fundraising efforts in order to develop a sustainable plan that can be offered for the disabled population at UCB, and in time replicated at other universities.

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Social Science

Surveillance of Permanent Workers in a Temporary Economy

Current research on Latino masculinity is just beginning to address the rich diversity of gendered experiences found among Latino men, suggesting that Latino men, like all men, are gendered in and through various ways. Still unaddressed, however, are the various different ways in which jornaleros (day laborers) are gendered, disrupting the assertion of a monolithic Latino male experience”. Drawing on participant observation and in-depth interviews with jornaleros at two East Bay sites, Hector’s study will add valuable insight into gender understandings. Exploring attitudes during the current economic downturn, it will reveal how gender understandings change as day laborers exist in the absence of the home family, and domestic duties like cleaning cooking, and washing are allocated within a street family that cushions the negative experiences of under-employment and job loss.

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Social Science

Workin' Man Blues: Negotiating Class and Gender in a Downwardly Mobile Timber Community

While the recent economic downturn has brought national attention to the plight of the newly unemployed, downward mobility has been a steady feature of American society for generations. For Americans, however, downward mobility means facing not only declining economic prospects, but also the stigma of violating a cherished cultural norm: the pursuit of the American dream and the achievement of upward mobility. Katherine will travel to rural Oregon to conduct in-depth interviews with people affected by the decline of the timber industry, a once booming business that offered a chance at a middle class lifestyle. Katherine will look at how the loss of both socioeconomic status and the traditionally masculine identities tied to this work shape rural residents’ relationship to larger cultural expectations surrounding opportunity and success in America.

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Social Science

Modeling the Impact of Variations in Land Use on Carbon Sequestration Service of Atlantic Forest in São Paulo State, Brazil

Rapid land use transformation worldwide in recent years raises a demand for models that simulate the impacts of different land use policies on the local ecosystems and its services for human well-being. Mio will join a team in Brazil and devise a mathematical model that estimates the impacts of local land use choices on the carbon sequestration abilities of Atlantic Forest. She will integrate the devised model into Multiscale, Integrated Models of Ecosystem Services (MIMES), which collaboratively simulates the impacts of different land use policies on ecosystem services provided by the forest. This research will contribute to the development of effective land management policies that lead to sustainable conservation of Atlantic Forest. Furthermore, identifying the benefits, requirements and limitations of the modeling methods will provide valuable references for future studies.

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Sciences

The Presence of Arthuriana in the Philippines: An Analysis of A Filipino Arthurian text

This project sets out to examine the acquisition of the Arthurian literary cycle by the canon of Filipino literature. Focusing on the only two Filipino translated Arthurian texts, Tablante de Ricamonte and Percibal, Stefanie will be doing analytical and comparative work on the texts and the Spanish counterparts from which they are derived. Traveling to Chicago and the Philippines, she will gain access to these 19th century, medieval-influenced manuscripts and in the Philippines, have the opportunity to consult with the mother of Filipino folklore, scholar Damiana L. Eugenio. Her ultimate goal is to ascertain what original elements of the tradition have been maintained in the translations and to determine what Filipino literature has contributed to the greater Arthurian literary cycle.

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Humanities

The 'Russian Geisha': Commodity of a Commodity

Conventionally, the word sex-worker creates an image of an economically deprived, uneducated and socially isolated female who enters the sex market as a last resort to survive. The word sex-work is almost synonymous to dirty work. In her project, Ekaterina will examine Russian females who travel to Japan as hostesses and engage in the sex trade, to present a new image of sex workers who are financially secure and accepted by families and the society as they earn enormous amounts of money. Ekaterina will travel to Russia and Japan to conduct in-depth interviews and participant observation. She hopes to explain the phenomena of the new type of sex-workers by exploring Marx’s ideas of commodities fetishism and Soviet-caused goods inaccessibility.

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Social Science

Uncovering the Genesis of Omagua: A Contact Language of Peruvian Amazonia

Most languages spoken today are of roughly direct descent from other, perhaps extinct, languages. Latin is the famous progenitor of the Romance languages. However, the pre-history of some languages is not one of direct descent, but rather of contact, or mixture. Omagua is a highly endangered, pre-Columbian contact language of Peruvian Amazonia, with only two remaining speakers. Building off of previous work, Zachary will conduct eight weeks of fieldwork in Peru. With more comprehensive linguistic data, he will employ standard historical-linguistic methods to determine the languages involved in the genesis of Omagua and sketch the socio-cultural and grammatical results of contact. Zachary’s work will contribute to research on contact languages generally, as well as shed light on the interactions and movements of indigenous populations before the advent of Europeans.

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Humanities

Inventing a Language of Wilderness: A Cultural Study of Yosemite and Surrounding Areas

John Muir once stated, Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. California’s National Parks, renowned for their beauty and history, draw visitors from around the world and reflect John Muirs sentiment. Yet, each person has their own ideas and perceptions about the parks and their personal definitions of wilderness. Can Bourdieu’s “cultural capital”, or preferences associated with class differences, help explain these distinctions? With the use of ethnographic interviews, Jessica will connect how people visit these parks with their individual perceptions of nature. Her hope is to contribute to a deeper understanding of the cultural, economic and historical implications of the park system, as well as to efforts to preserve the parks.

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Social Science

Specific Heat Measurements of Silicon Nanowires for Improved Thermoelectrics

Jason’s research group has recently developed the nanocalorimeter, a membrane-based calorimeter which has ten times less addenda heat capacity than any known calorimeter, allowing for the first accurate measurements of nanogram sized samples. With this, Jason proposes to measure the specific heat of silicon nanowires in response to recent thermal transport studies. These studies have found that the thermal conductivity of silicon nanowires decreases with decreasing nanowire diameter. Such a characteristic means silicon nanowires have a big future in clean energy thermoelectric devices. But before we can properly exploit them in technology, their thermal dynamics must be better understood. Directly related to the phonon density of states, specific heat will help Jason explain the decrease in thermal conductivity by investigating phenomena such as phonon confinement and surface vibrational states.

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Sciences

Molecular Characterization of a piRNA Biogenesis Protein

RNA interference (RNAi) is a rapidly expanding field of research that promises to yield a better understanding of how cells regulate their environments through RNAi mediated gene silencing pathways. Harnessing RNAis transformative properties may prove to be a powerful methodology for developing effective, cell-specific drugs, thus reducing harm and unwanted side effects. Alison’s project involves reconstituting the piRNA biogenesis machinery in vitro; specifically, elucidating the role of the protein, Squash. piRNAs are a recently discovered class of small regulatory RNAs that are thought to facilitate transposon silencing through RNAi, thereby protecting the genome from the deleterious effects of insertional mutagenesis, some of which have been implicated in cancer cell life cycles. Understanding these key mechanisms of gene regulation could radically transform the treatment of many genetically-linked diseases.

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Sciences

Construction of a Novel, Cryogen-free, Self-contained Dilution Refrigerator

Technologies based on superconducting quantum systems have contributed significantly to the development of high precision magnetic sensors and quantum bits. These experiments require ultra-low temperatures which are achieved by dilution refrigerators. In contrast to conventional dilution refrigerators, which generally require a continuous supply of liquid helium and complex circulation systems, the dilution refrigerator Yu-Dong aims to construct will not use liquid cryogens and mechanical pumps. This will be accomplished by integrating a 2-Kelvin pulse tube cryostat with a self-contained dilution unit prototype from Chase Cryogenics, to further lower the base temperature to 50 milli-Kelvin. This novel dilution refrigerator will be fully computer controlled to optimize cool-down and hold-time, serving as an easy to use, fast cycling system for experiments on superconducting quantum mechanical systems.

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Sciences

The Cerebellum's Contribution to Cognition and Learning

Contrary to previously held beliefs, the cerebellum is not restricted to activities involving motor control. It participates in a variety of cognitive functions from attention to verbal working memory. This can be attributed to its connectivity with regions of the cortex that are involved in learning and memory. Previous research suggests that the cerebellum may be more involved in metric-based rather than rule-based or categorical learning. Tawny’s project will examine that hypothesis and investigate the cerebellums contribution to specific types of learning as well as the role of feedback on cerebellar learning. She will use behavioral and neuropsychological methods to piece together how the cerebellum could be involved in a wide variety of processes and present a more general understanding of its role in learning and cognition.

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Social Science

Mapping the Non-Spectacle: A Counter-narrative to the 2010 South Africa World Cup

At the edge of the city, beyond the stadiums newly built to house South Africa’s 2010 World Cup, are clusters of temporary relocation areas that have come to house tens of thousands of South Africa’s internally displaced urban peoples. Jonathan will travel to South Africa to visually document and map the dialectic relationships between these distinct spaces of exception through photography, video, and open-source mapping technologies. He will also be working with Ikamva Youth to teach mapping and photography workshops designed to create open-source maps of neighborhoods of the Delft region of Cape Town. With the collected imagery he will produce a film and multi-media art installation designed to immerse the audience in the vivid spectrum of sites and structures that fabricate such transnational spectacle events.

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Social Science