Student Research Symposium
Oral Presentations - Monday, April 18th [3:00-6:00p.m.]
Time Author(s) Title


Hannah Beard

On Site: Every Rehearsal is a Performance, Every Performance has an Audience


Sydney Greenwalt

Presence of androgyny in residential Coker College students


Cynallyhia Indriago (presenter), Bryan Musungu , Taylor-Shea Flowtow

Characterization of Two Transcription Factor Genes in Fusarium graminearum


Kimberly Stanfield

The effects of various demographics on why women are more likely to take care of children.


Austin McJunkins

Chirped Pulse Fourier Transform (CPFT) Microwave Spectrometer


Patrick Flynn

Fatherhood in The Kid, Mon Oncle, and Big Daddy

Poster Presentations - Monday, April 18th [3:00-6:00p.m.] & Tuesday, April, 19th, 2011 [11:00a.m.-12:00p.m.]
Development of phenotypic screens to identify genes involved in salt tolerance in fungi

Authors: Kendra English (presenter), Jessica Griggs Ponder, Amber Mulligan, Megan Sexton, Jaclyn Wessinger, Mark Williams, and Ashley Meador
Faculty advisor: Joe Flaherty

Salt tolerance is a complex trait that remains poorly understood. Very few genes have been identified that are required for salt tolerance in plants, animals, or fungi. The increasing salinity of agricultural soils have intensified the search for these genes, in hopes to increase our understanding of mechanisms involved in osmotic stress responses. We developed two forward genetic screens using Fusarium graminearum as our experimental organism. F. graminearum is a filamentous fungal pathogen that causes substantial economic impact due to crop losses and mycotoxin contamination. The extensive genomic resources available for this organism coupled with its tractability have made experiments designed to investigate poorly understood mechanisms make this organism a compelling choice for this project. We initially tested a wild-type strain of F. graminearum (PH-1) for the ability to grow under various salt concentrations in the culture medium. Our results indicated that PH-1 cannot grow in cultures containing greater than 1.75M NaCl. The first screen developed involves plating a library of F. graminearum insertional mutants on 2.0M NaCl. Mutant strains that could tolerate this salt concentration may presumably contain a gain-of-function mutation in a gene involved in mediating salt tolerance. The second screen developed involves plating the same library of mutants onto growth medium containing 1.75M NaCl. Mutant strains that cannot grow under these conditions would be considered "salt sensitive", a loss-of-function phenotypic class that may lead to the discovery of genes critical for cells to tolerate high salt concentrations.

Characterization of novel conidiation-impaired mutants in Fusarium graminearum

Authors: Amanda J. Warner (Presenter), Bryan Musungu, Sara Atkinson
Faculty advisor: Joe Flaherty

In Fusarium graminearum, the causal agent of head blight of wheat and several other economically important diseases, the morphological transition from filamentous growth to asexual sporulation (conidiation) is critical for dissemination and infection. In spite of this, very little is known about the genetic regulation of this important developmental process. From genetic screens designed to identify genes regulating specific aspects of morphogenesis in F. graminearum, we identified several insertional mutants impaired in conidiation, which variously display a range of loss- and gain-of-function phenotypes. One mutant that fails to produce conidia, designated 8B5, contains an insertion within a putative bi-directional promoter of genes FG_10779 and FG_10780. To further understand the impact of the insertion on gene regulation, genome-wide analyses of gene expression were performed with microarrays [Fusarias520715 Affymetrix GeneChip] on the wild type and 8B5 mutant strain under conditions favorable for asexual development. Interestingly, the effects of this mutation result in elevated expression of both genes, therefore implicating one or both as a possible repressor of asexual development. Additional information will be presented regarding the molecular characterization of the 8B5 mutant, as well as other mutants impaired in the regulation of conidiation.

Characterization of Two Transcription Factor Genes in Fusarium graminearum

Authors: Bryan Musungu (presenter), Cynallyhia Indriago, Taylor-Shea Flowtow
Faculty advisor: Joe Flaherty

Fusarium graminearum is a fungal pathogen of grains that causes substantial economic losses world-wide due to crop reduction and mycotoxin contamination. The relative importance of this organism has led to substantial efforts to characterize the F.graminearum genome and identify genes important for pathogenesis and development. This study focused on characterizing genes that encode MAP kinases, a group of proteins known to be involved in regulating signal transduction pathways of cell differentiation, cell division, and notably stress responses. Based on the high sequence similarity and functional complementation in yeast, similar functions are proposed for plant MAPK. The target genes in the study, YAP1 and FLO8, putatively encode an adenylyl cyclase, which is a component of two main signaling cascades, the cAMP/PKA pathway and MAPK pathway and is at the heart of this network, integrating input signals regulating fungal growth, differentiation, and host interactions. The proteins comprise critical regulators of developmental processes in ascomycete fungi, such as dimorphic growth, mating, and sporulation but have not been studied in many species of Fusarium. The initial goals of the study were to determine whether deletion mutants of YAP1 and FLO8 would exhibit abnormal mycotoxin production. We employed gene-targeting methods to generate knockout mutants of YAP and FLO8 via a split marker PCR process. The initial round of amplification of the up- and down-stream fragments of the YAP, PH1, and FLO8 primers were used to produce fragments for the second round of amplification, which involved insertion of the hygromycin-resistance cassette used as a selectable marker. To verify that the procedure was successful, we examined PCR products by gel electrophoresis. Following the successful PCR approach, fungal protoplast transformation was performed and positive transformants were selected and cultured. The results indicated that mutants with deletion of YAP and FLO8 were reduced in the amount of conidiation compared to the wild type PH1. We are currently analyzing microarray data from experiments designed to compare gene expression levels between MAPK mutants and wild-type strains. Analysis of these MAPK genes (and the genes they regulate) in F. graminearum may lead to identification of participants of signal transduction events in related fungi and other eukaryotic organisms.

Kinetic studies of Titanocene(III)-mediated reduction reactions

Authors: Brittany Baker and Katelyn Miller
Faculty advisor: Pramod Chopade

The use of Ti(III) reagents as single electron transfer (SET) reagents in epoxide ring-opening and other reduction reactions is well known. These reactions utilize a variety of proton donors such as water, alcohols, and hydrochloride salts. Though Ti(III)-mediated reductions are well studied, the role of proton donors in these reactions and their effects on rates of reactions is not clearly understood. Using stopped-flow spectrophotometry, the effect of proton donors on observed rate constants in titanocene(III)- mediated reduction reactions has been studied. Furthermore, effect of substituents (-Me, -Et, -Ph, etc) in substrates such as epoxides and ketones have also been studied to understand the electronic and steric effects involved in these vital reactions.

Rapid and efficient synthesis of Bolaamphiphilic Diaziridines

Authors: Mark Williams
Faculty advisor: Pramod Chopade

Bolaamphiphiles are a special class of molecules containing long hydrophobic chains attached to two hydrophilic, polar functional groups at both ends. These molecules resemble amphiphiles such as lipids and steroids commonly found in biological systems and hence are important candidates for artificial membrane synthesis. We have developed a practical and rapid synthetic methodology for the synthesis of bolaamphiphilic diaziridines by the reactions of structurally diverse diamines with various vicinal dibromides substrates under basic conditions. These reactions afforded a variety of diaziridines in moderate to excellent yields. Optimum reaction conditions such as solvent, temperature, substrate concentrations, and effect of microwave irradiation were determined. The substrate scope and functional group tolerance of this methodology was studied by using variously substituted aliphatic and aromatic, cyclic and acyclic diamines as well as a sterically diverse dibromide compounds. Product identification and determination of product yields was performed using various spectroscopic techniques.

Family Influence on College Students' Decision Making

Authors: Tiffany Cade
Faculty advisor: Julia Fisher

The purpose of the study is determine if certain decisions that college students' make are more or less influenced by family. The participants are 90 day and evening students, ranging in age from 18-57 years old. The materials used were a package of four forms. These forms consisted of two separate measures for morality, an Informed Consent form, and demographic information. The demographic form also asked two questions each about the participant's views on bribery and punishment. The forms used for measuring morality was a combination of the Revised Moral Authority Scale (White, 1997), the Defining Issues Test, Version 2 (DIT-2) (Rest & Navaez, 1998). Only one story was used out of the DIT-2. The expected results are that younger college students will be influenced more by family than older college students are. In addition, that older students will be more influenced by their own decisions than younger students. Also, if parents use bribery or punishment then family influence should be higher than any other influences. The approximate completion date is April 5, 2011.

Presence of androgyny in residential Coker College students

Authors: Sydney Greenwalt
Faculty advisor: Julia Fisher

Androgyny is considered a healthy personality trait, beneficial for psychological development and high levels of psychological functioning (Phipher, 1994). An androgynous person has the characteristics or nature of both male and female. Interest in androgyny has progressively increased over the past three decades. Many comparisons between gender and lifespan have been made. In a study of sex-roles of gifted adolescents, more females than males were classified as androgynous or feminine, whereas more males than females were in the undifferentiated category (Wells, Peltier, & Glickauf-Hughers, 1982). Ficher and Narus (1981) study suggest that middle-aged adults are more likely than younger individuals to be classified as androgynous. The purpose of the current study is to identify a change over the course of four years between the ages of 18-22. It is hypothesized that females ' androgyny traits will be greater than males' after the course of 4 years. It is also hypothesized that an androgyny score will increase from year to year, suggesting the closer students come to entering the professional world, the more blending of masculine and feminine traits occurs. 100 residential Coker College students participated in the study through a hall program held by their Resident Assistants. They were given the Bem Sex Role Inventory, consisting of 20 masculine characteristics, 20 feminine characteristics, and 20 androgynous characteristics in which the participants rated themselves on a Likert Scale. The researcher has distributed the inventory and questionnaire and is currently analyzing the results. The project will be completed by mid-to-late March.

Autism: An investigation of mimicry and self-awareness in comparison to Theory of Mind

Authors: Andrew Caputa, Amber Mulligan
Faculty advisor: Julia Fisher

One of the most indisputable symptoms of autistic individuals is the inability or in some cases, weak ability to connect with people socially. At the center of this inability to connect with others is what has been called the Theory of Mind (ToM) ability (Premack & Woodruff, 1978), which specifically refers to a person's ability to infer other people's thoughts and/or emotions. This has been commonly tested using the Sally and Anne test or variations of it have shown a distinct lack of ToM ability in the autistic (Autism Spectrum Disorder, ASD) population in several studies (Colle, 2007; Bishop, 1993; Fisher, 2005). A presence of weak and in most cases non-existing ToM ability in autistic children has been reproduced several times making it one of the most salient characteristics.

This leaves only the origins of this specific disability to be determined. Strong links between language ability and ToM performance were found but without success of determining a causal relationship. A study by Fisher, 2005 specifies this causal direction by including a TROG test (Test for Reception of Grammar) which showed a strong relationship in ASD participants in TROG and ToM performance. All ASD children with a grammatical level below 5.75 years failed the ToM test while all above a grammatical level of 10 years passed. This distinction was not as significant in the control group of nonautistic participants. This might suggest that ASD children develop ToM ability through alternative channels than those which normally developing children use (Fisher, 2005).

This would also support Perner's findings that language can be ruled out as the primary candidate to developing ToM:

"We can rule out the possibility that general impairment in language comprehension is responsible for failure because of the near-perfect performance of nonautistic children with specific language impairment". (1989, p. 697)

There must be a different causation that leads to weak ToM performance and that language ability might in fact not be the primary source for ToM ability but rather ASD persons channel ToM tasks through language, as an alternative, in order to compensate for the impaired ToM module,. This would explain weak ToM performance in high functioning autistic children with good language abilities. Mirror Neurons seem to be a plausible candidate that would be at the center of ToM ability but their development and process or exact locations are still unclear. Although certain specific neural correlations have been found:

"The findings that action execution and action observation reciprocally modulate each other is taken as evidence for the simulation account of mimicry-that is, behavioral mimicry occurs because actions observation and action execution are mediated by overlapping neural mechanisms". (Oberman, 2007, p. 312)

This would suggest that perhaps young children imitate and then perform those actions as copies of previous observations. This leaves us to assume that perhaps ASD children have mimicry issues not allowing them to lay the necessary pathways and observe certain essentials at a young age to lead to proper development.

The application of regulation techniques improves Short Sensory Profile scores in autistic children

Authors: Andrew Caputa
Faculty advisor: Julia Fisher

Attention problems, impulsivity, resistance to change (Moon, 2006) and sensorimotor deficits (Rapin, 2008) are common characteristics of autistic children and make intervention very difficult. Drawing these children out of these patterns of behavior allows for progress towards sensory tolerance, attention span and comfortableness with change. Through this increased amount of tolerance towards intervention the child will develop important skills at a more rapid rate.

The purpose of the study is to discover if the explicit regulation of unwanted behavior improves children's sensory processing abilities. Two independent studies done by Schoen and Wiggins in 2009 have shown that autistic children have sensory processing abnormalities. Sensory processing problems can turn every day situations into stressful activities for children with these issues. In addition children with autism have problems with temperament and affect regulation that make interventions more difficult and stressful for children and therapists (Konstantareas, 2006). The observations of autistic children's behavioral problems have initiated studies on possible connections between regulatory disorders and autism (Bagnato, 1999).

The current study aimed at providing certain personalized exercises to children that enable them to effectively regulate their anxiety during situations that have previously caused great anxiety.

Numerical Implementation of New Sequencing Relationships for the Single-Machine Weighted Tardiness Problem

Authors: Trent Edwards, Timothy Barrett
Faculty advisors: Dr. Paul Dostert & Dr. James Holsenback

The single machine weighted tardiness problem involves one machine available for processing n jobs. Each job has a known processing time, due date, and penalty weight that is to be applied to the job's tardiness. The machine can process only one job at a time, and no relationship regarding the relative importance of a job is assumed. The goal in this problem is to find an optimal order of jobs which minimizes total weighted penalty.

To optimize a given set of jobs, we apply a bottom up branching algorithm along with a specific set of heuristics. Without these rules, it is computationally impossible to find optimal orders using more than thirteen jobs. Finding the optimal solution without using the bottom up branching algorithm requires brute force to find all possible solutions to the data set and their respective total weighted tardiness. New rules, developed by Dr. J. Holsenback, were deemed power rulesdue to their high importance in the solution of our problem. These power rules collapse and simplify a given job set so that the optimal order may be computed in a reasonable time frame.

Utilizing C++ as well as MATLAB we have implemented a bottom up branching algorithm using the new and all previously established heuristics. This new method has allowed us to schedule sets with up to forty jobs in a reasonable time frame as compared to a maximum of thirteen with brute force. In the future, improvements can be made by the use of parallelization by running each branch of our algorithm on a different machine. The application of general-purpose computations on graphics processing units (GPGPUs) can dramatically increase the number of jobs which can be processed. Finally, since this problem is industrial in nature, a graphical user interface (GUI) will be created to allow one to easily find optimal solutions, without the need for extensive computing experience.

Analysis of Expired Over-The-Counter-Ibuprofen Tablets by High Performance Liquid Chromatoraphy (HPLC)

Authors: Dan Yun Dong
Faculty Advisor: Gordon Brown

The purpose of this research was to analyze expired and unexpired over-the-counter ibuprofen tablets. Two brands of expired tablets and one brand of unexpired tablets were chosen. The two brands of expired ibuprofen tablets used were Food Lion (expiration date 4-08), and CVS (expiration date 9-06). The brand of unexpired ibuprofen tablet used was Topcare (expiration date 7-11). The instrument used in this experiment was the Waters LC Module I Plus® high performance liquid chromatography system, employing a Restek Ultra II C18 chromatography column (5µm 150 x 4.6mm).

Chirped Pulse Fourier Transform (CPFT) Microwave Spectrometer

Authors: Austin McJunkins
Faculty advisor: Gordon Brown

We have constructed a chirped-pulse Fourier transform microwave spectrometer (a diagram of which is shown in Figure 1) to use in our studies. The spectrometer creates a 240 MHz pulse by mixing a carrier frequency (νo) with a chirped pulse created by an arbitrary function generator. After the pulse is amplified and used to polarize the molecules, the free induction decay (FID) is amplified and mixed down by the same carrier frequency that was used to create the pulse. The down-converted molecular signals are digitized on a digital oscilloscope, and the Fourier transform of the data is taken, which is the frequency spectrum. The 10-18 GHz spectrum is measured in 480 MHz pieces, and then we splice the data together to get the full 8 GHz spectrum.

We were able to confirm that our spectrometer worked by testing methanol, a well-studied molecule. Preliminary work has been started on Pyridine, and we have seen the known rotational frequencies of Pyridine. We are currently working on discovering new rotational frequencies of Pyridine.

On Site: Every Rehearsal is a Performance, Every Performance has an Audience

Authors: Hannah Beard
Faculty Advisor: Angella Gallo

The final product will be a PowerPoint presentation on Site-specific dance, which is dance that is created and performed in a specific location. By completing extensive study on site-specific work and creating, staging, and showcasing my own site-specific art, I will be able to collect information and data from the dancers' and audiences' reactions and compare it to my research. I will then be able to educate the Coker College campus about the experiences and reactions of involved site-specific dancers and viewers. My goal is to not only broaden the knowledge of site-specific art to students on campus but to involve and record the reactions of the entire campus. Coker dancers, athletes, students, faculty, staff, and even prospective students will be aware of site-specific dance and its effect on people by the conclusion of my research, series of performances, and presentation. I plan to have finished my research and prepared my presentation by Mid-March so I can use the remaining time to practice my presentation.

Fatherhood in The Kid, Mon Oncle, and Big Daddy

Authors: Patrick Flynn
Faculty advisor: George Lellis

Though the trends of film comedy have changed during the short history of cinema, the specific subgenre of film comedy created after the success of Charles Chaplin's The Kid adheres to presenting an egalitarian relationship between the surrogate parent figure and child. Influenced by Chaplin's new model of parenting in film comedy, Jacques Tati presents a similar relationship in Mon Oncle. Likewise, Adam Sandler and director David Dugan present the same model of an egalitarian relationship and a rejection of the hierarchical model of parenting in their film Big Daddy. Because of the novelty of this parenting system, the three protagonists all are confronted with society's condemnation. With an absence of a true powerful paternal figure, society itself comes to represent the oppressive father in each of these three films. This egalitarian relationship between father and son correlates to psychologists Peter B. Gray and Kermyt G. Anderson's recent study of step-fatherhood. By analyzing these films through the theoretical framework of Gray and Anderson's theory, the narrative and mise-en-scene elements all propose a fantasy model for parenting, eliminating the hierarchical paradigm of parental power. This analysis is grounded in mise-en-scene criticism but also incorporates narrative and genre theory. The interstitial relationship created in each of these films allows for greater connection between the surrogate father and child and for humor generated from this pioneering and often confusing approach to fatherhood.

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