Abstract: The Role of Pharmacological Agents and Neurotransmitters on Risky Reward Decisions by Rats

Hi Everyone!

My name is Austin Tapp and I am a sophomore at the College.  This is my second summer conducting research for the Neuroscience Department and I can’t wait to continue my work from this past year!  My research will continue to focus on the study of probability discounting and the extent to which individuals discount risky reward, specifically when exposed to different concentrations of pharmacological agents and neurotransmitters.

[Read more…]

Abstract: The Effects of Social Support In Online Political Discussion

This summer, I will be conducting a survey experiment to assess whether social endorsement of a political opinion — in this case, on the Ferguson grand jury decision — on an online social network discourages individuals who hold the minority opinion from expressing their view. Does the perceived level of social support for a political view in an online setting affect an individual’s likelihood to publicly express disagreement?

[Read more…]

Abstract: Enhancing Self-Efficacy in Community Led Health Initiatives

The Student Organization for Medical Outreach and Sustainability (SOMOS) is an ongoing undergraduate research project at the college focused in community development and health promotion in the Dominican Republic. More than 10 years ago, the team, under the direction of Dr. David Aday, began partnering with the people of Esfuerzo de Paraíso, an underserved community in Northern Santo Domingo made up of roughly 85 households. We continue to partner with the community through Community-Based Participatory Research to increase participation, community capacity, and health outcomes.

[Read more…]

Abstract: Unnatural Amino Acid Azobenzene Derivatives


My name is Marshall Padilla and I am soon to be a rising Senior Chemistry Major. I am back again this summer to continue my azobenzene work through an Honors Fellowship. I would first like to thank the Chemistry Department here at William & Mary for granting me the Llanso-Sherman scholarship, which will fund my Honors research this summer. Last summer I synthesized azobenzene, an unnatural amino acid (UAA) that has an azobenzene R group. I inserted it into Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) at several different spots and demonstrated that by utilizing azobenzene’s photoisomerability, I could alter the fluorescence of GFP reversibly- meaning I could shift the fluorescence of GFP and reconvert it back. This was shown both in pure protein extract and in vivo, as bacteria were grown that were made able to synthesize of GFP, and demonstrate fluorescence reversibility due to azobenzene.

[Read more…]