Systematically Evaluating the Threat Landscape of the Smart Home

Smart home technology is becoming more popular because it offers a great deal of convenience. The fundamental question I am looking to answer is: Is IoT (Internet of Things) / smart home software itself secure?

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Abstract: Protein Immobilization Through the Use of Unnatural Amino Acids

The focus of my research this summer with Dr. Young’s lab is improving biochip technology though the use of unnatural amino acids. A biochip is a collection of miniaturized test sites attached to a solid substrate. While only about the size of a fingernail, these microscopic laboratories can run thousands of biochemical reactions at the same time. These biochips have the potential to test for an array of different diseases simultaneously, including diabetes, cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other autoimmune diseases. The potential for this technology is tremendous; these biochips can become a point-of-care diagnostic tool that is fast, effective, economical, and minimally invasive. However, the efficacy of these tests relies on immobilization of proteins, which has not been fully perfected in recent years. My research aims to develop a process for protein immobilization through the use of unnatural amino acids. Solving these issues has the potential to have a significant impact on disease diagnosis and prevention on a global scale.

What’s in the Dew? Abstract

 

(a) Teflon filters, (b) dew samples collected by me this past fall, (c) glass rod for collection, (d) quartz cuvette for UV-Vis analysis.

(a) Teflon filters, (b) dew samples collected by me this past fall, (c) glass rod for collection, (d) quartz cuvette for UV-Vis analysis.

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The Role of the Allantoin Pathway in Plastic Adherence in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

The allantoin pathway is crucial for nitrogen degradation in Saccharomyces yeast. It has been discovered to be a fast-evolving pathway and has many applications for natural yeast strains. Allantoin is key for growth of yeast on different media, specifically natural substrate (Treu et al, 2014).  Allantoin utilization is encoded by a cluster (similar to an operon) of genes called the DAL genes. Previous research in the lab has indicated that the DAL genes are involved in plastic adherence in S. cerevisiae. Plastic adherence is a social phenotype in yeast, suggesting that it is evolutionary advantageous for yeast cells to form mats, floccs, and biofilms in order to fight against harsh environments and competitors (Deschaine et al, 2017). This connection implies that the the allantoin pathway, a typically biochemical degradation pathway, also has a role in social phenotypes. Globally available genomic data will be used to identify variation in the DAL cluster and its regulators. Gene-knockout analysis will be employed to determine the specific connection between allantoin, the DAL genes, and plastic adherence.

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