The goal of this research is to study the reaction rates of tyrosinase and pyruvate kinase under various reaction conditions. Pyruvate kinase is an enzymes found in humans and is an important energy producing enzyme involved in the metabolism of glucose. Currently, research is focused on preliminary studies of an enzyme called tyrosinase that catalyzes the formation of melanin which is a molecule that acts as protection against UV light. First the uninhibited reaction rate of tyrosinase with dopamine, L-DOPA, and caffeic acid will be studied. Then the reaction rates of the pyruvate kinase will also be investigated. Both enzymes will be studied in the presence of oxidative molecules. The interest in pyruvate kinase comes from its potential to act as a protector for other proteins necessary for cellular function against oxidative damage. When accumulated in many types of critical proteins, oxidative damage can lead to neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

The Megiddo Expedition

This summer I will be attending an archeological excavation in Megiddo, Israel. This site is a highly influential site for biblical archeology with two previous excavations having occurred in the 20thcentury. This renewed expedition seeks new findings and to investigate further that which has already been uncovered. The goals for the 2018 season are to recheck previous stratigraphy and chronology in order to reaffirm Megiddo’s importance during the Bronze and Iron Ages; revisit previously excavated monuments to examine their dates and cultural affiliation; employ new methods of research such as dating methodologies, ancient DNA, and geo-archeology. In order to achieve these goals, several excavation sites along the tel will be examined. These sites will be the Middle Bronze City, the fortifications and gates of Megiddo, a royal Bronze Age tomb, and Iron Age layers which may relate to biblical passages concerning King Josiah.

Abstract: Young Adults’ Autistic Behaviors Predict N170 Responses to Emotional Stimuli

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disability characterized by deficits in communication and social interaction. ASD individuals also show impairments in emotion identification, especially for negative emotions and surprise. This deficit may be related to neural differences in the N170 event-related potential (ERP) found in ASD individuals, suggesting that they may fail to activate the neural areas necessary for face processing. Because ASD is a spectrum condition, using non-clinical samples of individuals on the broader autism phenotype (BAP) can help us understand emotion processing related to ASD.

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Abstract: Enhanced Adhesives Inspired by Spider Silk

Spider silk fiber is a biopolymer that is made in nature completely sustainably at a low energy, ambient temperature, and is perfectly biodegradable. The silk has one-third of the tensile strength of steel; but is one-sixth of the density. More research needs to be done investigating this material because it is a high-performance polymer that out performs every similar material we have available today. We are specifically interested in the silk from the recluse spider, Loxosceles, because in addition to its strength, it has outstanding adhesive capabilities that arise from its unique morphology.

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Using GIS to map water distribution in Chaguite, Nicaragua

The primary purpose of my research will be to use GIS to map water distribution within the community of Chaguite, Nicaragua. This will inform MANOS’s plan to build cisterns in areas with less readily accessible water sources. I will begin by working in the community members to collect both spatial and sociological data about well ownership, condition and quality. In doing so, I can trace which wells have the most water supplied to them and how clean the water is in order to determine which houses are most in need of cisterns. We can then use the outcome of my research to build a healthy water distribution system to benefit every member of the community equally.
I will begin by elaborating upon the data MANOS collected previously about the amount and quality of water in each well and cistern within the community. I will then speak to different members of the community to determine which households use each well. During these conversations I will find out details about how they treat their water and any water-borne illnesses that have arisen. I will then be able to determine which houses have the most convenient access to clean water and which houses are contracting illnesses because of an inadequate water supply. From here I will determine which houses are closest to water sources, the quality of those sources and which homes are facing challenges due to lack of access to clean water. This research will in turn allow the team to move forward with our plan to build household cisterns.