The Decline of the West: Philosophy, History, and Not Much Brevity

     Delving into The Decline of the West

[Read more…]

Abstract: WM Women: Women’s Experience in Co-education

Currently, special collections and the college does not have consolidated information about women students and experiences at the college. By uncovering the stories of women, specifically difficult, unsettling, or noteworthy narratives, I can record how inclusivity among genders has changed over-time. Reviewing these stories and student experiences, can also give insight into how we can continue to combat gender disparities and discrimination at the college. The question I seek to answer is: How have gender regulations and expectations shaped the experiences of Women at William and Mary? Using the Flat Hat, and interviews with WM women alumni conducted by an oral historian, I will dive deeper into the experience of women at the college. More broadly, this project will contribute to the understanding of student experiences at the college and comprehension of the experience of women in co-education.

Abstract: Eighteenth-Century French Women and Humor

During the eighteenth century, a series of books called the Bibliothèque de Campagne ou Amusement de l’Esprit et du Coeur swept across France. This light-hearted series was enjoyed particularly by literate French women, and included poetry, romance novels, adventure stories, and joke books. One notable female reader who owned this series was Queen Marie Antoinette. Biographer Stefan Zweig called Marie Antoinette an “average woman… a lay-figure decked in queen’s robes” and argued that had it not been for her royal status and the French Revolution, she would not have become so influential. If Marie Antoinette did indeed represent the “average woman” and wield great influence, then her reading choices may shed light on what she found funny, but more importantly, what many other eighteenth-century literate women also considered humorous. According to historians Jan Bremmer and Herman Roodenburg, humor is crucial for providing “key[s] to cultural codes and sensibilities of the past.” By examining humor in the Bibliothèque de Campagne, I intend to to glean more information about the humor, values, and literary tastes of literate women. 

[Read more…]

The Functional Analysis of the Drosophila Chinmo Protein and Its Interaction with the CG11180 Protein: Abstract

The Chinmo protein is a transcription factor protein that is involved in sex maintenance in the Drosophila. The Chinmo protein is able to interact with SUMO proteins, Small Ubiquitin like Modifier proteins, covalently and non-covalently; which is likely to regulate the Chinmo protein’s activity. In collaboration with the Dr. Matthew Wawersik lab, the CG11180 protein was identified. Although the function of CG11180 is still unknown, previous data indicates that this protein can interact with the Chinmo protein to regulate sex maintenance in Drosophila, as well.

[Read more…]

Identifying the Genetic Underpinnings that Drive the Transition of Commensal Yeast Microbes to Opportunistic Pathogens

The unique relationship between humans and commensal microbes is a critical component of human health. Recent studies have shown that this relationship can be altered by the microbial evolution of social behaviors. Biofilms are complex microbial communities that can be found in a variety of environments. The formation of biofilms plays a vital role in driving the virulence of many microbial pathogens that are capable of infecting humans, and has allowed these organisms to survive in hostile environments. In fact, many commensal microbes have evolved into virulent, opportunistic pathogens through this mechanism. Currently, there exist a number of studies on the genetic basis underlying this transition among bacterial species in clinical settings. However, research on the evolution of virulence in medically relevant fungal species is lacking. For my research project, I intend to investigate the genetic underpinnings that result in the transition of a commensal microbe to an opportunistic pathogen by tracking the genomic changes in particular phenotypes that play a role in virulence. Specifically, I will determine whether the genetic variants uncovered in  S. cerevisiae yeast strains isolated in a clinical environment are the same genetic variants that are selected for when virulence evolves de novo in the lab.

[Read more…]