Carrie Draney and Amanda Hobson, Brigham Young University Agriculture Decreased β-cell mass is a hallmark of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The use of islet transplantation as a diabetes therapy is hampered by the relative paucity of transplant ready islets. Greater understanding of the proliferative pathways controlling islet proliferation may be harnessed to increase functional β-cell mass through transplantation or by enhanced growth of endogenous β-cells. We have shown that the β-cell transcription factor Nkx6.1 induces β-cell proliferation by upregulating the orphan nuclear hormone receptors Nr4a1 and Nr4a3. Using expression analysis to elucidate the Nkx6.1 independent mechanism by which Nr4a1 and Nr4a3 induce β-cell proliferation, we demonstrated that cyclin-dependent kinase 5 regulatory subunit 1 (Cdk5r1) is upregulated by Nr4a1 and Nr4a3 and not Nkx6.1. Adenovirus mediated overexpression of Cdk5r1 is sufficient to induce proliferation in primary rat islets. The observed proliferation is primarily in β-cells. Glucose stimulated insulin secretion is maintained with Cdk5r1 overexpression. The Cdk5 inhibitor, roscovitine, blocks islet proliferation, suggesting that Nr4a mediated β-cell proliferation is a kinase dependent event. Overexpression of Cdk5r1 results in pRb phosphorylation, which is inhibited by roscovitine treatment. These data demonstrate that activation of the Cdk5 complex is sufficient to induce β-cell proliferation while maintaining glucose stimulated insulin secretion.
Amanda Salgado, Weber State University Humanities In 1983, Rigoberta Menchu, the first indigenous Mayan-Quiche Nobel Peace Prize recipient, shared the terror and the abuse that she and millions of other indigenous people in Guatemala were experiencing during the country’s 36-year Internal Armed Conflict. In her book Me llamo Rigoberta Menchu y así me nació la conciencia, she discusses how the indigenous population was frequently viewed and treated as inferior by the Ladinos (those of mixed indigenous and European heritage), and was therefore subjected to a great deal of discrimination, which was reflective of the legacy of the country’s colonial past. The purpose of this research was to examine within a Postcolonial framework, if postcolonial structures were still in force in Guatemala, and if and how they continued to affect the indigenous population, particularly Mayan women living in rural areas. Methodology included analysis of newspaper articles, journals and documents, as well as a two-week field experience, talking to Mayan women. The result shows that while the political situation of Guatemala has improved since the time of the publication of Menchu’s book, many of the conditions and practices that promote discrimination against the indigenous population have continued and are still visible today, reflective of a Postcolonial society that values European descendants more than their neighbors. For instance, the educational system now takes into account indigenous languages, and Mayan spirituality is not persecuted, a first since the Spanish Conquest. Nevertheless, indigenous women continue to experience a triple discrimination because based on their sex, social status, and ethnicity. The goal of this research is to promote greater awareness of these issues.
Natasha Mickelson, Brigham Young University Humanities Young adult contemporary realistic fiction is a genre which attempts to portray real life. Young adult readers of these novels should be able to find themselves in the characters and relate to their backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives on life. While many young adult novels deal with controversial topics such as sexuality, drug use, physical abuse, suicide, and other difficult subjects in an attempt to be realistic, one aspect of life still largely considered a literary “taboo” is religion.Through examining studies done and looking at a sample of novels in the young adult contemporary realistic fiction genre I found that most of these books mention nothing about the religious beliefs or backgrounds of their characters. In the few novels which do bring up religion, Christian beliefs and characters are more common than minority religions. However, those novels depicting Christian characters are more likely to show them in a negative light. These novels frequently portray religious characters (especially leaders) as bigoted, fanatical, or gullible. Often the main adolescent character is trying to break free from cultish groups, and their eventual loss of faith is celebrated. Since contemporary realistic fiction attempts to portray the real world and real teenagers, I researched recent studies surveying American teenagers’ views on and involvement with religion. The results of these studies show that most teenagers identify with and willingly participate in religious groups and practices. In my research I found that this disparity between real life and realistic YA fiction exists due to the aversion of writers and publishers to possible censorship issues and alienating potential readership. However, scholars agree that both the lack of religion and the negative religious stereotypes in these novels can leave teenage readers incorrectly feeling as though their beliefs in or questions about God and religion are uncommon or wrong.
Thomas Aguila, University of Utah Humanities “A Tide Just West” is a book arts project that conceptually adopts the theories of Hélène Cixous– and to an extent Julia Kristeva and Luce Irigaray– and concerns itself with investigating narratological schemas, as the book experimentally utilizes photographic imagery (alongside the text) to constitute a story of écriture féminine. Ecriture féminine, translated from French as “woman’s writing,” is a type of writing characterized by its tendency to subvert the narrative conventions and the pragmatism within books, poetry, language, and the genres in between. Hélène Cixous used this conceptual term in her 1975 essay, “The Laugh of Medusa,” and considered the difficulty of definitively putting into words such a category: “It is impossible to define a feminine practice of writing, and that impossibility will remain, for this practice can never be theorized, enclosed, coded.” In this project, écriture féminine takes form– and subverts form– through the book’s incorporation of photographic images. The narrative’s images act as areas that are not reliant on words but visual experiences that contradict, unify, and break apart the text alongside it. Such visual components allow new narratives to form. Instead of illustrations, the visual images act as indefinite, experiential moments for the reader to expand upon (to pass through), as the reader’s literal relationship to the characters, scenarios, and overall thematics of the book turns more toward conflicting, potent, and vague contradictions. The images fracture and destabilize the logocentrism of the book, destabilizing that expectation and faith upon the written word; they act as an in-definitude to the text, the narrative, the body, and the metaphors between the three.
Latrisa Garcia, Dixie State University Humanities Statistics show that in 2013, the US population was 313.9 million people, while the number of active cell phone subscriptions was 345.2 million, which translates to 110% of the US population having active cell phones. As more people connect to the world through cell phones they become less aware of the physical world which surrounds them, known as Inattentional Blindness. This paper asks the question: Does the increased use of cell phones impair college students’ perceptions about the actual amounts of crime that occurs on campus, and if so are students under or over estimating the amounts of crime? It is hypothesized that the majority of students will under estimate the amount of crime that occurs on a college campus because of their reduced awareness of the real world. This study uses a convenience sample acquired through a web based survey conducted on a college campus of approximately 10,000 students in the southwest region of the United States. Study results will be finalized in the coming weeks. Early results suggest that cell phone use and inattentional blindness may not be as prevalent on campus as originally hypothesized.
Kelsey Jetter, Dixie State University Humanities Thousands of advertising messages that are created by the media bombard the general public on a daily basis. An aspect of media that is seldom recognized is how sexuality is represented. The fight for sexual equality has been progressing over the last few years, the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans*, and Queer) community has been fighting for equality in marriage, housing, and employment—successfully utilizing many forms of media such as news networking and social media. Though successful, the community’s fight fails to recognize bisexuality as its own form of sexuality. Bisexuality is misinterpreted, misunderstood, and discriminated against in heteronormative and homosexual media—bisexuality’s representation is skewed and perpetrates the myths that are assumed about bisexuality. Some of the myths including that bisexual people are confused, unnatural, and promiscuous. Through the analysis of how bisexuality is both negatively and positively reflected in media such as the music by Frank Ocean, the television show Doctor Who, and the political figure Kyrsten Sinema, this piece finds how the media represents bisexuality, people who identify as bisexual, and how it is reported to the public.
Andy Mickelson, Brigham Young University Humanities The infancy narrative in the Gospel of Luke is one of the most popular passages of Christian scripture: the story of Jesus’ birth has been recited and depicted in Christmas celebrations for centuries. Yet modern readers are far removed in time, language, and culture from the first-century world in which Luke was composed. Because of this distance, our traditional understanding of this text may differ from what Luke intended to convey. One particular misunderstanding of the text centers on an ambiguous Greek term used in Luke 2:7. Most English translations of this verse state that Mary, after delivering Jesus, “laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” However, the term translated as “inn” in this passage—κατάλυμα—had a wide variety of meanings in Hellenistic Greek. Even within Luke itself the term is translated differently: the “upper room” in which Jesus shares his last meal with his disciples is, in Greek, a κατάλυμα (Luke 22:11). Properly understanding κατάλυμα profoundly impacts how we read Luke’s infancy narrative: were Mary and Joseph turned away from a crowded inn on the eve of her delivery? Or does a nuanced translation of κατάλυμα change the circumstances of Jesus’ birth?This paper philologically examines how κατάλυμα is used by other Hellenistic Greek authors: Xenophon, Polybius, Diodorus Siculus, and others. Their writings created the literary milieu in which the Gospel of Luke was composed; their use of this term may have influenced Luke as he crafted his account. Based on this philological context, κατάλυμα here most likely means “guest room,” and infers that Joseph and Mary were staying with another family (possibly relatives) in Bethlehem. This reading, though nontraditional, brings us closer to approaching the text as Luke’s original audience would have understood it.
Ashley Smith, Brigham Young University Humanities The author argues that attitudes towards cross-caste marriage in Visakhapatnam, India are changing due to women who have attained a degree in higher education. Attitudes towards cross-caste marriage in India have always brought about turmoil for families whose children decided to marry someone outside of their caste. While cross-caste marriages are now legally allowed in India, it is still so socially taboo that even those that do participate in cross-caste marriage do not like to tell others that they are part of a cross- caste marriage. But times are continuing to change. The author’s research in Visakhapatnam, India concerning cross-caste marriages, and marriages in general, have brought to light data that may show that attitudes towards cross-caste marriage are changing in the light of higher education. Those interviewed by the author who were willing to talk about their own cross-caste marriage, or their son’s or daughter’s cross-caste marriage, have stated that or made mention to the fact that those who were well-educated were more willing to participate in cross-caste marriage as well as speak of being in a cross-caste marriage. It’s how people speak of it though that makes the author’s research interesting. They speak of their cross- caste marriage through education. It was either their mothers or themselves that mentioned that they have had higher education, usually at a university that the attitudes they grew up with about cross-caste marriage are softened.
Grammatical and Narrative Content Adequacy in Story Retells Told by Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Before, During and After Narrative Instruction
Emily Kunz, Shea Long, Melany Reeder, and Brigid Crotty, Utah State University Education It has been proposed that asking a child to make up their own story, rather than to retell a story, is a more stringent test of narrative ability and may tax the linguistic system revealing weaknesses not apparent in less difficult contexts (eg., retelling stories). At least one study has shown that children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) experience content-form tradeoffs as they master narrative discourse (DeLucchi, Fricke, Kaye, Crotty and Gillam, 2015). The content-form tradeoff was observed when children with ASD with typical grammatical skills and poor narrative proficiency were shown to experience significant grammatical difficulties as they mastered narrative discourse. The purpose of this study was to determine whether content-form trade-offs were observed in stories children with ASD were asked to retell. Five children with ASD ranging in age from 9-12 were asked to retell stories weekly, during a baseline and narrative treatment period over the course of 12-16 weeks. The stories were scored for grammaticality and narrative proficiency. Story retells were observed to be grammatical whether elicited during baseline, early, mid or later treatment sessions. Children with lower language skills experienced times when they were completely unable to recall a story, particularly early on in instruction, although when they did, they experienced good grammatical accuracy. Children with higher language skills were always able to remember parts of the story and were highly grammatical. The story model (retell) may make it less difficult for students with ASD to focus on and remember content while also maintaining grammatical accuracy.
Kristine Jolley, Brigham Young University Education This research-in-progress examines the role of action research in teacher movement toward reform-based mathematics education during a sustained professional development initiative. This initiative, which provided coursework for the Utah Elementary Mathematics Endorsement (UEME), was implemented as a Brigham Young University/Alpine School District partnership collaboration. Although the UEME is offered at several sites across Utah as a major state professional development initiative in mathematics education, our collaboration was unique in incorporating action research as a major component. We pose and seek to answer the following question: What happens to teachers’ knowledge and theories regarding reform-based mathematics education as they engage in action research on a reform-based mathematics education practice of their choice in their classrooms? We have examined data collected from three cohorts of participants over the 4-year duration of the grant; each participant was involved for 2 years. Of the 53 participants, 12 (4 from each cohort) were purposefully selected according to pre- and post-measures of participants’ mathematics beliefs, knowledge, and practice as well as the dimensions of gender, ethnicity, professional assignment, and years of teaching experience. Qualitative analysis of relevant data from these participants is contributing to our understanding of the role of action research in teacher movement toward reform-based mathematics education. We are currently writing the analysis section of a manuscript based on these data. Recognition of the need for improvement in mathematics teaching and learning is not new, yet implementing the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics adds a new layer of challenge. This in-depth study of action research as a professional development practice should inform decision-making regarding the inclusion of action research in subsequent Endorsement programs as well as in other professional development initiatives. Further, this study should add its own unique contribution to the research conversation on a broader scale.
Raschelle Davis, Dixie State University Education The general populace in America has many misconceptions concerning space; this is due to lack of explicit, clear education. As children grow and observe the world around them they can create misconceptions about how things work. Research shows that this is particularly true when children are learning about space (Brunsell and Marcks, 2007). Many of these misconceptions can be corrected or avoided if the teacher has specific knowledge of the science content and how to teach it (Bulunuz and Jarrett, 2009). As a mother of a young boy I have been asked many questions about space and how it all works. I was never sure how I should answer those questions, since I did not fully understand how it worked myself. This past year I became involved in a NASA astronomy project in my teacher education program that teaches space science to students using a hands-on approach. During my first astronomy event I could not help but be amazed with the questions and the confusion that some of the students had about space while looking through the telescopes. This gave me the desire to learn more about space and teaching children about space. This research project explores children’s misconceptions about space, the problems with how children are currently being taught about space, and how students could more effectively be taught about space in order to reach clear understanding.
A Tale of Two Cities: Spatial Rhetorics, Homeless Exclusion and Salt Lake City’s Housing First Initiativ e
Duncan Stewart, University of Utah Communications Space is used as a rhetorical mechanism in Salt Lake City to separate the lives of the wealthy and the precarious bodies that are marginalized as hungry, unemployed, and homeless. This separation sustains a self-reproductive system of exclusion fueled by an unquenchable desire for profit and spatial separation. One way this separation is articulated is around the notion of “home,” insofar as the housed and the homeless represent this separation and are sustained by the political economy of the city. While the state efforts to address homelessness are valuable, the scope of the homeless problem requires that we critically reflect on how anti-homeless programs demand we conceptualize homelessness and the place of people experiencing homelessness in the space of the city. I will argue the space of the city is organized as a sorting mechanism that reinforces class and material divisions. Spatial separation becomes a regulatory operation where those who appear potentially able to participate in the economics of the cityscape are welcome and those who are not become legally excluded. One way this is accomplished is by enacting policies that promise to “solve” the problem of homelessness. Thus I will use Salt Lake City’s housing first initiative as lens to address the material consequences of such rhetorical force. Following this, I will highlight some of the major rhetorical themes that emerged in the analysis of discourses surrounding “Housing First.” Finally, I will consider how these insights help further an understanding of homelessness, expose how contemporary responses reify the marginalization of homeless populations from urban life, and point toward new ways of conceptualizing solutions to the “homeless problem.”
Chet Norman, Dixie State University Communications Maintaining alumni relationships can be difficult with a changing institutional culture and identity. For example, the name change from Dixie State College to Dixie State University (DSU) and change of the mascot’s identity, from the Rebels to the Red Storm, has caused alumni to become detached from the institution they once knew. This study, conducted in coordination with DSU’s Alumni Office, investigates strategies to communicate and foster relationships with discouraged alumni. A dynamic outreach strategy, based on academic theory and research from the disciplines of human communication and business marketing was developed to reach this goal. In particular, uncertainty management theory (UMT) and narrative storytelling methods were employed to develop a marketing campaign to further involve disheartened alumni through YouTube videos, monthly e-newsletters, alumni card program, social media interaction, and contests. This presentation will consist of a brief overview of the history of change in DSU’s identity, application of theories used to decrease alumni uncertainty, and lastly an identification of strategies for implementation.
Wonjin Kim, Weber State University Business The trade balance of a country, calculated as total exports minus total imports, measures the impact of foreign trade on the demand for that country’s output. It is proposed that there are generally three key determinants of trade balance, e.g., the real exchange rate, home disposable income, and foreign disposable income. In principle, as the home country’s real exchange rate depreciates (rises), the country is expected to export more and import less. An increase in home country’s income is expected to increase imports and generate a decrease in home country’s trade balance. On the other hand, an increase in foreign income is expected to raise the home country’s trade balance. This paper makes an attempt to explore whether the expected relationships between trade balance, home income, foreign income and real exchange rate holds. The United States is considered the home country and Japan is considered the foreign country in this study. The reason for using Japan as a foreign country is twofold: first data availability and second, Japan is one of the largest trade partner of the United States. We use quarterly data to conduct our study. The sample period spans from 1994 to 2012. We hypothesize that the real exchange rate has a positive relationship with trade balance. Also, we hypothesize that the U.S. income has a negative and Japan’s income has a positive effect on the trade balance of the United States. To test our hypothesis we run a multiple regression. The dependent variable in our regression is trade balance. The independent variables are home and foreign incomes and real exchange rate.
Jenny Pattison, Brigham Young University Life Sciences Sensory protein kinases are essential in the phosphorylation of many protein substrates, allowing them to control several metabolic functions and maintain cellular homeostasis. PAS kinase is a sensory protein kinase that is highly conserved and plays a crucial role in glucose homeostasis, however little is known about the molecular mechanisms behind its function. UGP1 is the only well-characterized substrate of PAS kinase, and its phosphorylation diverts glucose away from storage and towards cell wall biosynthesis. We have recently discovered another key substrate of PAS kinase that affects glucose metabolism in the cell, Centromere binding factor 1 (Cbf1). Cbf1 regulates genes involved in respiration, and we have shown that the phosphorylation of Cbf1 by PAS kinase inhibits Cbf1, decreasing respiration in yeast cells. We hypothesize that this is due to a decrease in mitochondrial mass in cbf1 deficient yeast. Further characterizing the effects of PAS kinase on Cbf1 will give further insight into how cells regulate their central metabolic functions, including respiration.
Kylynn Parker, University of Utah Life Sciences Red Butte Canyon (RBC) is a Research Natural Area administered by the US Forest Service in Salt Lake City, Utah. RBC is an undisturbed area and a haven for all types of birds. Most of the avian species found in this area are migratory, and either pass through or breed in the area. The overall aim of this project is to determine if there have been any notable changes in populations of species in the area over the past 22 years. The research question that is covered in this summary are the following: has the density and relative abundance of the top five most commonly detected avian species in Red Butte Canyon notably changed through time in Transect 1? Data was collected by Mark Leppert, PhD and Sherwood Casjens, PhD of the University of Utah. They recorded the number and species of birds that were both seen and heard in 10 different transects within RBC over the past 22 years (1991-2013) and 457 survey days. In 2013 and 2014, I compiled and entered all of the data into a database with the guidance of the researchers. For analysis, I focused on the five most commonly detected species in Transect 1. These species are Black-Capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapilla), Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus), Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia), American Robin (Turdus migratorius), and Lazuli Bunting (Passerina amoena). Detection trends were found by graphing the number of individual birds seen or heard in Transect 1 over the days since surveys began in 1991 and statistical evidence was found showing significant changes in species population size of these five most commonly detected species, especially in the case of the American Robin which exhibits a decline in detections in recent years.
Katherine Harris, Brady Evans and Thomas Andros, Brigham Young University Life Sciences Metabolic diseases, such as obesity and diabetes, have become endemic and the need for better treatments is rising. Mutations in PAS kinase, a recently discovered sensory kinase, have been shown to cause Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY) in humans (Semplici et al., 2011). In addition, PAS kinase deficient mice display many phenotypes related to diabetes including resistance to weight gain, insulin insensitivity and triglyceride accumulation in response to a high-fat diet (Hao et al., 2007). Despite its importance in metabolism, little is known about the regulation of PAS kinase. PAS kinase consists of a sensory PAS domain that binds to and inhibits a protein kinase domain (Amezcua et al, 2002). We are currently engaged in several yeast genetic screens which will allow identification of regions in the full length PAS kinase that are essential for activation or for binding its substrates. The first screen is based on the finding that PAS kinase overexpression rescues a temperature-sensitive mutation in Tor2, the tor2(ts). We have isolated both point mutations and truncations in PAS kinase which alleviate the tor2(ts), suggesting they are hyperactive alleles. These mutations identify novel regions involved in PAS kinase regulation. Our second screen uses the yeast 2-hybrid to select for both point mutations and truncations that increase the ability of PAS kinase to bind its substrates. These mutations will help identify key regions of PAS kinase utilized in substrate recognition. Finally, we have identified regions of PAS kinase that are well-conserved throughout evolution and will compare these regions with the regions affected by our mutations. This study will be the first reported mutagenic analysis of PAS kinase. Analysis of these specific genetic regions will help elucidate the molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation and function of PAS kinase, a key player in the development of metabolic disease.
Daniel Barnett, Brigham Young University Life Sciences Approximately one-third of US adults have metabolic disease, increasing their risk for diabetes, cancers and neurodegenerative disease (www.ADA.org). At the heart of these diseases are imbalances in the cellular redox state. The cofactor NAD(P), commonly known as niacin, is required for over 300 essential reactions in the cell and is largely responsible for the cellular redox state. NAD kinase regulates the NAD to NADP ratio, an important ratio for controlling cellular redox state and central metabolism. Herein we provide evidence that PAS kinase, a nutrient sensing kinase required for glucose homeostasis, phosphorylates NAD kinase. We are currently investigating the effect of this phosphorylation on the function of NAD kinase both in vitro and in vivo by measuring NAD kinase activity and associated phenotypes. This research will increase our understanding of how cells regulate central metabolism. In addition, because PAS kinase is a nonessential protein, it may prove to be an invaluable treatment target for regulating NAD(P) levels and controlling cellular redox state. This may lead to therapeutic targets for cancer and metabolic diseases such as diabetes.
Stephan Maman and Holden Wagstaff, Southern Utah University Life Sciences Most plant species produce chemical compounds called secondary metabolites that enhance fitness in a variety of ways. Many of these compounds are also physiologically active in vertebrates and have widespread medicinal uses. The most ubiquitous secondary metabolites are the terpenoids, many of which cause vasodilation of the aorta and mesenteric arteries. In this study, we examined the vasoactive effects of the essential oil of Umbellularia californica, which contains the terpenoid umbellulone. Oil obtained via steam distillation using aerial portions of U. californica was applied directly to cutaneous arterioles of frogs. Arteriole diameter was monitored both before and after oil application by video microscopy. Within seconds of application, the oil caused significant vasoconstriction that persisted until the oil was washed off. Our control, medical grade sesame oil, caused no observable effects when applied using the same protocols. These results are opposite to the vasodilatory effects of terpenoids on aortic rings and mesenteric arteries. This suggests that the vasoactive effects of umbellulone are different from other terpenoids, that the vasoactive effects of terpenoids differ depending on blood vessel type, or that application of the complete essential oil affects vasculature differently than application of the isolated terpenoid.
Ventral Tegmental Area Dopamine and GABA Neurons: Physiological Properties and Expression of Mrna for Endocannabinoid Biosynthetic Enzymes and Type I Mglurs
Scott Newton, Brigham Young University Life Sciences The ventral tegmental area (VTA) is known to controls the processing of rewarding and addictive behaviors. The VTA contains dopamine (DA) cells, which release DA to downstream targets in response to rewarding stimuli, and GABA cells, which modulate DA cell activity. Therefore, both cell types are involved in associative reward learning. Synaptic plasticity plays an important role in adaptive reward signaling within the VTA. Endocannabinoids mediate or modulate synaptic plasticity at synapses within the reward circuit. However, the source of endocannabinoids within the VTA is not well understood. Therefore, our goal was to describe the distribution of endocannabinoid biosynthetic enzyme mRNA within VTA neurons. We extracted single VTA neurons via whole cell patch clamp and used single-cell real-time quantitative PCR to identify DA and GABA neurons based on mRNA expression of cell-type specific targets. Additionally, electrophysiological properties such as action potential frequency and sag potential amplitude were examined between the two cell types. Concurrent with established observations, slower firing frequencies were observed in DAergic neurons, however overlap was identified between these two cell types. VTA neurons were then probed for endocannabinoid/ biosynthetic enzyme mRNA, such as N-acyl-phosphatidylethanolamine-specific phospholipase D (NAPE- PLD), diacylglycerol lipase α (DAGLα), and 12-lipoxygenase. We also probed for type I metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) mRNA, as endocannabinoid synthesis requires mGluR activation. Our data demonstrate that endocannabinoid biosynthetic enzyme mRNA is expressed in both DAergic and GABAergic cells with concurrent expression of type I mGluRs. Next, to ensure mRNA expression was representative of protein content, slices were stained using immunohistochemistry for GAD67, DAGLα, NAPE-PLD and type I mGluRs. Positive labeling for these targets was observed in VTA neurons, supporting our RT-PCR results. Collectively, these data suggest DAergic and GABAergic cells of the VTA have the capability to produce endocannabinoids and potentially alter synaptic plasticity involved in reward and addiction.
Alex Hyer, University of Utah Life Sciences Geochemical reactions associated with the process known as serpentinization can generate copious quantities of organic carbon and chemical energy that support life, but these reactions also greatly increase the pH of serpentinization sites. High-pH environments hinder ATP production because the low proton concentrations at high pH can result in a reversed proton gradient across cell membranes. Organisms present at serpentinization sites are not well-characterized, and adaptations to their alkaliphilic lifestyle are unknown. Bacillus pseudofirmus OF4 was not isolated from serpentinization sites, but it is a well- studied alkaliphile that has several distinct adaptations for ATP production in high pH environments. Its sequence for ATP synthase, the molecular motor responsible for ATP generation in the cell, contains several distinctive mutations including an AXAXAXA motif that increases the C-ring stoichiometry, a P51XXE54XXP57 motif that creates a distinct kink in the outer helix of the C-subunit, and a V21 mutation granting rotamer freedom to E54. In this study, we search for similar mutations in metagenomic databases containing DNA sequences collected from serpentinization sites. Analysis of alignments from the programs BLAST and Exonerate indicate that V21 is present in several alignments, but P51 is found in only a single alignment from serpentinization sites. The AXAXAXA motif is non- existent in our databases, but the more common GXGXGXG motif is present with alanine replacements occurring periodically. In general, these results indicate that our DNA sequences from high-pH sites of serpentinization are more reminiscent of typical neutrophiles than of the alkaliphile B. pseudofirmus OF4. Therefore, serpentinization- adapted organisms may harbor other adaptations to high pH such as local pmf regulation. Future work will test for quantitative correlations between environmental pH measurements and the incidence of mutations in ATP synthase in order to identify novel adaptations to high pH in serpentinization-driven ecosystems.
Mattie Jones, Dixie State University Physical Sciences Current techniques for isolating components of samples found at crime scenes by their unique chemical properties are lengthy and often destroy important forensic evidence. New methods aimed at forensic analysis of sensitive, minute samples are critical to the intelligence community. In particular, successful extraction of dyes from materials found at crime scenes will provide innumerable benefits for matching, identifying, and finding origins of these materials and dyes. Ionic liquids possess the necessary chemical properties to ensure efficient extractions while maintaining the forensic signatures of the original materials. Ionic liquids, which are organic salts that are room temperature, provide a versatile solvent to achieve single-component extraction-separation-identification of forensic analytes. Following extraction, successful identification by infrared, absorption, and fluorescence spectroscopy has provided evidence of preserved quality and complete separation of material and dye. This novel approach to forensic analysis is advantageous particularly when sample sizes are extremely limited, but it can be readily scaled to larger applications. Developing a simple and affordable method of achieving specific molecular interactions provides a solution for often unidentifiable evidence in crimes. Harnessing the versatility of ionic liquids in a high-yielding recovery and efficient single-pot methods will enhance forensic abilities for the intelligence community and forensic investigators.
Brett Barton, Dixie State University Physical Sciences Dissolution using ionic liquids has been shown to be an efficient analytical method of dissolving keratin fibers. Using wool and hoof material from livestock, chloride-based ionic liquids were used to break down the hydrogen bonds important for keratin structure, making the extraction of constituent material much easier. Efficient methods of extraction allow for small samples to be analyzed while still providing high yields; efficient dissolution of keratin in a small sample size will be utilized to prevent any harmful effects on the animals. Ionic liquids are nondestructive solvents which allow for the safe extraction of organic substances. Denaturing keratin would help in the process of identifying any constituent radioactive materials. Efficient identification of radioactive material in livestock is crucial for maintaining health and quality of life.
Kimberly Lowder, Weber State University Physical Sciences The herbicide Roundup and its active ingredient, Glyphosate, are widely used for weed control. These chemicals end up into streams and lakes, including the Great Salt Lake where it adversely affects wildlife. The goals of this project are a) to assess the mortality rate of Artemia larvae exposed to various concentrations of Roundup concentrate after a short exposure (48h) or a long-chronic exposure (7 days), b) to assess the effect of chronic on survival, maturation and fertility and c) to quantify the stress response of the shrimp on the heat-shock proteins 90 and 70. Materials and Methods: For the acute exposure, Artemia larval mortality was calculated in larvae exposed to Roundup concentrations ranging from 10-3 to 10-10 ml/l of Roundup concentrate for 48 h. For the chronic exposure, larvae were raised in the above Roundup concentrations. Mortality, maturation and fertility rates were calculated. The response to stress was assessed by quantifying the up-regulation of stress proteins hsp90 and 70 using western blots. Results: All larvae were killed after exposure at 10-4 g/l or greater of Roundup concentrate. Most larvae survived at Roundup concentrations of 10-6 ml/l or less. While chronic exposure to lower Roundup concentrations did not seem to affect survival or maturation rate, it did affect larval development. Larvae developing in 10-7 ml/l or more Roundup had about a 20% risk of not hatching or dying shortly after hatching. Hsp70 western blots showed an upregulation of this heat-shock protein at 10-5 ml/l or higher Roundup concentrations.
Ashleigh Wilson, Utah Valley University Physical Sciences At many institutions, the algebra-based introductory physics courses are populated with students specializing in biological fields such as preparation for medical or dental schools. While the main focus on the course is to provide the students with a solid conceptual understanding and solving problem skills in physics, the students often see little application towards their fields. This is particularly true in the traditional introductory physics laboratory experiments and demonstrations, which often focus on basic applications and offer no direct relation towards the medical fields. As part of a summer research project, we explored the possibility of developing a low-cost NIR imaging system, which could be used in demonstrations, laboratory exercises, as well as student research projects. The use of infrared imaging in medical physics is an emerging technology with promising prospects, including thermography, biometry, and phlebotomy. For example, when using near infrared (NIR) light (700-1100 nm), vein imaging and mapping is possible. Due to the deoxidized nature of hemoglobin in veins, it exhibits strong absorption at a certain wavelength (~730 nm). The surrounding tissue and arteries, however, allow the radiation to pass through. Utilizing an array of different NIR wavelengths and a modified web camera with a combined cost of $150, we successfully created a low-cost NIR imaging system capable of mapping out veins. This poster will present the instrument setup as well as show the preliminary results. Further potential use of this system will also be presented.
Jeremiah Rundall, Utah Valley University Physical Sciences The practice in hydrology is to deduce stream discharge from stream stage by creating a rating curve for each stream site from simultaneous measurements of stage and discharge. If a river could be assigned a generic rating curve with a small number of parameters, the cost of developing rating curves could be reduced. The first step has been to classify rivers according to whether there is a unique relationship between stage and discharge. The USGS National Water Information System database of about 3.8 million simultaneous measurements of stage and discharge at15,345 active and historic stream gaging sites was imported into a Python-driven data manipulation script. Linear relationships between z-scores of the logarithms of stage and discharge were developed for each site. A frequency spectrum of the slopes of the linear relationships was created by summing the normal distributions for each site with mean equal to slope and standard deviation equal to uncertainty in slope. There were no stream gaging sites at which discharge changed without a change in stage. At about 70% of stream gaging sites, over 90% of the variation in stage corresponded to a variation in discharge. At the remaining sites, significant variation in stage occurred without a variation in discharge. Current research involves identifying the characteristics of stream sites that lack a unique stage-discharge relationship and creating classes of generic rating curves by considering more complex functional fits.
Zachary Coffman, Utah Valley University Physical Sciences Breast density describes the proportion of connective tissue versus the fat tissue in the breast. Studies have shown that women with higher breast density are four to five times more likely to develop breast cancer than women with lower breast densities, (www.women.org/BreastCancer). Higher breast densities have proven to make current breast cancer imaging and detection more difficult. A pilot study done at the Huntsman Cancer institute showed that the ultrasonic parameter peak density, generated by high-frequency (HF) ultrasound (20-80 MHz), was sensitive to breast tissue pathology. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of breast density on ultrasound wave propagation from high frequency ultrasound using phantoms that mimic the histology of breast tissues. Phantoms were created from a mixture of distilled water, agarose powder, and 10X TBE stock solution. In order to simulate breast tissue histology and breast density, polyethylene microspheres were embedded into the phantoms in layers, totaling 4 layers per phantom. The polyethylene microsphere size (90-106 μm diameter) was kept constant within each phantom while the weight percent concentration of the microspheres varied (0.00g to 0.06g). Pitch-catch and pulse-echo measurements were acquired using 50-MHz transducers (Olympus NDT, V358-SU, 50 MHz, 0.635-cm diameter active element), a HF pulser-receiver (UTEX, UT340), and a 1-GHz digital oscilloscope (Agilent DSOX3104A). Glycerol (Genesis Scientific) was used as a coupling agent between the transducers and the phantoms. Spectra were derived from the data, giving peak density (the number of peaks and valleys in a specified spectral range), velocity, and attenuation values. The results showed that peak density did not start to show a trend until phantoms of 0.03g concentrations, where it increased from a value of 14.0 peaks (0.03g) to 18.7 peaks (0.06g). Velocity showed a statistically significant increase with greater polyethylene microsphere concentration, from 1508 m/s for 0.00g to 1536 m/s for 0.06g. No trends were observed for attenuation. These results indicate that higher levels of scattering centers in dense breast tissues will be detectable with high frequency ultrasound. This additionally shows that high frequency ultrasound may also be sensitive to greater amounts of connective tissue present in dense breast pathologies. High frequency ultrasound is sensitive to the weight percent of polyethylene microspheres. Future research is planned to further understand this relationship, including repeat studies and studies of phantoms containing chopped polyethylene fibers and triple the polyethylene microsphere concentrations to more closely simulate dense breast tissues.
High-Frequency Ultrasonic Measurement of Angiogenesis in Mice with Breast Tumors and Ligated Femoral Arteries
Michaelle Cadet, Utah Valley University Physical Sciences Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States. Tumor angiogenesis and its inhibition is an important aspect of oncology and the treatment of cancer. High-frequency ultrasound (10-100 MHz) is particularly sensitive to small vascular structures that are close in size to the ultrasound wavelength (15-150 _m). The ability to rapidly determine the degree of vascularization in small animals in vivo would provide a useful characterization tool for breast cancer studies. The objective of this study was to determine if direct ultrasonic measurements in the 10-100 MHz range could be used as a vascularization assay for breast tumors and other tissues. To accomplish this, six mice from the Huntsman Cancer Institute (Salt Lake City, Utah) with grafted breast cancer tumors (three control and three treated with an angiogenesis inhibitor called Avastin) were tested in vivo using through-transmission ultrasonic measurements. A second study was also performed at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Experimental and Clinical Traumatology (Vienna, Austria), where the femoral artery in one hind leg of each of sixteen mice was ligated and tested over the time period of eight days. Eight of the ligated limbs were treated with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) while the remaining eight ligated limbs were allowed to grow ischemic. The unligated limbs were controls. Results from the Huntsman Cancer Institute study indicated that breast tumors in Avastin-treated mice showed higher ultrasound velocities than control tumors. This can be ascribed to the vasculature in the nontreated tumors creating greater wave scattering in the tissue, thus decreasing the velocity. Results from the Boltzmann Institute study indicated that in mice with ligated femoral arteries, ultrasonic signals from ischemic limbs displayed a decrease in wave velocity over the test period as compared to the VEGF-treated limbs. However, both the ischemic and VEGF-treated limbs showed decreases in ultrasonic attenuation during the entire test period. Results from Avastin-treated mouse tumors and mouse limbs with ligated femoral arteries revealed that high-frequency ultrasound holds potential for measuring angiogenesis in vivo.
Peak Density and Attenuation as Complementary Parameters for Differentiating Breast Tissue Pathology
Nicole Cowan, Utah Valley University Physical Sciences Breast cancer is the second most prevalent cancer among women, affecting one out of eight women in their lifetime. The ability to differentiate between malignant and normal tissues during breast cancer surgery would enable the surgeon to remove all of the cancer from the affected region in the breast, thereby reducing the risk of recurrence and the need for subsequent surgeries. A pilot study conducted at the Huntsman Cancer Institute showed that high-frequency ultrasound (20-80 MHz), and in particular the ultrasonic parameter peak density, was sensitive to breast tissue pathology. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of tissue microstructure on peak density using phantoms that mimic the histology of breast tissue. Phantoms were created from a mixture of distilled water, Knox gelatin, and Metamucil fiber. In order to simulate breast tissue histology and terminal ductal lobular units, polyethylene microspheres were embedded into the phantoms in layers, totaling 4 layers per phantom. The volume percent of polyethylene microspheres was kept constant in each phantom while varying microsphere sizes (58-925 μm diameter). Pitch-catch and pulse-echo measurements were acquired using 50-MHz transducers (Olympus NDT, V358-SU, 50 MHz, 0.635-cm diameter active element), a HF pulsar-receiver (UTEX, UT340), and a 1-GHz digital oscilloscope (Agilent DSOX3104A). Glycerol (Genesis Scientific) was used as a coupling agent between the transducers and the phantoms. Spectra were derived from the data, giving peak density (the number of peaks and valleys in a specified spectral range) and attenuation values. In a previous study, histology- mimicking phantoms were fabricated where the weight percent of polyethylene microspheres was kept constant, but the microsphere diameter was varied. The former study showed a clear trend of higher peak density values for smaller diameters, but no trend for attenuation. In contrast, the phantoms from this study showed no trend in peak density, but a clear trend of higher attenuation values for larger microspheres. The results show that specific changes in tissue microstructure affect the parameters of peak density and attenuation differently. Changes in the number of scatterers and in their size, as in the previous study, affected peak density most significantly. In contrast, changes solely in the size of the scatterers, but not in their number, affected attenuation most significantly. These results are consistent with attenuation results for lobular carcinoma in the pilot study. These results show that peak density and attenuation are complementary parameters, and could be used together to characterize a variety of tissue pathologies
Madeline Parson, Travis Bulloch, and Tyler Argyle, Southern Utah University Physical Sciences Lipid bilayers have many important purposes in living cells. A lipid bilayer forms a barrier which separates the fluid inside the cell from the fluid surrounding the cell. The arrangement of components within cell membranes can be extremely important, particularly in cell communications. For example, when our immune system attacks certain pathogens, it recognizes them by specific proteins in the inner and outer regions. This can be thought of as forming a “bull’s-eye” shape. The ability to generate such patterns in bilayers might see applications in many areas of biology. Our goal is to take an initially un-patterned supported lipid bilayer (model cell membrane) and use magnetic tweezers as a delivery system to generate patterns. We hope to show pattern formation using fluorescent-labeled lipids within our bilayer. In the past, we have used streptavidin and biotinylated lipids with Oregon Green. Currently, we are pursuing a fluorescein/anti-fluorescein system that has been yielding much more promising results. We are currently using a fluorescent microscope to confirm that patterns are forming within the bilayer.
Towards The Synthesis Symmetrical and Asymetrical Bimetallic Complexes for Use in Studies of the Oxygen Reduction Reaction
Eric Johnson, University of Utah Physical Sciences The ability to reduce O2 in mild conditions holds many important implications such as: use as an economical fuel cell, pharmaceutical synthesis, biomass degradation and conversion of small molecules to fuels. We are building the [M(μ-OH) (oxapyme)M(H2O)]+ molecules and symmetrical counterparts for use in O2 reduction reactions (M = Cobalt, Nickel, Iron). The precursors to the [M(μ-OH)(oxapyme)M(H2O)]+ have been synthesized as follows. 2-[5-(2-Nitro-phnyl)-[1,3,4]oxadiazol- 2-yl]-phenylamine serves as the backbone of the complex, allowing for two distinct ligands to be attached to each side. Initial yields for this synthesis averaged at 6%. To be able to complete the synthesis this needed to be significantly raised. The literature procedure was modified in various ways until new reaction conditions were found that allowed for 40% yield. Other precursors include 2,2’-(1,3,4)Oxadiazole-2,5-diyl-bis-aniline which also serves as a ligand backbone but differs in that it allows for preparation of a symmetrical ligand have been synthesized with a 51% yield. The first ligand Bis-pyridine-2-ylmethyl-amino has been produced with a 60% yield. The second ligand Methyl-pyridine-2-ylmethyl-amino has been synthesized with an approximate yield of 75%. These yields are high enough to finish the synthesis of the ligand and subsequently coordinate the metals. Upon completion, the electrochemical properties of the compounds that differ in the metal composition and the ligand (symmetrical versus asymmetrical) will be determined using studies such as cyclic voltammetry. Once the metal and ligand that are most apt at oxygen reduction is determined, more advanced studies will be undertaken to identify the reaction mechanism and intermediates.
Scot Sweet, Dixie State University Social and Behavioral Sciences Imagine a world where a revolutionary model of healthcare was created at an affordable cost offering higher quality care. This niche can be filled with a concierge approach. The concierge medical model allows patients 24/7 physician access by paying physicians a monthly retainer fee. In turn, physicians are able to take on fewer patients and spend more quality time with them. This research examines innovative approaches needed in order to successfully market and standardize the concierge model. Because many potential clients and companies seeking health insurance plans for their employees are unfamiliar with the concierge model; educational marketing strategies are required to achieve the paradigm shift in health care delivery modes. Successful marketing of the concierge model relies on the customers understanding of their ability under the concierge model, to be proactive instead of passive when it comes to their health. Taking the time to teach them to utilize a concierge model allows them to believe in a system built around the patient’s needs. This model has been successfully marketed to business owners with 5-15 employees. By educating owners on the cost savings combined with quality service. Offering a free trial allows the skeptics to understand the model. In current healthcare systems physicians treat patients from a legal perspective. Government regulations and third party insurance billing controls the services patients receive. This perception can be broken when people understand that insurance is used for big catastrophic accidents, not day-to-day needs.
Sydney Willis, and Caren Frost, University of Utah Social and Behavioral Sciences Thousands of refugees come to the United States each year. As they become accustomed to life in the United States, immediately they face a new challenge, the health care system. There are not many accessible resources for refugee women when they first arrive, so women’s healthcare, specifically, family planning gets forgotten. It is one of the most important aspects of reproductive health; it impacts the mother, the current family members and the future family members. The current family planning curriculum is not comprehensive for refugee women of every demographic because each culture has different needs and background. Working with two refugee populations, Congolese and Somali, in Salt Lake City and incorporating the seven domains of women’s health, we created a cumulative family planning curriculum that will increase accessibility to services and positively impact the women and their family’s health. This curriculum will give the state of Utah a culturally cumulative family planning curriculum that will positively affect the health of all members of refugee families and help improve the healthcare of Utah as a whole. Curriculum outlined: Offers a wide selection of planning methods that are accessible to all, Reflects high standards of medical practice, Remains sensitive to cultural ideals and conditions. Provides sufficient information about proper use or possible side effects, Addresses women’s other reproductive health needs, Emphasizes benefits and importance of family planning. Curriculum aims: Have a full range of services and education available in a safe environment. Enhance information and acceptance among communities. Strengthen referral system for follow up and improve long term care. Train local women to be family planning advocates for educators and advocates: Refugee profiles, Staff training, Community education maps, Clientele follow up charts, Outline of supply chain system.
Stephen Anderson and Cat Stewart, Brigham Young University Social and Behavioral Sciences Research shows that infant temperament can serve as a predictor of childhood, adolescent, and to some extent, adult social behaviors. Because infant temperament is thought to be the foundation for personality and behavior, it is important to understand factors that influence the development of infant temperament. At the California National Primate Research Center (CNPRC), infant rhesus macaques undergo a bio-behavioral assessment used to evaluate temperament. Infants are evaluated on multiple behaviors, which are used to determine temperament ratings for temperaments such as confidence, gentleness, nervousness, and vigilance. We used data collected from over 2700 infant rhesus monkeys born at the CNPRC between the years of 2001 and 2012. Our goal was to measure whether infant temperament is modulated by “culture”, as measured by differences in the infant’s temperament stratified by home cage (a large open field cage that houses about 100 to 150 animals). Twenty-two cages were included in the analysis, with each cage housing from 25 to 210 infants .We hypothesized that based on difference in treatment between cages, infants would display temperaments related to cage culture. Our analysis showed that the cage social environment significantly predict infant temperament across each of the temperamental traits measured. Our findings suggest that social environment and culture influences temperament and likely predicts future behavior.
Changing Diet among the Congolese Refugee Population: Implications for Health and Social Integration
Madeleine Clark, University of Utah Social and Behavioral Sciences Traditional diets consumed by Congolese refugees are healthier than those consumed by Americans. Their traditional diet is made up of fresh foods that they cook themselves rather than processed foods or take-out. Unfortunately, Congolese refugees quickly adapt to the fast and processed food culture here in the United States and their diets become Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research 2015 113 unhealthy. The specific variables and choices that lead to this shift are not well studied. The purpose of my research is to find out what foods they initially buy when they come to the US and how their food selection gradually changes. When the research is complete, a food plan will be constructed to encourage preservation of the traditional diet, as well as warn against unhealthy food habits. My method of inquiry is to observe the Congolese refugee population in the environment of the supermarket. By going with them to the markets, I observe how they navigate an unfamiliar food market and choose what foods that to eat. In exploring dietary habits, it is essential to consider social, economical, as well as nutritional aspects. What I have found thus far is that children have a major influence on the processed foods that parents purchase. The kids are rapidly integrated into the schools and are exposed to the junk foods that other kids bring. Another factor is the expense of fresh foods versus cheap frozen pizzas. Food prices make it difficult for preserving traditional diets. Food is an essential element in social bonding, and expressing a positive identity. With more than 40,000 refugees in Salt Lake City, it is important for these people to keep this part of their culture upon immigrating to Utah. Food education for immigrants will preserve healthy habits from their food traditions as well as strengthen community bonds.
Tessa Reber, Dixie State University Social and Behavioral Sciences Music education can be used to help students with autism control emotion and build cognitive, behavioral, social and communicative developmental skills. By achieving musical ambitions, autistic students develop self-efficacy that leads to confidence which reflects in their lifestyle and attitude. This paper draws upon primary and secondary research for evidence of conducted cases with autism spectrum disorder students and the implications of music involvement. Methodology focuses on providing the student with a safe environment for learning in the following ways: (1) Teaching the basics of musical grammar aides in cognizance of areas such as math and reading; (2) The embodied affective symbolism that music possesses provides an opportunity for the student to indicate internal emotion; (3) Sharing and performing of music builds self-efficacy and suitable behavior of physical boundaries; (4) Social and communicative effects of music provide the student with the ability to build relationships of similar interests. This includes an increase of appropriate verbal interactions and coping with frustration or anxiety. The summative effects of these combined efforts allow individuals of all ages and abilities on the Autism Spectrum discover the inspirational power of music and the influence it has in their lives.
Sami Safiullah, University of Utah Social and Behavioral Sciences Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates almost exclusively rely on foreign and migrant workers to supply the demand for work in their private sectors, particularly in the construction and domestic labor industries. These countries primarily utilize imported labor from emerging economies in South and Southeast Asia including the Philippines, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Although there are some attempts on the government level in both labor-host and labor-home countries to regulate how these workers are distributed and treated, there are many other factors that contribute to this regulation on a much stronger level. These include consumer preference in the GCC host countries, private employer minimum wage caps, and recruiting agency actions in the labor-home countries. This paper examines these factors in depth, beginning with the private employers who operate under the Kafala temporary-worker system, and then studying the private recruitment agencies in the laborhome countries who survey and assess their worker supplies to meet demands in the GCC private sectors. To better understand this complex and nuanced dynamic, and how it impacts the migrant labor market on both microeconomic and macroeconomic levels, the paper will then discuss the relationships these private entities have with both labor-host and labor-home governments, individual contract-bound workers from the labor-home countries, and consumers in the labor- host countries. After considering a proposed minimum-wage model from the Philippines and a tourism expansionary policy from Sri Lanka, the paper will summarize a series of proposals for how to more effectively regulate this migrant labor market in order to provide workers with higher quality and humane provisions while working abroad, without adversely affecting the strict financial decision making processes in the GCC private sector, and the delicate relationships between these labor-host and labor-home governments.
Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors among Female Survivors of Commercial Sexual Exploitation Treated for PTSD in Cambodia
Kirsi White, Tracy Clemans, and Craig Bryan, University of Utah Social and Behavioral Sciences Sexual exploitation is correlated with high rates of posttraumatic stress disorder. PTSD is a well-established risk factor in suicidal thoughts and behaviors, but to date there are few studies examining these issues among survivors of commercial sexual exploitation. The purpose of the current study is to assess the relationships among suicidal ideation and suicide attempts with trauma among adolescent female survivors of commercial sexual exploitation in Cambodia. We plan to assess the prevalence of suicidal ideation within a sample of commercially exploited children. Data are being collected as a part of a pilot study evaluating the feasibility of cognitive processing therapy (CPT) for the treatment of PTSD among 13 adolescent female survivors of commercial sexual exploitation in Cambodia. We will collect data from baseline interviews with 13 female adolescent participants with ages ranging from 14 to 19 years old, using the Self-Injurious Thoughts and Behaviors Interview (SITBI; Nock et al., 2007). To see if there is change in suicidal ideation from the baseline assessment to the completion of the study, we will look at the 13 participants’ responses to SITBI items at the 1 week follow up and the 3 month follow up assessments. The results in the current study will provide information on rates of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in a unique sample of adolescents, and will provide preliminary information about the effectiveness of cognitive processing therapy (CPT) for suicidal thoughts and behaviors in this population.
Catherine Cragun, Brigham Young University Social and Behavioral Sciences Sibling relationships play a critical role in healthy development throughout childhood, adolescence and into adulthood (Dunn, 1983; Jensen, Whiteman, Fingerman, and Birditt, 2013; Stocker, Lanthier, and Furman, 1997). The quality of the relationship matters as well: a predominantly warm relationship is linked to less antisocial behavior, yet if there is mostly conflict it can be linked to depression and anxiety (Padilla-Walker, Harper, and Jensen, 2010). While the influence of the sibling relationship is well documented, much less is known about what influences it. Marital conflict is one likely deterrent to positive sibling relationships (Stocker and Youngblade, 1999), but there has been little attention to the effects of marital conflict and intimacy over time. Our study will analyze how changes in marital conflict impact future warmth and conflict between siblings. Data for this study come from the Family Relationships Project (FRP). The FRP surveyed two parents and two children from 200 families 13 times (phases) from 1995 to 2012. During in-home and web-based interviews parents and children reported on their family relationships and personal development. Using SAS we are conducting a series of lagged multi-level models to examine how the marital relationship at an earlier phase relates to sibling relationships of the next phase. We will then juxtapose our analyses from the first seven phases with the final six to observe any long-term correlations. Preliminary analyses have revealed a negative correlation between marital conflict and siblings’ levels of intimacy during childhood (r = -.17, p < .05), but not in adolescence (r = -.10, p < .05). In conclusion, we anticipate that our complete analysis will support the hypothesis that marital relationships play a role in the development of sibling relationships but that those links vary across the developmental periods of childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood.
What Are You Afraid Of?: Stress Response to Performance Evaluation in Young Adults Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Catie Nielson, Alyssa Ashton, Alexis Grow, Christian Kindt, and Jay Homewood< Brigham Young University Social and Behavioral Sciences Studies have found co-morbidity of ASD and social anxiety disorder, but it is unclear how the anxiety experienced in ASD is socially mediated. In this study, we measured psychophysiological reactivity during socially stressful (performance evaluation) trials compared to unevaluated trials. We aimed to understand how anxiety in people with ASD is mediated by fear of negative social evaluation. We hypothesized that the ASD group would show elevated stress to both types of threat while the control group (CON) would be more affected by social evaluation than non-social contexts. Twenty adults aged 18-29 diagnosed with ASD were compared to age- and IQ-matched controls on modified Stroop and Multi- Sensory Integration tasks. We measured stress with impedance cardiography and skin conductance response. In a computerized task, participants were instructed for each block whether or not the research assistant and computer would evaluate them. We examined within subjects differences for evaluated and unevaluated trials, as well as between subjects with ASD and CON groups. We found that adults with ASD had higher physiological responses, relative to controls, during stress conditions. Parasympathetic activity during recovery periods was reduced in the ASD group. There were significant group X evaluation condition interactions, with the evaluated trials adding substantially more to the stress response in the CON but not the already elevated ASD group. Response to social evaluation was significantly correlated with scores on the Fear of Negative Evaluation and the Social Anxiety Questionnaire in both groups. Increased sympathetic activity during stress and decreased parasympathetic activity during rest confirm other recent studies that show ASD adults are out-of-sync with fear versus safety contexts, which may underlie their everyday anxiety. Interventions for anxiety in ASD should focus on helping individuals recognize physiological stress responses and develop situation-specific coping skills.
Sarah Nagel and Allyson Brome, University of Utah Social and Behavioral Sciences Communication between family caregivers and hospice nurses is important in caring for cancer patients at end-of-life. However, little systematic research has been done to determine what topics are discussed, how much communication occurs in different topics, and helpfulness for caregivers. This study aims to assess caregivers’ perception of these variables. As part of a larger study of nurse-family caregiver communication in home hospice cancer care, caregivers completed a survey assessing how much caregivers wanted to talk about 6 different topics, how much they actually talked about each topic, and perceived discussion helpfulness. Descriptive statistics were calculated and paired-samples t-tests were conducted to determine differences in the actual versus desired amount of topics’ communication. 209 family caregivers of home hospice cancer patients completed the survey. 95% of caregivers were white, 124 were spouses, 66 were children, 61 were men. Average caregiver age was 58.71 (SD=13.91). Average length of hospice enrollment was 25.5 days (Median= 12.00; SD=30.07). The most common topic for both actual and desired communication was symptom discussions, followed by coping with care; death/dying; coping with stress; memories/reminiscing; religion/spirituality (Mean Range Actual=4.53-1.89; Desired=4.58-1.89). Communication was seen as helpful regardless how much they wanted to talk about specific variables (Mean Range=3.00-4.62). Paired samples t-tests revealed no significant differences between actual and desired variables for any topic except for coping with stress, which was discussed less than the caregiver would have liked (t=2.38, df=207, p=.018). This study found that caregivers desired more or less communication about varying topics, and for the most part, this was reflected in actual conversation. All conversations between nurses and caregivers were considered helpful by caregivers. Though based on retrospective self-report data, study findings support current hospice nurse communication with family caregivers. However, nurses could improve on addressing caregivers’ coping with stress, which has implications for nursing education.
Kara Henrie, Stacia Bourne, and Cecilia Wainryb, University of Utah Social and Behavioral Sciences People draw conclusions about themselves from personal experiences; these are self-event connections (McLean, Pasupathi, and Pals, 2007). Little is known about children’s and adolescent’s self-event connections. The present study examined the types of connections 5-, 10-, and 16-year-olds formed in accounts of two types of moral transgressions: those in which they thought “it was my fault” and those which they thought “it was not my fault.” We hypothesized that connections made with “it is my fault” events would be more negative than those made with “it is not my fault” events and that children and adolescents would form self-event connections that differed with age. We expected 5- and 10-year olds would form morally relevant connections proportionately more often than 16-year-olds, and we expected the 16-year-olds would form proportionately more connections that described a stable sense of self. Forty children in each age group provided two narrative accounts of doing harm: an “it was my fault” experience, and an “it was not my fault” experience. Following these accounts, participants were prompted to construct a self-event connection. Types of self-event connections were coded as follows: (a) temporal scope: back then, now/across time, or going forward; (b) valence: negative or non-negative (e.g., “I am a bad person,” “I am friendly”); (c) relevance: moral or non-moral (e.g., “I am caring,” “I am forgetful”); and (d) generality: general or contextual. Preliminary results indicate that all age groups make negative connections equally frequently and make morally relevant and negative connections more often in “my fault” than in “not my fault” transgressive experiences. Sixteen-year-olds make connections describing the self as continuous across time more often than the other age groups. Finally, 5-year-olds are more likely to make no self-event connections and make connections that are morally relevant.
Matthew Halverson, University of Utah Humanities Adults learning second languages typically exhibit a great deal of difficulty discriminating the sounds of the new language. For example, the English R and L sounds (as in ‘lead’ vs. ‘read’) are difficult for native speakers of Japanese to discriminate because there is no such sound contrast in Japanese. Despite these difficulties, some research indicates that there are cognitive benefits of being bilingual. For example, Bialystock et al. (2003) found that bilingual children performed more accurately on tasks testing phonological awareness (a measure of sound-related skills) in English when compared to monolingual English speakers. Antoniou, Best, and Tyler (2013) found that Greek-English bilinguals were better at discriminating contrastive word-initial consonants in the language Ma’di than English monolinguals—but that they performed worse than Greek monolinguals. We thus see that the apparent bilingual advantage may be confounded with the particular language backgrounds of participants in these studies. The present study attempts to tease apart the contributions of language background and bilingualism. Spanish-English bilinguals were compared to English monolinguals in their ability to discriminate Thai sounds. The predictions were that if Spanish-English bilinguals performed better than English monolinguals, it would indicate that bilingualism was responsible for the advantage. On the other hand, if there was not a significant difference or the Spanish-English bilinguals performed worse than English monolinguals, the results could be attributed to language background. We found that there was not a significant difference between how the Spanish- English bilinguals performed compared to English speakers. We note that the study, however, is limited due to a lack of a Spanish monolingual group, thus we were unable account for a possible effect of language background.
Jacob Oscarson, Dixie State University Humanities In 1971 the New York Times printed sections of a classified Department of Defense report known at the Pentagon Papers. The papers were a detailed history of the Vietnam War from its very beginning in the 1940s when Ho Chi Minh and the Vietminh were officially considered US Allies against Japan. One phenomenon that the papers reveal quite clearly is that while President Roosevelt was dedicated to a policy of support for national liberation movements, that others within his administration did not hold the same view. This is clearly portrayed in the discrepancy between internal documents of the US Secretary of State in August, 1940 that are in clear contradiction to the Atlantic Charter that President Roosevelt promoted one year later. Throughout the history of the Vietnam War, such discrepancies between internal views and public statements were quite common. In the final days of President Johnson’s administration, he had Daniel Ellsberg collect a detailed report on all aspects of the conflict in order to shape a better policy. When the Nixon administration ignored Ellsberg’s expertise, he leaked partial elements of the documents to the New York Times. In the last decade, the US Government has now released the full details of the report for the general public. This paper will discuss the beginnings of the war during the Roosevelt and Truman administrations in regards to new information provided in the complete Pentagon Papers report.
Jordan Kerns, Dixie State University Humanities In my creative compilation, I explore four different classifications of the word blood in four flash non-fiction pieces. I utilize the writing technique of compression, so none of my stories exceed 400 words. Flash pieces give information to the reader through the techniques of inference and understatement. Throughout my stories, I show readers my relationships with other people, my thoughts about myself, and my opinions about certain possessions through the use of flash methods and with an underlying theme of blood. The first story, “Cremation,” illustrates my relationship with my brother through a cryptic conversation we had about death—its tie to the theme being our blood relation. The next piece, “Blood Lines,” describes a pair of sweatpants I stole from my father with subtle clues that hint at the bad blood left between him and my mother and my mother and me. The third flash, “Blood and Frosting,” is a second-person narrative about the process the narrator takes to make red velvet cupcakes for her friends and family. The last work, “Syrup and Sky,” is another descriptive paragraph about a picture I drew in high school of a poorly-drawn wolverine covered in the blood of his kill. I aim to connect with my readers through these simple moments of life, make them feel either happy or sad or anything in-between, and make them see the beauty and complexity in mundane things.
Wendy Stabler, Dixie State University Humanities Injuries to the brain, scalp, and skull are considered to be head injuries. In recent years, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) has become the “silent epidemic,” leaving survivors to fend for themselves in most aspect of their lives. A massive lack of knowledge and understanding with regard to TBI besets the community and Dixie State University (DSU) in particular. As a result TBI students do not receive the services, resources, and empathy they need for scholastic success. In order to ensure that TBI students can thrive on campus, DSU’s Disability Resource Center, administrators, and instructors need to implement new programs that support TBI students and educate the general campus population about the effects and learning styles associated with TBI. Some of these new programs (i.e., better accommodations, a TBI support group, DSU training on TBI) may be extensive and difficult to incorporate at the University, but they are critical for TBI students. Drawing upon published data and statements provided by TBI students and educators, with this paper, an exercise in rhetoric, I will demonstrate how more knowledge and information on this campus will empower instructors as well as TBI students, potentially yielding higher graduation rates for TBI students. Once the recommendations are implemented, DSU will in turn be a leading university in TBI student support. The hope is that these findings and arguments can be used to help TBI student communities in other higher-education settings.
Missy Jessop, Dixie State University Humanities I moved from the suburbs of Salt Lake City to southern Utah just about four years ago, and the land continues to evoke fear and reverence in me as it did when I first arrived. Moreover, the desert has worked itself into my writing. Not only do my conflicted feelings about this place surface in both my prose and my poetry, but images of the landscape, as well as its animals and climate, appear over and over. The desert, I would argue, functions as an objective correlative, directly complementing and indirectly commenting upon the actions, images, people and scenarios that comprise this work. As such, I have begun to agree with Wordsworth’s observation that “a large portion of every good poem…must necessarily, except with reference to the metre, in no respect differ from that of good prose.” In this presentation, I plan to share “flash” works of prose and poetry that problematize the alleged divisions between different literary forms. In support of my findings, I will draw upon the ideas of such writers and critics as David Lee, Sarah Kay, and W.B. Yeats. It is my hope that the audience will be reminded of the connection between nature, landscape, and artistic expression, and how this connection can be tangibly observed by individuals in their own creative lives.
Savannè Bohnet, University of Utah Humanities The University of Utah attracts students from all over the world. Many international students serve as graduate teaching assistants, and in doing so, contribute to the teaching mission of the University. International Teaching Assistants (ITAs) experience a number of challenges associated with their teaching duties, most noticeably communication difficulties that are typically attributed to their non-native accents. In recent studies on accent adaptation we have seen that native English speakers are in fact able to quickly and accurately adapt to unfamiliar or new accents; however, most of these studies have been conducted in highly- controlled laboratory contexts. In the present work, we have examined the ability of actual University of Utah undergraduate students to adapt to the speech of actual ITAs, with the goal of understanding how to harness this accent adaptation ability to improve communication and learning in the classroom. As a starting point in achieving this long-term goal, we are investigating how individual students vary with respect to this adaptation ability. We conducted an experiment where native English-speaking University of Utah students were asked to listen to recordings of ITAs producing running speech during an adaptation phase. Following the adaptation phase, these students were asked to perform a transcription task with individual words produced by the same ITAs. More accurate performance on the transcription task is interpreted as greater adaptation to the ITAs’ speech. We found not only that different ITAs exhibited different levels of intelligibility to students, but also that individual students varied widely in their adaptation ability, which means that the intelligibility of non-native speech depends on characteristics of the listener.
Conor Hilton, Brigham Young University Humanities The narrator of Washington Square strongly colors the account of events that we receive. However, this information is tainted by the narrator’s treacherous behavior, seeming to be very polite, but hiding a heavy dose of irony and distaste behind the polite exterior. It is difficult to fully understand and interpret the events of the novel given the narrator’s heavy involvement in relaying the events of Catherine and Dr. Sloper’s interactions. The text must be interrogated, questioning the motives of the narrator and the reliability of the narrative that he presents. If the narrator is a friend to Catherine, then he likely is undermining Dr. Sloper. Yet, if the narrator is a friend of Dr. Sloper’s, as his intimate knowledge of the Doctor’s past and perspective suggests, then it seems unlikely that he is also a friend of Catherine’s. Perhaps the narrator is unsympathetic towards all of the characters, seeking to undermine their actions and words regardless of who they are or what they are striving to do. The narrator hides his biting asides behind a mask of the most formal politeness, but upon reading between the lines the narrator’s kindness and friendship for each of the characters is called into question. Understanding that the narrator is no friend to the characters in the story he is telling, the reader must question all interpretive comments made regarding the events of the novel. Stripping away the bias of the narrator is also essential to understanding the true nature of the characters of James’ novel, primarily Catherine and Dr. Sloper.
Kalashnikov Enculturation: The Soviet Contribution to Small Arms Proliferation and the Disintegration of the Non-State Threshold
Samantha Falde, University of Utah Humanities The purpose of this paper is to closely examine the legacy of the policies and actions taken by the Soviet Union during the Cold War in order to determine its contributions to current levels of small arms and light weapons (SALW) proliferation around the globe. This examination confirms as reality the perception of the Soviet Union as the primary propagator of indiscriminate small arms proliferation in the post-Cold War era. As such, the Soviet Union was a chief contributor to the current situation of global insecurity perpetuated by the creation of extensively armed and violent societies known commonly as Kalashnikov Cultures. In examining the impact of Soviet policies on SALW proliferation, this paper utilizes the concept of the ‘‘Non-State Threshold’’ at which, when intact, small arms and light weapons are effectively segregated between legitimate state and illegitimate non-state actors, and when breached, indiscriminate spread occurs. The Non- State Threshold will be applied to the years during and immediately following the Cold War to determine under which conditions indiscriminate SALW proliferation occurred, and to facilitate a clearer understanding of how Soviet policies and actions allowed for the permeation of the Threshold by increasing the availability, ease of acquisition, and appeal of SALW to non-state actors and illegitimate groups. This paper demonstrates how the legacy of Soviet policies has facilitated the creation of dangerously armed, rogue societies, supporting the claim that it is the actions of the Soviet Union specifically that have disproportionately contributed to the creation of Kalashnikov Cultures.