Program of Spring 2011 Oral Presentations
WSC Celebration of Scholarship Undergraduate Research Symposium
Tuesday, April 19, 2011, College Center North Ballroom
12:15 Introduction and opening remarks
12:20 McCoy, Kimberly, Ross Metler, and Dr. Jason Mullins. Synthesis of 2-CPG, a Glutamate Analog.
Excitatory amino acid transporters (EAATs) are carrier transmembrane proteins that primarily translocate L-glutamate across the lipid bilayer of neuronal and glial cells. These carriers remove glutamate from the synaptic cleft and recycle them back to glutamine. Failure to remove glutamate may result in neurotoxicity. Because the structures of transmembrane proteins are often difficult to obtain, the creation of a library of organic compounds that bind the protein may be helpful in better understanding the structure of the binding site. We aim to synthesize novel 2-carboxyphenylglycine (2-CPG), an analog of glutamate, along with similar analoges and analyze them as inhibitors of EAATs1-5. The screening will take place at the University of Montana with the help of off campus professionals.
12:40 Finney, Conor and Dr. Robert Cohen. An interesting property of n-gons inscribed in circles
Inscribe a regular n-gon in the unit circle and choose one of the verticies. Construct a chord from this vertex to all of the other vertices. Surprisingly, the sum of the squares of the chord lengths is 2n. In this talk we will give an elementary proof of this interesting result.
1:00 Fremgen, Aleshia and Dr. Patrick Magee. Herbivore Population Regulation and Culling as a Management Strategy
Populations are regulated by bottom-up or top-down mechanisms. Bottom-up regulation is when food supplies limit herbivore populations, whereas top-down regulation is when a predator limits the herbivore’s population size, part of a trophic cascade. Humans are sometimes top predators in ecosystems dominated by large herbivores, especially in the absence of natural apex predators or in fenced refuges. Elephants are large bottom-up regulated herbivores without predators, that dramatically alter their environment as a result of browsing. Many national parks in southern Africa are above carrying capacity and land is limited. Bottom-up regulation has failed to stabilize elephant populations and culling (top-down) is an acceptable solution. In North America, evidence suggests elk are also regulated by bottom-up processes except in the presence of wolves, which cause additive mortality. Both species cause environmental changes when they exceed carrying capacity without management, so culling is an effective method to avoid extensive loss of biodiversity.
1:20 Fremgen, Marcella and Dr. Jessica Young. Bison Conservation Genetics: Keeping All The Pieces
Bison have long been considered an icon of the American West and were important both socially and ecologically. Historically bison performed a number of ecological roles that maintained community heterogeneity and species diversity. Bison herds were large and migratory, but after massive commercial slaughtering in the late 1800s, bison have now been divided into hundreds of small herds. Bison have become ecologically extinct. Issues facing contemporary bison populations include low genetic diversity due to historic bottlenecks, small herd size, cattle gene introgression, and artificial selection of favorable traits. The current bison conservation controversy is to either conserve genetically pure stock (with no cattle gene introgression) or conserve all bison, regardless of gene introgression. In this film, I present the argument that all bison should be conserved to preserve remaining wild alleles for intrinsic reasons.
1:40 Armstrong, Daniel and Dr. Robin Bingham Chemical and Physical Defense Adaptations of Plants
Plants have developed many types of chemical and physical defenses that allow them to coexist with the herbivores that eat them. Without defenses plants would be consumed at exponential rates and the evolution of plants would not progress. The types of defenses adaptations are a result of millions of years of evolution and the arms-race between plants and herbivores. Plants have physical adaptations that include thorns, bark, mimicry, and small irritating hairs that all help to initially avoid contact. Other plants have an intensive array of chemicals that cause affects such as false hormonal growth, irritations or stings, and even death. Each interaction between plants and their consumers initiates a competition that leads to specialization of each species. We have many things to learn and chemicals to discover if we are willing to spend the time and effort that it takes to discover what plants have to offer.
2:00 Cruz, Jesse and Dr. Christina Buchanan. Body Fluctuations of Division II college wrestlers throughout the year
The purpose of this quantitative non-experimental study was to
examine the differences in physical health of Division II college
wrestlers before, during, and after the regular season. Before the
regular season 10 wrestlers were tested to determine their minimum
wrestling weight, which is a new NCAA regulation for wrestling. This
pre test determines the lowest weight each individual can wrestle at
based on percentage of body fat, hydration, and actual body weight.
The results from this pre test were used to examine the physical
fluctuations that these wrestlers went through during the season.
During the competitive season, and 3 weeks after the national
tournament, wrestlers were tested for body weight, percentage of body
fat, blood pressure, and their resting heart rate.
2:20 Mahowald, Mark and Dr. Roger Drake. Teaching Optimism and Positivity in Order to Improving Selective Well Being
Happiness rates in the United States have remained static even as daily life has grown more technologically advanced, and personal freedoms have expanded. It is time for a new view on life that makes well being and happiness top priorities. This paper discusses research into the causes of optimism, helplessness, and explanatory style. Due to the higher level of neuroplasticity in children this paper explores the potential of bringing positive psychology and well being training into the school system. Then it examines some scientifically proven tactics for changing one's level of optimism on a personal and societal level. The role of parents and role models is particularly highlighted, due to their formative impact during adolescence. Also highlighted is gratitude and journaling as stress antidotes