This searchable presentation list displays information on the projects our students presented at SURCA 2022. Through it, you can explore the titles and abstracts of the projects our students presented that year. Also, be sure to visit our list of SURCA 2022 award winners!
How to Use this Searchable Presentation List
How do you look up a particular student presenter at SURCA 2022? All WSU Vancouver student presenters? Names and projects of students working with a specific faculty mentor? All the students presenting that have a particular major? This searchable presentation list displays information on cards that can answer all of these questions. Each card gives all of the details for every project that will be presented at SURCA 2022. In most cases, a project will be presented by a single student, but some of our projects will be presented by multiple students who did their work as a team. A word search box and series of sorting buttons are provided to help you easily find what you need.
How To Read a Card
Please use this information to read abstracts ahead of time and be ready to find the posters you will be looking for on the day of SURCA.
- Each poster will be identified by the poster ID number, which is unique, at the top of the card.
- Category shows which of 9 SURCA 2022 groups this presentation is in. Each category is color-coded.
- Project title shows the name of the project—also called the abstract title. Selecting the “+” button will show you the full abstract—up to 350 words describing the research; to close it, select on the “-” button.
- Student presenter(s) names list all who worked on this project.
- Coauthor(s) indicates what the student(s) list as their academic major.
- Major(s) indicates what the student(s) list as their academic major.
- Mentor(s) are the faculty who work with the student(s) on this research.
- Campus indicates at which WSU campus the presenter(s) are students.
- Zoom meeting + breakout room + presentation time indicates where and when the presenter(s) will explain their research.
- Connect to Zoom is the auto connection to click on during SURCA to take you to the Zoom room for the student(s), and once there you can select the breakout room at the appropriate time to see the presentation.
|Poster Number||Category||Title||Presented By||Student Name||Co-authors||Major(s)||Mentored By||Mentor Name||Campus||Abstract|
|28||Arts and Design||Ailee Simpson||Simpson||Shelby Ruiz, John Wilson, Ailee Simpson, Julia Day||Human Development||Shelby Ruiz, Julia Day||Ruiz||Pullman||
The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance's (NEEA) Luminaire Level Lighting Controls (LLLC) program seeks to: (1) accelerate the adoption of LLLCs by addressing barriers such as cost, product readiness, value propositions, and (2) to increase awareness of LLLCs as a cost-effective option for commercial new construction, renovation, and retrofits.
To assist with these efforts, our team led a qualitative research effort to gain a better understanding of persistent barriers to LLLC and other Networked Lighting Control (NLC) adoption. The following research questions guided the research: (1) Where are LLLC best suited and being installed?, (2) What systems seem to gravitate to what kinds of applications?, (3) Where are NLC best suited and being installed?, (4) Where are NLC and LLLC not being installed, and why?, and (5) Which value proposition messaging for LLLC resonates with these market actors? To answer these questions, surveys and interviews were conducted with LLLC designers, product specifiers, and contractors which revealed significant insights that will support the Luminaire Level Lighting Controls initiative and related utility programs. The outcomes of this project include strategies to transform the LLLC market. The team conducted 15 interviews with product specifiers, lighting designers, and design-build contractors. 12 surveys, documenting 66 projects were also gathered.
This presentation will provide key takeaways and lessons learned from this study, including identified barriers to LLLC adoption, valued features of the technology, hurdles surrounding value engineering, the need for training for contractors, as well as popularly held beliefs about what drives the market, from leading specifiers.
|68||Arts and Design||Gene Brown||Brown||Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles||Armine Ghalachyan||Ghalachyan||Pullman||
The goal of this project is the proposal of a new tradition in fashion that reengages consumers in fashion in more meaningful ways and reintroduces them to the almost forgotten art and process of making clothes, reinforcing the human and ethical values. Since the early 19th century in the tenement shops that evolved into modern day sweat shops, we as a culture have gotten increasingly disconnected from the origin and value of our clothing. Industrialization and globalization have intensified this disconnect. As a result, we have continuously devalued the largely female and impoverished workforce that creates our clothes. The aim of this project is to use clothing design to tell the stories of these women and shed light on a subject that is shrouded in ignorance and greed.
This project consists of three original ensembles; the inspiration for each is drawn from the history of the fashion industry and the women who have paid the ultimate price for fashion as they perished in Rana Plaza factory collapse and other similar disasters. These pieces display a QR code sewn prominently onto the surface as a decorative element that also directs the viewer to a website for information on the project, inspiration, and the origins of the garments. Scanning the QR code connects the consumers to the origins of the garment, the making processes, and most importantly the makers, helping them value the human side of clothing creation and to keep the retailers accountable. To move forward we must create a modern tradition of transparency, respect and awareness around our clothes. This project seeks to do just that.
|115||Arts and Design||Malena Mendez-Ortiz, Colin Rittenhouse, Naeem Shook||Mendez-Ortiz||Architectural Studies||Minyoung Cerruti||Cerruti||Pullman||
As the COVID 19 pandemic made a quick and large impact on the entire world, it called for immediate adaptations of a new way of living and caring. Healthcare facilities, among many other buildings, faced a large impact as they are first responders. Patients, families, and healthcare workers were put under an immense amount of pressure. Hospital design and working conditions did not help to alleviate any of it, but healthcare facilities of all kinds were faced with inefficiencies, much like Randall Children’s Hospital located in Portland, Oregon. We were challenged to redesign the nine-story Randall Children’s Hospital in response to current and future pandemics with a deep dive into pediatric intensive care unit and public space design. We took an evidence-based design approach to explore innovated design solutions through in-depth literature review and a precedent study. Our design team also actively engaged with professionals (WSU faculty, healthcare architects, healthcare interior designer, landscape architect) who provided a wide range of experience and perspectives.
Our design was driven by three objectives: (1) biophilic design, (2) stress control/management, and (3) infection prevention/control. To implement biophilic design, we incorporated access to nature (i.e., strategically placing plants, natural light, visual and physical access to the outdoors, and nature-inspired interiors) and spaces for mindful interactions to promote the restorative healing process. Stress control/management was approached by allowing individuals to control lighting, noise, temperature, and privacy at their comfort levels. To prevent or control/mitigate infection, we implemented the use of technology to allow for an easier approach to social distancing, many opportunities for adaptability, and distinct spatial separation in shared spaces. These design solutions, which push for ease in hospital visits through green design and control of infectious diseases, will enhance the health and wellness for pediatric patients, their families, and medical staff. Our design proposal is relevant and applicable to other healthcare settings and can be implemented in the future of healthcare design.
|116||Arts and Design||Ruben Estrada, Ben Fleiss, Camree Kunze||Estrada||Architectural Studies||Minyoung Cerruti||Cerruti||Pullman||
Circle Care Pediatric Hospital is at the heart of the Emanuel Medical Legacy Campus in Portland, Oregon and provides care to the greater overall area with its emergency department, neonatal neonatal and pediatric intensive care, and inpatient care. Our team researched three primary issues that could be addressed within a pediatric hospital design. First, a common problem found in many hospitals are the high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder seen in medical staff, patients, and their accompanying family members. In fact, 15-40% of visitors report feelings of PTSD following hospitalization. Second, we discovered that a factor for PTSD in building occupants directly correlates to nature deficiency disorder, or a lack of connection to the outdoor environment, with patients reporting stress by an increase of 25% when they are not interacting with nature in some way. Lastly, hospitals must redesign their layout entirely every forty years. Hospitals commonly face situational vulnerability in their inability to sustain an influx of high patient saturation in adjustment to unforeseen circumstances. Circle Care Pediatric Hospital strives to lessen the burden of said issues and provides a more calming and sustainable experience.
In an evidence based design approach, our design strives to meet the issues described above with three proposed design solutions–those being the minimization of PTSD, use of biophilic design, and convertibility. Within the hospital, visitors will find a large range of escape zones and green spaces welcome for all ages to take a moment to play, relax, and breathe amidst the high stress environment that they are in. In regards to biophilic design, the building itself is oriented to maximize southern daylight and northeastern views of the surrounding nature elements such as Mount Hood to enhance healing and regulation of circadian rhythm. Finally, to achieve the goal of convertibility, the use of empty shell levels in anticipation of the building’s future expanse by incorporation of large interstitial space and interchangeable patient rooms. Circle Care Pediatric Hospital engages pediatric patients, parents, and staff alike through implementing design strategies focused on minimization of PTSD, embracing core values of biophilic design, and providing building and space convertibility.
|121||Arts and Design||Taylor Olson, Anna Post||Olson||Architectural Studies||Minyoung Cerruti||Cerruti||Pullman||
Located in Portland, Oregon, the Legacy Randall Children’s Hospital provides pediatric and neo-natal intensive care as well as many other medical services to people in the Portland area and the rest of Oregon and neighboring states. This hospital, built in 2012, plays a significant role in the lives of the patients, families, and staff, and has tough design challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic. This design project, led by WSU faculty and design professionals in healthcare design, was to reexamine the existing pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and lobby programs to better fit the needs of the users and shift the way we approach healthcare design. We took an evidence-based design approach to identify the needs of the end-users (pediatric patients, families, medical and non-medical staff) through an in-depth literature review and interviews; to explore innovations in healthcare design through the literature review and in-depth precedent studies; and to evaluate the building systems and the innovations through a series of meetings with design professionals in healthcare (ZGF healthcare architects).
Our design proposal, Cedar Root Children’s Hospital, included promoting a healing environment that is sustainable, resilient, and therapeutic. To achieve sustainability in our design we developed a rainwater collection system which provides irrigation to the site. This gutter system serves as a façade around the building, inspired by the cedar root baskets made by the Chinook tribe who are local to the area. The grate panels and greenery at the base of the gutters create an interactive and sustainable outcome. Resiliency came in the form of increasing flexible space design, creating efficient circulation for medical staff, and developing pandemic infrastructure. Lastly, to achieve a therapeutic environment our design utilizes curvilinear building forms, soft colors, and healthy interior building materials. The integration of natural light, materials, and forms also results in a comfortable environment. Our design proposal is to vision innovative healthcare design approaches which integrate cultural relevance, streamline workflow for medical and non-medical staff, and enhance pediatric patients and their families’ experience in an unfamiliar and stressful medical environment, even when future epidemics or pandemics happen.
|19||Applied Sciences||Julia Lowe||Lowe||Cynthia Gleason, Hannah Baker||Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Sciences||Cynthia Gleason||Gleason||Pullman||
Root-knot nematodes are a devastating crop pest, and the research goal was to see if we could develop a new biological control agent to manage them. The biological control under examination is a type of fungus called Streptomyces. There are various strains of the non-pathogenic fungus that secrete enzymes called chitinases. Chitinase has the ability to break down chitin, a key component of root-knot nematode eggs. We hypothesized that when the eggs are treated with Streptomyces secretions, the chitin in the egg shells will be affected, and as a result, we would see a reduction in egg hatch and nematode viability. Nematode egg extractions, egg hatch assays, nematode plant infection assays, as well as data collection and analysis were vital components of these experiments. I collected eggs from nematode species Meloidogyne incognita and incubated them in various strains of cell free culture filtrates from Streptomyces. I then measured the percent egg hatch after a 6 day incubation period. I also placed the treated eggs on a susceptible tomato plant and measured nematode infections in the form of galls after 21 days post-inoculation. We did not see any significant effect of the cell free Streptomyces extracts on egg hatch compared to our controls. However, one of the cell free extracts we used (1DOI-15D) which was derived from a novel species of Streptomyces, showed an effect on nematode infections. Plants exhibited approximately 60% less disease after the eggs were treated with this extract. In the future, it would be fruitful to follow up these experiments by using a culture of this fungus with the plant and determine if the fungus can also affect nematode infections directly.
|33||Applied Sciences||Jazmin Gonzalez||Gonzalez||Heiko Jansen||Zoology||Heiko Jansen||Jansen||Pullman||
Corn farmers near the Flathead Indian Reservation of Mission Valley, Montana regularly experience conflicts with the local population of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) raiding and damaging their corn fields prior to entering hibernation. This persistent issue has resulted in monetary losses, loss of resources and also has put both residents and grizzly bears in danger due to increased human-wildlife interactions. The objective of this study is to determine the effectiveness of a modified conditioned taste-aversion protocol to deter grizzly bears from a high-valued food source. The approach used thiabendazole (TBZ), a broad spectrum antihelmintic shown previously to be an effective aversive compound in black bears. In this study, captive WSU grizzly bears were fed portions of high-sugar cereal treated with TBZ, which causes nausea and vomiting. Lemon oil was added to the cereal with TBZ to pair, and hopefully strengthen, the aversion by serving as an additional odor cue. After bears were treated with TBZ, the drug was removed, and the bears were fed only cereal with lemon oil infrequently to determine if a conditioned response (aversion) to the cereal was established. The amount of food eaten, aversive responses (i.e. vomiting, panting, drooling, lethargy, etc.), and the duration of time between when the food was given and when a response was elicited are being recorded for ten captive bears. Results so far have been mixed, with some bears unaffected (no aversive responses observed) by the TBZ even at high doses and no aversion. Other bears quickly developed an aversion that persisted when trials were repeated months later after hibernation. This study is ongoing and more data over longer intervals are being collected. We hope to perform a feeding trial with wild grizzly bears if conditions permit.
|42||Applied Sciences||Lauren Forseth||Forseth||Qiang Zhang, Jiahong Li||Biology||Qiang Zhang||Zhang||Pullman||
Over the past decade, carbon dioxide (CO2) levels have increased 11% as a result of anthropogenic activity. The increased abundance of greenhouse gasses, such as CO2, in Earth’s atmosphere has exacerbated the consequences of global warming. Current techniques to alleviate this issue, known as carbon capture and storage, sequesters CO2 from the atmosphere using alkaline solutions and stores it in alternative reservoirs, such as empty oil wells. However, this methodology is problematic as, aside from the finite space of these reservoirs, the energetic expense of pumping CO2 into these reservoirs is high, and the alkaline fluids critical for this process require regeneration after each use. To address high atmospheric CO2 levels, our project utilizes a more practical approach: reacting CO2 with carbon sources to convert it into valuable products.
Herein, we focus on utilizing a hierarchically porous Metal–Organic Framework (MOF), HP-UiO-66, as a catalytic matrix to construct multifunctional catalysts to carry out the conversion of CO2 into cyclic carbonates, vital precursors for polycarbonate plastics. Our project utilizes catalytically active metal centers (Lewis acids) to convert alkene starting materials into carbonates through epoxidation and cycloaddition mechanisms in a single apparatus. The ultimate goal of this project is to react alkenes with CO2 in a one-pot synthesis reaction to produce cyclic carbonates under mild reaction conditions. The utilization of low-cost, stable precursor materials to convert CO2 into value-added chemicals through the collaboration of different catalysts provides a future direction in materials chemistry. Additionally, the proposed reaction not only addresses the urgency of reducing atmospheric CO2 levels but also produces valuable materials with broad applications.
|48||Applied Sciences||Bradley Lubeck||Lubeck||Food Science||Girish Ganjyal||Ganjyal||Pullman||
Peas (Pisum sativum) is a legume that is a cholesterol free, high in fiber, and low in fat. On the Palouse, pea is a major crop grown among other cereal grains. Depending on the variety, peas can vary by their proximate composition and functional characteristics leading to differential impacts in the final product quality.
In this study, an effort was made to characterize the whole seed flours from 39 pea varieties for their select composition and functional characteristics. Further, the varieties were grouped based on the flour functional characteristics by using PCA (Principal Component Analysis) and HCA (Hierarchal Cluster Analysis), resulting in four clusters based on the similarities in functional characteristics.
In conclusion, the information can be used by the growers to group the varieties, so the food product development companies have consistent flour quality and thus consistent final product textures. This will enable the increased sales of the varieties in a more efficient manner.
|87||Applied Sciences||Adam Chatman||Chatman||Rachel Breslauer, Kevin Murphy||Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Sciences||Kevin Murphy, Rachel Breslauer||Murphy||Pullman||
Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) can provide a range of functions as a crop in rotation, including weed suppression via rapid emergence and canopy cover. The main objective of this study was to compare the canopy development of six buckwheat lines and identify lines with superior performance. We included four commercial varieties (KIS Doris, Koto, La Harpe, Manisoba), one experimental population (SSSLPop), and a non-specified variety cover crop seed source (VNS) as the control. The variety trials were performed in 2021 at field sites in Mount Vernon, WA (Viva), and Chimacum, WA (OSA). Percent emergence was scored one and two weeks after planting (WAP). Canopy transmissivity was measured three and five WAP at both field sites, and additional measurements at four, six, and seven WAP were taken at Viva.
At OSA, the control (VNS) had the highest emergence one WAP though the commercial lines only scored slightly lower. By the following week, SSSLPop was the only line that had not reached 80% emergence. At Viva, all lines exceeded 80% emergence one WAP. La Harpe had the highest emergence one WAP, whereas VNS and KIS Doris scored highest two WAP.
For transmissivity, the control (VNS) had low values (i.e., high cover) across locations and measurement times. At Viva, La Harpe had comparable transmissivity to the control (VNS) across measurement times. Interestingly, we saw more dramatic changes in transmissivity from three to five WAP at OSA than at Viva. During this time transmissivity of all lines at OSA decreased more than 20% whereas at Viva, only Manisoba and SSSLPop had notable decreases (10% and 12% respectively).
In this study, we demonstrate that commercial buckwheat varieties can have emergence and cover that are comparable to cover crop seed sources. We also find that some commercial varieties do not perform as well as others for summer cover. More field evaluations are needed to identify commercial buckwheat varieties with strong and stable weed suppressive characteristics and provide recommendations for farmers in western Washington.
|91||Applied Sciences||Ivy Woltering||Woltering||Arjan Meddens, Madeline Franz, Robert Andrus||Environmental and Ecosystem Sciences||Arjan Meddens||Meddens||Pullman||
The use of satellite imagery has proven useful for a number of land management applications, and its applicability in forest regeneration monitoring is of interest. This study examined the efficacy of using satellite remote sensing to monitor forest regeneration following a wildfire event. In particular, this study analyzed forest regeneration following the 2005 School Fire within the Umatilla National Forest. Vegetation cover measurements were taken in the summer of 2021 from high-, medium-, and low-severity plots and were then compared to satellite data. Further, spectral trajectories were compiled for each plot, which consisted of satellite vegetation cover measurements for each year from 1995-2020. While some spectral trajectories clearly distinguished between pre- and post-wildfire vegetative growth, others showed a less clear pattern. Thus, preliminary results suggest that remote sensing and spectral trajectories have potential for limited use in the analysis of forest regeneration. Usefulness was found to be limited in situations where overstory cover obstructed satellite view into the understory and where the satellite measurements could not easily distinguish between excessive shrub regeneration and seedling/sapling regrowth.
|96||Applied Sciences||Austin Brar||Brar||Jacob Woodbury, Jessie Arneson||Biology||Jacob Woodbury, Erika Offerdahl||Woodbury||Pullman||
Team-based learning (TBL) is an instructional approach in which students work daily in permanent collaborative groups to practice and apply class material. Use of TBL in class is correlated with improved student performance, engagement, motivation, and transfer of skills to employment. Our goal in this project is to conduct a systematic review of empirical research about TBL to identify which TBL components are critical for student learning.
We first identified relevant papers by searching TBL keywords in Google Scholar, then narrowed our sample using specific selection criteria. Ultimately, we only considered studies (N=51) that investigated TBL as the sole intervention and included some measure of student outcomes in an undergraduate STEM classroom for further analysis. Using a fidelity of implementation framework, we devised a coding scheme to characterize papers according to three categories: course characteristics, structural critical components, and instructional critical components. Course characteristics include demographic information and the type of student outcomes such as student performance/learning, affective outcomes such as engagement, motivation, and science identity, or instructor observations. Structural critical components reflect the developers’ design regarding classroom organization, including activities such as team exercises and instructor norming sessions. Instructional critical components include group composition and instructor interactions during the class.
Each paper was coded by two researchers, and results were compared to identify the components of TBL described in the paper, and to note the components which were not described. If specific codes appear frequently where positive student outcomes were reported, it can help us determine which aspects of TBL are most critical for learning. The components which appear the least frequently can point out aspects of TBL that require more investigation. I aim to help identify the relationship between different aspects of TBL and student performance, including how modifications may affect the learning outcomes of TBL. I will report on my progress in a systematic review of the modifications to TBL in the literature. This work will help us understand what aspects of TBL are most important for student learning in terms of student satisfaction and performance.
|103||Applied Sciences||Elise McGuire||McGuire||Tom Jobson, Amanda Hohner||Civil Engineering||Tom Jobson||Jobson||Pullman||
Composting facilities are required to measure volatile organic compound (VOC) emission rates for air permitting. This project is evaluating the testing method used in California for use in Washington State. We are testing an impinger collection method where a gas mixture is bubbled through a vial to "catch" water soluble VOCs, such as methanol and acetone. Testing is being performed by measuring the VOC collection efficiency of the impinger using a proton transfer reaction mass spectrometer to measure VOCs in prepared gas mixtures passed through the impinger. The impinger water is then analyzed by a TOC analyzer used in water quality to determine total carbon content. This work will determine if the proposed test method can accurately quantify oxygenated VOCs emitted in the composting process by measuring total carbon content of the impinger by the TOC analyzer.
|8||Computer Science, Mathematics, Statistics, and Information Sciences||Jared Kelnhofer||Kelnhofer||Marcus Blaisdell, Mona Ghandi||Computer Science||Marcus Blaisdell||Blaisdell||Pullman||
Emotion detection using machine learning and data gathered from an electroencephalogram (EEG) holds the potential for architecture and the creation of smart adaptive spaces which can respond to the user’s current emotional state detected from the Neurophysiological data in real-time. This technology can help people with mental and physical disabilities to have a greater role in shaping their environment and live more independent lives. In this project, two different machine learning approaches, the Long Short Term memory network, (LSTM) and Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) are compared in order to assess their potential to satisfy this goal of emotion detection. We use a custom dataset gathered over 2 years comprised of participants' EEG readings and emotional labels. These readings were recorded as participants watched videos of their choice, while self-reporting their emotional state at random prompted intervals to create the emotional labels. The LSTM network was trained to detect emotions with a traditional machine learning approach, using data filtered to reduce the possibility of noise interfering with the results. On the other hand, the CNN was trained in a unique plot-based approach. Instead of feeding the CNN raw, filtered data, as we did for the LSTM, we created plot images visually showing the readings of the EEG over time intervals of one half second.. These images, when paired with their corresponding emotional labels, were fed into the CNN, to turn the problem of emotion recognition into an image-recognition problem that this type of algorithm could handle, bringing an interesting comparison to light between the filtered-data-fed LSTM and the image-fed CNN. At this time our research indicates that an LSTM approach is more likely to yield accurate results in an EEG emotion recognition problem, however there is still much room for improvement of the system, and many variables to explore.
|22||Computer Science, Mathematics, Statistics, and Information Sciences||Elliot Kimsey||Kimsey||Daryl DeFord||Data Analytics||Daryl DeFord||DeFord||Pullman||
Political redistricting is a process that is complex problem that requires diverse methodologies to analyze completely. One key issue is malapportionment, which is the imbalance between the populations of districts in the same map. Malapportionment exits in all maps by the end of each cycle and can be caused anything from blatant gerrymandering to unpredictable population shifts. Modern computational tools allow us to more easily detect problems with maps and try to discover the root of the problem, which is different in every state. The goal is to better understand the process of redistricting and what causes these imbalances to arise, as well as showing that it is possible to achieve certain non-partisan goals while also keeping the traditional values of the map at a strict standard.
For this project, I looked at Washington and the data available at the time of the 2021 redistricting cycle. Specifically, I analyzed the population projections compared to the actual census counts and showed that with respect to that data, it was possible to build districts that complied with both. I also analyzed the proposed congressional plans from the Washington State Redistricting Commission, using state of the art computational methods to analyze the context of those maps.
|78||Computer Science, Mathematics, Statistics, and Information Sciences||Dana Pittman||Pittman||Linda S.J. Allen||Biochemistry||Bill Davis||Davis||Pullman||
To better understand zoonotic disease transmission and global disease spread one must understand the animal reservoir dynamics. One of the most prevalent reservoir hosts for zoonotic disease is rodents. Two examples of rodent hosts are the whited-footed mouse Peromyscus leucopus which spreads the bacterial pathogen for Lyme disease in the Northeastern United States and the deer mouse Peromyscus maniculatus which spreads the viral pathogen for Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, most common in the Western United States. Since the high prevalence of zoonotic diseases is associated with mice it is crucial to investigate the changes in mouse populations through mathematical models that includes seasonality and environmental phenomena as well as ecological events. This research establishes a set of stochastic differential equation for a mouse population infected with Hantavirus. The parameters for birth rate and carrying capacity were converted to periodic equations to mimic pressures a populations face caused by seasons. Then the periodic parameters were investigated to establish how the amplitude impacted the population and interaction with other parameters. The numerical results were obtained using a Monte Carlo simulation of a Continuous Time Markov Chain. A novel technique employed in this research the use of a coefficient of variation (CV) on periodic equations, to simulate ecological phenomena. The CV adds randomness to a numerical simulation by allowing the value to the parameter to be any value with a percentage of the mean to standard deviation ratio. This implementation was successful in simulating events such as draughts, pulse resources, and many other ecological phenomena ignored by traditional modeling methods.
|9||Engineering and Physical Sciences||John Bussey||Bussey||Marc H. Weber, Scott Barton, Cenda Mihai, Sophie Schuller, Deepak Patil, John S. McCloy||Materials Science and Engineering||John McCloy||McCloy||Pullman||
Legacy nuclear waste is a critical environmental issue plaguing Washington state. ~56 million gallons of radioactive waste are stored in temporary and leaking tanks at the Hanford Site near the Colombia River, allowing for potential harm to human health and the environment. To safely dispose of the waste, it is planned to be encapsulated in glass (vitrification) and stored on geologic time scales. The key concern with nuclear waste vitrification is the long-term aqueous durability and radiation stability of the resulting glass. Glass durability and stability are a function of the phases produced during vitrification, as these phases can contribute to glass degradation and provide pathways for hazardous radioactive material to diffuse into the environment. Due to the diverse and unusual chemical constituents of nuclear waste, the phases produced during vitrification are poorly understood, which hampers the ability to design glass compositions that ensure the long-term protection of human health and the environment. A characterization technique that improves glass design will improve vitrification projects to store Hanford waste (and other global nuclear waste projects), helping to ensure the long-term safety of the nuclear waste. Improving nuclear waste forms can also boost clean and safe nuclear energy to assist in the fight against climate change.
For the first time, large field of view X-ray Absorption Imaging, X-ray micro-Computed Tomography, X-ray nano-Computed Tomography, and Small Angle X-ray Scattering were correlated to image the structure of nuclear waste glasses from approximately 10 nm to 1 mm. Compositionally complex borosilicate glasses doped with Molybdenum (which promotes formation of undesirable phases) were investigated. Furthermore, Wide Angle X-ray Scattering (WAXS), reflected-light microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Wavelength Dispersive Spectroscopy (WDS), and X-ray Diffraction (XRD) were utilized to verify results. This unique scheme enabled identification of 6 or more levels of hierarchal phase separation and macro partitioning of dendritic powellite crystals. In addition, the morphologies of zircon crystals, powellite crystals, and glass-glass phase separations were examined and quantified. Combining these X-ray characterization techniques provided insight into many features in the nanostructure, microstructure, and mesostructure of simulated nuclear waste glasses.
|17||Engineering and Physical Sciences||Domenica Gachet||Gachet||Vikram Yadama, Raul Pelaez-Samaniego||Civil Engineering||Vikram Yadama, Raul Pelaez-Samaniego||Yadama||Pullman||
Cement hydration determines the properties of cement. It is a process of multiple chemical reactions that take place when water is added to the cement. Chemically bound water can be measured by the degree of hydration. Water bonding produces hydrates that can determine if the cement will prevent corrosion of the reinforcement, increase the strength, and increase the durability of cement. However, the complexity of each chemical stage causes hydration studies to be typically focused on the analysis of pure substances in controlled environments. There are few studies centered on the hydration of cement when mineral admixtures are used. The use of mineral admixtures represents a reduction in the amount of CO2, reduction in costs, and helps recycle by-products from other industries. This paper aims to explore multiple methods currently used to measure the hydration kinetics of cement to determine the best method or combination of methods that can be utilized to obtain accurate results. Some of the methods to be analyzed include measurements of heat produced by the specimen (differential thermal analysis, and differential scanning calorimetry), elements reflected in X-rays (X-ray diffraction analysis), and the composition in mass of cement (thermal gravimetric analysis) to measure the hydration kinetics of cement. It is expected that the selected method or methods will help to determine the degree of hydration and the quantity of hydrates produced. The results could potentially be used as a starting point to study the hydration of cement when manufacturing cementitious grout using biochar as an admixture.
|18||Engineering and Physical Sciences||Ian Wells||Wells||Jacob Leachman||Mechanical Engineering||Jacob Leachman||Leachman||Pullman||
Lunar regolith is harmful to human health and equipment making its mitigation one of the greatest challenges for returning to the Moon. Traditional space suit cleaning methods such as brushing and vacuuming have limited effectiveness and pose risks like suit fabric abrasion. Cryogenic liquid sprays are a recently developed solution for dust mitigation in a lunar setting, harnessing extreme temperatures to lift and carry dust away from suit material. This research investigates the impact of repeated dusting-washing cycles on spacesuit materials. Specifically, degradation of the materials is examined to determine cleaning technology impact on the spacesuit longevity, which impacts feasibility for implementation on missions to the Moon. Initial results indicate minimal spacesuit fabric abrasion from liquid nitrogen removal of lunar dust simulant from spacesuit simulant. Results additionally indicate similar or slightly increased removal with each subsequent washing cycle.
|27||Engineering and Physical Sciences||Wyatt Wallis||Wallis||Physics and Astronomy||Mark Kuzyk||Kuzyk||Pullman||
The Young’s Modulus (YM) defines the stiffness of a material which is important when characterizing the photomechanical properties of fibers. This study aims to observe a PMMA DR-1 doped fiber through three studies. For the first study, a clamp was created that can clamp all 4 sides of the sample fiber (which has a square cross section) as opposed to the original clamp, which only pinched 2 of the sides. If there is a difference, further studies should be performed to extrapolate how the average Young’s Modulus is measured depending on the arrangements of the points of contact. The clamps were compared by observing the Young’s Modulus of the fiber as a function of the intensity of an incident 488 nanometer laser illuminating the sample. The second study characterizes the YM as a function of the chain transfer agent (CTA) concentration which is an ingredient used in the fabrication of the fibers that manipulate the chain length of the polymer. The results of this experiment show that both clamps offer similar variances on the same magnitude of measurement, which shows little difference between them. Both clamps corroborate the expected relationship that the YM is unaffected by the light’s intensity. The study of CTA concentration returned that the YM decreases with increasing CTA which confirms previous experiments.
|38||Engineering and Physical Sciences||Gunnar Sly||Sly||Iradwikanari Waluyo, Jean-Sabin McEwen||Chemical Engineering||Jean-Sabin McEwen||McEwen||Pullman||
Catalytic processes play a significant role in the creation of 80% of all manufactured products and are involved in the production of over 90% of all industrial chemicals; however, the materials used in the creation of catalysts pose both economic and environmental challenges in their deployment due to their reliance on precious metals as active sites. A new subclass of catalytic materials, single-atom alloys (SAAs), provide an attractive alternative to traditional catalysts due to atomistic-level dispersion of precious metals supported on the surface of a metal substrate providing unique chemistries. The SAA relevant to this work, RhCu SAA, has been studied previously using Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM) and Reflective-Adsorption Infrared Spectroscopy (RAIRS) which provides insight into the surface structure and formation conditions. Recently, X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) has generated information about the catalyst surface using CO gas as a probe molecule to investigate active surface sites. While three of the four observed peaks are able to be rationalized by previous work, the presence of a fourth “mystery peak” is not. Through the use of Density Functional Theory (DFT) within the Vienna ab initio Simulation Package (VASP), first-principles simulations are performed to elucidate the presence and behavior of the feature as well as gain a greater understanding of surface structures in their entirety. In this work, model structures are proposed, and corresponding Core-Level Binding Energy (CLBE) calculations are performed to compare simulated XPS spectra to experimentally collected data to determine what structures create the spectra feature.
|41||Engineering and Physical Sciences||Zakora Moore||Moore||Kitana Kaiphanliam, Brenden Fraser-Hevlin, William C. Davis, Bernard J. Van Wie||Bioengineering||Bernard Van Wie, Kitana Kaiphanliam||Van Wie||Pullman||
T cell immunotherapy is a highly effective cancer treatment in which the immune system’s inherent ability to fight cancer is amplified by increasing the amount of cytotoxic T cells that are deemed most active within a patient. Current T cell expansion methods are inefficient, resulting in high manufacturing costs, which brings question to the accessibility of T cell therapies. We hypothesize that by producing a mathematical model to predict cell growth, substrate consumption, and metabolite production of a proof-of-concept T cell line over time, we will be able to optimize growth of the cell line in a perfusion bioreactor system. A series of four studies were performed to produce the growth model: (1) measuring yield coefficients of lactate, ammonium ion, and glucose; (2) determining the Monod constant and maximum specific growth rate; (3) finding critical metabolite concentrations above which cells will not grow; and (4) identifying ideal amounts of interleukin-2 (IL-2) that prove most effective supporting cell expansion at low T cell concentrations. Once all parameters are defined, we can confidently configure glucose, lactate, ammonium, and IL-2 levels to apply to the growth model as the T cells grow to high densities in a bioreactor and, as a result, optimize the T cell manufacturing process for cancer immunotherapy treatments.
|50||Engineering and Physical Sciences||Art Matthew Mamaril||Mamaril||Chemistry||Jeffrey Bell||Bell||Pullman||
Oral diseases pose a major health burden for many countries and affect people throughout their lifetime, causing pain, disfigurement and even death. In fact, it is estimated that oral diseases affect 3.5 billion people worldwide, sharing common risk factors with the leading noncommunicable diseases. Oral healthcare treatment is costly, averaging 20% of out-of-pocket health expenditure in most high-income countries. However, most oral health conditions are preventable and can be treated if diagnosed early. Early diagnosis, however, relies on the ability to rapidly detect biomarkers related to oral health disease. Potentiometry, combined with microfluidics, has the ability to selectively detect ionic species and provide a low-cost solution towards a continuous, noninvasive, real-time assessment of overall oral health. Our research approach pairs commercially available cotton (for sample collection and storage), with ion-selective electrodes (ISEs), selective for our chosen analytes, potassium and calcium, both of which are important markers of oral health. The method has the possibility of being further developed into an oral swab kit paired with a reference electrode for disease diagnosis or monitoring patient recovery. By incorporating molecular recognition elements into our membranes, we ensure that our chosen analytes will be selectively detected in saliva. Our methodology can produce low-cost, rapid-testing solutions, which, when paired with portable electrochemical readers, provides a complete system that is simple to use at the point-of-care.
|54||Engineering and Physical Sciences||Suzanne Gelston||Gelston||Bioengineering||Haluk Beyenal||Beyenal||Pullman||
Bacterial infections inhibit the healing process in wounds and increase the cost of treatment. These bacterial infections can be found in the form of biofilm which are a collection of either mono- or multi-species bacteria bound together in a complex polymer matrix. Antibiotics can be used to kill the bacteria in wounds, however, bacterial resistance to antibiotics lowers their eradicating efficiency. The electrochemical bandage (e-bandage) is a sustainable way to destroy biofilm in wounds without using antibiotics. The e-bandage is made of a biologically compatible carbon fabric that is controlled by a potentiostat machine. Electricity from the potentiostat initiates the e-bandage to produce biocides, either HOCl or H2O2, in low and controlled concentrations from oxygen, chloride, and water. These biocides are naturally formed in the body and treat infected wounds while facilitating wound healing. The low biocide concentrations produced by the e-bandage are applied directly to the wound site over time to lower the cytotoxicity to the skin tissue and help penetrate the biofilm matrix. The e-bandages’ ability to supply low and controlled concentrations of biocide over time to wounds destroys biofilm and promotes wound healing. In this research, the biocide generating e-bandages were tested to observe their eradication of biofilm efficacy at different polarizing potentials and durations of treatment time.
|56||Engineering and Physical Sciences||Julia Esakoff||Esakoff||Josiah Lere-Adams||Earth Sciences (Geology)||John McCloy||McCloy||Pullman||
Egyptian blue frit, also known as cuproriviate (CaCuSi4O10), is a primitive pigment first created and used by ancient Egyptians. For thousands of years this color circulated the Mesopotamian region, lasting until the fall of the Roman empire. Many historians have located evidence of the pigment on artifacts that date back to the 18th and 20th dynasties. Since being coined the first synthetic pigment, synthesis and characterization of the frit has become an important scientific endeavor. Egyptian blue exhibits broad emissions in the near-infrared range, allowing the frit to be used in fields of biomedical analysis, telecommunications, and lasers. Using a variety of precursors including a SiO2 network former, alkali and lime modifiers, and cupric oxide, the pigment can be recreated after being processed through a series of high temperature heat treatments spanning up to 10 hours. Differential Thermal Analysis indicated the solid-state reaction and subsequent formation of the cuproriviate phase as well as decomposition with prolonged heat treatment. X-ray Diffraction highlighted these phases as rich in quartz, calcium silicate, copper oxide, and calcium copper silicate (~30% to 50% Egyptian blue). Analysis using Ultra-Violet Visible spectroscopy showed high absorption through the 300-800nm spectrum, and Raman spectroscopy aided in the further identification of the sample measuring 10 µm fragments which resulted in Raman shift analogous to spectra found in literature. Characterization of Egyptian blue’s properties and synthesis gives invaluable insight into the culture and capabilities of ancient civilizations.
|60||Engineering and Physical Sciences||Eleanor Curtright||Curtright||Sarah A. Lewis, Robert E. Brown, Peter R. Robichaud||Civil Engineering||Pete Robichaud||Robichaud||Pullman||
With the wildland fire season intensifying in recent years due to climate change, it is important to advance our understanding of how remotely sensed images of wildfire conditions can help better management decisions. Currently, it is possible to map post-wildfire ash cover with the use of satellite imaging; however, it would be useful to know if the moisture content of the ash changes the spectral signature thus making interpretation of remote sensed images easier. This information will be useful for predicting post wildfire ash transport and potential for water contamination. The purpose of this experiment is to determine, in the laboratory, if the hyperspectral signatures of wildfire ash change under different moisture regimes and if these changes are replicable with different vegetation ash (i.e. Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, Engelmann spruce etc.). We took reflectance measurements of ash samples from the Cerro Grande Fire in New Mexico (2000), Avalanche Butte Fire in Montana (2011) and the Buck Fire in Idaho (2020) using a spectroradiometer. The baseline reading is from oven-dried ash, and subsequent readings are collected after adding moisture, in 20% increments below 100% moisture and 50% above, to the samples ranging from zero to 300%. The samples are then oven-dried for fifteen-minute increments, re-measuring the reflectance after each interval, until the samples have returned to their original dry state. Our preliminary results show that there is an average range of a 12 to 19% difference in the hyperspectral signatures of wet and dry wildfire ash samples, and that incremental differences in moisture content are apparent. The dry ash was significantly more reflective than wet ash and this was consistent amongst all three ash types and each ash type was significantly different from one another. Our findings indicate that there is a relationship between moisture and reflectance; therefore, we should be able to take the reflectance of a wildfire ash sample and infer its moisture content. With this information, increasing the scale of this experiment to the field is the next step.
|75||Engineering and Physical Sciences||Joshua Bilsky||Bilsky||Fred Gittes||Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy||Fred Gittes||Gittes||Pullman||
Jean Perrin won the 1926 Nobel Prize in physics for elegant experiments published in 1909 and 1910, which confirmed Einstein's theory of Brownian motion and the atomic nature of matter. In addition, Perrin was an eloquent and passionate international advocate for scientific understanding. In the sixteen years before his Nobel Prize, Perrin's work on Brownian motion became well-known via his famous book "Les Atomes," a bestseller translated into many languages through multiple editions. One of Perrin's most famous experiments resulted in a plot displaying many final positions of a diffusing particle compared with Einstein's theory. Focusing on this particular figure, we explored and empirically checked the statistical validity of his work as initially presented and as presented in successive editions of his book. Our analysis raises questions regarding the consistency of data in this figure. In our analysis, the printed data from multiple Perrin sources were digitized and corrected using the least-squares fit for accounting for distortion. The data was then analyzed using chi-square and Kolmogorov-Smirnov statistics and compared with synthetically generated data using bootstrapping methods. We determined that although data published in 1909 appears consistent with experimental uncertainty, Perrin's reworked results published in the 1923 and later editions of his book, which still preceded his Nobel Prize, would arise in an actual experiment with a likelihood of only 3.5%. Our study raises interesting historical questions regarding pressures Perrin may have faced and the scientific standards of the era.
|76||Engineering and Physical Sciences||Erich Whitley||Whitley||Chemical Engineering||Su Ha||Ha||Pullman||
The research project focuses on developing catalysts for the caustic aqueous phase electrochemical reforming process (CAPER). The CAPER process aims to provide an economically viable method of producing high pressure pure hydrogen from aqueous ethanol, while capturing the carbon dioxide produced within the caustic electrolyte during the process. The hydrogen produced can be used in various industrial applications and as an efficiently produced fuel. One of the main hurdles in making CAPER an economical process, is the requirement of high-performance expensive noble metal catalysts, such as palladium or platinum, to fully oxidize the ethanol into carbon dioxide. The goal of this research project is to develop effective non-noble metal and bimetallic catalysts that could lower the catalyst cost. The project consists of preparing catalysts of varying bimetallic compositions and then performing Tafel analysis on them to determine their exchange current densities and apparent activation energies. The exchange current densities of the experimental catalyst are used to compare their performance to that of commercial noble metal catalysts. The initial progress has shown copper/palladium bimetallic catalysts as contenders for improving performance over commercial catalysts. Further investigation will vary the copper to palladium loading to determine ethanol oxidation activity as a function of palladium amount and seek additional characterization of the prepared catalysts.
|79||Engineering and Physical Sciences||Christine Lovingier||Lovingier||Feyisola Paul Olatunji, Emily Savoy||Chemistry||Cliff Berkman||Berkman||Pullman||
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in the U.S. thus, there is need for a wide range of targeted chemotherapeutics. Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen, PSMA, is a hallmark enzyme for prostate cancer and is also recognized as an important target for cancer therapy and imaging. We have previously utilized irreversible inhibitors for PSMA to which we can attach a variety of payloads. This builds the basis for a platform where we have made and attached a linker designed to be pH dependent. Stable at physiological pH, 7.4, it is able to travel through the body to the target area without decomposing. Once taken into PSMA(+) cell, the pH is lowered which triggers the release of toxic payload. To understand how the payload gets delivered into the cell or tumor, we have attached a fluorescent dye as the payload. As the pH triggered release happens, the payload will ‘turn on’, allowing us to locate where it’s most concentrated. Our results showed in PSMA(+) cells, there was evidence of released payload, ‘turn on’, and in PSMA(-) cells there was no evidence of released payload, no ‘turn on’. This has appealing implications in that in place of a fluorescent dye, a cytotoxic payload can be attached instead. When released, like coumarin, there is subsequent targeting and elimination of PSMA expressing cells.
|80||Engineering and Physical Sciences||Marley Rabauliman||Rabauliman||Civil Engineering||Jan Boll||Boll||Pullman||
Palau is a tropical island located in the south Pacific, home to over 20,000 people. A particular part of the island, called Koror, houses over half of the population in Palau. This population needs an abundance of water to meet the daily water demands of households, schools, and businesses. As an island, Palau experiences the effects of climate change due to not only the rise of sea level, but also the decrease in water security. During the dry season, Koror regulates water use by having water rationing hours. Because of climate change, the dry season length and drought severity are increasing year after year. In this research project, I will investigate how to reduce the use of water rationing hours in Koror.
The water system of Koror includes the Ngerikiil River that pumps water directly to the water treatment plant or to the Ngerimel Reservoir. The Ngerimel reservoir holds the main water source of the Koror community. It pumps water into the treatment plant which is then distributed to the community by four main pipes. About 4 million gallons of water is distributed to the community every day.
A stock-and-flow simulation of Koror’s current water system was created using the simulation software STELLA. A mass balance equation is created for the reservoirs and included in the model. The simulation observes how the water system handles the change in climate patterns, through scenario testing focusing on dry season length and drought severity. The climate patterns used in this model will be based on monthly climate data recorded over several years in the area where the storage reservoir is located. Model results show how much water flows into the reservoirs and how much water is being pumped out. The results also show the severity of the water deficit during the dry season and droughts or a surplus during the rainy season depending on water demand scenarios.
|85||Engineering and Physical Sciences||Brooke Downing||Downing||Jani Jesenovec, Benjamin Dutton, John McCloy||Materials Science and Engineering||John McCloy||McCloy||Pullman||
Gallium oxide (β-Ga2O3) is a transparent, ultrawide bandgap semiconductor with a high breakdown voltage. β-Ga2O3 enables manufacturing of economic electronic applications including solar- and visible-blind photodetectors, Schottky diodes, switching devices, and gas sensors. Device applications rely on the ultrawide bandgap (4.5 - 4.8 eV), and thus it is important to understand the effect of certain alloys on β-Ga2O3; specifically, Al2O3 and Sc2O3 are materials with even wider bandgaps than β-Ga2O3. Alloying must be understood in the context of crystal quality, compositional changes and precipitate formation in order to grow homogenous single crystals.
Aluminum and scandium alloyed β-Ga2O3 crystals were grown by Czochralski (CZ) and Vertical Gradient Freeze (VGF). X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) and Raman microscopy were used to characterize these β-Ga2O3 alloys. XRD demonstrated compositional changes between the CZ and VGF crystal, and elucidated how alloy concentration impacts β-Ga2O3 crystal structure. Raman revealed unique features and surface defects present in samples which were characterized to further understand formation of precipitates in the alloy. The outcomes of this study can assist in improving future β-Ga2O3 growths through an ultimate understanding of bulk crystal quality.
|92||Engineering and Physical Sciences||Emma Speight||Speight||Physics and Astronomy||Brian Collins||Collins||Pullman||
This project studied the dynamics that occur during the drying process of printed conductive polymer films that are subjected to a controlled airflow. Throughout the course of my project, I used a blade-coating technique to create uniform thin films of a conductive polymer ink and dried them at different constant steady airflows. While the film was drying, I used time resolved spectroscopy to take wavelength absorbance readings over a period of up to several minutes. This data was analyzed based on a physical model that allowed the quantification of how ordered the molecules in the film were as a function of time. The analysis revealed a pattern of three periods in the ordering of the drying film. The first was a disordered state when the film was wet. This was followed by a period of rapid evaporation where the ordering of the molecules in the film dramatically increased over about ten to fifteen seconds. The final state was one of set ordering when the film was completely dry. Additionally, it was found that the speed of the airflow over the film was able to affect when in the drying process the rapid ordering of the molecules occurred, and how ordered the final state was. This project will serve as a jumping off point for me to look deeper into the physical processes behind the ordering of these dried conductive polymer films using techniques like ellipsometry.
|98||Engineering and Physical Sciences||Christina Webster||Webster||Dilara Ozdemir, Abdelrhman Mohamed, Haluk Beyenal||Bioengineering||Haluk Beyenal||Beyenal||Pullman||
Anaerobic digesters convert biodegradable wastewater to methane and are utilized in many anaerobic wastewater treatment systems such as upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactors. Anaerobic digesters are important to producing sustainable energy in the form of methane for a low cost in wastewater treatment facilities. In UASB reactors, small compact ‘balls’ of bacteria called granules are necessary for the degradation of organic compounds and are where the most biological reactions occur in UASB reactors. The microorganisms in granules form different layers of microbial groups that consume and produce different compounds. The outer layer of a granule consists of microbes that break down organic molecules into acids, the middle layer of microbes produce acetate, H2, and formate, and the inner layer produces methane from the products of the middle layer. These reactors can improve the efficiency of organic matter removal through improved granulation by optimizing the operating conditions and understanding granule interactions. However, further research is needed to quantify electron transfer mechanisms and rates among the populations of microorganisms in the granule layers to discover limiting factors for methane production.
The goal of this work is to better understand electron transfer mechanisms in anaerobic granules. Four anaerobic bioelectrochemical reactors were designed to operate in batch mode using homogenized wastewater granules. Different potentials were applied to the reactors to promote different bioelectrochemical reactions that microbes drive. The current produced by these bioelectrochemical reactions, biological oxygen removal rates, and methane production rates will be collected. Such data will help us determine the electrochemical reactions and electron transfer rate of microbial species found in the anaerobic granules.
|99||Engineering and Physical Sciences||Flor Trinidad||Trinidad||Joe Harding||Bioengineering||Flor Trinidad||Trinidad||Pullman||
I'm honor to be presenting Professor Joe Harding Research on,"Clinical and Rehabilitative Medicine," and my learning experience as a mentee. Professor Harding, research focuses on Neuromuscusculoskeletal injury and regenerative medicine. One leading cause of Neuromusculoskeletal injury and limb amputations is battlefield blast trauma that significantly impairs the quality of personal, professional, social, and/or functional life of our service members. One potential therapeutic intervention for these patients is Vascularized Composite Allograph (VCA) transplantation that includes limp and face transplants. About 200 VCA’s are performed worldwide but there are still many challenges: graph rejection and sub-optimal limp reinnervation resulting in muscle atrophy. The goal of this study is to develop safe and effective adult stem cell, growth factor, and shockwave therapeutic technologies to improve nerve/muscle regeneration to promote functional recovery in the VCA model: be the findings of which would apply to general neuromusculoskeletal injuries in addition to VCA. In the future, I plan to use all my new skills and knowledge on my research to find solution do deadly diseases.
|104||Engineering and Physical Sciences||Rhys Sopp||Sopp||Jeffrey Bell, Anjaiah Sheelam||Chemistry||Jeffrey Bell||Bell||Pullman||
The ever-growing global reliance on digital technology has created a constant demand for improved computer components. Memory storage devices have seen extra attention recently due to the integration of negative differential resistance (NDR) in their construction. Inverse to Ohms law, NDR results in a differential decrease in current upon the increase in applied voltage. This property has been exploited in recent years to create RAM cells that have reported higher performance. Though NDR in computers is typically generated through specific components, its properties can be studied in greater depth through its electrochemical analog. In this research, we investigate the electrochemical oxidation of bromide ions, important in Zinc-bromide redox flow batteries, on platinum surfaces, specifically focusing on the occurrence of NDR. Although previous reports have indicated that the oxidation of bromide ions (paired with sodium cations) does not generate NDR, our results suggest that the nature of the counter-ion plays a significant role in NDR. Herein, we present a systematic study of the effect of counterions (i.e., nature, size, etc.) on the electrochemical behavior, and resulting occurrence of NDR, for a homologous series of tetraalkylammonium bromide salts
|107||Engineering and Physical Sciences||Clara Ehinger||Ehinger||Von Walden||Chemical Engineering||Von Walden||Walden||Pullman||
As climate change continues to influence weather patterns causing more extreme events such as wildfires, air quality will become an increasingly important topic. The goal of this project is to establish a network of stationary and mobile air quality sensors to collect and model air quality data. This will be done with a Raspberry Pi computer connected to GPS, pressure, temperature, and particulate matter sensors. The Raspberry Pi will have a data connection to periodically transmit data to a central computer where it can be analyzed. Once installed on buses and/or lamp posts as planned, the sensor network can provide an accurate and detailed map of the air quality over an area in real time due to the GPS and time measurements corresponding to the pressure temperature and particulate matter data points. Using the Raspberry Pi, a sensor network could be made available to more communities as costs are lower than conventional air quality sensors. The data could then be used to map the air quality over time in greater detail than many current models due to the ability to deploy these inexpensive sensors in a greater density. Using this model, the effects of buildings, architecture and weather events on air quality could be studied to better predict and mitigate air quality hazards in the future. A current prototype is being designed to automatically upload data to a central computer where it can then be analyzed without needing to physically access the sensor. After that step it will be ready for testing and calibration and deployment.
|109||Engineering and Physical Sciences||India Dykes, Delgerzaya Tsengelmaa||Dykes||Arda Gozen, Bernard Van Wie||Bioengineering||Arda Gozen, Bernard Van Wie||Gozen||Pullman||
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the world, affecting over 30 million people in the US at an annual cost of $140 billion. It is characterized by degeneration of the articular cartilage (AC) in the joints eventually leading to painful bone-on-bone contact. Current treatments include pain killers, cortisone injections, and total knee replacement, yet there are no effective long-term solutions. A limited number of tissue-engineered cartilage products to address osteoarthritis have made it to market or into advanced clinical trials. These products show limited clinical benefit since none fully replicate the complex structure or mechanical function of native articular cartilage. Articular cartilage exhibits distinct biomaterial and mechanical property variations over a few millimeters of thickness. AC has a complex, heterogeneous structure with at least three distinct zones: the superficial, intermediate/middle, and deep zones which vary in shear and compressive moduli by hundreds of kPa as well as cellular and collagen fiber density and orientation. Mimicking this complex mechanical and cellular structure is the key to creating effective engineered AC tissue scaffolds. This project aims to contribute to the ongoing research efforts to address this need and establish controllable manufacturing methods for a functional engineered cartilage tissue with biomimicking heterogeneity, anisotropy, and organization. Our hypothesis is that the shear and extensional flows induced inside the bioprinter nozzles can be used to precisely control fibrillar orientation with the goal of creating zonal bioconstructs of cell-laden collagen hydrogel capable of recapitulating the biomaterial organization of native AC zones.
|111||Engineering and Physical Sciences||Emma Gunter, Jacob Mahon, Reid Parsons, Evan Rodriguez, Calli Shafer, Caden Weiner, Rachel Willison||Gunter||Strategic Communication; Mechanical Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; Bioengineering; Finance, Marketing; Computer Science; Marketing||Lynne Cooper||Cooper||Pullman||
Before delivery of commercial aircraft to customers, the aircraft is inspected manually to identify skin defects. The current approach is limited due to the difficulty of accessing some locations on the plane and inadequate lighting within the hangar. These limitations reduce the ability to detect skin defects, which extends delivery times, increases production costs, and can cause physical safety risks for inspectors.
This research aims to improve the effectiveness of the visual inspection process used to detect skin defects on aircraft by implementing a drone-based inspection system. This system will accurately detect and categorize defects across the whole aircraft surface, eliminating access limitations associated with manual inspection methods and decreasing overall inspection time. The drone will be equipped with on-board lighting to ensure the camera’s ability to clearly capture images of defects.
Our proof-of-concept inspection system uses a commercial drone with a built-in camera, augmented with an on-board lighting system. We use a machine learning algorithm to detect defects based on images acquired from drone. We designed, implemented, and trained a neural network to post process images via a training and validation data set of over 5,000 images of dented and non-dented samples taken using a stationary test rig and smart phone camera. After training the neural network, we ran laboratory experiments to characterize performance based on different camera distances, viewing angles, and lighting conditions.
This project will culminate in a field test of the drone-based system substituting cars for aircraft and operating under garage and natural light conditions. The drone will be piloted over the vehicles using a grid pattern, taking images along the surface. The images will be post-processed to identify defects. The results from the image processing algorithm will be compared to defects identified during a manual visible inspection and visual review of the images. We predict that our proof-of-concept will achieve 75-95% validation accuracy, demonstrating the ability to autonomously detect defects via drone-based images.
|122||Engineering and Physical Sciences||Acacia Dasher, Mareenah Galang, Kathryn Jones, Paris Kemmer, Madison Shearer, Hannah Wehl||Dasher||Chemistry; Digital Technology and Culture, Strategic Communication; Journalism and Media Production; Management, Marketing; Mechanical Engineering; Hospitality Business Management, Marketing||Lynne Cooper||Cooper||Pullman||
The tensile strength of objects, which is the maximum load that a material can withstand without fracturing or stretching, is tested by pulling a test specimen apart using an industrial apparatus such as an Instron machine. To conduct this type of test, specific grips must be used to properly hold the top and bottom of the test specimen. These grips are crucial since they must conform to the shape and size of the test specimen and must also be strong enough to prevent the test specimen from slipping out. Testing, in general, can be expensive and time-consuming due to the need to design unique test fixtures for each component. Our research addressed this problem by developing a universal test fixture capable of supporting a wide range of part geometries. Based on the specific needs of our Boeing Company sponsor, we focused on tube-shaped parts, which have additional constraints: (1) they are hollow and therefore can collapse if gripped too tightly, and (2) they are round, so have limited contact points with the gripping devices and are therefore subject to slipping.
Our solution is a new fixture based on the concept of a lathe chuck that we call the Pincher Chuck ™. A standard lathe chuck operates by having wedges that close in to make contact with the surface of the object being held. The Pincher Chuck ™ has two nested rings of wedges, where one is placed inside the tube and presses out, while the other is placed outside the tube and presses in. Our design (patent pending) increases the contact area and “pinches” the tube being tested, thereby increasing the grip strength of the fixture.
We are currently assessing the Pincher Chuck ™ design using CAD models and will be moving to a physical prototype to conduct tensile testing of representative components. The final deliverables of our project will be to characterize the performance of the Pincher Chuck ™ for the tensile testing of tubes, parts of unique geometries, and parts of various compositions.
|6||Humanities||Bailey Inama||Inama||English, History||Ashley Boyd||Boyd||Pullman||
For this research and creative project, I investigated young adult literature (YAL) that incorporated the idea of intersectionality and then paired them with canonical literature. Intersectionality is a structure where multiple elements of one’s identity converge on a small, personal level that creates a larger, oppressive inter-locking framework of privilege on a collective, social level. I used Kimberlé Crenshaw’s definition and approach of intersectionality as the primary lens to which I approached my research. Understanding and incorporating intersectionality in ELA curriculum is vital in achieving educational equity.
From this perspective I was inspired to create unit overviews using intersectional identity theory for 9th grade English Language Arts (ELA) classes. At the end of this project, I produced six different unit overviews addressing topics like historical fiction & genocide, prejudice & discrimination, romance & drama, dystopian & fantasy, the American dream, and mental health & adolescence. Each overview is made up of a canonical book paired with one or two different YA books based on similar themes. These overviews provide an introduction, rationale, projected takeaways, and a general calendar with encouraged activities. Most also include example lessons plans, intersectional supplementary pieces, and essential guiding questions. My goal was to build a portfolio of different unit plans that are designed to coincide with the Common Core State Standards for English language Arts & Literacy while promoting an inclusive education and emphasize those students who are marginalized or discriminated against.
|20||Humanities||Andersen Barry||Barry||History||Lawrence Hatter||Hatter||Pullman||
“Save the Rainforest”—this popular campaign from the late 1980s and early 1990s focused on saving the Amazon rainforest and launched modern-day environmentalism (Brice & Smith, 2021). Unfortunately, rather than being saved, the rainforest is currently being sold. The Amazon should be a place to store carbon and slow global warming but has suffered accelerated destruction, with a 12-year deforestation high within current Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s first year in office (BBC, 2020). Today, about 89% of the Amazon rainforest has been slashed, and some parts of the Amazon have become carbon emitters (Brice & Smith, 2021). Furthermore, the Amazon is one of the world’s greatest natural resources; however, most of the millions of people in and around the area are living in poverty.
So, how did we get here? How have the historical roots of the Portuguese colonization of Brazil and subsequent racial inequalities influenced the current destruction of the Amazon rainforest? This project traces the historical trajectory of threat to the Amazon rainforest. The problem dates to the Portuguese colonization of Brazil, which started in the 1500s. This colonization displaced the Indigenous population to secure their land for the colonists, while also involving the largest importation of slaves from Africa compared to any other colony. The descendants of the native peoples and slaves in the Amazon have been mistreated by colonizers for years, leading to other periods in history where the Amazon faced specific threats, including the 1970s and, again, currently under President Bolsonaro. The colonists’ original goals to expand Brazilian agriculture and exploit resources initiated the Amazon destruction, which has continued to intensify through today.
Nevertheless, scientists agree that ending the deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon is feasible (Nepstad, 2011). However, we need to understand why poor people are migrating toward the Amazon and using its resources before we can fix it. History holds many of those answers. Fortunately, even with human influence, the Amazon remains the most biodiverse place in the world (Cleary, 2001). Hopefully, we can prevent the Amazon from being destroyed and keep the rainforest for the future, given its global importance.
|65||Humanities||Diana Alonso||Alonso||Digital Technology and Culture||Ruth Gregory||Gregory||Pullman||
The focus of this project is to research the obstacles that undocumented students encounter when pursuing a higher education. As an undocumented student myself, I have experienced first-hand many obstacles that have made my college experience harder than the average college student including differences in the financial aid process, scholarship eligibility, and limited internship opportunities. Much of the advice I got along the way was given was passed person to person as I connected with other undocumented students. As a result, I have decided to use this experience to help current and incoming undocumented students in college. This is important because according to the Higher Ed Immigration Portal there are only 2,000 undocumented students graduating high school each year in Washington, which demonstrates the need for more resources to help these students connect with post secondary education oportunities. For this project, I will be expanding on the interview and survey skills I am developing in my coursework doing User Experience research. I will be conducting contextual interviews and surveys of undocumented college students and alumni to ask for resources that they have benefited from, what they are/were struggling with, and what they wish they had when they first came to college. My output will be a website that aggregates this information and advice in one place with a focus on resources for anyone interested in going to any college in Washington state. This website will be created by an undocumented student, and the content will be collected from undocumented students and their own personal experiences and resources that they have already used, so that future users will not have to go through other websites that provides resources that they are not eligible for because of their status. The website will contain financial and housing resources provided by the university and the state, internships/fellowships, scholarships, organizations and clubs, and other resources that undocumented students share in the surveying process. After I publish the site, I will visit multiple high schools to share this resource, so that graduating undocumented high school students are aware of the resources.
|88||Humanities||Noah Howell||Howell||Computer Science||Lydia Gerber||Gerber||Pullman||
This project examines what is currently known about Taoism (Daoism) regarding its impact on women in China. It analyzes the two most important primary sources on Taoist (Daoist) philosophy, namely the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) and the Chuang-tzu (Zhuangzi) – both 3rd century BCE - in English translation to explore what these two texts say about women. Based on current scholarly research, it examines the life experiences of women who devoted their lives to a Taoist (Daoist) lifestyle with a particular focus on Taoist (Daoist) nuns. It also investigates which aspects of Taoist (Daoist) philosophy Wu Tse-t’ien (Wu Zetian) also known as Wu Chao (Wu Zhao), the only female emperor in Chinese history (624-705; r. 690-705) used, alongside aspects of Confucian and Buddhist tradition, to further consolidate her power. This project advances our understanding of Taoism’s (Daoism’s) view of women. It also shows how some women used Taoist (Daoist) philosophy and practices to create for themselves a life-path that differed significantly from what was expected of women in traditional China.
|123||Humanities||Reid Brown||Brown||English, French||Reid Brown||Brown||Pullman||
Although Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was developed in the 1970s, more than half a century later a lack of research concerning MBSR as an optional program for helping victims of sexual trauma heal from their experiences of abuse persists. This exploratory research collects the latest findings from the current body of published literature on MBSR to potentially support MBSR as an effective form of treatment for female victims of sexual trauma, and to present the information in an way that is accessible across disciplines so that these practices might be normalized and provided as a tool that all institutions can use. These collected findings do indeed suggest that the mental health benefits gleaned from other MBSR trials could be seen in a population of female sexual trauma survivors. In medical, educational, and professional communities alike, the significance of this work can be broken down into two major components: ease of implementation and proactiveness. An individual can complete MBSR training within eight weeks. The lessons within the MBSR curriculum require very little beyond the content itself, willing participants, and a certified instructor. The skills learned within the eight-week program will give students tools to protect their mental health and wellbeing long after. The most obvious benefit to providing potentially large populations of survivors with MBSR training is the ability for various institutions to give survivors of sexual trauma more options than seeking out medical support, law enforcement, or other types of therapy if those options are inappropriate for the individual’s needs.
|10||Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology||Jaiden Mahoney||Mahoney||Jennifer N. Kiser, Holly L. Neibergs||Animal Sciences||Holly Neibergs||Neibergs||Pullman||
Within the dairy industry, producers aim to produce high quality milk with low somatic cell counts (SCC). Milk with high SCC indicates an immune response in the mammary gland, resulting from an infection or disease process. High SCC cows tend to have lower milk production and profitability than cows with low SCC. The objective of this study was to identify genes and gene sets associated with SCC in Holstein cows. Cows were genotyped using the Illumina BovineHD BeadChip (777,962 SNPs). Gene set enrichment analysis using SNPs as gene proxies (GSEA-SNP) was completed. A total of 4,389 gene sets were evaluated from PANTHER, KEGG, GO, Reactome and Biocarta databases. For 19,723 genes, the most significant SNP surrounding each gene (17.8 kilobases 3’ and 5’) was selected as the gene proxy. Enriched gene sets were those with a normalized enrichment score (NES) ≥ 3. Sixteen gene sets and 378 unique leading edge genes (LEGs) were enriched for SCC (NES ≥ 3). Enriched gene sets were involved in potassium ion transportation and metabolic processes. Seven of the LEGs were present in 10 or more gene sets, all of which had functions related to the potassium ion channel. An additional six LEGs related to cell proliferation and apoptosis were found in multiple enriched gene sets. In comparison to low SCC milk, high SCC milk has a lower content of potassium that may reflect the LEGs and gene sets enriched for SCC. Mammary tissue inflammation due to infection increases breast permeability, leading to greater filtration of solutes such as potassium. Mammary inflammation has also been associated with increased numbers of apoptotic cells and greater cell proliferation in infected issues. Identification of loci associated with increased SCC creates an avenue for genomic selection to minimize the effects mammary gland infection as measured by SCC in dairy cattle herds. By understanding the genes that influence SCC, the dairy industry can reduce mammary gland infection through selection, thereby improving milk production and profitability.
|11||Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology||Thomas Ballinger||Ballinger||Marguerite Smith, Haseltine||Genetics and Cell Biology, Music||Cynthia Haseltine||Haseltine||Pullman||
Multidrug resistant organisms represent an ever-increasing problem today by threatening a multitude of different fields, from agriculture and food sterilization to human health. Because antibiotics are costly to develop and used conservatively, there is little monetary incentive for investment into much needed novel antibiotics. This means the development of new antimicrobials, as well as the development of new methods for creating antimicrobials, is even more important. The most common way of developing new antimicrobials has been to discover natural products and purify/industrialize them as antibiotics. This is because evolution has already done the leg work to make these products effective antimicrobials in their natural environments and are therefore more easily developed into antibiotics. Historically these antimicrobials have come from fungi or other bacteria, however, this does not indicate that these are the only sources of novel antibiotics. A relatively understudied group of organisms relating to antimicrobials are archaea. Specifically, one model organism for archaea, Saccharolobus solfataricus, has been shown to produce a remarkably efficient antimicrobial agent in Dr. Haseltine’s lab at Washington State University. A major goal is purifying this antimicrobial agent from a cell culture of S. solfataricus while maintaining its antimicrobial properties so that its characteristics and mechanism of action can be investigated. The antimicrobial activity of the agent is measured through an activity assay where a sample of the agent is spotted onto a bacterial lawn and activity is measured. The goal of this project was to optimize the activity assay to obtain clear and consistent outcomes in order to attribute promising results to the antimicrobial itself rather than simple variation in the activity assay. The resulting work has established standardized bacterial inoculum for testing lawns, identification of effective growth temperatures, and optimization of incubation times. By significantly increasing the consistency of the activity assays, more accurate conclusions are being made from experiments which facilitates our goal of purifying a highly active form of the antimicrobial. Achieving this goal will contribute to the antimicrobial arsenal available to address agricultural and human needs while also promoting interest in further research into novel antibiotics from these understudied, archaeal species.
|13||Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology||Alexandra Puzon||Puzon||Tony Mertz, Nick Vyas||Microbiology||Steven Roberts||Roberts||Pullman||
Apolipoprotein B mRNA editing enzyme, catalytic polypeptide-like proteins, or APOBECs, are a family of enzymes that deaminate cytidine, which converts it to uracil and causes base substitution mutations in DNA, usually at cytidines in TCW sequences (where W is an A or T). Many APOBEC family members use this ability to benefit the immune system through hypermutation of viral genomes or diversification of immunoglobulins. However, APOBECs are also known to cause mutations in about 15% of sequenced tumors and are responsible for a subset of cancer-causing mutations. The A3 subfamily in particular causes mutations most prominently in breast, lung, cervical, head and neck, and bladder cancers. Alongside base substitutions, insertion/deletion (indel) mutations are common mutations found in tumors. These indels can cause the inactivation of tumor suppressors, which contributes to cancer progression. Although indels were not thought to result from APOBEC activity, we found that members of the A3 subfamily, A3A and A3B, caused +1 and -1 indel mutations in the yeast genome. We posited that bypass of abasic sites created by removal of APOBEC-generated deoxyuridine could create these indel mutations in genomic DNA. To test his hypothesis, we created yeast strains with reversion reporters to determine how the rate of indels are affected by deletion of Ung1, which creates an abasic site upon removal APOBEC-generated deoxyuridine, and by defects in repair pathways that bypass resulting abasic sites during DNA replication. We found that deletion of MPH1, which is vital to error-free lesion bypass of abasic sites, increased rates of both APOBEC-induced indel types. Conversely, we found that both indel types were completely dependent on Ung1 and Rev3, which indicates they occur during translesion synthesis bypass of APOBEC-dependent abasic sites. We also found that the +1 complex indel events were partially dependent on the catalytic activity of Rev1. Together these results support a mechanistic model for the formation APOBEC-induced indel mutations that requires the removal of uracil and formation of an abasic site and subsequent primer or template slippage events during translesion synthesis across from the abasic site, which produces an insertion or deletion respectively.
|14||Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology||Brianna Knode||Knode||Marian Laughery, John Wyrick||Chemistry, Genetics and Cell Biology||John Wyrick||Wyrick||Pullman||
Many of the most frequent cancer-causing mutations in melanoma differ from the mutation types typically associated with ultraviolet (UV) light exposure. These include mutations in the BRAF oncogene, a gene which, when mutated, has the potential to cause normal cells to become cancerous. These mutations are found at the V600 amino acid (BRAF V600E and V600K), which occur in nearly ~50% of melanomas. We hypothesize that these cancer-causing mutations may arise in some instances from defective repair following DNA replication. The DNA mismatch repair pathway is a mechanism required to correct errors following DNA replication, and therefore defects in mismatch repair could potentially cause BRAF V600E and V600K mutations. Consistent with this model, BRAF mutations in colorectal cancer are associated with tumors with a defect in mismatch repair. To test this hypothesis, two genes associated with mismatch repair (MSH2 and MSH6) were mutated in yeast strains containing reporter genes required for tryptophan biosynthesis (TRP5) and pyrimidine ribonucleotide biosynthesis (URA3). These genes can be activated by the same valine-to-glutamate (V-to-E) and valine-to-lysine (V-to-K) amino acid substitutions as occur in the BRAF oncogene. Yeast strains in which the msh2 or msh6 genes were mutated were plated on media lacking either tryptophan or uracil, in order to select for activating trp5 V-to-E or ura3 V-to-K mutations. Ultimately, this data will help determine to what extent defective mismatch repair can induce these cancer-causing mutations, and may provide new insight into how BRAF mutations are induced in melanoma and colorectal cancers.
|16||Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology||Isabelle Busch||Busch||Sean Thompson, Quan Phan, Gracelyn Fine, Yiqing Du, Iwona Driskell, Ryan Driskell||Biology||Ryan Driskell||Driskell||Pullman||
Victims of severe burns often suffer from extensive scarring covering large swaths of the body. Scars lack hair follicles and other specialized skin structures, impacting the maintenance of body temperature and perception of environmental stimuli.
Curiously, scarring is not an inherent process. Multiple mammal species, including mice, demonstrate neonatal wound regeneration, characterized by a lack of ensuing scar tissue. What changes in the skin to prompt scarring?
The Driskell Lab researches skin healing and regeneration. My project involves the Lef1 knockout, a genetically modified mouse lacking Lef1 gene-dependent skin cells. Recent research conducted by the Driskell Lab determined the Lef1 gene is integral to skin development, especially fibroblast formation, a cell type responsible for skin structure and healing. However, the specifics of how the Lef1 gene promotes healing remain unknown. By examining neonatal through adult Lef1 knockout mice, I focused on identifying the developmental processes the Lef1 gene is responsible for.
For each developmental timepoint, I have sliced sections of embedded tissue on a microtome and created slides for each sample. After staining slides with either Herovici, to illuminate specific types of connective tissue, or H&E, to highlight specialized structures, I imaged the slides on a microscope. Finally, I compared structures present in wildtype samples to those of the Lef1 knockout.
Samples were collected from both wildtype and Lef1 knockout mice at fifteen different ages, from newborn to 18 months, allowing for a comprehensive examination of how the Lef1 gene coordinates skin development. I analyzed a minimum of three biological replicates for each sample. My analysis is providing an integral component for a research paper in which I will be listed as a co-author.
By studying the role of the Lef1 gene in skin development and aging, this project improved the understanding of changes in skin structure mediated by Lef1. Ultimately, this research will contribute to advancing the treatments available to burn victims and other individuals with extensive scarring.
|24||Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology||Evelyn Rowe||Rowe||Alan G. Goodman, Chasity E. Trammell||Basic Medical Sciences||Alan Goodman, Chasity Trammell||Goodman||Pullman||
West Nile virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne pathogen with over 2,000 cases in the United States annually. Global warming has lengthened mosquito activity and geographical distribution which is directly correlated to increasing cases each year. While most people infected are asymptomatic, severe cases can range from chronic neurological damage and mortality. Due to limitations in preventative and treatment measures available, research investigating how hosts respond to and control WNV is needed to better respond to this global pathogen. Our lab has previously demonstrated that insulin-mediated induction of antiviral signaling as an important regulator of WNV immune responses. In this study we aim to further investigate insulin-mediated antiviral immunity to WNV using Drosophila melanogaster. We use Drosophila as a model organism due to its readily targetable genome of conserved antiviral responses and ability to become infected with a BSL-2 strain of WNV. Through an initial genome-wide screen, we identified novel genes that have yet to be linked to host antiviral immunity. Drosophila genes CG43775, CG43776, and CG43777 appear to control immunity to WNV. Our results show increased mortality and viral concentrations in flies that possess mutations in these genes compared to control flies. Ultimately this study validates the previous screening results regarding insulin-mediated antiviral immunity and provides a basis for future investigation into how these genes function during WNV infection and relate to disease activity and burden.
|29||Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology||Haley Morris||Morris||Kyrah Turner, Peter Awinda, Bertrand Tanner||Biochemistry||Bertrand Tanner||Tanner||Pullman||
Cardiac myosin binding protein-C (cMyBP-C) is a thick filament muscle protein that binds both myosin and actin to regulate the myosin crossbridge cycle, which powers cardiac contraction. Mutations in cMyBP-C are among the most common mutations observed in clinical cases of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), which is a common heritable heart disease that causes decreased cardiac output. HCM causes stiffening of the heart, which is due to thickening of the left ventricle wall. This prevents the heart from adequately filling with blood and prevents proper blood circulation throughout the body. HCM is also associated with an increased rate of crossbridge kinetics, possibly due to dysregulated actin and myosin interactions caused by mutated cMyBP-C. Prior reports have indicated that myocardial tissue samples from HCM patients show increased fibrosis, cardiac muscle cell (myocyte) hypertrophy, and myocyte disarray. Due to the detrimental nature of HCM, it is critical that molecular models of the disease are developed to aid in potential therapeutic strategies to treat HCM. Of relevant interest is the comparison in cardiac tissue morphologies between wildtype (WT) mouse tissues and those with a cMyBP-C knockout (KO). To investigate this, mouse hearts both with cMyBP-C (WT) and without cMyBP-C (KO) will be studied. Histological analysis of tissue will investigate tissue morphology to assess myocyte hypertrophy and arrangement. In addition, biochemical assays will be performed to quantify fibrosis levels between KO and WT tissues. It is hypothesized that KO tissue will demonstrate increased myocyte disarray and hypertrophy, as well as increased fibrosis, consistent with phenotypes seen in tissue from HCM patients. If tissue phenotypes between the KO mouse samples and previously published data appear similar, this could provide further evidence that ablated cMyBP-C and HCM are closely related. This information can be used to develop potential therapeutics for HCM that target and re-establish proper cMyBP-C function.
|34||Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology||Zachary Fisher||Fisher||Hayden R. Wright, Rafael Urrutia-Carmago, Ryan J. McLaughlin||Neuroscience||Ryan McLaughlin||McLaughlin||Pullman||
Dysregulation of forebrain dopamine (DA) circuits are thought to negatively impact an individual’s ability to cope with stress. The extreme end of this dysregulation is the development of a stress-related disorder, a societal problem of increasing concern. The lateral habenula (LHb) is a brain region with known association in the pathogenesis of stress-related disorders via indirect regulation of DA neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). The endocannabinoid 2-arachnidoylglycerol (2-AG) has been shown by our laboratory to be synthesized in the LHb during stress, and intra-LHb activation of cannabinoid receptor 1 alters stress-coping strategies displayed by rats. However, the extent of the ability of LHb 2-AG to affect downstream VTA DA activity in chronic stress is unknown. Our most recent investigation involved inhibition of LHb 2-AG synthesis via microinjection of DO34 (0, 0.33, 3.33 µg/µL), a diacylglycerol lipase inhibitor, in rats subjected to chronic social defeat. Differences in VTA DA activation were assessed via count of immunohistochemistry labeled neurons co-expressing c-Fos and tyrosine hydroxylase. Preliminary data indicate no significant changes in VTA DA recruitment, against our expectations of increased VTA excitation. These findings suggest that an acute manipulation of LHb 2-AG is not sufficient to overcome chronic stress-induced changes in the LHb-VTA circuit. Future directions include using slice electrophysiological recordings to assess the effects of 2-AG on the excitability of VTA-influencing LHb neurons with and without chronic stress exposure.
|39||Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology||Stephen Fawcett||Fawcett||Microbiology, Spanish||Michael Letko||Letko||Pullman||
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the danger of emerging viral pathogens and the need for prevention and treatment of viral diseases. To understand viral tropism, viruses must be studied in a variety of laboratory settings. One of the most useful tools in virology is the use of cell lines, which allow researchers to test and observe how viral particles infect mammalian cells without using a live animal. The transmission of viruses from one species to another has also created the need for more kinds of cell lines, as zoonotic spillover has caused the spread of infectious viruses to many host species. The goal of this study was to characterize a group of novel cell lines derived from two species. The first was Carrolia perspicillata (short tailed bat). The short tailed bat has rarely been used to study viruses in the past, but this species is relatively accessible for researchers and does well in captivity. Characterizing their applications in a laboratory may describe the benefits of using obtainable species as models for more frequently used animals. The second species was Peromyscus maniculatus (deer mouse) which is known to carry many human viral pathogens, most notably Sin Nombre virus (a kind of Hantavirus in the United States). The use of deer mouse cells is designed to grow Sin Nombre Virus, which has proven to be difficult in the past. To do this, cells were transfected with a variety of fluorescent biomarkers to measure how well they were able to report the introduction and expression of foreign DNA. Then, cells were infected with a variety of viral pseudotypes to determine their susceptibility to viral infection. These findings outline the characteristics of this group of novel cell lines and help describe their laboratory utility in studying viral behavior.
|46||Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology||Rafael Urrutia-Camargo||Urrutia-Camargo||Hayden Wright, Ryan McLaughlin, Zach Fisher||Neuroscience||Ryan McLaughlin||McLaughlin||Pullman||
Overactivation of the LHb and under activation of dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) serotonin (5-HT) neurons has been observed in patients with psychiatric disorders like major depressive disorder (MDD) as well as rodents exposed to chronic stress. Behavioral responses to stress are mediated in part by the LHb influencing DRN 5-HT neurons largely by exciting inhibitory neurons that project onto the DRN. The endocannabinoid (eCB) 2-Arachidonylglycerol (2-AG) is synthesized in the LHb during stress. Furthermore, blocking the eCB receptor in the rat LHb has been observed to create proactive coping behavior in response to stress, whereas activating it promotes passive coping behavior. However, it remains unknown whether the increase in LHb 2-AG is necessary for chronic stress-induced decreases in DRN 5-HT activity.
Thus, we set out to test our hypothesis that blocking LHb synthesis of 2-AG after chronic social defeat stress would reverse stress-induced decreases in DRN neuronal activation. Male rats with surgically implanted bilateral cannulas above the LHb, underwent seven days of social defeat stress and received LHb microinfusions of a diacylglycerol lipase inhibitor (DO34) on the last day. Rats were randomly assigned to receive low (0.33 μg/μl) or high (3.33μg/μl) doses of DO34, or vehicle. Rats were then transcardially perfused, brains were extracted, fixed, and sliced. Samples of the DRN were immunolabeled with c-fos and tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH) antibodies. Targeting the immediate early gene protein c-fos allowed for visualization of recently activated DRN neurons, while the TPH labeled 5-HT neurons. Labeled brain slices were then mounted, and observed through a fluorescent microscope. Contrary to our hypothesis, preliminary results indicate a statistically significant decrease in the number of c-fos+TPH labeled cells in the dDRN and vDRN when comparing the high dose to vehicle groups. When comparing low dose group to vehicle there was a reduced fos+TPH labeled cells in the dDRN and vDRN, but not significant. These unexpected preliminary results have made us update our working model of eCB’s in the LHb. Future directions related to eCB’s in the LHb include slice electrophysiology to determine the effect of 2-AG on LHb neuronal excitability in stress and non-stressed rats.
|52||Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology||Forrest Fearington||Fearington||Tamasen Hayward, Coty Jasper, Allison B. Coffin||Neuroscience||Allison Coffin||Coffin||Vancouver||
Noise is the most common cause of preventable hearing loss, affecting 31 million Americans. In a non-hearing-impaired individual, noise is detected by sensory “hair cells” in our inner ear, which then send signals to the brain via neurons. Unfortunately, excessive noise exposure can damage this pathway and cause hearing loss. A less-studied subcategory of noise-induced hearing loss is known as hidden hearing loss, in which the synapses connecting inner ear hair cells to their corresponding neurons are damaged (termed synaptopathy). This damage is suspected to occur when hair cells release excess levels of the neurotransmitter glutamate in response to loud noise. However, the exact mechanism of synaptopathy remains unknown, and there is currently no FDA approved treatment. Here we investigate a potential mechanism of noise-induced synaptopathy. We hypothesize that intense noise causes hair cells to release excess glutamate, which binds AMPA receptors on postsynaptic neurons and alters calcium influx in these neurons. We believe this causes synaptic damage and ultimately disrupts the connection between hair cells and their corresponding neurons (and thus the brain). This hypothesis was tested by exposing larval zebrafish to high concentrations of AMPA – a synthetic version of glutamate that only binds AMPA receptors. Synaptic integrity at hair cell synapses was assessed at different time points after AMPA exposure. We found that higher concentrations of AMPA caused significant post-synaptic damage compared to controls, and that this damage exacerbated over longer recovery periods. These results suggest that inner ear synaptic damage (and thus hidden hearing loss) may be mediated by AMPA receptors. Our work sheds light on a suspected mechanism of inner ear synaptopathy following acoustic trauma, thus uncovering a potential pharmacological target. Given the absence of an FDA approved treatment and the inefficacy of hearing aids in mitigating hidden hearing loss, our research has the potential to fill a health care gap for a currently untreatable condition.
|53||Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology||Joshua Lockey||Lockey||Joshua Lockey, Eduardo Sanchez, Dmitri Tolkatchev, Alla Kostyukova||Bioengineering||Dmitri tolkatchev||tolkatchev||Pullman||
Progranulin is an essential protein to neuronal health. With its high expression in the brain, progranulin plays an important role for many vital tasks including controlling neuroinflammation, neuronal signaling pathways, and overall neuronal health. Insufficient expression of progranulin can lead to fatal neurodegenerative disorders such as frontotemporal dementia.
To study the effects of progranulin on the brain, the protein structural properties should be studied first. For this, tractable amounts of the protein and its functional fragments must be recombinantly produced and purified. Granulin recombinant production presents challenges due to progranulin being a multidomain protein rich in cysteine. The large number of reactive cysteine residues in progranulin increases the chance of improper protein folding, which leads to protein inactivation. Our task is to clone and isolate the progranulin A and F domains, also known as granulins A and F. Optimal conditions for cloning were found. The cloning was accomplished through fusion of the genes coding the granulins with an onconase tag inserted in a vector suitable for growth and expression in E. coli. Expression of the cloned A and F granulins in rich medium was tested.
|58||Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology||Nathan Savolainen||Savolainen||Rosa Marena Guzman, Alan G. Goodman, Ziying Liu||Basic Medical Sciences||Alan Goodman, Marena Guzman||Goodman||Pullman||
Coxiella burnetii is a Gram-negative bacterium and the causative agent of query (Q) fever and is transferred to humans via aerosol inhalation. Infection could come from inhaled animal bodily fluids such as urine, feces, and vaginal fluids. Multiple studies have shown the human STING pathway is important in immunity, but the role of STING during C. burnetii infection is not fully understood. Recently, it has also been shown that STING and reactive oxidative species (ROS) influence each other during infection. This project looks at the effect of STING in mediating ROS during C. burnetii infection. When Drosophila melanogaster were infected with C. burnetii Nine Mile phase II (NMII), Sting-null flies died significantly more than the control flies. During infection, the genes SOD and Catalase were expressed significantly less in Sting-null flies than in control flies. When injected with C. burnetii overexpressing catalase (Kat-G), the control flies died significantly less compared to injection with the NMII strain. The Sting-null flies had no significant difference in survival between the two bacterial strains. This shows that the survival is rescued during Kat-G-C. burnetii infection in control flies but not in the Sting-null flies. Collectively, this data suggests that Sting is important for inducing ROS-mediated genes that are important for both host survival and bacterial replication. When fed an antioxidant N-acetly-cysteine (NAC), the survival of Sting-null flies was recovered, showing that a balance of ROS homeostasis is needed for both host and C. burnetii. Since NAC rescued the survival of Sting-null flies during C. burnetii infection, studying NAC and other ways to restore ROS homeostasis could be a future therapeutic for protecting against C. burnetii infection, especially in susceptible hosts.
|62||Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology||Olivia Hayden||Hayden||Biochemistry||Alan Goodman, R. Marena Guzman||Goodman||Pullman||
The Gram-negative bacterium Coxiella burnetii is the causative agent of Query (Q) fever in humans and Coxiellosis in livestock. There is currently no vaccine against Q fever available in the United States; therefore, new therapeutic approaches are needed to reduce infection in reservoir animals, such as ticks, and control the spread of C. burnetii to humans. Our lab has demonstrated that the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, is a suitable animal model for studying C. burnetii infection. In vertebrates it is known that STING (STimulator of INterferon Genes) acts as a sensor for the innate immune system, for which Drosophila contain a STING ortholog (dmSTING). We show that dmSTING interacts with Dredd, a caspase known to induce antimicrobial peptides in fruit flies. In addition, we demonstrate that Dredd-null flies have significantly higher mortality to C. burnetii infection. We hypothesize that dmSTING stimulates an immune response through its interaction with the protein Dredd during C. burnetii infection. Here, we analyzed bacterial replication and antimicrobial peptide induction in Dredd-null flies during C. burnetii infection to measure the host immune response in the presence or absence of this gene. Altogether, our results indicate that Dredd plays an important role in the immune response during C. burnetii infection. Our aim is to uncover more information about the mechanism of infection of C. burnetii in Drosophila by further characterizing the role the Dredd protein plays during infection. In order to begin developing a therapeutic approach to Q fever, scientists must first understand how the pathogenic bacteria, C. burnetii, infects its hosts. Since these proteins have relevant human homologs already implicated in immunity, our research will help us apply our results directly to human studies.
|63||Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology||Madeleine Harvey||Harvey||Mingxin Shi, Kanako Hayashi||Basic Medical Sciences, Biology||Kanako Hayashi||Hayashi||Pullman||
Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects about 10% of reproductive-age women. It is characterized as endometrial tissue (inner lining of the uterus) growing outside of the uterus and attaching to surrounding tissue and organs in the pelvic cavity. Patients with endometriosis can experience many symptoms including severe chronic pelvic pain and fertility issues. High-fat Western diet intake is associated with greater systemic inflammation and is considered an important risk factor for endometriosis. However, the link between high-fat diets and endometriosis-associated pain remains unclear. Therefore, we aimed to investigate if a high-fat diet that specifically reflected the common Western diet would increase endometriosis-associated pain. Mice at 5 weeks of age were randomly divided into three groups (n=5/group) and fed control, 45% fat, and 60% fat diet (FD), respectively. Their body weights were measured every week for 12 weeks while being fed the different diets. Based on their weight trends, we determined that the 45% FD reflected the western diet closer than 60% FD and thus was chosen for the following study to examine the dietary influences on endometriosis-associated pain. To establish the mouse model of endometriosis, we induced endometriosis-like lesions (ELL) by inoculating syngeneic mouse menstrual donor tissue into the peritoneum of recipient mice in both control and 45% FD groups. The recipients were continually exposed to a control or 45% FD for 6 weeks following ELL induction. Fasting blood glucose levels were assessed and significantly elevated levels were detected in 45% FD mice compared to the controls. Subsequently, to compare ELL-induced pain behavior between control and 45% FD mice, Von Frey test was performed by measuring the mechanical sensitivity of abdomen and hind paw as the indication of local and systemic pain, respectively. We found significantly higher abdominal sensitivity (=stronger pain) in mice fed with 45% FD compared to those with a control diet, although no significant difference was observed in the hind paw between the two groups. Our results indicate that the 45% FD that emulates the Western diet exacerbates the endometriosis-associated pain which enhances the severity of the disease in mice.
|67||Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology||Benjamin Hollenberg||Hollenberg||Alan Goodman, R. Marena Guzman, Ziying Liu, Stephen N. White, Zachary P. Howard||Basic Medical Sciences||Alan Goodman||Goodman||Pullman||
The pathogen Coxiella burnetii is an obligate intracellular, gram-negative bacterium, and is a causative agent for the zoonotic Q fever. While it has been shown that there is a link between human/animal genotype and effectiveness of Coxiella burnetii infection, research has not yet narrowed down exactly which genes are responsible for variations in immunity to Coxiella. In this study, the Drosophila Genetics Reference Panel (DGRP) was utilized in order to identify the genetic variants that could be significant in affecting susceptibility to Coxiella burnetii infection. Genome-wide association study (GWAS) was used to obtain more specific information about these genetic variations, and multiple genes were shown to be potentially significant. Three such genes: CG31221, schnurri, and pura, were examined. Survival analysis and bacterial replication tests were utilized to compare both mutant flies lacking each gene and wild-type flies’ ability to fight the disease. These tests showed interesting statistically significant results for the males in the Drosophila fly line lacking the pura gene. In order to better examine these results, we are utilizing a modified version of the bacterial replication test, which we hope will give us insight into how pura affects Coxiella’s vacuole forming properties in Drosophila. With the results of these tests, we plan to examine the gene further to determine more specifically how it fits in the immune response pathway. By furthering our knowledge of this process, we’ll be able to better predict the spread of disease, and eventually, learn how to better intervene therapeutically for those already affected.
|72||Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology||Andrew Jokela||Jokela||Niall Millar, Camille Wendlandt, Stephanie Porter||Biology||Niall Millar||Millar||Vancouver||
Domesticated soybean crops expend energy in the formation of symbiotic associations with rhizobial bacteria. Energy is traded for critical supplies of bioavailable nitrogen compounds fixed by rhizobia in specialized root nodules. Competition between rhizobial species during the nodulation process may result in unnecessary expenditure of energy that decreases crop yield. This experiment seeks to examine whether domestication impacts the ability of soybeans to benefit from efficient rhizobia while avoiding the energy costs associated with inefficient rhizobia.
We grew wild and domesticated soybeans in the greenhouse and inoculated them with different rhizobium inocula: 1) one of two single rhizobial strains known to be efficient nitrogen fixers, 2) one of three single strains known to be inefficient fixers, or 3) an equal mixture of an efficient strain and an inefficient strain. We estimated plant fitness using chlorophyll, nodule count, dry shoot biomass, and root biomass.\
Domesticated soybeans inoculated with a mix of efficient and inefficient strains of Rhizobia suffered a fitness cost compared to domesticated soybeans that received only a single strain. This cost of being exposed to a mixed strain inoculum was detected in wild soybeans. Our findings suggest domestication may have degraded the ability of soybeans to benefit from colonization by multiple strains of rhizobia.
|77||Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology||Aliya Quintal||Quintal||Michael A. Costa, Norman G. Lewis, Laurence B. Davin||Genetics and Cell Biology||Norman Lewis||Lewis||Pullman||
Long-term Space environments, such as in extra-terrestrial colonization and ‘Deep Space’, will require plant growth for food production. However, it will be necessary to recycle the inedible portions of plants for the purpose of recycling its carbon and nitrogen (C/N) for sustainable multiple re-generation of plant crops within a closed loop system. We propose to investigate whether genetically modified alfalfa (Medicago sativa), a model species engineered to make their inedible portions more readily recyclable, can perform the same functions as genetically unmodified plants in microgravity environments, such as on International Space Station (ISS).
An important structural component of vascular plants is the biopolymer, lignin, which is involved in the structural reinforcement of plants, as well as in water and nutrient transport. Its structural support is important to help withstand the force of gravity on Earth but may not be needed in the same levels in Space. Gene knockouts involving arogenate dehydratases (ADTs) have been shown to reduce lignin contents in Arabidopsis thaliana plants. Currently, similar gene knockouts in nitrogen (N)-fixing alfalfa for ISS experiments are being investigated with the intent of lowering lignin content and providing more readily recyclable C/N for sustainable plant food production. (N-fixation occurs via symbiosis with Sinorhizobium meliloti.)
First, Medicago databases in CRISPR-PLANT and CRISPR-direct websites were used to identify optimal regions for gRNA targeting for both MtrADT3 and MtrADT6 genes. Specific primers were generated to amplify target sequences to clone into the pDIRECT 22C T-DNA binary vector plasmid using the Golden Gate cloning method. To confirm that CRISPR/Cas9 constructs were assembled correctly, transformed E. coli colonies were PCR screened to check for insert sizes and sequenced to confirm the correct assembly of the constructs. Next, alfalfa plant tissues were infected using Agrobacterium tumefaciens to produce genetically modified calli. This year, we have produced genetically altered alfalfa from them, these being screened to determine which plants contain the correct ADT knockouts, and which have reduced lignin levels. Plants with confirmed ADT knockouts will then be further analyzed for both metabolomics and lignin content determinations.
|82||Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology||Greta Langholt||Langholt||Animal Sciences||Kanako Hayashi||Hayashi||Pullman||
Cannabis is one of the most widely used illicit drugs in the United States, particularly among age groups ranging from 18 to 35 years of age. Over the years, the concentration of THC has increased, and this increase correlates with adverse health issues. Research regarding the impacts of cannabis use on reproductive function is relatively scarce. As a result, transgenerational impacts of cannabis on reproductive function are also unknown. This study revealed that the male mice that were exposed to cannabis prior to breeding passed down alterations to reproductive function to the F1 offspring. To examine these transgenerational effects from cannabis use, male CD-1 (F0) were either exposed to an air or cannabis vapor treatment 3x/day over 10 days and bred to naïve female CD-1 mice to produce the F1 generation of cannabis and air mice. Male mice from the cannabis or air F1 generation were used to generate the F2 generation. Exposure decreased sperm count and/or motility in F1 and F0 males. There was an abnormal distribution of the germ cells at different stages during spermatogenesis in the F0 males and the progression of sperm cell development was disrupted. DNA damage and DNMT1 was increased in the germ cells following exposure, though DNMT3A and DNMT3B were unchanged in neonatal F1 males. However, these results were not observed in F2 neonatal males. Plasma levels of testosterone were unaffected, though the Cyp11a1 and Cyp19a1 steroidogenic enzymes were dysregulated. The results from this study suggest that there are transgenerational effects of chronic cannabis exposure on male reproductive function. This is most likely due to disruption of spermatogenesis in the testes during development.
|86||Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology||Sophie Shirali||Shirali||Amit Thakar||Neuroscience||Travis Brown, Amit Thakar||Brown||Pullman||
The prevalence of obesity has reached unprecedented levels the past couple of decades. A key factor contributing to the obesity epidemic is the abundance of energy dense foods and the subsequent neuronal adaptations associated with exposure to palatable foods that may drive maladaptive food seeking behaviors. It has been recently shown that exposure to foods high in fat alters perineuronal nets (PNNs) within the prefrontal cortex of rats. PNNs are specialized extracellular matrix structures that contribute to synaptic stabilization as development progresses. Within the prefrontal cortex, PNNs primarily surround GABAergic fast-spiking interneurons responsible for maintaining the excitatory/inhibitory balance of the local neuronal circuit. Additionally, recent research has found a link between exposure to food high in fat and the reduced staining intensity of PNNs, which is thought to reflect degradation of the PNNs. The literature suggests that matrix metalloproteinases can degrade PNNs. Hence, this project will determine the effect a high fat diet has on the change in MMP signaling by observing the components of PNNs that are degraded by matrix metalloproteinases and to establish the link between the role of MMPs in the proteolysis of PNNs. More specifically, the effect a broad-spectrum matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor can have on preventing high fat-induced alterations in PNNs and “normalizing” prefrontal cortex function will be investigated.
|90||Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology||Allison Jensen||Jensen||Courtney Klappenbach, Qing Wang, Kristen Delevich||Neuroscience||Kristen Delevich||Delevich||Pullman||
Obesity in companion animals is a growing problem, with gonadectomy (GDX) – i.e. surgical removal of the gonads – being a major risk factor. In adult female rodents, it has been shown that ovariectomy (OVX) leads to significant weight gain, suggesting that ovarian hormones are important regulators of energy balance. However, the underlying behavioral changes that contribute to weight gain following OVX in mice are not well understood. Furthermore, it is unknown whether OVX performed prior to puberty onset similarly promotes positive energy balance. The aim of this study was to determine how pre- vs. post-pubertal OVX affects weight, food intake, and operant responding for food. We conducted sham or OVX surgery on female mice at prepubertal (postnatal day 25) or post-pubertal (postnatal day 60) time points. We tracked weight gain for 35 days after surgery (until P60 or P95), after which we used FED3 in-home cage pellet dispensers to monitor free-feeding and operant responding for grain-based pellets for 6 days. We found that the timing of OVX significantly influenced weight gain and food intake: P60 but not P25 OVX caused significant weight gain relative to sham controls. Interestingly, P60 OVX weight gain was associated with a decrease in pellet consumption, indicating increased feeding efficiency. Finally, we did not observe a significant effect of OVX on food motivation, as indicated by no change in the maximum breakpoint in a progressive ratio task. Following the feeding behavior experiments, female mice were placed in an open field test and an elevated plus maze to examine locomotion and exploratory behavior. P60 OVX mice spent significantly less time than sham P60 in the inner area of the open field test, while there were no significant differences between P25 groups. There were no differences in total distance moved or time spent in the open arms of the elevated plus maze between the four groups. This study may help inform when OVX should be performed in companion animals to minimize obesity risk. These findings may also illuminate how the timing of ovarian hormone exposure influences brain circuits that regulate homeostatic and anxiety-related behaviors.
|93||Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology||Alexandra Malena||Malena||Halle V. Weimar, Darren E. Ginder, Amanda R. Brown, Ryan J. McLaughlin||Neuroscience, Psychology||Ryan McLaughlin||McLaughlin||Pullman||
Cannabis use during pregnancy has greatly increased in recent years. Since recreational cannabis use has become legalized in many states, it is important to understand its impact on fetal neurodevelopment and long-term effects on offspring behavior. Typically, prenatal drug exposure studies involve forced injections of synthetic cannabinoids, which may not be an accurate representation of cannabis use in humans. To better reflect human cannabis use, our lab has developed a novel, translationally relevant model of maternal cannabis use that uses response-contingent delivery of intrapulmonary cannabis (THC) or vehicle (VEH) vapor to rodents.
In order to investigate the rewarding effect of cannabis vapor in pregnant dams, female Sprague Dawley rats were trained to self-administer9-tetrahydrocannabinol-rich cannabis extract (150 mg/ml 69.9% THC) or VEH vapor for 1 hr, 2x/day. Another cohort did not self-administer either vapor (AIR). In order to assess emotional reactivity of offspring, separation-induced ultrasonic vocalizations were measured on postnatal days (PND) 6, 10, and 13. Anxiety-like behavior was assessed during adulthood (PND 80) using the elevated plus maze and novelty suppressed feeding tests. Additionally, to determine whether maternal cannabis use impacts vulnerability for cannabis-seeking behavior, cannabis vapor self-administration was assessed in a separate group of THC, VEH, or AIR exposed offspring.
Results indicated cannabis self-administering dams received significantly more vapor reinforcers than vehicle-administering rats and showed greater discrimination for the cannabis-paired operandum. Importantly, cannabis-exposed pups weighed significantly less than both vehicle- and air-exposed pups on postnatal day (PND) 1, which parallels human data.Cannabis-exposed offspring emitted significantly more USVs on PND 6 but no differences in anxiety-like behavior were observed in adulthood. In adulthood, female THC rats spent less time in the open, exposed arms of the plus maze compared to VEH and AIR controls. In contrast, male THC rats explored the open arms of the elevated plus maze more than VEH and AIR males.
Together, these experiments provide the first ever model of volitional drug consumption in pregnant dams used to explore long-term effects of maternal cannabis exposure. Further, preliminary results show that prenatal cannabis exposure has long-lasting, sex-dependent effects on anxiety-like behavior.
|101||Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology||Scott Stevison||Stevison||John Wyrick||Genetics and Cell Biology||John Wyrick||Wyrick||Pullman||
When exposed to UV radiation, DNA damage can form between neighboring pyrimidine bases, resulting in cyclopyrimidine dimers (CPDs) or 6-4 pyrimidine-pyrimidine photoproducts (6-4PPs). These UV-induced DNA damage can cause mutations that can promote skin cancers, such as melanoma. A key unresolved question is how the binding of proteins to DNA in cells effects UV damage. Previous studies have suggested that the binding of certain transcription factor proteins to DNA can either suppress or induce UV damage. This new project aims to identify novel transcription factors that alter UV damage rates at their respective binding sites. Identification of new classes of transcription factor proteins that alter UV damage levels may provide new insight into why mutations in melanoma are elevated at certain classes of transcription factor binding sites.
|106||Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology||Kyla Christianson||Christianson||Michael Phelps, Jasmine Richman||Animal Sciences||Michael Phelps||Phelps||Pullman||
CRISPR/Cas9 technology is a relatively new technology used to create genetically modified organisms. CRISPR technology was first discussed in the late 1980s and the use of this technology has been rapidly expanding in the field of genetics. In the Phelps lab, we are using this technology to explore the activin and myostatin signaling pathways, as well as the dnd gene.
My research was primarily focused on knocking out the dnd gene that controls fertility. Our goal was to knock out the dnd gene and simultaneously knock it back in. This would allow for the edited fish to have offspring; however, their offspring would be sterile. To complete this process, we used a microneedle and injected many fish eggs under a microscope in an area called the micropyle, which is where sperm enter the egg to fertilize it. To easily identify any modified fish, we also knocked out a gene that controls melanin (slc452). This gave us a high probability that any albino or mosaic fish would have some form of genetic modification. After we allowed our edited fish to grow, we took fin clippings of these fish and extracted their DNA. This DNA was then analyzed through a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) where we attached primers to the ends of DNA fragments and amplified our gene of interest. This allowed us to sequence the gene that we were studying to see if we obtained our desired results.
These results would be relevant because it would allow us to work towards more sustainable fish hatcheries. This technology could allow us to make hatchery fish sterile and unable to mate with native populations of fish if they escaped. This would also ensure that the population of nonnative hatchery fish would die off, rather than outcompeting native fish for resources.
|108||Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology||Kylee Lenkersdorfer||Lenkersdorfer||Courtney Klappenbach, Qing Wang, Kristen Delevich||Bioengineering||Kristen Delevich||Delevich||Pullman||
A major part of adolescent development is an increase in cognitive function and social awareness that is believed to be due to the maturation of brain areas such as the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). A hypothesized driver of mPFC maturation during adolescence is dendritic spine pruning, a dynamic process in which protrusions along the dendrite that contain glutamatergic post-synapses are eliminated. It is hypothesized that exaggerated adolescent spine pruning may contribute to psychiatric diseases like schizophrenia. There is currently a lack of knowledge as to whether different neuronal cell types in mPFC exhibit different magnitudes of dendritic spine pruning during adolescence. Neuronal cell types can be defined by their morphology, gene expression, electrophysiological properties, and their projection targets. As part of a larger project in the Delevich lab, we are examining spine pruning on two major classes of excitatory pyramidal neurons in the frontal cortex of mice, termed Intra-telencephalic (IT) and Extra-telencephalic (ET) cells. To fluorescently label these cells, we deliver retrograde AAV encoding green or red fluorescent protein to the unique downstream projection targets of IT and ET cells: contralateral dorsomedial striatum (DMS) and pons, respectively. The aim of my project was to 1) determine the spatial distribution of retro-labeled DMS and pons projecting cells within the mPFC, 2) determine whether these cells overlap, and 3) determine their distribution in left and right hemispheres relative to the injection sites. A Dmi8 microscope was used to capture images of mPFC sections from retro-AAV injected brains, and IT and ET cell body location and colocalization measurements were scored in ImageJ and analyzed in R. We assessed the overlap between the contralateral DMS-projecting IT cells and pons-projecting ET cells, their location, and their spatial distribution. Our current data show that DMS-projecting IT and pons-projecting ET cells rarely overlap. Preliminary data suggest that there are major differences in laminar localization between the two cell types, with ET cells being located in deeper layers than IT cells. This project will help lay the groundwork for ongoing research into IT vs. ET cell-type differences in adolescent spine pruning.
|112||Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology||Kyle Davenport, Caitlin McCracken, Angus McDonnell, Yecenia Morales-Garcia||Davenport||Angus Mcdonnell, Caitlin McCracken, Yecenia Morales-Garcia||Physics and Astronomy, Biology, Genetics and Cell Biology, Biology||Martina Ederer||Ederer||Pullman||
Capsaicin is an active compound found in chili peppers in differing quantities. Chili peppers have been used in many cultural dishes to add spice and aroma. Though chili peppers are not generally seen as being beneficial to health in western culture, historically it has been used as treatments for toothaches, skin rashes, dog/snake bites and wounds. In West Africa, the Igbo culture uses a hot pepper soup to treat morning sickness and vomiting. In ancient Mayan and Aztec civilizations chili peppers were used to treat coughs, sores, toothaches, and asthma. Capsaicin possesses anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antimicrobial properties. Since the early 1980’s, capsaicin has been used as a skin-applied topical ointment to reduce pain by causing a defunctionalization of nociceptor fibers. A research project discussing capsaicin’s effect on Erythromycin-resistant Streptococcus found that even non-lethal concentrations of capsaicin increased the bacteria’s production of biofilms, which reduced cell invasiveness and hemolysis. In this experiment we are looking to see if chili pepper juice, which contains capsaicin, has antimicrobial properties towards specific bacteria. The peppers that will be used are serrano and anaheim peppers and the bacteria we will be testing include, E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Erwin, Shigella, and Lactobacillus. This research is still being performed but the results we expect to see would be reduced growth of bacteria when exposed to capsaicin.
Oeyedemi, Blessing OM., E.M. Kotsia, P.D. Stapleton, Simon Gibbons. (2019) Capsaicin and gingerol analogues inhibit the growth of efflux-multidrug resistant bacteria and R-plasmids conjugal transfer. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2019.111871
 Boslan PW. (1996) Capsicums: Innovative Uses of an ancient Crop. J. Janick (ed.), Progress in new crops. https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/proceedings1996/V3-479.html
Marini, E., Magi, G., Mingoia, M., Pugnaloni, A., & Facinelli, B. (2015). Antimicrobial and Anti-Virulence Activity of Capsaicin Against Erythromycin-Resistant, Cell-Invasive Group A Streptococci. Frontiers in microbiology, 6, 1281. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2015.01281
 Marini, E. Antimicrobial and Anti-Virulence Activity of Capsaicin Against Erythromycin-Resistant, Cell-Invasive Group A Streptococci. Frontiers in microbiology
|114||Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology||Alejandro Barragan-Morales, Jenalle Pana||Barragan-Morales||Nhu-Y Do, BreeLynn Robinson, Alyssa Parish, Sharol A. Marcec, Andrei Smertenko||Biology, Biochemistry||Andrei Smertenko||Smertenko||Pullman||
Due to the rigid cell wall, plant cells must utilize a unique cellular machine called the phragmoplast to form the cell plate that separates the daughter cells during cytokinesis. The phragmoplast is composed of two mirrored rings of microtubules which provide structural support for cell plate expansion. Microtubules are 25nm thick hollow tubes composed of α/βtubulin dimers and microtubule length changes by addition or removal of tubulin dimers. Along with providing structural support, microtubules facilitate intracellular transport of vesicles to build the cell plate. The phragmoplast forms in the center of the cell and expands centrifugally to bring the cell plate to the mother cell wall. Phragmoplast expansion is driven by the formation of new microtubules (nucleation) at the leading edge. However, microtubules require the aid of microtubule-associated proteins. The γ-tubulin ring complex (γTuRC) is a group of such proteins that binds to extant microtubules resulting in branched microtubule nucleation. A plant-specific microtubule-associated protein called MACERATOR4 (MACET4) has been observed in vitro and in vivo to promote nucleation and polymerization of microtubules. Our work focuses on mapping the functional domains of MACET4. We use E. coli cells to produce recombinant MACET4 fragments for microtubule assays in vitro. Recombinant protein fragments were added to purified tubulin dimers and allowed to polymerize. Tubulin behavior was quantified by fixed florescent microtubule, turbidimetric, and co-sedimentation assays. We found that C-terminal conserved regions play a key role in promoting microtubule polymerization and nucleation. These results demonstrate which MACET4 fragments contain the functional domains involved in microtubule nucleation and polymerization, contributing to the understanding of phragmoplast microtubule dynamics.
|117||Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology||Sean Thompson, Natalie Williams||Thompson||Quan Phan, Iwona Driskell, Ryan Driskell||Genetics and Cell Biology, Microbiology||Ryan Driskell||Driskell||Pullman||
Mice are the classic model organism used to study mammalian skin development and wound healing due to their low cost, quick reproduction and maturation, and ethicality. However, several specialized structures that are plentiful in human skin, like sweat glands and rete ridges, are not present in the skin of mice and other furry mammals. To develop better treatments for human tissue injuries like burns, another model organism with human-like skin must be investigated. Pig skin closely resembles human skin and is therefore useful to study human skin development. Rete ridges are a structure that is widely conserved in large non-furry mammals, such as humans, pigs, and whales. Rete ridges are wave-like overlaps between the epidermis, the outer layer of skin, and the dermis, the thickest, inner layer of skin. These ridges are thought to be important to the structural health and function of skin, maintaining skin’s barrier function as well as preventing the tearing or separation of the epidermis from the dermis in the absence of a thick fur coat that anchors the layers of skin together. However, little is known about the molecular mechanisms or timing of rete ridge development in any mammalian species, let alone in humans. In contrast, it is well known that rete ridges disappear during the skin aging process, generating implications for rete ridge development in treating age-related and other tissue diseases. Identifying the developmental timing of rete ridge formation is essential to be able to begin to study the molecular mechanisms that give rise to these specialized structures. Pigs have very similar skin to humans, so we performed a developmental study of embryonic, neonatal (newborn), and juvenile pigs to identify when rete ridges form in mammals. We used a variety of histological techniques to investigate the microanatomical structures present in pig skin at the aforementioned developmental timepoints and identified when rete ridges formed. These findings are biologically significant for determination of an ideal model organism to use in dermatological research, as pig tissue may be more relevant than mouse tissue for studying human skin conditions and diseases.
|119||Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology||Ty Gray, Justine Strickler||Gray||Chloe Erikson, David Rossi, Nadia McLean||Neuroscience; Biology, Neuroscience||David Rossi||Rossi||Pullman||
Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is a leading cause of preventable death in the USA. Although predilection for developing AUD is ~50% genetically determined, little is known about the mechanistic underpinnings of such genetic predilection. The dominant rodent model of genetically driven excessive EtOH consumption is the C57BL/J (B6J) mouse strain, based on their atypical voluntary consumption of unadulterated EtOH, to the point of inebriation. Our laboratory’s studies comparing B6J mice to low EtOH-consuming rodent genotypes indicate that the cerebellum responds to EtOH differentially across genotypes, and that the atypical B6J cerebellar response to EtOH may drive increased EtOH consumption via signaling to the ventral tegmental area (VTA; a brain region associated with reward). Here we present further evidence showing apparent parallel spontaneous genetic drift in EtOH-related B6J behavior and cerebellar physiology. Specifically, in our behavioral experimentation over the last 4 years, using both B6J mice purchased from Jackson Laboratory (Sacramento) and in-house in-breeding, we observed a progressive decrease in EtOH consumption by B6J mice, where most no longer drink to inebriation. Throughout, voluntary consumption was quantified using an identical experimental design (two-hour, two-bottle choice: 10% EtOH versus water), suggesting the change in EtOH consumption behavior reflects spontaneous genetic drift in relevant underlying neural processes. Using ex-vivo electrophysiology in cerebellar slices, we determined that the decline in drinking phenotype over time correlates with a switch in the polarity of neural response to EtOH. To further test the genetic nature of this relationship, we began a selective-breeding protocol (cross-breeding the few high EtOH consuming B6Js) to determine if we could recover the high-drinking phenotype. Preliminary data, collected through two generations of breeding only high drinking B6Js, resulted in a recovery of the high drinking phenotype, which was paralleled by a return of the high EtOH consuming-associated cerebellar electrophysiological response to EtOH. Collectively, our data further support our broad hypothesis that genetic differences in cerebellar response to EtOH and consequent reward signaling to VTA influences EtOH consumption phenotype in rodents, and thus genetic predilection to AUD in humans. Thus, this pathway could be targeted for treatment of AUD.
|124||Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology||Jacob Buursmam, Gillian Freeby||Buursmam||Mingxin Shi, Kanako Hayashi, Ryan Mclaughlin, Kristen Delevich||Neuroscience, Psychology; Biology||Kristen Delevich, Kanako Hayashi, Ryan Mclaughlin||Delevich||Pullman||
Widespread policy changes regarding recreational cannabis use have created an urgent need to investigate its effects on brain development and function at the cell and circuit levels. However, current rodent models of cannabis exposure do not reflect common intrapulmonary patterns of human cannabis use. Therefore, our study aimed to validate a translationally relevant, novel vapor delivery model for use in mice using whole-plant cannabis extract. Experiments were carried out across different conditions with variables including age, sex, blood collection timepoint, and THC extract concentration, to assess effects and interactions with these factors. Adolescent (P46-P50) and adult (P70+) mice of both sexes were passively exposed to vaporized vehicle or THC extract of 150 or 300 mg/ml concentration for 30 minutes. Blood samples were collected at 10-, 30-, and 60-minute timepoints following exposure. The samples were assessed with enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA) techniques to confirm that cannabis exposure produced biologically relevant THC metabolite concentrations. Subjects assigned to timepoint 30 and 60 underwent tests immediately after cannabis exposure to assess in vivo efficacy. Body temperatures and hotplate withdrawal latencies were recorded before and after exposure sessions. Open field tests were also conducted after exposure to assess locomotor activity. Based on known cannabinergic drug actions, we predicted that mice exposed to cannabis vapor would exhibit hypothermic, analgesic, and hypolocomotive effects compared to vehicle exposed mice. Our preliminary data reveal hypothermic effects following vapor exposure in THC compared to vehicle groups. The data also show a trend towards increased withdraw latency in the hotplate test, indicative of THC-induced analgesic effects. More data are needed to assess interactions between variables such as age and sex. While our study is ongoing, preliminary results suggest that intrapulmonary cannabis administration has significant cannabinergic behavioral effects in mice. The validation of this model establishes a foundation for future preclinical cannabis research here at Washington State University and beyond.
|2||Organismal, Population, Ecological, and Evolutionary Biology||Brooke Petersen||Petersen||Brittany LeTendre, Emily Graham, Tanya Cheeke, Kevan Moffitt, Stephanie Porter||Basic Medical Sciences||Brittany LeTendre||LeTendre||Vancouver||
The acceleration of climate change presents an increasing threat to the stability and health of the natural world. These unnatural changes to atmospheric conditions have been responsible for extremes in weather patterns, and consequently, upticks in natural disasters. Forest fires have become alarmingly cyclical, disrupting the ecosystem via exacerbated positive feedback loops in alternative stable state successional dynamics, forming a landscape of dense shrublands capable of once again spurring quick and contagious flames after such stand-replacing disturbances. While most studies involve the effects of burn severity rather than burn frequency, our project hopes to supplement this research by propagating native species in the soil of three different burn sites to better understand the microbial processes involved in forest regeneration. Our greenhouse experiment hosted Snowbrush (Ceanothus velutinus) seedlings, which constitute some of the first plant life to commonly emerge after a wildfire has occurred. 420 seedlings were grown in soil with microbiomes exposed to varying levels of burn frequency; sterile, unburned, once burned, and thrice burned. Measurements including height and leaf length were collected monthly in addition to a soil chemical analysis to determine growth rate. As snowbrush germinate after forest fires because of the intense heat and subsequent nutrient availability of such conditions, we expected them to display the most amount of growth in the thrice burned soil. Initial findings indicate a relationship between burn frequency and the soil chemistry as well as fungal colonization. However, current measurement data suggests that burn frequency does not strongly influence early shrub growth, although significance has not yet been calculated. Further investigation into the unique components of each of the burn sites’ chemical and microbial makeup should be considered to ascertain the exact origins of their contributions as the shrub seedlings continue to develop.
|3||Organismal, Population, Ecological, and Evolutionary Biology||Tullee Stanford||Stanford||Angeliqua Montoya, Hanna Delgado, Kyson Jenson, Joel Griffitts, Stephanie Porter||Biology||Angeliqua Montoya, Stephanie Porter||Montoya||Vancouver||
Rhizobial bacteria provide the essential nutrient nitrogen to soils via symbiosis with host plants, but live the majority of their lives in soil, so rhizobial adaptation to soil environments is ecologically and agriculturally important. One way bacteria can quickly adapt to new environments is by gaining large sets of adaptive genes from other bacteria in the environment through a horizontal gene transfer mechanism called conjugation. A nickel tolerance-associated gene cluster (the nickel island) was identified in Mesorhizobium strains collected from stressful serpentine soils, which are naturally enriched in toxic levels of heavy metals, such as nickel. However, it's unknown whether the nickel island is transmissible between bacterial species, or if the presence of the nickel island is a natural ancestral state, and strains from non-serpentine soils that lack the nickel island have lost these genes over time. My project aims to resolve whether Mesorhizobium can adapt to serpentine soils by acquisition of a transmissible nickel island from other species by testing in vivo whether we can transfer this critical suite of adaptive genes between distantly related lineages. Mesorhizobium strains that have the nickel island are transformed with a plasmid that contains three selectable markers: the sacB gene, to induce sucrose sensitivity, the gusA marker, to induce magenta staining on X-Glc media, and neomycin antibiotic resistance. This plasmid is inserted into the nickel island by homologous recombination, allowing it to be tracked in conjugation experiments between transgenic strains that contain the nickel island (donors) and strains that lack the nickel island (recipients). Successful transfer of the nickel island is identified using selective media. If the nickel island doesn’t transfer under stress free conditions, we will perform conjugations under new conditions, such as adding nickel to growth media or mating strains inside of plant tissues. For example, many rhizobia are induced to transfer genetic islands under stress or when inside of plant tissues. Upon successful transfer of the nickel island, I will test whether there are fitness tradeoffs for carriage of the nickel island. This project will help understand how microbes evolve in response to stress in natural or anthropogenic soil contamination.
|4||Organismal, Population, Ecological, and Evolutionary Biology||Chris Dexheimer||Dexheimer||Randi Richards, Hanna Delgado, Camille Wendlandt, Angeliqua Montoya, Stephanie Porter||Biology||Stephanie Porter||Porter||Vancouver||
Mesorhizobium soil bacteria and leguminous plants participate in a mutualism whereby each partner provides benefit to the other. The Mesorhizobium exchanges nitrogen it obtains from the atmosphere for carbon the plant obtains from photosynthesis. Mesorhizobium can live in root nodules and also live freely within the soil where they are affected by environmental factors. Environmental factors affecting growth of Mesorhizobium include heavy-metals within the soil. Serpentine soils are naturally enriched with heavy-metals. This includes nickel, zinc, chromium, cobalt, and many others. Mesorhizobium use small amounts of various heavy-metals as micronutrients but in higher concentrations they create stress in the bacteria that can impair growth and survival. In a previous experiment, I tested nickel tolerance of 681 diverse isolates from a 2018 Mesorhizobium collection harvested by Porter lab from two native legume hosts in Oregon and California. I used minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) assays of nickel chloride within enriched media to determine the nickel tolerance of each isolate. An MIC value is the lowest concentration of a treatment that prevents growth for colonies of the bacteria. A genome wide association study (GWAS) was conducted on 335 isolates to identify genes that contribute to nickel tolerance. Functional annotation suggests that the genes contributing to nickel resistance could also confer a resistance to other heavy-metals common as divalent cations in serpentine soils such as cobalt. Additionally, genes that contribute to nickel resistance are not predicted to contribute to resistance to tri-valent heavy-metals such as chromium (Cr+3). If the genes that contribute to the nickel MIC in Mesorhizobium also contribute to cobalt tolerance but not chromium tolerance, then do the nickel MIC and cobalt MIC have a positive correlation where the nickel and chromium MIC do not? To address this question, I tested 51 isolates previously characterized for nickel MIC for cobalt MIC and chromium MIC with. Each MIC assay consisted of growing Mesorhizobium isolates on agar plates enriched with either cobalt or chromium with levels increasing stepwise from 0 to 0.25 mM and 2.5 mM. Comparing the nickel MIC versus the cobalt/chromium MIC, I will be able to determine correlations between these phenotypes.
|5||Organismal, Population, Ecological, and Evolutionary Biology||Randi Richards||Richards||Christopher Dexheimer, Angeliqua Montoya, Hanna Delgado, Camille Wendlandt, Stephanie Porter||Biology||Stephanie Porter||Porter||Vancouver||
A plant-microbe mutualism is an interaction that benefits both participants. In the mutualism between leguminous plants and rhizobium bacteria, rhizobia provide fixed atmospheric nitrogen for the host plant and legumes provide safety and housing in a nodule located on their roots and sugars to provide nutrients for the bacteria in return. One environmental factor that may impede this process and harm the bacteria is UV radiation. In physiologically stressful serpentine soils, plants struggle to grow due to the enrichment of toxic heavy metals. Thus, vegetation provides little shelter to soil microbes from harmful ultraviolet solar radiation. Our goal is to find whether rhizobium bacteria from serpentine soils evolve resistance to UV radiation, as well as to identify genes that underlie UV resistance. To evaluate Mesorhizobium resistance to UV, a total of 478 strains collected from Oregon and California were plated on nutrient agar and exposed to ultraviolet light in stepwise increments from 0 to 60 seconds to determine their resistance. Each strain underwent trials in three replicates. At four and eight days the presence of bacterial growth was recorded. The minimum inhibitory UV exposure time was determined by assessing at which UV exposure time each strain ceased to grow on two of three replicate plates. This data was then compared to serpentine and nickel (ppm) levels recorded at collection sites for each strain to determine the relationship between UV resistance and serpentine soil conditions. We found a positive correlation between the expression of UV and nickel resistance, but soil chemistry did not predict UV resistance. For 288 strains that have sequenced genomes, we tested whether the presence or absence of any genes were associated with resistance to UV using a genome-wide association study (GWAS). We identified a list of candidate genes associated with UV resistance indicating these genes could underlie the UV resistant phenotype. Understanding UV resistance in soil bacteria could help identify or design UV-tolerant soil microbes to incorporate into the bioremediation of contaminated areas that resemble serpentine soils and could be integrated into agriculture in exposed soils contaminated by wastewater or fertilizer by-products.
|23||Organismal, Population, Ecological, and Evolutionary Biology||Bethanie Davis||Davis||Brittany LeTendre, Emily Graham, Tanya Cheeke, Kevan Moffett, Stephanie Porter||Environmental and Ecosystem Sciences||Brittany LeTendre, Stephanie Porter||LeTendre||Vancouver||
Today, novel weather patterns exacerbated by anthropogenic climate change are altering wildfire dynamics. Increased aridity and rain-free days from a changing climate are escalating the severity and frequency of wildfires and as a result, are negatively impacting forest ecosystems.
Repeated high severity wildfires may cause temperate and boreal forests to convert to shrub- or grasslands. However, the mechanisms responsible for generating this shift are currently unknown. While there is a growing body of evidence investigating the belowground effects of fire severity on shaping forest recovery, there is little information addressing the effects of the frequency with which fires occur on forest health (Miller et al., 2019). Repeated fires can alter soil microbiomes, which could have cascading impacts on seedling health during reforestation. To investigate how repeated fires may alter soil chemistry, soil microbiomes, and conifer seedling re-establishment, we use a 420-plant greenhouse study to examine how soil microbiomes that have experienced no fire, one fire, or three fires in the last 25 years differ in their effects on the growth response and survival of grand fir (Abies grandis). Grand fir seedlings were inoculated with microbially living soils from an unburned, once burned, or a thrice burned site or in sterile soil to determine if the soil microbiome influences seedling growth and survival. Initial findings show changes to soil chemistry with repeated fires and differences in fungal colonization of the soil. However, monthly growth measurements suggest that early conifer growth is not strongly influenced by changes in the soil due to burning frequency. Continued monitoring will reveal whether soil microbiomes impact plant growth and survival at later life stages for conifer seedlings.
|35||Organismal, Population, Ecological, and Evolutionary Biology||David Cancino||Cancino||Biology||Lori Nelson||Nelson||Tri-Cities||
An estimated 600 million birds die from window collisions every year in the US. The accuracy of this estimate is affected by a variety of factors, including scavenging of bird carcasses during mortality surveys. Mortality surveys have been performed monthly on the Washington State University Tri-Cities campus spanning back to March 2020. However, in order to accurately estimate how many birds die on campus every year to window collisions we must monitor scavenger activity. We measured scavenger activity at WSU Tri-Cities by setting out carcasses of birds found during mortality surveys at campus buildings and monitoring the time it took for them to be removed by scavengers. A total of 24 carcasses were placed for two 30-day trials, one in spring 2021 and one in fall 2021. We collected data for two variables. The first was scavenging time, the total time from when a carcass was placed until it was partially consumed but still remained at the location. The other was removal time, the total time it took a carcass to be completely removed from its original location after being placed. Between the two studies we placed a motion-activated game camera at 71% of the carcass locations to identify scavengers. At the end of the study, 71% of carcasses were scavenged. Identified scavengers included skunks, ravens, raccoons, and mice. The average time to removal between all carcasses was 4.4 days, while the average scavenging time was 3.6 days. We were also able to conclude that carcasses were removed at different rates between buildings on campus. Bioproducts, Sciences, & Engineering Laboratory had a 100% (4/4 carcasses) removal rate. Whereas Wine Science Center, Elson S. Floyd Building, and the Consolidated Information Center had removal rates of 78% (7/9 carcasses), 67% (4/6 carcasses) and 50% (2/4 carcasses) respectively. Knowing how long carcasses persist at certain locations will allow us to optimize how frequently we perform bird window collision mortality surveys, reducing the number of carcasses we may miss due to scavenger activity.
|40||Organismal, Population, Ecological, and Evolutionary Biology||Hannah Thom||Thom||Marcos Marcondes||Animal Sciences||Macos Marcondes||Marcondes||Pullman||
Defined as an inflammation of the udder caused by a bacterial infection, mastitis is a significant concern within the dairy industry and is often the primary reason cows are culled from a farm. As an effective method of identifying and alleviating the incidence of mastitis within a dairy, on-farm cell culturing allows producers to determine the best treatment against the main mastitis-causing bacterium present. In this study, performed at the WSU Knott Dairy Center, on-farm cell culturing was utilized to compare the bacterial species found in the milk of mastitic cows with that of healthy cows. Each time a case of mastitis was identified, a milk sample was taken from both the mastitic cow and a healthy cow of similar characteristics. Both samples were plated on a University of Minnesota Tri-Plate (Focus, Factor, and MacConkey Media) and compared after 48 hours of incubation. Most control samples showed no significant growth, while a few presented a gram-negative reading. Cows that show these types of plate readings are less likely to develop chronic cases of mastitis because there is a high spontaneous cure rate when only gram-negative bacteria is present. A wide range of results was seen in the culturing of the mastitic cows. Most affected cows read gram-positive with the denotation of a Strep or Strep-like species of bacteria. One sample showed a positive reading for Staph aureus, while another couple of samples read gram-negative. The Staph aureus bacteria show resistance to antibiotics, meaning that this type of bacteria is linked to chronic cases. The cow that read positive for Staph aureus was the only cow that tested again positive for mastitis one week after treatment. In the case of this study, the Knott Dairy Center is now able to use knowledge of bacterial species present to determine the best course of action in eliminating it, thus decreasing the overall incidence of mastitis within the farm. Based on the results of this study, on-farm cell culture can be identified as an effective method of identifying mastitis-causing bacteria in a production system and allowing producers to make better management decisions.
|44||Organismal, Population, Ecological, and Evolutionary Biology||Lilian Moore||Moore||Martin Maquivar||Animal Sciences||Martin Maquivar||Maquivar||Pullman||
Tail docking is a management procedure to remove the coccygeal vertebrae in lambs to keep the perineal area clean. This reduces the likelihood of an invasion of living tissue by the larvae of flies. The most common procedure for tail docking uses a constricting rubber band that functions to limit blood irrigation to the tail and related tissues. The band is placed between the 4th, 5th, or 6th coccygeal vertebrae, and the remaining tail sheds in 14-21 days. This procedure has some animal welfare implications since most producers do not give pain medication to the animal post procedure. The aim of the present study was to assess the amount of inflammation post-tail docking by utilizing an infrared thermographic camera to take images of 79 Suffolk and Hampshire lambs between three and five days old. Images were taken before tail docking was performed (T0), immediately after the band was placed (T1), five minutes (T2) and fifteen minutes (T3) post-tail docking for each lamb. Each image was subsequently analyzed with ImageJ software in 500 ± 15 square pixel areas on the lamb’s rump (RUMP), at the base of the tail directly above the band (BASE_tail), one centimeter below the band (TAIL_1cm), and two centimeters below the band (TAIL_2cm) for mean grey-scale value. Mean grey-scale value was calculated by taking into account the intensity of each pixel which relates to the skin temperature at the locations mentioned previously. The mean grey-scale values of TAIL_2cm decreased significantly from T0 to T3 (p ≤ 0.05) which indicates a reduction in blood irrigation, however the mean grey-scale values of TAIL_1cm did not decrease indicating a non-significant decrease in blood irrigation. The mean grey-scale values of RUMP and BASE_tail also decrease significantly between T0 and T3 which we hypothesize is due to the lamb showing the pain-related behavior of laying down after the procedure. Inflammation has been physiologically related to pain, so the presence of inflammation in all locations can be indirectly correlated to acute pain experienced, however more research is warranted in this area in terms of observed pain-related behavior and inflammation presence after 15 minutes.
|51||Organismal, Population, Ecological, and Evolutionary Biology||Alexander Iritani||Iritani||Michael Phelps||Environmental and Ecosystem Sciences||Michael Phelps||Phelps||Pullman||
The early embryonic development period in fish can have a strong influence on their ability to survive and may have a role in determining life history decisions later in life. Pacific salmon exhibit a complex life history, which involves migrating to saltwater as juveniles and returning to freshwater streams as adults to lay their eggs in gravel beds. The biological or environmental factors that contribute to the survival and growth of salmon embryos are poorly understood. Salmon are dwindling in the Pacific Northwest and knowledge of the factors influencing fitness traits could have important implications for preserving this iconic species. To better understand early larval development of Pacific salmon we investigated the relationship between egg size, embryonic metabolic rate, hatching rate, and mortality in Chinook salmon embryos. Gametes used in the study were collected from spawning fish in late fall of 2021 from the Red Rock Coulee creek, a small tributary of the Columbia River. Length measurements were recorded from each adult salmon and 6 parental crosses were made in the WSU salmon hatchery. Twenty to forty embryos from every cross were imaged and measured to quantify their size. They were then placed in individual egg compartments in an incubator where they could be repeatedly monitored over time. To assess metabolic rate, respiration of each embryos was monitored in a microrespirometer for 20 minutes weekly. Our data showed interesting relationships between egg size, respiration, and survival in Chinook salmon. The research is a small step towards having a deeper understanding of this critical period of the salmon’s life cycle. We hope that our conclusions can help in the effort to save our already dwindling salmon populations.
|70||Organismal, Population, Ecological, and Evolutionary Biology||Robert Lee||Lee||Biology||Wes Dowd||Dowd||Pullman||
Carotenoids are natural pigments that produce the red, yellow, and orange colors of certain plants, fruits, fish, birds, and arthropods. Carotenoids also play a role in the antioxidant defense system of certain organisms, helping to protect them from the harmful effects of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that can cause damage to proteins, lipids, and DNA. One such organism is the marine copepod Tigriopus californicus, which inhabits tidepools that are subject to dramatic changes in environmental stressors such as temperature, dissolved oxygen, salinity, and pH over the course of hours or days. Given that exposure to environmental stressors can lead to the formation of ROS within organisms, the use of carotenoids as an antioxidant by copepods may play a role in mediating their response to such changes in environmental stressors. The goal of this project is to determine how differing carotenoid levels affect the activity and behavioral preferences of copepods when exposed to changes in environmental stressors such as temperature and dissolved oxygen. To conduct this research, three groups of copepods are being raised on diets of nutritional yeast with three different levels of the carotenoid precursor zeaxanthin: 0 μg/mL, 2 μg/mL, and 10 μg/mL. A system of preference chambers that create linear gradients of dissolved oxygen and temperature will be used alongside animal-tracking software to determine the thermal and dissolved oxygen preferences of individual copepods from each group. I predict that the two groups of copepods fed diets of 0 μg/mL and 2 μg/mL zeaxanthin will exhibit preference for a narrow range of dissolved oxygen conditions and for lower temperatures compared with the group of copepods fed a diet of 10 μg/mL zeaxanthin, given that both low and high concentrations of oxygen, as well as higher temperatures, lead to greater oxidative stress within organisms. The results of this project will help to determine how the antioxidant defense system of T. californicus affects their response to varying levels of environmental stressors.
|83||Organismal, Population, Ecological, and Evolutionary Biology||Hugo Vasconcelos||Vasconcelos||Zoë Wilson, Stephanie Porter||Environmental and Ecosystem Sciences||Zoë Wilson, Stephanie Porter||Wilson||Vancouver||
Some evidence indicates that modern agricultural practices may have relaxed the selective pressures on crops to perform effective symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing rhizobia, resulting in crop plants with decreased symbiosis traits. I am assisting in a larger Porter Lab project, addressing how symbiosis differs in domesticated legumes and their wild progenitors. My mentor, Zoë Wilson, is growing 20 different domesticated legumes and their wild progenitors under varying nitrogen levels with their effective rhizobia partners. Additionally, we will examine changes in the rhizosphere microbiome under these same conditions. To accomplish this, we collected soil from a wheat farm to collect a microbiome absent of rhizobia. The rhizobia partners of each legume were received from the USDA, but their true efficacy is uncertain. My pilot addresses two questions to ensure materials for this larger project are effective: Does the collected microbiome soil impact plant growth and/or symbiosis? Are the USDA rhizobia effective nodulators?
To answer these questions, we grew 3 species of legumes (pea, vetch, and clover), divided into 4 treatment groups, for a total of 12 plants. Plants were either inoculated with USDA rhizobia, a soil slurry to apply the microbiome, or a mixture of both, in addition to an uninoculated group. These treatments groups were planned to determine if the microbiome soil impacted plant growth and/or symbiosis, and if the USDA rhizobia were effective, one treatment was to apply a rhizobia inoculum.
Plants inoculated with rhizobia had nodules, with an average of 41 nodules per plant, indicating that the USDA rhizobia is effective. Plants inoculated with the microbiome had no nodules, confirming that there are no legume nodulating rhizobia already present in the microbiome soil. Plants inoculated with both microbiome and rhizobia had nodules, with an average of 36 nodules, indicating that the microbiome soil does not inhibit nodulation. The average shoot mass of plants inoculated with rhizobia was 0.033g higher than those inoculated with the microbiome soil and was 0.029g higher than plants inoculated with both. This may indicate that the microbiome soil inhibits plant fitness, but further testing is needed to confirm this.
|49||Research Proposal (Applied Sciences)||Maya Nuno||Nuno||Kelly Hewitt, Angela Henricks||Neuroscience, Psychology||Angela Henricks||Henricks||Pullman||
As the prevalence of Alcohol Use Disorder rises in women specifically, the effects of male-biased neuroscience research are being exacerbated and warrant extensive research into the sexual dimorphisms of this disease. The circuitry of addiction has been extensively studied, but a mechanistic explanation for the behavioral differences between sexes remains unclear. This study targets local field potential (LFP) oscillations of the corticostriatal circuit during alcohol self-administration, to determine if there are sex differences in the neural circuits that drive alcohol drinking. Alcohol vapor chambers were used to induce alcohol dependence in half of the male and female rats, modeling human addiction patterns. Both dependent and non-dependent rodents were taught to self-administer alcohol, and LFP oscillations were recorded via electrodes implanted into the medial prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens shell, key regions in the addiction neural circuit. Oscillatory features were permutated against random data to see if they contained predictive information about rodent self-administration during alcohol dependence. It was hypothesized that this model would be able to predict alcohol consumption in dependent and non-dependent males, but only in the alcohol-dependent females due to prior knowledge of sex differences. If the hypothesis is supported, novel oscillatory information about alcohol addiction in female rodents can be utilized for further research into therapeutic targets via deep brains stimulation.
|32||Research Proposal (Engineering and Physical Sciences)||Maddie Soltani||Soltani||Ariel Whitten, Dezhou Guo, Elif Tezel, Reinhard Denecke, Eranda Nikolla, Jean-Sabin McEwen||Chemical Engineering||Jean-Sabin McEwen||McEwen||Pullman||
Global climate change is a rising issue in today’s society. It has been widely accepted that carbon dioxide (CO2) in particular poses a significant threat. It is crucial to reduce human-caused carbon emissions in order to mitigate climate change, which reduces the harmful effects of high levels of CO2 on all organisms on this planet. An alternative method of reducing CO2 emissions is to turn them into useful products using a solid electrolysis fuel cell. For CO2 reduction in Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cells (SOECs), the Mixed Ionic-Electronic Conducting (MIEC) oxides catalysts are especially attractive since they are likely to perform well in oxidation reactions, possess lower agglomeration tendencies, and are more tolerant to impurities as compared to other metal-based cathodes. Fundamental advances using MIEC oxides will have a major impact on the electrochemical energy conversion and on the recycling of CO2. The aim of this research project is to further examine the effect of an external electric field within an electrode on the reducibility of MIEC-based oxides. The central hypothesis is that the presence of an external electric field within the SOEC environment could stabilize oxygen surface vacancies in MIEC oxide, thus improving the electrolysis performance. The central hypothesis will be tested by means of three goals, however, for the current project, the primary goal is to examine the influence of manganese on the reducibility of MIEC oxides and the concentration of oxygen vacancies near the surface on electrocatalytic activity. The main objective is to study manganese-based MIEC oxides initially and compare their performance to iron, cobalt and nickel-based perovskites. Computational methods will be used to analyze the formation of oxygen vacancies in manganese-based perovskites to determine its effect on the reducibility of such an oxide. There are reports displaying an antiferromagnetic coupling between the manganese and oxygen layers. We will take this antiferromagnetic coupling into account at an atomistic scale using first principles-based quantum mechanical calculations. Using Vienna Ab initio Simulation Package (VASP), a model of approximately four to six layers of atoms is constructed to represent complexes with about 200 to 300 atoms.
|36||Research Proposal (Engineering and Physical Sciences)||Sayuri Fuchise||Fuchise||Jeffrey G. Bell, Dalton Glasco||Chemistry||Jeffrey Bell||Bell||Pullman||
In the field of chemical separations, magnetic levitation is a new and emerging technology being used to separate objects based on density, between two magnets. In the Bell Research Group, we have fabricated a magnetic levitation (MagLev) device using two permanent magnets with their poles facing each other. By placing objects into a cuvette that contains a paramagnetic medium (e.g., manganese chloride) and inserting a cuvette into the MagLev, we can separate objects rapidly, based on density. The separation of objects/material/matter, especially in complex mixtures such as forensic samples, routinely require expensive equipment in a laboratory to analyze. However, MagLev devices are i) low-cost, ii) time efficient, iii) require energy input, and iv) easily modifiable. This implies that the device could be easily designed to match the application without the use of expensive equipment. Although this project is in its infancy, we have optimized and calibrated the device, taking into account factors such as the geometry and strength of the magnetic fields. The long-term goal of this project is to be able to utilize the (MagLev) device to quantify the degree of blood coagulation, by injecting blood into 3D printed hollow spheres and determining its levitation height, which is directly correlated to density.
|71||Research Proposal (Engineering and Physical Sciences)||Aline Uwase||Uwase||Marin Flores Oscar, Su Ha||Chemical Engineering||Su Ha, Oscar Marin||Ha||Pullman||
The conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) into valuable products has become an interesting approach to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. However, this process requires the conversion of CO2 into a mixture of hydrogen (H2) and carbon monoxide (CO) also known as synthesis gas as an initial step. This mixture can be used as a building block to synthesize different value-added products such as methanol or synthetic fuels.
A promising technology for the production of synthesis gas from carbon dioxide is the Reverse Water-Gas Shift with Chemical Looping (RWGS-CL). RWGS-CL leads to the production of synthesis gas, which can be subsequently processed to produce synthetic fuels via Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. Although RWGS-CL can result in a more efficient process than the conventional RWGS, more research work is needed to achieve this efficiency level.
The focus of our research group is to investigate the effect of the presence of electric fields on the performance of the RWGS-CL process. To do so, we are working on two main tasks: a) finding a suitable catalyst with high activity for the process, and b) determining the best experimental setup for the introduction of the electric field. Our work is still in progress, but we are already seeing encouraging results. My role includes learning about possible materials to use, catalyst preparation, and helping in running the experiments and analyzing the results.
Success in increasing the efficiency of the RWGS-CL process will result in the production of cheaper fuels and a shift from the use of fossil fuel energy in the transportation sector with the subsequent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
|89||Research Proposal (Engineering and Physical Sciences)||Jennifer Espin||Espin||Civil Engineering||Courtney Gardner||Gardner||Pullman||
Microbiomes exist in all ecosystems and are composed of diverse microbial communities and play key roles in many critical ecosystem services. One key ecosystem service is bioremediation, the detoxification of environmental pollutants through plants and microbes. However, bioremediation continued to be plagued by high failure rates in the field. Microbiome engineering, manipulation of the microbiome toward a certain type of community that will optimize plant and soil functions of interest, is a promising solution for overcoming barriers to effective bioremediation. However, our understanding of the roles that biological and physicochemical forces play in determining the structure and function of environmental microbiomes is still incomplete. To close this knowledge gap, this research will focus on characterizing the mechanisms behind microbial assembly, functional optimization, and resilience that drive pollutant removal. The method to perform microbiome engineering will start by selecting a diverse selection of soils across Washington State and bioaugmenting the developing plant microbiome using prebiotic (i.e., metabolism-based) and probiotic (i.e., delivery-based) engineering mechanisms that encourage the spread, stability, and pollutant removal activity of engineered microbiomes in lab-scale model phytoremediation systems using metagenomic and metatranscriptomic analyses. P. putida, will be used as a model contaminant. During the plant microbiome engineering process, particular attention will be paid to plant-associated microbiomes to avoid microbiome perturbation, as this could bring undesirable phenotypes in the hosts resulting in diseases and disorders disturbing the balance of the associated ecosystems. This research proposal will bring new perspectives in microbiomes in the soil system in Washington State to protect the environment and human health in the long term. This data will also assist other fields as well as can be used to restore ecological balance, improve human health as well as agricultural productivity.
|31||Research Proposal (Molecular, Cellular, and Chemical Biology)||Kalli Stephens||Stephens||Ryan Finnerty, Wipawee Winuthayanon||Genetics and Cell Biology||Wipawee Winuthayanon||Winuthayanon||Pullman||
The oviduct, or Fallopian tube in humans, is the site of fertilization and pre- implantation embryonic development. Current assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs), such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), bypass the oviduct. However, understanding oviduct function is necessary to identify factors that facilitate gamete function, embryonic development, and embryo quality to improve success rate of ARTs. Success rates of ARTs are less than 30% in the United States and are used to conceive approximately 2.1% of infants born annually. Although most babies born using ARTs are healthy, there is an increased risk for epigenetic disorders and diseases later in life. Additionally, development is improved when embryos are cocultured with oviduct epithelial cells compared to other cell types, demonstrating the importance of the oviduct in providing an optimal microenvironment for proper embryonic development.
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are constituents of the luminal fluid in the oviduct and are secreted by oviduct epithelial cells. Increased interest in oviductal EVs (oEVs) was sparked by reports that oEVs in cultures improve fertilization rates, prevent binding of multiple sperm to a single egg, and aid embryonic development. Interestingly, oEVs are thought to mediate crosstalk between cells by transferring molecular cargos containing RNA, proteins, and other metabolites. It has been established that oEV content varies at different points in the ovarian cycle, suggesting that oEV cargo is regulated by estrogen and progesterone. Therefore, I hypothesize that oEV protein cargo will vary at different developmental stages in early pregnancy, in concordance with hormones and the presence of sperm and embryos.
I will isolate and evaluate the protein cargos of oEVs at different time points during early pregnancy in a mouse model, as these processes are similar between mice and humans. Using mass spectrometry, western blotting, and other proteomic approaches I will identify proteins that are unique to each developmental time point in pre-implantation development. My experiments may identify critical factors in the oviduct that are important for specific developmental stages missing from cultures used in ARTs and will hopefully improve success rates.
|25||Research Proposal (Organismal, Population, Ecological, and Evolutionary Biology)||Emily Kophs||Kophs||Richard Gomulkiewicz||Microbiology||Richard Gomulkiewicz||Gomulkiewicz||Pullman||
Dr. Gomulkiewicz and I plan to use math modeling to research how epigenetic inheritance impacts a population's fitness. This research should further our understanding of how epigenetics contributes to a population's ability to survive selection events. We will investigate how epigenetic responses could be used to prevent the extinction of species experiencing decreasing birth rates. This will have increasing relevance as climate change continues to dramatically alter the natural habitats of many species around the world. Our research will also provide us with a better understanding of the role epigenetic inheritance plays in natural selection and evolution.
|64||Research Proposal (Organismal, Population, Ecological, and Evolutionary Biology)||Phoenix Bennett||Bennett||Rebekah Lumkes||Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Sciences||Rebekah Lumkes, Lisa Shipley||Lumkes||Pullman||
This study examines the habitat use of 47 adult female mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) during parturition that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife captured and collared in 2018-2021. Our study was limited to Asotin, Columbia, Garfield, Adams, and Walla Walla counties in Washington state. We were able to track the 47 does via GPS collars and radiotelemetry, observing their behaviors and movement in order to locate fawns (Vectronics Aerospace, Berlin, Germany). Once the fawns were located, we recorded habitat measurements around each fawn: percent cover, habitat type (forests, grasslands, shrublands, croplands, and rock/bare ground), and dominant cover. These measurements allowed us to summarize which habitat type and conditions mule deer are utilizing during fawning. We found a total of 33 fawns for 24 does. Shrubs were the predominant habitat type at fawn locations. This can be useful information for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), which pays farmers to use their land for habitat restoration instead of agricultural purposes by planting native species and restoring natural habitats. This study will identify which habitats should be protected and restored through the CRP based on the patterns of habitat use by mule deer during fawning and what habitats these species need to survive and thrive.
|1||Research Proposal (Social Sciences)||Christina Hadorn||Hadorn||Psychology||Alexis Bridley||Bridley||Global||
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative disease that breaks down the myelin sheath in the CNS, slowing neuron-to-neuron messages and creating symptoms such as the decline in cognitive abilities and debilitating fatigue (Paparrigopoulos et al., 2010). Due to side effects of medication, management of disease symptoms, or the disease itself, individuals diagnosed with MS are at an increased risk of developing Major Depressive Disorder (MDD; Feinstein, 2004). In fact, it is estimated that the lifetime prevalence of MDD in individuals with MS ranges from 22.8% to 54% (Cetin et al., 2007; Patten et al., 2003).
Given the high prevalence rate of MDD in those diagnosed with MS, it is important to identify treatment options that are effective and specific to those with MS. Researchers have identified both cognitive-behavioral therapy and mindfulness-based training as the most successful treatment options for individuals diagnosed with depression and MS (Hind et al., 2014; Sauder et al., 2021). In contrast with other behavioral therapies, CBT, in particular, has shown a modest therapeutic effect on depressive symptoms in this population (Hind et al., 2014).
Despite their efficacy, researchers have found that these treatment modalities lack certain components specific to those with MS. Recent studies have identified that patients with MS report wishing their therapist had more knowledge of MS and disability, as well as wishing their therapist had specific training in disease and disabilities (Gottberg et al., 2016). Furthermore, patients also expressed their desire to have their voice heard and included in treatment. It is important that patients’ needs and desires are heard and incorporated into their treatment in efforts to gain a bigger-picture understanding of depressive symptoms. In the future, clinicians' education should expand beyond the scope of one class to treat comorbid depression in persons with MS and other types of disabilities.
|100||Research Proposal (Social Sciences)||Jarely Aragon Ramirez||Aragon Ramirez||Anne Marie Guerrettaz||Spanish||Anne Marie Guerrettaz||Guerrettaz||Pullman||
The United States of America’s language ideology is best described by Yu (2015) as “English hegemony over the home languages of children in immigrant families” (p. 57). Put simply, replacing heritage language with English. Research has shown that the language policy in the United States’ education system negatively affects children of immigrants whose heritage language is not English because it implicitly and/or explicitly communicates to multilinguals that their heritage and language are a disadvantage to Americanization. As a result, second and third-generation immigrants experience language loss of their native language (Reznowski, 2009). However, not all multilinguals believe that their heritage language is inferior to English nor a disadvantage. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to identify factors that impact the individuals’ perception of and relationships with their heritage language(s).
Participants include heritage speakers from the ages of eighteen to thirty-five years old residing in Western United States. Methods include surveys with open-ended and closed-ended questions and rating scales. Survey questions will measure factors such as educational level, intergenerational communication, society, media, and personal experiences and their (positive, negative, or other) influence on native language perception. This qualitative and quantitative research will explore whether a correlation exists between factors and multilinguals’ perception/relationship with their heritage language. Afterward, semi-structured interviews and a final analysis will take place.
By promoting self-reflection of heritage language relationship within the multilingual community and emphasizing their narratives, this project hopes to challenge the English language ideology, thereby creating a more inclusive multicultural/lingual environment.
|97||Research Proposal (Social Sciences)||Olivia Willis||Willis||Cheryl Reed, Xianming Shi||Neuroscience, Psychology||Cheryl Reed, Xianming Shi||Reed||Pullman||
While there have been vast strides in improving the stereotypes students have of scientists, partially due to the media portraying them more positively, there is still much work to be done. When asked to picture a scientist, many students picture an older Caucasian man in a white lab coat which can result in stereotype threat and students feeling unfit to become scientists. By reducing the stereotypes that students have about scientists, success in STEM courses and interest in science have shown to increase. Fourth through eighth grade is an age where students are aware of stereotypes but are still malleable enough to be taught otherwise, making it an ideal time to alter the stereotypes that are present. The Draw a Scientist Test is an established method for examining what stereotypes children associate with a scientist by having them draw one based on their interpretation. The drawings are then analyzed for stereotypical markers, such as a white lab coat or test tubes. This project aimed to test a wide range of stereotypes that students may have about scientists to build a better understanding of what stereotypes are present as well as determine if watching videos about scientists could remove them. Fourth through eighth grade students at local schools completed a Qualtrics survey asking them to draw a scientist and answer a series of questions about their drawing before and after watching two videos showing what real scientists look like and do for careers. The stereotypical markers and trends in the questions about the students’ drawings were tallied in the pre and post-tests for comparison. It is predicted that students’ responses will contain fewer stereotypical markers after watching the videos than before due to the exposure to scientists and new information on different fields of science the videos provide. The answers from the pre-test surveys provide an in-depth baseline of the stereotypes that students have of scientists, opening the door for new methods of altering these misconceptions through entertainment, media, and marketing.
|73||Social Sciences||Bailey Maykovich||Maykovich||N/A||Communication and Society, Strategic Communication||Erin Tomson||Tomson||Pullman||
Communication research has examined how social media can affect self-perception and mental health. The representations of female archetypes online have evolved to reflect cultural and societal changes. These archetypes expose current societal pressures and encourage women to strive for characteristics they perceive as ideal. “That girl” is the most recent archetype to emerge on social media. “That girl” content is found in TikTok videos posted by influencers, as well as YouTube videos and graphics, all of which target young women and encourage them to participate in specific behaviors to reach their “true potential.” To become “that girl,” women are encouraged to follow strict diet, workout, and self-care regimens. Similar archetypes have been studied in the past, although “that girl” presents a new take on controlling routines and behaviors, and specifically influences young women to alter many day-to-day habits. While most habits demonstrated by “that girl” are considered healthy on the surface, there is reason to be wary of underlying impacts. Self-perception is critical to young women’s mental health; social comparison to female archetypes represented on social media can contribute to or exacerbate anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorders. Therefore, it is crucial to thoroughly study these trends and identify potential long-term implications.
This project proposes using qualitative research methods to gain a better understanding of how “that girl” content impacts young women’s self-perception and mental health. Women aged 18-24 are the primary audience consuming “that girl” content. Therefore, four focus groups, each with 6-8 women aged 18-24, will be conducted. The data will be analyzed using Grounded Theory to identify themes among participants’ experiences with “that girl” content. Detailed analysis of the impacts “that girl” has on its audience will be a key step in understanding how to protect young women’s mental health in the age of social media algorithms and targeted content. The findings will provide theoretical and practical information that can be used to develop quantitative tools. Ultimately, this study provides a foundation for future research and will contribute to our understanding of how young women are affected by idealized versions of femininity they see online.
|110||Social Sciences||Ximena Herrera, Madeline Muir||Herrera||Angela Hendricks||Neuroscience||Angela Hendricks||Hendricks||Pullman||
Oxidative stress as a result of maternal immune activation can contribute to irregular behavioral symptoms and can lead to the development of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The antioxidant, n-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a drug that has been used to treat schizophrenia. Since alcohol use disorders are common in schizophrenia we want to determine if NAC will also have an impact on the alcohol consumption in the MIA offspring. The purpose of the study is to investigate whether prenatal exposure to infection, using the maternal immune activation (MIA) model, increases alcohol self-administration in the offspring. In addition to this study, we tested whether the drug, an antioxidant n-acetylcysteine (NAC) could reduce alcohol-administration in the offspring. Pregnant rats received a synthetic virus, Polyl:C, or saline (controls) on gestational day 15. The offspring were then trained to self-administer 10% alcohol. Then after 15 days of this baseline training the rats were then given an injection of NAC (either 0, 50, or 100 mg/kg) for 5 days. After these 5 days the rats then went through a 5-day washout period. This procedure was repeated so that each rat received each dose of NAC (latin square design). Both the offspring of the MIA rats and the control rats were treated with 50 and 100 mg’kg of NAC and showed reduced drinking behavior. Since both the control and offspring of the MIA rats showed reduced drinking behaviors with NAC doses, we can conclude that NAC does not target oxidative stress that is specifically a result of MIA. More studies will be needed to investigate whether NAC treatment during pregnancy or before weaning can reduce alcohol drinking in MIA offspring specifically.
|12||Social Sciences||Shir Levy||Levy||Christopher Barry||Communication and Society, Psychology||Christopher Barry||Barry||Pullman||
The present study considered whether confrontational behavior is viewed differently as a function of sport vs. non-sport contexts, a person’s history as an athlete or non-athlete, and the perceiver’s self-reported narcissism, psychopathy, and self-esteem. Participants were 412 adults, ages 18-35 (220 athletes, 192 non-athletes). Athletes tended to view confrontational behaviors in sport situations as being competitive/showing leadership to a greater extent than non-athletes. These groups did not differ in the perceptions of confrontational behavior in non-sport situations. Overall, such behavior was more likely to be viewed as aggression/bullying in non-sport situations than in sport-situations. Narcissism and psychopathy were associated with viewing confrontation as indicative of competitiveness or leadership across sport and non-sport contexts, as well as reporting a higher likelihood of engaging in such behavior. These findings point to potentially different behavioral norms for sport situations and a possible role of narcissism and psychopathy in confrontational behavior across contexts. Further implications of these findings in sport contexts are discussed.
|15||Social Sciences||Jan Need||Need||Psychology||Lee Daffin||Daffin||Global||
Is the predominant focus on reunification in the foster care system harmful to foster children? In 1997 the Adoption and Safe Family Act (ASFA) put a focus on reuniting foster children with their biological family both quickly and safely. The focus on reunification eased costs of long-term foster care and strain on an already overworked system but also placed children with unprepared parents increasing their chances of being exposed to adverse childhood experiences that could impact their mental and physical health through adulthood. In 2019 the Family First Transition Act simultaneously acknowledged the lack of monitored programming to support biological family members and foster children as well as the mental and physical health impact of being a foster child. The focus of this literature review looks at how far the foster care system has come to protect children and prepare their parents but also examines how this insurmountable task of reorganizing a failing system is leaving children in the cracks today and possibly laying the groundwork for them to repeat the cycle in the future.
|21||Social Sciences||Sierra Sumner||Sumner||Psychology||Lee Daffin||Daffin||Global||
Trauma bonding is a complex response to interpersonal relational trauma in which there is a power imbalance between the abuser and the victim. This concept has been extensively studied in hostage and kidnapping scenarios, instances of intimate partner violence, incest and sexual abuse, cult relationships, and sexually trafficked women and children. A gap has been identified in the literature in regard to abuse, neglect, and toxic relations in the context of family-of-origin relationships, specifically with parent-child(ren) and/or sibling(s). This literature review addresses this gap, and assesses how interpersonal relational trauma in the family-of-origin disrupts neuropsychological development, creating an intense neurochemical bond between the child(ren) and their abuser(s). The mental health and psychosocial implications as well as how the attachment system is affected through enduring such trauma is evaluated as well. Research indicates that the formation of a traumatic bond through maladaptive relations within the family-of-origin significantly dysregulates healthy developmental processes and the attachment system, creates vulnerability for the development of mental health disorders, and normalizes relational abuse and neglect. This is consistent with prior findings on trauma bonding in previously studied relationships.
|26||Social Sciences||Sierra Rothlisberger||Rothlisberger||Shelby Ruiz, Julia K. Day||Interior Design||Shelby Ruiz||Ruiz||Pullman||
Life and people’s daily interactions with buildings have changed significantly over the last several decades. As many buildings become more automated, some controls or building interfaces may not be intuitive and/or certain populations may not understand how to (or be able to) use controls to maintain their comfort and preferences. As we design buildings, it is important to (1) remain cognizant of how people use buildings and why they behave the way they do, and (2) consider how to create equitable conditions for all. There is much to learn from older generations who formerly relied on passive or adaptive comfort strategies to manage interior environments: e.g., opening windows, changing clothing, and using physical building interfaces to improve spaces – and some of these once intuitive and simple behaviors used to support comfort, increase well-being, and to save energy, are becoming a lost art.
The goal of this project was to learn from older generations surrounding their experiences with and within the built environment. Over 60 interviews were conducted in senior living facilities to learn about occupants' experiences and behaviors with the built environment, building controls, and more: e.g., health, comfort, interface usability, etc. With the project results comes opportunities to educate tenants on human-centric interactions with interfaces and how to better manage comfort in old age, as well as to train occupants on energy efficiency.
|30||Social Sciences||Madison Vance||Vance||Architectural Studies||Shelby Ruiz, Julia Day||Ruiz||Pullman||
The purpose of this project was to measure the effectiveness of the current teaching methods employed in Building Science courses at Washington State University (WSU) to understand if it is effective as possible in teaching third-year Architecture and Construction Management undergraduate students the important aspect of Building Science. A mixed-method approach to answer this question measured the statistical significance of positive learning outcomes (a paired t-test), determined by a Likert scale to measure comprehension in pre- and post-tests, before and after major learning modules of the Building Science course. Questions were both self-coded and open-ended responses that were then anonymously coded by the researchers in hopes to eliminate overconfidence bias. Both self-coded and researcher-coded responses were considered when determining the validity of response data and during analysis. The overall knowledge gained by students during this course was positive, showing an average increase of 1.086 points in each module. That is equivalent to an increase from minimal knowledge to a working knowledge according to the Likert scale used for coding responses. Some specific topics and questions showed only a slight increase in knowledge gained in comparison to other topics, these outliers and causes for little knowledge gain are outlined in the results section of this paper. Still, there was a statistically significant difference between pre- and post-test results for 44 out of 46 total questions asked throughout the course; means and paired t-tests indicated an improvement in learning across all categories. Findings also included higher student-reported confidence in some subjects and revealed opportunities for pedagogical evaluation implementation in future courses or similarly structured courses.
|37||Social Sciences||Mollee Gray||Gray||Anthony Stetson, Paul Whitney, John Hinson||Neuroscience||Paul Whitney, John Hinson||Whitney||Pullman||
Adaptive decision making in dynamic environments is believed to require the use of working memory (WM), which maintains relevant information in the focus of attention, and physiological cues, known as somatic markers, which guide decision making based on emotional information. Past studies have found that individuals with poor WM are likely to have poor performance on the Iowa Gambling task (IGT), a risky decision-making laboratory task that has been shown to be predictive of real-world decision making. Poorer performance on the IGT has been associated with the absence of anticipatory somatic markers, i.e., skin conductance responses (SCR) that precede choices. However, prior research has not established whether somatic markers are the cause of advantageous choices or the result of WM processes that are necessary for advantageous choices. This study examines performance on the IGT along with measurement of SCR to determine whether somatic markers are a leading or lagging indicator of good choice performance. A leading indicator suggests somatic markers are a causal factor while a lagging indicator would suggest that somatic markers are a product of anticipating choice outcomes in WM. Subjects also completed a standardized measure of WM, the Operation Span Task (O-Span). If somatic markers are an essential causal factor, subjects with robust anticipatory SCR should have good performance on the IGT, regardless of individual differences in O-Span score. If somatic markers are a result rather than cause of performance, we expect that subjects with relatively high O-Span scores with have relatively good performance on the IGT, independent of the appearance of robust anticipatory SCR. This study will increase our understanding of the causal factors that contribute to risky decision making in everyday life.
|43||Social Sciences||Laailah Ali||Ali||Economic Sciences||Thomas Rotolo||Rotolo||Pullman||
Socioeconomic status plays an influential role in a child’s participation in sports. Children from lower socioeconomic classes are easily turned away due to the rising cost of sports, but when they participate, they may obtain more benefits than children from higher socioeconomic classes. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a non-profit organization that oversees most collegiate sports in North America. The NCAA provides the opportunity for athletes to compete at the collegiate level while working toward a degree. This study is designed to investigate socioeconomic differences among NCAA Division 1 Men's and Women's Basketball Players. Data will be gathered from a variety of sources including, but not limited to, team websites, school media outlets, fan sites, recruiting sites, high school press releases, and US Census Bureau for the 2019-20 season. The aim of this project is to explore how socioeconomic background affects the scholarship status of Men and Women collegiate basketball players in the Power 5 Conferences (ACC, BIG 10, BIG 12, SEC, and PAC 12).
|45||Social Sciences||Brianna Cabral||Cabral||David Makin||Criminal Justice and Criminology, Psychology||David Makin||Makin||Pullman||
As essential workers, police officers and support staff across the United States were challenged with continuing to provide services, while adhering to public health guidelines, and with the additional responsibility of managing city ordinances associated with COVID-19. As research continues to document the impact of COVID-19 on crime and victimization, there is a salient gap in our understanding of the issues and challenges associated with the pandemic, and innovations implemented by police officers and support staff to be responsive to their respective community. This research documents the experiences of police officers and support staff across three different police departments. Using semi-structured interviews, with convenience and snowball sampling, this research applied interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) to 15 interviews. Results demonstrate how individual, organizational, and community factors shape the lived experiences of these essential workers. Understanding how public safety employees navigated the issues and challenges stemming from COVID-19 is a critical step in helping departments better prepare for future disasters.
|47||Social Sciences||Florence Adesope||Adesope||Civil Engineering||Candis Claiborn||Claiborn||Pullman||
Diversity and representation have become a hot topic over the recent years, including how they pertain to the workforce and academic world. The lack of ethnic minorities and women in the engineering field cuts off a major part of the world’s population and their diverse views, which reduces the workforce and its creativity, and agencies such as the National Science Foundation has been interested in this problem as a result. As a minority in the engineering field, I have personally observed the significant underrepresentation of minorities in classes and in the engineering field as a whole. The overall purpose of my project is to understand why there remains such a lack of diversification and representation in the engineering field despite decades of concern over these issues, and what we as a college society can do to change those things. Why is there such a lack? Is there a reasoning behind it? My research approach will be to conduct interviews specifically. I will be interviewing ethnic minorities in the engineering field, as well as women, and even those that are dominating the field now. This way, I can have a variety of views and responses from various viewpoints. Although there are no final results yet, the anticipated results of this project may suggest the roles of the academic environment and/or the sense of belonging among women and minority engineering students. This research is important because once we know the problems that minority and women engineering students are facing, we as a college society can find solutions to promote a healthier and more diverse environment.
|55||Social Sciences||Jacqui Thomasson||Thomasson||Journalism and Media Production, Management||Lisa Waananen Jones||Waananen Jones||Pullman||
Data-driven journalism is at an all-time high when trust in the media is at an almost all-time low. This study examines myocarditis news articles published within a month of the CDC's announcement that it was investigating a small handful of cases, from May 17 to June 17, 2021. The study examines nearly 200 articles within this time frame, using Google News to discover them. News articles that included the word 'rare' or other contextual descriptors were found to be less likely to unethically frame information about myocarditis overall. This is not to say that these descriptors were necessary for an ethical article, as 56% of the ethical articles included the use of contextual descriptors in the headline, such as rare, mild, possible, some, or handful. Only 6.2% of the unethical articles included these contextual descriptors, accounting for 2.1% of all the articles. The unethical articles were further examined and assigned an egregious rating score of 1-5, with 1 representing ethical portions of the article and 5 representing blatant disinformation. The headline, lead, and overall content were rated on this scale. It was also noted which paragraph in the unethical articles finally included contextual descriptors. 3.7% of all articles and nearly 11% of unethical articles failed to provide context at all. The repercussion of these misleading headlines and how it affects readers' first impression and overall understanding of the subject are examined.
|57||Social Sciences||Isabelle Gibson||Gibson||Jacob Lewis||Political Science||Jacob Lewis||Lewis||Pullman||
In 2020, widespread protests erupted following the revelation of the death of George Floyd at the hands of the police, revealing an important puzzle: while some incidents of police violence have sparked protests, other similar events have not. This research addresses this puzzle with the question: why do some fatal police incidents generate huge backlash while others produce barely a whimper? I argue that moral clarity generates action. By this, I refer to the ease with which bystanders can parse and understand the facts of each case. Specifically, I argue that the more easily a bystander can establish that a death was unnecessary, the more likely they are to mobilize into action. To test this hypothesis, this study utilizes a series of survey experiments that expose respondents to news story vignettes in which key elements of the stories differ. The preliminary results reveal that when the victim died due to prolonged restraint, respondents were significantly more likely to state that they would protest than when the victim was shot by an officer.
|59||Social Sciences||Daisy Yang||Yang||Criminal Justice and Criminology||David Makin||Makin||Pullman||
Recent critiques of the state of diversity in scholarship suggest a growing gap between efforts to document the experiences of marginalized groups, with an alarming tendency to defaulting to white/non-white comparison. The purpose of this research is to 1) Identify the state of diversity in scholarship, with an emphasis on wen these "other" racial and ethnic groups are the central focus, 2) Examine how these trends in scholarship have changed over time in the field of criminal justice and criminology, and 3) Identify the gaps in scholarship where there is a death of scholarship placing specific racial and ethnic groups as the central focus. This research intends to identify to what extent criminal justice and criminology experiences a crisis in diversity in scholarship, and if warranted, based on the analysis, introduce potential pathways for increasing representation to portray a more holistic and comprehensive understanding of these racial and ethnic groups. The methodology for this study is a systematic review of the top 30 journals in the field of criminal justice and criminology, published between 2010 and 2020. Results show unique patterns by subtopic focus (i.e police, courts, corrections, victimization, criminality) associated with racial and ethnic groups. Additionally, when applying an intersectional lens, clearer patterns appear when examining race/ethnicity and gender. Consistent with existing literature, certain racial and ethnic groups remain underrepresented as the sole focus of research in criminal justice and criminology. However, when applying a longitudinal lens to this data, there is an uplifting trend of more inclusive scholarship.
|61||Social Sciences||Claire McMeen||McMeen||Alana J. Anderson, Sammy Perone, Elizabeth H. Weybright||Human Development, Psychology||Sammy Perone||Perone||Pullman||
Introduction: State boredom is a negative emotion often experienced during a mundane task. Students commonly experience state boredom during tasks such as studying. Theory posits that boredom arises from a mismatch between an individual and their need for stimulation, occurring in both over-and under-stimulating environments. To resolve boredom, many students choose more stimulating environments to complete tedious tasks (e.g., a noisy coffee shop). However, given that a stimulating environment can cause competing demands on attention, external stimulation may contribute to boredom rather than resolve it. We hypothesized that external stimulation causes competing demands on attention and people to perceive a task as more boring. This research aims to understand the influence of environment on perception of boredom.\
Method: Undergraduate students (n = 137) participated as part of a larger online study. All participants completed a boredom induction task where they rotated a set of circles for approximately 10 minutes. Before the task, participants noted features of the environment where they were completing the study. Eighty-one participants (59%) reported being alone and in a quiet space and 56 participants (40%) reported being alone and in a not quiet space (e.g., with music on). Following the boredom induction task, participants completed the Multidimensional State Boredom Scale (MSBS) which provided information about feelings of boredom during the task.
Results: Participants who completed the boredom induction task in a noisier environment experienced significantly higher levels of state boredom than participants who were in a quiet space, t = -2.28, p = .02. Participants in the noisier environment also scored higher on the High Arousal MSBS subscale, t = -2.33, p = .02 indicating they felt more depressed and lonely. They also scored higher on the Low Arousal MSBS subscale, t = -2.82, p = .005, indicating that those in the noisier environment were feeling more agitated and impatient.
Conclusions: This study provides insight into the environmental influences contributing to a state of boredom. Study results suggest more stimulating environments may offer competing demands for attention, leading people to experience more boredom. Results suggest that students may benefit from choosing low-stimulating environments for coursework.
|81||Social Sciences||Emma Gunter||Gunter||Strategic Communication||Lynne Cooper||Cooper||Pullman||
The COVID-19 pandemic required an unprecedented shift in the process of sorority recruitment from an intense face-to-face experience, to a virtual one. Women going through recruitment, Potential New Members (PNMs), did not have the opportunity to tour the sorority houses, view the sisterhood interacting as a whole, or experience many of the rituals and traditions associated with sorority recruitment. As a result, their opportunities to bond with members of the sororities, both during and after recruitment, were severely limited by the lack of in-person activities.
Conversely, the active members of the sorority, and in particular those who joined as part of Member Class 2019 (MC19) immediately before the pandemic, didn’t have the opportunity to go through the same preparation activities leading up to recruitment. These activities would typically include a week-long “spirit week” (sometimes referred to as “work week”) where sisters live and work together to prepare the house, perfect the logistics associated with hosting the recruitment events, and practice songs, conversational skills, and special traditions. It is common wisdom in the Greek community that going through recruitment for the first time on the recruiter side is a major bonding event for newer members.
Therefore, both PNMs and MC19 members missed out on a pivotal part of their overall Greek experience. This research investigates the impact of COVID-19 and virtual recruitment on the recruitment experience and subsequent engagement of both PNMs and existing members before, during and after 2020’s virtual recruitment period. We use a combination of archival data from WSU’s Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life (CFSL), and survey data collected during 2022 to test our hypothesis that the response to COVID-19 had a negative impact on all the different types of participants that extends beyond dissatisfaction with the recruitment process, to have a longer term impact on subsequent engagement with the sorority chapter.
|102||Social Sciences||Alexander Barran||Barran||Computer Science||Lydia Gerber||Gerber||Pullman||
Confucian ideals built a patriarchal system that serves as the foundation for Chinese culture, where the ordinary woman was subjugated by the men around her throughout life. Yet one hidden group in the Sichuan Provinces near Tibet stands as a stark contrast against this standard. The rural Mosuo people, colloquially called the Naxi, not only accept female power, but give women the reins to rule the household. This system is rooted in their traditional agricultural lifestyle, intended to promote peace within and between families by increasing cooperation and reducing competition. Traditionally, Mosuo men engaged in trading the community’s goods, requiring them to travel vast distances and leave their village for months at a time. Accordingly, families organize around the eldest woman, and members do not disperse from their natal household. The most notable feature of their one-of-a-kind structure is the “walking marriage,” where partners do not enter a formal marriage, and visit each other only at night. Men have a responsibility to their mother’s family and thus their sister’s children, rather than their biological children
However, as the Mosuo emerged into the public eye and became a major tourist destination, their way of life transformed. Tourism diluted traditional methods of engagement into public performances, whether their practice of communal dancing, or the complex “walking marriage.” The public image of Mosuo culture within China subsequently revolved around “free love” and the availability of the Mosuo men and women for sex. In the face of a booming capitalist industry, their cultural significance waned. Growing concurrently with tourism, research of the Mosuo came to represent various disciplines from feminism to area studies to anthropology. This project examines how researchers from diverse disciplines view and interpret the Mosuo experience. In line with a physics term called the “observer effect,” it argues that scrutiny of their culture makes it almost impossible for the Mosuo to reconnect with their own values and customs that they themselves consider lost to modernization. This project contributes to our understanding of the challenges unique communities face as they become the focus of outside interests, whether touristic or scholarly in nature.
|120||Social Sciences||Caitlin Ottaway, Matteya Proctor, Cheyenne Schneider||Ottaway||Courtney Kurinec, John Hinson, Paul Whitney||Neuroscience, Psychology||Courtney Kurinec, John Hinson, Paul Whitney||Kurinec||Pullman||
It is often assumed that risk taking behaviors increase during periods of sleep deprivation. However, controlled laboratory studies investigating the relationship between risk taking and sleep loss have produced mixed findings, depending on the standardized decision making tasks and the sleep manipulations used. These inconsistent results may, in part, be due to the wide variation in decision making tasks and sleep manipulations used, as well as the lack of consistency in how risk taking is conceptualized. Across the literature, there is a need for a better understanding of a) how risk taking is assessed in laboratory settings, b) how these assessments relate to risky behaviors (i.e., impulsiveness), and c) how sleep loss and risk taking are related. To investigate these questions, we conducted a comprehensive literature review of 42 relevant studies, gathering information regarding the sleep manipulation and risk taking measures implemented, sample demographics, and reported or calculated effect sizes. The results were organized in two ways: 1) how they were conceptually related to risk taking, allowing us to further analyze how sleep loss underlies risk taking behaviors, and 2) which sleep manipulation was used, allowing us to examine differences based on the extent of sleep deprivation. Overall, the majority of the studies we reviewed found no effect of sleep loss on risk taking, and while reports of increased risk taking were common, very few reported that sleep loss decreased risk taking. This pattern of results was similar regardless of how the tasks used in these studies were conceptually related to risk taking. Preliminary analyses also indicated that the effect of sleep loss on risk taking may increase with the dose of sleep deprivation. This review provides valuable information not only for around-the-clock occupations such as those in medicine or in the military, but also provides information to encourage better-informed decisions regarding sleep, allowing the general public to better ensure their choices support their ability to effectively carry out their activities each day.