Abby J. Kersey, Baylee R. Kram, Blessing O. Okosun, and Diane C. Darland
BLUF: Limit your aspartame consumption!
Studies have shown that consecutive aspartame consumption at as little as 7% of the FDA recommended daily intake can cause anxiety symptoms in ~8 days. Not only that, but after 12 weeks of consumption, it was proven that the anxiety symptoms are passed to the offspring two generations later. That means if you have roughly one to two 32 oz Diet Cokes per day, your children and grandchildren will show symptoms of anxiety even if they never consume aspartame themselves. It is important to note that aspartame is in many foods and products labeled as “diet” due to its zero calorie component. Please be aware of this and limit your aspartame consumption!
Primary research project for BIOL491/503 Nutrition and Neuroscience with Dr. Diane Darland.
Kira T. Symington
This philosophical presentation uses Sara Ahmed's writings on how our habits and routines make up the "flow of life to explore one of the most time-consuming habits that people take part in: our technology and social media usage. Analyzing this habit leads us to understand what future it orients us towards; that being the archive and the image. Using Roberto Simanoski's book "Waste," this analysis of the archive leads us to conclude that our media usage causes us to view life as without character and meaning and thus, as boring. Jeremy Weissman adds to this exploration of the archive, revealing that the censorship inherent in it also causes us to dull ourselves into acceptable modes of being and again, become boring. Turning to the analysis of the image, Neil Postman and Weissman show us that images present the world and others as flat and without character which causes us to perceive the world itself as boring and meaningless. Byung-Chul Han's work presents us with a possible solution: by disconnecting from the meaningless scroll of life as found in our devices, we can sit with our boredom and learn to perceive the world in new ways and thus recreate ourselves.
Conducted in Philosophy 331: Contemporary European Philosophy with Dr. Stone.
This philosophical analysis delves into the complex and interwoven dynamics between social media and two of Adam Kotsko's subcategories of Sociopathy, namely the "Climbers" and the "Schemers." By scrutinizing their motivations and behaviors within the realm of social media, this inquiry reveals the profound consequences that emerge from their actions. The "Climbers," driven by an insatiable desire for social status, exhibit a propensity for betraying others to achieve personal gain. Conversely, the "Schemers" engage in impulsive behaviors, prompted by an inherent need to alleviate boredom. Moreover, it becomes evident that the interplay between these subcategories has not only spawned a toxic cycle of social media usage. It has also witnessed the "Climbers" actively shaping and creating the technology, while the "Schemers" have cultivated and nurtured its underlying dynamics. Building upon this examination, it becomes evident that the interplay between these subcategories has spawned a toxic cycle of social media usage, perpetuated by the relentless quest for recognition and fueled by technological advancements. Recognizing and understanding this intricate cycle holds paramount importance in mitigating negative repercussions and fostering healthier interactions within the digital landscape. By unraveling the profound relationship between social media and Sociopathy, this analysis provides a philosophical lens through which one can comprehend the far-reaching implications of these phenomena, prompting critical reflection and necessitating proactive measures to navigate contemporary online interactions.
Conducted in Philosophy 331:Contemporary European Philosophy with Dr. Stone
In 2017, the New York City Council approved a zoning variance allowing the demolition of 28-acres of wetlands near Staten Island’s Graniteville neighborhood in order to build a BJ’s Wholesale grocery store, a gas station, and a parking lot for 835 cars. This action raised concern for the people living within this neighborhood due to the amount of water detention the wetlands provide during natural disaster events. Specifically, the Graniteville Wetlands have protected the surrounding neighborhoods from severe natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy which, in turn, has allowed these neighborhoods to contribute less to flood mitigation through infrastructure and insurance costs. In order to measure the environmental services that the Graniteville Wetlands provide, an economic valuation was conducted to monetarily estimate the implications of developing this land. This was done through an extensive literature review and data collection of water detention, geographical elevation, household proximity, population growth, and past natural event history in the Graniteville area, and the benefit of transfer method was used to assign monetary costs to the 28-acre wetland area. The results found that the Graniteville Wetlands can hold up to 28 million gallons of water, and the trees within the area can remove up to 180,000 gallons of water per day. This retention protects 1341 residencies in the surrounding area and approximately 4,023 people, and this equals around $4,923 in flood mitigation benefits per household every natural disaster event. In conclusion, the removal of the Graniteville Wetlands would equal high economic losses for the residents in surrounding areas.
Course: GEOG 454 – Conservation and Sustainable Use of Natural Resources
Riley Mateychuk, Nolan Larson, and Kaitlin Johnson
Changes in property values in relation to new or redevelopment and how they shape the property values are necessary to investigate for a city that is economically on the rise. Infill vs greenfield development are key processes to understand in this study. For years the city of Grand Forks, ND has been trying to find a way to tackle the cost effectiveness of property value on infill vs. greenfield development. We set out to help inform them in their decision making process by creating a model looking at the property values over a span of 26 years. We want to create a model that will predict a score of a property to help the City decide if a development is feasible. Given a high score, the development should be considered, while given a low score, the development should probably be reconsidered. In our model we use gif animations to show this change in property values over time. Using the animations we can assess which property values were affected by a specific redevelopment near the property in a given year.
Mahdi Saeedi and Ryan Zerr
The United States electoral system is facing an unprecedented amount of pressure as distrust amount the voting population rises. An area of interest for us in this work is the redistricting mechanism. Rules inspired by ideas in mathematics are being used to combat partisan gerrymandering. In this work, we explore the relationship between three rules regarding Equal population districts, Compactness, and efficiency gap. Combining these rules leads to an idea of an impossibility theorem for partisan gerrymandering, which states that drawing maps that can satisfy all three rules and allow for a minority party to win becomes impossible.
Zachary Even, He Huang, Ramkumar Mathur, and Xusheng Wang
DNA methylation is an epigenetic modification that transfers a methyl group onto the C-5 position of the cytosine to form 5-methylcytosine. DNA methylation regulates gene expression by recruiting proteins involved in gene repression or by inhibiting the binding of transcription factor(s) to DNA, especially in regulation of Allele Specific Expression (ASE). In this study, we used Oxford Nanopore long-read sequencing technology to profile methylome in the two inbred mouse strains, C57BL/6J (B6) and DBA/2J (D2). Compared with bisulfite conversion followed by Illumina Sequencing, long-read sequencing technology allows us to achieve much longer read length of 4,653.675 base pairs on average while maintaining an average percent identity of 90.775%. We detected millions of methylation events and 1,465 differentially methylated regions (DMRs) between B6 and D2. Understanding more about how DNA methylation patterns of these mice affect neurological phenotype will further research into drug development for neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD).
This work was conducted in the UND Department of Biology under the advisement of Dr. Xusheng Wang and supported by The UND Center for Biomedical Research Excellence (CoBRE) for Epigenomics of Development and Disease (X.W.), the UND CoBRE for Host-Pathogen Interactions (HPI) (X.W.), the ND EPSCoR STEM program (X.W.), the UND Vice President for Research & Economic Development (VPRED) seed program (X.W.), the American Society for Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) SURF Program, the Chair of the Department of Biomedical Sciences, the Division of Research & Economic Development at the University of North Dakota , an Institutional Development Award (IDeA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant number P20GM103442, the Dean of the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences.
A special thanks to all my peers in the Xusheng Wang Laboratory: He Huang, Ling Li, Kincaid Rowbotham, Alyssa Erickson, and the UND Genomics Core for performing the DNA extraction and sequencing.
The North Dakota Dual Aurora Camera (NoDDAC), a student-led citizen science project: one-year retrospective, future developments, and scientific potential
Vincent Ledvina, Elizabeth MacDonald, Steven Collins, Michael McCormack, Timothy Young, and Wayne Barkhouse
The North Dakota Dual Aurora Camera (NoDDAC) is a student-led project operated in conjunction with the University of North Dakota (UND), the LiveAuroraNetwork, and Aurorasaurus citizen science. Aurora cameras are valuable tools for aurora chasers, and scientists, providing ground-truth visual data to gauge auroral activity, yet at midlatitudes, these facilities are few in number. Deploying aurora cameras in these areas provides a valuable resource for aurora-chasing communities, but also demonstrates scientific merit as the analysis of rare phenomena, such as STEVEs, benefit from multiple geographic observations. What makes this project unique is the student initiative being based at a university observatory, the focus on dual cameras with COTS equipment, and, the emphasis on open data, a responsive community resource, and citizen science. NoDDAC employs the Sony a7s ii camera and Sony 24mm f/1.4 GM lens as a north-facing aurora video camera. A less expensive all-sky Canon T6 camera paired with a Sigma 4.5mm f/2.8 circular fisheye lens continuously captures 60-second images every two minutes. The cameras are stationed at the Martens Observatory operated by the department of physics and astrophysics at UND (48.1oN). Specialized housings from the LiveAuroraNetwork weatherproof both cameras and proprietary IPTimelapse software allows images to be uploaded to a web server and analyzed. The LiveAuroraNetwork hosts the image streams from both cameras on their website and mobile app. When aurora is detected by the IPTimelapse software, the NoDDAC twitter account will post a short clip of the display to alert aurora chasers. These cameras will be shown on the Aurorasaurus auroral oval map along with other citizen scientist observations. Image data are archived and made open source, abiding by the FAIR data use principles. The north-facing camera records video, which will allow for small auroral features to be studied using Zooniverse-style image analysis citizen science efforts. In the first half of 2021, the cameras successfully detected aurora on over 20 occasions, including overhead aurora and STEVE, and rare noctilucent clouds. This presentation will reflect on the first year of NoDDAC, outline a timeline for NoDDAC’s future, and open the floor for collaborations with other citizen science efforts.
Prison sexual violence has been a prominent issue since the establishment of correctional facilities. However, the issue was dismissed due to the stigmatization of the inmate population. As a result, there were no documented policies, statutes, or laws that prohibited prison rape or imposed sanctions upon offenders. The attention towards inmates rights, specifically regarding sexual assault, began to be addressed in the media in the 1990s. Through past offender stories, legal cases, and an overall sense of awareness, the Prison Rape Elimination Act was established in 2003. This act outlawed any sexual relationships between either inmates, or inmates and correctional officers; additionally, it gave inmates the legal right to bodily autonomy. Through the past twenty years, there has been a positive shift in the ways that society views prison sexual violence. As monumental as this change has been, sexual assaults in correctional facilities still continue to occur and inmates still fear the potential of violence. Through a 2004 study conducted by Fleisher and Krienert, data from 564 inmates regarding sexual demographics was collected. Through bivariate and linear regression analyses, it was documented that inmates of not heterosexual orientation and inmates aware of correctional officer and inmate relations were more likely to experience fear of sexual assault. The future safety of inmates relies on additional research, policy changes, and more adequate officer training.
Course: SOC 475: Sociology Capstone
Contact lenses have been used for decades to correct vision, and over 150 million people use contact lenses today. The materials used to make contact lenses have evolved drastically, but ultimately resulted in a specific plastic, silicone-derived hydrogel, which provides maximal comfort and clear vision, while also maintaining the eye health of the user. Contact lenses have enhanced the lives of many people, but a topic that is often left out of contact lens discussions is that of plastic waste. Single-use plastic and increased plastic pollution have recently been areas of concern and expanded research. Contact lenses are often forgotten when analyzing personal plastic use, likely due to their small size and therefore low contribution to a person’s overall plastic waste. However, a recent survey revealed that some contact lens users still flush their used contact lenses down the drain, putting them directly into the water system. These small pieces of plastic can then break down further into microplastic, contaminating the water system and potentially harming wildlife and humans. Some contact lens manufacturers have initiated recycling programs specifically for contact lenses or have developed similar initiatives to address the issue of contact lens waste. Moving forward, eye care professionals must educate contact lens wearers on their disposal options, and contact lens manufacturers must continue to search for ways to decrease the impacts of plastic they create.
Course: HON489: Senior Project: Honors Research
Kincaid Rowbotham, Ling Li, and Xusheng Wang
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia and one of the most prominent challenges of precision healthcare is early identification of AD. To combat this latency in diagnosis, integration of machine learning has been exercised for more cost efficient and powerful diagnostic tools. Specifically, we have developed a workflow for identifying AD within a given sample. Utilizing cerebral cortex proteomic data as a baseline, we were able to test two different forms of feature selection and 6 different machine learning methods. The best performing of these combinations was using a Support Vector Machine (SVM) method with features selected from Maximum Relevance Minimum Redundancy (MRMR) . This method had an average accuracy of 93.25% across and had yielded relatively good precision across 100 iterations. Furthering these types of predictions methods could allow a better quality and longevity of life for those at risk of Alzheimer's Disease.
Funding: Funding for this project was supplied by ND EPSCoR STEM (UND0025726), the American Society for Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) SURF Program, the Chair of the Department of Biomedical Sciences, the Division of Research & Economic Development at the University of North Dakota, an Institutional Development Award (IDeA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant number P20GM103442, and the Dean of the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences.
Whether it was thousands of years ago or now, despite the gender, people's obsession and interest in beauty and wealth were the same, and beauty was a symbol of wealth and family power during the Joseon Dynasty (1392 – 1897) as well. Influenced by the Ming Dynasty from China, women in Joseon started to wear wigs called Ga-Chae, which were loops of thick and rich black hair braided together. Among all the different kinds of Ga-Chae, I chose to do a deeper research in the Queen style of Ga-Chae, called the Eoyeo Hair. This wig style was only allowed for the Queens of Joseon to wear and it looks like a crown but in a hairstyle upon their head, since only the Kings were allowed to wear a crown. The wig was made by actual human hair, which made it really expensive. During this time period, Confucianism (an ancient Chinese belief system, which focuses on the importance of personal ethics and morality) was the ruling ideology, therefore it was prohibited to cut your hair since birth or else people will take it as a huge disrespect to your parents and your ancestors. However, the demand of Ga-Chae from women was insane so some kidnapped people and cut their hair off, or people who needed money desperately would secretly sell their hair in a huge price. Natural hair would be the best but for the Queens, they wanted thicker and even more rich black color for their Ga-Chae, so people would use various ingredients to dye the hair, from importing Tang Scarlet from China which is about $5000 per pound, to squashing little bugs called Cochineals into juice and spread over the hair. For me I chose to use tomato powder mixed with boiled water since it contains Lycopene that helps with dyeing the hair for building my own Ga-Chae throughout this research and used Cassia oil along with hair smoothing cream to smoothen out the hair. The wig itself is quite heavy so if it were to be used for theatrical purposes then I highly recommend the wearer to avoid having drastic head movements, but it would perfectly do its job as representing the Queen of Joseon in a show.
Educators of all levels are continuously looking for new ways to engage students with the content. Some post-secondary level instructors have embraced a unique method of role-playing games in their classrooms. Specially, many of these teachers have begun using Mark Carnes's pedagogy of Reacting to the Past. This method gamifies historical content to make it easier for students to relate to a diverse array of historical actors. To play these games, students must achieve a specific goal while pretending to be an assigned historical figure. Reacting to the Past lesson plans are one of a kind, high quality, peer-reviewed teaching tools. These games have been shown to enhance the learning experience for many students across age groups. This includes secondary level students. However, Reacting to the Past games are designed primarily for post-secondary classrooms, which leaves secondary level students and teachers at a disadvantage. They cannot use the games to their full potential because they are designed with different needs and standards in mind. For this reason, I designed a game modeled after Reacting to the Past for secondary level students. This game covers the topic of westward expansion of the United States, a subject that fits with many state standards. Students play as travelers and inhabitants of Westport, Missouri, in 1855. Reacting to the Past games can be extremely useful for student engagement across education levels as long as it accommodates appropriately to student needs.
Course: HON 486 Honors Capstone
Aims. Data from astronomical catalogs are plotted as spatial distributions of stars and supernovae throughout the Milky Way galaxy and the universe. I examined correlations seen between the luminosity classes of stars, types of supernovae, and selection effects observed in the data.
Methods. Data was gathered from three catalogs; the Gliese Catalog of Nearby Stars, the Tycho-2 Catalog, and the Open Supernova Catalog. Graphs and diagrams were created to visualize the distributions of the stellar luminosity classes and supernova types at different radial distances from the Sun. Trendlines were fit through the data to examine extrapolated predictions.
Results/Conclusions. Documenting stars within 25 pc, the Gliese Catalog categorizes 82% as luminosity class V. Upon classifying all 117,955 stars in the Tycho-2 Catalog reaching 100,000 pc, only 67% were main-sequence (luminosity class V), indicating a brightness selection effect due to the larger radial distance. Tycho-2 documents 7,050 pre-supernova stars (luminosity class I and II) within 24 kpc (the distance to the far edge of the Milky Way). 6,849 of those stars are within 10 kpc, the distance range considered for the DUNE Project to detect Type II supernova neutrinos. The Open Supernova catalog is used to plot distributions of Type II and Type Ia supernovae on a scale beyond our galaxy. The data show that the quantities of both types initially increase linearly with distance, then drop in number as distance continues to increase. This is due to a brightness selection effect as more distant supernovae become harder to accurately detect.
Big Picture. Improving the accuracy of predicting future supernovae by using stellar data and data from observed supernovae can help improve the detection of neutrinos produced in these supernovae. Better detection allows for more complete observations and a deeper understanding of neutrinos, which may unveil the mystery of the matter-antimatter asymmetry, a long unanswered question in physics involving the origin of the universe and why it is the way it is today.
Course: This research was not conducted as part of a course, but I did some of it through the North Dakota NASA Space Grant Consortium, and some through my research as a part of both the McNair program and the US MASTER program.
From a Non-Consensual Incestuous Relationship to a Promotion to Priestess: The Way That a Father Controls Their Daughter Determines the Status Level That a Woman Can Hold in Apollonius of Tyre
Is a woman only considered a woman when she is owned by a man? How does the relationship between father and daughter shape the way a woman is seen or treated in medieval society? This project examines the Old English version of Apollonius of Tyre, a rare example of secular 11th century prose, as translated by Benjamin Thorpe. Apollonius of Tyre deals with three different familial relationships and the various ways that the fathers as both leaders of the house, and royal officials treat their daughters as property that they own. From one daughter having basic freedoms such as being allowed to speak in public, to another daughter being caught in a non-consensual incestuous relationship, it is possible to see how a father’s relationship to their daughter can influence the status level a woman can achieve in her life during this time. Women often had strict roles to play as part of the patriarchy during medieval times, and this text allows us to see that relationships between father and daughter that allowed more expression instead of control resulted in healthier relationships. These relationships then allowed women to interact with others where they were separated from the one who attempted to own their every move. Relationships where the father maintains ownership of the daughter end up influencing their status in life and keep them in lower status levels, as a way to keep women in lower standing than their male counterparts. Apollonius of Tyre shows how women can achieve more with their lives when they do not have every aspect of their lives controlled by their father.
Course: English 415 – Seminar in Literature
World War I is an incredibly significant event in world history and continues to loom large in French memory today. Unfortunately, memory is often unreliable and as a result, people, places, and events can easily be forgotten, as is the case with French colonial soldiers during World War I. Colonial soldiers, particularly those from French West Africa, suffered a great deal because of their forced involvement in the conflict. Despite the major disruption the war had on their lives, however, the ways French media at the time chose to depict these soldiers was based almost exclusively on stereotypes and mockery. The imagery used to portray colonial soldiers throughout the course of World War I would go on to influence the ways that French people thought about colonialism long after the war ended. Representations of colonial soldiers in World War I France play a key role in shaping how these soldiers are remembered in France today, particularly in spaces for education, like museums and classrooms.
Course: History 440/Honors 489 – Research Capstone/Senior Project: Honors Research
The Arts & Sciences UNDergraduate Showcase gives undergraduate students the opportunity to showcase their research via posters and oral presentations. The posters included in the collection have been recognized for their quality and preserved for future use. Students and faculty interested in participating in future showcases can find more information on the UNDergraduate Showcase website.
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