2013 Sigma Zeta National Convention Presentation Abstracts

 Brandon Barringer | Lindsey Baxter | Kody BolkBrandi Bonfert* | Robert Buch*Rebekah Carlson | Joseph Cheeney

Kristen Coleman & Emily Uhlenhake | Andreas CopanKelly Commons* | Helen Dainton | Adam Engebretson | Kyle Fulghum*

Chelsea Hadsall |  Jasmine Hanson | Curtis Heyda | Brianna Hogan | Krysta Haggins | Sarah HuberKristin Jolly | Madeline Knott*

Michael Lampe | Sarah Greteman-Leo | Aleesha Moran | Brandon Parsons | Chris PelikanAndrew Rearick*

 Ryan Rodriguez | Faaria Salik | Hannah Schradick | Cody Smith* | Ryan Smith | Katie Stoltz | Nyan Paing Tin | Joshua Wolfe | Liyang Yu

* Recipients of Sigma Zeta Research Awards


 

Cody SmithPoster Session Presentation
Chapter: Pi
Millikin University
Submitted February 4, 2013
Environmental Science
Poster Session Presentation

 

Novel Solvent Bar Microextraction of Acetaminophen and Azithromycin from Water

A 2000 study done by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) analyzed 139 water samples from various streams across the United States. 95 different compounds, ranging from steroids to antibiotics, were found at part per billion (ppb) levels in the samples. In order to detect these compounds, it was first necessary to concentrate the analytes using solid phase extraction (SPE). While SPE is useful for concentrating these analytes, the process is tedious, time-consuming, and not reproducible. Solvent bar microextraction, first described in 2004, can be used as a rapid and reproducible alternative to SPE. We have successfully used solvent bar microextraction to concentrate acetaminophen from water as a model system for concentrating the antibiotic azithromycin. We will describe our results with acetaminophen as well as preliminary results concentrating azithromycin.


 
Kelly A Commons, Rebekah D Carlson, Lisa A Lundstrom, Dr. David J Horn and Dr. Travis E WilcoxenPaper Presenation
Chapter: Pi
Millikin University
Submitted: February 10, 2013
Environmental Science
Oral Session Presentation

 

The effects of supplemental feeding on forest bird populations in central Illinois

Over 50 million Americans over the age of 16 feed wild birds and other wildlife. However, the extent to which supplemental feeding impacts wild bird populations is not well understood. From spring 2011 to summer 2012, we examined how wild bird feeding influences the bird populations at forested sites in central Illinois. Specifically, we compared three forested sites where we provided supplemental food, three sites where supplemental food was provided and then removed, and three forested sites for which no supplemental food was available. We monitored changes in the population size of both feeder and non-feeder species using fixed-radius, 10-minute, double-observer point counts. Among 17 species of migrant and resident birds, we found few changes in bird populations to the forested sites as a whole that could be attributed to bird feeding. In a companion study, we found that the number of birds that visited feeders increased from 2011 to 2012. Thus, the short term impact of supplemental feeding is most likely to occur at small spatial scales. 


 
Katie Stoltz and Dr. Travis WilcoxinPoster Session Presentation

Chapter: Pi
Millikin University
Submittted: 02/27/2013 
Environmental Science
Poster Session Presentation

 

Effects Of Corticosterone On Development And Immunocompetence In Western Chorus Frogs (Pseudacris Triseriata) And Southern Leopard Frogs (Lithobates Sphenocephalus)

 The quality of a tadpole’s habitat can influence the timing of metamorphosis. Unpredictable changes in a habitat such as pond desiccation, limited food resources, and predators can all affect stress levels. Stress has been shown to impact the rate of development in vertebrates. It has also been shown that the effects of stress are dependent on the timing of stressors. In our study, we investigated how treatments of corticosterone would affect the development and immune function of the Western Chorus Frog (Pseudacris triseriata), and the Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus), and hypothesized corticosterone would increase the developmental rate of the tadpoles and decrease immunocompetence.


 

Brianna Hogan, Dr. Travis Wilcoxen, and Dr. David HornPoster Session Presentation
Chapter: Pi
Millikin University
Submittted: 02/27/2013 
Life Sciences
Poster Session Presentation

  Effects of supplemental feeding on antioxidant capacity and baseline corticosterone in four common feeder-using species  

Antioxidants are essential to the health of vertebrates through their protection from free-radical damage. Bird feeding is a popular activity in the United States and little is known about the true impact of hobbyist bird feeding activities on the health of wild birds. We hypothesized that total antioxidant activity would differ between birds that were fed supplemental food versus those that were not given supplemental food.  Also, we hypothesized that there would be an interaction between stress physiology and total antioxidant capacity. Specifically, we examined antioxidant levels and corticosterone levels over an 18-month period in common feeder-using birds of the Eastern United States - Black-capped Chickadees, Downy Woodpeckers, Northern Cardinals, and White-breasted Nuthatches.  We found a significant effect of supplemental food on total antioxidant capacity, but only after birds at the feeder sites had received supplemental food for more than five months.  Further, there was a significant correlation between antioxidant levels and baseline corticosterone levels, supporting other studies of vertebrates that have revealed a link between antioxidants and corticosteroid activity.
 

 
Madeline Knott, Dr. Travis Wilcoxen, and Dr. David HornPoster Presenter
Chapter: Pi
Millikin University
Submittted: 02/28/2013 
Life Sciences
Poster Session Presentation
 

Diverse effects of stress on immune function in four songbird species

Immune function, both innate and acquired (or adaptive), is critical for vertebrate survival.  Some research has demonstrated that each branch of the immune system can be affected by stress, specifically from a cascade of physiological changes that occur following the release of glucocorticoid hormones, such as corticosterone (CORT; the primary avian stress hormone). To examine the relationship between stress and immune function, we used birds as a vertebrate model.  Four songbird species were studied to investigate the relationship between stress and (1) innate immunity (using a microbial killing assay), and (2) Interleukin-6 (IL-6), a cytokine measured to represent acquired immune function.  Further, we assessed differences in the effects of chronic stress and acute stress on innate immunity. Chronic stress was associated with decreased innate immune function and an acute stress response was associated with increased innate immune function. Birds that had higher baseline CORT had greater IL-6 levels. IL-6 is associated with decreased inflammation, and therefore, may be released in response to an increase in CORT.  Overall, our results demonstrate that changes in immunocompetence associated with stress depend on the nature of the stressor. 
 

 
Helen Dainton and Dr. Mary RitkePoster Presenter
Chapter: Rho
University of Indianapolis
Submittted: 03/1/2013 
Life Sciences
Poster Session Presentation
 
A Study of Glial Cells Grown in Two and Three Dimensional Culture Media
Previous work showed that in vitro vertebrate cell cultures exhibit different characteristics, when grown as two dimensional monolayers compared to three-dimensional protein matrices.  However, commercial three dimensional techniques are prohibitively expensive for routine culture. So, it would be useful to know which processes should be modeled only three dimensional culture systems.  The purpose of this study was twofold:  to optimize an existing technique for culturing cells on heat-fixed egg white protein matrices, and then use the technique to compare calcium signaling in two and three dimensional culture environments.  The cells used were astrocytes, a type of glial cell, because calcium signaling has been observed in glial tissue slices.  The first objective was met: the method of aliquoting and heat-fixing egg white matrices in multiwell plates (Kaipparettu, et al, 2008. Biotech 45(2):165) was improved by the addition of acid-base treatment steps.  This treatment improved the egg white’s ability to affix to the plate, and prevented the formation of extraneous monolayers of immortalized mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEFs) and rat glial cells.  In three dimensional cultures, glial cells formed acini typical of other three dimensional culture systems.  Although we had previously determined that the MEFs grow more slowly in three dimensional compared to two dimensional culture, glial cell proliferation was comparable in either culture systems.  To date, studying calcium signaling in monolayer and three dimensional culture environments has been unsuccessful.  Attempts to initiate calcium signaling by lightly touching the culture with a pipette tip (and other objects), caused the culture to be too damaged for the cells to release intracellular stores of calcium. We are exploring alternative calcium-dependent signaling stimuli to compare the calcium signaling responsiveness of two- and three dimensional glial cell cultures. Supported by the University of Indianapolis and the Indiana Academy of Sciences
 

 
Michael LampePoster Presenter
Chapter: Beta
McKendree University
Submittted: 03/7/2013 
Environmental Science
Poster Session Presentation
 
Effects of an Invasive Species on Biodiversity at Different Spatial Scales

Biodiversity is essential to the sustainability of many species and ecosystems. However, we are experiencing rapid declines in biodiversity, some of which is attributal to the introduction of invasive species. Prairies, in particular, are a largely at risk ecosystem, as there are less than 2% remaining. One particular economically and ecologically harmful invasive species that threatens midwestern prairies is Lespedeza cuneata. Previous research suggests that L. cuneata decreases diversity within prairie communities. However, it is unclear whether these reductions are similar across spatial scales.We investigated how the presence of L. cuneata  correlated with forb diversity across three different spatial scales within a local prairie. Results indicate that there was a greater reduction in native species at smaller spatial scales, therefore suggesting conservation efforts should focus on targeting the disparate effects that invasives have on local and regional native extinctions.

 


 
Aleesha Moran, Alex Beckwith, and Melanie KingPoster Session Presentation
Chapter: Beta
McKendree University
Submittted: 03/7/2013
Mathematics
Poster Session Presentation
 
Determining conditions sufficient for the existence of arc-disjoint Hamiltonian paths and out-branchings in tournaments
We examine conditions sufficient for the existence in a tournament of a Hamiltonian path and out-branching rooted at the same vertex that are arc-disjoint. We show that in a strong tournament the existence is guaranteed and that the-branching can be taken to be path-like or star-like. We show that in a regular tournament on 2n + 1 vertices has a Hamiltonian path and n-1 out-branchings that are mutually arc-disjoint, and we improve several results related to the well-known Kelly conjecture.
 

 
Brandon Barringer and Ed AchesonPoster Presenter
Chapter: Pi
Millikin University
Submittted: 03/08/2013 
Environmental Science
Poster Session Presentation
 
Remediation of Amoxicillin in Water Using pH 3 Buffer Treated Fly-ash
A study by the United States Geologic Survey (USGS) published in 2002 found measurable concentrations of 95 organic wastewater contaminants, including pharmaceuticals, in 139 streams across the United States. Even though amoxicillin was not identified in the USGS study, amoxicillin is the third most prescribed antibiotic in the United States. Since amoxicillin is so widely prescribed, we decided to make it the focus of our research. Water samples spiked with amoxicillin were passed through Solid Phase Extraction (SPE) cartridges packed with fly-ash treated with 0.1 M KH2PO4 pH 3 buffer. The column eluant was tested for amoxicillin using High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). Greater than 80% of amoxicillin in H2O samples was retained by the fly-ash. Approximately 770 mg of amoxicillin is retained per gram of fly-ash. Further investigation needs to be done to determine if fly-ash can be used to remediate natural H2O samples without inorganic matter coming off the column. We will describe our work to date on this project.
 

 
Jasmine H. Hanson and Ron L. NellermoePoster Presenter
Chapter: Gamma Gamma
Concordia College
Submittted: 03/12/2013 
Life Sciences
Poster Session Presentation
 
The Paleontologist Experience at Hell Creek Formation in Eastern Montana
This is a learning study on the topics of geology and paleontology in Late Cretaceous Hell Creek formation. This is an area were many Cretaceous dinosaur species and ancient fauna have been preserved from deposits over a span of time to approximately 65 million years ago in the Cretaceous period (Fastovsky et al., 1998). Articulated fossils are most commonly found in Hell Creek floodplains and water channel deposits from the Ancient Inland Seas (Fastovsky et al., 1998). This location also found evidence of gradual extinction of the cretaceous period dinosaurs (Sloan et al., 1986).  Field research in paleontology is an observational ongoing long term program at Concordia College in this area. On this annual trip students become skilled at interpreting the earth and its history by analysis of identifying sediments of this area including mudstone, sandstone, non-coalified and coalified (Fastovsky et al., 1998). The study conducted in the Summer of 2012 had several significant findings; the discovery and restoration process these will be emphasized and followed throughout the this paper. Fossil discoveries are marked using GIS mapping and excavated in the Hell Creek formation.  Documented material were then secured and labeled for storage and transport to be restored as an ongoing process in Moorhead Minnesota. Structures were identified using texts, interpretations of past findings, and mentors help. They are then evaluated for evolutionary anatomical significance, to allow students to be a part of the bigger picture in geological, and faunal history.
 

 
Joshua Wolfe and Dr. Gregg Johnson Paper Presentation


Chapter: Beta Iota
Bethel University
Submittted: 03/12/2013 
Life Sciences
Oral Session Presentation
 
Mutagenic Effect of Finasteride (Proscar ©) on Human Cultured Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes using Sister Chromatid Exchange
Proscar ©(Finasteride) is used to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) by inhibiting the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, an enzyme necessary to convert testosterone into 5-alpha-dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is a major contributor to BPH. Finasteride is a drug that has been listed as a hazardous unclassified drug by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). There have been conflicting reports on the mutagenic potential of Finasteride. Finasteride was tested at clinical doses (2.5 mg/day, 5 mg/day, and 10mg/day) on human peripheral blood lymphocytes using the Sister Chromatid Exchange (SCE) Technique to help clarify the potential mutagenic activity of the drug on human cells. Early results show an increase in SCEs in treatment cultures compared to controls, which suggests Finasteride has a mutagenic effect on human PB lymphocytes.
 

 
Nyan Paing Tin  and Dr. Kenneth G HayesPoster Presenter
Chapter: Alpha Psi
Hillsdale College
Submittted: 03/12/2013 
Physical Sciences
Poster Session Presentation
 
A Lecture Room Apparatus to Demonstrate the CO2 Greenhouse Effect 
We built an apparatus to demonstrate the CO2greenhouse effect useful for public demonstrations.   The apparatus uses an aluminum plate to represent the Earth’s surface that absorbs visible and infrared radiation and radiates infrared radiation.   The plate can be heated with an embedded electric heater or from above by an incandescent bulb.  Glass plates can be placed above the metal plate to model the glass used in a physical greenhouse.  In place of the glass plates, a gas-tight box that can be filled with either air or CO2is used to model the effect of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere.  The top and bottom surfaces of the gas-tight box are highly transparent to IR radiation.  Measurements were made of the temperatures of the black plate, the glass plates, and the gas in the gas-tight box when the black plate was heated to various temperatures either with the embedded heater or with the incandescent bulb.A mathematical model of the apparatus was created that accounted for heat flow due to conduction, convection, and radiation throughout the apparatus.  A computer program was written that simulated the flow of infrared photons throughout the apparatus using Monte Carlo techniques. 
 

 
Hannah Schradick, Madeline Johnson, Michael Rose, Katelyn Schneider, and Joseph C. WhittakerPoster Presenter
Chapter: Gamma Gamma
Concordia College
Submittted: 03/13/2013 
Life Sciences
Poster Session Presentation
 
Comparison of small mammal communities on native and restored prairies in northwestern Minnesota with special emphasis on the identification of Peromyscus leucopus and P. maniculatus
Over the summer of 2012, we conducted small mammal trapping on Concordia College’s Long Lake Field Station (Becker Co.), which has several recently restored prairie plots, as well as trapping preserved prairie sites such as Bluestem Prairie (Clay Co.), Neal Wildlife Management Area (Norman Co.), and others.  Our goal was to compare small mammal communities on the restored sites and well-established and preserved prairie sites.  Trap grids were set up at each of the prairies.  These grids consisted of four to five lines of ten traps, for a total of between forty to fifty traps per grid.  Three different types of traps were typically used: Longworth-style traps, large Sherman, and small Sherman traps.  Trap grids were set and checked for three to four days.  When a mammal was caught, species, mass, and sex were all recorded and they were individually marked.  Dominant mammals were meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) and thirteen-lined ground squirrels (Ictodomys tridecemlineatus) at a majority of the prairie sites.  We are using cellulose acetate electrophoresis on allozymes of salivary amylase in order to differentiate between Peromyscus leucopus and P. maniculatus.  At this point in the research there is a higher prevalence of P. maniculatus with 33 individuals identified as compared nine P. leucopus. The data analysis is still ongoing and will be used to identify the prevalence of each species in particular habitats. We present capture results for comparison of these restored and preserved prairie sites. 
 

 
Curtis J. Heyda Paper Presentation



Chapter: Beta Iota
Bethel University
Submittted: 03/13/2013 
Mathematics
Oral Session Presentation
 
How Many Colours are Enough?
The four-colour and the five-colour theorems are explored.  The origin of the search for the four-colour theorem is given. The “proof” that tricked the mathematical community for over a decade is demonstrated and exposed.  The alterative five-colour proof is then demonstrated.  Finally the modern four-colour theorem’s history is examined. 
 
 

 
Ryan Smith, Jane Tolkinen, Kale Hermanson, Jennifer Renner and Dr. Michelle MarkoPoster Session Presentation

Chapter: Gamma Gamma
Concordia College
Submittted: 03/13/2013 
Environmental Science
Poster Session Presentation
 
Phenology and Ecology of Flowering Rush in the Detroit Lakes Chain
Global climate change and other environmental issues have led to the increased spread of invasive species, which outcompete native plants and disrupt ecosystem services.  In the northern United States, flowering rush, Butomus umbellatus, has become a nuisance to landowners by invading beaches and limiting recreational water usage.  Mechanical and chemical controls have been attempted in the past with limited success. Better understanding the biology of the invader is necessary in order to determine the most effective treatment.  Our study looked at the phenology of flowering rush in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, and compared it to the native species hardstem bulrush, Schoenoplectus acutus, which occupies similar ecological niches.  We found that contact herbicides are needed as part of a multi-year program to control the abundant below-ground biomass and numerous reproductive structures.  The combination of basic biology and applied ecology are essential to long-term control of invasive species.
 

 
Sarah Greteman-Leo and Dr. Rollin King Paper Presentation



Chapter: Beta Iota
Bethel University
Submittted: 03/13/2013 
Physical Sciences
Oral Session Presentation
 
Predicting the Optical Rotation of Solvated Chiral Molecules via Incorporation of Explicit Solvent Effects
The ability to reliably compute the optical rotation of chiral molecules in solution would be of great value to synthetic chemists.  Previous research has shown this to be a great challenge for theoretical chemistry.  An effective model chemistry for this problem will probably require the inclusion of both explicit and continuum solvation. One vital question is the extent of the necessary explicit solvation.  In this work, we explore the how the property of optical rotation is impacted by both the wavelength of light used and the exact arrangement of solvent molecules around the solute. In particular, we report the results using the high accuracy model of electron correlation such as coupled cluster theory (CCSD). The results thus far have indicated that while computational methods can be used accurately to predict the optical rotation of gas molecules, the problem becomes much more complex with added solvent. 
 
 

 
Ryan Rodriguez and Dr. Charles SmithPoster Presenter
Chapter: Sigma
Our Lady of the Lake University
Submittted: 03/14/2013 
Physical Sciences
Poster Session Presentation
 
Organic Light Emitting Diode preparation using various methods
Organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) are making headway into the technological field for a variety of reasons. In this experiment, the production of OLEDs was examined for reproducibility in a basic lab setting. The most important step was making the tin oxide coated glass. A procedure created by Robert Hunt was modified to be able to analyze three different variables, amount of stannous chloride used, glass slide set up, and temperature to melt the stannous chloride. Tin oxide coated glass was created with varying resistances ranging from 86.7kΩ to 0.450MΩ. Application of the organic layer consisting of a Tris(2,2’-bipyridine)ruthenium(II) tetrafluoroborate polyvinyl solution was varied to determine the best results. By applying a layer of organic material followed by spin-coating, a thin, even coating of material was produced on the glass. The best results were obtained using the spin-coating method and applying several layers of organic material. Our lab produced OLED emitted light when a minimum of 27 volts was applied.  



 
Brandi Bonfert, Dr. Nicholette Rogers, and Dr. Jennifer StankePoster Session Presentation
Chapter: Alpha Gamma
Malone University
Submittted: 03/15/2013 
Life Sciences
Poster Session Presentation
 
Analysis of the Effects of Varied Seeding Density on Spodoptera Frugiperda Cells in Adherent Culture
An exciting accomplishment for Malone University is the recent addition of a tissue culture lab to the Timken Science Building. Our lab spent a majority of last semester tediously preparing the lab for use in research. For the first cell line to be cultured at Malone University, our lab chose to use a line that does not have biohazard precautions, has a history in research literature, and has relatively simple culture conditions. With these factors in mind, our lab chose to culture Spodoptera frugiperda (Sf9) cells, which is an insect cell line commonly used to express recombinant proteins. As a preliminary research project, I sought to verify recommended cell conditions and study the effects of placing Sf9 cells in an undesirable environment. Specifically I chose to examine varied seeding densities by studying effects on cell morphology, viability, and growth rates. Basing my project around a recommended seeding density that was used as an intermediate value, I also chose a high and low density in order to do a comparative study. My data was collected using microscopy, cell counts, and a dye exclusion method. I expected the data to support the recommended cultivating conditions, but analysis of my data proved otherwise and actually favored the higher seeding density.
 

 
Liyang Yu and Dr. Casey R. Watson Poster Presentation
Chapter: Pi
Millikin University
Submittted: 03/15/2013 
Physical Sciences
Poster Session Presentation
 
Do the Dark Matter Halos of Dwarf Galaxies share a Universal Core Radius?
Recent observations suggest that dark-matter-dominated Milky Way dwarf satellite galaxies contain auniversal mass of ~ 107 M within their innermost 300 pc. Additional observations suggest a universal, core dark matter (DM) surface density (μ0 = r00) for galaxies at all observed mass and luminosity scales.  We demonstrate that the combination of these two results implies the existence of a universal DM halo core radius (r0) for dwarf galaxies.  To test this prediction, we compare the results of our calculations to existing dwarf galaxy data for Burkert and NFW DM density profiles.


Faaria Salik, Dr. Travis E Wilcoxen, and Dr. David J HornPoster Presenter

Chapter: Pi
Millikin University
Submittted: 03/15/2013 
Physical Sciences
Poster Session Presentation
 
The effects of food supplementation and stress on the avian immune response to pathogenic yeast
Mounting an appropriate immune response is energetically expensive, and is influenced by birds’ overall condition, stress, and nutrition . We tested the effects of food supplementation and stress on the ability of 10 species of central Illinois songbirds to fight infection from pathogenic yeast, Candida albicans.  Four species showed a significant relationship between food availability and immunity to C. albicans.  Also, immunocompetence to this fungal pathogen significantly increased in response to high hematocrit, decreased in response to high baseline stress levels, and was unaffected by total plasma protein content. Our results suggest that the effect of feeding on Candida killing is species-dependant, and that Candida is eliminated primarily through the actions of the innate immune system. Our results also suggest that stress is an important physiological determinant of competent immune defenses. 
 

 
Andrew Rearick, Dr. Nicholette Rogers, Dr. Jennifer StankePoster Session Presentation
Chapter: Alpha Gamma
Malone University
Submittted: 03/15/2013 
Life Sciences
Poster Session Presentation
 
Analaysis of Apoptosis Induction by UV Light in Sf9 Cells
Recently, researchers have discovered the Sf9 insect cell line to be beneficial in expressing apoptosis when exposed to UV light.  Sf9 cells are a clonal cell line derived from ovarian tissue of the Spodoptera frugiperda, the fall army worm. Four experimental groups of Sf9 cells were exposed under a Laminar Flow Hood UV light (253.5 nm) at variable lengths of time; 0 (negative control), 15, 30 and 45 seconds of exposure.  On days 1, 3, 5, 7, and 10 day intervals after the initial exposure, morphology, viability and adherence patterns were observed of the Sf9 cells. Effects observed after 10 days included a drop in cell viability of 75% for each the 15 and 30 seconds experimental groups, while in the 45 seconds exposure group, cell viability was significantly decreased to 50%.  Additionally, this study exhibited morphological changes through all exposed experimental groups with the presence of cell debris, clustering of cells, appendages and deteriorated cellular membranes. These experiments demonstrated that UV light can induce change in morphology, adhesion and viability.
 

 

Krysta HagginsPoster Presenter
Chapter: Beta Upsilon
Marygrove College
Submittted: 03/15/2013 
Life Sciences
Poster Session Presentation
 
Microbial Growth Control via Moist and Dry Heat Effects on Microbial Survival Rate of Samonella typhimurium and Bacillus cerus

Microbial growth in poorly cooked food of common microorganisms Samonella typhimurium or Bacillus cerus may result in food poisoning. However if an effective method of controlling microbial growth is administered, the microbial survival rate may appear in low amounts (not concentrated enough to cause a threat to health) or not at all. Moist and dry heating methods are effective ways of controlling microbial growth if administered at a high enough temperature for a long enough time. In administering moist and dry heat treatments of different time intervals, dry heat had the greatest initial decrease in microbial survival rate and furthermore the lowest survival rate of Samonella typhimurium or Bacillus cerus after the final heat treatments.

 

 

Kristen JollyPoster Session Presentation
Chapter: Beta Upsilon
Marygrove College
Submittted: 03/15/2013 
Life Sciences
Poster Session Presentation
 
Microbiology: The Preparation of Frozen Chicken Breast
This experiment tested the microbial growth of microorganisms on raw chicken breast.  Meat exposed to certain temperatures that are considered dangerous are favorable for bacterial growth and contamination, which could potentially cause food borne illness or introduction of harmful parasites into the human body.  Different sections of a frozen chicken breast were placed in different environments until completely thawed.  A serial dilution test was performed to provide quantitative analysis on which environment served as a dangerous method to thaw out chicken, as naturally occurring microorganisms in the atmosphere can easily reproduce and contaminate food under favorable conditions such as variances in temperature.  The overall goal of the procedure is to identify the most effective and safe method of food preparation.
 

 
 
Brandon ParsonsPoster Session Presentation
Chapter: Alpha Gamma
Malone University
Submittted: 03/15/2013 
Life Sciences
Poster Session Presentation
 
Analysis of Fetal Bovine Serum’s Effects on Sf9 Cells  
The purpose of the following study was to investigate the effects of fetal bovine serum on cultured adherent Sf9 cells. Sf9 is a sub-clone derived from Spodeptera frugiperda, commonly known as the fall army worm. Sf9 cells were selected over their Sf21 counterpart due to their ability to growth at both higher densities and faster rates.Sf-900 II SFM (serum free media) is a serum-free and protein-free medium designed for the Sf9 cells being used in the experiment.It has been reported that the SFM shows significantly better results than does Grace’s medium, which was originally designed for the Australian Emperor Gum Moth, Antherea eucalypti.The use of FBS (fetal bovine serum) is sometimes combined with Grace’s medium to enhance growth.FBS is the most commonly used medium supplement, and is beneficial as it contains different growth factors, hormones, lipids, and minerals conducive to healthy cell metabolism.Our results indicated better densities and viabilites with addition of FBS . Using cell density and viability assays, I sought to determine  how adding FBS to the serum free medium would effect the density and viability of the Sf9 cells. 
 

 
  
Adam Engebretson, Kyle Fulghum, Audra Stephenson, Chelsie Brown Paper Presenter


Chapter: Beta Eta
Evangel University
Submittted: 03/16/2013 
Physical Sciences
Oral Session Presentation
 
The Effect Of Molecular Branching On Specific Rotation In Isomers Of Alcohols: Separation Of Racemic Alcohols Into Pure Enantiomers

Literature data (20°C, Sodium D) show a direct correlation between the surface area and specific rotations of (2S)-(+)-3-methylbutan-2-ol ([α]=+5.34°) and (2S)-(+)-pentan-2-ol ([α]=+7.65°). This study aims to use differences in the specific rotation in chiral isomers of alcohols to predict the specific rotation of various branched isomers. Hexan-2-ol, 3-methylpentan-2-ol, 4-methylpentan-2-ol, and 3,3-dimethylbutan-2-ol will be synthesized, and these enantiomers will be separated by converting the alcohols to diastereomers. Specific rotations will be measured using a polarimeter, a solution of 0.10g/mL, and a cell length of 1dm. Surface area decreases with increased molecular branching. Our preliminary data shows a direct correlation between surface area and the magnitude of specific rotation. Subsequent data is expected to follow this correlation, eventually allowing for the magnitude and direction of specific rotation to be predicted for a chiral molecule when compared to a differently branched isomer.The purpose of this study, and the content of this paper, was to develop a technique that would separate racemic alcohols into pure enantiomers for specific rotations to be measured. Current progress has resulted in 36% enantiomeric excess.

 

 
Rebekah D. Carlson, Kelly A. Commons, Lisa A. Lundstrom, Dr. David J. Horn, and Dr. Travis E. WilcoxenPoster Session Presentation
Chapter: Pi
Millikin University
Submittted: 03/16/2013 
Life Sciences
Poster Session Presentation
 
Seasonal and Cumulative Changes in the Number of Bird Visits to Feeders in Central Illinois
Bird feeding is one of the most popular hobbies in the United States; however, few studies have addressed the effects of supplemental feeding on bird populations.  We examined how bird visits to feeders changed seasonally and over time.  For five seasons, from summer 2011 to summer 2012, we conducted 30, one-hour feeder observations at three forested sites which previously had limited or no bird-feeding activity. Of the 12 species examined, 11 had significantly more bird visits at feeders during summer 2012 than summer 2011 (Black-capped Chickadee, Poecile atricapillus, was the exception). Thus, as a feeding station becomes more established, the maximum number of birds visiting feeders increases. Because two of the bird species with increased visits at feeders, Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater), and House Sparrow (Passer domesticus), have negative ecological impacts, people who feed birds should consider using seed blends that are not attractive to these species. 
 
 

 Kristen Coleman & Emily UhlenhakePoster Presenter
Chapter: Rho
University of Indianapolis
Submitted: 03/16/2013
Life Sciences
Poster Session Presentation
 
Analysis of Topoisomerase II Promoter DNA from Etoposide-Resistant K562 (K/VP.5) Leukemia Cells
Leukemia is a prevalent disease affecting many people worldwide.  Although chemotherapy can reverse leukemia, cells readily become resistant to the chemotherapeutic drugs used, hindering the success of the treatment. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the origins of anticancer drug resistance.  Numerous cell culture models of acquired resistance to anticancer drugs have been studied.  For example, the etoposide-resistant K562 leukemia cell line K/VP.5, shows decreased levels of topoisomerase II protein (the primary target of etoposide) and its mRNA (Ritke and Yalowich, 1993).  Topoisomerase II is a DNA binding protein that is required for DNA replication and mitosis, so understanding its regulation is of interest to these cellular processes as well as to understanding acquired resistance to topoisomerase II targeting anticancer drugs.  The overall goal of our research was two-fold. First, we isolated and sequenced the proximal K/VP.5 topoisomerase II gene promoter to look for a mutation that could reduce the amount of topoisomerase II mRNA being synthesized.  We found no difference between the DNA sequence of the K562 and K/VP.5 topoisomerase II promoter. Second, we analyzed the binding of topoisomerase II-specific transcription factors to DNA elements within the K/VP.5 and K562 topoisomerase II promoters using an in vitro technique, Electrophoretic Mobility Shift Assay or EMSA.  Based on prior research regarding the regulation of topoisomerase II, the experiments focused primarily on measuring the binding of transcription factors SP1/SP3 and NFY to their respective promoter DNA elements: the GC Boxes and Inverted CAAT box Elements (ICE) respectively.  We obtained evidence that SP1/SP3 binding to a GC box+ICE was less for K/VP.5 than K562 extracts.  Although not an intended purpose of our project, during the course of our studies we also optimized a commercially available EMSA kit, allowing for sensitive detection of transcription factor binding to topoisomerase II promoter elements. 
 
 

 Lindsey Baxter, Olivia Hays, Dr. Paris Barnes, and Dr. Anne Rammelsberg
Chapter: Pi
Millikin University
Submitted: 03-16/2013
Life Sciences
Poster Session Presentation

 

Encapsulation of Cantharidin via Gold Nanoshell-Liposome Composites

Vast progress has been made in cancer treatment over the past few decades; however, a conventional cure without serious degenerative side effects has yet to be discovered. Cantharidin, extracted from blister beetles (family Meloidae), is a known toxin that causes cell apoptosis. A means of transporting this toxin to specific tumor cells without damaging healthy cells within the body poses a potential approach to cancer treatment. Composites of liposomes and hollow gold nanoshells propose a solution as selective carry molecules for the toxin. The splitting of this project yielded two constituent parts with major focus areas: synthesis of the hollow gold nanoshells along with attachment and coating methods to the liposomes, and the synthesis of stable liposomes encapsulating Cantharidin. Attempts were made to synthesize gold nanoshells as well as Cantharidin-encapsulated liposomes. This poster will describe the methods for synthesizing liposomes encapsulating Cantharidin and potential future work.


 

Kyle Fulghum Paper Presenter


Chapter: Beta Eta
Evangel University
Submittted: 03/16/2013 
Life Sciences
Oral Session Presentation
 
The Health Considerations associated with Folic Acid Consumption
Folic Acid is an essential B vitamin linked to decreasing homocysteine levels and reducing the risk for embryonic neural tube disorders. Neural tube disorders occur in 3-4% of births, but research supports that many incidences can be prevented. Folic acid functions in converting homocysteine to methionine. Methionine is essential for neural tube closure, and consumption of folic acid is associated with reducing risks of neural tube disorders in birth. On average, people do not consume the daily, recommended 400 μg of folic acid to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Even with mandatory fortification of certain foods, research shows that multivitamin supplementation is a better way to ensure consumption of the recommended dose of folic acid. In addition to preventing neural tube disorders, folic acid will decrease the risks for cardiovascular diseases and psychological disorders. Homocysteine acts as a toxin that attacks endothelial linings within the body, and through its conversion to methionine, researchers observe a decrease in the risk for cardiovascular diseases. Attempts have been made to increase the awareness of health benefits associated with folic acid consumption; however, limited success has been noticed. By increasing awareness, it is postulated that consumption of folic acid will increase, therefore decreasing the incidence of many diseases.
 
 


Robert Buch, Dr. Nicolette Rogers, and Dr. Jennifer StankePoster Session Presentation
Chapter: Alpha Gamma
Malone University
Submittted: 03/16/2013 
Life Sciences
Poster Session Presentation
 
Growth Effects on Sf9 Cells when Grown at Varied Temperatures
An insect cell line (Sf9) derived from the ovarian tissue of the fall army worm, Spodoptera frugiperda, is susceptible to various environmental changes. One of the specific environmental changes investigated was temperature.  We tested the hypothesis that increasing the incubation temperature will have a large impact on viability, morphology, adherence and confluence. To test this hypothesis, two temperature conditions were chosen; 28°C and 33°C in non-humidified, ambient air incubators. Equal numbers of cells were plated in 25cm2 tissue culture flasks and observed for 10 days. Cell counts were taken on days 5 and 10 in order to determine viability. Media changes were done on days 3 and 7 to provide sufficient nutrients for growth. The effects of the different temperatures were recorded by observing confluence, morphology and adherence of Sf9 cells.  Although confluence between conditions remained roughly the same between the two temperatures, cell counts determined that cells grown at 28°C have a much higher viability than those grown at 33°C. Cells grown at 33°C appeared more swollen and contained more processes compared to those grown at 28°C. While cells grown at 28°C are more adherent than those incubated at 33°C.  
 
 

 
Sarah Huber, Dr. Travis Wilcoxen, and Dr. David HornPoster Session Presentation
Chapter: Pi
Millikin University
Submittted: 03/16/2013 
Life Sciences
Poster Session Presentation
 
Stress physiology of songbirds in response to bird feeding activities
The purpose of this study was to observe stress physiology and its interaction with reproductive endocrinology in relation to variation in food availability among communities of common feeder-using birds.  Over an 18-month period, we observed two measures of stress physiology, heterophil to lymphocyte ratios and baseline corticosterone levels, and made comparisons among birds captured at natural areas with feeders of commercial bird food and similar sites without feeders.  We also tested for correlations between the indicators of stress and the sex steroids testosterone and estradiol in males and females respectively. We hypothesized that in the presence of supplemental food, there will be a lower heterophil to lymphocyte ratio and lower corticosterone levels in birds, exemplifying stress-reducing effects of an abundant, predictable food source.  Further, we predicted that greater stress would correlate with decreased levels of sex steroids. Overall, our findings offer new information on the relationship between variation in food availability, stress and reproductive physiology in a songbird community. 
 

 
Andreas Copan  Paper Presentation
Chapter: Beta Iota
Bethel University
Submittted: 03/16/2013 
Physical Sciences
Oral Session Presentation
 
Geometry Optimization with Effective Fragments
The Effective Fragment Potential (EFP) method of solvent modeling, developed for the GAMESS quantum chemistry software package, has greatly expanded the number of chemical systems accessible by rigorous ab initio methods. In essence, where computing cost once restricted rigorous methods to the study of isolated (“gas-phase”) systems, EFP allows the inclusion of solvent in the model with only moderate increases in computing time. LibEFP, an implementation of the EFP method maintained by Ilya Kaliman, Ph.D., will be included in the release of the Psi4 quantum chemistry package. This project involves the interfacing of LibEFP with Psi4’s molecular geometry optimizer to allow inclusion of effective fragments (usually solvent molecules) in equilibrium state, transition state, and reaction path determinations (“optimizations”). This requires: (1) a coordinate system to describe fragment position, (2) storage of force/torque information guiding fragment motion, and (3) properly rotation and translationof fragments in response to these guiding forces. All code for the project is written in C++. These main ingredients mentioned above have been implemented in a Psi4 plugin and are now being integrated into the Psi4 geometry optimization code. Successful interfacing of LibEFP with Psi4 will allow realistic modeling of solvent-dependent systems, including many of those of studied in biochemistry, organic chemistry, and most branches chemical synthesis.
 
 

 
Chelsea Hadsall, Dian Romonosky, George Bennett, and Paris W. Barnes  Paper Presentation
Chapter: Pi
Millikin University
Submittted: 03/16/2013 
Physical Sciences
Oral Session Presentation
 
Synthesis and Characterization of Novel High-Nitrogen Content Energetic Materials
Currently used pyrotechnics produce greenhouse gases, pollute groundwater sources and form irritating smoke. These pollutants are harmful to both humans and the environment. The goal of this project is to synthesize novel “green” energetic materials that would fuel environmentally-friendly pyrotechnic applications. Proposed derivates of 3,6-di(hydrazine)-1,2,4,5-tetrazine will be analyzed using WebMO to determine the heat of formation and heat of explosion. Based on these findings, selected derivatives of 3,6-di(hydrazine)-1,2,4,5-tetrazine will be synthesized and analyzed structurally using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and single crystal X-ray diffraction. Drop tests will be performed on the new energetic materials to determine their relative stability and bomb calorimetry will be used to determine the amount of heat released by the new pyrotechnic fuels. If an easily synthesized compound that releases the appropriate amount of energy is discovered, further research will be done to see if the compound can be incorporated into fireworks that produce minimal environmental waste.
 

 
Kody BolkPoster Presenter

Chapter: Beta
McKendree University
Submittted: 03/17/2013 
Environmental Science
Poster Session Presentation
 
Effects of Human Disturbance on the Abundance of Graminoids and Forbs in a Restored Prairie

In North America, prairie habitats are declining due to various factors including disturbance, such as burning treatments, herbivory, or human interactions. In this study, the effects of human disturbance on distribution and abundance of graminoids and forbs were analyzed at Kennedy Woods/Prairie Savannah within Forest Park in St. Louis, Missouri. Graminoids were expected near the disturbance because they grow more efficiently in disturbed areas. Ten replicates of 30 meter transects were run perpendicular to the edge of a bike path serving as human disturbance, and a 0.25 m2 quadrat was placed on the ground at five meter increments. In each quadrat, the percent cover of graminoids and forbs was estimated for comparison of distribution and abundance. It was found that as distance from the disturbance increased, abundance of graminoids decreased and abundance of forbs increased. The percent cover of graminoids was 2.5 times greater than forbs near the disturbance. Therefore, graminoids were more successful near areas of high human disturbance. Human disturbances may alter prairie composition, and further analysis is needed to understand the effects on other species in the ecosystem. Understanding alterations in prairie composition is necessary for proper management techniques for restoration of prairies in human-populated areas.

 


 

Joseph Cheeney and Casey Watson Poster Session Presentation
Chapter: Pi
Millikin University
Submittted: 03/18/2013 
Physical Sciences
Poster Session Presentation

Does the Observed Phase Space Density of Dwarf Galaxies Indicate a Consistent Value for the Mass of the Dark Matter Particle?

Recent studies have suggested that the phase space densities (Q) of Milky Way dwarf satellite galaxies imply a keV-scale dark matter particle mass. To go beyond this order-of magnitude estimate, we examine trends in the phase space density data and consider their implications for the relationship between the primordial Q (QP), which depends directly on the dark matter particle mass, and the presently observed values of Q (Q0). We then determine whether the application of a consistent QP-Q0 relationship to the Q0 data yields a consistent and more well-constrained value of the dark matter particle mass.


 

Chris Pelikan and Casey Watson  
Chapter: Pi
Millikin University
Submittted: 03/18/2013 
Physical Sciences
Poster Session Presentation
 
What does the Observed, Universal Dark Matter Surface Density of Galaxies tell us about Halo Substructure?

Recent observations suggest a universal, core dark matter (DM) surface density (μ0 = r0r0) for galaxies at all observed mass and luminosity scales. We show that this result emerges naturally if the gravitational field is spherically symmetric at the core radius of the DM halo. This result is independent of the scale of the DM halo core being considered as well as the assumed DM density profile. If a spherically symmetric gravitational field is the correct interpretation of the universal value of μ0, it implies that no dark matter substructure can exist even within the largest core radius for which the universal μ0 relation holds. Otherwise, such substructure would spoil the symmetry — except in the highly contrived scenario that substructure is symmetrically distributed within the cores of DM halos at all scales for which the universal μ0 relation is observed. Ignoring this extremely unlikely special case, the symmetry condition translates into an upper bound on the mass of the dark matter particle. Our result, which favors lower mass candidates, is consistent with the findings of several other recent studies.