2014 Sigma Zeta National Convention Presentation Abstracts

Drew AdamsHarleen Athwal | Lindsey BaxterMegan Birchmeier* | Heather Campbell | Nicole CrockerSamantha Daily | Sarah Elliott

 Jordan Estes | Ashley Flores | Scott Glasgow | Trevor GrandgenettSarah Greteman-Leo | Chelsea Hadsall*Chrisopher Himes*

 Caitlan Hinton* | Brenna Holland | Andrea Kanani* | Brian Kane | Kyleray Katherman | Shannon Leipus* | Jonathan Miller*

 Dan Mohr | Andrew OlsenNicole Olsen* | Christopher Otolski | Nicholas Quam | Laura Rasmussen | Megan Sayler

Laura Schaeper | Zachary Schreiber | Steven Schull | Brandon Smith | Tara Stacey | Katie Thelen | Stephan Wannah | Eric Yu

* Recipients of Sigma Zeta Research Awards


 

Andrew AdamsAndrew Adams Convention Photo

Chapter: Gamma Eta
Marian University
Submitted 03/25/2014
Physical Sciences
Poster Session Presentation

Comparative analysis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in Commercial and TLUD kiln-produced biochars by GC-MS with selected ion monitoring

Biochar is a stable porous carbonaceous material produced via the incomplete pyrolysis of biomass. Its production and use can be very positive as a soil amendment, and also as acting as a carbon-sink. However, a potential risk of biochar production and use is soil contamination through leaching of pyrolysis products. In particular, the hazardous molecular species known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are known byproducts of some biomass pyrolysis processes. Current literature studies [1, 2] leave some uncertainty as to whether PAHs are significant products of biochar production. Commercial and TLUD kiln-produced biochar samples were subjected to Soxhlet extraction into toluene and analyzed using GC-MS with the goal of detecting PAHs. The material exhibited very similar profiles, dominated by chain hydrocarbons, with relatively small amounts of PAH detected to be present. This would appear to be in agreement with ref. [1] and in disagreement with ref. [2], though it is possible that some PAHs were lost during the filtration process (through Celite) following the Soxhlet extraction.

 


Harleen AthwalHarleen Athwal Convention Photo

Chapter: Rho
University of Indianapolis
Submittted: 02/15/2014 
Life Sciences
Poster Session Presentation
 
Manipulation of Anthocyanin Production in Saponaria officinalis using Sun Screen
 

Saponaria officinalis is a protandrous perennial herb, meaning individual flowers transition from male to female reproductive stages.  Floral gender change is correlated with an increase in anthocyanin pigment concentration in the petals, so that flowers turn pink as the transformation takes place.  Previous research has shown the increase in anthocyanins is proportional to the amount of sunlight to which flowers are exposed: lower amounts of anthocyanins are found in flowers from plants grown in shade vs. sun. To determine the effects of floral color change on fitness, it is necessary to be able to manipulate floral color while holding other variables, such as flower size and shape, constant. The experiment presented here tested the effectiveness of applying cosmetic sunscreen chemicals to petals, in order to manipulate the production of anthocyanins in flowers on the same plant.  Flowers were treated in their early male phase by brushing petals with an inert oil+sunscreen, oil only, or with nothing as a control. Data was collected when the flowers reached female phase. The reflectance and absorption spectrum were compared for all three treatments. Flowers treated with sunscreen were significantly less pink compared to the control or oil treated flowers. New inert oil needs to be tested because the flowers treated with oil only had some effect on the pinkness and had less biomass compared to the control flowers. Overall, this method holds promise to study the fitness effects of floral color change in this species if petal color affects pollinator behavior. 


 

Lindsey Baxter, Dr. Paris Barnes, Dr. Jen Schroeder, Dr. Anne RammelsbergLindsey Baxter Convention Photo

Chapter: Pi
Millikin University
Submitted: 03/15/2014 
Life Sciences
Oral Session Presentation

Synthesis and Application of Gold Cantharidin-Containing Liposome Nanoparticles for Use in Breast Cancer Treatment

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, commonly found in the excretion of 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 is a potential approach to cancer treatment. Composites of liposomes and hollow gold nanoshells are potential selective carrier molecules for the toxin. Fluorimetry measurements showed the liposomes retained their cantharidin cargo during a 48-hour study. Cytoxicity studies employing three breast cancer cell lines were implemented to measure cell apoptosis rates in the presence of the various constituents of the composites. Application of these composites presents a potentially less toxic, targeted defense against cancer.


 Megan Birchmeier*, Sandra DavisM Birchmeier Convention Photo

Chapter: Rho
University of Indianapolis
Submitted: 03/11/2014 
Environmental Science
Poster Session Presentation
 

Expression of the Anthocyanidin Synthase Gene During Gender Transition of Flowers of Protandrous Saponaria officinalis

Flower color is an important phenotypic trait that is involved in the attraction of insects for pollination.  Many species alter floral pigment production in response to environmental triggers or developmental changes.  We are studying Saponaria officianalis, a flower that has a color change associated with gender transition.  Saponaria officinalis is protandrous, and individual flowers transition from male to female throughout their lifetime.  With an increase of anthocyanin pigments concentration,Saponaria officinalis female-phase flowers appear pink, while male-phase flowers appear white.  In addition, some plants produce pinker flowers than others.  The biosynthetic pathway for anthocyanin pigments has been well characterized and several regulatory genes in the pathway have been identified.  Our research goal was to develop techniques to examine changes in mRNA levels in male- and female-phase flowers to determine if color change is regulated by differential expression of these genes. Primers that amplified a portion of the dihydroflavanon 4-reducatse gene (DFR) were identified and confirmed by DNA sequencing.  Total RNA was extracted from petals of male- and female-phase flowers collected from plant genotypes that produced either pale or deep pink flowers in the summer of 2013.  Semi-quantitative mRNA levels of DFR and actin (the control) were determined by reverse transcriptase PCR, followed by gel electrophoresis.  The resulting band intensity was measured using computer software to compare the amount of gene expression in the male- versus female-phase flowers.  We predicted that an increase in mRNA, or brighter band intensity, should be directly related to an increase in pink pigment.  By looking at gene expression in the anthocyanin pathway, we will be better able to determine the triggers involved in floral color plasticity in Saponaria officinalis.  Our results went against our hypothesis and indicate that increased anthocyanin production in female-phase flowers and pinker genotypes may not be regulated by DFR production.


 

Heather Campbell, Winnie Shivega, & Laura Aldrich-WolfeHeather Campbell Convention Photo

Chapter: Gamma Gamma
Concordia College
Submitted: 03/15/2014
Environmental Science
Oral Session Presentation

Diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in native prairie, agricultural and prairie restoration sites in northwestern Minnesota

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) form symbiotic relationships with plants, assisting plants in the uptake of water and nutrients in exchange for carbohydrates. Plant species differ in dependence on AMF and specificity of the AMF with which they associate, potentially leading to differences in plant species richness with differences in AMF richness. Soil conditions such as nutrient availability and pH, may also influence AMF richness. In this study, we documented species richness of AMF spores, plant species richness, and soil conditions across a range of land use types in northwestern Minnesota. We found that soil phosphorus was higher in current and former agricultural sites than in native prairie. Spore richness of AMF was positively correlated with plant species richness and soil pH and negatively correlated with soil phosphorus. Our results suggest that restoration of prairie plant communities may be hampered by a loss of AMF species diversity in agricultural soils.


 

Nicole CrockerNicole Crocker Convention Photo

Chapter: Beta Iota
Bethel University
Submittted: 03/15/2014 
Life Sciences
Poster Session Presentation

Memory and learning with an aversive stimulus based on turn alternations in Porcellio laevis

The mechanism whereby Porcellio scaber perform alternating turns at a forced intersection is hypothesized by Robert Hughes to be related to asymmetrical leg fatigue but is it is widely unknown whether their cognitive abilities play a role. In this study the decision making abilities and memory capacity of the Porcellio laevis were tested through a forced turn arm and then a choice intersection in order to determine if the organisms’ behavioral responses indicated cognitive function.  The turn alternation phenomenon was first established in the novel organism of Porcellio laevis due to its availability. Then light was used as an aversive stimulus to manipulate the action pattern to determine its plasticity. The woodlice responded to the stimuli and a dramatic decrease in turn alternations was present with the light than without it. Further research is being done to determine the extent to which the organisms will remember the adverse stimuli after it has been trained to expect it.


 Samantha L. Daily, Dylan R. Stoddard, David W. Pearson, & Patrick F. FieldsSamantha Daily Convention Photo

Chapter: Alpha Eta
Olivet College
Submittted: 03/13/2014 
Environmental Science
Poster Session Presentation
 

Tree Importance Value Determinations for Jenny Woods, MI

Jenney Woods is a 135 acre, poorly drained swamp/wet land. Owned by the Calhoun Country Conservation District and located in central Calhoun County, MI, approximately five miles southwest of Marshall.

A study was conducted to determine the importance values (IV) of the hardwoods present. We measured 211 living trees (with a DBH > 2.5cm) distributed along a north-south trending 15 m wide transect and two smaller east-west trending transects. Twelve species are present, including one vine and one tree-like shrub (the latter two included because they exceeded our minimum size requirement). All species encountered were native to Michigan; except a single apple that is likely a cultivated variety. Acer rubrum is clearly the most important tree measured (IV = 110.1), followed by (in descending order); Ulmus americana (IV=61.4), Quercus palustris (IV=33.9), A. saccharinum (IV=28.6), Lindera benzoin (IV=25.7), Fraxinus pennsylvanica (IV= 11.1), Prunus virginiana (IV=7.9), Ulmus rubra (IV=7.8), Parthenocissus quinquefolia (IV=5.2), P. serotina (IV=4.3), Q. alba (IV=2.2), and Malus sp. (IV=2.1). Eight out of the 12 species are common to wet habitats, including the six most important species. Two others are characteristic of hardwood forests, while P. virginiana is intolerant of wet habitats.

Comparisons of within species size distribution suggests: 1) The majority of the species exhibit a pattern consistent with healthy woods (more juveniles, declining numbers with age); 2) Quercus palustris is not reproducing (no individuals with DBH < 20 cm); 3) Prunus is newly established (no individuals > 15 cm ); 4) A. saccharinum is recovering from past disturbance (numerous small and large individuals, but very few in the 10–20 cm DBH range); and 5) Numerous A. rubrum/saccharinum hybrids are present.

Comparison to KirKellDEL (a mixed hardwood forest, 14 mi NE) shows that it contains similar species, but is dominated by: PrunusFraxinusQuercusAcer, and the non-native Eleagnus. These suggest a drier habitat where heavy deer predation has allowed Prunus and the invasive Eleagnus to become abundant.


Sarah N. Elliott, Mark A. Turner, Nathan C. LindquistSarah Elliott Convention Photo

Chapter: Beta Iota
Bethel University
Submittted: 03/14/2014 
Physical Sciences
Poster Session Presentation
 

Fabrication and characterization of nanometallic substrates for high-resolution chemical imaging

Nano-structured metallic surfaces have shown great promise as biosensing devices and chemical imaging substrates.  Advancements in nano-metallic substrate fabrication allow for increasingly high resolution chemical imaging and sensing through surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS).   In SERS, an electromagnetic field may be enhanced through metallic nanostructures and localized plasmon resonances, increasing the Raman signal by orders of magnitude. Fabrication of nano-metallic holes, bumps, grooves, gaps, tips or ridges give plasmon resonances and allow efficient SERS.  

This research involves development of both silver nano-structure fabrication and micro-Contact (µContact) printing techniques.  Structures have been manufactured by silver deposition onto silicon templates and subsequent transfer with adhesive from the template to glass slides.  The precision surfaces are chemically patterned with monolayer of molecules from a stamp made of PDMS cured and stripped from a separate silicon template. Chemical images and nano-metallic surface characterizations have been collected  through SERS imaging via a laser-scanning microscope.


 Jordan Estes, Matthew B. NeibergallJordan Estes Convention Photo

Chapter: Beta Iota
Bethel University
Submittted: 03/06/2014 
Life Sciences
Poster Session Presentation
 

Cloning, overexpression, and purification of full length PKI for biophysical studies of cAMP dependent protein kinase A

PKI is a 75 residue peptide inhibitor that modulates the kinase activity and cellular localization of cAMP-dependent protein kinase A (PKA) in vivo.  The catalytic subunit of PKA (PKA-C) exists in dynamic equilibrium between three conformational states: open, intermediate and closed states.  Previous work has shown that nucleotide and substrate binding change both the position of the equilibria and the dynamics between the states, suggesting that conformational selection and regulation of dynamics are required for efficient catalysis by PKA.  By contrast, when the twenty residue fragment of PKI (PKI5-24) binds to PKA-C in the presence of nucleotide, it quenches the observed dynamics, trapping the kinase in a nonproductive closed conformation.  The goals of this project are to clone, overexpress, and purify the full length, physiologically-relevant form of PKI to support NMR studies of PKI-PKA-C complexes.  Ultimately, these studies will contribute to our understanding of how kinase activity is regulated in cell signaling and gene regulation, and misregulated in disease states.


 

Ashley Flores, Hailey Albert, Amanda Stiner, Travis Mansur, Allyson Fry, and Paris BarnesAshley Flores Convention Photo

Chapter: Pi
Millikin University
Submittted: 03/14/2014 
Physical Sciences
Poster Session Presentation
 

X-ray Diffraction Studies of A2BTeO6 (A = Ca, Sr, or Ba; B = Ca, Cd) Double Perovskites

Tellurium (VI)-containing compounds have the potential to be useful as capacitor materials for applications utilizing microwave dielectrics. However, the synthesis and crystallography of double perovskites containing Te (VI) has not been extensively discussed in the chemical literature. We prepared six A2BTeO6 double perovskites, where A is one of the heavier divalent alkaline earth metal cations (Ca, Sr, or Ba) and B is either Ca (II) or Cd (II).  Their crystal structures were determined by Rietveld refinement of X-ray powder diffraction data. This poster will focus on comparing and contrasting the crystal structures of the six closely related double perovskites.


 

Scott M. Glasgow, Jason R. Courter, Hyunju Ban Scott Glasgow Convention Photo

Chapter: Alpha Gamma
Malone University
Submitted: 3/14/2014
Environmental Science
Oral Session Presentation

A Fibonacci Recursive Compounded Model for the Clean Energy Economy

This paper proposes a Fibonacci Recursive Economic Model for the clean energy economy. It addresses the issue of climate change in relation to financial market trends. The model, based on Fibonacci retracement, enables us to offer a set of possible explanations and solutions. We first examine CO2 emission levels from the past to form a compounded model to predict future levels. Next, we demonstrate how the increase and decrease of CO2 emission levels since 1969 relate to the performance of global financial markets. We then use the stock market Fibonacci Retracement indicator—where Fibonacci ratios are manipulated by their reciprocals and to a certain power in accordance to it’s sequence—to predict future trends in CO2 emissions and global financial markets by revealing a potentially direct relationship between the two. Lastly, we illustrate the potential impacts of covariants—technological advances and policy changes—in possibly altering the projected trend from a direct relationship to an inverse relationship.


 

Trevor Grandgenett, Brandon Smith, Hannah Fordahl, Kylie Jans Trevor Grandgenett Convention Photo

Chapter: Gamma Gamma
Concordia College
Submitted: 03/15/2014
Environmental Science
Poster Session Presentation

Plankton Density Variance Over a 24 Hour Time Period at Long Lake

Plankton play a very large role in the primary production around the world, as they are important in oxygen production and fix large amounts of inorganic carbon into a useable form and reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  Plankton have shown to exhibit vertical migration within the water column over a 24-hour time period.  The vertical migration of plankton was studied on Long Lake in Detroit Lakes, MN, by determining plankton densities in each layer of the lake every 4 hours for a 24 hour time period.  The plankton densities appear to fluctuate throughout the day.  This fluctuation may have been caused by several different factors, including temperature variance, limited UV exposure due to heavy cloud cover, and harsh winds. A strong correlation between plankton density distribution and time of day was also found. Further research will need to be conducted in order to validate the findings.  This information can be used in the future to help predict the location of predatory fish on the lake at certain times of the day. 

 


Sarah Greteman-Leo Sarah Greteman-Leo Convention Photo

Chapter: Beta Iota
Bethel University
Submittted: 02/26/2014 
Physical Sciences
Poster 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, yet 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. While accurate optical rotations have been calculated in the gas phase using ab initio quantum chemical programs with high electron correlation and large basis sets, the inclusion of solvent molecules has made these problems increasingly more complex. In this work, the property of optical rotation is explored—namely through studying the direct impact of solvent on a system through the method of explicit solvation. In particular, the solutes (S)-methyloxirane and (S)-2-chloropropionitrile were studied with additional solvent molecules such as water, hydrogen sulfide, ammonia and acetonitrile. Specific rotations were computed using both density functional theory (DFT) and coupled cluster methods (CC). The results reveal the extreme sensitivity and dependence on solvent of the property of optical rotation. Results also indicated the need for high electron correlation in these computations.


Chelsea M. Hadsall*, Dian Romonosky, Dr. George D. Bennett, Dr. Paris W. Barnes Chelsea Hadsall Convention Photo

Chapter: Pi
Millikin University
Submitted: 03/18/2014
Physical Sciences
Oral Session Presentation
 

Synthesis and Characterization of High-Nitrogen Content Energetic Materials

Pyrotechnics, chemicals used in fireworks, 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. A known pyrotechnic, 3,6-di(hydrazino)-1,2,4,5-tetrazine (Hz2Tz) and its derivatives were analyzed using WebMO to determine the heat of formation and heat of explosion. Based on these findings, derivatives of, Hz2Tz , 3,6-(1,1-dimethylhydrazino)-1,2,4,5-tetrazine, semicarbazide 3,6-disubstituted-1,2,4,5-tetrazine, will be synthesized and analyzed structurally using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Drop tests will be performed on the novel energetic materials to determine their relative stability and bomb calorimetry will be used to determine the amount of heat released by the novel pyrotechnic fuels. If an easily synthesized compound that releases the appropriate amount of energy is discovered, further research will be done to determine if the compound can be incorporated into fireworks that produce minimal environmental waste.


Christopher HimesChristopher Himes Convention Photo

Chapter: Alpha Gamma
Malone University
Submitted: 03/15/2014
Life Sciences
Poster Session Presentation

An Investigation Into the Formation of Subtelomeric Heterochromatin in Drosophila melanogaster: the Role of SU(VAR)3-9

Chromosomes, which contain the genetic code necessary for life, are composed of chromatin (DNA wrapped around histones). Within chromatin, two subsets exist: gene-rich euchromatin and gene-poor heterochromatin, which is predominantly found at the centromeres and the telomeres of the chromosome. Improper formation of heterochromatin can interrupt cell development and alter cellular function, potentially causing disease. Drosophila melanogaster histone methyltransferase Su(var)3-9 (which places a methyl group on Histone 3 Lysine 9) plays an essential role in the proper formation of heterochromatin at the telomeres. However, results from phenotypic assays indicated that flies carrying the mutant allele Su(var)3-91699 are unable to form wild-type heterochromatin at either telomeres or centromeres. To better understand the normal function of Su(var)3-9 in heterochromatin formation, the effects of the Su(var)3-91699 mutation have been investigated. First, molecular assays were used to confirm the presence of the Su(var)3-91699 mutation in the fly stocks used. Secondly, a molecular modeling program was used to model the tertiary structure of the Su(var)3-9protein. Lastly, chromatin has been prepared in preparation for chromatin immunoprecipitation assays which will directly examine the methylation state of the histones at telomeric heterochromatin in wild-type and Su(var)3-91699 fly stocks. 


Caitlan Hinton*, Eric Yu, Brian Bickel, Shannon Leipus, Dr. Joseph Whittaker Caitlan Hinton Convention Photo

Chapter: Gamma Gamma
Concordia College
Submitted: 03/15/2014
Environmental Science
Poster Session Presentation

Impacts of gopher mound building activities and density of gopher mounds on soil composition in native and restored prairies

Prairie habitats have been reduced to 1% of their original area.  As a result, many natural processes that maintained prairie habitat, such as fire and grazing by large herbivores, no longer function. One of the small, yet important, herbivores that still remain in these prairie habitats is the pocket gopher. Previous research has established that the burrowing activities of pocket gophers play an important role in prairie ecosystem structure and development through the cycling of soil nutrients. Our objective was to examine the impact of gopher mound building and density of pocket gopher mounds on the soil composition of native and restored prairies. Soil samples were taken from 10 gopher mounds, and from one meter away from each of the 10 mounds at each of the sampled prairies. We have found significant differences between gopher mounds and pH and nitrogen composition of the surrounding soil.    


 

Brenna Holland, Christine Skaggs, Katharine Jones, Amanda Scanameo Brenna Holland Convention Photo

Chapter: Gamma Eta
Marian University
Submitted: 3/15/2014
Life Sciences
Poster Session Presentation

Evidence Supports That Planarian Regeneration is Not Affected By Handedness

Planarians, from the Turbellaria class, are used as model organisms in studies of tissue regeneration and ageing. Planarians are studied for their regenerative properties. Planarians use two different types of regeneration: morphallaxis, the remodeling of existing tissues, and blastema formation, the generation of new tissue at a wound site.  Handedness, or the dominance of one side, is another trait demonstrated in planarians. In this study, we examine the role that handedness plays in the regeneration of black planarians. 

 


 

Andrea Kanani*, Ken Rohly Andrea Kanani Convention Photo

Chapter: Beta Iota
Bethel University
Submittted: 03/14/2014 
Physical Sciences
Oral Session Presentation
 

Correlation of Passivation Treatments on 316L Stainless Steel with Electrochemical Behavior

Stainless steel 316L is an important metal for biomedical applications.  The stronger the oxide layer on the 316L stainless steel, the more durable the metal will be for implantable medical devices.  Experiments were designed to test the electrochemical characteristics of the oxide layer formed on 316L stainless steel after the application of a variety of passivation conditions.  Samples of 316L stainless steel were electropolished in either a used solution or a newly made solution and passivated in either nitric acid or citric acid at either room temperature or 65 oC .  The samples were then analyzed by the electrochemical technique of cyclic polarization.  The data collected from cyclic polarization included passive region, pitting characteristics, breakdown and repassivation potentials, and corrosion rate.  The data indicated that the newly made electropolishing solution, citric acid passivation, and passivation at 65 oC generated the most durable oxide layer, compared to their counterparts, based on corrosion rate.************ 


 Brian David Kane Brian Kane Convention Photo

Chapter: Pi
Millikin University
Submittted: 03/11/2014 
Physical Sciences
Oral Session Presentation
 

Examination of the Factors Associated with the Intrinsic Instability of Hollow Gold Nanoshells

Hollow gold nanoshells (HAuNS) are currently being studied as potential components for anti-cancer treatments. This study focused on the thermal and electrolyte stability of HAuNS. The HAuNSs surface plasma resonance peakchanges drastically at 37 °C. The magnitude of the blue-shift is size-, concentration-, temperature-, and time-dependent. Larger HAuNSs demonstrated greater stability than smaller shells.  HAuNSs also aggregate faster in greater ionic strength solutions; however, the rate of aggregation is electrolyte-specific. Adding chemical species like PEG, BSA, or a combination of the tworeduces hollow gold nanoshell instability.


 Kyleray R. Katherman, Anastasia V. Goldys, Deborah B. Champagne, Lisa Checkley, Michael T. Ferdig, Heather B. Reilly AyalaK Katerman Convention Photo

Chapter: Beta Beta
George Fox University
Submittted: 02/28/2014 
Life Sciences
Poster Session Presentation
 

Comparative growth analysis of malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, using 3H-Hypoxanthine incorporation and SYBR green fluorescence

Approximately 655,000 people worldwide die annually from malaria; most of which is caused by the parasite Plasmodium falciparium.  The rate of parasite growth in the patient is correlated with disease severity therefore a better understanding of growth is necessary for finding means to eradicate the disease. Tritium labeled hypoxanthine (3H- Hx) has been the ‘gold standard’ for measuring parasite growth as it effectively mirrors visually determined parasitemias. This method of labeling requires the parasites to be starved of the essential nucleic acid precursor, hypoxanthine (Hx) for 48 hours.  SYBR green, a relatively inexpensive fluorescent dye, has been shown to give similar results to 3H-Hx-incorporation in drug assays.  However, a side-by-side comparison of SYBR green and 3H-Hx-incorporation has never been performed in the absence of drug.  Here we provide a head to head comparison of the SYBR green and 3H-Hx-incorporation assays in a set of genetically unique progeny to ascertain if these two methods can be used interchangeably.  Additionally, we use the SYBR green assay to measure differences in parasite growth resulting from Hx starvation. Preliminary data indicates that the relative growth as measured by both assays is comparable. We also observe that parasites have variable responses to hypoxanthine starvation suggesting a possible genetic mechanism may be involved.


 

Shannon Leipus*, Hannah Schradick, Eric Yu, Caitlin Hinton, Brian Bickel, Madeline Johnson, Katelyn Schneider, Michael Rose Shannon Leipus Convention Photo

Chapter: Gamma Gamma
Concordia College
Submitted: 03/15/2014
Environmental Science
Poster Session Presentation

Identification of Peromyscus in Minnesota Habitats: A Comparison of Molecular Analysis of Salivary Amylase and Body Measurements

White-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) and deer mice (Pmaniculatus) are two of the most common and abundant small mammals in North America and are identified as significant seed dispersers, predators of pest insects, prey items of avian and mammalian predators, and disease vectors and reservoirs. These two species are extremely difficult to tell apart in the field.  Morphological measurements, typically used for identification, are inconsistent. Reliable identification is possible through different allozymes for salivary amylase.  We collected saliva and used cellulose acetate electrophoresis for identification from a variety of sites throughout northwestern Minnesota between 2004 and 2013. We tested 821 Peromyscus saliva samples from a variety of habitats and compared the amylase results with morphological data. Our objective was to definitively identify Peromyscus to species in a region with high habitat overlap and to examine how well morphological predictors compared to the amylase identification.  We found that 33% of the captured mice could not be identified by measurements because of extensive overlap.  Additionally, we found 15 to 25% of identifications based on morphology were incorrect. In sum, the cumulative error when trapping Peromyscus results in up to 48% of the mice we captured being unidentifiable or incorrectly assigned to species based on the body identifiers.


Jonathan Miller* & Stephen Wannah Jonahtan Miller &amp; Stephen Wannah Convention Photo

Chapter: Alpha Gamma
Malone University
Submitted: 03/15/2014
Life Sciences
Poster Session Presentation

Computational Modeling of the Interaction Between S1PR1 and ISP-I and Several ISP-I Derivatives for Determination of the Reliability of a Computational Method for Predicting Drug-Protein Interactions

The objective of this project is the determination of the reliability of a computational method for predicting protein-drug interactions in the human body. The hope is to produce an accurate method for determining the effectiveness of a proposed drug before testing the drug on animals or humans. A computational method that accurately predicts this type of interaction would be beneficial in lowering research cost and reducing research time.

ISP-I (myriocin) is a chemical that is essential in immunomodulation in the human body by interacting on the Sphingosine-1-phosphate receptors (S1PR’s). FTY720 (Fingolimod) is an immunosuppressive compound derived from ISP-I. The process of derivatization from ISP-I to FTY720 produces several intermediates that also have a measureable affinity for S1PR1.

Using the computational chemistry software Yet Another Scientific Artificial Reality Application (YASARA), the interactions between ISP-I, FTY720, and chosen reaction intermediates between ISP-I and FTY720 with S1PR1 were simulated and compared with published clinical results. We have analyzed our preliminary computational results and noted a relationship between the clinical results and our computational results. Further analysis at the molecular level is in progress to determine the deeper causes of the result correlation.


 

Dan Mohr, Jay Brooks, Dan Klemme, Caleb Logemann, Chad Hoyt Dan Mohr Convention Photo

Chapter: Beta Iota
Bethel University
Submitted: 03/15/2014
Physical Sciences
Oral Session Presentation
 
Cold Atom Spectroscopy on Neutral Lithium-7
 
Various experiments and technical advancements have been performed on a lithium magneto-optical trap (MOT). A reliable laser lock using the heterodyne saturated method has been implemented to stabilize the master oscillator of the apparatus. Many optical setups and corresponding electrical circuits have also been constructed to allow for quick, reduced-noise data acquisition on the cold atoms. Two separate temperature measurement techniques have been performed on the lithium trap to determine a minimum temperature of 550±70uK. The fluorescence spectra of the D2 lines of cold lithium atoms has also been collected. The lineshape, with a full width half maximum of 10±1.5MHz, is consistent with a Doppler broadened spectra of hyperfine transition levels and a natural linewidth of 5.89MHz for the 2S1/2 F = 2 → 2P3/2 transition. Exploration has been made into examining quantum interference in the fluorescence of adjacent electronic states of 7Li.
 

 

Andrew Olsen & Megan Sayler, Alexis Johnson, Matt Jacobson Andrew Olsen &amp; Megan Sayler Convention Photo

Chapter: Gamma Gamma
Concordia College
Submitted: 03/18/2014
Environmental Science
Poster Session Presentation

Aquatic Photosynthetic Rates of Lentic Layers in Long Lake

Dissolved oxygen (DO) is oxygen that is absorbed into aquatic systems. DO concentration in water is a function of photosynthesis, respiration and diffusion and varies at different depths in lentic systems. This is important in determining gross photosynthesis in an aquatic body of water. It was hypothesized that the samples from the epilimnion layer would have higher DO content than those from the hypolimnion layer. DO was quantified at each lentic layer using a dark bottle – light bottle system. There was a positive correlation between bottle type and lentic layer which gives strong evidence that there was more DO in the epilimnion. Gross photosynthesis was highest at the epilimnion which suggests that it has the highest productivity.

 

 Nicole Olsen*

Chapter: Beta Iota
Bethel University
Submittted: 03/14/2014 
Life Sciences
Oral Session Presentation

Lippia alba relaxes isolated colonic tissue from Mus musculus by blocking voltage-gated calcium channels Nicole Olsen Convention Photo

Lippia alba is an aromatic shrub found throughout the Caribbean, South and Central America and Tropical Africa often used to treat respiratory ailments and digestive disorders. Various ailments are often treated using herbal medicine, though there are not many scientific studies supporting these claims.  The research herein aims to examine the effects of Lippia alba, prepared as a tea marketed under the name Juanilama, on distal colonic smooth muscle. Colonic tissue was harvested from mice and suspended at 1 gram of tension in a longitudinal orientation in a smooth muscle bath. Once tissues showed a positive contractile response to 10-5 M carbachol, individual tissues were subjected to either 150 mg or 300 mg concentrations of Lippia alba. The results showed that at both doses Lippia alba suppressed spontaneous motility; there was no difference between the magnitude of suppression (p= 0.2169). A similar experiment run using Lipton black tea (Camellia sinensis) showed the same effect. Tissue motility suppressed by Lippia alba blocked subsequent contractions with the voltage-gated calcium channel agonist Bay K 8644. However, in tissues not suppressed by Lippia alba the same calcium channel agonist induced very large contractions. When these same calcium-induced contractions were followed by Lippia alba, spontaneous contractions were immediately eliminated. These results indicate that Lippia alba’s relaxant effects are mediated through calcium-gated channels. These effects may provide relief to those suffering from digestive ailments involving spastic colonic contractions. However, the consumer should be aware that black tea which can be purchased locally, exhibits the same effects. 


 

Christopher Otolski Christopher Otolski Convention Photo

Chapter: Rho
University of Indianapolis
Submitted: 3/12/2014
Physical Sciences
Oral Session Presentation

The Use of Imidazolium Ionic Liquids as The Electron Transport between the Anode and Cathode of Dye-sensitized Solar Cells

Within the past 25 years technology has radically changed the way in which people communicate and live their lives. The essential part of maintaining these luxuries in our technologically advanced life style is the energy that powers it.  Unfortunately the rising prices and depletion of fossil fuels threatens this life style. This need for energy has led researchers to begin investigating cheap and renewable sources as an alternative to fossil fuels. One such source that has shown promise in relieving the energy crisis are dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC). These low-cost solar cells use dyes that adhere to TiO2 nanoparticles for solar radiation absorption and have remarkable stability. The highest efficiency for DSSC documented is 11.1%. However to achieve that efficiency volatile solvents were used as electrolytes to assist in electron transfer which is believed to be problematic for outdoor use. In this study, we introduce the use of ionic liquids (ILs) from the Imidazolium family as an alternative to the volatile solvents. In order for the IL to perform better than the volatile solvents it will need to remain a liquid at low temperatures, have higher conductivity, and produce better efficiencies in the DSSC. The results of this investigation are significant to the future application of dye-sensitized solar cells.


Christopher Otolski, Alec Kirkeminde, Dr. Shenqiang Ren Christopher Otolski Convention Photo

Chapter: Rho
University of Indianapolis
Submitted: 3/06/2014
Physical Sciences
Poster Session Presentation

Investigation of Iron Halide Precursors for the Synthesis of Iron Pyrite and their Characteristics for Solar Cell Applications 

Renewable energy devices have been brought to the forefront of much research due to the world’s steadily growing energy demands. One material that is being studied for this purpose is iron pyrite (FeS2) which is a cheap earth abundant compound that has shown promising applications in photovoltaics, photocatalysts, and photoelectrochemical cells. This study reports on the purity, crystal structure, and absorbance of iron pyrite using the different iron halide (FeI2, FeBr­2, FeCl2 and FeF2) as starting materials. This new information regarding the iron halide precursor’s different effects will be used to identify the best material for photovoltaic applications.         


 Nicholas Quam Nicholas Quam Convention Photo

Chapter: Beta Iota
Bethel University
Submittted: 03/14/2014 
Life Sciences
Oral Session Presentation
 

Contractile Effects of Ricinus communis (castor oil) on Mus musculus Uterine Tissue in vitro

The effect of aqueous castor seed extract on isolated mouse uterine horns in a smooth muscle bath was investigated at several concentrations: 2.5, 5, 10, 20, and 30mg/15mL bath.  Castor seed extract produced an increase in uterine contractile force as well as an appreciable increase in contractile frequency. At each dose tested, castor seed extract generated a contractile force greater than that evoked by the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (10-5 M). Furthermore, the contractile effects of castor seed extract were concentration dependent (P=0.0045).  Several receptor antagonists were used to investigate the potential receptors through which castor seed extract elicits uterine contractions. Cholinergic muscarinic, oxytocin, prostaglandin E2, prostaglandin F2α, and bradykinin B2 receptor antagonists exhibited no inhibition of contractions generated by castor seed extract at a concentration of 30mg/15mL bath. Indomethacin, a prostaglandin synthase inhibitor, also failed to inhibit castor seed extract induced contractions.  Nifedipine, an L-type calcium channel blocker, produced a clear though incomplete inhibition of a 30mg/15mL bath concentration of castor seed extract (P=0.1175). These results suggest that the contractile mechanism of castor seed extract on uterine tissue is at least partly mediated through calcium channels and not through cholinergic muscarinic receptors, oxytocin receptors, prostaglandin E2 receptors, prostaglandin F2α receptors, bradykinin B2 receptors, or the prostaglandin synthesis pathway. These data may substantiate claims made by certified nurse midwives regarding oral castor oil consumption as an effective means to induce and augment labor. 


 Laura Rasmussen Laura Rasmussen Convention Photo

Chapter: Beta Iota
Bethel University
Submittted: 02/17/2014 
Physical Sciences
Oral Session Presentation
 

Template directed polymerization via reductive amination of modified thymine monomers

DNA has been the source of inspiration for countless research projects into synthetic DNA-like polymers. One focus of this research has been on modified DNA monomers and non-enzymatically controlled template directed polymerization. Within this area one method that has shown promise is using DNA monomers substituted with 5’ amines and 3’ aldehydes, which can polymerize through reductive amination using single-stranded DNA as a catalytic template. Preliminary results with the modified thymidine were promising with the polymerizations giving both sequence and length specific products. However, the original synthesis of the modified thymidine was not conducive to the other three monomers with each attempt causing the loss of the corresponding base. The research reported here focuses on optimizing a new synthetic pathway for thymidine that can then be expanded for use with the other modified monomers. The new pathway provides an eight step synthesis that produces a thymidine monomer with the 5’ amine and the 3’ aldehyde while avoiding the strongly acidic steps that degraded the other bases. Currently the reaction and purification conditions have been completed for the first 7 steps and are being finalized for the final step. In the next few months, the completed synthesis and the preliminary polymerization work can be expected.


 Laura Schaeper, Audrey Geiss, and Jessica DavisL Schaeper Convention Photo

Chapter: Gamma Eta
Marian University
Submitted: 3/11/2014
Environmental Science
Poster Session Presentation

Soil Erosion Prevention Along Crooked Creek after Removal of the Invasive Plant, Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii)

Invasive plant species, like Amur Honeysuckle, pose a threat to biodiversity in addition to financial stress. Therefore, honeysuckle is being removed from ecosystems by land managers. Their removal along riparian zones, in particular, has been shown to increase the rate of soil erosion from stream banks, resulting in the deposition of excess nutrients into the water. 

To explore this relationship, we established 20 plots along a 100 meter stretch of the stream bank along Crooked Creek and subjected them to four different treatments: honeysuckle, honeysuckle brush, honeysuckle removed, and geotextile fabric (abatement). These plots were monitored for soil erosion three times a week for 5 weeks. The conclusion of this study indicates the removal of honeysuckle results in the significant loss of soil, while the other treatments showed no significant difference in loss of topsoil when compared to the honeysuckle plot. Of the treatments, the abatement was the most effective in preventing soil erosion following honeysuckle’s removal. 


 Zachary Schreiber, Elizabeth Putnam Zachary Schreiber Convention Photo

Chapter: Sigma
Our Lady of the Lake University
Submitted: 3/12/2014
Life Sciences 
Oral Session Presentation

The effect of SPARC on collagen production in pulmonary fibrosis models 

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis may be induced by particulate matter embedded in mammalian lung tissue. The prolonged consequence of asbestos exposure in lungs was the up-regulation of extracellular growth factors in fibroblast cells, resulting in excess scar tissue formation. In vitro fibroblast models from C57/bl6 mice were tested for changes to ECM, extracellular matrix, growth in response to asbestos and lentiviral exposure. The knock-down of the extracellular glycoprotein SPARC, secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine, was expected to reduce excess collagen production. The tissue culture from wt-C57/bl6 mice was tested for differences in levels of collagen by quantification through Western blotting. Successful reduction of COL1 expression in tissue cultures treated with virus signified attenuation of ECM growth induced by asbestos. The objective was to reduce overall COL1 production to prevent scar tissue formation without significantly interfering with normal fibroblast function.


 Steven Schull, Dr. Ken RohlyS Schull Convention Photo

Chapter: Beta Iota
Bethel University
Submittted: 03/13/2014 
Physical Sciences
Poster Session Presentation
 

Determination of Physical Properties of Silicone Oils Used in High Speed Printing

In high-speed commercial printing, silicon oils are used as a fuser agent to create electrostatic images.  The oils used for this process must be thermally stable up to 500 °F.  However, the oils studied in this project were known to decompose at lower temperatures when subjected to heat stress.  Therefore, the goal of this research was to investigate the composition and molecular weight distribution of three silicone oils commonly used for high-speed commercial printing.  The oils were subjected to various heat stress tests and analyzed by high pressure liquid chromatography and FTIR spectroscopy.  A specific HPLC method capable of analyzing the silicones was developed.  Despite their exceedingly different viscosity properties, it was found that all three oils exhibited little difference in their molecular weight distribution, both before and after heating.  Also, upon heating, the oils exhibited various color changes, but no change in molecular weight distribution or bond structure was measured.


 

Brandon Smith, Chris Rud, Dr. Michelle MarkoB Smith Convention Photo

Chapter: Gamma Gamma
Concordia College
Submitted 3/15/2014
Environmental Science
Poster Session Presentation

Water Quality Assessment of Long Lake

Accessing water quality conditions in the freshwater lakes of Minnesota is essential to their conservation, and the maintenance of Minnesota’s $11.9 billion a year tourist industry. Chemical, physical and biological surveying was completed on Long Lake near Detroit Lakes, MN during the summer months of 2013.  The data gathered were compared to data gathered in previous years using online databases and archive. Long Lake is clearer than most regional lakes, with a Secchi disk reading of 3.9m. The oxygen profile shows atypical patterns in the thermocline which may have resulted from algal blooms. Eighteen native plant species were identified in Long Lake. Overall, Long Lake is a healthy mesotrophic lake.  In order to maintain this high quality, land owners should establish and/or maintain a natural shoreline, minimize fertilizer use near the shore, and continue their diligent efforts in stopping the spread of invasive species into Long Lake.

 


Tara Stacey Tara Stacey Convention Photo

Chapter: Beta
McKendree University
Submitted: 3/14/2014
Life Sciences
Oral Session Presentation

Determination of the Relative Ratio of Unsaturated Fats to Saturated Fats in Nuts Using Bomb Calorimetry

 Unsaturated fats are recommended for healthy dietary consumption as opposed to saturated fats.  The purpose of this research project was to compare the relative amounts of unsaturated fats and saturated fats in various types of nuts.  The 10 different types of tree nuts explored during this project were almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, peanuts, and pistachios.  The fats and oils from these nuts were extracted through a modified Bligh-Dyer method and then combusted in a bomb calorimeter.  Butyric, decanoic, myristic, palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic, behenic, and erucic acids, and DHA extracted from fish oil gel caps were used as standards for different chain lengths and saturation levels.  Employing bomb calorimetry, the heat of combustion values were determined and used to estimate the relative amounts of unsaturated and saturated fats.
 

 Katie ThelenK Thelen Convention Photo

Chapter: Alpha Eta
Olivet College
Submittted: 03/04/2014 
Environmental Science
Poster Session Presentation
 

PalisadeEC “Lodging…I Think Not”

PalisadeEC (trinexapac-ethyl), a product of Syngenta, is a plant growth regulator (PGR) used on wheat and other grasses grown for seed. Height in grasses is determined by the plants’ internodes, which are the spaces between sites of leaf origination along the stem (the nodes).  PGRs shorten internodes and subsequently strengthen stems through the inhibition of cell elongation. By shortening the internodes of wheat plants, PalisadeEC reduces the risk of lodging, which is when a plant falls over.  Lodging often occurs due to adverse weather events, such as large storms and high winds, and results in increased risk of disease and decreases harvest ability. As a result of increased plant height, the risk of lodging is greater when high amounts of nitrogen are applied in order to increase grain production.  However, by applying PalisadeEC in combination with higher amounts of nitrogen, yields should show typical nitrogen treated increases, while the PGR reduces lodging by keeping the internode spacing short. The current study utilized 10 side by side field trials across the state of Michigan, measuring the effects of PalisadeEC treated sections against untreated sections. We recorded the average height of the wheat at the start of flowering (Feekes stage 10.5), the yield average, and the amount of nitrogen applied to each field. Results indicate that, after nitrogen application, both sections of the fields showed similar potential yield.  However, sections treated with PalisadeEC remained at a higher level of harvest ability due to shorter plant height leading to a lower instance of lodging.


Eric Yu, Caitlan Hinton Eric Yu Convention Photo
Chapter: Gamma Gamma
Concordia College
Submitted 3/15/2014
Environmental Science
Poster Session Presentation
Response of Small Mammal Communities to Burning on a Restored Prairie
Prairie habitats in North America have been reduced to 1% of their original area and as a result, many of the large-scale natural processes that maintained prairie no longer function without management.  The impact of fire management on small mammals is not well known, particularly on restored prairie.  We conducted our study on Concordia College’s Long Lake Biological Field Station in Becker Co., MN.  Parts of the Long Lake field station were restored to prairie habitat in 2010.  During spring of 2013 portions of the prairie restorations were burned.  Our objective was to examine the impact of fire on the small mammal community and how small mammal populations respond to fire as a management technique on restored prairie.  We conducted small mammal trapping in 2012 and following the burn in 2013.  We captured a total of 166 individuals (in 1,650 trap nights) representing six species during 2012 and 226 individuals (in 1,200 trap nights) representing five species during 2013.  Our results show a decrease in captures of small mammals following the burn compared to the unburned sites.  Further monitoring will see if there is a longer-term increase in small mammal density and biodiversity as a result of the burn.