Alexandre Marcellesi

Analyzing Social Wrongs

Vienna, Austria

Thursday, May 14 - Saturday, May 16

Abstract: Structure, explanation and causation. Social scientists routinely explain outcomes affecting individuals by appealing to characteristics of the populations these individuals belong to. This is true both across disciplines---from sociology to economics or epidemiology---and across quantitative and qualitative methodological traditions. Social epidemiologists, for instance, commonly build multilevel models including variables representing both individual-level characteristics (e.g. income) and population-level characteristics (e.g. local unemployment rate) when trying to explain individual-level outcomes (e.g. domestic violence). Such explanations, often called 'structural explanations', are particularly useful when analyzing social wrongs, i.e. when studying the adverse effects of membership in underprivileged groups (e.g. racial or ethnic minorities) on outcomes relevant to individual well-being (e.g. health). Indeed, feminist philosophers and philosophers of race---prominently, Ann Cudd and Elizabeth Anderson---have appealed to structural explanations to account for phenomena such as oppression or discrimination. Despite their ubiquity and importance, structural explanations have attracted little attention from contemporary philosophers of science (works by Jackson and Pettit, Thalos or, very recently, Haslanger are notable exceptions) especially relative to the massive---and ever-increasing---volume of the philosophical literature on scientific explanation. And the contemporary philosophical literature on the individualism/holism divide in sociology or political science, which one would expect to be a privileged locus for discussions of structural explanations, tends to focus on ontological questions (Are there group agents? What are collective intentions?) rather than on questions of explanation. This is an unfortunate blind spot in contemporary philosophy of science. One of the reasons why both philosophers of science and social scientists have paid relatively little attention to structural explanations is that explanations of this kind do not fit the causal model that is currently popular. It is widely assumed that the relationship between characteristics of a whole (e.g. of a population) and characteristics of its parts (e.g. of the individuals making up the population) cannot be causal. Such ‘downward causation’, we are often told, is incoherent. Why should it be? Because population- and individual-level characteristics cannot, it seems, be varied independently of one another and because, according to the most prominent accounts of causation on offer, such independent variability is a prerequisite for causation. In this paper I appeal to cases from social epidemiology to argue that some structural explanations do not fit currently available models, e.g. Haslanger’s, and are better understood as bone fide causal explanations. I also argue that a change of perspective regarding our concept of causation is needed and that this concept should be tailored to fit our practical needs rather than our intuitions (however deeply entrenched they might be). I identify the conditions under which population-level characteristics can coherently be said to cause individual-level ones and argue that, in many actual cases, these conditions are met.

Award: $500

Alice Harada

Evolution

Guaruja, Brazil

Friday, June 26 - Tuesday, June 30

Abstract: Populations of conspecifics that are distributed across a wide latitudinal range allow for the study of adaptation to varying local environments. Tigriopus californicus is a copepod found in high rocky tide pools along the west coast of North America. The relative genetic isolation of different populations, coupled with the range of thermal regimes to which they are exposed, make it an ideal study system for examining the evolution of thermal tolerance. Previous studies have shown that the southernmost populations of T. californicus have the highest survivorship following acute heat stress. In this study, we examine the physiological basis of heat tolerance. We hypothesize that adaptation among populations leads to differences in mitochondrial thermal performance and confers enhanced tolerance to southern populations. In order to understand the physiological basis for thermal tolerance, we used a combination of ATP production assays and respirometry of both isolated mitochondria and whole animals. ATP production assays showed variability in the temperature at which mitochondria stop producing ATP based on which populations animals came from, despite common garden acclimation. Furthermore, we were able to detect differences in ATP production in mitochondria isolated from animals that had been heat stressed prior to mitochondrial isolation. Using the Seahorse Bioscience system, we exposed isolated mitochondria from heat stressed animals to various substrates to better understand which mitochondrial complexes are damaged by heat stress. Finally, we analyzed respiration of whole animals that had been heat stressed as a complement to studies of isolated mitochondria. By using different types of thermal stress in combination with different substrates, we were able to better understand the location of mitochondrial damage and the ability of heat-damaged mitochondria to recover.

Award: $500

Alireza Kargar

2015 MRS Spring Meeting

San Francisco

Monday, April 6 - Friday, April 10

Abstract: Water splitting for hydrogen fuel generation is considered as a viable pathway to fulfill the demanding energy. Catalysts play a significant role for the water splitting reactions, hydrogen or oxygen evolution reaction (HER or OER), to provide efficient and enough gas evolutions. Among different catalysts, semiconductor-based catalysts are very promising owing to their abundance, low cost, chemical stability, facile and scalable techniques to synthesize them, etc. Between the HER and OER, the OER is more challenging to achieve efficient and durable gas evolution. Co-based catalysts have attracted considerable attention for the OER due to their unique properties. On the other hand, the size and morphology of catalyst is crucial and having high surface area to provide more gas evolution reaction is necessary. Moreover, the facile catalyst synthesis is also important facilitating the practical application. In this talk, we present hydrothermally-grown CoFe2O4 nanoparticles (NPs) on 3D carbon fiber papers (CFPs) for highly efficient and durable OER. The CoFe2O4 NPs on CFPs show high current with a low onset potential and a very low Tafel slope; orders of magnitude higher current than the CoFe2O4 NPs grown on the FTO substrate or the bare CFP substrate with a much lower Tafel slope. Very remarkably, the CoFe2O4 NPs on CFPs exhibit very long-time stability of over 15 hours without any morphological change and with preservation of all materials within the electrode. The CoFe2O4 NP CFP electrodes were then coupled with a synthesized HER electrode (working as cathode) for overall water splitting in a full system/device. The achieved results show promising potential for practical clean, efficient, cost-effective and durable solar hydrogen generation at large scales using earth-abundant materials with cheap fabrication processes.

Award: $300

Amit Pandey

2015 SIAM Conference on Control and Its Applications

France

Wednesday, July 8 - Friday, July 10

Abstract: A game is considered where the communication network of the first player is explicitly modeled. The second player may induce delays in this network, while the first player may counteract such actions. Costs are modeled through expectations over idempotent probability measures. Idempotent algebras are used to obtain an algorithm for solution of the game.

Award: $500

Andrew Arnold

Aegina Summer School

Aegina, Greece

Sunday, June 21 - Saturday, June 27

Abstract: As social beings, humans harbor an evolved capacity for loneliness. Feelings of loneliness are associated with aberrant social and empathic processing, as well as deleterious physiological dysregulation. The present study investigated how loneliness affects spontaneous facial mimicry (SFM), a putative interpersonal resonance mechanism involved in empathy. We measured muscle activity using facial electromyography (fEMG) while participants viewed video clips of actors expressing anger, fear, sadness, and joy. Evidence for SFM was found in greater fEMG activity of the zygomaticus major (“smiling muscle”) and corrugator supercilii (“frowning muscle”) to positive and negative emotions, respectively. However, individuals reporting higher levels of loneliness lacked SFM for expressions of joy. Loneliness did not affect intentional imitation activity to the same expressions, or overall muscle reactions to positive, negative, or neutral IAPS images. However, social content did moderate zygomaticus activity to positive images—suggesting that lonely individuals smile less to positive social images. Finally, loneliness predicted worse performance in the “Reading the Mind in the Eyes” test (RMET), a behavioral measure of empathic accuracy. We argue that impaired automaticity of “smiling back” at another—a faulty interpersonal resonance response—represents a pervasive behavioral mechanism that likely contributes to negative social consequences of loneliness.

Award: $500

Andrew Brownback

Bay Area Behavioral and Experimental Economics Workshop

UC Santa Cruz

Saturday, May 2 - Saturday, May 2

Abstract: Grading on the curve is one of the most commonly used evaluation mechanisms in education. Under this mechanism, grades are assigned based on each student’s percentile rank in the class. Considering classes to be samples from the population implies that as the class size grows, the percentile ranks of the students in it draw closer to their percentile ranks in the population, which changes the students’ incentives. I model this environment to predict how changes in the class size reallocate incentives for effort between students with different abilities, an effect that holds true in any relative evaluation method. I use a field experiment in an intermediate economics course to test the model’s predictions about effort exertion in a real-stakes environment. My results show that the lower variance of larger classes elicits greater mean effort and greater effort from all but the lowest-ability students. The greater variance of smaller classes elicits more effort from only the lowest-ability students. Many low-ability students fail to take advantage of the randomness of the smaller class size, an allocation failure consistent with "cursed" beliefs about their classmates and other behavioral biases. My results shed new light on the debate over the effects of class size reductions.

Award: $300

Arjana Pradhan

SDB 74th Annual Meeting

Utah

Thursday, July 9 - Monday, July 13

Abstract: The atrial and ventricular chambers of the heart behave as distinct functional subunits with unique morphological, electrophysiological, and contractile properties. Hence, proper chamber specific differentiation and maintenance of the unique features of atrial and ventricular cardiomyocytes are essential for the formation of a functional heart. Studies have shown that cardiac-specific transcription factors such as Nkx2.5, COUP-TFII and Irx4 are essential for regulating chamber-specific programs. However, little is known about the signaling pathways that function upstream of these transcription factors to control retention of chamber-specific characteristics. Here, we show that the FGF signaling pathway, which facilitates ventricular specification, is also required to preserve ventricular identity. We find that inhibition of FGF signaling with the FGFR antagonist SU5402 can generate ectopic atrial cardiomyocytes within the already differentiated ventricle. We are able to reproduce this phenotype by inhibiting FGF signaling through overexpression of a dominant-negative FGF receptor. Additionally, timed inhibition of FGF signaling reveals a temporal requirement of the FGF pathway during which ventricular chamber identity is vulnerable. Analysis using photoconvertible reporter transgenes indicate that the ectopic cells are not derived from the atrium. Interestingly, examination of the expression dynamics of atrial and ventricular proteins suggest the ectopic cells are produced through transformation of ventricular cardiomyocytes. Furthermore, we find that nkx2.5 and nkx2.7 fail to be maintained in these embryos. Overexpression of nkx2.5 can rescue the ectopic cells in portion of embryos exposed to SU5402, suggesting that the FGF pathway may function upstream of nkx factors to promote ventricular maintenance. Together, our data suggest a model in which differentiated ventricular cardiomyocytes retain some plasticity and require continuous FGF signaling to preserve their chamber-specific identity. Knowledge gained here about the maintenance of ventricular identity can be applied to future strategies for maintaining the differentiated state of ventricular cells generated in vitro for the purpose of myocardial repair.

Award: $500

Asher Chodos

Cornell School of Criticism and Theory

ithaca, ny

Sunday, June 14 - Tuesday, July 28

Abstract: The Synergy Effect: Reading Corporate Culture in Improvisation Studies Of all the places jazz musicians have gone to make a living in an economy that has almost no interest in them, the growing industry of jazz business consulting is perhaps the strangest. The phenomenon raises a number of questions: is it ethical to appropriate jazz in this way? Are there potential dangers in aestheticizing the market economy? Can improvisation, which is almost always theorized as offering some kind of communitarian politics, really be compatible with the aggressive capitalism of corporate America? Most of what has been written on this subject attempts to answer questions like these. This paper takes a different approach. Instead of asking questions about the ethics or effectiveness of jazz as a tool for maximizing profit, it looks at the consequences for the improvised music world – both in writing about music and in music itself – of its engagement with business. To do that, the paper first frames the critical improvisation community's affinity for themes of wellbeing and self-help as variations on a long tradition of spiritualism that has always been part of jazz. Today, though, the lines between spiritualism, self-help, new-age positive thinking, and machiavellian business advice are very blurry; the spiritual element in the improvised music world now takes its vocabulary from all those areas at once. Business leaders may well have something to learn from the creativity, flexibility and collaborative spirit of jazz music. It is important to remember, though, that the influence will always flow in both directions. This paper reads improvisation studies with an eye toward understanding that influence.

Award: $500

Atsunori Tanaka

Size Effects on the Selective Area Growth of GaN on Sapphire

Ohio Sate University

Wednesday, June 24 - Friday, June 26

Abstract: The selective area growth (SAG) of III-V materails have been studied for decades because it has advantages to control growth structure in lateral dimension, to reduce threading dislocations at the grown surface by bending with lateral overgrowth and also to accomodate thermal stresses from heteroepitaxial growth. In order to apply SAG growth technique to device fabrication, deep understanding of contribution of geometric factors to growth is nessesary. Most of SAG studies were performed on arsenide and phosphide III-V materials and less studies were reported for nitride materials except for nano-scale mask openings and spacings. As GaN attracts more attenttion for optical and power devices, it becomes more demanding to study SAG of GaN, particularly when device scaling and their density become relevant. In this work, we fabricated multiple holes in a SiO2 growth mask that consists of 144 arrays of with variable circular openings from 20 µm to 450 µm diameters and variable spacings from 20 µm µm to 450 µm. These patterns fit in a single 2-inch wafer and we performed SAG GaN growth of all arrays at the same time on the same substrate. This can minimize sample to sample variations for the growth rate and resulting morphology and enable us to analyze only the geometric effects of SAG on the growth rate. The thickenss profiles and SEM images demonstrated a clear growth rate enhancement for smaller GaN dot diameters and wider mask spacings, both of which also strongly influenced the growth rate at the edge of circular openings. For spacing dependence plots, there is a transition point of the growth rate at a certain critical spacing at which the growth transitions from a mass transport limited regime to thermodynamically limited regime. We also observed from top-view SEM images that the facet {1¯101} formation speed and lateral overgrowth rate depend on the pattern geometry, providing an additional control parameter to tune the facet formation and structure in SAG growth. The influence of well-faceted GaN structures and non-facetd structures on the light emission intensity will be reported. These results also suggest that we can control facet development by changing either the diameters, the spacings or time, which can have strong influence on strain engineering for the growth of GaN on non-traditional substrates.

Award: $500

Beniamino Volta

Society for American Archaeology 80th annual meeting

San Francisco

Wednesday, April 15 - Monday, January 19

Abstract: Household Activities, Status, and Social Organization at Uxul, Campeche, Mexico The physical remains of ancient buildings and activity areas provide an important archaeological window into the lives and practices of past households. In the Maya region, patio groups composed of multiple structures housing extended families have long been recognized as the fundamental units of settlement. At a very basic level, patio groups were both the primary locus and one of the most tangible material outcomes of household activities. Variations in their size and spatial configuration can therefore be analyzed as indices of inequality and differentiation within communities. This talk presents the results of recent research on status and social organization at Uxul, Campeche, Mexico. I analyze data from elite and non-elite architectural groups in the settlement in order to trace a broad outline of economic, political, and ritual activities carried out by the inhabitants of the site throughout its history. The incorporation of Uxul within the Calakmul regional state in the first half of the Late Classic (roughly A.D. 600–750) offers a convenient turning point for discussing possible strategies employed by different social actors in response to changing political circumstances.

Award: $300

Benjamin Sheredos

Workshop on Diagrams as Vehicle of Scientific Reasoning

Pittsburgh, PA

Friday, April 10 - Sunday, April 12

Abstract: [The submission to this conference was an extended abstract of 1000 words, and, given the theme of the conference, included graphics which I cannot reproduce here. I would be happy to provide a PDF copy of the full text, but offer only a brief summary below.] Cognitive scientists and philosophers of science have recently begun studying the ways in which scientists' graphical practices ("GPs") interact with scientific reasoning. However, current research methods leave gaps in our understanding of GPs, and rely on many mediating inferences to construct an account of how they actually proceed. Investigators in cognitive science tend to study the consumption and production of graphics by non-expert subjects, and they tend to employ simplified graphics as their research materials which are not indicative of the full complexity of expert GPs. Meanwhile, philosophers tend to focus only on the finished products, the graphics which are published in research articles and textbooks. Thus, we have at best a piecemeal understanding of the expert GPs which actually produce scientific graphics. In my talk I will present data which help to overcome this gap. With the assistance of researchers at UCSD's Center for Chronobiology, I have compiled a case-study of the entire embryonic life of a scientific research article prior to its publication -- from initial draft, through all revisions, to final draft. By examining the revisions the authors made to their graphics over 11 different iterations of the draft, I will shed light on: (a) the actual procedures of expert GPs as they work to produce their graphics, and (b) the interplay between authors and reviewers as they negotiate publication of a research article. The aims are to (i) encourage discussion of how future studies of GPs by both philosophers and cognitive scienctists can incorporate these fresults, and to (ii) provide the resources for an initial assessment of how well our current research methods are tracking actual expert GPs.

Award: $500

Brittany Yee

International Liver Congress

Vienna, Austria

Wednesday, April 22 - Sunday, April 26

Abstract: Background and Aims: SVR12 with 12-week SMV+SOF±RBV therapy was shown to be high for HCV GT1 patients in COSMOS study, but its generalizability is limited due to small sample size in a highly controlled clinical trial. Less is known about the effectiveness of the regimen in a real-life setting. Our goal was to perform a meta-analysis of real-world data evaluating the effectiveness of SMV+SOF±RBV. Methods: A comprehensive literature search for ‘simeprevir’ in MEDLINE and major liver meetings (AASLD, APASL, DDW, EASL, and World Transplant Congress 2014) was performed and data extracted in November 2014 by two authors using a case report form (BY and NN) with discrepancies resolved by consensus with a third author (MN). We included studies with SVR12 data that had ≥5 HCV GT1 patients treated with SMV+SOF±RBV for 12 weeks. Those who had prior liver transplantation or were co-infected with HIV or HBV were excluded. To estimate pooled effect sizes, random effects modeling was used. To evaluate study heterogeneity, Cochrane Q-test (p-value <0.10) with I2 statistic (>50%) was determined. Results: Seven studies with a total of 715 HCV GT1 patients were included. All were non-randomized cohorts. The majority of patients were male (range 57-81%). Many had advanced fibrosis (range 45-64%). Overall rates of SVR4 was 91.6% (CI: 87.5-94.5%) and SVR12 was 83.4% (CI: 79.6-86.7%). Three studies had SVR12 data sub-grouped by severity of fibrosis (n=296, 147 with mild fibrosis and 149 with advanced fibrosis). Definition of advanced fibrosis was variable and included METAVIR F3-F4 or cirrhotic patients. SVR12 rate was 89.7% (CI 79.0-95.3%) in patients with mild fibrosis and 76.2% (CI 68.6-82.4%) in advanced fibrosis. By direct comparison, a trend was found favoring SVR12 for patients with mild fibrosis over advanced fibrosis (OR 2.66, CI 0.816-8.650; p-value=0.105). Data was insufficient to allow evaluation of serious adverse events or subanalysis for outcomes of SMV+SOF with and without RBV or treatment naïve and experienced patients. Conclusions: Pooled rate of SVR12 was approximately 83% in SIM+SOF±RBV based on cohort studies from real-world settings which include a large proportion of patients with advanced fibrosis and/or prior treatment failure and slightly lower than reported rated from clinical trial, suggesting the importance of examining treatment effectiveness in diverse real-world patients in addition to treatment efficacy seen in highly selected clinical trial patients.

Award: $500

Caroline Miller

SoundSCAPE

Maccagno, Italy

Friday, July 3 - Thursday, July 16

Abstract: My new work for Bass, Piano, and Flute deals with divergence of material through the medium of difference, physical limits, and eventual proliferation of musical possibilities that arise from the conjunction of these two ideas. Life on earth has become increasingly heterogeneous, thanks to the medium of difference; difference creates strange and new environments. Organism behaviors interact with these new environments (which include other organisms) in radical and unpredictable ways: hence my "proliferation of possibilities." I am interested in using musical material as a testing ground for this theory. I am curious to see if "difference" can be understood as a musically treatable space. Implementing this idea of "difference", I use soloistic materials per instrument that have radically divergent behaviors. The piece begins with each instrument playing a solo (the solo having a unique profile and aesthetic) in sequence, overlapping each other with increasingly short delays. At the initial overlap point(s), perceivable differences between materials are highlighted. As the parts overlap more and more, I will draw out more and more "difference points." Once all difference points have been iterated, I can reuse and rearrange them into a dramatic sequence indicating increasing instability. At a certain breaking point, musical behaviors will be become hybridized, extrapolated, and exploded into new and unique profiles.

Award: $500

Christine Wittich

Engineering Mechanics Institute Conference

Stanford, CA

Tuesday, June 16 - Friday, June 19

Abstract: Systems of freestanding structures are highly vulnerable to damage and failure during an earthquake, as evidenced following numerous past events. This structural system encompasses a wide range of objects and systems such as the statue-pedestal system, classical multi-drum columns, and unreinforced masonry walls. Many of these systems contain high-friction interfaces and slender geometry which lead to rocking modes and possible collapse when subject to seismic excitation. The frictional resistance at each interface is a critical variable in understanding this system as it can shift the seismic response towards the more favorable sliding mode. In addition, sliding mechanisms have been adopted in many seismic isolation systems for both component-level and structural-level isolation. In order to better understand the applicability and mechanical behavior of the multi-body system in its natural configuration as well as with low-friction sliding isolation, an extensive shake table testing campaign was conducted. The test specimen included a stiff, steel, geometrically-variable tower structure which rested freely atop a stiff, symmetric pedestal. The interface between the tower and the pedestal was consistently marble-marble (higher friction). However, the interface between the pedestal and the shake table was varied between a marble-marble interface (μ ≈ 0.6) and a low-friction, steel plate interface (μ ≈ 0.15). The configurations were subject to a number of recorded and simulated earthquake motions on a uniaxial shake table. The fully three-dimensional responses of both the tower and the pedestal were recorded for the duration of the motions. While the response was highly dependent upon geometric variations, the low-friction sliding plate system reduced the observations of overturning, in most cases. Furthermore, the characteristic length of the motion is shown to be indicative of the sliding of the isolation system as well as the rocking of the tower.

Award: $300

Claudia Rafful Loera

9th Annual conference of the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy

Gent, Belgium

Wednesday, May 20 - Friday, April 24

Abstract: Several Latin American leaders have expressed the need of a shift in international drug policy. It is pertinent to analyze drug policy reforms in Latin American and more importantly, the role public health has on this reforms and how health professionals contribute to the implementation of an evidence-based strategy against drug related harms. This study focuses on the importance public health has had in the legalization of use and commercialization of cannabis in Uruguay and how this case may serve as background for a more informed drug policy in other Latin American countries such as Mexico. A qualitative analysis was performed on a total of semi-structured interviews of Uruguayan and Mexican public health researchers, psychiatrists, psychologists, academics, and government officials. In Mexico, most of the informants commented on the “was on drugs” that exponentially increased the violence in the presidential term of President Calderón and how any shift to a health perspective would improve lives of drug users and general population. Although participants were aware of harms of drug use, they stated that a harm reduction strategy is preferred over the current violence trends and lack of treatment for people with drug dependence. However, corruption and lack of a long-term health strategy are major problems that need to be solved before any drug reform. It may be that this perspective on the importance of the social context made several public health officers and academics shift to activism in non-governmental organizations with a broad social perspective on drug use factors. In Uruguay the process was the opposite than in Mexico, most of the people working at the government in drug-related departments, had a long trajectory of activism prior moving to a bureaucratic job. Most of the informants commented on the importance of health and human rights in a broad drug policy. When comparing their country to others in Latin America, several interviewees mentioned the importance of having a drug reform before drug cartels became powerful in Uruguay. Overall, we found an important difference in the type of academic background people in charge of the drug policies have in both countries. In Mexico, physicians have key positions (such as directors, heads of departments, etcetera) whereas in Uruguay are sociologists. However, this does not mean there is a stronger role of public health in drug policy in Mexico than in Uruguay but the opposite. In Mexico, physicians and health professionals in bureaucratic jobs have a conservative tendency and do not necessarily promote harm reduction policies. In contrast, although health is not the priority in the law reform in Uruguay, the fact that the current administration has a human rights approach facilitates harm reduction approaches in health services for drug users.

Award: $500

Corina Antal

AACR Annual Meeting 2015

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Saturday, April 18 - Wednesday, April 22

Abstract: Protein kinase C (PKC) remains an elusive chemotherapeutic target despite decades of research. To determine whether PKC isozymes function as oncogenes or tumor suppressors, we analyzed 8% of PKC mutations identified in human cancers. Surprisingly, the majority were loss-of-function and none were activating. Loss-of-function mutations were found in all PKC subgroups and acted by impeding 2nd messenger binding or preventing processing phosphorylations. Bioinformatic analysis revealed that PKC mutations might cooperate with co-occurring mutations in cancer drivers. Correction of a patient-identified, loss-of-function PKCβ mutation by CRISPR-mediated genome editing, in a colon cancer cell line, suppressed anchorage-independent growth and reduced tumor growth in xenograft models. Hemizygous deletion provided an anchorage-independent growth advantage, revealing PKC is haploinsufficient for tumor suppression. Several mutations were dominant-negative, suppressing global PKC signaling output. These data establish that PKC isozymes generally function as tumor suppressors, indicating that therapeutic strategies should focus on restoring PKC activity, not inhibiting it.

Award: $500

Craig Agule

NUSTEP

Evanston, Illinois

Thursday, May 21 - Saturday, May 23

Abstract: Ever since Gary Watson (1987) introduced Robert Alton Harris, philosophers have tried to figure out what to say about him. We react to Harris’s crime – shooting two teenage boys dead and laughing about it afterward – with disgust, finding him vicious and blameworthy. But our blaming Harris is clouded when we learn of his childhood, the horrific way he was treated by his parents and the institutionalized suffering he was put through. Is Harris’s rotten social background relevant to his responsibility and blameworthiness for his crimes? Often philosophers see Harris’s case as raising questions about the sort of control necessary for responsibility. Harris had no control over his rotten social background, so if his wrongdoing was a product of his background, then we might think he lacked adequate control over his wrongdoing. But, as Gary Watson has noted, the rotten social background cases raise a further issue about the interaction between sympathy and blame. As a matter of psychological fact, our experience of sympathy undermines the resentment ordinarily characteristic of blame, and we might start with a defeasible presumption that our ordinary experiences are correct. If our reaction is appropriate, if sympathy rightly undermines blame, then we should examine an agent’s history to see whether she merits sympathy before holding her responsible. In this paper, however, I explore and ultimately reject that historicist suggestion.

Award: $500

Deborah Marshall

American College of Radiation Oncology Annual Meeting

Washington DC

Thursday, May 14 - Saturday, May 16

Abstract: Title: The nature of medical malpractice claims in radiation oncology from 1985-2012 Purpose: We aim to determine the nature of radiation oncology malpractice claims closed during the last 28 years. Methodology: We retrospectively analyzed malpractice claims filed against radiation oncologists from 1985 to 2012 collected by a nationwide liability insurance trade association. We analyzed the nature of claims and indemnity payments, including associated presenting diagnoses, procedures, alleged medical errors, and injury severity. Dollar amounts were adjusted for inflation (2012 index year). Results: There were 1,517 closed claims involving RO, 342 (23%) of which were paid resulting in $95 million in indemnity payments. Average and median indemnity payments were $276,792 and $122,500, respectively. The most common alleged errors included: ‘errors in diagnosis’ (32% of closed claims, 33% of which were paid; 51% ($49 million) of total indemnity); ‘no medical misadventure’ (27% of closed claims, 3% of which were paid; 1% of total indemnity); and, ‘improper performance’ (20% of closed claims, 25% of which were paid; 22% ($21 million) of total indemnity). The largest proportions of closed claims attributable to single diagnosis were for invasive breast cancer (5%) and invasive lung cancer (4%). ‘Errors in diagnosis’ resulting in death represents the largest proportion of total indemnity attributed to an alleged error (17%, $16 million). Analysis of RO claims by injury severity show ‘emotional injury only’ and ‘insignificant injury’ representing a small proportion of claims (2% of closed claims and <1% of total indemnity, for both). Temporary injury accounts for 27% of closed claims and 14% of total indemnity. Minor/significant permanent injury (26% of closed claims, 23% of total indemnity) and major permanent injury (9% of closed claims, 17% of total indemnity) represent a large proportion of closed claims. Grave injury (6% of closed claims, 19% of total indemnity) and death (28% of closed claims, 27% of total indemnity) represent a large proportion of total indemnity. The proportion of claims resulting in payment for death was 19% (vs. 39% for grave injury), as compared to 10% and 8% for emotional or insignificant injuries, respectively. ‘No medical misadventure’ was the primary alleged error for less severe injuries (emotional, insignificant, and temporary injury). ‘Error in diagnosis’ was the most common alleged error for permanent injury, grave injury and death. Invasive malignancies of the female breast were the top presenting diagnoses for emotional, insignificant, major temporary, and all permanent injuries. Vertebral column fractures and invasive lung cancer were the most common diagnoses in grave injury. The most common diagnoses in death included invasive lung cancer and neoplasms of the back, flank or trunk with an unspecified point of origin. Conclusions: These insights into the nature of liability claims against radiation oncologists can help to guide efforts in improving quality of care, improving patient safety and controlling costs.

Award: $500

David Searle

Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association

Chicago, Illinois

Wednesday, April 15 - Sunday, April 19

Abstract: A significant amount of the increased spending on congressional races goes towards political advertising. However, previous research has yet to explain how different types of ads cause different amounts of persuasion. I address these issues and account for both candidates’ advertising strategies. I argue that contrast advertisements should be the most persuasive, compared to attack or positive ads. Contrast ads are seen as less negative than attack ads, and simplifies the thought-process for voters, as they do not have to infer positions of the other candidate. I analyze a unique experimental dataset that presents all respondents with two ads, varying the type of ad for each respondent. I then use a scaling technique developed by Groseclose and Stewart (1998) to place all advertisements on a uni-dimensional space, including comparable size of effects. The results support my theory as certain types of advertisements yield significantly stronger effects than others. Moreover, the results suggest asymmetry in the persuasiveness of ads, as certain types are more persuasive depending on the ad sponsor. The results begin to illuminate the conditions for persuasive political advertising and the strategic nature of advertising.

Award: $500

Davorn Sisavath

Association for Asian American Studies - The Trans/National Imaginary: Global Cities And Racial Borderlands

Chicago/Evanston, Illinois

Thursday, April 23 - Saturday, April 25

Abstract: Paper Title - Proximities of Power: Domesticating U.S. Military Waste in Laos In “Thirty Years AfterWARd: The Endings That Are Not Over,” Yen Le Espiritu (2005) “demands that we refashion the fields of American Studies and Asian American studies…around the crucial issues of war, race, and violence, and the history and memories that are forged from the thereafter” (xviii). Taking this as a starting point, this paper turns to the remnants of U.S. secret war in Laos and reveals how military waste exceed its original purpose. I examine a collection of photographs from Eternal Harvest: The Legacy of American Bombs in Laos (2013) to reveal the proximities of power are knotted and intimately entangled in how U.S. violence and war is played out in bodies, homes, and land. I ask the following questions: 1) How do Laotians (re)mark and (re)make the remnants of war as part of their domestic space?; and 2) How do Laotians (re)imagine the domains of social life that enable new narratives of “being at home” and “in the world?” I argue that the matters and spaces of the intimate – the everyday practices (“ways of operating” or doing things) such as employing survival strategies in order to make life bearable, reclaiming land, and appropriating remnants of war as refurbished commodity for tourist consumption – are critical and call attention to the absence of the secret war and its legacies in Cold War histories and U.S. imperialism.

Award: $500

Diana Quach

American Society for Microbiology (ASM) General Meeting

New Orleans, Louisiana

Sunday, May 31 - Tuesday, June 2

Abstract: Successful treatment of bacterial infections requires prescribing the correct antibiotic(s). Studies show that the sooner a patient begins the appropriate course of antibiotic treatment for their infection, the better the clinical outcome, the lower the duration of hospital stay, and the lower the medical cost. Current approaches for determining the antibiotic susceptibility profile of cultured pathogens have serious limitations. Traditional tests such as disk diffusion assays and microbroth dilution assays are slow, requiring 24-48 hrs. Molecular tests based on DNA hybridization or PCR are rapid and can provide results within 2 hours but require precise knowledge of the mechanism of resistance, and are challenging to optimize for resistance mechanisms based on multiple mutations. We have developed an innovative rapid antimicrobial susceptibility assay for S. aureus that uses quantitative fluorescence microscopy to measure antibiotic induced changes in cellular architecture. We demonstrate that this approach (Bacterial Cytological Profiling; BCP) can discriminate between beta-lactam sensitive (MSSA) and resistant (MRSA) strains of S. aureus within 1-2 hours with 100% accuracy for 71 clinical isolates. Furthermore, BCP identified, with 100% accuracy, two classes among MRSA isolates that differ in their susceptibility to specific combinations of beta-lactam antibiotics. BCP provides a rapid and flexible alternative to gene-based susceptibility testing methods that can be readily adapted to different antibiotics and bacterial species as new mechanisms of resistance or multidrug-resistant pathogens evolve into mainstream clinical practice.

Award: $500

Don Nguyen

American Society for Microbiology 2015 General Meeting

New Orleans

Friday, May 29 - Monday, March 2

Abstract: The genus Pseudomonas represents a broad and diverse group of Gram-negative bacteria inhabiting diverse environments including soil, plant surfaces, rhizospheres, aquatic environments, as well as animals. Strains such as P. putida and P. fluorescens are known to protect plants and promote growth. On the other hand, the genus encompasses the plant pathogen P. syringae and as well as the human opportunistic pathogen P. aeruginosa often associated with cystic fibrosis and nosocomial infections. Many pseudomonads have common features including their ability to utilize an array of organic compounds as energy sources, their capability to endure abiotic stresses and share common specialized metabolite biosynthetic pathways. Because pseudomonads are found in a myriad of environments and possess the genetic capability to biosynthesize a wide range of specialized metabolites, we hypothesize that within the genus Pseudomonas there are unique chemistries evolved from environmental niche necessity. We examined the metabolic profiles of over 260 strains of Pseudomonas isolated from around the world and from an array of environmental niches, and visualized their niche chemistries from a global view using mass spectrometry-based molecular networking. Integrating molecular networking and new genome mining techniques lead to the discovery of two new molecular families and one new analogue from niche specific environments. Expansion of the methods used in this study will soon allow for the prediction of molecular phylogeny, genetic relatedness, and molecular function, to further aid in the global characterization of Pseudomonas and its specialized metabolites.

Award: $500

Dong-jin Eastern Kang Sim

Pediatric Academic Societies meeting

San Diego

Saturday, April 25 - Tuesday, April 28

Abstract: Background: Due to rapid economic changes in many low- to middle-income countries, the burden of nutritional disease has shifted. Diseases related to malnutrition now coexist with diseases related to excess nutrition in the same socio-demographic settings. Objective: To describe and link economic changes to child nutritional outcomes in 3 Latin American countries by using a set of publicly available indicators related to immediate and underlying determinants. Design/Methods: To illustrate how high rates of economic growth impacted populations' child nutrition profiles, we studied Brazil, Chile, and Mexico. We used Gross National Income per capita to describe income changes between 1990 and 2010. Changes in the prevalence of malnutrition in all its forms under 5 years old were depicted using calorie-based undernutrition and stunting for undernourishment, vitamin A deficiency for micronutrient deficiency, and overweight/obesity. For underlying determinants, we used indicators of food availability and the quality of diet. For immediate determinants, we used publicly available data on trends of market penetration of Pay-TV service subscription between 2005 and 2010 as a proxy for increased trends of sedentary behavior. Results: We found the following trends: average 17% per annum increase in per capita income and 12 % increased demand for dietary energy with increases in child overweight/obesity, decreases in child calorie-based undernutrition, and persistent levels of child vitamin A deficiency. Over this time period, status of food availability included average 166 kcal/capita/day increases in availability of meat while per capita availability of fruits and vegetables remained constant. Pay-TV subscription rose by average 12% and indicators of sedentary behavior was consistent with increasing trends of childhood obesity. Conclusions: The per capita increase in availability of meat is consistent with improvements in economic access to food, which is reflected in the reduction of child calorie-based undernutrition. Furthermore, no change in availability of fruits and vegetables is consistent with the persistent level of child vitamin A deficiency. An indirect measure of television watching, Pay-TV subscriptions, also rose. The rise in childhood obesity appears to have been an unintended consequence of improving fiscal status.

Award: $300

Dongjin Song

Data Compression Conference

Cliff Lodge, Snowbird, UT

Tuesday, April 7 - Thursday, April 9

Abstract: In recent years, hashing techniques are becoming overwhelmingly popular for their high efficiency in handling large-scale computer vision applications. It has been shown that hashing techniques which leverage supervised information can significantly enhance performance, and thus greatly benefit visual search tasks. In this paper, we propose a novel supervised hashing approach and demonstrate that the proposed hashing approach achieves superior image search accuracy over baseline approaches.

Award: $500

Duy Trinh

Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) Conference

Chicago, IL

Thursday, April 16 - Sunday, April 19

Abstract: Title: Where do Anti-corruption Agency Performance Evaluations Fail, and What to do About it?: Interrupted Time-series Analysis as a (Potentially) Definitive Solution Abstract: The use of anti-corruption agencies (ACAs) in combating corruption has garnered much interest among policy makers and public management scholars. However, there has been little conclusive evidence of ACAs' effectiveness or the lack thereof. Efforts to evaluate ACAs have been undermined by limited data, simplistic case-study research designs, and most seriously the misuse of corruption and governance indicators. This paper proposes an alternative strategy to measure ACA performance. Through an illustration using World Bank's ACA survey data and the Worldwide Governance Indicators, it demonstrates how sophisticated applications of interrupted time-series design can produce meaningful variables to quantify short- and long-term effect of ACAs. This design allows for comparisons between ACAs; furthermore, it can be customized to serve broader research on the impact of exogenous shocks and endogenous policy interventions.

Award: $500

Esther Choi

Sovereignties and Colonialisms: Resisting Racism, Extraction and Dispossession

Toronto, Canada

Thursday, April 30 - Sunday, May 3

Abstract: Backpacking travel in the “Third World” is increasingly moralized as an admirable and necessary part of the “First World” individual’s development. Its glorified status elides histories and ongoing practices of Third World exploitation on which the industry depends. The culture of backpacking travel echoes colonial legacies that paint societies outside the West as primitive, exotic and rich for exploitation. Despite its claims to grassroots independence, it has become a vast industry that claims not only the land and resources of a country, but the bodies and identities of native populations as consumption objects. It also pioneers access to “undiscovered” areas, which are then integrated into mainstream tourism. My paper considers backpacking travel in relation to the Marxist theory of commodity fetishism and as a contemporary form of interpellation into ideologies of imperialism. It centers the colonization of the Americas as central to the travel imaginary and also addresses gendered Third World exploitation on which the travel industry depends.

Award: $500

Edward Randolph

Gods and Monsters: Historicizing Ritual, Public Memory, and the Religious Imagination

San Francisco

Saturday, April 25 - Sunday, April 26

Abstract: Rosemarie Garland Thomson suggests that the appearance of the monstrous creates a disruption of form as people try to make sense of the seeming incongruity presented by unusually embodied people. Often this experience is felt by the abled viewer as an assault on autonomy, according to Tom Seiber’s theory of aesthetics between bodies. I wish to open a discussion about ways in which the monstrous makes political claims upon those who gaze upon it. Ultimately I believe that the reactive stance between abled and disabled bodies leads to an impoverishment of experience – a dualistic ontology of one self defined against its other – which disables the subjectivity of the abled body and others the non-normative body. The dominant understanding by disability scholars is that ‘disability’ as a category of social impairment arose with the medicalization and disciplining of industrial society linked to late 18th and 19 century notions of nationality race, gender, criminality and sexual orientation. A great deal of work on the monstrous in disability studies has focused on the freak shows of the late 19th century, which may have been more beneficial than previously thought, allowing for the wonderous gaze of spectators and occupation for unusually embodied. The freak show as such disappeared with the rise of medicalization and corrective gaze. But there are still contemporary spaces where the freak has economic viability such as professional sports arenas, pornography, and cinema. While they are not without problematic qualities – such as the NBA player that poses for photos with ‘normal’ sized people in a side-show like experience, and the tropes in cinema whose ‘narrative prosthesis’ is often to cure or overcome the disability -- these sites provide a space for both the monstrous habitation and uneasy audience member to gaze without reprove. I hope with this paper to spur some discussion about the tension between what Garland Thomson calls the “eugenic” corrective gaze and the acceptance of non-normative bodies by both inhabitant and spectators.

Award: $300

Elizabeth Fiala

Théâtre de la Ville

Paris, France

Saturday, June 6 - Sunday, June 14

Abstract: I am writing to request funding to support a professional research opportunity with Professor Lisa Porter and the Singaporean theatrical company TheatreWorks during their collaboration with Théâtre de la Ville in June 2015. TheatreWorks is producing Lear Dreaming, directed by 2010 Fukuoka Prize for Arts and Culture recipient Ong Keng Sen. This production is a collaboration between Korean, Japanese, Indonesian, and Mandarin artists who have created a new twist to Shakespeare’s King Lear. It merges traditional Noh performance with contemporary technology, and in doing so, gives shape to an extraordinary and entrancing retelling of Shakespeare’s iconic story. In June 2015, TheatreWorks will bring this production to Paris, France as part of the well esteemed Théâtre de la Ville’s summer season.

Award: $500

Emily Nardoni

Theoretical Advanced Study Institute in Elementary Particle Physics (TASI)

Boulder, Colorado

Monday, June 1 - Friday, June 26

Abstract: I am a second year graduate student at UC San Diego interested in studying field theory via nonperturbative methods in supersymmetric theories. I am currently studying properties of the RG fixed points and flows in SQCD with adjoint matter fields, and especially understanding generalized Seiberg dualities at the fixed points. These fixed points follow an ADE singularity classification which is not well understood. I am working on understanding the origin of quantum constraints which are postulated to arise in some of these theories, as well as the higher dimensional vacuum structure in the space of deformations of the adjoint superpotential. These puzzles are related to the nontrivial matrix structure of the matter fields, and I hope this work will shed light on the matrix structure of CFTs in general. A first e-print is expected by the start of summer. Previously, I worked on gaining precision in higher order jet-binning uncertainties for the gluon fusion production cross section of the Higgs boson in collaboration with Iain Stewart at MIT.

Award: $500

Gil Hersch

2015 Conference on Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology

Dallas, TX

Tuesday, May 19 - Friday, May 22

Abstract: Currently, there is an ongoing debate among social scientists regarding the question of how to best measure well-being. This is a pertinent question because policy-makers are interested in promoting well-being through public policy, and are looking to measures developed in the social sciences to guide their policy choices. The plurality of measures developed, which sometimes diverge significantly in how they evaluate the effects of a given policy intervention on well-being, makes it necessary to evaluate the measures themselves. Many social scientists engaged in the debate take the measure they advocate for (e.g. subjective well-being measures, economic measures, or objective indices) as superior to alternative measures, because it measures a given characterization of well-being more `directly.’ Of course, how one characterizes well-being (e.g. as constituted by mental-states, preference-satisfaction, or an objective-list) is already a value laden issue. Yet arguing that a measure is superior because it is more direct is spurious without first hashing out what the direct/indirect distinction demarcates, how we can compare measures on the basis of directness, and why being more direct ought to count in a measure’s favor. Moreover, assuming that directness is all that matters (or matters much at all) appears to be distracting social scientists from taking seriously the need to provide careful accounts of why a given measure best represents a given characterization of well-being. In order to argue that a given measure better represents a given characterization of well-being than another measure, one needs to provide an account that consists of empirical claims and theoretical commitments. Whereas the correctness of the empirical claims might sometimes be difficult to assess, a central concern with such accounts is that theoretical commitments are often value laden in ways that are not sufficiently transparent, both with respect to views of the good life, as well as views pertaining to how to conduct empirical social science. The current state of affairs, in which social scientist are lobbying policy-makers to use their favorite measure without providing a good account in favor of that measure, is particularly surprising because social scientists are well versed in providing such accounts in other domains. That the advocates of the different measures provide such accounts is a necessary step in order to advance the well-being measurement debate. Once such accounts are on the table, their merit can be judged by assessing the truth of their empirical claims and the plausibility of their theoretical commitments. Since this debate has a real impact on people’s lives through its effects on public policy, it is imperative that it progress in a constructive manner.

Award: $500

Hsin-ming Lin

The 15th International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

Baton Rouge, LA

Sunday, May 31 - Thursday, June 4

Abstract: Pedagogical research demonstrates theories and practices of perception or production of melodic or harmonic "intonation", i.e. the realization of pitch accuracy. There are software and hardware to help students improve intonation. Those tools have various functions. Nevertheless, they still miss something which could benefit users very much. Even worse, they are not easy to be revised. Most importantly, there should be more amusing and engaging interaction between a tuning trainer and a user which is able to exchange roles of tuner and player. In this research, we implement an open-source program named "Harmonic Intonation Trainer" in Pure Data. It includes most of essential elements of a smart tuner. A user can tune his pitch while optionally hearing (through earphones) the target pitch and other harmonic intervals in respective octaves. Moreover, in its interactive accompanist mode, a user's input pitch serves as the reference frequency; the program follows his intonation to generate corresponding harmonic intervals. Additionally, user can straightforwardly edit all parameters and patches by Pure Data. Any adoption or revision is absolutely welcome. Finally, we will initiate another research to test and to inspect experimental results from student orchestras so that its future version is expected to be more sophisticated.

Award: $500

Hannah Al-sodani

Society for Developmental Biology 74th Annual Meeting

Snowbird, Utah

Thursday, July 9 - Monday, July 13

Abstract: The mature heart is comprised of multiple types of specialized cardiomyocytes, each with distinct functional attributes. However, the mechanisms that specify discrete populations of cardiac progenitors are not well understood. For example, it is clear that cardiac pacemaking activity is confined to a specialized population of cells in the cardiac inflow tract (IFT), but it remains unknown which signals act to create the appropriate number of IFT cardiomyocytes. For this reason, we were intrigued to discover that Hedgehog (Hh) signaling has a particularly potent effect on formation of the zebrafish IFT. Given our prior finding that Hh signaling is required to promote cardiomyocyte production, we were surprised to uncover a role for Hh signaling in delimiting the number of IFT cardiomyocytes. Using both genetic and pharmacological manipulations of Hh signaling, we have observed that loss of Hh signaling results in dramatically expanded expression of IFT markers. Timed manipulation of Hh signaling has revealed that it acts during early steps of cardiac patterning to limit IFT size. Furthermore, we have determined that Bmp signaling drives IFT formation, as embryos with reduced Bmp signaling have a diminished IFT. Intriguingly, reducing both Hh and Bmp signaling restores a nearly normal number of IFT cells, suggesting that Hh and Bmp signaling act in opposition during IFT development. Based on these data, I propose that high levels of Bmp signaling in emerging cardiac progenitors biases cells toward IFT fate, whereas high levels of Hh signaling biases cardiac progenitors toward other cardiac lineages. In ongoing experiments, we will determine whether the aberrant IFT cell number when Hh or Bmp signaling are reduced is due to altered specification, proliferation, or apoptosis. We anticipate that our findings will motivate and inform future studies to evaluate whether Hh and Bmp signaling play similar roles in mammalian pluripotent cells as they differentiate into pacemaker cardiomyocytes. In the long term, these results will also shed light on the etiology of congenital heart disease and inspire new strategies for regenerative medicine.

Award: $500

Haoliang Qian

Laser Science to Photonic Application

San Jose Convention Center San Jose, CA, USA

Sunday, May 10 - Friday, May 15

Abstract: The reflection and transmission of thin gold films with thickness varying from 2.5 nm to 30 nm are experimentally investigated. A theory is proposed and explains all experimental data.

Award: $300

Harry Simon

International Communication Association

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Thursday, May 21 - Monday, May 25

Abstract: The West & the Rest: The Importance of Mediatization Research for Understanding Latin American Politics Harry Simón Salazar h2simon@uscd.edu Mediatization research, and research on the Mediatization of Politics in particular, is a relatively new conceptual framework with the potential for helping researchers develop a better understanding of the relationship among political/ social institutions, media and politics. Moreover, I am convinced that Latin America has a great deal to offer for enriching this conceptual framework. Communication scholars and Latin Americanists alike have much to gain by reconsidering Latin American politics through this theoretical lens. Private commercial broadcast television is the most important source of political information for the people of Latin America. Its dramatic transformation from technical novelty in the 1950s to the mass coverage of today has revolutionized the way Latin Americans spend their leisure time, receive information and news, perceive democracy, and engage politically. According to Guillermo Orozco in Historias de la televisión en América Latina, Latin Americans currently spend on average a minimum of three hours each weekday in front of a television set, and consume at least five hours daily on weekends. Notwithstanding the significance of broadcast TV throughout the region, relatively little academic work has been undertaken to study the political history of its regional ascendance. To be sure, a comparative investigation of the roles assumed by private-commercial mass media systems within transformative Latin American political processes would yield interesting insights into the relationship between politics and the media, improving existing literatures that focus on democratic transitions in the region. The Mediatization of Politics as a conceptual framework is ideally suited to advance this process. This paper sets out to describe the relevance and utility of undertaking Mediatization research within Latin America, and I urge scholars to move this type of theoretical work beyond North America and Western Europe - areas where the vast majority of Mediatization research has been focused. Harry Simón Salazar is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Communication at the University of California San Diego. In 2009 he was awarded a Master’s degree in Latin American Studies from UC San Diego, with a thesis focusing on Democracy and the Political Ascendancy of Broadcast Television in Latin America: 1950 through 1970. He holds a BA in Ethnic Studies and Education also from UC San Diego. His current doctoral research is a comparative study focusing on the Mediatization of Politics within the 1988 Chilean Plebiscito and the 1989 Venezuelan Caracazo, foregrounding and the televisual qualities of these events within the regional context of neoliberal restructuring. His research has been supported by fellowships and grants from the Office of Graduate Studies San Diego Fellowship, the UC San Diego Center for Iberian & Latin American Studies, and the UC San Diego Department of Communication. Harry has also worked as an instructor for the UCSD La Clase Mágica, a project director within the UC San Diego Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition (LCHC), a bilingual educator, a journalist, videographer, labor organizer, and community activist.

Award: $500

Heidi Hall

Midwest Political Science Association Annual Meeting

Chicago, IL

Wednesday, April 15 - Sunday, April 19

Abstract: This paper explores the nature of human rights lobbying in Congress. It is the first, to our knowledge, empirical study of questions such as: Who lobbies? How much do they lobby? What human rights issues do they lobby? We also begin to answer the much more intricate question of why they lobby. The picture we uncover is grim—at least 84 percent of congressional lobbying on human rights issues is done by companies in only five sectors, most of whom have economic interests that conflict with what the typical person would consider humanitarian interests. Within those sectors, large public firms are responsible for the highest lobbying expenditures. These firms represent a narrow, conservative-leaning range of ideological perspectives that do not reflect the preferences of the American public. We argue the economic interests of large oil, defense, and information companies drive US human rights policy decision-making.

Award: $500

Hermes Taylor-weiner

ISSCR Annual Meeting

Stockholm, Sweden

Wednesday, June 24 - Saturday, June 27

Abstract: Morphogenic events during early development, including gastrulation, require force-mediated motility and coincide with initial fate specification of embryonic stem cells (ESCs), resulting in the formation of the definitive endoderm (DE) and mesoderm layers of the trilaminar embryo. Pluripotent embryonic stem cells exert low traction forces on their niche in vitro, suggesting a differentiation-mediated switch in contractility. However, the onset of contractility and extent to which force-mediated integrin signaling regulates fate choices is not understood. To address the requirement of tractions forces for differentiation, we examined mouse ESC specification towards DE on fibrillar fibronectin containing a deformation-sensitive FRET probe. DE induction was sufficient to cause an α5β1-integrin mediated decrease in the observed fibronectin FRET intensity ratio indicating the activation of traction forces. Inhibiting contractility with blebbistatin, an inhibitor of non-muscle myosin, resulted in an increase in the fibronectin FRET ratio but also decreased nuclear phospho-SMAD2 leading to reduced expression of the DE marker SOX17. By contrast ESCs maintained in pluripotency media did not exert significant tractions against the fibronectin matrix even in the absence of blebbistatin. When laminin-111 was added to fibrillar fibronectin matrices to improve DE induction efficiency, ESCs decreased their fibronectin traction forces in a laminin-dependent manner. Blocking laminin-binding α3-integrin restored fibronectin matrix deformation, reduced SOX17 expression, and SMAD2 phosphorylation, likely from compensation of inhibitory signaling from SMAD7 after 5 days in culture. These data imply that traction forces and integrin-signaling are important regulators of early fate decisions in ESCs.

Award: $500

Jael Vizcarra

Precariety-Exclusion-Emergency: Latin American Studies Association 2015

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Wednesday, May 27 - Saturday, May 30

Abstract: In September 1979 after a summer conference in Geneva the Argentine military junta welcomed a contingent of 300 Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese refugee families seeking asylum. The junta cited Argentina’s spirit of solidarity towards war victims as the reason for this gesture. In the seventies Argentina faced a population decline and an increased demand for labor in the peripheral provinces, such as La Pampa and Tucuman. These conditions, along with the junta’s interest in improving its public image abroad within a Cold War binary, provided a seemingly ideal scenario for the migration of Southeast Asians to the Southern Cone. Refugees were culled according to their ideological and occupational characteristics to satisfy the needs of the agricultural sector and address the population decline. Jael Vizcarra utilizes mainstream Argentine newspapers to analyze the state’s investment in humanitarian action. The junta’s initial appeal to humanitarianism failed to foresee the challenges leading to the 1980 suspension of the refugee program and forbade refugees from settling within 100 kilometers of Buenos Aires. The junta assumed that a rural environment would best fit Southeast Asians given their geographic origins. Far from seamless integration, the refugees did not intend to fulfill the prescribed role of grateful and productive rural laborers. Instead, they proved intractable and demanded fair remuneration and dignified living conditions. The refugee’s welcoming to Argentina promised inclusion into the Western world yet produced exclusion. This episode illustrates the complexity of state sponsored efforts of transnational solidarity.

Award: $500

Jeremy Egnatios

Digestive Disease Weekly

Washington DC

Saturday, May 16 - Tuesday, May 19

Abstract: Background and Aims: Many companies provide targeted, direct-to-consumer genetic testing for obesity-related polymorphisms and make dietary recommendations to help weight loss. Our aim was to evaluate whether nutrigenetic-guided, personalized dietary recommendations improve weight loss in an established weight management program. Methods: This was a prospective, randomized controlled feasibility trial (NCT01859403). Obese and overweight US veterans enrolled in the Veterans Administration San Diego Health System’s MOVE! program, which is an 8-week, evidence-based weight management program, between November 2012 and March 2014. Participants were randomized either to a nutrigenetic-guided diet based on a direct-to-consumer commercial test (GT group) or to a balanced diet, standard therapy (ST group) in a non-stratified, two group feasibility trial design. The nutrigenetic-guided diet was based on whether patient had high risk polymorphisms in seven genes (Apoa2, Adipoq, Fto, Kctd10, Lipc, Mmab, and Pparg) that have been shown to be diet responsive in human observational studies. To aid in simplicity and adherence, all diet plans incorporated prepared entrees at lunch and dinner for the first 8 weeks of the study. Participants were followed for a full 24 weeks. The main and secondary objective was to determine whether more participants in the GT group lost ≥5% of their weight, compared to those in the ST group, after 8 weeks and 24 weeks, respectively. Results: Compared to the ST, the GT group had no significant difference in the percentage of participants who lost 5% of their weight at 8 weeks (26.9% ± 17.1 vs. 35.0% ± 20.9, p = 0.28 for GT and ST respectively; difference in proportion 8.1% with CI of -17.5% to 33.5%). No significant difference was found in weight at 24 weeks. However, post-hoc analyses revealed that GT participants’ weight loss was highly correlated with adherence (as measured by receipts returned for prepared meals, r = 0.74, p < 0.001) whereas standard therapy results were not as highly correlated (r = 0.34, p = 0.23). Those whose lacked any high risk polymorphisms (14 participants) and were matched to a balanced diet (BDG) lost more percentage of their weight compared to all others at 8 weeks (5.0% (ADD IN SEM?) vs. 2.9%, respectively, p < 0.05), and continued to have significant percent loss in BMI (6.4% vs. 3.6%, respectively, p < 0.05) and waist circumference (6.5% vs. 2.6%, respectively, p < 0.05) at 24 weeks. Conclusions: Nutrigenetic based individualized diets as currently implemented and recommended are unlikely to improve weight loss. However, nutrigenetic tests may be able to identify subsets of individuals most likely to benefit from a balanced diet weight loss strategy, and requires further investigation.

Award: $500

Jerome Guterl

15th International Conference on PLASMA-FACING MATERIALS and COMPONENTS for FUSION APPLICATIONS

Aix-en-Provence, France

Monday, May 18 - Friday, May 22

Abstract: Modelling of hydrogen isotopes retention in plasma-facing components of magnetic fusion reactor J. Guterl1*, R.D. Smirnov1, S.I. Krasheninnikov1 1University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA Plasma-material interactions may strongly influence plasma performance and life-time of future magnetic fusion devices. Retention and recycling of hydrogen isotopes in plasma-facing components (PFCs) may indeed lead to dynamics plasma-material interactions and significant accumulation of tritium in material [1]. Understanding the multifaceted physics of hydrogen retention in PFCs is thus crucial, but remains challenging due to the wide spectrum of retention processes on PFC surface (erosion, co-deposition, etc.) and in PFC bulk (trap sites, bubbles, etc.) induced by long-time exposure of PFCs to high flux of energy and particles[2]. We revisit here some aspects of reaction-diffusion models used to describe hydrogen retention in metallic PFCs. We focus on analysis of thermal desorption spectroscopy (TDS) considering only one type of defects (traps) in material and neglecting surface effects. We show that solute hydrogen concentration in retention region usually remains in equilibrium during TDS. In this regime, analytic description of thermal desorption spectra indicates that trapping of solute hydrogen during TDS cannot be ignored. Main features of thermal desorption are then analytically described and refined interpretation of Arrhenius plots is proposed. We also highlight the use of tails and skewness of thermal desorption spectra to estimate activation energy of diffusion and to determine whether surface effects affect hydrogen release or not during TDS. [1] J. Roth and K. Schmid, Phys. Scr., 014031 (2011) [2] R.A. Causey, J. Nucl. Mater. 300 (2002) 91

Award: $500

John Dougherty

Philosophy of Logic, Math and Physics Graduate Conference

London, Ontario

Thursday, June 4 - Friday, June 5

Abstract: Lange (2009) argues that proofs by mathematical induction are generally not explanatory on the grounds that inductive explanation is irreparably circular. He supports this circularity claim by presenting two putative inductive explanantia which are one another’s explanada. On pain of circularity, at most one of this pair may be a true explanation. But because there are no relevant differences between the two explanantia on offer, neither has the explanatory high ground. Thus, neither is an explanation. However, I claim that there is a principled reason to think that the two inductive explanations under consideration are not in fact different explanations. A verdict on the explanatory value of mathematical induction will have to rest on substantive claims about mathematical induction and explanation.

Award: $500

John Kuk

Midwest Political Science Association Annual Conference

Chicago

Thursday, April 16 - Sunday, April 19

Abstract: Is individual voting behavior associated with local-level intergenerational mobility? The United States was called the "land of opportunity," and the high level of social mobility distinguished the country from Europe. However, recent research on intergenerational mobility has found large spatial differences within the United States. If the difference in social mobility between the United States and Europe explained the difference in their redistributive preferences, does the same apply when trying to explain spatial variations in partisanship within the United States? In this article, I argue that local intergenerational mobility affects individual voting choice. Using a dataset from Chetty et al. (2014), I show that county-level-measured intergenerational mobility is positively correlated with county Republican vote share and individual probability of voting Republican. This article also provides an explanation for Republican voting by poor voters. Low-income voters' likelihood of voting Republican is correlated with intergenerational mobility that is stronger among than middle- and high-income voters. Low-income voters vote Republican in the presence of the prospect that hard work will offer them an opportunity to succeed.

Award: $500

Kyle Marra

Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology Annual Conference

Denver, CO

Sunday, May 3 - Thursday, May 7

Abstract: TITLE: Physical Activity and Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Results from the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys ABSTRACT BODY: Purpose: Previous studies have utilized subjective self-reported measures of physical activity to provide conflicting reports on the association between physical activity and age-related macular degeneration. We aim to utilize physical activity data measured objectively via accelerometry by a U.S. nationally representative population-based survey in order to assess the associations between age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and behavioral parameters such as physical activity. Methods: A population-based cross-sectional study of the U.S. population, the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys provided demographic, behavioral, and medical data to identify potential behavioral risk factors for AMD. Retinal images from an ophthalmic examination were graded with a standardized protocol to provide the status of AMD for patients over the age of 40. Physical activity was objectively measured using data from an accelerometer worn by patients for 7 consecutive days. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to assess the significance of these risk factors for AMD. Results: Of the 2,413 participants with graded retinal images, 193 patients (8.00%) had AMD with 166 patients (6.88%) presenting early AMD and 27 patients (1.12%) presenting late AMD. Age, ethnicity, body mass index (BMI), triglycerides, high blood pressure, physical activity, smoking history, family income, education, and cardiovascular disease [including history of myocardial infraction, stroke, congestive heart failure, coronary heart disease, and angina] were all significant (p<0.05) during mutivariate analysis of risk factors for AMD. Conclusions: This study utilized objectively measured accelerometer data to suggest that physical activity has a protective effect against AMD. Other findings from this 2005-2006 NHANES data were consistent with current literature identifying risk factors for AMD in the US population.

Award: $500

Kathryn Flach

The Western Association of Women Historians

Sacramento

Thursday, May 14 - Saturday, May 16

Abstract: In the 1950s and 1960s, when live television revealed to domestic and international audiences the prevalence of violent racism, the civil rights movement gained sympathy and credibility. In contrast, the women’s liberation movement of the late 1960s and 1970s did not benefit from televised news reporting. A comparison of the number of reports on feminism versus the anti-war movement and civil rights and black power movements in 1970 makes this clear. Networks rarely covered women’s issues, and although the news did provide limited coverage of the women’s rights movement prior to 1970, the coverage was so thin that it could not have conveyed a clear idea of the movement and its goals to viewers. Yet standard narratives typically date the emergence of feminism’s “second wave” to the alleged national news coverage of the New York Radical Women’s protest of the 1968 Miss America pageant. However, evidence to support this interpretation has been based on oral accounts, as opposed to analysis of the actual newscast itself. In fact, none of the three major television networks aired coverage of the September 7, 1968 pageant protest at the time it occurred. Thus, while scholarship on “second wave” feminism claims that coverage of the 1968 Miss America protest publicized the women’s movement to international audiences and led to the lasting trope of feminists “bra burners,” this paper will reveal the fallacy of this narrative. By tracing the lineage of print and televisual media accounts of the protest, I will show that the beliefs and ideals it expressed entered the popular discourse later than is now generally presumed.

Award: $300

Kathryn Godfrey

36th Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine

San Antonio, TX

Wednesday, April 22 - Saturday, April 25

Abstract: Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis dysregulation has been associated with chronic pain. Conditioned pain modulation paradigms such as diffuse noxious inhibitory control (DNIC) may inform mechanisms involved in stress, pain perception, and chronic pain risk. The aims of this study were to: a) examine the DNIC and cortisol relationship and b) explore genetic confounding in those associations. The 99 community-based female twin pairs had a mean age of 29 years; 75% were monozygotic (MZ). Salivary cortisol was measured across 7 days including baseline and dexamethasone (dex) suppressed periods. Temperature at a rating of 6 on a 0 to 10 pain scale (VAS6 temp) and DNIC response ( and were assessed. Generalized estimating equations models adjusted for age found that higher morning cortisol levels during baseline and after .25 mg dex were associated with higher VAS6 temp (B’s = 0.64-0.72, p’s = 0.010-0.002). Lower diurnal variation in cortisol during baseline and lower cortisol levels after suppression were linked to higher DNIC response scores or less endogenous analgesia (B’s = -0.43 - -0.94, p’s = 0.046-0.001). All but one within-pair association were diminished, suggesting genetic confounding. Cortisol dysregulation at baseline and after suppression was associated with lower pain modulation and chronic pain risk. Elucidating the cortisol and pain modulation relationship could contribute to understanding, treating, and preventing the development of chronic pain conditions.

Award: $500

Kevin Young

IEEE Biophotonics/International Conference on Biophotonics

Florence, Italy

Wednesday, May 20 - Friday, May 22

Abstract: Current non-invasive imaging tools, such as ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging, and optical coherence tomography, are blind to micrometer-scale cell organization and structure. So, these techniques are unable to quantify key parameters that dictate tissue function. For example, a few micrometer length change to skeletal muscle sarcomere length (SL) varies active force generation by up to 100%. Inability to measure SL in-vivo during movement is a long-standing challenge in understanding human muscle physiology and function. To overcome this challenge, we theoretically developed and then experimentally tested a new optical technique, termed resonant reflection spectroscopy (RRS), to measure SL. Importantly, RRS was specifically created to achive physiological relevelence by realizing a large sample size (thousands of sarcomeres), low power (<15 mW), and high accuracy (<100 nm resolution). SLs were measured by laser diffraction (LD) and RRS in ten muscles. Whole hind-limb muscles were collected from mice and rabbits. Each muscle was pinned to cork board at various levels of stretch and chemically fixed in 10% Formalin. A helium-neon laser illuminated micro-dissections from each muscle to measure SL by LD. A new supercontinuum laser source was built and used to measure SL by RRS. Illumination and signal collection for RRS was achieved using a fiber optic probe. SLs were calculated from reflected wavelength spectra based upon theoretical predictions. Theoretical models of collected RRS signals showed nearly perfect agreement with experimental RRS measurements (R2 = 0.984, p<0.001). Similarly, SL measured by LD agreed with SL measured by RRS (R2 = 0.984, p < 0.001).

Award: $500

Kyle Blair

soundSCAPE: Composition and Performance Exchange

Maccagno, Italy

Friday, July 3 - Thursday, July 16

Abstract: I will be performing a variety of musical works at soundSCAPE, both in solo and collaborative settings as well as performing existing musical works and premiering newly-written works for the festival attendees.

Award: $500

Lani Gleason

Evolution 2015

Casa Grande Hotel Resort, Guaruja, Brazil

Friday, June 26 - Tuesday, June 30

Abstract: The balance between local adaptation and interpopulation gene flow in marine organisms is still relatively unexplored, and the intertidal snail Chlorostoma (formerly Tegula) funebralis is an excellent system to lend insight into this topic because it is influenced by several factors that alternately deter and encourage local adaptation. For instance C. funebralis has pelagic larvae and no previously identified genetic structure at cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI); however, northern and southern California, USA populations show genetically-based region-specific transcriptomic responses to heat stress. To increase our understanding of the dynamics influencing adaptive divergence, we used double digest restriction site-associated DNA (ddRAD) sequencing to identify 1633 genome-wide, quality filtered single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) loci for 90 C. funebralis individuals collected from three northern California populations and from three southern California populations (15 individuals from each population). There was no evidence for genetic differentiation based on all SNP loci (FST = 0.015); however, the top ten percentile of SNPs based on FST differentiation between northern and southern populations (177 loci, FST = 0.064) demonstrated significant structure with respect to geography. Furthermore, outlier tests revealed 24 loci putatively under divergent selection between northern and southern populations. Six outliers were annotated to sequences in the NCBI database; two are associated with the microtubule cytoskeleton, and one matched an NADH dehydrogenase subunit. This study increases our understanding of the factors that constrain local adaptation in marine organisms, while nevertheless demonstrating that strong differentiation can occur at some loci in the face of gene flow in the sea.

Award: $500

Lauren Fong

The International Society for Stem Cell Research Annual Meeting

Stockholm, Sweden

Wednesday, June 24 - Saturday, June 27

Abstract: Successful development of effective therapeutics for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) requires a deep understanding of the mechanisms of disease pathogenesis. This has been made difficult by the inability of animal models to fully recapitulate AD’s molecular and cellular phenotypes, but recent human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived models have shown it is possible to recapitulate the complex genetic diversity of a patient and more completely model AD pathology. While most work has focused on neuronal AD phenotypes, there is mounting evidence that damage to neighboring nonneuronal support cells factor significantly to neuronal dysfunction. Astrocytes, the most abundant non-neuronal cell type in the brain, have previously been implicated in AD in the clearance of the amyloid-β peptide and also in neuroinflammation. In order to examine all mechanisms of AD pathogenesis, we must expand our model to include both hiPSC-derived neurons and glia. Thus, using an in vitro differentiation protocol to generate astrocytes from hiPSC, we will test the hypothesis that AD astrocytes exhibit intrinsic functional defects that contribute to neurodegeneration by modulation of neuronal phenotypes. We have generated functional human iPSC-derived astrocytes and are currently testing astrocytic contributions to neuronal dysfunction in familial Alzheimer’s disease. This hiPSC-derived astrocytic-neuronal model could bring new insight to whether non-neuronal cells like astrocytes modulate AD neuronal phenotypes.

Award: $500

Lauren Mack

AAI Immunology 2015

New Orleans, LA

Friday, May 8 - Monday, April 13

Abstract: Circadian rhythms are defined as 24 hour oscillations in physiological and behavioral processes. Clinical data suggests circadian involvement in the predisposition and progression of immune-related morbidities such as cancer and autoimmune disease. Recent studies have demonstrated the direct role of core molecular clock components in maintaining the immune system. A subset of CD4+ T cells known as regulatory T cells (Treg) are critical for preserving balance in the immune system and have been shown to be able to prevent a broad range of autoimmune disease. By studying the role of core circadian genes in Treg cells the connection between the circadian clock and autoimmune disease may be further elucidated. We have identified a core circadian clock gene, cryptochrome (Cry), to have a role in Treg cell function both in vitro and in vivo. The deficiency of Cry in Treg cells results in a breakdown in immune tolerance, which results in severe pathological autoimmunity in mice. This is characterized by immune cell infiltration into peripheral tissues as well as increased numbers of cytokine producing CD4 and CD8 T cells. It was also seen that ectopic expression of Cry in Treg cells results in increased suppression of T cell proliferation in vitro. Thus, we have demonstrated a direct role of Cry expression in the function of Treg cells.

Award: $500

Linhai Li

International Ocean Color Science Meeting

San Francisco

Monday, June 15 - Thursday, June 18

Abstract: Monitoring of harmful algal blooms using remotely sensed optical measurements has been intensively investigated in recent years. Particular interests were placed on remote sensing of cyanobacterial blooms, which cause severe environmental and health issues. Cyanobacteria can be identified by a toxic pigment, phycocyanin (PC). It is difficult to accurately estimate low PC concentrations (e.g. less than 5 mg/m^3) from remote sensing reflectance (Rrs) spectra although high levels of PC can be well predicted. However, the remote prediction of low PC is much more critical for issuing warning of early cyanobacterial blooms. Therefore, this study is focused on improving the accuracy of remote estimation of extremely low PC concentrations. Based on previously published IIMIW model, absorption spectra of phytoplankton can be derived, which was further used to retrieve PC concentrations. The PC concentrations were better predicted because the effects of other constituents such as colored dissolved organic matter and detritus were excluded after inversing Rrs to phytoplankton absorption coefficients. As a result, this study will make it possible to monitor early cyanobacterial blooms through ocean color remote sensing in the future.

Award: $300

Lisa Ho

2015 Association of Asian American Studies Conference--The Trans/national Imaginary: Global Cities & Racial Borderlands

Evanston, Illinois

Thursday, April 23 - Saturday, April 25

Abstract: In this presentation, I examine the primary source documents from the “North Korea International Documentation Project” which has been made available through the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Digital Archive. These materials portray a burgeoning alliance between the Black Panther’s Eldridge Cleaver and North Korea’s former leader, Kim Il Sung. Cleaver's interest in North Korea is larger reflection of how other black radicals traveled to Asia during the Cold War to create bonds of solidarity based on anti-American imperialist politic. I use Sheila Hones and Julia Leyda’s “relational geography” to read this alliance because it imagines a geography that is not impacted by distance but is molded by shared political views, and that moves beyond the Cold War dyadic landscape of capitalism and communism. I argue that I argue that by outlining these connections will allow for the emergence of a possible alternative historiography of North Korea. Instead of being designated as a member of the “Axis of Evil” the archive allows us to imagine North Korea as a possible anti-American imperial agent.

Award: $500

Luis Sanchez-lopez

Latin American Studies Association

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Monday, April 6 - Monday, April 6

Abstract: Title: “Zapotec Soldiers: Military Conscription and In 19th century Oaxaca, military conscription served as a policing mechanism within pueblos. Municipal authorities could accuse men of being vagos (vagrants) or criminals and force them to serve in the armed forces. This policing mechanism could serve to maintain peace within the communities by removing troublemakers or criminals from the community, but it also served to silence political opposition. Oftentimes, those who were remitted to the armed forces were the political rivals of municipal presidents. During times of war or political crises, the State set quotas for the number of men that municipal authorities were required to remit for service in the armed forces. If the municipal authorities failed to meet these quotas, they ran the risk of being incarcerated. However, there were instances where municipal authorities not only failed to apprehend and send men to the barracks—they actively resisted the State’s mandate by helping the hijos del pueblo (men from the community) avoid military service. In this paper, I argue that municipal authorities in the Tlacolula Valley failed to dragoon the hijos del pueblo in an effort to maintain their good social standing within the community. In other words, it was more important for municipal authorities to maintain a good relationship with the members of their pueblo than with the leaders of the emerging national State.Resistance in 19th Century Oaxaca”

Award: $500

Madeleine Jackson

AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting

Minneapolis, MN

Sunday, June 14 - Tuesday, June 16

Abstract: Title: Distribution of Industry Payments to Physicians: Initial Results from of Open Payments (OP) Program Reports Research Objective: Our goal is to characterize the most comprehensive records to date of industry payments and transfers of value to physicians (‘physician payments’) from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid’s Open Payments (OP) program and how physician payments vary by medical specialty. Study Design: We performed an epidemiologic analysis of the December 2014 OP data release of physician payments made between August 1 and December 31, 2013. We characterized payments by type (general or research), form [cash or cash equivalent (‘cash’), in-kind items and services (‘in-kind’), dividend, profit or other return on investment (‘ROI’), or stock, stock option or any other ownership interest (‘ownership interest’)], and nature (consulting fees, food and beverage, etc.). Population Studied: Physician payment records containing physician specialty data (2.7 million of 4.5 million total records) were included in the analysis. Physicians receiving payments were compared to the total number of active physicians in each specialty in 2012 (1). Principal Findings: There are 2.7 million records of payments to 368,595 physicians (49%) totaling $527 million. General payments represent 90% of physician payments by amount (median:$16, IQR:$12-$30; mean:$180, SD:$4,998), and the remaining 10% are research payments (median:$260, IQR:$95-$1,470; mean:$3,615, SD:$25-$537). Form of general payments are primarily cash (79% by amount, 20% by count) or in-kind (20% by amount, 80% by count), with the remaining payments as ROI (0.3% by amount, <0.01% by count) and ownership interest (1% by amount, <0.01% by count). Nature of general payments by amount are primarily compensation for services other than consulting (excluding continuing education) (24%), royalty or license (23%), and consulting fees (20%). By number of payment records, nature of general payments are primarily food and beverage (84%). Form of research payments by amount are as cash (59%) or in-kind (41%), with 91% unattributable to an expenditure category. Physicians most likely to receive general payments are neurosurgeons (77%) and dermatologists (63%) while those least likely are emergency medicine physicians (17%) and pathologists (8%). The highest general per-report payment amounts were paid to cardiothoracic surgeons (median:$43, IQR:$17-$125; mean:$291, SD:$1,671), pathologists (median:$40, IQR:$12-$125; mean:$549, SD:$2,609), and orthopedic surgeons (median:$38, IQR:$12-$128; mean:$1,360, SD:$24,025) with the lowest amounts paid to family and general practice physicians (median:$13, IQR:$11-$17; mean:$39, SD:$1,313). Conclusions: Distribution of industry payments to physicians varies widely between specialties in proportion of physicians receiving payment, as well as amount, form and nature of payment. With just over half of the records identified, the proportion of physicians receiving payments meets CMS estimates of 50%2; the actual number of physicians receiving payment are likely greater when including the deidentified and excluded payments. Moreover, the large number of research payments without an identified expenditure category shows that this method of categorization may require revision. Implications for Policy or Practice: These data will help to inform transparency policy-making and advocacy efforts and inform further research efforts to measure the effect of transparency on physician practice over time. (1) American Medical Association. Physician Characteristics and Distribution in the US. Chicago, IL: American Medical Association; 2014. 242 C.F.R. Parts 402 and 403.

Award: $500

Mathew Goebel

Social Media and Critical Care

Chicago, IL

Wednesday, June 24 - Friday, June 26

Abstract: Background Electrocardiograms (ECGs) are often the initial diagnostic tool utilized by clinicians when evaluating patients presenting with chest pain. Typically, acute occlusion of a coronary vessel leads to ST-segment elevation on the ECG alerting the clinician to the presence of ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). Recent technological advances put 12-lead ECGs in the hands of pre-hospital providers, allowing earlier diagnosis of STEMI and mobilizing of hospital resources. Pre-arrival activation reduces time to definitive treatment by overlapping patient transport time with hospital preparation time. The question remains, however, how the pre-hospital diagnosis of STEMI should be made and who should make it. Hypothesis We conducted a pilot study to test the accuracy of an algorithm, IC-SHAD, that uses a combination of paramedic and computer interpretations to accurately diagnose coronary occlusion in the pre-hospital environment. Methods Pre-hospital ECGs transmitted to the emergency department of a tertiary academic center were collected from January 2011 to October 2013. ECGs with a computer interpretation of STEMI were applied to the IC-SHAD algorithm. Tracings acquired by pre-hospital providers on inter-facility transport patients who had already been diagnosed with STEMI by a physician were excluded. Patients were followed through their emergency department course. Emergency physician activation of STEMI protocol, as documented on the chart, was the gold standard for comparison. Principle Findings Eighty-three cases were received during the study period that had a computer interpretation of STEMI. Thirty-nine of these cases met all the algorithm criteria, and all 39 were activated as STEMIs by emergency physicians (100% positive predictive value). Discussion IC-SHAD is promising for enabling paramedics with minimal standardized training to accurately diagnose STEMI without physician over-read. At facilities seeking to reduce false-positive pre-hospital activations, IC-SHAD provides early diagnosis of STEMI and reduces time to definitive treatment.

Award: $500

Minhchau Do

Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) Conference 2015

Miami, FL

Thursday, April 9 - Sunday, April 12

Abstract: Given the high prevalence of depression in adolescents (Kessler et al., 2001), its associated negative impact (Brent & Weersing, 2008), and its frequent continuation into adulthood (Lewinsohn et al., 1999), development of treatment and prevention programs for this population has become critical. In the Prevention of Depression (POD) study, Garber and colleagues (2009) found that a cognitive-behavioral prevention program (CBP) outperformed usual care (UC) among adolescents who were at high risk for depression. However, the positive effects of interventions are often short-lived. In the POD study, 37% and 48% of youths in the CBP and UC conditions respectively experienced onsets of episodes during a 33-month follow-up period (Beardslee et al., 2013), pointing to the critical need for continued care for high-risk youths. Most adolescents with mood disorders do receive services (Merikangas et al., 2010) and those that do receive care of limited scope (Merikangas et al., 2011). Using 33-month follow-up data from the POD study (n = 282), the current study examined whether key youth (depression severity, comorbidity, suicidality, functioning, parent-child conflict), parent (depression, past history of service use), and demographic variables (youth age, gender, minority status, SES) predicted service use during the 9-21 months and 21-33 months post-randomization follow-up periods. During the 9-21 months follow-up period, 6.3% of youths initiated antidepressant use, 10.2% of youths utilized services at school, and 26.7% of youths received outpatient care. In a multivariate logistic regression controlling for key variables such as past service use, increased antidepressant use was predicted by increased youth depression severity (β=.03, p=4.48) and family income (β=2.46, p=.04), while lower youth functioning (β=-.09, p=.03) and female gender (β=1.48, p=.05) predicted higher use of school services. Outpatient service use was not predicted by any of our predictors. The results suggest that the factors that bring youths into services differ by service sector. Additional analyses will examine how these variables predict other service use outcomes (e.g., number of sessions). Service use models for the individual and cumulative follow-up periods will be presented. In assessing what variables bring youths into services, the results will highlight areas in which services are warranted but underutilized.

Award: $500

Mark Chapman

25th Congress of the International Society of Biomechanics

Glasgow, Scotland

Thursday, July 9 - Thursday, July 16

Abstract: Collagen Crosslinking does not Dictate Stiffness in a Transgenic Model of Skeletal Muscle Fibrosis Introduction & Objectives Fibrosis results when skeletal muscle is damaged and the regenerative process fails to recapitulate normal development. Skeletal muscle fibrosis is the abnormal accumulation of ECM between myofibers, specifically expressed as increased collagen content (1). Apart from biochemical changes, biomechanical changes are also observed in skeletal muscle, cardiac and liver fibrosis (2, 3, 1). While collagen content and tissue stiffness both increase with fibrosis, there is not a strong correlation between these two values (4, 5). Interestingly, a recent cardiac study showed that collagen crosslinks, not collagen abundance, dictated tissue stiffness (6) which suggests that collagen crosslinks may also explain increased tissue stiffness in muscle fibrosis. Therefore, the goal of this study was to correlate tissue stiffness with lysyl-pyridinoline (LP), hydroxylysyl-pyridinoline (HP), and pentosidine (PE) collagen crosslinks. In this study, we used our recently described nesprin-desmin double knockout mouse (DKO) model of skeletal muscle fibrosis (4). Methods Passive mechanical testing of skeletal muscle bundles from wild-type (WT) [n=10], nesprin-1 knockout (nesprin-/-) [n=8], desmin knockout (desmin-/-) [n=10] and DKO [n=13] mice was conducted as previously described (7). Briefly, muscle bundles were secured to a force transducer (Aurora Scientific 405A; Aurora, ON, Canada) on one side and a fixed titanium pin connected to a rotational bearing (Newport MT-RS; Irvine, CA, USA) on the other. A stress-relaxation protocol was implemented by increasing sarcomere length by 0.25 µm/stretch and stress-relaxing for 3 minutes. Bundles were stretched to a sarcomere length of 4.0 µm, or until failure, whichever occurred first. From these data, tangent stiffness was determined by calculating the slope of the stress-sarcomere length plot at a sarcomere length of 3.2 µm. HP, LP and PE concentrations of muscle samples were determined as previously described (8). These samples were derived from adjacent portions of the same muscle samples used for mechanical testing. Samples were prepared for HPLC and injected into the HPLC column (TSK gel ODS-80Tm, 4.6 mm I.D. x 15 cm packed with 5 µm particles, TOSOH Bioscience, Japan). Elution of crosslinks was achieved at 40°C at a flow rate of 1.0 mL/min in two steps. Hydroxyproline content was determined using an HPLC column (Waters Spherisorb ODS-80. 4.6 mm I.D. x25 cm 2-5 μm particles, All Tech, Deerfield, IL). Stepwise regression analysis was performed using IBM SPSS Statistics (Armonk, NY) to determine which parameters (collagen content, HP, LP, and/or PE if any) could predict muscle tissue stiffness. Results As previously reported, muscle bundle stiffness was increased by six-fold (or ~500%) in DKO mice (4) which was accompanied by two-fold (or ~100%) increase in collagen content. However, collagen content and tissue stiffness were poorly correlated (p<0.05, r2=0.31). When tissue stiffness was plotted against collagen, HP or PE values, there was a significant correlation between stiffness and collagen and crosslink content (collagen:p<0.05, r2=0.62; HP:p<0.05, r2=0.73; PE:p<0.05, r2=0.52; Figs. 1A,B & D). However, when examining each genotype separately, this relationship disappeared. Thus, the correlation was caused by differences between genotypes and created only a pseudocorrelation (9). LP crosslink content also had no correlation with tissue stiffness. These conclusions were further validated using stepwise regression. In the stepwise regression model, the only variable that entered the linear model was HP content (r2=0.73), suggesting a good relationship. However, it should be noted that when data from any single genotype were run through stepwise regression, no variables were included in the model. Finally, no relationship was found between tissue stiffness and normalized collagen crosslinks. This was further highlighted when stepwise regression was used, and no crosslinking variables were included in the model. Conclusion In spite of the current findings, it remains unclear which parameters in skeletal muscle ECM are responsible for dictating tissue stiffness. Although neither collagen content nor collagen crosslinks are highly correlated with tissue stiffness, collagen organization within the ECM remains a potential contributer to tissue stiffness. None of the methods used account in any way for the gross arrangement of collagen bundles which are rich in the perimysial space (10). Recently, a serial block face scanning electron microscopy method was used to reconstruct skeletal muscle ECM over hundreds of microns (11). This technology holds great potential for determining collagen/ECM ultrastructure, and could answer questions about whether tissue stiffness is related to ECM organization. Other factors such as proteoglycans may also affect stiffness, as it has been shown that decorin and biglycan are also increased in muscle fibrosis models (12). 1. Lieber,R.L. and Ward,S.R. (2013) Cellular Mechanisms of Tissue Fibrosis. 4. Structural and functional consequences of skeletal muscle fibrosis. Am. J. Physiol. Cell Physiol., 305, C241–C252. 2. Carrión,J. a, Torres,F., Crespo,G., Miquel,R., García-Valdecasas,J.-C., Navasa,M. and Forns,X. (2010) Liver stiffness identifies two different patterns of fibrosis progression in patients with hepatitis C virus recurrence after liver transplantation. Hepatology, 51, 23–34. 3. Jalil,J.E., Doering,C.W., Janicki,J.S., Pick,R., Shroff,S.G. and Weber,K.T. (1989) Fibrillar collagen and myocardial stiffness in the intact hypertrophied rat left ventricle. Circ. Res., 64, 1041–1050. 4. Chapman,M.A., Zhang,J., Banerjee,I., Guo,L.T., Zhang,Z., Shelton,G.D., Ouyang,K., Lieber,R.L. and Chen,J. (2014) Disruption of both nesprin 1 and desmin results in nuclear anchorage defects and fibrosis in skeletal muscle. Hum. Mol. Gen., 10.1093/hmg/ddu310. 5. Smith,L.R. and Barton,E.R. (2014) Collagen content does not alter the passive mechanical properties of fibrotic skeletal muscle in mdx mice. Am. J. Physiol. Cell Physiol., 306, C889–98. 6. López,B., Querejeta,R., González,A., Larman,M. and Díez,J. (2012) Collagen cross-linking but not collagen amount associates with elevated filling pressures in hypertensive patients with stage C heart failure: potential role of lysyl oxidase. Hypertension, 60, 677–683. 7. Fridén,J. and Lieber,R.L. (2003) Spastic muscle cells are shorter and stiffer than normal cells. Muscle Nerve, 26, 157–164. 8. Bank,R.A., Beekman,B., Verzijl,N., Roos,J.A.D.M. De, Sakkee,A.N. and Tekoppele,J.M. (1997) Sensitive fluorimetric quantitation of pyridinium and pentosidine crosslinks in biological samples in a single high-performance liquid chromatographic run. J. Chromatogr. B, 703, 37–44. 9. Draper,N.R. and Smith,H. (1981) Applied Regression Analysis John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York. 10. Gillies,A.R. and Lieber,R.L. (2011) Structure and function of the skeletal muscle extracellular matrix. Muscle & nerve, 44, 318–31. 11. Gillies,A.R., Bushong,E. a, Deerinck,T.J., Ellisman,M.H. and Lieber,R.L. (2014) Three-Dimensional Reconstruction of Skeletal Muscle Extracellular Matrix Ultrastructure. Microsc Microanal, 10.1017/S1431927614013300. 12. Fadic,R., Mezzano,V., Alvarez,K., Cabrera,D., Holmgren,J. and Brandan,E. (2006) Increase in decorin and biglycan in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: role of fibroblasts as cell source of these proteoglycans in the disease. J. Cell. Mol. Med., 10.

Award: $500

Matthew Bergman

Midwest Political Science Association Annual Conference

Chicago

Thursday, April 16 - Sunday, April 19

Abstract: The niche party-voter linkage has been demonstrated time again to be fundamentally different from the mainstream linkages. These voters appear to be motivated by extreme position on non-economic issues and their parties, in turn are electorally punished when they stray too far from these positions. What remains understudied, however is the economic linkage between party and niche voter. The Lega Nord serves as an excellent test case to explore the dimensionality of party-voter linkages given its niche classification as both nationalist and ethno-regionalist. Through its 25 year existence, the party has been consistent in its extreme position in Italian politics, yet also inconsistent in issues of import. Wavering between independence and devolution, anti-South and anti-EU, pro-business and anti-immigrant makes defining a Lega voter problematic. This paper examines what has kept voters bound to this party, and what issues, especially in recent years, have driven voters away. Given the multidimensionality of the party platform as well as its chronological vacillation, this paper thus explores which issue linkages are strong and which are weak with this stereotypically niche party as compared to its mainstream competitors.

Award: $500

Melanie Beasley

High Resolution Proxies of Paleoclimate Conference

Madison, Wisconsin

Sunday, May 31 - Wednesday, June 3

Abstract: SIMS reveals disgenesis and seasonal paleoprecipitation at Allia Bay, Kenya 3.97 MA By: Melanie Beasley, Margaret Schoeninger, Ian Orland, and John Valley This project will reconstruct seasonal patterns of rainfall 3.97 MA at Allia Bay, Kenya using high-resolution serial spot analyses (via SIMS 10 µm spots in situ) of stable oxygen isotopes in fossil faunal tooth enamel (δ18Oen). We reconstruct the local ecology of Australopithecus anamensis, the earliest confirmed obligate hominin biped. These first-ever site- and time-specific ecological data are a first step toward understanding the origins of our unique locomotor system. At tropical latitudes, where Allia Bay is located, seasonal changes in precipitation amounts can result in major shifts in vegetation in open grassland habitats. In contrast, they have limited impact to vegetation in forest ecosystems. The oxygen isotope ratios from enamel of non-drinking species will track intra-annual changes in relative humidity and those of water-dependent species will track variation in precipitation amounts. In addition, the high-resolution data generated by SIMS allows for the first time ever the evaluation of diagenesis in tooth enamel and the resulting changes to the δ18Oen. SIMS proves to be a useful tool in identifying diagenetically altered regions of tooth enamel.

Award: $500

Min-gi Chung

International Society of Research on Emotion (ISRE)

Geneva, Switzerland

Wednesday, July 8 - Friday, July 10

Abstract: This study aimed to examine the characteristics of communal narcissism with regard to emotions, self-esteem, and life satisfaction and to compare individual differences between agentic narcissism and communal narcissism. Communal narcissism refers to individuals satisfying self-motives of grandiosity, esteem, entitlement, and power in communal domains whereas agentic narcissists are those who satisfy the same motives in agentic domains. Gebauer, Sedikides, Verplanken, and Maio (2012) proposed the new and broad model of narcissism, agency-communion model of narcissism and developed the Communal Narcissism Inventory (CNI). Total of 228 undergraduate students (male=107, female=121) with the mean age of 21.5 (SD=3.25) from Seoul National University participated in study 1, where power motive, affiliation motive, empathy (perspective taking, empathic concern), anger (state anger, trait anger, anger control, anger expression), aggression, and interpersonal problems variables were used to compare the difference between agentic narcissism and communal narcissism. Correlation of .399 (p<.01) was found between agentic narcissism and communal narcissism. In addition, the more communal narcissistic the person was the lower power motive, anger, aggression and interpersonal problem experiences in control dimension they possessed compared with agentic narcissistics. Based on the result of study 1 and previous studies showing that communal narcissisists and agentic narcissisists can have different reactions in negative emotions, interpersonal situations, especially in ego-threatening situations (e.g., Bushman & Baumeister, 1998; Bushman , Bonacci, van Dijk, & Baumeister, 2003; Donnellan et al., 2005; Stucke & Sporer, 2002; Twnege & Campbell, 203), two types of ego-threatening scenarios were tested with 204 undergraduate subjects (male=90, female=114) in study 2. The participants completed four agency-threatening situations and four communion-threatening situation scenarios with hypothetical negative emotions, self-esteem, and life satisfaction in each case. Three different groups depending on their level of agentic narcissism and communal narcissism including control group were selected and analysis of variance was used for the analysis. For emotions, irritation in agency-threatening situations and shame in communion-threatening situations were significantly observed unlike the hypothesis that anger would be salient in each corresponding situations. Anger, irritation, and shame were also found significantly different in some of the cases when each scenario was investigated. Moreover, there were significant group differences both in self-esteem and life satisfaction in all cases. Lastly, suggestions and implications for the future investigations are discussed.

Award: $500

Mohsen Imani

Design Automation Conference (DAC)

San Francisco

Sunday, June 7 - Thursday, June 11

Abstract: This paper introduces a new ultra-low leakage single-ended SRAM cell in 20nm independent gate FinFET technology which works efficiently in above, near threshold and subthreshold regions. This is the first FinFET-based SRAM cell that utilizes back gates of FinFET devices to improve the ON/OFF current ratio. The proposed architecture redesigns the read path circuit and leverages voltage boosting for biasing, effectively eliminating access transistor leakage in read, write and hold modes. Additionally, employing a sleep transistor in the tail of the storage cell reduces the hold power and improves the write ability in active mode by decreasing the voltage drop over the cell and acting as feedback to suppress the variability of the cell. Our results show that the proposed cell improves the ON/OFF current ratio by at least 20X and 6.5X, and hold power by 4.4X and 4.3X compared to prior designs in above threshold and near threshold respectively.

Award: $300

Naina Kurup

20th International C. elegans Meeting

UCLA

Wednesday, June 24 - Sunday, June 28

Abstract: Temporal regulation of MT dynamics drives synapse remodeling Naina Kurup1, Dong Yan1, 4, Alexandr Goncharov2, Yishi Jin1, 2, 3 1 Neurobiology Section, Division of Biological Sciences, UC San Diego 2 Howard Hughes Medical Institute, UC San Diego 3 Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, UC San Diego 4 Present address: Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke University School of Medicine Connectivity changes in neuronal circuits involve large and small scale rearrangements of the underlying cytoskeleton. While changes to the microtubule (MT) cytoskeleton during dendritic plasticity have been well characterized, much less is known about how MT dynamics contributes to structural plasticity of pre-synaptic terminals. The GABAergic DD neurons undergo synapse remodeling in the L1-L2 molt, where pre-existing ventral synapses are eliminated and new synapses are formed along the dorsal neurite, strikingly without neurite growth or pruning (White et al., 1978). Using this model, termed DD remodeling, we identify a critical role for dynamic MTs in driving axonal transport necessary for new synapse formation. A missense mutation in α-tubulin (tba-1(gf)) (Baran et al., 2010), when combined with loss of the conserved MAPKKK DLK-1 (dlk-1(0)) (Nakata et al., 2005), results in a complete block in DD remodeling. Temporal activation of DLK-1 is required for DD remodeling, with MT catastrophe factors like Kinesin-13/KLP-7 and Spastin/SPAS-1 acting downstream of the DLK-1 cascade in regulating DD remodeling. An increase in the number of dynamic MTs correlates with the onset of DD remodeling, and we find that a loss in dynamic MTs causes the failure in DD remodeling in tba-1(gf) dlk-1(0) double mutant animals. 4-D imaging during DD remodeling in WT and tba-1(gf) dlk-1(0) animals reveal a significant reduction in SNB-1::GFP labeled vesicles trafficked from the ventral to the dorsal neurite in tba-1(gf) dlk-1(0). Moreover, we identify two gain-of-function alleles in Kinesin-1/UNC-116 that suppress tba-1(gf) dlk-1(0), through an increase in MT-motor binding affinity that promotes synaptic vesicle transport during DD remodeling. In summary, our data provides in vivo evidence of the importance of temporal regulation of dynamic MTs, under the control of DLK-1, in facilitating circuit plasticity.

Award: $300

Nancy Peniche May

55 International Congress of Americanists

San Salvador, Salvador

Sunday, July 12 - Friday, April 17

Abstract: Complejidad debajo de los pisos: Arquitectura del Preclásico Medio en la Plaza B de Cahal Pech, Belice Desde los trabajos de Gordon Willey en los años 60's se ha considerado que el Valle de Belice, aunque afiliado culturalmente a las tierras bajas del sur desde tiempos preclásicos, fue un área periférica al corazón de la civilización maya. Una miríada de excavaciones arqueológicas han sido llevadas a cabo desde entonces en esta región de las tierras bajas orientales, excavaciones que han proporcionado evidencia necesaria para sugerir que una situación diferente pudo haber prevalecido durante el Preclásico Medio. Este es el caso de las investigaciones realizadas en el sector sur de la Plaza B de Cahal Pech durante 2012 y 2013. Mediante dichas excavaciones se expuso una larga secuencia arquitectónica, así como otras manifestaciones de cultura material, que han permitido establecer la naturaleza y el rango de actividades efectuadas por los habitantes tempranos de Cahal Pech y, al mismo tiempo, elucidar cómo el uso del espacio estudiado cambió de privado a público durante el Preclásico Medio (900-350 a.C). Esta información, aunada a datos recuperados en otras zonas de Cahal Pech, nos ha provisto con un mejor entendimiento de la organización política que prevaleció en este antiguo centro maya durante el Preclásico Medio permitiéndonos afirmar que, mas que un asentamiento periférico, Cahal Pech fue un centro de emergente complejidad política en su propio derecho.

Award: $500

Naomi Searle

FASEB Transcription, Chromatin and Epigenetics

Palm Beach, Florida

Sunday, June 28 - Friday, July 3

Abstract: Promoting a balanced chromatin state: bypass of essential NuA4 subunits in S. cerevisiae Naomi Searle Biomedical Sciences, University of California San Diego The eukaryotic genome is packaged into chromatin, which is composed of a nucleosome unit containing DNA tightly wrapped around a histone octamer. Chromatin components are subject to various modes of post-translational regulation and have many established roles, including functions in recombination, DNA damage repair, and transcription. Acetylation is a key post-translational modification that regulates chromatin function and is mediated by opposing enzymatic activities of lysine acetyltransferases (HATs/KATs) and deacetylases (HDACs/KDACs). HATs often exist in large multimeric complexes, such as the NuA4 complex, which is conserved across species. In humans, the essential catalytic subunit of NuA4, Tip60, along with additional essential subunits such as EPC1/2, are associated with several carcinomas. We recently reported that the requirement for the S. cerevisiae ortholog of human Tip60, ESA1, could be bypassed by concurrent loss of an opposing HDAC complex, Rpd3L, by deletion of SDS3. This bypass is promoted by establishing a relatively balanced cellular acetylation state. Here, we report that the requirement for the EPC1/2 ortholog in budding yeast, EPL1 is also capable of bypass by loss of the Rpd3L deacetylase. Through the use of bypass suppression, we explore the relationship between essential NuA4 subunits, Epl1 and Esa1. Interestingly, bypass of both Esa1 and of Epl1 result in a similar reduction of cellular fitness, including sensitivity to DNA damage, low histone H4 acetylation, and cell cycle defects, implying a tight functional link. Although Esa1 has been well characterized, the essential role of Epl1 is poorly understood. We propose that Epl1 plays an essential role in stabilizing the NuA4 catalytic subunit Esa1, facilitating its localization to the chromatin. Upon loss of Epl1, Esa1 is more transiently chromatin-bound, thereby interfering with its essential role in acetylation.

Award: $500

Nofit Itzhak

Society for Psychological Anthropology Biennial Conference

Boston, MA

Thursday, April 9 - Sunday, April 12

Abstract: Un Regard d’Espérance : Catholic development NGOs and the Ethic of Love In the wake of neoliberal structural adjustment policies in the “Global South”, and the shrinking of the welfare state in the “Global North”, humanitarian and development NGOs, both secular and religious, are experiencing a remarkable efflorescence worldwide. Anthropological accounts of humanitarianism highlight and critique the centrality of “moral sentiments”, such as compassion, to the constitution of humanitarianism and other forms of aid. This critique typically centers on the fact that replacing the politics of justice and rights with those of compassion results in a perpetuation of structural inequalities, as well as the inevitably discriminatory nature of a politics of compassion, where aid is effectively dependent on the arbitrary establishment of affective ties. In the course of fieldwork with two Catholic NGOs in France and in Rwanda, however, I found that while Christian aid may appear to operates within a seemingly similar discourse of compassion, Christian aid workers reject and are highly critical of liberal iterations of compassion that consider “feeling for” the Other as a legitimate motivation for aid, rather emphasizing a non-affective, non-personal ethic of love as driving their work, accompanied by continuous attempts to cultivate close relationships with those they aid. In this talk I investigate the ethical lifeworlds of Catholic aid workers, asking: how do Catholic volunteers and aid workers understand their ethical obligations to others, and in what ways do they attempt to act on them? What kinds of interactions, being-in-the-world and with others does the Catholic ethic of love produce through aid work? And what kind of model of development do Catholic aid workers imply or aspire to, through their actions and interactions with aid recipients?

Award: $500

Noni Brynjolson

Open Engagement

Pittsburgh, PA

Friday, April 17 - Sunday, April 19

Abstract: Panel title: Socially Engaged Art Criticism. This panel will bring together four arts writers working in different critical disciplines to consider how discourse, style and modes of analysis shape and strengthen art production. The panel will be moderated by members of the editorial collective of the journal FIELD (Noni Brynjolson, Paloma Checa-Gismero, Julia Fernandez and Stephanie Sherman). The conversation will highlight a range of methodologies and will draw attention to new modes of critical engagement that rethink writing on socially engaged art practices.

Award: $500

Paloma Checa Gismero

Open Engagement

Pittsburgh

Friday, April 17 - Sunday, April 19

Abstract: Host for a panel discussion focused on written criticism of socially engaged art. The panel features four members of the editorial collective of the journal Field in conversation with four critics who have written on socially engaged art. Issues to be discussed include the difficulties of writing about durational practices, the evolution of new evaluative criteria, and the weight given to ethical and aesthetic aspects of socially engaged artwork. The conversation will highlight a range of approaches and methodologies and will draw attention to new modes of critical engagement that rethink the objective, disinterested stance of the traditional art critic.

Award: $500

Paul Tchir

European Association for the Sociology of Sport Conference

Dublin, Ireland

Wednesday, June 10 - Saturday, June 13

Abstract: Despite scholars having drawn parallels between Britain’s footballing prowess and its stature on the international political scene, the sporting relationship between the empire and its colonies has been mostly absent from analyses of the rise and fall of British football. My research addresses this lacuna by drawing out the British perception of its footballing prowess in relation to its attitude towards colonial enterprise. I pay particular attention to the ways in which racial prejudice was expressed and reinforced through sports reporting. I conclude that Britain paid little attention to international football, particularly in non-European nations, because it considered the global version to be inferior. When it did address colonial football, the press articulated race in the same manner that it did elsewhere, and reinforced the ideology of empire by presenting its civilizing mission in a space people assumed was objective. The explanation for Britain’s decline as a footballing power rests in large part on its inability to dismantle the national narrative of superiority due to the damage it might inflict on its political counterpart. While more research needs to be undertaken to establish the subaltern voice on this issue, this project demonstrates that even though imperial contacts with indigenous football have been seen as rare and inconsequential, the relationship between the colonies and sport played a critical role in both the diffusion of modern sport and the dissolution of empire.

Award: $500

Peng Huang

EuroSys 2015

Bordeaux, France

Tuesday, April 21 - Friday, April 24

Abstract: Studies and many incidents in the headlines suggest misconfigurations remain a major cause of unavailability in large systems despite the large amount of work put into detecting, diagnosing and repairing them. In part, this is because many of the solutions are either post-mortem or too expensive to use in production cloud-scale systems. Configuration validation is the process of explicitly defining specifications and proactively checking configurations against those specifications to prevent misconfigurations from entering production. We propose a generic framework, ConfValley, to make configuration validation easy, systematic and efficient, and to allow configuration validation as an ordinary part of system deployment. ConfValley consists of a declarative language for practitioners to express configuration specifications, an inference engine that automatically generates specifications, and a checker that determines if a given configuration obeys its specifications. Our specification language expressed the configuration validation code from Microsoft Azure in 10x fewer lines, many of which were automatically inferred. Using expert-written and inferred specifications, we detected a number of configuration errors in the latest configurations deployed in Microsoft Azure.

Award: $500

Rachel Diner

Molecular Life of Diatoms

Seattle, WA

Monday, July 6 - Friday, July 10

Abstract: Development of Replicating Plasmids Delivered to Diatoms via Bacterial Conjugation Authors: Rachel E. Diner (1,2), Bogumil J. Karas (3), Stephane C. Lefebvre (2), Jeff McQuaid (2), Andrew E. Allen (1,2), Christopher L. Dupont (2), Philip D. Weyman (3) Affiliations: 1. Integrative Oceanography Division, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA. 2. Microbial and Environmental Genomics Group. J. Craig Venter Institute. La Jolla, CA. 3. Synthetic Biology and Bioenergy Group. J. Craig Venter Institute. La Jolla, CA. The importance of diatoms in both nature and biotechnology necessitates the development of molecular tools to study them. We have engineered plasmids capable of replication and stable maintenance in the diatoms Phaeodactylum tricornutum and Thalassiosira pseudonana. Replication of the plasmids in diatoms was enabled by the addition of the yeast replication elements CEN (centromere), ARS (origin or replication), and HIS3 (yeast marker). Plasmids were delivered to the diatoms via an optimized method of conjugation from the bacteria Escherichia coli, with an efficiency of 4 x 10-4 diatom cells. The low cost and high efficiency of this transformation protocol makes it an excellent alternative to current methods (e.g. biolistic particle delivery). Plasmids of up to 75kb were shown to be delivered and stably maintained, demonstrating potential for the introduction of entire biological pathways and synthetic chromosomes into diatoms. Furthermore, the demonstrated delivery of bacterial DNA by conjugation into diatoms (the first example discovered in the Stramenopile lineage) raises interesting questions regarding inter-kingdom horizontal gene transfer, which is a topic of ongoing research.

Award: $500

Rina Fox

36th Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine

San Antonio, Texas, USA

Wednesday, April 22 - Saturday, April 25

Abstract: The Cultural Health Attributions Questionnaire (CHAQ) was developed to assess health attributions that affect health behaviors among Latinos/Hispanics. The CHAQ – Revised (CHAQ-R) is a 10-item short-form that was derived from the 24-item original measure. Both the CHAQ and CHAQ-R are comprised of two subscales measuring Equity health attributions (e.g., health outcomes caused by punishment from God/others) and Behavioral-Environmental health attributions (e.g., health outcomes caused by diet). The CHAQ-R was derived with a sample of English- and Spanish-speaking Latinos/Hispanics. However, the dimensionality of the measure has never been explored outside of its development sample. Thus, the present study aimed to confirm the structural validity and reliability of the two-factor CHAQ-R across a novel sample of English- and Spanish-speaking Latinos/Hispanics. Latinos/Hispanics with an English (n = 115) or Spanish (n = 140) language preference completed the CHAQ-R. Multigroup confirmatory factor analysis evaluated the goodness of fit of the two-factor structure across language-preference groups. Both statistical (Satorra-Bentler Chi Squared/SB-χ2) and practical (Root Mean Square Error of Approximation/RMSEA, Comparative Fit Index/CFI, Standardized Root Mean Square Residual/SRMR) indicators of model fit were considered. Internal consistency reliability of each factor was evaluated using Cronbach’s alpha. Results indicated a similar two-factor structure with equivalent response patterns and variances across language-preference groups when the factor loading for one item on the Behavioral/Environmental subscale was unconstrained across groups (SB-χ2 = 142.79, p < .01; RMSEA = .07; CFI = .91; SRMR = .22). Internal consistency was good for both the Equity attributions subscale (αs > .83) and the Behavioral-Environmental subscale (αs > .74) for the full sample, as well as for the English- and Spanish-speaking subsamples. Results indicate that the CHAQ-R can be confidently used to evaluate culturally based health attributions among Latinos/Hispanics with either an English- or a Spanish-language preference. The measure may be a good choice for medical professionals who wish to learn about health attributions among Latinos/Hispanics.

Award: $500

Ran Pan

Permutation Patterns 2015

London, UK

Monday, June 15 - Friday, June 19

Abstract: We focus on Young tableau pattern matching in rectangular shapes. We prove a formula of generating function. Using this result, we complete strong c-Wilf equivalence classes up to 5. Besides, a lower bound and an upper bound of number of strong c-Wilf equivalence classes are given.

Award: $500

Raquel Pacheco

Intergenerational dissonance: love, migration, and politics in the lives of Nahua youth

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Wednesday, May 27 - Saturday, May 30

Abstract: In Mexico, youth are gaining importance within rural family dynamics and politics as youth’s wage labor becomes more significant to the sustenance of rural families. These changes are due in part to the Mexican state’s liberalization of agricultural trade that has further weakened the viability of small scale agriculture by facilitating the importation of cheaper agricultural products. As youth gain leverage within rural families through their economic contributions, there is the potential that youth, especially young women, accrue influence within their families and communities. While many studies have tracked how youth’s empowerment through wage labor may transform gender dynamics at the family and communal level, there has been scant attention on the effects of youth migration on rural politics. This paper suggests that Nahua migrant youth are developing new subjectivities and politics through their enactment of sexual and romantic practices that are possible only in urban contexts where the control mechanisms of rumors and parental supervision are diminished. This paper discusses how Nahua migrant youth “vernacularize” these discourses in locally meaningful ways to contest the gender hierarchies of rural communities as well as their marginal place within national historical racial distinctions that define indigeneity as being rural and poor. This paper also proposes that migrant youth develop a form of humanism through their enactment of modern sexual and romantic practices that reinforces their antipathy towards the class project of a local socialist peasant organization of which their communities are a part called the Frente Democrático Oriental de México Emiliano Zapata (FDOMEZ).

Award: $500

Renjie Chen

57th Electronic Materials Conference (EMC)

Columbus, Ohio

Wednesday, June 24 - Friday, June 26

Abstract: The InGaAs high mobility channels are vowed as serious candidates for alternative channel materials for sub-10 nm technology nodes urging studies for analogous contacts to the dominant silicide contacts in the Si technology mainstream. The Ni-InGaAs (nickelide) contact technology has been demonstrated as a suitable self-aligned contact technology for InGaAs channels with record small specific contact resistivity.1 However, little studies focused on the contact metallurgy specific to ultra-scaled devices in nanoscale, where crystal orientation, size, and structural phase play dominant roles in device performance. Here, we utilized a novel wafer bonding technique to transfer thin (50 nm) In0.53Ga0.47As layers onto SiO2/Si substrates, and fabricated the InGaAs Fin channels with variable widths and orientations through a combination of electron-beam lithography and top-down dry etching steps.2 Ni contact was then deposited at the two ends of InGaAs Fin channels, and the solid-state reaction was performed under rapid thermal annealing (RTA). The crystalline structure of nickelide phase was carefully investigated by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) on focused ion beam (FIB) cut samples. The interfacial relationship was found to be Ni4InGaAs2 (0001)

Award: $500

Rose Hendricks

CogSci 2015

Pasadena, CA

Wednesday, July 22 - Saturday, July 25

Abstract: Can learning new linguistic metaphors foster new non-linguistic representations? We describe a set of studies in which we trained English-speaking participants to talk about time using vertical spatial metaphors that are novel to English. One group learned a mapping that placed earlier events above and the other a mapping that placed earlier events below. After mastering the new metaphors, participants were tested in a non-linguistic space-time implicit association task – the Orly task. This task has been used previously to document cross-linguistic differences in representations of time (Boroditsky et. al 2010; Fuhrman et al 2011). Some participants completed temporal judgments in the Orly task without any other secondary task, while others did so under either verbal or visual interference. Finally, we report data from a serendipitous sample of Chinese-English bilinguals on the same task.

Award: $300

Sarah Mills

Society of Behavioral Medicine

San Antonio, Texas

Wednesday, April 22 - Saturday, April 25

Abstract: In 2013, Angelina Jolie, an Academy Award-winning actress, disclosed in an op-ed published by the New York Times (NYT) that she underwent a preventative double mastectomy after learning that she carried the BRCA1 gene mutation. Over three days, the public provided comments to the article on the NYT website, until the NYT disabled the ability to provide comments. This study presents a detailed content analysis on one emerging theme identified in the comments, the United States (US) health care system. Conventional content analysis was conducted with Nvivo 10 on all comments (N = 1,712). With this conventional approach, coding categories were derived from the data. Content analysis identified 334 comments addressing the public’s attitudes towards the US health care system. From these comments, nine subthemes emerged: cost of testing (n = 58), patents (n = 29), Myriad Genetics and 23andme (n = 25), insurance companies (n = 109), the Affordable Care Act (ACA; n = 15), health care outside of the US (n = 24), accessibility (n = 172), greed (n = 32), and Jolie’s wealth (n = 51). Some comments provided data for multiple subthemes. Overall, these findings highlight the public’s concern about access to health care, and the cost of genetic testing and preventive surgery. There were conflicting opinions, however, on several aspects of the US health care system. Commenters critiqued insurance companies and Myriad Genetics, a diagnostic company that owned the patent to BRCA 1 and 2 genes, for the high cost of genetic testing, precluding access to those with limited resources. Others noted that the ACA would cover genetic testing or discussed other low-cost options. Variability in the public’s response may reflect the uncertain time at which the NYT op-ed was published, when the legality of gene patenting was under consideration and prior to the implementation of ACA health care financing. Efforts are needed to educate consumers on access to and ACA coverage of genetic testing and preventive cancer surgery.

Award: $500

Shadi Gholizadeh

Society for Behavioral Medicine (SBM) 36th Annual 2015 Annual Meeting

http://www.sbm.org/meetings/2015

Wednesday, April 22 - Saturday, April 25

Abstract: Authors: Shadi Gholizadeh, MSc, M.S. - Doctoral Student, SDSU/UC San Diego Joint Doctoral Program (Role: Presenter) Julia Drizin, BA - San Diego State University (Role: Co-Author only) Ingunn Hansdottir, PhD - Assistant Professor, University of Iceland (Role: Co-Author only) Michael H. Weisman, M.D. - Chair and Director of the Division of Rheumatology, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (Role: Co-Author only) Philip J. Clements, M.D. - Rheumatologist, University of California, Los Angeles (Role: Co-Author only) Daniel E. Furst, M.D. - Rheumatologist, University of California, Los Angeles (Role: Co-Author only) Vanessa L. Malcarne, Ph.D. - San Diego State University (Role: Co-Author only) Abstract Body Questions about the etiology of disease concern patients living with any chronic disease, and patients’ causal attributions may impact both coping behavior and psychosocial adjustment. These causal attributions may be of particular interest when individuals are living with diseases for which etiologies have not been identified. Systemic sclerosis (SSc; scleroderma) is a multisystem, autoimmune disease characterized by excessive collagen production with a variable presentation that can include skin thickening and internal organ fibrosis. While hypotheses for disease etiology exist, the cause(s) presently remain unknown and no study has explored patients’ attributions of causality. The present study explored patients’ responses to the open-ended prompt: “What I think caused my SSc…” Each patient could provide up to four responses to the prompt. The cross-sectional sample of SSc patients (N = 114) was recruited through registries maintained at the UCLA and UCSD Schools of Medicine and the Virginia Mason Medical Center. Content analysis was used to analyze the qualitative data and group the responses via an inductively derived codebook using the text-analysis tool Dedoose Version 4.5. Intercoder reliability, assessed after two coders independently coded the data, was very good per Cohen’s kappa statistic (κ = 0.81). The four most commonly attributed causes of SSc were the following (% of attributed causes): 1) Stress (40%); 2) Environment (28.1%); 3) Other medical conditions (22.3%), and 4) Genetics (22.3%). While many of the responses did map on to current popular theories for the causality of autoimmune diseases (e.g., genetic predisposition coupled with environmental exposures), there were also less expected reasons provided (e.g., contact with animals; cold weather; past drug use; restrictive diets). Awareness of patient causal attributions can be valuable in fostering dialogues among patients and healthcare professionals. Patients endorsed both accepted etiologies for autoimmune diseases and less expected causal variables, revealing disparities in patient and clinician conceptualizations of SSc. Discussion and clarifications with healthcare professionals may improve illness related behaviors and patient-clinician relationships.

Award: $500

Shenghsiou Hsu

7th International IEEE EMBS Neural Engineering Conference

Montpellier, France

Wednesday, April 22 - Friday, April 24

Abstract: The needs for online Independent Component Analysis (ICA) algorithms arise in a range of fields such as continuous clinical assessment and brain-computer interface (BCI). Among the online ICA methods, online recursive ICA algorithm (ORICA) has attractive properties of fast convergence and low computational complexity. However, there hasn't been a systematic comparison between an online ICA method such as ORICA and other offline (batch-mode) ICA algorithms on real EEG data. This study compared ORICA with ten ICA algorithms in terms of their decomposition quality, validity of source characteristics, and computational complexity on the thirteen experimental 71-ch EEG datasets. Empirical results showed that ORICA achieved higher mutual information reduction (MIR) and extracted more near-dipolar sources than algorithms such as FastICA, JADE, and SOBI did while the performance of ORICA approached that of the best-performed Infomax-based algorithms. Furthermore, ORICA outperforms most of ICA methods in terms of the computational complexity. The properties of fast convergence and low computational complexity of ORICA enable the realization of real-time online ICA process, which has further applications such as real-time functional neuroimaging, artifact reduction, and adaptive BCI.

Award: $500

Saining Xie

2015 IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition

Boston, MA

Sunday, June 7 - Friday, June 12

Abstract: Although deep convolutional neural network (CNN) has seen tremendous success in large-scale generic object recognition, it has yet been very successful in fine-grained image classification (FGIC). In comparison with generic object recognition, FGIC is much more challenging because (i) a big number of fine-grained labeled data is much more expensive to acquire (usually requiring domain expertise); (ii) there exists large intra-class and small inter-class variance. Most of recent works exploiting deep CNN for image recognition with small training data adopts a simple strategy: pre-training a deep CNN on a large-scale external dataset (e.g., ImageNet) and fine-tuning it on the smallscale target data to fit the specific classification task. However, the features learned from a generic dataset might not be well suited for a specific FGIC task, consequentially limiting the performance. In this paper, we propose a systematic framework of learning a deep CNN for addressing the challenges in FGIC. To avoid overfitting of a deep CNN on a small-scale fine-grained dataset, we propose a novel data augmentation approach by identifying easily annotated hyper-classes inherent in the fine-grained data and acquiring a large number of hyper-classes labeled images from readily available external sources (e.g., image search engines), and formulate the problem into multi-task learning. To further improve the generalization performance of the deep CNN, we propose a novel learning model by exploiting a regularization between the fine-grained recognition model and the hyper-class recognition model. We demonstrate the success of the proposed framework on two small-scale fine-grained datasets (Stanford Dogs and Stanford Cars) and on our collected big car dataset.

Award: $500

Sandahl Nelson

American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting

San Diego

Tuesday, May 26 - Saturday, May 30

Abstract: 12-Month Web- and Phone-Based Weight Loss Intervention for Women at Elevated Breast Cancer Risk PURPOSE: Physical inactivity and excess weight are associated with increased breast cancer risk. The goal of this study was to test the integration of a direct-to-consumer self-monitoring website with a phone-based coaching program for weight loss and physical activity promotion among overweight, inactive women at elevated breast cancer risk. METHODS: 105 women with BMI≥27.5 kg/m2 with elevated breast cancer risk (Gail model score ≥1.7 or previous history of in situ lesion) were assigned with 2:1 probability to a 12-month web- and phone-based weight loss intervention focusing on self-regulatory skills or to a usual care group. The intervention group received phone-based coaching and used the website Sparkpeople.com to self-monitor their diet and physical activity. Weight was measured at baseline, 6, and 12 months. Physical activity (ActiGraph GT3X+ accelerometer) was assessed at baseline and 12 months. Weight loss between groups was analyzed using a longitudinal random intercept model controlling for baseline weight. Analysis of weight loss by change in physical activity was completed using ordinary least squares regression with activity standardized for ActiGraph wear time. RESULTS: Participants (N=71 intervention; N=34 usual care) were 60.3±6.2 years of age with a body mass index of 32.0±4.0 kg/m2. 53% had a history of breast biopsy and 78% had a first-degree relative with breast cancer. 86% were daily internet users. 6-month weight change was -3.6±3.8 kg in the intervention group vs. +0.3±2.4 kg for usual care (between-group p<.0001). 12-month weight change was -2.9±4.4 kg in the intervention group vs. -0.9±3.6 kg for usual care (p<.0001). The intervention was associated with increased physical activity at 12 months (p=.02). Greater weight loss was observed among those with greater increases in moderate-vigorous physical activity (p=.002). CONCLUSION: A web- and phone-based intervention achieved modest weight loss and increased physical activity sustained at 1 year, with greater loss observed among those who increased their activity level. Further efforts are needed to understand how technology can be used to create effective interventions to address physical inactivity and overweight as risk factors for cancer.

Award: $300

Sang Heon Lee

57th Electronic Materials Conference

Columbus, Ohio

Wednesday, June 24 - Friday, June 26

Abstract: Novel 3D Minimal Tissue-Penetrating Probes on Conformal Flexible Substrates for In-Vivo Brain Mapping Sang Heon Lee, Farid Azzazy, and Shadi A. Dayeh Unlike a computing device which has different components such as processor and memory, etc., the human brain is a single, extremely sophisticated organ in which all processing and data storage are hosted. In order to better understand the local brain activity and isolate neuronal circuits with specific functionality in the brain, we need new probes that can (i) enable single unit recordings, (ii) cause minimal tissue scarring and biofouling, and (iii) remain in intimate contacts with the sulci and gyri of the brain. We introduce Si-based neuronal probes on ultra-thin, biocompatible flexible substrates for penetrative, high-resolution, 3D mapping of brain activity. Additionally, the polyimide substrate carrier allows conformal adhesion to the cortex surface and embeds electrical leads for data streaming. This technology has the potential for higher fidelity recordings and localized stimulation to better understand neuronal activities and to assist in the local and efficient treatment of neurological diseases. We utilize a polyimide layer and thin Si substrates with conventional Si micromachining processes and double-side photolithography alignment in order to fabricate 3D Si neuronal micropillars on a flexible substrate. The device is loaded on ZIF-Clip® which connects it to the measurement equipment. One 3D Si micropillar array consists of 16 high aspect ratio pillars (4×4 array, L=100μm and W=7μm) on a 10μm-thick flexible substrate. The measured electrode impedances in phosphate buffered solution (PBS) for each pillar of the preliminary device were in the 162kΩ-247kΩ range for the functional pillars. The impedance was reduced from several 10-100MΩs to the 100KΩ range through an engineered Pt or Ti metal coat at the Si micropillar tips. The Nyquist plot of the characterized probes on flex illustrates a charge-transport dominant impedance and mostly capacitive coupling to the neuronal probes. The measured impedance values are well within those values for electrodes typically employed for single unit recordings. We will present physiological and behavioral measurements in rodent animals. These preliminary results indicate that our technology is capable of high resolution, penetrating, in-vivo recordings with individual electrical addressability on conformal flexible substrate.

Award: $500

Sara Kerosky

Midwest Political Science Association Annual Meeting

Chicago, IL

Thursday, April 16 - Sunday, April 19

Abstract: Conventional wisdom suggests that political corruption results from weak democratic institutions, or the failure of institutions to constrain politicians; however, it is also reasonable to assert that corruption hurts democracy. To overcome the endogeneity in this relationship and identify the direct effect of corruption on democratic quality, we use a novel instrument for corruption: the natural variation in endowments of magnetite iron ore on the Philippine coast. Though coastal magnetite mining is illegal in the Philippines, local politicians facilitate it in their jurisdictions in exchange for kickbacks from mining firms. We hypothesize that the rents garnered from illegal mining empower incumbent politicians to avoid electoral sanction, dramatically decreasing electoral competitiveness. We measure natural endowments of magnetite using high-resolution optical satellite data, and cross-reference changes in magnetite occurrence over time with on-the-ground reports of illegal mining between 2006 and 2014. We use local election results from 2007, 2010, and 2013 to measure electoral competitiveness. The results support the assertion that corruption is not only a consequence, but also a cause of weak democracy.

Award: $500

Seika Takayanagi

20th International C. elegans Conference

University of California, Los Angeles

Wednesday, June 24 - Sunday, June 28

Abstract: Smooth sinusoidal locomotion of C. elegans requires coordinated activity of excitatory and inhibitory motor neurons. A gain-of-function mutation in the ACR-2 neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit, acr-2(gf), disrupts locomotion and causes spontaneous convulsion behavior (Jospin et al. 2009). Electrophysiological analyses demonstrate that acr-2(gf) causes cholinergic overexcitation accompanied by decrease in the activity of GABAergic motor neurons at the neuromuscular junctions, causing imbalance in Excitation (E) and inhibition (B) within the locomotor circuit. Interestingly, some human Autosomal Dominant Nocturnal Frontal Lobe Epilepsy patients carry an identical missense mutation in the neuronal acetylcholine receptorβ2 subunit as in acr-2(gf) (Marini & Guerrin, 2007). Using acr-2(gf) as a model for E/I imbalance, we aim to characterize the molecular pathways that can modulate the balance and the activity of neuronal circuit. By analyzing a collection of genetic modifiers of acr-2(gf), we have identified a novel missense mutation in the pore-lining transmembrane domain of lgc-46, a previously uncharacterized ligand-gated ion channel protein. The mutation lgc-46(ju825) causes suppression of acr-2(gf) convulsion and behaves as a gain-of-function mutation. lgc-46 is expressed in the nervous system and overexpression of lgc-46(ju825) in cholinergic motor neurons is sufficient for suppressing acr-2(gf) convulsion, suggesting its cell-autonomous effect. Pharmacological analysis suggests that ju825 affects cholinergic release at the neuromuscular junction. We expect that our findings will lead to further understanding of the regulation of E/I imbalance, and thus help establishing treatments of diseases caused by the impairment of neuronal activities. Ref: Jospin et al. 2009. PLoS Biol. 7(12):e1000265.; Marini and Guerrin 2007. Biochem. Pharmacol. 74:1308-1314.; Stawicki, Takayanagi-Kiya et al. 2013. PLoS Genet. 9(5):e1003472.

Award: $300

Siarhei Vishniakou

The TechConnect World Innovation Conference

Washington, DC

Sunday, June 14 - Wednesday, June 17

Abstract: Present-day touchscreens are capable of detecting the location of applied pressure, but not the amount of pressure applied. Pressing harder on a mobile device does not make it behave any differently than a light touch. Such a functionality would add another dimension to the machine-user interaction. We report a unique device based on zinc oxide (ZnO) that acts as a transistor and a pressure sensor simultaneously, and allows seamless integration onto displays without the need to place additional addressing electronics. The device structure is shown in Figure 1. Figure 1. Device structure ZnO is sputtered onto Si/SiO2 substrate at a temperature of 400°C. ALD-deposited aluminum oxide (Al2O3) serves as the passivation layer and the gate dielectric. The thicknesses of all layers are labeled in Figure 1 using black color font. Source and drain (S/D) Al contacts and gate Pd electrodes are deposited using e-beam evaporation. Figure 2. Electrical characteristics of ZnO TFT pressure sensor. a) Id-Vd curve. b) Id-Vg curve. c) Current as a function of time as various pressure is exerted on top of the device. d) XRD pattern of ZnO layer showing the c-axis orientation of the film. The electrical properties of the device are shown in Figure 2. The Id-Vd curve shows n-type semiconductor with an on-off ratio of 200 at Vg = +-15V. The mobility of channel layer extracted from the transfer curve (Figure 2B) is around 0.7 cm2/Vs. Using a pulsed measurement technique, we were able to obtain a stable current measurement as a function of time. When pressure is exerted on top of the TFT (every 30s a new weight is added), the drain current increases, as shown in Figure 2C. The mechanism of pressure sensing is as follows. Pressure applied on the top of the TFT creates an additional electric field inside the ZnO channel due to the piezoelectric properties of the material. This effectively creates a change in the gate voltage, affecting the drain current. Figure 3. Current (a) and voltage (b) sensitivity of the ZnO TFT pressure sensor. Figure 3A shows that current change is linearly proportional to applied pressure and also depends on the applied gate voltage. Figure 3 shows current change for different gate voltage levels. We extrapolated the effective voltage change at various gate voltage biases is shown in Figure 3B, where the voltage sensitivity is estimated at 0.7 mV/kPa and appears to be independent of the gate voltage. This suggests that piezoelectric effect is independent of the gate bias, which supports our proposed mechanism. We demonstrated a pressure sensor to can be easily integrated into an array without the need to place an additional switching element next to every pixel. The readout circuit can be moved completely off the screen. We have previously reported [2] a fully-transparent ZnO TFT pressure sensor on a glass substrate. Other researchers have been able to achieve mobilities of >50 cm2/Vs [1], indicating that there is still much room for improvement in our devices. That means that the device sensitivity can increase ~ 100 times using the most optimal fabrication conditions. With further optimization of composition and thickness of the dielectric layers, our device could become a competitive alternative to replacing the existing touchscreen pressure sensor technology.

Award: $500

Sky Johnston

LASA2015 / Precariedades, exclusiones, emergencias

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Wednesday, May 27 - Saturday, May 30

Abstract: Jesuit missionaries, many of whom were German, were the first Europeans to create permanent settlements in California (present-day Baja California, Mexico) with the establishment of thirteen missions in the eighteenth century. The arid climate of California and its peripheral location in northwest New Spain had prevented the earlier founding of a settlement there despite its strategic location along the Spanish galleon route from the Philippines to Acapulco, Mexico. The Jesuits had a separate motivation for braving life in the infertile desert: saving the souls of the local populations. They wanted to include the indigenous populations in the Catholic Church and the Spanish empire—a two-pronged effort seen as accomplishing a common end. Working within the framework established by José de Acosta in the sixteenth century, the missionaries viewed the natives as barbarians who needed more civilized living conditions before they could fully practice Christianity. Due to the dry climate, however, the missionaries failed to create communities around the missions that could support a permanent population of local Californians. The missionaries were unable, therefore, to supplant the nomadic lifestyle of the natives with a more European-styled manner of living. As the missionaries were forced to accept this reality, they cast California as a place incapable of supporting civilized life and consigned the natives to the margins of the known world. Ultimately, the Jesuits’ transnational enterprise of inclusion served to further isolate California ideologically, even as physical contact increased.

Award: $500

Sohini Manna

RTNSA 2015

Spain

Tuesday, June 30 - Friday, July 3

Abstract: Nanowires are anisotropic materials with a high aspect ratio and its morphological form deviates significantly from the thin film materials currently used in conventional device fabrication. In addition to their unique structure, nanowire materials also have a high surface area to volume ratio. Examples of applications making use of the increased surface area include the use of nanowires in catalysis, fuel cells, sensors, batteries and magnetic devices. Free standing vertical and horizontal Single crystalline Ni NWs were thermally grown on SiO2

Award: $500

Sol Reyna

International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR)

Stockholm, Sweden

Wednesday, June 24 - Saturday, June 27

Abstract: Mutations in presenilin 1 (PS1) account for the majority of known forms of hereditary Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), however, beyond the consensus that PS1 mutations alter APP processing, there is little agreement in the field about how PS1 mutations initiate pathogenic events that eventually lead to neurodegeneration. PS1 is a multipass transmembrane protein that acts as the catalytic core of the γ-secretase complex. In addition to the γ-secretase-dependent functions of PS1, there are multiple reports of γ-secretase independent functions including protein sorting and trafficking, lysosomal pH regulation, and regulation of cytosolic and lysosomal calcium levels. Our group previously published the generation of isogenic induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) with a ΔE9 mutation in the genomic background of Craig Venter. Here, we sought to identify early cellular alterations that precede robust neurodegeneration, by using neurons derived from iPSCs with and without the ΔE9 mutation. We report that ΔE9 mutant neurons exhibit increased cytosolic calcium levels accompanied by decreased lysosomal and ER calcium levels in a dose-dependent manner. Interestingly, these alterations are not accompanied by changes in lysosomal pH. Furthermore, the calcium dysregulation caused by the PS1 ΔE9 mutation leads to redistribution of Rab11 vesicles and results in reduced endocytosis and axonal transcytosis of select cargo, without affecting bulk endocytosis.

Award: $500

Sophia Georghiou

UC Global Health Day 2015

UCLA

Saturday, April 18 - Saturday, April 18

Abstract: Pyrosequencing, with its ability to quickly identify genetic mutations associated with drug-resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) clinical isolates, holds great potential to curb the spread of drug-resistant tuberculosis. The Global Consortium for Drug-resistant tuberculosis Diagnostics has conducted a global study analyzing 1128 Mtb clinical isolates from patients in India, South Africa and Moldova in order to assess the ability of pyrosequencing to predict phenotypic drug-resistance in diverse clinical environments. Acid-fast bacilli smears and drug-susceptibility testing were performed on all samples using WHO-recommended critical concentrations of isoniazid (INH), rifampin (RIF), moxifloxacin (MOX), ofloxacin (OFX), amikacin (AMK), kanamycin (KAN) and capreomycin (CAP). Genetic resistance profiles of all isolates were determined by pyrosequencing regions of the inhA, katG, ahpC, gyrA, rrs, and rpoB genes. eis-promoter sequencing capability was added to the platform following initial genetic analysis. Sensitivity and specificity of the assay was calculated for each drug in reference to MGIT960 culture results. 86.7% of smear-positive and 86.4% of culture-positive isolates yielded valid pyrosequencing reads, while 54.9% of smear-negative and 43.1% of culture-negative isolates gave valid sequencing reads for given gene targets. Altogether, the sensitivities and specificities of pyrosequencing as a predictor of phenotypic drug-resistance were 95.2 and 96.1%, 93.8 and 99%, 93.7 and 98.3%, 94.1 and 99.1%, 83.5 and 99.3%, 50.4 and 99.2%, and 84.2 and 99% for the detection of resistance to INH, RIF, MOX, OFX, AMK, KAN, and CAP, respectively. eis-promoter sequencing capability improved the overall sensitivity of assay KAN-resistance detection to 85.8%, but the specificity fell to 93.3%. Our study finds pyrosequencing to be a useful and flexible companion diagnostic to culture-based growth diagnostics in predicting drug-resistance among Mtb clinical isolates, due to its high performance in predicting phenotypic drug-resistance profiles and its ability to perform on smear- and culture-negative samples in diverse clinical environments.

Award: $300

Stan Oklobdzija

15th Annual State Politics and Policy Conference

Sacramento

Thursday, May 28 - Saturday, May 30

Abstract: “Unmasking Dark Money Donors: A California Case Study.” By Stan Oklobdzija Department of Political Science: University of California, San Diego stano@ucsd.edu (720) 290-0393 Paper Abstract: Dark money—campaign funds raised by 501(c) designated non-profit corporations whose donors are exempt from disclosure—have become an increasingly major factor in the expanding amount of money spent in American elections at both the state and federal level. Yet for their growing influence in elections, “dark money” groups are poorly understood by election observers precisely because so little information exists on who these organizations ultimately collect their money from. This paper makes use a one-of-a-kind dataset—the only donor list for a dark money group in existence today. Obtained by a public records act request, this list comes from a dark money group—“Americans for Job Security”—which contributed $15 million to two ballot initiative campaigns in California during the 2012 elections. It identifies 67 unique contributors to the dark money group whose identities I obtained by cross-referencing the partially redacted donor information with public databases of addresses and business records. These names were paired with ideological scores from Adam Bonica’s Database on Ideology, Money and Elections using a unique ID matching procedure. In comparing the mean ideological scores between donors to Americans for Job Security and regular donors to the two California propositions the dark money group donated to, I find a strong liberal tilt of donors to Americans for Job Security. These differences are proven significant after conducting a two-tailed t-test. Additionally, a K-S test reveals a statistically significant difference between the population distributions of the dark money groups and donors who donated openly to the campaign. This discrepancy between donors who go to lengths to conceal their identities and those who give money openly highlights a flaw in the idea of political donations as consumption goods that has been popular in the political science literature of late. Furthermore, the ideological distance between the mean donor to this dark money group and regular donors indicates that wealthier donors may choose to conceal their identities when giving money to a cause or candidate ideologically distant from them, perhaps for fear of potential backlash to their businesses. Finally, this phenomenon raises important questions given recent scholarship indicating that wealthier voters have their policy preferences mirrored at both the state and federal level to a greater extent than do poorer voters. Donations in the absence of disclosure would appear to negate the causal role of campaign contributions in this phenomenon unless there exists a way in which these dark money campaign bundlers illegally communicate with candidates and ballot initiatives. Most importantly, this study shows how political donors behave in the absence of vigorous disclosure laws, something campaign finance reformers from both sides of the political spectrum have been advocating for decades. Given how past studies demonstrate that citizens can use groups or individuals financing political campaigns as information to help guide their vote, the ideological dissonance between the public giving of Americans for Job Security’s funders and the organization’s political donations highlight a systemic flaw in political disclosure rules.

Award: $300

Steven Pan

27th Annual Association for Psychological Science Convention

New York, NY

Thursday, May 21 - Sunday, May 24

Abstract: Testing Produces Potent, but Piecewise, Learning of History and Biology Facts Does testing enhance memory representations beyond specifically trained materials? Are testing’s benefits transferrable for fact learning? Taking a test on to-be-learned content can significantly enhance memory for tasks such as learning 8th grade U.S. history facts (Carpenter, Pashler, & Cepeda, 2009). However, most demonstrations of the “testing effect” use the same materials during training and final tests, leaving it unclear whether testing selectively enhances (Hinze & Wiley, 2011), or more broadly benefits (McDaniel, Anderson, Derbish, & Morrisette, 2007), learning when materials on the final test are different. Accordingly, the present study investigated testing’s ability to enhance fact learning beyond tested parts of facts, and in particular for widely used Advanced Placement (AP) history and biology facts. In all experiments, participants trained on 36 facts, half of which were shown using testing with feedback and the other half using restudy. After a 48 hr delay, participants were assessed on previously Tested (e.g., a “who, what, when, where, or why” question that was asked during training), Transfer (e.g., previously unasked questions), and Restudied (e.g., questions from facts that were never previously tested at all) questions from each fact. In Exp 1 (n = 38), a large testing effect was evident for Tested questions on AP History facts, but performance on Transfer questions was no different from Restudied questions. In Exp 2 (n = 58), the same result was obtained using AP Biology facts. In Exp 3 (n = 52), when multiple-choice AP History test questions were used during training, the same results occurred. In Exp 4 (n = 42), simplified three-element facts also produced the same result. Our data indicate that testing produces piecewise fact learning; only specifically tested fact parts gain from tests. The testing effects obtained in this study are predicted by retrieval practice accounts of testing (e.g., Bjork, 1975), while the piecewise nature of the learning benefit is consistent with specificity of learning models of memory representations following long-term memory retrieval (e.g., Rickard & Bourne, 1996). From the applied perspective, our results suggest that implementations of test-enhanced learning should take its selective benefits into account, and that increasing the number of stimulus-response combinations that are tested on during training can extend testing’s benefits to a greater proportion of to-be-learned materials.

Award: $500

Sumaetee Tangwancharoen

Evolution

Guaruja, Brazil

Friday, June 26 - Tuesday, June 30

Abstract: Conspecific populations along latitudinal gradients are often locally adapted to their habitats’ temperature regimes. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying local adaptation to temperature gradients are not well understood. The intertidal copepod Tigriopus californicus inhabits high intertidal rock pools along the west coast of North America from Baja California to Alaska. These pools present extreme thermal environments and previous studies have shown evidence of thermal adaption of T. californicus populations along the latitudinal gradient. Southern populations survive acute heat stress at higher temperatures than northern populations. Previous transcriptome studies have shown that thermal tolerance is associated with levels of expression of numerous heat shock protein (Hsp) genes and T. californicus populations differ in Hsp upregulation during heat stress. Heat shock transcription factor (HSF) is known to be activated by heat stress and subsequently induces transcription of Hsp genes in other model organisms. We hypothesize that genetic variation in the HSF and its binding sites in the genome underlie differential regulation of Hsp genes in response to acute heat stress among different populations of T. californicus. DNA sequence comparisons have revealed both amino acid subsitutions in HSF and nucleotide substitutions in the HSF binding motifs in the promotors of Hsps among populations that have different thermal tolerances. Here we investigate the role of HSF in regulating Hsp expression across populations using RNAi and sequence comparisons of both the HSF gene and promotor regions of Hsps.

Award: $500

Terry Solomon

International Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis Congress

Toronto, Canada

Saturday, June 20 - Thursday, June 25

Abstract: Identifying common and rare genetic variants associated with serum levels of atherosclerotic biomarker proteins Terry Solomon1, Erin Smith2, Sigrid K. Brækkan3,4,5, Tom Wilsgaard6, John-Bjarne Hansen3,4,5, Kelly A. Frazer2 Background: Genetic variants can be used to identify causal relationships between biomarkers and diseases, such as between atherosclerotic biomarkers and venous or arterial thrombosis. To identify new common and rare genetic variants associated with protein biomarkers, we are identifying loci genotyped through whole exome sequencing that are associated with 50 atherosclerotic biomarkers in the Tromsø study. Aims: Our aims are to identify common (minor allele frequency >0.05) genetic variants and genes that carry multiple rare variants that are associated with serum levels of atherosclerotic biomarkers. Methods: We have performed exome sequencing or array genotyping on DNA from 330 individuals from the Tromsø Study; a longitudinal, single-center, prospective study of the inhabitants of Tromsø, Norway. Serum from these individuals was isolated at study entry and profiled for the levels of 50 proteins involved in platelet activation, degradation of the extracellular matrix, and immune signaling. For each protein, we have identified variation in or near its respective gene to test for association. We used a mixed model to test for associations with common variants and a sequence-kernel association test to identify genes that carry multiple rare variants associated with protein levels. Using significant sites, we will explore the downstream consequences of these associations by testing how they are associated with the other 49 proteins to identify potential pathway relationships. Results: We have identified seven known and one novel association between common genetic variants and their protein levels. We are currently performing rare variant analysis before analyzing variants for pathway associations. Conclusion: We have identified common genetic variation associated with the serum levels of 8 atherosclerosis biomarkers. In the future, we will use these variants to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying cardiovascular diseases, including venous and arterial thrombosis.

Award: $500

Tezeru Teshome

Black Performance Theory: How Can We Work it

New York City, New York

Thursday, April 30 - Monday, May 4

Abstract: As an audience member, or Witness, I will be expected to productively engage presentations and knowledge shared. As part of a collective, Witnesses function as a site for intellectual creativity, for communal consideration of foundational concepts in performance theory, and as a much-needed opening into the space of performance discourse as it might be inflected Black. Therefore, my presentation has not been formed because it is contingent upon my attendance. I will be more than willing to provide an abstract of my engagement upon my presence and participation after I return.

Award: $500

Troy Kokinis

Latin American Studies Association Annual Conference

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Wednesday, May 27 - Saturday, May 30

Abstract: “To Govern is to Depopulate the Pyrenees: Basque identity and Hispanidad in Argentina, 1870-1939” Mid-nineteenth-century conceptions of Argentine national identity fetishized northern European migrants as harbingers of modernization. Conversely, the turn of the century Hispanidad movement found authentic national identity in the interior of Argentina, specifically its Basque immigrant community. The movement's intellectuals, such as Zacarias de Vizcarra, sought to re-vindicate the mixture of Hispanics and criollos as foundational to Argentine national identity. In opposition to a liberal nation building project, Hispanidad intellectuals interpreted Argentine identity as synonymous with Catholicism and viewed the Roman Catholic tradition in Spanish politics as a positive example for Argentina. The Hispanidad movement developed transnational networks among right-wing intellectuals who eventually played important roles in the governments of Francisco Franco and Juan Domingo Peron. Hispanidad intellectuals specifically viewed Basques as model Spaniards because of their racial and linguistic “purity,” modern industrial economy, and strong Catholic traditions. In Argentina, Basques populated peripheral provinces and worked in agrarian sectors, where the “soul” of the country was thought to reside. Hispano identity gained considerable popularity in Argentina, specifically among many conservative Basque-Argentine intellectuals. However, Francisco Franco's persecution of the Basque region by the late 1930s caused the Basque diaspora community to view this identitarian project with a distrust and hostility shared by their homeland counterparts. The Hispanidad movement was a transnational nation-building project that sought to include a peripheral subject into Argentine national identity while upholding European superiority.

Award: $500

Tyler Borden

MATA Interval series

New York City, NY

Saturday, May 9 - Saturday, May 16

Abstract: The [Switch~ Ensemble] proposes a concert of ensemble works incorporating a wide range of technology and multimedia. Our concert program of 7 works includes premieres by composers Christopher Chandler and Stylianos Dimou, recent works by Zach Sheets, Stefan Prins, and Wojtek Blecharz, and a staged act from a new multimedia opera by Jason Thorpe Buchanan. The program is approximately 70-80 minutes in length and is themed around the conflicts between real/virtual, human/prosthetic, and clarity/obscurity; the music strains for expression and self-actualization against forces of decay and collapse. These dichotomies, which weave together all six works on the program, come to a head in the final work, a staged act from the multimedia opera "Sult" by Jason Thorpe Buchanan.

Award: $500

Ulices Pina

XXXIII International Congress of Latin American Studies Association

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Wednesday, May 27 - Saturday, May 30

Abstract: “Rethinking Popular Movements and Political Violence in 1930s Rural Jalisco” This paper addresses the increase in marked hostilities between conservative groups, agrarians, and rural teachers, and understands these violent episodes vis-à-vis the process of state formation in the countryside of Jalisco during the 1930s. Believing they had been deprived of their rights as citizens of Mexico, many ex-cristeros rose up in arms and retreated to the hills to wage an ill-fated campaign against the Mexican state. Piña proposes that a narrative of this conflict cannot be divorced from an assessment of the impact that the implementation of socialist education had in inciting widespread popular rebellion across Jalisco. Despite the continued insistence on the part of the High Clergy to assume a conciliatory attitude towards its relationship with the state, many rebel groups and local priests continued to interpret the “socialista" school as a state instrument for the rooting-out of “faith” from the intelligence and hearts of both teachers and pupils. Piña argues that the critical determinants of how teachers translated contemporary central state policy were the rebels, priests, and common folk in the communities of rural Jalisco. He departs from the current literature on the topic by emphasizing the consistency and logic that rebel consciousness demonstrated. The selective acts of terror rebels and local priest carried out, which often took the form of harassment, persecution, torture, and murder, exemplified immediate acts of protest against oppression, poverty, and immorality.

Award: $500

Varahenage Perera

General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology

New Orleans, Louisiana

Saturday, May 30 - Tuesday, June 2

Abstract: Organisms use low molecular weight thiols to combat various stressors and mediate redox reactions. Eukaryotes and Gram negative bacteria use glutathione for redox homeostasis, detoxification, and signaling. We here examine the role of bacillithiol, the low molecular weight thiol utilized in the Gram positive bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, a pathogen associated with skin and soft tissue infections, and Bacillus subtilis, a sporulating soil organism. Bioinformatic analysis predicts that both of these organisms encode putative bacillithiol transferases that belong to a family of structurally related enzymes that conjugate bacillithiol to target substrates, called the S-transferase-like Superfamily. Interestingly, the eight putative S-transferase-like enzymes from B. subtilis and the S. aureus protein show low sequence similarity and cluster onto separate branches of a divergent phylogenetic tree. Using purified protein and biochemical assays, we found that the single putative bacillithiol transferase of S. aureus has activity with two model substrates. We also determined that five of the eight predicted bacillithiol transferases in B. subtilis have confirmed enzyme activity. Detailed biochemical studies of the S. aureus bacillithiol transferase revealed that this enzyme has high affinity for bacillithiol and catalyzes detoxification of the fatty acid synthesis antibiotic cerulenin. However, bacillithiol null mutants and the bacillithiol transferase mutant did not exhibit increased sensitivity to cerulenin or other antibiotics, suggesting that either bacillithiol is not essential for antibiotic detoxification in S. aureus or that in its absence compensatory detoxification pathways are induced. Studies aiming to identify the natural substrates of the enzymes in B. subtilis are currently in progress. Our findings demonstrate that although these diverse enzymes share little sequence similarity, they share a common function. The high level of diversity suggests that these enzymes are under selective pressure, perhaps to cope with an equally diverse array of endogenous or exogenous toxic metabolites and oxidants.

Award: $500

Veeresh Taranalli

IEEE International Conference on Communications

London, UK

Monday, June 8 - Friday, June 12

Abstract: Title of the paper: Error Analysis and Inter-Cell Interference Mitigation in Multi-Level Cell Flash Memories Abstract: With an aim to characterize, model and understand the types of errors caused by the inter-cell interference (ICI) effect in flash memories, we perform a series of program/erase (P/E) cycling experiments designed to quantify the effects of ICI. We create a database of errors at various levels of granularity such as bit, cell, page, block and record the neighborhood data patterns of cells in error to provide a quantitative understanding of the underlying channel model in multi-level cell (MLC) flash memories. We then utilize this empirical data to model and study the flash memory channel as a time-varying 4-ary discrete memoryless channel (DMC). We also present results from experiments to quantify the error rate performance gain obtained by the use of constrained codes, which prevent some ICI-susceptible data patterns from being written to the flash memory.

Award: $500

Wankun Li

the Cold Spring Harbor Asia conference on Francis Crick Symposium on Neuroscience

Suzhou, China

Monday, June 29 - Friday, July 3

Abstract: the role of olfactory bulb adult neurogenesis in olfactory representation and animal behavior Wankun Li1, Itaru Imayoshi2,3, Takaki Komiyama1,4,5 1 University of California, San Diego, Neurobiology Section, Division of Biological Sciences, La Jolla, CA, 2 Kyoto University, The Hakubi Center, Institute for Virus Research, Kyoto, Japan, 3 Japan Science and Technology Agency, PRESTO, Tokyo, Japan, 4 University of California, San Diego, Center of Neural Circuits and Behavior and Department of Neurosciences, La Jolla, CA, 5 University of California, San Diego, JST, PRESTO, La Jolla, CA In the environment with continuously varying sensory inputs, it is important for animals to learn to discriminate between and/or categorize similar sensory stimuli. This form of learning, called perceptual learning, occurs with repeated exposure to sensory stimuli. We study plasticity mechanisms of neural circuits mediating perceptual learning in the mouse olfactory system. In the adult olfactory bulb (OB), the first olfactory center of the mammalian brain, thousands of newly-born neurons arrive daily and differentiate into local inhibitory neurons. These adult-born neurons transiently display a higher level of plasticity, and thus we hypothesize that they play an important role in mediating circuitry plasticity underlying olfactory perceptual learning. Here we tested this hypothesis by ablating adult neurogenesis in mice with an inducible genetic strategy and testing their ability to discriminate between odors in a two-alternative-choice task under head-fixation. We found that mice with ablation of adult neurogenesis could discriminate dissimilar odors as accurately as control mice. However, in a task in which mice were required to associate eight similar binary mixtures of odors with two actions (odors 1-4 = left lick, odors 5-8 = right lick), control mice showed gradual improvement in performance over days, while ablation animals did not. Our results suggest that adult neurogenesis is important for perceptual learning of very fine discrimination/categorization. Further more, to study the cellular mechanisms of adult neurogenesis-dependent perceptual learning, we are currently recording the activity of various types of neurons in the OB throughout learning with chronic in vivo two-photon calcium imaging. These experiments will reveal the unique role of adult neurogenesis in olfactory perceptual learning.

Award: $500

Yupeng He

The Biology of Genomes

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory , 1 Bungtown Road Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724-2213

Tuesday, May 5 - Saturday, May 9

Abstract: Dynamic DNA methylation landscape during mouse embryonic brain development Cytosine methylation is essential for mammalian brain development. Previous studies revealed that methylation can occur at both CG and non-CG context in brain. However, little is known about the dynamics of the DNA methylation landscape in the brain over the trajectory of mammalian embryogenesis. In this study, we generated deep (60x coverage) whole-genome bisulfite sequencing data for three brain regions, forebrain, midbrain and hindbrain, from E11.5, E14.5, E16.5 and P0 mouse embryo as well as several other tissues from the same stages. Comparing methylation in the CG context of three brain regions and other tissues across developmental stages, we identified differentially methylated regions (DMRs) that readily distinguish brain regions from each other and from other tissue samples. Majority of these CG DMRs were near corresponding tissue-related genes (i.e. heart DMRs identify genes with heart specific functions) and contain enhancer-like chromatin modifications, implicating these as distal regulatory elements. By tracking temporal CG methylation changes with a tissue, hundreds of thousand of regions showing epigenomic dynamics (developmental CG DMRs) were pinpointed. Strikingly, as tissues mature, the vast majority of DMRs show a loss of DNA methylation, which is accompanied by an increase of active chromatin marks, indicating that CG demethylation and regulatory element activation are general trends during embryonic tissue development. In contrast, during brain maturation, accumulation of methylation that occurred at non-CG site (mCH) was observed to occur in the bodies of genes involved in the early development of brain. Interestingly, the accumulation of mCH in various brain regions matched the developmental timing of brain maturation, with mCH first observed in in hindbrain, then midbrain and finally forebrain. mCH accumulated in the bodies of many neuronal transcription factors and genes involved in the early development of brain, suggesting that mCH is an important marker of brain development. Our study provides the first whole genome base-resolution maps of temporal DNA methylation across a comprehensive set of mouse tissues during embryogenesis. These deep data sets greatly extends our view of the dynamic epigenome occurring during early development which may provides new insight into the regulatory elements that guiding tissue differentiation during fetal development.

Award: $500

Yun Goo Ro

57th Electronic Materials Conference

Columbus, Ohio

Wednesday, June 24 - Friday, June 26

Abstract: Si nanowire and microwire solar cells promise thin, flexible, and efficient powering strategies for wearable electronics due to their short optical absorption lengths and radial charge separation over short distances. However, the bulk of the results on nano and microwire (SiMWs) solar cells in the literature are limited to an upper limit of ~ 10% for power conversion efficiency (PCE) owing to detrimental surface recombination and non-optimal array architectures for light absorption. This study focuses on key aspects of surface passivation and enhancing light absorption in vertical junction microwire solar cells to investigate the potential of enhancing their performance. We systematically investigated the effect of facet orientation on surface recombination and performance in microwire solar cells with {100} and {110} and circular facets, all with fixed surfaces area. Our devices were fabricated on p-type Si substrates patterned with either photo or e-beam lithography with 2×2 μm Ni arrays as etch masks that were used to fabricate high aspect-ratio 10 μm high SiMWs. Patterns were pre-defined using a reference wet etch that exposes <110> edges on {111} groves to align the SiMW surfaces parallel to {100} or {110} planes after etching. Thermal oxidation and striping of the grown oxide layer was utilized to smoothen the surface and proximity doping technique was used to diffuse phosphorous atoms to Si surface by a rapid thermal annealing process to create a core-shell p-n junction on a p-type core. The SiMWs were passivated with combination of a thin (10 nm) thermal oxide layer and 60 nm SiNx layer and Ti/Au contact pads were deposited around SiMW arrays while Al is deposited on the back side of the wafer as a p-type contact. We found consistent performance of several tens of devices that showed similar performance of {100} and {110} faceted structures with PCE ~11-11.5% whereas circular wires displayed PCEs ~12.5-13%, indicating minimal surface recombination effects for our structures. The absorption was further increased by etching small nanowires with diameters of 50-150 nm atop the SiMWs and adjusting optimizing the physical fill factor, and the base doping of the substrate. We will report on the latest performance metrics in these endeavors and the performance analysis for fully flexible thin microwire solar cells.

Award: $500