Alexander Edelstein

International Hip Hop Studies Conference

University of Cambridge, UK

Thursday, June 23 - Saturday, June 25

Abstract: Alex Edelstein PhD Student in Communication University of California, San Diego International Hip Hop Studies Conference CFP F*ck Up Some Commas: Destabilizing the Western Humanist Subject in Future’s DS2 As both a reflection of Western capitalist modes of production and a critique of such structures, hip hop occupies a double positionality that Paul Gilroy suggests all contemporary black music does: “[black music’s] special power derives from a doubleness, their unsteady location simultaneously inside and outside the conventions, assumptions, and aesthetic rules which distinguish and periodise modernity.” It is with this conception of hip hop’s double location in mind, internal and external to Western, rational modernity, that I’d like to consider rapper Future’s 2015 album, DS2 or Dirty Sprite 2. Using theoretical frameworks established by Gilroy, Saidiya Hartman, and Alexander Weheliye, I will put forth a reading of DS2 that mirrors Gilroy’s double situatedness, whereby Future’s use of non-normative linguistic and technological practices locates him firmly within contemporary mainstream hip hop, while simultaneously opening up opportunities for him to critique and challenge the ontological foundation of Western modernity: the rational, speaking, liberal subject. I ultimately aim to examine how Future’s atypical sonic rendering of dominant hip hop themes of drug distribution and consumption opens up a new analytic for thinking about the stability of the humanist subject as a foundation for modernity.

Award: $500.0

Alex Dubee

3rd International Celebrity Studies Conference: Authenticating Celebrity


Tuesday, June 28 - Saturday, April 30

Abstract: Caitlyn Jenner: Celebrity or Authentic Trans Advocate On April 24, 2015, Bruce Jenner (now Caitlyn) became a de facto celebrity spokesperson for the transgender community when she came out as a transgender woman on national American television. That Kim Kardashian’s stepdad and former Olympic gold medalist was suddenly the new face of the transgender movement was troubling to some. The question of whether Jenner could authentically represent and educate the public about transgender issues was at the heart of these concerns. Not only did Jenner enjoy extreme economic privilege, she was a politically conservative reality star who had no knowledge of the daily struggles and violence that transgender people face. Indeed, I am Cait, the “docu-series” about Jenner’s post-transition life as a woman, was marketed as her quest to learn about the transgender community she now represented. Taking a cue from Jenner’s critics, I explore how her position as a celebrity shaped the discourse about what it means to be transgender. Through Jenner, I question whether the construction of modern celebrity prevents celebrities from serving as authentic representatives of oppressed groups. Using Jenner’s coming out interview, her first appearance as a woman on the cover of the magazine Vanity Fair, and her eight-episode “docu-series” I am Cait, I chart how Jenner and the media co-created a palatable framework for the public to conceptualize the experience of being transgender. While Jenner’s fame created an opportunity to educate, it did so through the filter of celebrity and reality television.

Award: $500.0

Alicea Lieberman-auerbach

Behavioral Decision Research in Management

Toronto Canada

Thursday, June 9 - Sunday, June 12

Abstract: Past research examined consumer response to socially responsible (SR) businesses, mainly to SR product and brand. However, little is known about another increasingly important way in which consumers can engage with SR, namely, through SR investments (SRI). People may engage in SRI for its ‘warm-glow,’ which may increase risk-taking behavior as a financial loss still yields emotional gain. Conversely, consumers may differently perceive risk profiles of SR organizations,1 anticipating lower likelihood to provide positive return, reducing risk-taking in investment. Extensive research also exists demonstrating that framing opportunities in a concrete or abstract manner influences decisions.2 Across 4 experiments we demonstrate that an abstract representation of an SR or conventional investment activates a financial maximization mindset, whereas a concrete representation activates warm-glow, leading to differences in (1) willingness to take risk, and (2) perceptions of risk profile of the investments. Studies 1 and 2 examine whether people perceive and take more or less risk in SR vs. conventional mutual funds with abstract representation of the funds, given equivalent risk information. In study 1, participants who read about an SR fund in abstract chose to invest significantly less than those who read about a conventional fund. In study 2, we demonstrate that with abstract information about the funds, participants differently perceive SR vs. conventional funds along key risk dimensions such that an SR fund will have both significantly lower expected return and significantly lower probability of yielding positive return than a conventional fund. In studies 3 and 4 we show that the above reverses when the SR opportunities are described in concrete terms. Specifically, when participants read about a concretely described company with a social mission, warm-glow is activated, increasing willingness to invest in a risky SR opportunity compared to willingness to invest in a conventional opportunity (S3), and choosing to engage in high-risk over low-risk investments when choosing between two SRI’s, compared to choosing between two conventional investments (S4). Thus whether people take more or less risk with SR opportunities compared to conventional opportunities critically depends on how information about the SR opportunity is presented. This work makes a significant contribution to understanding the interaction between doing-good and doing well financially.

Award: $500.0

Andrew Alexander

Federation of Neuroscience Societies Form 2016 & iNav Symposium

Bad Gastein, Austria & Copenhagen, Denmark

Sunday, June 26 - Friday, May 6

Abstract: Hippocampal and Posterior Parietal Cortex Spatial Encoding During Pursuit A.S. Alexander, A.M. Conner, J.C. Tung, and D.A. Nitz University of California, San Diego, Department of Cognitive Science Aims: Known forms of spatial representations, such as ‘place cells’ of the hippocampus (HPC) and ‘route cells’ of the posterior parietal cortex (PPC) are utilized for navigation and memory. Neurons that exhibit these spatial firing properties are commonly examined during free foraging or route running along tracks. These tasks have elucidated much about the encoding of spatial relationships. However, animals are capable of more complex navigational feats than these paradigms probe. In the wild, rats will travel in packs and hunt small prey. These behaviors involve pursuit, a form of flexible navigation wherein the goal is to track a target in real time. Navigation of this type requires quick decision making to coordinate the musculature, but also often requires the animal to track it’s movements within the broader environment to return to a home nest. It is currently unknown how the aforementioned brain regions are recruited during pursuit. Methods: We developed a novel pursuit paradigm wherein rats must catch a target moving in pseudorandom trajectories within an environment for reward. On some trials, from fixed environmental locations, the moving target performed a stereotyped trajectory. Animals learned the stereotyped trajectory as evidenced by their use of ‘shortcuts’, a form of spatial insight. Results/Conclusions: We report that PPC neurons generate representations of the stereotyped trajectory, despite the path being embedded within an unpredictable navigational environment. Furthermore, HPC place cells were modulated during pursuit, suggesting that the animal’s goals and behavioral context may shape spatial encoding.

Award: $500.0

Ashok Kodigala

Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics

San Jose

Sunday, June 5 - Friday, June 10

Abstract: Title: Bound State in the Continuum Nanophotonic Laser We have designed a high quality factor cavity that is based on a bound state in the continuum and harnessed its properties to demonstrate a novel type of surface emitting laser. We have experimentally demonstrated lasing action in this compact nanophotonic laser at room temperature with a very low threshold power.

Award: $300.0

Beverly French

13th International Coral Reef Symposium

Honolulu, Hawaii

Sunday, June 19 - Friday, June 24

Abstract: Evidence for fine-scale niche partitioning of Paracirrhites species at Flint Atoll (Southern Line Islands) via metagenomic analysis of gut contents Beverly French1, Yan-Wei Lim2, Rob Edwards2, Forest Rohwer2, Brian Zgliczynski1, Stuart Sandin1 1Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093 2Department of Biology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182 Niche partitioning and trophic/functional versatility are known to influence patterns of speciation among coral reef fishes. Current trophic designations of reef fish are coarse, however, suggesting dietary overlaps which seemingly conflict with Gause’s law of competitive exclusion. Fine-scale differences in diet beyond that of traditional designations are likely, but perhaps undescribed. Hawkfishes in the genus Paracirrhites are an apt model system with respect to speciation and ecological niche differentiation, exhibiting striking differences in coloration in addition to described differences in habitat and potential foraging preferences. Fish from four Paracirrhites species were collected from Flint Atoll in the Southern Line Islands of Kiribati. Analysis of the metagenomic data from hindgut samples revealed differences in taxonomic composition of microbiomes. Two species (P. arcatus and P. bicolor) showed non-significant separation of microbiome taxonomy (including comparability of two color morphs of P. arcatus), while P. nisus and P. xanthus revealed distinct gut flora. Intriguingly, an analysis of overall metagenomic data (including presumed prey abundance) revealed further evidence of partitioning among species. This included separate clustering of the two color morphs of P. arcatus, thus potentially reflecting an example of incipient speciation driven in part by foraging preferences. In all, diets of related reef fish hold potential to be much more complex than previously described.

Award: $500.0

Chih Ho Lin

Asian Studies on the Pacific Coast (ASPAC) Conference

California State University, Northridge

Friday, June 10 - Sunday, June 12

Abstract: The Red, the Rural, and the Beautiful: Peasant Girls in Propaganda Images This study aims to investigate the image of peasant girls in popular imagery from the early 1950s to the end of the Cultural Revolution. Peasant girls have been one of the recurring subjects in artistic production since Mao’s Yan’an Talks. In the early 1950s, when urban artists were adjusting their skills to serve the new regime, the images of peasant girls were quite chaotic, and sometimes too fashionable for their rural settings. Later, the representation of peasant girls became highly unified. In the model plays: The Red Detachment of Women; The White-Haired Girl; and The Legend of the Red Lantern, the appearances of the female protagonists are almost identical--with plump cheeks, strong arms, wearing red tops and a single-braided hairstyle. Through plays, movies, posters, and comic books, the images formed a stock character by which the Party propagandized for the socialist myth of class struggle and resistance against enemy forces. I take the representation of peasant girls as a symbolic system, and intend to analyze the iconographic features including the body, the clothing, and the poses. These robust peasant girls may be far from reality, yet they display how the Party imagined the new women in socialist China.

Award: $300.0

David Adamowicz

20th International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders

Berlin, Germany

Sunday, June 19 - Thursday, June 23

Abstract: Modeling Dementia with Lewy bodies using patient-derived neurons David H. Adamowicz, Jerome Mertens, David P. Salmon, Douglas R. Galasko, Subhojit Roy, Fred H. Gage Objective: To model Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) using neurons derived from patients clinically diagnosed with the disease. Background: A major challenge in neurodegenerative disease research has been the unavailability of living, diseased neurons. This barrier was recently overcome by using fibroblasts from living patients and reprogramming them into neurons via induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) that can be directed towards a neural fate, or directly as induced neurons (iNs), bypassing the stem cell stage. Direct reprogramming is both time-advantageous and has been shown to preserve epigenetic marks resulting from aging, a particularly useful feature in terms of modeling age-related diseases. While the related Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases have been studied using this methodology, DLB has received less attention. Methods: We have obtained fibroblasts from five clinically diagnosed DLB patients through the UCSD Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC). We also have fibroblasts from two unaffected first-degree relatives to use as genetic controls, and three unrelated, non-demented age-matched controls. The reprogramming procedures were conducted based on existing methods, and derived neurons were matured for several weeks, some in co-culture with astrocytes. Results: We have successfully reprogrammed DLB patient fibroblasts to iPSCs and iNs. The neurons we generated display many neuronal features, including the expression of neuronal markers, as verified by immunohistochemistry. We have done RNA-sequencing to examine differential gene expression between patient lines and controls, and are now optimizing functional assays based on these findings. Conclusions: As evidenced by our preliminary results, we suspect the iPSC/iN approach to be promising in the context of DLB, in order to further our understanding of the mechanisms underlying the disease.

Award: $500.0

David Berry

International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Imaging


Saturday, May 7 - Friday, May 13

Abstract: Synopsis Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) has been used to measure changes in restricted diffusion in skeletal muscle after injury, which are thought to track microstructural, and therefore functional changes. However, there are few direct comparisons between muscle microstructure and DTI measurements because it is difficult to precisely control in vivo experiments. Here, we use a computational (in silico) modeling approach to explore changes in DTI measurements as muscle microstructure is systemically changed. Muscle fiber diameter and edema have the largest effects on the DT. Additionally, we have shown multi-echo DTI is required to resolve changes in microstructure when edema is present. Purpose To understand the effects of muscle microstructure on the diffusion tensor. Methods We hypothesize 1) decreased fiber size decreases λ2 and λ3, with no effect on λ1, 2) fibrosis has little effect on the diffusion tensor, and 3) when edema is present, multi-echo DTI is required to resolve microstructural changes of muscle tissue . Simplified models of muscle microstructure were integrated into diffusion simulation software (see below) to study the relationship between muscle fiber size, fibrosis, and edema on the diffusion tensor using single- and multi-echo DT-MRI techniques. The MRI simulation tool DifSim [3] was used to model DTI experiments within complex structures. DifSim employs MCell, a Monte Carlo simulator for cellular microphysiology, to simulate the diffusion of particles, and tracks particle location, signal amplitude and phase, within a user defined arbitrarily complex model. DifSim is capable of supporting boundary interactions, particle interactions, and multiple molecular species with different diffusion coefficients and T2-relaxation constants. MRI pulse sequence parameters were as follows: diffusion-weighted multi-spin-echo [1], TE=21.76ms, b=500s/mm2 voxel size=200μmx200μmx200μm, number of echoes=16, echo spacing=10ms. Data was analyzed using a custom Matlab program, using the equations outlined by Fan et al [1]. Muscle fibers were approximated as tightly packed hexagons, surrounded by ECM as shown in Figure 1. Fiber diameter, fibrosis, and increased extra-cellular water content due to edema were varied across a range of physiologically relevant dimensions and concentrations, (Table 1). Model inputs for diffusion coefficients and T2-relaxation rates are reported in Table 2. To relate diffusion measurements to individual features of muscle microstructure, we used linear or non-linear regression (when appropriate). To test our hypothesis that multi-echo DTI is required to measure fiber size changes in the presence of edema, we compared diffusion measurements taken by single-echo and multi-echo DTI in normal (4% volume fraction extracellular water) and edematous (40% volume fraction extracellular water) muscle, across a range of fiber sizes. Non-linear regression was used to describe the relationship between fiber size and diffusion in non-edematous muscle using single-echo DTI. Coefficient of variation from this regression was used to determine which DTI technique is most closely related to single echo DTI of normal muscle. Results As fiber diameter decreases below 60μm, a nonlinear decrease of λ2 and λ3 and a nonlinear increase in fractional anisotropy was found, while λ1 remained constant (Figures 2A,C). Small linear changes were observed in all diffusion measurements except λ1 as diffusion increased (Figures 2B,D). There was an exponential relationship between mean diffusivity and fractional anisotropy and fiber size in non-edematous muscle (r2=0.996 mean diffusivity; r2=0.995 fractional anisotropy) using single-echo DTI (Figure 3). Similarly, an exponential relationship was observed for intracellular diffusion measured with multi-echo DTI in the presence of edema (r2 = 98.8% mean diffusivity; r2 97.9% fractional anisotropy). However, this relationship did not explain the variance in mean diffusivity or fractional anisotropy when measured with single-echo DTI in edematous muscle. Discussion In this study, we have described, with a series of highly controlled simulations, the direct relationship between muscle microstructure and the diffusion tensor. We identified a plateau in diffusion measurements as muscle fiber diameter increases to 60μm. Since average skeletal muscle fiber diameter is around 50μm, DTI is a suitable technique to determine if fibers have a decreased diameter. However, DTI is likely not a good tool to measure hypertrophic changes in muscle, or study animals with larger muscle fiber diameters. As the sarcolemma (membrane) is thought to be the primary barrier to diffusion, decreased fractional anisotropy is thought to be indicative of fiber hypertrophy[10]. However, less restricted diffusion is also observed as a result of edema, likely due to increased extra-cellular water volume or membrane damage, even in injuries where fiber atrophy is known to occur. Multi-echo DTI has been used to separate the diffusion signal coming from short (intracellular) and long (extracellular) T2 species in muscle [1, 11, 12]. However, multi-echo DTI has not been used to validate underlying microstructural changes that cause the restricted diffusion signal. Our results demonstrate that, in the presence of edema, traditional single-echo DTI is biased by increased extracellular water, regardless of underlying fiber atrophy. Using multi-echo DTI, we can resolve microstructural changes from the diffusion tensor of the short T2 species. Future work will investigate the effect of fiber permeability, fiber shape, and interactions between multiple microstructural changes in muscle and the resulting diffusion profile. Conclusion These findings describe the relationship between microstructural features of fiber size, and fibrosis to diffusion measured with DTI. We demonstrate in the presence of edema, multi-echo DTI must be used in order to measure underlying microstructural changes. References 1. Fan, R.H. and M.D. Does, Compartmental Relaxation and DTI Measurements In Vivo in λ-Carrageenan Induced Edema in Rat Skeletal Muscle. NMR in Biomedicine, 2008. 21(6): p. 566. 2. Crémillieux, Y., S. Ding, and J.F. Dunn, High‐resolution in vivo measurements of transverse relaxation times in rats at 7 Tesla. Magnetic resonance in medicine, 1998. 39(2): p. 285-290. 3. Balls, G.T. and L.R. Frank, A simulation environment for diffusion weighted MR experiments in complex media. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, 2009. 62(3): p. 771-778. 4. Diakova, G., J.P. Korb, and R.G. Bryant, The magnetic field dependence of water T1 in tissues. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, 2012. 68(1): p. 272-277. 5. Gefen, A., et al., The free diffusion of macromolecules in tissue-engineered skeletal muscle subjected to large compression strains. Journal of biomechanics, 2008. 41(4): p. 845-853. 6. Moll, W., The diffusion coefficient of myoglobin in muscle homogenate. Pflüger's Archiv für die gesamte Physiologie des Menschen und der Tiere, 1968. 299(3): p. 247-251. 7. Papadopoulos, S., K.D. Jürgens, and G. Gros, Protein diffusion in living skeletal muscle fibers: dependence on protein size, fiber type, and contraction. Biophysical Journal, 2000. 79(4): p. 2084-2094. 8. Gilbert, D.L., et al., Macromolecular diffusion through collagen membranes. International journal of pharmaceutics, 1988. 47(1): p. 79-88. 9. Ramanujan, S., et al., Diffusion and convection in collagen gels: implications for transport in the tumor interstitium. Biophysical journal, 2002. 83(3): p. 1650-1660. 10. Van Doom, A., et al., Determination of muscle fibre orientation using diffusion-weighted MRI. Eur. J. Morphol, 1996. 34: p. 5-10. 11. Ababneh, Z., et al., Biexponential parameterization of diffusion and T2 relaxation decay curves in a rat muscle edema model: decay curve components and water compartments. Magnetic resonance in medicine, 2005. 54(3): p. 524-531. 12. Cole, W.C., A.D. Leblanc, and S.G. Jhingran, The origin of biexponential T2 relaxation in muscle water. Magnetic resonance in medicine, 1993. 29(1): p. 19-24.  

Award: $500.0

Esther Choi

Association for Asian American Studies 2016 Conference - Gateways, Ports and Portals: Re-imagining Points of Departure for Asian American Studies

Hilton Miami Downtown, 1601 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132

Thursday, April 28 - Saturday, April 30

Abstract: Title: Backpacking Liberalism in Southeast Asia This paper considers backpacking travel in Southeast Asia as a site of “transit” for constructions of the Asian Other. I ask what it means when physical transit through Southeast Asia becomes an increasingly essential feature in the development of Western, middle-class subjectivity. While Asian/American identities have long been dominated by ideas of foreignness and inscrutability, the infrastructure of backpacking in Southeast Asia provides the middle-class Western subject with a readily accessible experience of the “real” Asian Other. In contrast to representations of backpacking as an independent and conscientious form of travel, I approach backpacking as a highly mediated space, increasingly penetrated by capital, that caters to the traveler's desires and expectations, preserving Orientalist constructions of Asia. I also consider how backpacking provides the Western subject with a sense of marginality and hardship, allowing for new formations of solidarity against the threatening, unpredictable Other. I ground my analysis in studies of popular backpacker travel guides, such as Lonely Planet’s Southeast Asia on a Shoestring, considering how such media commodify Otherness and interpellate the traveler. I also look at blogs by travelers as ethnographic accounts, which reveal the ideologies that inform their understanding of Southeast Asia, most notably themes of overcoming and conquest and imaginations of reciprocity. This paper provides original ethnographic research that specifically looks at backpacking in Southeast Asia, grounded in a more general theoretical paper on backpacking I presented at the Critical Ethnic Studies Association 2015 conference.

Award: $500.0

Elisabet Curbelo Gonzalez

ICST 2016 Residency

Zurich (Switzerland)

Saturday, June 25 - Sunday, July 10

Abstract: The established catalog of works for the IL features an impressive number of interesting and well-developed pieces. However, since the IL is still a new development platform, a fundamental research goal for it is to explore new ways for developers and audience to interact with it. To that end our project, titled Mushroom Holzburger Paradise (MHP), intends to expand on design tendencies we found throughout many works for the IL. For example, many works for the IL feature immediate if not jittery responses to touch. MHP smoothes the experience of touching the IL by using touch data to drive a realtime fluid dynamics simulation. In another example, some of the older works are designed to be used in a specific way that may not be clear to audience members. MHP fundamentally changes this by allowing any type of interaction from audience. In other words, there is no wrong way to interact with our piece; all types of interaction — including the absence of interaction — create meaningful audio-visual feedback. Finally, many established pieces for IL use spatial audio panning techniques like ambisonics and amplitude based panning. These techniques can be less convincing in a space like the IL, and our team uses non-correlated audio instead to increase the sense of immersion.

Award: $500.0

Felipe Rossi

ICST 2016 Residency

Zürich, Switzerland

Saturday, June 25 - Sunday, July 10

Abstract: The established catalog of works for the IL features an impressive number of interesting and well-developed pieces. However, since the IL is still a new development platform, a fundamental research goal for it is to explore new ways for developers and audience to interact with it. To that end our project, titled Mushroom Holzburger Paradise (MHP), intends to expand on design tendencies we found throughout many works for the IL. For example, many works for the IL feature immediate if not jittery responses to touch. MHP smoothes the experience of touching the IL by using touch data to drive a realtime fluid dynamics simulation. In another example, some of the older works are designed to be used in a specific way that may not be clear to audience members. MHP fundamentally changes this by allowing any type of interaction from audience. In other words, there is no wrong way to interact with our piece; all types of interaction — including the absence of interaction — create meaningful audio-visual feedback. Finally, many established pieces for IL use spatial audio panning techniques like ambisonics and amplitude based panning. These techniques can be less convincing in a space like the IL, and our team uses non-correlated audio instead to increase the sense of immersion.

Award: $500.0

Francisco Beteta

Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice

Boston Massachusetts

Friday, June 17 - Saturday, June 25

Abstract: As a composer-pianist I have investigated the complexity of the creative process at its inception, particularly the emergence of musical ideas at a state of improvisation at the piano. In this conference I will do a presentation/recital explaining my compositional process that has taken me to formulate an "aesthetics of re-enchantment." In this presentation I will show examples of improvisation that lead to viable musical ideas, I will explain the process of developing musical ideas and I will perform three of my representative piano works: The piano sonata 1, the piece "Tiene Duende," and the "Miniatures Fantastiques."

Award: $500.0

Gabriela Meade

4th biennial meeting of the Special Interest Group (SIG) 22 "Neuroscience and Education" of the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Thursday, June 23 - Saturday, June 25

Abstract: This study examined how novel words from another language (L2) are integrated into the established lexicon of beginning adult learners and whether or not native language (L1) neighborhood density affects that process. Native speakers of English learned to associate 80 L2 (pseudo)words with pictures depicting their meanings over the course of four days. Half of the L2 words belonged to high-density L1 neighborhoods (i.e., looked like many English words), whereas the other half belonged to low-density L1 neighborhoods (i.e., looked distinct from English). Preliminary results indicate that accuracy in a typing task is higher for L2 words that belong to high-density L1 neighborhoods, especially in the earliest stages of learning. Participant reports further suggest that this high-density advantage might result from the use of real English neighbors to scaffold learning (e.g., associating ‘big sink’ with the L2 word bink, meaning ‘pool’). Finally, event-related potential data recorded during a language decision task before and after learning show differences in N400 amplitude as a function of language membership and neighborhood density that change with learning. Results will be discussed in the context of competing theories of L2 word acquisition.

Award: $500.0

Gabriel Pratt

RNA 2016

Kyoto, Japan

Tuesday, June 28 - Saturday, July 2

Abstract: Title: Systematic discovery of RNA binding proteins that regulate alternative splicing in response to cellular stress. Abstract: Analyzing how cells respond to environmental stressors is important for deepening our understanding of the molecular basis of many degenerative diseases such amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In recent years, there is an increasing recognition that RNA processing, in particular alternative splicing, is misregulated in ALS. Altered splicing of known and previously unannotated (or cryptic) exons is thought to arise due to dysfunction of RNA binding protein (RBP) activity. Cellular stress is also associated with an alteration in the availability of RBPs on their endogenous targets. To address the question of what altered splicing events occur in response to cellular stress, and to identify the upstream RBP regulators of these events, we performed a comprehensive splicing analysis of HepG2 and K562 cells subjected to sodium arsenite and heat shock treatments. We identify a number of RNAs that are alternatively spliced during stress, including previously unannotated exons. Large-scale integrative analysis using enhanced CLIP (eCLIP) and RNA-seq data from RNAi-mediated depletions of 70 RNA binding proteins (RBPs) identify RBPs that directly regulate alternative splicing during stress. Finally we discover splicing events that are similarly affected in stressed HepG2 and K562 cells, as well as stressed normal and mutant ALS motor neurons, revealing new insights into the impact of cellular stress on an RBP-mediated network of disease-relevant molecular changes. Our study reveals previously unknown regulators of alternative and cryptic splicing and provides a connection between cellular stress and ALS pathogenesis.

Award: $500.0

Irina Potapova

Symposium on Research in Child Language

Madison, Wisconsin

Thursday, June 16 - Saturday, June 18

Abstract: Background Hadley and Short (2005) reported the utility of three novel measures of morpheme emergence and productivity derived from the language samples of three-year-old English monolinguals; the measures correlated with traditional measures of expressive language development. Further, two of these measures proved useful for documenting tense mastery in preschool-aged monolingual English-speaking children, providing more information about specific tense and agreement (T/A) morphemes than a traditional finite verb morphology composite score (Gladfelter & Leonard, 2013). Overall, these measures appear to offer a practical and promising approach to analyzing young children’s language samples. Presently, we investigate the utility of these emergence and productivity measures for preschool-aged English Language Learners (ELLs). Because language sample analysis is considered one of the most appropriate tool for assessing language in culturally and linguistically diverse populations, it is of clinical importance to consider the usefulness of these measures for documenting Spanish-speaking ELLs’ morpheme use. Thus, we ask: 1. Do these novel emergence and productivity measures document growth in morpheme use in preschool-aged ELLs over the course of an academic year? 2. How do these novel measures compare to traditional language sample measures? Methods Participants included 21 typically-developing ELL preschoolers (mean age = 49.33 months, SD = 4.42; 11 males). Their average Leiter score was within normal limits (mean = 11.18, SD = 2.84), and typical development was confirmed by teacher and parent report. Average maternal education was 9.56 years (SD = 3.65 years). Data were generated from language samples collected during a 20-minute play session at the children’s school at the beginning and end of the school year. The samples were transcribed and coded according to the Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts software (SALT; Miller & Iglesias, 2006). Transcripts were subsequently analyzed for emergence and productivity of T/A morphemes following the procedures outlined in Hadley and Short (2005). Tense Marker Total (possible score 0-15), Productive Type Total (possible score 0-5) and Productivity Scores (possible scores 0-25) were calculated by examining use of third person singular (-3s), regular past tense (-ed), auxiliary DO, copula BE and auxiliary BE. Traditional language sample measures were also calculated. Analyses/Results To address our first question, paired samples t-tests compared performance on the novel measures at the beginning and end of the school year. The Tense Marker Total, Productive Type Total, and Productivity Score each captured significant growth in the ELLs’ T/A morpheme use. Then, we investigated whether the novel measures were associated with traditional language sample measures, including mean length of utterance in words and morphemes (MLUw; MLUm). At pre-testing, MLUm was correlated with both Tense Marker Total and Productivity Score. At post-testing, all three novel measures were significantly positively correlated with both MLUw and MLUm; these relationships held when the criterion was adjusted to p < .0042 following a Bonferroni correction. In ongoing analyses, we are exploring how these novel measures track the ELLs’ performance on individual morphemes. Discussion We asked whether three novel measures yielded information about Spanish-speaking ELLs’ morphological development, as they have been shown to do for English monolinguals. The Tense Marker Total, Productive Type Total and Productivity Score each captured increases in the ELLs’ use of T/A morphemes across an academic year. As in previous research with monolinguals, these scores were associated with traditional language sample measures. Overall, our results indicate that Hadley and Short’s (2005) measures offer useful information regarding ELLs’ morpheme use. Understanding the emergence of morpheme use and the utility of this tool with typically-developing ELLs is necessary before exploring the usefulness of such a measure with disordered populations.

Award: $500.0

Jordan Stone

The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Annual Meeting

Seattle, WA

Sunday, May 1 - Thursday, May 5

Abstract: The Relationship between Insurance Coverage, Demographics, and BSCVA at the Time of Cataract Surgery Stone, Jordan S., Fukuoka Hideki, Weinreb, Robert N., Afshari, Natalie A. Purpose: To assess the relationship between socio-demographic variables, including race, age, and insurance coverage status, and preoperative BSCVA before the point of first-eye cataract surgery. Methods: Using the surgical logs from two cataract surgeons, we identified 1,108 subjects who underwent cataract surgery between January 2013 and August 2015 at the Shiley Eye Institute, University of California San Diego. Of those subjects, we reviewed 836 available patient charts and, based upon exclusion criteria (patients who received their first cataract surgery prior to the study window or outside the UC San Diego Health System, and patients undergoing one or more additional eye procedures concomitantly, were excluded), included 600 patients in the final analysis. We collected medical record data from the patient appointment immediately preceding cataract surgery, including BSCVA in each eye (converted to a logMAR score), insurance coverage status (public, private, uninsured), race, gender, age, systemic and ocular co-morbidities, ocular surgical history, body mass index (BMI) and smoking status (in pack years). We assessed significant differences in mean preoperative BSCVA in the operated eye among patient groups using ANOVA. We used linear regression to assess relationships between smoking, BMI, and operated eye BSCVA. Variables found to be significant in univariate analysis were included in a multivariate regression model, then reduced using a stepwise selection procedure. Results: In univariate analyses, there were significant overall differences in BSCVA between groups by insurance type (public, private, uninsured), race (Asian, Black, Hispanic, White, Other) and gender (Male, Female) (P<0.001, P<0.001, P=0.019, respectively). In multivariate analysis, significant pairwise differences were found, with better BSCVA associated with white race (0.848, logMAR [Snellen 20/140]) than Hispanic race (1.060, [20/230], P=0.017), and better BSCVA associated with private insurance associated (0.788, [20/125]) vs. public insurance (0.959, [20/180], P=.0002). Conclusion: Hispanic race and public insurance coverage were both associated with worse pre-operative BSCVA compared with white race and private insurance, respectively. These findings suggest that limited access to eye care services may predispose Hispanics and the publicly insured to present with a greater degree of visual impairment than their white and privately insured counterparts, respectively. Further research is required to parse the contribution of each of these factors, among others, to differences in visual impairment at the point of cataract surgery, which may bear implications for policy and clinical practice.

Award: $500.0

Julian Warchall

IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems

Montreal, Canada

Sunday, May 22 - Wednesday, May 25

Abstract: Conventional EEG systems are extremely power hungry due to a reliance on high resolution analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) to cover their required dynamic range. This paper presents a novel architecture for acquiring multi-channel high-resolution EEG using low power techniques. Instead of digitizing the output of each analog front-end (AFE) amplifier with an individual ADC, a voltage-controlled oscillator is used to generate an up-converted frequency-modulated (FM) signal at a unique carrier frequency. All channels then share a single wire via frequency-domain multiplexing (FDM), enabling a rugged mechanical design. The composite FM signal is then digitized with a single ADC optimized for time-domain resolution (1 MHz, 12 bits) rather than employing multiple ADCs optimized for voltage-domain resolution (1 kHz, 16-24 bits), thereby enabling a low-power implementation. To validate this approach, a discrete prototype is developed and achieves 75 dB of dynamic range per channel.

Award: $500.0

Jacob Olson

FENS Forum and International Navigation Symposium

Bad Gastein, Austria and Copenhagen, Denmark

Sunday, June 26 - Wednesday, July 6

Abstract: axis and analogy in the dorsal subiculum of the navigating rat Jacob M Olson, Emily Tao, Kanyanat Tongprasearth, Douglas A Nitz Single neuron activity in the hippocampal formation often discriminates individual locations and experiences. While it is behaviorally important to be able to differentiate between individual circumstances, learning requires the ability to draw similarities and patterns out of experiences. A few studies have shown, that some CA1 neurons have firing fields across multiple locations in an environment. When this occurs, it is often in environments with repeating or similar spatial and behavioral elements, suggesting that when put in enriched environments, the hippocampus is capable of encoding more complex spatial relationships than are previously known. As the main dorsal output of CA1 and with the most direct connectivity to known navigation structures in retrosplenial and parietal cortex, dorsal subiculum could continue the spatial generalization process. In this work we recorded dorsal subiculum and CA1 while rats completed a complex navigation task with multiple behaviorally and spatially repeating segments. From this work, we have previously reported subiculum neurons with firing tuned to specific axes of travel. These neurons exhibit peak activity in either of two head direction orientations that are 180-degrees apart while on this maze but not an open arena. Additionally, we found a large population of subiculum neurons with place specific firing more similar to traditional CA1 place field firing, but often with multiple fields. Frequently, these fields occurred in behaviorally analogous spaces, much more frequently than in the CA1 population. These results suggest a network transitioning from individual identification of instances to developing functional analogy across locations and experiences.

Award: $500.0

Jael Vizcarra

Association for Asian American Studies Annual Conference "Gateways, Ports, and Portals"

Miami, Florida

Wednesday, April 27 - Saturday, April 30

Abstract: Thirty-seven years after their arrival to Argentina in fall 1979, Laotian refugees continue their struggle to find adequate housing and work. In 2012 The Ministry of the Interior published a report that highlighted Argentina’s inability to understand its Laotian population. As result of frequent labor conflicts between refugees, their employers, and the Buenos Aires-based UNHCR, Laotians were sent to the city of Posadas, Misiones as punishment. This paper conceptualizes Laotian displacement as a continuous condition exacerbated by regime changes, local government policies, and urban development. I trace the Argentine state’s attempts to disperse refugees to rural areas throughout the country as part of an informal economic policy aimed at transforming refugees into compliant workers. When refugees eventually converged in Posadas they established the grounds for today’s vibrant Laotian community. The state’s logic of Laotian containment and dispersal was an important mechanism of refugee management. Initially, the Dirty War-era military junta restricted the number of resettled families in every province ensuring no more than three families lived near each other. Once in Posadas, post-dictatorship local governments were complacent with the permanent resettlement of Laotians in the riverside, fringe neighborhood of El Brete. I rely on oral histories collected in the summer of 2015 to assess the impact of various government resettlements and relocations on the lives of refugees. The larger theoretical challenges raised in this paper include thinking about the role of containment and dispersal as part of the broader logic of post-Cold War humanitarian interventions.

Award: $500.0

James Sanford

Immunology 2016

Seattle, WA

Friday, May 13 - Tuesday, May 17

Abstract: The microbiome modulates cytokine production in the skin through epigenetic control of histone acetylation. The skin microbiome influences host cell behavior, but the molecular mechanisms responsible for this are incompletely understood. Many bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that in turn inhibit histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity in host tissues, an important mechanism for epigenetic control of cell function. We hypothesized that Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), a prominent member of the skin microbiome, can generate these metabolites and may influence cutaneous inflammation through their effects on histone acetylation. We found by GC-MS that P. acnes generates high levels of propionic acid and valeric acid only when cultured under conditions favoring fermentation, an environment similar to the occluded follicle. We confirmed that these molecules increased levels of histone acetylation by Western blot of H3K9ac and H3K27ac and ChIP-qPCR of H3K9ac in the IL-6 promoter. Using qPCR, RNA-sequencing, ELISA and multiplex analysis we observed that while stimulation of human keratinocytes (NHEK) with HDAC inhibitors alone had no effect on cytokine production, in the presence of TLR2 and TLR3 ligands, the addition of HDAC inhibitors greatly increased the production of many cytokines (i.e. IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, TNFα, and CCL5) compared to the TLR ligands alone. In direct contrast, these HDAC inhibitors suppressed TLR-stimulated inductions of these cytokines from monocytes and dendritic cells. Inhibition of HDAC activity in mouse skin confirmed these responses in vivo. The mechanism of inhibition in PBMCs and DCs was consistent with previous findings demonstrating increased expression of Mi-2β and activation of the NuRD co-repressor complex, events that were absent in NHEK. siRNA screening of NHEK identified the target of HDAC inhibition to be HDAC8 and HDAC9. These results indicate that the local microenvironment and microbe-derived SCFAs influence inflammatory gene expression in a cell type-specific manner, thus potentially explaining selective inflammation in diseases such as acne.

Award: $500.0

Justin Liu

International Society for Stem Cell Research Annual Meeting

San Francisco

Wednesday, June 22 - Saturday, June 25

Abstract: Cardiomyocyte alignment is paramount for cardiac pump function. Several techniques like micro-contact printing and photolithography have been used to guide sarcomeric alignment in two dimensions; however engineering physiologically relevant three-dimensional (3D) tissues that incorporate patient specific cell type and native extracellular matrix components remains a major challenge. In this work, we utilized a high-throughput microfabrication system designed in our lab called, Dynamic Optical Bioprinting (DOB), to print cardiomycytes with photopolymerizable ECM-based materials in an aligned 3D configuration, similar to native left-ventricular myocardium. We have tailored the mechanical, physical, chemical, and biological properties of these photopolymerizable ECM-based materials to enhance cardiac adhesion, alignment, and spreading. Using this platform, induced pluripotent stem cell cardiomyocytes (iPS-CM) were successfully seeded within user-defined patterns, preferentially aligning to the designated geometry, and display a rod-like morphology. The anisotropic geometry induces sarcomeric alignment along the long-axis of the cardiomyocyte tissue construct resulting in regular coupled action potentials and increased contractility parallel to the patterned axis, as compared to an isotropic geometry. Beyond alignment, a 3D printed mechanical tester composed of photopolymerizable gelatin methacrylate (GelMA) and hyaluronic acid glycydyl methacrylate (HAGM) was designed to measure force production of 3D printed tissues. This 3D tissue construct can also be used as an in vitro diagnostic test for cardiac drug screening applications, as well as for future use in transplantation.

Award: $300.0

Kathryn Furby

International Coral Reef Symposium


Sunday, June 19 - Friday, June 24

Abstract: Corals are modular organisms with the surprising ability to survive and regrow after breaking into pieces. How small is too small to survive? Coral reefs have maintained life through natural global changes for thousands of years but are currently faced with the most dramatic change yet. Corals can recover from stress by regrowing from cryptic tissues. Cryptic tissues are made of coral cells that survive in recessed or shaded areas of the reef, often not visible by standard coral surveys. These tissues are known to give corals the ability to return to life from apparent death. For some species, survival at a small scale can lead to a population-scale recovery. This study tests the boundaries of coral life and death. By microscopically exploring apparently dead coral skeleton, we used hyperspectral mapping microscopy and genetic approaches to search for living coral cells hidden inside the skeletal matrix. Within the skeletal matrix of recently ‘dead’ coral colonies, we found live, fluorescing, coral cells. Like most cnidarians, coral cells are effectively stem cells with the capacity for cellular differentiation and colonial development. The cryptic coral cells were found upwards of 5mm beneath the coral skeletal surface, suggesting that individual cells can survive away from surface stressors, and perhaps re-grow, once external conditions have improved. This study changes what constitutes a “dead” reef and could have lasting impacts on coral reef conservation.

Award: $500.0

Kristi Hendrickson

International Congress of Infant Studies

New Orleans

Wednesday, May 25 - Saturday, May 28

Abstract: Our ability to interpret the world around us crucially depends on how the brain organizes meaningful auditory information in memory (e.g., words, environmental sounds). Among the most important factors in lexical organization is featural similarity – the perceived likeness between concepts, measured by the degree of overlap in their semantic features (Rosch et al., 1976). Far less is known about the organization of semantic memory for meaningful auditory information that is not lexical (e.g., environmental sounds). Recent ERP evidence with adults indicates that words exhibit a more fine-grained semantic structure than do environmental sounds (Hendrickson, Walenski, Friend, & Love, 2015). However, no study has examined the neural response to environmental sounds in young children. It has been suggested that at 24-months children begin to understand the role that language – as opposed to other types of information – plays in organizing objects according to subtle differences in featural similarity (Sheehan, Namy, & Mills, 2007). The overarching objective of the proposed project is to examine how words and environmental sounds are organized in the brain before this putative shift in linguistic specialization. To capture the structure of semantic organization for words and environmental sounds, we record event-related potentials (ERPs) as 20-month-olds view images of common nouns (e.g., dog) while hearing words or environmental sounds that match the picture (e.g., “dog” or barking), that are within-category violations (e.g., “cat” or meowing), or that are between-category violations (e.g., “pen” or scribbling). We focus our analyses on the N400 component – a negative wave peaking approximately 400 ms post-stimulus onset that is closely tied to semantic processing (Kutas & Federmeir, 2011). Given the claim that linguistic information undergoes specialization at 24 months, such that words become the predominant form of organizing semantically different but related items (as for adults), we expect to observe different patterns of brain activity for 20-months-olds compared to adults. Previous ERP results indicate that adults organize words and environmental sounds differently in semantic memory (Hendrickson et al., 2015). For words, within- and between-category violations both exhibit significant N400 effects (i.e., attenuated N400 amplitudes to semantically related compared to unrelated primes) though between-category violations exhibited greater N400 amplitudes than within-category violations. In contrast to words, environmental sounds show a pattern in which between-category but not within-category violations elicit significant N400 effects. Contrary to adults, the current preliminary results from 20-month-olds (N=7) show that words and environmental sounds are organized similarly: within- and between-category violations both exhibit N400-like effects, and between-category violations exhibit greater negative amplitudes than within-category violations (see Figure 1). We will present data on a full sample of 20 20-month-olds. Our preliminary findings lend support to the claim that around 24-months words become the predominant form of organizing semantically different items. Contrary to adults who organize words and environmental sounds differently in the brain, 20-month-olds show similarities in mechanisms of semantic integration between words and environmental sounds. These findings are an exciting first step toward verifying the efficacy of highlighting environmental sound-object associations to serve in the learning of more arbitrary word-object associations.

Award: $500.0

Melissa Vipperman-cohen

Translation Theory Today: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Critical Theory

New York, New York

Thursday, May 5 - Friday, May 6

Abstract: Double Double, Play and Novel: Mairghread Scott’s Comic Book Adaptation of William Shakespeare’s "Macbeth" In this paper, I argue that Mairghread Scott’s groundbreaking comic book "Toil and Trouble" is not only an important adaptation of Shakespeare’s "Macbeth," but that it in fact is a translation of the original play itself. By re-telling "Macbeth" so, Scott does more than introduce new readers to the story or offer a different perspective on the characters; she creates a fundamentally new story with the comic form. The three witches in "Macbeth" have proven to be some of the most iconic characters within the bard’s impressive canon. What is it about these three “weird sisters” that has proven so interesting and so capable of speaking across time (1.3.32)? Even more pointedly, what is their particular role or agency in "Toil and Trouble," where they are the narrators of the classic story? In my paper, I examine how the witches’ narrative control, physical and emotional strength, and access to magical knowledge is a form of transfocalization which allows for a new perspective on the story, to use Julie Sanders’ term. Furthermore, however, I draw on bell hooks’ theory of oppositional gaze to propose that Scott’s text in translation creates the space for witches to interrogate and “look back” on centuries of female marginalization and oppression (hooks). Building on theories of adaptation by Linda Hutcheon and others, I argue that Scott’s Toil and Trouble does more than carry Shakespeare’s story across time periods and technological boundaries. In utilizing the graphic novel medium itself, I propose that Scott has translated Shakespeare’s witches into characters who create a liminal, transgressive space capable of being broken down and rewritten. Her translation challenges the perception and agency of women in the early modern period in order to provide a space in which the play’s hierarchical gender structure may be reshaped and newly understood. Melissa Vipperman-Cohen PhD Candidate University of California, San Diego

Award: $500.0

Michael Brandel

AANS Annual Scientific Meeting 2016

Chicago, IL

Saturday, April 30 - Wednesday, May 4

Abstract: Psychiatric Comorbidities and Outcomes After Traumatic Brain Injury Michael G. Brandel, BA; Brandon A. McCutcheon, MPP, MD; Kathryn Tringale, BS; Kate Carroll, BA; Brian R. Hirshman, MS, MD; Tianzan Zhou, BA; Logan Marcus, MS, MD; William Perry, PhD; Clark Chen, MD, PhD; Bob S. Carter, MD, PhD Introduction: It is known that traumatic brain injury is associated with the development of psychiatric disorders. However, it is less well understood what the impact of psychiatric disorders is on the immediate outcome of TBI. We examined the outcomes of patients who experienced a traumatic subdural hemorrhage and whether a comorbid psychiatric disorder was associated with a change in outcome. Methods: A retrospective observational study was performed in the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) and the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS). Patients hospitalized for acute subdural hemorrhage were identified using ICD-9 diagnosis codes. Patients with coexisting psychiatric diagnoses were identified. Outcomes studied included mortality and adverse discharge disposition. Results: In OSHPD, diagnoses of depression (OR=0.69, p<0.001), bipolar disorder (OR=0.37, p<0.05) and anxiety (OR=0.33, p<0.001) were associated with decreased odds of mortality following hospitalization for TBI, with a trend for psychosis. The diagnosis of schizophrenia had no effect. In contrast, diagnoses of psychosis (OR=2.28, p<0.001), depression (OR=1.25, p<0.001), bipolar disorder (OR=1.83, p=0.001) and schizophrenia (OR=3.81, p<0.001) were all associated with increased odds of an adverse discharge. The diagnosis of anxiety had no effect. Results were confirmed using the NIS. Conclusion: Analysis revealed novel associations between coexisting psychiatric diagnoses and TBI outcomes, with some subgroups having decreased mortality and increased adverse discharge disposition. This study suggests the need for analysis of potential mechanisms of this association.

Award: $500.0

Michael Matsuno

Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice (SICPP)

Boston, MA

Friday, June 17 - Saturday, June 25

Abstract: In Boston, I plan to perform a piece for two flutes composed by my teacher John Fonville in 1995. In the work, John employs 3 non-tempered scales, notably a 19-note series from the 15th century. Over the past few decades, he has made significant contributions to the field of Just Intonation and non-tempered tunings. His music and the like have been a large part of my doctoral research and fill a unique part of the contemporary music landscape which is unique to San Diego. This piece further employs microtones in a way that is meant to expand the timbral and expressive range of the instrument. I will be performing it with Flutist Rachel Beetz (UCSD, MA, DMA). I am excited to share this work along with a handful of other solo repertoire.

Award: $500.0

Neal Amin

International Society for Developmental Neuroscience

Juan les Pins, Antibes, France

Wednesday, May 11 - Saturday, May 14

Abstract: Introduction: Diseases affecting motoneurons such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and spinal muscular atrophy are thought to be caused by defects in RNA metabolism and miRNA biogenesis. Investigations into motoneuron-specific, RNA-mediated regulatory pathways (such as those involving miRNAs), may provide novel insights into pathogenic mechanisms. We and others have identified a single microRNA (miR-218) that is highly enriched and abundantly expressed in murine motoneurons. Methods: To understand the significance of miR-218 in motoneuron genetic regulation and biological function, we use mouse genetics, extensive phenotyping of motoneuron development, RNA sequencing and bioinformatics. Results: We first identified alternative promoters embedded within the Slit2/3 genes that drive miR-218’s expression in brainstem and spinal motoneurons. Next, we genetically ablated miR-218 expression in vivo with CRISPR mediated genome editing. Motoneurons in these mice exhibit dramatic neuromuscular synaptic failure, hyperexcitability, and cellular degeneration – the hallmarks of motoneuron diseases. Without miR-218, mice exhibit flaccid paralysis and neonatal death, demonstrating that this single miRNA is indispensable to motoneuron function and survival. How can a single, small non-coding RNA have such a fundamental importance to motoneuron gene regulation? Gene profiling wild type and knockout motoneurons uncovers an impressive network of hundreds of mRNAs that are under miR-218 mediated repression. Using differential expression and unbiased 3’UTR motif-enrichment analysis, we find that miR-218 target genes are expressed lower in motoneurons versus other subpopulations of spinal and cortical neurons. Moreover, we find that miR-218 doesn’t merely reinforce/potentiate target genes’ reduced expression (as has been suggested for microRNAs in general), but instead constitutively and independently drives the repression of its target network in motoneurons. Discussion: This study identifies a previously unappreciated miRNA regulatory network that is unique to motoneurons and is critical for in vivo neuromuscular synaptogenesis and motoneuron survival.

Award: $500.0

Robert Terrell

Alcohol flows across cultures: drinking cultures in transnational and comparative perspective

Oxford, UK

Wednesday, June 29 - Thursday, June 30

Abstract: Title: Exporting Bavarian Beer and an Idyllic Germany: The Case of Löwenbräu, 1945-1975 This paper follows Löwenbräu beer from Munich to markets around the world. Löwenbräu boasted one of the most extensive global export networks and best reputations of any beer in the world. It was bought and sold as the most “authentic” of all beers. The brewery waged continuous legal battles against impostors encroaching on their market share. Its veritable monopoly on high-class beer and its iconic lion branding made it a symbol of Germany and German quality. Served on Lufthansa flights, it literally expanded the cultural space of encountering Germany. The beer was exported to more than 100 countries by the early 1960s. As importers, marketers, and tavern-owners the world over gained access to the product they, like the Munich Brewery, wanted to embrace an aura of authenticity and tradition. They accumulated merchandise, glassware, coasters, signs, signing lion statues, enormous wooden display barrels, and ultimately, full styling guides for how to turn a tavern into an “authentic German Beerkeller.” Löwenbräu became the beer of German diasporic community Oktoberfests and later of commercialized and popularized versions. This paper draws on archival and print media primary sources in an effort to connect business and political history to cultural and consumption history. It is an examination of how the brand became a global icon for an entire nation and how the imagery of an idyllic Bavarian countryside and a jovial timeless drinking culture came to dominate global conceptions of Germany just a few short years after German militaristic nationalism and racism had dragged the world into an unforgettable cataclysm. Finally, it offers insights on how global commodities are localized in various contexts to adhere to and shape local social and cultural orders, norms, and structures.

Award: $500.0

Sabrina Berkamp


Aarhus, Denmark

Sunday, July 3 - Thursday, July 7

Abstract: G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are the largest family of transmembrane receptors in eukaryotes and are associated with many diseases. CXCR1 is a GPCR and acts as a chemokine receptor. CXCR1 has one high-affinity ligand, Interleukin-8 (IL-8). Having the atomic-level structure of a protein not only helps us understand how the protein achieves its task in the cell, but also how proteins interact with each other, which can then lead to the development of better drugs. However, little atomic-resolution data is available on GPCR-ligand binding. We have previously published the structure of CXCR1 by itself as solved by MAS solid-state NMR spectroscopy. Currently we are using solution state NMR and solid state NMR spectroscopy to study the IL-8 – CXCR1 complex. IL-8 is known to be dimeric, but binds CXCR1 as a monomer. We have therefore solved the solution NMR structure of a monomeric construct of IL-8. Standard triple resonance assignment experiments, as well as residual dipolar couplings were used. To study potential structural changes, residual dipolar couplings of IL-8 were also measured when IL-8 was immobilized on the receptor. Using MAS solid state NMR as well as proton detected fast MAS solid state NMR, we observed almost complete immobilization of IL-8 on CXCR1. The whole IL-8/CXCR1 complex undergoes rapid rotational diffusion in liposomes. Two-dimensional INEPT spectra show few, but distinguished peaks belonging to mobile residues. Additionally, we have obtained high-resolution HETCOR spectra of IL-8 bound to CXCR1 under ultrafast (60 kHz) MAS conditions. These experiments show that upon binding, IL-8 is almost completely immobilized except for a couple residues.

Award: $500.0

Samantha Doyle

Gordon Research Conference on Electronic Processes in Organic Materials

Lucca, Italy

Sunday, June 5 - Friday, June 10

Abstract: Singlet fission in carotenoid dimers Samantha J. Doyle, Michael J. Tauber Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of California at San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0314 E-mail:, ​Much of the recent research on singlet exciton fission has been driven by the possibility of improving organic photovoltaics. We have focused on singlet fission in polyenes, specifically the carotenoid zeaxanthin. Self-assembled aggregates of zeaxanthin have shown significant generation of triplet excited states via this mechanism.[1, 2] We aim to understand the connection between inter-chromophore coupling, and the yield of triplet excited states. Towards that end, we synthesized two covalent dimers of zeaxanthin, and probed their excited-state dynamics with femtosecond transient absorption and picosecond resonance Raman spectroscopy. A starting point for characterizing the coupling between the carotenoids in the dimers involves the determination of structures, and we report results from DFT calculations. We also analyze steady-state spectra (UV-Vis, circular dichroism) to assess the electronic coupling in the dimers. We find that the stronger the coupling between the chromophores, the greater the yield of triplet excited states on the picosecond timescale. The dimer with the strongest coupling has a 120% yield, which is unusually high for a dimer. Triplet-triplet annihilation limits the excited-state lifetime in dimers and aggregates to the sub-ns regime. Our findings motivate further research on methods for calculating exciton coupling within dimeric systems. Furthermore, the dimers serve as a valuable comparison for larger assemblies of polyenes, and elucidate factors that enhance singlet fission and the formation of triplet excited states in this class of molecules. References [1] C. Wang and M. J. Tauber, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2010, 132, 13988. [2] C. Wang, M. Angelella, C. H. Kuo, and M. J. Tauber, Proc. SPIE: Physical Chemistry of Interfaces and Nanomaterials XI 2012, 845905.

Award: $500.0

Sophia Georghiou

ATS Conference 2016

San Francisco, CA

Friday, May 13 - Wednesday, May 18

Abstract: TITLE Frequency and Distribution of Tuberculosis Resistance-Associated Mutations in a Multisite Study AUTHORS Sophia B. Georghiou Donald Catanzaro Richard S. Garfein Valeriu Crudu Camilla Rodrigues Thomas Victor Antonino Catanzaro Timothy C. Rodwell RATIONALE Molecular diagnostics, with their ability to rapidly detect resistance-associated mutations in bacterial genes, are promising technologies to control the spread of drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB). However, these technologies rely upon a limited physical landscape for resistance detection- using a small number of mutations to identify and characterize DR-TB infections. Sequencing assays can provide detailed information for specific gene regions. When coupled with culture-based phenotypic drug susceptibility testing (DST) results, sequencing also yields valuable information regarding mutation sensitivity and specificity, helping diagnostic assay developers prioritize mutations for inclusion in their assays. METHODS We conducted a multisite study in which seven Mycobacterium tuberculosis gene regions known to harbor resistance-associated mutations (katG, inhA promoter, ahpC promoter, rpoB, gyrA, rrs, and eis promoter) were pyrosequenced and analyzed for 1128 clinical specimens in Moldova, India, and South Africa. We determined the prevalence for each mutation among specimens with drug resistance based on phenotypic DST. We also examined the distributions of all mutations by country. RESULTS The most common mutations found among isoniazid-resistant (INH-R) specimens were the katG 315ACC mutation (87%) and inhA promoter -15T mutation (24%). However, South Africa had the lowest prevalence (<50%) of katG mutations among INH-R specimens; 47% of the South African INH-R specimens contained inhA promoter mutations and 10% contained ahpC promoter mutations. The most common mutations among rifampicin-resistant (RIF-R) specimens were the rpoB 531TTG (80%) and 516GTC (5%) mutations. The 531TTG mutation was found in the majority of RIF-R specimens in India (83%) and Moldova (84%), but not in South Africa (17%), where the 516GTC mutation was found more frequently (57%). The most common mutation among the fluoroquinolone-resistant (FQ-R) specimens was gyrA 94GGC (44%). The rrs 1401G mutation was found in 84%, 84%, and 50% of amikacin, capreomycin, and kanamycin-resistant (KAN-R) specimens, respectively. The eis promoter mutation -12T was found in 26% of KAN-R specimens. No eis promoter mutations were found in South Africa, though they were common in Moldova (64%) and India (7%). CONCLUSIONS The combined sensitivity of identified resistance-associated mutations was 84-95% for DR-TB drugs. We found a wide diversity of mutations that varied in frequency between three sites. Inclusion of the ahpC and eis promoter gene regions was critical for optimal test sensitivity to INH-R and KAN-R in South Africa and Moldova, respectively. DR-TB diagnostics that include all known resistance-associated mutations will likely remain the best option for optimal sensitivity of molecular diagnostics for DR-TB detection.

Award: $300.0

Sowparnika Balaswaminathan

Smithsonian Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology

Washington, D.C.

Monday, June 27 - Friday, July 22

Abstract: The conceptual category of authenticity has a long history in anthropology having been handled in various ways, through disinterring tradition, inquiring into identity, and studying contestations of historical narratives. At the Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology, I will examine the meaning of authenticity in terms of ethical representation by analyzing a craft tradition with respect to its theoretical ideal and tangible practice and how museum institutions themselves establish the authenticity of an object by their own standards. Thus, I will explore the criteria for what counts as an “authentic” sculpture according to the culture in which it has a use value, and the museum culture in which it has an exchange value (Pomian 1991). My interest in this topic comes from working on a dissertation project about a community of traditional artisans who make bronze sculptures that were historically used as temple idols, but are now also sold as art objects. Swamimalai sculptors define their art as traditional because it is made with strict adherence to ancient Sanskritic aesthetic texts called the shilpashastras of which the Manasara, the Shilparatna, and the Kasyapa shilpashastra are the ones preferred by the contemporary sculptors. I will explore the notion of authenticity by examining the relationship between aesthetic ideals and actual practice by comparing antique art objects to the way in which they have been ideally described by aesthetic texts in terms of specific measurements and iconographies. In addition, I will interrogate how museums themselves define and maintain authenticity. As institutions that valorize artifacts for representing cultural values distanced by time and space, museums are repositories and disseminators of knowledge and as such have a responsibility to demonstrate ethical practices. By researching the provenance records of these bronzes, I will examine what processes a museum institution follows while acquiring and recording an artifact, and thus, what counts towards authenticity with respect to representation.

Award: $500.0

Tara-lynne Pixley

International Communication Association Journalism Studies Colloquium

Fukuoka, Japan

Wednesday, June 8 - Monday, June 13

Abstract: In the last decade, several controversies have erupted within the photojournalism industry surrounding digitally altered images or questionable ethical practices, particularly in images of conflict and disaster zones. These moments of dissonance rehearse questions of what can be considered “reality” in documentary photography and what ethical standards are essential to the production of such imagery. In this paper I argue two controversies within the photojournalism industry are particularly generative for thinking through photographer absence/presence, a problematic binary that has received little critical attention. Further, I consider photojournalism as a “scopic regime,” due to its particular mode of envisioning and witnessing disempowered subjects through a lens that symbolically eliminates its inherent power structure. Through a careful analysis of Associated Press photographer Narciso Contreras’ image of a Syrian rebel fighter before and after his now-infamous digital manipulation and the industry commentary the altered photo spawned, this paper will address the complexity apparent in the uneasy relationship between the embodied eyewitness and the disembodied photographer, a complicated pairing I claim is requisite for visual documentary to retain its aura of verity. My analysis of another three photographs — each taken within a few feet of a young girl’s body lying in a post-earthquake Haitian street — addresses the mystified labor of the photographer and the disconnect that occurs when this labor is made apparent. Using the dual lenses of visual culture and journalism studies, I will clarify the parallel relationships of visioning and witnessing as elemental to the production of photographic reality. Intertwined with this foundational ideal of journalistic imagery are other infrequently analyzed relationships specific to the production of the presumed photographic real: visuality to truth, camera to photographer, subject to audience. Considering these discourses as applied to the selected images, I will further argue the camera (in photojournalism specifically) is a tool of erasure that produces a scopic regime through its disembodiment of the photographer’s gaze — as I claim it is partially the photojournalistic camera that allows for a conceptual laundering of the photographer’s subjectivity into objectivity — and that it is this key moment of the photographer’s disappearing act where the envisioned reality of the subject becomes suspect.

Award: $500.0

Theocharis Papatrechas

2016 VIPA Festival (Valencia International Performance Academy & Festival)

Valencia, Spain

Wednesday, July 6 - Saturday, July 16

Abstract: I have been selected to write a piece for Bass Clarinet, Violin, Cello, Piano & Electronics to be performed by the Switch~ Ensemble.

Award: $500.0

Waqas Butt

Constructing Asian Cities: Materiality, Capital, and Labor in the Making of an Urbanizing Landscape


Thursday, May 12 - Friday, May 13

Abstract: Construction projects of different scales have radically transformed Lahore's built environment over the past several years. A speculative market fueled by land development and private housing societies has combined with a development paradigm that prioritizes large-scale infrastructure projects. Underpasses and flyovers crisscross expansive roads while a train system is in the process of being erected to supplement the recently built bus rapid transit system. One commentator has called this development paradigm and the construction associated with it “death-by-concrete.” This description is not simply a metaphor for development taking place throughout urban Pakistan. In the summer of 2015 an estimated 2,000 people perished in a heatwave in Karachi because of the urban heat island effect in which concrete retains heat throughout the day, thereby ensuring that temperatures remain high in the evening. This paper draws on changes in Lahore's built environment brought about by these developments but from the perspective of the material produced in the aftermath of construction: waste. In what ways have these construction projects been framed as destructive by political society? What is the afterlife of construction materials as it is deemed to no longer have use or value and transitions into something called 'waste'? What are the networks of work through which construction waste is canalized to ensure that these environments remain inhabitable and continual sites of investment, both capital and affective? What challenges does this material pose, in particular, for a municipality that has recently privatized and reformed its waste management department? Considering these questions demands a dialectical approach to the material politics of the built environment, in which destruction, waste, and non-visible exist in an uncertain and awkward relation to the constructed, useful, and visible.

Award: $500.0

William Fisher

Great Plains Theater Conference

Omaha, Nebraska

Saturday, May 28 - Saturday, June 4

Abstract: I will be presenting my play Don't Be Evil. The synopsis is as follows: In this dark comedy about interrogation and innovation, a computer programmer is arrested after the search engine he designs answers “yes” to the question “is the government of the United States evil?” Desperate, he strikes a deal with his captors, agreeing to resign the software in exchange for his freedom. As they work to understand the search engine’s answer and how to change it, both the programmer and his persecutors begin to question their faith, their ability, and whether it is possible to do something good in the service of something evil.

Award: $500.0