Adrian Doran

Ocean Bottom Seismograph Symposium

Vancouver, WA

Monday, October 5 - Tuesday, October 6

Abstract: The absolute orientation of the two orthogonal components of a seismometer in the horizontal plane is an important parameter for a wide range of seismic investigations, but it is unknown for ocean bottom seismometers (OBS) deployed using traditional methods. Modern analyses attempt to determine the orientation using both active and passive methods, the former of which are often prohibitively expensive and the latter of which rely on body or surface waves from regional and teleseismic earthquakes. Calculations based upon only one type of waveform (e.g. body waves or just one frequency of surface waves) can be systematically biased by heterogeneities and unmapped structures in the Earth. We present a method utilizing all available waveform information, including body waves, fundamental mode surface waves, surface wave overtones, and differential pressure gauge (DPG) data, to invert for a final orientation angle. We test our algorithm on OSN and PLUME OBS datasets, and find it compares favorably to the high-accuracy spectral eigenvalue decomposition used to calculate surface wave arrival angles. The computational speed and relative lack of user input are additional benefits of our code.

Award: $500.0

Ahanjit Bhattacharya

Pacific Chem 2015

Honolulu, Hawaii

Tuesday, December 15 - Sunday, December 20

Abstract: Title: Exploration of Novel Methods for In Situ Vesicle Formation and Linking them with Gene Expression Abstract: In the present work, we explored various non-enzymatic ways of synthesizing phospholipid membranes using water-soluble, non-membrane forming natural precursors. The key class of molecules undergoes rapid, facile bond formation with lysolipids under mild conditions. Building on these results, we aim to link phospholipid formation with enzyme catalyzed reactions, in order to tune vesicle formation with gene expression. Inspired by a previous work in our group, we found that phospholipids can be generated in situ from enzymatically synthesized fatty acyl precursors and lysolipids. Our current research is expected to provide some insight into membrane evolution in the context of origin of life and also develop novel methods for in situ vesicle generation for bottom-up synthetic biology applications.

Award: $500.0

Akana Noto

Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting

Baltimore, MD

Sunday, August 9 - Friday, August 14

Abstract: Background/Question/Methods: Environmental variability and the frequency of extreme events are predicted to increase with climate change. It is especially important to understand the effects of this change in salt marshes because, as climate changes, their continued ability to provide protection against storm surges and flooding will become increasingly important. Despite that, the role of environmental variability in shaping community composition, diversity and function is not well understood. Identifying current patterns of association between measures of community function and climatic means and variability will help elucidate the ways in which altered variability and mean conditions may change communities in the future. We used long-term plant community data from salt marshes along both coasts of the continental United States to determine the associations among environmental variability on different timescales, community stability and diversity. Results/Conclusions: We found that mean temperature, mean precipitation and seasonal variability of temperature were related to salt marsh community stability, but interannual variability was not. Sites with greater seasonal variability in temperature showed more stable diversity than less variable sites. Species richness was closely related to mean precipitation but not variability. The strength of these effects differed on the east and west coasts of the United States, although the direction of the trends was often the same. These results indicate that salt marsh community stability and species richness are both likely to be affected by changes in mean precipitation but not changes in precipitation. Differences in seasonal variability in temperature will likely affect stability but not diversity. Changes in environmental variability and mean conditions are therefore likely to have important but distinct effects on communities. Thus, forecasting the future of biodiversity in a changing climate requires understanding how variation on different timescales affects both community diversity and stability.

Award: $500.0

Alexander Mo

250th American Chemical Society National Meeting & Exposition

Boston, MA

Sunday, August 16 - Thursday, August 20

Abstract: Colloidal particles with two or more different surface properties (Janus particles) are of interest in catalysis, biological imaging, and drug delivery. Eccentric nanoparticles are a type of Janus particle consisting of a shell that envelops the majority of a core particle, leaving a portion of the core surface exposed. Previous work to synthesize eccentric nanoparticles from silica and polystyrene have only used microemulsion techniques. In contrast we report the sol-gel synthesis of eccentric Janus nanoparticles composed of a silica shell around a carboxylate-modified polystyrene core (Janus templates) and examine different reaction conditions in order to understand the mechanism of formation. In addition, we have synthesized nano-bowl-like structures after the removal of the polystyrene core by organic solvent. These Janus templates and nanobowls can be used as a versatile platform for site-specific functionalization or controlled theranostic delivery.

Award: $500.0

Ali Ebrahim

4th Conference on Constraint-Based Reconstruction and Analysis (COBRA 2015)

Heidelberg, Germany

Wednesday, September 16 - Thursday, June 18

Abstract: The physiological state of a cell is largely determined by the activity of all the members of the proteome. Here, we develop and apply a workflow to synchronized multiple omic data types with a genome-scale model of metabolism and expression (ME) in Escherichia coli to determine enzyme activities that are fully consistent with the physiological state of the cell. Using omics data sets from various environmental conditions, we found that the protein-to-mRNA ratio (indicative of ribosomal activity) remains condition-independent on an individual gene basis. We also found the turnover rate of hundreds of metabolic enzymes were relatively condition-invariant. These findings represent the largest scale determination of enzyme activities in vivo to date. We show that the determined condition-invariant enzyme activities enable prediction of condition-specific transcriptional activation and repression. Therefore, quantitative expression data from one condition enables prediction under many new growth conditions, adding significant value and utility to the data. Thus, ME models provide a multi-scale mechanistic framework that allows synchronization of genomic, transcriptomic, fluxomic, and bibliomic data types leading to prediction of physiological functions.

Award: $500.0

Amanda Ritchart

International Congress of Phonetic Sciences

Glasgow, Scotland

Monday, August 10 - Friday, August 14

Abstract: In this study, we provide a detailed phonetic descrip- tion of the F0 patterns of Punjabi, an Indo-European language that is believed to be be undergoing tono- genesis. The purported emergent tone in Punjabi is associated with only one class of consonants – those which are thought to be historically voiced aspirated, but now may have lost both aspiration and voicing, instead being differentiated from other consonants by F0. Using data from 6 native Punjabi speakers (3F, 3M) and careful phonetic analysis, we confirm that these consonants are now realised as unaspi- rated, and, word-initially, also as voiceless. We also find that these consonants induce a falling F0 in the following vowel, but only in word-initial posi- tion. Noting that Punjabi nouns are usually stressed word-initially, this pattern of restricted F0 modula- tion closely resembles languages with emerging tone or “pitch accent”.

Award: $500.0

Anahita Abbasi Hafshejani

Time of Music

Finland, Viitasaari

Monday, June 29 - Monday, July 6

Abstract: some words about the piece that Is going to be premiered during this Festival/ Master course. Distorted Attitudes IV /Facile synthesis dedicated to Quatuor Diotima Distorted Attitudes IV/ Facile synthesis is the fourth piece in this cycle, which is an observation on various perspectives and mindsets in society, some of which we would describe as distorted. Distortion is the alteration of the original shape (or other characteristic) of an object, image, sound, or waveform. Distortion is often unwanted; in some situations, however, it is desirable. Distorted Attitudes IV/ Facile synthesis traces the integration of disparate traits, attitudes, and impulses to create a complete personality. In short, the violins and the viola are becoming cello. They are on the one hand different shapes of a cello, and on the other hand, individual beings with their own characteristics and qualities. The difference between their shapes has a vital influence on the quality of their sound. Within their own physical limitations, they embody individual attitudes even while following the same process towards a shared end result. All the instruments are treated both as though they were one and as though they were different qualities of a scattered unity. The constituent elements of separate materials, sound qualities, and abstract entities will transform into a single unified entity. Struggling to unify, Facile synthesis challenges whether such reconciliations are possible.

Award: $500.0

Beniamino Volta

55th International Congress of Americanists

San Salvador, El Salvador

Sunday, July 12 - Friday, July 17

Abstract: Current archaeological models for ancient Maya political organization oscillate between highly centralized regional “superstates” and weakly integrated segmentary polities. Epigraphic data suggest that, during most of the Late Classic, the Snake dynasty of Calakmul controlled one of the largest and most powerful regional states in the Maya lowlands. The site of Uxul, Campeche, Mexico, has long been considered a secondary center within the regional hierarchy of the Calakmul state. Recent research by the University of Bonn Uxul Archaeological Project has produced new textual evidence for the subordination of the rulers of Uxul to the Snake kings in the 7th and 8th centuries AD. Understanding the impacts of this power relationship on the social organization of Uxul can provide valuable clues about political integration in the Calakmul regional state. In this talk we examine architectural and material evidence for the presence and social function of secondary elites at Uxul. Survey has revealed a number of possible elite household groups of varying size and complexity outside of the central area of the site. The results of excavations in some of these groups, combined with comparative settlement pattern analysis, allow us to make some preliminary observations on the changing political role of secondary elites at Uxul. By tracing these trajectories through time, we assess how the impact of Cakalmul hegemony was felt outside of Uxul’s royal court.

Award: $500.0

Brad Monk

Society for Neuroscience

Chicago, IL

Saturday, October 17 - Wednesday, October 21

Abstract: Simulating the spatial and temporal dynamics of synaptic plasticity The efficacy by which an upstream neuron evokes downstream responses via a particular synapse can be considered the ‘weight’ or 'strength' of that synaptic connection; with synaptic strengths being directly related to the postsynaptic levels of AMPA-type glutamate receptors (AMPARs). Memory formation is thought to involve dynamic changes to these otherwise stable synaptic weights. Indeed the ability of synaptic weights to remain stable over long time-periods and undergo evoked change is considered a fundamental feature of the brain’s information storage schema, and is currently the most compelling description of the neural analogs that underlie learning and memory. While synaptic regulation of AMPARs is considered fundamental to brain information storage, several basic questions remain unresolved; these include (a) how temporary signals induce metastable changes to synaptic strengths, and (b) how synaptic weights are maintained over long durations. This project explores these two unknowns using MCMC modeling; a multiplex stochastic model was developed to simulate AMPAR trafficking in-and-around synapses. Primary model components included: (1) receptors that diffuse along a 3D dendritic surface, (2) a dynamic actin filament network, and (3) multivalent synaptic/scaffold-associated proteins (SAPs) that could interact with surface receptors, actin filaments, and other SAPs. This model unifies experimental data on structural and molecular dynamics, and simulates these processes in 3D space.

Award: $500.0

Brian Stock

Ecological Society of America (ESA) Annual Meeting

Baltimore, MD

Sunday, August 9 - Friday, August 14

Abstract: Characterizing trophic links in food webs is a fundamental ecological question. In our efforts to quantify energy flow through food webs, ecologists have increasingly used mixing models to analyze biological tracer data, often from stable isotopes. While mixing models are based on simple concepts, incorporating important biological complexity complicates analysis. In order to spur the implementation of advances in mixing model theory, we recently developed MixSIAR, a GUI tool written in R. Here, we address common questions and pitfalls in mixing model analyses we have seen from our work on MixSIAR. We explain and suggest “best practices” to ecologists implementing mixing models on the following: 1) Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) parameters, 2) incorporating priors and the influence of priors, 3) alternative error structures, 4) source aggregating/splitting, 5) incorporating fixed, random, and continuous covariates, 6) effects of the number of tracers included, and 7) application to fatty acid data. We conclude by outlining unresolved research questions in the use of mixing models such as MixSIAR.

Award: $500.0

Colton Lloyd

Conference on Constraint-Based Reconstruction and Analysis

Heidelberg, Germany

Wednesday, September 16 - Friday, September 18

Abstract: Since the introduction of the first model of E. coli metabolism in 1990, metabolic models (M-models) have continued to grow in scope and content, thus improving their predictive accuracy and capabilities. Along with the development of the models, which are now genome-scale, constraints-based reconstruction and analysis (COBRA) techniques have also evolved to solve the models in new and useful ways. These predictions made using COBRA techniques and M-models have proven to be relatively accurate when determining the metabolic capabilities of the cell (i.e. theoretical yield, growth rates, etc.). They often fail, however, when predicting the reaction network flux state of the cell and when predicting reaction pathway usage. More recently, models have developed which integrate the production and assembly of the expression machinery required to catalyze metabolic reactions (ME-models). This effectively acts as a way to incorporate a “cost” for each metabolic reaction within the cell/model. Although simulations using ME-models have the benefit of a an increase in predictive capabilities and accuracy, they suffer from a significant increase in model size (2583 M-model reactions vs 76414 ME-model reactions) and complexity compared to the corresponding M-model. For this reason, the ME-models that have been published require a learning curve to understand, modify and simulate the model. Here we present a new framework, coded in Python and built over COBRApy, for building and simulate the E. coli-K12 MG1655 ME reconstruction, iOL-1650. This resulting model is a fraction of the size of iOL-1650, can be manipulated using methods similar to those used in COBRApy, and solves using a binary search implementation (10-6 tolerance) in less than 10 minutes.

Award: $500.0

Camille Toarmino

Society for Neuroscience

Chicago

Friday, October 16 - Wednesday, October 21

Abstract: Auditory fields recruited during vocalization processing revealed by fMRI in awake marmosets Areas of human auditory cortex are known to preferentially respond to speech. In other primates, such as common marmosets, neurophysiological recordings have shown populations of neurons that respond to their species’ vocalizations. However, it is not yet known whether auditory cortical fields in the marmoset exhibit any anatomical specialization for vocalization processing or if they are part of a more generalized auditory processing network. Previously, we developed a preparation in awake marmosets that allowed us to investigate basic principles of the auditory system using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We showed that tonotopic fields could be delineated in primary auditory cortex, and we were able to distinguish between primary and secondary cortices. Here, we are beginning to use fMRI in order to examine brain areas active during conspecific vocalization processing. We are exploring this question by broadcasting auditory stimulus sets to awake, passively listening marmoset monkeys. These stimuli include: conspecific vocalizations, heterospecific vocalizations, environmental sounds, and phase-scrambled conspecific vocalizations. Similar to recent work in rhesus monkeys, we expect to find brain regions in both primary and secondary auditory cortices that respond preferentially to conspecific vocalizations compared to all other sounds.

Award: $500.0

Christian Cole

2015 International Chemical Congress of Pacific Basin Societies

Hawaii

Tuesday, December 15 - Sunday, December 20

Abstract: Abstract: Transmembrane proteins are critical for signaling, transport, and metabolism, yet their reconstitution in synthetic membranes is often time-consuming and challenging. Non-enzymatic and chemoselective methods to generate phospholipid membranes in situ would be powerful tools for the straightforward incorporation of membrane proteins. Here we describe the spontaneous reconstitution of functional integral membrane proteins during the de novo synthesis of biomimetic phospholipid bilayers. Such an approach takes advantage of non-enzymatic bioorthogonal coupling reactions to generate proteoliposomes from micelle-solubilized proteins. Using this methodology, we successfully reconstitute three different transmembrane proteins into synthetic membranes. This is the first example of using non-enzymatic chemical synthesis of phospholipids to prepare proteoliposomes.

Award: $500.0

Christopher Vickery

ACS Boston

Boston, MA

Sunday, August 16 - Thursday, August 20

Abstract: The 4′-Phosphopantetheinyl transferase (PPTase) family of enzymes is almost ubiquitous across all forms of life. PPTases post-translationally modify carrier proteins (CPs) with phosphopantetheine derived from the cofactor Coenzyme A. CPs are required for the biosynthesis of a wide variety of biological chemicals, including fatty acids, polyketides, and non-ribosomal peptides. Bacteria from the genus Mycobacteria contain a plethora of essential CP dependent pathways required for the biosynthesis of cell wall components and small molecules related to infection and proliferation. The Sfp-type PPTase is required for the activation of these CP dependent pathways. We have structurally characterized the Sfp-type PPTases PptT and PptII from M. tuberculosis and M. ulcerans, respectively. Additionally, biochemical analysis of these enzymes has provided information regarding activity and inhibition of these enzymes. This enzyme is a novel drug target in M. tuberculosis, and thus our structural analysis will aid in future efforts to discover new anti-mycobacterial molecules.

Award: $500.0

Chun-shu Wei

The 37th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC 2015)

Milan, Italy

Tuesday, August 25 - Saturday, August 29

Abstract: Recent advances in mobile electroencephalogram (EEG) acquisition based on dry electrodes have started moving Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) applications from well-controlled laboratory settings to real world environments. However, the application mechanisms and high impedance of dry electrodes over the hair-covered areas remain challenging for routine everyday use. In addition, whole-scalp recordings are not always necessary or applicable due to various real-world constrains. Therefore, alternative montages for EEG recordings to meet the everyday needs are in-demand. Inspired by our previous work on measuring non-hair-bearing steady state visual evoked potentials for BCI applications, this study explores the feasibility and efficacy of detecting cognitive lapses of participants based on EEG signals collected from the non-hair areas. Study results suggest that informative EEG features associated with lapses could be assessed from non-hair-bearing areas with comparable accuracy obtained from the whole-scalp EEG. The design principles, validation processes and promising findings reported in this study may enable and/or facilitate numerous BCI applications in real-world environments.

Award: $500.0

Daniel Knowland

Society for Neuroscience

Chicago, IL

Thursday, October 15 - Wednesday, October 21

Abstract: Novel strategy for studying the circuit organization of globus pallidus in cell type and projection specific manner

Award: $500.0

Dongjin Song

The 21st ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining

Sydney, Australia

Monday, August 10 - Thursday, August 13

Abstract: Signed networks, in which the relationship between two nodes can be either positive (indicating relationship such as trust) or negative (indicating relationship such as distrust), are becoming increasingly common in recent years. A plausible model for user behavior analytics in signed networks should adopt a property that more extreme positive and negative relationships are explored and exploited before less extreme ones. Such a model implies that a personalized ranking list of latent links should place positive links on the top, negative links at the bottom, and unknown status links in between. Traditional ranking metrics, \textit{e.g.}, area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC), are however not suitable to quantify such a ranking list which comprises of positive, negative, and unknown status links. To address this issue, a generalized AUC (GAUC) which can measure both the head and tail of a ranking list was introduced. Since GAUC considers each pairwise comparison equally and the calculation of GAUC requires quadratic time, we derive two lower bounds of GAUC which can be computed with linear time and put more emphasis on ranking positive links on the top and negative links at the bottom of a ranking list. Next, we develop two efficient latent link recommendation (ELLR) algorithms in order to conduct link recommendation by directly optimizing these two lower bounds, respectively. Finally, we compare these two ELLR algorithms with top-performed baseline methods over four benchmark datasets, among which the largest network has more than 100 thousand nodes and seven million entries. Thorough empirical studies demonstrate that the proposed ELLR algorithms outperform state-of-the-art approaches for link recommendation in signed networks at no cost in high efficiency.

Award: $500.0

Eric Hahn

11th International DYMAT Conference

Lugano, Switzerland

Monday, September 7 - Friday, September 11

Abstract: The mechanical properties of silicon continue to be extensively studied under numerous conditions, including deformation at extreme stresses and ultra-fast strain rates. Molecular dynamics simulations can match state-of-the-art experimental limits, and here we show simulated shock compression of [001] single crystal silicon with utilization of several interatomic potentials. The resulting defect structure depends strongly on the interatomic potential and the deviatoric shear stress component of the shock normal pressure as expected. Several mechanical responses are identified: pure elastic compression of the lattice; homogenous dislocation nucleation at the shock front, heterogeneous dislocation generation at the surface, metastable phase change from diamond cubic to body centered tetragonal 5, impact melting, and directional amorphous banding. Dislocation nucleation and propagation mechanisms were evaluated with {110} and {111} slip planes identified. Partial dislocations nucleate at the shock front and burst at supersonic speeds before slowing down to the transonic regime. The interaction of the mutually perpetuating slip systems leads to unique intersections that manifest as nanotwinning and phase transitions preceding directional amorphization.

Award: $500.0

Erin Tracy

SUMAC 2015

New York City, NY

Monday, July 27 - Saturday, August 1

Abstract: For SUMAC, I am excited to present collaboratively generated movement material that explores somatic experiences in theatrical landscapes. This work centers on the inherent performativity of human bodies in shared creative spaces and it translates this quality into set performance for live audiences. Working on a team to make movement material demands some degree of improvisation-based dance making. For all of its intents, collaboration is a performance of ideas communicated by our socially choreographed bodies. Often, these initial musings go on a journey throughout the process and end up as a result the initial proposer never would have created alone. My choreography captures and reconstructs these moments of physical and verbal communication in order to create micro-movement events to share throughout the duration of the conference. In their re-creation, my intention is to maintain the quality of spontaneity and the pure materiality of the human body in its function of expressing somatic choreographic inspiration. For this piece I strive to show the transformation in performance quality as the work is rehearsed and then lifted from the arena of shared workspace and transported in front of an audience of mentors and future collaborators in the field of dance theatre. This work seeks to interrogate and collapse the space between making and showing original collaborative dance.

Award: $500.0

Foster Chamberlin

V Encuentro de Jovenes Investigadores

Barcelona, Spain

Wednesday, July 15 - Wednesday, June 17

Abstract: The political difficulties that First World War military mentalities caused the interwar period’s fledgling democracies are well known, but how those ways of thinking affected policing is little studied. In Spain, the military organization of the Civil Guard has always been the institution’s most polemical feature, but most studies of the corps have also focused on its influence on politics rather than political violence. This paper will understand the military nature of the Civil Guard to be based on more than just the institution’s structure. It will use training manuals and official speeches to enumerate the martial tactics and values that future Civil Guard officers learned while in the army at the Infantry Academy of Toledo and by fighting in Morocco. It will draw upon official reports and newspaper accounts of specific incidents to argue that when civil guards were confronted with disturbances in the public order during the Second Republic, a period which saw the highest levels of political violence in Europe at that time, they applied standard European military tactics to policing situations. They also interpreted these disorders using the military value-system they had learned, which was designed to ensure the effectiveness of Europe’s fighting forces in colonial and continental wars. The result was that the Civil Guard took an approach to policing that gave it a repertoire of actions that included few non-violent options.

Award: $500.0

Hristos Courellis

Biomedical Circuits and Systems Conference

Atlanta, Georgia

Thursday, October 22 - Saturday, October 24

Abstract: Experimental investigation and monitoring of reward signaling implicated in addiction and neurological disorders has traditionally been limited to invasive measurement of deep-brain dopamine activity. Here we introduce a systematic methodology and algorithmic pipeline to quantify causal relationships between regions of interest (ROIs) in the cerebral cortex revealing reward-based signaling pathways involved in human decision making using only non-invasive scalp electroencephalography (EEG). The data is processed by extracting epochs around time-locked stimuli of interest and performing independent component analysis (ICA) on individual datasets to remove artifacts and identify cortical sources. The pipeline entails identifying ROI’s with the Measure Projection Toolbox (MPT) through clustering of ICs, localizing current sources in these ROIs using Bayesian inference based constrained low resolution electromagnetic tomography (cLORETA), and computing causal relationships between ROI’s using the Source Information Flow Toolbox (SIFT). The proposed methodology and pipeline are demonstrated on 64-channel scalp EEG signals recorded from healthy adults performing a reward-based decision making task conducted through a brain computer interface (BCI) framework. In comparison to a standard method for Group-ICA, our pipeline generates far more biologically plausible and consistent causal connections between ROIs.

Award: $500.0

Hector Reynoso

Gordon Research Conference: Fertilization and Activation of Development

Holderness, NH

Saturday, July 18 - Friday, July 24

Abstract: Glycans play a major role in reproduction and in immune function. The heterogenous mix of cell-surface carbohydrates composing the glycocalyx on the mammalian sperm is therefore a prime area of interest in the study of fertility. However, the specific role that the sperm glycocalyx plays in the survival of allogeneic cells in the female reproductive tract is not known. As the outermost layer of molecules on sperm, the sperm glycocalyx functions as the initial point of contact with female immune cells upon insemination. Furthermore, mammalian sperm only become capable of fertilizing the oocyte after exposure to the female reproductive tract and various physiological processes collectively called capacitation. My research has focused on the reorganization of sialic acids on sperm during capacitation. Sialic acids are present on the terminal ends of several glycoproteins and glycolipids. The terminal position of the sialic acids masks underlying and potentially antigenic molecules. We hypothesize that the coat of sialic acids on sperm simulates a self-signal to placate the immune system of the female, but ultimately must be shed before reaching the oviduct in order to interact with the oocyte. Our lab has observed that two sialidases, neuraminidase 1 and 3 (Neu1 and Neu3), are present on mouse and human sperm and facilitate the cleavage of sialic acids in capacitating conditions in vitro. Additionally, Neu1 and Neu3 are themselves shed. However, the mechanism which controls y Neu1 and Neu3 activity is unknown although these enzymes should be tightly temporally controlled for many reasons. If Neu1 and Neu3 are activated too early, premature cleavage could result in the baring of antigenic molecules early in the female reproductive tract, where immune cells present in high numbers. If Neu1 and Neu3 are activated too late, sperm may still carry sialic acids that prevent them from interacting with and fertilizing the oocyte. I am investigating the temporal dynamics of specific sperm neuraminidases during capacitation via in vitro assays and with use of a Neu1 hypomorph mouse strain. My research is also exploring sialic acid non-compatability. The two most common sialic acids in mammals are N-glycolyl-neuraminic acid (Neu5Gc) and N-acetyl-neuraminic acid (Neu5Ac). Due to a mutation in the CMAH enzyme that converts Neu5Ac to Neu5Gc, humans are unable to make Neu5Gc. However, humans are exposed to Neu5Gc in red meat and dairy products. All humans studied express antibodies against Neu5Gc, but what is surprising is that Neu5Gc from the diet can be incorporated onto human cells, forming xenoautoantigens. Our lab has shown that litter size decreases in mice in which the male expresses Neu5Gc while the female is CMAH null and expresses Neu5Gc antibodies. On a similar note, we are investigating whether sialic acid incompatibility contributes to a detriment in human fertility. To do this, we compare sperm from confirmed fertile fathers to subfertile men who visit fertility clinics. A subset of the samples from men who visit fertility clinics are positive for Neu5Gc. In contrast, none of the samples from confirmed fertile fathers studied to date express Neu5Gc.

Award: $500.0

Jennifer Hsu

41st International Computer Music Conference 2015

Denton, TX, USA

Friday, September 25 - Thursday, October 1

Abstract: In this research, developments for a system consisting of a physical model of the voice for use in performance with a live saxophonist is presented. For intuitive control of the voice model, a method for specifying the sounding frequency of the voice model is devised. Using several subglottal pressure and vocal fold frequency pairs as inputs to the voice model, a look-up table is filled with the sounding frequency from each synthesized voice signal. Fitting curves to the table data allows for the calculation of the correct valve frequency to input to the voice model to synthesize a voice signal at a desired sounding frequency and subglottal pressure. A technique for extracting frequency trajectories from live saxophone input and using these trajectories as input to the voice model is also explored.

Award: $500.0

Jennifer Michaud

250th American Chemical Society National Meeting & Exposition

Boston, MA

Sunday, August 16 - Thursday, August 20

Abstract: The contribution of various marine microorganisms to the composition of seawater and resulting sea spray aerosols is generally accepted though not well characterized. Both natural and artificial phytoplankton/bacterial blooms cause vast changes in seawater phases both in composition and structure, but direct correlations to biochemistry need to be clarified. Here we describe methods for uncovering the underpinning biochemical mechanisms of production of molecules and phenomena. Specifically, we aim to identify what specific organisms are making, what biochemical pathways are utilized, and how these biochemical changes directly affect aerosols. As the structure and composition of aerosols have consequence for weather formation, climate, and air quality, understanding the stimulus that cause organisms to produce climate altering factors gives insight into the impact of biogenic factors. When these have negative effect this will likely lead to the development of preventative and predictive tools. We have applied this to link the production of alkyl nitrates, known ozone forming molecules, to the marine bacterial species, Alteromonas and Pseudoalteromonas. In our work, we are utilizing this methodology to examine the biochemical pathways that contribute to various measured changes in a large scale mesocosm phytoplankton bloom.

Award: $500.0

Jennifer Sanchez-flack

American Public Health Association Annual Meeting & Exposition

Chicago, IL

Saturday, October 31 - Wednesday, November 4

Abstract: Background: Lack of access to healthy food disproportionately impacts racially/ethnically-diverse and low-income populations, such as Latinos, and leads to obesity disparities within the U.S. (Lindsay et al., 2008). Without access to produce, individuals cannot meet the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day (Freuhaft & Karpyn, 2010). Improving the food environment of small food stores by incorporating fresh produce into their retail environment is an important step in creating an equitable food system. Methods: Mixed-methods interviews were conducted in San Diego with nine small store managers and data are being collected from ten small produce farmers. Interview topics include: current sourcing/distribution experiences, relationships with business clients, and opinions on the feasibility of distributing local produce in small stores. Results: Preliminary results revealed that managers and farmers both support a distribution model to increase access to local produce in low-income communities. Managers believe increased access to local produce would increase purchasing among customers. However, managers reported a lack of knowledge in how to connect with farmers and believed farmers prefer working with large stores because of their purchasing power. Farmers reported an interest in working with organizations that are invested in the community and not for profit. Conclusions: Connecting small store managers and farmers has the potential to increase access to fresh produce within low-income, racially/ethnically diverse communities, and improve dietary behaviors. By understanding the facilitators and barriers to sourcing/distributing local produce, it is expected that an effective distribution model between store managers and farmers will be identified.

Award: $500.0

Jessica Prudencio

Venice Biennale

Venice, Italy

Saturday, July 11 - Saturday, August 1

Abstract: The Venetians Twins by Carlo Goldoni is a comedy written in the Italian theatrical tradition commedia dell’arte, which uses archetypes and masked actors performing often, humorous performances for various towns on temporary stages. My thesis production of this play, will uncover the original archetypes while addressing contemporary social issues on “otherness” and the discomfort that comes with foreigner. My goal is to reveal the hidden truths of in this play about power, fear, and what man will do to conquer. My process will be comprised of both traditional commedia del arte mask work and contemporary Stanislavskian performance techniques. My collaborative team of actors, designers, and scholars will be working through a process that begins in heavy archetype and ends with personal humanity of the character. My production will push boundaries by taking my audience through a range of styles, resulting in a theatrical experience both humorous and heartbreaking.

Award: $500.0

Landon Klein

Society for Neuroscience: Neuroscience 2015

Chicago, IL

Saturday, October 17 - Wednesday, October 21

Abstract: N,N-dialkyltryptamines are known to act non-selectively as agonists at 5-HT1A and 5-HT2A receptors. However, the contributions of these receptors to the behavioral effects of N,N-dialkyltryptamines are unclear. Recently, illicit sources have made available an expanded repertoire of N,N-dialkyltryptamines, including N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and homologues with one or both methyl groups extended to ethyl or propyl groups. In light of increasing use of these compounds, we investigated their behavioral pharmacology in mice. The head twitch response (HTR), a behavior mediated by 5-HT2A, is often used as a rodent proxy for hallucinogenic effects in humans. Using a head-mounted magnet and a magnetometer coil to detect head movement, we found that IP treatment with DMT (0.625-10 mg/kg), N-methyl-N-ethyltryptamine (MET; 0.625-10 mg/kg), N,N-diethyltryptamine (DET; 0.3-3 mg/kg), and N,N-dipropyltryptamine (DPT; 0.625-10 mg/kg) induced the HTR in C57Bl/6J mice, suggesting that activity at 5-HT2A contributes to the behavioral effects of these compounds. Additionally, the Behavioral Pattern Monitor (BPM) was used to assess the effects of DMT, MET, DET, and DPT on exploratory behavior. When administered at 30 mg/kg IP, all four compounds reduced locomotor activity and investigatory behavior. Since previous BPM experiments demonstrated tryptamine hallucinogens to reduce locomotor activity by activating 5-HT1A (Halberstadt et al., 2011), we assessed the contribution of 5-HT1A to these locomotor effects by comparing the effects of DMT, MET, DET, and DPT in 5-HT1A wild-type (WT) and knockout (KO) mice. Interestingly, the involvement of 5-HT1A in locomotor hypoactivity depended on the length of the N-alkyl groups. The effects of DPT were completely absent in 5-HT1A KO mice, while the effects of DET were partially attenuated in the KOs. By contrast, DMT and MET produced similar responses in WT and KO mice, and the effect of DMT was not blocked by the 5-HT1A antagonist WAY-100,635. Our findings demonstrate that the behavioral effects of N,N-dialkyltryptamines depend, at least in part, on the 5-HT2A receptor, and indicate a variable role for the 5-HT1A receptor depending on the length of the N-alkyl groups. Human clinical trials indicate subtle differences in the effects of DMT, DET, and DPT. In light of our findings, these subjective differences may result from differential interaction of these compounds with 5-HT1A. Experiments are in progress to determine the receptor(s) responsible for the effects of DMT and MET in the BPM.

Award: $500.0

Lynn Waterhouse

Student Conference on Conservation Science - New York (SCCS-NY)

NYC, NY

Wednesday, October 7 - Friday, October 9

Abstract: Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus) have been listed as endangered by the IUCN since 1996 and many fisheries are closed. Intense fishing pressure on spawning aggregations is the primary cause of the striking population declines observed around the Caribbean. The Cayman Islands historically hosted five known Nassau grouper spawning aggregation sites. Four of these sites were fished out by about the year 2000, but in 2001 local fishermen ‘‘rediscovered’’ an aggregation that anecdotally had not been fished since the 1960s. At the time of its rediscovery the aggregation was estimated at 7,000–8,000 fish. In 2003, after 2 years of intense fishing, the aggregation declined to approximately 2,000–2,500 fish and the Cayman Islands Marine Conservation Board banned fishing on the aggregation site. REEF Environmental Education Foundation, working alongside the Cayman Islands Department of the Environment, began monitoring the site annually in 2003. Together this collaboration led to the implementation of 8-year rolling protections on the Nassau grouper beginning in 2003 and renewed once in 2011. As of February 2015, it is estimated there are just under 5,000 fish at the aggregation site from a low of around 1,500 in 2008 at the start of the mark-resight data. Additional work focuses on evaluating the fertilization rate at the spawning aggregation, collecting length frequency data, and performing a stock assessment. The current laws expire in 2019 and this work will inform management strategies at that time.

Award: $500.0

Marito Hayashi

The Assembly and Function of Neuronal Circuits

MONTE VERITÀ, ASCONA, SWITZERLAND

Sunday, September 27 - Friday, October 2

Abstract: ROSTROCAUDAL DIVERSIFICATION OF SPINAL CORD CIRCUITS. Different regions of the spinal cord govern diverse motor behaviors such as respiration, forelimb movements, and hindlimb movements through the activity of interneurons and motor neurons. In the developing spinal cord, molecularly-defined classes of interneurons and motor neurons are generated along the dorsoventral axis. Furthermore, along the rostrocaudal axis, motor neurons exhibit distinct molecular identities and control specific muscles. However, which components of the spinal circuits differ at a microcircuitry and molecular level and how they govern the activity of motor neurons in different segments to potentially underlie diverse motor behaviors are not well understood. We examined whether spinal interneurons may be further diversified along the rostrocaudal axis by studying one of the excitatory interneuron classes, V2a interneuron, as an example. V2a interneurons have been shown to be important in locomotor behaviors and, in cervical segments, in reaching behaviors, motivating us to examine genetic and anatomical underpinnings of diverse functionalities of this class of interneurons along the rostrocaudal axis. We have found V2a interneurons are diversified by downregulating the conventional V2a marker gene chx10/vsx2 along the rostrocaudal axis during embryonic development. We examined whether this rostrocaudal diversification relates to differences in anatomical and functional connectivity of V2a interneurons in different spinal segments. Modified rabies viral tracing revealed lumbar V2a interneurons synapse onto motor neurons more than cervical V2a interneurons. Furthermore, channelrhodopsin-assisted photoactivation of lumbar V2a interneurons resulted in more reliable motor neuron spikes than cervical V2a interneurons, together suggesting V2a interneurons exhibit distinct connectivity to motor neurons in different spinal segments. We speculate that rostrocaudal diversification of V2a interneurons, and potentially other spinal neurons, during embryonic development may serve as a substrate for emergence of distinct neural network structures in different spinal segments, which may ultimately contribute to potential distinct network operations underlying diverse motor behaviors.

Award: $500.0

Miren Edelstein

Society for Neuroscience

Chicago, IL

Saturday, October 17 - Wednesday, October 21

Abstract: Misophonia, literally translated as the “hatred of sound,” is a newly characterized condition where inflicted individuals (misophonics) experience autonomic arousal and intense negative emotions to specific sounds. These “triggers” are typically repetitive sounds generated by another person, including chewing, breathing, tapping, lip smacking and pen clicking. The extreme aversion misophonics experience when exposed to these sounds is characterized by an intense fight-or-flight response which can include emotions of rage, anger, anxiety and panic, far beyond what is typically displayed by non-misophonic individuals. The reactions to these sounds can be so debilitating that many misophonics feel the need to habitually avoid commonplace situations or particular people (including family members), all which can significantly diminish quality of life.          As only specific sounds evoke these negative responses, misophonia is distinguished from a general aversion or oversensitivity to sounds (such as hyperacusis). Additionally, misophonia severity appears to be modulated by contextual factors such as sound source, suggesting that there is a strong ‘top-down’ cognitive component to the condition. Anecdotally, many misophonics have reported that they are not bothered when they produce their own trigger sounds with some even employing mimicry as a coping strategy; further, trigger sounds produced by infants or animals were reported to be less aversive than sounds produced by adult humans.         In order to empirically validate these anecdotal reports, we performed several assessments that explored whether the misophonic fight-or-flight response is modulated by context. Here we present preliminary behavioral (aversiveness ratings) and physiological testing (galvanic skin response) data gathered from these experiments. This preliminary data reveals that misophonics quickly habituate to self-generated sounds when watching themselves perform these actions in a mirror. Currently there is no standard treatment for misophonia; however, these findings provide important insight towards the development of therapies for attenuating the symptoms associated with the misophonic condition.

Award: $500.0

Nan Zou

The Joint Statistics Meeting

Seattle, Washington, USA

Saturday, August 8 - Thursday, August 13

Abstract: When testing seasonal unit roots in a semi-parametric setting, the block bootstrap method is not directly applicable if the innovations have periodic components. In this talk we propose seasonal block bootstrap seasonal unit root test as a remedy, with illustrations of its asymptotic and finite sample behavior.

Award: $500.0

Nathan Mih

4th Conference on Constraint-Based Reconstruction and Analysis (COBRA 2015)

Heidelberg, Germany

Wednesday, September 16 - Friday, September 18

Abstract: Title: Model-Driven Characterization of the Effect of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms on Drug Responses in the Erythrocyte Authors: Nathan Mih, Elizabeth Brunk, Aarash Bordbar, Bernhard O. Palsson Abstract: The recent expansion of genome-scale models (GEMs) of metabolism to explicitly include the three-dimensional structure of proteins has opened up novel pharmacological applications of these models. The knowledge gained from decades of studies on protein structure, function, and activity presents an emerging opportunity to integrate this information with GEMs and constraint-based modeling. Previous work has utilized protein structures to add an additional layer of constraints to the models of T. maritima [1] and E. coli [2, 3]. We have built and improved upon this integrated structural systems biology framework, streamlining previous methods to add experimentally determined and computationally modeled structures of proteins, while integrating a molecular-level analysis of the impact of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on drug response in the context of the erythrocyte. We explore the use of a variety of structural bioinformatics tools and their ability to be utilized at the genome-scale, including homology modeling, computational docking, molecular dynamics, and free-energy calculations. Case studies of six metabolic enzymes from the human erythrocyte are presented in which a clinically significant association was found when drugs were administered to populations with a SNP and to those without. This study also represents the first creation of a genome-scale model with protein structures (GEM-PRO) for a eukaryotic model, accounting for the unique isozymes present in the erythrocyte as well as known protein complexes. This study and its related pipeline provide an extensible framework for structural systems pharmacology applicable to any genome-scale model. References: 1. Zhang Y, Thiele I, Weekes D, Li Z, Jaroszewski L, Ginalski K, et al. Three-dimensional structural view of the central metabolic network of Thermotoga maritima. Science. American Association for the Advancement of Science; 2009;325: 1544–1549. 2. Chang RL, Andrews K, Kim D, Li Z, Godzik A, Palsson BO. Structural systems biology evaluation of metabolic thermotolerance in Escherichia coli. Science. American Association for the Advancement of Science; 2013;340: 1220–1223. 3. Chang RL, Xie L, Bourne PE, Palsson BO. Antibacterial mechanisms identified through structural systems pharmacology. BMC Syst Biol. BioMed Central Ltd; 2013;7: 102.

Award: $500.0

Nazita Lajevardi

The Society for Political Methodology Annual Conference

Rochester, New York

Wednesday, July 22 - Saturday, July 25

Abstract: In this paper, we explore linkages between legislators and their constituents in an ever-growing technological era. Communication is critical for cultivating a legislator's "home style" and in their e-newsletters, legislators disseminate information on their activities (Mayhew 1974). Member-initiated communications provide an opportunity to reach their constituents, portray a specific image of themselves (analogous to their "home styles"), and justify their choices (Yiannakis 1982; Grose, Malholtra, and Van Houweling 2015). Today, e-newsletters function as a means to reach politically-engaged constituents (Yiannakis 1982). Using legislators' e-newsletters gathered over a period of two years, we are the first to examine how members display their "home styles." Through both unsupervised and supervised methods in text analysis, we explore several open questions in the literature. First, from a representational perspective, we test whether legislator's "home styles" reflected in e-newsletters in fact mirror their constituents' preferences by classifying topics and by analyzing their associations with our covariates using Structural Topic Model (Roberts et al. 2014). Second, we examine how electoral safety and ideology affect the language of bipartisanship, negotiation, and Washington "insider" vs "outsider" styles in e-newsletters using supervised learning methods. Text analysis allows us to critically examine legislator communication in a sophisticated way without the costs and biases of previous studies.

Award: $500.0

Olivia Simpson

ICERM Workshop on Mathematics in Data Science

Providence, RI

Tuesday, July 28 - Thursday, July 30

Abstract: Heat kernel pagerank is a variation of Personalized PageRank given in an exponential formulation. In this work, we present a sublinear time algorithm for approximating the heat kernel pagerank of a graph. The algorithm works by simulating random walks of bounded length and runs in time sublinear in the size of the graph, assuming performing a random walk step and sampling from a distribution with bounded support take constant time. The quantitative ranking of vertices obtained with heat kernel pagerank can be used for local clustering algorithms. We present an efficient local clustering algorithm that finds cuts by performing a sweep over a heat kernel pagerank vector, using the heat kernel pagerank approximation algorithm as a subroutine. Specifically, we show that for a subset S of Cheeger ratio Ï•, many vertices in S may serve as seeds for a heat kernel pagerank vector which will find a cut of conductance O(Ï•^(1/2)).

Award: $500.0

Peter Braden

UCSD-ECNU Modern China History Conference

East China Normal University, Shanghai

Tuesday, September 1 - Wednesday, September 2

Abstract: Summoning the Wind, Calling the Rain: Chinese Weather Control During the Great Leap Forward For thousands of years, the Chinese state has tried to predict and manipulate the weather. This paper will explore the science and politics of China’s weather control program in the late 1950s. Contrary to contemporary American opinion, the Chinese were not wholly reliant on weather engineering expertise from other countries, nor did they single-mindedly pursue applied research. Newly available documents from Stanford’s Cadre Archive demonstrate that Chinese meteorologists and physicists undertook substantial basic research with considerable support from the central government and military. With these new sources, it is possible to trace the evolving sophistication of Chinese weather control technology. While learning from the international state-of-the-art, Chinese weather engineers pursued self-sufficiency and independence. The documents illuminate China’s motivations for weather manipulation. As their country struggled to feed its citizens during the Great Leap Forward, scientists explored methods for promoting rainfall, preventing hail and frost from damaging crops, and tapping the energy of lightning to produce fertilizer. While blaming the misery of collectivization on “natural disasters,” the central government also hoped to employ the weather to mitigate the harm of its own misguided policies. Long after most other nations have abandoned large-scale publicly- funded weather engineering, China persists in this endeavor. Rain prevention at the 2008 Beijing Olympics is only the most visible recent example. While the effects of weather control are basically local, a greater global concern is the manipulation of the climate. This technology offers a tempting, unproven, and potentially dangerous way to redeem the sins of unfettered consumption and its attendant environmental degradation.

Award: $500.0

Ran Pan

8TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE LATTICE PATH COMBINATORICS & APPLICATIONS

Pomona

Monday, August 17 - Thursday, August 20

Abstract: We introduce a distributed pattern of North-East lattice path. Different from classical consecutive pattern which describes the local feature of paths, the distributed pattern that we define reflects the overall feature of paths. We study the generating functions of the distributed pattern.

Award: $300.0

Shenghsiou Hsu

37th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS)

Milano, Italy

Tuesday, August 25 - Saturday, August 29

Abstract: Electroencephalographic (EEG) source-level analyses such as independent component analysis (ICA) have uncovered features related to human cognitive functions or artifactual activities. Among these methods, Online Recursive ICA (ORICA) has been shown to achieve fast convergence in decomposing high-density EEG data for real-time applications. However, its adaptation performance has not been fully explored due to the difficulty in choosing an appropriate forgetting factor: the weight applied to new data in a recursive update which determines the trade-off between the adaptation capability and convergence quality. This study proposes an adaptive forgetting factor for ORICA (adaptive ORICA) to learn and adapt to non-stationarity in the EEG data. Using a realistically simulated non-stationary EEG dataset, we empirically show adaptive forgetting factors outperform other commonly-used non-adaptive rules when underlying source dynamics are changing. Standard offline ICA can only extract a subset of the changing sources while adaptive ORICA can recover all. Applied to actual EEG data recorded from a task-switching experiments, adaptive ORICA can learn and re-learn the task-related components as they change. With an adaptive forgetting factor, adaptive ORICA can track non-stationary EEG sources, opening many new online applications in brain-computer interfaces and in monitoring of brain dynamics.

Award: $500.0

Till Poppels

Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing (AMLaP)

Valletta, Malta

Thursday, September 3 - Saturday, September 5

Abstract: RESOLVING QUANTITY AND INFORMATIVENESS IMPLICATURE IN INDEFINITE REFERENCE Till Poppels (UC San Diego; tpoppels@ucsd.edu) & Roger Levy (UC San Diego) One central challenge for all theories of conversational implicature (Grice, 1957, 1975) is characterizing the fundamental tension between Quantity (Q-)implicatures, in which utterance meaning is refined through exclusion of the meanings of alternative utterances, and Informativeness (I-)implicatures, in which utterance meaning is refined by strengthening to the prototypical case (Atlas & Levinson, 1981; Levinson, 2000). A classic illustration of this tension is given in (1) below, roughly following Horn (1984): (1a) The man injured a child +> the child wasn’t his own child. [Q, from alternative his child] (1b) The man broke a finger +> the finger was his own. [I, despite alternative my finger] Here we report a systematic investigation of Q/I resolution in semantic underspecification of possession of indefinite direct objects by subjects in simple transitive sentences as in (1). EXPERIMENTAL METHOD: in a large-scale forced-choice judgment task, 2588 native English speakers were presented with one prompt of the form “X V-ed a Y” and asked whether the sentence was about X’s own Y (OWN judgments) or someone else’s Y (OTHER’S judgments). PREDICTIONS: We draw on recent game-theoretic (Degen, Franke, and Jäger, 2013) and Bayesian (Frank and Goodman, 2012) models of conversational implicature to derive five predictions about Q/I resolution in the interpretation of these sentences: 1. Judgments should track subjective prior probabilities of the respective event types (I-implicature), because they constitute the starting point for alternative-based reasoning in game-theoretic and Bayesian models of pragmatic enrichment. 2. Relative to the prior, judgments should be OTHER’S-skewed as a result of Q-implicature from the brief, fully specified alternative utterance “his Y”. 3. Relational nouns whose relations can be satisfied by the other noun should favor OWN judgments. For example, “The father injured a child” should be more likely to receive an OWN interpretation than “The man injured a child” since the former should drive ad-hoc Q-based enrichment (Hirschberg, 1985) of the latter to mean “not his own child”. 4. Since the felicitous use of indefinites as in “a Y” requires referential non-uniqueness (Hawkins, 1991), OTHER’S judgments should be favored in cases where X possesses only one Y (e.g. “The man broke a nose”). 5. Lowering the cost of the underspecified indefinite but not the costs of the fully specified alternatives should favor OWN judgments. The effect of Q-implicature should be reduced in “Man injured child” compared to “The man injured a child” since disambiguating the former to mean “his child” incurs extra cost while it does not in the latter. MATERIALS AND RESULTS: 53 sentence prompts of the form “X V-ed a Y” were designed to vary widely in relative OWN/OTHER’S prior probability (Prediction 1), number of relational nouns (Prediction 3), and referential uniqueness on an OWN reading (Prediction 4). To test Prediction 5 each item was presented either as in (1) or in a newspaper-HEADLINE version. Prior probabilities were estimated in a separate norming study (N = 4541), asking “How likely is an X to V his/her own Y compared to V-ing someone else’s Y.” Mixed logit analysis shows that the collected data confirm all our predictions (Fig. 1), though the effect of the prior did not reach significance. CONCLUSION: Indefinite NP objects have long served as classic illustrations of the fundamental tension between Quantity and Informativeness in conversational implicature. Here we have shown how they can be used as a rich testbed for multifactorial influences on language understanding. We found clear empirical support for a range of predictions, strengthening the case for the rational- and cooperative-agent models of pragmatic inference from which these predictions were derived. STRUCTURE-SENSITIVE NOISE INFERENCE: COMPREHENDERS EXPECT EXCHANGE ERRORS Till Poppels (UC San Diego; tpoppels@ucsd.edu) & Roger Levy (UC San Diego) Consistent with noisy-channel accounts of communication, comprehenders consider non-literal interpretations when presented with implausible sentences [1][2]. On such accounts, the inference that the intended sentence SI is different from the observed sentence SO depends on the relative prior probability of SI and SO and, crucially, on the estimated probability of the noise operation that transforms SI into SO. The latter component – comprehenders’ noise model – is central to noisy-channel theories, yet little is known about its structure. [3] find experimental evidence in support of a noise model that is limited to insertions and deletions of words and assigns lower probability to operations that involve relatively more string edits. Here we propose a structure-sensitive noise model according to the hypothesis that readers consider exchange errors – the positional exchange of words or phrases – as a relatively high-likelihood source of noise in sentence production. PREDICTIONS: We test three predictions that follow from this extended noise model. 1. If comprehenders assume the possibility of exchange errors, they should arrive at non-literal interpretations of [VP/NP [PP] [PP]] constructions (see below) at least some of the time. This contrasts with a noise model based solely on insertions and deletions, under which exchange errors are low-probability multi-step operations. 2. Non-literal interpretations should follow significantly more often from exchange constructions than from the active/passive alternation. Since the latter does not lend itself to the positional exchange of elements, it requires a more extensive (i.e., unlikely) noise operation and should therefore favor interpretations that rely on the literal syntax. 3. As with structure-insensitive noise models, the probability of obtaining a noise inference is expected to be inversely related to the semantic plausibility and syntactic canonicality of the observed sentence. MATERIALS AND PROCEDURE: In 2 experiments following a 2x2 within-subject design 120 native speakers of English read sentences with plausible or implausible thematic-role assignments, using either canonical or non-canonical syntactic constructions (canonicality was estimated in a separate corpus analysis). Each sentence was paired with a comprehension question that distinguished literal and non-literal interpretations and was counterbalanced for its a priori plausibility (e.g. Did something fall {from

Award: $500.0

Vincent Sherman

Materials Science & Technology 2015

Columbus, OH, USA

Sunday, October 4 - Thursday, October 8

Abstract: We have mechanistically quantified the extreme tear resistance of skin and uncovered the underlying structural features leading to its sophisticated failure mechanisms. We explain why it is virtually impossible to propagate a tear in rabbit skin, chosen as a model material for the dermis of vertebrates. Four mechanisms of collagen fibril activity virtually eliminate the possibility of crack propagation in notched samples: collagen fibril straightening, collagen fibril reorientation toward the tensile direction, elastic stretching and interfibrillar sliding, all of which contribute to the redistribution of the stresses at the notch tip. These mechanisms, if incorporated into new materials, may lead to materials which have an extraordinary ability to resist failure due to tearing.

Award: $500.0

Vladimir Jovanovic

Neuroscience 2015 - SfN

Chicago

Friday, October 16 - Wednesday, October 21

Abstract: Communication is vital to social interaction -- especially so within nonhuman primates like the common marmoset. Marmosets naturally engage in reciprocal vocal exchanges when visually occluded from conspecifics. This antiphonal calling behavior involves both a perceptual (identifying the speaker) and decision-making component (deciding if and when to produce a response). Previous work shows that neurons in marmoset prefrontal (PFC) and auditory (ACX) cortex are responsive to the sensory and motor aspects of vocal communication. However, it has not yet been tested how these areas may complement each other during natural communication by simultaneous recording neural activity in each of these neocortical substrates. Our aim here is to record neurons in marmoset PFC and ACX during experimentally controlled vocal exchanges in order to examine their complementary roles for social categorization and its effects on decision making during communication. To address these issues, we employ a novel interactive playback design in which subjects engage in vocal exchanges with a ‘Virtual Monkey’, whose vocal signals and vocal behavior can be parametrically manipulated. During bouts of vocal exchanges, we presented subjects with either vocalizations that differed in acoustic structure (Reversed) or social category (Different Caller). These manipulations are known to be perceptually salient in behavioral experiments. We are recording single and multi unit activity, as well as local field potentials, during these experiments in order to characterize facets of this behavior in PFC and ACX neurons.

Award: $500.0

Yupeng Jiao

ECNU-UCSD Conference on Modern Chinese History

Shanghai, China

Tuesday, September 1 - Wednesday, September 2

Abstract: Scholars have written extensively on millenarian movements and heterodox religious societies in late Imperial China, and several books on the Republican era have also been published recently. However, we have almost no knowledge about their fate in the PRC, except for the vague official propaganda produced during several campaigns against counterrevolutionaries. Newly available archives at Stanford East Asia Library, including confessions of sect members, household registration forms and personal files of CCP members from Shanxi, Hebei and Beijing shed new light on the social composition of such social entities, their eschatological teachings during the Republican-Communist transition period, and the fate of believers. Together with collections of relevant primary sources, The Way of Pervading Unity (一贯道) scriptures, and local gazetteers published in both China and Taiwan, we are now able to reconstruct a broader picture of millenarianism and religious heterodoxy in the early PRC period from both grassroots-level accounts and official perspectives. Based on the case study of Jiexiu county in Shanxi, this paper aims at figuring out the continuities and discontinuities of millenarianism and heterodox sects from late Imperial period to early PRC, the rationale behind the hostility between the communist state and religious communities, and the ultimate fate of the sects members after the first wave of suppression in the early 1950s. Although the communist regime never ceased to suppress millenarian heterodox sects harshly in post-1949 period, they were never wiped out in China. This project will also shed light on the survival strategy of religion during the heyday of communist movements and also religious revival during the reform era.

Award: $500.0