Maiya Mastovich

Lauren Miller

Shannon Kriz

Olivia Kruse

Authoritarianism and Threat: An Experimental Manipulation
Sponsored By: Philip Dunwoody

The goal of this study was to clarify the relationship between threat and authoritarianism on prejudice and antidemocratic values. Two similar surveys were sent out, one before threat manipulation, one after, and participants’ responses were recorded. Our research showed that exposure to a Muslim terrorist threat did significantly increase willingness to persecute outgroups through targeted policy changes, even though changes to authoritarian scores and perceptions of Muslims as threatening did not significantly change.


Chelsea Keller

Processing of Ty1 Gag proteins in yeast: a screen for regulatory host genes
Sponsored By: Jill Keeney

The Ty1 long terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposons in Saccharomyces cerevisiae replicate within the host genome in a manner similar to retroviruses. Ty1 elements encode for two open reading frames (ORFs) GAG and POL. The Gag protein can assemble to form virus-like particles (VLPs) within which the Ty1 RNA is reverse transcribed into cDNA and integrated into the host genome. Current research shows that the Ty1 Gag protein is translocated into the lumen of the rough endoplasmic reticulum with the aid of a signal receptor protein (SRP) (Doh et al.). After the Gag protein adopts a stable formation in the ER, it is retro-translocated to the cytoplasm of the cell; however, the process of this retro-translocation is unknown. We conducted a genetic screen for host genes that may have a potential role in this retro-translocation. A Gag::URA3 fusion protein was transformed into the yeast deletion library and screened for growth on media containing 5-FOA. URA3 converts 5-FOA to 5-FU, a substance that is toxic to yeast. If the Gag::URA3 protein remains in the RER then the yeast can grow on medium containing 5-FOA. Three ORFs of unknown function were determined to have a potential role in facilitating the transport of the Ty1 Gag protein. YLR001C and YER066W are uncharacterized and YJL135W which is a dubious ORF. Since YJL135W overlaps LCB3, we analyzed a deletion strain that targeted LCB3, without deleting any of the overlapping region. When this LCB3 deletion strain was transformed with the same Gag::URA3 fusion protein, it was able to grow on 5-FOA, confirming it as the gene of interest in the retro-translocation process, not YJL135W. Further analysis using a galactose inducible transposition assay revealed LCB3 to have reduced transposition compared to wild type. Fluorescent microscopy was used to analyze foci counts in wild type and mutant strains using a Gag::RFP fusion protein. This research continues to focus on determining the function of these ORFs in retro-translocation in the Ty1 life cycle.

Elizabeth Swierczek

Jared Evans

Cultural Event Attendance and Engagement: A Longitudinal Examination of Openness to Experience
Sponsored By: Kathryn Westcott

This study examined two hypothesized connections between openness to experience and attendance of cultural events over the course of four-years at a liberal arts college. Participants were from two cohorts of students (graduation years 2014 and 2015) at a small, residential liberal arts college. They were recruited at the start of the first semester of their first year of college in the required first year writing course. A total of 197 students completed the online survey of campus event attendance as well as the International Personality Item Pool-NEO (IPIP-NEO) in both the Fall 2010 and Spring 2014 and Fall 2011 and Spring 2015.  One hundred twenty-eight students completed the pre-survey from cohort 2010-2014 and 71 from 2011-2015.  

The data revealed support for the study’s first hypothesis, finding a significant relationship between openness to experience and campus event attendance.  But, contrary to expectations, an increase in reported levels of openness to new experience was not found for students from their first to fourth year of college. Implications for these findings are discussed.

Joseph Maskell

Lisa Paul

Jean-Bryce Beirnaert

Ben Tipton

Fort Mills EMS
Sponsored By: William Thomas

This is the second semester Fort Mills EMS project for Innovations For Industry. Fort Mills EMS was incorrectly comparing firefighter vitals and deeming many of them unfit for work. We are tasked with creating a database and Windows Surface application to help determine if the firefighter is unhealthy. Last semester’s group worked on building the Universal Windows Application and the start of the database. This semester’s group is continuing to create the database, adding encryption to personal information, creating an admin website, and adding incident reports to the database.

Kathryn Burket

Devyn Carper

Madison Thompson

Anh Nguyen

Community Engagement Section of the Juniata College Website
Sponsored By: Marlene Burkhardt

Prior to the Spring 2018 semester, the Community Engagement section of the Juniata College website was missing information and failed to accurately tell the story of what Juniata College has to offer to prospective and current students, faculty, and community partners. As part of Innovations for Industry, the goal of this project was to redesign the web page to be consistent with the new Juniata website theme, include complete and accurate information, and showcase examples of how the college and its students are getting engaged with the community.

Stephanie Letourneau

Kelsey Deetz

Elizabeth Metzger

Amy Kochel

Zachary Lee

Caitlyn Coffin

Brooke Ridenour

Brown Trout Movement in the Little Juniata River Under Varying Habitat Qualities
Sponsored By: Uma Ramakrishnan

The objective of our study was to track the seasonal movements of brown trout in the Little Juniata River across areas of varying habitat quality. The study period was divided into three different seasons based on water flow, turbidity, and temperature -- Summer (June through September); Pre-spawn (October); and Spawn (November). We surgically implanted Lotek NTQ-6-2 transmitters into 45 fish from the upper, middle and lower reaches of the river. The locations of the tagged fish were documented 3 times/week from May through August 2017, and once a week starting in September 2017. We conducted habitat surveys along 100m reaches at each of the study sites and additional random sites along the river. We found that the three sites varied significantly in habitat quality. The higher quality sites (Pemberton and Barree) exhibited more positive attributes such as greater depth heterogeneity, high boulder and cobble content, and increased number of pools compared to the third site (Bellwood). Movement and site fidelity varied significantly across sites. Fish movement at Pemberton and Barree was minimal during the summer months. During the spawning period, site fidelity corresponded to the number of redds recorded at each of the sites. We counted the most number of redds at Pemberton (133), where fish showed the highest site fidelity (32.05%); we counted 84 redds at Barree, where fidelity was 10.23%; Bellwood fish had the lowest site fidelity (2%), where no redds were found. This was the lowest site fidelity of all three sites. All 12 of the fish that were tracked at Bellwood moved out during the spawning period. We are continuing to monitor movement of these fish during the winter season.


Kathryn Goerl

Synthesis of 2-Pyridinecarbaldehyde N-Oxide
Sponsored By: Peter Baran

All published syntheses of the compound 2-pyridinecarbaldehyde N-oxide use harsh reaction conditions and/or give a low yield. The goal of this research is to develop a more effective and efficient procedure to synthesize 2-pyridinecarbaldehyde N-oxide that is used as a starting reagent for the synthesis of pyridine N-oxide Schiff bases. In coordination complexes, they can be used as stereospecific catalysts in organic synthesis for new anticancer drugs or new materials with interesting magnetic properties. Following the commonly used procedure for the synthesis of 2-pyridinecarbaldehyde N-oxide, 2-methylpyridine was oxidized with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and glacial acetic acid to form 2-methylpyridine N-oxide. Subsequently, the methyl group of 2-methylpyridine N-oxide was selectively oxidized to an aldehyde using selenium dioxide in pyridine. A crude product was purified by fractional recrystallization from toluene. A new procedure utilizes oxidation of 2-pyridinecarbaldehyde protected in a form of diacetal. Several methods of separation of the desired product from the starting material as well as complexation abilities of all products will be presented.  

Dominic Lombardo

The Use of Surgical Guides in Dental Implant Procedures
Sponsored By: James Borgardt

New technology such as cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) as well as intraoral scanners are becoming more affordable in the field of dentistry. These technologies are molding dentistry, making procedures much simpler and time efficient. Specifically, the surgical procedure of dental implant placement has been impacted by these technologies. Advanced technology along with innovation has brought rise to the surgical guided method for dental implant placement. Traditionally, dental implants were always placed by retracting the soft tissue encasing the maxilla/mandible bones, allowing the dentist to observe the bone’s condition and take measurements for the implant. While the method of free-hand placement is known to take longer and cause sufficient damage to the surrounding soft tissue, it is also the most affordable implant option for patients. The free-hand method is considered to be the “gold standard”. Using a surgical guide however, dramatically reduces the procedure time and causes virtually no damage to the surrounding soft tissue. The use of surgical guides is more expensive relative to the free-hand method. It is clear that both methods of implant placement accomplish the same goal with equal success, yet they have their respective tradeoffs. Therefore, the question at hand is whether or not surgical guides truly have a place in the world of dentistry.

Martin Berger

Harry Biddle

Designing and Building a Lightboard using 80/20 Aluminum
Sponsored By: James Borgardt

We designed and built a Lightboard for the faculty to make educational videos. The board is made using glass and a 80/20 Aluminum frame. The boad uses LED lights to light up the edges of the glass which causes the liquid chalk markers to light up. A video camera is set up on the opposite side of the board and the professor can film their lesson. Our hope is that faculty and possibly students will be able to use this board for video presentaions, flipped classrooms, or additional help on concepts.

Andrea Luekoeova

Synthesis, characterization and coordination of quinolin-8-ol N-oxide and its derivatives
Sponsored By: Peter Baran

This study focuses on the preparation of new biologically active ligands and complex compounds that could be used in antitumor therapy. The design of new anticancer drugs must meet important conditions such as sufficient solubility, high cytotoxicity, and selectivity towards cancer cells.

Quinolin-8-ol N-oxide and its derivatives are suitable ligands for the preparation of such compounds. This work describes the synthesis of quinolin-8-ol N-oxide from quinolin-8-ol by its oxidation and preparation of halogenated quinolin-8-ol N-oxide derivatives by halogenation of quinolin-8-ol N-oxide. Characterization of obtained products using available spectroscopic methods and X-ray crystallography and attempts to prepare transition metal complexes with these ligands will be presented.

Savannah Bailey

Peter Rankin

Youqi Peng

Allison Kronenwetter

Jacob Notestine

Force for Health
Sponsored By: Marlene Burkhardt

We are presenting on our project "Force for Health" a project introduced to us through project management class. This poster will reflect the work we have done throughout the semester to achieve our goal of improving an overall health awareness in the community. We have a functioning app to track steps which can be used as a fundraising tool. The pairing website allows citizens to sign up and create a campaign. We are hoping by doing this that we make an impact in the community.

Callie Daughn-Wood

Calvin Bembry

Chelsea Scafuro

Interpersonal Communication in the Digital Age
Sponsored By: Donna Weimer

For our Metaverse final project, we chose to research interpersonal communication in the digital age. We saw that the way we communicate with others has changed drastically over the years since technology has become the main way of communication between people. That online communication and social media have affected the way we form and maintain relationships, and that it has also affected our interpersonal communication skills. We also researched how social media has affected both our online and offline relationships with people. The digital divide affects peoples relationships, job prospects, school work, and other social prospects because of the influence social media and technology have on our day to day lives.

John Maclay

Learning advanced skills in AutoCAD with focus on Gear Systems and Transmission Design
Sponsored By: Yu Gu

This project entails a deep exploration of high-level AutoCAD commands and functionality. AutoCAD is an industry standard for designing three-dimensional objects or scaled-down models. It is commonly used in civil, mechanical, and architectural engineering. Modeling is further enhanced by exploiting the capability to 3D Print objects created in AutoCAD. In particular, gear systems can be easily understood, but challenging to model. This project models various gear systems using AutoCAD and animates them using the Notepad application available within the program. By using the 3D printer (model number) to produce these objects, gear systems can be studied by examining their mechanical viability. Also, an automobile transmission modeled and animated is possible to easier understand how the process works. If time permits, the study will expand by incorporating Visual Basic as a faster method to design gear systems.

Caleb Taylor

Synthesis of Copper Complexes with 3-hydroxyimidazole-1-oxide as Potential Single Molecule Magnets
Sponsored By: Peter Baran

Single molecule magnets are compounds that show magnetic properties on the molecular level below certain temperatures. Classic single molecule magnets are often clusters of metal linked together through bridging ligands. The goal for this project was to synthesize coordination compounds of copper(II) with 3-hydroxyimidazole-1-oxide (HimzO2) to create potential precursors for single molecule magnets.

Using attempts from previous years and knowledge of successful single molecule magnets, a series of syntheses were conducted with HimzO2 by varying reaction stoichiometry, solvents, and temperature. The new compounds were then allowed to crystallize from the reaction mixture or recrystallized by the solvent vapor deposition method to obtain crystals suitable for X-ray crystallography. Other samples were analyzed using IR spectroscopy and elemental analysis.

This process led to the formation of three novel complexes: [Cu(H2O)6][Cu2(SO4)2(imzO2)2], [Cu2(imzO2)3(H2O)2]ClO4•2H2O, and [Cu(imzO2)2(H2O)]•2H2O, whose identities were studied using IR spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction. These novel compounds show various modes of bridging of the anionic imzO2 ligand between copper centers forming polymeric inorganic structures.

Michael Fox

Synthesis of Polythiophene Nanoparticles for Astrochemistry Research
Sponsored By: William Ames

Polythiophene nanoparticles are spherical nanoparticles that can be made in aqueous solutions using Cu(II) salts.  These nanoparticles differ from the more widely studied Fe(III) synthesized polythiophene polymers. We are studying the properties of polythiophene nanoparticles in order to determine possible uses for it that have yet to be applied.  Our aim is to make a UV radiation blocking coating to put on the visors of space suit helmets.  The methods of preparation and properties of these nanoparticles will be presented.

Angelica Etienne

Justin Chen

Effects of Fungal Treatment on the Microbial Community Structure of Roots, Soil, and Rhizosphere Associated with Tree of Heaven in Ohio
Sponsored By: Norris Muth

Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima, hereafter TOH) has been negatively impacting native environments since its introduction to North America from China in the late 1700s. With its fast adapting ability, TOH has been able to not only invade natural areas but urban areas as well, making it difficult to control. Verticillium nonalfalfae, a natural soil-borne fungus, is a cost-effective biocontrol method that has shown promising results in potentially decreasing the spread of this tree species. Previous work from Bedford, PA suggested that V. nonalfalfae impacts the soil and root microbial communities, that play a key role in the tree’s invasive success when comparing treated and untreated TOH.  Our current study examines a second Verticillium-treated TOH site and compares the soil, roots, and rhizosphere microbial communities to untreated controls. This will provide further insight on the microbial communities involved in the tree’s success and demise.


Peter Ribaudo

Charles Bein

Louis Frank

Aurelien Lebrun

I4I - Huntingdon County Visitor's Bureau - Route 26
Sponsored By: William Thomas

Our group is creating an app for the Huntingdon County Visitor's Buearu called Route 26. The goal of this app is to direct local consumers to local businesses and artists, specifically along Route 26. Users of this app will easily be able to see local events as well as all the relevant details of the event such as location, date, time, and whether the event requires tickets or not. Artists and local businesses will be able to securely list events and show off their artwork. This project will generate interest and revenue locally while fostering community by getting locals involved in their own community.

Christopher Gill

Engineering an Ergonomic Alternative Controller Using AutoCAD and 3-D Printing
Sponsored By: Yu Gu

For Advanced Lab the intent of my project is to design, create, and test a more ergonomic controller for video games in the form of an arcade stick. Hand injury and carpal tunnel syndrome is a novel epidemic within the gaming community, turning long time gamers away from the media and forcing professional competitors and entertainers into retirement. To reduce the most common forms of game-induced hand injury, wrist strain and overactive thumbs, I created a controller based on the designs of old arcade machines with button layout and shape based on ergonomic keyboards to minimize thumb use and wrist strain. In designing the shell of the controller, I used AutoCAD 2018 to draw blueprints to be later printed out in a 3D printer. Testing the device involves having students play videogames using the controller and afterwards testing hand strength and surveying comfort. This data is then compared with using a modern Xbox One controller after extended periods of use.

Emily Dowler

Amanda Dove

Sarah Napoleon

Carolyn Morningstar

Manganese Catalase: The Sequence-Structure Relationship Within Bacterial Families
Sponsored By: William Ames

We chose to look at the protein amino acid sequence-structure relationship that exists within bacterial families using manganese catalase as our template because the protein is well-studied and catalyzes a relatively simple reaction: the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen gas. From the Uniprot Knowledge Base, we obtained the sequences of three manganese catalases: Lactobacillus plantarum, Thermus thermophilus and KatB. Though they have different secondary coordination spheres, Lactobacillus plantarum and Thermus thermophilus have the same active site, while KatB has a unique site. We ran BLASTs in UniProt on each of the sequences to find structurally similar bacteria based on regions of local similarity between sequences and aligned them using AliView. We constructed a phylogenetic tree in AliView based on proportional distances between the sequences in order to examine interesting branches on the tree. Homolgy modeling, Chimera visualization, and phylogenetic analysis of these three manganese catalases will enable us to compare similarities between the structures of different families of bacteria and examine the relationship between their protein amino acid sequences and structures.


Adam Kensinger

Synthesis and Characterization of 3-Hydroxyimidazole 1-oxide Complexes with Cu(II) Salts
Sponsored By: Peter Baran

Single molecule magnets have great potential in the field of computing because of their proposed applications in quantum computing and memory devices. Some transition metal complexes containing metallic clusters exhibit properties of single molecule magnets. Bridging ligands are used to form metallic clusters. 3-Hydroxyimidazole 1-oxide was coordinated with copper(II) chloride, nitrate, and acetate at stoichiometries of 1:1 and 2:1 using water as a solvent. Preliminary crystallographic studies showed the compositions of these polymeric complexes as {Cu2(µ4-imzO2)(µ-imzO2)2(H2O)Cl}n·5nH2O, {Cu3(µ3-imzO2)4(OAc)2}n, and {Cu2(µ4-imzO2)(µ-imzO2)2(H2O)2}n(NO3)n·3nH2O. These complexes had been synthesized on a small scale or in mixtures of different species. In order to study their structure, the synthetic method was optimized for the chloride and nitrate so pure samples with good yields can be obtained. Solubility, infrared spectroscopy, and magnetic studies were used to characterize the resulting complexes. Elemental analysis will be used to complete the characterization of nitrate and acetate structures. No clusters were synthesized and all products were inorganic polymers. 2,2'-Bipyridine N,N'-dioxide was employed as a chelating ligand to restrict dimensional growth of complexes. Progress towards synthesis of mixed ligand complexes will be discussed. Once the structures and uniformity of bulk samples are confirmed, magnetic properties will be studied to determine if these complexes possess properties of single molecule magnets. If successful, their implementation could produce computers with increased processing power and memory storage.

Serena Joseph

Synthesis of Macrocyclic Pacman Ligand
Sponsored By: William Ames

Cyclic catalytic reactions using transition metal complexes with large macrocyclic ligands have been proposed to oxidise water into oxygen and hydrogen. If a constant supply of hydrogen could be made, a hydrogen fuel cell could produce energy with the only by-product being water. Complexes containing folded macrocyclic ligands like the rigid Pacman complexes have been shown to provide a perfect molecular cleft in which the oxidation of small molecules can easily occur (Love). The aim of this study is  to synthesize a macrocyclic ligand that contains a pyridine N-oxide moiety. The synthetic pathway will start with dimerization of 2,5-lutidine, followed by oxidation of the nitrogen to N-oxide with peroxoacetic acid and the methyl group to aldehyde using selenium dioxide. Then the macrocyclic ligand will be assembled via condensation with a diamine forming a macrocyclic Schiff base capable of accommodating two metallic centres. The compound will then be metallated using copper and manganese. The detailed synthetic route to this ligand and the progress on the synthesis will be presented. 


Love, Jason B. "A macrocyclic approach to transition metal and uranyl Pacman complexes." Chemical Communications 22 (2009): 3154-3165.

Austin Montgomery

Utilization of N-oxide functionality to form new complexes
Sponsored By: Peter Baran

Aromatic amine N-oxides as organic ligands in transition metal complexes have ability to form polynuclear complexes thanks to the N-oxide oxygen atom that can bridge between two metal centers. Polynuclear complexes are studied for interesting magnetic properties that can lead to creation of new magnetic materials. They also find applications in organic catalysis. A polydentate ligand will be synthesized from 2-methoxy-6-methylpyridine through oxidation to first make the N-oxide, then aldehyde from the methyl group. After successful oxidations, a condensation between two equivalents of the aldehyde and one equivalent of a diamine should yield the target polydentate ligand. Identity and structure of the ligand will be studied by NMR spectroscopy, IR spectroscopy, and X-ray crystallography. Mixed-metal complexes with be synthesized using first row transition metals and lanthanoids. While structures of formed complexes can be predicted, we will not know the definite structure until we are able to analyze it by spectroscopic methods and by X-ray crystallography. Eventually, physical properties of these compounds will be tested in hopes that they could prove to be useful in real-world applications.

Joanna Shin

Victoria Taylor

Carrie McGlohon

Digital Natives: Perspectives on Social Media in the Classroom
Sponsored By: J. McKellop

Social media has become an integral part of daily life, especially with the emergence of the “digital native” generation. As this generation enters college, professors are looking for ways to incorporates social media into their classes both as a means of connecting with their students and, perhaps, as a way to enhance student learning. Previous studies show that social media use may be associated with more positive feelings about classes and instructors. Further studies show that social media use in the classroom, as a non-required aspect (e.g., surfing Twitter in the middle of a lecture), is correlated with poorer comprehension and lower grades for students. However, these findings are limited in that they examine voluntary use of social media. It is unclear if mandatory social media use – i.e., as an integral, required part of a course – will lead to positive outcomes in student learning and engagement. The current study aimed to examine students’ general attitudes on the use of social media as a requirement for class. Across three academic years, we surveyed students (n = 374) enrolled in an introductory psychology course at a small, residential liberal arts college. Results suggest that students who have more positive general attitudes about social media also have more positive attitudes about social media in class. However, overall, students are indifferent to the proposed use of social media in the academic domain.

Veronika Farkasova

8-Hydroxyquinolines - are they potential anticancer drugs?
Sponsored By: Peter Baran

This research is focused on biologically active complexes, based on quinoline-8-ol (8-HQ) derivatives. The most interesting, 5-chloro-7-iodoquinolin-8-ol, known as Clioquinol, is used during treatment of Alzheimer, Parkinson and Huntington diseases. It is generally known that coordination of quinolin-8-ol derivatives to metal ions increases the cytotoxicity of free organic ligands. Complexes with halogen derivatives of 8-HQ show promising anticancer activity against animal and human cancer cells. Disadvantage of the complexes is lower solubility in polar solvents like water, ethanol or methanol, which are used with dimethylformamide in anticancer tests.

In search of 8-HQ derivatives with higher solubility, 8-hydroxyquinolin-5-carboxylic acid (5-COOHQ), 5,7-diaminoquinolin-8-ol (5,7-NHQ) and 7-aminoquinolin-8-ol (7-NHQ) seem to be the most promising. 5,7-NHQ and 7-NHQ can be prepared in a two-step reaction when 8-HQ is first nitrated and subsequently hydrogenated. The first step in synthesis of 5-COOHQ is preparation of 5-propionylquinolin-8-ol. Its oxime is then converted into the expected carboxylic acid. Progress towards syntheses of the mentioned 8-HQ derivatives together with characterization of reaction intermediates will be presented. Complexes with commercially available 8-HQ derivatives such as 8-hydroxyquinolin-5-sulfonic acid and 5-aminoquinolin-8-ol will be also discussed.

Zachary Foust

Tzipora Crandell

Taylor Smallwood

Tanvi Pande

Go with GoDEZI: Transforming Company Marketing
Sponsored By: Marlene Burkhardt

Cooperating with a community client, GoDEZI--a transportation and social bus company located in JCEL--our group of Innovations for Industry students collected consumer data across the Juniata College and Huntingdon community regarding transportation needs. To best suit these needs, we adjusted various means of marketing to help the community get the most out of the company.These means included the company website, the social media platforms, and the advertisements. 

Giana Picozzi

Keypad Vulnerabilities Using Thermal Imaging Technology
Sponsored By: William Thomas

Keypads are widely used to protect both physical and virtual assets, including private spaces, credit card information, safes, and access-sensitive locations. With the use of thermal imaging, the security of these assets may be compromised. 

Mai Vu

Synthesis of new functionalized carbazoles
Sponsored By: Alec Brown

Carbazole is a naturally-occurring heterocyclic aromatic organic compound. It has a tricyclic structure, containing two six membered benzene rings attached on both sides of a five-membered nitrogen containing ring. This compound can be easily functionalized by using traditional organic synthesis and many derivatives can be made using cross-coupling since its intermediates are versatile. This work will discuss synthetic strategies for the synthesis of new functionalized carbazoles which have been demonstrated in moderate isolated yield.

Caroline Braas

Seth Brewer

Ahmed Tovar

Mahlon Bender

Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau
Sponsored By: William Thomas

We are a project management team performing a consumer study for Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau. Throughout the course of this semester, we have developed a survey to provide the marketing director of HCVB, Ed Stoddard, with the necessary information to better understand the target consumer audience traveling to Huntingdon County. 

Lavinia Unverdorben

Distribution of Salmincola edwardsii and Salmincola californiensis (Gill Lice) and Implications for Wild Brook and Rainbow Trout Populations in the United States
Sponsored By: Chris Grant

Gill lice are a prevalent and spreading parasitic copepod that infect many different types of fish species in North America. Gill lice primarily attach to fish gills but can also attach to the operculum and fins. Infestation of gill lice can stress fish by interfering with gas exchange, decreasing oxygen uptake, causing delayed growth and sexual maturation, and making fish more susceptible to stressors such as warmer water temperatures. Two types of gill lice common in the United States are S. edwardsii, which primarily infect brook trout, and S. californiensis, which infect rainbow trout and other salmonid species. The aim of this research project is to document distribution of gill lice in the United States (survey of literature) and establish a baseline phylogeography through DNA extraction, sequencing and phylogeny reconstruction. In coordination with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, a total of 20 samples from three streams in Wisconsin and 30 samples from ten streams in Pennsylvania were obtained. We anticipate acquiring further samples from other parts of the United States. The results of this study will help to detail how these gill lice have spread across the United States, as well as how they arrived in Pennsylvania. While preliminary work with DNA extractions and characterization of gill lice distribution has been successful, work is ongoing. Ultimately, the data from this project will provide useful information for managing wild brook trout and rainbow trout populations in Pennsylvania and the United States.  Additionally, it will also inform scientists about how gill lice have spread over time and how to best combat infestation in natural populations.  

Allison Koehle

Hemlock Wooly Adelgid and headwater stream biodiversity: no evidence for significant short-term impacts of hemlock decline in Central Pennsylvania
Sponsored By: Norris Muth

As Hemlock Wooly Adelgid (Adelges pseudotsugae, hereafter HWA) has caused declines of Tsuga canadensis (hereafter hemlock), we sought to describe whether impacts to hemlock were having cascading effects on the biotic and abiotic properties of headwater streams associated with hemlock stands. In nine streams in Pennsylvania, we assessed hemlock health, macroinvertebrate and fish abundance and diversity, stream pH, conductivity, and temperature. Our sample streams exhibited substantial variation in all of these variables, including hemlock health, which ranged from healthy stands unaffected by HWA to stands with canopy reductions down to 47% of un-impacted status. Despite this variation in hemlock health, we observed no significant associated differences in stream biota or chemistry. Longer time-series data and greater sample sizes are necessary before concluding that HWA has little impact on headwater streams. Our findings caution against dramatic management decisions in the short-term, including the direct planting of Norway spruce (a long-lived non-native species).

Nathan Desousa

Synthesis of a Tetradentate Schiff Base N-Oxide Ligand
Sponsored By: Peter Baran

Ligands and the metal complexes that they form are very important for their properties both in biological and magnetic systems. The various applications of complexes make this study a very important field of chemistry.  The focus of this research is on N-oxide ligands, which contain an oxygen bonded to the nitrogen in a pyridine functional group. Understanding how the presence of the oxygen influences the characteristics of these complexes gives insight into their functionality. The formation and properties of a tetradentate N-oxide Schiff base ligand (L) is the subject of this study. In the first step of this mechanism, o­-phenylenediamine and 2-pyridinecarboxylaldehyde N-oxide (poxal) are reacted with sodium hydroxide to create the ligand poxpam. This can be reacted with poxal and sodium hydroxide to yield the target tetradentate N-oxide Schiff base ligand. Although product is produced by this reaction, differences in infrared spectroscopy for portions of these syntheses indicate that the product may decompose through oxidation with oxygen. Perfecting this synthesis along with the crystallization of this ligand and understanding the complexes it can form is the focus of current research.

Bridget Kiely

The Effect of Eurasian Milfoil on Water Chemistry in Raystown Lake
Sponsored By: Sharon Yohn

Raystown Lake in Central Pennsylvania was invaded in the 1970's by Eurasian milfoil, heretoafter referred to as milfoil. pH, alkalinity, hardness, and total phosphorus are common measures of lake health that have been found to be altered by the presence of milfoil. Samples were collected in open water and in milfoil patches in September and October and tested for pH, alkalinity, hardness, and total phosphorus in order to determine if the presence of milfoil effected these parameters. pH was signifcantly different between open water and milfoil patches on both dates. Alkalinity and hardness were not significantly different between open water and milfoil on either date. Total phosphorus was not significantly different between open water and milfoil in September, but was signifcantly different in October. These results are suggestive of the role of milfoil in altering water chemistry in Raystown Lake.

Brian Park

Vendor Lock-In Poster
Sponsored By: William Thomas

The poster introduces vendor lock-in, a strategy used by various companies to retain customers. I hope viewers will think about this strategy the next time he or she decides to buy a product.

Anh Le

Sirah Javier

Madison Hearn

Alec Hutchison

A Comparative Study of Accuracy Between Generic and Brand Name Glucometer Test Strips
Sponsored By: Daniel Dries

Over thirty million Americans, 9.4% of the total population, are living with diabetes (CDC, 2015). Accordingly, Self-Monitoring Blood Glucose (SMBG) systems have become essential for diabetic patients to keep track of the amount of sugar in their blood. Although most glucometers are affordable, the cost of glucose test strips varies significantly across different brands. The price of test strips reflects the cost of research, development, and production conducted by each company. A key component that contributes to the cost is preserving the stability of glucose oxidase, an enzyme used to detect glucose, within the strips (Gebel, 2012). Few studies have compared the quality of generic test strips to more expensive brand name test strips. The present experiment aimed to test the accuracy of glucose concentration measured by generic test strips (Equate) and brand name test strips (OneTouch Ultra) using the OneTouch Ultra2 Meter Blood Glucose Monitoring System. The low-cost Equate strips were hypothesized to yield significantly higher error in their measurements than the OneTouch Ultra2 strips. To imitate the plasma glucose level in a healthy body, 4 - 5.9 mmol/L (IDF, 2007), a sample of approximately 5 mmol/L glucose solution was prepared. The concentration of the sample was confirmed using a spectrophotometric assay based on glucose oxidase. Glucose concentration of the sample was also measured by both the name brand and generic test trips using the SMBG system. Error was calculated based on the deviation between the calculated and the measured concentration of the sample. A two-sample t-test was conducted to examine statistical difference. Results will provide insight on factors to be considered when choosing quality and affordable glucose test strips.

Kyle Bargo

Katheryn Weeden

Chisa Taguchi

Traditional IT vs. The Cloud: Exploring Amazon Web Services
Sponsored By: William Thomas

As part of the Innovations for Industry course, we worked with NBC Universal to explore the benefits of working in the cloud as opposed to traditional information technology infrastructure. In order to answer the question posed above, we researched various IT models such as DevOps and ITIL, along with the many components of Amazon Web Services (AWS). As our two deliverables, we compiled a whitepaper and created a web application that showcased theses different components, such as Elastic Beanstalk, RDS, CodePipeline, and CloudWatch. NBC Universal used this information to make a data-driven decision on whether or not to move forward with AWS.

Lindsay Scholten

The "Multiplicities" Concept in Pride and Prejudice
Sponsored By: Donna Weimer

Whether the audience is consciously aware of it or not, films are always teaching people. Sometimes these lessons are more explicit, and the audience is more aware of the message the director wants to get across. However, when it comes to film remakes, it can be difficult to recognize what a film is imparting on the audience because the storylines are relatively the same. This can also be true with book to film adaptations; without severe digressions from a novel’s plot, it can be hard to understand what a film has taught the viewers. A classic story that has been remade across decades is Pride and Prejudice, which was originally written by Jane Austen in 1813. This romance has been re-created numerous times in Hollywood, but most prominent are the two versions from 1940 and 2005. While both films follow the original story authored by Austen, there are notable differences between the two movies, mainly which center around the perspective on women and marriage. I argue that the differences in characterization of women and mis en scene in Pride and Prejudice (1940) and Pride and Prejudice (2005), reveal “multiplicities” and are therefore a reflection of the culture in which the films are produced. Through careful analysis, it is evident that multiplicities expose the dominant ideologies of their decade, and the differences are the core of what these films are teaching their audiences.

Nicodemus Usry

Isabella Weber

Angela Wilkins

Poppy Seed Consumption and Associated Morphine Levels for Urine and Saliva Samples
Sponsored By: Ursula Williams

Consumption of poppy seeds has been known, in some cases, to result in false positives for opiate drug tests. In order to decrease the likelihood of false positives due to natural morphine in poppy seed containing products, the federal workplace testing guidelines raised the confirmatory concentration from 300 ng/mL to 2000 ng/mL. We set out to explore whether it is the concentration of poppy seeds consumed or the method of sampling that has a more significant effect on triggering these false positives. Antibodies are biological detectors of foreign molecules like opioids, and their specificity and sensitivity were used for the detection of these molecules in vitro. Three participants consumed different amounts of poppy seeds in a three day span and provided urine and saliva samples on the third day. We quantified the concentration of morphine in these samples to determine the likelihood of obtaining a false positive for opiate drug tests after eating foods containing poppy seeds. We hypothesized that if half a cup of poppy seeds is consumed in a short amount of time before an opioid drug test, a false positive is more likely when a urine sample is tested than when a saliva sample is tested. These findings could suggest whether a urine or saliva test is more sensitive to false detection and how the amount of poppy seeds consumed affects false positive detection. 

Kyle Bargo

Roy Liberman

Andrew Onofrey

Nathaniel Matthews

Nick Irvine

HCBI Data Identification and Collection
Sponsored By: William Thomas

As part of the Innovations for Industry course, we have been collecting and analyzing information for Huntingdon County Business and Industry (HCBI). HCBI is Huntingdon County’s leading business development agency that works to bring more business to the county. The information we are compiling includes economic, demographic, and educational information that HCBI will leverage in order to attract additional businesses and consumers. The three deliverables for this project are a list of data sources with the information included, along with updating both their website and powerpoint used during presentations.

Kristy Schutt

Kelsey Deetz

Does Oxygen Uptake Via Gill Ventilation Affect the Temperature Size Rule in Amphipod and Isopod Crustaceans
Sponsored By: Douglas Glazier

The Temperature-Size Rule (TSR) states that ectotherms grow more slowly and mature at larger body sizes at low versus high temperatures (Rollinson and Rowe 2018).  Although the TSR is commonly observed in many kinds of animals and is of major significance for understanding the effects of global warming, there is still no consensus on what causes it.  Previous work in our laboratory has shown that the isopod Lirceus brachyurus follows the TSR, whereas the amphipod Gammarus minus does not (Habbershon 2017).  In Pennsylvania and West Virginia, isopods inhabiting warm springs are significantly smaller than those inhabiting cold springs.  However, amphipods show no significant relationship between body size and spring water temperature.  Our laboratory has been testing multiple hypotheses to explain the strikingly different thermal responses of these two crustaceans.  In this study, we tested whether this difference relates to interspecific differences in gill ventilation and thus oxygen uptake.  We hypothesized that amphipods should be able to speed up their gill ventilation via increased movement of their swimming legs (pleopods), therefore allowing them to maintain normal growth rates despite reduced oxygen availability at higher water temperatures, thus obviating the TSR.  In contrast, since isopods crawl and do not swim (and hence do not require pleopod movement), they should not be able to adjust their gill ventilation as effectively to decreased oxygen availability present at higher water temperatures, thus causing the TSR to be observed.  Isopod gill ventilation may increase only by more rapid movement of the gills themselves.  Therefore, we measured amphipod and isopod gill ventilation by counting their frequencies of pleopod beats or gill movements, respectively, over random 10-second time periods.  Overall, we predict that temperature will increase gill ventilation more in amphipods than isopods. If so, the different thermal responses of these two kinds of crustaceans may relate to fundamental differences in their locomotor behavior, which in turn affects their ability to increase gill ventilation and associated oxygen uptake when oxygen availability is low at high water temperatures.

Stephen Lane

Customer Portal Data Management Tool
Sponsored By: William Thomas

We intend to make a poster that encompasses the needs of our client NewPig.  They are requiring a Customer Portal Data Management Tool to be used by the Marketing Staff for typing Request for Proposals.  So we want to have on the left side the need of the company for this tool.  Center of the poster explaning the three sections of our project the backend, then the User Interface, and then test piloting the app.  Third and right side will be what we hope the company can accomplish by using our management tool.  Logos and similar materials will be added in the correct location as per the I4I poster guidelines.

David Rosner

Tanika Murphy

Savannah Mellish

Beck Branton

Detection of a False Positive from Diphenhydramine HCl (Benadryl) in Urine using an Opiate ELISA Assay
Sponsored By: Daniel Dries

Diphenhydramine HCl, the active ingredient in Benadryl and other drugs, is often used as a sleep aid and seasonal allergy reliever. However, a concentration of 300 ng/mL or higher of the metabolized product of diphenhydramine HCl in urine resulted in a false positive on some federal opioid drug tests (Kelner). This experiment was conducted to test the cumulative effects of diphenhydramine HCl to yield a false positive on a standard federal opioid drug test. A morphine indirect competitive ELISA was performed, and the results were examined to determine the presence of the morphine derivative. A negative control was used along with three experimental urine samples from subjects using 50 mg doses of diphenhydramine HCl as a nighttime sleep aid. Samples were taken from the subjects following varying length regiments of diphenhydramine HCl use, and then diluted in order to fall within the parameters of the detectable range. Results demonstrate that the recommended diphenhydramine use for insomnia does not, in fact, result in a false positive on a morphine ELISA. These results did not support the hypothesis that a daily dosage of 50 mg of diphenhydramine would yield a false positive on an opioid drug test. This suggests that subjects who claim a false positive test result was due to recommended use of diphenhydramine HCl for insomnia are likely being untruthful. It is possible that a higher dosage of diphenhydramine HCl, such as the 100-200 mg daily dosage reported by Kelner, could yield a false positive, but these higher dosages are not recommended as a nighttime sleep aid.

Eli Greenblatt

Andrew Yeich

Total Synthesis of Pulvinic Acid and Characterization of its Transistion Metal Ion Complexes
Sponsored By: Peter Baran

Pulvinic acid is a pigment found in many mushrooms such as Scelroderma Citrinum (The Common Earthball) and Chalciporus piperatus (Peppery Bolete). Pulvinic acid and its precursor vulpinic acid are thought to possess both antimicrobial and antioxidant properties; however, their further chemical interactions are unknown. Due to its prohibitive cost, pulvinic acid was synthesized beginning with the y-lactone tetronic acid. Said Tetronic acid was used to synthesize Vulpinic Acid, the immediate precursor to Pulvinic Acid. Upon completion of the synthesis, possible transition metal ion complexes with Pulvinic acid were investigated.

Anh Le

Effects of hydraulic fracturing on gene expression of Brook Trout, Salvelinus fontinalis, in Western Pennsylvania streams.
Sponsored By: Vincent Buonaccorsi

Within the last two decades, hydraulic fracturing technology has been widely implemented throughout the United States, posing substantial challenges to the aquatic ecosystem. Hydraulic fracturing operations can affect Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) habitats by raising water temperature after water withdrawal, by raising heavy metal concentrations and acidity after chemical waste flowback and spills, and by altering physical habitat during infrastructure construction. Our study focused on the effect of heavy-metal pollution and acid disposal on samples of Brook Trout collected at 12 streams in Western Pennsylvania with varying hydraulic fracturing infrastructure development (active -vs.- inactive fracking operation and presence -vs.- absence of well pad).

The study comprised of three main phases: field data collections, wet laboratory, and bioinformatics analyses. During the first phase, measurements of water quality (e.g., pH, temperature, conductivity, etc.) and Brook Trout health indications (e.g., mass and length) were collected from 2012 - 2015. Brook Trout RNAs were extracted from liver tissues and sequenced in the second phase. The bioinformatics pipeline included differential expression analyses using DEseq and EdgeR followed by robust gene ontology analysis to determine whether there were enriched categories of differentially expressed genes with respect to biological function.

A total of about 350 (1.3%) and 200 (0.8%) of 26,400 transcripts were differentially expressed, associated with fracking condition and well pad establishment respectively. Further analyses revealed over-representation of proteins coding for transmembrane transportation (e.g., ATPase activity, ion channel), consistently shown in acid-tolerant fish species to inhibit sodium uptake and prevent loss of plasma ion concentration. Additionally, enrichment of adenylyl and IGF-I and IGF-II binding suggested potent and detrimental effects due to the exposure to heavy metals caused by hydraulic fracturing.  

Isaac Robbins

Kang Yang

Tanvi Pande

Behavior of a Ferrofluid Droplet in a Capillary Tube
Sponsored By: Yu Gu

Ferrofluids are colloidal suspensions of nanoscale ferromagnetic particles in an oil- or water-based carrier fluid. In the presence of a magnetic field, a ferrofluid will become strongly magnetized, changing its surface energy and viscosity. Ferrofluids are ideal for applications in Lab-on-a-chip (LOC) due to their good sealing properties and ability to be actuated without the use of moving parts. LOC are miniaturized chemical and biochemical devices with many advantages over the traditional laboratory. It is important to understand the physics of small-volume ferrofluid droplets since they  have been used in LOC for pumping, valving, and switching. We present a study of contact line force for sub-microliter volume ferrofluid droplets inside glass capillary tubes using a high magnification camera. The droplet’s behavior is governed by its size and strength of the magnetic force upon it.  Using different volumes of ferrofluid each imaged at several different angles, we create a model for understanding the 3-dimensional characteristics of droplets in a lab-on-chip environment.

Cassandra Dunn

Chi Dang

Nathaniel Matthews

Brian Park

Internet of Things and Smart Homes
Sponsored By: Donna Weimer

A study of what the Internet of Things is, what it's made of, and how it functions. We also go through how it affects society currently, as well as how it will affect us in the future. We also talk about smart homes as one of the most prevalent uses of IoT.

Olivia Drake

Skye Smay

William Conrad

Cade Emlet

Drug Test Evasion: Can Home Remedies be Used to Render a False Negative for Morphine?
Sponsored By: Daniel Dries

Previous studies have shown that poppy seeds contain enough morphine to register a false positive on a morphine detecting enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), including the assays used by companies to screen potential employees. This experiment took advantage of the morphine content of the poppy seeds to test some common methods for evading a morphine drug test without resorting to the use of controlled substances. To test the various methods, subjects first produced a negative control urine sample (before consuming poppy seeds). They then consumed 1 g of poppy seeds per 2kg of body weight and produced a positive control urine sample one hour later. The controls were tested by ELISA to confirm the validity of the method. Subjects were then given a two-week waiting period to excrete all traces of the morphine. After the two-week waiting period, subjects consumed the same amount of poppy seeds and produced a urine sample approximately one hour later. During that hour, subjects performed different methods of evading the drug test. The potential triggers for a false negative under this investigation include vinegar, cranberry juice, excess amounts of water, and a commercially available detox tea. The experimental samples were then compared to the negative and positive control samples to determine whether any of the drug-elimination methods succeeded in lowering the morphine content of the samples below the threshold that the ELISA was capable of detecting.  It is expected that the cranberry juice, vinegar, and tea will have no effect on the status of the drug test. The water, however, may be successful in diluting the urine enough to render a negative result. Based on the results of this study, future researchers can examine the methods that were found to be successful in producing a negative result and work to design drug tests that are less prone to evasion by these common methods. 

Maria Greenler

Brandon Martinazzi

Raymond Turro

Preparation of Chiral Aziridines Through a Copper-Catalyzed Asymmetric Reduction of 2H-Arirines
Sponsored By: John Unger

Copper hydride is a versatile reducing agent which allows for ligation of chiral ligands in order to affect asymmetric reduction of pi-bonds. It has been broadly used for the asymmetric reduction of carbonyl compounds, imines, and conjugated alkenes, but has not yet been applied to the reduction of strained heterocycles. This body of research focuses on the development of an asymmetric reduction of 2H-azirines to produce chiral aziridines. We screened several chiral ligand families (SEGPHOS, JOSIPHOS, GARPHOS), silicon-based hydride sources, and solvents to optimize yield and stereoselectivity.

Jared Feldman

Method of Extraction of Urushiol and Reactivity of Urushiol with Metallic Salts
Sponsored By: Peter Baran

Poison Ivy and its relatives, Poison Oak and Poison Sumac, are commonly found throughout North America and some parts of Asia.  It is a common plant and common problem for hikers and campers.  What we want to do is create a way to help prevent the Poison Ivy rash.  We have extracted the active component of Poison Ivy, urushiol, through the soxlet method of extraction, and have reacted it with various metallic salts to see if it can create a significant color change to identify the urushiol compound. Preliminary data from reactions between metallic salts and urushiol will be presented.

Shannan Davidow

Calvin Liu

Juniata College BioBlitz 2017
Sponsored By: Uma Ramakrishnan

BioBlitz, short for Biodiversity Blitz, is a rapid assessment protocol of species living in an area at a point in time. BioBlitzes utilize citizen scientists to engaging the public in science which promotes public awareness and engagement in conservation issues. To begin a species inventory and help engage the public in biodiversity and conservation, Juniata College hosted a 24-hour BioBlitz at the Peace Chapel, Huntingdon, PA. Specialists involved were recruited from the science departments and alumni of Juniata College, with a focus on mammals, birds, moths, herpetofauna and plants. A total of 664 observations resulting in 181 different species of plants and animals were observed at the Peace Chapel during the event. While no new unique species were found in the area, the BioBlitz provided a helpful baseline of the biodiversity that the Peace Chapel area holds.

Sarah Isenberg

Jacob Holsopple

Adam Kensinger

Maria Fowler

Prevention of False Positives of Morphine ELISA Tests After Consumption of Poppy Seeds
Sponsored By: Ursula Williams

Ingesting poppy seeds, which contain trace amounts of opiates, has been reported to result in false positives on drug tests for job applicants and athletes. To determine the sensitivity of the Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) tests for producing false positives, and to see if the opiates can be flushed from an individual’s system, three experimental and one negative control urine samples were analyzed. During the first trial, each participant ingested 40g of seeds over 38 hours. The following trial included the same procedure with the addition of double the amount of water intake to attempt to flush the system. The anticipated results were that false positives would be obtained in the first trial and negative results would be obtained in the second. If the anticipated results are correct, they would confirm that a false positive can occur from eating large amounts of poppy seeds. However, such results would also confirm that the false positive can be avoided by drinking large quantities of water prior to opioid testing. The anticipated results may influence job applicants and athletes to choose to avoid eating poppy seeds prior to opioid testing. If, however, an individual has already eaten poppy seeds before a drug test, drinking large quantities of water may prevent a false positive.

Roxanne Jeffers

Examination of the impact of aquaculture on the aquatic environment by measuring levels of Oxytetracycline in stream water, Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) and Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus my kiss)
Sponsored By: Chris Grant

Antibiotics are widely used in the medical and agricultural industry and are known to persist in the environment. They are heavily used in aquaculture, one of the fastest growing segments of U.S agriculture. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission raises nearly 5 million hatchery raised trout that are stocked in streams across Pennsylvania. Hatchery raised trout require flow-through culture systems and such systems produce a large volume of waste water that is treated and released into streams. This water is released into nearby streams and could be detrimental to the environment because a large component of treated waste water contains antibiotics. Oxytetracycline is one antibiotic that is widely used in the aquaculture industry to treat bacterial infections in fish. The presence of antibiotics during the juvenile stages can potentially lead to spinal deformities in fish, posing potential problems for the long-term survivorship of wild trout. The overall goal of this project is to determine the levels of Oxytetracycline in streams and trout. Work on this project is ongoing, as we continue to test fish tissue from hatchery raised brook and rainbow trout, naturalized brown trout, and native brook trout for the presence of Oxytetracycline and compare spine morphology with X-ray photographs, and analyze stream water antibiotic levels.  Examining these parameters will allow us to determine the role of aquaculture in the presence of Oxytetracyline in stream ecosystems and its impact on trout spine morphology.

Gayle Gottlieb

Detecting the presence of antidepressants sertraline(Zoloft), venlafaxine, fluoxetine(Prozac), and their metabolites from the hindbrain and telencephalon regions of smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) brains from the Juniata River Basin.
Sponsored By: Chris Grant

Recent evidence suggests a widespread presence of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in streams and fish. Research about PPCP accumulation in Smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) in the Juniata River Basin is limited.  However, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) and United States Geological Survey(USGS) is concerned about PPCPs such as antidepressants in fish and streams since literature shows they are detrimental to fish and our drinking water. In this study, 25 Smallmouth bass(SMB) were sampled from six streams within the Juniata River Basin in central Pennsylvania. SMB brains were dissected, and the telencephalon and hindbrain regions were isolated. Homogenates of those regions were made and stored at -80°C until analysis. Work is ongoing, but the extraction of antidepressants from the SMB brain homogenates will be performed via solid-phase micro-extraction, and then analyzed by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GCMS). A tricyclic antidepressant venlafaxine and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) fluoxetine and sertraline along with their respective metabolites norfluoxetine and desmethylsertraline will be quantified via GCMS. Desmethylsertraline is expected to be of the highest concentrations in the hindbrain and then telencephalon followed by Sertraline(Zoloft), fluoxetine, and then venlafaxine. The presence of antidepressants in fish brains is expected to negatively affect fish behavior, predation, and ultimately aquatic biodiversity. Moreover, if antidepressants are present in fish from multiple streams then they are present in the water that humans and animals drink.

Naomi Miller

Anna Richey

Megan Vigne

Effects of Shrub Nativity on Aboveground Arthropod Abundance in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania
Sponsored By: Norris Muth

Invasive plant species pose a multitude of significant threats to natural ecosystems beyond displacing native plants and failing to uphold proper ecosystem function; they threaten crops as agricultural weeds, become expensive municipal nuisances, and disrupt critical disturbance regimes. It has been suggested that the nativity of plant species has an effect on primary and secondary arthropod consumers—the hypothesis being that introduced plants provide less food for primary consumers, resulting in lower biomass of herbivorous arthropods and therefore less resource for insectivorous species (including birds and predatory arthropods). A prior study provided some support for this hypothesis with respect to trees in Huntingdon and State College, Pennsylvania. Here we examine this hypothesis in woody shrubs in Huntingdon. For each of two sites in Huntingdon, PA we used beat sheets to sample the aboveground arthropod communities of ten native and ten non-native shrubs. For each shrub we determined the abundance of arthropods and assigned them to trophic categories (primary consumer or predator). We further quantified the diversity and biomass of arthropods by trophic level for native and non-native shrubs at each site. Preliminary results suggest that non-native plants shrubs foster greater biomass of herbivores, but a  and lower biomass of predators, meaning that not any native shrub will add to arthropod food webs. Knowledge of the impact invasive plants have on arthropod communitiesThis type of information could help inform landscaping decisions and vegetation management in terms of choosing plants that will benefit the ecosystem on all levels.


Logan Stenger

Austin Peck

Aldo Legge

Colton Craig

An assessment for potential eastern hellbender (C. alleganiensis) habitat in a coldwater river system in south-central Pennsylvania
Sponsored By: George Merovich

In Pennsylvania, the eastern hellbender has been experiencing statewide population declines over the past several decades.  Habitat loss, reduced water quality, and disease incidence are likely factors contributing to the hellbenders demise. The Little Juniata River, located in south-central Pennsylvania, historically harbored eastern hellbender populations.  However, it is unknown if hellbender populations remain within the river today. This study aims to quantify specific habitat characteristics for the eastern hellbender by examining potential habitat at three sites within the Little Juniata River. A variety of parameters were measured to determine specific stream characteristics.  Water quality met optimal conditions for eastern hellbender suitability.  Stream substrate was primarily composed of cobble and boulders.  Boulders ranged in size, but mean dimensions were found to be 115cm x 71cm x 27cm. Although no hellbenders were found during this study, our assessment indicates that suitable habitat remains within the Little Juniata River, and could potentially still harbor hellbender populations today.

Jeremy Chen See

An Investigation of a Potential Interordinal Hybridization Event between Bluegills and Goldfish
Sponsored By: Vincent Buonaccorsi

Hybridization in fishes is more common than in other vertebrates. However, no viable hybrid individuals are known from parental species in different taxonomic orders. In this project, we examined a case where such an event may have occurred. We sampled goldfish and bluegills from a pond environment, and we observed individuals that appeared to have morphological characteristics of both species, a typical outcome of hybridization events. Thus, we investigated these individuals as putative hybrids of goldfish and bluegills by examining the sizes of several conserved genetic regions, using DNA extractions, PCR and the program Structure. Currently, DNA has been successfully extracted from four bluegill and four putative hybrids from the pond and four goldfish from a store. The results of this study will have implications toward understanding the extent to which hybridization can occur across distantly related evolutionary lines. 

Marylauren Davignon

Gavin Grimaldi

Brandon Adams

Glucose Levels in Energy Drinks and the Body's Ability to Absorb Glucose
Sponsored By: Daniel Dries

Monster Beverage Corporation, an American energy beverage company, is widely advertised and has claimed to produce an energy drink containing zero sugar and zero calories (Monster Absolutely Zero). We plan to test Monster Absolute Zero versus Monster Energy, which claims to contain sugar, in attempt to confirm if their claims are accurate. According to the Endocrine Society, increased levels of glucose in energy drinks have put teens at risk for prediabetes and insulin resistance. These claims are concerning to us since we, as college students, consume energy drinks frequently. According to Medline Plus, the normal glucose range in urine is 0-0.8 mmol/L.We observed glucose concentrations in urine approximately 2 hours after consuming the drink. Glucose will be detected spectrophotometrically by converting the glucose to 4-N-p-benzoquinoneimine-antipyrine, which absorbs 505 nm light. We will use an enzyme solution consisting of phenol, 4-aminoantipyrine, glucose oxidase, and horseradish peroxidase to achieve this conversion. We hypothesize that Monster Absolute Zero will contain a null amount of glucose and the regular Monster will contain glucose. We also hypothesize that Monster Absolute Zero will contain artificial sweeteners that do not officially classify as “sugars”. We realize that since glucose oxidase only oxidizes glucose, we will not be able to detect glucose derivatives such as dextrose or sucralose, which are commonly found in energy drinks. Our test will allow us to see if companies are falsifying information through advertising. Our results show that the test subject’s body absorbed the glucose from the drinks within the two-hour time period, leaving no glucose to excrete. Our results also show that there may not have been any detectable level of glucose in the drink, since the ingredients on the beverage say it contains glucose derivatives. Although these were not the results we expected, we found that the body typically produces enough insulin in two hours to completely absorb the glucose from the energy drink.


Samantha Bromley

Azia Kalil

Developing Fluorescence Tools to Study Stress Response and Sphingolipid Function
Sponsored By: Jason Chan

Stress comes from various sources and is known to negatively affect animal physiology including longevity. For example, animals undergo oxidative stress, thermal stress, and pathogenic stress amongst others. The intestine aids in the control of how animals respond their environment and communicate signals to the rest of the animal. Lipids are hypothesized to be key contributors to the communication system that controls stress response. In particular, the genes hyl-1 and hyl-2 are both ceramide synthases that aid in converting sphingosine to ceramide in the sphingolipid pathway. The ceramide synthases produce different length carbon ceramides, and the activity of hyl-1 and hyl-2 may alter stress response. First, we aimed to determine whether these mutants were sensitive to an oxidative stress assay. We found that hyl-2 knockout worms have a decrease in survivability compared to both wildtype and hyl-1 worms; thus, it is possible that the ceramide produced by hyl-2 is necessary for a better stress response. We hypothesized that since oxidative stress in knockout mutants exposed to stress revealed hyl-2 mutants to have a larger decrease in stress response compared to hyl-1 mutants, hyl-2 mutants will respond better to stress than hyl-1 mutants when exposed to bacterial pathogens. To test this, we are designing fluorescence tools to examine the location, abundance, and response of hyl-2 proteins in the intestine in response to normal and stressful conditions, including oxidative stress and pathogenic bacterial stress. By looking into the role of ceramide synthases in stress response, we can better understand how animals are able to respond to their environment through multiple mechanisms. 

Samantha Acri

Optimization of a de Novo Genome Assembly Pipeline for S. aleutianus (Rougheye Rockfish)
Sponsored By: Vincent Buonaccorsi

High quality genome assemblies are important for genomic studies in many fields including microbiology, medicine, and environmental science, and evolutionary biology. The end goal of this project overall is to investigate genetic differences that are responsible for the dramatically different life spans of various Sebastes rockfishes. In order to do this, we first focused on creating an assembly pipeline that optimizes the assembly of each rockfish genome.  We found that the best pipeline for assembling the data provided was Quake (to error correct the genome), KmerGenie (to predict the estimated genome size and ideal kmer size), Abyss 2.0 (to create the initial assembly), and Redundans (to finalize the genome assembly scaffolds and reduce heterozygosity). After using this sequence of programs for S. aleutianus (rougheye rockfish), our initial assembly had a genome size of 751 Mbp consisting of 18,000 scaffolds and an N50 of 145 kbp. This genome was then passed off for additional processing in Blobtools which further improved these statistics by removing contaminant scaffolds. Once this pipeline is used for the sequence data available for other rockfish species, we will be able to make comparisons and continue investigation of the genetic causes for lifespan differences. This pipeline may also be applied to other genomic data sequenced during workshops for the Genome Consortium for Active Teaching using Next Generation Sequencing.

Amily Buenrrostro

Vy Mai

Morphological and Life-History Consequences of Land Invasion by Amphipod and Isopod Crustaceans.
Sponsored By: Douglas Glazier

During the history of life, many kinds of animals and plants have colonized land.  A major challenge of these evolutionary transitions has involved adapting to increased exposure to desiccation, which is especially critical for offspring with relatively high rates of water loss because of their small size and thus high ratios of surface area to body volume.  Our research group has been studying the morphological and life-history consequences of these water-to-land transitions by comparing the body size and shape, offspring (egg) mass and number per brood, and total reproductive investment (brood mass) of amphipod and isopod crustaceans with aquatic, semi-terrestrial and terrestrial lifestyles. Amphipods and isopods are model organisms for studying the life-history consequences of land invasion because they are abundant, easily captured, and their brooding behavior facilitates measurements of reproductive investment. We predict that the evolution of a terrestrial lifestyle favors (1) larger adult and offspring size and stouter body shapes, thus reducing water loss because of reduced surface area to volume ratios, and (2) reduced brood mass and number of offspring per brood because of increased physiological stress on land and trade-offs with offspring size.  We are testing these predictions using data collected in Pennsylvania, Italy, Tasmania and South Africa.  All comparisons will involve scaling life-history traits to body size. 

Gavin Grimaldi

Hannah Farley

Interactive Effects of Temperature and Fish Predation on the Body-Mass Scaling of Metabolic Rate in Aquatic Crustaceans
Sponsored By: Douglas Glazier

Understanding how temperature affects the ecophysiology of aquatic animals is a great concern in today’s world because of ongoing global climate change. Amphipod and isopod crustaceans living in springs with different water temperatures are good model systems for studying temperature effects. Metabolic rate, which supports all biological activities, is especially sensitive to temperature.  Studies of how temperature affects metabolism should consider effects of body size and other confounding ecological factors, such as predation. Previous work conducted by Dr. Glazier has shown that the metabolic rate of amphipods increases with increasing water temperature.  However, amphipods native to warm springs show no change in how metabolic rate relates to body size, whereas amphipods native to cold springs do show significant changes in the body-mass scaling of metabolic rate.  These changes appear to depend on the presence or absence of fish predators in a spring. Presently we are further analyzing the interactive effects of temperature and predation on the scaling of metabolic rate with body mass by comparing the effects of different experimental temperatures (4, 10 and 16 degrees C) on amphipods from cold springs with varying numbers of fish predators. Hopefully, our study will provide insight into not only ecological effects on metabolic scaling, but also the responses of aquatic animals to global warming in various ecological contexts.

Isabella Amaniera

Maria Fowler

Integrated bacterial and fungal profiling reveals fungi may play an important role in promoting C. difficile infections
Sponsored By: Regina Lamendella

Clostridium difficile is a common bacterial infection in the gut, whose onset and recurrence has been correlated with antibiotic use.  From 2001 to 2012, the number of C. difficile cases increased by 42.7 percent, with 20 to 30 percent of cases recurring. Little is known about how C. difficile modulates the gut’s fungal community and how this dysbiosis may perpetuate its recurrence. By identifying differential bacterial and fungal community structures and the bacterial-fungal interactions in C. difficile infected (CDI) and non-C. difficile infected (non-CDI) patients, a model of disease progression may be developed. Such a model could help develop treatments to prevent recurrence.Diarrheal stool samples, 18 CDI and 31 non-CDI, were collected from 49 hospitalized patients. Samples were processed to amplify the DNA and obtain sequences of taxonomic markers, 16S rRNA for bacteria and ITS for fungi, to generate bacterial and fungal community profiles. Bioinformatics software QIIME and CoNet were used to compare the community structures in the two cohorts. Our working hypothesis is that the gut environment of CDI positive individuals creates a niche for the fungal community to bloom. The CDI cohort shows 105 enriched fungal taxa, while the non-CDI cohort only had two more prominent fungal taxa. The enriched bacterial taxa in the CDI was mainly pro-inflammatory and antibiotic-resistant bacterial taxa, such as Enterobacteriaceae. The co-occurrence network analysis revealed negative interactions between commensal bacteria and pathological fungi, such as Penicillium and Aspergillus. Some species of fungi secrete antibacterial compounds that may prevent the bacterial community from returning to its healthy state. Our data suggest dysbiotic gut environment could be one mechanism by which higher recurrence rates of CDI are being observed and could lead to the development of new therapeutic approaches.

Sarah Hammen

An Analysis of How Seed Production Varies with Plant Size
Sponsored By: Douglas Glazier

Offspring size and number vary enormously among living organisms for reasons incompletely understood.  Much of this variation relates to parental body size.  For example, the size and number of offspring produced during each breeding period typically scale linearly with parental body mass on a log-log scale.  However, Glazier (2018) has recently shown that the scaling of offspring size and number in crustaceans showing 9 orders of magnitude variation in body mass are significantly curvilinear (concave downward and upward, respectively). These patterns may occur because small crustaceans with relatively low ratios of offspring/adult mortality maximize offspring size and fitness whereas large crustaceans with relatively high ratios of offspring/adult mortality maximize offspring number and thus parent fitness. The purpose of my study is to test the generality of these patterns in another major group of organisms with a wide range of body sizes, namely seed plants. Previous work has shown that the relationship between the size of seed-bearing plants and their offspring (seeds) is a concave downward one, as expected. Current work involves analyzing literature data to examine whether seed number per reproductive episode has a concave upward relationship with plant parental mass, like that shown by crustaceans. If crustaceans and seed plants have similar offspring size and number scaling relationships, this would suggest that there is a common cause for these patterns, a hypothesis that would require testing.

Alexis Morrissey

Retrotransposition patterns in aging yeast cells
Sponsored By: Vincent Buonaccorsi

Retroelements, including the mammalian L1 retrotransposons, comprise up to 40% of the human genome but are mostly inactive. However, a small number of these elements have retained the potential for mobility. Increased activity of retroelements has been shown in aging somatic cells in mammals leading to the “aging by transposition” hypothesis. Retroelements, silenced in the younger cell, are opened up for transcription and subsequent transposition of the element. Insertion of the active element back into the genome of the host cell initiates a cycle of accumulating DNA damage and genome instability. Studying the activation and insertion of retroelements in mammalian model systems is very cumbersome because of the high number of existing genomic elements. The model yeast organism, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is host to Ty1 retroelements which have broad similarities to mammalian L1 retrotransposons.  Zero Ty1 Saccharomyces strains, which lack any endogenous Ty1 elements, are available and support high levels of transposition upon introduction of Ty1. In Saccharomyces species, which divide by budding daughter cells from a mother cell, cells can be tracked by replicative age. Increased Ty1 retrotransposition activity, with correlated genome instability, has been observed in aging yeast cells (Patterson et al., 2015). This project aims to sequence large numbers of Ty1 insertions in yeast cells of varying replicative ages to investigate changes in Ty1 insertion patterns. A plasmid encoded Ty1 element was transformed into a zero-Ty1 S. paradoxus strain, induced for transposition, and mother cells of different ages harboring the plasmid were sorted from their daughter cells. Linker mediated PCR is being used to amplify genomic DNA from cell populations of different ages. High throughput sequencing of Ty1 insertions will be analyzed for location and frequency by mapping to the yeast genome. We hypothesize that analysis of a large populations of Ty1 insertions will show a significant difference in both insertion frequency and site preference as yeast cells age.

Curtis Wentz

Dain Shirmer

Neuronal function is impacted by sphingolipid metabolism in Caenorhabditis elegans
Sponsored By: Jason Chan

Sphingolipids are bioactive molecules that are regulated via metabolic lipid enzymes. Sphingolipids include sphingomyelin (SM), ceramide (CER), sphingosine (SPH), and sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P). Sphingolipid levels regulate several aspects of animal physiology, including neuromuscular function, locomotion, and stress response. As organisms age, neuronal function decreases; therefore, understanding the role of sphingolipids in neuronal aging may provide insight to the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. To study the effects of sphingolipid metabolism on the maintenance of neuronal function in late life, we used the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans, a microscopic roundworm. To test whether sphingolipids play a role in locomotor function, we aimed to examine neuronal function by pharmacological manipulations that decrease overall sphingolipid levels in animals. For this, we treated wild type animals with the pharmacological inhibitor myriocin, which inhibits serine palmitoyltransferase, the enzyme that mediates de novo sphingolipid synthesis. Locomotor function was assessed using a physiological assay known as a thrashing assay. It was found that myriocin-treated worms decreased thrashing in comparison to wild type animals. To more specifically identify enzymes that play a role in the maintenance of locomotor function, a thrashing assay was used to assess movement of a panel of sphingolipid mutants at several ages. Ceramide synthase mutants (hyl-1,2), which have increased sphingosine, increased thrashing in aged animals compared to wild type. Conversely, sphingomyelin synthase mutant (sms-1) demonstrated a dramatic decrease in thrashing at all ages. Thus, sphingolipid metabolism enzymes have diverse effects on movement throughout the life of an animal. We will perform more specific experiments to examine changes in neuronal and muscular function to better understand neurotransmission defects in sphingolipid mutants. Together, our data show that sphingolipid metabolism plays a role in neuronal function and the maintenance of locomotion in aged animals. Further investigation may provide the basis for a novel therapeutic treatment for loss neuronal function.

Youn Kyung Kim

Utilizing the eDNA Method to Detect the Presence of Salvelinus Fontinalis (brook trout) and Salmo Trutta (brown trout) in Pennsylvania Streams
Sponsored By: Chris Grant

Brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) are native to Pennsylvania and are known indicators of healthy stream ecosystems. Increased anthropogenic pressures from Unconventional Natural Gas Development (UNGD) threaten long-term survivorship of small isolated populations of brook trout in the Northeast. Currently, there are over 50,000 streams in Pennsylvania that have never been assessed for fish assemblages; with over 10,000 unconventional natural gas wells permitted and projections of over 30,000 wells drilled by 2030, it is necessary to assess streams to document and protect brook trout from local extirpations. Sampling the environmental DNA (eDNA) to confirm the presence of target species in aquatic environments has been proposed as a more efficient method than standard electrofishing. We filtered water to sample eDNA from thirteen streams which had existing fish assemblage data. DNA extraction, PCR, and gel electrophoresis were performed, and the result was compared with the existing data to certify accuracy before testing on previously unassesed streams. While results are forthcoming, the goal of the project is to efficiently assess not only the presence, but the relative abundance of brook and brown trout in unassessed streams in Central Pennsylvania. The aim of this is to allow for the reclassification of streams by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection as High Quality Coldwater Fisheries, and protection of wild trout populations in the face of UNGD.  

Shannan Davidow

Ashley Weiand

Natal Nest Philopatry in Northern Map Turtles (Graptemys geographica) of the Juniata River
Sponsored By: Roy Nagle

Natal nest philopatry is the phenomenon in which females return to the same location where they hatched to lay their own eggs. We examined the extent to which Northern Map Turtles (Graptemys geographica) exhibit this phenomenon. From 2000-2008, 703 Northern Map Turtles were marked and released at Mount Union, the largest known nesting area in central Pennsylvania. During 2017, seven of these hatchling-marked turtles returned as adult females to Mount Union to nest. We recorded the GPS coordinates of nest sites and used GIS to determine the distances between the nest sites of returning adults and their natal nest sites.  The mean distance between nest sites of the seven hatchling-marked females and their natal nest was 601.7m (min-max = 43.3-983.4, SD = 347.1), which was significantly greater than the average distance between multiple nests of individual females among years, but did not differ from that of random pairs of Northern Map Turtle nests. Because Mount Union is a major nesting area and some Northern Map Turtles exhibit natal nest philopatry, the protection and management of the nesting area may be critical for the conservation of Northern Map Turtles of the Juniata River.  

Joseph Schnaubelt

Rubidium Spectroscopy and Applications in Laser Optics
Sponsored By: Jamie White

Three separate studies in Rubidium Spectroscopy and Laser optics will be presented.

A laser tuned to around 780 nanometers wavelength can excited a rubidium atom from the ground state to the 5P3/2 state, from which the atom will fall and reemit a photon in the infrared portion of the spectrum. This reemission can be observed to be Doppler broadened due to the motion of the rubidium atoms and the opposing orientation of the overlying 780 nanometer laser beams. This is called Rubidium Saturated Absorption. A laser travelling opposite directions through a rubidium cell allows for either direction to only affect the stationary and appropriately Doppler shifted atoms. This results in a phenomenon called Doppler-free saturated absorption, where the peaks are divided around the transition experienced by the stationary rubidium atoms.

When two waves are brought together they interfere often in a constructive and destructive interference pattern occurring at a frequency that we call a beat note. A beat note can be obtained by using two separate saturated absorption setups and locking two diode lasers to separate peaks in the Doppler broadened well around 780 nanometers. These lasers are then aligned onto a photodetector and observed by a spectrum analyzer. This can tell us about the optics of our system and lasers.

Rubidium gas experiences a transition through excitation to the 5P3/2 state with excitation from a 780 nanometer wavelength photon. Another transition occurs when the rubidium in the first excited state are excited again with a 776 nanometer photon to the 5D5/2 state. Some of the rubidium atoms will fall from this excited state to the 6P3/2 state and again to the ground state where they will emit a 420 nanometer blue photon.

Naomi Frey

Isabella Amaniera

Rina Kirsch

Soumya Polavarapu

How sweet is your price, Honey? Analyzing the Concentration of Glucose in Variously Priced Honey.
Sponsored By: Ursula Williams

Honey is primarily composed of glucose and fructose, and is therefore a healthier alternative to white sugar which is comprised of sucrose. Manufacturers and food scientists sometimes alter the composition and chemistry of their brand of honey for marketing purposes. We hypothesize that higher priced honeys have less added sucrose, and more of the naturally occurring sugars in  honey. Our project involves determining the concentrations of all the sugars in honey. Specifically, the experiment conducted here focuses on the glucose concentration in three differently priced honeys.

Enzyme specific coupled reactions are a relatively inexpensive and fast method to detect the presence of glucose based on the rates of reactions. Three different brands of grade A honey were diluted to calculate glucose concentrations by visible spectroscopy. We then utilized standard solutions of known glucose concentrations to create a calibration curve that allowed us to calculate the concentration of glucose in each honey from the absorbance readings.

The results from our experiment will be presented here. To support our hypothesis, we will combine these results with further analysis. This will include determining the concentrations of fructose and sucrose of the honeys we analyzed. The combined results will give us a broader insight into the differences in honey sugar composition in relation to its pricing. In addition, this study can be used as a guideline for further research on how honey affects glycemic index levels.

Molly Ulrich

Chance Bowersox

Evidence for Early Terrestrial Plants in Silurian Rocks of Central Pennsylvania
Sponsored By: Matthew Powell

The fossil record of the earliest land plants consists exclusively of spores, which are single-celled reproductive structures found in non-angiosperm plants such as ferns and mosses. These spores were originally dispersed by the plants and deposited within marine sediments that later solidified into rock. Terrestrial plant spores, specifically, can be identified by a distinct trilete (Y-shaped) mark that is formed by division of the cell into four sections. The earliest trilete spores are from the late Ordovician Period (~461-444 Ma). Here, we have dissolved rocks with a non-acid technique in order to extract spores from the Bald Eagle through Bloomsburg Formations (late Ordovician-early Silurian, ~461-423 Ma) and the Brallier Formation (middle Devonian, ~398-385 Ma) of central Pennsylvania, USA. We recovered several different types of spores and have made preliminary taxonomic identifications. Our results provide historical evidence for the earliest terrestrial plants on Earth and help constrain where and when they originated.

Luc Bitsko

Stephanie Waltersdorff

Alexander Zegarelli

Synthesis of Amidate and Carboxylate Carbenes from a-Diazoamides and a-Diazoacids
Sponsored By: John Unger

Carbenes are unique organic intermediates that are useful in organic synthesis. With only two bonding partners and two free electrons, these low-valent carbon species are often highly reactive, and are ambiphilic, possessing the ability to behave as both nucleophiles and electrophiles. Ultimately, the reactivity of a carbene is determined by the groups that are attached to its center. Many studies have generated and characterized neutral carbonyl carbenes, but the anionic amidate and carboxylate analogs have yet to be realized. We propose that both α-diazoamides and α-diazoacids, the precursor to carboxylate carbenes, can be accessed via α-keto acid starting materials. Parallel research investigates an alternative synthetic strategy that employs carboxylic acid protecting group chemistry and ester diazotization.

Austin Meyer

Anh Le

The Complex Relationship Between Delay Discounting and Impulsivity Under the Moderation of Cultural Prime
Sponsored By: Rebecca Weldon

Cross-cultural research on individual differences in delay discounting behavior suggests that Westerners are more likely to discount a reward presented in the future while the reverse is true for Easterners. Sociocultural traits, namely individualism and collectivism, foster an individual’s self-construal of independence and interdependence respectively. Self-construal is a critical determinant of decision making and reflects a behavioral spectrum that can be manipulated through environmental contexts. Utilizing the self-construal Pronoun Circling Task, our preliminary study revealed that participants who received the individualistic prime showed a greater preference for future rewards than the collectivistic group, contradictory to our prediction based on previous literature. The present study aimed to test the reliability and replicability of the initial result by adding empirically-supported primes (i.e. Similarities and Differences with Family and Friends Task (SDFF) and Sumerian Warrior Task) and manipulation checks (i.e., SDFF Paragraph Rating and Ten Statement Task). Collectivistic and individualistic primes were randomly assigned and administered to participants. Subsequently, all participants completed measures of delay discounting (i.e., Kirby Monetary Choice Questionnaire – MCQ), sensitivity to reward  (i.e., Behavioral Inhibition Scale/ Behavioral Activation Scale – BIS/BAS), impulsivity (i.e., Barratt Impulsivity Scale – BIS11, and Urgency, Premeditation, Perseverance, Sensation Seeking, and Negative Urgency – UPPS-P ), and risky decision making  (Brief Sensation Seeking Scale  – BSSS). Manipulation checks were assessed via an interrater design based on a binary rating system: idiocentric -vs.- allocentric. Discounting rates were examined between the experimental groups and in conjunction with other variables. Delay discounting has been associated with education and various public health concerns, e.g., addiction, smoking, unhealthy eating habits. Results of the study promise insights into a treatment approach to these issues through modifying delay discounting behavior using cultural self-construal primes.

Julie Tomasino

Creation of silicate nanoparticles for astrochemistry
Sponsored By: William Ames

In my research the goal is to create nanoparticles of metal doped silicates. After synthesis the silicates will be reacted with H20 in order to recreate the serpentinization process that possibly happens under the surface of Europa’s oceans. Europa, the smallest of the four Galilean moons orbiting Jupiter, is primarily made of silicate rock and has a water-ice crust and probably an iron-nickel core. The serpentinization process can give a ratio of hydrogen, serpentine, brucite and magnetite dependent on the starting minerals. Finally, I hope to link this experiment with the potential existence of Deinococcus radiodurans bacteria on Europa. Deinococcus radiodurans is able to resist the UV radiation of space, extreme cold of Europa (111 K), vacuum conditions, and oxidative damage.



Joycelyn Radeny

Danielle Murphy

The role of sphingolipids in known pathways of lifespan regulation
Sponsored By: Jason Chan

In order to better understand the metabolic pathways related to the quality of health span, we aimed to identify how specific sphingolipid signaling genes are related to life span. Sphingolipids are highly conserved components of the cellular membrane involved in cell signaling. Sphingolipid metabolism involves a cascade of enzymatic reactions, which produce various lipids that affect cell growth, migration, apoptosis, proliferation, and survival. The initial rate limiting step of sphingolipid metabolism is reliant upon formation of the enzyme, serine palmitoyltransferase (SPT); on the other hand, sphingosine kinase (SPHK) makes the terminal lipid of the pathway sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P). We aimed to test how sptl-2 and sptl-3, two subunits forming the catalytic core of SPT, function to modulate lifespan. To do this, we used the model organism C. elegans to analyze sptl-2, sptl-3, and sphk-1 mutants by performing a lifespan assay. Previous studies have revealed that lack of sphingosine kinase (sphk-1), which produces S1P, leads to decreased lifespan in C. elegans. However, it is not known whether sphingolipid signaling mediated by sptl-2, sptl-3, or sphk-1 acts in one of the known cellular pathways that mediate aging. Therefore, we aimed to test whether sphk-1 works within the insulin like (ILS) pathway, a known regulatory of lifespan. To examine the interaction between sphingolipids and the ILS pathway, we analyzed double mutants for sphk-1 and daf-16/FOXO, a transcription factor that is important for stress response and longevity. From the study, we found that lifespan is shortened in the absence of sphk-1 and daf-16. Lifespan also decreases in the presence of a double mutation of daf-16 and sphk-1. Our findings indicate that sphingolipids have a role in influencing known lifespan pathways such as the ILS pathway. Thus, greater understanding of sphingolipid signaling may help us identify factors that promote health by increasing lifespan.

Peter D'Amico

Iron Isotopes Used to Fingerprint Artifacts from Central Pennsylvania
Sponsored By: Ryan Mathur

Iron isotope values were applied to provenance the jasper artifacts from the Hatch site artifacts in State College, through comparison of artifacts and source rock. This Native American site has both the source and artifact material and is thought to be a place where people constructed stone tools.   The data consisted of 6 yellow artifacts, with 8 yellow jasper source rocks, and 4 red artifacts, with 3 red jasper source rocks.  Results showed a distinct difference within the yellow and red samples.  More specifically, yellow artifacts have d56Fe=0.44 ± 0.15‰ and yellow source rocks have d56Fe=0.36 ± 0.15‰; whereas red artifact have d56Fe=0.68 ± 0.07‰ and red source rocks have d56Fe=0.87 ± 0.10‰.  The errors on the values are relatively low and show distinct differences, meaning both source and artifact have similar isotopic values with their corresponding group and color.  It is known that the Native Americans baked the samples in order to cause more brittle arrow/axe heads.  This baking causes phase changes via the mineral hematite, possibly inducing the isotopic difference measured.  The results indicate that iron isotopes might be useful to distinguish sources of jasper artifacts in Central PA. To further explore this potential, more analyses from different proximal locations are needed.

Joanna Bhasker

Macie Hollenbach

Peyton LaTourrette

Hannah Farley

Comparison of Methods for Measuring Glucose Concentration Using Enzyme-Linked Kinetics: Glucometer vs. Spectrometer
Sponsored By: Ursula Williams

As of 2015, 9.4% of the U.S. population was reported to have diabetes (CDC 2017). The most popular way of tracking blood glucose concentration at home is through the use of a glucometer. Those living with diabetes must monitor their blood glucose levels throughout the day, so it is imperative that measured levels are accurate and precise. We compared two methods of measuring glucose concentration using two types of samples: standard glucose solutions and human plasma. The instruments we used, a glucometer and a spectrometer, both relied upon enzyme-linked kinetics via glucose oxidase; the glucometer which is used by people in their homes can be compared to the spectrometer, an established method of glucose concentration determination. Accuracy and precision were determined by analyzing the results of each method. In both procedures, we used solutions with known glucose concentrations in order to compare how accurately each instrument was able to measure the concentration of glucose in a sample. Precision was evaluated based on replicate analyses of glucose solutions using a glucometer and determination of uncertainty within spectrometer results. We tested each method using blood plasma to discover which method is a more useful way to determine glucose concentration in a biological sample of unknown glucose concentration. The results of this study give insight in determining which method more accurately and precisely measures blood glucose levels, which is information that may be used by diabetic persons to monitor insulin levels and diet. 

Hoi Tong Wong

Cade Emlet

Joshua Brycki

Bacterial metabolism in hosts with varying genetic backgrounds: a study with the model organism C. elegans
Sponsored By: Jason Chan

A holobiont is an ecological unit, a group of organisms, with close association so that individuals live in or on others. A major example of this is the gut microbiome, including bacterial associations with the gastrointestinal (GI) tract of a host organism. The gut microbiome exemplifies the close association of holobionts in that there are many positive, negative, and neutral interactions taking place. For example, bacteria accumulate in the gut with age, subsequently forming a part of the gut microbiome, and this may influence the lifespan of a host. We will use the model organism, Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), to study host-bacterial interactions. In the wild, C. elegans feed off bacteria in soil and fruits, which provide a nutritional food source but also a potential source of stress. At the basis of positive and stressful interactions are the mRNA genes which code for proteins, and proteins characterize the functions and activities of a cell, such as metabolism. Previously, we have found that Escherichia coli (E. coli) have diverse metabolism in vitro versus in vivo (in a C. elegans host). Additionally, interactions between a host and GI bacteria generally occur along the cell membranes of GI cells, where variations in sphingolipids (a key component of the lipid bilayer) could potentially alter how bacteria interact with the host. We map out a strategy to test how bacterial metabolic pathways change with 1) age of the host and 2) changes in host lipid membrane structure. We will introduce worms to two strains of bacteria, neutral E. coli and pathogenic Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa). Then, we will observe differences in the transcriptome of these bacteria within C. elegans through sequencing of their mRNA. Therefore, we hypothesize that altering the apical membrane of the intestine will alter bacterial metabolism, as well as the interactions between C. elegans, E. coli, and P. aeruginosa. With the data that we will collect, we will be able to develop a mechanistic model to study how interactions between the gut microbiome and the host effect overall longevity and healthspan. We will then be able to explain variations in genetic expression (bacterial response) at multiple levels: over time, between bacterial types, and between genotypes. With this, we will have a better understanding of the health and proper function of complex systems in a holobiont, a system which influences important factors such as lifespan.

Glen Brumm

Tracing copper migration in the Tongling area through copper isotope values in soils and waters
Sponsored By: Ryan Mathur

Mine waste and tailings from the copper mining process are significant to environmental water, soil, and air quality due to the large amounts of waste produced by mine sites. The extent of heavy metal contamination from copper mines in Tongling mine have greatly impacted the agricultural soils surrounding the tailings and the water near the city of Tongling, China. Copper isotope analysis was conducted in the areas surrounding a mine tailings pile and tailings dam in order to provide an assessment of heavy metal contamination in the adjacent agricultural soils and streams. 80 soil samples from 15 different profiles with a depth range of 0-2 meters were analyzed to find copper isotope and concentration values. Similarly, copper isotope values were found for 20 water samples, both surface and groundwater. The analysis was conducted at locations up to 10 kilometers from the tailings pile and tailings dam. Isotope values greater than 1 per mil were observed in soil samples within one kilometer from the tailings pile, most notably in the upper portions of the soil (5-100cm). Significant heavy isotope values were not observed in soil samples beyond this distance or in other soils not impacted by mining activities. The depth of soil contamination decreases with greater distance from the tailings. Stream data collected observed heavy isotope values at greater ranges from the assumed source; copper concentrations in water samples were found at distances from the tailings pile and dam up to 6.5 kilometers. Water data nearest the tailings contained consistently higher isotope values, suggesting the source of tailings as the source of copper. The heavy isotope data suggests that the contamination derived from the mine waste reaches up to 1Km in the soil profile and up to 6.5Km by stream. This demonstrates that the migration of copper contamination remains relatively close to the source in soils but is carried to greater distances through streams and groundwater.

Julia Kinney

Petrographic Analysis of Carbonate Subenvironments of the Hatter and Linden Hall Formations, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania
Sponsored By: Matthew Powell

Limestone is a common type of sedimentary rock which is composed of calcium carbonate sediments that were originally deposited in shallow, tropical oceans. Modern carbonate environments include the Bahama Banks and southern Florida, the Great Barrier Reef, and most of the tropical Western Pacific Ocean. Original subenvironments are able to be distinguished on the basis of sediment grain size, angularity, sorting, mineralogy, fossils, and other characteristics. Here, I have used thin sections to distinguish two carbonate subenvironments found in middle Ordovician-aged rocks (~472-461 Ma) now exposed in central Pennsylvania. Although the Hatter Formation and Linden Hall Formation are superficially similar to each other, a tectonic interpretation of the strata implies that the Hatter was deposited in shallower water than the Linden Hall. Preliminary results indicate that there are differences in grain size, fossils, and texture between the two formations, including the presence of pyrite in the deeper water environment. These findings support the original water depth interpretations. Interpreting past carbonate environments from present-day rocks provides insight into ancient Earth processes and environments, which, in turn, govern the productivity of an important petroleum and natural gas reservoir.


Lucas Simpson

Aluminum Casting in the School or Home Shop.
Sponsored By: Yu Gu

Metal Casting is used in industry to form an enormous variety of complex parts for machines, household appliances, cars, and other everyday objects. At a smaller level, metal casting allows individuals to create useable prototypes, form repeted complex parts quickly and easily, and to create artistic forms not possible with machining. For the individual, metalcasting may seem a complex process, especially for complex forms or high-resolution parts. By troubleshooting and carefully recording the casting process, I will allow future Juniata students an easier oppurtunity to persue metal casting.

Meredith Shephard

Role of host genes in the retrotransposition of the Gag protein in baker's yeast
Sponsored By: Jill Keeney

Saccharomyces cerevisiae, or baker’s yeast, is commonly used as a model organism for eukaryotes. Ty1 retroelements in yeast replicate in a manner similar to retroviruses of larger eukaryotes. Within the yeast cell Ty1 encodes mRNA and proteins that assemble to form virus-like particles (VLPs). The Gag protein has been found to be involved in the formation of VLPs in the cytoplasm. The Gag protein is first transported into the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), where it gets processed, then returns to the cytoplasm to assemble the VLPs around Ty1 on the ER cytoplasmic surface. The mechanism by which the Gag protein then survives the ER and gets translocated back to the cytoplasm is yet to be fully understood. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to identify potential open reading frames (ORFs) involved in the Gag translocation mechanism. A Gag::Ura3 fusion protein converts 5-fluourooritic acid (5-FOA) to a toxic chemical that causes cell death. The translocation of the protein complex to the ER isolates Ura3 from 5-FOA in the cytoplasm, preventing cell death. A deletion screen was done to identify host genes that when deleted result in FOA-resistance, indicating that the Gag::Ura3 protein is retained in the ER. We identified the gene SIW14, a phosphatase of the 5-position of inositol. Interestingly, the gene KCS1 has been identified in published screens of Ty1 host factors. The KCS1 enzyme phosphorylates inositol hexakisphosphate (IP6) and 1-diphosphoinosiol pentakisphosphate (5-IP7) at the 5-position. Through construction and analysis of inositol modifying genes, this study aims to identify the role of inositol phosphates in the retrotransposition of the Gag protein in S. cerevisiae.

Rachel Mignona

Origin of Ribbon Rock Through Analysis of Carbonate Sediments
Sponsored By: Matthew Powell

Carbonate sediments accumulate in many tropical geographic locations today and in environments of the past. The two most important carbonate sediments are limestone and dolostone. Limestone contains mainly calcium carbonate (CaCO3) while dolostone also has high percentages of dolomite (CaMg(CO3)2). These two carbonates are commonly found together or near each other in the stratigraphic column because of dolostone's tendancy to form from limestone. Ribbon rock is geologic phenomenon that is described as an interbedding of limestone and dolostone in a carbonate formation. The hypothesis for how ribbon rock forms is that dolomitization occurs in already deposited limestone and creates an interbedding of limestone and dolostone in a formation. The limestone and dolostone deposited in Pennsylvania’s Loysburg formation is listed as being an example of the occurrence of ribbon rock. However, no specific explanation for the interbedding in the Loysburg formation has been offered. Thin sections of the Loysburg ribbon rock were created to show the differences between the limestone and dolostone and what other features and inclusions could be observed. Alizarin Red S staining was also used on the thin section to highlight the calcite of the limestone. Preliminary results indicate that the dolomite and limestone were primary depositional features. The dolostone shows to be coarser grained, but has less inclusions, while the limestone is finer grained, but has many crystals and sponge spicules. The significance of ribbon rock is that it has only been observed in formations of early Paleozoic age. This produces the question of what was occurring at that in point in geologic history to cause the limestone and dolostone to interbed the way it does. Ribbon rocks are just one feature that exposes knowledge of geological history. Being able to understand what creates geological phenomena helps geologists piece together what events were occurring millions of years ago.

Mason Biehn

On condensation reactions between a polydentate amine with a dialdehyde derived from pyridine N-oxide
Sponsored By: Peter Baran

Schiff bases are a class of imines that are prepared by condensations of amines with aldehydes or ketones. They are widely used in coordination chemistry as catalysts and some serve as simplified models of the active site in metal-coordinated proteins found in enzymes. The goal of this study is to synthesize a new Schiff-base ligand (L) via condensation of two equivalents of tridentate Schiff-base (poxpam) with 2,6-pyridinedicarboxaldehyde N-oxide (loxal). Poxpam was prepared by the condensation of 2-pyridinecarboxaldehyde with ortho-phenylenediamine and loxal by the oxidation of 2,6-dimethylpyridine. Progress on the synthesis of ligand L will be reported and upon completion its characterization by IR-spectroscopy, X-ray crystallography, and elemental analysis will be presented. If ligand L can be successfully characterized, preliminary results of complexation reactions with a variety of metallic salts will be described alongside the characterization of isolated complexes.