27th Denman Undergraduate Research Forum (2022)

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    Understanding Needs and Challenges of African American Students Enrolled in the Moritz College of Law
    (2022-03) Walker, Nahla; Karandikar, Sharvari
    There is currently a vast amount of underrepresentation of Students of Color who attend law school. However, the even greater amount of inconclusive documentation accounting for the experiences of Black law school students is concerning. Documenting the issues that Black students face in educational pursuits of obtaining their Juris Doctorate is what will eventually evoke change and help them excel in their greatest potential. Thus, the aim of this study was to support the exigency of enhanced supportive measures for African American Students enrolled in the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State. In an effort to evaluate the conditions in which African American Students have endured in their journey to arrive at the Moritz College of Law, an exploratory study was utilized through cross-sectional interviews to gather qualitative descriptive data. Each interview consisted of a series of questions related to constructs and lived realities of childhood and adolescent experiences, impact of COVID on the lack of legal opportunities for students, challenges faced during 1L through 3L, and methods of responding to adversity. Based on 12 in-depth interviews with adults who identify themselves as underrepresented minorities within the African American community, the results of this study present different barriers that are divided into two groups: institutional barriers and internalized barriers. This study demonstrates that if adequate steps are not taken to improve diversity and inclusion, the minoritized population at Moritz College of Law will continue to face more challenges as they navigate gaps in equities within the legal profession. It is pivotal to acknowledge and study the social determinants that persist in African American communities that directly affect students of color in law schools.
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    Multi-Factor Analysis of the Overdose Epidemic in Ohio 2017-2019
    (2022-03) Borgemenke, Samuel; King, Kendall
    Background: The drug overdose pandemic has had a devastating impact on public health in Ohio. Improving our understanding of the relationships between factors that are associated with drug overdose deaths can enhance the quality of public policy and healthcare reach in Ohio. Methods: Utilizing data from the CDC and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, this project seeks to quantify the associations between the drug overdose rate for counties in Ohio with various factors via statistical regressions. Results: The overwhelming majority of drug/alcohol overdose deaths during 2017-2019 were unintentional. Drug overdose deaths and life expectancy are strongly associated. Communities with higher overdose rates have lower life expectancies. Socioeconomic status (SES) and health care factors, such as mental distress and physical inactivity, are significantly correlated with increased drug overdose deaths. Household income is significantly correlated with increased access to health care, implying that communities of lower SES may lack adequate access to quality care and suffer from increased overdose deaths. Conclusions: The data indicate the importance of access to healthcare and healthcare providers in response to the drug overdose pandemic in Ohio. Health care access is currently proportional to income—higher income households have a higher proportion of insured and primary care physicians. Thus, implementing policies that support health care infrastructure should be prioritized to increase the capacity of treatment in neglected (low-income and socioeconomic) communities.
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    Evaluating Interventions to Reduce Maternal Depression and Improve Child Outcomes: A Review of Literature
    (2022-03) Neher, Avery; Chang, Mei-Wei
    Children of mothers with depression are at a higher risk for emotion and behavior problems. However, the literature is unclear how to intervene. Therefore, this literature review aims to identify appropriate intervention to promote emotional wellbeing and positive behaviors. The online databases utilized were PubMed and CINHAL. Key phrases included "((maternal depression) AND (child behavior)) AND (internalizing)", "((maternal depression) AND (early childhood)) AND (psychopathology)", "((maternal depression) AND (internalizing symptoms)) AND (children)". Five intervention articles that met criteria were selected for review. Of the five randomized controlled trials reviewed, one study utilized video to deliver intervention, one study used brief video and in-person counseling, one applied motivational interviewing, one used psychotherapy, and one applied cognitive behavioral therapy. Of five studies, only two studies specified length of intervention: ten weeks and fourteen weeks. All five studies focused on low-income mothers with major depression. Four intervention studies showed maternal depression alleviation. Only two studies reported improvement of child's emotion control outcomes. Three studies either could not determine due to inappropriate analysis or did not detect significant differences in child outcomes. There were different types of interventions used. Although interventions improved maternal depressive symptoms, the positive finding did not improve child emotion outcomes.
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    Spatial Congruency Bias in Contexts: The Influence of Background Scenes on Object-location binding
    (2022-03) Bai, Zihan; Golomb, Julie
    When people are looking for something, they sometimes become confused since some objects appear to be rather similar, misleading them to believe the objects are the same even when they are different. This scenario illustrates a common misjudgment of visual perception due to various reasons. One of the behavioral phenomena that explains why people misjudge objects in visual environments is the spatial congruency bias. The spatial congruency bias reveals that people are more inclined to misjudge two objects presented sequentially as having the same identity when they are in the same spatial location, implying that irrelevant location information may be bound to object identity (Golomb et al., 2014). Previous research has only explored spatial congruency bias between isolated objects, whereas in realistic settings, objects almost always co-occur with background scenes. Thus, we aimed to explore the influence of background scenes on the spatial congruency bias and object-location binding. In a series of experiments, subjects performed a same-different judgment task on the identity of two objects presented successively in either the same or different spatial locations. The first experiment tested whether the effect of background scenes on the spatial congruency bias depends on the consistency between the identity of background scenes, by presenting two objects with either the same or different background scenes (same-scene vs. different-scene condition). We found a significant spatial congruency bias only when two objects were presented with the same background scene, but not when presented with different scenes, though the difference across scene conditions was not significant. Then, the second experiment tested whether the mere presence of a background scene affects the spatial congruency bias. Here, the two objects were superimposed on a background scene or blank white background (scene-present vs. scene-absent condition). We found a robust spatial congruency bias when objects were presented without a background, but not when presented with a background scene. We conclude that the mere presence of background scenes weakly modulates object-location binding (Experiment 2), but that consistency of scene identity facilitates object-location binding (Experiment 1). These findings pave the way for future studies (e.g., Experiment 3, in prep) into the effect of visual stability of scenes on spatial congruency bias and object-location binding.
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    Utilizing the Community Capitals Framework and Community Network Mapping to Analyze the Impacts of COVID-19 and the Federal Stimulus Packages on Poverty in Vinton County, Ohio
    (2022-03) Allman, Madison; Martin, Kenneth; Campbell, Joseph
    In March 2020, countries around the world entered mass lockdowns to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has affected not only global health, but the economic viability of communities, and has been the influence behind many financial adjustments in areas who were already struggling with poverty before the pandemic hit. The purpose of this study is to document recent direct and indirect causes of poverty in Vinton County, Ohio, and how COVID-19 and the federal stimulus bills have affected poverty in the area from March 2020 to January 2022. Through the concepts of the Community Capitals Framework and community network mapping, this research aims to provide Vinton County community leaders and organizations with an understanding of which community assets impact poverty and what areas they can improve upon to address the issue, while taking COVID-19 and federal relief into consideration. A list of community-based organizations (CBOs) has been identified through observation and snowball sampling to create a community network map. The community network map is used as a visual tool for understanding the flow of assets between groups, and how CBOs within the Vinton County community interact. Although the economic impact of the pandemic on Vinton County is not yet entirely known, it was concluded that infrastructure is a leading cause of poverty in Vinton County, specifically water and broadband infrastructure, in which the pandemic highlighted. Conclusions raised the argument that local leadership in small, rural communities such as Vinton County is aging and overwhelmed, causing strain on asset distribution and allocation. CBOs inside and connected to Vinton County were already benefitting from bonding and bridging social capital pre-pandemic to accomplish shared missions, visions, and goals, and during the pandemic, many CBOs focused on making an impact in ways they knew how, and oftentimes found themselves "going in circles" with the same set of leading organizations. CBOs not associated with the community network can bridge social capital to additional organizations using the provided map to accomplish said visions, spreading the load of development work across the community network and not a specific set of leading organizations. Reviewed by research advisors Dr. Kenneth Martin (Martin.1540@osu.edu) and Dr. Joe Campbell (Campbell.844@osu.edu).
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    Determining the Impact that Npas4 Expression has on the Maturation of Social Behaviors during Adolescence
    (2022-03) Jindal, Keshav; Coutellier, Laurence
    Intro/ Background Adolescence is a period during which social functions mature. This maturation is paralleled by the maturation of the prefrontal cortex, a brain region regulating social behaviors in adulthood. Particularly, the prefrontal GABAergic system, which is the main inhibitory system of the nervous system, undergoes important reorganization during the adolescent period that seems necessary for developing social behaviors. There is however a nescience on the molecular mechanism that leads to this social maturation. Npas4 is a transcription factor that contributes to the development of the prefrontal GABA system, and is important for adult social behaviors. It is therefore likely that Npas4 contributes to the maturational processes underlying the acquisition of adult social functioning. The aim of this study is to evaluate the extent to which Npas4 contributes to the maturation of social functions. This information can help treat certain neuropsychiatric disorders marked by social deficits such as schizophrenia and anxiety. Methods Transgenic mice deficient in Npas4 were used to test social behaviors from childhood to adulthood. These mice were tested at three different age groups: childhood, adolescence and adulthood. We then used an early social isolation model known to impair the maturation of social behaviors. We assessed its impact on Npas4 expression in the prefrontal cortex using RT-PCR. Mice were isolated starting before adolescence, or during mid-adolescence. A control group of mice were group-housed. Npas4 expression was assessed at different times after isolation started. Results We observed that Npas4 deficient mice have deficits in social behavior after, but not before adolescence. Additionally, socially isolated mice have higher levels of Npas4 from two days to one week after social isolation compared to group-housed mice, followed by reduced expression until adulthood. Conclusion Our data support the idea that Npas4 can be a significant molecular contributor to adolescent maturation of social behaviors. To confirm this conclusion, the next aspect of the study will be to test whether overexpression of Npas4 on socially isolated mice can rescue social deficits.
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    Right under your nose: How olfactory cues influence Cyphomyrmex costatus' recognition and preference of fungal symbionts
    (2022-03) Jennings, Alison; Adams, Rachelle
    For at least 55 million years, fungus-growing ants (tribe: Attini) have maintained an intimate mutualism with their co-evolved fungal cultivar (Branstetter et al., 2017). The farmer ants provide their fungus gardens with resources for cultivation, and in turn, the fungus serves as an obligate food source and a place to raise young. Fungus-growing ant species are exclusive to their cultivar strain despite others being readily available. We examine the precision of Cyphomyrmex costatus' ability to differentiate between closely related fungi, including strains that are associated with another Cyphomyrmex species, C. muelleri. We hypothesize that if given the choice, Cyphomyrmex ants will show preference for fungal strains that are most genetically similar to their original garden. This ability to differentiate gardens is most likely driven by the ant's ability to detect chemical differences between strains; however, the chemistry of these gardens remains unknown. We have been actively isolating cultivar from our laboratory colonies (39 C. costatus and 8 C. muelleri) onto PDA-Cl agar plates. We performed DNA extractions on isolated cultivar and constructed a preliminary phylogeny (species-relatedness tree) utilizing previously published DNA sequences in addition to our novel extractions. Furthermore, we use behavioral assays to test our hypothesis that Cyphomyrmex ants "prefer" gardens that are most closely related to their native cultivar when given a choice between two fungal isolates. These behavioral and genetic studies will inform future questions about the importance of certain chemical cues in ant decision-making, and if there is a genetic basis for chemical volatiles associated with the mutualistic fungi.
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    Expression of Sweet Taste Receptors in Skeletal Muscle Fiber Types
    (2022-03) Boyd, Jordan; Kyriazis, George
    Background: Sweet taste receptors (STRs) are formed by two proteins, T1R2 and T1R3, and are expressed in many tissues outside of the tongue, such as the pancreas and the intestine. There they function as nutrient sensors regulating endocrine secretion. We found STRs are involved in skeletal muscle function by improving its oxidative capacity. We reasoned that STR expression in different fiber types might account for these observations. Thus, we set to assess the expression of STRs in quadriceps, soleus, and tibialis anterior muscles using skeletal muscle-specific mRNA analysis. Methods: The RiboTag method allows for analysis of STR expression specifically in muscle fibers. This technology utilizes ribosomal tagging to analyze cell specific gene expression. For this experiment, we crossed Myogenin-Cre mice with RiboTag-fl/fl mice which generate mice that express a specific marker on ribosomes in myocytes. This marker allows for immunoprecipitation (IP) of mRNA selectively from myocytes. Reverse transcription and qPCR analysis of the resulting cDNA followed. Specific gene markers were chosen to assess their expression in the elution, which includes mRNA only from muscle fiber compared to the input, which is mRNA from total muscle tissue. Based on this, myocyte-specific genes should be robustly amplified, while genes specific to other cell types such as immune or satellite cells will be de-enriched. Results: Compared to whole-muscle input control, all the muscle-specific marker genes Myh7, Myh2, Myh4, and Myh1 were enriched in the elution from RiboTag/Myogenin mRNA IP. T1R2, T1R3, and Gnat3 (involved in STR signaling) were also enriched in all muscle elutions. As expected, genes for other cell types such as immune cells, satellite cells, and macrophages were significantly de-enriched in the elution, confirming the specificity of the experiment. Using principal component analysis (PCA) across all muscles, we found that STR genes cluster with specific type I and IIa fiber markers suggesting that their expression may be linked to oxidative fibers. Conclusions: STRs are expressed in myofibers of all muscles but their expression is more closely associated with oxidative fibers. To confirm these associations future investigation will focus on RiboTag x T1R2-Cre mice to assess the profile of T1R2-expressing fibers.
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    Evaluating accuracy of neutral detergent fiber methodology on effluent samples from dual-flow continuous culture fermenters
    (2022-03) Miller, Magdalene; Wenner, Benjamin
    Ruminant animals such as cattle can utilize fiber as an energy source. Fiber is the carbohydrate portion of feed that can only be digested by gastrointestinal microbes. The neutral detergent fiber (NDF) system is used to calculate three fiber components of a sample: lignin, cellulose, and hemicellulose. Accurate NDF measurements are beneficial when calculating nutritional value and digestibility of feeds. Dual-flow continuous culture fermenters (DFCC) are used to mimic rumen function and examine feedstuff digestibility in the ruminant system without the cost of an animal trial. Effluent samples from fermenters are finely ground, which makes it more challenging to filter the sample during the NDF procedure. My objectives were to compare filter types (paper vs. microfiber) and determine which was more accurate compared to a commercial laboratory standard. My secondary objective was to evaluate the effect of ash contamination on NDF results. My hypothesis was that the 934-Ah microfiber filters (AhMF) would be more accurate for determining NDF content of fermenter samples. My other hypothesis was that ash percentage in feed samples would have a direct effect on both filtering time and NDF accuracy. To make this comparison, dried effluent samples (n=24) from 3 previously published DFCC trials were assayed for NDF in triplicate and filtered by 541 paper filters (PF) or AhMF. In a second experiment, 3 feed samples (alfalfa hay, brewer's grains, and corn silage) were dried (55C), ground (2mm) and assayed for NDF using the PF. Ash was obtained by burning biochar at 550C. Each feed sample was contaminated with a differing level of ash (0%, 20%, 30%, 40%, and 50%) and run in triplicate. The AhMF and PF had a mean difference from the commercial laboratory standard of -2.86 and -2.50 respectively (P<0.0001). In experiment 2, ash contamination had a direct effect on increasing the amount of NDF retained on the filter (P<0.0001). These data indicate that ash contamination has a significant effect on the recovery of NDF values using the reflux method. Since DFCC effluent samples are around 50% ash, more work is needed to determine the best method to obtain accurate NDF values.
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    Stigma and Sentiment: The Perception of Terms Related to Sex Industry Participants
    (2022-03) Kinnaird, Kate; Winford, Don
    The goal of this study is to explore perceptions by the general public of different terms used to refer to people in the sex industry. Many of these words carry heavy connotations and insinuate certain things about a sex worker's character. Although some have embraced sex workers and ardently defended their humanity and right to work, the world has not made suitable progress in accommodating sex industry participants by describing them with dignity and sensitivity. An anonymous survey was administered using Qualtrics. The survey focused on four terms: sex worker, escort, prostitute, and hooker. Participants were first asked demographic questions about their race and ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity, and political affiliation. Next, participants were asked questions about their familiarity and experiences with each term. Participants were prompted to describe the judgments and feelings associated with the four items, as well as provide input on what they believe the political alignment of the speaker to be. The survey received 17 responses. When asked whether they perceived a term as negative, neutral, or positive, participants agreed unanimously that hooker and prostitute were negative terms. Participants associated words like "dirty" and "trashy" with hooker and "judgmental" and "impersonal" with prostitute. In contrast, escort was ranked as neutral and sex worker was ranked as neutral to positive. Generally, participants associated the more negative terms - hooker and prostitute - with right-wing identifying speakers and the more neutral terms - escort and sex worker - with left-wing identifying speakers. All 17 participants stated that they would use the term sex worker when referring to a sex industry participant. As our society moves towards a place of empathy in describing others, sex industry participants cannot be left behind. The words that are used to describe sex workers carry baggage that can contribute to the harm and endangerment of a group of already marginalized people, many of whom are further disenfranchised due to the impacts of systemic oppression. Developing a safer and more equitable world for sex workers begins with using speech that reflects respect and consideration.
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    Understanding Positional Risk Through AFSIM
    (2022-03) Enders, James; Midlam-Mohler, Shawn; Hillstrom, David
    Leveraging the computational power of modern computer systems to give the war fighter the edge is pivotal to the completion of Objective 1 of the USAF's 2030 R&D strategy. The Advanced Framework for Simulation, Innovation, and Modeling (AFSIM) simulates, via Monte-Carlo methods, the varying levels of complexity, ranging from the component level to full campaigns, that are necessary for a complete system. Due to the nature of these types of simulations, it is necessary that the information retrieved be both of statistical significance and of thoughtful value. To determine statistical significance, convergence over iterations is monitored and terminated upon reaching user-defined requirements. To ensure thoughtful value to the user, determining the level of risk of an operation is crucial. Within the current scope, one such way to determine risk is by determining the risk of a units position in relation to it's absolute (map) position, and relative position. Accurately assessing this risk requires initial condition perturbations to have valuable data across the range of potential positional starting conditions. Once data is collected at varying levels of convergence and at varying perturbed conditions, combined together, provides the war fighting analyst data that can be utilized to generate strategies with information beyond experience. This information can be combined later with more information, such as traceability and Markov Chains, to add another level of risk understanding. Current processes have been brought to the level of monitoring convergence to the required levels. Perturbing initial conditions and combing data sets into valuable visualizations is still required.
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    The Future of Data-Driven Decision Making: Exploring the Governance Models of Data Collaboratives and Their Relative Success
    (2022-03) Loftin, Shaun; Landsbergen, David
    There is a growing interest in using data-driven decision making in public policy. One response to this need is data collaboratives, which seek to fill the gap between data aggregation and public utilization of said data. Data collaboratives are a platform upon which different kinds of public and private data are collected, stored, and managed among private and public stakeholders to share data and conduct analysis. Different types of emerging data collaboratives include private intermediaries for data collection and public partnerships with smart city programs. Studying these collaboratives can provide insights into the future on how the government uses data by exploring its interaction with citizens in creating and implementing policy. In this paper, we will review various data collaboratives and look at their organizational leadership, governance approaches, mission statements, and successes/shortcomings. The research team used a mixed-methods approach by first conducting interviews to develop a more robust understanding of the nature of the problems and possible solutions. These conclusions were then validated through a survey and follow-up interviews. The results of the survey showed that many data collaboratives experience similar challenges - such as bureaucratic limitations and funding shortages - as they attempt to produce deliverables. Many data collaboratives are often narrowly focused on a policy issue such as transportation, healthcare, or infrastructure; therefore, looking at other examples of collaboratives in one city could contrast with the governance approach of another. Learning more about the successes and barriers of existing data collaboratives can help interested cities and regional partners build a comparable model.
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    How Did Rejecting the Trans-Pacific Partnership Impact the United States' Economic and Political Interests?
    (2022-03) Fei, Howard; Sheldon, Ian; Thompson, Alexander
    With the Belt and Road Initiative and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, China has established itself as a potential challenger to the United States' global hegemony. In response to the rise of China, the United States had since shifted its geopolitical focus towards East Asia through the pivot-to-Asia initiative with the Trans-Pacific Partnership(TPP) as its centerpiece; the Agreement aimed to strengthen ties with allies in Asia and unite countries with different interests to counterbalance China's growing power and influence. However, due to domestic opposition, the TPP failed to ratify in Congress and was abandoned after President Donald Trump formally withdrew from the negotiations in 2017. The purpose of this study is to investigate how rejecting the TPP impacted the United States' economic and political interests. The thesis adopts a qualitative approach that incorporates various research methods such as directly examining TPP provisions, reviewing secondary research on the economic significance of the TPP, conducting literature reviews on neoliberal theories, and juxtaposing the TPP with alternative trade agreements through counterfactual analysis. The evidence from this thesis suggests that rejecting the TPP led to the absence of up-to-date trade provisions, stalled trade liberalization, and relinquished a vital policy instrument that could have been used to counter the rise of China. The results indicate that rejecting the TPP negatively impacted the United States' economic and political interests. Further research is needed to understand the political obstacles that led to the rejection of the TPP despite its economic and political benefits; this could provide insight into ways to make future regional trade agreements more politically feasible.
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    Validation of extracellular glucose depletion as a mock measurement of its uptake in cells and tissues ex vivo
    (2022-03) Arnipalli, Shanvanth; Ziouzenkova, Ouliana
    The ongoing worldwide epidemic of diabetes increases the demand for identification of environmental, nutritional, endocrine, genetic, and epigenetic factors affecting glucose uptake. The measurement of intracellular fluorescence is a widely used method to test the uptake of fluorescently-labeled glucose (FD-glucose) in cells in vitro or for imaging glucose-consuming tissues in vivo. This assay assesses glucose uptake at a chosen time point. The intracellular analysis is based on the assumption that metabolism of FD-glucose is slower than that of endogenous glucose, which participates in catabolic and anabolic reactions and signaling. However, dynamic glucose metabolism also alters uptake mechanisms, which would require kinetic measurements of glucose uptake in response to different factors. Here we describe a method for measuring extracellular FD-glucose depletion and validate its correlation with intracellular FD glucose uptake in cells and tissues ex vivo. Our protocol describes two phases: intracellular and extracellular, measurements of FD-glucose uptake in 3T3-L1 cells. Cells were cultured in 96-well format, for forty-eight hours and then stimulated with FD-glucose to observe uptake in cells and depletion in extracellular medium. Likewise, we executed the ex vivo measurement of extracellular uptake of FD glucose in tissues dissected from ob/ob mice. Prior to tissues harvest, animals were treated with a canonic mediator of glucose uptake, such as insulin, an amino acid compound 2 (AAC2). AAC2 is an experimental nanomaterial that increased glucose uptake in peripheral and brain cell cultures as well as in mouse models of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The direct comparison of extracellular FD-glucose depletion with normalized intracellular glucose uptake in cells culture showed a high correlation, suggesting that extracellular glucose depletion could be a surrogate measurement for glucose uptake assessment. Thus, Extracellular glucose depletion may be potentially applicable for high throughput kinetic and dose-dependent studies, identifying compounds with glycemic activity and their tissue-specific effects.