Volume 12, Issue 3, May 2015

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Volume 12, Issue 3, May 2015 interactive high-resolution pdf

https://doi.org/10.33697/ajur.2015.009

Abstracts, key words, information about student authors, and press summaries for these articles are provided in the section below links to individual papers. The complete 12-3 issue prepared for the double sided printing is available at the bottom of the page.

p.2 Editorial “Citizen Science: Contribute to a Common Good, Collaborate, and Communicate!

https://doi.org/10.33697/ajur.2015.010

Dr. John R. Jungck

p. 5 Investigating the Response of a Small Urbanized Watershed to Acute Toxicity Events via Analysis of High-frequency Environmental Data

Holly Adelle Clark , Walter M. McDonald, Vinod K. Lohani & Randel L. Dymond

p. 19 Occurrence of Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria in Aquatic Environments in Central Minnesota

Megan Bollin, Dr. Ellen Jensen & Dr. David Mitchell

p. 37 Effect of a Worksite Walking Competition on Health-Related Quality
of Life Among University Employees

Breanna Z. Orozco, Lisa J. Leininger & Kendra L. Contente

p. 45 Approximation of Euler Number Using Gamma Function

Shekh Mohammed Zahid & Dr. Prasanta Kumar Ray

p. 53 Direct and Indirect Effects of Pseudoephedrine on the Intrinsic Conduction System of the Embryonic Chicken Heart

Samely Gonzalez, Fatima Afzal & Dr. Jacqueline S. McLaughlin

p. 63 Nutritional Stress of Cultured Vero Cells Causes Altered Growth and Morphology as Seen in Neoplastic Transformation

Tyler Adams, Rabia Anwar, Michael Mfarej, Taylor Rundatz, Melissa Coyle &
Dr. Jacqueline S. McLaughlin

p. 77 Searching for Gravitational Waves from the Coalescence of High-mass Black Hole Binaries

Liting Xiao, Alan J. Weinstein, Dr. Tjonnie G. F. Li & Surabhi Sachdev

Abstracts, key words, information about student authors, and press summaries for these articles are provided below:

p. 5 Investigating the Response of a Small Urbanized Watershed to Acute Toxicity Events via Analysis of High-frequency Environmental Data

https://doi.org/10.33697/ajur.2015.011

Holly Adelle Clark , Walter M. McDonald, Vinod K. Lohani & Randel L. Dymond
ABSTRACT
This study, conducted over 10 weeks by an undergraduate student in an NSF REU (U.S. National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates) program under mentorship of the co-authors, investigates responses of a small urban watershed, located in Blacksburg, Virginia, to acute toxicity events. High-frequency water and weather data were collected using monitoring equipment maintained by the Learning Enhanced Watershed Assessment System (LEWAS) lab, including a weather station, rain gauge, water quality sonde, and an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler. The location and attributes of local stormwater catchments were surveyed and recorded using GIS software to determine the overall contributing area of the LEWAS lab watershed. This fieldwork resulted in the construction of an accurate stormwater network map, which in turn allowed the identification of sources of sedimentation and other pollution from runoff events. A case study presents the response of the watershed to a winter storm event that resulted in acute chloride toxicity from runoff containing road salts.
KEYWORDS
Water; Stormwater, Urban Watersheds; Watershed Responses; Acute Toxicity; High-frequency Data; Data Analysis; Data Collection; Environmental Monitoring; Flow Measurements; Hydrologic Data.
ABOUT THE STUDENT AUTHORS
Holly A. Clark is in her sixth year of undergraduate study at the University of Idaho. She is pursuing Bachelor of Science degrees in both Environmental Science (with a physical science emphasis) and Music History and Literature (with a clarinet emphasis). She will graduate in May 2015.
PRESS SUMMARY:
A 10 week U.S. National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates study investigated responses of a small urban watershed, located in Blacksburg, Virginia, to acute toxicity events. High-frequency water and weather data were collected using monitoring equipment maintained by the Learning Enhanced Watershed Assessment System (LEWAS) lab, including a weather station, rain gauge, water quality sonde, and an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler. Stormwater infrastructure fieldwork resulted in the construction of an accurate stormwater network map, which in turn allowed the identification of sources of sedimentation and other pollution from runoff events. A case study presents the response of the watershed to a winter storm event that resulted in acute chloride toxicity from runoff containing road salts.

p. 19 Occurrence of Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria in Aquatic Environments in Central Minnesota

https://doi.org/10.33697/ajur.2015.012

Megan Bollin, Dr. Ellen Jensen & Dr. David Mitchell
ABSTRACT
The purpose of this study was to investigate the possibility that antibiotic resistant bacteria could be isolated and identified in aquatic ecosystems in the lakes on the campus of Saint John’s University and the nearby Sauk and Watab Rivers. A total of 125 isolates were collected. Seventy-nine percent of the isolates were gram negative rods. Twenty-six isolates that were resistant to seven or more antibiotics were selected for further investigation. The 26 isolates were all gram negative and members of seven different genera with Flavobacterium and Acinetobacter being the most common. Resistance coefficients were calculated based on optical density values relative to cells grown without antibiotics. Multi-drug resistant, gram negative bacteria were shown to be common in aquatic environments in central Minnesota.
ABOUT THE STUDENT AUTHOR
Megan Bollin worked on this project in the summer of 2013 as part of her honors thesis in Biology at the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology in May 2014 and while an undergraduate spent a semester studying in London. She currently works for a biotechnology firm in the Twin Cities.
PRESS SUMMARY
The (over)use of antibiotics in agriculture and medicine over the last few decades has raised serious questions about the evolution of bacteria that have become resistant to standard antibiotics. In this paper, we sampled several local waterways in and around St.John’s University in central Minnesota to determine if bacteria growing in these smaller, isolated areas had developed resistance to standard antibiotics and if so which classes of antibiotics were they now able to resist. The results indicate that bacteria growing in these areas are resistant to many common antibiotics.

p. 37 Effect of a Worksite Walking Competition on Health-Related Quality
of Life Among University Employees

https://doi.org/10.33697/ajur.2015.013

Breanna Z. Orozco, Lisa J. Leininger & Kendra L. Contente
ABSTRACT
Worksite health promotion programs (WHPPs) aim to improve the health and wellness of employees in an effort to improve health related quality of life (HRQOL). The effect of exercise on improving HRQOL is well documented among clinical populations. However, few studies have examined the effect of WHPPs on HRQOL. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of a six-week “Workplace Walk-Off Competition” (WWC) on HRQOL among university employees. One hundred and nine university employees were included in this study (WWC group: n=47, Control group: n=62). All study participants completed the Short Form 12 Question, Version 2 (SF-12v2), a HRQOL questionnaire, before and after the WWC. The SF-12v2 questionnaire determines HRQOL based on two components and reports scores for a physical component summary (PCS) score and a mental component summary (MCS) score. A two-way repeated measures ANOVA was performed on PCS and MCS scores, followed by dependent t-tests for each group. There was no significant difference in PCS or MCS scores between the groups. Further, there were no statistically significant changes in PCS or MCS scores (p>.05) among either group, following the six-week WWC. Although much research deems WHPPs effective for improving many health indicators, this short-term program was not effective in improving PCS and MCS components of HRQOL.
KEYWORDS
Quality of Life, Health Promotion, Walking Competition, University Employees
ABOUT THE STUDENT AUTHORS
Breanna Orozco will graduate from California State University, Monterey Bay in Spring 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology – Exercise Science and a Minor in Statistics. Breanna is a McNair scholar, and has received many other prestigious awards, including the American College of Sports Medicine Golding Scholarship. Each summer, Breanna travels to the University of Southern California to work in the Women’s Health and Exercise Laboratory. She has presented at many national conferences including the American College of Sports Medicine Annual meetings, and the Hawaiian International Conference on Education. Her future endeavors include pursuing a Ph.D. in Biokinesiology and a career as a research professor.
Kendra Contente will graduate from California State University, Monterey Bay in Spring 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology — Exercise Science. Kendra has been involved in many projects at CSU Monterey Bay, including the annual Workplace Walkoff Challenge. Kendra will be presenting at several national conferences in the next year. Kendra is interested in health and exercise, and her main focus of research for the upcoming year will be interventions to increase physical activity among employees at universities. Kendra plans to pursue medical school.
PRESS SUMMARY
Research indicates that exercise can help improve health-related quality of life, which adds to the importance of participating in regular physical activity. Worksite health promotion programs aim to improve the health of employees, in an effort to reduce individual disease risk and benefit the organization by reducing health care costs. This study examined if quality of life could be improved among employees with participation in a walking competition at a university. This study did not find that quality of life was improved, however there are many other benefits to worksite health promotion programs, and therefore, studies should continue in this field.

p. 45 Approximation of Euler Number Using Gamma Function

https://doi.org/10.33697/ajur.2015.014

Shekh Mohammed Zahid & Dr. Prasanta Kumar Ray
ABSTRACT
This research presents a formula to calculate Euler number using gamma function. The representation is somewhat similar to Taylor series expansion of e. The number e is presented as sum of an integral and decimal part. But it is well known that e is an irrational number, and therefore such an expression for e does not exist in principle, that is why we are approximately representing it for use in computation. The approximation of our formula increases as we increase the value of index in the summation formula. We also analyse the approximation of our formula by both numerical and graphical methods.
KEYWORDS
Euler Number, Gamma Function, Approximation, Computing, L’Hospital’s Rule
ABOUT THE STUDENT AUTHOR
Shekh Mohammed Zahid is a first year undergraduate student of BSc (Hons) in Mathematics and Computing in the Institute of Mathematics and Applications, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India. His research interests include number theory and theoretical physics.
PRESS SUMMARY
In this paper, we developed a formula that gives an approximate value of the Euler number e using gamma function. Its expansion is the sum of integer part and the fractional part. Also, the expansion of series can be terminated as per our preference by choosing favourable index in the summation formula. We have approximated the Euler number e in the given formula for a specific value; however, there is a scope to extend the formula for approximating e in a new way using asymptotic notation.

p. 53 Direct and Indirect Effects of Pseudoephedrine on the Intrinsic Conduction System of the Embryonic Chicken Heart

https://doi.org/10.33697/ajur.2015.015

Samely Gonzalez, Fatima Afzal & Dr. Jacqueline S. McLaughlin
ABSTRACT
Pseudoephedrine (PSE) is an over the counter (OTC) medication used to temporarily relieve nasal congestion, hay fever or other upper respiratory allergies by shrinking blood vessels in the nasal passages. Aside from its vasoconstriction properties it is also known to elevate heart rate, and blood pressure, thus being a sympathomimetic drug. There are two hypotheses on how this drug increases heart rate (HR): (1) a direct mechanism wherein PSE works by binding to adrenergic receptors in the heart’s intrinsic conduction system; and, (2) an indirect mechanism wherein PSE causes the release of norepinephrine from sympathetic nerves to activate adrenergic receptors. This research utilized the chick embryonic heart as a model system to examine the chronotropic effects and mechanisms of PSE on the developing vertebrate heart. Research suggests that this drug has both direct and indirect effects, and induces dangerous heart arrhythmias such as atrial flutter, in high doses.
KEYWORDS
Pseudophedrine, Sympathomimetic Drugs, Pseudophedrine and Pregnancy, Pseudophedrine and Norepinephrine, Pseudophedrine Related Arrhythmias, Over–the-counter Drugs; Chick Heart Development
ABOUT THE STUDENT AUTHORS
Samely Gonzalez is a current undergraduate student at Penn State Abington, Philadelphia, PA set to graduate in May, 2016 with a B.S. degree in Genetics and Developmental Biology. She plans to utilize her skills and knowledge from undergraduate research and other science experiences in her pursuit to become a physician assistant. Her overall objective is to have a career in the medical field that allows her to help others achieve a healthy way of living.
Fatima Afzal is from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and is currently enrolled as an undergraduate sophomore at Penn State Berks, Reading, PA. She has declared her major in biochemistry, pursing the cell and molecular biology option. She plans on applying the acquired research skills to future careers in pharmaceutical companies or as a medicinal chemist, working alongside eager scientists to develop and manufacture pharmaceuticals in order to grow and expand the drug industry.
PRESS SUMMARY
Pseudophedrine (PSE) is an over the counter (OTC) medication commonly used to temporarily relieve nasal congestion, upper respiratory allergies, and sinus pressure. Previous research has shown, however, that this drug elevates heart rate and blood pressure in humans and other mammals. This research utilized the chick embryonic heart as a model system to study the effects of (PSE) on the developing, vertebrate four-chambered heart and to determine whether this drug has either direct or indirect effects, i.e., it works by binding directly to receptors in the heart’s pacemaker or indirectly by causing the release of norepinephrine from sympathetic nerve terminals to activate the same receptors. To do this, isolated developing chick hearts without innervation and whole chick embryos were exposed to varying PSE concentrations and heart rates were recorded. Research suggests that this drug has both direct and indirect effects and induces atrial flutter when exposed to high dosages.

p. 63 Nutritional Stress of Cultured Vero Cells Causes Altered Growth and Morphology as Seen in Neoplastic Transformation

https://doi.org/10.33697/ajur.2015.016

Tyler Adams, Rabia Anwar, Michael Mfarej, Taylor Rundatz, Melissa Coyle &
Dr. Jacqueline S. McLaughlin
ABSTRACT
In this report, the authors describe the effects of stressed culture conditions on Vero cells, which are a form of epithelial cells derived from the African green monkey kidney. This project was designed in large part to replicate a previously published report on the effects of nutritional stress on the growth patterns of these cells. Culture conditions that include nutritional limitation and cell crowding have been shown to transform these cells into cells that differ morphologically, develop into spheroid- shaped clusters, as well as exhibit altered protein expression. It was suggested that these changes might mirror those occurring in metastatic cancer cells, and could therefore provide a useful experimental model system. In the current study, the investigators successfully cultured Vero cells in control cultures, and then compared their growth patterns and morphology to cells grown in nutritionally stressed and overcrowded cell culture conditions defined by extensive days in culture in unchanged media which did or did not contain glucose. The results confirmed that nutritionally stressed and over-crowded cultures result in cells that change morphologically, detach from the substrate, and exhibit spheroid-shaped clusters of cells. Sub-culturing these detached cells demonstrated that the results were permanent, meaning that the new growth patterns and clustering persisted. The results suggest that deprivation of nutrition and other factors essential to life may facilitate aberrant growth.
KEYWORDS
Vero Cells, Nutritional Stress, Cell Morphology, Neoplastic Transformation, Malignant Cells, Spheroid Formation.
ABOUT THE STUDENT AUTHORS
Tyler Adams is currently a third year student at Penn State Berks. He is pursuing a B.S. in Biology. After graduation, he intends on earning his M.D. and specializing in cardiology.
Rabia Anwar is a third year student at Penn State Berks. She is pursuing a B.S. in Genetics and Developmental Biology and a minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. After graduation, she intends on earning her M.D. and specializing in cardiology.
Michael Mfarej is currently a fourth year Penn State Berks student. He is pursuing a B.S. in Genetics and Developmental Biology. He will be graduating in the Spring of 2015. After graduation, he plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology with interests of continuing his research training in cancer biology.
Taylor Rundatz is currently a fourth year Penn State Berks student. She intends on graduating in the Spring of 2015 with a B.S. in Biology. After graduation, she plans to pursue an M.D. and Ph.D. dual degree program. With her medical education she is interested in a career as a pathologist.
PRESS SUMMARY
Vero cells were monitored for nine and fifteen day periods under nutritional deprivation and over-crowding conditions. The stressed cells remained viable and underwent a transformation in growth patterns and morphology analogous to behavior seen other models of mammalian cell transformation. These alterations were maintained in the stressed cells after re-plating, suggesting that the transformation was permanent. The results suggest that deprivation of nutrition and other factors essential to life may facilitate aberrant growth.

p. 77 Searching for Gravitational Waves from the Coalescence of High-mass Black Hole Binaries

https://doi.org/10.33697/ajur.2015.017

Liting Xiao, Alan J. Weinstein, Dr. Tjonnie G. F. Li & Surabhi Sachdev
ABSTRACT
We search for gravitational waves from the coalescence (inspiral, merger and ringdown) of binary black holes with data from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). Provided with well-described waveform models from General Relativity, matched filtering is employed in the GSTLAL analysis pipeline as the optimal detection technique for weak signals in Gaussian noise. The GSTLAL analysis pipeline filters data with waveform template banks, identifies triggers with SNR greater than 4, forms coincident triggers between multiple detectors in the LSC-Virgo Collaboration, and attempts to optimally separate signal from detector background noise fluctuations using a Chisquared test. We analyze high-statistics simulations of binary merger waveforms injected into LIGO recolored S6 data to evaluate the pipeline search sensitivity and to test the readiness of the pipeline for Advanced LIGO. With Advanced LIGO fully in operation by 2015 and the upgraded analysis pipelines, the expected detection rate is increased to as much as 100 events/year or more as compared to 0.01–1 events/year in Initial LIGO. Our work will make it possible to detect gravitational waves from binary black hole coalescence in Advanced LIGO data with high confidence.
KEYWORDS
LIGO, Gravitational Waves, General Relativity, Coalescence, Black Hole Binaries, Noise Fluctuations, Matched Filtering, Chi-squared Test, Simulations, GSTLAL Analysis Pipeline
ABOUT THE STUDENT AUTHOR
Liting Xiao is a fourth year Astronomy-Physics and Mathematics student at the University of Virginia. After graduation, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. degree in physics, specialized in experimental particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology. In the past, she has worked on Indirect Dark Matter Searches in the NOνA Experiment at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, student-led JefferSat Cosmic Ray Mission funded by NASA, and LIGO Gravitational Waves Searches at the California Institute of Technology. She is currently investigating time evolution of the population of compact galaxy groups in different epochs of the Universe for her honors senior thesis.
PRESS SUMMARY
Gravitational waves are the ripples of space-time curvature according to Einstein’s General Relativity. We search for gravitational waves as binary black holes spiral in towards each other and dissipate energy. We develop the GSTLAL analysis pipeline to match data from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational- wave Observatory (LIGO) with astrophysically modeled templates. Our pipeline evaluation and optimization work will improve the pipeline sensitivity and make it possible to detect gravitational waves from binary black hole coalescence in Advanced LIGO data with high confidence.

Volume 12, Issue 3, May 2015 print pdf