Recent research has proposed that schizophrenia can best be understood as a problem in the way the brain synchronizes information and has located this deficit in abnormal cerebellar functioning. In order to increase our understanding of the unique relationship between cerebellar dysfunction and schizophrenia, Paul intends to test the hypothesis that the cerebellum is essential for the coordination of attention and temporal representation. Paul will conduct an experiment with neurological patients who exhibit focal lesions restricted to the cerebellum, in order to ascertain the extent to which the cerebellum contributes to the synchrony of mental processing. The completed project will be presented as his Senior Honor’s Thesis in Psychology.
Krisa will travel this summer to Japan and Laos in order to explore the complex relationship between aesthetic and environmental practices through a case study of aloeswood, a highly valued ingredient in many Japanese incenses that is harvested in Southeast Asia. She plans to produce an ethnography of the incense culture of Japan and to explore the environmental impact of harvesting practices by the Lao suppliers of the raw material used by traditional incense arts practitioners. Krisa’s research will serve as her Honors Thesis for her self-designed Individual Major in Ethnobotany, the study of cultural uses of plants. She also plans to document her research in audio-visual form in order to educate the broadest possible audience of artists, scientists and religious groups and to promote more ecologically sound production and consumption practices.
The purpose of Leena’s study is to identify factors which contribute to variation in the academic achievement of the Hmong, a relatively recent community of Asian American immigrants to California who first arrived in the mid-1970s as refugees from the Vietnam War. She will undertake a comparative ethnographic study of academically successful, college-bound Hmong students and students who are not academically successful at a high school in the Central Valley, where a large Hmong community has settled. Leena will be testing her hypothesis that, as descendants of refugees, Hmong share characteristics with other involuntary minorities such as African Americans and Latinos rather than voluntary minorities such as Chinese, Japanese and Koreans who are typically associated with the model minority stereotype of Asian Americans. She will submit her research as her Senior Honors Thesis in Anthropology and will share it with educators and community leaders in order to promote more effective […]
Morgan’s project will seek to address the timely question of whether the current body of antitrust law is adequate to ensure consumer welfare in the new technology-driven economy. Through extensive historical research, he will study how courts have interpreted the original antitrust statute through the decades focusing on representative cases. He will explore continuities and trends in the areas of judicial interpretation, economic theory and technological change that may help illuminate the current historical moment. He will then undertake a case study of the Microsoft antitrust trial, through intensive study of the trial record and interviews with key players in the high tech industry and the justice system. The resulting research paper will offer new insight into the prospects for successful regulation of the new economy.
Located at the nexus of linguistics, philosophy and literary studies, Zach’s Senior Honors Thesis in English will examine Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, specifically to illuminate the relationship between the theory of knowledge inherent in the novel’s syntax and the epistemological issues the novel thematizes. In order to understand Woolf’s syntactic use of “unoccupied perspectives” in the “Time Passes” section of the novel, Zach will be making use of a relatively unexploited linguistic approach to looking at philosophical issues in Woolf’s fiction. His project will not only deepen our understanding of epistemological concerns in To the Lighthouse, it will also demonstrate more broadly how linguistical methods can be productively incorporated into literary scholarship.
This summer, Rachel will travel to Matobo National Park in Zimbabwe to conduct a community-based study of rock art sites, dating from approximately 9,000 years ago when San hunter-gatherers painted images on rock shelters. Her goal is to develop a collaborative interpretation of the sites, through empirical research and qualitative interviews with local inhabitants, including Shona, Ndebele and white Zimbabweans. With the official endorsement and support of the museum that administers the sites, she will be well positioned to deepen our understanding of the effects of tourism and archaeological study on identity formation and nationalism in modern Zimbabwe. Her research will culminate in her Senior Anthropology Honors Thesis and in a multimedia module that will make her research more broadly accessible.
Michael will investigate the catalytic activity of enzymes solubilized in organic solvents using a technique called surfactant-assisted hydrophobic ion pairing. By furthering our understanding of the factors that effect enzyme function in non-aqueous media, Michael’s research will enable him to design a system whereby enzyme activity in such media is optimized. The results with have important practical applications in this novel branch of biotechnology. Michael plans to present his research at the National Meeting of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers next year.
Ethylene acts as a unique gaseous plant hormone that is essential for fruit ripening; it is also associated with a variety of aging processes in plants, known as senescence. Sae Hee intends to investigate how the key enzyme (ACC synthase) in the biosynthesis of ethylene functions in order to find an effective inhibitor of this enzyme, thereby providing a means for biochemical control of the fruit ripening and plant aging process. The resulting research will be presented as her Senior Honors Thesis in Chemistry and will have direct applications for the agricultural industry.
John plans to alter the specificity of a well-characterized enzyme (IDH) from its natural substrate to a close relative (IPM) by using a process called directed evolution via random mutagenesis. Challenging a holy grail in biochemistry, John will attempt to change the specificity of the enzyme without losing its catalytic power. Although past attempts at rational protein design have produced only limited success, random mutagenesis is a promising new technique in which evolution that normally takes millions of years is compacted into a few months. John’s research will lead to a better understanding of the features that are important in enzyme/substrate interactions and will enable future researchers to better engineer proteins that will have direct socially beneficial applications.
For his Senior Honors Thesis in Molecular & Cell Biology, Umair will investigate the effects of a protein co-factor on the interactions between RNase P ribozyme and a model mRNA substrate. His research will deepen our understanding of how the protein co-factor affects the sequence-specific ribozyme’s structure and activity as it cleaves an mRNA encoding thymidine kinase of herpes simplex virus 1. By revealing how the ribozyme interacts with the viral mRNA, Umair will provide insight into the engineering of sequence-specific ribozymes as antiviral therapeutic agents, with important applications for the treatment of infectious viral diseases.