Sigma Xi 2017 Student Research Showcase

Microbiology & Molecular Biology

Amanda BaskfieldProtein Expression in T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
Amanda Baskfield, Ball State University

T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) is characterized by an over-proliferation of white blood cells, resistant to chemotherapeutic treatment and ectopic expression of a transcription factor known as TAL-1. Expression of certain proteins that control apoptosis and survival are thought to be altered due to the presence of TAL-1, contributing to the lack of an apoptotic response. 

Anam Ahmed - CopyCommon Gene Networks of Non-Coding and Protein-coding RNA Among Different Neurological Diseases During HIV infection: Implications to NeuroAIDS
Anam Ahmed, American Heritage High School

I found common genes and gene networks among multiple neurological diseases and the complicated neuroAIDS disease in order to break down NeuroAIDS's convoluted pathologies and set the foundation for a future disease model.

Elena Lopez-BelioPlastic Drinking Bottles: A Haven for Microbial Growth
Elena Lopez-Belio, American Heritage High School

The purpose of this experiment was to determine if plastic water and sports drink bottles exposed to oral bacteria can safely be reused at a later date.




Ephraim OThe Effects of Acrylamide on the Development and Behavior of Wild type C. elegans and wdr-23 Mutants
Ephraim Oyetenji, American Heritage High School

The purpose of this experiment was to see the effect exposure to acrylamide had on growth, parturition, and locomotion of wdr-23 mutants and wild type worms. 


Jordan MoldowPro Angiogenic Effects of Stem Cell Therapy In Modulating Cardiovascular Functional Parameters After Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Induction
Jordan Moldow, Pine Crest High School

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), characterized by a decrease in glomerular filtration rate may lead to kidney failure and heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFPEF). I hypothesized that Stem cells would restore kidney function due to their pro-angiogenic properties and consequently stop heart failure (HF) because of the established correlation between CKD and HF.

Katrina DelviscioThe Effects of Prolonged E-Cigarette Vapor Exposure on Saccharomycese cerevisiae (Yeast) Gene Expression
Katirina Alexandra Delviscio, Pine Crest High School

Electronic cigarettes come in many different forms, but the vapor they all produce comes from an e-liquid, which is usually made up of nicotine, propylene glycol, glycerin, and flavorings. The main problem with e-cigarettes is that the long-term effects have not been documented. My research addresses this question by exposing Saccharomyces cerevisiae multiple times to e-cigarette vapor. 

Mimi UghettaCan Flavonoids Cause DNA Damage and Chromosomal Translocations Similar to Those Seen in Leukemia?
Mimi Ughetta, The Lawrenceville School

The lab’s hypothesis was flavonoids in our environment cause translocations that lead to leukemia. It was concluded that despite being good in small doses, a high flavonoid diet including genistein and quercetin increases the risk for leukemia.


Rodrigo TorrejonThe Effect of Lead (II) Carbonate on Gene Expression of Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Rodrigo Torrejon, Pine Crest High School

Lead has been proven to be a neurotoxin that affects both motor and cognitive function, as well also being linked to cancer and other complications. Several studies indicated that lead poisoning in children can cause a drop in 7 IQ points, not to mention further lethal complications. In order to further observe lead’s detrimental effects on the human body, the following research will be conducted on Saccharomyces cerevisiae, for it shares more than a third of its genome with humans. 

Saager JainAlternative Splice Variant Expression of MCIDAS Does Not Induce Ciliated Cell Differentiation
Saagar Jain, Pine Crest High School

Ciliated cell differentiation in the lung airway epithelium is necessary for the efficient removal of toxins from the airway. This research suggests that two splice variants of the MCIDAS gene do not induce ciliated cell differentiation in the lung epithelium.

Sean TengIdentifying Microbes with Chromogenic Media
Sean Teng, American Heritage High School

Finding the color change from chromogenic media to develop chromogenic library of non pathogenic bacteria, to identify contaminants, and to be able to quantify the color changes using image analysis.

Shannen PrindleA Novel Approach to Improving Photodynamic Therapy Through Analysis of the Effects of Induced Hypoxia and Utilization of Bioluminescence
Shannen Prindle, Oakton High School

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a form of a cancer treatment that involves administering a photosensitizing drug and irradiating it with an external light source. Upon exposure, the photosensitizer produces a highly reactive oxygen species (ROS) which is toxic to the macromolecules within cells and results in their death. This project revolved around developing a novel approach to overcoming two major obstacles involved in PDT through the investigation of the effects of hypoxia induction and the utilization of bioluminescence.

Sriyash Upadhyay5-hemi-hydroxymethylcytosine in E-Box Motifs ACAT|GTG and ACAC|GTG Increases DNA-binding of the B-HLH Transcription Factor TCF4 but not USF1
Shriyash Upadhyay, Montogomery Blair High School

To explore potential changes in sequence-specific DNA binding of transcription factors, Agilent DNA microarrays were used to conduct double stranding reactions with 5-methylcytosine (5mC) or 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC). Using this technical innovation, DNA binding specificity of two helix-loop-helix proteins, TCF4 and USF1, was explored. 

Student Research Showcase logoAssay Development for Biofilm Quantification and Assessment
Thomas Weiss, Gartrell Bowling, and Hyeveen Cho, United States Military Academy

Our research offers an in vitro assay of assessing the biofilm formation of Acinetobacter baumannii. Ultimately, our project's goal is to provide useful insight for hospitals to effectively treat surfaces and decrease bacterial growth in the form of a biofilm.

Trishala Kumar

Inhibition of Bone Metastasis in MDA-MB-231 and PC-3 Cells by the Extracellular Adherence Protein of Staphylococcus aureus
Trishala Kumar, American Heritage High School

This project looked at the effect of S.aureus protein A on the bone metastatic processes of breast and prostate cancer. It was found that S. aureus Protein A in all was just as, if not more, effective than the positive control, a known antimetastatic agent, at the highest concentration.