• STUDENTS SUPPORTING BRAIN TUMOR RESEARCH (SSBTR) FUNDRAISING AND OUTREACH STRATEGIC PLAN AND EVALUATION

      Ricoy, Ulises; Kline, Jay (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      Students Supporting Brain Tumor Research (SSBTR) is a non-profit, student organization that raises money and awareness for brain tumor research. Founded in Phoenix 20 years ago, SSBTR has raised over $4 million for brain tumor research. The organization is new to the UArizona and Tucson communities. This thesis project provides a strategic plan and evaluation for expanding SSBTR’s footprint in the UArizona and Tucson communities through three goals: 1) raising money, 2) raising awareness, and 3) continuity planning of the student organization. The need for brain tumor research is discussed through a brief literature review. Various fundraisers were planned for the fundraising goal, with the plan to statistically compare funds raised with respect to planning effort cost. For the awareness goal, multiple events were planned to perform STEM outreach and neuroscience education with the Tucson community, with IRB-approved surveys to evaluate the efficacy of the strategies. The COVID-19 pandemic prevented data collection, and the thesis project was revised to primarily discuss the third goal of a continuity plan, containing a “How-To” leadership guide for future leaders of SSBTR at UArizona, while discussing the original plans and strategies. Ultimately, this thesis explains a strategic plan the for development of a student organization to motivate students to support scientific research to mitigate a public health crisis that we are fundamentally unequipped to face.
    • THE ETHICAL IMPLICATIONS OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN FACIAL RECOGNITION

      Melendez, Paul; Long, Nicole (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      In many minds, a world thoroughly integrated with artificial intelligence was a far-off thought; something that would dawn after society had ample time and opportunity to weigh the benefits and burdens and execute a strategy in managing this new beast. The actuality of the situation is that artificial intelligence is not a vision of the future, but a current reality, already intertwined into our everyday lives. Artificial intelligence systems are changing the way we live our lives, do our jobs, and interact with our peers. In some circumstances, these systems have the capability to alter world trajectory. This led me to the question, what are the ethical implications of the widespread acceptance of artificial intelligence technology? The implementation of artificial intelligence carries tremendous potential benefits and burdens. With these benefits and burdens comes massive ethical implications. This paper examines the ethical implications of this technology’s adoption in three distinct areas: 1) individual privacy, 2) reliability, and 3) data privacy. This is done through a series of three case studies. These case studies are a) Chinese government surveillance in Uighurs, China, b) Texan Border Patrol methods, and c) Facebook Tag Suggestions. Each case presented unique ethical questions which challenges readers to weigh to benefits and burdens of these technologies. The ultimate hope being to build and awareness and start a dialogue around these issues so that we, asa society, can take steps to formulate a strategy for handling this technology and implement more thorough, consistent regulation.
    • FOXP1 KNOCKDOWN ALTERS ANDROGEN REGULATED TRANSCRIPTIONAL EXPRESSION MAKING PROSTATE CANCER LNCAP MORE AGGRESSIVE

      Heimark, Ronald; Noun, Jibriel (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      Prostate cancer has developed ways to become resistant to current therapies due to the androgen receptor’s complex means of activation. The androgen receptor (AR) spearheads prostate cancer’s capability to progress as it has many splice variants and regulatory mechanisms. Forkhead box protein P1 (FOXP1) regulates the androgen receptor and may influence tumor proliferation and hormone responsiveness in prostate cancer. We therefore investigate if FOXP1 regulates certain subsets of androgen dependent genes. Knockdown of FOXP1 is achieved through lentiviral transduction of shRNA FOXP1-1 (shFOXP1-1). Immunofluorescence shows down-regulation of FOXP1 is associated with increased activation and localization of nuclear AR. This knockdown results in the upregulation of the transcription factor, NK3 Homeobox 1 (NKX3.1), but not all AR responsive genes. This suggests FOXP1 is involved in other androgen responsive transcription pathways. Furthermore, LNCaP with FOXP1 knockdown induced increased cell proliferation and survival compared to wild type. This study further establishes FOXP1’s importance as a regulator of AR and its capability to regulate androgen responsive proliferative genes.
    • FOREIGN AID: A DISCUSSION ON HOW THE INTERPRETATION OF LAW AFFECTS ONE’S MORAL UNDERSTANDING OF DONATION

      Timmons, Mark; Lange, Jessica (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      This essay contains three argumentative sections and a conclusion. The first is a discussion of the two-competing philosophical legal theories: natural law and legal positivism. Natural law argues that law is necessarily based on morals. Legal positivism claims that law derives strictly from social standards. The second section will cover the moral debate on giving foreign aid. I will present arguments from those for and opposed to providing foreign aid. Lastly, I will apply the interpretation of law covered in the first section to the moral debate presented in the second section. I will show that the law in the United States promotes a legal positivist idea and thus weakens our moral understanding of providing aid to the poor. I will ultimately argue that if we in the United States were to follow natural law rather than legal positivism, we would feel a stronger moral obligation to donate to the millions of people living in extreme poverty.
    • FRIEDREICH’S ATAXIA: A RARE NEURODEGENERATIVE CONDITION

      Falk, Torsten; Kalil, Danielle (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      Friedreich’s ataxia is a rare neuromuscular condition that affects 1 in 50,000 individuals in the United States (“Friedreich’s Ataxia Guide,” 2020). Friedreich’s ataxia, otherwise known as FA, is an autosomal recessive disorder that targets progressive degeneration of nerve cells and cardiac cells through a GAA trinucleotide expansion on the ninth chromosome (“Friedreich’s Ataxia Guide,” 2020). While unaffected individuals tend to have this repeat less than 30 times, FA patients will show the GAA sequence anywhere from 100 to 1,000 times (Power & Bidichandani, 2018). While most patients typically start showing symptoms between 5 and 15 years old, the onset of the condition and the severity of symptoms are linked to the length of the GAA expansion (“Friedreich’s Ataxia Guide,” 2020). This expansion triggers the onset by impairing frataxin production in the cells. Frataxin is a mitochondrial protein that is essential for regular energy production and iron regulation throughout one’s body (González-Cabo & Palau, 2013). FA patients tend to have high levels of excess iron, which can lead to oxidative stress and nerve cell damage (González-Cabo & Palau, 2013), Since Friedreich’s ataxia is so rare, diagnosing the condition can be a long and difficult process. Typically, medical professionals will look for symptoms that come with Friedreich’s ataxia such as loss of coordination, fatigue, scoliosis, diabetes mellitus, or an abnormal heart condition (“Friedreich’s Ataxia Fact Sheet,” 2018). While there is currently no cure, treatments for FA include physical therapy/exercise, occupational therapy, and pharmaceutical drug trials with antioxidants and non-antioxidants, as well as gene therapy research are ongoing (Flavell, 2017). This paper identifies and discusses current known causes, symptoms, treatments, and research of Friedreich’s ataxia in greater depth.
    • EXPLORING THE BLACK HOLE INFORMATION PARADOX

      Psaltis, Dimitrios; Rathi, Chirag (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      Mere weeks after Albert Einstein published his theory of general relativity, Karl Schwarzschild came up with the simplest, static solution to Einstein’s field equations. This solution implied the existence of a compact object with an infinite potential well. This implied that even photons could not crawl out of this potential well and hence the phrase ”even light cannot escape a black hole” came into being. Black holes are characterized by the existence of an event horizon, a surface that disconnects the interior regions of the black hole from the exterior universe. These compact objects existed on paper, without any direct observational evidence, for a century. However, with the recent shift in interests towards gravitational wave astronomy and the success of projects like the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), we have been able to image the ”shadow” of the M87 black hole. General relativity predicts that the shadow of the black hole is going to be stationary while the weather around the black hole can be turbulent. The EHT project not only has the potential to look for any classical evidence for the quantum structure of black holes but also allows us to investigate further into the Black Hole Information Paradox. So, in this project, we develop a method to analyze the Fourier transforms of the perturbed metric around a black hole and describe the macroscopic consequences of each of the proposed solutions to the informatio nparadox. If we analyze the Fourier transforms of the perturbations, we can test the validity of general relativity’s prediction about the black hole’s shadow.
    • FIGHTING THE NEW DEAL: GEORGIA’S STRUGGLE AGAINST FEDERAL AID DURING THE GREAT DEPRESSION

      Fishback, Price; McGill, Jacob (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      This paper examines Georgia during the Great Depression and New Deal. It specifically focuses on the years of 1929 to 1940. First, the paper looks at what Georgia did in response to the Great Depression and New Deal and how this response evolved as Georgia’s political leadership changed. In analyzing this response, the paper found five significant trends that occurred in the state during this time: the adoption of the income tax, investment in state highways, the legalization of alcohol, reallocating the gasoline tax, and the expansion of the state’s welfare program. The second part of the paper switches its focus to the specific economic trends in the state during this time by using regression analysis to study the relationship between per capita income and other factors. This paper used two types of regressions to study this relation: an Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression and an OLS regression with Fixed Effects. The purpose of the fixed effects regression is to account for any state specific or year specific shocks or events. The regression analysis found a statistically significant relationship between per capita income and the percentage of a state’s population that submitted tax returns as well as the percentage that had automobile registrations
    • MICROBIOME ANALYSIS TOOLS

      Redford, Gary; Johnson, Kyle (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      The goal of the project is to develop novel methods and visualizations that improve the interpretability of microbiome datasets. The gut microbiome has been identified as an important factor associated with numerous conditions and diseases that previously were not known to be related. Microbiome data has been linked to many physiological processes including immune system function, gastrointestinal tract function, sleep quality, and athletic performance as well as indicators for digestive disorders which currently are difficult to diagnose. It is important to translate these complex datasets into actionable reports that could help guide the clinical intervention decisions made by physicians for their patients. Current consumer services have a shallow depth of sample testing and either produce extravagant claims weakly backed by evidence to sell their products or are a means to an end for scientific research. Few efforts to visualize biome sample data from private or academic sources have been produced with the goal in mind of informing nonexperts in the field.This application is the culmination of the proof-of-concept phase-oriented toward the greater goal of providing owners of microbiome sample data with a means with which to visualize, interpret, and understand this component of their health.
    • MICROFLUIDIC SYSTEM FOR DETERMINATION OFCELL (PLATELET) STIFFNESS

      Redford, Gary; Niemiec, Martin (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      Modern mechanical circulatory support (MCS) systems are incredible devices, capable of providing patients with a bridge to transplant when they are experiencing heart failure. Some MCS devices are even being explored as destination therapies. However, one common problem in many types of MCS devices is supra-physiological shear stress applied to blood cells when traveling through the device. This unnatural shear stress can cause platelet activation and, subsequently, thrombotic events, which can have disastrous outcomes for the patient. Research is being conducted into drugs which modify the mechanical properties (e.g.elasticity) of blood cells such as platelets, as more elastic platelets are less likely to become activated when exposed to the high shear stresses encountered in MCS devices. These drugs have been termed ‘mechanoceutical’ drugs. Despite their promise, there is not yet a user-friendly, cost-effective, and rapid system to assess the effects of ‘mechanoceutical’ drugs.This thesis is the final report describing the efforts of Engineering Senior Design team 19089 (Microfluidic System for Determination of Cell (Platelet) Stiffness). The goal of this Senior Design project was to design a system capable of performing dielectrophoresis measurements of live cells in a compact, portable, low-cost, and robust format. The system consisted of a custom-built microscope capable of performing dichroic mirror-based epifluorescence microscopy as well as traditional brightfield microscopy, coupled with an electrical subsystem designed to apply the necessary voltage waveformsfor dielectrophoresis to an electrode chip. This system is intended to facilitate more efficient research and discovery of ‘mechanoceutical’ drugs by providing researchers with an easy-to-use, low-cost system that can be used almost anywhere.
    • MANUFACTURING AND MEASURING TWO-DIMENSIONAL TRANSITION METAL DICHALCOGENIDE HETEROSTRUCTURE DEVICES

      Schaibley, John; Raglow, Sean (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      This thesis will review the research I performed over the last year with Professor John Schaibley studying the behavior of 2-D van der Waal heterostructure devices that are on the cutting edge of modern condensed matter physics. I built several such devices and probed their behavior optically at cryogenic temperatures. As I describe the process of building and measuring the properties of a device, I will explain what I have learned of the physics of 2-D materials.
    • SELF-INITIATED VERBAL RECALL STRATEGIES FOLLOWING A MILD TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY

      Killgore, William; Meinhausen, Corinne (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      Objective: We examined differences in self-initiated verbal recall strategies during the sub-acute and chronic phases of recovery from mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). We predicted poorer verbal recall form TBI relative to healthy controls (HC) and greater utilizationof clustering recall strategies during earlier versus later stages of recovery. Method: Adults recovering from mTBI in the sub-acute (n=40), or chronic (n=39) phases, and healthy controls (HC, n=29) completed the California Verbal Learning Test-II (CVLT-II). Outcome data included serial clustering (SRC), semantic clustering (SMC) and the percentage of words recalled from the beginning (PR), middle (MR) and end (RR) of the list. Results: Although the HC and mTBI groups did not differ total words recalled, PR, MR,or RR, there was greater use of semantic clustering among the sub-acute compared to the HC and chronic mTBI groups, whereas the sub-acute group showed fewer serial clusters than the HC and chronic groups.Serial clustering correlated negatively with total recall in the sub-acute stage. Conclusions: The findings indicate differences in verbal recall strategy utilization and the benefits of such utilization during the early and late stages of mTBI recovery. Emphasizing the use of semantic recall strategies may be particularly helpful for those in the sub-acute stage of recovery.
    • SEMANTICS AND PRAGMATICS IN POLITICAL DEBATES AT THE QUESTION/ANSWER INTERFACE

      Henderson, Robert; Labus, Mary (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      The debates held during the Democratic Presidential Primary provided a rare opportunity to study the question/answer interface that arises in semi-adversarial discourse. These public events are held to help voters decide between similar candidates based on what are assumed to be accurate and representative answers to often confrontational questions posed by the moderators and the other candidates. However, this paper finds that the majority of responses by the three candidates studied were partial answers, with rare full answers in response to direct moderator questions, not questions posed by other candidates. This analysis is based on a database that codes Senator Sanders‘, Senator Warrens‘, and Mayor Buttigieg‘s responses over the June through February debates by the type of question and whether their responses was a non, partial, or full answer. Further study could enhance this analysis by considering the difficulty of the questions asked and the range of partiality in the answers.
    • SONS OF GLOUCESTER: EDGAR, EDMUND, AND THE OUTCAST IN KING LEAR

      Kiefer, Frederick; Krakowitz, Blaine (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      This thesis examines Edgar and Edmund of Gloucester as outcast figures in William Shakespeare’s King Lear. Over the course of the play, Edgar and Edmund enact numerous outcast roles, such as the bastard, exile, and madman. I explore and analyze the respective characterizations of Edmund and Edgar through the lens of the outcast. Through these analyses, I examine the way these outcast figures explore questions of empathy. Shakespeare uses Edgar and Edmund to examine the outcast as a catalyst for both harm and healing.
    • SMOKED OUT: THE INTERSECTION BETWEEN TOBACCO RESEARCH AND TOBACCO POLICY IN ARIZONA

      Reynolds, Katherine; Reynolds, Katherine (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      Health policy and health research are inescapably intertwined. Each can impact the other, whether that means policy spurring research in a defined direction, or published research forcing legislators to craft bills to protect public health. This ebb and flow relationship can be seen in how both researchers and policymakers have reacted to the continuing use of tobacco products since the formation of this country. Tobacco has been and remains to be a large part of American economy despite the mounds of corroborating research that illuminate the devastating effects that tobacco has on the body. Legislators both federally and at the state levels used this research to pass legislation to better protect the population from tobacco products, including cigarettes, and continue to pass new legislation as more insight is gained. In contrast to the successes legislators have had in passing encompassing cigarette policy, legislators do not consistently seek research to craft quality laws and have begun to pass legislation governing the use of electronic cigarettes despite the lack of research available which, inevitably results in policies that do not compliment medical fact.
    • IMPROVING THE PERFORMANCE OF A PARFLOW PROXY APPLICATIONTHROUGH CUDA PARALLELISM

      Strout, Michelle; Romero, Matthew (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      As hydrological data becomes more in-depth and is measured at higher resolutions, the need for a fast, efficient software framework to perform analysis and simulation grows. HydroFrame is one such framework that allows users to subset inputs and outputs for watersheds in the United States, simulate the movement of water, and analyze the results of their simulations. An important problem to solve within a framework like HydroFrame is producing simulations in a timely manner. Through the effective use of parallel architectures, we can begin to solve this problem. However, with a large codebase, it can be difficult to map out the extensive set of changes necessary. To minimize the scope of the problem and make a bigger difference in a shorter amount of time, the most computationally intensive code is first extracted. After extracting the code, we can begin to test the effects of applying different computing paradigms to it. Multiple variants of the same original code are then compared against each other to determine not only the performance differences, but also the difference in code complexity and practicality. Some variants utilize multiple CPU cores to perform tasks in parallel through OpenMP, while others utilize GPU cores through OpenCL or CUDA. The results show that while parallelism does increase performance on a CPU, it is more effective on a GPU. In terms of the speedup over a baseline serial variant, the OpenMP variant with 8 threads had a 3.57x speedup, the OpenCL variant had a 6.87x speedup, and the fastest CUDA variant had a 11.6x speedup. The metrics gathered show that CUDA offers a far greater increase in performance over OpenCL and should be utilized if a user’s machine contains a NvidiaGPU.
    • INCREASED DOPAMINE LEVELS DO NOT INFLUENCE AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR IN BLACK WIDOW SPIDERS (LATRODECTUS HESPERUS)

      Dornhaus, Anna; Olenski, Matthew (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      Discovering the driving forces of individual personality differences in animals is an emerging goal of animal behavior research. Biogenic amines have been known to mediate various aspects of behavior, including aggression, which is one of the most commonly varying individual personality differences among animals. In addition to aggression, a large number of other behaviors across a wide variety of species are influenced by biogenic amines. Arthropods specifically provide an ideal system to manipulate biogenic amines and observe behavioral changes. In this study, we used Latrodectus hesperus, the western black widow spider, as our model organism because of their consistent individual behavioral differences, which appear to relate to differing individual life history strategies. For example, higher aggression, as measured by attacks on simulated prey items, relates to higher rates of egg laying in “fast life history strategy” individuals. Here, Iinvestigated the role that dopamine (DA) has on the individual’s aggressive behavior, measured by the number of times they attack a potential prey in their web. I injected spiders with the neurotransmitter, which is a precise way to manipulate the biogenic amine concentration and observed the changes in behavior that may follow. I looked for whether there was a significant difference between aggressiveness of biogenic amine-injected individuals, individuals injected with a saline solution, and non-injected individuals. We discovered that the injection of dopamine had no effect on black widow aggression. These results indicate that biogenic amines may not play as big a role in individual personality differences as previously thought, and that aggressive behavior is influenced by other factors, such as genetics, metabolic rates, environment, or some other traits.
    • OPTIMIZATION OF CREMA PRODUCED IN COFFEE

      Brush, Adrianna; Marshall, Nathaniel (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      The goal of this Honors Thesis Project was to design and test a novel coffee brewing method that results in a cup of coffee with maximized crema volume and minimized grounds remaining after filtration. Crema is an emulsion of aromatic oils, water, and gases that is naturally created when coffee grounds are brewed in hot water. Typical filtration strategies do not preserve crema, but are effective at filtering out coffee grounds. The product that was designed in this engineering design project optimized these two variables through the use of inverted filtration and stainless steel filters of varying pore shape and size. The product, named the “Crema Cup”, was designed as an attachment to the Aero Press coffee press. Inverted filtration is the process of pushing fluids upwards through filters, rather than downward. This preserves crema because crema rests on top of the brewed coffee; the crema can move through the filters first and not be disturbed by coffee grounds settled below. Six mesh filters and three slot filters were tested (individually and in series). The best result was the 80 mesh filter in series with the 0.004” slot filter. This final filtration set up produced 4.5 mL of crema per cup and allowed only 4.8% of coffee grounds to pass through. By manufacturing the Crema Cup with polypropylene injection molding, a business selling this product could expect a 138% return on investment over a ten year period.
    • ON MEDICAL STUDENT WELL-BEING: THE INFLUENCE OF MEDICAL EDUCATION

      Oberman, Hester; Radeztsky, Erin (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      Medical students and physicians consistently suffer from elevated levels of depression, suicide, and burnout. Prior research shows that medical students experience a significant increase in rates of stress and depression as they continue their medical education. In addition, medical students report that they do not seek treatment for their mental health concerns or are afraid to admit that they are struggling. This thesis examines this phenomenon by addressing how medical education institutions may influence the well-being of future healthcare professionals. An overview of literature containing factors leading to depression and suicide in medical students is discussed and current interventions arepresented and evaluated. Personal narrative is used to provide context to the experiences of depression and anxiety. Addressing medical student well-being must be collective effort from past, future, and current students, faculty, and professionals. By building cohesive and supportive learning environments through institutional and curricular changes, medical schools can help to equip their students with the tools to address their own needs so that they may effectively care for others.
    • PATIENT DRUG GUIDE SERIES: ANESTHETICS

      Schnellmann, Jennifer; Louis, Emma (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      This Honors Thesis is comprised of an original body of work in the form of a series of patient drug guides. Specifically, this collection consists of pamphlets describing commonly used anesthetics for surgical use written at an 8th-grade reading level, the most common lexical level for public text. The drugs covered are anesthetics, analgesics, and amnesiacs. The general public is limited in the understanding of their health and this lack of knowledge leads to medication errors, poor drug compliance, and increased medical costs. These patient medication guides are a solution to educate surgical patients about how anesthetics work and why. In addition to the guides, brief physiological and pharmacological background research used create the pamphlets is included. This work is based on scientific peer-reviewed literature and current therapeutic guidelines. This project was completed with the goals of increasing awareness of health literacy for medical professionals as compared to the public, appreciating the public’s ability to understand critical drug information along with the rigors of writing original text for a layperson, and learning the physiological and pharmacological mechanisms of common general and regional anesthetics. This creative but scientific publication is a work that will be available to patients and healthcare providers for the advancement of patient knowledge.
    • LEGITIMATE OR UNFAIR?: AN EVALUATION AND IMPROVEMENT OF THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF USING LOGISTIC REGRESSION AND ADJACENCY MATRICES

      Watkins, Joseph; Lawson, Jericho (The University of Arizona., 2020-05)
      The world of college football has the unique challenge of picking the best teams in the football championship subdivision. Always up for debate, many fans, writers, and scholars have questioned whether the best teams in college football by season’s end are truly the best teams. This research explores the history of finding the best college football teams since the beginning of the NCAA, including the current College Football Playoff. Because of the current method’s subjectivity, a method consisting of four logistic regression models and a series of weights is used in an adjacency matrix to determine the best teams in the nation. The logistic regression models are based on game data from the top 25 teams during the first six seasons of play under the current College Football Playoff. With an average difference of 7.49 places between teams in both the College Football Playoff rankings and our rankings, our method only serves as a foundation for what could be a more objective way of determining which teams deserve to be at the top, particularly with logistic regression and more expansive game data.