Abstract: Role of Genetic Variations at HHIP and FAM13A Loci in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Susceptibility

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a chronic inflammatory lung condition which causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. Its primary causes are cigarette smoke and air pollution. COPD has been the third-leading cause of death in the United States in recent years but a major research problem has been the lack of targets for treatments. In order to develop treatments, the pathogenesis of COPD must be understood at a molecular and genetic level. Recent Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) and high-throughput screening of functional variants have shown that variations at HHIP and FAM13A loci contribute to COPD. While there is extensive evidence that these loci increase COPD susceptibility, the exact mechanisms by which they do so is not clearly understood. This summer, I will work specifically with transgenic murine models exhibiting HHIP and FAM13A variations to understand the genetic pathways that contribute to COPD. I will be working at the Channing Division of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School.

Abstract – Optimization of Tribe Pathways

With my freshman research project, I propose to create a program that will use data from the walkways on the William & Mary campus to calculate the shortest route from one point to another based off a set of conditions. These conditions will allow users to avoid specific paths per their limitations or desires. Examples of these conditions would be paths with stairways in them, unpaved walkways, or paths that go through forested areas. The program will allow students to select a starting point, an ending point, and to decide which kind of pathways they want to avoid or include before calculating the shortest path they can take based on the remaining walkways. To calculate the shortest route, I will be implementing Dijkstra’s Algorithm into python. This algorithm will calculate the optimal path on a graph of connected nodes based on distance. I hope to help students who are new to campus, those that cannot use stairways or other potentially difficult obstacles, or anyone who wishes to find a faster path to class.

Abstract: The Effect of Advertising Cost on the Variability of Appeal to Viewers in TV Commercials

TV commercials are generally considered nuisances at best, yet there are many people who tune in to the Super Bowl every year not for the sport, but for the ads.  As a result, the demand for advertisement space during the Super Bowl is enormous, driving the price of airtime up sharply.  Companies often use this opportunity to reach a large portion of the U.S. population to unveil a new product or ad campaign during their 15 or 30 seconds.  Most of the time, however, commercials are run only during TV shows with similar target audiences to the company buying airtime.  Ads are targeted at middle aged men on daytime ESPN, and at DIYers on HGTV.  This research will attempt to quantify the increase in variety when the price of ad space increases.

Abstract — Oxygen Reduction by Iron Complexes for Solar Energy Conversion

There is evidence in nature that suggests that the energy supplies primarily in use, notably coal, contribute to pollution and emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. The abundance of these gases, which leads to climate change and global warming, continues to rise due to the consumption of fossil fuels. The McNamara Lab seeks to harness solar power, since the sun provides as much energy to the earth in one hour as is used in a year. Our lab focuses on the production and storage of clean and renewable energy using solar-powered fuel cells. Although there is already a market in solar energy, it is often criticized for its high price. My project focuses on whether or not certain earth abundant metal complexes are active for oxygen reduction, vital to green energy production within the fuel cell. The summer’s work should result in information designed for an academic paper on the subject, which would share our findings and progress on solar energy with the scientific community.