The Effect of Laboratory Environment on the Number of GnIH Neurons in the Brains of Mice

The neuroscience of genetic variation of fertility in mice could help us understand variation in neural mechanisms as well as infertility in humans. However, studying this variation in the lab should simulate that of nature. In order to test this, we tried to find out if mice in the lab raised in environments with photoperiods simulating either winter or spring had similar GnIH neuron counts as mice reproducing in either winter or spring in the wild. Our hypothesis for this experiment was that laboratory mice in the selection line for short reproductive photoperiods would have different numbers of GnIH neurons from mice in the selection line for long photoperiods, and also that there would be no significant difference between the number of GnIH neurons of laboratory mice and wild mice. These mice have been collected from the College Woods, and immunocytochemistry runs will be done on cross-sections on their dissected brains and GnIH neurons will be counted. One potential outcome would be that the number of GnIH neurons in selection lines for laboratory mice will be significantly different from that in wild mice. If we find that there is a significant difference, we will have to reject the null hypothesis, which would be significant in showing the laboratory environment is not sufficiently simulating the environment. Knowing whether this is true or not can help us improve laboratory procedures, and that will help us get closer to understanding the role of GnIH neurons in fertility in mice and perhaps humans.

Abstract: 500 Years of Religious Reforms

This summer, I will research various reformation movements throughout Christian history, including the Lutheran reformation, Calvinism, Anabaptism, Protestant Radicalism, the Roman Catholic reformation, the English reformation, and Methodism and the Evangelical Revival. My research will involve formulating my own framework through which to analyze each movement, tentatively as having a strong leader and grievances against the current system (institutional changes), being influenced by the cultural climate of the time, and possessing a unique and separate theology, or at least a distinct change in some significant tenets of the traditional theology. I will be conducting a primary literature review from each movement, as well as a reading of scholarly articles discussing the causes of the reform. I will also spend a week doing on-the-ground research into Martin Luther’s life in Wittenberg, Germany, where he nailed his 95 Theses in 1517, 500 years ago this October. Overall, the question I hope to answer for each religious reform movement is: what were the underlying causes of this reform movement, and how did it influence future movements?

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Abstract: An Analysis of Spanish Perspectives on Donald Trump upon Examination of the Media’s Rhetoric and Cultural Representations in Cádiz, Spain

Following the recent election of former business tycoon turn President of the United States, Donald Trump, political tensions in the United States are at an all time high. The recent United States presidential election has seen an increase in political polarization between Trump supporters and Trump opposers. However, this political divisiveness over Donald Trump is not limited to within United States borders. The win of President Trump has sparked an international debate over what it means to be fit for office. This Summer in Cádiz, Spain, I will examine and analyze cultural and political representations of Donald Trump to gain a larger understanding of Spanish perceptions of President Trump. To do this, I will examine Spanish articles, televised news sources, newspapers, graffiti, song, poetry etc., mentioning Donald Trump, taking into account any potential bias and the political leaning of the creator. It is my opinion that the recent Spanish Civil War and accompanying Franquist dictatorship will cause even the more conservative leaning Spanish citizens to have a less than favorable opinion on President Trump. Throughout my research this summer, I will attempt to prove this theory with my research.

The Impact of Proximity to Home on College Football Performance

I want to determine whether football recruits perform better if they stay closer to home to go to college. The conventional wisdom is that football players will play better if they go to colleges near their house. Thus, college football teams by and large have players from their own state. Still, high school football talent is not spread evenly across the nation, so many teams located outside the hotbeds of the Southeast and the West Coast extend far from home to get the top talent. But is it worth it? Would it be better for Nebraska to have a team full of highly talented recruits from Florida and California, or a team full of less highly regarded recruits from Nebraska and surrounding states? Conversely, should a highly-touted recruit from Miami try to stay in Florida or cross the country to play football? I will statistically analyze the performance of college football players as a function of how far from home they play.

American Media Perceptions of Vladimir Putin, from 1999 to Today

I propose to look at how, over the last two decades, American’s views of Russian President Vladimir Putin have changed. I plan to look at archives from the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, identifying the long-term trends as well as turning points. When Putin first came into power, America saw him as someone they could work with, a continuation of the tentative new democracy in Russia. George W. Bush famously met with Putin and “[got] a sense of his soul.” Seventeen years after Putin came into office, his commitment to Russian democracy is questionable as he prepares to run for his fourth term as president in 2018. His relationship with the US is rockier than ever, with congressional investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections now underway. I want to look at how the news media has covered this shift and whether I can find key moments in that shift.

Abstract- Board Games and Political Theory

I want to demonstrate the relationship between international relations theory and strategy board games. To accomplish this task, I will create a comprehensive catalog of international relations concepts and terms by referencing summaries of international relations theory in relevant journals and books. This catalog will be arranged (to the greatest extent possible) in the form of a cladogram for the purpose of organizational simplicity. I will then use this catalog to code several of the most popular American strategy board games for associated IR theory concepts. Summaries of how each board game fits into international relations theory will be written based on the attributes they are assigned within the catalog. I will then use the cataloged games to explore new and innovative ways to incorporate strategy board games into the classroom. I want to do this research because it ties together my interest in international relations and my longtime passion for strategy board games. My goal is to use something tangible and fun, like board games, to explain abstract concepts that are often difficult to understand. I find this project exciting because I would be solving a problem (the task of understanding the myriad IR theory concepts) creatively, through something that I love—board games. Some examples of concepts that I believe would be easier to teach and learn through board games are: 1) The Implications of Anarchy, 2) The Effects of Power Distribution on the International System, and 3) The Logic of Deterrence.

Abstract: the influence of clerks on opinions

I  will be studying the amount of influence Supreme Court clerks have on the opinions of the justices they serve under. I hope to determine how much of an opinion is written by the justice and how much of it is the clerk’s own writing. Clerks are a significant part of the judicial system. They are found at nearly every level, serving under judges in order to give them more time to hear cases, rather than writing and filing smaller items 0f paperwork. However, even this smaller work can be legally complicated, such as drafting opinions that the court will issue or successfully comprehending a legal document being dictated by a judge, so many clerks, especially in higher courts, are either completing or have completed law school. As a result, they have their own thoughts on how rulings might be made. I mentioned earlier that they might be called upon to draft opinions. In the Supreme Court, many justices are old enough or frustrated enough that there are rumors that their clerks may not only draft their opinions, they may entirely write them. The possibility of shadow justices serving without consent of the Senate and without appointment by the president under aging, inexperienced, or disinterested justices is very interesting to me. There is a great deal of controversy surrounding bureaucratic discretion in the executive branch when it comes to enforcement of federal laws, but it is often taken for granted the judicial branch is run entirely by trusted and validated judges. If I can find a connection between opinions supposedly written by the most intellectual judges in the country and works written by their clerks, I could then conclude that the justice department too had its fair share of bureaucratic decision makers. The research I am proposing will, for reasons of time, only cover one or two clerks under an especially disengaged justice, such as Justice Thurgood Marshall during his later years of disinterest in the Court, or Justice Powell in 1971 during the period when he was too new to the bench to feel comfortable writing his own opinions in full.

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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 – Portraiture

Portraiture – the art of creating portraits – has developed into a wide array of subjects, mediums, and styles since its initial purpose of depicting royalty. However, the portraits that intrigue me the most employ inventive composition, color, and abstraction. I will record my observations, opinions, and analyses on the use of these three aspects from portraits and self-portraits from ancient to the present-day artists. Using the information from this initial survey of portraiture, I will create several portraits of my own using oil paint on canvas. During this process, I will continue to learn how to achieve the most effective composition, color, and abstraction as possible. The end goal through the research of others’ works and the creation of my own is an improved understanding of how to depict the human form in an engaging, creative, convincing, and observant way.

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.