GLOBALCUNY Abstracts 2016

POSTER PRESENTER CAMPUS, ADVISOR

POSTER TITLE

 

Ali, Nahla
City College of New York, Candace Brakewood

A COMPARISON OF TRANSIT MOBILE TICKETING APPLICATIONS IN THE UNITED STATES AND EUROPE

Many transit agencies have recently deployed mobile ticketing applications (apps) to let passengers purchase tickets on their smartphones, and many of these apps now include additional features beyond ticketing. Because this is an area of rapid change in the transit industry, this qualitative research aims to document and compare the current state of transit mobile ticketing in America and Europe. Case studies were conducted by downloading publicly available transit apps. The following five American regions were chosen for this research: Portland, Boston, Austin, Chicago, and New Jersey. Similarly, five European regions were chosen: Vienna, Rome, Frankfurt, Stockholm, and Edinburgh. The apps were compared on various dimensions, including the features in the app, use of location services, and the privacy policy. This comparison led to a number of key findings. First, transit apps in the United States and Europe are similar in terms of the overall app structure and functionality. Second, the most common features beyond ticketing found in many transit apps are trip planners, real-time vehicle location information, and transit service alerts. Third, numerous transit apps use ‘location services’ to detect the user’s location, and this is primarily to assist riders in finding the nearby stops and stations, such as for trip planning and vehicle location features. Fourth, the privacy policies in some of the European apps stated the reasons for detecting the location of the user. The results of this case study analysis can help other transit agencies who are considering deploying or improving their mobile ticketing apps.

Alvarado, Mateo Diego
York College, Peter Serrano

THE ROLE OF GLUA1 AND GLUA3 TRAFFICKING IN THE BASOLATERAL AMYGDALA DURING PAVLOVIAN REWARD CONDITIONING

Pavlovian Conditioning (PC) is a behavioral model for learning that occurs through associations. In our present study, we used PC to examine the molecular mechanisms in the brain that underlie the association of a conditioned stimulus (CS), a tone, and an unconditioned stimulus (US), a food reward. Previous work has revealed that the α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptor (AMPAr) subunit GluA1 is preferentially trafficked in the hippocampus shortly after spatial-memory acquisition. Furthermore, the AMPAr subunit, GluA3, is preferentially trafficked in the lateral amygdala during fear-memory consolidation. Thus, we hypothesized that PC could also mediate differential AMPAr subunit trafficking in the Basolateral Amygdala (BLA). The BLA is a region in the brain known to processes the value of the US. To address our hypothesis, we measured the expression of AMPAr subunits within the BLA of rats that received PC, PC + Extinction, or No-PC. Rats underwent 8 days of PC conditioning, followed by 5 days of extinction training or no-stimulus delivery. Rats were subsequently tested for 4 consecutive trials, sacrificed, and their brains were retrieved. Micro-dissections of the BLA were conducted, synaptic fractions were obtained for tissue samples, and Western Blots were run to analyze the expression of AMPAr subunits. Our results reveal that GluA1 is elevated in our PC + Extinction group only, GluA3 was elevated in our PC group, and GluA2 was elevated in both PC and PC + Extinction groups. Our current data reveal that appetitive Pavlovian conditioning mediates the differential trafficking of AMPAr subunits in the BLA, and suggest that the plasticity in this region could be pivotal to PC learning and extinction. Future work will address the necessity of GluA 1/2 AMPAr for extinction, the necessity of GluA 2/3 AMPAr for consolidation, as well as identify the neuron populations that mediate PC and PC + Extinction, separately.

Anigbo, Azunne
College of Staten Island, Abdeslem El Idrissi

IDENTIFICATION AND CHARACTERIZATION OF THE PROPERTIES OF ROSEMARY EXTRACT

Rosemary is commonly known for its use in food preparation and flavor enhancement; it is thought to exhibit antimicrobial, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties as well. In this study, the pharmacological effects of rosemary extract will be explored with regards to its effect on the neurological behavior of mice. Rosemary extract was obtained through extraction and distillation methods from fresh and dry samples; and the composition of the extract was examined using HPLC and MALDI mass spectrometry. Mouse models were used to examine the behavioral effects of rosemary extract using the open field and elevated plus maze. The Moroccan locust were used to observe the effects of fatal dosage; and the antibacterial properties of rosemary extract were also observed through an inoculation study. The behavioral testing provided inconclusive results; further testing is required to determine whether rosemary extract has an effect on animal behavior.

Barboza, Marcus
Lincoln University, Robert Langley

SIMULATION OF COPPER INDIUM DISELENIDE NANOCLUSTERS FOR HYBRID SOLAR CELLS USING DENSITY FUNCTIONAL THEORY AND TIME-DEPENDENT DENSITY FUNCTIONAL THEORY

In solar cells, copper indium diselenide (CIS) is a versatile material that has been recognized as one of the most efficient photon absorbers. Using computational chemistry, this work will investigate the stability of various CIS nanoclusters as well as examine the effects of cluster size on its physical, electrical, and optical properties. The ultimate goal is to use this information to guide synthesis of these clusters in the laboratory. We seek to simulate CIS nanoclusters using software such as Q-Chem and IQmol. If we succeed in optimizing the nanoclusters using our simulations, this will provide a possible synthesis approach for CIS nanoclusters to be used in the fabrication of hybrid solar cells. This project introduces us to the different software tools that can be used to implement density functional theory (DFT) and time-dependent density functional theory (TDDFT). In our work, DFT is used to calculate the ground state energy that represents the optimized geometric structures of the nanoclusters, while TDDFT is used to examine the optical properties. Since part of the mission of Brookhaven National Laboratories and the Department of Energy is the advancement of nanomaterials science for sustainable energy, this work supports this mission by expanding understanding of nanomaterials used in hybrid solar cells. This project also teaches us quantum chemistry, computational materials science, and general computational theory. Additionally, it promotes our understanding of chemistry, physics, and materials science as strongly interdisciplinary areas of science.

Barboza, Marcus
Lincoln University, Robert Langley

INVESTIGATION OF FATIGUE LIFE THROUGH DYNAMIC TESTING OF SMALL BORE ATTACHMENTS TO MAIN PIPES

Knowledge pertaining to the importance of a strong foundation is common within the average person’s everyday life. Without a solid foundation, the structure will collapse and we are back to square one. Through defining the strength of materials, engineers can estimate when the parts of a system may fail, a common way a system may fail is due to fatigue where fatigue can be defined as a system failing due to repeated cyclic stresses applied below the yield strength of the material. Fatigue can result from the normal day to day stresses that a system may go through, for example the aerodynamic load on the wing of a plane, or the loads that a bridge may be subjected to while weathering a storm. Fatigue life is dependent on the loads and the number of cycles a system may go through and traditionally a system will be put through cyclic loading until the system fails. Once the system has failed the number of cycles are counted and the fatigue life would be determined. The goal of our experiment is to determine the fatigue life through examining changes of the natural frequency of a system. This particular bore piping system is being put through repeated cyclic stress so that a change, if any, can be evaluated in its modal properties. Methodologies such as this can be vital in monitoring a system while the system is still in commission. For example, fluttering is the unstable vibrations that occur when the aerodynamic flow creates a resonance with the natural frequency of a system that eventually leads to the entire failure of the system. Fluttering often occurs in structural systems such as aircrafts and bridges. A strain gauge can be used to monitor the natural frequencies on a wing while the aircraft is in use without disrupting the normal function of a wing.

Bennett, Charles
Lincoln University, Robert Langley

SOIL AGGREGATE STABILITY TESTING

Different soils erode on a different scale depending on its stability. Its stability determines its use such as for agriculture or farming, foundation for roads and buildings, sports and holding bodies of water together. Soil’s porosity and hydraulic conductivity with water helps define its stability. We do this by using a wet sieve soil apparatus and calculating the moisture content of different soil samples. This project focuses on soil aggregate stability testing which helps us understand multiple soil properties and its full capabilities.

Bennett, Charles
Lincoln University, Robert Langley

PERFORMANCE TESTING OF A 1977 CAST IRON WOOD STOVE: MAKING THE CASE FOR COMMUNITY CHANGE-OUT PROGRAMS

Wood smoke and its fine Particulate Matter (PM) cause burning eyes, runny nose, bronchitis, asthma and death in extreme cases. According to the EPA, of the 10 million wood heaters being used in homes about 65% are older and high-polluting. The aim of this research project was to develop a more realistic test method for quantifying PM, and Carbon Monoxide (CO) using a pre- 1988 New Source Performance Standard (NSPS) wood burning stove that was manufactured in 1977. A modified version of EPA’s Method 28 was employed. The test fuel used was dimensional Douglas fir lumber (2” x 4” and 4” x 4”). The average PM emission rate was found to be 87 g/hr, which is about twenty (20) times higher than the current EPA standard of 4.5 g/hr. This project will help to inform communities that still use this type of stove about their impact on air quality and the need for a wood stove change out program.

Bracho, Sergio
City College of New York, Rosangela Leal

REVIEWING URBAN PASSENGER TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS IN FEIRA DE SANTANA

Over the last decade, many transportation agencies and operating companies have begun to conduct studies that prioritize the expansion of their transportation network. These types of studies can include the analysis of millennial behavior (focusing solely on the transportation aspect), and implementation of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and its impact on society. Means to achieve this end usually involve the analysis of data obtained through household travel surveys, or similar methods. Data aids to understand the current transportation behavior in a specific environment. For the city of Feira de Santana, a review of the millennials and the upcoming BRT plan to grasp the transportation needs is required. However, the city lacks a household travel survey or any other method that offers transportation data for a required analysis. As a result, a fabricated survey that collects data about the travel behavior of urban passengers in Feira de Santana was created. With this, data was obtained and quantified. Further collection of surveys could be useful for future data analysis. To accomplish the study of millennials and BRT based on the fabricated survey, a list providing guidelines and recommendations are recorded throughout this paper.

Brown, Bianca
Brown University, David Rand

RIDING THE TIDE: MICROBIOME ANALYSES OF ACORN BARNACLES FROM HABITAT EXTREMES OF A TIDAL STRESS GRADIENT

Filter-feeding intertidal organisms must have a dynamic relationship with their microbiome. The marine environment is rich with microbes, and environmental stress is a regular part of daily life. Host microbiome interactions are affected by temperature which, in turn, can impact host fitness. This prompts the question of how stable is the microbiome of organisms living in the intertidal where they are exposed to daily temperature fluxes? This research project is using the acorn barnacle species Semibalanus balanoides to characterize and understand dynamics of the microbiome in the intertidal across thermal gradients.

Caban, Francisco
Queensborough Community College, Sujun Wei

SYNTHESIS OF X-SHAPE MOLECULES AS ELECTRON ACCEPTORS IN ORGANIC SOLAR CELLS

The C60 fullerene based acceptor readily accepts electrons from a wide range of donor materials and exhibits high electron mobility. However, fullerene is not an ideal material due to its weak absorption and very deep LUMO level. Therefore there is a clear need for alternative acceptor materials. We propose to synthesize X-shape molecules as electron acceptors via strain and Hückel aromaticity as the driving forces. The molecule’s bottom half is a fluorene unit, and the top half is a fused heterocyclic ring. Both motifs are twisted along a central double bond. We have synthesized our first target in four synthetic steps. This red compound shows intense green fluorescence. Its structure was preliminarily confirmed by H-NMR and C-NMR. The synthesis of this compound has been scaled up, and the last step’s yield was improved from 22% to 87% by extending reaction time. With nearly 400mg in hand, its optical & electrical properties are under further pursuing.

Cartagena, Nicaela
City College of New York, Sheldon Skaggs

GEOSPATIAL AND GEOPHYSICAL USE IN ARCHEOLOGY

Pacbitun is the site of an ancient city that was inhabited by the Maya people during the Late Classic Period (A.D. 700-900) It is located in the central western part of Belize between the Belize River Valley to the north and the Mountain Pine Ridge to the south. Located three kilometers to the northwest of the site core, the small groups of house mounds, collectively known as Mano Mound, has been investigated by BCC research and study abroad students and staff archaeologists since 2012. The main research goal at Mano Mound has been to better understand past agricultural use in the periphery of Pacbitun, which during the Late Classic period had a population of about 5000-6000 people.

The use of geophysical technology has become extremely useful in the world of archaeology. This type of technology helps investigators look below the surface to see if there are any potential areas of interest to excavate. In regards to Mano Mound, the use of a broad spectrum of geophysical techniques allowed for a deeper look into various agricultural practices by Late Classic Maya, both intensively (in the form of terracing) and extensively (in the form of fallowing). It allows the user to collect data, such as imagery and GPS points, and input it into GIS software to create digital maps. For the project at Pacbitun, the GIS is used by BCC students to digitize previously drawn maps of the Pacbitun site core and periphery. This will provide state-of-the-art maps that can also be integrated with other facets of the project.

International research studies like this project allows students to have more of an open mind when it comes to the history of people in different parts of the world. It also allows them to see the different cultures and interact (and live) with those cultures. Sometimes this exposure is just what students need to really find their niche for a career that was meant for them.

Chen, Lijie
Brooklyn College, Rafael Ovalle

FENTON OXIDATION OF LAMINARIAN: HPLC-MS DATA SUPPORTS REGIOSELECTIVE ATTACK

Previously, Fenton oxidation of laminarian (Ovalle et, al 2001) detected de novo production of aldehydes and organic acids. HPLC/ MS identified four classes of oxidized molecules: hydroxy-aldehydes, di-aldehydes, hydroxy-acids, and uronic acids, arising from oxidative fragmentation of glucose monomers. In the glucose molecule, specific carbons appear to be more vulnerable than others, especially C6, C5, and the carbons that are part of glycosidic bridge (C1-O-C3). The pattern of attack implies local oxidation carbons near the glycosidic bridge.

Cornejo, Mike
Brooklyn College, Maria Contel

PRECLINICAL EVALUATION OF NOVEL PRECURSORS OF ANTIBODY-CONJUGATED GOLD-BASED COMPOUNDS AS POTENTIAL TARGETED CANCER THERAPEUTICS

Targeted therapy is the new frontier in cancer drug treatment. To circumvent drug resistance and minimize side effects drugs are fine-tuned to be delivered specifically at the tumor site using cancer specific markers. We aim to attach a cytotoxic gold-cargo on a HER2/neu specific antibody. The Contel lab develops new metalodrugs with potential as anticancer agents. The main goal of this project is to test the cytotoxicity and selectivity of new gold (Chloride, Azide, and Triazole) complexes synthesized in the lab. The metalodrugs are being evaluated against cells that overexpress growth marker HER2/neu (ERBB2) gene, which when overexpressed correlates to poor prognosis in many ovarian and breast cancers. The successful inhibition of ERBB2 gene will hinder the growth/proliferation of cancer cells and inhibit metastasis. The Gold-compounds complexes are being tested against breast cancer cells (MDAMB231(neg. control), MCF7 (HER2/neu overexpressing)) and healthy breast tissue cells (MCF10A). This preliminary data will provide us with insight into the cytotoxicity and selectivity of the metalodrugs and guide design optimization.

Coyotl, Adolfo
Queensborough Community College, Joan Petersen

ISOLATION AND IDENTIFICATION OF ANTIBIOTIC-RESISTANT BACTERIA FROM NEW YORK CITY SOIL SAMPLES

As an urban environment, New York City puts an enormous amount of pressure on its natural areas. As part of the Soil Joint Seed Project we are interested in the potential effects of antibiotic resistant bacteria on human health and the environment. My research project is focused on determining patterns of antibiotic resistance among bacteria found in New York City soils. Samples were collected from three sites with varying degrees of human influence: Thain Forest (TF-pristine), Central Park (CP-intermediate), and Newtown Creek (NC-heavily polluted). Over 131 pure cultures were isolated on Reasoner’s agar (R2A) from dilutions of soil samples. To test for antibiotic resistance, cultures were streaked onto R2A plates containing either penicillin or kanamycin. Gram staining and microscopy were used to determine morphology and Gram reaction of the resistant isolates. Overall there were 96 gram-positive and 35 gram-negative isolates. Endospore-formers were found among all three sites: Newtown Creek had the largest percentage of endospore-formers (65% of isolates). Antibiotic testing showed that there were resistant bacteria in all three sites, with more isolates being resistant to penicillin than to kanamycin. The Newtown Creek site had the most penicillin-resistant isolates (89%). Further studies will involve identification of species by 16S rDNA sequencing along with determination of resistance mechanism using PCR primers specific to resistance genes. The prevalence of the isolates in the natural soil community will be determined by comparing our sequences to metagenomic sequencing results. This research has possible implications for determining sources of antibiotic resistance genes in urban microbiomes.

Dilone, Danny
City College of New York, Ilona Kretzschmar

MAGNETRON SPUTTERING DEPOSITION OF ZNO THIN FILMS FOR DYE SENSITIZED SOLAR CELL MANUFACTURING

Magnetron sputtering deposition is a versatile tool for thin films fabrication, which is extensively used for different applications, especially in electronics. In particular, it is an established fabrication method in photo-voltaic field and solar-cells manufacturing. By varying the direct current, gas composition and pressure in the chamber, along with deposition time, one can modify the structure, stoichiometry and physical properties of the deposited materials. In this work we present our findings on ZnO film growth by DC re- active magnetron sputtering deposition as blocking layers for Dye Sensitized Solar Cell (DSSC). ZnO thin films at thickness of about 50 nm were prepared on plain and FTO coated glass by varying the content of (PO2%) in the O2+Ar gas mix and pertaining to opaque (at PO2 3-7%) and transparent (at PO2 10%) layers. It has been shown that the annealing at 450° C in the ambient atmosphere turns the amorphous films to highly crystalline, oriented along the c-axis of wurtzite structure. This process is accompanied by saturating the zinc-rich composition with oxygen, which also influence the optical properties of the films. To the best of our knowledge ZnO film electrodes with reduced transparency have not been reported in DSSC architectures and performance of such cells will be further investigated. These preliminary results suggest the perspective of the technique in further investigations of DSSC, and give positive impact on the development of ZnO for photo-voltaic applications.

Domfe, Kwaku
College of Staten Island, Francoise Sidime

THE EXTRACTION AND IDENTIFICATION OF ROSMARINIC ACID

Rosemarinus officinalis, also known as, Rosemary is commonly known and used product. Its plethora of applications makes Rosemary extract a significant entity that is often sought out for its medicinal characteristics. It is known to aid in digestive problems and can also be used for headache, high blood pressure, and even age-related memory loss. The purpose of this study is to extract the essential oil of Rosmarinus officinalis, in an attempt to characterize and gain information about its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

The sample of Rosmarinic Acid was subjected to Thin-Layer Chromatography and Infrared Spectroscopy to gain an understanding of its chemical properties. Moving forward two types of Rosemary (wet & dry) were steeped in ethanol at 85 degrees Celsius in order to extract the essential oils. The products of our experiment were then subject to HPLC and Mass Spectroscopy and compared to a standard to ensure the accuracy of our results. Our extraction products were then injected into mice and the mice were subject to the Elevated Plus Maze and the Open Field test. We were looking to gain insight on the effects of Rosmarinic acid in the body.

Due to the short length of time and small sample size of the experiment, it is difficult to give definitive results on the effects of Rosmarinic acid. We saw that in some cases the mice became extremely lethargic and anxious, while in others it may have caused them to act very energized. Based on the results of the two tests, it is difficult to say whether the effects are adrenergic or sedative. We are looking to continue this study on a larger scale in the near future, again with collaboration of Moroccan universities.

Elaskandrany, Menna
Brooklyn College, Sophia Suarez

DETERMINING THE CONDUCTIVITY OF VANADYL SULFATE AND TFSA SOLUTION AS FUNCTION OF TEMPERATURE

With an increasing interest in the use of Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries (VRFB) as sources of renewable energy and mass energy storage, studies on the conductivity of vanadyl sulfate (VOSO4) were conducted. VOSO4 has conductivity properties, which make it ideal for use in redox flow batteries, as well as great economic advantage. Through impedance spectroscopy, ionic conductivity was determined for different concentrations of VOSO4 (aq.) and triflic acid (TFSA) solution as a function of temperature, ranging from 25-95°C. Concentration ranged 0.05-2.0M of VOSO4 in 1.0M TFSA. Results indicated a direct proportionality between conductivity and temperature. Data was compared to previous studies on VOSO4 (aq.) conductivity in 1.0M sulfuric acid solution (H2SO4). It was determined that conductivity improved with the introduction of TFSA. Further studies need to be conducted on varying concentrations of TFSA with respect to the concentration range of VOSO4 to determine optimal conductivity conditions.

Erazo, Jaquelin
Hunter College, Timothy Paglione

MAPPING THE FULL-EXTENT OF DUST IN MOLECULAR CLOUDS

Massive and dense clouds of gas and dust support the birth of stars and solar systems. An outstanding difficulty is accurately and sensitively quantifying the mass and structure of the cloud. A dust cloud between an observer and a star not only scatters the light of the starlight and makes it fainter, but it also reddens the starlight. This effect is known as extinction. Extinction is wavelength dependent; shorter wavelengths are more preferentially scattered. Therefore, infrared bands (long wavelength colors) are used because we are able to “look through” the dense areas of dust clouds and detect stars despite the extinction. However, infrared studies are only able to probe relatively high extinctions. To measure very low extinction regions, shorter wavelengths are preferred. We compare both a test field and a control field via stellar infrared and optical colors in order to find an optimal method that combines all available bands in detecting and quantifying extinction.

Erskine, Kristine
Brooklyn College, Rebecca Boger

A PRELIMINARY GEOSPATIAL HABITAT SUITABILITY MODEL TO DETERMINE THE SPATIAL AND TEMPORAL VARIATION OF ULVA BLOOMS IN JAMAICA BAY

This research is aimed at creating a Habitat Suitability Model for Ulva species in Jamaica Bay. Parameters for the model include water quality measurements, such as nitrate and ammonia concentrations, dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH, salinity and Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR)/ irradiance. The water quality dataset comes from the Department of Environmental Protection and the National Park Service. A total of 34 sites are sampled around the Jamaica Bay by the DEP and NPS. From June to September, sampling is done on a weekly basis, while October through May, sampling is done on a monthly basis. ArcGIS is being used to create the model and involves several steps. Bathymetry data is used to create a Triangulated Irregular Network (TIN), which is then used to create hard boundaries for the islands within Jamaica Bay. Distinct island boundaries are needed to create more accurate surfaces for each parameter. The Inverse Distance Weighted (IDW) interpolation method is used to create the raster surfaces from the point water quality data. After the creation of the parameter surfaces, raster algebra is used to identify the suitable areas for Ulva growth. Suitable parameter values are based on an extensive review of the literature on Ulva and ongoing research being conducted at CUNY. Historical aerial photographs taken at low tide and Ulva biomass data that has been estimated for two sites in 2014 and 2015 will enable model calibration. After model development and calibration, the model will predict where Ulva will occur during summer 2017. Randomly selected sites will undergo fieldwork to determine the presence or absence of Ulva. Data collected from underwater photography and low attitude Unmanned Aerial Photography (UAV) will enable an assessment of the accuracy of the model, and further refinement. After validation and model refinement, scenarios will be run to determine the effectiveness of interventions such as nitrate reduction (currently being done by the Department of Environmental Protection) and reduction of water depth in sections of Jamaica Bay, as being proposed by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Research results will have applications for other estuarine ecosystems where Ulva is found.

Fadojutimi, Dunsin
Lincoln University, Robert Langley

ANALYZING WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES USING TOTAL QUALITY MANAGEMENT

The provision of clean water is essential for health of the general population. The main source of potable water in many countries is surface water such as rivers and lakes. Surface water typically runs over land and pick up a lot of organic and inorganic pollutants that must be removed before it is fit for human consumption. Environmental protection agencies in each country set standards or safe levels of pollutants that will not harm human beings when the treated water is consumed. Water treatment plants utilize a series of unit processes to remove harmful individual (e.g., nitrates) and aggregate (e.g., turbidity) pollutants. The objective of this research is to analyze methods used by water treatment facilities to assess their efficiency in meeting national water quality standards by using Total Quality Management tools (e.g. control charts, flowchart). Outcomes of this project will exhibit the significance of analytic tools in the refinement of facility operations to provide better water quality for the general population. This research is multimodal (water treatment, wastewater treatment, solid waste management) and multidisciplinary (industrial engineering, environmental engineering) and will benefit treatments facilities worldwide.

Fearon, Dane
City College of New York, Marco J. Castaldi

OPTIMIZING HEATING VALUE, TAR CONCENTRATION, AND CARBON CONVERSION RATIO IN GASIFICATION OF CEDAR CHAR

The Japanese Department of Defense is interested in a disaster response method involving thermal conversion of debris from natural disasters into fuel. However, components of the debris, namely biomass, are non-uniform in composition, have high moisture content, and are prone to producing large amounts of heavy tars that can damage a gasifier system. Carbonization is being considered as a method of removing moisture and tar as well as unifying the product composition before gasification. Pretreating biomass via carbonization achieves these desired results, but also reduces the heating value and carbon conversion ratio of the biomass. Experiments will be conducted to find the optimum %carbonization that achieves the desired conditions while still maintaining a relatively high heating value and carbon conversion ratio. Gasification at 800C achieves desirable heating values and tar concentration for fully carbonized char, but does not yield a desirable carbon conversion ratio. Partially carbonized char is being examined to determine if it can achieve all three desired conditions.

Fernandes, Keegan
College of Staten Island, Abdeslem El Idrissi

LEMON VERBENA

Lemon verbena is used worldwide in cosmetics, food supplements and herbal medicinal products. This plant is also thought to have antimicrobial and oxidative characteristics. Phenylpropanoids are considered to be one of the main class compounds of this plant. Verbascoside are considered to be the most abundant phenylethanoid in this type of leaves and have some antioxidant activity. Its liquid preparations will be explored for their content of constituents by HPLC/NMR/IR/TLC analysis. Compound isolation in vivo and in vitro will take place to measure the antioxidant activity of Lemon verbana that might exhibit several toxicological and pharmacological properties. The experiments took place in two different labs and the extraction of lemon verbena was tested on two different groups. Various extracted compounds will be administered to rats and will be observed in behavioral tests such as Open Field and Elevated plus maze. They were also used to test their effect on bacteria plating and locusts. Data will be analyzed using a program called anymaze.

Flores, Victor
Brooklyn College, Jorge Antonio Gonzagas

PILvOT STUDY: ARSENIC (AS) AND CADMIUM (CD) DISTRIBUTION ON A GRID MAP OF METALLURGICAL OPERATION SITE, FARMLAND, AND URBAN GROUNDS, SANTO AMARO, SALVADOR-BAHIA, BRAZIL

Metallurgical operations create critical waste that has been shown to contain high levels of heavy metals, and bad waste handling practices cause soil, water, air, and environmental pollution. Santo Amaro, Salvador-Bahia, Brazil, started having heavy metal contamination problems with the introduction of a smelting company to the region in the 1960s. By the time this company stopped operations in 1993, it had extracted more than 900,000 tons of lead (Pb) ingots, leaving behind approximately 500,000 tons of untreated lagoons of slag waste, being spread by weathering process. UFRB research studies have found high concentrations of heavy metals further out from the operations site in different directions. Making use of previous findings, this grid map pilot study has as objective to map arsenic (As) and cadmium (Cd) distributions starting at the smelting site towards surrounding areas, farm land and urban sectors. On a satellite ArcMap of Santo Amaro, we laid out a 10,000km2 grid using GPS, and we collected 3 soil samples at different pedons (0-20cm and 20-40cm) every 1000 meters. Early findings suggest high pH acidity near operation site and a slow and steady decrease of pH as we move outwards, farmland and urban grounds. It was observed similar trend with organic carbon (O.C.), suggesting high likeability for Cd concentrations in outer soil samples.

Keywords: Arsenic (As), Cadmium (Cd), smelting site, Santo Amaro, farmland, urban grounds, distribution, pollution, pH, delta pH, and organic carbon (O.C.)

Forrester, Candice
City College of New York, Maria Tamargo

PHOTOLUMINESCENCE CHARACTERIZATION OF LOW DIMENSIONAL II-VI MATERIALS

Semiconductors consisting of II-VI materials grown using molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) are of interest as materials that are promising in various device applications. Some of the materials involve low dimensional structures such as quantum dots (QDs) and multiple quantum wells (MQWs). In this work, low dimensional structures were characterized using photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy and compared to a bulk ZnCdSe ternary layer (TA). Photoluminescence is the light emitted from a sample when electrons relax to the ground state after the sample has been excited by a laser. In PL the light emitted corresponds to the bandgap energies within that system. The PL signal observed from the samples is expected to behave differently as a function of temperature for the different structures. To measure PL a He-Cd 325 nm laser was used to excite the samples and to probe the variation of the PL spectra of the materials with respect to temperature. The purpose of this experiment was to discern the difference in temperature behavior of the PL for bulk materials and low dimensional nanostructures and thus confirm the presence of QDs and QWs.

For the measurements, the samples were loaded into a cryostat and pumped below 10-7 mbar to create a vacuum. The vacuum removes moisture from the cryostat allowing it to go to low temperatures. Afterwards the cryostat was cooled with liquid nitrogen to 77K with the samples positioned at a 45˚ angle with respect to the laser beam. The PL emission spectrum of each sample was collected using a Princeton Instruments Acton SP2150 spectrometer with a Pixis 256 detector. Three samples were analyzed: one QD sample (QD), one MQW sample (MQW-1), and a bulk ZnCdSe (TA) sample. Each sample’s spectrum was recorded between 77K and 275K in five degree intervals. The full-width at half maximum (FWHM) and the integrated intensity were plotted as a function of temperature for each of the samples. A unique dependence was observed for each sample, allowing us to confirm the classification of the samples.

In the comparison of the temperature dependence of the FWHM for the QD, MQW-1, and ZnCdSe TA samples, the QD sample showed the least variance in FWHM with temperature and increased slightly at about 150K. In the temperature dependence of the integrated intensity for the same samples, the QD sample maintains a relatively high intensity until it reached 100K, where it begins to drop, while the MQW and TA samples already have a low intensity by 80K and remain low throughout. These trends are consistent with the behaviors of QD, QWs and thick layers. This technique of characterizing structures is a very valuable tool for the study of low dimensional structures.

Fung-Khee, Finola
City College of New York, Eddy Francisco de Oliveira

THE DETERMINATION OF SEX IN NEOTROPICAL BIRDS – SPECIES: LEPIDOCOLAPTES ANGUSTIROSTRIS AND ANOPETIA GOUNELLEI

The objective of this research project is to determine the sex of two different species of birds. Muscle tissue from twenty birds were obtained from the ornithology laboratory at UEFS following an expedition to the Pratigi Conservation Site in Bahia in 2015. Ten of the samples belonged to the species Lepidocolaptes angustirostris and the remainder to the Anopetia gounellei species. Extractions were made and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) performed on each sample. The PCR product was then visualized on a 2% agarose gel by electrophoresis. It was hypothesized that P2 and P8 primers can be used to correctly identify the male and female birds in these two species. Successful protocol was used as a standard for the sex determination of passerine birds. A lack of results from the PCR process indicated possible errors in either the procedure of the reagents used, or that the P2 and P8 primers could not be used to accurately identify the sex of Lepidocolaptes angustirostris and Anopetia gounellei birds. Due to time restriction all possible areas for error could not be investigated and so at the close of this research project the results were considered inconclusive.

Gobin, Dupah
York College, Margaret MacNeil

THE EXAMINATION OF CHANGES IN FROG HEART FUNCTION IN RESPONSE TO A DIRECT APPLICATION OF CAFFEINE AND NICOTINE ON THE HEART

Frog heart pumps fluids throughout the body, which contains oxygen and nutrients. It contains three chambers, these chambers are the right and left atria and the right and left ventricle. Many factors can cause a change in heart rate, especially if chemicals such as caffeine and nicotine are in the blood system We hypothesize that if caffeine and nicotine are known for increasing the heart rate and the strength of one’s heart then they would in fact generated the same changes when caffeine and nicotine are drop onto the frog’s heart. LabScribe software IWX/214 and FT-104 were use to assayed the results. The results show that the heart rate remained constant when caffeine was directly applied however it decreased when nicotine was placed directly on the heart. These findings are important because they show that these chemicals work differently when they are ingested/ smoked versus when directly applied to the heart.

Gomez, Joan
City College of New York, Yiannis Andreopoulos

LAMINAR TO TURBULENCE TRANSITION AND RELAMINARIZATION IN PULSATILE FLOWS

Biological flows display laminar-turbulence-laminar transitions due to the cyclic nature of a beating heart. Addressing the question of how turbulence appears, decays and is suppressed in the cardiovascular system, particularly in the large arteries, is challenging due to flow unsteadiness, very complicated geometry and flow-wall interaction. In the present work we have designed and tested a facility to simulate unsteady pulsatile flows and the onset of transition under varying Reynolds and Womersley numbers. A moving piston is used to generate a flow pulsation and control the velocity amplitude. Time-Resolved Particle Image Velocimetry (TR-PIV) techniques were used to acquire velocity data on the plane of a CW laser illumination. Two different decompositions were applied to analyze the non-stationary and non-linear time-dependent data, the Empirical Mode Decomposition (EMD) and the Trend Removal Method (TRM). Two flow regimes were found, one in which the pulsatile flow exhibits phase-locked turbulence which is associated with the stabilizing effects of longitudinal straining during acceleration and a second where transition occurs very close to the wall while the core remains laminar.

Hamsho, Mahmoud
Brooklyn College, Sophia Suarez

OPTIMIZATION OF POLY(METHYL METHACRYLATE) GEL SYNTHESIS TO BE USED IN ANALYSIS OF RESIDUAL DIPOLAR COUPLING

Liquids State Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) is a powerful technique used to characterize the interactions and structures of organic molecules. Residual Dipolar Coupling (RDC) provides the opportunity to study the stereochemistry of organic molecules. Through preparation of a polymer gel, molecules can be partially aligned persevering a small fraction of RDC interactions. From these interactions 2D NMR experiments can be formed to obtain a correlation map of the connectivity of two nuclei. Through trial and error the protocol to synthesize the polymer gel, Poly(Methyl Methacrylate), were optimized.

Hernandez, Betsy
Hunter College, Ari Maller

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF QUASAR LIGHT CURVES FROM PAN-STARRS1

We present a statistical analysis of variable quasars in the Pan-STARRS1 Medium Deep Survey (PS1 MDS). PS1 MDS obtained multi-epoch images of 10 fields, each 8 square degrees in size, over 4 years, starting in May 2010. The MDS fields were observed in 5 filters (gp1, rp1, ip1, zp1, and yp1) during their season of visibility, with a typical cadence per filter of 3 days. We extracted the light curves of 670 color-selected quasars in the PS1 MDS using Point Spread Function photometry form the Image Processing Pipeline data products. From the quasar sample, we selected 104 quasars whose variability was at least 2 standard deviations higher than the non-variable reference star sample. We performed a statistical analysis of the light curves of the selected quasars in the g, r, i and z bands using a maximum likelihood method to find the best-fit Damped Random Walk parameters (sigma and tau – also incorporating the Zoghbi et al. 2013 method for uneven sampling). The resulting distributions for sigma and tau were similar to those found in previous studies of quasars.

Javed, Rabia
John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Abdeslem El Idrissi

AGGRESSIVENESS OF TWO PATHOGENIC GENERA — PECTOBACTERIUM AND DICKEYA AGAINST MOROCCAN POTATOES

Bacteria belonging to the Dickeya and Pectobacterium genus are responsible for blackleg and soft rot diseases in a variety of plants. These bacteria are categorized as the top ten known bacterial pathogens. In this study we used three strains of bacteria, i.e., Dickeya solani, Pectobacterium astrosepticum and Pectobacterium brasiliensis. These pectinolytic bacteria release enzymes that degrade the pectate molecules in the cell wall and cause disease symptoms. The D. solani strain has been recently identified and is associated with the increased occurrence of blackleg and soft rot diseases. (Wharton et al., 2015) It has become the major cause of blackleg in the potato plant in Europe and the Mediterranean. In Morocco, the presence of D. solani has not been verified but strains of bacteria belonging to the similar genus i.e., Pectobacterium have been found to cause disease in the potato plant. A better understanding of this subject will help eradicate the harm caused to the plant species as well as the economic loss caused. We hypothesized that Dickeya is more aggressive than Pectobacterium. Likewise, the objective of this study was to analyze the aggressiveness of each strain against the three main varieties of potatoes grown in Morocco. Sensitivity test was also performed to determine the most resistant potato variety.

Jumah, Mays
College of Staten Island, Abdeslem El Idrissi

THE SENSITIVITY OF THE MAIN VARIETIES OF POTATO CULTIVATED IN MOROCCO AGAINST TWO PATHOGENIC GENUS DICKEYA & PECTOBACTERIUM IN THE STORAGE

The soft rot Enterobacteriaceae Pectobacterium and Dickeya species (formerly classified as pectinolytic Erwinia spp.) cause important diseases on potato and other plant. They may affect the growing potato plant-causing blackleg and are responsible for tuber soft rot in storage thereby reducing yield and quality. Some work has showed the existence of differences in varietal susceptibility development of black legs in the field. However, this study has two main objectives; firstly, to determine whether differences in varietal susceptibility to the development of maceration can be highlighted for the main varieties of potatoes grown in Morocco. Second, determine which of these three strains in the same genus are more virulent than other. This study will performed in fourth steps: the sensitivity of fourth variety against two strains of Pectobacterium and two strains of Dickeya, the aggressiveness of fourth strains of Pectobacterium against desire variety, aggressiveness of three strains of Dickeya against desire variety and lastly statistical analysis of the data.

Kabir, MD
City College of New York, Mark Steinberg

EFFECTS OF CLADRIBINE DERIVATIVES AND 5’AZACYTIDINE ON REDIFFERENTIATION OF SV-40 IMMORTALIZED HUMAN EPIDERMAL KERATINOCYTES

Cladribine is a deoxyadenosine derivative that has been tested as an anticancer agent in non-hodgkins lymphoma and hairy cell leukemia. Cladribine has been shown to act as an inducer of apoptosis in DNA fragmentation assays. However other nucleoside analogs such as 5-azacytidine have been shown to act chemotherapeutically by inducing terminal differentiation. Here we have studied the effects of cladribine and a brominated derivative of cladribine as well as 5-azacytidine on terminal differentiation in a line of SV40-transformed human keratinocytes. We used qPCR with templates derived from reversed transcribed mRNA to quantitate the expression of 8 markers of terminal differentiation and 7 modulators of differentiation pathways.Our experiments demonstrated that all 3 drugs brought about the appearance of histochemical markers of terminal differentiation using orange G/acid fuchsin staining. We also used RT-PCR to quantitate the expression of genes involved in keratinocyte differentiation (qPCR). We found a striking 8-fold increase of CK14 expression in bromo-cladribine at the highest concentration compared to cladribine, with a dose-dependent downregulation of differentiation markers cytokeratin 10, loricrin, involucrin, filaggrin, plakoglobin, occludin and the signaling modulators p63ß, E-cad, desmoglein 3, and Integrin ß4 compared to 5-azacytidine. These findings support the idea that the anticancer action of certain nucleoside analogs stems from the induction of terminal differentiation that were suppressed during the process of oncogenic transformation.

Marmolejos, Kiara
Baruch College, Abdeslem El Idrissi

AGGRESSIVENESS OF A VARIETY OF BLACK LEG AND SOFT ROT DISEASE PATHOGENS IN POTATOES

The soft rot Enterobacteriaceae Pectobacterium and Dickeya species (formerly classified as pectinolytic Erwenia spp.) cause important diseases on potato and other plants. These bacterium lead to potato blackleg and are responsible for tuber soft rot in the storage. Diseases like this affect yield and quality of harvesting potatoes, therefore this study aims to understand the aggressiveness of these pathogens in order to add to agricultural knowledge about the three main varieties of potato in Morocco. Some previous work has showed the existence of differences in varietal susceptibility to the development of blackleg in the field( Allefs et al. 1996; Rieckmann and Radtke 1991; Jeremie R et al. 2014). This study’s objectives are first, to determine whether the varietal susceptibility to the development of maceration can be highlighted for the three main varieties of potatos grown in Morocco. Second, to determine which of the two strains in the same genus are more virulent than the other. The study will be performed in three steps

  1. the sensitivity of the three varieties of potato will be tested against 2 strains of Pecobacterium and 1 strain of Dickeya
  2. the aggressiveness of each strain against the most sensitive variety of potato
  3. statistical analysis of the data

The three varieties of potato plants are El Dorada (ED), Margarita (M), and Diziri (D). The strains of pathogens used are Dickeya Solani strain 3337, Pectobacterium Atrosepticum strain G272, and Pectobacterium Brasiliensis. We hypothesize that the Margarita veriety of potato is most sensitive and the Dickeya Solani strain is the most aggressive. This knowledge will guide disease control strategies in order to deal with the economic effects of potato yield losses due to disease.

Marmolejos, Kiara
Baruch College, Abdeslem El Idrissi

AGGRESSIVENESS OF A VARIETY OF BLACK LEG AND SOFT ROT DISEASE PATHOGENS IN POTATOES

The soft rot Enterobacteriaceae Pectobacterium and Dickeya species (formerly classified as pectinolytic Erwenia spp.) cause important diseases on potato and other plants. These bacterium lead to potato blackleg and are responsible for tuber soft rot in the storage. Diseases like this affect yield and quality of harvesting potatoes, therefore this study aims to understand the aggressiveness of these pathogens in order to add to agricultural knowledge about the three main varieties of potato in Morocco. Some previous work has showed the existence of differences in varietal susceptibility to the development of blackleg in the field( Allefs et al. 1996; Rieckmann and Radtke 1991; Jeremie R et al. 2014). This study’s objectives are first, to determine whether the varietal susceptibility to the development of maceration can be highlighted for the three main varieties of potatos grown in Morocco. Second, to determine which of the two strains in the same genus are more virulent than the other. The study will be performed in three steps

  1. the sensitivity of the three varieties of potato will be tested against 2 strains of Pecobacterium and 1 strain of Dickeya
  2. the aggressiveness of each strain against the most sensitive variety of potato
  3. statistical analysis of the data

The three varieties of potato plants are El Dorada (ED), Margarita (M), and Diziri (D). The strains of pathogens used are Dickeya Solani strain 3337, Pectobacterium Atrosepticum strain G272, and Pectobacterium Brasiliensis. We hypothesize that the Margarita veriety of potato is most sensitive and the Dickeya Solani strain is the most aggressive. This knowledge will guide disease control strategies in order to deal with the economic effects of potato yield losses due to disease.

Matta, Marina
College of Staten Island, Francoise Sidime

LEMON VERBENA ESSENTIAL OILS EFFECT ON RATS, BACTERIA AND MOROCCAN LOCUSTS

Lemon verbena is used worldwide in cosmetics, food supplements and herbal medicinal products. This plant is also thought to have antimicrobial and oxidative characteristics. Phenylpropanoids are considered to be one of the main class compounds of this plant. Verbascoside are considered to be the most abundant phenylethanoid in this type of leaves and constituents by HPLC/NMR/IR/TLC analysis. Compound isolation in vivoand in vitro will take place to measure the antioxidant activity of Lemon verbena that might exhibit several toxicological and pharmacological properties. The experiments took place in two different labs and the extraction of lemon verbena was tested on two different groups. Various extracted compounds will be administered to rats and will be observed in behavioral tests such as Open Field and Elevated plus maze. Data will be analyzed using a program called anymaze. The extracts were also used to test their effect on bacteria plating and locusts in Morocco.

Matta, Marina
College of Staten Island, Francoise Sidime

ISOLATION AND CHARACTERIZATION OF PHYTOPATHOGENIC BACTERIA BELONGING TO THE GENUS PECTOBACTERIUM AND DICKEYA

Potato (Solanumtuberosum) is one of the most important food crops in the world. Pectinolytic bacteria belonging to the genera Pectobacterium and Dickeya cause economically significant losses of potatoes, as well as of other horticultural and ornamental plants in the field and during storage. Such bacterias cause soft rot and black leg diseases in plants. Both genera can be discriminated in the laboratory on the basis of biochemical, molecular and host range differences. Samples of potato tubers, soil and irrigation water were collected from Haj Kaddour in Mekness and analyzed through quorum sensing, Polymerase chain reaction and gel electrophoresis. Soil and potato samples showed the presence of Pectobacterium, specifically Pectobacterium brasiliensis, while none of the samples exhibited the presence of Dickeya.

Okeke, Evelyn
Rutgers University, Kiran Madura

CHARACTERIZATION OF THE NUCLEOCYTOPLASMIC TRAFFICKING OF RAD23, A SHUTTLE FACTOR THAT FUNCTIONS IN PROTEIN DEGRADATION

The ubiquitin proteasome pathway (UPP) is the primary mechanism for removal of cellular proteins and is conserved from yeast to humans [1]. Proteins that are targeted for degradation are covalently linked to a small protein called ubiquitin and subsequently degraded by the 26S proteasome [1, 2]. The functions of many players in this pathway are well characterized, although key regulatory aspects of this mechanism remain to be elucidated. For instance, the idea that nuclear proteins are degraded inside the nucleus is not supported by strong experimental data, and in contrast there is compelling evidence that some nuclear proteins are degraded following their export.

The Madura group made a number of discoveries regarding the site of protein turnover. First, we reported that the degradation of some nuclear proteins required export from the nucleus [3]. Second, nuclear substrates that were stabilized in export mutants accumulated inside the nucleus [3]. Third, we also reported that purified nuclear proteasomes lack peptidase activity unlike cytosolic proteasomes, which are fully functional [4]. Fourth, we reported that Rad23, was identified as a shuttle factor that translocates ubiquitinylated proteins to the proteasome [3]. Fifth, we reported that Sts1 can target proteasomes to the nucleus [3]. Sixth, preliminary data show that Rad23 can be trapped in either the nucleus or cytosol in specific mutants. Collectively, these studies suggest that some nuclear proteins are exported to cytosolic proteasomes that appear to be tethered to the nuclear surface.

The current focus of the Madura lab is to investigate the hypothesis that a nuclear-cytoplasmic transport mechanism is required to transport nuclear substrates to cytosolic proteasomes. I will characterize the role of Rad23 and other shuttle factors in translocating nuclear polyubiquitinylated proteins to cytosolic proteasomes at the nuclear surface. To test this hypothesis I will employ both genetic and molecular approaches. First, I will examine Rad23 function in yeast mutants where its localization is altered. Second, I will identify nuclear targeting motifs in Rad23 through both targeted and random mutagenesis to restrict its nucleo-cytoplasmic movement. I will then functionally characterize the identified mutants, and investigate their role in proteasome-mediated turnover of nuclear proteins, and nucleotide excision repair (NER). Third, I will extend my findings to the other known shuttle factors in yeast, as well human Rad23 proteins. The discovery of a previously unknown structural and functional aspects of Rad23 will not only advance our understanding of nuclear protein turnover, but may also provide a platform for improving disease outcomes in patients suffering from cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and even patients infected with HIV.

References:
[1] Reed, S.H. and Gillette, T.G. 2007. Nucleotide excision repair and the ubiquitin proteasome pathway – Do all roads lead to Rome? DNA Repair 6(2): 149-156. [2] Rivett, A.J. 1993. Proteasomes: multicatalytic proteinase complexes. Biochem. J. 291(1): 1-10. [3] Chen, L. and Madura, K. 2014. Yeast importin-α (Srp1) performs distinct roles in the import of nuclear proteins and in targeting proteasomes to the nucleus. J. Biol. Chem. 289(46): 32339-32352. [4] Dang, F.W., Chen, L. and Madura, K. 2016. Catalytically active proteasomes function predominantly in the cytosol. J. Biol. Chem. 291(36): 18765-18777.

Paul, Lysna
Brooklyn College, Eddy Francisco de Oliveira

USING MICROSATELLITE MARKER AND DNA BARCODE TO TEST THE EFFECT OF ALTITUDE ON THE FINE SCALE GENETIC STRUCTURE OF ANTS (CEPHALOTES PISSULUS)

Dispersal is a fundamental process influencing evolution, social behavior, and the long term persistence of populations. In this research we used both observational and genetic data deriving from inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR) and DNA barcode to investigate dispersion, kin-clustering and relationship between the ant groups Cephalote pisullus in an altitudinal gradient in Chapada Diamantina National Park. The Chapada Diamantina National Park is a national park in the Chapada Diamantina region of the State of Bahia in Brazil. This region contains two hills which serve as barriers to small animals. This can be used as a model for landscape isolation by altitude study in fine scale. During the year of 2011, 2012 and 2013, Eddy J.F. de Oliveira and his lab collected a total number of 96 individual species of Cephalotes pissulus from the two hills and the valley of the Chapada Diamantina National Park. We evaluated 20 samples of C. pusillus from the individual collected using three ISSR primers, Becky (CA)7-YC, UBC – 898 (CA)6-RY, and OMAR (GAG)4-RC. We also performed DNA barcoding using Cytochrome Oxidase I (COI) primers mtD7 and mtD9.

Reed, Ayanna
Lehman College, Scott Baker

DETECTING AND MEASURING LAND SUBSIDENCE IN HOUSTON-GALVESTON, TEXAS USING INTERFEROMETRIC SYNTHETIC APERTURE RADAR (INSAR) AND GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM DATA, 2012-2016

Several cities in the Houston-Galveston (HG) region in Texas have subsided up to 13 feet over several decades due to natural and anthropogenic processes [Yu et al. 2014]. Land subsidence, a gradual sinking of the Earth’s surface, is an often human-induced hazard and a major environmental problem expedited by activities such as mining, oil and gas extraction, urbanization and excessive groundwater pumping. We are able to detect and measure subsidence in HG using interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) and global positioning systems (GPS). Qu et al. [2015] used ERS, Envisat, and ALOS-1 to characterize subsidence in HG from 1995 to 2011, but a five-year gap in InSAR measurements exists due to a lack of freely available SAR data. We build upon the previous study by comparing subsidence patterns detected by Sentinel-1 data starting in July 2015. We used GMT5SAR to generate a stack of interferograms with perpendicular baselines less than 100 meters and temporal baselines less than 100 days to minimize temporal and spatial decorrelation. We applied the short baseline subset (SBAS) time series processing using GIAnT and compared our results with GPS measurements. The implications of this work will strengthen land subsidence monitoring systems in HG and broadly aid in the development of effective water resource management policies and strategies.

Rotondo, Salvatore
College of Staten Island, Francoise Sidime

THE ISOLATION AND CONTINGENCY OF ROSMARINIC ACID

Rosmarinic acid which is derived from the well known mediterranean culinary herb rosemary, comes from the plant family name Rosmarinus officinalis. The genus name Rosmarinus is comprised from two latin words, Ros and marinus which in turn translate to dew of the sea, which is part of the Species Boraginaceae and subfamily Nepetoideae of Lamiaceae. This overall dynamic effect that is portrayed by this powerful herb is accredited to it’s unique composition of bioactive molecules and phenolic compounds. Rosmarinus officinalis are mostly comprised of phenolic diterpenes. These diterpenes are categorized into carnosic acid, carnosol, and flaonoids( genkwanin, cirsimaritin). They facilitate the activation and inhibition of several biological activities such as : anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial and also antioxidant properties(Osakabe 2003,2004). This powerful compound has also known to have anti-depressive properties(Takeda 2002 ). The purpose of this study is isolate Rosmarinic acid from crude extracts by alcohol distillation, and HPLC. After fractionization of Rosmarinic acid, several inhibition assays will be performed to asses the potent effects of this molecule.

Rotondo, Salvatore
College of Staten Island, Francoise Sidime

MICROBIAL REDUCTION OF HEXAVALENT CHROMIUM USING A COLORIMETRIC ASSAY

Heavy metals which make up the core of the earth are pervasive to all environments each ecosystem. Chromium(Cr) which is a highly versatile element, can exist in nature as an essential cofactor to many biological processes known as trivalent chromium(CrIII) or a highly soluble toxin/pollutant also known as hexavalent chromium(CrVI).The difference between the two types of chromium is their difference in valence states and their contrasting impact on environment and the human health. Cr (III) compounds are relatively harmless and act as a bioessential species for the maintenance of metabolism. [1].Considering the dangerous effects of Cr(VI), it has been comprised among priority pollutants and listed as a class a human carcinogen by the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) [2]. Chromium enters in the anthropogenic activities, it is used in preparation of alloys, chrome plating, leather tanning, production of refractories and nuclear power [3,4]. The Significance of determining the levels of Cr(VI) in the water supply in result to industrial pollution is due to it’s severity of carcinogenic behavior to plants, and animals. Isolation of unknown bacteria from the city of Fez, Morocco prompted this study for bioremediational intentions. The purpose of this study was to test the growth and potency of several strains of unknown bacteria in reducing hexavalent chroium by liquid and solid chromium media assays.

[1] J. Wang, K. Ashley, E.R. Kennedy, C. Neumeister, Determination of hexavalent chromium in industrial hygiene samples using ultrasonic extraction and flow injection analysis.Analyst. 1997 Nov;122(11):1307-12.
[2] Costa M, Klein CB. Toxicity and carcinogenicity of chromium compounds in humans. Critical Review Toxicology 2006;36 155-63.
[3] McGrath SP, Smith S. Chromium and nickel. In: Alloway B.J. (ed.) Heavy Metals in Soils. New York: Wiley; 1990. p125–150.
[4] Stern R.M. Chromium compounds: production and occupational exposure. In: Langard S. (ed.) Biological and Environmental Aspects of Chromium. Amsterdam: Elsevier; 1982 p5–47.

Sanni, Riliwan
City College of New York, Julien Wist

CALCULATION OF DIFFUSION COEFFICIENTS IN NON-IDEAL BINARY MIXTURE USING PULSED FIELD GRADIENT NMR DATA

Pulsed field gradient nuclear magnetic resonance (PFG-NMR) was used to measure the mutual diffusivity of nitrobenzene and n-hexane binary mixture at an arbitrary mole composition and temperature away from the consulate point. Measurements are reported at xnitrobenzene = 0.56 and 296 K (the consulate point is at ~313 K and xnitrobenzene = 0.41). The PFG-NMR derived mutual diffusivity is compared with literature values for this binary mixture at similar conditions. The pulse sequence used is the Double Pulsed Field Gradient Selective Echo (DPFGSE) and it is shown that it is possible to calculate mutual diffusion coefficient using the semi-infinite diffusion couples analysis model. A 2D NMR spectrum (second dimension is the position in the sample or z-coordinate) was derived, the signal intensity was normalized and fitted to semi-infinite diffusion couples analysis model, which relates signal intensity to concentration and binary diffusion coefficient.

Sepulveda, Jordy
LaGuardia Community College, Maria Entezari

HMGB1 INHIBITS PHAGOCYTOSIS AND MIGRATION IN LPS-STIMULATED MICROGLIAL CELL

Neuro-inflammation and accumulation of Aβ-containing amyloid plaques are critical components of the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). It was shown that high-mobility group box1 (HMGB1) is extracellularly associated with Aβ plaques in AD brain. Activated microglia are able to migrate to the sites of Aβ deposition and eliminate Aβ by phagocytosis. The impairment of microglia migration and Aβ phagocytosis appear to be closely involved in the progression of AD pathology. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms responsible for disease progression are still unclear. We previously demonstrated the importance of HMGB1 in the impairment of phagocytosis ability in the peritoneal macrophages. Therefore, we hypothesized that HMGB1 contributes to microglial dysfunction under neuro-inflammation condition. In this study, we examined the effect of HMGB1 on migration and the phagocytotic ability of LPS-simulated BV2 microglial cells. The migration and phagocytosis function evaluated by in vitro wound healing assay and phagocytosis assay respectively. Our data show that treatment with 10 and 100ng/ml of recombinant HMGB1 significantly decreased the migration and phagocytosis ability in BV2 cells. Interestingly, HMGB1 at both concentrations inhibited the effect of LPS-induced up-regulation of phagocytosis in BV2 cells. Moreover, treatment with recombinant HMGB1 in BV2 cells accompanied by the expression of CD36 a class B scavenger receptor, and Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) on these cells. These results suggest that activation of CD36/TLR4 signaling pathways contributes to the HMGB1-induced microglia dysfunction. Thus, inhibiting of HMGB1 may provide a therapeutic target for enhancing of microglia’s ability to migrate and phagocytose in AD.

Shafique, Sharmin
City College of New York, Maria Tamargo

X-RAY DIFFRACTION STUDIES ON BI2SE3 TOPOLOGICAL INSULATORS

Three dimensional topological insulators (TIs) have garnered substantial interest in the condensed matter-physics field because of their potential applications in spintronic devices and quantum computers. TIs are electrical insulators in the bulk that have conducting surface states. Bismuth selenide (Bi2Se3) is known for its thermoelectric properties and is ideal as a TI because of its insulating bulk and conducting surface. Bi2Se3 also has a relatively large band gap of 0.3 eV, which is desirable because it enhances the insulating nature of the bulk. However, in reality, the bulk is conducting which can indicate that the Fermi level is in the conduction band due to defects or unintentional doping.

One of the most notable imperfections of Bi2Se3 is the presence of twinned domains which form due to its rhombohedral crystal structure. During growth, Bi2Se3 exhibits triangular features which grow in different orientations. When the triangles are pointed in opposite directions, twinning is evident. Twinned domains can affect the performance of Bi2Se3 when used in devices. Dislocation densities of TIs can also affect the quality of the crystal. In this work, Bi2Se3 TI layers have been grown by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) on sapphire substrates. Different growth parameters were utilized to suppress twinned domains as well as to enhance the crystal quality. These materials were characterized using X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) and X-Ray Reflectance (XRR) to determine the presence or suppression of twinned domains and the dislocation density. According to these measurements, Bi2Se3 layers with low density of twinned domains has been achieved. The dislocation density of two Bi2Se3 TI layers will also be compared to assess the quality of the crystals.

Sharif, Tanjila
York College, Elizabeth Alter

OBSERVING MICROBIAL DIVERSITY IN JAMAICA BAY USING METAGENOMIC APPROACH

The study of microbial organisms and its main functions is an essential means to many findings. We are aware that the internal parts of humans such as our gut and other parts of our GI consist of microorganisms which serve different purposes and perform different functions. The assay of analyzing what goes on in microbial environment is very important and beneficial. Metagenomics expands the insights to the functional ecology of microorganism. On the note of being one of the first groups to be involved in the testing of microbial diversity at Jamaica Bay, the research conducted could pave ways which many future researchers can use. The research was conducted to observe species in five different sites of Jamaica Bay, to what extent do waste products from nearby CSOs affect daily routines of microorganisms, and mainly what made such unique population of those microorganisms in that area. Our research entailed the collection of mud and sediment samples for analysis. The environmental DNA was extracted from the samples, purified, a PCR was run on the 16S chromosomes and finally after sequencing the collected data, an analysis was conducted to find the species diversity and species abundancy to understand their contribution towards the bay’s environmental factors. Based on what was found we were able to disclose that Jamaica Bay is indeed eutrophic, many species found across the sites had very similar functions and sites near to the CSOs were abundant in nitrogen fixative bacteria. Further studies could be conducted on the basis of what we started.

Steele, Doneisha
Lincoln University, Robert Langley

IDENTIFICATION AND QUANTIFICATION OF POLYCYCLIC AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS USING GC-MC/ TD

The objective of this project was to develop a novel method to identify and quantify Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) through Thermal Desorption (TD) to replace solvent-based extraction. According to the US Energy Information Administration, about 8% of households use woody biomass as a secondary source of heat, making woody biomass second only to electricity as a supplemental heating fuel. During wood combustion polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are released into the atmosphere which are pollutants and toxic to human health. The current method to identify PAHs adsorbed on particulate matter requires solvent-based extraction, which is time consuming, requires a high degree of skill, and employs extremely toxic organic solvents (sometimes more so than the target analyte). While TD is increasingly being applied to atmospheric sample analysis, there have not been many reports of it application to wood combustion emissions. The 5200 Pyroprobe by CDS Analytics was used to thermally desorb wood combustion-PAHs collected on Glass Fiber Filters (GFF) and Tenax Traps. This research helped to expand the Brookhaven National Laboratory’s (BNL) wood appliance performance testing program from simply quantifying particulate matter to also identifying their adsorbed chemicals. As a result of this summer at BNL, I have added thermal desorption, gas chromatography and mass spectrometry to my repertoire of chemical compound characterization techniques.

Steele, Doneisha
Lincoln University, Robert Langley

ANALYZING WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES USING TOTAL QUALITY MANAGEMENT

The provision of clean water is essential for health of the general population. The main source of potable water in many countries is surface water such as rivers and lakes. Surface water typically runs over land and pick up a lot of organic and inorganic pollutants that must be removed before it is fit for human consumption. Environmental protection agencies in each country set standards or safe levels of pollutants that will not harm human beings when the treated water is consumed. Water treatment plants utilize a series of unit processes to remove harmful individual (e.g., nitrates) and aggregate (e.g., turbidity) pollutants. The objective of this research is to analyze methods used by water treatment facilities to assess their efficiency in meeting national water quality standards by using Total Quality Management tools (e.g. control charts, flowchart). Outcomes of this project will exhibit the significance of analytic tools in the refinement of facility operations to provide better water quality for the general population. This research is multimodal (water treatment, wastewater treatment, solid waste management) and multidisciplinary (industrial engineering, environmental engineering) and will benefit treatments facilities worldwide.

Vega, Dyana
City College of New York, Wouter van der Wijngaart

CHARACTERIZATION OF AN ELECTROSTATIC-BASED AIR SAMPLER FOR THE CAPTURE OF AIRBORNE NOROVIRUS

The need for an air sampler has been in demand, as airborne transmitted viruses like Norovirus, also known as the winter-vomiting disease, produces 685 million cases a year around the world. The principle of electrostatic precipitation (ESP), although well known for air filtration, has been recently used as a novel method for sampling for airborne viruses. The ESSA (ElectroStatic Sampler for Air) is a novel point-of-care device developed in-house for the capture of airborne virus. Two designs were created for the ESSA, that vary the needle organization; the cross design and the circular design. This project focuses on evaluating the performance of these two ESSA design for capturing airborne viruses. Based on the characterization results, the circular ESSA has the highest particle count efficiency while the cross ESSA has the best current versus voltage relationship.

Veloz, Jeury
City College of New York, Michelle Juarez

IDENTIFICATION OF NOVEL WOUND REPORTERS IN CANDIDATE GENES VIA DNA CLONING

The constant threat of infection via injury and pathogens in our environment forces our bodies to come up with innovative ways to efficiently treat and repair wounds. While there are many factors that are involved in the wound response, in our lab we isolate and analyze wound reporter genes that normally activate upon injury to the epidermis in a localized pattern around the wound site. Visualization of a wound response is achieved through fluorescently tagging reporter genes, which “light up” upon activation of the gene. Two of the wound reporters that have been successfully identified and tagged with fluorescence are dopa decarboxylase (Ddc) and tyrosine hydroxylase (ple), which we routinely use to study the wound response in vivo of Drosophila melanogaster embryos.

Wound reporters are identified by the presence of a unique collection of transcription factor binding sites found within the gene locus. Our goal for this project is to identify additional wound reporters by recognizing this collection of transcription factor binding sites in candidate genes. One candidate that we are currently focusing on is the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor alpha 7 gene. We are interested in this specific pathway because injection of nicotine solution has been experimentally shown in our lab to produce a global wound response in Drosophila embryos, which we theorize is indicative of inefficient wound repair. The identification of additional wound reporters can potentially reveal interactions between genes that will help us better understand wound repair mechanisms.

Ventura, Claudia
Brooklyn College, Gernot R. Müller-Putz

THE NEUROPHYSIOLOGY OF MOVEMENT CONTROL: MEANINGFUL AND MEANINGLESS GOAL-DIRECTED MOVEMENTS

Brain Computer Interface is a system used to enhance the life of paralyzed people by providing ways for them to interact with the environment and to achieve their goals more independently. Presently, knowledge of moving decoding related to goal directed movements is needed to improve BCI detection of natural movements. Recent studies with fMRI have shown different brain responses to meaningless and meaningful goal directed movements. The present study consisted in designing an experiment to analyze brain oscillatory responses using electroencephalographic (EEG) during meaningless and meaningful goal directed movements with the same kinematics. Accordingly, the present study aims to test the topographical differences of cortical rhythmicity related to the execution of the movements mentioned above. Our hypothesis is that behaviorally meaningful motor intentions elicit increased responses, compared to meaningless movements with similar kinematic properties. All subjects are expected to complete and execute all the conditions (meaningless, meaningful, rest and eye-movement conditions). Previous studies using invasive or fMRI data show that there are different brain responses mainly within the PPC and we hope we are able to find consistent results using a non-invasive and practical recording technique, which is suitable for practical BCI setups, the EEG.