2023 Program

39th Annual Diebold Symposium | April 27-29, 2023

Thursday, April 27 – Keynote Address by Dr. Celeste Karch, K’05

Dr. Celeste Karch K'05 alumni and Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

“Unlocking the causes of neurodegenerative disease

Thursday, April 27, 2023
4:10 – 5:30 p.m.
Dewing Hall, Room 103
Reception to follow

About Dr. Karch: Dr. Karch is a Professor of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine. The goal of the Karch lab is to understand the molecular drivers of Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, and other neurodegenerative disease. To do this, the Karch lab uses functional genomics alongside stem cell and mouse models. The Karch lab has developed a somatic and stem cell collection containing deeply clinically characterized cell lines from individuals carrying genetic drivers of Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. These cells are used to develop novel tools to interrogate mechanisms of neurodegenerative disease. Additionally, the Karch lab couples high-throughput transcriptomics and proteomics in stem cells and human brain tissues to identify disease

Friday, April 28 – Student Poster Presentations

Poster Session 1 | 4:30 – 5:40 p.m.

Location: Athletics Field House, Hornet Suite

Natalie Call

Topic: Exploring the Moose-Wolf Population Dynamics of Isle Royale National Park, MI

The purpose of this project was to research, anticipate, and mitigate the future of the moose-wolf populations of Isle Royale National Park. Isle Royale is an archipelago in west central Lake Superior and is a combination of boreal and northern hardwood forest. The experiential work was sponsored by the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), and I assisted in the survey of the moose population of Isle Royale by bushwhacking through the dense wilderness in search for moose carrion to analyze for one week over summer 2022. The review paper focused on the increased impact of anthropogenic climate change on the predator-prey interaction of the moose and wolves of Isle Royale. The gray wolf population is expected to face increasing threats of inbreeding depression, while the moose population will face exponential stressors due to the changes in the archipelago’s composition and productivity. Despite controversy, anthropogenic impacts are found to have a far greater impact on the moose population compared to their predator, the wolf population. The review highlights the necessity of frequently evaluating the entire ecosystem of Isle Royale to create accurate and effective management practices. The senior individualized project experience enlightened a future path towards a career as a wildlife biologist and reiterated the importance of environmental conservation and the interconnection of all abiotic and biotic factors.

Jennefer Hernandez

Topic: A Proposal Discussing Ubiquitination in Cancer Regulation

Ubiquitylation is a post-translational modification that controls many highly regulated, biological processes that are vital to maintaining cell homeostasis (Duan & Pagano et al., 2021). Ubiquitylation is involved in protein degradation, altering kinase activity, and interfering with protein interactions and dysregulation of the ubiquitin system has been associated with the initiation and development of cancer (Mansour, 2018; Duan & Pagano et al., 2021). Depending on the target protein, ubiquitin may function as a tumor suppressor or tumor promoter by inhibiting or activating several different cascades (Hoeller & Dikic, 2009). In this review, we will focus on the role of ubiquitylation in the cell metabolism of cancer cells, how it induces cancer metastasis, and how it manipulates apoptosis to promote cancer pathogenesis. We will also briefly discuss strategies for cancer therapy intervention.

Maya Nathwani

Topic: Maintaining Community and Identity as a Ugandan Post Expulsion

On August 4th, 1972, Asians in Uganda woke up to a nightmare: they had 90 days to leave the country, an order put in by Idi Amin, the President of Uganda. The expulsion left a large part of Uganda’s population under extreme duress. Uganda was their home and had been their home for multiple generations. All Ugandan Asians were forced to leave their homes, their livelihoods, but where would they go now that they had no home? If they were British citizens or British Protectorates, they became refugees but if they were Ugandan citizens, they became stateless. And regardless of their citizenship status before the expulsion, they lost their identity as Ugandans and were forced to obtain another in order to survive. As they dispersed to all parts of the globe such as England, Canada, and India, the communities, and identities they had built in Uganda would forever be changed.

Belonging to a community or to a nation are feelings that help create an identity, both as an individual and a community. But how can you form and maintain an identity if that belonging is forcefully taken away? This research, and its findings from the conducted interviews, in conjunction with current literature surrounding the expulsion and theories of belonging, individual and national identity, and community, answer this main question, showing how that even through losing their homes, Ugandan Asians were able to rebuild and maintain communities and reform their identities post expulsion.

Arein Motan

Topic: Exploring the Physician Assistant Profession at Bronson Methodist Hospital

Cardiovascular disease is responsible for the leading cause of death globally (Mc Namara et al., 2019). Cardiovascular disease encapsulates several conditions, which are all responsible for often unbearable symptoms and reactions experienced by cardiology patients. Although mortality and the morbidity rate of the disease are extremely high, recent studies show decline in mortality rates and stability in survival rates of patients with cardiovascular disease (Amini et al., 2021). Several effective treatments for conditions for atrial fibrillation have been made possible, through medicinal treatment plans that include anticoagulants and β-blockers (Nielsen et al., 2016; Kim et al., 2022). Additionally, innovative techniques, such as stem cell therapy have proven to be effective in managing coronary heart disease (Kastrup, 2010). This review will focus on the importance of cardiovascular disease management through a variety of medical treatments and strategies, as well as an assessment of the effectiveness and limitations of these treatments, finally, possible future directions or suggestions for limitations will be proposed throughout the review, towards the overall management of cardiovascular disease.

Charles DiMagno

Topic: A Contemporary Piano and Jazz Concert

A Jazz and contemporary piano recital, focusing on contrasting themes developed over 8 years. The recital features a full sextet, as well as a plethora of solo piano compositions. The theme of the recital is “Harmony and Space,” focusing on varying bases of harmonic progression, and the space that allows for rhythm, pulse, and melody. The performance was held at the Recital Hall in Light Fine Arts on April 21, 2023.

Will Keller

Topic: Evaluating habitat preferences of three declining grassland sparrow species

Grassland, prairie, and savannah ecosystems have been destroyed and degraded across North America as a direct result of colonization and subsequent urbanization and agricultural expansion. Consequently, the wildlife that once inhabited these ecosystems commonly are now among the most threatened on the planet. Grasshopper sparrow, Dickcissel and Henslow’s sparrow are three species of sparrow that have undergone dramatic population decreases within the last century and are considered species of greatest conservation need in Michigan. There is disagreement among land managers as to the best management practice for these species across the remnant and restored grasslands of Michigan’s lower peninsula because management for each species respectively can be detrimental to the others. In this study I conducted bird point counts to gather data on where these three species were occurring across 13 potentially suitable grassland sites in southern Michigan. Data on several vegetation characteristics was also gathered at each point. I found that Grasshopper sparrows occur more frequently in areas with more open habitat characteristics in terms of vegetation height and volume. Dickcissels occurred in areas with comparatively high levels of bare ground. Results were inconclusive on associations between Henslow’s sparrow presence and vegetation characteristics. I propose mid-summer haying on a 1-3 year cycle, haying up to 80 acre parcels of the managed area at a time along with occasional burning as a sufficient management technique for maximizing the habitat for (and promoting the coexistence of) all three of these bird species.

Elizabeth Silber

Topic: Urban Or Rural: Does It Matter To Bumble Bees? An Analysis In Kalamazoo, MI

Bumble bees are important native pollinators that help maintain healthy ecosystems. Bumble bee species are declining in vast geographical areas due to many factors, including reductions in suitable nest site locations and floral resources, as land uses shift toward urbanization and agricultural intensification. The potential for urban areas to support bumble bees is understudied. The purpose of this study was to see how environment type impacts bumble bee species richness, abundance, and diversity in both urban and rural environments. Data from private and public spaces was gathered through the usage of citizen science. Observations were solicited under a previously established iNaturalist citizen science project, Southwest Michigan Bee Watch, and past data from this project was analyzed alongside observations submitted in summer 2022. Alongside citizen science data, I documented bumble bee species abundance and richness at fifteen sites along an urban to rural gradient in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Sites were categorized as either urban or rural through percentage of green space within a 1km radius of the site, as well as site distance from the center of Kalamazoo. Bumble bee photos within the citizen science database were properly identified to species by me and other contributors to iNaturalist. A total of 1040 individual bumble bees were documented (563 in rural areas, 477 in urban areas). Overall abundance of bumble bees, including species of concern (Bombus auricomus) and declining species (B. vagans) were favored in rural environments compared to urban ones. However, Shannon Diversity Indices were similar for the two environments. More information concerning the preferred nesting and floral resources of declining species is needed to determine if suitable habitat is available or could be created within urban environments.

My-Anh Phan

Topic: Examining the Neuroprotective Effects of 7-Hydroxy-2-(2-phenylethyl)chromone in Glutamate Excitotoxicity Model of C. elegans

There are 600 neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that are affecting about 50 million Americans each year. Glutamate excitotoxicity is a pathway that plays a role in neuronal death and degeneration across several neurodegenerative diseases. In the Williams lab, 5-HPEC has proven to have neuroprotective activity. Because 5-HPEC and 7-HPEC are a subclass of 2-(phenylethyl)chromone, this study examines if 7-Hydroxy-2-(2-phenylethyl)chromone (7-HPEC) will have the same properties and neuroprotective effects in C. elegans as their family compounds. Developed in the Driscoll lab, a glutamate excitotoxicity model of C. elegans was used to prove the effects of 7-HPEC. The results indicated that although 7-HPEC does not have a significant impact on neuroprotective effects in a C. elegans glutamate excitotoxicity model, there is a decrease due to its effects but is not comparable to its 5-HPEC. 7-HPEC had limited effects when quantifying the number of necrotic neurons.

Ian Hurley

Topic: A reflection on my experience shadowing a dermatology surgeon and a literature review comparing Ester and Amide local anesthetics

For my experiential SIP, I reflected on my 100 hours of experience shadowing a dermatology surgeon, and then wrote a literature review on local anesthetics – a medical tool used daily at the clinic. In this presentation, I plan to focus on the shadowing experience due to its relevance to my path at and beyond Kalamazoo College. I reference journal notes which I took after and during my shifts at the clinic, and I elaborate on how those notes have impacted my career decisions, perspective on my time at K and more.

Anthony Bruley

Topic: Working at ACE Flagstaff and Witnessing Human Impact on the SW American Desert

For my Senior Integrated Project (SIP), I worked as a conservation volunteer at American Conservation Experience (ACE). I chose to do my experience at ACE to gain some experience working in the field in a conservation setting. During my time at ACE, I completed trail maintenance across northern Arizona and gained a deeper respect and understanding for both conservation and the environment. Through this deeper understanding of the high desert, I was able to see the environmental impacts that humans have on the desert of the southwest, especially the impact on climate and native populations.

Camille Schuster

Topic: The Science of Beekeeping and Disease Mitigation

I shadowed two experienced beekeepers in person throughout the late summer to fall season. We attended multiple meetings at the local bee clubs and observed their educational presentations. I additionally worked in their apiaries and gathered extensive knowledge about general protocol, winter prep, and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for honeybees. Most of this research was immersive and experiential and allowed me to get a close look into the beekeeping community to get an understanding of the issues they currently face. Another component of my research was reading and online research for the creation of my literature review derived from my experiences. Many of these sources were referred to me by my mentors. These sources allowed me to write my literature review on pest mitigation. The literature review is a deep dive into current pest management strategies developed against varroa mites, which are one of the most recent and damaging threats to honeybees. These mites not only deplete the bees of their fat reserves, but also weaken the immune system of the entire colony to other diseases. Though varroa mitigation is a developing field, there are many solutions and mitigation methods on the market that vary in effectiveness depending on the nature of each varroa case. For example, oxalic acid and amitraz are commonly used to kill varroa mites, but some studies have shown that varroa mites have grown resistant to amitraz, while oxalic acid can be harmful to the honeybees. These issues with current strategies have led to selective breeding, where beekeepers are purchasing certain strains of honeybees that exhibit enhanced grooming behaviors to help reduce varroa numbers. This research was an interesting addition to my experience because varroa management has become very much interwoven into the everyday practice of modern beekeeping.

Hanna Tuchenhagen

Topic: The Montessori School: My Experience as a Teaching Assistant

Throughout this summer, I worked at The Montessori School as an assistant teacher for the summer program. During this time, I worked with students ages three to six. My role was to help the lead guide in my classroom by ensuring that students were behaving with grace and courtesy, following the ground rules, listening, following directions, and treating others with respect. Each day I was responsible for keeping the children safe, supervising their learning, and helping to create a peaceful, nurturing environment. I learned how Maria Montessori’s core principles are implemented in the classrooms, and I observed how beneficial this type of learning is for young children.

Sam Boritzki

Topic: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity and Autism Spectrum Disorder: Focusing on ADHD with ASD Symptoms

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are Neurodevelopmental disorders that have high comorbidity rates with other mental disorders, but especially with one another. ASD with ADHD symptoms has been reported to be significantly more prevalent than ADHD with ASD symptoms. The DSM-5 diagnostic symptoms for ASD are present in individuals with ADHD and individuals with ADHD perform equal to ASD individuals when testing for the ASD deficits described by the DSM-5. The phenomenon of social camouflaging entails an individual with ASD commonly masking their social deficits to ‘fit in’ with neurotypical individuals. This phenomenon further demonstrates the disparity of the prevalence rates between ADHD with ASD symptoms and ASD with ADHD symptoms. The discouragement of these disparities in prevalence is not meant to encourage formal diagnoses, as the healthcare system is widely inaccessible for individuals seeking ASD diagnoses and individuals who have ASD presentations or symptoms. Research and general knowledge surrounding ASD must be refocused onto the internal struggle of those with ASD and account for individuals who may camouflage their ASD symptoms.

5:40-5:50 PM


Poster Session 2 | 5:50 – 7:00 p.m.

Location: Athletics Field House, Hornet Suite

Johanna Ghazal

Topic: Exploring a Career in Dental at Drake Dental

My Senior Integrated Project (SIP) is based on the opportunity and experiences I received while working at Drake Dental in Kalamazoo. I was able to work chairside as a dental assistant for 100 hours and learn through many hands-on procedures. As a result of my internship, I became more comfortable and confident assisting in dental procedures and familiarized myself in dental anatomy and physiology. I then became interested in the connection between female sex hormones and oral health. For the second portion of my SIP, I reviewed papers connected to hormone changes, menopause, and oral health to further investigate this relationship. Through both my internship and paper, I gained insight into the world of dentistry and developed skills and knowledge relevant to my interest in pursuing a career in dentistry. 

Danielle Bennett

Topic: Exploring Pharmaceutical Practice and Health Systems in Jamaica: A Personal Experience

abstract not available

Alex Stolberg

Topic: Effect of Temperature Variation on Endurance Swimming Capacity of Juvenile White Sturgeon

White sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus), a species within one of the most globally threatened taxa, are highly susceptible to changes in their environments due to unique life history traits. Specifically, juvenile white sturgeon are impacted by altered watershed dynamics caused by water diversion structures such as dams, weirs, irrigation ditches, or levees. One location of great concern is the Sacramento-San Joaquin (S-SJ) watershed where decades of water diversion has brought on great changes to the temperature, flow, and management of the area. This study looks to primarily identify the impact of water temperature on the endurance swimming capacity of juvenile white sturgeon, at different water velocities. Juvenile white sturgeon were exposed to differing water temperatures and speeds, to identify a relationship to endurance swimming capacity. Juveniles swam for longer periods of time at warmer temperatures, as there was a statistically significant decrease in time to fatigue after 35 cm s-1 for fish reared at 18°C and 13°C and for fish at 23°C, a statistically significant decrease in time to fatigue after 42 cm s-1. These results indicate that in the wild, altered water temperatures may greatly impact swimming dynamics. However, regardless of temperature, water velocities greater than 49 cm s-1 are more likely to increase the risk of mortality of juvenile white sturgeon. Future research must work to design and modify these diversion structures in order to decrease juvenile mortality and conserve wild populations.

Katia Duoibes

Topic: A Failed System: Barriers to Health and Healthcare for People Experiencing Houselessness

Health and housing are inextricably linked. People experiencing houselessness face complex barriers to health and healthcare in the United States. This review uses the term ‘houseless’ or ‘unhoused’ over ‘homeless’ to recognize that though someone might not have a traditional structural shelter in which they reside, they are not necessarily without a home; at the same time, someone who might have shelter does not necessarily have a home. This highlights the diversity of lived experiences. In this paper, existing literature regarding healthcare for the unhoused in the following areas is reviewed: information access and accessibility, transportation, stigma and sense of belonging, and trusting one’s healthcare providers. This is not a complete list of barriers nor are these barriers unique to people experiencing houselessness. Analyzing the creation and perpetuation of this barriers provides a steppingstone to understand how systematic failures of our healthcare system affect underserved communities. In the face of systemic cracks, free clinics have been operating within equity- based frameworks, serving as the safety-net of American healthcare. This paper call for a change in the for-profit healthcare model and specifically its interaction with people experiencing houselessness.

Olive Smith

Topic: Building the Blocks of Kalamazoo through Asset Based Community Development

As a Kalamazoo native, I have seen that resources for education, the neighborhood, and the built environment have the potential to alter community aspirations and the social determinants of health. I have participated intensively in a robust community change initiative called Building Blocks of Kalamazoo. In this Senior Integrated Project, I draw upon my experiences as a summer intern with Building Blocks and combine them with a literature review from Kim Cummings, the founder of Building Blocks. I will explore how a neighborhood intervention organization, Building Blocks of Kalamazoo, may influence public and community health on a small scale (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018). I use the Dahlgren- Whitehead model to explain how Building Blocks uses Asset Based Community Development approaches (Kretzmann & McKnight, 1993) to address modifiable social determinants of health. The promotion of the agency of community members to strengthen social networks and enhance built environments in the neighborhood street block level, therefore, improving the community of Kalamazoo.    

Ginamarie Lester

Topic: Organic Farming at Unadilla Community Farm with a Look at Entomopathogenic Nematodes

This summer I worked at Unadilla Community Farm in West Edmeston, NY. There I learned about how an organic vegetable farm works and various topics related to organic farming including food forests, permaculture, dynamic accumulators, and pest management with beneficial organisms. I also saw how the local community was involved with the farm. Additionally, I gained more insight into how biology is integrated into farming, as well as what kind of career I would like to pursue in the future. Through my experience at Unadilla, I decided to look at an aspect of pest management with beneficial organism (also known as biological control) for my literature review. I specifically focus on entomopathogenic nematodes and their benefits, disadvantages, how they compare to chemical insecticides, what progress has been made on their application and formulation, and the current and future directions of their study.

Jonathan Jiang

Topic: Effects of Cytokines on the Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition in Renal Cell Carcinoma

Kidney cancer presents in many different forms, some more aggressive than others. Clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC), the most common form of kidney cancer, may undergo an epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) where cells become elongated and spindly and metastasize. There is evidence in other cancer types, that EMT may also lead to changes in immunogenicity of the tumor, including upregulation of immune checkpoint inhibitors such as PD-L1. When cells undergo EMT, various transcription factors are involved and are upregulated or downregulated by environmental conditions and cytokines. This study explores the effects of hypoxia, hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), interferon-γ (IFN-γ), and transforming growth factor-beta (TGFβ) on EMT and PD-L1 expression in 786-O and Caki-1 clear cell carcinoma cell lines. Protein level analysis was conducted using cell cultures and Western blotting techniques. Results indicated that the presence of cytokines and hypoxia, both individually and together, play important roles in the induction of EMT in ccRCC and in regulation of PD-L1. Understanding the genetic mechanisms of EMT and its effects on the immune microenvironment can aid in the development of promising cancer treatment and prevention methods for the future.

Eli Edlefson

Topic: The Pollinator Habitat Rehabilitation Project at the Lillian Anderson Arboretum

Pollinating insects are necessary factors to the survival of most flowering plants, forming symbiotic relationships wherein pollinators are rewarded with food while the plants use the pollinators to propagate. Pollinators are an important and often overlooked aspect of agriculture, particularly that of crops requiring biotic pollination. Global agriculture stands to lose billions of dollars with the decline of pollinators. A large contributor to these declines is from homogenization of large expanses of land for farming, creating hostile monocultures that cannot support pollinators and prevent their traversal. Thus, bolstering local wildflower populations is an excellent way to support local pollinators. A study by Russo et al. in 2020 showed that powerline Right-of-Ways (ROWs) are prime locations to enhance habitats for native pollinators with minimal work through common maintenance practices like weeding, selective herbicide application, and seeding native plants. This study was conducted to document the progress made by an enhancement project within the Lillian Anderson Arboretum (LAA), Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2019. Led by Amy Cazier, the study established a baseline list of wildflower species present along the powerline ROW, providing a standard with which to compare as the project progressed. It was found through weekly plant and pollinator surveys that the floral quality of the LAA Powerline trail is high, as calculated with a Floral Quality Index, and supports several highly conservative plant species. Number of floral visitors increased between survey years, indicating a more attractive habitat for pollinators, though insects of the order Hymenoptera constituted a smaller percentage than Cazier’s baseline. Improvement of the ROW is projected to continue with the removal of invasive species and repeated disturbance to limit aggressive homogenous plant growth.

Nathaniel Zona

Topic: A Single Center Experience of Surveillance Biopsies in Pediatric Kidney Transplants

Acute rejection is a significant risk factor for allograft loss in pediatric renal transplant recipients. Identifying and treating rejection prior to a clinical appearance by surveillance biopsy has been associated with improved allograft function and survival. There are no strong patient demographic patterns associated with increased risk of subclinical rejection. Appropriate surveillance biopsy time intervals have yet to be standardized to minimize risk and maximize clinical outcomes. We reviewed all renal allograft surveillance biopsies at six-, twelve-, and twenty-four-month intervals from February 2020 through August of 2022 at a tertiary care facility. Clinical history, relevant laboratory findings, immunosuppression and hypertension medications, and biopsy related complications were recorded. Subclinical rejection was identified in accordance with the Banff Diagnostic Categories of Renal Allograft Pathology. Descriptive statistical analysis was performed to identify clinical risk factors. Twenty-nine patients received a total of 47 surveillance biopsies. The mean age at date of transplant for the 29 subjects was 12.2 years (SD ± 5.0 years) and 18 (62%) were male. Subclinical inflammation or rejection was identified in 3 (13.6%) of 22 six-month surveillance biopsies, 7 (38.9%) of 18 twelve-month surveillance biopsies, and none of the twenty-four-month surveillance biopsies. We experienced six (12.8%) minor complications (significant hematoma n=2; gross hematuria n=4). Same day surveillance allowed for prompt immunosuppression changes in 14 subjects. An extended follow up period will be necessary to access the clinical outcome of these changes. No difference in traditional risk factors between patients with or without subclinical rejection was identified. Our rates of rejection suggest the consideration of adjusted biopsy intervals, but a larger sample size is needed to best inform this decision.

Isabel Morillo

Topic: A Summer at AACORN: The Roles of Psychology and Nature in Health

Last summer, I had the opportunity to participate in a community building internship with AACORN farm through the Center for Civic Engagement at Kalamazoo College. AACORN (Adult Agricultural Community Option for Residential Needs) is a non-profit day program in Galesburg, Michigan that was created for adults with mental and physical disabilities. The core values by which this organization runs its program are finding purpose, mutual respect, lifelong learning, perseverance, self-advocacy, positive relationships, community, service, environmentalism, and healthy living. In my role as vocational program intern, I was able to strengthen my skill set regarding patience and communication while reinforcing these core values among our participants. Throughout the summer, I integrated the teachings of my psychology courses within my lived experiences on the farm, particularly Health Psychology which explores how stress and the environment influence our health and wellbeing. This contributed significantly to the trust and lasting friendships I was able to establish with each of the participants and staff members. I will forever be indebted to AACORN and its attendees for the benevolence and knowledge they shared with me this summer, which inspired me to continue my pursuit of a career in the field of psychology.

Maeve Novotny

Topic: Farming with Nature and Climate Change Mitigation through Regenerative Agriculture Practices

During my time spent as an intern at DeLano Homestead and throughout the writing of this manuscript, my purpose was to obtain and understand how agricultural practices can be more sustainable and how we promote healthier ecosystems by altering our land use patterns. I desired to uncover practices that had been shrouded by Western consumerism behavior and extractive economies, such as learning about the meaning of reciprocity and the importance of ceasing degenerative behaviors. As a laborer on a regenerative farm, I carried out the principles of regenerative agriculture through our day-to-day tasks, such as the planting and solarization of cover crops and in fostering relationships and respect with all living beings. In developing these relationships, I came to understand the wealth that can be afforded to us in the form of sustainable and healthy food simply by promoting soil and ecological health. By fostering sustainable relationships with the ecosystems, regenerative agriculture seems like such an obvious solution to our current climate crisis, leaving me confused as to why these principles are not seen at a greater scale. My experience at DeLano prompted my research into the potential of regenerative agriculture to aid in mitigating global climate change due to its superb ability to sequester large amounts of atmospheric carbon into the soil. In my research I learned that the deep traditions of Indigenous knowledge systems are the foundation of the modern regenerative movement and are often overlooked in Western society. Incorporating evidence-based science with the deep understandings of ecosystems by Indigenous peoples within local regions may be pivotal in altering our land use practices. Through implementation of sustainable policy as well as a cultural shift to embody the health of the ecosystem we can learn how to farm with nature.

Maya Richardson

Topic: An Exploration into the Dental Field

This summer, I had the privilege of shadowing four dentists over the course of three months at two dental offices. I spent a total of one hundred and six hours, on average five hours a day, three to four days a week. The most common procedures I witnessed at both offices were fillings, core and crown prep, root canals, bridge placements, impressions for dentures, wisdom teeth, Invisalign checkups, basic extractions, and normal examinations. In this report I will review the anatomy of the tooth as well as the names and functions of all. I will also describe the ways in which a root canal and a filling procedure can be performed. Future advances in technology and procedures for the profession will be discussed as well.

Saturday, April 29 – Student Oral Presentations & Poster Sessions

Note: This day’s events will be held in the Dow Science Center in rooms 226 and 232. The full day of student oral presentations run from 9:50 a.m. to 5:40 p.m. with a break at 11:15 a.m. and lunch at 12:45 p.m.

9:50 a.m. | Opening Remarks

Locations: Dow Science Center, Rooms 226 and 232

10 a.m. | Presenters Alexis Nesbitt and Nicholas Matuszak

Alexis Nesbitt

Location: Dow 226

Topic: Delayed Development of the Neuromuscular Junction in Mice Offspring Born Under Maternal High Fat Diet

The neuromuscular junction (NMJ) is the critical peripheral synapse that regulates the communication between skeletal muscle fibers and motor neurons. This research is driven by interest in better understanding the stability and function of the NMJ under certain conditions such as obesity. Previous studies have explored the abnormalities in mouse skeletal muscles that have been exposed to maternal obesity. On the other hand, nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) are a hallmark of the mammalian NMJ and are found at high density in the healthy NMJ. In this novel study, the NMJs from offspring of female mice fed with a High-Fat Diet (HFD). Specifically, this study explores the acetylcholine receptors density present at each postnatal stage, from postnatal day 3 (P3) until postnatal day 21 (P21). This is completed by examining the density of AChRs within the neuromuscular junction synapses. We found that mice born under maternal HFD showed a significant reduction in the number of acetylcholine receptors in the first 21 days of life while the synaptic area remained relatively the same. Providing evidence that mice born under maternal HFD are underdeveloped in comparison to mice born under maternal SD. This study will provide more insight into the impact maternal obesity has on offspring’s skeletal muscle and synaptic transmission which will in turn may generate research on the effects of maternal obesity in species including humans.

Nicholas Matuszak

Location: Dow 232

Topic: A Study of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Recovery

My experiential work that I conducted for my Senior Individualized Project consisted of assisting chairside in the field of oral and maxillofacial surgery. This work took place during the summer of 2022, before entering the fall trimester. During this work experience I was trained in forehanded techniques used between surgeons and their assistants. Also, I was trained in the sterilization lab to run an ultrasonic and an autoclave, which gave me a better understanding of the throughput required to run a practice such as Dr. Bonine’s office. The biggest takeaway I gained from this experience was through my work with platelet rich fibrin (PRF). In most of the cases I assisted on, some form of a PRF was used. Since I was a trainee all summer, I typically assisted on easier cases like wisdom teeth removal. Since I am most familiar with this technique, I chose to review articles specifically related to PRF utilization in wisdom teeth extractions. Through my work experience as well as the literature I reviewed, I was able to learn about leading post-operative healing techniques like platelet rich fibrin and its clinical applications. Through this experience I have gained a ton of valuable information that will help in my journey through dental school, and wherever my path takes me afterwards.

10: 15 a.m. | Presenters McKenna Hepler and Zoe Reyes

McKenna Hepler

Location: Dow 226

Topic: Medical Scribing in the Emergency Department

Medical scribing has become a way for pre-medical students to gain clinical experience in different settings of healthcare. This work allows students to shadow physicians and observe real patient-doctor interactions while also providing efficiency within the busy realm of healthcare. This presentation provides a personal overview of the role of a medical scribe in the emergency department including required training, shift tasks, and specific cases that were observed within 200+ hours working as a medical scribe in the summer of 2022.

Zoe Reyes

Location: Dow 232

Topic: On Healing: Understanding People-Plant Relationships through Eco-poetry and Anishinaabe Botanical Teachings

The following is an investigation of the unique and often misunderstood relationship between humans and plants. Today, there is an obvious disconnect between people and the natural world. Settler colonialism has fostered this separation, leading to our drastically worsening global climate crisis. Often exacerbated by those who decide that making a profit is more beneficial than the longevity of our Earth. Human actions cause consequences for all beings on our planet. The age of the Anthropocene shows that now more than ever the politics of humans affects nonhuman beings. I would argue that western thought patterns such as settler colonialism and plant blindness not only divide humans and the natural world but humans from themselves. With this, I have often wondered how it is that we are to connect with the Earth if we cannot connect with ourselves. This ties into the same concept: “if you can’t love yourself, how will you love anyone else?” If you cannot heal yourself and acknowledge that healing is not only physical but a mental and spiritual process, how are you to participate in the health of our planet? How do we heal our physical and nonphysical bodies? How do we heal our relationship with the Earth and the other beings that we inhabit her with? With a focus on medicinal plants, (found in the Midwest Region– native and house plants) eco-poetry will be used to explain and understand the connections humans have to the plant world. This research will refer to Anishinaabe teachings and theories to demonstrate a view of plants outside of the individualistic western view and challenge ways of thinking put in place by settler colonialism.

10:30 a.m. | Presenters Ryan Johnson and Hashim Akhtar

Ryan Johnson

Location: Dow 226

Topic: The effects of nutrients and land decimation on plant-herbivore interactions and food web dynamics

Plant damage through plant-herbivore interactions and the presence of phytopathogenic fungi is responsible for shaping community dynamics across numerous ecosystems. Interactions between plants, herbivores, and fungi encompass a fundamental relationship in generating animal biomass from light energy. Modern agricultural practices and the prevalence of fertilizer usage can modify these relationships through plant trait tradeoffs, where there has been an increase in growth-oriented traits at the expense of defense-oriented traits. To further complicate these interactions, avian predators, such as birds, can also modify these relationships through the regulation of insect herbivory. In this study, there are two experiments to examine these relationships. In the first, plant damage from herbivores and phytopathogenic fungi was recorded to observe if nutrient treatments had an impact on damage in two focal species, Rumex acetosella L. (Red sorrel) and Asclepias syriaca L. (Common milkweed). Treatments influenced damage from herbivory in both focal species but showed little evidence of their influence on fungi. In the second experiment, artificial caterpillars were employed to observe if avian predation was influenced by physical land disturbance and different types of artificial larvae. Both disturbance and the type of larvae influenced levels of predation. This study suggests an important linkage within the tripartite relationships between nutrients, plant-herbivore interactions, and predation. The importance of these interactions highlights the necessity of incorporating multi-factor approaches to make more effective predictions about the alteration of community dynamics from the usage of fertilizers.

Hashim Akhtar

Location: Dow 232

Topic: Prevalence of Heart Failure in Type 2 Diabetic Patients

Heart failure is a commonly occurring chronic cardiac disease that affects the ventricular filling and cardiac output of a patient. Accumulation of cardiac disease accompanied by comorbid diseases, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, result in the development of heart failure. Interest in therapeutic interventions regarding heart failure gave rise to implantation of prosthetic materials and synthesis of new drugs to alleviate symptoms of heart failure while reducing the risk of developing closely-related diseases. LVAD implantation is the latest therapeutic intervention that has reduced hospitalization and mortality rates. The question arises whether interventions, such as LVAD, drug synthesis, or lifestyle changes, will reduce the prevalence of heart failure in patients with comorbid diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. Working in Piedmont Hospital as a research volunteer in a retrospective analysis involving genetic variants in regards to cardiomyopathy in advanced heart failure patients post-LVAD transplantation. As well as, granted the opportunity to observe an LVAD implantation on an advanced heart failure patient who was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Hence, leading to the formulation of a literature discussion of the etiology and treatment of heart failure, as well as overlapping pathology with type 2 diabetes mellitus will aid in understanding its prevalence.

10:45 a.m. | Presenters Rose Hannan and Maddie Zang

Rose Hannan

Location: Dow 226

Topic: The Role of Doula Care in Reducing the Maternal Morbidity and Mortality Gap

The volunteer work I completed for my senior individualized project (SIP) was done with the help of Dr. Kerver and Dr. Norman on an NIH project focused on understanding how implicit bias influences the gap in maternal morbidity and mortality between black and white women. Information I gained during this volunteer work allowed me to write a literature review, specifically looking at the role of doula care in closing this gap. In the US there is a large gap in Maternal and infant mortality and morbidity between white and black women. This is theorized to be for a variety of reasons, many of which are associated with implicit bias of healthcare providers in the medical system. Doulas provide focused care to women during the intrapartum experience. They bridge the gap between patient and doctor and provide their patients with specialized support. Multiple qualitative and quantitative studies have shown evidence that the presence of a doula can prevent birth related complications and prevent woman from being subjected to unnecessary procedures. This has been shown to be particularly beneficial to women of social disadvantage. Currently doula care is not widely accessible, making it difficult to see its effects on a large scale for individuals of different races, ethnicities and cultures. This review aims to show how increasing access to doula care and continuing to research its benefits could be highly beneficial in reducing the gap in maternal mortality and morbidity.

Maddie Zang

Location: Dow 232

Topic: Targeted Gene Therapy: A Molecular Breakthrough in the Treatment of Lung Cancers

Heart failure is a commonly occurring chronic cardiac disease that affects the ventricular filling and cardiac output of a patient. Accumulation of cardiac disease accompanied by comorbid diseases, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, result in the development of heart failure. Interest in therapeutic interventions regarding heart failure gave rise to implantation of prosthetic materials and synthesis of new drugs to alleviate symptoms of heart failure while reducing the risk of developing closely-related diseases. LVAD implantation is the latest therapeutic intervention that has reduced hospitalization and mortality rates. The question arises whether interventions, such as LVAD, drug synthesis, or lifestyle changes, will reduce the prevalence of heart failure in patients with comorbid diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. Working in Piedmont Hospital as a research volunteer in a retrospective analysis involving genetic variants in regards to cardiomyopathy in advanced heart failure patients post-LVAD transplantation. As well as, granted the opportunity to observe an LVAD implantation on an advanced heart failure patient who was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Hence, leading to the formulation of a literature discussion of the etiology and treatment of heart failure, as well as overlapping pathology with type 2 diabetes mellitus will aid in understanding its prevalence.

11 a.m. | Presenters Eleanor Carr and Hana Frisch

Eleanor Carr

Location: Dow 226

Topic: Differential epigenetic visualization analyses in mouse brains using the WashU Epigenome Browser

Previous research of knockout gene experiments in mouse strains C57BL/6 (BLK6) and DBA/2J (DBA) has suggested that the genes Lsamp, Ptprd, and Nptx2, which code for neuronal proteins, are key determinants of behavioral differences in fear, anxiety, and pain responses. To further explore the underlying mechanisms behind these genes, tissue samples were sequenced and analyzed for conformational differences in chromatin packaging, captured in Hi-C data; transcriptomes, captured using RNA-seq; and chromatin conformations, recorded in ATAC-seq data. Using the EpigenomeBrowser from WashU St. Louis (WUSTL), we show that the molecular underpinnings of differential phenotypes and long-range gene regulation was not illuminated using this visualization technique, and that simultaneous visualization of multiple datatypes reflects the importance of promoter regions in gene regulation.

Hashim Akhtar

Location: Dow 232

Topic: Small Scale Urban Agriculture with a Global Perspective

Urban agriculture is a farming method that creates many benefits, both material and intangible, for the community. Last summer I worked with the farmers at Global Garden Refugee Training Farm in Chicago, Illinois. The organization employs refugees from agricultural backgrounds as farmers, providing resources and tools to help them at succeed farming in the United States. There I learned how the farm operates as an example of small-scale urban agriculture, while also giving back to the community as income for the farmers and as a community garden space for others. I participated in many activities at the farm, from weeding and watering, to planting and growing some vegetables of my own. Through helping the farm manager and farmers with these tasks, I not only learned about agriculture, but about communicating across language and cultural barriers. Additionally, I used my experience on the farm to guide the direction of my literature review. To explain, another task I participated in was collecting and spreading compost and woodchips. This was necessary because of the soil contamination present on the farm, which had previously been vacant land owned by the city. The soil problems at Global Garden led me to research soil contamination and nutrition issues, and possible solutions to them. In short, urban soils are often nutrient deficient and unsafe for cultivation, containing heavy metals and “forever chemicals.” These problems can be remedied with the use of barriers, application of different forms of compost, and newer techniques such as phytoremediation.

11:15-11:30 AM


11:30 a.m. | Presenters Ben Keith and Gabrielle Evans

Ben Keith

Location: Dow 226

Topic: Working at the Arb: Impacts of Biological Volunteer Work and Invasive Plants on Native Communities

This SIP is based on both paid and volunteer work experiences at the Kalamazoo College Lillian Anderson Arboretum. During this work, I was responsible for the upkeep of public and natural spaces within the Arboretum and used my time to learn about the ecosystems around me and how to keep a public greenspace functional and healthy. This experience allowed me to regain a true interest in the biological science that I had once thought lost and gave me knowledge that I could actively apply in and out of the classroom. In addition, this thesis discusses the effects of invasive plants on vertebrates and invertebrates, native plants, and the ecosystem as a whole. These plants are actively harming the fragile balance of our indigenous habitats and, while it is not fully known how to mitigate their effects, many methods of removal and environmental protection exist and should be used to their fullest extent. It is entirely up to us to help relieve the stress caused by invasive plants, as they are only here because of our actions.

Gabrielle Evans

Location: Dow 232

Topic: COVID-19: Policies, the Pandemic, and Effects on South Korea and the United States: A Study Abroad Autoethnography

During the COVID-19 pandemic I observed things about the United States which is where I am originally from, and in South Korea during my study abroad trip. I wanted to tell my story as well as flesh out what was happening in each country in the background of my experiences. To do this, I created this autoethnography to compare and contrast these experiences and connect my observations with what was happening at local, national, and global levels. My autoethnography tells of the personal experiences that I had and noticed about living in both South Korea and the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. After coming back from study abroad, I wanted to explore more about these experiences through research on policies enacted and the effects that COVID-19 had on each of the countries. My observations and research are separated into topical sections based on my experiences that compare; COVID-19 testing and testing sites, masking, the use of technology, economic impacts, online schooling, and vaccines in South Korea and the United States.

11:45 a.m. | Presenters Sydney Giddings and Kate Haywood

Sydney Giddings

Location: Dow 226

Topic: A Modern Review at Hildegard Von Bingen’s Book of Reptiles

This paper is a primary source analysis of book eight of Hildegard Von Bingen’s Physica, specifically focusing on the Book of Reptiles. The Physica was written in the 12th century and is divided into nine sections, each describing natural elements and their potential medicinal properties. Hildegard believed that good health depended on balance and harmony, with natural remedies playing a significant role in promoting healing. The paper examines Hildegard’s approach to medicine, which is holistic, taking into account the physical body, mind, and spirit. She also used metaphors and symbolism to describe the medicinal properties of plants and minerals, a technique that was innovative for the time. The paper highlights Hildegard’s significant contributions to the field of medicine, particularly in the areas of natural healing and herbal medicine. Her work is still relevant in modern holistic medicine, and her legacy continues to inspire artists and spiritual seekers today.

Kate Haywood

Location: Dow 232

Topic: An Unpredicted Journey through an Internship at Arches National Park

In November 2021 I was offered an internship with the education team, the Canyon Country Outdoor Education Program, at Arches National Park in Moab, Utah. This internship was through the Student Conservation Association and AmeriCorps. I chose to participate in this incredible opportunity during both the winter and spring terms of Kalamazoo college and I drove to Moab in early January of 2022. The education position involved taking elementary students from the local schools on field trips to National Parks and Bureau of Land Management lands. On the field trips, we taught lessons, in the field, that correlated with the students’ grade-specific science curriculum. Throughout my time with the program, I conducted more than 95 in-class and in-field activities with the elementary students. In addition to working with the education team, I also had the opportunity to work in the Arches Visitor Center with the interpretative team. This involved working behind the desk answering visitor questions and creating a Junior Ranger Station to educate visiting youth. I also had the opportunity to work with the resource management team. This included taking water quality samples and monitoring invasive species. On my trip home to Michigan at the end of May, I realized that this would not be my last time working in outdoor education as my passion for it had only increased. After graduation I will use the knowledge I gained during this experience in my new job, at Yosemite National Park. 

12:00 p.m. | Presenters Troy Bormann and Onora Lancaster

Troy Bormann

Location: Dow 226

Topic: Wilderness Therapy at SUWS of the Carolinas

This summer I worked in wilderness therapy at SUWS of the Carolinas. We worked out in the Pisgah national forest with kids who had a variety of psychological and behavioral issues. The way I interacted with some of the students this summer was heavily influenced by my time here at Kalamazoo college. Classes like Women and gender studies, and Personality psychology helped me understand and work with the students at a deeper level than I would have otherwise. This summer helped me find my path in clinical psychology that I will pursue after my time here at Kalamazoo college.

Onora Lancaster

Location: Dow 232

Topic: Analyzing Student Misconceptions via the Microbiology Concept Inventory at NDSU

The purpose of my SIP was to identify student misconceptions at North Dakota State University via a pedagogical tool called the Microbiology Concept Inventory. This past summer I helped continue the work of Dr. Danielle Condry and her research team on using the Microbiology Concept Inventory to improve programmatic curriculum at the undergraduate level. I reviewed data collected from the years 2019 to 2022 to observe whether misconceptions that students hold about microbiology have changed overtime and in tandem with curriculum changes. I found that for undergraduates of all levels, the most common misconceptions were in the categories of metabolic pathways and evolution. This research will aid in continued studies at North Dakota State University that facilitate curricular reform. The experience of working on education research at the graduate-level taught me how to work efficiently with both quantitative and qualitative data, and it taught me how to construct my own research schedule.

12:15 p.m. | Presenters Daniel Flores and Celine Lignell

Daniel Flores

Location: Dow 226

Topic: Fluctuating Temperatures Increase Biopesticide Effectiveness in Two Lepidopteran Feeding Assays

Insecticide resistance is a worldwide problem that has increased with the exploitation of chemical control methods. Scientists continue to search for more ecological and effective solutions. When developing Bt-products like BioProtec, it is important for companies to be able to make products that target key crop pests such as, Helicoverpa zea (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae, Corn earworm) and Spodoptera frugipeda (Lepidoptera, Noctuidaefall armyworm). Within the scope of being more ecologically safe and efficient, they need to develop a product which can be used minimally as to reduce the footprint of chemicals in the ecosystem. Throughout the day, all organisms are subject to different temperatures and for organisms like insects, this directly affects their development. Fluctuating temperatures are a clear depiction of the real-life world as temperatures constantly vary throughout the day, something that is not normally performed in laboratory conditions. By simulating these conditions in laboratory settings, we can calculate how much more efficient biopesticides can be in a more realistic representation. Foliar feeding assays were performed to find average mortalities for both species of the biopesticide. The Bt’s dose by itself improved considerably under fluctuating temperatures as compared to the constant temperature for corn earworm. The results for fall armyworm presented similar results for defoliation but this did not translate into high mortality under fluctuating temperatures. The overall lower defoliation supports the hypothesis as efficacy increases with fluctuating temperatures, something that mimics real world and possibly reduces the amount of product in the ecosystems.

Celine Lignell

Location: Dow 232

Topic: Envisioning a Decolonial Education for Our Kids: An Exploration into the Summer Camp Experience

This SIP hopes to bring to light the importance of education outside of traditional Western academia, through the use of summer camps. Since 2016, I have worked as a camp counselor at a camp in Northern Michigan called Camp Al-Gon-Quian (AGQ). This camp sees around 2,000 come through every summer for anytime from 3 days to 3 months. AGQ works to provide a well-balanced experience that will support and encourage each and every camper to step out of their comfort zone to try new experiences and make new friends. While working here, I have come to realize how important this experience is to kids, they have the opportunity to make choices removed from their parents, learn to live in a shared space, as well as learning how to make decisions that benefit the entire community rather than just themself. By providing this opportunity, we teach kids at a young age the importance of learning outside of Western academia, and how much more there is that is just as important to learn. I work in this SIP to educate people who are not aware of why summer camps are important and essential to a child’s development, as well as how we can make them more sustainable and accessible to a wider variety of kids. Throughout this paper, I base my methodologies on the works of Indigenous people and the work that they have been doing for thousands of years. I talk about what it looks like to decolonize our idea of education and what it means to productively learn, as well as how we can better understand the Earth that we are so lucky to be living on. It should also be made clear that in no way am I trying to claim Indigenous knowledge as my own, but rather utilizing knowledge shared by Indigenous peoples as the groundwork for my paper.

12:30 p.m. | Presenters Cassandra Linnertz and Jez Abella

Cassandra Linnertz

Location: Dow 226

Topic: Examination of Whether There is a Presence of Foot Gesture During Communication

When people talk, they move their hands in meaningful ways, which are known as gestures. The visibility of the listener affects how much the speaker’s gestures. Much is known about how people gesture with their hands, but there is no research on whether people use their feet to gesture. There is a possibility of this since gesture is used to simulate actions of what people are communicating about. In this study, we investigated if people gesture with their feet while recalling stories about foot actions and if the presence of gestures affects participants’ ratings of the communication. We also investigated if the visibility of the listener affects the amount speakers gesture with their feet and hands. There were 44 participants assigned the role of speaker or listener. The speakers retold a story they read to the listener with or without a screen between them. The results show that people make gestures with their feet when talking about foot action. Furthermore, we saw that when talking about foot actions, the participants used foot gestures at the same rate they used hand gestures when speaking. These results show that while there is a dominance of hand gestures, there is a presence of foot gestures. However, we found no effect of visibility or how gestures affect communication ratings.

Jez Abella

Location: Dow 232

Topic: Investigating Impacts of Forest Management on Microclimate in Northern Michigan Forests

Climate change is shifting the environment that boreal forests reside in, such as through
increasing temperatures. These changes have negative impacts that are placing the f future of individual tree species at risk, especially those already located at the edge of their ranges, which include the Northern Michigan key species Paper birch (Betula papyrifera). In order to help maintain forest resilience, forest management must take into account the compounding effects of climate change-induced global warming and management-induced local warming. This study analyzed how forest management-induced changes in canopy cover affected microclimate in three varying forest ages. We predicted microclimate measurements (air temperature, soil temperature and percent full sun) to be the highest in the youngest forest age due to its expected least amount of canopy cover compared to the middle aged and reference forests. We found a strong correlation between % of full sun and temperatures for soil and air. We were also able to quantify 25% to be the threshold for canopy removal before a substantial increase in microclimate is observed. In order to abide by the IPCC standards of keeping warming below 2°C, we recommend forest managers to maintain around 80% of canopy.

12:45-1:30 PM


1:30 – 2:40 p.m. – Poster Session

Location: Dow Science Center, 3rd Floor

Mary Phillips

Topic: Utilizing Combined Point Arrays in Hepatitis B Virus Drug-Bound State Investigative Research

Viruses attach to a host cell by administering a molecular hijacking and in turn, replicating the genetic material enveloped within their capsid shells to spread viral particles. Viruses are complex in nature, coming in a multitude of different shapes and sizes. A promising feature of spherically shaped viruses like the Hepatitis B virus, is that they orient themselves to a set of distinct points called point arrays. A virus’s genetic material is positioned at multiple radial levels within an icosahedral capsid. Point arrays give the geometric constraints that viruses with spherical icosahedral symmetry adhere to. By combining a virus’s network of best fitting point arrays, meaning the arrays that are the smallest distance away from capsid protrusions, we can compare the mechanism of the assembly and disassembly of viral capsid formations and essentially capsid stability. Within this study, a combined point array analysis was applied to the two strains of the Hepatitis B virus and five separate drugs that cause the mis-assembly and distortion of Hepatitis B virus capsids. The most significant locations on these drugs were identified in an analysis where specific amino acid sequencing at these locations were identified and compared. The results showed the most prominent locations in which HBV is dismantled and the capsid is changed after the drugs have induced mis-assembly. These locations were then compared to the ADYW strain of the HBV for similarities and differences in the virion capsid structure.

Richard O’Donnell

Topic: A Southwest Conservation Experience and the Status of California Condor Conservation

The objective of this Senior Integrated Project was to gain a better understanding of careers in conservation by gaining firsthand experience doing physical field work, and by conducting academic research on the subject of conservation more broadly. For my experiential SIP, I went to Arizona to work for a conservation corps called the American Conservation Experience, where I had the opportunity to work alongside and gain career insight and new skills from experienced professionals in the field of land management and conservation. The work I did took place on federal lands, specifically Coconino National Forest and Grand Canyon National Park. In doing this work, I happened to witness the critically endangered California condors in the wild. I was quite moved by my encounters with them, which inspired me to conduct my literature review on the anthropogenic threats faced by California condors, and how conservation efforts are bringing this species back from what was once the brink of extinction and putting them on a trajectory of growth. Having gained this new experience and knowledge, it has become clearer to me how rewarding and impactful conservation work can be.

Rohan Nuthalapati

Topic: Orthodontist Shadowing Experience

The author reviews an internship with a local orthodontist, including patient relations, office practice, software, and instruments in use.

Xochitl Robertson

Topic: Plant Uptake Of Heavy Metal Pollution At Riverview Eastside And Potential For Phytoremediation

Coal ash dumping on the Riverview Eastside site has rendered it unsafe for extended human contact and poses a threat to the health of nearby Kalamazoo residents and local ecology. To address this issue and strategize a phytoremediation-based approach to rebuild this site into a place that is safe and can be enjoyed by the community, on-site investigation and research were conducted. Using heavy metal concentrations found within carefully selected plant samples from the area, an understanding of their heavy metal accumulation from coal ash pollution was gained. This data and additional research were used to aid in determining which plant species and methods would be ideal for a successful phytoremediative approach to rehabilitate this site. From the work done in this and similar projects, plants such as sunflowers, willow, cottonwood, and many more were found to be strong remediation candidates. We were also able to determine that the strategy most likely to result in successful site restoration, is a multi-faceted one employing additional coal ash removal, coverage with topsoil, and phytoremediation.

Thea Seid

Topic: Bird Banding: A Fundamental Model to Ecology

Working with experienced bird banders and handling birds has broadened my understanding of ecology, conservation and advocacy. My experience at both banding sites has revealed major frustrations with government funding. Currently, bird banders all around the U.S have seen significant limitations in volunteer work and educational opportunities. This project reviews the historical milestones, legislation, and unification of the bird banding process. There remains concerning trends of bird injury, stress, illness and mortality ultimately leaving room for more improvements to the process. Aspects of uncertainty also extends to data connectivity and technological monitoring, and driving home responsibilities over human disturbances to bird habitats and survival.

Alexis Valdes

Topic: Shadowing Physical Therapy and Effects of Blood Flow Restriction Training on the Reconstruction of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL)

My goals post-graduation from Kalamazoo College are to attend Physical Therapy graduate school or enter a Physical Therapy Assistant program. I am set on heading into the Physical Therapy department so this past summer of 2022, I was able to shadow Doctor of Physical Therapy Jesus Martinez from DHR Health Orthopedic and Sports Therapy Institute in Edinburg, Texas for 100 hours. I was not hands-on due to the institute of DHR’s protocols, but my shadowing experience consisted of working with several patients with different injuries. I learned how to initially address patients with distinct injuries, what to look for during rehabilitation sessions, and how to critically think of which exercises are best suited for the patient’s injury. My shadowing experience confirmed for me that I want to enter this field and learn more about it. A certain rehabilitation method that I worked with multiple times and intrigued me was a method called Blood Flow Restriction Training (BFRT). It is a high-intensity training method used to speedily increase muscle strength near the injured site to prevent the loss of muscle. It is a fairly new method but is being proven to be highly beneficial when deemed necessary. BFRT is unique as its high intensity promotes blood flow to injured sites that would not be receiving that usual blood flow. The blood flow from BFRT helps improve muscle strength, but I try making a connection if BFRT could help the bones and possibly prevent or decrease osteopenia.

Marcus Rucker

Topic: Comparison of VIIRS Active Fire Data and Sentinel–2 Data for Mapping Agricultural Burning in Kenya

Agricultural burning is a common practice for managing crop residues worldwide. While considered an effective method for removing leftover biomass after harvest, agricultural burning contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Despite these issues, some countries, such as Kenya, may lack effective methods for monitoring agricultural burning. Remote sensing and image processing techniques may provide an effective way of doing so. Satellite instrument technology such as Visible Infrared Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) and Sentinel–2 provide landscape imagery of vegetation, soil, and water, allowing us to determine areas with potential agricultural burning activity by comparing the same landscape at earlier and later timeframes. Images from later times have burn scars from areas where agricultural burning took place, which can be identified through spectral vegetation indices such as the Differenced Normalized Burn Ratio (dNBR). We compared VIIRS Active Fire data and Sentinel–2 image data in a selected area east of Nairobi and Mount Kenya. We predicted that Sentinel–2 imagery might provide a more practical means of mapping agricultural burning due to its finer spatial resolution (10m–60m) compared to VIIRS (375m). We utilized two fire–mapping processes directly using computer software to generate unique products for each and compared data from each directly. Our results indicate that more agricultural burning takes place within the second dry season (June to October) of our study area and that Sentinel–2 images convey more burned areas than VIIRS detected. This potentially makes Sentinel–2 imagery analysis a more effective method for mapping agricultural burning.

Katherine Rock

Topic: New Invaders to Hardwood Forests: Discovering Jumping Worms (Amynthas) at the Lillian Anderson Arboretum

As detritivores and soil aerators, earthworms can be beneficial for gardening and composting. Alongside these benefits, earthworms can negatively impact forest ecosystems by ridding the soil of organic matter and nutrients. In the Great Lakes region, all earthworms are nonnative but jumping worms (genus Amynthas)are recent invaders that are spreading rapidly and impacting soil health. I mapped the abundance and distribution of earthworm types at the Lillian Anderson Arboretum (LAA) in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and recorded soil characteristics in sampled plots. I documented six different types of earthworms. Amynthas was found in one area of human impact and was associated with deeper litter depths than was Lumbricus, the most common genus; no other soil variables (litter type; soil temperature, moisture, pH; abundance of macroinvertebrates) differed between plot where the two genera were found. The presence and expansion of Amynthas should continue to be monitored to determine if and how it is impacting forest ecosystems.

Joergen Klakulak

Topic: Testing the effectiveness of floor cover and insecticide treatment program for spotted-wing drosophila, Drosophila suzukii

Megan Killmaster

Topic: Exploration of Strategies to Improve Data Collection in Electronic Health Records

As my experience for my Senior Integrated Project (SIP), I completed an internship at the Colorado Institute in Biostatistics (CoSIBS) in Denver, Colorado, during the summer of 2022. I was part of a selective cohort of undergraduate and graduate students participating in an intensive seven-week program sponsored by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). I worked with a team of students to employ supervised machine learning and a variety of statistical methods to complete a research project evaluating electronic health records (EHRs). We focused on person-centered narratives in EHRs with the goal of identifying how implementing personal narratives for patients with life-limiting illnesses can affect the overall patient experience to improve psychological, emotional and general well-being. From the research, I learned that EHRs have the potential to greatly improve the efficiency and quality of healthcare delivery but their implementation has also resulted in disparities in access and outcomes for some patient populations. A literature review was conducted to explore strategies for enhancing EHRs and reducing these disparities. The review identified several key themes, including the importance of user-centered design, the need for training and support for healthcare professionals, and the role of interoperability in improving EHRs. Additionally, the review found that addressing social determinants of health and engaging patients in their own care can be effective in reducing disparities. Overall, the review suggests that a multifaceted approach is necessary to fully realize the benefits of EHRs while also addressing disparities in healthcare.

Daniel Jordan

Topic: Health Literacy: Outcomes of Inadequate Health Education in Latin America

Equal and equitable health literacy across the globe is an important ideal that should be introduced to all cultures and groups in order to make a positive impact on our daily lives. As health literacy rates are amongst the highest percent in developed countries, those of undeveloped countries are not anywhere near sustainable levels to continue to provide impactful healthcare results in those countries. Throughout analysis and gathering knowledge from first-hand experience, many researchers have supported the idea that Latin America is largely underdeveloped in certain locations yet houses some of the world’s oldest and most unique cultures. With such high populations of indigenous groups largely centered in Latin America, the importance of health literacy among these civilizations is key in understanding more about the human body and the groups of individuals that have been under studied or have been incapable of receiving such resources.

William Fulton

Topic: Mice lacking specific proteins of the DGC exhibit dystrophic characteristics in skeletal muscle

Muscular dystrophies are a group of genetic disorders that primarily affect skeletal muscle and are characterized by progressive muscle wasting and a shortened life span. Within skeletal muscle, the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex (DGC) links the extracellular matrix and the muscle cell cytoskeleton. Major forms of muscular dystrophy have been linked to abnormalities of the DGC proteins. Due to this, mice with mutations affecting the DGC are significant models for studying muscular dystrophy and its pathology. In this study we examined  MDX mice, which do not express the Dystrophin protein, a-Dystrobrevin knockout mice (a-dbn-/-), which do not express the -Dystrobrevin scaffolding protein, a-Syntrophin knockout mice (a-syn-/-), which do not express the a-Syntrophin signaling protein, and double knockout (DKO) (a-dbn-/- , a-syn-/-) mice. We performed histological analyses of their skeletal muscle in search of dystrophic characteristics and inspected the morphology of their neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) to look for denervation. We found that the expression of the Dystrophin and a-Dystrobrevin proteins of the DGC are both significant determinants of skeletal muscle integrity and innervation. The expression of a-Syntrophin proved to be insignificant in determining the health of skeletal muscle. This study expanded our understanding of the DGC in both healthy and diseased muscle as well as how mutations of the DGC proteins influence the health of muscle fibers and contribute to characteristics of muscular dystrophy.

Printable Diebold Symposium Schedule (301 KB, PDF document)