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GEOL2021WILSON44110 ENSC

Analysis of River Flooding Impacts on the Trinity River in Tarrant County

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Christopher Wilson Geological Sciences Meagan Alexander Environmental Sciences
Advisor(s): Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences
Location: Zoom Room 5, 03:03 PM

Rivers are an essential part of any urban or rural landscape, providing drinking water, transportation, and recreational opportunities for local residents. However, with the continuous growth and development of urban areas like Fort Worth and Dallas, flooding poses a significant risk to human life and property. This increased development creates a need for careful monitoring and forecasting of river conditions and flood probabilities. This study explores the associated historical river data for USGS Gauges on the Trinity River in Tarrant and Dallas Counties. This data, along with topographic information and land use surveys, are used to project the possible impacts of flooding scenarios. These possible impacts include damage to property, critical infrastructure, and threats to human life. This data can then be interpreted spatially to effectively inform the public and public officials of risks and monetary costs associated with future flooding events.

(Presentation is private)

INTR2021VOGT55966 INTR

Attendance and safe classroom access using Transfer Learning

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Kimon Vogt Mathematics
Advisor(s): Bo Mei Computer Science
Location: Zoom Room 4, 01:42 PM

This project will consist of designing an AI application. The application will use a deep learning algorithm able to take attendance of the class as students are joining the classroom. I will further expand the patent to recognize the individual students and measure their temperature. Furthermore, the system will classify different emotions during the lecture and give helpful feedback to the professors. This tool will assist with time management, as professors spend several minutes to take attendance, and it will act as an extra tool for the prevention of spreading COVID-19 and any new virus. The patent will further provide useful feedback for the improvement of lectures through emotion detection. An external camera will be used hand in hand with the Open-CV package in python that will allow us to detect the students and identify them. The students' temperature will be measured by an infrared forehead thermometer and welcome them in the class. The algorithm will be using cascade classifiers, and transfer learning. Data for the training process of the algorithm will be collected from volunteering TCU student subjects.

(Presentation is private)

MATH2021DANG27067 MATH

Wound Healing Process Modeling Using Partial Differential Equations and Deep Learning

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Hy Dang Mathematics
Advisor(s): Ken Richardson Mathematics
Location: Zoom Room 4, 03:27 PM

The process of successful skin healing from a wound involves different combinations of interactions. Moreover, by clearly understanding this process, we can provide and determine the appropriate amount of medicine to give to patients with varying types of wounds. Thus, this can improve the healing process of patients. In this research, we use the ADI method to solve a partial differential equation that models the wound healing process. Moreover, we try to explore the relationship between parameters in the model for different patients. Wound images are used as our dataset experiment. To segment the image's wound, we implement U-Net, a deep learning-based model, as our model for this segmentation problem. We believe the combination of ADI and Deep Learning helps us understand the process of wound healing.

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MATH2021NAGEL27835 MATH

Analysis of the Settlers of Catan

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Lauren Nagel Mathematics
Advisor(s): Drew Tomlin Mathematics
Location: Zoom Room 3, 12:38 PM

Markov chains are stochastic models characterized by the probability of future states depending solely on one's current state. Google's page ranking system, financial phenomena such as stock market crashes, and algorithms to predict a company's projected sales are a glimpse into the array of applications for Markov models. In this research, we analyzed the board game "The Settlers of Catan" using transition matrices. Transition matrices are composed of the current states which represent each row i and the proceeding states across the columns j with the entry (i,j) containing the probability the current state i will transition to the state j. Using these transition matrices, we delved into addressing the question of which starting positions are optimal. Furthermore, we worked on determining optimality in conjunction with a player's gameplay strategy. After building a simulation of the game in python, we tested the results of our theoretical research against the mock run throughs to observe how well our model prevailed under the limitations of time (number of turns before winner is reached).

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MATH2021NGUYEN38212 MATH

Metrics of Positive Scalar Curvature on Riemannian Manifolds

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Khoi Nguyen Mathematics
Advisor(s): Ken Richardson Mathematics
Location: Zoom Room 3, 03:03 PM

In Riemannian geometry, the concept of the scalar curvature on a Riemannian manifold is a generalization of the concept of curvature in curve theory or the concept of Gaussian curvature in surface theory. This is a measure of how curved a higher-dimensional manifold is, or another way to put it, how much does the volume of a ball in a curved manifold deviate from that in the usual Euclidean space. In this research, we attempt to dive deeper into the question of what kind of manifold in dimension 3 and above admits a metric of positive scalar curvature (PSC). Given the widespread application of the concept of curvature to the field of higher physics, specifically general relativity and quantum field theory, this question proves essential for furthering the works of mathematicians in classifying manifolds according to their intrinsic geometry. First, we attempt to come up with some useful formulas to calculate various quantities related to scalar curvature. Then, we will look into past results concerning PSC metric on Riemannian manifolds. Finally, we will prove some important theorems relating to this question.

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NTDT2021ARGUETA24614 NTDT

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on diet and health-related behaviors of adults

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Sendy Argueta Nutritional Sciences Lauren Jackson Nutritional Sciences
Advisor(s): Gina Hill Nutritional Sciences
Location: Zoom Room 4, 01:58 PM

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on diet and health-related behaviors of adults

Background:
Study objectives were to describe how diet and health habits changed and identify factors impacting diet and health behaviors during the pandemic.

Methods:
An electronic, anonymous survey was developed and distributed via local social media and through a community food-bank following IRB approval. Data were coded into and analyzed for frequencies and correlations using SPSS.

Results:
Participants (n=80) were 97% (n=77) female and 41.37+/-11.7 years. Participants receiving food assistance primarily accessed community food/mobile pantries (22%, n=17). Participants (54%, n=43) agreed that, “I was healthier before the pandemic”, while 15% (n=12) disagreed. Participants (52%, n=42) reported 13.2+/-6.8 pounds unwanted, pandemic weight gain, while 22.5% (n=18) reported 14.1+/-13.9 pounds desired, weight loss. Among participants earning <$50,000/year, 89.5% (n=17) reported inability to afford healthy food, while 2.6% (n=1) earning >$150,000/year reported inability to afford healthy food. Inability to afford healthy food correlated with BMI (ρ=.40, p<.01). Income negatively correlated with pandemic weight gain (ρ=-0.31, p<0.05) and ability to afford healthy foods (ρ=-.73, p<0.01). Participants reported increased pandemic snacking (61.25%, n=49) and alcohol consumption (37.5%, n=30). Higher pandemic stress levels correlated with increased pandemic alcohol and snack consumption, (ρ=.30, p<.01) and (ρ=.44, p<.01), respectively.

Conclusion:
Changes in health perceptions and weight were common. BMI and income impacted ability to afford healthy foods. Increased stress levels were significantly associated with increased alcohol intake and snacking, although weight changes were not associated with alcohol or snacking. This research provides information about pandemic dietary and health behavior changes and how impacts differ based upon income level.




(Presentation is private)

NTDT2021BALTERS33695 NTDT

Determination of Caffeine Use and its Effects on University Students

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Jason Balters Nutritional Sciences Jordan Pitts Nutritional Sciences
Advisor(s): Anne VanBeber Nutritional Sciences Kelly Fisher Nutritional Sciences
Location: Zoom Room 4, 01:18 PM

Determination of Caffeine Use and its Effects on University Students
Jason Balters, Senior-Coordinated Program in Dietetics; Jordan Pitts, Senior-Coordinated Program in Dietetics; Anne VanBeber, PhD, RD, LD, FAND, CCMS; Kelly Fisher, DCN, RD, LD, CSP; Lyn Dart, RD, LD, PhD - Department of Nutritional Sciences
Background
Many studies have observed caffeine intake of university students. Investigators have found that the majority of consumers who over consume caffeine were not aware of the FDA recommended limit of 400 mg caffeine/day. Purposes of this research were to determine the level of caffeine consumption among students attending Texas Christian University (TCU) and the perceived effects that users experienced related to sleep, stress, and withdrawal symptoms. A desired outcome of this research was to clarify confounding values of average caffeine consumption in the university population that varied from 124 mg/day to 228 mg/day in the existing literature.

Methods
A survey questionnaire was created to assess the quantity, modality and situational scenarios of caffeine consumption, as well as caffeine’s perceived effect on sleep, energy and stress. Caffeine withdrawal effects felt by students were also ascertained in the survey. The survey was administered via Survey Monkey® and distributed via the TCU email system to approximately 1000 students. Basic descriptive and frequency statistics were calculated using the Survey Monkey® software.

Results
The 217 respondents were 76.5% female with 94% between the ages of 18-25 years old and 94.0% current undergraduate students. Of the total respondents, 70.1% consumed 1-2 caffeinated beverages per day, 66.5% used caffeine to help study, and 67.5% used caffeine to increase energy. Negative perceptions of caffeine’s impact on sleep were reported by 30%; while 18.5% reported a negative impact on stress, and 73.7% reported withdrawal symptoms.

Conclusions
The consumption of 95-190 mg caffeine/day by the majority (54.9%) of study participants was consistent with reported scientific literature. While only 1.8% of those surveyed consumed more than the FDA recommendation of 400 mg caffeine/day, reasons for this are unknown. Additionally, of the 70% who stated they experienced withdrawal symptoms, it is uncertain if these symptoms were indeed caused from the caffeine withdrawal or from another unrelated cause. It is advised that the research survey be revised to include questions that more acutely seek information sought in the stated purpose of the study. Further research regarding caffeine consumption by consumers is also warranted to better assist registered dietitian nutritionists and other health professionals when assessing diet and lifestyle habits of patients.

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NTDT2021BURGESS31418 NTDT

University Students’ Knowledge and Attitudes of a Whole-Foods, Plant-Based Diet

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Alex Burgess Nutritional Sciences Katherine Crider Nutritional Sciences
Advisor(s): Anne VanBeber Nutritional Sciences Lyn Dart Nutritional Sciences Kelly Fisher Nutritional Sciences
Location: Zoom Room 3, 01:34 PM

Background:
Studies in the general population assessing knowledge/attitudes regarding a plant-based diet found that the majority of participants were reluctant to follow the diet. Specific concerns included perceived lack of satiety, low protein content, and undesirable taste. However, there is lack of research in the college-age population. The purpose of this study was to determine university students' general knowledge/attitudes of a whole-foods, plant-based diet.

Study Design:
After providing informed consent, participants (N=209) completed a 28-question online research survey via Survey Monkey®. Participant demographics, health status and eating habits were gathered at the beginning of the survey. The remaining questions assessed participant knowledge and attitudes pertaining to a whole-foods, plant-based diet. Analysis using Pearson correlation coefficients was performed to assess associations between knowledge and attitude towards a whole-foods, plant-based diet in concordance with participants’ health status and eating habits (SPSS, p ≤ 0.05).

Results:
Males were more likely to disagree that following a plant-based diet is beneficial to their health (p ≤ 0.01). Male students were also more likely to believe that a whole-foods, plant-based diet would never satisfy their hunger (p ≤ 0.01), decrease their energy levels (p ≤ 0.05); males were also less likely to understand the meaning of a whole-foods, plant-based diet (p ≤ 0.01). Similarly, students who had never taken a nutrition course were more likely to disagree that a whole-foods, plant-based diet is beneficial to their health (p ≤ 0.01).

Conclusions:
Respondents who had negative attitudes toward a whole-foods, plant-based diet tended to lack knowledge/understanding of the diet. Providing nutrition education about the whole-foods, plant-based diet by registered dietitian nutritionists could result in improved health outcomes among this population.

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NTDT2021BURMEISTER17369 NTDT

Behaviors and Attitudes of City Composting Pilot Program Participants

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Rylie Burmeister Nutritional Sciences Kendall Johnson Nutritional Sciences Ciera Rice Nutritional Sciences
Advisor(s): Gina Hill Nutritional Sciences
Location: Zoom Room 4, 02:39 PM

Background
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 2.6 million tons of food waste was composted in 2017, while 30.6 million tons of food waste went to landfills. EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy prioritizes actions to prevent and divert wasted food including source reduction and feeding hungry people and animals. The objectives of the study were to 1) describe factors influencing participation in a composting pilot and 2) determine the impact on food and overall waste.

Methods
A 36-question electronic anonymous survey was developed and distributed to 1,054 participants in the composting pilot program by the City of Fort Worth via email following IRB approval. Data were coded into and analyzed using IBM SPSS version 25. Statistical significance was p<0.05.

Results
Approximately 40% of pilot program participants completed the survey (n=418/1054). Participants’ mean age was 45.5+/-14.9 years. Almost 90% (n=375) of participants cited wanting to save the Earth as a reason for program participation. Over 54% (n=223) reported completely filling the five-gallon compost bucket with food waste within 1-2 weeks, on average. Participants (45.7%, n=191) reported frequently throwing away food based upon expiration, best buy, or sell-by dates. Participants reported other waste-reducing behaviors including use of reusable glass and plastic containers and water bottles; 91.2% (n=381), 89% (n=372), 86.1% (n=360), respectively.

Discussion
The majority of participants wanted to save the Earth and were partaking in other waste reduction behaviors. However, food waste remained high among households as evidenced by frequent filling of five-gallon compost buckets and reports of throwing away food based upon dating systems. While it is nearly impossible to eliminate all food waste, landfills need a relief system, and city composting programs or at-home composting could be solutions for many households. Citizens would benefit from additional education regarding food dating systems and food waste reduction methods.

(Presentation is private)

NTDT2021CIMINO6051 NTDT

Perception of Carbohydrates Among College Students

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Claire Cimino Nutritional Sciences Jayne Walters Nutritional Sciences
Advisor(s): Rebecca Dority Nutritional Sciences
Location: Zoom Room 1, 02:23 PM

Background: Low-carbohydrate diets are increasingly popular in the US. Despite having vital roles in the body, negative associations are established toward carbohydrates in the media, indicating that reduced consumption leads to weight loss, decreased gastrointestinal conditions and improved brain function and energy status.
Objective: The objective of this study is to determine college students’ perceptions of carbohydrates on health and contributing factors to their perceptions. It is hypothesized that due to recent media coverage and health trends, carbohydrates have gained a negative connotation in regards to health, despite the lack of research supporting these ideas.
Methods: An online survey was developed to investigate participants’ perceptions and knowledge of carbohydrates. Researchers recruited Texas Christian University students through social media and email. Data was analyzed using Excel.
Results: Among study participants (N=127), only 3% (n=4) were currently following a low-carbohydrate diet and 45% percent (n=54) had previously followed one. Of the participants who limited their carbohydrate intake, the main motivators were weight loss (53%, n=51) and health (19%, n=18); they reported low energy levels (51%, n=47), mood swings (20%, n=18), and trouble concentrating (18%, n=17). The most commonly reported sources of nutrition education were internet searches (74%, n=90), social media/blogs (63%, n=77), and friends/family (63%, n=77). Approximately 45% (n=55) were in a health-related major and 47% (n=57) have taken a college nutrition course. The majority were able to correctly identify the roles that carbohydrates play in the body, including energy source (98%, n=117) and brain function (69%, n=82).
Conclusions: A small percentage of participants are following a low-carbohydrate diet, likely due to their awareness of the roles that carbohydrates play in the body, as well as negative symptoms reported by those who previously followed the diet. Many had taken a nutrition class, which indicates that nutrition education influences dietary decisions.

(Presentation is private)

NTDT2021ESTRADA43908 NTDT

Registered Dietitians’ Recommendations for Nutrition Education and Interprofessional Education in Medical School Curriculum

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Eric Estrada Nutritional Sciences Olivia Spears Nutritional Sciences
Advisor(s): Gina Hill Nutritional Sciences Rebecca Dority Nutritional Sciences Jada Willis Nutritional Sciences
Location: Zoom Room 2, 01:26 PM

Background. The prevalence of nutrition-related diseases has created a need for increased nutrition education in medical school curricula. Due to the lack of nutrition education for physicians, RD/RDNs bring value to interprofessional teams. Incorporating nutrition education into medical school programs is likely to increase physicians’ ability to provide nutrition advice and promote healthy lifestyles.

Objective. The purpose of this study was two-fold: 1) to determine Registered Dietitians’ (RD/RDNs) perceptions of physicians’ nutrition knowledge; and 2) to determine the interprofessional practice of physicians.

Methods. A 27-question electronic survey was developed and distributed to a Survey Monkey link through email, social media and word-of-mouth communication following IRB approval. Inclusion criteria includes RD/RDNs credentialed with the Commission of Dietetic Registration over the age of 18 years. The investigators used Excel for Mac, Version 16.42 for data analysis. Statistical significance was set at p<0.05.

Results. The study surveys RD/RDNs in Texas. Participants (n=64) were 38.3+/-11.0 years of age and 100% (n=64) female. Over 95% (n=61) of participants reported feeling comfortable interacting with or providing nutrition information to physicians in a healthcare team setting. Approximately 30% (n=19) of participants rated physicians at expected to well above expected on establishing collaborative relationships with RDs/RDNs. Approximately 78% (n=50) of participants reported that they disagreed/strongly disagreed that physicians are well-prepared to educate their patients in nutrition. Over 43% (n=28) agreed/strongly agreed that physicians discuss nutrition with patients/clients when appropriate.

Conclusions. RD/RDNs reported being comfortable interacting with physicians. RD/RDNs did not report that physicians were well-prepared to educate patients about nutrition or discuss nutrition with patients when appropriate. The majority of participants reported that physicians meet or exceed expectations for establishing collaborative relationships. Thus, interprofessional teams are valuable in achieving positive patient outcomes.

Keywords: Registered Dietitian, RD, RDN, Doctor, MD, DO, Medical School, Nutrition Education, Interprofessional Education

(Presentation is private)

PHYS2021BRALEY41366 PHYS

Family Trees of Black Holes

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Madison Braley Physics & Astronomy Mia Sauda Bovill Physics & Astronomy Alessa Ibrahim Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Mia Bovill Physics & Astronomy
Location: Zoom Room 6, 02:55 PM

During the first 100 million years after the Big Bang the universe was dark, and possibly full of terrors. Sometime during the first 500 million years, these cosmic dark ages ended with the ignition of the first stars. The first stars, which we call these Population III, contained only the hydrogen and helium formed in the Big Bang. These stars are interesting because they are thought to have started a domino effect of enrichment of elements heavier than helium through the cosmos. These ”heavier” elements formed in the core of stars are referred to in astronomy as ”metals”. Without ”metals” the gas out of which Population III stars form cools inefficiently, producing stars with masses as high as a few 1000 times the mass of our Sun. However, while we know that Population III stars are massive, we do not know exactly how massive as they are too faint for detection by all current and upcoming astronomy observatories. The work presented on this poster will explore one possible alternate avenue to answer the question: how massive were the first stars? As a result of their extreme masses, the most massive Population III stars will collapse directly into black holes with masses of a few hundred to a few thousand times the mass of our sun. A billion years after the Big Bang, as the era of the Population III stars ends, astronomers have observed the distribution of supermassive black holes (a million to a billion times the mass of the sun) in galaxies. Our work traces the evolution of the direct collapse black holes, formed from Population III stars, to determine whether the distribution of the masses of Population III stars left an imprint on the distribution of supermassive black holes, 500 million years later. The goal of this work is to randomly populate different potential distributions of Population III masses to compare the varying distributions of direct collapse black holes at different times. The result of this will eventually provide predictions for the dependence of the distribution of supermassive black holes, a billion years after the Big Bang, on the distribution of the masses of Population III stars.

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PHYS2021BURNHAM28228 PHYS

Warm or Cold Dark Matter: A Love-Heat Relationship

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Emilie Burnham Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Mia Bovill Physics & Astronomy
Location: Zoom Room 4, 12:30 PM

When did the universe say, "Let there be light"? In the initial stages of the universe after the big bang, there was a ‘dark age’, where there were no galaxies, and thus, no stars. So the question is: when did this dark age end, and when did the first stars ignite? Scientists propose that the culprit for the formation of the first stars is Dark Matter. Dark Matter comprises about 27% of the universe's total mass, yet is virtually invisible. Although visually undetectable, we can monitor its presence through gravitational anomalies, especially due to massive clusters of Dark Matter, known as Dark Matter Halos. Based on the initial temperatures of the very first Dark Matter Halos, the first stars could have formed at drastically different times. Utilizing a combination of simulations and comparing them to upcoming astronomical observations with the James Webb and Roman telescopes, we are hoping to discover whether our universe is considered to be a warm or a cold dark matter environment. Studying the halos in these extremely distant galaxies will allow us to determined how the first galaxies formed, and further, how the first stars turned on.

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PHYS2021CAMPBELL9090 PHYS

Nitrogen-Doped Graphene Quantum Dot Formulation for Cancer Imaging and Redox-Based Drug Delivery

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Elizabeth Campbell Physics & Astronomy Giridhar Akkaraju Biology Roberto Gonzalez-Rodriguez Chemistry & Biochemistry Kayla Green Chemistry & Biochemistry Md. Tanvir Hasan Physics & Astronomy Bong Lee Physics & Astronomy Tate Truly Biology
Advisor(s): Anton Naumov Physics & Astronomy
Location: Zoom Room 1, 01:10 PM

Treatment of complex conditions, such as cancer, has been substantially advanced by a field of molecular therapeutics. However, many of these therapies are limited by the dose toxicity and lack the predictive power of tomography-guided approaches. Nanomaterial platforms can address these drawbacks, safely delivering therapeutics, concomitantly imaging their delivery pathways, and presenting sites for targeting agent attachment. Graphene quantum dots (GQDs) possess physical properties that are critical for biomedical applications, including small size (3-5 nm), high quantum yield, low cytotoxicity, and pH-dependent fluorescence emission. Thus, our work utilizes nitrogen-doped GQDs as a basis for targeted image-guided cancer therapy. GQDs serve as an emissive platform for covalent attachment of a targeting agent (hyaluronic acid (HA) targeted to the CD44 receptors on several cancer cell types) and oxidative stress-based cancer therapeutic (ferrocene (Fc)). The synthesized multifunctional formulation is characterized and its efficacy evaluated in vitro. Elemental mapping indicates that the purified from reactants synthetic product has an average iron content of 0.64 atomic percent, suggesting the successful attachment of the therapeutic, while FFT analysis of TEM images confirms the crystalline structure of the GQDs. Although GQDs alone yield no cytotoxicity as quantified via the MTT assay up to the maximum imaging concentrations of 1 mg/mL, the Fc-HA-GQD formulation exhibits a higher cytotoxic response in the cancer cells (HeLa) targeted by the HA as opposed to healthy ones (HEK-293) that do not overexpress CD44, suggesting cancer-selective targeted treatment. As Fc induces oxidative stress that is less mitigated in cancer cells, we expect it to also contribute to the observed cancer-selective treatment response. As a result, we propose Fc-HA-GQD formulation as a multifunctional targeted delivery, imaging, and cancer-specific treatment agent further to be studied in vivo.

(Presentation is private)

PHYS2021CERESA13479 PHYS

Breaking the wall of sensitivity with Surface Plasmon Coupled Emission

Type: Graduate
Author(s): LUCA CERESA Physics & Astronomy Jose Chavez Physics & Astronomy Emma Kitchner Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Zygmunt Gryczynski Physics & Astronomy
Location: Zoom Room 1, 01:42 PM

Fluorescence has proved itself to be a useful tool in a wide variety of fields, ranging from environmental sensing to biomedical diagnostics. In this study, we propose to utilize a fluorescence-based technique called Surface Plasmon Coupled Emission (SPCE) to monitor molecular binding and to detect low concentrations of physiological markers (e.g. biomarkers present in the human body as a result of a disease). SPCE is characterized by directional emission that allows for a superior sensitivity and selectivity for detection. The development of an SPCE-based detection platform will allow for simple, fast and sensitive detection in a compact configuration that can be relatively easily implemented in the field or in primary care offices. Surface plasmon induced fluorescence at the interface of a thin metal layer (e.g. 50 nm of silver or gold) and a dielectric (e.g. glass) allows for highly enhanced excitation of fluorophores deposited on top of the metal film and very efficient detection due to the directional nature of this emission. As a result, we expect highly improved detection sensitivity compared to other fluorescence detection methods or other surface detection methods such as surface plasmon attenuated reflection (SPR).

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PHYS2021CHAVEZ39550 PHYS

A Study of Direct Excitation to the Triplet State: 5-Bromoindole

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Jose Chavez Physics & Astronomy Julian Borejdo Biology Luca Ceresa Physics & Astronomy Rafal Fudala Biology Ignacy Gryczynski Physics & Astronomy Joseph Kimball Physics & Astronomy Emma Kitchner Physics & Astronomy Tanya Shtoyko Chemistry & Biochemistry
Advisor(s): Zygmunt Gryczynski Physics & Astronomy
Location: Zoom Room 5, 01:26 PM

Tryptophan is one of the few amino acids that is intrinsically photoluminescent. This is because its side chain consists of indole. Indole’s photoluminescence has both fluorescence (emits for nanoseconds) and phosphorescence (emits for microseconds). Fluorescence emission comes from a singlet to singlet transition, while phosphorescence from a forbidden triplet to singlet transition. Taking advantage of tryptophan’s intrinsic emission, we can use it as a label-free probe for protein dynamics. For some of these dynamics, such as myosin binding to actin, the fluorescence lifetime of nanoseconds is too fast to monitor changes. The phosphorescence lifetime is much better suited to monitor these changes of large biomolecule interactions. Before any binding studies are developed, we have characterized the basic properties of indole’s phosphorescent properties. We began by embedding indole (as well as 5 – bromoindole) in a polymer matrix (PVA) to immobilize and thus increase the phosphorescence at room temperature. We discovered that using a longer wavelength of excitation (405 nm instead of 290 nm) we excite directly from the singlet state to the triplet state of indole, a typically forbidden process. This populates the triplet state without any transitions to the singlet state. This allows the polarization of phosphorescence emission to be preserved, and anisotropy measurements can be used to monitor biomolecular processes.

(Presentation is private)

PHYS2021CIAMPA11249 PHYS

Revealing the Physical Properties of the Leading Arm using Cloudy Simulations

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Drew Ciampa Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Kat Barger Physics & Astronomy
Location: Zoom Room 2, 12:38 PM

Driving through the disk of the Milky Way galaxy resides a gaseous stream that is associated with the Magellanic Clouds galaxies called the Leading Arm. The Milky Way will capture this stream of gas torn from the Magellanic Clouds to supply our galaxy with material to make future stars and planets. We study this gas cloud using Hubble Space Telescope observations to determine the complex's physical properties, such as the motion, temperature, ionization fraction, density, and total mass of the gas. With this observational data, we run computer simulations created with the Cloudy software to constrain these properties better. Measured ionization ratios and column densities from the Hubble observations act as inputs for our models. Studying these properties will better depict the processes that affect the stream of gas falling onto our galaxy's disk.

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PHYS2021DADET13380 PHYS

Development of Biocompatible Graphene Quantum Dots with Near-Infrared Fluorescence

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Maranata Dadet Physics & Astronomy Bong Han Lee Physics & Astronomy Anton Naumov Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Anton Naumov Physics & Astronomy
Location: Zoom Room 5, 03:27 PM

In this research we developed biocompatible Graphene Quantum Dots (GQDs) capable of emitting light in the infrared part of the light spectrum. Using the bottom up and top down approaches, we synthesized near-infrared light-emitting GQDs to be used for further cell studies as imaging and drug delivery agents for cancer detection and treatment.
From our bottom up approach, using a one-step hydrothermal reaction using a microwave and oven, the GQDs derived from the Glucose and Liquid ammonia mixture and those from from the L-glutamic acid showed near-infrared emission. And from our top down approach, using a UV based photolytic reaction, the GQDs derived from the mixture of urea, citric acid and hydrogen peroxide also showed near-infrared emission.

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PHYS2021HERNANDEZ22452 PHYS

Searching for Twins of PTF11kx

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Jaq Hernandez Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Kat Barger Physics & Astronomy
Location: Zoom Room 6, 02:23 PM

Type Ia Supernovae (SNe Ia) are used as measuring sticks in the structure of the Universe. These catastrophic explosions occur when two stars collide, but it’s unknown what kind of stars are combined to produce a SN Ia. Target 1 in our study is an unusual SN Ia; while a standard SN Ia would grow much dimmer after 300 days (late-time), this one remains bright. This is due to delayed interaction between the material ejected from the SN explosion colliding with the material in the surrounding region, causing light-curves to stagnate in late-time and be brighter than standard SNe Ia. It’s unknown if SNe like Target 1 are rare, but their properties would greatly aid in mapping the Universe. Therefore, we searched the public data from the Zwicky Transient Facility for more these types of SNe. We obtained 40 light-curves that are representative of the intrinsic SN Ia distribution in the nearby universe and found two instances of Target 1-like SNe.

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PHYS2021IBRAHIM16312 PHYS

Explosions at the End of the Dark Ages

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Alessa Ibrahim Physics & Astronomy Mia Sauda Bovill Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Mia Sauda Bovill Physics & Astronomy
Location: cancelled

Presentation is private.

(Presentation is private)

PHYS2021JOHNSON43253 PHYS

Correlation between Morphology and Electronic Structure in As-Grown Microcrystalline ZnO Specimens Utilized in Antibacterial Assays

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Dustin Johnson Physics & Astronomy Daniel Lopez Engineering John Reeks Physics & Astronomy Liliana Rogers Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Yuri Strzhemechny Physics & Astronomy
Location: Zoom Room 3, 02:31 PM

The debate surrounding the fundamental mechanisms behind the antibacterial action of ZnO has led to increased interest in the impact of surface interactions on this behavior. In this regard, the impact of the different polar vs. non-polar surfaces of the anisotropic wurtzite ZnO crystal lattice are of particular interest. For this purpose, we developed a hydrothermal growth method that allows us to produce microscale ZnO crystals of tunable morphology with varying relative abundances of surfaces with desired polarities. The micron scale of the obtained crystals is critical to avoid internalization by bacteria as a means to isolate effects related to surface interactions. Simultaneously, at this scale, the high surface-to-volume ratio leads surface interactions to dominate, resulting in surface and near-surface defect states to become highly influential on this behavior. Photoluminescence is a powerful, non-destructive tool for characterizing the electronic structure of a material allowing us to observe the nature of the defect states present in our samples. Photoluminescence measurements were made over a range of temperatures for both predominantly polar and non-polar morphologies. Results of these investigations have allowed us to describe the electronic structure of these microcrystals. We show that both the nature and density of surface defects states are significantly impacted by the relative abundance of polar and non-polar surfaces.

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PHYS2021JORDAN61317 PHYS

Characterization of the Photothermal Effect of Various Nanomaterials

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Gretel Jordan Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Dr. Anton Naumov Physics & Astronomy
Location: Zoom Room 2, 03:19 PM

Photothermal Therapy (PTT) provides a promising new method of therapy for various medical conditions, including cancer, using infrared wavelengths. In my project, the photothermal effect of various nanomaterials—including Reduced Graphene Oxide, gold nanospheres and nanorods, and Copper Sulfide (CuS) nanoparticles—is characterized by irradiation of the aqueous materials with near-infrared radiation. These materials were then irradiated in live cell cultures to characterize their potential use as a treatment candidate.

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PHYS2021LEE56483 PHYS

Manganese-nitrogen and gadolinium-nitrogen Co-doped graphene quantum dots as bimodal magnetic resonance and fluorescence imaging nanoprobes

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Bong Han Lee Physics & Astronomy Roberto Gonzalez-Rodriguez Chemistry & Biochemistry Md. Tanvir Hasan Physics & Astronomy Denise Lichthardt Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Anton V. Naumov Physics & Astronomy
Location: Zoom Room 4, 02:47 PM

Graphene quantum dots (GQDs) are unique derivatives of graphene that show promise in multiple biomedical applications as biosensors, bioimaging agents, and drug/gene delivery vehicles. Their ease in functionalization, biocompatibility, and intrinsic fluorescence enable those modalities. However, GQDs lack deep tissue magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) capabilities desirable for diagnostics. Considering that the drawbacks of MRI contrast agent toxicity are still poorly addressed, we develop novel Mn2+ or Gd3+ doped nitrogen-containing graphene quantum dots (NGQDs) to equip the GQDs with MRI capabilities and at the same time render contrast agents biocompatible. Water-soluble biocompatible Mn-NGQDs and Gd-NGQDs synthesized via single-step microwave-assisted scalable hydrothermal reaction enable dual MRI and fluorescence modalities. These quasi-spherical 3.9-6.6 nm average-sized structures possess highly crystalline graphitic lattice structure with 0.24 and 0.53 atomic % for Mn2+ and Gd3+ doping. This structure ensures high in vitro biocompatibility of up to 1.3 mg ml-1 and 1.5 mg ml-1 for Mn-NGQDs and Gd-NGQDs, respectively, and effective internalization in HEK-293 cells traced by intrinsic NGQD fluorescence. As MRI contrast agents with considerably low Gd and Mn content, Mn-NGQDs exhibit substantial transverse/longitudinal relaxivity (r 2/r 1) ratios of 11.190, showing potential as dual-mode longitudinal or transverse relaxation time (T 1 or T 2) contrast agents, while Gd-NGQDs possess r 2/r 1 of 1.148 with high r 1 of 9.546 mM-1 s-1 compared to commercial contrast agents, suggesting their potential as T1 contrast agents. Compared to other nanoplatforms, these novel Mn2+ and Gd3+ doped NGQDs not only provide scalable biocompatible alternatives as T1/T2 and T1 contrast agents but also enable in vitro intrinsic fluorescence imaging.

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PHYS2021LYLE12168 PHYS

pH-based Cancer Detection by Graphene Quantum Dots

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Veronica Lyle Physics & Astronomy Matt Dadet Physics & Astronomy Bong Lee Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Anton Naumov Physics & Astronomy Giridhar Akkaraju Biology Kat Barger Physics & Astronomy
Location: Zoom Room 5, 03:35 PM

Many cancers are characterized by rapid cell growth and division. This growth causes the area to become densely packed, forming tumors and therefore limiting oxygen penetration, and also causing the cell to have elevated energy needs. These factors trigger the use of mechanisms which have a high acidic output, which makes cancerous environments measurably more acidic than their healthy counterparts. This study was conducted to determine the suitability of various nanomaterial-based platforms for pH sensing as an additive to their previously shown suitability for drug/gene delivery and bioimaging. Several platforms were chosen, including Glucose-Doped Graphene Quantum Dots (GGQDs), Reduced Graphene Oxide-Derived Graphene Quantum Dots (RGQDs), and Aluminum-Doped Reduced Graphene Oxide-Derived Graphene Quantum Dots (Al-RGQDs), which all have peaks in their emission spectra in both the visible and infrared range. 9 spectra were taken from each of these platforms in the visible and infrared ranges from pH 6.00 to 8.00, as would be expected in cancerous and healthy biological systems. These spectra were then analyzed for defining characteristics which would distinguish between the various pH levels. While the results from GGQDs and RGQDs are thus far inconclusive, the relative peak intensity readings from the visible and infrared Al-RGQDs showed a promising inverse relationship that bears further investigation.

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PHYS2021MCKINNEY45065 PHYS

Hydrogenation of Reduced Graphene Oxide via Water Electrolysis

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Ryan McKinney Physics & Astronomy Debora Beeri Chemistry & Biochemistry Anton Naumov Physics & Astronomy Benjamin Sherman Chemistry & Biochemistry
Advisor(s): Anton Naumov Physics & Astronomy
Location: Zoom Room 5, 01:02 PM

Hydrogen energy is the most sustainable source of energy known to man. Though Earth has a seemingly limitless supply of hydrogen trapped in water molecules, industrial size production and storage of it has remained costly and dangerous. Reduced graphene oxide (rGO) shows great potential as a storage vessel for hydrogen while acting as a “catchers’ glove” for hydrogen when it is split from water. Where others have tried to store hydrogen in rGO by having it surrounded by hydrogen gas, I will attempt to directly attract hydrogen to rGO by taking advantage of hydrogen’s electrical attraction to rGO once it is split from water via electrolysis. This technique, paired with a novel method of preparation of the working cathode , could increase hydrogen storage in rGO that has not been achieved; furthering its potential as a safe, cost effective, and reversible hydrogen storage vessel.

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