Filter and Sort


Depositional, Geometrical, and Reservoir Characteristics of Upper Woodbine Sands at Lake Grapevine of North Texas

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Ryan Pastor Geological Sciences
Advisor(s): Richard Denne Geological Sciences

The Middle Cenomanian Woodbine sandstones act as a major reservoir system for many large oil fields throughout East Texas. These sand bodies are located within the East Texas Basin, where the main outcrops of interest for this study occur within the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) Metroplex. Although numerous studies have been completed on these outcrops, none have used modern techniques or tools, or utilized facies model concepts. Prior studies have interpreted these outcrops as a shelf-strandplain coastal setting or a fluvial-dominated delta plain. However, after further examination of the outcrops in the DFW Metroplex, it has become apparent that there are signs of significant tidal influence.
The focus of this project is to determine the depositional environment and obtain a better understanding of the reservoir characteristics of the upper Woodbine (Lewisville) sandstones found in outcrop along Lake Grapevine. A detailed study of the lithofacies, ichnofacies, and biofacies will be used to determine depositional environments. Handheld gamma ray and permeameter analyses on the outcrop and thin sections will be used to estimate the reservoir characteristics of the upper Woodbine. Sand body geometries will be defined using a photomosaic, which will trace out the lateral extent of the units and identify significant surfaces and potential fluid barriers or baffles. The goal of this project is to generate data that could ultimately be used to construct reservoir models for hydrocarbon production from the upper Woodbine.


Analyzing the Change in Crop Yields Following Recent Drought in Texas

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Caleb Perkey Geological Sciences Bradley Roe Interdisciplinary
Advisor(s): Esayas Gebremichael Geological Sciences

This research will examine the change in size of local aquifers and surface reservoirs in Texas to determine how drought affects crop yield in Texas, for the aquifers scattered about Texas are the major source of irrigation for farmers in the state. This will be demonstrated by assessing conditions in the San Antonio area (as a case study) due to the severe drought that has affected the area for the past couple of months. Several spatial datasets including remote sensing datasets and results derived using different analysis tools in GIS will be utilized to demonstrate the change in aquifer size and surface reservoirs during the investigated period.


The classification of three unknown meteorites from Northwest Africa

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Liam Pittenger Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Rhiannon Mayne Environmental Sciences

More meteorites are found in North-West Africa every year than in any other location on the earth’s surface. These meteorites are sold and will either enter a scientific collection, or that of a private collector. In the latter case, a meteorite may never be officially classified, which means that it is not recognized by the scientific community as a new meteorite find.. The meteorite classification process is led by the Meteoritical Society, who nominate meteorite researchers to serve on the Meteorite Nomenclature Committee. This committee is responsible for the peer review of all meteorite classification submissions, and to ensure the donation of a scientific repository sample. After this, an official name is assigned and the meteorite is entered into the Meteoritical Bulletin Database (MetBull). MetBull is an archive of all meteorites recognized by the Meteoritical Society and contains basic information about each meteorite; for example, its classification, the location it was found, and a brief description of the sample studied.

The Monnig Meteorite Collection at TCU contains a number of unclassified meteorite samples. In this study, we will examine three unknown meteorites and determine the meteorite type in terms of: (1) the type of body they come from, (2) the minerals and textures they contain, (3) their mineral compositions and, (4) their thermal history. This data will then be submitted to the Meteorite Nomenclature Committee for official classification.


Crafts & Conversations

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Rima Abram Interdisciplinary Erika Kaminga Interdisciplinary Allison Regan Interdisciplinary Mariana Zollinger Interdisciplinary
Advisor(s): Jessica Alvarez Interdisciplinary

Crafts & Conversations was established to foster community among TCU students and the residents of a local retirement facility, Trinity Terrace. During monthly meetings, students and residents share their stories while collaborating on engaging craft activities, including murals, cross-stitching, snow globes, suncatchers, pillows, and upcycled terrariums. TCU students who volunteer in these monthly meetings build meaningful friendships, combat stereotypes against the elderly, and improve communication and leadership skills. In addition, each event opens with a performance by TCU music students, enabling them to cultivate their craft and share their talent. Even throughout the pandemic, Crafts & Conversations nurtured memories and connections through Zoom and masked in-person meetings. With a commitment to sustainability, this project will continue to enrich the lives of Trinity Terrace residents and provide dedicated student volunteers with opportunities to strengthen the Fort Worth community.


Women's Health Clinics with Mercy Clinic of Fort Worth

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Morgan Bertrand Biology Allison Regan Biology
Advisor(s): Mikaela Stewart Biology

Mercy Clinic of Fort Worth is a free health clinic that provides care to the underserved population, largely comprised of uninsured adults, in south Fort Worth. Services at Mercy Clinic include wellness checkups, sick visits, and well-woman visits, as well as some dental procedures, labs, and prescription services. TCU students of the Pre-Health Professions Institute consistently volunteer at Mercy Clinic, and TCU’s relationship with Mercy Clinic has continued to grow especially with the new addition of TCU’s Burnett School of Medicine to the Fort Worth community. A current collaboration between Mercy Clinic and the Burnett School of Medicine is aimed at providing clinics for women to get well-women exams such as pap smears and breast exams. Funds provided by the Experiential Projects to Impact the Community (EPIC) Grant were used to assist with the cost of supplies, such as speculums and drape sheets, for these women’s clinics. The goals of this community project are to serve the Fort Worth community by providing Mercy Clinic with materials and volunteers, to emphasize the importance of women’s health and knowledge about it, and to grow TCU Pre-Health’s relationship with the Burnett School of Medicine and Mercy Clinic.


Pickleball With a Purpose

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Michael Delgado Interdisciplinary Philip Dodd Interdisciplinary
Advisor(s): Philip Dodd Interdisciplinary

After-school programs can be highly beneficial to elementary school students. Pickleball With a Purpose is a weekly after-school program founded by TCU students with support from the Experiential Projects to Impact the Community (EPIC) committee. This program works with a local elementary school in Crowley Independent School District (CISD). Pickleball appeals to all ages because it can be picked up relatively quickly, regardless of skill level. As part of the program, pickleball was introduced to 4th and 5th graders at Meadowcreek Elementary by teaching a two-week clinic introducing foundational paddle skills during P.E. classes. Students in the after-school program engage in clinics, drills, and games to further develop their communication skills while fostering connections with mentors from TCU. The EPIC committee's funding and our partnership with the Selkirk Growth Program have allowed us to supply the elementary school with equipment such as nets, balls, and paddles. The purpose of the Meadowcreek Pickleball Club is to provide elementary school students with a safe environment where they can grow as individuals while learning a new sport.


Healthy Food Insecurity

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): May Nguyen Biology Thien Ly Nguyen Biology
Advisor(s): Maria Martinez Nutritional Sciences


New Smiles Drive

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Cayla Prophater Interdisciplinary Christian Cargile Interdisciplinary Emma Graham Interdisciplinary Macyn Willingham Interdisciplinary
Advisor(s): Heidi Conrad Interdisciplinary

Even though they are completely preventable, cavities are the leading chronic childhood disease in America. The “New Smiles Drive” is a community outreach project with a mission to improve Fort Worth's oral hygiene knowledge and access to essential hygiene supplies. This project has provided dental supplies and hygiene education to the patients at the Mercy Clinic of Fort Worth. The donation of dental hygiene bags is instrumental in providing the materials necessary for quality health care. However, the donations are only half of the mission. Each donation bag includes a laminated education card containing detailed instructions on how to maintain good oral health as well as recommendations provided by Fort Worth dentists. The educational aspect of this project will leave a lasting impact on the community and teach the community essential oral hygiene care.

View Presentation


Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Clinics

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Quinceola Reid Biology Emily Van Dyck Biology
Advisor(s): Anthony Crowder Interdisciplinary

Swimming is a skill that is often assumed to be commonplace. However, in a study from 2017-2021, 411 children fatally drowned in Texas; 32 drownings were from Tarrant County (Texas Child Drowning Statistics). In 2019, 23 Tarrant County drowning deaths were among adults (Drowning in Tarrant County). Two community organizations, The Fort Worth Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Coalition (FWDPC) and the YMCA Fort Worth (YMCA FW), conduct dedicated summer programs to teach children and adults in-water and classroom-based water safety strategies. This grant project supports its community partners by advertising for/providing volunteers, which enables the accommodation of more participants per clinic. In addition, this grant project provided occupational health supplies (sunscreen and sunglasses) to their community partner to mitigate the prolonged sun exposure commonly faced by their volunteers. Through this project, TCU students have engaged with these organizations, supported their objectives, and directly improved drowning statistics within the Fort Worth community.


Bags of Joy

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Maggie Tucker Interdisciplinary Molly Koca Interdisciplinary Jacqueline Leon Interdisciplinary
Advisor(s): Mathew Crawford Interdisciplinary

Project Overview:
2020 we partner with Once Upon a Room. We partnered with Cook Children's Hospital to decorate rooms for children who will have an extended stay. Due to COVID-19, we could not continue with Once Upon a Room. In the 2021-2022 we created Bags of Joy and continued to partner with Cook Childrens Hospital. We provided holiday-themed goodie bags as well as welcome hygiene bags.

Background of the Community:
The community in which we are working with those under the age of 18 with poor health.
Our community partner is Anne Stankus and Megan Hodges, Child life specialist at Cook Children

Need Statement:
Our community partners have communicated to us that there is a need for hygiene and essential items for the caregivers of a patient to receive when they are admitted to the hospital, so that they have to opportunity to stay with their child durning this time of need.
Another need that has been expressed to us has been for the hosting of events, like game nights.

Project description:
We had hoped to continue to give hygiene bags and make a switch from goodie bags to hosting a game night.
This year we were to supply 36 welcome bags for Cook, host a game night, and donate 400 easter eggs for their annual easter egg hunt.

As this was our first year hosting a game night at Cook children, we struggled in the begging to find games and activities that would fit into the guidelines but in the end, we were able to make it a successful event and now we have ideas on ways to improve for next year.
We continue to have good feedback from our Cook Children's coordinator.
As two of our members are graduating we will still have one member who is an active student at TCU. Molly, our non-graduating member, will take over our EPIC grant.


Numerical study of Neimark-Sacker bifurcations in a discrete two-dimensional logistic predator-prey dynamical system

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Brandon Isensee Mathematics
Advisor(s): Igor Prokhorenkov Mathematics

We show that a discrete two-dimensional logistic predator-prey dynamical system with two parameters undergoes a Neimark-Sacker bifurcation under certain conditions. Our evidence includes numerical computations of orbits and bifurcation diagrams.


Probabilities on Latin Squares

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Anna Long Mathematics
Advisor(s): Drew Tomlin Mathematics

A Latin square is a nxn square that contains n different symbols, often numbers, and are arranged such that each symbol appears exactly once in each row and column. In this project, we look at the probability of a random arrangement of symbols being a Latin square. I start with n number of n symbols, for example a 3x3 square will contain the numbers 1,1,1,2,2,2,3,3,3 in a random assortment. Using counting methods and statistical estimation through Python, we discover the proportion of total squares that are Latin squares.


Geodesic nets on arbitrary surfaces

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Duc Toan Nguyen Mathematics
Advisor(s): Ken Richardson Mathematics

A connected graph on a surface is a collection of points and curves that connect the points. Given such a graph, we wish to continuously deform it so that it becomes a geodesic net. This means that the curves have the least possible length and the points are “balanced.” By “balanced,” we mean that if each curve pulls on the points with equal tension, then the net force on each point is zero. We find an algorithm that can be used to produce the deformation.


Prevalence and Associated Factors of Food Insecurity Among College Students

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Maddie Jacobs Nutritional Sciences Kelly Fisher Nutritional Sciences Gina Hill Nutritional Sciences Kristi Jarman Mathematics
Advisor(s): Gina Hill Nutritional Sciences Kelly Fisher Nutritional Sciences


Maddie Jacobs; Gina Hill, PhD, RD, LD; Kelly Fisher, DCN, RD, LD; Kristi Jarman, PhD

Background - The USDA defines food insecurity (FI) as when individuals lack the resources to obtain food in socially acceptable ways. According to the USDA, 10.2% of the U.S. population was food insecure in 2021. According to current literature, university campuses have an average of 36% FI. There are limited studies regarding FI at private universities, likely because FI is assumed to be low.

Objective – This study aimed to identify the rate and distribution of FI at a private university in North Texas and to analyze the demographic, socio-economic, and other factors associated with FI among college students.

Design – In this cross-sectional study, participants completed a one-time online survey.

Methods – The survey included sociodemographic questions and the validated USDA Adult Food Security Survey Module to measure FI status among current university students >18 years of age. Ordinal logistic regression, based on the Proportional Odds model, was conducted to determine the association between FI and sociodemographic variables.

Results – The majority of participants were white (82%, n=288), non-Hispanic (83%, n=293), and women (77%, n=271) with a mean age of 22.5±6.6. Of the 353 participants in the study, 22.4% (n=79) were classified as food insecure and 9.6% (n=34) were classified as having very low food security with evidence of reduced intake and disrupted eating patterns. Participants who were underclassmen (p=0.029), receiving more financial aid (p=0.016), international (p=0.081), Hispanic/Latinx (p=0.478), and older (p=0.283) were more likely to have greater FI. Among the food insecure participants, 30.4% (n=24) were aware of resources to obtain food on or near campus.

Conclusions - More research is needed regarding FI at private universities. However, this study provides sufficient data to take action to address FI by means of advocacy, dissemination of resource information, and the addition of new resources, such as an on-campus food pantry.

View Presentation


Food Sensitivity Testing in Children: A Case Study and Narrative Review

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Kelly Jaimes Nutritional Sciences
Advisor(s): Kelly Fisher Nutritional Sciences Heidi Conrad Chemistry & Biochemistry Rebecca Dority Nutritional Sciences

Despite the significant prevalence of food intolerances in children and adolescents (2 to 18-year olds), food intolerance mechanisms and testing is severely misunderstood and under researched. A food intolerance is a non-immunological response that occurs after consuming a specific food particle causing gastrointestinal (GI) issues such as bloating, nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. The lack of understanding of food intolerances is causing too many children to unnecessarily follow unsupervised elimination diets which increases the risk of developing nutrient deficiencies. The objectives of this study were to demonstrate the serious impact to the quality of life (QOL) that food intolerances have towards children and adolescents by analyzing available literature and utilizing a case study participant. Findings suggested that there must be more research done to understand food intolerance to improve the QOL in children and adolescents.


The Effect of Registered Dietitians on Quality of Life, Eating, and Nutrition Knowledge of Adults with Eating Disorders

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Sarah Jennings Nutritional Sciences
Advisor(s): Gina Hill Nutritional Sciences Kelly Fisher Nutritional Sciences

Background: Eating disorders (EDs) can lead to decreased quality of life (QOL), medical complications, and death, with the second highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses. ED treatment can include psychologists, registered dietitians (RD), and/or physicians. Insufficient research exists regarding RDs’ effects on ED treatment.
Objective: Describe the impact of RDs on ED treatment and QOL.
Design: A cross-sectional sample of participants with a history of ED completed a one-time, online survey.
Methods: Healthcare providers were emailed with recruitment materials for clients >18 years. Survey included demographic, validated Eating Disorder Quality of Life scale (EDQOL), and RD effects and helpfulness questions. In SPSS, paired t-test was used to assess QOL post-treatment for RD vs non-RD groups, plus effect size. Independent-samples t-tests were used to compare post-treatment QOL scores and mean differences in pre- and post-treatment QOL scores for RD vs non-RD groups. Using conventional qualitative analysis, narrative responses to the question “How has working with a registered dietitian (RD) affected your eating disorder recovery?” were coded by two researchers separately, then consensus was reached for final themes.
Results: Participants (n=70) were 87.1% (n=61) white, 90% (n=63) female, and RD treatment group (n=60). Most participants had positive perceptions of RD impact on ED recovery and described RDs as helpful, supportive educators. Over 62% of participants (n=35) reported that the RD helped reduce disordered eating behaviors a great deal/a lot. Statistically significant improvement in QOL after treatment existed for both RD treatment (-22.68, n=56, p < 0.001) and non-RD treatment groups (-14.9, n=10, p=0.008), without a significant difference between groups (p=0.193).
Conclusions: Results suggest RDs contribute to certain aspects of recovery. Participants reported that RDs helped decrease ED behaviors, shame, and meal skipping. Future research needs include the effects of RDs on ED treatment in larger, diverse samples.


Syncytia Formation Rate for SARS-CoV-2 Variants

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Ava Amidei Chemistry & Biochemistry Hana Dobrovolny Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Hana Dobrovolny Physics & Astronomy

COVID-19, also known as SARS-Cov-2, has caused a worldwide crisis. SARS-CoV-2 is able to form syncytia cells, which are large multi-nucleated cells. Syncytia formation allows the virus to propagate without leaving the host cell. Currently, not much is known about syncytia cells, including the rate at which they form. Data from a study by Rajah et al. (2021) was used to estimate the rate of synctia formation for each variant of SARS-CoV-2. This includes the Alpha, Beta, D61G, and Wuhan Variants. The rates of syncytia formation were found by using mathematical modeling. This information can better our understanding of syncytia formation.


Surface Cleanliness of Hydrothermally Grown Zinc Oxide Microparticles for Antibacterial Usage

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Vivek Athipatla Physics & Astronomy Dustin Johnson Physics & Astronomy Yuri Strzhemechny Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Yuri Strzhemechny Physics & Astronomy

Zinc Oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles are attractive candidates for application as antibacterial agents due to high biocompatibility with effectiveness against antibiotic-resistant strains of both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Despite this potential, applications are limited by fundamental gaps in understanding of the underlying antibacterial pathways. ZnO nanoparticles are currently more widely used in antibacterial research compared to ZnO microparticles due to the potential for internalization into bacterial cells. Microparticles are nevertheless of interest as a research platform as the increased scale allows both the nonpolar and polar facets of the ZnO crystals to be distinguished. This in turn provides a useful platform to experiment on and study surface interactions with bacteria. In addition, because of their larger size, ZnO microparticles would not internalize inside typical bacteria, allowing for more targeted investigation of other, potentially more potent, antibacterial mechanisms.

Preliminary studies indicate that hydrothermally grown ZnO microparticles exhibit comparable antibacterial activity to commercial ZnO nanoparticles further adding to their utility. The goal of this research is to validate the nature of these behaviors by investigating differences in surface cleanliness between “home-grown” microparticles which were synthesized in the lab through a bottom-up hydrothermal growth method and commercial nanoparticles. Such differences may influence cytotoxicity, skewing the results of antibacterial studies. To do so, both Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy were used to probe the quality and cleanliness of the ZnO crystalline free surface of the microparticles and nanoparticles.

In this work we detected similarities in the vibrational modes at the surface stemming from ZnO growth precursors. These are seen to be similar across all samples investigated, however, a weak O-H bending is found in the home-grown microparticles. We demonstrate that these results justifies our low-cost hydrothermally lab-grown specimen as a suitable platform for future surface-specific antibacterial studies.

View Presentation


Effectiveness of antibodies in syncytia-forming viruses

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Isabelle Beach Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Hana Dobrovolny Physics & Astronomy

Syncytia formation is the fusion of cells by a virus to create a multinucleated cell (syncytium) that shields the virus from outer factors in the extracellular space, such as antibodies. However, this process is much more energy intensive for a virus than tunneling between cells, which also shelters the virus. Why would a virus fuse cells together rather than save energy and tunnel? In order to determine what the benefits of syncytia formation are for viruses, a mathematical model including syncytia formation and antibodies was developed to simulate viral dynamics. Characteristics like viral duration, viral titer peak, and time of peak were measured while changing parameters such as fusion rate, which allowed comparison of infections with and without syncytia formation. Mathematically modeling and analyzing these comparisons and changes helps us understand whether syncytia formation helps protect viruses from the effect of antibodies.


Erbium-Doped Graphene Quantum Dots and Their Potential For Bioimaging

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): John Brannon Physics & Astronomy Ben Spitters Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Anton Naumov Physics & Astronomy

To track drug delivery within the body, the vehicle must be biocompatible, soluble, and transparent in the human body. Being transparent in the human body means the vehicle exhibits fluorescence in the near-infrared (NIR) III biological transparency window (1500 – 1800 nm). These traits will respectively not oppose health defects in the subjects, will be stable within the blood and cells of the body, and be able to be found within the body through the means of infrared detectors. This is where graphene quantum dots (GQDs) come into the picture. GQDs prepared by a one-step hydrothermal method from glucosamine and ascorbic acid precursors are biocompatible and soluble in water. On their own, they do not demonstrate fluorescence in the NIR-III. To add this capability, we dope GQDs with erbium ions (Er-GQDs) as they demonstrate a fluorescence peak at 1550nm followed by excitation at 980nm laser. Fluorescence light coming from erbium ions at 1550 nm covers the NIR-III biological window, which is the last specification needed to have an eligible vehicle. In our work, we synthesized Er-GQDs at 200℃ for 8 h and 17 h in deuterium oxide. The fluorescence of erbium ions is known to be quenched by OH functional groups. The average size of Er-GQDs is growing from 3 to 5 nm after 8 h and 17 h treatment times, respectively, and exhibit fluorescence with 1550 nm emission peak in deuterium oxide. All aforementioned results make Er-GQDs a potential imaging agent for bioimaging.


How to detect the DNA content of a single cell

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Luca Ceresa Physics & Astronomy Bruce Budowle Physics & Astronomy Magdalena M Bus Physics & Astronomy Jose Chavez Physics & Astronomy Ignacy Gryczynski Physics & Astronomy Zygmunt Gryczynski Physics & Astronomy Joseph Kimball Physics & Astronomy Emma Kitchner Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Zygmunt Gryczynski Physics & Astronomy

A novel approach is presented that increases sensitivity and specificity for detecting minimal traces of DNA in liquid and on solid samples. Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) from YOYO to Ethidium Bromide (EtBr) substantially increases signal from DNA bound EtBr highly enhancing sensitivity and specificity for DNA detection. The long fluorescence lifetime of the EtBr acceptor, when bound to DNA, allows for multi-pulse pumping with time gated (MPPTG) detection, which highly increases the detectable signal of DNA bound EtBr. A straightforward spectra/image subtraction eliminates sample back-ground and allows for a huge increase in the overall detection sensitivity. Using a combination of FRET and MPPTG detection an amount as small as 10 pg of DNA in a microliter sample can be detected without any additional sample purification/manipulation or use of amplification technologies. This amount of DNA is comparable to the DNA content of a single human cell. Such a detection method based on simple optics opens the potential for robust, highly sensitive DNA detection/imaging in the field, quick evaluation/sorting (i.e., triaging) of collected DNA samples, and can support various diagnostic assays.


SARS-CoV-2 viral rebound after Paxlovid treatment

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Aubrey Chiarelli Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Hana Dobrovolny Physics & Astronomy

COVID-19 now has antiviral treatments to help prevent hospitalization. Paxlovid is the most prevalent and effective of these medications. Paxlovid consists of two medications taken twice daily for five days, however, there have been anecdotal reports of rebound infection after a course of Paxlovid. This project aims to use mathematical models to investigate the infection conditions that result in rebound cases. Stochastic modeling is used to simulate the time course of infections with different doses and durations of Paxlovid to determine when rebound will occur. These findings could help physicians develop more consistent treatment regimens for Paxlovid.


Toxicity-Schmoxicity: Graphene Quantum Dots Prove They Can Play Nice

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Abby Dorsky Physics & Astronomy Olivia Sottile Biology Alina Valimukhametova Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Anton Naumov Physics & Astronomy

Graphene quantum dots (GQDs) are a frontier of research in the interdisciplinary world of biology and medicine. They have been hallmarked for their remarkable applications, from cellular imaging to drug delivery. Due to their unique physicochemical and optical properties, there is a strong desire to bring them to clinical application. However, prior to any therapeutic and bioimaging studies comprehensive analysis of GQDs cytotoxicity has to be done in vitro. In our research, we assess the biocompatibility of a variety GQDs synthesized from different carbon-based precursors in non-cancerous cells through cell viability assay. Our results show that GQDs prepared from chitosan and glucosamine demonstrate 80% cell availability at 1.2 and 2.2 mg/mL concentrations, respectively, making them the most promising candidates for further therapeutic applications among over 15 GQD candidates tested.


Analysis of viral dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 challenege study patients

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Jonathan Feldman Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Hana Dobrovolny Physics & Astronomy

The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which induced a global pandemic in 2020, is a serious pathogen that can cause acute respiratory distress in infected individuals. In order to garner a greater understanding of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and attenuate its effects, researchers have aimed to estimate key viral kinetic parameters. In this study, data from a previously published challenge study on the impacts of SARS-CoV-2 on young adults, including viral load, upsit score, and symptom score, was used to calibrate a system of ordinary differential equations, generating pathogenic parameters. In addition, Pearson covariance values and the Lyapunov exponents were calculated for each participant from the challenge study. For a majority of participants, the Lyapunov exponents were positive and finite, indicating chaotic behavior in vector space. Similarly, for most participants, there was a weak positive correlation between upsit/symptom scores and viral load. Future research will consist of implementing a newer system of ordinary differential equations that may be a better fit for the data

View Presentation


Measuring Stellar Nurseries Near and Far: How and where do stars form in galaxies

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Andrew Glaze Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Kat Barger Physics & Astronomy

Galaxies, like our Milky Way, harbor stars and planets that are created out of gas. We utilize observations from Mapping Nearby Galaxies at Apache Point Observatory (MaNGA) and Hubble Space Telescope (HST) to inspect the gas in and outside of galaxies. We then use these data to compare against the rate at which these galaxies are forming stars. We use ratios of spectral emission and absorption lines from MaNGA to determine whether a particular point in the galaxy best resembles a star-forming region, an active galactic nucleus, or something in between. We will further assess the star-formation activity in the galaxies based on their ionized gas and stellar spectral indices. We will use HST observations of the same galaxies to quantify the amount and properties of the gas surrounding them to better understand how the environments of galaxies impact the activity occurring within them. Through this work, we will contribute to our understanding of the galactic gas cycle and its connection with star formation within these galaxies.