L&C Festival of Scholars and Artists


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Session A

Malcolm Arnott & Vy Lam

Our team used bioinformatic tools to produce annotations of genes in understudied Drosophila genomes. Annotations in these understudied genomes serve as a point of comparison against the model organism D. melanogaster, and provide evolutionary context for genetic changes.

Jack Waite & Alain Kägi

In the field of music, it is often needed to transpose sheet music, either to get different instruments in the same key or to experiment with the sound of a piece. However, transposing by hand can be tedious and time-consuming, so I tried to automate this process using a Java program. To do this, I used the text-based language GUIDO to represent score level sheet music. I constructed a Scanner and Parser that can read an input GUIDO file character by character (“letters”), identify groups of characters with distinct meanings in the GUIDO language (“words”), and organize them all into an internalized score (sentences). This was done using a recursive descent parser, which can recognize proper or improper GUIDO syntax and identify key methods and characters. As notes are recognized, a transpose() method is called that uses a given number of half steps to change each note to a new key. The fully transposed sheet music file can then be printed.

Teagan Ahlers & Avia Kaner-Roth

It is difficult but critica for Central Americans to seek asylum in the US in order to survive. This poster focuses on El Salvador because we are ghost writing an expert witness testimony for a trans women seeking asylum from El Salvador. Expert Witness Testimonies support the asylum seekers grounds for being granted asylum for race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership to a particular social, and reasonable fear of persecution. El Salvador has a particularly corrupt and violent government and security force and is controlled by gangs. LGBT people face discrimination in El Salvador. Trans women in El Salvador are consistently targeted with violence including murder, torture, assault, kidnappings, sexual abuse, threats, and extortion, by gangs, police, schools, employment, churches, their families, public officials, the government, and the general public at disproportionate rates compared to the general population of El Salvador and are not adequately protected. In Elliot Young’s HIST 390 class, Immigration and Asylum Law, we were tasked with ghostwriting one of Professor Young’s expert witness testimonies. Our case is a trans woman seeking refuge from her home country El Salvador, on the grounds of reasonable fear of persecution from police brutality, gang violence, and a corrupted state government.

Session B

Salma Bashir

Phospholipase D toxins (PLDs) (SicTox) are an abundant component of venoms of brown recluse (Sicariidae) spiders where they are primarily responsible for venom toxicity and prey immobilization. SicTox variants show variable substrate preference towards phospholipids that make up cell membranes based on their phylogenetic categorization into the beta (β) and alpha (ɑ) clades—SicTox of the ɑ clade act primarily on common sphingolipid sphingomyelin (SM), while SicTox of the β clade show variable substrate preference towards both sphingomyelin (SM) and ceramide phosphoethanolamine (CPE). The functional and sequence determinants of substrate specificity in the ɑ clade have been hypothesized to involve a highly conserved aromatic cage motif in the interfacial binding site of ɑ clade enzymes. In this work, I have tested the influence of the aromatic cage on specificity towards SM using site-directed mutagenesis to eliminate the cage in ɑ clade enzyme L1-ɑIII1i from the Chilean recluse spider Loxosceles laeta, and conducting assays to asses for changes in enzymatic activity and substrate preference.

Zack Hart, Rebecca Teichman & Priyanka Tomlinson

Our research compared thoughtful versus non-thoughtful numerical anchoring in the context of health-relevant questions. In a large online study (N=405), participants completed four health anchoring questions at Time 1 (e.g., “For adults, is the recommended amount of moderate intensity exercise higher or lower than [900:high anchor or 10:low anchor] minutes per day?”). Halfway through these judgments, participants were asked to flip a coin 50 times and record the sequence, and this was used to determine whether or not they were thoughtfully completing the study. Non-thoughtful coin flips were determined by participants’ unrealistically fast times to flip a coin 50 times as well as sequences unlikely to be produced by chance. At Time 2, approximately one week later, participants completed the same anchoring items preceded by new anchors that “attacked” (were opposite in extremity to) the anchors in Time 1. In accordance with the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM; see, specifically, Blankenship et al., 2008) we predicted that participants who completed the anchoring task more thoughtfully at Time 1 would be less susceptible to the influence of the “attacking” anchors at Time 2. Our results were consistent with this prediction, supporting the ELM’s application to numerical anchoring, and they further speak to the quality of data collected from online samples.

Jeremiah Koshy

Under British Colonialism, Singapore was a part of Malaysia. In 1965, Singapore left the Union, and today, enjoys a GDP per capita three times the size of Malaysia’s. Preliminary findings indicate initial divergence followed by beta-convergence of output growth rates.

Sofía Leonila Marks

This paper explores the different ways ritual has been used in Latina performance art to understand Latina identity, femininity, and reconnect with one’s culture. I will be looking specifically at performances created by Ana Mendieta, Coco Fusco, and Marta Maria Perez Bravo. I am interested in the ways that they took inspiration from the transformative power and liminality of ritual. I am also curious about how the feminine body, according to Marta Maria Perez Bravo, can function as “a site of reflection” alongside ritual. How can this ultimately bridge these different understandings of identity and knowledge for the Latinx community to expand upon?

Session C

Keeley Alexander

Antimicrobial proteins are pervasive evolutionary tools for protecting organisms against pathogenic infection (Hegedus and Marx, 2013). Previous research suggests a biological advantage for venomous organisms to have antifungal peptides in their venom in addition to the more commonly studied detrimental effects to prey (Joya G, et. al. 2011). Sicariid spiders – Loxosceles and Sicarius – have been observed to groom extensively in the field, leading to a hypothesis: that sicariid spider venom is antifungal. Preliminary results show promising implications for antifungal activity of crude Loxosceles venom (Binford, unpublished). The enzyme responsible for this activity is suspected to be a member of the SicTox family: a family of proteins (sphingomyelinase D) that constitutes over 50% of proteins in the venom of sicariid spiders, specifically Loxosceles and Sicarius (Binford, unpublished). SicTox homologs cloned and expressed so far show variable substrate preference toward different types of lipid head groups (Lajoie DM et. al. 2015). SixTox enzymes are organized into two clades, alpha and beta, by their species origins relating to their chemical characteristics. Enzymes from the alpha clade seem to preferentially bind sphingomyelin and phosphatidylcholine, and some beta clade enzymes have been shown to prefer CPE (Lajoie DM et. al. 2015), however, others remain elusive in their preference. Beta II enzymes are the hypothesized suspects for antifungal activity. Structural analysis affirms that beta II enzymes have an active site too large for sphingomyelin, phosphatidylcholine, or ceramide phosphoethanolamine headgroups, but a correct size for Inositol: the headgroup of phosphatidylinositol, a major component of the lipid membranes found in yeast and other fungi (Van Der Rest et. al. 1995). Research proceeding will focus on the expression and analysis of antifungal activity of beta II homologs.

Karli Corey, Lizzy Kolb, Sonya Lee, Isa Maxwell & Grace Woods

The neuromuscular junction (NMJ) is a neuron-muscle synapse that controls muscle contraction. Thrombospondin (TSP) is an extracellular matrix protein implicated in the development and function of the NMJ. Using Drosophila melanogaster, the common fruit fly, as a model, our lab investigated the role of the protein TSP at the neuromuscular junction.

Nallely De La Cuesta, Sam Jacobs & Ethan Tolpin

Session D

Marian Hampe, Michael Kanter, & Genevieve Serna

This presentation is concerning HIST 390; Professor Young’s Immigration & Asylum Law class. The first section of the presentation broadly defines the immigration apparatus and the different types of asylum claims. The next section includes an explanation of the class structure and assignment of students to expert witness reports in active deportation cases. Finally, we will give a brief summary of the conditions of our country and our case. Because the class deals with confidential material, we are restricted in the amount of detail we can share. These cases include graphic and detailed descriptions of personal violence and harm, so please be aware that topics such as sexual violence and gang violence will be covered. Our take home message is that we hope you take this class, as it has a tangible impact on the lives of people seeking to exit the immigration system.

Eva Hernandez

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Jemma Montgomery

During the spring term, I collected and curated moths on the Lewis & Clark College campus for deposit into our Natural History Collection. To do this, I researched Pacific Northwest moths and scouted collecting locations on campus based on clues from their life histories. I recorded detailed data regarding the collecting event, I pinned and froze each specimen to prepare it for preservation, and I worked to identify the moths utilizing an assortment of reference works, including dichotomous keys. Together, these specimens provide a snapshot of moth biodiversity on our campus in the winter and early spring.

Azucena Morales Santos, Nova Platt, Tiffani Wong & Tiona Wu

Early detection of melanoma has advantages over late-stage diagnosis, including higher cure rates and reduced treatment-based side effects, disfigurement, and overall cost of care. The purpose of the Oregon’s War on Melanoma research study is to test prospectively whether a statewide early detection public health campaign can improve melanoma outcomes; specifically, the campaign is seeking to promote self skin-examination and appropriate follow-up. Our lab is partnering with faculty at the Oregon Health & Science University and other Oregon universities to design and perform pre- and post-intervention assessments to evaluate the effects of this statewide campaign. Currently, over 1100 respondents in Oregon have completed the campaign’s pre-intervention survey, together with over 600 respondents across the states of Washington and Utah, which are serving as the intervention’s two control states. We hypothesize that there will be an increase in melanoma-specific knowledge in the general public, an improved prognosis at the time of diagnosis, and a decrease in melanoma mortality in Oregon compared to the two control states. Analyses of the pre-intervention survey suggests that Oregon, Washington, and Utah are comparable across most measures. Interestingly, we are observing high ratings of response-efficacy (i.e., beliefs in the ability of skin self-examination to detect skin cancer in its early stages), but relatively low ratings of self-efficacy (i.e., respondents’ confidence that they are able to check their skin for signs of skin cancer) across all respondents. We discuss this discrepancy and its potential role in shaping this ongoing public health campaign.