Dr. Grant Bevill
Epoxy floor systems typically contain
small, abrasive particles of grit, similar to sand, to reduce the risk of
slipping. Failure of the floor systems can occur due to the pull-out of these
particles, rendering the floor unsafe. This research project proposes the
introduction of carbon nanotubes (CNT) in small quantities - between 0.1% and
1% by weight - as fiber reinforcement into these epoxy floor systems. Epoxy-CNT
composite samples will be produced and the mechanical properties will be
evaluated as a function of CNT density. The exceptional strength and stiffness
properties of CNT is expected to greatly improve the mechanical properties of
the epoxy matrix material, which will prevent the pull-out of the grit
particles, in turn increasing the lifespan of the floor. The results are
expected to be adequately novel to form the basis of a research manuscript and
establish the foundations for future development of durable and cost-effective
Fine Arts: Ceramics
research looks to evaluate effective screen printing methods to produce bright
colors in the atmospheric conditions and high temperatures of a wood-fired
kiln. To determine how these colors can be produced, several variables will be
tested. The first of which is the colors itself, commercial and handmade.
Second, how it is applied through one of several methods of screen printing.
The third variable applies color to both a dark and light clay body to test for
body interference. Then the last variable will expose the ceramic work to high
fire temperatures at Cone 10 (2345F) in both an electric kiln, no atmosphere,
and atmospheric conditions, ash building up throughout the firing process, of a
Amanda Paula, Doris Sinche Aldas
An infant’s nutrient intake plays a vital role in the
establishment of a healthy gut microbiota and the development of the immune
system. Human Milk Oligosaccharide (HMOs) are added to formula milk to resemble
those of breastmilk which would benefit the growth of gut bacteria. The purpose
of this experiment was to analyze the growth of B. infantis in the
presence of Pregestimil and Parent’s Choice infant formulas which contain
cow-milk oligosaccharides. To assess the microbial growth of this bacterial stain,
25 tubes were filled with 10mL of MRS broth. Concentrations of 1% (100 μL of
treatment in each tube) were used for all of the treatment conditions (n=5). An
active culture of B. infantis was prepared and grown anaerobically,
using the Hungate method to simulate the infant’s gut. After 24 hours of
incubation, 0.3mL of the bacterial strain was inserted into their respective
tubes. The optical density of the tubes was recorded using a spectrophotometer
in a 12-hour time frame. It was observed that B. infantis in Pregestimil
formula had greater growth than Parent’s Choice formula during the 12-hour time
frame. For future experiments, breast milk and Gerber
Good Start (containing cow-milk
oligosaccharides supplemented with B. Lactis cultures) and Similac (containing the artificial HMO 2’FL) infant formulas will be included as experimental groups as
well as the bacterial strain E. faecalis. By using an ATP assay to
assess the ATP quantification of each experimental group and its effect on the
growth curves, it is expected that there will be greater bacterial growth in
breast milk; a natural HMO containing liquid.
Dr. Ronald Lukens-Bull
Volunteer tourism is an industry that thrives off people who want to go on vacation, but also aspire to give back to communities while doing so. For almost three decades, this industry has thrived off of non-governmental organizations and companies. These programs typically target gap year students, people seeking self-development, and people wanting new experiences for a good cause. Scholars from various disciplines raise concerns over these programs’ positive and negative outcomes, especially since most take place in third-world countries. Recently, orphanage tourism has gained popularity and impacted the industry’s reputation. In 2011, the International Ecotourism Society published ethical guidelines for volunteer tourism programs, but this only signified the challenges that were still to come. Scholars have struggled with constructing a solid framework for researching, maintaining, and monitoring such programs. However, within the past few years, scholars have made strides through the use of evaluation methods. Through literary reviews and qualitative process evaluation methods, I explored how a volunteer orphanage program operates in Alajuela, Costa Rica. During the four weeks of the program, I used participant observation and gathered interviews from employees, volunteers, and locals. Through this project, I learned about the positive and negative outcomes from the major parties involved. This research gives the program a chance to possibly implement change where it is needed, and re-examine its purpose.
Fine Arts: Ceramics
The focus of this project will be to create a series of eight sculptural wall pieces, drawing influence from the Cubist and Constructivist movements of the early 20th
century. This series aims to synthesize the disparate media of ceramic, glass and metal into distinct and cohesive works of art. Using principles from the aforementioned artistic movements, this series will abstract forms from both the natural and industrial worlds to fashion dynamic compositions that provide the viewer multiple levels with which to engage the pieces. While the wall as a space for exhibition is typically used for two-dimensional media, it is also an entirely viable surface to display three-dimensional work. My goal is for these works to become three-dimensional extensions of two-dimensional Cubist elements. Successfully executed, I believe this series can become an innovative take on traditional ceramic wall sculpture, as well as a significant step in my own artistic development.
Dr. Adam Rosenblatt
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Climate change is expected to have wide-ranging
effects on species, ecosystems, and society in general. One species that is
vulnerable to climate change and is both culturally and economically important
to the southeast U.S. is the American alligator. However, despite their value
to society little is known about how alligator populations will respond to
climate change. Alligator populations will likely be altered by climate change
at a fundamental level because alligator sex is determined by nest temperature
as opposed to genetics. If the ratio of males to females shifts as a result of
climate change, then population growth rates could stagnate or decline,
impacting alligator tourism, hunting, and farming industries, as well as
ecosystem stability and function. The research will experimentally investigate
the effects of realistic climate change scenarios on alligator sex ratios.
Alligator eggs will be exposed to combinations of warming temperatures and
increased rainfall conditions within artificially constructed nests. It is
predicted that warming will lead to male-biased sex ratios, increased rainfall
will lead to female-biased sex ratios, and warming and increased rainfall
combined will lead to more balanced sex ratios. The results will be immensely
valuable to ecosystem managers, conservationists, and those who are
economically dependent on the alligator industry.
Dr. Jim Gelsleichter
The comet assay has proven to be a
valuable tool for identifying DNA damage in a multitude of organisms from
mammals to bony fish. To date, this does not include elasmobranchs. This study
will determine if the comet assay is effective in detecting DNA damage in
elasmobranchs by exposing the nucleated red blood cells of locally sampled
sharks and rays to various concentrations of a known reactive oxygen species,
hydrogen peroxide. In addition, we will perform a field validation by measuring
comet assay responses in Atlantic stingrays in three lakes in the St. Johns River
system known to contain differing environmental pollution levels: Lake George
(low), Lake Monroe (moderate), and Lake Jesup (high). We expect rays sampled in
Lake Jesup to possess the highest level of DNA damage, Lake Monroe rays to
exhibit moderate levels, and those residing in Lake George to exhibit the
lowest levels of DNA damage.
Dr. Jason Haraldsen
To understand the competition between magnetic and electronic states, we examine the enhancement of the electronic properties of InAsSb with the infusion of magnetic transition metal elements. Using density functional theory, we calculate the band structure and electronic characteristic for the mother compounds InAs and InSb with various levels of transition metal elements infused into the structure. It is hoped the competition of magnetic and electronic states will introduce new and exciting topological effects.
Dr. Andrea Arikawa
Nutrition and Dietetics
There is a lack of research related to the health status and food security of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) communities. At the same time, health disparities are prevalent among LGBT members. It has been reported this population is more likely to experience homelessness, with LGBT youth representing up to 40% of the homeless youth population. Current literature suggests that sexual minority youth may be more likely to engage in dangerous weight control behaviors. We aim to recruit 192-240 participants between the ages of 18 and 35 to fill out electronic surveys about food security and disordered eating. Participants will be recruited from UNF LGBT Resource Center and JASMYN. Data analysis will be performed using Statistical Analysis Systems (SAS Institute, version 9.4) software. This study will acquire important information regarding nutrition and lifestyle behaviors of the LGBT community, which is currently lacking in the literature. In addition, our findings will set the foundation for future nutrition studies that will benefit this growing community.
Dr. Julie Avery
Hormone and Ghrelin are key regulatory hormones involved in tissue specific
nutrient allocation and satiety, respectively. Both hormones respond to changes
in nutritional status. California Sea Lions exhibit seasonal life history
patterns and are currently undergoing an unusual mortality event (UME). About
1,000 California Sea Lions strand every year; however, that number has
increased to 3,000 to 4,000 per year during this UME. Rehabilitation facilities are critical to the
survival of these stranded sea lions. Due to their low nutritional status upon
entering rehabilitation and re-feeding throughout rehabilitation makes them a
model organism to study the physiological response to this transition from
fasting to fed state. The primary objective of this experiment is to
investigate the response of these hormones in reduced nutrient intake (fasting)
versus well-fed states by obtaining blood serum from rehabilitated California
Sea Lions and quantifying them using radioimmunoassay techniques. Given the intensity and severity of
climate change it is likely that these types of nutrition related UME will
occur again in the near future. Understanding
California Sea Lion’s response to fasting and realimentation will allow us to better
manage wild populations as well as improve rehabilitation techniques in the near
future. The significance of this
research is to investigate the role of these hormones in development, growth,
and nutrient allocation under severe and natural nutrient restriction
Dr. Christopher Leone
Transgender and bisexual individuals have
been stigmatized both outside and inside the LGBTQ+ community (Reed, Franks
& Scherr, 2015). Because disclosure or concealment of gender identity/sexual
orientation with other stigmatized groups (e.g., gays, lesbians) has
implications for mental health (Mizock & Mueser, 2014), the same process
might have similar implications for transgender and bisexual individuals. We
accordingly will examine “outness” (disclosure/concealment of gender identity/sexual orientation) in
transgender and bisexual individuals who will be recruited using Amazon’s MTurk
research participation system. In particular, we will examine self-monitoring differences
in the extent to which transgender and bisexual individuals have disclosed/concealed
their gender identity/sexual orientation with respect to various “audiences”
(e.g., immediate family, extended family, friends and acquaintances,
coworkers/classmates). Disclosure/concealment will be assessed with a modified
version of the Nebraska Outness Scale (Medlinger & Hope, 2014);
self-monitoring differences will be assessed using two measures (Lennox &
Wolfe, 1984; Snyder, 1974). Extrapolating from previous research conducted at
UNF with gays and lesbians recruited sing the MTurk system, we anticipate that
high self-monitors will be more selective than low self-monitors in the
audiences to whom they reveal their (a) gender identity as transgender or their
(b) sexual orientation as bisexual.
Dr. Anne Pfister and Dr. Clayton McCarl
International Studies; Deaf Education; Anthropology
My research investigates the emergence of Cambodian Sign Language (CSL) and its impacts on deaf Cambodians. Between 1975 and 1979, Cambodia experienced a civil war and genocide that killed a quarter of its population. These years of communist rule in Cambodia are known as the Khmer Rouge. I intend to investigate deaf Cambodian life in a pre and post Khmer Rouge context. Presumably, deaf Cambodians did not have an official sign language with which to communicate prior to 1997. Between 1997 and 2013, two different sign languages emerged, one based on American Sign Language (ASL) and one that claims to be more “purely” Cambodian. In 2013, a Sign Language Unification Committee was formed and since then, foreign organizations have been collaborating with Cambodians to create an officially-established Cambodian Sign Language. Using ethnographic methods, I will interview and observe participants to gather
qualitative data about the deaf experience prior to 1975 and to compare the economic and social standings of adult users of both languages. By comparing these signers, I hope to illuminate potential discrepancies that emerged as a result of the dual-language issue and to provide context for the ongoing development of deaf education in contemporary Cambodia.
Dr. Matt Gilg
Evolution is essential in understanding many biological processes. Hybrid zones, regions were two species interbreed, provide the unique opportunity to study the mechanisms and interactions of evolutionary processes. There is an established hybrid zone of two fish, Fundulus grandis and F. heteroclitus, off of the east coast of Florida. While this region is known to have a relatively stable hybrid population, the extent of hybridization, fitness of the hybrids, and geographic center where hybridization is occurring are not well studied. Fish samples were collected throughout the hybrid zone, genotyped on four different loci, and placed on a hybrid scale. The scale revealed that hybrids are reproducing with the parent species, resulting in some hybrids being more similar to one species than another. Analyzing the hybrid scale and how the population changes over time reveals the fitness level of the different types of hybrids. Finally, previous research has revealed that the hybrid zone may be moving south, contrary to what was hypothesized. It was thought that climate change, and therefore warming waters and shifting mangrove habitats, may cause the hybrid zone to move north. This is because F. grandis prefers mangrove habitats and is better adapted to warm waters than F. heteroclitus. More research is needed to confirm that the hybrid zone is shifting, allowing new hypotheses to be proposed to explain this pattern.
Dr. Greg Ahearn
Atmospheric CO2 interacts with oceanic waters to lower pH. Decreased water pH results in dissolution of calcium carbonate exoskeletons and shells of many marine invertebrates. The hypothesis of this project is that increasing proton concentrations from reduced pH lead to a decrease in calcium uptake by animal gills due to transport competition between the cations at gill sites of uptake leading to reduced calcium availability at sites of calcification. Lobster branchiostegite epithelia were removed from both gill chambers, homogenized in hypotonic buffers, and underwent differential centrifugation resulting in a semi-purified pellet of plasma membrane vesicles. Vesicles were loaded with a mannitol medium at pH 7.0 and incubated for 10 min in a similar medium containing 1 mM 45CaCl2 at pH 6.0, 6.5, 7.0, 7.5, 8.0 and 8.5. 45Ca uptakes at pH 6.0, 6.5 and 7.0 were low and not significantly different from one another (p > 0.05), and likely represented non-specific binding. 45Ca uptake increased significantly (p < 0.02) from pH 7.0 to 8.5 with maximum uptake at the highest pH. 45Ca uptake at pH 6.0 was a linear function of calcium concentration, suggesting increased non-specific binding with elevated 45Ca concentration. In contrast, 45Ca uptake at pH 8.0 was a biphasic function of calcium concentrations, suggesting the presence of a putative calcium transporter plus non-specific binding. Results support the hypothesis of at least one gill branchiostegite calcium transport protein that is inhibited by increasing seawater proton concentrations.
Dr. Jack Hewitt
Using gamma-ray data from the Fermi satellite, we plan to continue previous analysis of the energy emitted from supernova remnants, in order to better understand the mechanisms of cosmic ray acceleration. Recent studies have provided evidence for supernova remnants—the cast off outer layers of collapsed stars—as sources of high energy particles known as cosmic rays, but the manner in which a supernova remnant accelerates cosmic rays is still unexplained. Additionally, there is some disagreement between what is expected from current models and what is actually observed. Through further analysis of the energy emitted from supernova remnants, using nine years of data, we can investigate in detail the peak energy and manner of emission of cosmic rays from individual supernova remnants. We can also compare the results of multiple supernova remnants to each other, which will provide us with a better understanding of the mechanisms of cosmic ray acceleration as well as insight into improving current models.
Dr. Kenneth Laali
Deuterium, also known as “heavy hydrogen”, has caught the attention of a number of pharmaceutical companies recently and the first such deuterated drug has been approved by the FDA. The carbon-deuterium bond is much stronger than that of a carbon-hydrogen bond which makes these deuterated drugs more resistant to breakdown by enzymes. This increased stability within the body allows for the intended effects to be felt by the patient. One such intended effect on a patient that is particularly intriguing is the potential anti-cancer properties of deuterated analogs of curcumioids under investigation. The synthesis of these compounds will be accomplished by specific deuteration to the precursor substituted benzaldehyde. This now deuterated benzaldehyde will then be further modified by synthesizing the curcuminoid framework. The products resulting from each synthesis would undergo strict testing for structure confirmation and purity through NMR, FT-IR, and Mass Spectrometry. Once the needed purity of the compound is achieved, the compounds will be sent to the National Cancer Institute for bioassay analysis across various cancer cell lines. Should the results indicate a potency to these cancer cell lines, the compounds would be sent over to the Mayo Clinic of Jacksonville for further testing. Initial attempts at building these deuterated molecules have been promising, indicating further success with other analogs is achievable.
Dr. Vladimir Mashanov
The sea cucumber Sclerodactyla briareus (Echinodermata, Holothuroidea) has a rare capacity to regenerate the entire anterior portion of its body. The anatomical changes and cellular processes that take place during regeneration have been investigated, but the underlying molecular mechanisms remain unknown. The present study aims to sequence and assemble a reference transcriptome and for S. briareus in order to facilitate future studies of genetic mechanisms implicated in regeneration. The transcriptome will be assembled with several assembly algorithms, including Trinity, Velvet/Oases, and MIRA. The EvidentialGene pipeline will then be used to extract the most biologically informative contigs from individual assemblies. The transcriptome will then be annotated by BLASTX search against public databases and by assigning gene ontology terms with Blast2Go. Our pilot assembly, performed on a subset of available sequencing data, of S. briareus identified a number of already known genes expressed in the normal and regenerating tissues, but also many potentially novel transcripts associated with regeneration. Our project will use the reads used for this previous assembly and reads from the gonads of S. briareus (obtained from a public database) in order to assemble a more accurate and complete reference transcriptome. Once the reference transcriptome has been assembled, it will be used to improve the assembly and annotate the draft genome of S. briareus. This annotation process will allow pinpointing of exons and introns (i.e. coding and non-coding regions) of the genome. Once the high quality reference transcriptome and draft genome are obtained gene expression and function research will begin.
Dr. Corinne Labyak
Food neophobia, the fear of trying new foods is a common dietary trait in children and often includes foods in the fruit and vegetable categories1. Since these food groups are essential to providing the required nutrients of a healthy diet, this research project aims to improve the attitudes of children towards these foods. We would like to uncover whether increased exposure to new fruits and vegetables will help improve this outlook and, in turn, help young students to make healthier choices. This will be accomplished through the evaluation of a control school, with no exposure, and an intervention school, who is visited every Friday for 10 weeks during each semester. UNF students introduce and describe the food to the students in a positive manner with the intention of inspiring them to taste the sample with no additional pressure. They are followed up with a series of questions such as whether they finished the sample, enjoyed it, disliked it, or whether they would like another. The ultimate goal of this project is to evaluate the effectiveness of this strategy and then use this information to help children improve their diet choices.
Dr. Keith Ashley
The proposed research focuses on Native Americans that once lived in the Jacksonville area. More specifically, I plan to document for the first time the results of an archaeological salvage project conducted at the McCormack site (8DU66) by a private archaeology firm in 1991. Located along the south side of the St. Johns River, this large archaeological site contains trash deposits consisting of discarded shell, animal bones, and pottery, representing occupations that span the past two millennia. The most interesting finds from the excavation were human burials, both face-down (prone) and disarticulated skeletons. The results of the 1991 excavations were never published, but the UNF Archaeology Lab has obtained copies of available field notes and photographs and has been granted permission to date the skeletal remains. My research draws upon these available materials to reconstruct the Native American mortuary patterns at the McCormack site and compare them to similar burial practices in southeastern Georgia.
Dr. Aiyin Jiang
have investigated the impact of global warming on energy consumption of
buildings. The impact in Florida
has the potential to be greater due to the highest number of cooling days among
the 48 continental states. High temperature for long periods coupled with high
humidity increases customer demand for climate control. Energy consumption
associated with space cooling accounts for a significant proportion of
commercial and residential building electricity use in Florida. On the other
hand, the needed level of insulation of a building might be lower in winters
because of global climate warming. The climate change may alter the balance
between cooling and heating requirements in building codes. Engineers still use
the Typical Meteorological Year 2 (TMY2, derived from the 1961‐1990
National Solar Radiation Data Base) data for building code compliance
calculations, sizing building systems, and choosing the right heating,
ventilation, and air conditioning system. To effectively align the current building
codes with the impact of climate change, there is a need to explore the
parameters of building systems which significantly affect the energy
consumption of buildings in the future weather conditions. The primary objective
of this project is to model various building types and simulate the building
energy consumption by changing the significant parameters of building systems
under the predicted future weather data to achieve the most economical energy
consumption. The optimal parameters of building systems will be references to
the future building energy conservation codes.
Dr. Steve Stagon
Metallization has been widely used to enhance the aesthetics and performance of injection molded plastic parts, but the techniques have not been widely extended to 3D printed parts due to intrinsic differences in surface chemistry and roughness. Here, we investigate direct metallization of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) 3D printed thermoplastic parts using low cost surface preparations and physical vapor deposition (PVD) to avoid the use of preparation with toxic chromic acid. Fournier transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectra are gathered for each surface preparation method prior to metallization. The metallized parts are then characterized for thin film adhesion, electrical resistivity, surface roughness, and optical reflectivity. The investigation demonstrates that surface preparation with solvent pretreatment results in a smooth, conductive, and optically reflective surface, but lacks critical surface adhesive strength. Conversely, when 2000 grit sandpaper is used to prepare the surfaces, the resulting films have higher roughness, poor electrical conductivity, and poor optical reflectance, but excellent adhesion. This study demonstrates the range of possible finishes that may result from common surface preparations. Individual engineering applications will dictate the preferred preparation and any additional processing, such as clear coat encapsulation, or the like.
Dr. Eric Johnson
Pesticides—natural and artificial—have been a commonly used method for dealing with insects that pose an economic or public health risk since the beginning of human civilization when Egyptians used natron and water against flies. In the modern era, pesticides have become an increasingly important facet of public health and agriculture. In Florida, there have been growing concerns about the safety of spraying, both for the human population and fragile aquatic ecosystems. Of particular concern are the sessile organisms of the area, especially those of economic value, such as the eastern oyster, Cassostrea virginica. To determine if pesticides have negative effects on local oyster fisheries, we will be exposing our oysters to multiple frequencies of application of pesticide—once, twice, and three times over two months at regular intervals—along with a control (no pesticide application) for comparison. Each experimental tank will receive 40 μg of Naled per liter of water, and, over four s, the tanks will be flushed in order to closely mirror fluctuations of the chemical measured in the field. After six months of allowing the oysters to grow from when they are first added to the tank, surviving oysters will be weighed whole and then shucked to weigh their meat content. Because of the various studies discussing the toxicological effects of Naled on C. virginica biomass, we predict that the total mass of the oysters as well as their meat, will be reduced by the toxin. Such affects have the possibility of broad economic impacts.
Dr. Alireza Jahan-Mihan
Despite numerous health benefits attributed to high protein diets, there is a growing evidence rising concerns about long-term effects of consuming a high protein diet on renal function.4 Chronic kidney disease is a major health burden with the estimated prevalence of 8-16% worldwide.5 The average daily protein consumption in adults in the United States is far above recommended daily allowance (0.8 gr/kg body weight) as suggested by national dietary guidelines: The net daily protein intake of males and females are 101.9 grams and 70.1 grams respectively, which is more than double of the recommended amount6. Despite this, only a few studies have compared the effect of high protein diets in males and females. Nitric Oxide (NO) deficiency is directly linked with chronic kidney disease progression (in animal models).2 NO production has been found to be better preserved in females than in males, thus protecting against age-dependent decrease in renal function.2 This preservation is a result largely due to the estrogen-stimulated NO production.2 However, to the best of our knowledge, only a few studies compared the effect of high protein diets in male and females. Moreover, the mechanisms by which high protein diets may influence kidney function differently in males and females are still elusive and need further study. Therefore, the primary goal of this study is to compare the effects of a high and normal protein diets on renal function, body weight, body composition, blood pressure, and glucose metabolism in male and female Wistar rats and examine the potential mechanisms.