Abstracts: Tuesday, February 21st


Austin Tapp | Neuroscience
Effects of Medial Prefrontal Cortical Administration of the Orexin-2 Receptor Antagonist, TCS-OX2-29, on Attentional Performance in Rats
Advisor: Josh Burk
Orexins are excitatory neuropeptides that come in two isoforms, orexin-A and orexin-B.  Orexins serve as ligands for two g-protein coupled receptors: orexin receptor 1 and 2 (OxR1 and OxR2).  It has been shown that OxR2 decline may be responsible, in part, for causing cognitive and attentional deficits in individuals who have conditions such as Alzheimer's disease or narcolepsy.  This study focuses on the attention-based deficit that occurs following the blockade of OxR2 in the medial prefrontal cortex.  It will access the decisions of rats in multiple attention tasks after administration of TCS-OX2-29 into the left or right medial prefrontal cortex. A decrease in attention test accuracy should occur when TCS-OX2-29 is administered to the right medial prefrontal cortex, which has been shown to be particularly important for attention, compared with drug infusions into the left hemisphere or with saline infusions in either hemisphere.

Ellen Yates | Neuroscience
Frontal and Amygdalar Convergence in the Striatum: Implications for Huntington's Disease
Advisor: Josh Burk
Huntington's disease (HD) is a debilitating neurodegenerative disease that is part of a class of diseases affecting the basal ganglia, a group of subcortical structures in the brain. Impaired negative emotion recognition is a common and early symptom of HD, and entails the patient being unable to properly identify negative emotions on others' faces. Through analysis of cell label patterns in a macaque cortex with a retrograde tracer, a region in the ventromedial striatum has been identified with the potential to function as a critical hub in the emotion processing networks. The identification of this hub has the potential to broaden our understanding of symptomatology and progression in HD, contribute to other projects in neuropsychiatric disorders involving the striatum, and provide further data for the study of brain connectivity as a whole.


Eboni Brown | Interdisciplinary Studies
Creating Culturally Reflective Curriculum for Secondary Social Studies Classrooms
Advisor: Anne Charity-Hudley
My project is focused on the creation of culturally reflective curriculum for Secondary Social Studies classrooms in Virginia. I analyzed the Virginia Standards of Learning for the 6th, 7th, and 11th grade to include the curriculum frameworks, sample lesson plans, and released versions of the assessments in these specific classes. The purpose of this analysis is to determine the amount of cultural references in the curriculum, in order to work towards increasing the diversity seen in the curriculum. I also experienced what it is like to create a culturally reflective curriculum in my role as a 9th Grade Teacher in the Breakthrough Collaborative program at Norfolk Academy. This research has serious implications for the issues of race in education as it explores the role of race in the curriculum of Secondary Social Studies classrooms across Virginia.  

Liam Shaw | Interdisciplinary Studies
Latin Voices in Animated Children's Film
Advisor: Anne Charity-Hudley
This thesis seeks to answer the question of how American animated movies for children depict characters speaking Latinx language varieties through their speech and behavior, through coding for linguistic variation in the articulation of /r/ by the voice actors in eight different animated films spanning from 2004 to 2013 with lifetime grosses in excess of one-hundred million dollars, as well as coding for behaviors performed by characters voiced with Latinx language varieties.  Current coding for /r/ shows that while the majority of voice actors use an Standardized American English pronunciation of /r/ most of the time, Spanish lexical items, as well as romantic and/or sexual situations often come with the use of a rolled or tapped /r/.  The qualitative coding illustrates how the behaviors exhibited by the characters connect back to a long-held tradition of type-casting Latinx actors and entertainers into hypersexualized and/or musical and comedic entertainment roles.


Seong Ik Cheon | Chemistry
Exploring aza-Prins Cascade Reaction
Advisor: Robert Hinkle

Sang Kim | Neuroscience
Enhancing Water Barrier Properties of Epoxy and Acrylic Coatings through Addition of Graphene Oxide
Advisor: David Kranbuehl
Graphene Oxide (GO) functionalized with butyl amine and reduced GO are incorporated at a very low concentrations of 0.01, 0.05, and 0.1 weigh percent (wt%) into epoxy and acrylic coatings. The reduced GO displayed a greater improvement than the unfunctionalized and butyl-amine functionalized films and the films produced by stirring method showed greater improvement than the sonicated method of dispersion of the GO nanoparticles. The water vapor permeability results were fit to the Nielsen law and were compared to the theoretical ratio of permeability of the composite versus the permeability of the neat. Previous work with polyimides that showed ten percent decrease in permeability of the composite film with much higher experimental aspect ratio motivated the work with the epoxy and acrylic to display similar results.   


Cody Jones | Music
Composed from the Closet: Ingolf Dahl's "A Cycle of Sonnets"
Advisor: Katherine Preston
Ingolf Dahl (1912-1970) was a German-born American composer, conductor, and music educator who lived and worked in southern California for thirty years after immigrating to the United States from Europe in the lead up to World War II in 1939. He was also a closeted gay man. Using Dahl's private diaries, composition sketches, and other primary source documents from the collection of his private and professional papers at the University of Southern California in addition to the text and music of Dahl's 1968 song cycle, "A Cycle of Sonnets," this thesis seeks to establish the connection between this particularly personal piece of music and Dahl's romantic relationships with other men. This thesis also considers the implications this piece and its connections should have on Dahl's legacy and on future scholarship.

Holly Reynolds | English
Defining 'Ambiguous Feeling': Vampires and the Queer in Coleridge's 'Christabel' and Le Fanu's Carmilla
Advisor: Kim Wheatley
Within vampire fiction, there exists a common narrative of a wide-eyed, innocent victim being pursued and then corrupted by a mysterious figure. At first glance, Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "Christabel" (1816) and Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's novella Carmilla (1872) seem to adhere to this narrative. Both works feature young women, Christabel in "Christabel" and Laura in Carmilla, being pursued by vampires—specifically, female vampires. However, it can be argued that the young women in Coleridge's and Le Fanu's works are not victims; rather, they are liberated agents acting independently in their sexual lives. An analysis of Christabel's and Laura's agency demonstrates that with their vampire companions, the women construct not predator-prey dynamics, but multifaceted lesbian relationships. While some may say labeling the relationships in Coleridge's and Le Fanu's tales as lesbian is anachronistic, a modern queer perspective will uncover fresh interpretations of these texts.