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Full-Text Articles in Life Sciences

Adapting Cell-Free Protein Synthesis As A Platform Technology For Education, Grace W. Chu, Max Z. Levine, Nicole E. Gregorio, Javin P. Oza Oct 2018

Adapting Cell-Free Protein Synthesis As A Platform Technology For Education, Grace W. Chu, Max Z. Levine, Nicole E. Gregorio, Javin P. Oza

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS) has emerged as an enabling biotechnology for research and biomanufacturing as it allows for the production of protein without the need for a living cell. Applications of CFPS include the construction of libraries for functional genomics and structural biology, the production of personalized medicine, and the expression of virus-like particles. The absence of a cell wall provides an open platform for direct manipulation of the reaction conditions and biological machinery. This project focuses on adapting the CFPS biotechnology to the classroom, making a hands-on bioengineering approach to learning protein synthesis accessible to students grades K-16 through ...


Tof-Sims Analysis Of Plant Seed Interactions With Plant Growth-Promoting Bacteria, Tammy Pheuphong, Rachel Komorek, Xiao-Ying Yu Aug 2018

Tof-Sims Analysis Of Plant Seed Interactions With Plant Growth-Promoting Bacteria, Tammy Pheuphong, Rachel Komorek, Xiao-Ying Yu

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

The use of time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) in plant biology is a relatively unexplored and quickly developing field. The majority of research in plant SIMS involves the application of ToF-SIMS to study dried wood tissues, and only a handful of studies apply SIMS on plant stems, roots, and/or seeds. Our project provides a brief description and review of previous work using SIMS on plant stems, roots, and/or seeds, along with an emphasis on the sample preparation in each study. Additionally, the use of Brachypodium distachyon (Brachypodium) as a model system for research on grasses has also ...


Scale-Invariant Geometric Data Analysis (Sigda), Marina Girgis, Max Robinson Aug 2018

Scale-Invariant Geometric Data Analysis (Sigda), Marina Girgis, Max Robinson

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

The purpose of this research is to introduce a new data analysis method called Scale Invariant Geometric Data Analysis (SIGDA). SIGDA has been shown to be more informative than more common data analysis methods, such as Principal Component Analysis (PCA). SIGDA is used to visualize complex data sets in a way that accurately preserves data patterns and behavior. SIGDA is designed to preserve relative ratios in a numerical matrix, and the number of entries has to be more than the total number of rows and columns. Our research involved providing a simple explanation of SIGDA's mathematical process—simple enough ...


Effects Of Habitat Restoration On Soil Retention On Santa Rosa Island, Michael Perez, Kathryn Mceachern, Ken Niessen Jan 2017

Effects Of Habitat Restoration On Soil Retention On Santa Rosa Island, Michael Perez, Kathryn Mceachern, Ken Niessen

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Ranching began on Santa Rosa Island in the 1840’s, consequently introducing nonnative megafauna that put novel selective grazing pressures on endemic plant species. Their movement patterns also altered substrate integrity as the land became denuded of any stabilizing vegetation. Dense groves of island oak (Q. tomentella) are known to aid in sediment deposition and retention. The groves also function to collect water during periods of intense fog common to the island. This experiment sought to determine whether sediment is being lost or deposited on a ridge in the middle of the island containing a grove of Q. tomentella. The ...


Weights And Balances: Integrating Models For Prevention And Response To Southern California Offshore Oil Spills, Carmen Watts Clayton, Amoret Bunn Oct 2016

Weights And Balances: Integrating Models For Prevention And Response To Southern California Offshore Oil Spills, Carmen Watts Clayton, Amoret Bunn

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Licensing offshore oil and gas reserves in the United States waters are overseen by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Enforcement (BSEE). The licensing application includes planning for any worst-case oil spill scenario between BSEE and the applicant based on lessons learned from historic offshore spills such as the Deepwater Horizon (2010), Exxon Valdez (1989), and the Union Oil Platform Blowout (1969). The process for planning to respond to oil spills involves coordination with multiple agencies, trustees, and stakeholders to ensure that oil spill responses consider multiple factors, including ecologically sensitive species, commercial transportation ...


Testing Predictions Used To Build An Agrivoltaics Installation On A Small-Scale Educational Model, Katie Kinney, Rebecca Minor, Greg Barron-Gafford Oct 2016

Testing Predictions Used To Build An Agrivoltaics Installation On A Small-Scale Educational Model, Katie Kinney, Rebecca Minor, Greg Barron-Gafford

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Models are valuable tools for explaining and testing systems. Small-scale models can be especially useful for educational purposes. For models to be useful, they have to accurately depict the larger system that they are describing. A novel man-made system, known as an agrivoltaic structure, is being constructed at Biosphere 2 near Oracle, Arizona. The word agrivoltaic is a combination of agriculture and photovoltaics, or solar farming. My research involved creating a small-scale version of this system for educational purposes. The model of this system tested two predictions: that plants will grow better in the shade of a panel and that ...


Gc Verification Of The Spacecraft Atmosphere Monitor, Jessica S. Castro, Richard D. Kidd, Jeffrey D. Hein Sep 2016

Gc Verification Of The Spacecraft Atmosphere Monitor, Jessica S. Castro, Richard D. Kidd, Jeffrey D. Hein

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

International Space Station crew members face the unique challenge of maintaining air quality due to the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that have the potential to accumulate at unsafe levels. The Spacecraft Atmosphere Monitor (SAM) is a miniature gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer (GCMS) designed to measure major constituents (such as N2, O2 and CO2) and trace VOCs within the cabin of the spacecraft. The gas chromatograph is responsible for separating the sample into its components in order to be characterized. The oven of the gas chromatograph must reach a temperature of 150°C in order to heat constituents ...


Variations In Atmospheric 13c/14c Ratios Within A Radiocarbon Preparatory Lab And Implications For Ams Measurements, Kimberly Arias, Alexandra Hedgpeth, Karis Mcfarlane Aug 2016

Variations In Atmospheric 13c/14c Ratios Within A Radiocarbon Preparatory Lab And Implications For Ams Measurements, Kimberly Arias, Alexandra Hedgpeth, Karis Mcfarlane

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

At CAMS, we focus on measuring carbon isotopes (12/13/14C) for a variety of applications. High precision radiocarbon AMS measurements are used for measuring atmospheric radiocarbon. The problem with performing high precision radiocarbon AMS measurements is that there’s almost always background contamination introduced during preparation for the AMS. For graphite preparation, dry ice is used in an isopropyl-dry ice mixture to condense H2O in the CO2 extraction and reduction lines. Dry ice is composed of 12/13C and releases carbon into the atmosphere as it sublimes. The dry ice for preparation is held in containers inside and outside ...


Comparative Analysis Of In Situ Fibronectin Using Tof-Sims, Spi-Ms, And Dropdesi-Ms In A Microfluidic Reactor, Shannon Fasing, Xiao-Ying Yu, Juan Yao, Jiachao Yu Aug 2016

Comparative Analysis Of In Situ Fibronectin Using Tof-Sims, Spi-Ms, And Dropdesi-Ms In A Microfluidic Reactor, Shannon Fasing, Xiao-Ying Yu, Juan Yao, Jiachao Yu

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Fibronectin is an important biomolecule due to its role in cell differentiation, growth, kinesis, and adhesion. Such biological responses are mediated through membrane recognition and signaling; where fibronectin is found. Studying the outer molecular surface of fibronectin allows deeper insight into the microbiological reactions that occur during these processes. In situ mass spectrometry analysis in aqueous solution accurately represents fibronectin’s chemical components, made possible by a vacuum compatible microfluidic reactor, SALVI (System for Analysis at the Liquid Vacuum Interface). SALVI was paired with the analytical tools: time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometer (ToF-SIMS), single photon ionization mass spectrometer (SPI-MS) and ...


Citizen Science Sensor Development - Smap | Soil Moisture Active Passive, Hagop Hovhannesian Aug 2016

Citizen Science Sensor Development - Smap | Soil Moisture Active Passive, Hagop Hovhannesian

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

“Detailed monitoring of soil moisture provides a view of how our whole Earth system works.”

The Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite mission was launched in January 2015; its main purpose is to acquire global measurements of soil moisture. SMAP partnered with the GLOBE program (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment), which is an international program where students collect environmental variables in a scientifically methodical way. SMAP readings and maps have various uses in various fields, which include monitoring drought, predicting floods, assisting in crop productivity, and linking water, energy and carbon cycles. The goal of this project ...


Automated Detection Of Deep-Sea Animals, Dallas J. Hollis, Duane Edgington, Danelle Cline Jul 2016

Automated Detection Of Deep-Sea Animals, Dallas J. Hollis, Duane Edgington, Danelle Cline

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute routinely deploys remotely operated underwater vehicles equipped with high definition cameras for use in scientific studies. Utilizing a video collection of over 22,000 hours and the Video Annotation and Reference System, we have set out to automate the detection and classification of deep-sea animals. This paper serves to explore the pitfalls of automation and suggest possible solutions to automated detection in diverse ecosystems with varying field conditions. Detection was tested using a saliency-based neuromorphic selective attention algorithm. The animals that were not detected were then used to tune saliency parameters. Once objects are ...


Radiocarbon Isotopic Classification Of Deep Tropical Forest Soils, Brooke Butler, Karis J. Mcfarlane, Jennifer Pett-Ridge, Katherine A. Heckman Aug 2015

Radiocarbon Isotopic Classification Of Deep Tropical Forest Soils, Brooke Butler, Karis J. Mcfarlane, Jennifer Pett-Ridge, Katherine A. Heckman

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Tropical forest soils have an important role in global carbon (C) stocks. Small changes in the cycling of C could drastically affect atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations and active cycling of carbon in a forest community. Currently, little is understood of how tropical forest soils will respond to the increasing global temperatures. To examine the effects of warming/ drought on losses of older versus younger soil C pools, we implemented radiocarbon (14C) isotopic characterization of various soil plot samples and depths from the Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico. 14C was measured using Accelerated Mass Spectrometry (AMS) from catalytically condensed carbon ...


Evaluation Of Anthropogenic Marine Debris And Sargassum Fluitans And Its Potential Impact On Sea Turtle Hatchlings At Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, Christina Macmillan Aug 2015

Evaluation Of Anthropogenic Marine Debris And Sargassum Fluitans And Its Potential Impact On Sea Turtle Hatchlings At Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, Christina Macmillan

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Anthropogenic debris, particularly plastic, has become a significant threat for marine species with the increased use of plastics over the years. Marine birds and sea turtles, mostly green, loggerhead and leatherback turtles, are especially vulnerable to mistaking plastic debris for food and ingesting it. There has been a rise in the incidence of turtles having plastic fragments in their GI tracts; even small amounts of plastic may have major long-term health and reproductive effects. On the nesting beaches, both adults and hatchlings may become entangled in debris or have trouble navigating around beach debris during their crawl to the sea ...


The Effect Of Drought On Stomatal Conductance In The Biosphere 2 Rainforest, Justin Gay, Joost Van Haren Aug 2015

The Effect Of Drought On Stomatal Conductance In The Biosphere 2 Rainforest, Justin Gay, Joost Van Haren

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Drought is a major climate change concern for the Earth’s rainforests; however little is currently known about how these forests and individual plants will respond to water stress. At the individual level, the ability of plants to regulate their stomatal conductance is an important preservation mechanism that helps to cool leaves, regulate water loss, and uptake carbon dioxide. At the ecosystem level, transpiration in rain forests is a major contributor to the feedback loop that returns moisture to the atmosphere for continued rains. Nearly 60% of atmospheric moisture in the Amazon rain forests has been traced back to origins ...


Growing Conditions For Algae, Angeles Mora, Tamar Melkonian, Alejandro Calderon-Urrea Aug 2014

Growing Conditions For Algae, Angeles Mora, Tamar Melkonian, Alejandro Calderon-Urrea

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

With the growing demands of water in California and the increasing cost of fossil fuels to operate water-cleaning equipment, Algae was cultivated in different concentrations of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (NPK) during different trails to identify the best growing conditions for the removal water contaminates. Before testing algae in waste water, the Algae: Dunaliella Primolecta, Chlorella Vulgaris, and Scenedesmus Dimorphus were cultivated in four different media containing distilled water and plant vitamins. The different mediums used include: Orchid Grow More (20-20-20), Miracle Grow (30-10-10), Murashige & Skoog, and Orchid Bloom Boster (11-35-15). As a result of the investigation, the algae, Scenedesmus ...


Phylogenetic Diversity Of Microbial Isolates From The Mars Pathfinder, Kyla Bradylong, Adriana Blachowicz, Parag Vaishampayan, James N. Benardini, Wayne Schubert Aug 2014

Phylogenetic Diversity Of Microbial Isolates From The Mars Pathfinder, Kyla Bradylong, Adriana Blachowicz, Parag Vaishampayan, James N. Benardini, Wayne Schubert

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

As spacecraft are sent to different planets, they take with them microscopic pieces of life from Earth. It is the task of the Biotechnology and Planetary Protection Group to keep as much of this life off other planets as possible as well as document any life that may have been sent. During the construction of the Mars Pathfinder, samples were collected from various locations on the spacecraft to test for contamination. These samples were then isolated, grown, documented, preserved and their 16S rRNA genes were sequenced for identification. The 16S rRNA gene sequence is utilized because it is a highly ...


Salinity And Temperature Distribution Of Jellyfish In The San Francisco Estuary, Trisha Huynh, Brooke Bemowski, Lindsay Sullivan, Wim Kimmerer Aug 2014

Salinity And Temperature Distribution Of Jellyfish In The San Francisco Estuary, Trisha Huynh, Brooke Bemowski, Lindsay Sullivan, Wim Kimmerer

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Jellyfish are generally characterized by their jelly-like bodies and internal lining (two tissue layers). They found both in the phylum Ctenophora and the phylum Cnidaria. Ctenophores differ from cnidarians primarily due to the rows of “combs”, or cilia, which are used for transportation. Additionally, ctenophores possess sticky cells while cindarians possess stinging cells. Jellyfish depend on zooplankton (small floating aquatic animals) as a food source; as a result, they are potential competitors and predators to plankton-eating fish and may negatively impact fish populations.

As recently as 1950, jellyfish have entered the San Francisco Bay from the Mediterranean Sea (probably in ...


Assessment Of Salmon Habitat On The Feather River, Nathan Sweem Aug 2014

Assessment Of Salmon Habitat On The Feather River, Nathan Sweem

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Human activity in central valley streams has had a significantly negative impact on salmon habitat (Williams 2006). The presence of dams impedes sediment transport which is critical to salmon spawning (Williams 2006; Kondolf 1997). As part of an effort to enhance salmon spawning, the California Department of Water Resources added 7000 ft3 of gravel to Cottonwood Hatchery, Upper Auditorium, and Auditorium riffles on the Lower Feather River below the Thermalito Dam Complex in July of 2014. Stream conditions at Cottonwood Hatchery riffle were assessed by conducting analysis of sediment grain size, water depth and velocity, gravel permeability, and dissolved ...


The Path To The Sea: Leatherback Hatchling Orientation At Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, Christina Macmillan, Kelly Stewart Aug 2014

The Path To The Sea: Leatherback Hatchling Orientation At Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, Christina Macmillan, Kelly Stewart

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Once sea turtle hatchlings emerge from their nest, they must find their way to the ocean by using cues such as a bright horizon and the slope of the beach. While moving toward the water, hatchlings often must navigate past predators and through vegetation, sticks, footprints in the sand, and other dangers such as ghost crab holes. Sometimes hatchlings become confused (or disoriented) and turn in circles to find the right route to the water. Sea turtle hatchlings also may become disoriented as a result of human impacts such as town lights or trash. The purpose of our experiment was ...


Light Pollution Research Through Citizen Science, John Kanemoto Aug 2014

Light Pollution Research Through Citizen Science, John Kanemoto

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Light pollution (LP) can disrupt and/or degrade the health of all living things, as well as, their environments. The goal of my research at the NOAO was to check the accuracy of the citizen science LP reporting systems entitled: Globe at Night (GaN), Dark Sky Meter (DSM), and Loss of the Night (LoN). On the GaN webpage, the darkness of the night sky (DotNS) is reported by selecting a magnitude chart. Each magnitude chart has a different density/number of stars around a specific constellation. The greater number of stars implies a darker night sky. Within the DSM iPhone ...


Juxtaposing Nasa’S Aeronet Aod With Carb Pm Data Over The San Joaquin Valley To Facilitate Multi-Angle Imaging Spectroradiometer (Misr) Pm Pollution Research, John Kanemoto Aug 2013

Juxtaposing Nasa’S Aeronet Aod With Carb Pm Data Over The San Joaquin Valley To Facilitate Multi-Angle Imaging Spectroradiometer (Misr) Pm Pollution Research, John Kanemoto

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Airborne particulate matter (PM) has been shown to increase the risk for asthma, chronic bronchitis, cardiopulmonary complications, and respiratory cell membrane damage/infection/leakage. PM levels are currently analyzed from two perspectives: stationary land-based monitoring (LBM) sites and total Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) atmospheric column measurements. Both perspectives often leave miles of space between measuring locations and will have a continually increasing cost from introducing/maintaining sites. The Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) satellite team hopes to begin investigating/archiving PM levels comprehensively via inputting MISR AOD measurements into a function/model which predicts the amount of ground level PM.

In ...


Zooplankton Trophic Ecology In The San Francisco Estuary During Summer As Determined By Stable Isotope Analysis, Kyla Bradylong, Steven Westbrook, Julien Moderan, Wim Kimmerer Aug 2013

Zooplankton Trophic Ecology In The San Francisco Estuary During Summer As Determined By Stable Isotope Analysis, Kyla Bradylong, Steven Westbrook, Julien Moderan, Wim Kimmerer

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Declines in the abundance of several pelagic fish species in the upper San Francisco Estuary have prompted investigation into food web interactions within the estuary and delta (the lower Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers). This area is characterized by low primary production and pelagic food webs much longer and reticulated than previously thought, implying low efficiency in the energy transfers from primary producers to planktivorous fish. We determined the carbon and nitrogen stable isotope (SI) composition of zooplankton samples collected monthly between June 2012 and February 2013 at eight stations along the salinity gradient. As consumers SI composition reflects that ...


Effects Of Composition And Separation Techniques On The Structure Of Aggregates In The Milk Fat Globular Membrane, Tristan Dilbeck, Jose Ibarra, Rafael Jimenez-Flores, Tracey Nguyen Aug 2013

Effects Of Composition And Separation Techniques On The Structure Of Aggregates In The Milk Fat Globular Membrane, Tristan Dilbeck, Jose Ibarra, Rafael Jimenez-Flores, Tracey Nguyen

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

The milk fat globular membrane (MFGM) is a complex structure composed mainly of phospholipids, sphingolipids, and membrane specific proteins. The composition and size of the MFGM differs based on the isolation, purification, and techniques used in analysis of the membrane as well as physiological, chemical, and mechanical factors present during its creation. The purpose of this experiment is to analyze the effects of separation techniques and composition of lipids and proteins on the structure of aggregates in the MFGM. The aggregates found in whey protein isolate (95% pure whey protein), whey buttermilk (whey protein and phospholipids), and sweet buttermilk (whey ...


Using Stable Isotope Analysis Of Zooplankton To Document Trophic And Biogeochemical Changes In The San Francisco Estuary, Steven C. Westbrook, Julien Moderan Jan 2013

Using Stable Isotope Analysis Of Zooplankton To Document Trophic And Biogeochemical Changes In The San Francisco Estuary, Steven C. Westbrook, Julien Moderan

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Zooplankton represent a vital link between phytoplankton and fish, like the endangered Delta Smelt. Human interferences (nitrates from waste water, flow alteration, invasive species introduction…) have altered the structure of the San Francisco Estuary (SFE) ecosystem. We use stable isotope analysis to improve our knowledge of the planktonic food web in the SFE and gain insights into its evolution over the past decades. We use the ratios of certain isotopes (Nitrogen, Carbon, Sulfur, etc.) in different species of zooplankton to tell us what it is feeding on as well as the trophic level it feeds in. My research focused on ...


Optimizing Electrode Design For Microbial Fuel Cells Used For Wastewater Treatment, Lindsay Nichols, John A. Hogan Jan 2013

Optimizing Electrode Design For Microbial Fuel Cells Used For Wastewater Treatment, Lindsay Nichols, John A. Hogan

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Microbial fuel cells (MFC) utilize bacteria to generate an electrical current that can be used in the decomposition of sludge and human urine. In a MFC there is an anode (for oxidation of organic compounds), cathode (reduction of oxygen or carbon dioxide), and a proton exchange membrane (PEM, allows protons to migrate); reduction-oxidation reactions between the anode and cathode produce a measurable current. Bacteria that are found in sludge can be used to produce electrons in a voltaic cell, but optimizing conditions for harnessing the energy is crucial to making a MFC efficient. Research has shown that the ratios of ...


Quantification And In Vitro Analysis Of Nanolipoproteins (Nlps) Containing Adjuvants, Purna Venkataraman, Craig Blanchette, Nicholas O. Fischer Aug 2012

Quantification And In Vitro Analysis Of Nanolipoproteins (Nlps) Containing Adjuvants, Purna Venkataraman, Craig Blanchette, Nicholas O. Fischer

STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Presentations

Nanolipoprotein particles (NLPs) self-assemble into nanoscale structures that can be used as vaccines or drug delivery agents. Due to the nature of the NLPs, a variety of immune stimulating compounds or adjuvants can be readily incorporated into NLPs: a characteristic difficult to engineer into most other nanoscale platforms. In light of this, a method for quantifying the amount adjuvant actually incorporated into NLPs is a question of high importance. Through the use of reverse phase High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) and an Evaporative Light Scattering Detector (ELSD), standard curves can be constructed by analyzing mixtures of NLP components of known concentration ...