Project Title: Volumetric Analysis of the Primary and Associative Auditory Cortex in Patients with Schizophrenia compared to Healthy Controls, P3 and ΔBPND
Abstract: Schizophrenia is a debilitating mental illness that affects approximately 1% of the population worldwide and is considered common (Insel, 2010). In this study, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of patients with schizophrenia and healthy controls were analyzed. Medx software was used to create 3D drawings of areas in the brain associated with auditory processing. Volumes gathered from 3D drawings of the primary and associative auditory cortex were analyzed and compared between patients with schizophrenia and healthy controls. Additionally, the severity of this deficit in these regions in patients with schizophrenia was compared to the severity of auditory hallucinations (P3) and amphetamine produced dopamine release (∆BPND). There was no correlation between the severity of the deficit in the primary and associative auditory cortex in patients and their P3 or ∆BPND. Patients with schizophrenia were found to have a larger auditory cortex and associative auditory cortex when compared to healthy controls and a smaller primary auditory cortex when compared to healthy controls. The patients with auditory hallucinations had smaller auditory cortex and associative auditory cortex and a larger primary auditory cortex than patients without auditory hallucinations. Both findings where indicative of the auditory cortex and associative auditory cortex being regions of pathology in schizophrenic patients by way of excess dopamine release and increased auditory hallucinations.
Mentor & Affiliation: Dr. Jordan Smoller (currently / Massachusetts General Hospital) Dr. Anissa Abi-Dargham (previously / Stony Brook University Hospital) Presentation Video:
Project Title: MRAP2 in the Hypothalamus of Prenatally Betamethasone Primed Rats and Saline Controls for Treatment of Infantile Spasms
Abstract: Infantile Spasms (IS) are an epilepsy syndrome of infancy, present in 1 out of every 3,000 live births. They typically affect infants younger than 2, with a 15-30% mortality rate, and up to 85% of survivors suffer from cognitive impairments. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is impaired in IS patients, causing decreased adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) levels. ACTH intramuscular injections are currently used as a first-line of treatment to mitigate this, but they are not effective in 45% of patients. Melanocortin receptor accessory protein 2 (MRAP2) assists ACTH in binding to melanocortin (MC) receptors and suppressing spasms. For this 45%, boosting MRAP2 expression would allow ACTH to bind better, improving the ACTH response. I hypothesized that prenatal betamethasone priming enhances MRAP2 expression. I measured MRAP2 in the arcuate (ARC) and paraventricular (PVN) nuclei of the hypothalamus. Results were compared between rats prenatally primed with betamethasone and controls exposed to saline, and there was a statistically significant difference in cell area density in ARC in prenatally betamethasone primed rats. We may be able to boost the activity of MRAP2 by specific agonists or the expression by molecular biology tools to improve the ACTH response and help the 45% of patients be spasm-free.
Mentor & Affiliation: Dr. Libor Velíšek / New York Medical College
Project Title: Role of Myeloperoxidase in Lewis Lung Carcinoma Progression
Abstract: This previous summer, I worked in a pharmacology lab at New York Medical College in Valhalla, NY. Here, my mentor Dr. Guo and I spent 4 weeks working on our project, “Role of Myeloperoxidase in Lewis lung Carcinoma Progression”. We completed a methodology based around our objective to determine if 20-HETE regulates LLC growth via a myeloperoxidase-dependent mechanism. This started with culturing a cell line, to injecting it subcutaneously in 3 C57BL mice and 3 MPO deficient mice. Tumor growth was monitored, as well as supplemented over a 14 day period. By the end of the growth, the tumors were subjected to various analyses to determine weight, 20-HETE levels, and microvascular density. Unfortunately my mentor and I were unable to get to this point due to some difficulties during the growth period, which left us with only expected results. These issues are presumed to be a product of the cell line being improperly stored prior to being given to us for experimentation. Originally we had hoped to continue and repeat this research in the upcoming summer months but as a result of the global pandemic, COVID-19, we will be unable to do so. If at one point this research is completed and seen through with the expected results, future work will focus on looking at whether or not MPO has any effect on tumor proliferation and migration but also expand into the tumor types such as, prostate, glioblastoma or neuroblastoma.
Mentor & Affiliation: Dr. Austin Guo / New York Medical College Presentation Video:
Project Title: Characterizing Asteroids Using Photometric Data
Abstract: Asteroidal occultations occur when the light from distant stars is occulted by an asteroid. These occultations allow astronomers to learn more about the characteristics of the occulting asteroid. For my research I observed asteroid 105 Artemis to identify abnormalities in its shape and size. This is done through photometry which is a method of measuring the brightness of stars or other celestial bodies. By analyzing the occultation, along with observations from other observatories we can make accurate shape models of the asteroid. I found that asteroid 105 Artemis has a minor axis of 106.8 km and a major axis of 148.1 km. Yet, I did not find any abnormalities due to a shortage in the amount of observations for the occultation. Characterizing asteroids is significant in many ways. It allows astronomers to refine our understanding of the bodies in our solar system, while also providing insight on the formation of terrestrial planets and dynamical families.
Mentor & Affiliation: Dr. Rick Bria
Project Title: Changes in Processing Speed in Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults with Sickle Cell Anemia Following Stem Cell Transplantation Abstract: SCD has been linked to areas of deficit in processing speed due to the inability of sickled cells to carry sufficient amounts of oxygen to the brain. Familial Haploidentical (FHI) Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation (AlloSCT) utilizing CD34 Enrichment and T Cell Addback following myeloimmunablitive Conditioning (MAC) has demonstrated significant effects in treating SCD. Patients PSI’s (processing speed index) were evaluated pre and post-transplant. Two patients were tested, one did not receive full testing pre-transplant. Patients were tested using an abbreviated standardized test battery measuring PSI. Both patients provided evidence of stable to improved processing speed based off of the tests they were administered. Both patients’ showed improved scores. AlloSCT is an effective treatment for SCD and may improve processing speed.
Mentor & Affiliation: Dr. Suzanne Braniecki / Westchester Medical Hospital
Project Title: Assessing the Use of AMY2B as a Novel Biomarker for Canine Metabolic Conditions
Abstract: Ever since domestication 33,000 years ago near the Yangtze River, canines have been increasingly fed a diet higher in starch than meat. This change in diet has led to an increase in copy number variations (CNVs) of the AMY2B gene, which affects pancreatic amylase in dogs. An increase in these CNVs has been found to be linked to an increase in the production of amylase. Increased serum amylase in humans has been linked to an increase in cardiometabolic conditions. To determine if this is true in dogs, and if this gene could be used as a more effective method for diagnosis of metabolic conditions such as Cushing’s syndrome, pancreatitis, Type II Diabetes, and hyperadrenocorticism, a group of canines were genotyped to identify how many copies of this gene they had. Once this was done, a survey was distributed in order to identify groups of dogs that had an increased risk of metabolic conditions. Hap_08, which contained on average 12 copies of AMY2B and being significantly higher than what is found in dogs closer to wolves, was in breeds such as Chihuahuas and Chinese Crested dogs. Both of these breeds are closely related to Terrier dogs, and all of these dogs are at a higher risk for metabolic conditions such as Cushing’s syndrome and pancreatitis. The CNVs of the AMY2B gene can therefore potentially be used as a biomarker for specific metabolic conditions in order to better identify dogs at risk for specific metabolic diseases.
Mentor & Affiliation: Dr. Erin Chu / Formerly Affiliated with Embark
Project Title: Breeding site Preferences of Mosquitoes: How pH affects Mosquito Larvae and Eggs
Abstract: Mosquitoes and their aquatic preferences are very important for the understanding of their behavior because they transport many infectious diseases such as malaria, zika, and yellow fever. This can be done by limiting mosquitoes through their larvae which develop in water. One important factor when considering mosquito larvae and its habitat is the pH of the water that the mosquitoes develop in. Therefore, in this experiment mosquito larvae were tested for their ability to survive in different environments with different pH’s which included 5,7, and 9. The effect would be measured by the number of mosquitoes that emerged from mesocosm. In addition, mesocosms were created and assigned the previous pH’s. These mesocosms were placed outside to see if mosquitoes would be able to identify the pH of water. The effectiveness of each pH is measured by amount of mosquito egg rafts that are laid. The mesocosm with the least amount of mosquito egg rafts will be determined to be the least effective for mosquitoes and could therefore be a viable solution to reduce the amount of mosquitoes in certain situations. It was found that a pH of 7 yields the highest amount of emerged mosquitoes and the pH of 5 yielded the lowest amount of mosquitoes.
Mentor & Affiliation: Dr. Michael Rubbo / Teatown & Pace University
Project Title: Determining Trends in US Presidential Election Polls by Locating Inaccuracies in Past Elections
Abstract: Election polls are a common form of the implementation of statistical science. Election polls are important because they measure the views of the populous. They can be heavily influential in political decisions or in campaign policies and messages. However, errors often occur within these polls. In the 2016 US Election, the majority of polls incorrectly predicted the election outcome (statewide level) for the presidential election. To find out why this occurred, and to identify where the errors were before the next election cycle, this project investigated the location of polling errors in the 2008, 2012, and 2016 US Presidential Elections. Error of polls was determined to be best represented as a candidate’s poll percentage minus a candidate’s actual election percentage. This is a study into 90 National Polls from the 2008-2016 presidential elections, and 500 statewide polls from the 2016 presidential election, collecting the errors for corresponding election polls. All polls were chosen from a database by random sampling methods (using random integer functions on calculator). The location of a majority of inaccuracies are in 2016 statewide polls, suggesting this is the polling area that needs improvement. Surprisingly and contrary to the hypothesis, national polls actually were increasingly accurate from 2008-2016, also suggesting that a majority of election polling errors were in statewide polls. This means more resources need to be shifted towards statewide polling.
Mentor & Affiliation: N/A
Project Title: The Use of Ozone Therapy for Pain Management
Abstract: I want to study the effectiveness of ozone therapy for patients between the age of 20-70. Ozone therapy is a method of treatment, often through an IV, in which ozone is mixed with the patients’ blood and put back in their body. Ozone has been around since world war 2 and has been shown to improve pain for arthritis, inflammation, neuropathy, Lyme disease and more. The pain intensity of some of the disorders/diseases treated are at times unbearable and are sometimes untreatable with traditional methods. However, ozone is not a traditional method of treatment and it has been shown to reduce pain to almost nothing in patients. Ozone therapy has been shown to be a safer treatment option and has led to improvements in quality of life for patients. Ozone therapy destroys all viruses in a patient’s system and modulates the immune system via balancing the inflammatory and anti-inflammatory responses. The gap in ozone therapy research is that the effectiveness for patients is unknown. My research would use surveys and a VAS to measure pain intensity throughout treatment to assess the effectiveness of ozone therapy. This research will help display the effectiveness of ozone therapy for a wide variety of diseases/disorders. Ozone therapy is a treatment option that can further advance the way we manage pain for patients in a wide range of ages.
Mentor & Affiliation: Dr. Howard Robins
Project Title: The Comparison of the BTrackS Force Plate and the Balance Error Scoring System in Concussion Management for Collegiate Athletes
Abstract: Concussions are a traumatic brain injury or a TBI it’s caused by a bump or blow to either a head or body causing the brain to move rapidly inside the scull. concussions have both short-term and long-term effects on the brain and effect normal everyday functions. The NCAA implemented a concussion management protocol including cognitive testing and balance assessment. this project will be comparing the different methods used for the balance assessment. this phone clued the BtrackS Balance Assessment and the Balance Error Scoring System. The BtrackS balance assessment tracks your postural sway based on center of pressure through a computer. The balance era scoring system is a series of stances on hard ground and a foam surface being scored by a trained personnel. this project will compare the two to find the most reliable balance tracking system that has the most accurate tracking of a patient’s progression or regression in the post concussion process. there will be two groups in this project both with 24 participants the only difference being the type of balance testing used. overall should find at the Btracks balance test is more reliable and determining the pinpoint postural sway during testing.
Mentor & Affiliation: Dr. Robin Wellington / St. Johns University
Marco Gonzalez Hauger
Project Title: Quantum Computer Error Correction by Artificial Neural Networks
Abstract: By using Artificial Neural Networks, this project will perform a test to see if Quantum computer output can be corrected, which is unstable due to natural quantum noise. This will be done by training a neural network to recognize results of quantum circuits. The quantum circuit that will be used in this experiment will be an arithmetic circuit, constructed in Jupyter Notebook and will add two numbers together in binary.
Mentor & Affiliation: Dr. Andrew W. Cross / IBM Q
Project Title: A Case Study of the Effectiveness of Treatments For Pemphigus Foliaceus in Canines
Mentor & Affiliation: Dr. Mark Macina / Animal Medical Center New York Presentation Video:
Project Title: Induction of Compensatory Mutations in Oxygen-carrying Pathways through Myoglobin Disruption in Mice
Mentor & Affiliation: Dr. Krithika Rao / University of Pittsburgh Presentation Video: