JURSW Volume 3

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    Correlated Oxidative Stress and Mitochondrial Abnormalities in Aging are Discontinuous with Alzheimer’s Disease
    (Office of the Vice President for Research, 2018) Nguyen, Richard Q.; Bach, Stephan H.; Phelix, Clyde F.; Perry, George
    Oxidative stress and mitochondrial damage precede Alzheimer’s disease (AD) hallmark pathologies, neurofibrillarytangles (NFT), and senile plaques.Mitochondria’s exact role in oxidation of pyruvate and NADH play a critical role in oxidative damage. We conducted this study to identify the relationship of oxidized RNA, 8--OHG biomarker, and mtDNA accumulation in AD and aging individuals. Abnormalities were examined by using densitometry of hippocampal pyramidal neurons: mtDNA accumulation as a marker of mitophagy and oxidative damage by 8-OHG. Among aging individuals, 8-OHG and mtDNA accumulation were highly correlated (R2=0.87,p=0.0007). While both 8-OHG and mtDNA were at higher levels in AD individuals, they were uncorrelated (R2=0.4418,p=0.07).In AD individuals, 8-OHG was inversely correlated with amyloid-β, while in aging, there was no significant correlation. These results suggest the discontinuity of similarities between aging and AD. These findings also indicate that the onset of AD is marked by a pleotrophic change in oxidative stress, one characterized by a change from mitochondria degeneration to amyloid-β independency.
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    Otilonium Bromide as an Antimicrobial: a Structure-Activity Relationship Study
    (Office of the Vice President for Research, 2018) Rhodes, Jayce; Hua-Yu, Wang; Cunningham, Ashley; Davies, Bryan; McHardy, Stanton
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    The Relationship Between Anxiety and Social Support in College Students
    (Office of the Vice President for Research, 2018) Ackerman, Abbie; Martinez, Cristal; Knight, Cory; McNaughton-Cassill, Mary
    This study seeks to understand in greater detail how anxiety relates to students’ future aspirations and goals, perception of university support, life satisfaction, and university guidance. We hypothesized that future aspirations and goals, university environment, and life satisfaction would negatively relate to anxiety. We also hypothesized that university environment would be positively related to life satisfaction, guidance, and future aspirations and goals. Last future aspirations and goals would negatively relate to guidance
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    Skin Conductance as a Measure of Fatigue in Different Tasks
    (Office of the Vice President for Research, 2018) Mosher, Sabrina; Robbins, Kay A.
    Electrodermal activity ( or galvanic skin response refers to electrical properties of the skin that are controlled by the sympathetic nervous system through sweat glands 1 Although EDA has long been known to be an indicator of stress, arousal, and emotion, few systematic studies of EDA variation across subject, task, and fatigue level have been conducted EDA is generally thought to have two components a background tonic level that may reflect individual characteristics and global subject state and a more rapidly varying phasic level that measures more short term response to environmental factors 2 In order to analyze the relationship between skin conductance and fatigue while performing tasks, we used data from a research study in which participants were asked to perform different tasks on multiple days at different states of fatigue Our results suggest that the phasic signal is highly dependent on participant’s fatigue state and the task being performed
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    Voice Activation Control with Digital Assistant for Humanoid Robot Torso
    (Office of the Vice President for Research, 2018) Wallace, Conor; Erol, Berat A.
    Digital Voice Assistants are an emerging technology due to improvements on mobile communication and computing technologies and are becoming more popular in recent years due to growing marketing strategies on new smart home devices by cloud service providers. Most of the applications on smart environments and assistive robotics are relying on these digital assistants, or Internet of Things (IoT) devices, based on the nature of the system, namely voice activation and control. Smart home assistants, such as Amazon Echo with Alexa and Google Home are the most well-known examples on this manner, relying on the base of processing verbal requests by looking for key words in the conversation as well as the structure of a natural language source of communication. Later, these key words are used to trigger the predefined skills for fulfilling the users’ request. A simple structure of the process works both ways between the user and the device by providing a verbal request/order and verbal feedback. In this project, we have built a system, a humanoid robot torso and an IoT device, to control and simulate the process of an interactive functioning assistive robot and tried to improve the effects of Human Robot Interactions.
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    The Implications of Zero Tolerance in Public Schools on American Youth and the Juvenile Justice System
    (Office of the Vice President for Research, 2018) Vasquez, Andrew
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    After-effects and Remainders of War— Identifying War as an “Evil Institution”
    (Office of the Vice President for Research, 2018) Trevino, Rheanna S.
    “After-effects and Remainders of War— Identifying War as an ‘Evil Institution’” is an application of Claudia Card's theory of evil in which evils are evaluated not by one’s actions, but in regard to the sufferings of the victims. Referencing Claudia Card's Atrocity Paradigm, this work examines war through harmful after-effects to argue war is an “evil institution” by Card's definition. It is often clear that acts during war can be considered unjust and perhaps evil, however, the focus of this work is not the actions of war, but rather the suffering which can occur following war. Archival records of Civil Rights activist Albert Peña (from UTSA's Special Collections) and Gloria Anzaldúa's Borderlands/La Frontera support the thesis that war and, as an example, conquest are evil and leave many people with emotional, psychological, and political struggles which can last for decades and even centuries. In this paper, the conquest of the Americas, namely the Spanish Conquest and the Mexican American War, are examined as examples to address the many possible forms of suffering as a result of war; and those who suffer from these specific wars are descendants of Maya, Aztec, and Native American Indians, to include Mexicans, Mexican Americans and Chicanos. However, these forms of suffering can affect anyone who has suffered from a division or loss of identity due to war. To encompass war, various forms are addressed, including ideological war, revolution, and intervention, aiming to show thats each of these can "foreseeably lead to or facilitate intolerably harmful injustice in normal operation”— Card's definition of an “evil institution.” In examining the evils of war and conquest, this work uses applied ethics to view Card's ethical theory in important ways, bordering the limits of Just War Theory and reexamining the permissibility of war by recognizing those who suffer.
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    Automated 3D Mapping and Quantification of Haversian Architecture in Bone Tissue
    (Office of the Vice President for Research, 2018) Betancourt, Alejandro Morales; Montelongo, Sergio A.; Appleford, Mark R.; Guda, Teja
    Bone tissue has a unique architecture necessitating laborious characterization at various scales. Since the extracellular matrix (ECM) exists in a solid phase, traditional histology reduces the mineral content of ECM to obtain high-resolution 3d micrographs and is operator dependent in terms of analysis. Other imaging techniques such as microCT (μCT), are limited by the spatial resolution of the μCT scanner and provide minimal cellular correlation. The vascularization inside the bone (Haversian system) appears to exist in continually remodeling patterns with bone turnover, making it difficult to numerically assess the Haversian canal architecture. Our novel technique proposes the 3D characterization of bone tissue, by using light microscopy and MATLAB®, to acquire microscopic 3D images of bone vasculature with enhanced spatial resolution. Briefly, the right femurs of eight rats were sectioned in cross sectional slices of 1 mm thickness. The slices were exposed to a Villanueva osteochrome stain protocol followed by sequential dehydration, poly methyl-methacrylate infiltration, and polymerization. Using a combination of a novel, automated focus-adjusting system in conjunction with light microscopy, we obtained 100 sequential discrete images at 1μm steps along the z-stack at 100x in-plane magnification. The images were processed using MATLAB® software, obtaining a 3D representation of the Haversian system. From these 3D images we quantified Haversian number, and vessel parameters, including surface, volume, channel thickness and porosity ratio to tissue volume. Data analysis shows differences in the Haversian thickness in the three regions studied, showing that the overall vessel volume remains relatively conserved, but the Haversian architecture changes further away from the proximal region. Due to optical microscope limitations, this technique only can measure samples up to 100 microns in depth. This protocol can potentially be used to obtain 3D architectural quantification of other tissues by modifying staining protocols.
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    The Embodiment of Thought and Language when Performing a College Essay Revision
    (Office of the Vice President for Research, 2018) Duran, Eliana; Hoy, Kelly; Horowitz, Rosalind; Wilburn, Marcy; Gonzales, Jessica
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    U.S. College Students' Norms in Communicating about Race
    (Office of the Vice President for Research, 2018) Pan, Qiujie (Blair)
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    Summer Acoustic Monitoring of Bats at the Cibolo Preserve
    (Office of the Vice President for Research, 2018) Gorton, Sarah; Hutchinson, Jeffrey
    Acoustic bat monitors were placed near stream, in prairie, in oak savannahs, and along edge sites in the Cibolo Preserve from May to August, 2017. During the 16 week sampling period, 185 gigabytes of acoustic calls were recorded representing 156,021 calls. A total of seven bat species were identified and each species was detected in each of the four habitats. Mexican free-tailed bats making up the majority of the activity. Bat activity was not different (P > 0.05) among habitat types. Bat activity was significantly different (P = 0.004) in May compared to the other months. There was moderate correlation (R2 = 0.59) between temperature and bat activity.
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    Mechanics and Control of Pumping a Playground Swing and Robotic Implementation
    (Office of the Vice President for Research, 2018) Gerardo, Aaron Rios; Bhounsule, Pranav A.; Galloway, Joseph D.
    We explored the mechanics of a simple pendulum to find the best method to increase the amplitude the fastest way possible. In our experiment, we used MATLAB to simulate the equations of motion and test different approaches to pumping a pendulum. In addition, we used LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 Core Sets to demonstrate the theoretical equations with a physical pumping swing robot. Three different pumping methods were utilized and analyzed by the MATLAB simulations and one was used in the hardware section. The goal was to determine which method increased the amplitude of the swing after a specific amount of oscillations. Upon completion of the experiment, we confirmed that pumping a swing in a pattern-based motion did increase the amplitude of a pendulum. Our results showed that the combined pumping method increased the pendulum amplitude the fastest.
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    Exploring San Antonio: Urban Design and Green Spaces
    (Office of the Vice President for Research, 2018) Dilelio, Devan