Tag Archive for poster session

Students Study Exoplanets, Bird Viruses, Chinese Immigration, Bacteria during the Summer

Scientists have already discovered more than 3,500 exoplanetary systems (planets orbiting around stars) in the universe, with the number continually expanding.

By using Wesleyan’s new 24-inch telescope, Kyle McGregor ’24 is on the hunt for more, specifically systems involving two planets. To find them, he measures the light from stars over time, noting that the light will decrease when an exoplanet passes in front of a star, blocking the radiated light to Earth.

“The measuring of this change in light, known as the ‘transit method,’ allows us to detect the presence of these distant worlds and to study their properties,” McGregor says. “It’s really cool, and I love using the new telescope to do it!”

Kyle McGregor '24

Kyle McGregor ’24 of Canton, N.Y. shared his research project titled “Building a Predictive Model for the Detection of Possible Outer Planets in Known 2-body Resonant Systems.”

On July 29, astronomy, physics, and Italian studies major McGregor shared his exoplanet studies during the 2021 Summer Research Poster Session, where students showcase their projects with peers, faculty, and the public. The annual event brought together more than 180 student researchers— half of whom worked remotely this summer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re still very interested in celebrating our students’ work and emulating the excitement and activity of the in-person poster session,” said poster session coordinator Ishita Mukerji, Fisk Professor of Natural Science, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, and director, College of Integrative Sciences.

McGregor, who has worked with his advisor Seth Redfield, professor of astronomy, since spring 2021, spent the past year conducting research meetings over Zoom. During this time, he developed a predictive model that can be applied to all known two-planet systems. “That [remote research] process went well and helped me prepare for a proper summer doing research in person. Now that I’m [back on campus] I’m most excited about continuing my use of the new telescope and developing this model further to make it more robust and more accurate.” (View McGregor’s research poster online here.)

The Poster Session included studies conducted under the auspices of the College of Integrative Sciences (astronomy, biology, chemistry, computer science, earth and environmental sciences, mathematics, molecular biology and biochemistry, neuroscience and behavior, psychology, physics), Research in the Sciences Program, the Quantitative Analysis Center, College of the Environment, the McNair Program, the WesMaSS Program, and students who are funded by their individual mentors or departments.

Schuyler Sloman '22 and biology and psychology double major Rachel Hsu '23

Schuyler Sloman ’22 of Brooklyn, N.Y. and Rachel Hsu ’23 of Shanghai, China shared their summer-long research project titled “Delving Below the Species Level to Characterize the Ecological Diversity in the Global Virome: An Exploration of Avian Influenza.”

Computer science major Schuyler Sloman ’22 and biology and psychology double major Rachel Hsu ’23 shared their collaborative research on diversity within the H3N8 serotype of avian influenza. Their results suggested that there are at least seven lineages of H3N8 that appear specialized to different waterfowl species. They note that these ecological differences among H3N8 virus lineages could impact the likelihood of spillover to humans.

After using the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) database to locate roughly 1,500 full-genome sequences of the H3N8 subtype of avian influenza from multiple host species of ducks, Sloman wrote programs in Python and Biopython to “clean” the content and pinpoint 103 complete strains of H3N8 within a 60-mile radius of each other in Minto Flats, Alaska. From there, the students continued to align these sequences with a software called MEGAX, and used the EcoSim2 algorithm (developed by their faculty advisors Fred Cohan and Danny Krizanc), which rapidly analyzes large sequence datasets to demarcate individual viruses into lineages that are ecologically distinct.

Sloman and Hsu will contribute their findings to the Global Virome Project, a strategic response to better predict, prevent, and respond to future viral pandemic threats. GVP estimates that more than 500,000 undiscovered animal viruses are capable of transmission to people.

“A year ago I may not have appreciated the importance of The Global Virome Project, but after experiencing the reality of a pandemic I feel truly connected to this work,” Sloman said. “While working remotely with our lab during COVID-19 was difficult for all of us, we’re grateful to contribute to the prevention of future disasters. The significance of a project like this is enormous. It’s been a really rewarding experience to work on a research project which is so relevant.” (View Sloman’s and Hsu’s research poster online here.)

In addition to the ongoing research throughout the summer, students could attend more than 25 in-person and virtual workshops and minicourses focusing on lab safety, science writing, programming languages, data analysis, resume writing, molecule imaging, and more. They also could attend the Summer Seminar Series, with worldwide experts discussing topics on ancient Chinese artifacts, space radiation on cognitive performance, molecular probes for SARS-CoV-2, and even dung beetles. In addition, Saray Shai, assistant professor of computer science, led the Summer Research keynote lecture titled “Topology and Geometry of Urban Road Networks” prior to the poster session.

“Even under our somewhat constrained COVID-19 circumstances, we’re thrilled that we were able to continue our rich summer research projects and programs, which are so vital to our students,” Mukerji said.

Students shared their posters in virtual “Zoom rooms” and breakout sessions. All of the student ‘poster sites’ will live on and serve as an institutional repository of student accomplishments this summer.

Samples of other student research projects are below and on this website.

Anissa Findley '22

Anissa Findley ’22 of Kingston, Jamaica, shared her summer research project titled “Optimising Sample Preparation for the Investigation of Bottom Current Strengths of the Scotia Sea during the Pliocene.”

This summer, chemistry and molecular biology and biochemistry double major Anissa Findley ’22 of Kingston, Jamaica, explored the best ways to prepare 5.3 million-year-old Scotia Sea silt samples for analysis, which can help determine what the weather and ice cover of Antarctica looked like during that time. By testing three different methods of sample preparation, which involve sample crushing, wetting, drying, and particle analyzing, Findley determined that a specific “dry and re-wet method” showed the most consistent way to sort the silt samples by size.

“The more accurate the silt [sizes] are, the better the conclusions can be made about ice cover and the glacial and interglacial periods, during the Pliocene [period],” she said. (View Findley’s research poster online here.)

Findley’s advisor is Suzanne OConnell, Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Science.

Ken Wu '23

Ken Wu ’23 of Shenzhen, China shared his summer research titled “GIS Visualization of Chinese Demographic Shifts between the 1970s and 1990s.”

By using U.S. census data and visualizations, film studies and environmental studies double major Ken Wu ’23 built an interactive ArcGIS map to show the correlation between the decline of Chinese Language Theaters in New York City and the outward shifts of Chinese immigrant enclaves. His project also includes more granular census tract data as well as including more diverse demographic indicators, such as average income, racial composition, and household information.

“My project is not just about films or cinemas but really, more broadly, about the story of Chinese immigrants in general,” Wu explained. “This summer, [it was] very exciting that I was able to use a more non-traditional method of studying this topic, namely using statistics and census data to map out how Chinese immigrants lived and moved in New York City. I hope this research can fill some of the gaps left vacant in the narrative of Asian American identities.” (View Wu’s research poster online here.)

Wu’s advisor is Lisa Dombrowski, professor of East Asian studies.

Savanna Goldstein '22 of Philadelphia, Pa.shred her study titled "Parent-Child Conversation Facilitates Number Talk During Shared Storybook Reading"

Savanna Goldstein ’22 of Philadelphia, Pa. shared her study titled “Parent-Child Conversation Facilitates Number Talk During Shared Storybook Reading.”

Savanna Goldstein ’22, who’s majoring in education and psychology with a concentration in cognitive science, is a member of Wesleyan’s Cognitive Development Lab. Her summer research project focused on how shared storybook reading can help children understand numbers in a deeper way. “Storytime can be a great opportunity for parents to weave math talk into their daily routine, but most picture books focus solely on literacy development and social skills. That’s why we chose to investigate how parents supplement stories with their own math talk,” Goldstein said.

Goldstein asked parents to read two stories to their children, one explicitly related to numbers, and one implicitly providing an opportunity to discuss quantity. By recording these reading sessions and encoding the transcripts for different types of number talk—such as parent counting, encouraging labeling, tandem counting, and corrected feedback—she was able to determine which conditions inspired the most effective number talk.

“If parents begin story time with the intent of helping their child learn about math, they will likely produce more number talk and the interaction will be more meaningful,” she said. (View Goldstein’s research poster online here.)

Goldstein’s advisors are Anna Shusterman, associate professor of psychology, and Sierra Eisen, postdoctoral fellow in psychology.

Elizabeth Ouanemalay '23

Elizabeth Ouanemalay ’23 from Long Beach, Calif. shared her study titled “Evolvability of Sporulation and Germination in Bacillus Subtilis Batch Culture.”

Biology and Science in Society double major Elizabeth Ouanemalay ’23 and Biology PhD student Kathleen Sagarin studied Bacillus subtilis to determine whether two traits essential to the bacterium’s survival could easily evolve. B. subtilis is able to tolerate extreme environmental conditions by virtue of its ability to form desiccation- and heat-resistant spores and its ability to germinate from these spores. Elizabeth and Katie challenged B. subtilis to evolve changes in both its sporulation and germination abilities.

They challenged a B. subtilis lab strain in “serial batch culture,” where they cultured the bacteria past the point that they exhausted their resources, and then they transferred the bacteria to fresh medium, either with or without heating the culture to kill non-spores, over 11 growth cycles. Under these conditions, they found that when the cultures were not heated at transfer, the bacteria quickly declined in their ability to sporulate. This was probably because spores undergo the slow process of germination before they can resume growth in fresh medium; on the other hand, bacteria that fail to produce a spore can start growing more quickly in the fresh medium. It was surprising that after just two weeks, the cost of germination would cause the bacteria to become much less efficient at producing spores.

A complementary result was found in the cultures which were forced to go through a spore stage by the end of each growth cycle. Ouanemalay and Sagarin are now isolating individual bacteria strains from each of these evolved found that when every individual had to germinate to begin growth in fresh medium, the bacteria evolved to germinate more quickly. It was again surprising to them that germination ability could evolve so quickly.

(View their research poster online here.)

Her advisor is Fred Cohan, Huffington Foundation Professor in the College of the Environment, professor of biology.

Students Present Research Projects during Virtual Summer Poster Session

boone

Tyler Boone ’21 shared his poster titled “Probing the Effects of YTA7 on Genetic Silencing in S. cerevisiae” during the virtual Summer 2020 Research Poster Session.

On June 30, Wesleyan hosted a virtual Summer 2020 Research Poster Session to celebrate the accomplishments of more than 150 student researchers.

To emulate the excitement and camaraderie of the live poster session, students hosted their own individual presentations on Zoom and answered questions live.

Examples of student research projects are below:

tyler boone

Tyler Boone ’21

Tyler Boone ’21 shared his poster titled “Probing the Effects of YTA7 on Genetic Silencing in S. cerevisiae.” Boone is double majoring in molecular biology and biochemistry and biology with a minor in chemistry. In order to better understand how the structure of chromatin, a complex of DNA and protein found in eukaryotic cells, affects gene silencing specifically, Boone studied the gene YTA7 in a species of yeast known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Boone’s advisor is Scott Holmes, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry.

Sydney Lodge '21

Sydney Lodge ’21

Sydney Lodge ’21, who is double majoring in psychology and African American studies with a concentration in cultural psychology, presented “An Analysis of the Impact of History and Sociological Factors on the Future of Affordable Housing.” Her project offers various perspectives on the past, present, and future of affordable housing in Texas and California and explores the attitudes of women of color who advocate for affordable housing and whose work centers around anti-gentrification and anti-displacement efforts. Her advisor was H. Shellae Versey, a former assistant professor of psychology.

Undergraduates Share Summer Research

poster session

Ben Sullivan ’20 presents his poster titled “Tracking New York Times Coverage of Every Senator First Elected in the 1990s” during the Summer Program for Research in the Sciences Poster Session on July 25. His advisor is Logan Dancey, associate professor of government.

The Summe Program for Research in the Sciences culminated with a research poster session in the lobby of Exley Science Center, with more than 100 students participating.

The program, held May 29 to July 26, was open to frosh, sophomores and juniors currently enrolled at Wesleyan. Wesleyan science faculty members served as mentors for student research in their laboratories. In addition to the closing poster session, the students participated in weekly seminars and workshops, a symposium, and various social events. After the poster session, students displayed their posters in the hallways outside the introductory biology laboratories.

115 Students Present Statistical Research at QAC Poster Session

In the Quantitative Analysis Center course, QAC 201: Applied Data Analysis, students are introduced to statistics and data collection through asking and answering statistical questions that they care about.

Topics come from a large range of disciplines including psychology, sociology, government, and environmental science. Students generate hypotheses based on existing data, conduct a literature review, prepare data for analysis, and conduct descriptive and inferential statistical analyses.

On May 3 in Beckham Hall, 115 students presented their projects at a poster session. Twenty-five guests evaluated the posters, including faculty from Wesleyan, Sacred Heart University, Quinnipiac University, City University of New York, Central Connecticut State University, and Vassar College; research fellows; alumni and staff; social scientists; research analysts; and other industry professionals.

The poster session served as the final exam for the course.

Photos of the event are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Jodie Kahan '21 presented her study titled, "Do Children Listen?: The Association Between a Child's Perception of their Mothers' Attitudes About Sex and a Child's Willingness to Engage in Sex."

Jodie Kahan ’21 presented her study titled, “Do Children Listen?: The Association Between a Child’s Perception of Their Mothers’ Attitudes About Sex and a Child’s Willingness to Engage in Sex.” Her evaluator is Kendall Hobbs, a research librarian at Wesleyan.

Tinatin Omoeva '21 discussed her poster called, "Control Yourself! The Association Between Self-Control and Financial Skills."

Tinatin Omoeva ’21 discussed her poster called, “Control Yourself! The Association Between Self-Control and Financial Skills.”

Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division Hosts Celebration of Science Theses

On April 26, honors and graduate students in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division presented posters at the Celebration of Science Theses.

On April 26, honors and graduate students in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division presented posters at the Celebration of Science Theses.

Han Yang Tay presented a poster titled "Rich Club and Diverse Club in Structural and Functional Neuroimaging Data." His advisor is Psyche Loui

Han Yang Tay ’19 speaks to Barbara Juhasz, associate professor of psychology, about his study titled “Rich Club and Diverse Club in Structural and Functional Neuroimaging Data.” His advisor is Psyche Loui, assistant professor of psychology.

Guest Evaluators Critique QAC Poster Session

poster session

The Quantitative Analysis Center hosted a poster session Dec. 7 in Beckham Hall. More than 35 guest evaluators attended the event to critique the students’ posters.

Valerie Acosta ’20 shared her study titled “References in the Association between Medicaid and Treatment Seeking Among Individuals with Depression.”

Students Share Summer Research Projects at Poster Session

Cher Qin ’21 presented her quantitative analysis study titled “Text Classification of 2016 Presidential Campaign Advertisement” during a poster session July 26. Qin’s advisors are Pavel Oleinikov, associate director of the Quantitative Analysis Center, and Erika Franklin Fowler, associate professor of government.

More than 135 undergraduate research fellows shared their summer-long research during a poster session on July 26 in Exley Science Center.

Students from the Psychology Department, College of the Environment, Biology Department, Neuroscience and Behavior Program, Chemistry Department, Physics Department, Astronomy Department, Math and Computer Science Department, Quantitative Analysis Center, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department, and Astronomy Department presented posters. Posters often contain text, graphics, and images that illustrate the students’ research results on a single board. Poster session attendees can view the posters and interact with the authors.

The summer research program is hosted by the College of Integrative Sciences.

“We had possibly the largest poster session ever this year, with presentations by students from across the sciences, as well as many departments in the social sciences,” said Francis Starr, professor of physics, professor of integrative sciences, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, head of the College of Integrative Sciences. “Year after year, I am in awe of what our Wesleyan students are capable of.”

Photos of the poster sessions are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Rochelle Spencer ’20 shared her poster titled “Dendrimer Synthesis via Highly Efficient Thoil-Michael Reactions.” Her advisor is Brian Northrop, associate professor of chemistry, associate professor of integrative sciences.

Seniors Present College of the Environment Research at Poster Session

Thirteen seniors, majoring in the College of the Environment, presented posters during a COE Colloquium on May 2. (Photos by Tom Dzimian)

Pictured are the COE Class of 2018. Back row: Mariel Holmann, Laura Bither, Sage Loomis, Hannah Wilton, Louisa Winchell. Second row: Guilu Murphy, Katherine Paterson, Nicole Dallar, Nicole DelGaudio, Garrett Hardesty, Ilana Newman. Seated: Alex Horton and Olivia Won.

Honors, MA Students Share Research at Science Theses Celebration

Honors and MA students from the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division participated in the Celebration of Science Theses, April 27 in Exley Science Center. Students shared their work with the broader Wesleyan community.

Honors and MA students from the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division participated in the Celebration of Science Theses, April 27 in Exley Science Center. Students shared their work with the broader Wesleyan community.

Darci Collins presented her research titled "Lord Kelvin's Error? An Investigation into the Isotropic Helocoid." Collins' advisor is Greg Voth.

Darci Collins ’18 presented her research titled “Lord Kelvin’s Error? An Investigation into the Isotropic Helocoid.” Collins’s advisor is Greg Voth, chair and professor of physics.

Students Share Research at Psychology Poster Session

Thesis students and research students presented their research on April 26 during the Psychology Research Poster Presentations in Beckham Hall. More than 80 students presented 69 posters at the event. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Thesis students and research students presented their research on April 26 during the Psychology Research Poster Presentations in Beckham Hall. One-hundred-and-ten students presented 69 posters at the event. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Audrey Konow ’20, Jhanelle Thomas ’18, and Gabrielle Vargas ’18 presented “’Do You Fear Being Without Your Smartphone?’ Implications for Sleep and Mental Health among Emerging Adults at University.” Their advisor is Royette Tavernier.

Speakers, Poster Sessions at Annual Molecular Biophysics Program Retreat

Wesleyan’s Molecular Biophysics Program hosted its 18th annual retreat Sept. 28 at Wadsworth Mansion in Middletown. Wesleyan affiliated speakers included:

Professor Francis Starr, spoke about DNA junction dynamics and thermodynamics during the 18th annual Molecular Biophysics Retreat.

Professor Francis Starr spoke about DNA junction dynamics and thermodynamics during the 18th annual Molecular Biophysics Retreat.

  • Colin Smith, assistant professor of chemistry, on “An Atomistic View of Protein Dynamics and Allostery;”
  • Meng-Ju Renee Sher, assistant professor of physics, on “Tracking Electron Motions Using Terahertz Spectroscopy;”
  • Kelly Knee, PhD ’07, principle scientist for Pfizer’s Rare Disease Research Unit, on “Protein Folding Chaperones: Molecular Machines for Tricky Problems;”
  • and Francis Starr, professor of physics, director of the College of Integrative Sciences, on “DNA Four-Way Junction Dynamics and Thermodynamics: Lessons from Combining Simulations and Experiments.”

Arthur Palmer, the Robert Wood Johnson, Jr. Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Columbia University Medical Center, delivered the keynote address on “Conformational dynamics in molecular recognition and catalysis: Lessons from ribonuclease H, AlkB, and GCN4.”

The day-long retreat also included two poster sessions, where undergraduates, graduate students and faculty shared their research with their peers and colleagues. The event concluded with a reception.

The Molecular Biophysics Training Program, Chemistry Department, and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department sponsored the event.

Photos of the retreat are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Research Shared at Summer Poster Session

More than 120 undergraduate research fellows shared their summer and ongoing research during the Wesleyan Summer Research Poster Session held July 27 in Exley Science Center.

“This really is wonderful that all these students are on campus this summer and that they are here, sharing their research,” said faculty advisor Tom Morgan, the Foss Professor of Physics. “It’s really incredible.”

Photos of the poster session are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Amber Storey ’18 presented her research titled “How Does Polymer Structure Affect Fragility?” Her advisor is Francis Starr, professor of physics, professor of integrative sciences, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry and director of the College of Integrative Sciences.

Amber Storey ’18 presented her physics research titled “How Does Polymer Structure Affect Fragility?” Her advisor is Francis Starr, professor of physics, professor of integrative sciences, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry and director of the College of Integrative Sciences.