522 Works

Tropical Stalinism: Caribbean Anti-Communism and the war against the Black State

Isaiah D. Johnson
My research explores how Anti-Black racism synthesized with the anti-communism of the Cold War era, and formed a unique strain of ideological outlook which informs U.S. imperial policy in the Caribbean. My thesis seeks to center the Cuban and Grenadian Revolutions in order to articulate this racialized politique in practice. By exploring the history of slavery, the emergence of the U.S. as an imperial power, and Caribbean communism, my project looks to explicitly name and...

Evaluating Graduate School Training for Pediatric Cancer Genetic Counselors

Katherine Autumn Prince
Pediatric cancer genetic counseling has many unique considerations compared to other genetic counseling specialties that may not be addressed in a typical graduate school training program, neither in clinical nor didactic curriculum. Some of these considerations include learning about unique hereditary cancer syndromes, greater family-centered counseling, tailoring cancer education to children and adolescents, and working with unique ethical deliberations. Little research has been done to assess the quality of pediatric cancer education or the preparedness...

Retelling and Balancing

Abigael Good

Twilight, Tolkien, and the Problem of Immortality

Cassie Schifman

A Book in Dark Times

John Plotz

The Inhibition of Bacterial IMPDHs by Mutagenesis and Kinetic Studies

Inosine 5’-monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMPDH) catalyzes the oxidation of IMP to XMP, which is the rate-limiting step of de novo guanine nucleotide biosynthesis. The differences between mammalian IMPDHs and bacterial IMPDHs make this enzyme a promising antibiotic drug target. Selective inhibitors for bacterial IMPDHs have been developed that bind to the NAD+ site. Some inhibitors display varied potency even though the NAD+ site is highly conserved in IMPDHs from some important pathogens. Here, we hypothesized that...

Chokepoints and Consensus: The Origins and Evolution of Multilateral Export Control Regimes

Jack Huguley
Proliferation of WMD occur by many means, and the patterns of this spread has been the focus of a great deal of scholarship in recent decades. Despite its ubiquity in the process of WMD spread historically, we know surprisingly little about how the civilian marketplace contributes to proliferation; furthermore, scholarship has to date underemphasized the importance of the international nonproliferation regime’s central mechanism for managing markets: export control regimes. This dissertation seeks to address both...

Insisting on God: Theistic Naturalism in Twentieth-Century American Jewish Thought

Bar Guzi
This dissertation discerns a distinct approach to theological thinking shared among three twentieth-century Jewish thinkers: Mordecai Kaplan (1881-1983), Hans Jonas (1903-1993), and Arthur Green (born 1941). This approach, which I call theistic naturalism, suggests an alternative to both scientific naturalism and supernatural theism. Working within diverse intellectual schools from pragmatism to phenomenology to mysticism, the three thinkers in question propose religious worldviews that seek to incorporate the divine into an expansive conception of nature. Their...

Single molecule studies of transcription elongation factor dynamics during RNA polymerase II transcription

Karina Saskia Herlambang
Gene expression via transcription is a highly regulated process across all organisms. Transcription can be divided into three phases: initiation, elongation, and termination. For each stage a plethora of accessory proteins are required to assist RNA polymerase. While a lot of these transcription factors have been identified, many of them are still mysterious in what they do. Therefore, one of the biggest challenges in the field is to understand how all these factors work in...

Exploring thermodynamic equilibrium and kinetic pathways of colloidal self-assembly

Huang Fang
Self-assembly is one of the most promising strategies for synthesizing functional materials at the nanoscale, such as molecular sieves, nanoelectronics, and photonic crystals. However, despite the many self-assembled nanomaterials that have been made, the criteria to design building components that assemble structures with desired geometry and patterns remain unclear. To tackle this challenge, I study the self-assembly of two colloidal systems: DNA-coated particles and DNA-origami particles. I use a combination of microscopy experiments and computer...

Transcriptional regulation of ion channel gene expression by Kruppel-like factors (KLFs)

Ruixuan Xiao
Balanced expression of ion channels in neurons is critical for maintaining healthy brain activity. Mutations in ion channel genes leading to neuropsychiatric diseases have been extensively studied.

Civil Tongues: Examining the Role of Language in Ethnic Group Mobilization for Violent Contestation

Maria Smerkovich
How does language as an ethnic trait affect group mobilization for contestation against the state? Are linguistic groups less likely to engage in violence, and if so, why? Existing studies have shown religious groups to be particularly conflict-prone, owing to characteristics that stem from their distinguishing trait. Their insights have implications for linguistic groups. Unlike religion, language is adaptable; it is additive rather than substitutive, and amenable to change, so that group boundaries are less...

Reconceptualizing Security: Clientelism and the Provision of Order in Lebanon

Kelly Alicia Stedem
This dissertation, Reconceptualizing Security: Clientelism and the Provision of Order in Lebanon, seeks to understand the logic of public goods provision by clientelistic political parties, or political parties that offer the conditional exchange of material goods or resources to voters for political support. It asks what explains the variation in the provision of security and local policing by political parties? Empirically, this project studies the variation in security provision across political parties in Lebanon in...

Picture Groups and Simple Minded Collections

Eric J. Hanson
The goal of this dissertation is to extend the theory of picture groups and picture spaces (as developed in works of Igusa, Todorov, and Weyman) to the class of τ-tilting finite alge- bras. In particular, we aim to generalize the result that the picture space has the structure of a K(π,1) (or Eilenberg MacLane space) for the picture group. In Chapter 1, we further explain this motivation, discuss the fundamentals of representation theory, and introduce...

Honeycomb-like pattern emergence in response to phosphate deficiency in haloarchaea

Nathan Owen Weber
The formation of cytoplasmic organelles within prokaryotes is a matter of controversy among cell biologists as it reveals layers of complexity in microorganisms that were not long ago believed to lack complex internal organization. This controversy was furthered by analyses showing that archaea are more genetically similar to eukaryotes than their prokaryotic companions bacteria, revealing a tree of life with one branch for bacteria and another for eukaryotes and archaea. In this study, we investigated...

The Effects of Civil Conflict on Child Exploitation and the Role of the International Community

Tamara Valeria Botteri
This thesis addresses how a civil conflict impacts reported incidents of child exploitation. I hypothesize that civil conflict increases the incidents of child exploitation in the state of the conflict and speculate that increased incidents of child victimization occur when the following conditions are present: 1) an increase in the number of non-state armed groups present in the conflict; 2) the insurgents’ ability to gain power within the geography they hold; 3) weakened state institutions...

A ‘Pandemic Effect’?

Jocelyn Emma Gould
Socially and economically, the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on women’s lives, but it is less clear whether the crisis also harmed the advancement of women’s political candidacies. In this thesis, I address the question: Did the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impact the rate of women running for state-level office in the 2020 elections? I use the variation in filing deadlines for primary candidates across state legislatures to attempt to isolate the impact of the pandemic on...

Dynamics of Awake Hippocampal-Prefrontal Reactivation for Spatial Learning and Memory-Guided Decision Making

Justin Shin
Integrating episodic experiences to drive efficient behavior stems from the ability of the brain to encode and retrieve mnemonic representations of the surrounding environment. The capacity of an organism to maintain and flexibly manipulate these internal representations is crucial for adapting behavior to changing environmental conditions, and there are multiple brain regions that coordinate activity to facilitate the physiological processes that underlie the neural substrates that control behavior. Notably, the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex are...

Synaptic Plasticity Governs the Specificity and Generalization of CTA Memory

Raul Arturo Ramos
All associative learning is a balance between the specific details of a memory and what can be generalized to future scenarios. While the mechanisms for memory acquisition have been studied for decades, the synaptic plasticity that shapes the generalization of memory is less well characterized. In this thesis, I present results that define the underlying synaptic plasticity mechanisms that govern two distinct types of aversive memory generalization: a transient and a long-lasting generalized aversion. Using...

Exploring and Characterizing the Interaction of RadA and RadD

Devon Hunter Brown
The ability of cells to maintain their genomic integrity and accurately repair any DNA damage is crucial to their continued survival and functioning. One such type of damage, double-stranded breaks, is primarily addressed in Escherichia coli (E. coli) by RecA-mediated homologous recombination, a highly conserved pathway in which the damaged region is matched to a homology, which is then used as a template to bridge the gap. This strand exchange event forms a secondary structure...

Imagining Black Food Justice Through a Black Femme Literary Hermeneutic

Brianna Lackwood
The question of the possibilities of Food Justice within Black communities has been widely debated in both the Food Justice and Food Studies fields, with scholars such as Margaret Ramiréz arguing that there is a racial, social, and economic disconnect between Food Justice Organizations—most of which are white—and the communities they seek to do work in. However, these works have not entirely addressed the critical role that Black women play as they have always practiced...

Improved Methodology for the Construction of Carbon Fiber Multi-Electrode Arrays

Lauren Hayashi
Carbon fibers are an ideal material for constructing multi-channel extracellular recording arrays. We have been working to construct 16-channel carbon fiber electrodes to record the activity of cells in the ferret LGN. An impedance below 4 MΩ was used as the standard for success. At the start of the process, very few channels met this goal. We implemented new methods for constructing and testing electrodes, and our success rate was brought up to an average...

The Role of PAR-bZIP Transcription Factors in Audiogenic Seizures

Isabel Cepeda
Homeostatic plasticity is a set of mechanisms that keep neuronal activity within a functional range. Various mechanisms of homeostatic plasticity are under transcriptional control. Past studies from the Nelson Lab have shown that out of three transcription factors (TFs) of the PAR-bZIP transcription factor family (HLF, TEF, and DBP), HLF and TEF restrain network activity in response to environmental stimuli. Here, we explore the role of these transcription factors in seizure propensity in vivo. We...

The Impact of Overexpression/Knockdown of TDP-43 and Cabeza on Circular RNAs in Drosophila melanogaster

Ilana (Kai) Blumen
Two proteins implicated in ALS in humans are TDP-43 and FUS. This project studied the impact of the overexpression of TDP-43 and knockdown of the fly homolog of FUS, Cabeza, on abundant circular RNAs (circRNAs) in D. melanogaster, in search of potential connections between the expression of these genes and neurodegenerative diseases. circRNAs are hyperstable, noncanonical backsplicing products that accumulate with age, but little is known about their relationship with ALS. To monitor expression levels,...

Minecraft and the Digital Robinsonade

Aaron J LaFauci
This essay traces the didactic history of the genre of survival stories known as robinsonades and analyses the genre's evolution through the lens of play. From early adaptations to Daniel Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe" to Paulsen's "Hatchet" and beyond, the child-oriented robinsonade is implicated in a century spanning pedagogical process that attempts to use the island setting as a kind of playground or classroom for independent learning. The subjects taught, however, have changed with time. I...

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