Preview of Grad Slam prelim round 9: April 14

by Nicole Poletto, Professional Development Peer
Thursday, April 13, 2017 9:00 AM

The 5th Annual Grad Slam competition prelims come to a close with the final round 9 on Friday, April 14. Your People's Choice vote can help your favorites advance to the semifinal round, so be sure to come and support your friends and fellow graduate students (#gradslamisbae). Here's a preview of what's to sure to follow us on Facebook for live updates on the winners of each round.

Round 9

Friday, April 14 | 3 to 4 p.m.
Library, Room 1312

Alesha Claveria | Theater Studies
Sexual Performance Depictions of Native North Americans (NA, AI, 1st N, I)
My research asks, what do sexual performance depictions of Native North American bodies and imagery--originating from Indigenous, Euro-Western, and blended worldviews--mean to Indigenous, Euro-Western, and blended paradigm thinkers? How are these types of sexual performance depictions utilized? What do they do? It might surprise you!

Amanda Curtis | Mathematics
Shortcuts for a Planar Algebra 
The area of mathematics known as "planar algebras" is both rich and unusual. Calculations and proofs can be preformed by manipulation of two-dimensional (planar) diagrams, with results whose impact reaches into the realm of topological quantum computation. My work seeks to find some shortcuts in these manipulations and define a particular set of diagrams more rigorously than previous descriptions. 

Tiffany Halvorsen | Biomolecular Science & Engineering 
The Battle Between Bacteria Begins with a Trojan Horse
It is becoming increasingly clear that the ability of pathogenic bacteria to cause fatal human infections is due in large part to their interactions with other bacterial species. These interactions are governed by toxic proteins that enable one species to dominate its niche by outcompeting its neighbors. We have recently discovered one of these protein systems in a pathogenic strain of Escherichia coli that enables it to prevent the growth of neighboring bacteria and proliferate in their place. This discovery has major implications for understanding the colonization stage of a serious bacterial infection, and may provide a new avenue for alternative antibiotics research in the future. 

Evan Layher | Psychological and Brain Sciences
Your Terrible Memory Leads to Poor Decisions… “Thanks” Brain
People are generally bad at optimizing their memory-based decisions. Oftentimes consequential outcomes differ when you either falsely recognize or fail to recognize an entity of interest. In these situations, people should use decision strategies that bias responses to lessen the severity of errors. My research attempts to identify neural networks involved in shifting between decision strategies in hopes of making people better decision makers in the future.

Anusha Pusuluri | Chemical Engineering
Bioengineered Molecular Missiles - The Next Gen of Precision Medicine
Much like a military mission, cancer treatments should have the ability to search, infiltrate and specifically destroy tumor tissues without affecting other healthy cells in the body. Engineering such a therapy is currently the greatest challenge in the field of cancer medicine and most FDA approved therapies are suboptimal due to deleterious side effects when administered at high doses. In my talk, I will discuss our novel dose reduction and specificity enhancement strategies in an effort to counter this problem.

Joshua Smith | Classics
Consuming the Common Soldier: The Representation of Roman Military Culture in Tacitus' Histories
Tacitus focuses on the corporate ethos of the Roman soldier and suppresses any sense of individuality within his work the Histories. His stylized depiction of the common Roman soldier (gregarius miles) both aligns with and diverges from soldiers’ epigraphic self-representation. The consumption and manipulation of the soldiers’ identity forces us to ask questions about the interaction between elite and non-elite social groups, a question which remains relevant. 

Elisabeth Steel | Earth Science
Rivers Under the Ocean: How Turbidity Currents Shape our Seafloor
Turbidity currents are responsible for carrying sand and mud from shallow continental margins to deep-water and they build large submarine fans at the base of the continental slope. These systems are the rivers of the seafloor, and they can carve canyons in our oceans that rival the size of the Grand Canyon. I will focus on turbidity currents initiated by extreme river floods that have occurred recently in the Santa Barbara Channel as well as those that occurred approximately 170 million years ago in Argentina.