Preview of Grad Slam semifinal round 3: April 19

by Nicole Poletto, Professional Development Peer
Tuesday, April 18, 2017 8:52 AM

The Grad Slam semifinal rounds come to a close with round 3 on Wednesday, April 19. ​Come listen to your fellow graduate students explain their research in 3 minutes or less and tune into on Facebook for live updates on who will advance to the final round on Friday, April 21.

Semifinal Round 3

Wednesday, April 19 | 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Engineering Science Building, Room 1001

Adrianna Simone | Chicana and Chicano Studies 
It Was NEVER Fiction: The Decolonized Voice of Michele Serros
My presentation highlights the empowering effects of decolonial storytelling for personal transformations and growth. I utilize Chicana author Michele Serros as well as my own life-stories as examples of decolonial storytelling. This year, my presentation will focus more on the theoretical aspects of my research, such as decolonial methodologies and theory in the flesh, but grounded in a fashion so that a general public audience can connect to the materials. 

Amanda Kaczmarek | Psychological and Brain Sciences
Tylenol and Advil Effects on Mental Rotation
Tylenol (acetaminophen) and Advil (ibuprofen) are two widely-used, over-the-counter medications used to treat minor pains or reduce fever. Recent research suggests that Tylenol may have broader psychological effects, such as how we visualize people who are in our “ingroup” or “outgroup.” We wanted to determine if this difference might be due to Tylenol’s effect on social information processing, or on visual ability. We conducted a double-blind study comparing Tylenol, Advil, and placebo and found that taking Tylenol seems to hamper the ability to perform a spatial reasoning task.

Aranya Goswami | Electrical & Computer Engineering
Tunnel Transistors: Going through Walls to Save Energy
Quantum Tunneling is a strange phenomenon observed for particles like electrons which allow them to go through apparently impenetrable energy barriers, something considered impossible in classical physics. I'm working on harnessing this exotic property to build highly efficient transistors, the tiny switches which form the building blocks of every computer. In future, this can result in cellphones and laptops which last 10 times longer on the same battery and which give off much less heat.

Jason Wien | Physics
What's Really Inside a Black Hole?
Theoretical physicists have known about black holes for just over 100 years, but we still don't have a complete description of their interiors. We know such a description must be quantum, but we still don't have the right theory. My research seeks to answer this question by adding the smallest amount of quantum theory to Einstein's theory of gravity. 

Jim Mondo | Mollecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology
Many in Motion: Modeling Metastasis in the Fly
Cell migration is a fascinating and complex biological process that is critical for embryonic development, wound healing and immune system function.  Improper regulation of cell migration can lead to diseases - most notably cancer metastasis.   We study how collectives of cells coordinate with one another to migrate in a physiological context.  Our goal is to understand how physical interactions between cells regulate the biochemical pathways required for migration.

Kathryn Harrison | Communication
The (Un)Importance of a Gut Feeling: Information Seeking Strategies in Online Dating
This study investigated the information seeking strategies (ISS) that online daters use to determine the viability of a potential match. Our findings advance the first two phases of Ramirez et al.’s (2002) conceptual model of social information seeking in CMC and new media. The study utilized a nationally representative sample of 316 participants who indicated that they had previous experience with online dating. Results indicated that personal qualities are generally associated with increased use of ISS and reliance on gut reaction. Perceptions of honesty and perceived homophily between the profile creator and the profile viewer were associated with use of ISS, but not associated with people’s reliance on their gut reaction. Additionally, the sex of the profile viewer and the perceived physical attraction of the person in the profile interact with the other predictor variables outlined herein to produce effects on ISS and on people’s use of their gut feelings.

Kelly Ibsen | Chemical Engineering
No More Needles: The Promise of Non-Invasive Drug Delivery via Ionic Liquids
Needle phobia creates a significant compliance issue for patients who require daily injections to live, such as diabetics. This talk will introduce a class of ionic liquids that can penetrate skin with minimal irritation, and is capable of enabling the transport of large molecules such as insulin through the skin and into the bloodstream.

Michael Paull  | Chemical Engineering
A Brief History of Your Immune System
When your body encounters a pathogen, it makes antibodies to fight that pathogen for the rest of your life. We have developed a method to “read” the antibodies in human blood to determine prior immune targets. By comparing the immune histories of sick and healthy patients, it may be possible to better understand, diagnose, and treat diseases.

Sara Lafia | Geography 
Spatial Discovery: Linking Geographic Footprints to Topic Spaces
What do ancient ruins, contested political boundaries, and soil moisture measurements have in common? On the surface, they might not seem to correspond much, but if we can see where on Earth these observations are made, we quickly realize that they can literally overlap quite a bit! My research focuses on enabling the serendipitous spatial discovery and integration of research data. By mapping the places and topics extracted from data descriptions, views of where research occurs are linked to what research is about, revealing the “spatial aboutness” of data.

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.