College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Chemistry

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College of Public Health and Health Professions - Epidemiology (PHHP)

Early Menarche and Gestational Diabetes Mellitus: Results from the NHANES 2007-2012 Early age at menarche has been associated with increased risk of Type 2 diabetes mellitus, hyperinsulinemia, metabolic syndrome, breast cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. However, a potential relationship between early menarche and the risk of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) has not been well studied. We analyzed the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007-2012 data to investigate the association between age at menarche and the risk of GDM among 5,919 first-time mothers. Our study suggests that early menarche is significantly associated with increased risk of GDM. Future studies are warranted to examine and confirm this finding. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 15.5)


College of Public Health and Health Professions - Epidemiology (PHHP)

Smoking, Serum Cotinine, and Exhaled Nitric Oxide in U.S. Asthmatic and Healthy Population: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2007-2012

Fractional of exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) has been used as a noninvasive marker of airway inflammation. Previous studies using self-reported smoking status have suggested the association between cigarette smoking and decreased FeNO. However, most of them lacked objective measurements of smoking. Moreover, the effects of passive smoking on FeNO have not been well studied. In this study, we analyzed the 2007-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data to examine the association between FeNO and active/passive smoking assessed by both self-reported questionnaire and serum cotinine among 11,160 subjects aged 6-79 years old with asthma or without any respiratory disease. Our findings suggest that both active and passive smoking were found to be associated with decreased FeNO. The appropriate use and interpretation of FeNO in Clinical practice need to be cautious when passive or active smoking presents. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 14.3)


College of Health and Human Performance - Recreation, Parks, and Tourism

Is New Orleans a Resilient Destination?

"Authors recently conducted a study exploring the resiliency of New Orleans as a tourism destination. The City of New Orleans has experienced a disproportional share of major crisis, yet is perceived by many as one of America’s most attractive, successful and resilient tourism destinations. Measuring the resilience of a destination is not determined by an end-goal but, rather, understanding the process of “building back the destination better.” The emphasis of this study was on understanding the resilience measure of consumers’ perceptions toward the destination. Consumers from the destination’s primary origin markets were asked of their perceptions at three points in time: Pre-Katrina, Pre-Gulf Oil Spill and in the year 2010. The study found that in 2010, while consumers rated the capabilities of the police and fire departments and rebuilding efforts of the city as better after the two crisis, New Orleans may still have not be fully recovered as a destination to pre-crisis levels in terms of potential visitors’ perceptions of tourism product quality and quantity.

Interestingly, since the study was performed in 2010, New Orleans had already embarked on aggressive marketing and partnership activities and had achieved major milestones with respect to product, service, and brand image enhancements. The efforts of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (NOCVB) and its partners over the years through Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Oil Spill have proven successful in driving record destination performance. New Orleans, has proven that it has “built back better” and is truly one of America’s most resilient destinations.

(Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 16.1)"


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - Linguistics

Semantic Adaptations of "Diversity" in Higher Education Institutions

"This research project analyzes the language surrounding the term ""diversity,"" as used by institutions of higher education in five countries: Germany, Finland, Poland, United States and South Africa. The investigation is cross-linguistic, in that the use of the term ""diversity,"" and language used to describe diversity is analyzed in German, Finnish, Polish and English. The study therefore examines how different languages vary in their capacity to express both similar and distinct concepts related to ""diversity."" The investigation is also cross-cultural, as the concept of what diversity is, and what language to describe diversity should be used varies from culture to culture. For example, Polish universities conceptualize diversity differently than do universities in the United States, and therefore the language surrounding ""diversity"" published by Polish university varies in unique ways from the language on ""diversity"" published by universities in the United States. Furthermore, their is no precise translation in Polish for certain concepts related to diversity as produced by U.S. universities in English. Where language and concepts related to diversity are found to mirror one another across languages and cultures, an underlying reason for this similarity in otherwise very different contexts is suspected.

The socioeconomic standardization of “diversity” is argued to be the underlying factor motivating the institutional choices of language expressing “diversity”. As language expressing “diversity” is demonstrated to adapt cross-culturally in HEIs around the world, and toward a goal of meeting socioeconomic demands, the semantic value of “diversity” is shown to adapt as well. Ultimately, the various semantic adaptations of language expressing “diversity” are found to compromise the semantic authenticity of “diversity” as standardized expressions of “diversity” are reanalyzed and re-entextualized (see Gumperz 1982; Buchholtz & Park 2009) across different languages and cultures. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 18.2)"


College of Nursing - Nursing Sciences

Paper "Purpose/Aims: This study aimed to demonstrate step-by-step procedures and interpretations of a growth curve modeling (GCM) and a within-person de-trended Intra-individual Variability Index (WD-IVI) through secondary data analysis.

Methods: Data collected from twenty-two case managers affiliated with the Korean National Health Insurance Corporation (KNHIC) who attended all three levels of continuing education (Yun, Lim, & Park, 2012) was utilized. Hierarchical Linear Modeling based on Maximum Likelihood Estimation was performed throughout the study. For a GCM, an outcome measure was case managers¡¯ competency. Time-varying measures included pre-Knowledge, pre-Attitude, and pre-Skill scores, which were broken into person means and time-varying mean-centered values. For time-invariant measures, case managers¡¯ education level and their working period in the case management area were examined. To generate WD-IVIs uncontaminated by the learning trend, the purified residual T scores were utilized. As person-level variables, gender, age, education level, certification, working period in KNHIC, working period in the case management area, Person mean pre-Knowledge, Person mean pre-Attitude, and Person mean pre-Skill, were explored to determine the relationship with case managers¡¯ WD-IVIs. All measures were centered into Z scores. Data analysis was then performed using IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 21.0.

Findings: The best fitting model in the overall estimates of growth in case managers¡¯ competency presented that between-person variability at both the starting level and linear time slope was statistically significant, p < .05. The significant fixed effects of linear growth and quadric growth over time were also presented. Person mean pre-Attitude, person mean pre-Skill, and education level also had a statistical significance; however, education level had a negative direction. An interaction between the education level and quadric growth in case managers¡¯ competency approached statistical significance as well, but its direction was negative.

Significant association between education level and case managers¡¯ WD-IVIs was presented, r = -.501, p = .017, i.e., the higher education level, the less they learned. Gender approached statistical significance in the relationship with their WD-IVIs, r = .342, p = .119, i.e., female case managers learned more. However, all the other person-level variables were not statistically significant, p > .05.

Discussion: Nursing research utilizing a GCM and a WD-IVI is rare. This study is meaningful in an aspect of illustrating detailed procedures about a GCM and a WD-IVI and facilitating planning studies. However, because of limited repeated measures and small sample size, further study is required to ensure reliable study findings.

(Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 13.1)"


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - English

Chocolate and Honey: Teachers and Children as Second-Class Citizens in Harry Potter and Matilda

"This paper seeks to examine the similarities between two of contemporary children’s literature’s most popular literary teachers: Remus Lupin from the Harry Potter series and Miss Jennifer Honey from Roald Dahl’s Matilda. Both Lupin and Honey inhabit a limbo between the world of adults and the world of their students with their respective texts aligning them more closely with children than with other adults. Matilda and Harry likewise inhabit an in-between space (Matilda as a precocious child, Harry as a pre-teen) and frequently find themselves pitted against an adult world that neither respects their word nor their capabilities. It’s no surprise, then, that the teachers who Harry and Matilda become closest to are likewise disenfranchised by society (Miss Honey for her poverty, Lupin for his poverty and lycanthropy).

This paper will explore the similarities between Lupin and Miss Honey’s narratives and their relationships with their respective students – relationships that not only drive their plots forward, but also underscore the disenfranchisement of both children and teachers in Matilda and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Childhood is presented as a form of second-class citizenship in Rowling and Dahl’s works, not only recognizing children’s feelings of helplessness as valid, but acknowledging that this state of vulnerability and mistrust at the hands of adults is an injustice just as the wrongs done to Lupin and Honey are an injustice. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 21)"


College of Design, Construction, and Planning - Design, Construction, and Planning (Ph.D.)

Corporate Performance and Governmental Favoritism in Administrative Restructuring: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in China

This paper outlines the extent to which local governments influenced corporate performance in China and explains the mechanism between governmental favoritism and corporate performance. The local governments¡¯ power is centralized in an administrative restructuring reform called ¡°Annexation of suburban counties by cities¡± from 1990s in almost all provinces. Since centralization of administrative powers reduced the financial capacities and weakened the administrative power of counties involved in the reform, county-level governments cannot favor enterprises as before. As a result, the corporate performance may be influenced. In order to testify this hypothesis, this paper assigns annual sample of enterprises (data of 140294 enterprises from 1999 to 2009) into control group (located in the counties without reform) and treatment groups (located in the counties with reform) and adopts DID method to make a comparison. We find that the enterprises, especially the ones highly depend on preferential policies, encounter reduction in terms of production and sale. Meanwhile, the negative impact is stronger where the administrative restructuring is proposed by prefectural-level cities than where the reform is initiated by provincial governments based on economic growth of province. In conclusion, this paper implies that the institutional problem in China¡¯s growth lies in the strong connection between enterprises and local governments at the local level. The findings of this paper are conductive for the in-depth institutional reform for China and other transition countries. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 17.2)


College of Public Health and Health Professions - Epidemiology (PHHP)

Racial disparity on the association between prepregnancy BMI and gestational complications

Gestational complications including gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and gestational hypertension (HDP) affect approximately 10% of pregnancies. They cause restricted growth, low birth weight and other adverse neonatal outcomes for the babies. They are also associated with higher risk of metabolic disorders for both the mothers and babies later in life. Pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) is a major predictor of pregnancy complications. However, the prevalences of obesity, GDM, and HDP are not consistent across races—suggesting that BMI may affect the risk of GDM and HDP differently across races. Few studies have examined whether the impact of BMI on gestational complications are different across races. Therefore, we sought to examine whether the associations between BMI and gestational complications are different across racial groups. This information is critical for public health efforts to identify, prevent and manage gestational complications among pregnant women. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 14.9)


College of Engineering - Biomedical Engineering

In vivo tumor targeting of brainstem gliomas with magnetic nanoparticles

Brain tumors are considered a terminal disease, and palliative care even though the lack of curative treatment options remains as the common therapy approach in neuro-oncology. There has been little success with chemotherapy due to poor drug transport across the blood brain barrier (BBB). Radiotherapy is the standard palliative treatment, but repeated application leads to loss of essential brainstem function. Cancer nanotechnology is an exciting field within cancer care that seems to show potential efficacy. We are exploring targeted magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) to deliver heat and/or physical damage intracellularly and specifically to cancer cells, activating lysosomal death pathways in cancer cells, while sparing healthy cells. For this purpose we have engineering MNPs coated with poly(ethylene glycol) that prevents protein adsorption, which remain colloidally stable in the nanoscale (~50-60 nm) for weeks and possess long (>24 h) blood circulation times in rodent models. The aim of this work is to demonstrate that these engineered targeted MNPs significantly accumulate in a pre-clinical rat brainstem tumor model, crossing the compromised blood-brain barrier, with relatively low uptake in the liver, lungs, spleen and kidneys and can be used for potential magnetically mediated heat delivery applications. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 18.5)


College of Engineering - Computer Engineering

Offline First Fit Scheduling in Smart Grids

The current infrastructure of electric power grid is aging and needs many innovative transformations. The employment of these changes result in what we refer to as development of the Smart Grid. Scientists have been doing a lot of research to make sure the changes go smoothly and with maximum benefits. One of the promising changes is enabling of two way communication between the power appliances and the power supply via Internet. This would allow efficient management of power demands by shifting certain demands to off-peak hours. In the paper, we devise a new algorithm for enabling this shifting of power demands. We prove mathematically the efficiency of performance expected from the algorithm. We also do empirical analysis by simulation using real world data. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 12)


College of Engineering - Aerospace Engineering

A Localized Symplectic Model Reduction Technique for Parameterized Hamiltonian Systems

The simulation, control, design, and analysis for many large-scale dynamical systems, if at all possible, are often computationally intensive and require massive computing resources. The idea of model reduction is to provide an efficient computational prototyping tool to replace a high order system of differential equations with a system of a substantially lower dimension, whereby only the most dominant properties of the full system are preserved. In this article, a new model reduction technique is proposed to simplify parameterized systems. Our aim is two-fold. First, to achieve computational savings for large-scale systems with parameter variation. Second, to preserve the stability of the original system. Compared with classical model reduction techniques, our proposed technique could yield a more accurate solution with the same computational cost. The stability, accuracy, and efficiency of the proposed technique are illustrated through theoretical analysis and numerical simulations. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 17.6)


College of Engineering - Environmental Engineering Sciences

Soundscape Patterns related to a Landscape Development Intensity Index

Recently, studies have found that noise created by humans has adverse effects on animals. Because of this, it is important for us to be able to predict the level and types of noise that will be present in specific areas. In order to this we need to characterize the type of noise that particular human activities create. My research relates different human land uses to the sounds that they produce on a landscape scale. I characterize my study sites in two ways: the amount of human activity and land use type descriptions such as industrial, park, neighborhood, etc. The human activity intensity measure is called the Landscape Development Intensity Index (LDI) and it averages the amount of energy use (fertilizer applied, gasoline burned, etc.) for an area. I also capture the sound present at the sites with a sound recorder. I describe the sound recordings by measuring the amount of energy in different frequency ranges and using metrics that organize this information. My research shows that there are statistically significant differences in the sounds of different land uses and that there are statistically significant trends between human activity and the sound recording characteristics. For example, as human activity increases, noise in the 20-2000 hertz frequency band increases. With increasing interest in the effects of noise on biology, my research is useful in helping predict where in the landscape we can expect to see these issues. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 13.1)


College of Agricultural and Life Sciences - Interdisciplinary Ecology

When a bird goes “unheard”: pervasive road noise disrupts critical heterospecific alarm call functionality

Human noise pollution, especially in the form of road noise, is pervasive throughout the landscape. Findings from a playback study that I conducted in my Master's work have shown that Northern Cardinals fail to detect anti-predator alarm signals from Tufted Titmice in areas within 500 meters of highway noise. By demonstrating the area of the continental United States that is affected by this phenomenon, it is clear that human noise is a conservation concern in this system. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 15.1)


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - Political Science

Empowerment and Advocacy - Pedagogy and Public Media in Participatory Land Use Planning

"I teach a required course in the Sustainability Studies major called Politics of Sustainability. The course has an experiential group component. This past year students worked on the Plum Creek Development issue, and developed informative brochures and went to Hawthorne and talked with the community about the proposed land deal. They also attended all the county commission hearings on the proposed development, and met and interviewed a number of county commissioners.

The presentation I will give at this conference details the specifics of creating these kinds of hands on opportunities for students, while avoiding the trap of forcing an advocacy position on students. The presentation details the social media and print media strategies deployed by the students.

Also, after the class the students involved in the group were interviewed as a focus group, and discussed the difference between empowering students projects and those that merely hand wave to sustainability and environmental action. The presentation reports on this focus group research as well.

I work in an interdisciplinary field, so securing funding for my conference travel is sometimes difficult, since I don't attend the typical political science conferences. Still, I'm about to graduate and desperately need to network with this interdisciplinary community. Thanks for your help! (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 14.3)"


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - English

Life and Death: The High Stakes of Children’s Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Novels

"This conference presentation will look at two examples of Choose-Your-Own-Path literature from the 1980s: Bantam Books’ The Horror of High Ridge, a notoriously gruesome CYOA novel, and Christine DeVault’s Sexuality Decision-Making Series, a CYOA adaptation designed for the sex-ed classroom. I decided to conduct a quantitative analysis of these CYOA texts for this project. I mapped out all of the possible paths in the CYOA novels in an attempt to discern which types of decisions are rewarded and which are punished. I created several flow charts to visually represent the potential paths through these game books. I argue that, though CYOA novels, like cautionary tales, do reward “good” decisions and punish “bad” ones, often with death, these 1980s CYOA adaptations are more progressive than not, emphasizing independent thinking, collaboration, and altruism.

This project speaks to the interests of children’s literature scholarship and childhood studies. It engages with questions of childhood agency and adult attitudes towards children’s actions. It further presents a more complicated representation of what is thought to be a conservative genre of children’s literature and a conservative era in American history. However, it also expands beyond the fields of literature and childhood studies because it applies quantitative analysis to literature. Franco Moretti advocates for this approach in Graphs, Maps, Trees as a means of building interdisciplinary lines of communication across fields. Thus, one of the most significant potential impacts of this project is that is contributes to the rise of interdisciplinary approaches to scholarship, which is even more important during this time in academia when funding for—and interest in—the humanities is dwindling. More projects like this one could potentially help to bridge the gap between the humanities and the sciences and raise out-of-field interest in English studies.

(Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 15.4)"


College of Agricultural and Life Sciences - Microbiology and Cell Science

The molecular mechanisms of LdtR, a global transcriptional regulator of the citrus pathogen ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ The expansion of huanglongbing disease (HLB) has resulted in a crisis in the citrus industry with no solution in sight. The causative agent of HLB is the citrus pathogen ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ (CLas). This pathogen possesses a very simple gene regulatory system, where only 10 transcriptional regulators appear to control the expression of the rest of its genes. Previously, we identified new chemicals that targeted and inhibited LdtR, a regulator that activates a cell wall modification enzyme. In the closely related species Sinorhizobium meliloti, a mutant in ldtR resulted in morphological changes and reduced tolerance to osmotic stress. A similar behaviour was observed after a chemical inactivation of LdtR in S. meliloti and Liberibacter crescens. Our first objective was to identify LdtR’s ligand binding pocket, defined as the amino acids that interact with the chemicals. To this end, a model of LdtR was constructed and the amino acids that interact with the small molecule benzbromarone were predicted. Using site-directed mutagenesis in each of these predicted amino acids we identified which residues are in fact involved in the specific binding to benzbromarone. DNA binding assays, thermal denaturation, and in vivo assays confirmed the role of three residues of LdtR in sensing benzbromarone. The second objective was to identify and characterize other genes in CLas regulated by LdtR. The DNA binding sequence of LdtR was identified by DNA binding and DNase protection assays. With this specific sequence, we determined LdtR may regulate the expression of 40 genes in CLas. Using an in vitro model with citrus infected shoots we confirmed that LdtR modulates the expression of genes involved in cell division and cell wall biosynthesis. These results provide new evidence about the gene regulatory system of CLas and offer novel foundations for the design of new antimicrobial therapies to fight HLB. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 14.4)

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