College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Chemistry

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By representing UF, I will also help to initiate future collaborations between UF and international universities and research institutions. Once researchers have a contact person at an institution, they are more likely to consider future collaboration with that institution. Increased collaboration will also lead to more grant money for research projects and publications linked to UF."


College of Agricultural and Life Sciences - Microbiology and Cell Science

Gastroenteritis on the risk of celiac disease autoimmunity in young children: the TEDDY study

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the consumption of gluten by a genetically predisposed individual leads to the destruction of epithelial cells in the small intestine. We were interested in determining how respiratory and gastrointestinal infections may contribute to the risk of developing this disease. In collaboration with a multinational prospective cohort study called The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY) study, we examined the infectious history and development of celiac disease autoimmunity in 6,297 children at higher genetic risk for celiac disease in their first four years of life. We found that respiratory infections did not contribute to an increased risk of autoimmunity, but gastrointestinal infections did. More specifically, a gastrointestinal infection that occurred between three and six months before autoimmunity increased the risk of autoimmunity by 22%. This risk association was especially strong in children who develop autoimmunity before two years of age, suggesting that events in early life may shape the development of autoimmunity. We also found that this association was only present in those children born in the fall and winter months, between September and February. This suggest that a viral gastrointestinal disease may be responsible for the risk association, but further analyses are needed to pinpoint the exact causative agent. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 18.5)


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - Anthropology

The Practice of Maya Customary Law: Contestation of the Belize nation-state’s hegemony.

"Human groups have customs which give rise to rules and laws. These rules and laws are enforced by religious councils, courts, and rural communities. In Southern Belize Maya customary law has existed and has been practiced orally by the Alcalde system, a traditional community council. For a long time the government did not place much interest in the traditional practice of Maya customary law by the communities. It is argued that Maya customary law exists today because the government was not present in the communities of Southern Belize before the 1800s. This gave a lot of “freedom” to the communities to practice their traditions, including their law. Today, Maya customary law is widely practiced and respected in almost all Maya communities of Southern Belize. However, its practice has challenged the government’s rule.

This paper discusses two instances where Maya people try to maintain their freedom to run their communities as they please. These are: the election and removal of Alcaldes (traditional leaders), and, the decision making process over lands by Alcaldes. A tit-for-tat occurs when Maya communities practice their traditional law which are sometimes tolerated and other times over-ruled by the government. Information for this study is gathered from documents of the association of Alcaldes of Southern Belize; news reports; social media; and from personal observations while volunteering for the association. Information gathered shows how the government wants to rule these Maya communities, but, the communities challenge the government’s attempt to rule them. The communities use Belizean courts and laws to protect them against the government, even when these courts and laws have been used against them by the government. The central argument is that the government gets involved in a losing tit-for-tat to assert its existence. If the government did not intervene it would be made irrelevant; thus, non-existent. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 13.4)"


College of Health and Human Performance - Applied Physiology and Kinesiology

Explicit response codes modulate the influence of emotional stimuli on approach-avoidance behavior and selectively impact subjective emotional experience

It is well known that emotions impact our ability to perform various tasks. When humans encounter emotional stimuli in the environment, they are motivated to approach or avoid. This change in distance can be considered an implicit (or unstated) emotional influence. However, it is also known that explicit (or stated) factors, such as instructions about how to move (e.g., move towards, move away), carry an emotional component that can modulate the effects of emotion on the motor system. All of the previous experimental work using explicit instructional codes has been done with upper extremity movements, which are naturally ambiguous with regards to distance regulation. For example, individuals can reach out to grasp desired objects or reach out to push away something undesirable. We sought to clarify the relative impact of implicit distance regulation mechanisms and explicit instructional mechanisms on clear approach (forward walking) and avoidance (backward walking) movements. To do this participants were given either an approach (Toward) or avoidance (Away) instruction, which dictated the direction they walked (forward vs backward) in separate trial blocks. Participants initiated walking after viewing various pleasant and unpleasant emotional pictures known to affect walking behavior. Additionally, they rated pictures on emotional intensity and emotional pleasantness following the experiment. Our results indicate that explicit instructional codes selectively influence the degree to which pleasant and unpleasant emotions impact walking behavior. This was documented through changes in the walking initiation, walking speed, and stepping force. These results provide further evidence of the influence of emotions on movement behaviors. Perhaps more interesting, if participants received an instructional code that was incompatible with the direction they walked prior to rating the images (e.g., Toward instructions, backward gait direction), they rated emotional pictures as less pleasant and more arousing. These results support the influence of movement behaviors on emotional experiences. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 14.6)


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - Botany

RAD-Seq vs. microsatellites for population genetic inference

"Phylogeography is the study of how and why species occur where they do; the word ‘phylogeography’ is a combination of phylogeny and geography. In phylogeographic studies, researchers attempt to correlate the evolutionary relationships (phylogeny) among different individuals or populations within a species with the geographical distribution of the species. Typically, genetic markers (such as DNA sequences) are used to construct the phylogeny. DNA sequences are extracted from several individuals in many populations spaced over the entire range of the species, and geographic data is recorded for each sampled population. Next, the DNA sequences can be used to construct a phylogeny (that shows the evolutionary history of the species) and the geographic data can be used to trace how the species evolved on a landscape. Ultimately, information in the DNA can inform us about tens of thousands of years of a species’ evolutionary history. In this study, I compare two types of genetic markers (microsatellites and RAD-Seq) to investigate the utility of each marker for population genetic and phylogeographic studies.

My research includes studying the phylogeography of red mangroves, a tree species that occurs in estuarine habitats throughout the neotropics. Mangroves provide important ecosystem services, such as nutrient and water cycling, and they provide habitat for other species. Furthermore, mangroves are valuable for retaining sediment and preventing coastal erosion. As climate change threatens to alter sea levels at an unprecedented rate, it is important to conserve species that can mitigate the effects of sea level rise. Understanding the evolutionary history of mangroves—and knowing how and why they exist where they currently do—will help inform where they are likely to survive (or not survive) in the future. The results of this study will help guide future conservation efforts involving this species and other coastal species.

(Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 16.1)"


College of Agricultural and Life Sciences - Microbiology and Cell Science

The Effect of Simulated Microgravity on Streptococcus mutans Oxidative Stress Resistance, Global Gene Expression, and Biofilm Formation

Spaceflight and subsequent low gravity and microgravity environmental exposure has been shown to cause physiological changes in organisms such as mammals, plants and bacteria. As the possibility of colonizing other planets becomes more likely, understanding the effects that long-term exposure to altered gravity conditions will have on human physiology as well as human-pathogen interactions will be essential. This understanding will allow scientists to implement preventative measures to reduce negative physiological changes that occur during spaceflight. Currently, a number of health risks have been associated with long-term orbital space flights including decreased bone mineral density, prolonged exposure to ionizing and non-ionising forms of radiation and psychological problems from isolation, and confinement. Medical event analysis from 1995 to 1998 of Russian astronauts in the space station Mir indicated a significant number of microbial infections, including acute respiratory, conjunctivitis and dental infections. Microgravity exposure in astro! nauts can cause decreased salivary flow, bone loss of the mandible, and increased predisposition to cavities along with periodontal disease. However, the specific biological response of the cavity-causing oral bacteria such as Streptococcus mutans to microgravity has not been extensively investigated. In this study, microgravity was simulated using High Aspect Ratio Vessel (HARV), and S. mutans cultures were assessed for hydrogen peroxide resistance, competence, and for adherence to hydroxyapatite (HA) powder (simulating growth on tooth surface). Metabolomics and RNAseq analyses were also performed on S. mutans HARV cultures, and expression of 153 genes was up-regulated ≥ 2-fold under microgravity growth, and 94 genes were down-regulated ≥ 2-fold under microgravity growth. These included a number of genes potentially involved in stress responses. The results suggest that microgravity-induced changes in S. mutans gene expression and physiology may alter the cariogenic potential of this organism during space flight missions. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 18.3)


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

Mitigating Human-Elephant Conflict: Transboundary Issues between Nepal and India

Elephants that travel from India to Eastern Nepal in search of food are causing various kinds of problem, especially in a village (named: Bahundangi). Human elephant conflict has led to: human casualty and disability; elephant casualty; property and crop loss; food insecurity; decrease in property values; societal insecurity; displacement; and youth out-migration.Despite the problems, there is the lack of the research to understand the actual impact and the attitude of people towards the conflict, so that the management could take proper and long term actions. To fill this gap, we carried out a research in the village. Our research involved mixed method involving both qualitative and quantitative method. We carried out six focus group discussions and also carried out the household survey in 566 households. Our survey had the total of six section. We found that every household in the community was bearing economic loss of USD 159 dollar every year. We also found that people were afraid of the elephants and were hesitant to send children to the schools. They think that both Nepal and India government should work to solve the problem. We recommend that the community, the government of Nepal and the government of India should work together to solve the problem. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 12.2)



Professional Development: This conference is an annual conference for orthodontists to get many academic training courses. The information provided here is from the experts in the field and is based on evidence based dentistry. There is also cutting edge techno! logy that will be presented that will better patient care. Since I will be a UF graduate, it is imperative to have a good name for the graduates of the school and the education and opportunity being offered is above and beyond what is minimally expected. Panels to attend: During the 2015 AAO Annual Session: Bridging Science & Technology there will be multiple seminars where we will have the opportunity to learn about many different orthodontic softwares. This will help the orthodontic community increase efficiency and find which programs have what benefits and uses. There will be meetings about the biomechanics involved in orthodontics, which is essential in diagnosis and treatment planning patients. There will be meetings on surgical issues involving interdisciplinary care, Class II and Class III corrections and treatments, cleft lip and palate cases, and accelerated orthodontic treatment. Also, at this meeting, there will be opportunity to see the cutting edge technology that will soon be released on the market to enhance patient care. Learning to diagnose the problems in a patient accurately enhances your ability to have a correct treatment plan and excellent final result. There are courses being offered to aid in diagnosis. Experts: There will be many orthodontic professionals and experts at this national annual conference. There will be opportunity for the experts to present the best literature based information to us.

The benefit this conference will give to the student body and the greater UF community is the opportunity to bring back information and knowledge and apply it to my everyday routine in the clinic over my next 2.5 years of residency. The craniofacial classes are of high importance, considering the amount of patients we see in the UF Health craniofacial clinic from all over Florida. This trip will give me the opportunity to stay on top of the latest information, and continue this life-long learning profession that is ever-evolving.


College of Agricultural and Life Sciences - Agricultural Education and Communication

Identifying Student Cultural Awareness and Perceptions of Different Cultures

Students in the college of Agriculture are faced with entering to a more diverse workforce than ever before. Traditionally, agriculturally focused students are not prepared to work with people of different cultures. Agricultural production in the US heavily relies on immigrant workers. As students enter the workforce, they will be called upon to not only work with immigrant populations but to also engage with immigration legislation. It is important that students are aware their biases and perceptions of undocumented immigrants. This study sought to explore how the colorblind racial attitudes of College of Agriculture undergraduate students influence their perceptions of undocumented immigrants. This was done through administration of a questionnaire to 253 CALS students. This study provides insight into attitudes of students in Colleges of Agriculture toward undocumented immigrants. It also shows how their level of colorblindness affects their attitudes. Overall, students reported being undecided in their attitudes toward undocumented immigrants and had a moderate level of colorblindness. We also found that as the level of colorblindness increased, attitudes toward immigrants decreased or became more negative in nature. Therefore showing that if students adopt a colorblind racial attitude, it can be predicted that they will have less favorable attitudes toward undocumented immigrants and vice versa. This helps to make the case for the importance of a multicultural perspective. Multiculturalism can be lead to better working relationships and increased production within an organization (Lockwood, 2005). Agricultural undergraduate students should be taught to foster multiculturalism. This can encourage students to be better informed about how immigration and immigration reform affects the industry and prepare them to work in a field where diversity needs to be valued. Furthermore, multiculturalism can help to raise overall cultural awareness and foster better attitudes toward different cultures. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 15.9)


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - Botany

Revision of Icacinaceae from the Early Eocene London Clay flora based on X-ray micro-CT

The London Clay flora is an assemblage of plant fossils from the United Kingdom, around 55-50 million years old. The fossils consist mostly of fruits and seeds and are beautifully preserved, allowing for detailed comparisons with living plants to determine the taxonomic identity of the fossils. Although this fossil assemblage was extensively studied back in the 1930s, we currently know much more about the evolution and morphology of modern fruits and seeds. Furthermore, we have excellent new technologies (such as X-ray scanning, which allows us to view inside fossil fruits without destroying them) for examining fossil plants. This sets the stage for a detailed re-investigation of the species preserved in this important fossil plant assemblage. In this talk, we present a re-investigation of fossil fruits and seeds attributed to the tropical plant family Icacinaceae, which is the subject of my dissertation, and one of the most diverse and abundantly preserved components of the London Clay flora. We use new X-ray scanning techniques to study the fruits in detail, with close comparison to modern fruits of the family, to determine the taxonomic identifies of the fossils. This work provides a much-improved understanding of the evolutionary history of Icacinaceae, and offers an important glimpse on the types of plants growing in the United Kingdom back in the early Eocene (ca. 50 million years ago). (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 14.3)


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - Psychology

Examining the Explicit-Zero Effect Via Behavior-Behavior Relations

Delay discounting is a term that refers to the devaluation of a reward the further delayed it is in the future. In humans, delay discounting is typically assessed by presenting choices between smaller-immediate (SI) and larger-later (LL) hypothetical monetary rewards. Although previous research indicates that an individual’s rate of delay discounting is relatively stable, a number of variables have been found to influence discounting rate. For example, simply changing the format in which these hypothetical discounting choices are presented has been found to influence discounting rate. Relative to the traditional format frame (e.g., “Would you prefer $50 today, or to wait 162 days for $100?”), presenting the choice options in terms of a sequence (e.g., “Would you prefer $50 today and $0 in 162 days, or $0 today and $100 in 162 days?”) has been found to result in significantly higher proportions of choices for the LL reward. This effect has been termed the explicit-zero effect. Using a within-subjects design, undergraduate students completed the monetary choice questionnaire (MCQ), and a modified version of the MCQ with the choice options presented in the explicit-zero format frame. In addition, during the completion of each task participants were instructed to think-aloud. The results of the current study replicate previous findings; a significantly higher proportion of LL choices was observed when the choice options were presented in the explicit-zero format, relative to the traditional format. Unfortunately, consistent relationships between discounting choices and participants’ verbalizations have not been identified. Given that these formatting changes result in changes in discounting rate which presumably involve changes in decision-making processes, the use of a think-aloud procedure during the completion of these tasks may help to uncover how these changes in wording are causing changes in discounting rate. (Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 14.1)



During the 2015 AAO Annual Session: Bridging Science & Technology I will be attending meetings on the different types of software available ! to orthodontists a! nd how to use them to stream line efficiency in a practice. I will also be attending meetings on biomechanics/surgical issues and either Class II or Class III correction treatment options as well as orthodontic correction of cleft lip/palate and lastly Non-Invasive Accelerated Orthodontics. Apart from this I will be attending the exhibition hall during breaks to see what different companies are offering in new technology. This will all help in my professional development because of the following reasons: First, the software classes aid in helping us choose what software will best facilitate the stream lining of our office and management of patients. This is invaluable to a successful orthodontic practice and as the leader in a dental office it is our responsibility to know what is out there and how to use our own software so we can delegate to our staff. Second, classes on biomechanics and treatment options is necessary for the core of practicing orthodont! ics. These class! es will help me develop the diagnostic skills needed and add to the armamentarium of treatment options that I can use to help my patients. Lastly, classes on non invasive accelerated orthodontics will directly impact the UF community since I will be doing my research thesis on this subject and will hopefully be able to publish my findings. I hope to have the opportunity to create dialogue with my peers on new things that I learn and with the speakers whom are at the forefront of technological advancements in orthodontics

The benefit that my travel will have for the student body and the greater UF community is that I will be learning about new technology available to orthodontists to shorten treatment time and adding to the knowledge I have learned during my training so far. In so doing, I will be better equipped to serve my patients, some of which include students that attend UF and those that are served by our craniofacial department. The trip will also enhance my learning of accelerated orthodontic tooth moveme! nt, which as I mentioned, is what I will be writing my thesis on. I hope that by attending I will learn more on the subject that will aid in writing a paper that is of publishable quality that will provide UF with the pride and prestige due its Orthodontic Program


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - Political Science

Through my attendance at the Institute for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research at Syracuse University, I intend to sharpen and expand the methodological tools at my disposal. In addition to coursework, all institute participants will be given the opportunity to present research proposals to faculty and colleagues in order to receive feedback and suggestions on design and methodology. Because my dissertation project will utilize interviews, comparative case studies, and archival research, undergoing additional training in these methods will help me to become a more competent and responsible researcher, which will allow me to produce the type of scholarship that will most capably represent the University of Florida. The Institute has not released a finalized schedule yet, but the faculty regularly hold sessions on discourse analysis, case selection, interpretive methods, interviews, and archival research. Once the schedule is released, I will register for the sessions that are most appropriate for my research questions. In addition, IQMR ordinarily offers its participants the opportunity to interact with and learn from well-known scholars. Of particular interest to me would be the opportunity to get feedback on my proposed research design from scholars such as James Mahoney, Andrew Bennett, Ted Hopf, and Lisa Wedeen.

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