McNair Scholars Alumni 2004

  • Elise Lamont
    Cell/Molecular Biology

    The Effect of Berberine Chloride on Escherichia coli and Its Metaboloites Using Kirby Bauer and Tissue Culture Methods
    Faculty Mentor: Dr. M. Reza-ul Karim, Department of Biology, University of Minnesota-Duluth
    ABSTRACT: Escherichia coli 0157:H7 is a rapidly evolving microbe that is responsible for over 20,000 reported cases of bacterial infection each year in the United States along [1]. 250 of the 20,000 cases result in death [1]. This gram-negative bacterium produces a cholera-like toxin which renders its host susceptible to dehydration, salt imbalance, mild to severe bloody diarrhea, fever, and possible death [15]. Escherichia coli 0157:h7 has been linked to antibiotic resistance and persister cell survival [3,7]. Berberine Chloride, an ammonium alkaloid found in the Coptis chinensis and Berberis aristata plants, has been used as a dietary supplement in Chinese, Ayurvedic, and Native American medicine. It is now studied for its applications in HIV treatment, cancer treatment, and microbial infection treatment [2]. Many of the microbial studies concern the effect of berberine chloride against gram-positive bacteria, while a select number involved the use of gram-negative bacteria [13]. The purpose of this study was to test the effectiveness of berberine chloride against several common strains of Escherichia coli in vitro via the Kirby Bauer Antibacterial Sensitivity Test:E. coli 3379A, E. coli B 336, E. coli B 337, E coli B 3379B, E coli C 3371, and E coli k12, while Staphylococcus aureus 4651 served as a control. Furthermore, African Green Monkey Kidney (vero) cells and Human Epitheloid Fibroblasts (HEP-2) were tested for toxicity and protection of E. coli metabolites. Results showed that Escherichia coli and Staphylococccus aureus bacterial lawns were most affected by the 25mM concentration of berberine chloride, while 12.5mM, 2.5 mM, and 0.25mM had little, if any, impact on the above species (table 1). The largest zones of inhibition occurred in the Escherichia coli B 3379B and Escherichia coli C species. More interesting, these Escherichia coli strains showed decreased zones of inhibition with respect to streptomycin (table 1 and figure 2). Experiments concerning vero and HEP-2 cells with respect to Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus metabolites showed effect with the nontoxic concentration of berberine chloride. The concentration that was most effective in the protection of vero cells differed between Escherichia coli K12 and Staphylococcus aureus, which is suggestive that berberine chloride concentration is metabolite (bacterial) species dependent. Future research should include a more extensive study of HEP-2 and vero cells, as well as isolating specific metabolites to determine if berberine chloride affects a particular one. Also, studies should include the use of Escherichia coli 0157:H7 to see if similar results can be achieved and the sue of persister cells. Furthermore, gel electrophoresis and western blot analysis should be conducted on Escherichia coli strains and treated with berberin chloride to determine if genetic alteration has occurred.
  • Jessica Brandt
    Environmental Studies

    Decreasing the Demand on Forests of the World: Alternative Building Possibilities in Wisconsin
    Faculty Mentor: Dr. Donald W. Davidson, Department of Biology, University of Wisconsin-Superior
    ABSTRACT: With current deforestation rates throughout the world, there is a need to lessen the demand on natural forests. They are important in biodiversity, climate regulation, aesthetics, education, and economy of the United States. Half of all timber harvested is used for construction of the new buildings causing forests to diminish every day. To decrease the demand on forests, alternative building materials can be used in construction to take the place of wood. The focus on Wisconsin is based on the lack of research being done in areas that have climates with varying degrees of temperature, precipitation, and severe weather. With the states rich history of environmental progressivism, it is possible that the state government would support the use of alternative materials viable for the area. Two materials were evaluated based on cost, viability, and environmental impact and both show promise for increased use. Straw bale constructions as well as a product called RASTRA are equally viable solutions Wisconsin can use to do its part in decreasing the demand on forests of the world.
  • Trudy Fredericks

    Patterns and Missing Pieces in Reconstruction History: A Look at Twenty American High School Textbooks
    Faculty Mentor: Dr. Joel M. Sipress, Department of History, University of Wisconsin-Superior
    ABSTRACT: Reconstruction is one of the most contested episodes in American history. As historians throughout the twentieth century altered their presentations of the era, American history textbook authors followed suit by adding many of the new elements the major historians brought to the discussion. Time progressed and new insights emerged within the interpretations as post-World War II America left behind the "traditional" white supremacist renditions to adopt a more "democratic" interpretation and post-Civil Rights America eventually wrote black agency into the story. As modern day historians bring back to life the discussions of Reconstruction based on economic and class struggle originally proposed in the 1930's, the question remains whether the textbook authors of today will incorporate these discussions into their narratives.
  • Vivian A. Eichmueller

    From Special Relativity to Gyrogroups
    Faculty Mentor: Dr. Steven J. Rosenberg, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Wisconsin-Superior
    ABSTRACT: We will start with special relativity and derive the velocity addition formula and the Lorentz Transformation in one spatial dimension, and we show that velocity addition yields a group law. We will then move into higher spatial dimensions and prove that relativistic velocity addition, although not a group operation, yields a gyrogroup.
  • Jayson Saumer

    A Family of Correctors
    Faculty Mentor: Dr. Chad Scott, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Wisconsin-Superior
    ABSTRACT: For the differential equation y' = f(x,y), we find a family of correctors derived from 3-point quadrature. Further, we isolate the effectiveness of these correctors and pinpoint in one specific case which member of the family is the best corrector.
  • Maja Radulovic

    Tryptophan in Daily Diets and Residents' Mood States at Bayshore Health Center, Alzheimer's Unit
    Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nancy Minahan, Psychology, Department of Human Behavior and Diversity, University of Wisconsin-Superior
    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between normal dietary tryptophan and the behavior in individuals with Alzheimer's disease, and possibly other individuals with neurodegenerative disorders. Individuals with Alzheimer's disease and the individuals who care for them may benefit from experiencing less severe symptoms of irritability and depression. It is hypothesized that a negative correlation will exist between tryptophan levels in the diet and disruptive behaviors; high tryptophan is expected to lead to few disruptive behaviors.
  • Bethany Wilfert
    Social Work

    Youth Services of Post-War Bosnia: A Needs Assessment
    Faculty Mentor: Elizabeth Blue, Social Work; Judy Dwyer, Social work; Department of Human Behavior and Diversity, University of Wisconsin-Superior
    ABSTRACT: This study examines the current state of supportive services for youth in post-war Sarajevo. It has been nearly a decade since a violent siege tore through the city of Sarajevo. During wartime, children suffer greatly and are forced to bear the consequences of war for the rest of their lives. This research study was based on face-to-face interviews with workers who deliver supportive services for children, providing insight into the needs of youth in Sarajevo and the services they need.
  • Kenneth Pearson

    Wilding and School Violence: Past and Present Trends
    Faculty Mentor: Dr. Michael Ball, Department of Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Superior
    ABSTRACT: Over the past years American schools have been subject to the most violent acts committed by children in American history. The type of violence and harassment seen at schools has become progressively worse. In this research paper, a theory called "wilding" is tested to see if it can help explain why American schools have become increasingly violent. Interviews with three school district superintendents were conducted to see if local schools of Northwest Wisconsin and Northeastern Minnesota have become more violent over the years, and what procedures and policies were implemented to curb the violence and harassment.