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Home > Academics > Support Programs > Center for Teaching & Learning > Projects

2010-2011 Student-Led Projects

This academic year, we awarded 15 fellowships for student-led projects, involving 16 undergraduates. We also recognized 9 projects as deserving honorable mention. More information on all of these projects appears below.

 URME Student Projects Spring 2011

SeilerKimCommunity Supported Agriculture in Glendale, Queens.
The role of ideology and communication in a Community Supported Agriculture organization (CSA) in Glendale, Queens will be analyzed through the use of participant observation. This project seeks to explain how the CSA works as an institution to reproduce cultural assumptions about food production and consumption in new members.
Anthropology/ Urban StudiesJeff Maskovsky
OttRosemarieThe effect of Presentation level on English speech recognition by non-native speakers of English
Listening at high-presentation levels often decreases speech recognition performance.  It is not known how high-presentation levels affect the English-speech recognition of non-native English speakers.  Data will indicate whether decreases in performance at high- presentation levels for non-native speakers are similar to native-English speakers (a decrease at the cochlear level) or disproportionately worse (a decrease at the neural level).
(Linguistics and Communication DisordersLauren Calandruccio,PhD
WeintrabJenniferNon-native English speakers’ speech-in-noise performance: effects of spectral reduction
When listening to English speech in noise, non-native speakers of English perform more poorly than native-English speakers.  It is not known how non-native speakers of English are affected by spectral reductions of the speech signal when listening to English speech-in-noise.  This experiment examines non-native English speech recognition performance with low-pass filtered, high-pass filtered and broadband English speech signals.
Linguistics Communications DisordersLauren Calandruccio,  PhD
RogawskiErikaAdapting PECS for Use in a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Home
Children with autism have difficulty acquiring language. Research shows the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) improves language-use in school settings.  Scant research focuses on the effectiveness of PECS in home settings. We adapted PECS for home-use and trained a bilingual mother to implement PECS for her child with autism.
Linguistics Communications DisordersElizabeth Ijalba, PhD
FitzgeraldGregoryThe Role of Dopamine in Fat-Induced Conditioned Flavor Preference in BALB/c and SWR Mice
The brain’s dopamine system is involved in the learned preference for fatty substances. This study will examine (a) the effect of dopamine antagonism on the acquisition and expression of fat-CFP (conditioned flavor preference), and (b) the extent to which genetic variance (between BALB/c and SWR mouse strains) modulates this preference.
PsychologyRichard Bodnar PHD
DavidDanielDevelopment of New Methods of Synthesis of Isoquinolinone Scaffolds via Palladium-Catalyzed Cyclization of Alkynes
Isoquinolin-1-ones are currently synthesized by the means of two separate reactions including (1) the palladium/copper catalyzed coupling and (2) the copper catalyzed cyclization. Our goal is to develop a new method of isoquinolinone scaffold production, by the means of a microwave assisted, one-pot, palladium catalyzed synthesis.
Chemistry / BiochemistryYu Chen, PHD
LifshitzRachelPrenatal Influence of Environmental Toxin Exposure
My research examines unique contributions of environmental toxin exposure during pregnancy on child neurobiological development through epigenetic mechanisms. Nesting on the Stress in Pregnancy Study, I will link toxins found in participants' biological samples of partum blood, cord blood, and meconium to prenatal exposure of toxins found in plastics and beauty products.
PsychologyYoko Nomura, PHD
ChingJaneMigration Aids Pathogen Persistence
Virus population growth on new host is insufficient for virus long term persistence. According to ecological theory, sink populations will extinct unless they adapt to the new habitat or are rescued by frequent migration from sources. This experiment will test the hypothesis that virus adaptation in sink habitats is directly proportional to the number of immigrants from source populations allowed to enter the habitat.
BiologyJohn Dennehy, PhD
Khan, KalambogiasSafraz, JohnMicroglia within the mouse somatosensory barrel cortex: Developmental and sensory dependent reorganization
Microglia, are the main line of defense the central nervous system.  Microglia, constantly monitor the central nervous system for signs of damage and carry out the appropriate response.  We intend to quantify the normal development of microglia and their response to sensory deprivation (via whisker trimming) in mouse somatosensory cortex
(Neuroscience and Economics, minor in Chemistry)Joshua Brumberg, PHD
ChienKin Yip: Regulation of vertebrate embryogenesis by the Exon Junction Complex
The exon junction complex has been shown to play a role in pigment cell, nerve and muscle development in the frog xenopus laevis.  The goal of this project is to use molecular techniques to identify genes and/or transcripts regulated by the EJC that function within these pathways.
( Economics and psychologyDan Weinstein, PHD
SonawaneAnitaExploring the Effect of Debt Burdens on Homeownership
For the purposes of this study, a sample of homeowners in the Survey of Consumer Finances will be examined. Using econometric models, this project will determine the extent to which groups were overburdened with housing costs during the subprime mortgage crisis. Furthermore, does the data reflect predatory practices in subprime lending?
EconomicsRyan Edwards, PHD
NasserOmer: Isolation and Characterization of the Constitutive Photomorphogenic 1 (COP1) Gene from Ceratopteris richardii
The Constitutive Photomorphogenic 1(COP1) gene is responsible for suppression of light-regulated growth in plants.  This project aims to isolate this gene from the fern Ceratopteris richardii in order to study its expression under various light wavelengths and its effects at different developmental stages.
BiologyTimothy Short, PHD
DavidEvaMicroglia and their Role in Neuronal Replacement in the Zebra Finch
I am quantifying microglia in zebra finch auditory cortex to understand the relationship between dying cells and new neurons. If there is increased cell death in NCM, we expect to see increased microglia, supporting the hypothesis that new neurons appear due to increased cell death of young neurons.
NeuroscienceCarolyn Pytte, PHD
SaniSonamThe Role of Neuropeptide Y in BDNF-mediated Inflammatory Processes
Autoimmune diseases have plagued the lives of many.  Developing a greater understanding of these diseases increases hope for future treatments.  This project will use behavioral and experimental approaches to explore the mechanisms by which BDNF and neuropeptide Y mediate inflammation in the presence of autoimmune sympathetic dysfunction."
PsychologySusan Croll, PHD
KormanShoshanaNew neuron incorporation in the song motor pathway is correlated with post-deafening song stability
I am using the zebra finch songbird to study the relationship between neurogenesis and behavioral stability. My research is proposing that neuronal replacement is correlated with increased stability in the song motor program, rather than the generally supposed idea that new neurons contribute solely to song motor plasticity.
PsychologyCarolyn Pytte, PHD
YakubovYakobThe Role of Opioids in Fat-Induced Conditioned Flavor Preferences in BALB/cJ and SWR/J Mice.
The brain’s opioid system is involved in the learned preference for fatty substances. This study will examine (a) the effect of opioid antagonism on the acquisition and expression of fat-CFP (conditioned flavor preference), and (b) whether genetic variance (between BALB/c and SWR mouse strains) can modulate this preference.
PsychologyRichard Bodnar PHD
YakubovMarkSynthesis and Physicochemical Characterization of Sol-gel Based Nanoparticles
Chemistry/ Biochemistry
UcanerIlkerAn Investigation on, "The Alcoran of Mahomet, Translated out of Arabic into French.”
PerrotaNicole: Relation of Trait Emotional Processing and Awareness to Cognitive Control
Biology/ Psychology
LeonJesse: The Sustainability of Small Newspapers
KljyanJanetThe Future of Manufacturing in New York City: Is the Industrial Business Zone Policy working
Urban Studies/ Economics
JhunKevinDoes It Pay to Cooperate or Do It Yourself? Evolution of Cooperative Antibiotic Resistance among Escherichia coli Populations
Biology/ Applied Mathematics
HeitmanJoelMentoring Aspiring Student Teachers in Science Lecture Demonstrations
Chemistry/ Biochemistry
GalarazaVenusTreasonous Queens: Enemies of Tudor England
FinkelsteinAndrewPost Cue Effects of Fear on Timing in Human Observers

UR/ME Logo, designed by Kevin Wong (UR/ME student participant, spring 2010)


 UR/ME Organizing Committee, 2010-2011

  • Kristin Celello (History)
  • Stephen Pekar (School of Earth and Environmental Sciences)
  • Dean Savage (Sociology)
  • Edward Smaldone (Aaron Copland School of Music)
  • Noura Embabi (Student, Linguistics & Communication Disorders)
  • Adesh Bajnath (Student, Biology & Neuroscience)
  • Eva Fernández (Center for Teaching & Learning)
  • Yasemin Jones (Office of the Provost)

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