Undergraduate Library Research Award (ULRA): 2016 ULRA Winners
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Hugh Crethar
Project Title: Attitudes and Discrimination towards Sexual Minorities on a College Campus
Project Abstract: This study seeks to identify factors influencing discriminatory thoughts or actions towards sexual minority students at a large, southern, public land-grant institution. The study discusses the milestones of sexual orientation development as identified through prior research in addition to discrimination and stigmatization within social and professional settings. Using the Centrality of Religiosity Scale and the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Knowledge and Attitudes Scale, this study seeks to analyze the implications religiosity, race, ethnicity, level of education, and gender have on sexual minority discrimination among college students. After analysis, it has been found that race, ethnicity, and gender are predictors of sexual minority discrimination while religiosity and level of education are not.
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Gilbert John
Project Title: The Effect of Azoreductase AzoR Gene Knockout on Quinone Reductase Activity and Antibiotic Resistance of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa
Project Abstract: Infections with Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) can be dangerous, even deadly, as the bacteria are notoriously antibiotic-resistant and few, new anti-PA-drugs have been developed in recent years. Interestingly, PA has been shown to possess up to three genes for the enzyme azoreductase (AzoR), which is implicated in antibiotic resistance and also shows antibacterial and antifungal quinone oxidoreductase activity. Our question was whether the genes coding for AzoR activity in PA could be isolated, cloned, and transformed into Escherichia coli (E. coli) for individual characterization and testing. Our hypothesis was that, in such a model, AzoR from PA would demonstrate quinone oxidoreductase activity, and this, in turn, may increase antibiotic resistance and survival. Our methods utilized a bioinformatics search of the PA genome, which identified a protein with putative azoreductase ability, annotated as PA2580. The polymerase chain reaction was then utilized to amplify and clone the corresponding AzoR gene into the expression plasmid vector (pET15b), the plasmid vector was transferred into E.coli strain BL21 (DE3), and it was confirmed that the E.coli were successfully transformed with the plasmid containing our gene of interest. These transformants can now be used in additional studies to assess whether the presence of the PA AzoR gene is associated with greater resistance to antibiotics versus that shown in the wild type of E.coli.
Upperclassman Honorable Mention
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Elizabeth Williams
Project Title: Men’s Fashion in the 19th Century: The Birth of the Three-Piece Suit
Project Abstract: Today, you cannot walk through a Fortune 500 company’s building without seeing men in business suits. Though it seems like the suit has existed as a standard clothing piece since the dawn of time, it is actually a rather recent development. The business suit is a result of the great shift in societal ideas presented in the nineteenth century. It was during this period that the Industrial Revolution turned society on its head. During the Victorian Period, beginning in the 1830’s and ending in 1900, a rise in the middle-class occurred thanks to the industrialization of England. Rising middle-class men desired to dress as nicely as aristocratic gentlemen, yet retain the sensibility of a professional Victorian man. This led to a clash of ideals that would ultimately end with a revolution in men’s clothing. In addition to the advancing production methods and an empowered middle-class, the Industrial Revolution allowed sporting activities to be enjoyed by the common man. These three changes during the nineteenth century supported the development of the three-piece suit, the forerunner of the modern man’s standard professional wear.