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Wednesday, April 20th
8:50 AM

Phage Discovery: Isolating bacteriophages capable of infecting either Arthrobacter globiformis, Gordonia rubripertincta or Microbacterium foliorum from soil samples collected at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

Edwin Alcantara, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy
Sage Owen, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy
Makayla Zheng, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

8:50 AM - 9:05 AM

Over the last few decades, research has been conducted on bacteriophages, viruses that infect bacteria, and the potential of phage therapy to serve as an alternative to antibiotics. Phage therapy has high specificity, lower chance of resistance, and minimal disturbance to “good” bacteria, making it a worthy alternative. However, more research is needed to identify candidates for phage therapy. This ... Read More

Pollinator Growth Rates in a Changing Climate

Catelyn Rounds, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

8:50 AM - 9:05 AM

While climate change threatens extreme weather events and rising ocean levels, its effects will also impact important pollinators that we rely on for crops and native ecosystems. While the larval stages are considered to be an agricultural pest, in their adult stage, the hawk moths are important pollinators, contributing heavily to healthy, native ecosystems in the Midwest. Temperature-induced changes in ... Read More

9:10 AM

Continuous Temperature Measurements in Donor Hearts during Organ Procurement

Siddu Bangaru, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

9:10 AM - 9:25 AM

In-the-current standard-of-care mechanism for donor heart transport, the organ is immersed in preservation solution inside of a sterile plastic jar, triple-bagged, and placed inside a cooler filled with ice. Literature describing the relationship between transport conditions and post-transplant outcomes is very limited. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the relationship of donor heart temperature with major elements of post-transplant success.

This ... Read More

JAG1 Role in the Extravasation of Metastasized TNBC

Bhavya Vegesna, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

9:10 AM - 9:25 AM

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive subclass defined by its lack of hormonal receptors and HER2 amplification. Although TNBC only accounts for 15% of all invasive breast cancers, there are limited therapeutic options for patients with TNBC. Although breast cancer patients have a favorable prognosis if ... Read More

The Effect of Vitamin D on Glioblastoma Multiforme T98G Cells

Serena Gacek, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

9:10 AM - 9:25 AM

Vitamin D has been proven to have anti-proliferative effects on several different types of cancer, including Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). The use of supplemental Vitamin D has demonstrated a reduced mortality rate in GBM patients, and the expression of the Vitamin D Receptor may be associated with a better prognosis for GBM patients. To further establish the tumoricidal efficacy of Vitamin ... Read More

9:30 AM

Investigating Plastome Expression of Rubisco Activase in Chlamydomonas Reinhardtii as a Platform for Directed Evolution

Adam Daki '22, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy
Kevin Qu, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy
Rishik Ummareddy, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

9:30 AM - 9:45 AM

Our goal is to engineer a system for expressing Rubisco Activase variants from the chloroplast genome in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. We can characterize the effects of these variants on assimilation and cell growth at various temperatures. Ultimately, this system will enable directed evolution of RCA isoforms for improved thermotolerance. To do this, we have built plasmids with several different promoters using ... Read More

10:05 AM

Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Communities in Grassland Restorations

Christian Cline, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

10:05 AM - 10:20 AM

Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi (AMF) is a type of soil fungus that forms a symbiotic relationship with plant roots to assist the plant with gathering nutrients throughout the soil and managing water stress. We compared the AMF communities of an abandoned field inside the Morton Arboretum between 2016 and 2021 to determine if the addition of native tallgrass prairie plants, a ... Read More

10:25 AM

Conceptual Life History Model for the Western Burrowing Owl

Elizabeth Carlson, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

10:25 AM - 10:40 AM

The Burrowing Owl of California has been noted as a species of concern regarding the development of solar energy facilities in their habitat. Successful conservation planning requires a deep understanding of the species’ population dynamics. This knowledge is scattered throughout studies and a singular model regarding the owl’s life history does not exist. Thus, we developed a conceptual life history ... Read More

Exploring Ancestral Sequences

Nathaniel Gao '23, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

10:25 AM - 10:40 AM

Ancestral sequence reconstruction, commonly abbreviated as ASR, is a method used to estimate the sequence and properties of an extinct organism’s genes. Exploring ancestral sequences has shown the possibility of resurrecting ancient genes for use in current research. Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, or CRISPR, is used in prokaryotes as their antiviral system. Cas9, an enzyme associated with CRISPR, ... Read More

The Role of the Nucleolus and the Effects of its Protein Knockdown on the Differentiation of Keratinocyte Cells

Rohit Katakam, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy
Margaret Wei, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

10:25 AM - 10:40 AM

Use immunofluorescence microscopy and knockdown nucleolar proteins that inhibit certain nucleolar structures to determine whether the nucleolus influences differentiation in keratinocyte cells.

Keratinocytes are structures in the human epidermis that highlight the differences between the basal and surface layers of the skin. In a small area, all stages of cell differentiation can be observedin a single keratinocyte sample. Throughout cellular ... Read More

10:45 AM

The Use of fNIRS in Developmental Psychology

Shreeya Avadhanula, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

10:45 AM - 11:00 AM

During the course of this research project, we study how children of young ages solve simple math problems, along with identifying their exact thought process and ideas. One of the prominent things researchers observe are gestures. What is it about gesturing that makes it such an effective tactic for mankind? Why is gesturing so prominent in human nature? In order ... Read More

11:25 AM

Exploring RCA Heat Stress Acclimation Strategies in C4 Grasses

Amanda Chen, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy
Em Johnson, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy
Laila Walton, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

11:25 AM - 11:50 AM

As global temperatures continue to rise, food security has become an increasingly relevant problem growing out of maintaining crop yield under adverse environments, and one approach is to improve photosynthesis activity in plants. Photosynthesis in many plant species is limited when ambient temperatures increase past their optimal range. As a result, our research aims to explore and improve the performance ... Read More