This summer I will be working on several projects examining the three forms of overconfidence: overestimation, overprecision, and overplacement. This phenomenon affects people’s judgments in daily life and has serious implications for the decisions people make and the outcomes they experience. This line of research raises an important epistemological question: do we actually know what we think we know?
I aim to continue working on characterizing the Plekhg2 and Plekhg3 gene pathways in African Clawed Frogs (Xenopus laevis), which will aid our understanding in the gastrulation process. Gastrulation gives rise to the ectoderm and endoderm among other structures, and has a marked migration process where cells called bottle cells initiate the “caving in” that forms aforementioned layers. The genes of interest, among others that my lab mentor and I have worked on, are thought to either kickstart or sustain the bottle cell movement. We hope to use our recently completed gene construct to run knockout (mRNA) or rescue experiments which will give us more insight on the bigger picture of gene pathways related to bottle cells and gastrulation.
The precise connections between gustatory receptor neurons (GRNs) in the fruit fly brain is not understood. My research seeks to better understand the connection between GRNs identified as water-sensing and GRNs identified as sugar-sensing. The relationship can be characterized on a behavioral basis with optogenetic activation or knockout experiments measuring the frequency of response to water and sugar stimuli. It can also be visualized by imaging fluorescently labeled dissected brains. This summer, I hope to continue collecting data with these approaches and explore other ways to fully understand the connection between the two taste modalities.
In light of COVID-19, the unhoused community has been rocked but this situation has also presented the unique opportunity to assess how pandemics affect the community. This summer research project will be specifically assessing the needs of unhoused youth in reaction to the difficulties COVID-19 has led to (loss of jobs, closing of resource centers, lack of support for the homeless, etc). I will be working on dissemination of a report regarding computer provider needs compiled during the spring, then putting together a crowd-sourcing survey to assess how unhoused youth have perceived changes in their needs in the Bay Area, and final I will work to lay the foundation for future research that looks at youth homelessness and COVID-19 on the state level. Our initial project has changed due to the different circumstances, but the Y-SE lab is continuing to move forward in acknowledging and supporting youth voices and needs.
Current methods of disease detection and diagnostics offer certain features, such as point-of-care and high sensitivity. However, they are often expensive, not customizable, or inconvenient. The premise of the project is that we can create highly sensitive customizable microfluidic sensor arrays for mass production, by identifying electrochemical signal variation based on the fluid’s composition. With microfabrication technologies and theoretical models, we can produce a device to effectively detect multiple and specific biomarkers for monitoring health.
Our motor system has an impressive ability to adapt to changes in our environment, even without the involvement of our awareness. For example, we can step from a slippery floor onto a carpet and adjust the way we walk, all without conscious planning. Recent results indicate that people adapt to a different degree when they re-experience a previously encountered environmental change. In my project, I plan to study factors that might affect these motor adjustments. Specifically, during a remote behavioral study, I will vary the amount of participants’ initial experience with an environmental change.
For the past 2 semesters, I have been working with observations of accreting compact objects (such as binary systems containing a speculated black hole) made by the NuSTAR X-ray telescope. My work focuses on stray light, the result of photons bypassing the instrument’s optics and landing directly on the detector array. I have written a python program that takes in observation event files and outputs region files highlighting areas that contain stray light. This summer, I will be refining this program as well as applying it to the process of making spectra for the stray light observations; I will also be carrying out any additional tasks for the stray light project that are delegated to me.
This summer I plan on looking at the correlation between Orientalism, within the framework provided by Edward Said’s work Orientalism, and the collection formerly on display at the Bancroft library “Object Lessons: Berkeley’s Egyptian Collection.” Exploring the role that Orientalism played in the excavation of the objects on display and permanent collection, I am hoping to show how a form of Orientalism is activated when visitors engage with certain objects within the collection. Furthermore, I will also utilize Mark Twain’s Innocents Abroad, as Twain details what a grand tour typical for upper class Americans to take in this period would be like, covering large parts of Europe and the Holy Land (including Egypt). By doing this, it will allow for a kind of exposition of the kind of framework deployed in excavations by the Americans, as well as how this line of thought still colors our perception of these artifacts […]
Pompe disease is a lysosomal disorder caused by deficient activity of the GAA enzyme due to mutations in the GAA gene. This can be fatal to patients with infantile onset and cause patients of other onsets to develop muscular dystrophy and respiratory dysfunction. However, early detection can immensely help treatment of patients! Thus, our lab has been working on assessing the predictions derived by the participants in the Critical Assessment of Genome Interpretation Challenge (CAGI 5) – a global experiment that evaluates the phenotypes that result from genetic variation. Through URAP, this past year I’ve been working on conducting bioinformatics research to compare the CAGI predictions with predictor algorithms in the dbNSFP database. This summer, I will be working towards creating a phenotype-genotype matrix, or a diagnostic tool, to map enzyme activity and predictions from algorithms to clinical data (i.e to determine how pathogenic a mutation is) in order to […]
The overarching project investigates the drivers of near-surface groundwater availability in wet meadow ecosystems of the Sierra Nevada. It combines field study and remote sensing data analysis, building upon studies and instrumentation at UC’s Sagehen Field Station by the Kondolf Lab. This summer, I will be continuing fieldwork, monitoring groundwater levels in established well transects, and working to process a combined set of satellite and phenocam imagery. The high resolution satellite imagery will be processed in a time series analysis looking at the phenology of a number of defined plant groups in the meadow system. Paired with an analogous processing of the phenocam imagery, this work will provide insight into plant phenological response to localized near-surface groundwater variability.