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A Quantitative Analysis of the Proliferation of Microplastics in Williamston’s Waterways

Schafer et al. | Feb 17, 2019

A Quantitative Analysis of the Proliferation of Microplastics in Williamston’s Waterways

Plastic debris can disrupt marine ecosystems, spread contaminants, and take years to naturally degrade. In this study, Wu et al aim to establish an understanding of the scope of Williamston, Michigan’s microplastics problem, as well as to attempt to find the source of these plastics. Initially, the authors hypothesize that the Williamston Wastewater Treatment Plant was the primary contributor to Williamston’s microplastics pollution. Although they find a general trend of increasing concentrations of microplastics from upstream to downstream, they do not pinpoint the source of Williamston’s microplastics pollution in the present research.

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Investigating KNOX Gene Expression in Aquilegia Petal Spur Development

Hossain et al. | Feb 03, 2014

Investigating KNOX Gene Expression in Aquilegia Petal Spur Development

Plants, and all other multi-cellular organisms, develop through the coordinated action of many sets of genes. The authors here investigate the genes, in a class named KNOX, potentially responsible for organizing a certain part of Aquilegia (columbine) flowers called petal spurs. Through the technique Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR), they find that certain KNOX genes are expressed non-uniformly in petal spurs, suggesting that they may be involved, perhaps in a cell-specific manner. This research will help guide future efforts toward understanding how many beautiful flowers develop their unique shapes.

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Antibacterial effectiveness of turmeric against gram-positive Staphylococcus epidermidis

Cox et al. | Jan 10, 2022

Antibacterial effectiveness of turmeric against gram-positive <i>Staphylococcus epidermidis</i>

Infections caused by antibiotic resistance are a leading issue faced by the medical field. The authors studied the antibacterial effectiveness of turmeric against gram-positive Staphylococcus epidermidis using antibiotic sensitivity disks. They infused blank antibiotic sensitivity disks with a 5% concentrated solution of turmeric and placed them on agar plates inoculated with bacteria. Overall, there was no measurable ZOI surrounding the turmeric disk so the measurements for all trials were 0 cm, suggesting that turmeric at a 5% concentration is not an effective antibacterial against S. epidermidis.

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Albuterol extends lifespan of Caenorhabditis elegans

Belkin et al. | Oct 19, 2021

Albuterol extends lifespan of <i>Caenorhabditis elegans</i>

The objective of this experiment is to determine if the medication albuterol has a positive impact on the lifespan of C. elegans. We hypothesize that if albuterol is added to the diet of C. elegans, then the lifespan of C. elegans will increase. Albuterol increased the mean lifespan of C. elegans by 4.31 ± 0.13 days, compared to the control group and increased the outer range of the C. elegans lifespan. The method of which this occurred is still unknown.

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Artificial Intelligence Networks Towards Learning Without Forgetting

Kreiman et al. | Oct 26, 2018

Artificial Intelligence Networks Towards Learning Without Forgetting

In their paper, Kreiman et al. examined what it takes for an artificial neural network to be able to perform well on a new task without forgetting its previous knowledge. By comparing methods that stop task forgetting, they found that longer training times and maintenance of the most important connections in a particular task while training on a new one helped the neural network maintain its performance on both tasks. The authors hope that this proof-of-principle research will someday contribute to artificial intelligence that better mimics natural human intelligence.

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The Effect of Wind Mitigation Devices on Gabled Roofs

Kaufman et al. | Feb 20, 2021

The Effect of Wind Mitigation Devices on Gabled Roofs

The purpose of this study was to test devices installed on a gabled roof to see which reduced the actual uplift forces best. Three gabled birdhouse roofs were each modified with different mitigation devices: a rounded edge, a barrier shape, or an airfoil. The barrier edge had no significant effect on the time for the roof to blow off. The addition of airfoil devices on roofs, specifically in areas that are prone to hurricanes such as Florida, could keep roofs in place during hurricanes, thus reducing insurance bills, overall damage costs, and the loss of lives.

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Modeling the effects of acid rain on bacterial growth

Shah et al. | Nov 17, 2020

Modeling the effects of acid rain on bacterial growth

Acid rain has caused devastating decreases in ecosystems across the globe. To mimic the effect of acid rain on the environment, the authors analyzed the growth of gram-negative (Escherichia coli) and gram-positive (Staphylococcus epidermidis) bacteria in agar solutions with different pH levels. Results show that in a given acidic environment there was a significant decrease in bacterial growth with an increase in vinegar concentration in the agar, suggesting that bacterial growth is impacted by the pH of the environment. Therefore, increased levels of acid rain could potentially harm the ecosystem by altering bacterial growth.

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Synthesis of a novel CCR1 antagonist for treatment of glioblastoma

Jan et al. | May 05, 2021

Synthesis of a novel CCR1 antagonist for treatment of glioblastoma

Glioblastoma is a brain cancer caused by the presence of a fast-growing, malignant tumor in the brain. As of now, this cancer is universally lethal due to lack of efficacious treatment options. C-C chemokine receptor 1 (CCR1) is a G-protein coupled receptor that controls chemotaxis, the movement of cells in response to chemical stimuli. This research aims to synthesize potential CCR1 antagonists by coupling carboxylic acids with a triazole core. We synthesized these compounds using a simple carboxylic acid coupling and confirmed the identity of the final compounds using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.

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Recognition of animal body parts via supervised learning

Kreiman et al. | Oct 28, 2023

Recognition of animal body parts via supervised learning
Image credit: Kreiman et al. 2023

The application of machine learning techniques has facilitated the automatic annotation of behavior in video sequences, offering a promising approach for ethological studies by reducing the manual effort required for annotating each video frame. Nevertheless, before solely relying on machine-generated annotations, it is essential to evaluate the accuracy of these annotations to ensure their reliability and applicability. While it is conventionally accepted that there cannot be a perfect annotation, the degree of error associated with machine-generated annotations should be commensurate with the error between different human annotators. We hypothesized that machine learning supervised with adequate human annotations would be able to accurately predict body parts from video sequences. Here, we conducted a comparative analysis of the quality of annotations generated by humans and machines for the body parts of sheep during treadmill walking. For human annotation, two annotators manually labeled six body parts of sheep in 300 frames. To generate machine annotations, we employed the state-of-the-art pose-estimating library, DeepLabCut, which was trained using the frames annotated by human annotators. As expected, the human annotations demonstrated high consistency between annotators. Notably, the machine learning algorithm also generated accurate predictions, with errors comparable to those between humans. We also observed that abnormal annotations with a high error could be revised by introducing Kalman Filtering, which interpolates the trajectory of body parts over the time series, enhancing robustness. Our results suggest that conventional transfer learning methods can generate behavior annotations as accurate as those made by humans, presenting great potential for further research.

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The effect of wild orange essential oil on ascorbic acid decay in freshly squeezed orange juice

Sebek et al. | Feb 25, 2022

The effect of wild orange essential oil on ascorbic acid  decay in freshly squeezed orange juice

The goal of this project was to see if the addition of wild orange essential oil to freshly squeezed orange juice would help to slow down the decay of ascorbic acid when exposed to various temperatures, allowing vital nutrients to be maintained and providing a natural alternative to the chemical additives in use in industry today. The authors hypothesized that the addition of wild orange essential oil to freshly squeezed orange juice would slow down the rate of oxidation when exposed to various temperatures, reducing ascorbic acid decay. On average, wild orange EO slowed down ascorbic acid decay in freshly squeezed orange juice by 15% at the three highest temperatures tested.

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