|Friday, April 22nd|
Lars Ponsness, University of Montana, Missoula
1:40 PM - 2:00 PM
Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) causes significant disease in immunocompromised adults and congenital infections are a leading cause of hearing loss and cognitive delays. Development of a broadly effective vaccine has been limited by the lack of a method to study receptor-engagement and membrane fusion mediated by HCMV glycoproteins. Additionally, these methods have lacked a convenient way to account for the genetic diversity of the HCMV glycoproteins. Transient expression of the viral glycoproteins in human cells can induce cell-cell fusion. The induction of cell-cell fusion can be used as a surrogate measure of virus entry and is known as a cell-cell fusion assay. However, to date such assays have not adequately modeled entry because they have not required the virus receptor, or the complete set of HCMV glycoproteins. For my project, I took advantage of a glycoprotein mutant that required the complete set of HCMV glycoproteins to exhibit cell-cell fusion. By adding the full set of HCMV glycoproteins, and the appropriate receptor to the transient expression system, I demonstrated a cell-cell fusion assay that is more representative of virus entry. This method will allow for the direct comparison of all the genetic variants of each of the HCMV glycoproteins involved in the receptor binding and fusion mechanism. Moreover, my cell-cell fusion assay can be inhibited by antibodies directed against the HCMV glycoproteins, suggesting this assay will be of use in vaccine development.
Aidan Daniel Anton McCloy
2:00 PM - 2:20 PM
As the prevalence of woodsmoke exposure from wildfires increases in the western US population, so does the need to understand the long-term deleterious effects of smoke exposure. In addition to strenuous physical activity while exposed to woodsmoke, populations such as wildland firefighters may operate under sleep-deprived conditions. To this end, our laboratory studied the combined effects of smoke exposure, exercise, and sleep deprivation by measuring vascular inflammation, differential gene expression, heart rate variability, pulse wave velocity, and pulmonary function both before and after a 45-minute stationary bike workout. The focus of this analysis was to evaluate forced vital capacity (FVC), percentage of air expired within the first second (FEV1, and as a ratio of total expired volume in FEV1%), and maximum voluntary ventilation (MVV) as it relates to variable sleep durations before exercise with woodsmoke exposure.
Ten recreationally active male participants (age = 24±4 yrs.; height = 185.2±3.9 cm; weight = 85.7±9.4 kg; VO2max = 46.8.7±.7 ml∙min¯¹∙kg¯¹; body fat = 12.6±6.7 %) performed two separate 45-minute stationary bicycle workouts at resistances equivalent to 70% of their VO2 max. During both trials, participants were exposed to 250μg/m3 of woodsmoke transferred from a woodburning stove to a facemask covering the nose and mouth worn while riding. One trial was performed on 8 hours of sleep (control) and the other on 4 hours of sleep (sleep-deprived). Duplicate pulmonary data (FVC, FEV1%, MVV) was taken before and after each workout using SpirobankG spirometers and the WindspiroPRO software.
A two way ANOVA analysis of the results showed no statistically significant differences between trials (pre1 vs pre2, post 1 vs post 2) or within trials (pre1 vs post1, pre2 vs post2). These results are consistent with the literature. Under the given conditions, no measurable acute pulmonary response is seen in otherwise healthy individuals when exposed to woodsmoke during exercise. Additionally, acute sleep deprivation does not alter these findings. However, other physiological reponses may be at play under these conditions. Accordingly, further studies into other biological responses to exercise, woodsome exposure and sleep deprivation may yield knowledge beneficial to intercepting chronic health detriments in wildland firefighter populations.
2:20 PM - 2:40 PM
Human recreation and wildlife overlap is a growing concern. The amount of people who visit public land grow in numbers every year, and it is important to understand how these large visitor numbers are affecting the local ecosystem. Elk are particularly affected, since they need space to raise calves, find food, and sleep as a large herd. With the largest elk population in the United States, the state of Colorado is investigating how humans that hike and camp affect where elk spend their time and raise their calves. To this end, study sites have been set up with trail cameras to follow elk movement across the landscape and estimate their abundance. We will provide an abundance estimate for one of the few study sites outside of Colorado, the Ruby Mountains of southeastern Montana. We used trail camera photos collected from June to September of 2020 to estimate elk abundance, as well as calf monthly abundance to investigate if there was a measurable change in calf population over the course of the study period. We will accomplish this using the Space to Event (STE) model. Photos are taken every ten minutes to avoid bias from faulty motion capture photos, and the cameras were randomly placed throughout the study area as well to avoid bias stemming from placing cameras in places where elk spend a disproportionate amount of their time. Although areas that experience heavy recreational use are obvious candidates for a survey, areas whose recreation are more diffuse such as the Ruby Mountains are just as important to gain a complete understanding of the subject.
Jack Hanson, University of Montana, Missoula
2:40 PM - 3:00 PM
The golden stonefly (Hesperoperla pacifica) is an ecologically important aquatic insect native to western North America. These large-bodied predators prey on other insects and support healthy trout populations. Despite their importance, little is known about the cold hardiness or freeze tolerance of golden stonefly nymphs. In winter, stonefly nymphs experience temperatures down to 0 °C, and may experience even colder temperatures as they make contact with ice forming within stream substrates. I carried out a set of experiments to determine the cold tolerance limits of H. pacifica nymphs, and whether they are freeze tolerant or freeze avoidant. Freeze avoidant insects can prevent their tissues from freezing < 0 °C but die when ice nucleation occurs. Freeze tolerant insects, however, can survive freezing completely. My first experiment measured the nymph's supercooling points (SCP), the point of freezing which is marked by a clear exotherm. I measured survival after each nymph reached their SCP. In the second experiment, I held nymphs at constant temperatures (-1 to -5 C) and measured whether nymphs reached their SCPs and whether they survived. The SCP of each individual was determined by attaching a thermocouple to the nymphs and recording their body temperatures. On average, H. pacifica survived all temperatures above their SCP (-3.92°C ). Holding the nymphs at or below their SCP for an extended period caused death 100% of the time, suggesting that internal freezing is lethal for H. pacifica. H. pacifica can suppress the freezing point of their tissues and can survive acute exposure to temperatures below 0 ºC, suggesting they are freeze avoidant. Stoneflies, in general, are considered coldwater specialists, adapted to survive the extreme temperature fluctuations present in many temperate streams. H. pacifica confirm this notion as they can tolerate sub-zero temperatures, which may put them at an advantage over other aquatic insects.
Noah Riley Bulman Durnell
4:00 PM - 4:20 PM
Growing instability in higher education funding (Thomas, 2021) has directly impacted the University of Montana music program but has also indirectly changed the role of music students to such an extent that I now often say, “every artist is an advocate.” In 2018, the University of Montana School of Music experienced significant threats from budget cuts, and in the years following, attempts to earn legislative funding for capital development failed. Faced with these budget cuts and other lack of funding, music students had to advocate for themselves and employ community and institutional support to maintain the strength of their program. Due to this heightened organizing and advocacy from music students, proposed budget cuts were significantly reduced, and some authority funding was still received from our legislature. In this paper, I describe how I leaned into policy and grassroots organizing of music students as a student body Senator and the Student Music Union President to advocate for these efforts, and I evaluate how these efforts highlight future challenges for music students and their advocacy. I use autoethnographic research methods (Ellis, 2011) to reflect on these events and to highlight how the personal impacts of these events motivated my research on common themes surrounding music advocacy. The project demonstrates both the bounds and capabilities of student advocacy while indicating themes of financial instability across music schools, lending to the concept that "every artist is an advocate".
Hannah Nicole Dusek
4:20 PM - 4:40 PM
In the past few years, the dynamics of power in our society have become prevalent in daily life to an extent that seems unprecedented. What is it exactly, though, that determines who or what holds the power in any given situation? The inspiration for my dance piece, “And Then, The Influence Shifted”, was driven by this very question, whose resulting answer is manifested in the work as seven different “powers” that shift and influence each of the six dancers. As each different power is physicalized by the dancers, the overall movement is meant to come together so as to examine the various perspectives by which power can directly, or indirectly, influence the function of a multivariable system as a whole.
Through this research, I uncovered the ways that these seven different “powers” interacted with each other through six bodies who told the story through movement. The seven types of power included in my study were ‘the power of one over a group’, ‘power in a relationship: holding each other up’, ‘power in a relationship: toxic and overpowering’, ‘unwanted power’, ‘power by default’, ‘power of a group over one’, and ‘power in numbers’. I was able to research these seven different powers through experimental movements that I provided my dancers and that they inspired me with. I was able to find how being influenced by the titles of these powers would change the dynamics of their movements and how they expressed that movement outwords. Diving into these specific powers and the way they shift in, out, and around each other allowed me to conclude that there is no answer to the question, “Who or what holds the power in any given situation?” Shifting with such intensity, yet so hard to see, that controls our world on a daily basis. The control we question, but cannot deny.