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2022
Friday, April 22nd
11:00 AM

A comparison of predicted and observed ocean tidal loading displacements around the Puget Sound

Tanessa C. Morris, University of Montana, Missoula

UC South Ballroom

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Around coastlines and in shallow oceans, models of ocean tidal loading (OTL) are not highly accurate and can create sources of error in OTL analysis. OTL is tides moving ocean water that cause the surface of Earth to deform. In this study, forward-modelled predictions of OTL are compared to observations from Global Positioning System (GPS) data to explore the elastic deformation response of Earth to OTL around the Puget Sound. Data from 75 Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) stations were processed to yield position estimates at intervals of 5 minutes for a year. The OTL model used for comparison was the FES2014b ocean-tide model loading a spherically symmetric, non-rotating, elastic, and isotropic (SNREI) Earth model. The three tidal frequency bands used were the semidiurnal (M2), diurnal (O1), and fortnightly (Mf). The M2 tide is the largest and Mf the smallest. The model and observations have the largest residual displacements of 5 mm for the M2 tide, and the smallest 2 mm for the O1 tide. The particle motion residuals have strong spatial coherence in the M2 and O1 tide but are less coherent with the Mf tide. This data indicates that either the models of OTL and/or the observations of OTL have deficiencies. Model deficiencies are likely due, in part, to the FES2014b model not extending fully into and accounting for the complex morphology of the Puget Sound. Another element explored was quantifying the difference in observed OTL when a sidereal filter is applied to the GNSS time series. A sidereal filter is used to remove multipath errors that occur every sidereal day when GNSS satellite orbits repeat. The largest residual displacements were 1 mm in the Mf tidal band and the smallest 0.5 mm in the M2 band. These differences can alter the observations used in OTL analysis, which impacts model comparisons. Multipath errors can overlap in frequency space with tidal frequencies, so the use of a sidereal filter must be carefully considered before its application.

Assessing the accuracy and deficits of popular drug-interaction software programs in detecting interactions between cannabis and pharmaceutical drugs

Nathan C. Ramsbacher, University of Montana, Missoula

UC South Ballroom

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

- Purpose – The management of drug interactions in healthcare is a large concern for pharmacists and other healthcare professionals, especially for patients requiring large amounts of medications. Healthcare professionals and patients alike utilize drug-interaction software programs (DISPs) frequently to manage medications and make clinical decisions. There is a large discrepancy between DISPs in terms of detecting clinically significant drug interactions. Notably, cannabis does not flag as an interaction as reliably as pharmaceutical drugs on many DISPs. With rising cannabis use in the United States, patients deserve to make decisions on how to safely use cannabis with their prescription drugs which may depend on the accuracy of DISPs.

- Methods – First, I made a literature review table of 30 interactions between cannabis and pharmaceutical drugs (18 true interactions, 12 false). Next, I entered each interaction pair into eight individuals DISPs and noted if it was captured or not. After this, I calculated the inter-rater reliability between the DISPs to assess how much agreement there was between them. I then calculated the specificity, sensitivity, and accuracy of each DISP.

- Significance – Overall, DISPs did not have a high “agreeance” on what was detected as a true drug interaction with cannabis; Fleiss kappa was very low at k=0.216 (95% CI = 0.148, 0.284), where scores range from -1 to 1 with “1.000” being high agreement. Average accuracy of detecting a drug interaction with cannabis was somewhat low (76.2%), where DISPs tailored for healthcare professionals far outperformed DISPs tailored for the layperson. There is a notable disparity between the sensitivity of DISPs with the lowest score being 44.4% and the highest being 100%. A lower sensitivity equates to missing clinically important interactions which may result in negative health outcomes. Healthcare professionals and patients should recognize the importance of drug interactions with cannabis and should utilize DISPs that most accurately reflect drug interactions with cannabis.

Behavioral Assessment of Degus in a Neuronal Electrophysiological Recording Experiment

Christian J. Newby, The University Of Montana
Patrick Hanni, The University Of Montana

UC South Ballroom

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

A Behavioral Assessment of Degus in a Neuronal Electrophysiological Recording Experiment

Life Sciences

Christian Newby, Patrick Hanni, Nathan Insel

Abstract

Pheromones are a primary means by which many species recognize one-another and make inferences about one-another's state. Many vertebrate species, including most rodents, detect the pheromones of other members of their species through anogenital sniffing. Previous work has found that anogenital sniffing is increased between strangers, emphasizing its importance for how animals learn about one-another. As part of a study on how a particular brain region called the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) processes social information in our experimental species, we repeatedly exposed a "focal" Octodon degu (implanted with an electrode recording headpiece) to multiple "stimulus" conspecifics each day over many days. The focal degu was single-housed, but presented with many brief social encounters with both new and familiar individuals each day. Stimulus degus were co-housed, and exposed to very few other novel social encounters day-to-day. Using BORIS, an ethogram scoring software, we observed that degus initiated fewer interactions than the focal degus, with the proportion of rear-sniffs differentially reduced. The difference in anogenital investigation may be due to less comfort in the stimulus degus when interacting with an "unfamiliar" (implanted) degu; however, the patterns could also be related to the different social experiences of the degus, with the focal degu frequently required to identify and discriminate between other individuals. This work will help guide analyses of neural patterns recorded during social behavior in degus, while also revealing that levels of rear-sniffing may be dependent on an animal's social experiences or comfort levels.

Keywords: action potential, greeting, tetrode, identification, correlates

Being A Learning Assistant in A Ways of Knowing Course

Isabella Mae Kasper, University of Montana, Missoula

UC South Ballroom

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

During the Fall 2021 semester, I was a Learning Assistant in Dr. Bruce Hardy’s Ways of Knowing. Ways of Knowing is primarily a seminar-based course with small group discussions and minimal lectures. Students are assigned a daily reading and analyze it during class time. In Dr. Hardy’s course, I made weekly quizzes, participated in and guided group discussions, provided resources for the students, added new ideas to the class structure, and provided a different perspective for students to consider. It is significant for professors to know the effectiveness of implementing a Learning Assistant in their class. Additionally, it is important to understand how students learn best and who is equipped to aid in that endeavor than the students themselves. Through a survey I provided during my time in the class, I found that having a Learning Assistant in the undergraduate classroom benefits all individuals involved. The students have an additional resource to support their learning experience and the instructor has someone that can easily relate to the students and advocate for their needs. The Learning Assistant works on interpersonal skills and finds confidence in speaking in front of peers. My biggest takeaway from this experience was that fellow undergraduate students are the best resource for making courses relevant, politically correct, and understandable for students. Students are the ones paying for their education and should be involved in structuring, aiding, and editing their courses.

Caregiver Outcomes in the Context of Telehealth and In-Person Applications of an Intensive Comprehension Aphasia Program

Kaelyn D. Kaftan
Laiken N. Harris
Rylee J. Kremer

UC South Ballroom

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Title: Caregiver Outcomes in the Context of Telehealth and In-Person Applications of an Intensive Comprehension Aphasia Program.

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore perceived stress for caregivers of stroke survivors with aphasia who participated in telehealth and in-person delivery models of a high-intensity, short duration stroke rehabilitation program, as measured by the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS; Cohen et al., 1983).

Method: During in-person Intensive Comprehensive Aphasia Programs (ICAPs; Rose et al., 2013; 2021) in 2017 and 2018, and a tele-health ICAP in 2020, caregiver-reported outcomes were assessed using the PSS, a measure of perceived stress across life situations. During the ICAP intervention, caregivers participated in psychoeducation sessions, group counseling sessions, and individualized communication skill and strategy use training sessions. Interventions were delivered by a family counselor and speech-language pathologists. The PSS was administered before the caregivers began the ICAP and again after its completion (n=13 for in-person pre-ICAP, n=12 for in-person post-ICAP; n=3 for telehealth ICAP). PSS outcomes data will be analyzed using descriptive statistics to assess and interpret change scores. PSS item analyses will be conducted to assess the influence of item on pre/post change.

Significance: Caregivers play a significant role during rehabilitation for stroke survivors with aphasia (i.e., a communication and language disorder). Caregivers are involved in supporting aphasia rehabilitation outside of clinical settings and are responsible for the patient’s overall wellbeing. Caregivers frequently experience third-party disability, including high levels of stress and isolation (Grawburg et al., 2013, Off et al., 2019). Caregivers should be considered as part of the treatment team as their wellbeing is intertwined with the stroke survivor’s wellbeing. This study is multifaceted: (1) it explores the changes of perceived stress for caregivers of stroke survivors with aphasia, and (2) it investigates the impact of delivery methods (i.e., in-person and telehealth) on changes of perceived stress. This study has the potential to contribute to the limited research based regarding caregiver health.

References

Cohen, S., Kamarck, T., & Mermelstein, R. (1983). Perceived Stress Scale. APA PsycTests.

Grawburg, M., Howe, T., Worrall, L., Scarinci, N. (2013). Third party disability in family members of people with aphasia: A systematic review. Disability and Rehabilitation,35(16), 1324-1341.

Off, C.A., Griffin, J.R., Murray, K.W., & Milman, L. Interprofessional Caregiver Education, Training, and Wellness in the Context of a Cohort Model for Aphasia Rehabilitation Top Language Disorders, 39(1), 5–28.

Rose, M., Cherney, L., & Worrall, L. (2013). Intensive comprehensive aphasia programs: An international survey of practice. Topics in stroke rehabilitation, 20(5), 379-387.

Rose ML, Pierce JE, Scharp VL, Off CA, Babbitt EM, Griffin-Musick JR, Cherney LR. (2021). Developments in the application of Intensive Comprehensive Aphasia Programs: an international survey of practice. Disability and Rehabilitation (10), 1-15. doi: 10.1080/09638288.2021.1948621.

Cell Phone Usage in Secondary Schools: A Pervasive Post-Pandemic Problem

Donna Arganbright

UC South Ballroom

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Within schools across the country, cell phone usage has been and continues to be a pervasive problem. While this issue has been noted as far back as the advent of cell phones, there seems as of late to be a troubling trend of excessive cell phone usage within class. Since the Covid-19 pandemic relegated students to learning digitally within their homes, students returning to physical classrooms are struggling with re-learning what it looks like to be a member of a functioning learning environment. The issue most glaringly represented and difficult to address is phone usage within the classroom. Time spent on phones in the classroom routinely detracts from the time students are able to spend learning and. They have also been proven to be detrimental to student attention, scholastic achievement, and information retention. Successfully addressing this problem has shown to significantly improve exam scores, especially in lower-performing students. Therefore, successfully addressing student phone usage can be an effective strategy to address some educational inequalities. As a result, teachers across the country are making an effort to find a solution to the problem. This study examines one potential solution and analyzes its efficacy in a secondary English classroom.

Do piscicide treatments used to restore trout populations have unintended negative consequences on a non-game native fish species?

Nathan J. Carter

UC South Ballroom

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Native headwater trout species in Montana are often threatened by introduced fish species. One increasingly common management solution is to install a barrier to prevent the passage of non-native species and apply a piscicide chemical treatment above the barrier. This removes non-native species and allows managers to reintroduce desired populations of native species. The effect of piscicide treatment of co-occurring non-game fishes is not well understood. One such species is the Rocky Mountain sculpin (Cottus bondi). This species appears to be able to survive piscicide treatment, which would likely benefit ecosystem restoration following the treatment. However, we hypothesize that piscicide treatment will induce a drastic decline in abundance (i.e. a population bottleneck) that could negatively affect the persistence of the now isolated populations. We predicted that treated populations would have substantially lower genetic variation than populations immediately downstream from installed barriers consistent with a recent and severe population bottleneck. We examined two sites that were treated, Greenhorn Creek and Sixteenmile Creek, and compared the treated (above barrier) and untreated (below barrier) populations. For each sampled population we estimated genetic variation with a set of microsatellite genetic markers. We then estimated the effective population size (Ne) consistent with the observed loss of genetic variation. We found strong evidence of a genetic bottleneck in the treated areas. In Greenhorn Creek, we found a 10.6% decline in genetic variation corresponding to a Ne estimate between 4.7 and 9.1. In Sixteenmile Creek, we found an even larger decline in genetic variation (37%), corresponding to an Ne estimate between 1.3 and 2.4. These results suggest that Rocky Mountain sculpin above-barrier persistence probability might be low following piscicide treatment and management approaches such as translocations might be warranted.

Does social behavior differ between familiar and unfamiliar degus in juveniles and adolescents?

Heather Warner
Kendra Keuhn
Amber Thatcher

UC South Ballroom

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Degus are a highly social species of rodent that have been shown to easily establish new cooperative relationships. In previous work, our lab has shown that adult female degus treat strangers similarly to cagemates, and in some cases are even more consistent in their behaviors with strangers. What remains unknown is whether this is a lifelong quality of degus or if there are stages to social learning that result in cooperative behaviors with new individuals. In the present experiment, social behavior was studied in both juvenile and adolescent degus as they interacted with either new (stranger) individuals or highly familiar, sibling cagemates. Social behavior was recorded during 20 minute “reunion” sessions following 24 hours of isolation and repeated five times for both stranger and cagemate individuals in an interleaved fashion. Preliminary examination of data show that there was no difference in the percentage of time juvenile female degus spent interacting with a cagemate versus a stranger; however, adolescent degus were found to interact more with strangers than with cagemates. Additionally, adolescent degus spent more time engaging in agonistic behavior with strangers than juveniles. This initial data suggests the possibility of a higher motivation for social learning with unfamiliar individuals during adolescence in degus.

Effects of subtype-specific NMDA receptor modulation on neural activity in behaving rats

Sarah Schreiber
Lauren Cornelison
Kasper Hansen

UC South Ballroom

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Diseases of the central nervous system (CNS), such as Alzheimer's Disease and Schizophrenia, have been associated with altered brainwaves and the dysfunctions of ion channels critical for excitatory neurotransmission in the CNS, including the N-methyl-D-aspartate Receptors (NMDARs). One compound shown to pharmacologically regulate brainwaves is AICP (((R)-2-amino-3-(4-(2-ethylphenyl)-1H-indole-2-carboxamido) propanoic acid), an agonist of NMDARs, which can act as a modulator of NMDAR activity. Our study was designed to provide information about the effect of AICP on neural activity on a network level. Of particular interest is the impact on gamma oscillations, 40-90 Hz waves of depolarization, that have been linked to higher brain functions such as cognition and behavior and are usually higher in patients with Schizophrenia. We recorded local field potentials from the hippocampal area of the brain of rats using implanted electrodes. Local field potentials (LFPs) are the electric potential in the extracellular space of a group of neurons and provide an indicator of neural activity. LFPs were recorded before and after a local infusion of AICP, with the goal of comparing the brainwaves' frequencies and amplitudes. After filtering the neural activity, the amplitudes were averaged for the different periods pre- and post-treatment with AICP. The preliminary analysis of the data of two animals shows the expected increase in high-frequency (65 to 90 Hz) gamma amplitude after AICP injection in one animal. The absence of change in the other animal might be due to technical errors in the cannula placement, which will be investigated using histological examination. The analyzed effect of AICP on neural activity will help in further research on NMDARs, which is of consequence for understanding the pathophysiology of diseases caused by NMDA receptor dysfunction and their treatment.

Fostering Resilience In Youth Through Positive Youth-Adult Relationships

Amanda Swiech

UC South Ballroom

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Research examining adolescents has found that close, healthy relationships with supportive and caring adults can help foster resilience in youth. Resilience, as defined by Ann Masten (2001), is the “phenomena characterized as good outcomes in spite of serious threats to adaptation or development.” Promoting resilience in a school setting can help decrease at-risk behaviors such as truancy, substance use, and suicidal ideation/attempts. Kaleidoscope Connect is a program focusing on establishing social-emotional skills and resilience in youth and specifically targets youth-adult relationships.

This research project examines 28 7th and 8th grade students who participated in the Kaleidoscope Connect program in 2016-2017 in a rural middle school in Western Montana. Two standardized self-report rating scales will be used to examine the levels of resilience (Resiliency Scales for Children and Adolescents) and problem behavior (Behavioral and Emotional Screening System) in these students. In addition, this study also examined data from the Student Support Card Surveys. One of these surveys asked students to report their number of anchors (relationships with adults) and their proximity to these individuals. Another survey specifically examined the level of support that they received from each of these anchors. The goal of this project is to examine the relationship between the presence of supportive adults in a student’s life and their risk level for problem behaviors. Due to the small sample size, descriptive analyses will be conducted to examine the results.

Supportive and caring relationships with adults helps build resilience in children, with these relationships often occurring in the school setting. This research aims to highlight the importance of building positive youth-adult connections, which is critical due to an increase in at-risk youth and mental health needs during the pandemic.

Giving a Voice to Students: Classroom Climate in College Level Math Classes

Kasidy D. Love

UC South Ballroom

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Why is math the cousin of college classes no one likes talking about? What causes students to drop out of 100 level math classes? Who is being left out? I am currently a Learning Assistant (LA) at the University of Montana for M122 (college-trig) and last year I helped in M151 (pre-calculus). As an LA I encourage active learning by facilitating discussions, answering questions and supporting the instructor. For the past three semesters I conducted a midterm feedback survey to learn how to improve our class structure and to understand how students feel supported by their LA. However, with this research project I want to delve past the surface level questions and find out how students feel about the climate of their math class, what is helping them succeed and what is holding them back. Previous studies have shown classroom climate influences how successful students will be in math. Since the research is still ongoing, the design plan is to use the ‘College and University Classroom Environment Inventory’ to gather information about the students registered in 100 level math classes. Essentially this survey is designed to understand how students feel about their classroom climate. I predict, from my experience as an LA, students are going to feel more comfortable in classrooms with an LA and more successful in classrooms that engage in active learning. The results from this survey will give a voice to introductory math students and will inform teachers and LAs of the best practices.

How Students Can Help Other Students Learn

Erica Braig, University of Montana, Missoula

UC South Ballroom

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

The Learning Assistant program is designed to support instructors implement active and group learning in classrooms. Learning Assistances (LAs) are students who complete a course and return to help assist current students in that course. During the fall of 2021, I was an LA for Intro to Organic and Bioorganic Chemistry during recitation. Recitation is time where students work on problems from the class and complete a quiz. My role in recitation, was to help students work through questions, and facilitate group learning. Initially, I observed students mostly chose to work alone. The LA program emphasizes peer learning and the importance of getting students to ask questions. A goal of mine was to minimize individual learning among the students. Methods I used were, making students sit in groups, by making them ask a peer before asking me a question and finally partnering people up. After doing this, I saw improvement in understanding of the material and overall enjoyment in the class. Halfway through the semester the students filled out a survey that reflected our work as LAs. The results concluded that students got more enjoyment from learning in groups and liked have an LA in their class.

Throughout the semester I noticed a lot of my own personal growth. My confidence then also reflected onto the students making them more confident in themselves. Going forward, this experienced proved that students enjoy learning peers and that small group components are crucial for a large lecture class. The way classes are formatted and how students interact should be considered to help student success. Overall, my experience of being an LA, was really beneficial because it provided me with a new perspective to learning and especially teaching.

Investigating the Protein-Protein Interactions of RIOK3 During Viral Infection

Hunter L. Grimes, University of Montana, Missoula
Luke A. White, University of Montana, Missoula
Thomas C. Bisom, University of Montana, Missoula

UC South Ballroom

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

In response to viral infection, cells initiate a series of innate immune signaling cascades that result in inflammation. This process is highly regulated to prevent a damaging hyper-inflammatory response while still fighting off the infection. Infection with Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV), an RNA virus endemic to Sub-Saharan Africa, can result in severe disease in humans and livestock. Infection in pregnant livestock can result in abortive pregnancies and high mortality rates. RIOK3 is an understudied protein expressed in most mammalian cells that has an unclear role in the response to viral infection. Recent work in our laboratory has shown that during RVFV infection in cell culture, the absence of RIOK3 results in a decreased innate inflammatory response and increased viral replication. Our goal was to investigate RIOK3’s protein-protein interactions during viral infection to help determine its function. We used a proximity labeling strategy to tag RIOK3’s interacting partners in cells expressing a chimera of RIOK3 and biotin ligase. In this way, proteins interacting with RIOK3 during immune activation would be labeled with biotin tags. After stimulating the cells with either RVFV or the RNA viral mimetic poly (I:C), biotin was added to induce proximity labeling. At several time points post-stimulation, biotinylated proteins were captured from lysed cells and analyzed using western blots. The experiment was then scaled up and samples were shared with our collaborators to get a more detailed understanding of interacting partners through mass spectrometry analysis. Our current data suggest that RIOK3 interacts with both MDA5 and TBK1, which are known innate immune modulators, during early timepoints in the immune response. We expect that the mass spectrometry data will identify novel interaction with other immune modulators. These results will provide insight into the role(s) of RIOK3 in the innate inflammatory response to viral infection and inform future studies on its potential as a drug target in inflammatory diseases.

Investigations of Personalized Medicine in Mesothelioma

Abigail Harmon, University of Montana, Missoula
Mark Pershouse, University of Montana, Missoula
Cooper Parsons, University of Montana, Missoula
Caitlin Peaslee, University of Montana, Missoula

UC South Ballroom

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Malignant mesothelioma is a neoplasm that involves lesions on the pleural linings of the lung or the peritoneal lining of the abdominal cavity. Current standard of care involves a multi-targeted antifolate drug Pemetrexid and an alylating agent, Cisplatin. This regimen results in regression of tumors in 25% of patients. As the genetics lesions that cause mesothelioma have been elucidated, our understanding of possible targets of therapeutics has grown. Rational drug design (personalized medicine) would dictate that we consider genetic alterations specific to mesothelioma tumor cells and use those to target our therapy. The most common genetic alterations in human mesotheliomas are the loss of function of three tumor suppressor genes, PTEN, NF2, and CDKN2A.In this project, we propose to induce genomic deletion of the PTEN locus by using CRISPR/Cas9 nuclease-generating lentiviral vectors targeting this site in a “normal” mesothelial cell model, LP9/hTert. As we complete the establishment of this model system with various genomic alterations, the model system will be used to test a small set of frontline chemotherapeutic agents for any increased therapeutic index, the ratio of tumor cell killing to toxicity of normal cells. Theoretically, genes and proteins downstream of these genetic lesions will make some cancer cells more susceptible to specific inhibitors. Among the drugs to be tested are novel PI3Kinase and mTOR inhibitors. Our hypothesis is that PTEN knockout by CRISPR/Cas9 editing will result in an increase in sensitivity of suppressed cells to novel inhibitors directed at the pathways affected. To confirm genomic alteration, sequencing of the affected locus has been completed, other assays are planned to complete the confirmation of PTEN knockout. These include, quantitative PCR of PTEN mRNA, Immunoblotting to assess protein status, and functional analysis of PTEN function.

Social Communication after Isolation in Adolescent Degu

Sky Nyberg
Kendra Kuehn
Amber Thatcher

UC South Ballroom

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Degus are small, highly social rodents. When degus are reunited after periods of isolation or separation, their vocal patterns can vary. Just like humans, degus can express more vocal communication when they come out of an isolation period. This is likely due to their social drive and the desire to repair the loneliness that they might have experienced. This research aims to understand the different types of vocalizations that are expressed after adolescent degus are reunited with one-another.

This repeated measures experiment consisted of three conditions that all the degus received before behavior was recorded during a 20 minute social “reunion”. The three conditions were isolation for 24 hours, isolation for 1 minute, and separation for 24 hours. “Separation” involved separating two degus from one-another, while keeping them with other cagemates so they were not deprived of social interaction.

We found that, consistent with full adult animals, adolescent degus vocalize more after 24 hours of isolation, compared with 24-hour separation or 1-minute isolation. The most common vocalization type across all conditions was chitters. Chitters are short, repetitive sounds in the frequency range of 1-4 kHz. Previous work suggests that chitters may be a type of vocalization that is important for social acknowledgement or connection. The results from this experiment are valuable because they can be related to the psychology of social interactions to explain how separation or isolation affects social behavior, and they can be compared to the data of adult degu vocalizations.

Synthetic anion foldamers utilizing halogen bonding

Madeleine Rose Boller, The University Of Montana

UC South Ballroom

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Ion transport is critical to cellular function. Cells use molecular channels embedded in cell membranes to transport ions across the cell membrane. The movement of ions regulates pH and ion gradients, forms ATP during aerobic respiration, and mediates action potential in neurons. When these transporters mutate, ions cannot cross membranes, resulting in “channelopathies” — diseases that include cystic fibrosis and neuronal disorders like epilepsy. However, synthetic ion channels can combat these channelopathies by acting as replacement transporters that integrate into the membranes and restore ion permeability.

Unlike natural transporters that use amino acids as building blocks, our research focuses on molecules that use non-covalent interactions to fold and bond anions. Specifically, we utilize hydrogen bonding and halogen bonding interactions to create large molecules called “anion foldamers” which transform into discrete structures around anions. Foldamers are easily manipulated due to their modular synthesis. This allows for substitution of individual pieces within the molecule. If the foldamers can span membranes and adequately bind anions within their helical conformations, this may provide a new mechanism for synthetic anion transport.

This presentation highlights how we used polyethylene glycol chains to increase the solubility of our oligomers in a range of solvents. Adding polar caps to the nonpolar core also makes the foldamer more lipid-like, thus making integration into membranes more feasible. Solution data analyses show how these molecules fold and bind anions in different environments and crystal structures reveal that these foldamers form a helical structure around a guest molecule. Future studies will utilize assays to determine anion transport efficiency and selectivity of the foldamers. If the assays show sufficient anion transport, our molecules could serve as the basis for halogen bond enhanced anion transport in cells.

The Integration of Student Understanding: Exploring Competition in the Classroom

Alexandra A. Berna

UC South Ballroom

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Over the past 50 years, extensive research has been conducted on the mechanistic and consequential roles of competition in the classroom. Much of this research is framed around the perspectives of educators, often in terms of the impacts of their grading methods and the presence or absence of team-based learning in their classrooms. However, dialogue about the potential benefits and drawbacks of competitive classrooms is not inclusive of student perspective, especially when considering the long-term academic and social impacts of competitive classroom environments. The purpose of this qualitative study is to explore how to best define competition for students enrolled in health science courses at the University of Montana, and to inform further study of the implications of competitive classrooms at liberal arts universities. Through a flier in the UM Health Sciences Building, I will recruit five students, preferably with diverse backgrounds, to participate in an hour long in-person interview. . The interview questions will probe the students’ perspective of competition within their university classes at large, with specific interest given toward the students’ typical classroom attitudes, their ideas about how competition generally presents itself in the classroom, and their interpretations as to what competition may provide them academically and socially. Following my analysis of the upcoming interview experiences, I will consider a narrative of what competition looks like for these students, what implications this crafted definition of competition may have, and how these insights may elicit further study into the history, nature, and outcomes of competitive classrooms.