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Eight Bellmore-Merrick Students Named JSHS Semifinalists

Eight Bellmore-Merrick Students Named JSHS Semifinalists thumbnail180331

Eight students in the Central High School District have been named semifinalists in the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium.

Tyler Bissoondial, Callie Burns, Matt Cohn, Eric Giannaris, Seth Gorelik, Jacob Kamler and Arjun Maystry of Kennedy High School and Michelle Serban of Calhoun High School will compete in the next round on Sunday, Feb. 7.

There will be a live virtual fair via Zoom (invite only) that involves 12-minute presentations followed by six minutes of Q & A with the judges. 

JSHS is designed to challenge and engage high school students in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. Individual students compete for scholarships and recognition by presenting the results of their original research efforts before a panel of judges and an audience of their peers. 

Below are the students’ research project abstracts in their own phrasing:

Tyler Bissoondial - Lipopolysaccharide and Galactose Induce Cell Death in Prothallial Cells of Gametophytes of Ceratopteris richardii

“To combat pathogens, plants have evolved a battery of defense mechanisms that first require recognition of Molecular-Associated Molecular Pattern (MAMP) molecules. MAMPs are conserved essential structures found in a wide range of pathogens. Failure to recognize MAMPs enhances the susceptibility of plants to pathogen infection. In seed plants, LPS can induce defense responses (e.g. PTI); however, the response is highly variable depending on the source of LPS and the type of plants studied.  One type of receptor for LPS called LORE is restricted to the Brassicaceae family and is limited to detect LPS in selected species. This study investigates the perception of MAMPS in the prothallial cells of gametophytes of the fern Ceratopteris richardii.”

Callie Burns - Student Discipline in Nassau County High Schools: Comparing Distinct Layers of Law Enforcement and Disproportionate Student Discipline 

“Institutionalized racism in the United States has been a continuous plight of social justice since the introduction of slavery in the 18th century. Prior research investigated the disparity of disciplines given to black, Latinx, and other minority students nationally. Separate studies have broken down the complex policing jurisdictions present in Nassau County, New York, into two groups: incorporated and unincorporated policing. It was hypothesized that Nassau County high schools policed by incorporated village police forces- with their own police departments -would be associated with a harsher discipline of students within minority groups. For the first portion of this study, Nassau County high school disciplinary data was obtained from the Civil Rights Data Collection, analyzed, and compared across each high school district jurisdiction. For the second portion of this study, 81 teacher participants responded to a Qualtrics vignette survey where they assigned hypothetical discipline to student infractions. Findings indicate that school districts with incorporated policing unequally distribute discipline to minority students. These results support the need for Nassau County schools to consider alternative and less punitive forms of discipline, as well as educational opportunities for teachers and staff to better understand the role unconscious bias can play in student discipline.”

Matt Cohn - Buying to Impress Oneself vs. Buying to Impress Others: Examining the Effectiveness of Advertisement Manipulation on Consumption Motivations of the “New Consumers” in Luxury Fashion

“Numerous studies have explored the identity characteristics of luxury and what makes luxury products distinct from other products. There are also many psychological appeals and motivations that endorse the consumption of luxury products upon today’s larger market. Luxury advertisements possess a unique and artistic element that separates them from most advertisement campaigns. My STS submission observes a less wealthy, younger, and rapidly growing population (New Consumers), and their perceptions of luxury goods through manipulated advertisements. Based on a sample of 308 American new consumers and statistical analysis models, my submission reveals relationships and trends regarding this group’s evaluation toward luxury brands and products to determine purchase intention and motivation. Despite a large decline in consumption spending, in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, potential luxury consumers were able to identify multiple variables of consideration and evaluation while intending the purchase and utilization of such products. A marginally unexpected purchase intention most likely occurred due to the loss of purchase motivation during the Covid-19 pandemic. An imaginary purchase scenario was addressed to reveal the motivation behind utilizing the luxury product. Approximately a third of participants would not utilize the product, leaving it unclear as to what drives this emerging group of consumers.”

Eric Giannaris - The Role of Long Non-coding RNA H19 in Regulating Pro-metastatic Factors in Glioblastoma

“Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most aggressive and common primary brain tumor with 3-5 cases per 100,000 and a 5-year relative survival rate of 6% between ages 55 and 64. The long, non-coding RNA (LncRNA) H19 has previously been found to promote the progression of GBM and other aggressive cancers. While LncRNAs are not translated into proteins, they can affect the expression of multiple genes through the production of factors that regulate messenger RNA translation. This study investigated the effect of H19 on the migration and growth of GBM through its effect on signaling, which promoted the spread of cancer. It was found that H19 expression increased the migration rate of GBM cells significantly. Furthermore, the expression of H19 accelerated Erk-mediated cell division signaling. An analysis of the RNA sequencing of GBM cells expressing H19 was performed, revealing multiple genes that are post-transcriptionally regulated by H19. A positive correlation was discovered between expression of H19 and elevated levels of the pro-inflammatory ligand IL-32. These findings contribute to the growing knowledge of the mechanisms that regulate GBM.”

Seth Gorelik - A Novel CRISPR/Cas9-Mediated System to Induce Chromosome-Specific Mis-Segregation Suggests That Cancer Cells May be Addicted to Chromosome-Specific Aneuploidy

“Cancer is known to be a complex multi-mutational process where cells acquire traits that often result in increased growth potential. It is possible that abnormalities typically associated with cancer can be caused by aneuploidy, a cellular state involving the presence of an abnormal number of chromosomes. This project focuses on creating an engineered system that specifically targets chromosome 7 in colon cancer cells through the use of a CRISPR-dCas9 system in order to investigate aneuploidy’s role in driving cancer formation. This technology was harnessed to revert the chromosome 7 copy number from three copies (in the altered colon cancer state) to two copies (the normal diploid state) in a colon cancer cell line. It was hypothesized that a shift to this new state would remove traits typically associated with cancer. While no diploid clones were isolated, possibly due to an addiction to specific oncogenes within the cells, the generated CRISPR-dCas9 system’s effectiveness was confirmed. This holds implications for understanding other human diseases related to aneuploidy (i.e. Down syndrome) and other sex chromosome-related aneuploidies, allowing for the creation of an in vitro system capable of studying the genetics behind these disorders.”

Jacob Kamler - TESS Satellite Follow-Up Survey: The Hunt for Exoplanets

“The TESS Satellite searches the sky for planets outside of our solar system. Follow-up observations using ground-based telescopes are needed to confirm or refute TESS detections. The purpose of this study was to confirm the exoplanet detections. Additionally, all observation results were noted to determine the more frequent discoveries. Light curves were created for the target, and nearby stars for each of the 50 observations to look for potential transit events. Using the light curves, it was determined conclusively that eight VPCs (firm planet detections) had been observed. Ten conclusive false positives were found; yielding an ~56% false positive rate among the conclusive observations. Despite this, conclusive results were only obtained for 36% of the observations. Inconclusive or unconfirmed results were found in 64% of the observations, suggesting that it is more likely that observation analysis will be inconclusive. However, when the results are definitive, it is equally likely that the observation provides evidence that suggests a firm planet detection or a false positive. My STS research has confirmed new exoplanets, bringing us closer to discovering habitable planets outside of our solar system.”

Arjun Maystry - Effects of Therapeutic Ultrasound Treatment on Prostate Cancer Cells (TPSA23) in vitro

“The purpose of my study is to determine the immunological effects of TPSA23 mouse prostate cancer cells that were induced by Therapeutic Ultrasound (TUS) by studying proteins that are associated with cell death. TPSA23 cells were cultured and seeded to have enough cells for a control group, a group treated with 100% TUS and a group treated with 50% TUS. Each group was treated for 3 seconds except for the control group, and after a 2-hour and a 24-hour time point, the cells underwent a western blot assay to study the amounts of STAT3, HSP90, and HMGB1 present inside the cell and outside the cell, specifically in the media. Data was also collected through a Clonogenic assay that measures the cells fractional survival and an MTT assay that measures the cells metabolic activity. It was concluded that TUS had a direct effect on the cells’ survivability as the fractional survival decreased, and the proteins found present in the western blot showed evidence of apoptosis after treatment. This data can be used to prove the effectiveness of TUS as a possible method to treat prostate cancer using common immunotherapy techniques that can diminish the growth of tumors.”

Michelle Serban - The Relationship between Factoring Certain Quadratics and the Fibonacci Sequence

“The Fibonacci Sequence is ubiquitous in nature and plays a role in numerous fields from biology to art. Similarly, quadratic equations are also utilized frequently in mathematics and physics. This paper aims to connect the Fibonacci Sequence and the related Lucas Number sequence with the factoring of quadratic equations. Three types of quadratics will be analyzed: Consecutive Absolute Value Coefficient Quadratic Equations (CAVCQE), Consecutive Even Absolute Value Coefficient Quadratic Equations (CEAVCQE), and Consecutive Third Absolute Value Coefficient Quadratic Equations (CTAVCQE). Previous research has found the presence of consecutive terms of the Fibonacci and Lucas Number sequences in the factored forms of CAVCQE and CEAVCQE. This paper expands upon this research to discover a method of factoring CAVCQE and CEAVCQE using the equation y=0.322+1.04lnx, where x is the second coefficient of the quadratic and y is the lower term number of the Fibonacci and Lucas Number sequences being used in the factored form. The method makes factoring quadratics, especially those with large coefficients, more efficient. CTAVCQE were also found to share a relationship with the aforementioned number sequences and to be factorable using the method discovered for CAVCQE and CEAVCQE. Future research can focus on Consecutive Square Absolute Value Coefficient Quadratic Equations (CSAVCQE) or other quadratics with coefficients that do not have constant differences between their absolute values and can study cubic equations as well. Going into greater depth on the properties of Fibonacci numbers in terms of factoring and other fields will provide a greater understanding as to what this number sequence’s true significance is.”

She is also the 2021 salutatorian for Calhoun.

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