Studies have shown that cabbage aphids (Brevicoryne brassicae) that eat black mustard (Brassica nigra) can sequester toxic compounds to ward off their predators. This summer, I am building on these studies by examining the eco-physiological costs to aphids of processing and sequestering these toxins. The concentrations of the toxins will be analyzed to determine the difference in chemical load for aphids that eat broccoli (Brassica oleracea) versus mustard. My main goal is to study the physiological costs of this chemical load by examining differences in development and reproduction of aphids on the two food sources. The results of these experiments will be important in discovering methods to study and control agricultural aphid populations in a sustainable manner.
Development of the nervous system depends on the migration, differentiation, and axonal projections of neurons to their appropriate targets. In the dorsal spinal cord where many sensory and interneurons are born, signaling cues specify the development of neuronal precursors into an array of cell types. However, the process by which these signals regulate neuronal growth is still unclear. This summer, I will examine the function of the Gremlin2 gene, which is expressed in a specific population of dorsal interneurons. Taking advantage of Gremlin2 knock-out mice, I will use immunocytochemistry to determine the precise anatomical location of Gremlin2 expression and analyze defects in specification, migration, and connectivity of these interneurons.
I am researching the relationship between Marcel Prousts la recherche du temps perdu and cinema in light of how each produces images. The prose of Marcel Proust is often termed cinematic, yet it is executed in a medium that is vastly different from film. What is it then about the image at this point in its history that allows for a comparison between this major work of literature and the fundamental techniques of the cinema? To answer this question I am researching the underlying philosophy of Prousts imagery of time and memory alongside the philosophy of cinematic representation. In doing so I hope to draw out a more general trend in the production and perception of images, as well as the psychological insights they allow for.
Blackface minstrel shows in the 19th century are well documented, but their parallel counter-part, amateur minstrelsy, is believed to be a peripheral phenomenon implemented by scattered radicals. Thousands of blackface plays were written and distributed in the 20th century with crucial contributions to both racial and gender construction that have not been cataloged or analyzed. I will track amateur minstrelsys print culture between 1890 and 1960, expanding its chronology, increase minstrel researchs geography to the American Midwest, further illuminate the cross-dressing gender conflict in minstrelsy, and provide a bibliographical analysis of amateur minstrelsy by tracking its print culture. This bibliographic database will fill the baffling 100-year gap between 19th century professional minstrelsy and contemporary coverage of its traces in film and television.
I am studying how decision-making structures affect participation in heterogeneous worker cooperatives. Worker cooperatives are businesses or organizations owned and democratically managed by their workers. Previous research on worker cooperatives indicates a tendency towards homogeneity, meaning that worker-owners in a given cooperative share very similar backgrounds. However, since these studies were conducted in the 1970’s and 1980’s, worker cooperatives have become more diverse. A recent case study on a large and diverse worker cooperative suggests that formalizing decision-making structures might facilitate widespread democratic participation. I will expand upon this research by using participant observation and interviews to study two heterogeneous Bay Area worker cooperatives. I hope that my project will make a valuable contribution to the existing knowledge about cooperatives, possibly helping to create more democratic workplaces.
Hesiod’s Theogony belongs to the genre of Classical Greek Epic Poetry, a genre most popularly exemplified by Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. Every known epic poem was written almost entirely in the Ionic dialect of Classical Greek. Despite this fact, both Homer’s and Hesiod’s poems contain words unique to the Aeolic dialect. I will study the use of these Aeolic words in Hesiod’s poems, and I will compare his use with Homer’s in an effort to explain the presence of these unexpected dialectal forms. This will have implications regarding the development of Epic Poetry as a genre, and regarding the place of Aeolic speakers within the Classical Greek world.
There are forms of the gecko species, Heteronotia binoei, that reproduce sexually that gave rise to forms that reproduce asexually through the process of parthenogenesis. Parthenogens have sections of duplicated genes in their mitochondrial genome while sexual forms do not. My project is to sequence and compare the mitochondrial genes of the sexual and parthenogenic forms to characterize their evolution since their divergence. I will also compare duplicated gene copies to one another within the parthenogenic individuals to characterize evolution of each gene since the duplication event. Gene duplication and subsequent mutation may lead to gene rearrangements within the parthenogenic gecko. Gene rearrangements are found in many other animal species but a mechanism remains unclear. Heteronotia may provide valuable insight into this phenomenon.
The majority of studies on Khmer refugees in the United States focus on their status as victims of war and displacement. I am undertaking a research project highlighting the transnational political movement of Khmer refugee communities in opposing and removing the Vietnamese occupation in Cambodia (1979-1993). Through examining the Hann So Collection on Cambodia Archives at the UC Berkeley Southeast Asian Studies Library, I hope to show how Khmer refugees were active agents in mitigating the pains of displacement by acting in very concrete measures to recuperate and rebuild Cambodia even when overseas or in refugee camps. I believe that the refugees’ activism to save the nation-state was simultaneously a mechanism for their own survival in diaspora, and it is the management of this survival on which I will shed light on through this project. This summer I am reviewing the Hann So Archives as well as conducting background reading […]
HIV/AIDS remains a significant threat to many countries in sub-Saharan Africa. In order to understand HIV transmission in this context, it is crucial to understand the practices and understandings that facilitate its spread. In Malawi, HIV is spread primarily through sex, and sex itself constitutes a deeply culturally embedded practice. With this in mind, I will be spending this summer in Malawi examining the way in which discourses on sex influence HIV/AIDS patterns. Drawing on a collection of conversational journals collected by the Malawi Diffusion and Ideational Change Project of the University of Pennsylvania, in addition to closely examining Chichewa terms and phrases, I will use language as a compass to navigate through Malawian perspectives on sex. In doing so, I am to reach an understanding of how local understandings of sex shape HIV transmission in Malawi.
The U.S. government budget cuts of the 1980s and the international financial institutions economic policies of the late 1980s and 1990s crippled government-run social services in the U.S. and across the Third World. To fill the void left by the defunct government services there has been an unprecedented rise in the number of non-profit and community organizations in the U.S. and abroad. This begs numerous questions: To whom are these organizations accountable? From where does funding come? Who is deciding which projects get financial priority? My research attempts to understand how/if funding opportunities shape the missions and philosophies of secular civil society organizations, and how those relations, in turn, affect the ability of community organizations to address the needs of the communities they serve. I will be focusing on Seattle-based community organizations and foundations as a case study for how these relations play out in the U.S.