Mr. Sana Sise
Instructor of Computer Science
McNair Program Campus Liaison
As program participants they:
The students also compete for the opportunity to do an internship that includes a $2,500 stipend. Nineteen (19) scholars are chosen for this intense, six-week research internship at the University of Mississippi. Included below are the abstracts of the research conducted by the 2012 McNair Scholars from Rust College
Major - Mathematics
A Graph Theoretic Analysis of the National Basketball Association
The web search engine Google is a relatively new tool for extracting information from the web. Google returns searches of keywords and must rank the pages displayed in order of relevance. In this research, I used the same page-ranking algorithm as Google does to analyze the results of the 2011-2012 National Basketball Association (NBA) season. I then seeded the teams by these rankings into NBA playoff trees to determine if the PageRanks of the teams could be used to predict success in the playoffs as compared to the actual playoff results. As hoped, the PageRanks did closely follow the actual playoff results and playoff seeding with just a couple of discrepancies.
Changes in Expression of CB1 in Human Cardiac Fibroblast
The endocannabinoid system is recently documented to play a role in various disorders, including cardiovascular, neuropsychological, metabolic and inflammatory disease (Pacher 2006). There are currently two known cannabinoid receptors identified which are cannabinoid receptors 1(CB1) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2). These receptors were first discovered as the molecular targets of the psychotropic component of the plant Cannabis sativa, to participate in the physiological modulation of central and peripheral functions (Demuth, D. 2006). CB1 receptor is expressed mainly in the brain, but also in the lungs, liver and kidneys. CB2 is expressed mainly in the immune system.
East St. Louis, IL
Major - Mathematics
Does the Committee Structure of the U.S. Senate Contribute to a Divided America?
This research addresses the issue of partisan politics in America. Specifically it asks the question of whether a social network analysis can offer a clearer picture of political partisanship. In order to have a quantifiable measure of this partisanship, perhaps the most influential and powerful group in America, namely the U.S. Senate is studied. The committee structure of the Senate is at the heart of its operations, therefore the committee structure by a bipartite graph that matches senators to committees serves as the model for this research. In order to transform the graph into a social network, the adjacency matrix associated with this bipartite graph is multiplied by its transpose and unitized to make an adjacency matrix of the group of senators. This graph forms a social network as the node set consists merely of senators and not of senators and committees. The graph is analyzed in Mathematica for closeness centrality and other measures of connectivity between the senators.
Biology - Major
Cell Passages Influence the Activity of Plasma Kallikrein Kinin
Cell aging has been associated with DNA damage, unprocessed proteins, and cell surface damage. However, the underlying mechanisms that promote aging in response to damage remains largely not understood. It was hypothesized that the activation of KKS is elevated with increasing cell passage number in-vitro. To determine whether cell passages influence the activation of plasma kallikrein kinin system, a PK activation assay and a PRCP activation assay was performed. While PK activation was elevated with cell passages, PRCP activity was reduced, concluding that cell passages do influence the activation of plasma kallikrein-kinin system.
Major - Biology
Helping Eve Overcome Adam: Targeting the Promoter G-Quadruplex of ADAM-15
Breast cancer is a very common malignant disease found in women. Various types of breast cancers have a poor prognosis and/or initial response to treatment, followed by resistance. One of these types is the Her2/neu-positive breast cancer, which encompasses 15 to 20 percent of breast cancers. Patients with this form of cancer typically have the worst forms of cancer and suffer the worst outcomes. Although there have been many therapeutic advances; and patients often progress, and there remains a dire need for new treatments. It has been noted that in patients overexpressing the Her2/neu receptor, there is frequently concurrent overexpression of another transmembrane protein – ADAM-15.
ADAM-15 is a sheddase protein that increases metastasis and functions with Her2/neu to increase cellular growth. Within the ADAM-15 promoter lies a G-rich region capable of forming a unique non-B-DNA structure called a G-quadruplex (G4), which was hypothesized to be a silencer element. To test this theory, the current study utilized luciferase plasmids with a wild-type or mutated ADAM-15 promoter as well as an in vitro breast cancer system. Luciferase studies confirmed the G4 to be a silencer element. Stabilization with the pan-G4-binding compounds, quindoline i (Q-i) demonstrated moderate cytotoxicity in MCF-7 and BT474 breast cancer cells with a concurrent abrogation of ADAM-15 mRNA expression. These studies demonstrate that stabilization of the G4 within the ADAM-15 promoter will decrease its expression, and that it is a viable option to develop new targeted drugs to increase the survival of Her2/neu-positive breast cancer.
Major - Business Administration
For Richer or For Poorer: How Does Financial Illiteracy Affect Newlywed Couples
The topic of financial illiteracy has become very popular in recent years. Some studies show that financial matters are the main cause of newlywed couples' disagreements. The question considered for this research is: How does financial illiteracy affect newlywed couples? The purpose of this study is to add to an expanding body of research and to gain a better understanding of the lack of communication among newlywed couples when it comes to their financial matters. This research will go in depth about why couples have issues with communicating, merging their finances, spending, and dealing with debt. Suggestions on how to become financially literate will also be included in the research. Most studies focus primarily on married couples. However, this study will examine the financial habits of newly married couples. The main objective of this research is to focus in on newlywed couples because they are adjusting to the financial pressures of their new union.