Summer Research Symposium

Summer Research Symposium – Oral Presentations
Friday, September 26, 3:20-5:00pm, Carver Science

The symposium will start with everyone gathered in Jordan Lecture Hall for the Welcome (3:20-3:25) and the first presentation.  The remaining presentations will be held concurrently.  Audience members will have five minutes to switch rooms between presentations.

Carver 215 (Jordan Lecture Hall)

3:25 – 3:40 Louis Joslyn

3:45 – 4:00 Alec McIntosh

4:05 – 4:20 Nathan Schneider

4:25 – 4:40 Amy West

4:45 – 5:00 Peter Rietgraf

Carver 231

3:45 – 4:00 Erin Boggess and Kyle Jensen

4:05 – 4:20 Matt Christen

4:25 – 4:40 Geoff Converse, Jared Grove, and Kylie Pape

4:45 – 5:00 Sara Reed

Summer Research Symposium – Poster Presentations
Friday, October 3, 3:30-4:30pm, Carver Science Atrium

Geoff Converse, Jared Grove, and Kylie Pape

Emma Jones

Zach Lindeberg

Rachel Rice

Peter Rietgraf

Rebecca Thornton

Kelsey Wittorf

Unable to Present

Holly Baitto

Jordan Parra

Abstracts: (additional abstracts coming soon)

Geoff Converse, Jared Grove, and Kylie Pape
Dr. Albert H. & Greta A. Bryan Summer Research Program – Simpson College
Maximizing Potential in a Fantasy Football Draft
In a fantasy sports league, the draft is the first opportunity for team managers to gain an advantage over their opponents.  We created a computer program in R that can maximize a team’s projected value gained from a fantasy football draft.  The key feature of our program is its ability to predict when players will be taken in future rounds.  This enables our team to draft the best players being considered by opposing teams in a given round and also draft players before there is a drop in value at a given position.  Our program is able to learn the strategies of opposing teams as the draft progresses and therefore adjust its predictions for future rounds to increase its accuracy.  Thus, even when our program starts with very little knowledge of the strategies used by the competing teams, it is able to finish with a competitive edge.  We completed this project during the Dr. Albert H. & Greta A. Bryan Summer Research Program in Mathematics at Simpson College.

Emma Jones
Summer Institute in Biostatistics - University of Minnesota
Polypill HEART Study: Designing a Protocol for an International CVD Clinical Trial
The Summer Institute of Biostatistics at the University of Minnesota is a program designed to introduce undergraduate students to the world of public health, including epidemiology, study design, clinical ethics, and Bayesian and Frequentist statistics. SIBS participants wrote complete protocols for international and smaller scale clinical trials, as well as conducting in depth statistical analyses on real-world clinical data sets using SAS programming.

Alec McIntosh 
Simpson College Ecological Research Program– Simpson College
Freshwater ponds in Warren and Marion County
This summer, I examined the impact that land usage had on both the algae diversity and the overall health of freshwater ponds. I equally grouped nine freshwater ponds into three categories of land usage based on the frequency of human interaction, the possibility of pollution, and the dominant surrounding vegetation. A trawl net was used to collect algae samples and diversity was estimated by examining samples under a microscope. Furthermore, water chemistry tests were performed at each site to obtain a measure of the overall health of the ponds. In the end, the data were analyzed using regressions and ANOVAs on Microsoft Excel.

Sara Reed with Levi Boxell (Taylor University), Yihang Du (Lafayette College), Dr. Jeffrey Liebner (Lafayette College), and Dr. Julie Smith (Lafayette College) 
Summer 2014 REU in Mathematics/Economics – Lafayette College in Pennsylvania
Finding NAIRU
The non-accelerating inflationary rate of unemployment (NAIRU) is a fundamental concept in macroeconomics. Defined as the rate of unemployment at which the inflationary rate does not change, NAIRU is widely used by policymakers to help determine fiscal and monetary policy. However, NAIRU presents a challenge in that one cannot directly observe NAIRU in the same manner that one can observe the unemployment rate. This challenge also makes it difficult to determine how accurate one’s estimates of NAIRU are. In our approach to estimate NAIRU, we employ various univariate smoothers and filters in order to extract the underlying trend from the cyclical unemployment rate. We also use a state-space model and the Kalman Filter along with an EM Algorithm to extract the unobserved state of NAIRU. We expand upon current methods used to estimate NAIRU by utilizing a more general multivariate autoregressive state-space model (MARSS) that incorporates structural changes in the labor market. When assessing the predictive ability of our estimates of NAIRU using the Phillips curve, we find that our estimates perform as well or better than those provided by the Congressional Budget Office.

Rachel Rice
Marshall Space Flight Center – NASA
Dayside Aurora Modeling

Rebecca Thornton
Stowers Summer Scholar Program 
Lysine-to-Methionine Mutation Alters Histone Protein Interactions
Lysine-to-methionine mutations in histone tail regions act as dominant inhibitors of histone lysine methylation. Lysine-to-methionine mutation at H3K27 results in severe pediatric glioblastoma. To discover the effects of such mutations, we created mutants at every lysine residue across histone H3 and performed proteomic analysis of associated complexes. We purified nucleosomes by micrococcal nuclease digest and FLAG precipitation. Interacting proteins were identified by mass spectrometry. Comparing H3WT and H3K9M data revealed changes in the levels of several interacting proteins. The H3K9 deacetylase SIRT6 was found in greater association with H3K9M mutants. His-tagged SIRT6 was expressed in E. coli and bound to Ni-NTA beads. Protein pull down experiments analyzing the binding of bacterially expressed SIRT6 to H3.3WT and H3.3K9M histones revealed little difference in association between the histones despite increased binding in mammalian cells. Future work will examine the mechanisms underlying these differences and explore additional interacting proteins such as KDM3B.

Click here for the Fall 2013 program.

Click here for the Fall 2012 program.