Below you will find CASL students' virtual research presentations - work done through classwork, lab assignments, internships, or an independent study.  

Behavioral Sciences Presentation Abstracts and Videos

Seraj Farhat, Nadia Aboumourad: "Self-Rated Health on Subjective and Objective Memory in the Elderly" (psychology)

Self-Rated Health on Subjective and Objective Memory in the Elderly

  • Student authors: Seraj Farhat, Nadia Aboumourad
  • Faculty sponsor: Zhong Xu Liu
  • Department: Behavioral Sciences, Psychology
  • Work completed: Winter 2021
Abstract

Studies have shown that poor self-rated health has been associated with increased objective memory decline and subjective memory complaints (SMC’s) in the elderly. However, the extent of this effect of self-rated health has not been thoroughly researched with respect to associative and prospective memory, which are commonly affected in elderly cognitive decline. Our research focuses primarily on addressing these gaps by obtaining questionnaire measures of self-rated health and subjective memory complaints, as well as objective associative and prospective memory measures. This correlational study will contrast the differences between adult participants between the ages of 18-30, 55-65, and >65 years old, to observe the moderation of these relationships with age. It is hypothesized that as perceptions of self-rated health worsen, subjective and objective memory scores will also decline, and it is expected that this will be exacerbated with older age. This study can help us further understand the relationships between self-perception of health with subjective memory, and especially objective memory decline in the elderly. In addition, we can also observe to what extent SMC’s can be used as a predictor of associative memory decline in the elderly without conducting associative memory tasks.

Keywords: health perception, memory complaints, aging, associative memory, face-name memory

 

 

 

Elizabeth Johnson, Ashley McMillan: "Classroom Accommodations: Teacher Attitudes and Preparedness" (psychology)

Classroom Accommodations: Teacher Attitudes and Preparedness

  • Student authors: Elizabeth Johnson, Ashley McMillan
  • Faculty co-author: Kaitlin Oswald
  • Faculty sponsor: Kaitlin Oswald
  • Department: Behavioral Sciences, Psychology
  • Work completed: Winter 2021
Abstract

Background: Approximately 20% of school-aged children are diagnosed with a chronic health condition. These children are at risk for cognitive and academic difficulties, but there is limited knowledge regarding teachers’ preparedness and knowledge on how to accommodate children with chronic health conditions.

Methods: 48 teachers (Mage=38.40) completed an online survey that was distributed to teachers nationally. Study analyses included descriptive statistics, Spearman bivariate correlations, and independent samples t-tests.

Results: Higher perceived burden was significantly related to lower willingness to implement accommodations(rs(30)=-.85, p<.001) and lower perceived benefit to their students (rs(31)=-.70, p<.01). Teachers with lower levels of education about the cognitive needs of children with chronic health conditions reported accommodations as being less beneficial compared to teachers with high levels of education (t(32)=-2.27, p<.05); education was not related to willingness to implement recommendations (p>.05). Training on how to provide accommodations was not related to perceived burden (t(31)=1.52, p=.14).

Discussion: When accommodations were perceived as burdensome, teachers were less willing to provide them and less likely to view them as beneficial, suggesting future research is needed to identify ways to reduce teacher burden when implementing accommodations. Teachers viewed accommodations as more beneficial when they received more education about the cognitive needs of children with chronic health conditions. However, training had little impact on how burdensome teachers viewed implementing accommodations. Given this, education appears to be more impactful on teacher’s perceptions surrounding classroom accommodations than training; thus, efforts to educate teachers on accommodation for children with chronic health conditions may be considered.

Bella Martincic: "Flashbulb Memories and Covid-19" (psychology)

Flashbulb Memories and Covid-19

  • Student author: Bella Martincic
  • Faculty sponsor: Arlo Clark-Foos
  • Department: Behavioral Sciences, Psychology
  • Work completed: Winter 2021
Abstract

Flashbulb memories occur when high amounts of emotional arousal,  mostly including shock or surprise which causes a person to remember a specific event with very high amounts of detail (Brown and Kulik 1977). Back in March of 2020, Covid-19 hit the world and became a global pandemic, but most important to this research, it was the start of the state-wide shutdowns in the U.S, all happening during a highly politicized year due to the upcoming 2020 Presidential election. This research done in the HULC lab is interesting to see if in general, people across the U.S. had created flashbulb memories when hearing about the news of the Covid-19 shutdowns and if they did, would they be similar. The research also addresses if political affiliation has any impact on the specificity of the flashbulb memory. Surveys were sent out to people all over the country to gather information for the study. Overall, our data suggests that yes, people have created flashbulb memories for hearing the news about the Covid-19 shutdowns and that political affiliation does have some impact in how strong the flashbulb memory is.

Ashley McMillan, Elizabeth Johnson: "Michigan Medicine Neuropsychology Teacher Study" (psychology)

Michigan Medicine Neuropsychology Teacher Study

  • Student authors: Ashley McMillan, Elizabeth Johnson
  • Faculty co-author: Kaitlin Oswald
  • Faculty sponsor: Kaitlin Oswald
  • Department: Behavioral Sciences, Psychology
  • Work completed: Winter 2021
Abstract

Introduction: There are many children in the school system that have been diagnosed with long-term chronic health conditions who experience cognitive and academic challenges requiring accommodations and supports. This study focuses on teacher’s familiarity with neuropsychology reports, which detail these students’ conditions and recommended supports, along with teachers’ understanding and implementation of the recommended accommodations.

Methods: Forty teachers (Mage=38.4 years old) from both urban and rural communities across the United States completed an online survey. Study analyses included descriptive statistics, Spearman bivariate correlations, and independent samples t-tests.

Results: Teachers who have seen neuropsychology reports were significantly more familiar with neuropsychology testing (t(38)=4.66, p<0.001). There was a strong, positive correlation between years of experience teaching and familiarity with neuropsychology (r=0.41, p=0.015), while years of experience teaching was not related to perceived usefulness of neuropsychology, likelihood of implementing recommendations, perceived benefit on students’ academic progress, and perception of neuropsychology testing as a helpful tool (all p’s > 0.05). There was no significant difference between special education and general education teachers with regard to perceptions of neuropsychology (p>0.05). Willingness to implement neuropsychology recommendations into the classroom was significantly correlated with availability of resources in the school (r=0.88, p<0.001), but was not related to teachers’ familiarity with neuropsychology (r=0.04, p=0.88).

Conclusion: Teachers’ familiarity with neuropsychology was related to more years of teaching experience and prior opportunities to read neuropsychology reports. Resources the schools provide are significantly related to whether teachers implement academic accommodations to help their students who suffer from chronic illnesses.

Brittany Mitton: "'Blurred lines:' How sexual music interacts with gender to influence acceptance of potentially offensive sexual behavior" (psychology)

"Blurred lines:" How sexual music interacts with gender to influence acceptance of potentially offensive sexual behavior

  • Student author: Brittany Mitton
  • Faculty sponsor: Pam McAuslan
  • Department: Behavioral Sciences, Psychology
  • Work completed: Winter 2021
Abstract

Music with explicit sexual content is a core aspect of the mainstream culture and is pervasive in many public places. There is some evidence that exposure to sexual music has an effect on the viewer’s behavior, attitudes, and perceptions (Bowman et al., 2019; Carpentier, 2014; Rodgers & Hust, 2018). However, little is known about how males and females react to sexual objectification in music videos in terms of their acceptance. This gender comparison is crucial because males, who are more likely perpetrators of sexual assault, may view sexual objectification in a different manner than females (Kistler and Lee, 2010; Bowman et al., 2019). Therefore, it is hypothesized that individuals who view highly sexual music videos will be more accepting of sexual objectification and potentially offensive sexual behavior (POSB), with this effect being more pronounced in men. In this proposed study, male and female emerging adults, 18-25-years old, will initially be administered a questionnaire regarding demographic information, their acceptance of sexual objectification. Then participants will either randomly view a sexual or nonsexual music video, after which they will answer questions about POSB and objective empathy scale measures. The results will be analyzed through an ANCOVA. The implications of this project will be to better understand the relationship between gender and acceptance of sexual objectification in music videos and real-life scenarios.

Keywords: sexual objectification, emerging adults, music videos, sexual behavior, gender differences

Zenon Sommers: "Misremembering the 2020 Election: Cognitive Elaborations, False Memories, and Fake News" (psychology)

Misremembering the 2020 Election: Cognitive Elaborations, False Memories, and Fake News

  • Student author: Zenon Sommers
  • Faculty co-authors: Pam McAuslan, Marie Waung
  • Faculty sponsor: Pam McAuslan
  • Department: Behavioral Sciences, Psychology
  • Work completed: Winter 2021
Abstract

The present study examined whether cognitive elaboration might be involved in forming false memories from fake news articles. Cognitive elaboration is the process of relating and contextualizing new information with existing knowledge. I investigated three predictors of cognitive elaboration from the elaboration likelihood model. Reflexive open-mindedness is the tendency to accept ambiguous information as meaningful without critical examination. Need for cognition is a preference for tasks that require analytical thinking over those that do not. Additionally, an individual is more likely to evaluate a message critically when that message is very relevant to them. Personal relevance was measured by asking participants to predict how good or bad Trump being reelected would be for the country. The more extreme of a consequence, either good or bad, that they predicted, the more relevant the election was to them. I hypothesized that high reflexive open-mindedness, high need for cognition, and low personal relevance would predict the formation of false memories when reading fake news. A sample of participants (N = 478) recruited from MTurk in the week preceding the 2020 US presidential election viewed summaries of real and fake news articles and reported whether they remembered the events described in the summaries. Results both support and contradict hypotheses. The results of a five-stage hierarchical binary logistic regression suggest that high reflexive open-mindedness and low personal relevance predict false memory formation upon reading fake news. The effects elicited by this study could have significant implications for the design and targeting of fake news interventions.

Erin Thomas: "Does the NWEA Predict Performance on Michigan's Grade 3-7 M-STEP Summative Assessment?" (psychology)

Does the NWEA Predict Performance on Michigan's Grade 3-7 M-STEP Summative Assessment?

  • Student author: Erin Thomas
  • Faculty sponsor: Joseph L. Musial
  • Department: Behavioral Sciences, Psychology
  • Work completed: Winter 2021
Abstract

There are many different kinds of data that can be used for school improvement initiatives and statistics provide one way by which to work with this data. The Northwest Evaluation Association Assessment (NWEA) provides a way for educators to make decisions and identify how students perform compared to state standards, and it can be analyzed in conjunction with another assessment known as the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) (NWEA, 2020). Wayne County Intermediate school district, Wayne RESA, provided an anonymous sample (n=1432) of 2018 assessment data with no student identifiers. The Pearson Correlation and a simple linear regression (Y'=bX+a) were performed to determine if there was an association between these continuous data points. The results indicate a strong positive association between NWEA reading RIT scores and M-STEP ELA overall scale scores, along with NWEA math RIT scores and M-STEP math overall scale scores. These results were statistically significant at alpha <0.05. Utilizing the predictive regression equations produced from this data, an educator can input a child’s NWEA RIT score for reading and math into the equation to receive a predicted ELA and math overall scale score on the M-STEP to be taken in the spring. Educators can predict how a student will perform on the M-STEP state assessment, with an opportunity to intervene with the necessary supports that can help the student improve while raising their schools overall testing scores.

Literature, Philosophy, and the Arts Presentation Abstracts and Videos

Cody McCain: "Crabs and Calculus: A Critique of Darwin’s Evolutionary Origin to Moral Knowledge" (philosophy)

Crabs and Calculus: A Critique of Darwin’s Evolutionary Origin to Moral Knowledge

  • Student author: Cody McCain
  • Faculty sponsor: Daniel Yeakel
  • Department: Literature, Philosophy, and the Arts
  • Work completed: Fall 2020
Abstract

The epistemic problem of moral knowledge, Charles Darwin would argue, is solved because his evolutionary utilitarianism provides a biological basis to moral knowledge, therefore implying moral knowledge is known a priori. However, even if Darwin’s argument holds, it contains hidden normative premises and thus he fails to cross the is-ought gap; this leaves him unable to assert his claims to moral knowledge. This is because there is a constructive dilemma waiting for him that leaves Darwin no choice but to affirm normative, moral premises alongside descriptive, non-moral premises.Though Darwin could grasp the horns and assert the existence of multiple origins to moral knowledge or assert the existence of multiple models, contradictory origins or contradictory models present another dilemma that leaves Darwin with having to assert a normative statement as part of his argument. This pattern of presenting a constructive dilemma and grasping the horns could go on forever. Any attempt to cross the is-ought gap and thus claim moral knowledge by way of a demonstrated evolutionary origin will bring up another constructive dilemma, and another, and another, et cetera ad infinitum. It seems therefore, that the use of epistemic claims cannot be used to cross the is-ought gap.

Cody McCain: "Skeptical Fideism: a Synthesis of Kierkegaard and Hume" (philosophy)

Skeptical Fideism: a Synthesis of Kierkegaard and Hume

  • Student author: Cody McCain
  • Faculty sponsor: Velimir Stojkovski
  • Department: Literature, Philosophy, and the Arts
  • Work completed: Fall 2020
Abstract

Fideism and epistemic as well as moral skepticism are not contradictory: they are remarkably consistent, and when synthesized give genesis to skeptical fideism. The existence of such a position is demonstrated in a comparison between Kierkegaard’s theology as well as Hume’s epistemic and moral skepticism. The skeptical fideist is one who uses faith to determine what is; this is after the use of skepticism to undermine any possibility to know God or reality in a synthesis between Hume and Kierkegaard in three parts. The ultimate implication is that human assertions onto God and reality are normative, and through the use of faith, which is not normative, the skeptical fideist can be free of asserting knowledge to only observe what is.

Mathematics and Statistics Presentation Abstracts and Videos

Talia Trela: "Student Data and Success Study" (mathematics)

Student Data and Success Study

  • Student author: Talia Trela
  • Faculty sponsor: Jennifer Zhao
  • Department: Mathematics and Statistics
  • Work completed: Summer 2020
Abstract

The purpose of the “Student Data and Success” study was to analyze student enrollment data and student mathematics data in order to help the Provost Office and the math department make informed decisions. The time period of the data that was analyzed was from Fall 2010 to Winter 2019. RStudio was used for the coding environment, with the help of the ggplot2 package for exploratory data analysis. The research was split into three parts. During the first part, the variables in the data were explored. In the second and third parts, various questions were asked and answered.

Some of the questions that were explored include:

  1. What are the characteristics of the students who left after their first, second, and third years at UM-Dearborn, and how do they differ from the characteristics of those who continued on?
  2. Is there a correlation between high school GPA and success in college? How about ACT scores and success in college?
  3. For the students who graduate with a certain GPA, what do they look like when they enter college? (In terms of high school GPA and ACT/SAT scores)
  4. For the students that took MATH 105 or MATH 115 first, if they received an A, what was the distribution of grades in the other courses? If they received a B, what was the distribution of grades in the other courses? How about for a C?

Natural Sciences Presentation Abstracts and Videos

Fadwat Bazzi: "1-(2-Methoxyphenyl)-3-(phenyl)-1,4-dihydro-1,2,4-benzotriazin-4-yl: A Tricky “Structure-to-Magnetism” Correlation Aided by DFT Calculations" (chemistry)

1-(2-Methoxyphenyl)-3-(phenyl)-1,4-dihydro-1,2,4-benzotriazin-4-yl: A Tricky “Structure-to-Magnetism” Correlation Aided by DFT Calculations

  • Student author: Fadwat Bazzi
  • Faculty co-authors: Christos P. Constantinides, Daniel B. Lawson
  • Faculty sponsor: Christos P. Constantinides
  • Department: Natural Sciences, Chemistry
  • Work completed: Winter 2019 - Present 
Abstract

1-(2-Methoxyphenyl)-3-(phenyl)-1,4-dihydro-1,2,4-benzotriazin-4-yl (2) is a Blatter radical with a challenging structure-to-magnetism correlation. The nearly orthogonal 2-methoxyphenyl group disrupts the ability of the radical to form columns of π-stacked molecules typically observed in organic radicals with extended π-conjugated aromatic frameworks. The experimental magnetic susceptibility data are best interpreted in terms of an alternating antiferromagnetic Heisenberg linear chain model with A1Jexp = 2JA = -6.74 cm⁻¹, A2Jexp = 2αJA = -2.70 cm⁻¹. Two possible 1D chains of alternating radicals (C1 and C2) were identified. However, owing to the significant difference in the packing arrangement of the molecules and the similar lengths of the shortest intermolecular contacts within the chains, a convincing structure-to-magnetism correlation was not straightforward. DFT and ab-initio calculations reproduced with high accuracy the experimentally determined microscopic magnetic exchange interactions and showed beyond reasonable doubt that the observed magnetic susceptibility data are attributed to chain C2. Radicals within chain C2 are near perpendicular to each other (87.76o) and formed a herringbone pattern. There are two weak hydrogen interactions H3…N4 and H23…N1, both antiferromagnetic in nature and one shorter than the other (2.478 vs 2.516 Å), that account for the experimentally determined exchange interactions (-6.74 cm⁻¹vs. -2.70 cm⁻¹).

Krysten Bowen: "Glacier Elevation and Volume Changes in the Cordillera Vilcanota, Peruvian Andes" (environmental science)

Glacier Elevation and Volume Changes in the Cordillera Vilcanota, Peruvian Andes

  • Student author: Krysten Bowen
  • Faculty co-author: Ulrich Kamp
  • Faculty sponsor: Ulrich Kamp
  • Department: Natural Sciences, Environmental Sciences
  • Work completed: Winter 2021
Abstract

Glacial recession is a key indication that the Earth’s climate is warming. In the last century glaciers worldwide have largely retreated at astonishing rates, resulting in the complete disappearance of some ice caps, glaciers, and ice shelves. Due to this rapid retreating, many more glaciers could potentially disappear within decades. Mountain glaciers provide water for local communities and ecosystems; thus, it is imperative to quantify the loss in ice and meltwater volumes. We determined the surface elevation and volumetric changes of glaciers in the Cordillera Vilcanota of the Peruvian Andes since 1931, when the Shippee-Johnson Aerial Photography Expedition took 2,450 oblique images of landscapes across Peru, many of which show glaciated mountain peaks and ranges. For selected study sites, the historical oblique aerial photographs were used to generate digital elevation models (DEMs) using photogrammetric techniques in Agisoft Metashape. Extracted glacier surface elevations were then compared with modern satellite imagery and DEMs using ArcGIS. Preliminary results document a glacier surface lowering of up to 153 m and an influx of sediments into the increasingly ice-free landscape during the last 90 years. This study is part of the project ‘Visualizing 90 Years of Water Tower Transformation in the Peruvian Andes’ funded by the National Geographic Society's Research and Exploration Program. Results from this project will be evaluated in the field in 2022 and shared with stakeholders from local communities in several mountain ranges across Peru.

Griffin Bray: "Vascular Plant Analysis of Ecosystems on the Rouge River Floodplain of the University of Michigan-Dearborn" (natural sciences)

Vascular Plant Analysis of Ecosystems on the Rouge River Floodplain of the University of Michigan-Dearborn

  • Student author: Griffin Bray
  • Faculty co-author: Orin G. Gelderloos
  • Faculty sponsor: Orin G. Gelderloos
  • Department: Natural Sciences
  • Work completed: Winter 2020
Abstract
  • The 12.25 hectares (30.3 acres) of the Rouge River floodplain on the University of Michigan – Dearborn campus consists of a variety of natural landforms with unique communities of woody and herbaceous plants. 
  • We identified 4,246 individuals representing 39 species of subcanopy (9.1-20 cm diameter) and canopy trees (>20 cm diameter) distributed in various patterns throughout the floodplains ecosystem.
  • Black Maple (Acer nigrum) constitutes 51% of the stems followed by Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum, 9%).
  • By contrast, Black Maple and Silver Maple constituted 25% and 15% of the relative dominance, respectively. 
  • We identified seven (7) ecosystems on the floodplain namely levee, bottom, backswamp, former levee, vernal ponds, deposition bar, and annual flood area. 
  • From multiple 20 x 10 m sample plots in each ecosystem, we recorded the woody stems in three categories, 1.5 – 9.0 cm (undergrowth), 9.1-20.0 cm (subcanopy) > 20.1 cm (canopy).
  • Groundcover species were sampled in ten (10) one-meter square randomly-chosen plots in each ecosystem for percentage of coverage. 
  • Comparison of woody species present in each of the ecosystems using the Cosine Similarity Coefficient showed 0%-30% similarity between any two ecosystems, while a Jaccard Similarity Coefficient comparison of groundcover species between ecosystems showed 0%-36% similarity. 
Mira Chahine, Farheen Vali, Leo Sullivan: "The Case to Save the Brain: Delirium Best Practice Advisory and Early Detection of Delirium Predictive Model" (biology)

The Case to Save the Brain: Delirium Best Practice Advisory and Early Detection of Delirium Predictive Model

  • Student authors: Mira Chahine, Farheen Vali, Leo Sullivan
  • Faculty co-author: Michelle Moccia, DNP, ANP-BC, GS-C Program Director, Senior ER
  • Faculty sponsor: Daniel Keyes
  • Department: Natural Sciences, Biology and EMRAP
  • Work completed: 2021 (finished retrospective; is still ongoing)
Abstract

Delirium, a neurological disorder characterized by acute deficits, is an often nearly lethal disorder that impacts the quality of life of close to 50% of older adults (OAs) (i.e., 65 years and older) in hospital settings. Delirium affects 20% of hospitalized OA’s and involves enduring adverse effects (e.g. prolonged hospital stay, significant healthcare costs, worsening functional and cognitive performance, and death). Despite this, almost 80% of delirium diagnoses are missed in the ED. The primary objective is to determine if the frequency of delirium or delirium synonyms included as a final in-hospital discharge diagnosis and/or on problem list is dependent on a delirium admit diagnosis by the ED physician. The secondary objectives are to assess the potential of two developed but not tested (i). Delirium Best Practice Advisory (BPA) and/or (ii). a designated field on the electronic medical record (EMR) to increase inclusion of delirium as a final discharge diagnosis and/or problem list and determine the feasibility of a proposed Early Detection of Delirium Predictive Model Advisory (ED-DPMA). This is a before-and-after exploratory study involving retrospective chart analysis of OA’s who screened positive for delirium, indicated by a positive Confusion Assessment Method (CAM), or determined by the ED physician from January 28th 2020-January 28th 2021. A retrospective analysis of the inpatient hospital discharge summary showed delirium or delirium synonyms listed as a final discharge diagnosis and/or problem list was more likely if the ED physician impression included delirium as a finding in the ED.

Batoul Chami: "Development of Nasal and Oral Cavities in the Salamander" (biology)

Development of Nasal and Oral Cavities in the Salamander

  • Student author: Batoul Chami
  • Faculty co-author: John Abramayan
  • Faculty sponsor: John Abramayan
  • Department: Natural Sciences, Biology
  • Work completed: Winter 2021
Abstract

The upper jaw and nasal cavities of mammals and reptiles (amniotes) are assembled from craniofacial prominences that fuse together to form an intact nose and mouth. Should fusion fail, the individual may form a cleft lip and/or palate; one of the most common birth defects in humans. The prevalence of craniofacial clefts has drawn increasing interest from the scientific community towards the study of how the face forms in vertebrates. The overarching aim of our study is to examine the evolutionary history of the craniofacial prominences that form the amniote face, by investigating anamniotes, the group comprising amphibians (frogs, salamanders, and caecilians) and fishes. We chose to study the development of the oral and nasal cavities in the axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum); a salamander species that has been used as a model for developmental biology for over a century. Axolotl embryos were examined over six developmental timepoints. We found that, unlike amniotes, the nasal and oral cavities of the axolotl develop as independent structures that eventually approach each other and fuse, forming interconnected oral and nasal cavities that resemble those of amniotes. Despite the similarity, we failed to identify craniofacial prominences or potential evolutionary precursor structures in the axolotl. Therefore, we propose that the craniofacial prominences that form the mammalian and reptilian face are novel structures that are specific to the group and arose through an as yet unknown developmental means.

Batoul Dabajeh, Wesam Almasri, Eman Radwan: "A Positive OMCT Finding In The SMML ED, What Happens Next?" (biology)

A Positive OMCT Finding In The SMML ED, What Happens Next?

  • Student authors: Batoul Dabajeh, Wesam Almasri, Eman Radwan
  • Faculty sponsor: Daniel Keyes
  • Department: Natural Sciences, Biology
  • Work completed: Winter 2021
Abstract

This study is a retrospective and prospective chart review of patients who are 65 years or older who score positive on the Orientation Memory Concentration Test (OMCT) and are admitted to inpatient at St. Mary’s Mercy Livonia (SMLI). Cognitive impairment (CI) is a highly important condition to acknowledge, as unnoticed CI can forgo even more severe CI down the line, or eventually be diagnosed with dementia. The OMCT test is a CI evaluation tool which has a score range of 0-28, with anything 10 or greater being positive for CI, and 19 or greater being significantly severe CI. A positive OMCT should be noted and addressed by case management and physician personnel at the hospital. However, this is not necessarily the case all the time, as case management personnel acknowledged and addressed a positive OMCT finding only 6.3% of the time. The primary goal of this study is to increase communication between emergency department (ED) and inpatient healthcare personnel. A solution currently in discussion is the introduction of a Best Practice Advisory (BPA) or other intervention methods. A BPA is a notifying tool which alerts healthcare personnel of a health condition that is imperative to recognize, such as CI. An intervention method has been posed to be the more promising approach in increasing communication between ED and inpatient healthcare personnel. 

Seraj Farhat, Blake Hardin, Hebah Reda: "Racial disparities with respect to morbidity and mortality during the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in the United States" (biology)

Racial disparities with respect to morbidity and mortality during the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in the United States

  • Student authors: Seraj Farhat, Blake Hardin, Hebah Reda
  • Faculty co-author: Daniel Keyes
  • Faculty sponsor: Daniel Keyes
  • Department: Natural Sciences, Biology
  • Work completed: Winter 2021
Abstract

Objective: To determine if COVID-19 markers of severity, test positivity, hospitalizations and mortality differ among races. 

Methods: A multistate model was made using Trinity electronic health records in the US. The primary outcome variable was mortality and secondary outcomes were hospitalization and COVID-19 positivity.  Predictive variables included age, insurance, income status, BMI, population density and comorbidities using the Charlson Comorbidity Index. Adjusted treatment effects were estimated using logistic regression. 

Results: Data included retrospective cohort analysis of 181,199 patients of which (9.95%) were Black and White (73.2%). COVID testing was positive in 13.7% of African Americans (AA) and 4.97% of Whites. AA patients had lower rates of commercial insurance (p < 0.001) and higher population densities (p < 0.001) as compared to White patients. Unadjusted logistic regressions show that AA patients have higher odds of infection (OR = 3.033, p < 0.001) and mortality (1.3% vs 0.8%, OR = 1.656, p < 0.001) as compared to white patients. After adjusting for predictors, the odds of infection are higher for AA’s (OR = 1.744, p < 0.001).  There is no significant difference in mortality odds between COVID positive AA and White patients (OR = 0.740, p = 0.09), after adjusting for confounding variables.

Conclusion: Black/AAs were infected more often and had greater mortality than White patients before adjusting for covariates and mortality was similar to White patients after adjusting. These results provide potential avenues for interventions that reduce the impact of COVID-19 on the AA community.

 

Blake Hardin: "Change in urban and non-urban pattern of ED use during the COVID-19 pandemic in 28 Michigan hospitals: an observational study" (biochemistry)

Change in urban and non-urban pattern of ED use during the COVID-19 pandemic in 28 Michigan hospitals: an observational study

  • Student author: Blake Hardin
  • Faculty co-author: Daniel Keyes
  • Faculty sponsor: Daniel Keyes
  • Department: Natural Sciences, Biochemistry
  • Work completed: Winter 2021
Abstract

Objective: To assess the trends in visits, overall and by age, to urban and non-urban emergency departments (EDs), and visits resulting in admission to hospital before and during the COVID-19 pandemic using a large regional database.

Methods: A large regional database of 28 EDs during the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan was used, with an index case of March 11, 2020 and peak in the first week of April. ED visits during the first 5 months of the calendar year were included and compared with the previous year. Facilities where these participants were seen were classified as urban or non-urban, with comparisons of total visits, COVID-like cases, pediatric, and trauma.

Results: There were 1,732,852 visits across the 2 years, 953,407 between study and comparison periods, and 457,130 visits defined as COVID-like (median age 44 years). Total ED visits decreased to 48% of the previous year, showing a delayed-inverse relationship with COVID-19. Trauma cases dropped but returned to the pre-COVID-19 rate by the end of May in urban centers. Pediatric cases decreased to 20% of the previous year by the end of April. The oldest age groups showed the least change in ED visits in response to the pandemic.

Conclusions: This large, US midwestern state study describes a dramatic decrease in ED visits after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan, including stratification by varying ages and trauma, demonstrating the tangible impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on urban and non-urban EDs.

Alexis Osmond: "Space-based Characterization of a Quarter-billion-star Photometric Catalog" (physics)

Space-based Characterization of a Quarter-billion-star Photometric Catalog

  • Student author: Alexis Osmond
  • Faculty co-author: Will Clarkson
  • Faculty sponsor: Will Clarkson
  • Department: Natural Sciences, Physics
  • Work completed: May 2019-present
Abstract

The formation and history of the Bulge of the Milky Way galaxy remains a mystery, with debate still raging about the epoch and duration of star formation episodes over its history. These studies are undergoing something of a renaissance, with very large datasets at all wavebands leading to new discoveries impossible just a few years ago. The Blanco DECam Bulge Survey (BDBS, P. I. R. Michael Rich) is currently the largest ground-based imaging survey of the inner Milky Way bulge at visible wavelengths, with 6-filter {ugrizY} images covering about 400 square degrees of the Southern Bulge over a three-year interval. With about ten billion individual measurements covering 250 million stars towards the inner Milky Way, BDBS is an excellent pathfinder for future large-scale surveys such as the upcoming Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and will be useful for a wide range of Galactic studies. I will present my work using the second Gaia Data Release (Gaia DR2) to perform the crucial photometric and astrometric characterization of our massive photometric dataset. Gaia DR2 provides a space-based astrometric reference catalog, but to less great depth than our dataset. It thus allows us to both characterize and calibrate residual astrometric systematics in our own data, while allowing us to demonstrate the degree to which our seeing-limited ground-based data extend and complement the sample probed by Gaia DR2.

Ayah Ramadan, Ian Smith: "Generation and Analysis of Anisotropic Gold and Au-Pd Bimetallic Nanoparticles on Functionalized Surfaces" (chemistry)

Generation and Analysis of Anisotropic Gold and Au-Pd Bimetallic Nanoparticles on Functionalized Surfaces

  • Student authors: Ayah Ramadan, Ian Smith
  • Faculty sponsor: Krisanu Bandyopadhyay
  • Department: Natural Sciences, Chemistry
  • Work completed: Winter 2019
Abstract

Variations in the ratio of gold and palladium salt solutions (HAuCl4 and K2PdCl4 , respectively) when adsorbed and reduced on functionalized silicon and indium tin oxide (ITO)-coated surfaces have led to differences in the catalytic ability of the resulting in situ generated bimetallic gold-palladium nanoparticles. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) has revealed an apparent change in the nanoparticles' morphology and an increase in size and number when the solution ratio of K2PdCl4 increases relative to HAuCl4 . The electrocatalytic properties of these nanoparticle arrays through the oxidation of multiple alcohols such as ethanol and ethylene glycol. Cyclic voltammetry studies revealed an enhanced catalytic conversion of ethylene glycol when the palladium ratio increased relative to gold. UV-Visible (UV-Vis) spectroscopy follows the change in optical properties before reducing the surface-bound Au and Pd ions. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) measures the mixed nanoparticles' elemental composition. Further, preliminary results involving the anisotropic growth of gold nanoparticles showed possible increased catalytic ability.

Alexander Schreck, Mohamed Zaher, Hazem Alata: "Investigating the Impact of COVID-19 on Geriatric Depression and Suicidal Ideation" (biology)

Investigating the Impact of COVID-19 on Geriatric Depression and Suicidal Ideation

  • Student authors: Alexander Schreck, Mohamed Zaher, Hazem Alata
  • Faculty sponsor: Daniel Keyes
  • Department: Natural Sciences, Biology
  • Work completed: Currently ongoing
Abstract

Depression in the US has skyrocketed during the pandemic. By 2050, over two billion people will be sixty years of age or older (CDC, 2018) in the world. Increased incidence of depression during COVID-19 coupled with an aging population poses serious risks to the geriatric community. It is imperative to analyze the effects of COVID-19 on these vulnerable groups. 

This study's focus is to determine the impact of COVID-19 on the severity of depression in the geriatric population admitted to an accredited geriatric emergency department (ED), and we hope to show the value of screening for depression in the ED. We also hope to identify the demographic groups at the highest risk for geriatric depression.

A retrospective chart analysis will be conducted from two different periods. Approximately 368 patients 65 and older admitted to the ED prior to the COVID-19 pandemic (3/13/2019 - 12/31/2019) and approximately 239 patients from (3/13/2020- 12/31/2020) who screened positive for geriatric depression will have their charts reviewed. The GDS-5 tool and the Columbia Suicide Risk assessment tool will be used in determining the severity of depression in the patient population.

In the end, we hope to gain a better understanding of how COVID-19 has impacted geriatric depression , and in screening for other factors we hope to identify subgroups that may have a higher risk for depression. In doing this, we hope to prove the utility of depression screening in ED’s across other health systems.

 

Social Sciences Presentation Abstracts and Videos

Owen Fleming: "Modeling the US Beef Industry’s Response to COVID-19" (economics)

Modeling the US Beef Industry’s Response to COVID-19

  • Student author: Owen Fleming
  • Faculty sponsor: Hans Czap
  • Department: Social Sciences, Economics
  • Work completed: Fall 2020
Abstract

As a consequence of cramped working conditions and high consolidation, the beef supply-chain was exposed to intense stress at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to understand the industry’s response to the pandemic, this paper proposed an economic model of the beef supply-chain and estimated the model econometrically. The structural model, which is an extension of Wohlgenant’s two-sector supply-chain model, required three linear regressions for complete estimation, one for each of the farm sector, wholesale sector, and retail (defined by ground beef) sector. Each regression explained a significant amount of variation in prices in each market level, with the model of the wholesale sector having the best fit with an R-squared of 0.85. Based on the variable definitions chosen for the analysis, it is found that panic, stay-at-home procedures, and expectations are not significant regressors in their respective market levels. However, the model provides strong evidence that COVID-19 spread rates near a set of meatpacking plants has the effect of increasing wholesale beef prices, and that country-wide spread rates has the effect of reducing wholesale prices. There is no significant effect of COVID-19 spread rates on the retail and farm sectors but the estimated slopes on these variables are consistent with the theoretical framework. The results also imply differences in competition across the sectors. Namely, the retail and farm markets face greater competition and therefore cannot change prices at the same rate as wholesalers in response to a similar shock.

 

 

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