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By Anuoluwa Akibu, Jack Griffin, Sierra Petties, & Ben West, III Form; with mentors Ben Robb, V Form & Blaine Duffy, VI Form
The West Nile Virus: The Minor Zoonotic Problem Without A Major Solution
In the information below, you will be able to take away a full understanding on the West Nile virus, and how it is transmitted zoonotically. West Nile virus (WNV) is a pathogen, specifically a flavivirus, and it is found in arthropods. West Nile virus infections are most common in temperate areas, between late summer and early fall, when mosquito activity is at it’s peak. Although many people become infected with WNV most people do not show symptoms. The few who do, mostly have minor symptoms like fever and headache. One percent of the people infected with the virus develop lethal symptoms that require immediate medical assistance. Most cases of West Nile virus come from mosquito bites. The mosquitoes infect humans and other animals which are called dead end hosts. Dead-end hosts cannot pass the disease on to another host. Birds however are different because they are amplifier hosts. That means they continue to spread the disease to mosquitoes have not received the virus yet. The only known treatment to West Nile virus at the moment is pain killers because scientists are still figuring out a solution. There are cures for animals and some in development for humans. There isn’t a practical solution to West Nile virus, but there have been prevention methods created. The main focus for many groups worldwide is of the disease by managing the mosquito population and observing the bird population to restrict the further spreading of the disease. Researcher(s): All; Editor(s): All (more…)
By Katherine Hartigan, VI Form
Mitochondrial Disease in C. elegans
Mitochondrial disease refers to a class of hundreds of disorders related to the mitochondria that are caused by mutations in either mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) or nuclear DNA
(nDNA). These mutations disrupt cellular respiration and the production of ATP, resulting in the overproduction of damaging free radicals. Mitochondrial diseases were once thought to be rare, but links between mitochondrial defects and many diseases of aging have been discovered, making these diseases far more prevalent than previously thought. A cure is nonexistent, and treatments are often individualized or ineffective. Antioxidants, such as Coenzyme Q10, have the ability to neutralize free radicals, making them a logical choice as a dietary supplement for mitochondrial disease patients. In this experiment, the C. elegans mev-1 mutant was used as a model organism for human mitochondrial disease. MitoQ, a reengineered form of Coenzyme Q10 targeted to the mitochondria, was added as a supplement to the diet of mev-1 mutants. The groups of mev-1 mutants were observed and data was collected every 12 hours until their death to determine their approximate lifespan. Following experimentation and data collection, it was found that there was not a significant difference in between the lifespans of the control mev-1 mutants without MitoQ, and the experimental mev-1 mutants with the MitoQ added to their diet. It is necessary to repeat this experiment while collecting data in shorter time intervals than 12 hours in order to draw more accurate conclusions when completing future research. (more…)
By Kate Sotir, Cooper Sarafin, Anderson Fan, Shep Green, VI Form and Mo Liu, V Form
Math Modeling: Using Math for Flight Path Safety
The problem at hand is to create a model, a rating system, that would inform potential flyers of the safety of a particular flight. Our solution includes a mathematical equation that gives us a number between 1 and 100, depending on the inputs. Although the values themselves indicate the safety level of flights, we do not want to our audience to read into the numbers: a flight with a safety index of 63 should not be considered a more dangerous flight than a flight with a safety index of 67. Therefore, to make our model directly presentable to our audience, we classified the possible outcomes into ratings. A safety index ranges from 1 to 20 would have a rating of ★, from 20 to 40 would have ★★, 40 to 60 would be ★★★, 60 to 80 ★★★★, and finally, 80 to 100 would have the highest rating of ★★★★★, and flights that fall under this rating would be the safest choice based on our model. (more…)
By Jiawen (Angela) Li, IV Form
Editor’s Note: This is the assignment prompt for a unit on ecology–You will be given one week of class and homework time to investigate a topic of your choosing that relates to ecological or environmental sustainability. The goal will be to research the topic in depth and produce a final product that displays your understanding of the concept. You may choose to produce a video, Prezi, infographic, children’s book, or paper.
Angela’s pre-reflection: I chose the topic Sea Acidification because I was intrigued by the podcast about how oysters are affected by seawater acidification, and I wanted to know more about how it also affects other species, especially how it affects marine food chain/web. I hope to gain more knowledge on how seawater acidification generally affects marine life and expand my understanding from oysters to a larger variety of organisms. I wish to produce a piece of informative work including the introduction of seawater acidification, explanation of how it works, and details as to what the effects on the sea life are. This is related to these units because it expands on the “Science Friday” podcast on oysters and is connected with food webs, sustainability, and ecosystems. I’ll be working on my own, because I want to work on an infographic and working in pairs really slows the process down and complicates matters unnecessarily, and there could be an uneven distribution of work. My strategy would be to learn from my last experience with making an infographic, dividing my work into clear sections, maybe three to five, before doing research to be more efficient.
See the large infographic below! (more…)
By Cordelia (Cricket) Dotson, V Form
Editor’s Note: The students were charged with designing an experiment to determine if five individuals were or were not lactose tolerant. After designing and completing the experiment they were given instructions on publishing the results in a 1-take video (instructions at bottom of the article).
Please click here or on the image below to see Cricket’s video on lactase persistence: