Gustavus Adolphus College

  Sigma Xi Research Symposium 1999 

Session 1: 1:45-3:15pm

Concurrent paper session 1a: Nobel Hall, Room 201, 1:45-3:15 p.m.

Thomas Gover, Chair

Breaking Winter Dormancy in Grapeferns and Moonworts

Chanda Riedel (advisor:  Cindy Johnson-Groh)  1:45 p.m.

The purpose of this study was to determine the length of winter dormancy in Botrychium virginianum (Rattlesnake Fern) and whether or not it can be broken and/or shortened.  The critical length of dormancy was tested under a series of winter conditions including temperature, humidity, light, and watering in growth chambers and the greenhouse.  This study will ultimately facilitate further experiments which will allow us to understand the impact of management practices (logging, fire, herbicides, compaction, etc.) on these and other more rare grapeferns and moonworts.

Preparation and Characterization of Alkali Phthaloylphosphides

Ryan C. Nelson (advisor:  Brian A. O'Brien)  2:00 p.m.

Several synthetic routes will be discussed for the preparation of variously substituted phthaloylphosphide anions. There will also be discussion of a new synthetic technique for preparation of these compounds using cesium as the counter ion. The 1H, 13C, and 31P NMR spectra of the compounds will also be presented and discussed.

Phenytoin Inhibits Synthesis of the Inflammatory Mediator Nitric Oxide in Macrophages at the Transcriptional Level

Marc Newell (advisor:  John M. Lammert)  2:15 p.m.

The anticonvulsant medicine phenytoin (PHT) alleviates joint inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis. Increased release of nitric oxide (NO) by macrophages in joint fluid contributes to tissue damage in arthritis. I have previously found that PHT inhibits production of NO by the mouse macrophage-like cell line J774A.1. This study was conducted to determine whether HT inhibits the enzyme that synthesizes NO (inducible nitric oxide synthetase or iNOS) or activation of the gene that encodes iNOS. Four hours after addition of the inflammatory stimulus, PHT was added to the cells. NO levels were not appreciably reduced following the delay in PHT treatment.  This suggests that PHT does not affect iNOS activity, but rather inhibits transcription of the gene that encodes iNOS.

Asymbiotic culture of Botrychium spores in vitro

Neal C. Buddensiek  (advisor:  Cindy Johnson-Groh )     2:30 p.m.

Botrychium is a temperate fern genus found in the northern latitudes of North America. It has a subterranean gametophyte that is dependent on endophytic fungi for its nutrition. Thus far, attempts to culture Botrychium spores in the absence of endophytic fungi have largely met with failure. Whittier has observed spore germination in some Botrychium species after six to twelve months in culture. This experiment attempts to duplicate his experiment. Seven species of Botrychium were cultured in either nutrient media containing ammonium chloride or arginine as the sole nitrogen source. No spore germination has yet been observed after five months observation.

The Distribution of Underground Gametophytes in Botrychium virginianum (rattlesnake fern)

Laura C Schoessler  (advisor:  Cindy Johnson-Groh )    2:45 p.m.

Botrychium virginianum reproduces by underground gametophytes.  The goal of this project was to determine the underground distribution of B. virginianum.  Soil samples were collected systematically from a 200 square meter area containing 114 aboveground B. virginianum sporophytes. Gametophytes were isolated from soil samples using a centrifugation technique.  Seven gametophytes were recovered from 49 soil samples.  Four of these were from samples clustered one foot away from one another.  The results imply that B. virginianum gametophytes are not widely distributed.

Preparation and Reactions of Bis(trifluoromethyl)phosphine and Perfluoro-2-phosphapropene

Jeffrey B. Johnson  (advisor:  Brian A. O'Brien) 3:00 p.m.

The preparation of the title compound was carried out in several steps with the use of a vacuum line and Schlenk techniques, and characterized by 1H, 13C, 19F and 31P NMR.  The bis(trifluoromethyl)phosphine was converted to perfluoro-2-phosphapropene through the elimination of HF.  Reactions of both (CF3)2PH and F2C=PCF3 with low valent transition metal precursors will be discussed.

Concurrent paper session 1b: Nobel Hall, Room 222, 1:45-3:15 p.m.

Lawrence Wohl, Chair

Use of New Technologies to Enhance Corporate Training Practices: Tennant Company

Jason Biederman, Nathan Hanel, Marc Oien, Adam Patterson  (advisor:  Svetlana Madzar)    1:45 p.m.

Based on a site visit and literature research, our group will discuss the use of latest technology in training. We focus on Sales training programs in Tennant Company, producer of non-residental floor maintanance equipment and floor coating. We will also address Tennant's perspective on life-long learning and how it is implemented through their training and education programs.

Human resource issues in mergers and acquisitions: Medtronic Inc.

Bryce Anderson, Joy Holicki, Cameron Isaacson, Jon Kurtz (advisor:  Svetlana Madzar)    2:00 p.m.

Based on a site visit and literature research, we explore how mergers and acquisitions affecr corporate culture and resulting human resource practices. We present our findings from our visit to Medtronic Inc. which has recently acquired five new companies. We also compare these exemplary practices to practices in other companies.

Strategies for addressing diversity in the workplace: Minnesota Wire and Cable Company

Allison Afrian, Laura Johnston, Hiroko Kakiuchi, Sarah Grabau  (advisor:  Svetlana Madzar)    2:15 p.m.

Based on site visits and literature research, we describe a set of strategies that MN Wire and Cable company is using to deal with its diverse workforce. We then compare these p[ractices to other companies.

Sweden's views of the European Union: Cultural perspective

Ulia Paraskova  (advisor:  Svetlana Madzar) 2:30 p.m.

After having spent a semester in Sweden, and having talked with many Swedes about their views of the European Union, I researched both popular press and refereed journals on this topic. My presentation is a compilation of findings from these various sources.

Stress and work-life linkages: St. Paul Companies

Sara Gates, Wade Gustafson, Kellie Meyer, Ari Silkey  (advisor:  Svetlana Madzar)    2:45 p.m.

Based on site visits and literature research, we look at the ways the St. Paul Companies works to prevent and relieve stress through a variety of work-life programs. We compare their exemplary practices with practices of other companies.

Characterization of the S15 Ribosomal Protein gene family expression in Arabidopsis thaliana by relative RT-PCR

Brian North  (advisor:  Colleen Jacks) 3:00 p.m.

The S15 ribosomal protein gene family codes for a structural component of the ribosome 40S subunit.  RNA isolated from Arabidopsis thaliana during the first 16 days post-germination and from mature stems, leaves and flowers have been analyzed for expression of three of the S15 ribosomal protein genes by RT-PCR.  Two of the genes are expressed in a variable pattern throughout the first 16 days.  No expression of a third gene has been detected.

Poster Session       Nobel Hall Lobby      3:15-3:45 p.m.

James Welsh, Chair

Psychological and Physiological Responses to a Natural Disaster in College Students

Melissa Gardner  (advisor:  Timothy Robinson)

The March 29, 1998 tornado in St. Peter, Minnesota, provides an opportunity to study the effects of a
natural disaster on students' perceived stress and physiological responses, and to find relationships
between temperament, coping mechanisms, and salivary cortisol levels.  General psychology students
completed a survey and submitted saliva samples.  It was found that those students who reported high
levels of childhood shyness tended to use disengagement as a coping strategy.  Salivary cortisol data is

Noise Emissions from Energy-Efficient Fluorescent Lights

Caroline Ginder  (advisor:  Dennis Henry)

Noise generated by an external source can often create disruption in electronic circuits.  A common cause of this type of interference is fluorescent lighting.  Recently, energy-efficient fluorescent lights have been installed in parts of Olin Hall, raising interference concerns.  In this study, we have developed techniques to measure the amplitude and frequency of the visible and electric field components of both traditional inductive and electronic ballast fixtures.

Plasma-Produced Thin Polymer Films

Dan Asleson, Matt Cunningham  (advisor:  Charles Niederriter)

lasma-produced polymer thin films have been found to afford some corrosion protection in some cases.  We are currently trying to understand the film formation process.  Do the films build up as islands that grow, or in a layer-by-layer constant coverage process?  Thus far we have developed a reliable and repeatable process for creating thin films.  We coat
aluminum plated slides with a thin polymer film in a plasma chamber, leaving part of the slide uncoated.  We are able to make measurements of thickness and coverage using the scanning tunneling microscope.

A New Permian Vertebrate Locality in North-Central Oklahoma

Susan Joy  (advisor:  Keith Carslson)

Description of a new Early Permian vertebrate locality, Perry, Oklahoma.  Excavation is located within a channel deposit consisting of alternating sandstones and mudstones, and has yielded plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates.

The paleoenvironment of the Early Permian in Oklahoma is problematic.  In contrast to the red fluvial deposits of most Early Permian sites, sediments of the new locality are dolomites and shales of lacustrine or marginal marine origin.

Flora and fauna of the channel along with fossil insects and an extensive trackway, allow paleoenvironment reinterpretation.

A New Permian Trackway Locality in North-central Oklahoma

Brooke A. Swanson  (advisor:  Keith Carlson)

Trackways contribute to paleobiological interpretations by adding behavioral and ecological information unavailable from skeletal fossils. This study focuses on a recently discovered vertebrate trackway where 16 terrestrial vertebrate trackways can be discerned, representing a minimum of 8 ichnotaxa.

In the past, there has been confusion concerning the paleoenvironment of this region during the Early Permian. The trackway data contributes to a new interpretation based on insect, plant, and vertebrate body fossils and on sedimentologic features.

Session 2: 3:45-5:15pm

Concurrent paper session 2a: Nobel Hall, Room 222, 3:45-5:15 p.m.

Michael Ferragamo, Chair

Characterization of Chondroitin Sulfate Attachment Sites in Melanoma

Beth A. Peter  (advisor:  William H. Heidcamp) 3:45 p.m.

Our laboratory is investigating the role in molecular structure of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans in melanoma and correlating them with motility and metastasis.  Chondrointinase is used to remove CS from the surface of the cell and p-phenyl-B-D-xylopyranoside to inhibit the synthesis of CSPG while leaving the core protein intact.  Core proteins are separated and analyzed with immunoprecipitation, SDS-PAGe and Western blotting.  Changes in the cell matrix are correlated with cell motility.

TEM Immunolocalization of CD44 on Metastatic Melanoma with CS Disruption

Timothy Wilson  (advisor:  William H. Heidcamp) 4:00 p.m.

This study used immunogold to localize the adhesion receptor molecule CDE44 on the surface of human melanoma cells.  Previous studies in our laboratory had indicated the presence of focal adhesions (hot spots) of CD44 associated with alterations in chondroitin sulfate in the extracellular matrix (ECM).  Normally, CD44 is distributed over the surface of the cells, with occasional hot spots.  Treatment of the cultures with 1-2 mM p-nitrophenyl b-D-xylopyranoside (b-D-xyloside) removed the hot spots and decreased the binding of the immunogold antibody to CD44.  b-D-xyloside, which blocks synthesis of CS onto the CD44 protein core, also caused an increase in CD44 deficient cell-to-cell contacts.

Colocalization of CD44  and Vinculin in Mouse Melanoma

Jennifer A. Keis  (advisor:  William H. Heidcamp) 4:15 p.m.

The location of CD44 in the membranes of melanoma cells is affected by regulation of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPG) synthesis.  It is also affected by digestion of CS by chondrointinase.  Normally, CD44 is evenly distributed on the cell suface with the occasional presence of focal adhesion sites. This study confirms the altered localtion of CD44 by colocalizing adherent proteins to the CD44.  CD44 was labeled with Texas Red and vilculin with FITC conjugate.  Image analysis indicates that the focal adhesions have both CD44 and vinculin present. Focal adhesion disappear with inhibition of CS synthesis.

Synthesis of Assymetric Tris-phenol Metal Complexes

William Appiah  (advisor:  Gretchen Hofmeister) 4:30 p.m.

I will discuss the synthesis of Tris-phenol ligand complexes. My discussion will include work done last summer as well as work in progress. We did our complexation reaction using Titanium and obtained an assymetric compound. We have also complexed tris-phenol with aluminum and found the resulting compound to be symmetric. We tried the reaction with tin but no observable reaction occurred. In my presentation, I will discuss NMR spectra of our products and reactants and also the various methods used in our synthesis and investigation. Finally I will discuss our current project which seeks to investigate the recognition of chiral substrates by titanium trisphenolate complexes.

C-Alkylation Versus O-Alkylation of 1,3-cyclohexanedione to Produce 2-methyl 1,3-cyclohexanedione

Stephanie Endsley  (advisor:  Gretchen Hofmeister) 4:45 p.m.

Under standard alkylation conditions, 1,3-cyclohexanedione will produce at best a mixture of C-alkylated and O-alklated products.  We explored the effects of solvent polarity and the counterion of the base in the alkylation reaction of 1,3-cyclohexanedione.  We conclude that as the solvent polarity increases, C-alkylation is highly favored and as the atomic weight of the counterion increases, C-alkylation predominates.

Mechanism of Hydrolysis of Phenyl-p-nitrotoluenesulfonate

Kelly Devine, Phillip Fatka  (advisor:  Allan Splittgerber)    5:00 p.m.

We will be dicussing the possible mechanisms that have been proposed for the hydrolysis of phenyl-p-nitrotoluenesulfonate.  This will include a variety of graphs interpreting data that was collected by spectometry, as well as which mechanism this data seems to most support.

Concurrent paper session 2b: Nobel Hall, Room 201, 3:45-5:15 p.m.

Richard Fuller, Chair

2-Dimensional NMR Structures of Organic-Titanium Complexes

Jeremy Weaver  (advisor:  Gretchen Hofmeister) 3:45 p.m.

We have been studying the asymmetrical wrapping of a tris-phenolate ligand as it binds to a titanium-tert-butoxide center through the metal ion.  I will present and discuss the COSY NMR experiment using spectra of menthol as an example.  Then I will discuss the room temperature COSY NMR spectrum of tris-phenolate Titanium-tert-butoxide.

Surface Modification of Polymers by Plasma Oxidation

Michael Bukowski  (advisor:  Lawrence Potts) 4:00 p.m.

We have studied the modification of polyethylene and polytetrafluoroethylene surfaces by water plasma oxidation.  Experiments have demonstrated that hydrophobic polymer surfaces become hydrophilic when bombarded with plasma generated radicals.  The radicals oxidize a few monolayers of polymer, creating carboxylate residues that can be observed with transmission infrared spectroscopy. This technique has utility in the modification of hydrophobic sampling media for the infrared (3M IR Cards) and allows them to be used for water-soluble polymer samples.

Hydrolysis of Polyacrylamide

Stephanie Truhlar  (advisor:  Lawrence Potts) 4:15 p.m.

We are interested in understanding polyacrylamide's interactions with surfaces.  We have characterized, using IR and NMR spectroscopies, the hydrolysis products of polyacrylamide to discover the mechanisms involved in its surface reactivity.  We found that acid-catalyzed hydrolysis results in the formation of carboxylic acid; however, the majority of the product remains in its amide form.  The base-catalyzed hydrolysis results in a nearly complete conversion of the amide to carboxylate, and the polymer becomes less rigid.

Time-Resolved Photon Correlation Spectroscopy

Brian Smith, Chiew-Seng Koay  (advisor:  Paul Saulnier)    4:30 p.m.

In traditional photon correlation spectroscopy (PCS) a dilute scattering medium is illuminated and the scattered radiation is recorded as a function of time.  This intensity will exhibit fluctuations that contain information about scattering particle dynamics.  The main limitation of traditional PCS is that it is applicable only to very dilute suspensions.  We report on a PCS technique that utilizes time-resolved detection to preferentially suppress multiply scattered light, thereby enabling the study of intensity fluctuations arising from single scattering within a dense random medium.

An Asessment of Meiofauna in the Drainage Systems of Rush River and Robards Creek

Rebecca Snyder, Jodi Morris  (advisor:  Myron Anderson)    4:45 p.m.

Meiofauna are small (<1mm), multicellular animals of different taxonomic groups that inhabit benthic substrates of aquatic systems. The diversity and abundance of meiofauna in many freshwater systems has been documented but little is known about their occurrence in drainage ditches in agricultural areas.  The overall objective of this study was to obtain baseline information that could be used in further studies to investigate the use of meiofauna as bioindicators of pollutants in agricultural runoff.  Reports in the literature indicate that some taxonomic groups are more pollution-tolerant than others.

Cored sediment samples were collected on three dates from five sites along the Rush River drainage system and processed in the lab.  The results were analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively to assess differences in spatial and temporal distribution among sites and to compare with previous studies of other habitats.  Representatives of Copepoda, Nemotoda, Ostracoda, Cladocera, Oligochaeta and various insect larvae were found.  Insect larvae and nematodes were dominant at most sites.   A significantly greater abundance of meiofauna was found in the top three centimeters of benthic substrate as compared to the next three centimeters (p=0.0086).  The interaction between site and date was significant (p=0.053).  The mean number of meiofauna/10cm2 ranged from 11.5 to 115, less than the abundance reported in a concurrent study of an adjacent drainage system and numbers reported in other rivers and streams.

Behavioral profiles of an all-male gorilla group at Como Zoo, St. Paul, MN

Callie Braun  (advisors:  Martha Robbins, Bob Bellig)    5:00 p.m.

Como Zoo in St. Paul, MN houses an all-male western lowland gorilla group as an attempt to deal with excess captive male gorillas and to simulate one of the species’ natural behavioral formations.  Systematic research is required to provide a foundation for the assessment of the success of the Como all-male gorilla group.   Social interactions were sampled via focal animal sampling and scan sampling.  Expected results include a dominance hierarchy prescribed by decreasing age and minimal levels of aggression.  Homosexual behavior and behavior exhibiting boredom will also be documented.