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Archer’s annual STEM Symposium is an opportunity for Los Angeles high school students who have completed independent or small group projects in STEM to present their findings. Students are invited to present their research in the fields of molecular biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering.

The Archer RISE Award honors exceptional young women for their innovative scientific research or engineering design projects that further existing knowledge or develop solutions to pressing scientific challenges. Finalists for the RISE Award are noted in throughout the online program and will be awarded at lunch on May 21.

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Breakout Session B [clear filter]
Saturday, May 21
 

11:35am

Construction & Analysis of a D.I.Y. Spectrophotometer: Can I get a Watt Watt?

A spectrophotometer is an integral part of a traditional chemistry course for most high school students. It is a tool that measures absorption of visible light and is used by scientists in real world situations including, but not limited to, research in the life sciences, chemistry, and deep-sea exploration. Depending on the capabilities, however, the price for a spectrophotometer ranges from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands. Our goal is to replicate an experiment to build a spectrophotometer utilizing Apple technology (iPhones & iPads) and Windows software, which are more accessible and cost efficient to schools that lack the funding for a standard spectrophotometer. Once we have built the spectrophotometer, we plan to run multiple experiments to test the precision and accuracy of our instrument in comparison to a standard classroom spectrophotometer. We will also conduct a detailed cost analysis of typical classroom spectrophotometers compared to our home-made version. If the iPhone/iPad is able to complete experiments with just as much precision and accuracy as the spectrophotometer, students around the world will be able to access lab experiences that they might not have been able to previously.


Exhibitors
AR

Anjali Reddy

The Webb Schools; Grade 10
MS

Madison Steinorth

The Webb Schools
The Webb Schools; Grade 10


Saturday May 21, 2016 11:35am - 11:50am
Room 123

11:35am

Effects Ocean Acidification on Dimethylsulfide Production by Emiliania Huxleyi

Dimethyl sulfide is a trace gas commonly produced by marine algae. Recent studies indicate that dimethyl sulfide plays an important role in cloud formation which, in turn, has potential to impact global climate. However, the burning of fossil fuels has polluted the air with excess CO2 which is absorbed by the ocean. This results in ocean acidification. This study will determine how ocean acidification will affect the overall production of dimethyl sulfide in relatively acidic waters.


Exhibitors
LN

Leyla Namazie

The Archer School for Girls
The Archer School for Girls; Grade 11


Saturday May 21, 2016 11:35am - 11:50am
Room 124

11:35am

Going Into the Light: The Effects of Antioxidants On Planarian Negative Phototactic Behavior

Photophobia, also known as light sensitivity, is an intolerance towards light. Photophobia is not an eye disease, but it can be a symptom of other illnesses such as severe headaches and migraines. Antioxidants may help with alleviating migraines and decreasing oxidative stress, therefore decreasing light sensitivity. Planarians are free-living aquatic flatworms whose photophobic response to light can be tested because of their central nervous system and basic cerebral eyes connected to the brain. In this experiment, the planarians were split into 4 groups: a control group not treated with any antioxidant, a group treated for 15 days with Lutein, a group treated for 15 days with vitamin A, and a group treated for 15 days with vitamin C. They were placed in a testing dish divided into 4 quadrants, and a light was placed above the testing dish. Their responses to the light were recorded in 2 minute intervals. The questions being answered were, how do the antioxidants Lutein, vitamin A, and vitamin C each affect the planarian negative phototactic behavior? In other words, do planarians become less sensitive to light when given an antioxidant? If so, which of the three antioxidants helps combat photophobia the most? This research is important because it will help further our understanding of eye development in humans and help discover more effective ways to deal with photophobia.


Exhibitors
HC

Haley Cohen

The Archer School for Girls
The Archer School for Girls; Grade 12


Saturday May 21, 2016 11:35am - 11:50am
Room 216

11:35am

Killer Combos: Cooperative Cytotoxicity of Plant Hormones with Known Chemotherapy

Methyl Jasmonate (MeJA), a plant stress hormone, has been shown to selectively target cancer cells and induce apoptosis by dissociating hexokinase, a key enzyme in the glycolytic pathway that is overexpressed in cancer cells, from the outer mitochondrial membrane. Because MeJA uses the glycolytic pathway to induce apoptosis, specifically targeting hexokinase, it functions well as a selective cytotoxic agent and sensitizes other chemotherapeutic agents to have increased efficacy in cancer cytotoxicity. Perillyl Alcohol (POH), a plant-derived hormone, has been used in combination therapies for cancer treatment and has been found to have similar sensitizing cytotoxic effects to MeJA. Although it has successfully induced apoptosis in a variety of cell lines, the mechanisms by which POH acts are unknown . In this study we aimed to contribute to the characterization of POH[?]s apoptotic mechanisms through a comparative study of combination treatments between MeJA and POH with common chemotherapeutic agents (cisplatin and etoposide). Cytotoxicity levels were tested in SKBR3 breast cancer cell lines and assayed using the Sulforhodamine B dye and microplate readers. In addition to the SKBR3 cell lines we tested two mutants of the same cell lines that express the molecules tDrrp and T75A. tDrrp is the truncated form of a protein that allows breast cancer to become resistant to herceptin treatment; T75A is tDrrp’s mutant that is supposed to render it inactive. Our research progressed to a data collection and analysis of POH and MJ combination effects on tDrrp expressing cancer cells, and normal cancer cells.


Exhibitors
LD

Laura DiPietro

Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy
Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy; Grade 12


Saturday May 21, 2016 11:35am - 11:50am
Room 217

11:35am

Preparation of iron oxide film by deposition from Fe(III)-nitrate: A study of the oxygen evolution r

This group conducted several experiments to understand the underlying structural qualities of high oxygen evolution reactions (OERs) and low OERs of iron oxide film deposits on fluoride-doped tin oxide plates. Structural differences on the molecular level were observed for deposits made with several different deposition and drying techniques using atomic force microscopy. In particular, the group studied the "coffee ring effect" on dried spots and were able to minimize those by placing spherical glass balls on the spots while drying, which led to a more even distribution of material.


Exhibitors
CD

Caitlyn Delgadillo

Alverno High School
Alverno High School; Grade 11
FM

Feier Mo

Alverno High School
Alverno High School; Grade 11
KS

Kate Samaniego

Alverno High School
Alverno High School; Grade 11


Saturday May 21, 2016 11:35am - 11:50am
Room 218

11:35am

Small But Mighty: How Micro-algae Can Generate New Transportation Fuel

When an organism is put under stress, nutrients are diverted from non vital processes and converted to fat to protect the organism. In micro-aglae, this evolutionary trait can be taken advantage of to increase the lipid content to make the micro-algae a more viable and cost-effective biofuel. Spirulina platensis is a species of cyanobacteria whose starvation profile is not well characterized. It has the potential to be a biofuel candidate because of its structure, high pH tolerance, and ability to be genetically engineered to increase lipid content. This experiment will hone in on the growth conditions that best increase the lipid content such as nitrate and phosphate deficiency, which will be tested through optical density measurements and fluorescence microscopy. Based on a review of the literature, it can be hypothesized that as the concentration of the nitrates and phosphates in the media decreases, the lipid concentration in [?]Spirulina platensis will increase after two weeks. The purpose of increasing the lipid content is to attempt to make costs as low as possible for this biofuel to make it competitive with petroleum oil. Since this biofuel is a carbon-neutral source using it nation-wide would decrease carbon dioxide emissions and slow the greenhouse effect. An in-depth characterization of the stress-response profile for Spirulina platensis could lead to new discoveries for Spirulina and its stress response. This characterization is essential as it becomes a better candidate for biofuel, especially since it does not require clean water or arable land like biofuel from crops.


Exhibitors
DF

Danielle Fradet

Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy
Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy; Grade 12


Saturday May 21, 2016 11:35am - 11:50am
Room 125

11:35am

The Effects of Haematococcus Pluvialis Sourced Astaxanthin and Casein on the Fertility Rate of Drosophila Melanogaster
This research project aims to identify a source that could be causing such high proportions of infertility, as well as find a treatment conducive to fertility and possibly reverse infertility. This project will be testing infertility by adding supplementation of either Casein, a protein found in cow’s milk and dairy products, astaxanthin, a carotenoid found in a freshwater microalgae, or a combination both into the food source of Drosophila (Drosophila Melanogaster). According to the USDA in a 2014 study, the average american consumed 614 pounds of dairy products annually. Casein has been linked to having multiple adverse effects on health including heart disease, type 1 diabetes and cancer. In addition, new research is flooding in about the health benefits of astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant . These benefits include improving semen quality, skin, endurance, increasing lifespan and also decreasing fat and blood pressure. This research hopes to find a correlation between casein and infertility as well as astaxanthin and fertility.

Exhibitors
RE

Rachel Erickson

The Archer School for Girls
The Archer School for Girls; Grade 11


Saturday May 21, 2016 11:35am - 11:50am
IDEAlab