Honors Grant Recipients 2009
Mentor: Dr. Pradeep Gopalakrishna
Title: Standardization and Localization of Coca-Cola Products
Abstract: The marketing study focused on the standardization and localization of Coca-Cola products in eight countries visited on a Semester at Sea: Spain, Italy, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Egypt, and Morocco. The product, place, promotion, price, and cultural adaptations of Coca-Cola were compared and contrasted. It was found that, although there was basic standardization for each Coca-Cola product, there was definite localization in each individual country. Coca-Cola’s dependence on its regional offices and customer feedback supply the company with the decisions necessary to market their products.
Mentor: Dr. Joshua Schwartz
Title: A Survey of Aquatic Invasive Species in the Greater Upstate New York Region: Possible Low Cost Methods of Removal and Control.
Abstract: Invasive species are a constant threat to biodiversity and ecological stability. Nowhere is the threat more apparent than in the state parks and waterways of upstate New York. Invasive aquatic plants clog and disrupt lakes, rivers, and ponds, rendering them useless for recreational purposes and impossible to navigate. It is through studying their unique adaptations and growth trends that it may be possible to disrupt their life cycle, thereby ousting these non-native species. This study focuses specifically on the zebra mussel, the eurasian watermilfoil, and the water chestnut. These invasive species are more than a recreational nuisance; they may also damage key points of infrastructure such as dams, lock systems, and other underwater concrete and metal structures. The ecosystems affected by these creatures were explored firsthand and analyzed to determine how their collection of unique adaptations allows them to defeat each method of control aimed at their removal. The most basic adaptation possessed by these creatures is an alarming growth rate. In one area water chestnuts were able to infest over 13,000 square feet a day. Furthermore, the implications of their adaptations, in concert with the theory of evolution, are examined. The contradictory view of maintaining, or increasing, biodiversity while supporting the concept of evolution is discussed.
Mentor: Dr. Jack Horne
Abstract: The art of yoga is focused on cultivating body awareness through self-study, known in Sanskrit as Svadhyaya. The practice of yoga is comprised of eight limbs: Yama (universal morality); Niyama (personal observances); Asanas (body postures); Pranayama (breathing exercises, and control of prana); Pratyahara (control of the senses); Dharana (concentration and cultivating inner perceptual awareness); Dhyana (devotion, meditation on the divine; and Samadhi (union with the divine). Current teachings of yoga are largely lacking in scientific background. Specifically, an advanced understanding of the structure and function of the human body can help clients maximize the benefits of their practice. Anatomical concepts involving the nervous system, joint mechanisms, and sports medicine greatly demystify the spiritual aspects and support the physical benefits of yoga, ultimately leading to greater body awareness and understanding.
Mentor: Dr. Nancy Krucher
Title: Phosphatase Nuclear Targeting Subunit (PNUTS) is phosphorylated by AKT kinase
Abstract: Phosphorylation of the tumor suppressor protein Retinoblastoma (Rb) is associated with a highly proliferate state of the cell and cancer. Rb phosphorylation state is partly controlled by the activity of Protein Phosphatase 1 (PP1) which is regulated by Phosphatase Nuclear Targeting Subunit (PNUTS). It is PNUTS that causes apoptosis in breast and colon cancer cells. This occurs through activation of PP1 phosphatase activity toward Rb which leads to Rb dephosphorylation, that can trigger apoptosis. Here we show that PNUTS may be regulated by the PI3K-AKT pathway which has been shown to be involved in many cellular functions including proliferation, growth and survival. In addition, signaling in this pathway has been shown to be disrupted in several cancers. In response to a sub-lethal dose of UV radiation of HCT116 colon cancer cells, activation of the AKT kinase occurs, with phosphorylation of known AKT substrates GSK-3 and mdm2 observed. Phosphorylation of Ser473 of AKT further verifies AKT activation. Under these conditions PNUTS is phosphorylated by the AKT kinase. Inhibition of PNUTS phosphorylation occurs when cells are treated with the LY294002 PI3K-AKT pathway inhibitor. Thus PNUTS is a putative substrate of AKT, and may play an important role in the survival of cells in response to stress.