The Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry office is happy to host a 2021 Images of Research + Arts Competition! This event was created to showcase the intersection between art, science, and creative expression and encourages all undergraduate researchers to appreciate the beauty within their work.
The voting window for this competition will be from March 15-April 8, 2021. Please take a look at the images and their descriptions below, and then use the link at the bottom of the page to vote for your favorite image. Do not submit more than one vote to ensure a fair competition.
2021 Images of Research + Arts Competition
Witty Kwok – Neuroscience “A Night in the Brain” – FIRST PLACE
- Mentor: Sung Yoon, Biological Chemistry and Pharmacology
- “Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an irreversible and progressive disease that impairs an individual’s mental functions to a level that prevents one from performing everyday tasks. Despite hundreds of clinical trials, there are still no viable treatments that can slow the rate of cognitive decline. In our study, we aimed to determine the effects of inhibiting JNK3, a protein found to be highly involved in AD pathology, as a possible therapeutic route.”A Night in the Brain” depicts one of the fluorescent staining tests done to label neuronal activity. The image is speckled with red, green, and yellow dots that imitates the stars of a night sky. In a research perspective, the quantity of these dots provides information on how active the neurons were, with the higher quantity being more active. Many images were taken for comparison between untreated and treated mice, and it was observed that mice treated with JNK3 inhibitor significantly increased neuronal activity. “
Victoria Piper – Psychology “The Future is Now” – SECOND PLACE
- Mentor: Thomas Kerwin, Office of Research
- “Highly autonomous driving is no longer an abstract notion paired with the vision of some futuristic society; we are already living in that world. Citizens lucky enough to own autonomous vehicles have readily adopted them into their everyday lives. The availability of this technology will only continue to grow.It’s reasonable to ask, “in what generation will children grow up learning to drive fully hands-free?” If and how this phenomenon would impact young adults’ manual driving ability, especially in an emergency situation where they would need to regain control of the vehicle, remains unclear. That is why, at the Driving Simulation Laboratory, I am preparing for a safer future.Using our immersive simulator, pictured here with a hexapod motion platform
and 260° projection screen, I can measure reaction time, awareness, driving control, and eye tracking in a safe, virtual environment. When participants step into the vehicle, we tell them that it drives just like a real car; they will feel vibrations and hear the wind. Adapting the way we conduct research, subjects now wear a headset through which we can provide instruction. Many leave with a smile on their face: “that felt like a video game!””
Regan Webber – Molecular Genetics “Rainbow Fins” – THIRD PLACE
- Mentor: Sharon Amacher, Molecular Genetics
- “Zebrafish don’t normally have multicolored bones and muscle, but for my research project, being able to clearly visualize these structures is extremely important. My project focuses on one particular gene called pnrc2 and its role in developmental biology. Since initial images implied that a mutation in this gene could lead to a change in the zebrafish fin structure, I aimed to investigate what these specific physical changes were. Even in a molecular genetics lab, there are times when visual evidence can be more powerful than quantitative data—this was undoubtedly one of those cases. For my visual evidence, I used chemical stains to transform the zebrafish bones into a red color and the cartilage to a blue color. The microscope images of these staining patterns made it possible to analyze and compare the fin structures of the fish with and without the mutated gene. In the end, these rainbow fins didn’t just help answer a scientific question—they also brought about a greater appreciation for the complexity and delicacy of zebrafish as a living organism.”