here - The Governor's School @ Innovation Park

lovethreewayAI and Robotics

Oct 20, 2013 (3 years and 9 months ago)



The Governor’
s School @ Innovation Park
recognizes the collaboration, dedication
and hard work that has come together to make this event possible. As a community
committed to offering learning experiences with a focus on real
world research with
mentorship opportunities in business, industry, g
overnment, and university settings, the
Prince William Region
has once again come together to support our school and students in
their research endeavors. GS@IP faculty, mentors, and parents who have worked with our
students are to be commended for the rol
e they have played in contributing to the success
of our students.

In addition to the assistance mentioned above, George Mason University Administration
and Departments in College of Science and Volgeneau School of Engineering as well as our
business par
tners below warrant additional thanks due to providing both mentor and
monetary support to our students’ research efforts:


Aurora Flight Sciences

Lockheed Martin

Micron Technologies

PWCS SPARK Foundation

Overview of Schedule

10:30 a.m.

Poster Session in Occoquan Breakout Rooms A, E, H and L

Project Categories and Locations

Animal Sciences (AS)

Biochemistry (BI)

Cellular and Molecular Biology (CB)

Chemistry (CH)

Computer Science (CS)

Earth and Planetary Sciences (EA)

Electrical and Mechanical (EE)

Engineering Materials and Bioengineering (EN)

Environmental Management (EM)

Environmental Sciences (EV)

Medicine and Health Sciences (ME)

Microbiology (MI)

Physics and Astronomy (PH)

Project Category: AS


Receptors and Hippocampal Maturation

Francis King


Neural network development and information processing in the brain both require synaptic
plasticity. As circuits in the mammalian forebrain mature, synaptic plasticity is adjusted to
better suit
information processing. In the rodent hippocampus, this transition happens late in
postnatal development, culminating in the emergence of hippocampal
dependent learning and
memory abilities at the end of the third postnatal week. The molecular determinants

of the
developmental alterations in synaptic plasticity and cognition are not well understood.

term potentiation (LTP) and long
term depression (LTD) of synaptic efficacy are prominent
forms of activity
dependent long
lasting changes at excitatory gl
utamatergic synapses. Both LTP
and LTD are elicited by activation of synaptic N
aspartate receptors (NMDARs).
Hippocampal NMDARs exist primarily as quarters and are assembled differently across
postnatal developmement. At SC
CA1 synapses in rodent
s, NMDARs contain predominantly
NR2B subunits during early postnatal development and NR2A subunits after the end of the
third postnatal week (P21). This shift in NMDAR composition parallels developmental changes
in the ability to induce LTP and LTD and com
pletion of the shift marks the onset of adult
spatial navigation.

Different NR2 subunits give different functional properties to a receptor. Therefore, the
developmental NR2 subunit switch produces numerous changes in NMDAR function. In order
to sepa
rate the NR2
dependent conductance and intracellular signaling properties of NMDARs,
we generated transgenic mice that express chimeric NR2 subunits having the extracellular
amino and transmembrane fragment of NR2A or NR2B fused to intracellular carboxy te
of NR2B or NR2A, respectively (termed NR2AeBi (ABC) and NR2BeAi (BAC)). These animals were
used to test the hypothesis that the change in calcium conduction produced by the
developmental alteration in NMDAR composition underlies the age
related chan
ges in synaptic
plasticity and in spatial learning and memory abilities. The mice were tested mainly by running
behavior tests using the Morris Water Maze. The brains of the mice were also examined for
subunit expression. The experiment supported the hypot
hesis and showed that mice with more
NR2A subunits learned faster and had better spatial navigation skills than normal mice, and that
mice with more NR2B subunits had worse spatial navigation skills and learned slower than
normal mice.

Attentive versus Au
tomatic Navigation

Sara Counter


This project entails controlling the transition from attentive to automatic navigation. Learning a
new task involves paying close attention to every detail. Over time, the rat becomes more
familiar with the task an
d will perform the task more confidently and with less attentiveness.
This study intends to evaluate how the brain controls the functions of a repeated exercise and
the environmental factors that impact this. To conduct this study, an OpT maze will be used
the rat’s brain will be sectioned using a cryostat, and will be labeled using in situ hybridization.

Project Category: BI

The Determination of the Properties of Glutathione and the Methodology for Gkutahtione
Recovery in Affected Cells

Crystal Wormack


Glutathione is a fundamental antioxidant found in cells to protect from oxidative stress and
heal damage. This tripeptide is found in all cells including plant cells but is generally
experimented on in animal cells. Many recent experiments have be
en performed to determine
cell’s responses to increased levels of the glutathione precursor
GC (gamma
The overall goal of this project is to determine glutathione’s effect on the body and how can it
be administered to cells to allow the l
evels to recover after being diminished by a cell
environment stressor. With the introduction of
GC to cell environments before and after a
cell stressor is introduced an increase of mature glutathione is produced in cells to protect from
oxidative damag
e. With the first few trials it was shown that there was an increase in the levels
of glutathione that had been treated with hydrogen peroxide. Trials for pretreatment of
glutathione yielded higher concentrations than post treatment; however, any introduct
ion of
GC caused an increase.

Minimizing Enzymatic Activity in Sweat to Prevent Degradation of Proteins

Reenu George and Rubana Hossain


Sweat comprises an affluent quantity of proteins and is easily accessed without protruding an
individual. However the dilemma with using sweat to identify biomarkers is that sweat is
contaminated with enzymes. Due to the enzymatic active the question that
arises is: How can
the enzyme activities be stopped or limited so enough protein is present to analyze? Using
organic dye baits will limit the enzymatic activities that occur in the sweat. An immulite is used
to recover the proteins that were analyzed.

Laeverin: A Novel Stem Cell Marker Hair Pigmentation: The Link Between Cats, Cancer, and
Spiny Mice

Zachary Chapman and Chandler King


Each year, nearly 7.6 million people die from cancer. In the United States alone, 2 million
people will be diagnosed with general skin cancer and 75,000 with melanoma, the most deadly
skin cancer. The number of people affected by skin cancer continues to i
ncrease. In this study,
we tested the function of Laeverin, a protein that allows spiny mice to regenerate skin and hair,
in the leukemia and melanoma cell line using immunohistochemistry, western blot gel analysis,
zymograms, cell culture, fluorescence, a
nd reverse phase protein microarrays.

The idea that Laeverin has a role in the metastasis and growth of cancer stemmed from two
studies. The first study showed that Kenyan spiny mice could lose, and then regenerate, up to
60 percent of their skin without s
carring or hair follicle pattern loss (Seifert, 2012). Laeverin was
found to be the protein responsible for mouse skin/hair regeneration. The second study
involved hair pigmentation patterns in calico/striped cats. A cat’s fur color/pattern arises in the
air follicle (Kaelin, 2012). The link between cancer, calico cats, and Kenyan spiny mice was
connected through Imatinib (Gleevec), a cancer drug used to treat Chronic Myeloid Leukemia
(CML). Imatnib is a protein tyrosine kinase inhibitor. Tyrosine kinases

relay signals through a
cell. Patients being treated with Imatinib are known to have skin/hair pigmentation
discoloration. We reasoned that if a cancer drug causes hair color loss, and hair color in cats is
determined by the hair follicle, and Laeverin is

crucial for hair follicle regeneration in a Spiny
mouse, then Laeverin could be a new progenitor (stem cell) marker.

Laeverin is important in human embryonic development. Laeverin is used by embryo
extravillous trophoblasts (EVT), a specialized ce
ll that allows the placenta to implant in the
uterus. Recently, a study established Laeverin as having enzyme like properties that degrade
several peptide hormones, such as angiotensin III, endokinin C, and kisspeptin
10 (Horie, 2012).

To determine if Laev
erin was found in cells other than trophoblasts, we used
immunohistochemistry with Laeverin antibodies to stain tissue sections of various mouse and
human tissues. We grew a CML cell line and a melanoma cell line in culture to test the effects of
or Chloroquine on Laeverin and other neuroendocrine proteins. We used a Zymogram
to determine if Laeverin was in the conditioned media of CML and Melanoma cell cultures. To
quantify the amount of Laeverin in the cells and conditioned media, we used reverse

protein microarrays.

Project Category: CB

Usage of Anti
Stress Gene Therapy to Minimize Developmental Stress on Adult Cognition

Miles Franklin


The main goal of this research project is to investigate the effects of maternal separation on a
postnatal rat production of corticosterone both immediately after the trauma, as well as
throughout its adult life. Using prior knowledge from scientific artic
les, this project expands on
the concepts established through experiments conducted on memory
related structures,
specifically the amygdala and the hippocampal complex (Hippocampus); topics of fear memory
consolidation and retention are analyzed in relatio
n to how they correlate with the traumatic
event of maternal separation. It is known that maternal separation can cause life
long problems
in animals and humans alike; without attention these problems can progress into life
threatening problems. Due to the

more maternally dependent nature of mammals, rats were
chosen as the experimental species, and served as the primary focus of the research project.
The research project deviates from the classical usage of foot shocks and loud sounds to initiate
fear cond
itioning in favor of the more consistent Morris Water Maze, which allows greater
versatility in experimenting for multiple variables. Previous studies have shown that female rats
with noticeably high levels of estrogen in the body experienced much better t
esting results in
the Morris Water Maze, and seemed to handle the stresses of the test and separation from its
maternal unit; estrogen is believed to work as a type of neural protector against stress signals.
The hypothesis, based on this finding, theorize
s that the injection of a chimera ERGR
(Estrogen/Gluccocotroid) protein receptor into an experimental group will yield results
consistent with the control group (where the rats were not maternally separated). Due to
outside conditions, there were a limited

number of results; however, these results supported
the calim that ERGR was responsible for shielding from a damaging, chronic stress response

Project Category: CH

The Analysis of Biodiesel Using Calorimetric, Spectroscopic, and Chromatographic Techniqu

Ebony Holmes, Stacie Lovullo, Kendra Gardner


Due to issues regarding the decline in fossil fuels there has been a need for new alternative
fuels sources. Biodiesel is a renewable fuel source that can be derived from virtually any
vegetable oil, animal fat, or microalgae. Biodiesel is produced through

the means of
transesterification, which is a reaction between the triacylglycerides (TAGs) of the fat or oil and
methanol in the presence of calcium oxide (CaO), a heterogeneous catalyst. In order for
microalgae to undergo transesterification lipid extrac
tion is needed first.

The analytic techniques that were used to characterize the canola, peanut, sunflower, algal
biodiesels were Bomb Calorimetry, Gas Chromatography
Mass Spectroscopy (GC
MS), Infrared
Spectroscopy (IR), Density, and Viscosity.

The GC
S and IR confirmed that no biodiesel was formed from the algae source. The IR
spectrum showed a very strong and broad O
H peak and a very small C
H peak. The GC
spectrum confirmed that phosphate oxide compounds and nitrogen benzene compounds were
nt which could be compounds from pesticides.

Bomb Calorimetry was run for canola, peanut and sunflower oil biodiesels which resulted in a
heating value of 37.69 MJ/kg, 40.98 MJ/kg, and 34.24 MJ/kg, respectively. These compare to
the literature values of 3
7.3 MJ/kg
, 39.8 MJ/kg, and 39.6 MJ/kg
, respectively. The
transesterification of the canola, peanut, and sunflower biodiesel were proven successful
through the GC
MS and IR spectra. In both the IR and GC
MS spectra only ester peaks and little
to no carbo
xylic acid peaks were shown. The experimental density values for canola and
sunflower biodiesels were 0.9158 g/mL and 0.9198 g/mL. The literature density values were
0.883 g/mL
, and 0.9161 g/mL.

Algae Biodiesel

Caroline Gellene and Justin Rivera


Algae blooms are an environmental hazard currently affecting many bodies of water
throughout the world. These blooms choke ecosystems and poison water, killing local plant and
animal life. It is possible to remove algal blooms through dredging ho
wever dredging is
expensive and difficult. A way to offset the cost of dredging and disposal was needed to make
saving local ecosystems economically possible. Algae derived biodiesel would not only offset
the costs of dredging and disposal but also supplem
ent the food supply, reducing reliance on
foreign oil. Previous research has shown the efficiency of organic solvent extraction on
biodiesel production however this process is expensive and requires the use of several harsh
chemicals. Mechanical extraction

methods have only limited published test results but the
majority of materials are reusable, greatly reducing the cost of production. The experiment
proved that the combination of a chemical and mechanical extraction process was the most

ble Oil Based Biodiesel

Nav Saini, Nick Angello, and Elijah Reese


The objective of this experiment is to determine whether or not the biodiesel that is produced
through the transesterification

process of vegetable oils is viable or efficient for usage. The
three vegetable oil samples that were used canola, peanut, and sunflower oil. The oils were
mixed with methanol and the experimental calcium oxide catalyst.
A calcium oxide catalyst was
to increase the yield of biodiesel. The percent yield of biodiesel differed for each sample
due to the starting milliliters of oil used. There were three production trials for each sample.
The total milliliters of the oils used were 300 mL of canola, 120 m
L of sunflower, and 116 mL of
peanut. The total biodiesel yield for each sample were 200 mL for canola, 116 mL for sunflower,
and 120 mL for peanut. The theoretical yield for the biodiesel was 251 mL for canola, 131 mL
for sunflower, and 126 mL for peanut.

The percent yields were 80%, 91.6%, and 92%,
respectively. In addition, the corrosive properties of the biodiesel were tested to determine
whether the biodiesel would be efficient in comparison to other studies. It has been known that
biodiesel is corrosi
ve due to the double bonded oxygen molecule in the ester compounds. The
double bonded oxygen is unstable and will react violently. Testing this specific property will also
help determine the viability of biodiesel. It has been shown that biodiesel corrodes

magnesium, and aluminum; by 0.01 to 0.02 grams. Through alcoholic blends, corrosion rates
decrease by 0.01 to 0.02 grams. An anti
corrosion testing was used to determine whether or
not the corrosion rates will decrease through an alcoholic blend.
A methanol bath was used to
relieve the stress of the double bonded oxygen molecule in the biodiesel. After testing all of the
samples and metals, it was determined that the metals gained mass due to the methanol
transferring the metallic particulates of t
he biodiesel to the tested metals. Overall, it was
determined that biodiesel is a viable resource.

Category: CS


The effect of the origination and composition of the human coronavirus

CoV) on its’ sporadic reemergence and various
other contributing factors

Deeksha Jain and Elijah Anderson



affects the respiratory system of the body. This virus surfaced in China [2002]
and became a pandemic swiftly moved through the population. In order to aid the effort in
finding a cure, the human virus' hexon will be sequenced, analyzed and compared to th
of the bat and pig to draw a sound conclusion on whether this virus that even now, as of
September 2012, is the same viral strain that originated in China as a result of a mutation in
the bat or pig coronavirus and has continually re
emerged throughout

the years, or if this
virus is a new strain emerging each time due to certain environmental factors and
mutations. If the human coronavirus (SARS
CoV) is researched and analyzed thoroughly
and comprehensively through computational calculations then it may

or may not reflect its’
sudden and sporadic reemergence based on composition and origination is the hypothesis
being tested.

The hexon sequence of two human adenovirus strains, 11a and 55, was
derived in amino acid form and inserted in Kalign to ensure th
e reading was as easy as
possible. As these steps were completed, the results for the first part of the project received
were the point mutation, or a single base mutation, between the two adenoviruses, 55 and
11a. This mutation indicates the strains to be

rather similar with minor differences and
that it can be plausible for a lineage between these two strains to be formed.

Real World vs. Virtual World

Keegan Herschel, Frank Simons, Lisa Chhour


The purpose of this study is to disprove the idea that moral choices learned in the virtual world
do not override morals that are first learned in the real world, even if the two have a strong
connection. This is a common concern among many parents becaus
e of the increase in
violence in the United States and the increase in the popularity of video games, especially
violent games which are among the most popular. The population used in this experiment will
be students from the Governor’s School @ Innovation

Park. A game has been created for this
test that personalizes itself to the player to make a link between the real and virtual world,
where they will have many instances where strong moral choices must be made. To test
something qualit
ive like moral
ices, a

counting system that converts the choices into point
values which are then measured for their moral value was developed; this makes the
experiment quantitative in its data. The instrument used for the test is part of the software,
Multimedia Fusio
n 2 Developer, which will be used to create the game that will test the
hypothesis. Along with this counting system will be a survey in the beginning of the game
which will serve as the control for the experiment; it will be used to compare how the moral
choices in the game are changed from those in real life.

Artificial Intelligence:

Utilizing Machine Learning Techniques to Create a Composite Algorithm that Makes
Predictions in the Stock Market

Joseph Mehr, Melissa Thai


The purpose of this study is twofold: 1) to determine which machine learning algorithm

genetic algorithms, support vector machines (SVM), k
means clustering, artificial neural
networks (ANN), or an original, composite algorithm

most accurately predicts

the behavior of
the stock market and 2) to determine which stock market theory

Efficient Market Hypothesis,
Dow Theory, or Elliot Wave Theory

provides the algorithms the best data for making stock
market predictions. In order to approach this, the al
gorithms will be instantiated multiple times
and trained with data relevant to each stock market theory tested. Afterward, the trained
algorithms will be run in a stock market simulator for a pre
defined period of time. The final
step in this study is to

extract and analyze the data in Mathematica. The following literature
reviews give a basic overview of some of the prominent theories regarding stock market
behavior and the more common types of machine learning algorithms as well as summarize
similar st
udies performed by leading computer scientists.

The effect of different anti
cheating methodologies used during online assessments
on the validity of the scores on the assessments

Nikita Torosyan


With today’s age becoming so technologically
dependent, although the technology does benefit
us as people, we must not overlook the downfalls of our society being run by technology. As the
technological age continues further and further, it has started to influence our educational
system with the off
ering of online courses for the purposes of obtaining a college education
and degree. However, in an environment where a scholar is not watched while taking
assessments, how can we be sure that every student is ingenuous when taking the assessment
and does

not cheat? With today’s typical giving of assessments online, the scores are very
prone to dishonesty in the students taking the tests and there is not enough attention being
directed at this issue. An environment in which assessments could be taken onlin
e without the
worry of ruining the scores’ validity is necessary to keep online education alive. The technology
we have today is capable of easing our lives and definitely capable of allowing education to be
put online, but the scores need to be reliable e
nough such that a university can give a scholar
credit for the work they do online.

Web Applications Developed for Managing Event Flow

Adam H. Baillie & Tianna A. Woodson


The Saluting Our Stars event is a formal recognition ceremony for all Prince William County
students and staff. The event is a large
scale awards ceremony, dedicated to honoring aspiring
students and dedicated staff members. The size of the event necessita
tes a large amount of
preparation and organization to keep it running smoothly. A system will be needed to handle
the tracking of attendance and the progression of the ceremony. The system will be built on top
of the Wordpress Content Management System to
facilitate a simple and user
experience for the Office of Communication Services. Microsoft Access and its functions will
also be implemented in the organization process. In addition, Quick
Response (QR) codes and
other numeric barcodes will be im
plemented to track attendance at the ceremony. Custom
ins, themes, and widgets will be developed to enable the system to manage all the
capabilities of the project. This will be implemented with custom page templates to deliver an
accurate script for
the Master of Ceremonies to read via the provided iPad.

Project MR21: Improving Mathematical Skills of Down syndrome Individuals through
Computer Based Educational Games

Krish Mirambel, Sallie Lam and Grace Tchouaffi


Down Syndrome

is a very common, but incurable disease. However, it is not a disease that
inhibits an affected individual; affected persons just learn at a different, mostly slower, pace
than others. Thus, can an online educational game be created to help remediate kids

math skills? First off, it is unfair that while many “normal” people are provided with an almost
infinite resource list online, down syndrome
affected individuals are stranded with books,
board games, etc. Hence, an online interactive and educatio
nal game will be created for those
who lack basic but essential math skills. The gaming program “GameMaker” will be utilized to
create a game with amusing, yet educational features. Then, a group of students between the
ages of 14 and 17 with Down Syndrome

will be given a Diagnostic test to assess where they
stand in arithmetical computation ability. Next, for the next five weeks, students will be asked
to use this game twice a week for a total of 90 minutes per week. The creators will meet with
the student
s every two weeks for pupils to participate in a diagnostics quiz. These small
diagnostics test/quizzes come from Virginia Assessment tests (SOLs). At the end of the
remediation process, a final diagnostic exam will be administered. The results from the fi
diagnostics examination, quizzes and tests and final diagnostic exam will all be compared. It is
expected that the cognitive arithmetical abilities of these children will have improved to a
certain noticeable degree.

Project Category:

Resolved Iris Recognition



Iris recognition is a form of biometric identification that is commonly used around the world.
Millions of individuals have been “enrolled” into iris signature databases. Iris recognition
systems are used for passports, building entry, and
other security purposes. The iris has shown
to be a very accurate and robust signature. It has a huge number of intricate patterns that are
so unique, that even the left and right eye can be distinguished.

Real World Design Challenge 2012


Dawson, Jesse Dews, Prayant Hanjra, Jason Keller, Avi Montenez, Matthew Roberts, &
Jacob Williams


The 2012
2013 Real World Design Challenge problem statement was to create a small
unmanned aerial system (sUAS
) with one or more unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and
develop a business plan regarding the UAV(s). The purpose of the sUAS was to locate a missing,
immobilized, child wearing a blue jacket within a two
mile radius circular search area. The
challenge emph
asized time efficiency and cost efficiency. GMUGS Innovation strove to create
not only a time and cost effective sUAS, but also to create an environmentally friendly one.
Upon completion of the challenge, the team had proudly produced an aerodynamic,
, cost friendly, and environmentally friendly sUAS.

Project Category: EV

Does Leaching Affect the Characteristics of Lime
Stabilized Soils?

Chris Lindelof


The use of calcium hydroxide (lime) to stabilize soils has been a common technique
improving the workability and performance of fine plastic soils. The effects of lime on the soil
properties have been thoroughly studied and much is known regarding the short
term stability
of treated soils. The long
term stability of treated soils has

been theorized and assumed from
field performance. In this study the effects of a simulated year of water leaching for treated and
treated soils. This experiment will utilize the Expansive Index (EI) properties of soils to
compare indices before leech
ing and after to determine whether there is a degradation of the
EI from the initial EI’s. A degradation of the EI from the initial stabilized sample to the leeched
sample may indicate the non
permanence of lime stabilizations.

Biodiesel: Algae Growth

adeleine Guyant, Mitchell Gillin, and McKenzie Krochmalny


This project covers the environmental aspects of using algae as a source of biofuel. The process
used in this experiment would remove algae from areas where harmful blooms occur, provide a
source of biofuel, and have a positive effect on water quality. The specific focuses were:
identification of algae strains and biological indicators, analysis of water quality, seasonal
changes in algal/ecosystem relations, benefit and drawback analysis of

using algae from blooms
and eutrophication areas as a source of fuel. Identification of algal strains was key to widening
the applicability of the results to any area with the species, instead of the specific testing
location. As one portion of a two part

experiment, this environmental aspect resulted in more
qualitative data, while the chemical side’s results are quantitative. In this experiment, algae
samples from three locations, Quantico Creek, Lefty Hamilton Pond, and the Potomac River,
were tested. P
hosphate, nitrate, pH, and dissolved oxygen levels were measured at each site.
Algae was visually identified using microscopes and reference databases, and conclusions were
drawn in conjunction with the chemical group, showing viability and sustainability
of the

Project Category: ME

Heart Valve Analysis in a Closed System

John Dubbelde and Joycelynn Acheampong


As a sect of medicine, cardiology focuses on the maintenance and upkeep of the circulatory
system. However, another major component in having successful implementation of research
in corrective surgeries, medicines, and procedures is bioengineering. When t
he two areas are
combined, advancements such as pace makers, blood thinners, and replacement heart valves
are developed and used to save a person’s life. Yet, improvement can still be achieved. Heart
valves are a major component in sustaining the flow of b
lood throughout the heart during each
heart beat

systole and diastole, for the valves operate in such a way that prevents any back
flow of the blood into the atrial and ventricular chambers of the heart.

Thus, factors, such as
extreme stress, age, or defo
rmity lead to deterioration and malfunction, which must be treated
with repair or total valve replacement.
Therefore, in paying particular attention to the tricuspid
valve, conducted analysis of replacement mechanical valves will test the efficiency of the

and search for where improvement can be attained and implanted into the current technology.
Through a series of several tests, a simulation of the heart and its function serve as the main
apparatus for which the valve must endure these trials. The p
roposed tests will begin with
testing the simulated blood for its viscosity levels and density levels, then taking that blood and
inserting it into the simulation. These tests serve to function as a means of seeing the flaws in
the current use of technolog
y and seeking out ways to improve upon it either through tests or
further development of the current technology.

Determination of Tumor Heterogeneity in Primary Cell Culture from Renal Tumor

Shreya Raman, Jason Zhang, and Olivia Carros


This experiment tested the protein composition of human renal cancer to determine tumor
heterogeneity. In the first part of the study, a
workflow was established to determine whether
supernatant collected from cell lines can be used to test heterogeneity i
n the production of
proteins. Commercially available cell lines were used to test the workflow and help become
familiar with the process of cell culturing and mass spectrometry. Cell supernatant and cell
lysate were obtained from TK
10 renal cancer cell l
ines. The cell lysate was processed using
mass spectrometry to identify the proteins based on mass
charge ratio and percent
abundance. Experiments were run independently for three samples. Inter
variability was evaluated to establish reproduc
ibility of the process by calculating mean and
standard deviation. Mass spectrometry analysis allowed the identification of approximately 700
proteins. Vimentin (mean= 38.3, Standard Deviation=2.6), Heat shock 90 protein (mean= 41.7,
Standard Deviation=1.7
), Filamin A (mean= 45.3, Standard Deviation=5.0), and Chaperonin
(mean= 39.3, Standard Deviation=0.9) were identified as the most abundant proteins. For the
second part of the experiment, the same workflow was applied to evaluate intra
ty. Supernatant collected from cell lines established from different areas of human
tumors were used. A total of 9 cell lines were established from 4 different primary tumors. A
newly developed nanoparticle technology was used to enrich small abundant prot
eins in two
samples to analyze protein composition by mass spectrometry. 199 proteins were identified for
one sample, while 116 proteins were identified for the other sample. Data analysis indicated
that 94 proteins were present in common between both sa
mples. The ongoing analysis of the
similar and different proteins will offer important new insight on the role of heterogeneity with
a tumor.

Project Category: MI

Investigating the Microbial Community Associated with White Plague Disease

Bianca Cruz and Carleigh Fisher


White Plague Disease causes loss of living tissue in coral, exposing their skeleton. It is currently
prevalent in coral reefs around the world, though this project focuses on reefs in the Bahamas
and Caribbea
n. Since it is evident that coral reefs are being impacted by some sort of foreign
and detrimental source, scientists and researchers are trying to determine the cause white
plague in order to prevent the loss of coral. In order to identify the causative a
comparative DNA analysis methods in the form of DNA extraction, polymerase chain reaction,
gel electrophoresis, pyrosequencing, and basic local alignment search tool was be utilized.
While the results of this experimentation were ultimately inconclus
ive major bacterial genera
most prevalent in diseased coral tissues were observed. In diseased samples from
Flower Garden Banks, Little Cayman, Dry Tortugas, and the Virgin Islands, the most abundant
bacteria were those of the genera Sicilibacter
and Thalassobius. The diseased samples of the
Bahamas held high abundancies of the bacterial genera Comamonas, Dechloromonas, and

Characterization of the Gut Mucosal Microbiome using Laser Capture Microdissection (LCM)

Manjot Nagyal


Over a million Americans have Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD). A protective mucus layer
tries to separate colonic microbiome from the epithelial cells and balance the intestinal
immune system. Patients with IBD have a disruption in their mucosa of their
bowels, therefore
causing chronic inflammation. In order to find out what could be the difference between the
biofilm of a healthy colon and a IBD colon, the mucosal samples from biopsies of the large
intestine from healthy volunteers and patients with IBD

were studied. This study would help to
determine if there was a specific bacteria or a microbial community correlated with the disease.
In IBD patients, the cause of the disruption is unknown, however, a change in microbial taxa
usually occurs. Using LCM,

epithelial and mucosa linings of healthy volunteers’ and IBD patients’
colons were cut from formalin embedded slides. The dissected tissues were then extracted of
bacterial DNA. This bacterial DNA was amplified in Length Heterogeneity Polymerase Chain
action (LH
PCR) using universal bacterial primers. The amplified samples were then run
through gel electrophoresis. Surprisingly, neither the IBD patient’s bacterial DNA nor the
healthy patient’s bacterial DNA was present after running the gel. After sever
al trials, the
extracted DNA samples were tested for inhibitory reagents and a successful DNA extraction.
The tests verified that there was no inhibitory chemical in the DNA samples and the DNA
extraction was successful. Instead, these tests led to the con
clusion that the formalin fixative
did not preserve the bacteria in mucus layer or the outer epithelial layer. Another set of slides
were tested that were preserved in GMU’s fixative, which is similar to Carnoy’s fixative. The
DNA samples from these slides
, too, did not show any DNA bands in the gels either. The same
two tests were again used to verify, which showed no inhibition and successful DNA extraction.
These results could mean that the type of fixative could still be a problem, the magnesium
ration in the LH
PCR is not enough, or too much time passed between LCM and LH
and between each LH
PCR test. In the future, different fixated slides will be looked at and
different magnesium concentrated LH
PCRs will be done.

Project Category: PH

Efficiency of Ethanol in a Generator

Avi Chudasama, Mital Lavani, Usman Syed, and Frederick Zhang


Emissions of greenhouse gases have been deteriorating the ozone layer of our atmosphere thus
causing global warming. Fuels mixed with ethanol prod
uce reduced emissions of greenhouse
gases, and therefore comparing the relative efficiencies of ethanol and gasoline can detect
trends that will affect prevalence of ethanol usage. The purpose of the experiment was to
determine the efficiency of various fu
el mixtures. In America, gasoline is already mixed with 10%
ethanol, and in the experiment, mixtures of 10.9%, 11.8%, and 14.5% ethanol were tested. The
50 mLs of each mixtures ran through a tube into the gasoline powered electrical generator, and
a watt
eter to record the watt
hour output. The measured watt
hours of each fuel were then
used to calculate the energy output and efficiency of each fuel. Ethanol mixtures were found to
yield similar efficiencies to those of standard gasoline, and therefore etha
nol is able to provide
a similar energy content in a practical situation. Error from this experiment was accounted for
by technical and procedural errors.

Near Earth Object Study, Observation, and Discovery

Mohammad Hossain and Nader Maharmeh


Near Earth Objects (NEO) are asteroids and comets that have an orbit which directs them towards a
close approach to Earth. NEOs are classified as such if they are less than 1.3 AU (1AU=149.6 × 109
meters) from Earth at any given time. Using telescope image
s provided by the International
Astronomical Search Collaboration, this research’s objective was to detect, identify, and measure any
NEOs, and make original discoveries in the process. Consecutive images provided by 32, 30, and 24 inch
telescopes, operate
d by the NASA funded Astronomical Research Institute in Illinois were, were
processed through the program Astrometrica. The images were then searched for any signatures
indicating a NEO, and any found were verified, measured and logged. All measurements, i
original NEO discoveries, were sent to the Harvard
Smithsonian Minor Planet Center in Massachusetts
to be confirmed before being updated into the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s NEO catalog. Once sent
to the catalog, the NEO’s orbit and distance
measurements were recalculated and an Impact Hazard Risk
Assessment was performed. A total of one
hundred images were analyzed throughout the course of the
campaign where a total of fifteen NEOs were discovered, confirmed, or observed, and one
hundred fift
six other NEOs were measured. Of the fifteen NEOs mentioned, two were known to be Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids (PHA). One observed asteroid had a perihelion distance less than that of the
famous 2012 DA14 asteroid which passed less than 27,000 km from

the Earth in mid February 2013.
Another incident occurring at the same time, the Chelyabinsk Meteor
which injured 1,500 people,
supports the importance of this research in today’s time to insure future survival.

Force Absorbing Material

Zhuoran Li


My research for mentorship this year is Force Absorbing composite material. The project is a
sandwich function. Sandwich function means that different materials function in layer by layer
and it looks like a sandwich. In my material, the top layer wi
ll be a stiff material that can lower
the pressure by distributing the force to a larger area. Middle layer should spread out the time
of hitting and lower the force. The bottom layer will give the final cushioning effect. After
building the material, I us
ed force plate connect with laptop to collect data. My data were the
force exerted on the force plate with and without my composite material. Data analyze took
part in after collect the data. I compared data sets by graph the data in force vs. time graph,
and the height that the graph reaches will be the impact that exerted on my force absorbing
composite material. The force composite material with plastic board, foam and air cushion
lowered the force a lot compare to the original force, it reduced the forc
e significantly.

Vibration Induced Liquid Shapes

Michael Machado


The goal of this project was to isolate different frequencies that would create ordered oscillations due to
wave interactions, expressed through the surface of a liquid medium.

An experiment was set up that
allowed the observation of isolated resonance points created by one and multiple sources of vibrations.
Frequency values were recorded that would produce geometrically recognizable patterns on the surface
of a liquid. The two

liquids used in this project were water and a cornstarch solution (tested at different
ratios of cornstarch to water). At increasing frequencies, the patterns progressed from circles in
symmetry to hyperbolas to standing waves expressed through bulges in
rows and columns.

Grid Solar Power System

Gabe McGinness


Solar power has been increasing in interest as new renewable sources of energy are being
researched. New solar power companies are producing large solar panel farms to harvest the
suns power. Individuals are also buying solar panels to equip with their hom
e or even their
business. Both are examples of the human mind trying to save money and impact the
environment. They are also both dealing with electricity and a grid system already set up to
deliver electricity to households and businesses. A cabin in the
deep mountains has no chance
of obtaining this electricity and is stuck with natural gas and maybe a gasoline powered
generator. Could solar panels be implemented into this environment as well? Different types of
panels are for sale on the market, each wit
h their own posted watt production. What would be
the best solar powered system for this cabin environment? I tested a monocrystalline panel
(rated at 100 W) and a polycrystalline panel (rated at 145 W) for their efficiencies, which were
up to 13% and 15%,

respectively. The time of day affected the efficiences, which decreased to
0.1% and 10%, respectively, at 4 p.m. I also found that a sufficient number of panels to power
the demand of the appliances in the cabin is 20 and 11, respectively. Neglecting a re
as a load, the demand dropped to 3 and 2.

Application of Electromagnetism to Hover a Substance


Courtney Mercado and Lauren Raffanello

The original proposed experiment was to build a hoverboard. First, a prototype electromagnetic
ulsion device was developed to test the feasibility of creating the hoverboard itself. Multiple
prototypes were created in the process. The first apparatus consisted of many small iron nails in
a tube with enameled copper wire coils wrapped around it. The
second system was similar to
the first, but it was made up of six long iron nails as opposed to many small ones. A third system
followed the same set up as the first two, but the core consisted of iron hangers. Initially, the
battery provided the electric
current that was sent through the coils of wire to generate the
electromagnetic field. Eventually, a stronger ac current was sent through the coils in each
system using a variac. An enclosed metal ring was hung from a force sensor and the core of the
m was placed in the middle of the ring. The force sensor was hooked up to a Vernier to
calculate the magnetic force generated from the system. A commercial ring launcher was also
used to compare to the systems built in this experiment. The commercial ring
produced a larger effect than the handmade prototypes. Once the magnitude of the
electromagnetic force was determined to be strong enough with the metal ring, a ring of soil
was tested with the commercial ring launcher using the same procedure. On
e method of
creating a ring of soil was to sew a ring shaped
pouch and fill it with soil. The second method
was to make a ring with a raised edge with clay. The wet soil did produce a signal on the force
sensor. This will also be the basis on whether the f
orce is sufficient enough to levitate an entire
hoverboard. The same process will apply to the actual hoverboard. Hundreds of coils will could
be wrapped around the iron deck of the hoverboard, which will be resting on the ground. An ac
power source would
provide the current through the coils

and the force created may be large
enough to counteract the weight of the hoverboard and cause it to levitate.

Radiometer Optimization and Characterization

Humza Mohammad


Currently, a majority of all the
energy humans use comes from non
renewable sources such as
oil and natural gas. Non
renewable sources like wind, hydro, and solar are available, but they
are not utilized as much and provide less energy. There are many ways a person can make their
own ener
gy to save money and also help the environment. In this project, a new method of
optimizing the Sun’s energy through a Crookes Radiometer will be employed so that energy can
be made. A Crookes Radiometer is a small bulb which contains four vanes which spin

using light
energy. I found that my results did not support my entire hypothesis because I did not make a
functioning radiometer. Although I did not make a radiometer, I did make a generator which
would work if implemented with the radiometer I attempted
to make, so my hypothesis was
partially proved. I also know that according to my data that EMF would be induced with a
radiometer if light intensity increases based off of results with an actual radiometer.

Effect of Washing on Gas Turbine Efficiency

sal Shaikh

Power washing is a routine procedure performed by many power plants in order to maintain
gas turbine efficiency. This study serves to determine the effects of power washing on the
thermal efficiency of a standard gas turbine. A formula for the t
hermal efficiency of a gas
turbine, in terms of temperatures of steps of the standard Brayton
Joule Cycle, was derived.
This formula was then applied to data points from the actual turbine. Temperature points were
obtained from each of 2 gas turbines, know
n as Units 6A and 6B, located at the Dominion
Power Possum Point facility in Dumfries, Virginia. Data was collected from sensors located
inside the gas turbine, and stored in a Pi database. Data from January 1st, 2007 to April 23rd,
2013 was then exported
to Microsoft Excel, and the formula was applied using the derive
formula. Graphs, along with quadratic and linear regressions, were then used to examine trends
in the thermal efficiency of the gas turbines. Thermal efficiency of the gas turbine was found t
increase as summer approached, and decrease as winter approached from 2007 to 2008 for
both 6A and 6B. In 2009, thermal efficiency leveled off and stayed approximately constant for
the entire year. From 2010 to 2013, thermal efficiency trends reversed, a
nd efficiency was
found to decrease as summer approached, and increase as winter approached. From these
results, it is not plausible to conclude that power washing does significantly affect efficiency.

Warning: Collision!

Piper Sigrest



Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are a large source of controversy in today’s society, mainly
due to safety concerns such as collisions. In order to facilitate the assimilation of UAVs into
national airspace and general life, a reliable collision avoidance system i
s mandatory. “Warning:
Collision” addresses the growing public concern over the integration of UAVs into national
airspace by developing an algorithm that models the incorporation of Automatic Dependent
Broadcast (ADS
B) capabilities into a UA
V autopilot. ADS
B is a state
Communication, Navigation, Surveillance (CNS) aviation technology. By enhancing
communication among aircraft, ADS
B technology greatly improves the accuracy and reliability
of collision avoidance systems. Furthermor
e, using a cost efficient, risk
free, and realistic
simulated testing system, the UAV was flown alongside a general aviation aircraft. This
simulation provided a knowledge base for the ADS
B algorithm, which was written in Java code.
B model provid
es a platform for the eventual incorporation of ADS
B technology into
collision avoidance systems.

Steam versus Gas

Andrew Sorensen


Steam engines have been in use for over two centuries with multiple advancements over that
time. These advanceme
nts have led to the invention of different types of boilers such as the
flash boiler, which does not have the ability to explode. Also over this time, the uses of steam
engines have expanded. Originally intended to do hard work such as power a ferry up a r
steam engines are now used to power cities and to heat buildings to acceptable conditions.
Other improvements such as making a national boiler checking service and more efficient
steam engines led to steam becoming into more popular use in factory en
vironments. Because
of steam's usefulness it has become commonplace not only in factories but in homes as well.
This project is the comparison of the power of a gasoline engine to a steam engine. By using a
torque wrench, it was planned to find the torque
that the engine exhibited upon the wrench
when the engine was run on the different power sources. Unfortunately this was not achieved
due to an irreparable break within the carburetor.

Making an Instrument with Desired Sound Properties

Andrew Yoon


The current
project was to construct an instrument with desired sound properties

with a goal of

able to test multiple sound waves and then build an instrument based on a hybrid sound
wave between two instruments that blend well

a very heavy base but yet with a mellow
tone. The process of making the instrument was very challenging. To construct the base and the
body of the instrument took many hours, power tools, and dedicated nights. The instrument
turned out to make a unique noi
se that had a sound that almost matched a sitar which is a
sound that meet
the specified

criteria. After the construction my second experiment goal was
to test different variations on which my instrument would go through to see if it would make a
better so
und; For example, covering up the resonance hole, filling the hole, etc.
The resulting
prototype is
a working instru
ment making a “unique” noise which
produced data that can

for future modifications.

Hydroelectric Energy Storage

Courtney Mercado,

Lauren Raffanello and Humza Mohammad

[Acknowledgment: Funding for components for this project was provided by a grant from the
PWCS SPARK Foundation.]


At more than fifty hydroelectric sites in the U.S. and worldwide, energy is taken off the grid

during low
demand times (nighttime, for instance) and used to pump water to high
reservoirs. During high
demand times, the water is le
t to come down through turbines to
generate electricity. Although this operation is an energy loss overall, it can

reduce emissions
by permitting a reduced number of carbon
emitting power plants to run continuously at
highest efficiency instead of requiring less efficient start
up plants to kick in during peak times.
Building mountain
top reservoirs is expensive, howe
ver, and the purpose of our project was to
measure the electrical energy output of a small reservoir running a small turbine and generator,
as a function of reservoir height. To measure the energy, we used a commercial data interface
and software to integr
ate the electrical power curve (current*voltage) over the time it took to
drain the small reservoir. We believed that more energy would be produced in proportion to
the reservoir height involved since potential energy is proportional to height. Our results

showed this to be true for a certain range of electrical loads. Thus, the higher you build a
reservoir, the more energy you will get for a given quantity of water.

Feasibility of Using Sound to Sort Recyclable Materials

Michael Machado and Zhuoran Li

knowledgment: Funding for components for this project was provided by a grant from the
PWCS SPARK Foundation.]


Single stream recycling refers to the collection of “mixed” recyclable materials which are then
sorted later. Studies have shown that m
ixed recycling can increase recycling rates by 30%. This
is believable in that more people may find recycling more attractive if they don’t have to sort
materials themselves. The challenge then is in the sorting that has to take place at the recycling
lity. Although electromagnetic effects can be used to extract metal from a stream, many
other sorts are done by hand. We developed a prototype for sorting materials with the use of
oscillating sound waves called standing waves. The apparatus consists of a
loudspeaker at one
or both ends of a cardboard tube. Mixed refuse is spread inside the tube. When the speaker is
driven at the right frequency, a standing wave is set up in the tube, where the air shifts back
and forth at spots called antinodes and is stil
l at spots called nodes. Refuse material with a high
surface area to mass ratio should be susceptible to being pushed toward the nodes. In that way,
materials such as paper can be separated from the rest of the mix. Our results did show a
tendency for such

movement of light, distended objects, whereas heavier, more compact
object remained in place and did not move toward the nodes at all.

Principles of Technology and Engineering Course Projects

NASA’s Real World In World project

Team 1: Ami Patel, Ken
dall Dalkiewicz, Chrystal Wormack

Team 2: Nikita Torosyan, Faysal Shaikh

Team 3
: Caroline Gellene, Madeleine Guyant, Piper Sigrest, Frederick Zhang


George Andrews


The purpose of this project was to construct an inexpensive
working prototype for a music
playing robot. The source of input was through text files located on the SD card. The pitch and
duration of each note, as well as the tempo of the whole song, were specified in each file. By
reading each text file, the robot w
as able to play multiple parts to a song.

VEX Robotics

Harris Iqbal & Ami Patel


In Robotics, sensors are used to detect, analyze, record, and decipher any sort of data that is
presented or needs to be acquired. Two types of sensors that are used
in Vex Robotics and
have real world applications are Shaft Encoder and Bumper Switch. The shaft encoder is used to
record, and execute any sort of wheel movement on the robot, such as programming the robot
to move 2 feet forward. A bumper switch is used fo
r as a button to execute any programs when
pressed, such as starting the program when it is pressed. All of these and many more sensors
are used for the Vex Robotics competition and in many aspects of life.

Spreading Awareness

Olivia Carros, McKenzie Kro
chmalny, Matthew Roberts


Many people today are unaware of the critical environmental issues affecting the world, let
alone how to help. The goal of our project was to help with this problem by designing a Green
Week for Governor’s School. The spirit week began on Earth Day and had

different activities
each day that raised awareness of the problems and how to help. Increasing awareness
increases green behavior, which was the fundamental idea behind the project. The events that
we coordinated aided
in the understanding of the environ
ment and motivation to help preserve
it. We are promoting environmental awareness in our school, in the hopes that we can make a
difference in the mindsets of the students. We hope to inspire them to be kinder to the
environment, as the need for this incre
ases as time goes on.

Gray Water Solution

Michael Machado, Justin Rivera, Jiaming Zhao


The use of water in today’s society creates much waste water that has the potential to be
reused. Commonly known as "gray" water, this reusable water does not

need major sewage or
filtration treatment. Our project proposed reclaiming this water and using it in a viable manner
to both conserve water, a natural resource, and to provide water to areas lacking supply.

Green Roofing: A Greener Way of Cleaning the P

ason Zhang, Shreya Raman, Mitchell Gillin


The purpose of this project is to study and justify the implementation of green roofs on
buildings. Studies so far analyzing the effects of green roofing on communities have shown that
they contri
bute significantly to cleaning water runoff and removing contaminants in air
pollution. This experiment will target a specific aspect of green roofing: energy consumption
through insulation in order defends the implementation of green roofs on high schools

in the
Chesapeake Bay area.

SOL POL Composting

Nader Maharmeh, Humza Mohammed, Chandler King, Prayant Hanjra


GMU Composting is a program where any school can join to construct a composting system at
their school. Our main goal is to reduce the stress on landfills and decrease the amount of food
wastes in them through composting. This was achieved through the prom
otion of a composting
system at high schools, which throw away many compostable items daily. We started off with
Battlefield High School and promoted composting there. Soon after that, we contacted Patriot
High School and Osborn Park High School. We had on
ly a few obstacles; one obstacle was
disapproval from the risk management office of Prince William County. We found we were at
risk of attracting pests with our composter design that used cheap wooden pallets so we fixed
the design with chicken wire.

us Vertical Axis Windmill

Lisa Chhour, Andrew Sorensen, Keegan Hershel


In many urban centers throughout the world, we are faced with the ever growing problem of
efficient and cheap energy production. In emergency situations where there are cityw
blackouts, few living spaces have the ability to produce power for themselves, resulting in the
inability to preserve food, provide climate control, or use communication devices such as
telephones. Our project intends to focus on a widely unused resour
ce in urban environments
that could help to combat this problem; wind currents in between buildings. By using a specially
designed wind turbine that is made to be placed in between buildings as well as on top of them,
small wind farms could be made that co
uld provide power for individual living areas as well as
an entire building. This could apply to living spaces, corporations, and public buildings, thereby
assisting entire urban communities.
Results indicated that
the best design for this type of wind
turbine would be a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine. This particular design is useful because it is able
to harness not only horizontal wind currents, but vertical ones as well, which are produced
from wind gusting against the sides of buildings and being pushed

up and around them. By
taking advantage of both upward and horizontal wind currents, it will be able to produce the
maximum amount of energy possible.

We have also determined that foam would be the most
viable material to create the wings of the wind turb
ine because it is lightweight, cheap, and
relatively easy to come by.

By using foam to create the wings, it makes the product much more

The affordability along with the efficiency of the wind turbine allows it to be useful
in many environment
s, and it increases the amount of situations where this design could be

Got Trash?

Bianca Cruz, John Dubbelde, Carleigh Fisher, Stacie Lo Vullo


The purpose of this project was
to examine the use of positive peer pressure on rec
ycling, and
media’s influence on our attitude towards conservation. We worked with our base high schools
to hang posters of recognizable students supporting recycling to test the effect of their image
on the feelings of their colleagues. In order to analyz
e data, we collected the recycling bins we
brought to our base schools at the end of every lunch shift and counted the items. The variance
of recycled items was compared using charts and graphs. Our experimentation revealed that
peer pressure, typically as
sociated with negativity, can positively influence the school and
environment. Across all three different schools, there was an obvious trend: by placing posters
of influential students around the building, the average number of recyclables collected daily

greatly increased.

Plastic Recycling

Kendra Gardner, Manjot Nagyal, Joycelynn Acheampong


Lack of recycling in schools, even with the large initiative to reduce plastic waste that include

recycling labels that are extremely small and make it unclear of what products can or cannot be
recycled. Thus, most plastics are thrown in the trash when it could be recycled for
environmental benefits. The purpose of this project is to determine if easi
ly identifiable labels
are efficient in increasing the amount of water bottles recycled. The labels were changed on
different water bottles to determine the effectiveness of the recycling labels. Students were
given a water bottle with different sized labe
ls, each with the words “recycle me!” printed on
them. As the student disposed of the water bottle, a record was kept as to whether the student
threw away the water bottle in the trash or disposed of it in the proper recycling bin. In having
the labels ran
ge from small to large, as well as from monochromatic to having many colors, the
experiment showed a trend in the willingness of people to recycle. The added enhancement of
the labels drew in people’s attention and made them aware that the bottle that they

using was recyclable and should be recycled.