Tuesday, March 12

Latinx Research Week Day 2

Various sponsored sessions & 

Interdisciplinary Poster session

Select the sessions below to view presenter abstracts

Sponsored Sessions

Michigan Union, The Pendleton Room

Chemistry Department

9:00-10:00 AM 

Kevin E. Rivera Cruz

Doctoral Student/Candidate


kriverac@umich.edu | Twitter (X): @wuakatela 

Title: Multiscale Characterization of the Electrochemical Conversion of CO2 to Methanol using Immobilized Molecular Catalysts.

Cobalt phthalocyanine (CoPc) has been shown as a promising electrocatalyst for the CO2-to-CO and CO-to-methanol reactions via electrochemical CO2/CO reduction reaction (COxRR). However, achieving selective methanol formation from the CO2-CO-methanol cascade reaction remains a challenge, particularly in gas-fed flow electrolyzers equipped with gas diffusion electrodes (GDEs). In this study, we uncover the limited performance of CO2-CO-methanol reaction on CoPc arises due to competitive binding between CO2 and CO species. Through microkinetic and thermodynamic Density Functional Theory calculations we determine the equilibrium constant for CO2 binding is three times higher than CO binding, suppressing the CO-to-methanol reaction when the local CO2 concentration is high. To further confirm this observation, we coupled experimental activity and selectivity parameters to calculate thermodynamics to provide insight into CoPc CO2RR and CORR mechanisms. These combined experimental and computational studies provide insights into medications to mitigate CO2 suppression and promote methanol formation to enhance activity. 

Alma Perez 

Doctoral Student/Candidate



Title: Palladium-Catalyzed Alkene Difunctionalization Reactions Using Nitriles and Aromatic Anions for the Synthesis of Indane Derivatives

Intermolecular alkene difunctionalization reactions between terminal alkenes bearing an aryl or alkenyl triflate electrophile and exogenous C-H acidic alkanes bearing nitriles as nucleophiles were used to form substituted indanes in moderate to good yield. The transformation of the indane proceeds through the intermolecular capture of the intermediate complex, [Pd(II)-alkene]+[OTf]−, by the nitrile nucleophile. Attempts to incorporate an acetonitrile equivalent nucleophile resulted in dimerization that came from the formation of indene. The indene is hypothesized to form via the intermediate [Pd(II)-alkene]+[OTf]− complex with deprotonation of the benzylic proton of the aryl triflate electrophile. Similar to the mechanism of the nitrile system, indene was shown to be a nucleophile to produce indane derivatives in good yields. Further investigations will be directed towards expanding the nucleophile and electrophile scope.

Sabrina Nobrega Carneiro

Doctoral Student/Candidate



Title: Exploring Novel Applications of Cyclopropenium Cations in Organic Synthesis

Cyclopropenium carbocations have been applied in numerous areas of chemistry, including as ionic liquids, transition metal ligands, organocatalysts, and catholyte materials in redox flow batteries. These carbocations are aromatic, making them uniquely stable. This allows them to have unique applications in organic synthesis. In this poster, we report new applications of these cyclopropenium cations, [1] as oxidative electrochemical mediators and [2] as activated leaving groups for deoxyfunctionalization reactions. 

In their application as electrochemical mediators, these cyclopropenium cations effectively function as soluble electrodes, enabling lower overpotentials and faster reaction kinetics in electroorganic synthesis. Cyclopropenium cations have a reversible redox couple, good solubility, modular synthesis, and redox potentials that are well-matched with organic substrates. In this work, we demonstrate that trisaminocyclopropenium (TAC) salts are stable in the presence of common organic additives, have fast electron transfer rates with organic substrates, and that anodic oxidations in the presence of TAC salts proceed in higher yields at lower cell potentials and higher current densities.

In their application as leaving groups, we demonstrate that attaching an electrophilic aminocyclopropenium adduct to an oxygen-containing functional group makes for a better nucleofuge in a deoxyfluorination reaction. Replacing an oxygen-containing functional group with a fluorine is a desirable organic transformation as the incorporation of fluorine atoms into organic molecules can positively impact their lipophilicity, bioavailability and metabolic stability. We have been able to demonstrate that this strategy works for the synthesis of acid fluorides, alkyl fluorides and aryl fluorides. We are working towards developing a modular functional handle to attach to oxygen-containing molecules for a general deoxyfunctionalization method.

LSA: Culture and Latinidad

10:30-11:30 AM

Julianna Loera-Wiggins

Doctoral Student/Candidate

Department of American Culture, Program of Latina/o Studies


Title: Home and Homeland in Latina Stand-Up Comedy

This chapter will focus on the power of storytelling through improvisational, loose-scripted, and sketch Latinx comedy and its history in the United States. In what I call an “Improvisation of the Homeland,” I will link Latinx theater and its manifestations of home to Latina stand-up comedy. I consider the manifestations of home, homeland, and subsequently citizenship in alignment with Gloria Anzaldúa’s autohistoria-teoria and the first-person Latinx narrative genre testimonio. This chapter will address the following question: Where does home and the homeland appear in Latina/o/x stand-up comedy? However, what makes this work different is that women deviate from the male-centric perception of oppression and form their own methodologies that mark their place inside and outside of Latinidad.

This chapter will draw on Chicana and Latina feminist writings and the literary form of self-narrative reflection within sets performed by Las Locas and other Latina/Chicana stand-up comediennes, such as Marga Gómez’s performances. Anzaldúa’s autohistoria-teoria focuses on writing as a form of self-knowledge—namely the blending of essay, poetry, and metaphor to describe how one feels in and out of a given place. I will extend Anzaldúa’s autohistoria-teoría into stand-up comedy, another art form that blends metaphor and playful language (in English and Spanish) as a form of self-knowledge. The confessional aspects of stand-up comedy appeal to testimonio, or the Latina/o/x narrative in which marginalized folks write themselves into existing within a history that does not recognize, acknowledge, or name their existence. Both forms of self-narrative, autohistoria-teoría and testimonio, are painful—yet a source of liberation for the creator and the audience who shares the oppressive position. 

Kaitlyn Potter

Master's Student 

Transcultural Studies / Comparative Literature

potterka@umich.edu | LinkedIn

Title: Decoding Sazón: Identity and Principles of Taste in the U.S. Borderlands

Food is one of the defining features of a culture. In the United States, salsa has outsold ketchup since the 1990s while Taco Bell, Chipotle, and Qdoba rank among the most popular food chains (Jiménez, 2017). Against the backdrop of immigration, labor, and social policies, the rise of Latinx-inspired cuisine such as Tex-Mex illustrates the Global North’s tendency to popularize elements of Latinidad while simultaneously subjecting Latino/as to systemic discrimination. Recent scholarship has documented the role of Latinx labor and immigration in American foodways, however, less attention has been given to investigating what and how their culture is appropriated. Therefore, I aim to identify distinguishing flavors, textures, and culinary practices of Latinx foods and recontextualize the relationship between food and identity.In this digital exhibit, I curate culinary ephemera from the Janice Bluestein Longone Culinary Archive (JBLCA) at the University of Michigan Special Collections Library to create a visual exploration of the aesthetics and tropes used to identify and stereotype Latinxs through their food cultures. Using Claude Fischler’s idea of a “principle of tastes” and Meredith E. Abarca’s “culinary mestizaje” I stress the Latinx-ness within the cultural mixture of American foodways, as it is an aspect not always acknowledged, recognized, or understood. This allows for a more comprehensive reading of American history by depicting counternarratives of racism, colonialism, and cultural appropriation within the wider context of the settlement and nation-building of the United States. 

Kristen Leer

Doctoral Student/Candidate

Communication and Media

kaleer@umich.edu | Media Psychology Page: @mind.media.connect

Title: What Does Trauma(tic) Media Look Like?

Concerns around the psychological impact that exposure to “traumatic media” evokes is growing within academic and everyday public spaces. However, as trauma continues to become ever more present in digital media and enter into media discourse surrounding trauma topics, depictions, and impact – it is vital to understand what is traumatic media? How do we even begin to define it, understand it, and empirically study it? Or, what does traumatic media look like? Relying on cultural trauma theory, critical media effects, and digital media I aim to provide a theoretical framework of how we can begin to see media as traumatic that allows scholars to account for lived, every day experiences that vulnerable digital users have when engaging with such exposure. I’m bringing together three categories that are from existing bodies of trauma literature that inform how trauma(tic) media is seen: 1.) "graphic" which relies on scholarship on violent media effects, 2.) "reference" which relies on scholarship with vicarious trauma, and 3.) "absence" which relies on scholarship with symbolic annihilation. The goal of this presentation is to not only begin to have a more structured conversation of how scholars can begin to study trauma in media but also highlight the personal and professional importance that come with doing such work.

Wendy de los Reyes

Post-Doctoral Scholar

Developmental Psychology


Title: On the Frontlines in Florida: Narratives of Latina Youth Organizers

In the last few years, Florida’s elected leaders have passed a plethora of conservative legislation, such as relaxing gun regulations, prohibiting abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, and limiting the discussion of sexuality and gender identity in public schools (i.e., the “Don’t Say Gay” bill). Yet, Florida is also the birthplace of prominent youth-led movements (e.g., March For Our Lives), and even within the current political climate, progressive youth organizers are pushing back. By taking a narrative approach (Andrews et al., 2008), we explore how three Latina community organizers in Florida—who are coauthors on this presentation—leverage their identities and social network as a form of resistance. Findings reflect how they are not one-issue organizers, focusing on a range of topics from climate change to abortion access. Additionally, we describe how adults in their life (within their family and in the community) have supported their development as organizers, how they work within the context of Florida, and outcomes they’ve seen through this organizing, both victories and setbacks. Recommendations for future research and practice are provided. 

Faculty Session: Illuminating Familismo

12:00-1:15 PM

William Calvos-Quiros


American Culture 


Title: Muchas Familias: Multiplurality and Queer Families amount Latinx communities.

Love and care are essential elements that glue together the many different types of families that define Latinx communities. As Latina feminists have taught us, beyond the tensions created between traditional expectations around gender performance, migration patterns, race, labor, class, and religion... love and care remain the most transformative and lasting force toward change in such a way that it provides a framework to adapt and transform without compromising the sense of being a familia. This presentation examines different theories about Latinx families, including new data about the impact of "coming out" and mixed-race families. Moreover, it demonstrates the many opportunities and possibilities developing within our communities today. 

Deborah Rivas-Drake

Associate Dean for Diversity, Inclusion, Justice, and Equity Marsal School of Education 

Professor in the Combined Program in Education and Psychology 


Title: Familismo: Implications for Youth

In this talk, I will explore how and why familismo is important for youth development. Specifically, I walk through how developmental psychologists have conceptualized familismo and provide an overview of what we know about how familismo is related to youths' academic, social, and psychological outcomes. 

Sharim Hannegan-Martinez


School of Education; Education Studies


Title: Pedagogies of Love as a Praxis of Familismo

Emerging research indicates that trauma is one of the most significant inequities facing Children of Color. In this talk, the presenter explores the impact of trauma and posits pedagogies of love as a praxis of familismo that can serve as protective barrier from trauma, support healing, and is necessary for our collective wellness.

Ford School of Public Policy

1:30-2:30 PM

Kristina Fullerton-Rico


Ford School of Public Policy


Title: How Families Separated by the U.S.–Mexico Border Mourn from Afar

The death of a family member can significantly impact families as a group. Based on ethnographic and interview data collected from 2017–2023 with unauthorized Mexican immigrants and their families, my talk will focus on how unauthorized immigrants anticipate and mourn the death of family members in their community of origin and how their undocumented status creates challenges for themselves and their families after a transnational death.

I find that the fear of transnational death shapes the emotional wellbeing of older unauthorized immigrants years before they experience it. When unauthorized immigrants are unable to attend a loved one’s funeral, they use a variety of strategies to grieve, including mourning by proxy, paying for funeral expenses, and participating virtually. This research advances immigration scholarship by uncovering underappreciated social and emotional penalties imposed by current immigration laws and highlighting the value of mourning as a collective ritual –– the absence of which has lasting costs.

Alexie Milukhin 

Master's Student

School of Public Policy


Title: Hispanic-Centered Community Capacity Building in Michigan

Michigan’s Hispanic population has been a fixture in the state and a foundation of workforce development, particularly within the agricultural and automotive industries for nearly a century. These contributions to the state’s economic, cultural, political will are only projected to grow. Between the census of 2010 and 2020, Michigan’s Hispanic population grew in 81 of 83 counties. However, despite this significant and growing presence, Latinos face demonstrated barriers with regard to labor-mobility and educational attainment. These disparities are particularly stark for agricultural workers, immigrants, and others within the Michigan Hispanic community. (Siles, 2022) My research seeks to answer the question of how Hispanic-centered initiatives and institutions in Michigan are building community capacity, and what mechanisms and axis points are being utilized in these efforts. My study identifies six organizations as case studies. These include: Wayne County, the Latin Americans for Social and Economic Development (LA SED), Kent County, the West Michigan Hispanic Center (WMHC), Jackson County, the Hispanic Heritage Festival, Ingham County, the Cristo Rey Community Center (CRCC), Oceana County, El Centro Hispano, and Lenawee County, the Southeast Michigan Migrant Resource Council. My project is mixed methods, beginning with census data and content analysis, followed by in-depth interviews with my six case studies. My analysis, drawing from Chaskin’s definition of community capacity building, reveals that urban institutions primarily utilize organizational, physical, and financial capital, suburban and rural institutions primarily utilize adaptive capacity, and all of the analyzed Hispanic-Centered institutions leverage social capital and human capital as mechanisms for community capacity-building. 

Faculty Session: Latinos in the Arts

3:00-4:00 PM

Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes


American Culture 


Title: PROMESA, Anti-Colonial Drag, and Diasporic Puerto Rican Trans Revolution

Mara Vélez Meléndez’s play Notes on Killing Seven Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Board Members, a rewriting of Ibsen’s 1896 John Gabriel Borkman (Solís 2022), addresses the contemporary collapse of self-governance in Puerto Rico and the catastrophe of colonialism through a parodic drag show centered on killing the seven non-democratically appointed members of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability (PROMESA) Board who control the archipelago’s economy. The play was presented for the first time at Soho Rep. in New York City in 2022 under the direction of David Mendizábal and was described as “Mara Vélez Meléndez’s Off-Broadway debut” and as “a drag show about decolonizing places and people.” According to press materials, the protagonist, Lolita (Christine Carmela), a character inspired by the Puerto Rican revolutionary Lolita Lebrón (Ruiz 2019), “in the name of la Revolución, finds herself in the Wall Street office of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Board with glamour, glitter, and a gun.” The play is structured around Lolita’s interactions with the Receptionist (Samora la Perdida), who stages seven drag performances in which they rehearse killing the board members. Inspired by the theater of the absurd, by camp and queer theatrical and performance practices, and by Hannah Arendt’s On Revolution (Olujobi 2022, 14-23), Vélez Meléndez proposes feminist, queer, and trans revolutionary solutions to American colonial exploitation that has been in place since 1898 but that became intensified after the fiscal collapse of 2008 and especially after the impact of Hurricanes Irma and María in 2017, the earthquakes of 2020, and the COVID-19 pandemic that same year (Bonilla 2020; Klein 2018; Morales 2019; Zambrana 2021). By centering a transgender character (Lolita, interpreted by a trans actress) and a gender nonconforming character performing in drag (the Receptionist, interpreted by a gender nonconforming performer), the play follows the model of other “transloca” queer and trans Puerto Rican interventions (La Fountain-Stokes 2021); the cast and creative team cite Translocas as an inspiration and resource for the play (Olujobi 2022, 46-61). The play is also notable as a work by a diasporic transgender Puerto Rican woman playwright who built on her personal experiences (Solís 2022) and who uses the play to explore transgender and nonbinary identities, for example the politics of naming. In this essay, I analyze Notes on Killing Seven Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Board Members in the context of scholarship by Yarimar Bonilla (2020), Bonilla and Marisol LeBrón (2019), Naomi Klein (2018), Ed Morales (2019), Sandra Ruiz (2019), and Rocío Zambrana (2021) regarding Puerto Rican colonialism, disaster capitalism, and cultural resistance, particularly focusing on theatrical and performative responses. I see Mara Vélez Meléndez, director David Mendizábal, and the two performers (Christine Carmela and Samora la Perdida) as expanding Diana Taylor’s (2003) notion of the “repertoire” as a series of embodied performance practices (for example, those of the Puerto Rican television astrologer Walter Mercado) and as examples of what David Román (2005) presents as performances that directly reflect on and impact discussions on politics and society in the United States, particularly through drag, similar to the drag queen character of Miss Visa Denied in Chay Yew’s A Beautiful Country (1998). I also propose a comparison between Vélez Meléndez’s radical drag, José Esteban Muñoz’s (1999) analysis of “terrorist drag,” and Kareem Khubchandani’s (2023) “decolonial drag.” In its parodic and over the top expression, Vélez Meléndez’s play is quite unlike but has some similarities with other theatrical responses to the financial collapse and to natural disasters, such as the collective play ¡Ay María! presented across the island of Puerto Rico in late 2017 (Bonilla and LeBrón 2019) or to artistic responses such as the Whitney Museum of American Art exhibit no existe un mundo poshuracán: Puerto Rican Art in the Wake of Hurricane Maria (Guerrero 2023).

Interdisciplinary Poster Session Sponsored by the Marsal Family School of Education

Michigan Union, Rogel Ballroom 4:30 - 6:30 PM

Poster session Menu

Fried Yucca with Chimichurri Sauce on the Side 

Black Bean Empanada

Beef Empanada

Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pao de Queijo) 

Guava Cheese Pastelitos 



Victoria Vezaldenos

Doctoral Student/Candidate

Psychology & Combined Program in Education

toriavez@umich.edu | LinkedIn | Twitter (X): @vvezaldenos

Title: Predictors of Biracial Adolescent Ethnic-Racial Identity Salience

View Digital Poster

The current study draws from literature on multiracial ethnic-racial identity development processes and utilizes logistic regression models to identify what factors inform ethnic-racial identity salience in a sample of biracial high school students. Separate logistic regression models analyzed how family ethnic-racial socialization, phenotype, friend groups, and experiences with discrimination are associated with ethnic-racial salience for biracial white, Asian, Black, Native American, and Latinx youth, respectively. Results suggest that family ethnic-racial socialization, experiences with discrimination, and skin color vary in directionality and strength for different groups of biracial students. However, students with greater proportions of same-race friends were more likely to identify with that respective ethnic-racial group across all models. These findings provide nuanced and intersectional understanding of biracial youths’ experiences.

Eduardo Ochoa Rivera

Doctoral Student/Candidate


Co-Presenter: Ambuj Tewari


Title: Optimal Thresholding Linear Bandit

View Digital Poster

This talk delves into the Thresholding Bandit Problem (TBP) within the context of fixed confidence in stochastic linear bandits. The objective is for the learner to identify the set of arms whose mean rewards are above a given threshold, achieving a predetermined level of precision and confidence, all while minimizing the sample size. Our extension of the framework to the linear bandit case involves establishing a lower bound for sample complexity. Furthermore, we introduce an algorithm and prove that it is asymptotically optimal almost surely and in expectation.

Marcus Spinelli da Silva

Master's Student

Epidemiology, Global Health Epidemiology


Title: Trans, Travesti, and Non-Binary Employability and Health Outcomes in São Paulo, Brazil; Empregabilidade de pessoas Trans, Travesti e Não-Bináries e Consequências na Saúde, em São Paulo, Brasil. 

View Digital Poster

Background and Objectives: Brazil, noted as the world's most transphobic country, has a stark statistic of a Trans, “Travesti” (a political identity used in Latin America), or Non-Binary (TTrNB) individual being killed every 48 hours. Despite the gravity of this issue, there's a lack of substantial research studying these populations, particularly in relation to their employment. This research, therefore, aims to investigate the association between being TTrNB, employment status and adverse health outcomes, utilizing employability as social determinant of health. Methods: Eight participants, ranging in age from 22 to 53, were recruited for semi-structured

interviews conducted from May to July using flyers and word-of-mouth. Interviews were analyzed to identify potential themes and subthemes given participants' experiences in the job market and quantitative data is being analyzed for potential covariates. Their TTrNB identity is treated as the exposure and their employment status as the outcome. Results: We identified four themes in the interviews: Life Trajectory, Job Experiences, Adverse Health Outcomes, and Empowerment, each with multiple subthemes. Conclusions: While conclusions can't be made at present, this study's is anticipated to shed light on the influence of employability on the health of TTrNB communities and barriers they face in employment.

Carolina Rojas Ramirez

Post Doctoral Scholar 

UM Medicine Pathology

crojaram@umich.edu | LinkedIn

Title: Thermal Proteome Profiling Analysis using FragPipe

View Digital Poster

Improving our understanding of protein function helps us optimize protein application from medicine to bioengineering. Thermal Protein Profiling is a proteome-wide technique that allows to assess protein stability in the presence of compounds of interest (e.g. Medical compounds). In a high throughput manner, it can be observed if a medical compound has any or several off-targets. Understanding off-targets is of great importance to prevent undesired secondary effects.  In TPP, a protein sample is separated into different aliquots all exposed to different temperatures and then labeled using a typical Tandem Mass Tag (TMT) workflow proceeded by mass spectrometry-based proteomics analysis. Unfortunately,  TPP data analysis workflows are limited. Here we present FragPipeToTPPR, an R-package that converts FragPipe output to compatible input for TPP downstream tools for simplification of TPP data analysis. FragPipe is a popular Java-based protein identification program, and TPP-R is an R package for the analysis pf protein thermal profiles. The union of these programs ill allow for a more simple and accessible TPP workflow. 

Diana Carolina Vergara-Florez

Doctoral Student/Candidate

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

vergarad@umich.edu | Twitter

Title: From Microbes to Neurotoxins: Decoding Eco-Evolutionary Processes Between Venomous Molluscs and Their Microbiome

View Digital Poster

Understanding factors associated with the assembly of microbial communities (MCs) in hosts and how these microbes contribute to the phenotype of their hosts is an important aim in biology. Venom-producing tissues, which evolved convergently in numerous animals (e.g., arthropods, cnidarians, annelids, vertebrates, and molluscs), represent a novel and hostile habitat for microbes in that they may contain a plethora of peptide neurotoxins. We characterized MCs from venom ducts of the cone snail Conus sponsalis to determine if microbial taxa found in venom-producing tissues of other animals also occur in venom ducts of this species. While the MCs of C. sponsalis were largely dominated by Proteobacteria, they also contained a diversity of other microbial taxa, some of which were previously reported from venom-producing tissues of other venomous organisms. This shows a potential convergent role of MCs in venom production or the adaptation of specific microorganisms to diverse venomous tissues.

Frida Salgado

Undergraduate Student

Public Policy


Title: Drops of Inequality: Analyzing Gender Disparities in Water Access and Policy in Mexico City

View Digital Poster

Mexico City has experienced many water issues relating to water scarcity, unequal access, and infrastructure challenges for decades. The city’s water authority, SACMEX (Sistema de Aguas de la Ciudad de México), coordinates water services for approximately 10 million people while also dealing with the challenges of damaged hydraulic infrastructure, underfunding and budget cuts, and new leadership every six years (Collins, 2020). This study aims to understand if there is a gap between women’s experiences of water insecurity and public policy goals in Mexico City. I propose that SACMEX’s public policy framework often fails to adequately meet the identified water needs of women in Mexico City. Women’s experiences with water insecurity were gauged using interview questionnaires from the 400 recruited women in Mexico City’s borough of Iztapalapa. Public policy goals in Mexico City were obtained from a previous study on SACMEX workers who focus on damaged hydraulic infrastructure (Coss-Corzo, 2022). Water insecurity is a new challenge to which governments and humans are learning to respond to. This study does identify how Mexico’s government responds to these challenges while meeting its citizens' needs. Overall, contributes to understanding the intersections of water management, public policy, and gender dynamics in the broader discourse on sustainable urban development and resource governance.

Leandro Javier Frigerio

Doctoral Student/Candidate

Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences

leandrof@umich.edu | LinkedIn

Title: Characterizing filament-induced breakdown spectroscopy through highly scattering media; Caracterización de la espectroscopía de plasma inducida por filamentos láser en medios dispersivos

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Above certain critical optical power density, the propagation of ultrafast laser pulses in air produces laser filamentation as a balance between the nonlinear Kerr self-focusing effect and plasma defocusing. Filamentation can be used as a tool for active interrogation because it can excite characteristic optical signatures of materials over long distances. However, in environments that impede light propagation, such as fog, haze, or clouds, it is challenging to propagate the laser beam and collect the generated optical signatures. There is evidence that the shockwave that follows energy deposition during filamentation can mechanically expel droplets, creating a small fog-free channel. We have been exploring the use of laser filamentation to simultaneously ablate a solid sample and improve remote sensing by clearing the path for light propagation in highly scattering media. For the experiments, we use a Coherent Astrella Ti:sapphire laser with 5.4-mJ pulse energy, 35-fs pulse duration, 1-kHz repetition rate, and a nearly Gaussian beam profile. Time-resolved plasma emission spectroscopy is used to analyze the ablation signal. To emulate a fog medium we use a small flow-controlled cloud chamber. The time-dependent plasma emission from a solid Cu sample is collected through the cloud, and the laser filament and the signal are separated with a dichroic mirror. Another emiCCD camera with a 514 nm line filter observes the plasma through clear air for source scaling purposes. We present a proof-of-concept experiment in which we compare filament-induced plasma spectroscopy of a solid sample through fog using different configurations. Future steps involve using a spiral phase plate to promote select Gauss-Laguerre modes. The multifilament structure produced with these modes generates an index of refraction distribution in the air that should support optical waveguiding through the cloud, reducing the time needed to collect sufficient signal for material detection.

Chloe Collon

Undergraduate Student


Co-Presenter: Viviana M Vélez Negrón

cjcollon@umich.edu | Facebook

Title: Creating Communities through Global Reading Exchange: Amigos del cuarto grado de Naranjito, Puerto Rico y Michigan, EEUU; Creando comunidades a través del intercambio global de lectura: Amigos del cuarto grado de Naranjito, Puerto Rico y Michigan, EEUU

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US Hispanic children who maintain their heritage language (Spanish) while acquiring English benefit culturally and academically more than monolingual English speakers or Hispanics with Spanish attrition. Despite any advantages, US Spanish-speaking children lack opportunities to use Spanish for academic purposes and literacy development. In parallel, the global effect of the pandemic left a huge increase in children lacking a minimum level of reading proficiency, with the greatest losses in Latin America and the Caribbean (UN News, 2021). We investigated the effects of a 9-week exchange with 8 fourth grade students from Naranjito, PR, and 20 fourth grade students from Michigan. iEARN Orillas provided the instructional design for the project and established connections between PR and Michigan. We predicted that the contact between the two global groups would motivate an increase in reading levels, reading comprehension, and vocabulary. Phase 1: Baseline data on students' Spanish reading levels was collected. A researcher-designed assessment was administered that measured knowledge of specific topics and vocabulary (pre and post), based on the reading, "Amigos". Phase 2: Creative projects shared between groups. Phase 3: Students reflected in Spanish on sharing and participating in a diverse and global community. Evidence supports our predictions showing an average overall increase in performance from 57.2% to 73% on the assessments.

Los niños hispanos en EEUU que mantienen la lengua de herencia (español) mientras adquieren inglés benefician cultural y académicamente más que los hablantes monolingües de inglés o los hispanos con atrición en español. A pesar de cualquier ventaja, los niños hispanohablantes EEUU carecen de oportunidades de usar el español con propósitos académicos o para leer y escribir español con fines de desarrollar sus capacidades literarias. En paralelo, el efecto mundial de la pandemia dejó un incremento enorme de niños sin el nivel mínimo de competencia en lectura, con las mayores pérdidas de rendimiento en América Latina y el Caribe (Noticias ONU, 2021). Investigamos los efectos del intercambio de duración de 9 semanas con 8 alumnos de Naranjito, PR, y 20 alumnos de Michigan. iEARN Orillas aportó el diseño educativo del proyecto y estableció lazos entre PR y Michigan. Predijimos que el contacto entre los dos grupos globales sería el factor que impulse el aumento en niveles de lectura, comprensión lectora y vocabulario. Fase 1: Se recogieron datos bases de niveles de lectura en español de los alumnos. Se administró una evaluación diseñada por las investigadoras que midió conocimiento de temas y vocabulario específicos (previo y posterior), según la lectura, “Amigos”. Fase 2: Proyectos creativos basados en la lectura y compartidos entre grupos. Fase 3: Reflexionaron en español sobre el intercambio y la participación en una comunidad diversa y global. Justificamos nuestras predicciones con un aumento de rendimiento promedio (57.2%- 73%) en las evaluaciones.

Hannah E. Rice 

Master's Student 

School of Public Health, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education & Marsal Family School of Education, Center for Education Design, Evaluation, and Research

herice@umich.edu | LinkedIn

Title: ICE in the Heartland: Developing an arts-based education curriculum to promote immigrant justice; ICE in the Heartland: Desarrollar un currículo de artes visuales para avanzar justicia inmigrante

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During the Trump administration, immigration worksite raids increased in number and severity across the U.S. In a previous project called ICE in the Heartland, our team conducted semi-structured, qualitative interviews with 77 adults who provided support to six different communities across the rural US that were targets of immigration worksite raids. Findings illustrated the harms of raids as well as the ways in which communities responded with creativity, innovation, and collaboration. In a second phase of the project, two Latinx artists conducted focus groups with our study teams to explore the narratives of these raids and subsequent media coverage. The artists created multiple pieces of graphic art to illustrate and describe the public health implications of immigration worksite raids. 

In the current phase of this project, we are using these findings and graphic images to create  an immigration curriculum for middle and highschool classrooms. The ICE in the Heartland curriculum includes several classroom lessons on immigration policy and an art exhibit featuring the pieces created in the previous project. In collaboration with middle and highschool educators, the curriculum was designed to be incorporated across subjects, including Visual Arts, Civics, History, Humanities, English as a New Language, and Spanish. We will implement the curriculum in middle and highschool classrooms in Southeast Michigan, with the goal of inspiring future advocacy and action. In this poster/presentation, we describe the process of translating qualitative data across multiple sites into graphic imagery and adapting that imagery to fit in educational curriculums. 

Brenda Hernandez 

Master's Student 

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


Title: Temperate Forest Complexity and its Implications on the Alpha and Beta Diversity in Soil Function Across Chronological Disturbances

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The complexity of a forest's overstory— a network of overlapping branches and leaves from different tree species and ages— is clearly visible. However, it's less clear how the complexity of the overstory, the composition of the understory, and soil functions such as nutrient cycling interrelate across space and time. Previous research suggests that changes in soil function depend more on plant productivity than plant diversity. Yet, it remains unclear how the alpha (within-site) and beta (between-site) diversity in soil function change across varying levels of forest complexity. To address this gap in knowledge, data collection was conducted at a long-term forest management experiment at the University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS). Soil samples were collected, the understory community composition was analyzed, and soil respiration and nitrogen levels were measured at both an old growth plot and a gradient of chronologically burned and harvested plots at UMBS. These plots were burned at different times over the past century (1911, 1936, 1948, 1954, 1980, 1998, 2017), representing a gradient of forest complexity. We expect to find that soil function is more closely related to the complexity of the forest and the productivity of the plants than to the variety of species present. We also anticipate greater diversity across the plots than within the plots. Understanding how forest complexity impacts soil function across space is important for optimal forest management, especially during times of forest transitions.

Alexi Chabez

Doctoral Student/Candidate

Biological Chemistry

brendabh@umich.edu | LinkedIn

Title: Biochemical Characterization of Human Cytochrome P450 7B1 Missense Mutations to Understand Spastic Paraplegia Type 5 Disease

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Human cytochrome P450 7B1 (CYP7B1) is a steroidogenic heme-containing monooxygenase primarily expressed in liver and brain. In liver, CYP7B1 7-hydroxylates substrates 25-hydroxycholesterol and 27-hydroxycholesterol to generate chenodeoxycholic acid. Biallelic, missense mutations in CYP7B1 can result in the loss of enzymatic function, causing accumulation of 25-hydroxycholesterol and 27-hydroxycholesterol in plasma and 27-hydroxycholesterol accumulation in cerebrospinal fluid. These mutations cause a neurological disorder called spastic paraplegia type 5 (SPG5), in which patients suffer from severe progressive spasticity and weakness of the lower limbs due to the degeneration of their lower motor neurons. To date, little is known about how CYP7B1 mutations affect protein function to cause disease.  Site-directed mutagenesis was performed to generate a number of CYP7B1 mutations causing SPG5. These mutated proteins are being expressed, purified, and analyzed with respect to protein folding/stability, heme incorporation, substrate binding, and substrate metabolism. The H285L, R417C, and R417H mutants yielded little or no folded protein after purification and did not have spectra indicating proper heme incorporation, suggesting significant protein instability. The R486C mutant has much lower yield than the wild type enzyme and has significant loss of heme during purification, suggesting that protein stability and folding are impacted; however, the remaining protein has spectra consistent with normal heme incorporation. In contrast, the T297A mutation has both yield and spectral characteristics similar to wild type, suggesting normal folding and heme incorporation. However, ligand binding assays indicate reduced substrate binding capacity and increased dissociation constants for both 25-hydroxycholesterol and 27-hydroxycholesterol, suggesting that the mutation interferes with CYP7B1 substrate interaction. Collectively, the functional information gathered from CYP7B1 mutations should facilitate the molecular understanding of SPG5 defects and potentially support future therapeutic treatments for SPG5 patients.

Ana Cecilia Saavedra Bazan

Doctoral Student/Candidate

Biomedical Engineering

anacsb@umich.edu | LinkedIn

Title: Non-contrast MR Fingerprinting for Quantitative Differentiation of Ischemic Scar and Viable Myocardium; MR Fingerprinting sin contraste para la diferenciación cuantitativa de cicatriz isquémica y miocardio viable

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Myocardial ischemia or infarction can be diagnosed by the injection of contrast agents. Late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is considered the reference standard for the diagnosis of viable and non-viable myocardium. Although this technique is considered the non-invasive standard, some previous evidence of gadolinium retention in the body is linked to patients with renal failure. In addition, it is constrained to patients with kidney disease, and patients who are allergic to gadolinium. Magnetic resonance fingerprinting (MRF) can quantify multiple parameters within a single scan, allowing the characterization of tissue structure changes. We explore MRF as an alternative approach to detect scar without the need of contrast agents. Thirteen cardiac MRF scans acquired at 1.5T (Aera, MAGNETOM Siemens) from eleven male patients (ages: 38 - 80 years) with previous ischemic cardiomyopathy were analyzed. The pulse sequence consisted in one inversion pulse and three T2-preparation pulses, and k-space acquisition was performed with a spiral trajectory. Pre-contrasts T1 and T2 mappings were estimated during 15-heartbeat breath hold by direct matching to scan-specific dictionaries of the simulated signal time series using Bloch equations. Values of both T1 and T2 measured in scar were significantly higher than in regions of viable myocardium. Significant differences between viable and nonviable myocardium T1 values (p<0.001,α=0.05), and T2 values (p<0.001, α=0.05) were found via a Wilcoxon signed-rank test.

Thania Flores

Master's Student 

School of Public Health - Epidemiology Department (MPH)


Title: Are there gender differences in housing among U.S. farmworkers?

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Farmworkers have insufficient wages and benefits, job insecurity, irregular working hours, and hazardous working conditions, and face abusive treatment. Thus, farmworkers and their families are a marginalized community. Farmworkers face multiple barriers such as lack of access to healthcare, language barriers, poverty, food insecurity, work in demanding conditions that affect their well-being, and lack of affordable and adequate housing. In general, housing is an important social determinant of health that has been shown to negatively impact people’s health due to poor housing quality, and lack of affordability and of access. Farmworkers’ occupation is directly tied to their housing because they rely on employers to provide housing and their occupation is unstable, temporary, and poorly paid. In terms of housing conditions, farmworkers tend to live in poor and inadequate housing conditions which negatively affect their health and well-being. In general, housing disparities exist between men and women because women tend to earn less, face gender discrimination, are the primary child caretakers, and take care of household responsibilities, which hinder their access to adequate housing. There are few studies that have specifically examined housing differences among men and women farmworkers. Therefore, this study aims to investigate whether there are any significant housing differences among men and women farmworkers in the U.S. by using the data from The Michigan Farmworker Project. (this project is ongoing).

Carla Micaela Girardini



Title: A Journey from Small Collective to Thriving Astronomy Community; Un viaje desde un pequeño colectivo hasta una próspera comunidad astronómica

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This work delves into the evolution of the Grupo de Astrometría y Fotometría (GAF), an Argentine amateurs and students astronomy group, from its humble beginnings to a flourishing community. Explored from the perspective of a former Astronomy student and GAF member, the presented work provides insights into the factors contributing to the group's growth, its structured approach, and notable achievements. Starting with fewer than ten individuals utilizing telescopes at the Observatorio Astronómico de Córdoba, the GAF has transformed into a dynamic community with formal affiliations to the observatory and international collaborations with prestigious astronomical institutes. The growth prompted the establishment of organizational structures, including free courses for amateur astronomers, social activities, and research collaborations that resulted in contributions to scientific papers published in renowned journals like The Astrophysical Journal or Nature, among others. While emphasizing the GAF expansion, structure, and accomplishments, the presentation briefly touches on the concept of "Familismo" within the group. In the demanding field of Argentine Astronomy, where students often grapple with challenges, GAF provided a familial support system, resonating with amateur astronomers and other students and preventing burnout. To sum up, this work provides insights into the dynamic growth and success of the GAF, showcasing how a familial environment can fuel passion, dedication, and collaborative achievements in amateur astronomy.

Este trabajo trata la evolución del Grupo de Astrometría y Fotometría (GAF), un grupo argentino de aficionados y estudiantes de astronomía, desde sus humildes comienzos hasta una floreciente comunidad. Explorado desde la perspectiva de una ex estudiante de Astronomía y miembro del GAF, el trabajo presentado proporciona información sobre los factores que contribuyeron al crecimiento del grupo, su enfoque estructural y sus notables logros. Comenzando con menos de diez personas que utilizaban telescopios en el Observatorio Astronómico de Córdoba, el GAF se fue transformado en una comunidad dinámica con afiliaciones formales al observatorio y colaboraciones internacionales con prestigiosos institutos astronómicos. El crecimiento impulsó el establecimiento de estructuras organizativas, incluyendo cursos gratuitos para astrónomos aficionados, actividades sociales y colaboraciones de investigación que resultaron en contribuciones a artículos científicos publicados en revistas de renombre, como The Astrophysical Journal o Nature, entre otras. Si bien se enfatiza en la expansión, la estructura y los logros del GAF, la presentación aborda brevemente el concepto de "Familismo" dentro del grupo. En el exigente campo de la astronomía argentina, donde los estudiantes a menudo enfrentan fuertes desafíos, el GAF brindó un sistema de apoyo familiar, contando con el apoyo de los astrónomos aficionados y otros estudiantes, evitando así el burnout. En resumen, este trabajo proporciona información sobre el crecimiento dinámico y el éxito del GAF, mostrando cómo un entorno familiar puede alimentar la pasión, la dedicación y los logros colaborativos en la astronomía amateur.

Giuliana Fagre Guerriero

Undergraduate Student

Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering

gfagre@umich.edu | LinkedIn

Title: The Effects of Chemically Induced Diabetes on Bone Architecture Changes Along Bone Length

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The number of people diagnosed with diabetes is expected to increase to 578 million by 2030 and 700 million by 2045, which is 10.2% and 10.9% of the population respectively. An increased fracture risk is observed on Type I Diabetes (T1D) patients. Bone mineral density (BMD) is often used to determine fracture risk in a single location of the bone, however changes in BMD alone do not explain this issue. For this reason, it is necessary to study the changes on bone structure and bone quality to determine diabetic fracture risk. Load properties and overall bone architecture vary across bone length, which determine strain distribution and magnitude across the bone. These spatial changes in bone properties need to be evaluated to understand the relationship between bone quality and increased diabetic fracture risk. The purpose of this study is to evaluate how diabetes affects bone architecture along the length of a femur using a mouse model to represent Type I Diabetes.

Abdias Noel 

Undergraduate Student

Chemistry Department/Organic Chemistry


Title: A Tandem Reaction Sequence for the Radiofluorination of Aryl Halides

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Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging is the use of radiotracers for labeling molecules to visualize biological processes such as locating tumors, tracking progression of diseases, and gaining knowledge about human physiology. One of the most common radioactive atoms used in PET imaging is fluorine-18, a radioisotope of naturally occurring fluorine-19. As of 2021, 10 of the 16 FDA approved radiotracers for PET imaging contained a fluorine-18 atom. Despite this impact, radiofluorination methods are still limited. This, in turn, restricts the types of conditions and diseases that can be imaged using PET. To address these limitations, organic chemists and radiochemists need to collaborate to identify organic reactions that are fast, safe, reliable, and high yielding for this application. Currently, one such organic reaction involving the radiofluorination of aryl boronates (developed by the Sanford and Scott labs) works extremely well for making many different PET tracers. However, the aryl boronate precursors for these reactions have major problems: they have low commercial availability as well as short shelf-life stability. A new method for the radiofluorination following up on these will be discussed that focuses on using a different, much cheaper, more available, and more stable precursor – aryl halides – as starting materials, which in turn has led to the expansion of substrates that can be radiofluorinated. This proceeds via tandem borylation followed by a copper-mediated radiofluorination to yield a variety of [18F]-heteroarylfluorides. This will lead to contributions in improving diagnostic techniques in imaging by showcasing more facile ways to develop potential new PET tracers.

Andrew Cruz

Doctoral Student/Candidate


Co-Presenters: Anaise Thomas, John Wolfe


Title: Palladium-Catalyzed Alkene Difunctionalization Reactions for the Synthesis of Amino Tetralin Derivatives

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This work aims to examine Palladium-catalyzed alkene difunctionalization reactions for the synthesis of functionalized Tetralin derivatives. The work uses both alkene tethered aryl triflate and aryl chlorides, along with amine nucleophiles to form these functionalized derivatives. The proposed mechanism undergoes four steps. The first being the oxidative addition of the aryl triflate or chlorides, alkene coordination, followed by nucleopalladation with the amine nucleophile, and lastly a C(Sp2)-C(Sp3) reductive elimination. Interestingly, it is found that a cationic palladium species is of key importance to the formation of these products. Without this cationic palladium, only Heck products are observed. It can be perhaps reasoned that some of mechanistic steps presented in this particular work, such as the nucleopalladation, occur at a faster rate than the migratory insertion or Beta-Hydride Elimination steps observed in Heck reactions.

Raquel Cruz Pizzardo

Doctoral Student/Candidate

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

pizzardo@umich.edu | Twitter (X): @RPizzardo

Title: Sapotaceae across time and space: a taxonomic and historical biogeographic perspective; Sapotaceae no tempo e no espaço: uma perspectiva biogeográfica e taxonômica

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Sapotaceae is one of the most important plant families in the world. With around 1,250 species and 62 genera, Sapotaceae is a pantropical family, and is usually restricted to lowland tropical rainforests. However, the taxonomy of the family is unstable and lacks in information on this ecologically important groups of angiosperms in the tropics. Many incongruences between phylogeny and classification in Sapotaceae have been noted, as well as alternative topologies for species-level phylogenies. Here, we generate a higher sampled Sapotaceae phylogeny and, for the first time, we aimed to determine the geographical origin of the pantropical family and the roles vicariance and dispersal have played in shaping its modern distribution. We used target sequence capture data from the Angio353 probe for 199 taxa. The concatenated maximum likelihood molecular phylogeny was constructed using IQ-TREE (v. 1.6) considering GTR+G and partition models, and 1000 bootstrap replicates. Dates of diversification events were estimated using two fossils and the penalized likelihood approach (treePL). The subsequent dated phylogenies were compared and analyzed for biogeographical patterns using BioGeoBEARS. The phylogeny moderately recovered the three subfamilies of Sapotaceae, showing relatively high support for Sapotoideae but not for Chrysophyloideae. The phylogeny shows inconsistencies with the current morphological classification. Our results indicate that the ancestral range of the family was in East Asia c. 84 - 80 Ma, with dispersal to South America and Africa. Chrysophylloideae had an early diversification in Africa c. 71 - 57 Ma, with subsequent dispersal to the Neotropics (two events) and Australasia (singles event) during the Paleocene and Eocene. Sapotoideae had an early diversification in Africa c. 71 - 50 Ma, with migration to Australasia and North America during the Eocene. Those results are somehow congruent with previous studies. Long-distance dispersal has been an important mechanism for range expansion in Sapotaceae.

Sapotaceae é uma das famílias de plantas mais importantes do mundo. Com cerca de 1.250 espécies e 62 gêneros, Sapotaceae é uma família pantropical e geralmente está restrita às florestas tropicais. No entanto, a taxonomia da família é instável e carece de informações sobre esses grupos ecologicamente importantes de angiospermas nos trópicos. Muitas incongruências entre filogenia e classificação em Sapotaceae foram observadas, bem como topologias alternativas para filogenias em nível de espécie. Aqui, geramos uma filogenia de Sapotaceae mais amostrada e, pela primeira vez, pretendemos determinar a origem geográfica da família pantropical e os papéis que a vicariância e a dispersão desempenharam na formação de sua distribuição moderna. Utilizamos dados de target sequence capture de Angio353 para 199 táxons. A filogenia molecular de máxima verossimilhança concatenada foi construída usando IQ-TREE (v. 1.6) considerando GTR+G e modelos de partição, e 1000 réplicas de bootstrap. As datas dos eventos de diversificação foram estimadas usando dois fósseis e a abordagem de verossimilhança penalizada (treePL). As filogenias datadas subsequentes foram comparadas e analisadas quanto a padrões biogeográficos usando BioGeoBEARS. A filogenia recuperou moderadamente as três subfamílias de Sapotaceae, mostrando suporte relativamente alto para Sapotoideae, mas não para Chrysophyloideae. A filogenia apresenta inconsistências com a classificação morfológica atual. Nossos resultados indicam que a distribuição ancestral da família estava no Leste Asiático c. 84 - 80 Ma, com dispersão para América do Sul e África. Chrysophylloideae teve uma diversificação precoce na África c. 71 - 57 Ma, com posterior dispersão para os Neotrópicos (dois eventos) e Australásia (evento único) durante o Paleoceno e Eoceno. Sapotoideae teve uma diversificação precoce na África c. 71 - 50 Ma, com migração para a Australásia e América do Norte durante o Eoceno. Esses resultados são de alguma forma congruentes com estudos anteriores. A dispersão a longa distância tem sido um mecanismo importante para a expansão da distribuição em Sapotaceae.

Ana Laura Perez Ternent

Undergraduate Student

Biological Anthropology and Psychology


Title: Streams of struggle: water insecurity and its effects on perceived stress; Aguas adversas: la inseguridad hídrica y su influencia en el estrés percibido

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Water insecurity is a complex phenomenon that affects multiple aspects of daily life, such as cleaning practices, healthy behaviors, water collection routines, food preparation, etc. Research shows that water insecurity has a strong influence on psychosocial distress. Yet, the specific aspects of water insecurity driving psychosocial stress have not been described in detail. This stress is influenced by the mental models and cultural expectations communities have about water and, at times, it promotes practices that enforce poverty traps. Women experience this stress in unique ways, due to social norms and gender roles. Therefore, a gendered perspective is necessary in this analysis. Specifically, this study aims to determine which aspect of water insecurity is perceived as the most stressful by women living in a broad range of water insecurity contexts. In this study, we analyze the results of surveys and semi-structured interviews given to 400 participants in Iztapalapa, Mexico City. We evaluate the possible connections between psychological stress, chronic illness, and two consequences of water insecurity: a. limitations in hygiene practices and b. water worry or fear of water scarcity. This study will provide a holistic and sociocultural perspective on the lived experience of water insecurity and its impacts on health and well-being.

Isabel Reyes

Undergraduate Student

College of Literature Sciences & Art


Title: The Effect of Socioeconomic Status on Water Perception of Women in Mexico City

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Water is a natural resource now at the center of many environmental justice issues due to its importance to survival. However, access to clean water usable for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and other daily tasks isn’t available to everyone, especially those of lower socioeconomic level. Water insecurity is a growing concern across the globe as it is predicted that about half the world will be living under water-stressed conditions by 2030 under current climate change projections (Wutich 2019). This is especially true in Mexico City where disparity in access to clean water varies greatly. This study expands on previous studies and examines the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and water insecurity perception particularly in the Iztapalapa borough of Mexico City. This relationship is analyzed through ethnographic surveys of women (n=397) ranging from 18-45 years old from water secure and water insecure households in Mexico City. The NSE-AMAI metrics are used to categorize the socioeconomic level of the women. The goal is to learn more about the awareness of water insecurity in relation to SES which can give insights into political responses (or lack thereof) about water from different SES.

Heizel K. Acosta Vilanova

Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program


Title: Exploring the Impact of Gut Microbiota in Colitis; Explorando el impacto de la microbiota intestinal en la colitis

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In recent years, a growing interest has emerged in understanding the relationship between gut microbiota and colitis, the predominant form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) characterized by inflammation of the colon—a vital component of the large intestine responsible for water and electrolyte absorption. Genetic predisposition, abnormal immune responses, and disruptions in gut microbiota have been identified as pivotal contributors to colitis development. This study aims to understand the role of gut microbiota in colitis, with a specific focus on potential variations in microbiota composition contributing to heightened immune responses. We hypothesize that alterations in gut microbiota composition play a crucial role in exacerbating immune responses and, consequently, contribute to the development of colitis. To test this hypothesis, Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT) was employed on antibiotic-depleted microbiota mice. Subsequently, colitis was induced through immune checkpoint blockade treatment utilizing PDL-1 proteins. Preliminary data indicate that gut microbiota depletion through FMT offers protection against immune checkpoint blockade-induced colitis. The research employs diverse molecular and cellular techniques, including histology, flow cytometry, and ELISA for inflammatory markers. This study provides valuable insights into how gut microbiota influences colitis and systemic immune responses, offering potential avenues for therapeutic interventions in the management of IBD.

Anushree Bhatia

Doctoral Student/Candidate

Combined Program in Education and Psychology


Title: Beyond Monoliths: Exploring Familial Support and School Bonding in African American and Caribbean Black Adolescents

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Adolescent social support research often prioritizes peers and teachers' roles in school engagement outcomes.Yet, evidence suggests that family support, akin to Latinx Familismo, plays a pivotal role in shaping educational experiences of minority students across cultures.  Current studies often overlook cultural differences within minority groups, including Black and Latinx students, often treating them monolithically. Addressing these gaps, my study, utilizes a National Survey of American Life Adolescent supplement sample (N=1170; 70% African American (AA) and 30% Caribbean Black (CB), Mage=15), to investigate how varying support types (emotional vs. tangible) from different sources (peers vs. family) predict school bonding (students feeling connected with their school). Regression analyses identified familial emotional support as school bonding's strongest predictor among both AA and CB students. Moderation analyses indicated peer emotional support and school bonding strengthened significantly when paired with emotional family support. Lastly, having expectations for family support predicted a stronger bond between familial emotional support and school bonding. These results highlight the need for culturally grounded studies on family and peer support, acknowledging diversity within racial minorities - a vital contribution to Familismo discussions within minority populations. Advocating for more minority community research, this study sets the stage for broader conversations on social support by presenting a cross-cultural perspective.

Anthony Carreon

Doctoral Student/Candidate

Aerospace Engineering


Title: Real-time Flow Simulation in Urban Environments; Simulación de Flujo Instantáneo en Entornos Urbanos

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More than half the world’s population lives in cities and metropolitan areas. With the increasing rate of urbanization and global warming, the health and safety of people in cities are at a higher risk. From climate-based hazards (e.g., wildfires and flash floods) to industrial hazards (e.g., chemical pollutants), rapid and accurate fluid analysis tools are needed to prepare, prevent, and investigate such fluid-flow-based hazards. City hazards require responses on the order of minutes. Using standard computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software and algorithms, a computer simulation of flow in a large city may take hours to days to render, even on the most advanced supercomputers. In contrast, video game algorithmic techniques may render fluid flow simulations in seconds. Namely, the lattice Boltzmann method (LBM) provides the desired computational speedup via acceleration on graphics processing units (GPUs) at the cost of lower accuracy and poorer geometric representation of a city. With recent advances in machine learning (ML), LBM-based techniques for flow simulations may benefit from up-sampling and correctional methods using an ML-based approach to recover the detail and accuracy provided by CFD-based simulation techniques. In particular, super-resolution-enhancement ML methods can learn a function that maps from fast yet inaccurate LBM simulations to slow yet accurate CFD simulations. To this end, we propose a hybrid physics/ML framework for near-real-time flow simulation in large complex geometries such as cities with accuracy on par with CFD-based approaches. Preliminary work will focus on developing a 3D LBM-based flow simulation software compatible with the physics/ML framework. In parallel, we will study physics-based ML models to select one with optimal performance. Future work will focus on developing the front-end user experience with web-based and mobile interfaces and augmented reality interfaces.

Daniel O. Delgado Cornejo

Doctoral Student/Candidate

Materials Science and Engineering


Title: Engineering the Geometry of Layered Double Hydroxides: Chemical Conversion of Atomic Layer Deposition Films into Nanosheets

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Nano-architected materials have seen a rise in recent years and have produced advancements in a variety of fields including biomedicine, energy storage, and catalysis. As such, there is a great motivation to develop novel synthesis and processing methods designed to improve the degree of fine control over nanoscale geometry (e.g. size, shape, and spacing). In this study, we explore a method known as surface-directed assembly which makes use of the synergy between atomic layer deposition (ALD) and hydrothermal synthesis to grow thin vertical sheets of length scales ~300-1000 nanometers. These nanosheets form a layered-double hydroxide (LDH) phase due to a chemical interaction between the deposited Al2O3 ALD film and an aqueous zinc solution. This results in the consumption and conversion of the initial film into the LDH nanosheets, where aluminum from the film serves as a limiting reactant in the kinetic process of nucleation and growth. Geometric parameters such as nanosheet spacing and length can be tuned by varying the thickness of the film with sub-nanometer precision. A non-linear trend in nanosheet length is observed within three distinct regimes, corresponding to competing factors governing the nanosheet synthesis. In addition, we observe an inverse relationship between the nanosheet length and the film thickness. Finally, nanosheets were grown on top of a non-uniform fibrous membrane, demonstrating the versatility of this conversion chemistry. Ultimately, by leveraging the tunability and conformality of the ALD process, this work enables the programmable control of nano-architected material geometries with applications in the energy and medical device spaces. 

Macarena Peralta

Undergraduate Student

University of Michigan College of Engineering and School of Information


Title: Exploring the Design Space of Augmented Reality Adaptation Techniques for Privacy

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As augmented reality (AR) technologies become more widespread and approach always-on usage, it is important that AR interfaces are designed to adapt to end-users' privacy preferences in various contexts. Human Computer Interaction (HCI) research has contributed techniques for adapting AR layouts to optimize for usability metrics. However, adapting AR interfaces for privacy may require more than just visual adaptations, e.g., changing the input, output, or user interaction modalities. In this project, we developed and analyzed two techniques (adapting speech input and RGB video input), to further explore implementation requirements and implications for usability and privacy for end-users. Then, through a scenario-based elicitation study with AR researchers, we explored the design space of privacy-oriented adaptation techniques, producing 62 alternative AR input, output, and interaction techniques. An adaptation catalog organized across four design dimensions was developed along with a corresponding visualization tool to operationalize these techniques for AR developers. We also demonstrate its utility through two design workshops where AR developers balance varying user goals and privacy needs.

Yvette Ramirez

Doctoral Student/Candidate

School of Information

yramirez@umich.edu | Twitter (X) @yvettegramirez

Title: chuymar katuqaña - The Past as Future Making: Andean Diasporic Archives

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I look at work that touches upon the practical and symbolic motivations of Bolivian communities in the United States when preserving records within personal archives. By understanding the wide range of culturally specific oral, aural, and kinetic Andean traditions, we can better situate embedded values, cultural contexts and historical colonial interventions. However due to a longstanding legacy of harm caused by research institutions as well as the colonial legacy within the Andes region, it is necessary for research with such communities to not only directly engage with local priorities and perspectives but emphasize equity and power leveraging. As such I will discuss collaborations within this research centered on solidarity and transparency. 

Alicia Grace Dominguez

Doctoral Student/Candidate


alovdom@umich.edu | LinkedIn | Twitter (X): @gueezy

Title: Tradeoff between prediction accuracy and transferability in the design of polygenic risk scores of bipolar disorder.

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Polygenic risk scores (PRS) use summary statistics from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to predict genetic risk for complex traits. However, most GWAS participants are European (EUR), making prediction for non-EUR samples less accurate. Factors like allele frequency differences and linkage disequilibrium can lead to differences in mean PRS across samples. Our goal is to investigate how varying the number of markers in PRS of bipolar disorder impact prediction and mean PRS across populations. Using GWAS summary statistics from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC), we calculate and assess predictive accuracy of PRS for 3,334 African (AFR) Americans and 5,670 individuals with majority EUR ancestry. Additionally, we calculate PRS for 2,504 individuals from 1000 Genomes Project (1KGP) to assess differences in mean PRS across multiple populations. To assess predictive performance of PRS for our sample (2,010 cases/5,994 controls), we use logistic regression to model case status adjusting for sex and five principal components (PCs). Predictive accuracy increases with more markers into the construction of the PRS but plateaus at p<0.001. Moreover, the difference in mean PRS between AFR and EUR samples increases with more markers. PRS become increasingly more associated with PCs as more markers are included. In this study, including more markers into PRS improves prediction, but also accrues subtle confounding from the original GWAS. There is a tension between having complex, informative PRS with more markers and their susceptibility to population structure.

Lisby Santiago Pagán 

Doctoral Student/Candidate

Macromolecular Science and Engineering


Title: Achieving Monovalent/Divalent Selectivity in Cation Exchange Membranes with Concentration Gradient-Driven Transport

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The rapid increase in lithium-ion battery production and the limited availability of lithium sources have heightened the demand for efficient extraction methods. Recovering lithium from concentrated salt-lake brines, the primary source of this mineral, offers a more sustainable extraction alternative compared to conventional mining processes. Consequently, research has focused on membrane-based technologies for lithium recovery, as they demonstrate the greatest promise for selectively removing ions from complex mixtures. Electric field-driven processes using Cation Exchange Membranes (CEMs) have emerged as a promising technology for lithium recovery, with the potential for large-scale implementation. However, the  high Mg2+/Li+ ratio in brine mixtures poses challenges in achieving selective extraction. In this work, we propose a novel technique to achieve highly selective lithium recovery (selectivity >500). Our approach involves utilizing a concentration gradient as a means of transport in CEMs. CEMs with a constant fixed charge concentration  and varying water content were synthesized using commercially available monomers with methacrylate chemistry. We investigated ion transport of Li+/Mg2+ salt mixtures in these CEMs through concentration gradient-driven transport. The effects of total salt concentration, lithium equivalent ratio, and the membrane's water content on lithium selectivity were evaluated. Notably, the lithium selectivity was enhanced at lower salt concentrations, higher lithium equivalent fractions, and in membranes with lower water content. These findings support the feasibility of large-scale implementation of our proposed technique for the selective and efficient recovery of lithium from brine mixtures.

Nia Lucas

Professional Degree Student

School of Medicine


Title: Heat related illness and the intersection of climate change, precarious employment, and environmental justice in farmworkers: A scoping literature review

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Elevated global temperatures related to climate change increase the risk of extreme weather events, including more frequent heat waves. Within the current sociopolitical context, these environmental effects are disproportionately felt by certain populations, including black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), those from low-and middle-income countries, and those who work in outdoor settings. The precarious employment environment, long work hours, and lack of social protections experienced by migrant farmworkers, many of whom are Latinx, magnify vulnerability to adverse heat-related events and increase the risk of workplace associated heat-related injuries. Despite the negative public health implications, there is a paucity of legal protections for migrant agricultural workers aimed at preventing heat-related illness on the job. We conducted a broad scoping review using PRISMA guidelines to assess the current literature for policies and recommendations at the federal, state, and community level focused on the protection of migrant agricultural workers from adverse health events associated with heat. We also conducted state specific searches for California aimed at elucidating trends in recommendations before and after workplace heat standards were adopted. The goal of this working literature review is to further the understanding of the intersection between heat events and precarious work as contributors to population health inequities in the era of climate change.  

Lester Armando Mejia Gomez

Doctoral Student/Candidate

Developmental Psychology


Title: Reasons matter: Preliminary results on moral evaluations of immigration policies based on reasons for immigrating

“Come in the right way” is a typical response when asking what immigrants should do to enter and be accepted in the United States. However, the reality is much more complicated, with legal hurdles and fears to overcome. Additionally, with immigrants’ lives sometimes depending on how quickly they can enter the US, the reason for immigrating and the entry process is critical. Though research indicates possible contributing factors to immigration attitudes as adults, a developmental perspective is necessary to understand when individuals become sensitive to immigration issues and the emergence of their immigration attitudes. Thus, the current study will investigate two broad research questions: (a) when do children develop a sensitivity to immigration issues, and (b) how do children evaluate immigration policies? To answer these questions, I will investigate how children (ages 5-12), their parents, and an online sample of adults living in the US morally evaluate immigration policies, which resemble those established in the US, as a function of why families immigrate. Although these results will be preliminary, they may help shed insight into possible trends we may encounter with our total sample of participants. Thus, this presentation will focus on when children begin detecting inequalities based on immigration status and how they compare to their parents and other adults. Now more than ever, investigating children’s conception of immigration is crucial because children are becoming increasingly more involved in politics at younger ages (van Deth et al., 2011). Emphasizing why people immigrate adds nuance to typical perceptions of immigrants by expanding beyond mere categorization, offering a more comprehensive insight into the factors shaping attitudes toward immigration policies. 

Jennifer Zamudio

Doctoral Student/Candidate

Industrial Engineering


Title: Exploring Recurrent Communication as a Facilitator of Effective Teamwork in Robotic Surgery; Explorando la comunicación recurrente como facilitadora del trabajo en equipo eficaz en cirugía robótica

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In clinical settings, ‘team dynamics’ is often used loosely to describe behaviors that team members engage in to achieve safety and efficiency. However, it becomes unclear what aspects of teamwork are to be improved. We argue that team dynamics refer to the underlying coordinating mechanisms that facilitate the various dimensions of teamwork essential for team performance, as proposed in Salas' Big Five in Teamwork model. According to this model, the five dimensions of teamwork are (1) team leadership, (2) mutual performance monitoring, (3) backup behavior, (4) adaptability, and (5) team orientation. These dimensions are believed to be facilitated (or made possible) by several underlying coordinating mechanisms which include (a) closed-loop communication, (b) shared mental models, and (c) mutual trust.  Despite efforts to reduce communication errors in these settings, The Joint Commission reports that communication breakdowns remain a primary contributing factor of preventable patient adverse events. These challenges are especially pronounced within surgical settings, known for their dynamic and complex nature. Such settings require teams to engage in frequent adaptation of their communication styles due to changes in staff configurations, distractions among team members, noisy machines, and new technologies that require restructuring of the operating room (OR) layout. These challenges are heightened in robotic-assisted surgery (RAS), due to the sequestered nature of the surgeon at the console requiring team members to be particularly vigilant in ensuring clear closed-loop communication, given the limited visual cues between the surgeon and the rest of the team. We hypothesize that a greater frequency of recurrent closed-loop communication serves as a predictor of effective teamwork. Our analyses can provide insights into the different team interactions that occur during laparoscopic versus RAS, and can enable researchers to develop interventions that target interactions between specific dyads to mitigate increased in perceived workload (e.g., surgeon-resident).

En el ámbito clínico, el término "dinámica de equipo" se utiliza a menudo para describir los comportamientos que los miembros de un equipo adoptan para lograr seguridad y eficacia. Sin embargo, no queda claro qué aspectos del trabajo en equipo deben mejorarse. Nosotros sostenemos que la dinámica de equipo se refiere a los mecanismos de coordinación subyacentes que facilitan las diversas dimensiones del trabajo en equipo esenciales para el rendimiento del equipo, tal como se propone en el modelo de los Cinco Grandes del Trabajo en Equipo de Salas. Según este modelo, las cinco dimensiones del trabajo en equipo son (1) liderazgo del equipo, (2) supervisión mutua del rendimiento, (3) comportamiento de respaldo, (4) adaptabilidad y (5) orientación del equipo. Se cree que estas dimensiones se ven facilitadas (o posibilitadas) por varios mecanismos de coordinación subyacentes que incluyen (a) la comunicación en bucle cerrado, (b) los modelos mentales compartidos y (c) la confianza mutua.  A pesar de los esfuerzos por reducir los errores de comunicación en estos entornos, la Comisión Conjunta informa de que los fallos de comunicación siguen siendo uno de los principales factores que contribuyen a los efectos adversos evitables en los pacientes. Estos problemas son especialmente pronunciados en los entornos quirúrgicos, conocidos por su naturaleza dinámica y compleja. Estos entornos exigen que los equipos adapten con frecuencia sus estilos de comunicación debido a cambios en la configuración del personal, distracciones entre los miembros del equipo, máquinas ruidosas y nuevas tecnologías que requieren una reestructuración de la disposición del quirófano. Estos retos se acentúan en la cirugía robótica asistida (RAS), debido a la naturaleza aislada del quirófano. Estos entornos exigen que los equipos adapten con frecuencia sus estilos de comunicación debido a cambios en la configuración del personal, distracciones entre los miembros del equipo, máquinas ruidosas y nuevas tecnologías que requieren una reestructuración de la disposición del quirófano. Estos retos se agravan en la cirugía robótica asistida (RAS), debido a la naturaleza aislada del cirujano en la consola que requiere que los miembros del equipo estén particularmente atentos para asegurar una comunicación clara de bucle cerrado, dadas las limitadas señales visuales entre el cirujano y el resto del equipo. Nuestra hipótesis es que una mayor frecuencia de comunicación recurrente en bucle cerrado sirve para predecir la eficacia del trabajo en equipo. Nuestros análisis pueden proporcionar información sobre las diferentes interacciones de equipo que se producen durante la laparoscopia frente a la SRA, y pueden permitir a los investigadores desarrollar intervenciones dirigidas a interacciones entre díadas específicas para mitigar el aumento de la carga de trabajo percibida (por ejemplo, cirujano-residente).

Click on the dates below to see the detailed event program for Latinx Research Week 2024