Now showing items 1-20 of 1593

    • Biologically normal sleep in the mother-infant dyad

      Rudzik, Alanna E. F.; Ball, Helen L. (Wiley, 2021)
      Objectives: We examine infant sleep from evolutionary, historico‐cultural, and statistical/epidemiological perspectives and explore the distinct conceptions of “normal” produced by each. We use data from the “Sleeping Like a Baby” study to illustrate how these perspectives influence the ideals and practices of new parents. Methods: The “Sleeping Like a Baby” study investigated maternal–infant sleep in north‐east England. Sleep data for exclusively breastfeeding (EBF) and formula‐feeding (EFF) dyads were captured every 2 weeks from 4 to 18 weeks postpartum through actigraphy and maternal report. Mothers also reported their infant sleep ideals and practices. Results explore objective and maternally‐reported infant sleep parameters, and concordance of maternal ideals and practices with public health guidance. Results: Comparison of sleep measures showed that mothers overestimate infant sleep duration compared with actigraphy; EFF mothers' reports were significantly more inaccurate than those of EBF mothers. For infants moved to a separate bedroom, maternally‐reported sleep increases were not borne out by actigraphy. Across the study period, concordance of maternal ideal sleep location with public health recommendations occurred on average for 54% of mothers, while concordance in practice fell from 75% at 4–8 weeks to 67% at 14–18 weeks. Discordance for EBF dyads occurred due to bedsharing, and for EFF dyads due to infants sleeping in a room alone. Conclusions: Beliefs about “normal” infant sleep influence parents' perceptions and practices. Clinical and scientific infant sleep discourses reinforce dominant societal norms and perpetuate these beliefs, but biological and evolutionary views on infant sleep norms are beginning to gain traction with parents and health practitioners.
    • Residential immersive life skills programs for youth with disabilities: a case study of youth developmental trajectories of personal growth and caregiver perspectives

      Rudzik, Alanna E. F.; McPherson, Amy C.; King, Gillian; Kingsnorth, Shauna (BMC / Springer Nature, 2019)
      Background: Professional support in pediatric and rehabilitation care environments has been recommended as a means to build youth competence in life skills during their transition to adulthood. Life skills are the essential psychosocial competencies and interpersonal skills needed to manage one’s life. Residential immersive life skills (RILS) programs offer youth with physical disabilities enriched learning environments to acquire these skills. This study explored trajectories of personal growth in life skills and positive psychological outcomes among youth participating in a RILS program and related caregiver perspectives. Method: Delivered by a multidisciplinary healthcare team, The Independence Program is an intensive summer program housed in a college residence that provides realistic experiences of living away from home for small groups of youth between 17 and 21 years of age who have congenital and/or acquired physical disabilities. Using a longitudinal case study and qualitative descriptive design, four youth and their parents/guardians participated in semi-structured interviews prior to, and then 1 month, and 3 to 4 months after the program. A conventional content analysis yielded chronological narratives for each youth and caregiver dyad of their experiences, perceptions and outcomes over time. These narratives were further summarized using a ‘line of development’ perspective to describe individual developmental trajectories of personal growth. Results: All four of the youth returned from the program with positive reports about the new life skills acquired and new behaviours they engaged in. These positive reports generally continued post-program, albeit with differing trajectories unique to each youth and varying levels of congruence with their caregivers’ readiness to support, accommodate and facilitate these changes. Caregivers differed in their capacity to shift in their parenting role to support consolidation of youth life skill competencies following program participation. Conclusions: RILS programs can be transformative. Varied youth trajectories identified significant personal growth through enhanced self-determination, self-efficacy and self-advocacy. Congruence in youth and caregiver perceptions of post-program changes was an important transactional factor. Professional support addressing caregiver needs may be beneficial to facilitate developmentally appropriate shifts in parenting roles. This shift is central to a model of shared management whereby adolescents take on greater responsibility for their own care and life choices.
    • Plandemic, Propaganda & Politics: Scientific Misinformation During COVID-19

      Stengler, Erik; Miller, Kaitlyn N. (SUNY Oneonta, 2021)
      Is COVID-19 misinformation spread by one political affiliation more than others? Misinformation – whether scientific, historical or on social topics – has devastating and fatal consequences. Whether the misinformation is disseminated during a public health crisis or a war, whether it is in the United States or another nation, propaganda has long been a tool to exploit people’s motivations and trust. A deeper understanding of the spread and acceptance of misinformation will help science communicators – and possibly others – to earn the public’s trust. Only then can scientists prevent another heavily polarized public health crisis that could result in thousands more of needless deaths. By using a multidisciplinary and mixed methods approach, this research dissects the roots of misinformation and why some people are more susceptible than others. For example, some Americans find that mask mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic are against their constitutional rights to choose. Combining this with Dr. Anthony Fauci once saying that there was no reason to be wearing one, these Americans find themselves more susceptible to believing anti-mask misinformation. An analysis of 1000 tweets containing misinformation shows that proponents of then-U.S. President Donald Trump are significantly more likely to believe and therefore spread misinformation, as opposed to opponents and those without a clear political affiliation. Various topics of misinformation encountered during the data collection are researched to find their possible origins. Many, such as fake cures and anti-mask claims, are linked to comments made by President Trump and/or his most notorious allies.
    • Characterization of Hic-5 in Cancer Associated Fibroblasts: A Role in Extracellular Matrix Deposition and Remodeling

      Turner, Christopher; Goreczny, Gregory (2017)
      Hic-5 (TGFβ1i1) is a focal adhesion scaffold protein that has previously been implicated in many cancer-related processes. However, the contribution of Hic-5 during tumor progression has never been evaluated, in vivo. In Chapter 2 of this thesis, I crossed our Hic-5 knockout mouse with the MMTV-PyMT breast tumor mouse model to assess the role of Hic-5 in breast tumorigenesis. Tumors from the Hic-5 -/-;PyMT mouse exhibited an increased latency and reduced tumor growth. Immunohistochemical analysis of the Hic-5 -/-;PyMT tumors revealed that the tumor cells were less proliferative. However isolated tumor cells exhibit no difference in growth rate. Surprisingly, Hic-5 expression was restricted to the tumor stroma. Further analysis showed that Hic-5 regulates Cancer Associated Fibroblast (CAF) contractility and differentiation which resulted in a reduced ability to deposit and reorganize the extracellular matrix (ECM) in two-and three-dimensions. Furthermore, Hic-5 dependent ECM remodeling supported the ability of tumor cells to metastasize and colonize the lungs.The molecular mechanisms by which CAFs mediate ECM remodeling remains incompletely understood. In Chapter 3 of this thesis, I show that Hic-5 is required to generate fibrillar adhesions, which are specialized structures that are critical for the assembly of fibronectin fibers. Hic-5 was found to promote fibrillar adhesion formation through a newly characterized interaction with tensin1, a scaffold protein that binds to β1 integrin and actin. Furthermore, this interaction was mediated by Src-dependent phosphorylation of Hic-5 in two and three-dimensional matrix environments to prevent β1 integrin internalization and subsequent degradation in the lysosome. This work highlights the importance of the focal adhesion protein, Hic-5 during breast tumorigenesis and provides insight into the molecular machinery driving CAF-mediated ECM remodeling.
    • Bundling of cytoskeletal actin by the formin FMNL1 contributes to celladhesion and migration

      Blystone, Scott; Miller, Eric (2018)
      Metastasis is one of the leading causes of death in the world, affecting thousands every year. This is especially true of breast cancer, which can often result in the formation of secondary metastatic sites in the lung, liver, and bone marrow. There are many aspects to metastasis and an innumerable amount of molecular, biochemical, and cellular interactions contribute to its pathology. The ability of primary tumor cells to disseminate from the primary tumor, degrade the basement membrane, invade through the ECM, and eventually intravasate across the endothelial cell lining of the circulatory system or lymphatics requires a plethora of proteins, all working together in concert to achieve this. Nowhere in the cell is this more apparent than the actin cytoskeleton.Locomotion of cells requires several alterations in the actin cytoskeleton component of the cellular machinery. Generally speaking, cells must be able to polarize, form protrusions, adhere to the substratum, translocate, and then retract their tail, repeating this process as they continue to navigate to their destination. While there are many underlying aspects to this activity, spatiotemporal rearrangements of the actin cytoskeleton are key to the successful cellular motility. The mechanics behind dynamic actin cytoskeletal modifications are varied and complex, demonstrating the requirement for a variety of actin-associated, regulatory proteins.A crucial family of proteins involved in this process is the formin family of proteins. Formins are a relatively “new” group of actin modifiers which possess the unique ability to modify and generate linear actin filaments. While the members of this protein family all share some of the same actin modifying processes, many of these proteins also have functions exclusive to themselves. As a result, research into this field has blossomed and several novel features of different formins have been identified. Furthermore, alternative splice isoforms of several formins are often expressed in a variety of cell types, with specific functions attributed to each.The formin FMNL1 was originally identified in cells of a myeloid lineage and for many years was mostly thought to be involved in leukocyte adhesion and migration. Indeed, our lab has characterized many of the functions of this protein in both human and murine macrophages. However, as a result of the work in this dissertation, we have generated sufficient evidence suggesting that FMNL1 not only plays a role in breast cancer migration, but also exhibits functions unique to a specific alternative splice isoform of this protein.Our work on FMNL1 has pushed the field of study into this protein family in new directions. Herein, we have demonstrated that all three alternative splice isoforms of FMNL1 are expressed in a variety of cell types and the FMNL1ɣalternative splice isoform distinguishes itself from these isoforms via its ability to bundle linear actin filaments. Additionally, our data indicates that this is accomplished independently of the trademark FH2 domain, often thought to be the essential component of all formins. More specifically, we have identified a unique amino acid sequence in the C-terminal region of this isoform that most likely regulates this function. As a result, we have not only identified a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of metastasis via inhibition of cellular locomotion, but also pushed the field of formin research into a novel direction by providing insight which may foster new hypotheses and challenge classical theories regarding the relationship between formins and actin.

      Matthews, Rick; Dwyer, Chrissa (2013)
      The central nervous system (CNS) is extraordinarily complex in both structure and function. The neural extracellular matrix (ECM) is one of the key classes ofmolecules that regulates thedevelopment of the CNS and maintains its structure and function in the adult.Thereby understanding the function of the neural ECMis key to understanding the CNS. The neural ECM is composed of several nervous-system specificproteins, which are hypothesized to uniquely contribute to the defining physiological functions of the CNS. However,work in this area has been hindered by the highly complex molecular properties of the neural ECM, which stem from alterations in expressionand modifications (resulting from glycosylation and proteolytic cleavage) of its constituents. Further defining mechanisms that alter the expression and modifications of neural ECM constituents are critical to fully understanding its complex array of functions. Often in neuropathologies, the neural ECM undergoes dynamic changes providing a valuable tool to further understand its function andthe opportunity to explore its contribution to disease pathology and utility as a therapeutic target. The work presented herein investigates the role of altered expression of the nervous-system specific ECM constituent, Brain Enriched Hyaluronan Binding (BEHAB)/ brevican(B/b), in glioma,and altered glycosylation of the nervous system enriched ECM constituent, RPTPζ/phosphacan, in O-mannosylrelated congenital muscular dystrophies (CMDs). Our work suggests that increased expression of B/b in the glioma tumor microenvironment (TEM) contributes to the pathological progression of these tumors, and reducing its expression is a valuable therapeutic strategy. Additionally, our work evaluates the transcriptional regulatory mechanisms leading to increases inB/b expression in glioma and highlights the potential value of these mechanisms as therapeutic targets. Our work also identifies the absence of O-mannosyl linked carbohydrates on RPTPζ/phosphacan in the brains of CMD models and suggests that altered glycosylation of RPTPζ/phosphacan may have a role in the neuropathologies underlying these disorders. Overall this work provides valuable insight intothe molecular complexities of the neural ECM stemming from changes in the expression and glycosylation of its constituents and furthers our understanding of its function in the normal CNS and in neuropathologies.

      Mollapour, Mehdi; Dushukyan, Natela (2018)
      Protein Phosphatase 5 (PP5) is a serine/threonine phosphatase known to regulate many essential cellular functions including steroid hormone signaling, stress response, proliferation, apoptosis, and DNA repair. PP5 is a knownco-chaperone of the molecular chaperone heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90), and its regulation of Hsp90aidswiththe proper activation of Hsp90 clients and withsteroid hormone signaling.Hsp90 is also one of the strongest activators of PP5, as it releases the auto-inhibition of PP5 by interacting with the N-terminal tetratricopeptide repeat (TPR) domain of PP5. Our lab has recently shown that PP5 is phosphorylated at T362, and that this phosphorylation acts as an “on switch” resultingin the hyperactivation of PP5. Misregulation of this key phosphatase has been shown to aid in the tumor progression of ER-dependent and independent breast cancer. Elevated PP5 levels have also been linked to colorectalcancer, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), lymphoma, and prostate cancer. The work presented here reveals the pro-survival role that PP5 plays in kidney cancer. Clear cell renal cell carcinomas (ccRCC) are most often driven by mutations in the von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor (VHL). The data in this thesis shows that VHL binds and multi mono-ubiquitinates PP5 at two lysine residues K185 and K199. This post-translational modification negatively regulates PP5 likean “off switch” and ultimately leads to its degradation bythe proteasome. Mutations in the VHLgene that result in inactive mutants or a lack of VHL protein expression lead to ccRCC tumors. The data in this thesis shows that these VHL-nulltumors become dependent on elevated levels of PP5, and that both PP5 knockdown and inhibition lead to cancer cell death. The data further shows that the decrease in PP5 activity in VHL-null cells results in the induction of the extrinsic apoptotic pathway with a dramatic increase in the cleavage of PARP and caspases 3, 7, and 8.

      Mollapour, Mehdi; Dunn, Diana (2017)
      Heat Shock Protein-90 (Hsp90) is a molecular chaperone critical to thestability and activity of over 200 proteins known as “clients” including many oncogenes. Hsp90 chaperone function is linked to its ability to hydrolyze ATP and Hsp90 drugs inhibit its activity leading to the degradation of clients, thus making Hsp90 an attractive target for cancer therapy. The Hsp90 chaperone cycle is fine-tuned by another group of proteins called co-chaperones. They modifythe cycle, allowing Hsp90 to chaperone different pools of clients. Post-translational modifications (PTM) of Hsp90 and its co-chaperones can also regulate the chaperone cycle, and affect Hsp90 drug sensitivity. Here it is shownthat c-Abl kinase phosphorylates Y223in the co-chaperoneAha1, promotingits interaction with and stimulation of Hsp90 ATPase activity. Pharmacologic inhibition of c-Abl prevents the Aha1-Hsp90 interaction thereby, hypersensitizing cancer cells to Hsp90 inhibitors.Another co-chaperone of Hsp90, protein phosphatase-5 (PP5), mediates thede-phosphorylation of the co-chaperone Cdc37which is an essentialprocessfor the activation of kinase clients. The crystal structure of phospho-Cdc37 bound to the catalytic domain of PP5revealed elements of substrate specificity within the phosphatase cleft. Hyperactivityandhypoactivity of PP5 increasedHsp90 binding to its inhibitor, providing insight into increasingthe efficacy of Hsp90 inhibitors by regulation of PP5 activity in tumors.PP5 is autoinhibited by intramolecular interactions that can be activated by anumber of cellular factors, includingHsp90. Casein kinase-1δ (CK1δ)-mediated phosphorylation of T362-PP5, was identified as an integral step for PP5 activation, independent of binding to Hsp90. Additionally, the tumor suppressor von Hippel-Lindau (VHL), the substrate recognition component of the VCB-E3-ubiquitin ligase, was found to interact with and multi-monoubiquitinate K185/K199-PP5 for proteasomal degradationin an oxygen-independent manner. Furthermore, VHL-deficient clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) cell lines or patient tumors exhibit elevated PP5 levels. Down-regulation of PP5 caused apoptosis inccRCC cells, suggesting a prosurvival role for PP5 in ccRCC.Thisevidence suggests that inhibition of the enzymes that target and catalyze the PTM of Hsp90 and co-chaperones can act synergistically with Hsp90 inhibitors, providingnovel therapeutic strategiesto enhance the efficacy of Hsp90 inhibitors in cancer cells.

      Perl, Andras; Doherty, Edward (2014)
      Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disorder, characterized by T cell and B cell dysfunction. SLE mitochondria have been shown to be dysfunctional with increased mass, mitochondrial potential, decreased ATP, elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) concentrations, and altered Ca2+ stores. Drug treatments that target the mitochondria have shown efficacy in treating SLE. Here we have investigated electron transport chain (ETC) activity in SLE, to better understand the causes of mitochondrial dysfunction in SLE. We have found that mitochondrial complexes I and IV of the ETC have elevated respiration in SLE compared to healthy controls after both overnight resting and anti-CD3/CD28 stimulation. We have also shown that SLE complex I is resistant to NO inhibition of respiration. SLE peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) have increased S-nitrosylation (SNO) while immunoprecipitated complex I had decreased SNO of proteins compared to healthy controls. The drug Nacetylcysteine (NAC) was able to inhibit complex I activity in SLE, and was found to reduce the amount of complex I protein NDUFS3 after 15 minutes as measured by western blotting. These results have led us to the conclusion that SLE mitochondrial complex I is in an active form which is resistant to SNO and is driving the production of ROS and RNS that are associated with SLE. The drug NAC is able to inhibit complex I respiration which may have therapeutic efficacy by reducing the ROS and RNS stress in SLE.
    • Preclinical Development of Anti-Cancer Drugs from Natural Products.

      Huang, Ying; Sun, Qing (2014)
      Cancer has been and will continue to be the common concern in the United States and worldwide. As a conventional treatment to fight cancer, new anti-cancer drugs with more efficiency and less toxicity are extremely required. In this study, we have identified two novel compounds with anti-cancer properties from two traditional Chinese medicinal plants. One is Lappaol F that was extracted from the seeds of the plant Actium Lapp L., which has been used in China for centuries as anti-viral and anti-bacterial medicine. Another is M-9 that was extracted from the stem of Marsdenia tenacissima,a plant that has been applied to treat inflammation and cancer in China. Our results showed that Lappaol F inhibited cancer cell growth by regulating a series of cell cycle related proteins and inducing cell cycle arrest at G1 and/or G2 phase. p21 played a critical role in Lappaol F-induced cyclin B1 and cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (CDK1) suppression as well as G2arrest. Lappaol F also induced cell death in a number of cancer cells through caspases activation. Lappaol F-mediated cell growth inhibition was p53-independent. Notably, results from animal studies showed that Lappaol F effectively inhibited tumor growth in vivo, while being well tolerated by the mice. Thus, Lappaol F has a strong potential to be developed as a novel anti-cancer chemotherapeutic. Our studies showed that M-9 successfully sensitized several tumor cells but not non-tumorigenic cells to paclitaxel (Taxol) treatment. Additionally, M-9 reversed chemotherapeutic resistance in a number of multidrug resistant cells. Further results suggested that M-9 functioned, at least to a certain extent, via inhibiting drug efflux by competitively binding to P-glycoprotein (P-gp), a protein that accounts for multidrug resistance. Importantly, results from the in vivostudies demonstrated that M-9 strongly enhanced Taxol-induced growth suppression against xenografts derived from HeLa cells. Moreover, mice tolerated the treatment of Taxol and M-9 well. Therefore, M-9 is a novel chemosensitizer candidate to overcome P-gp-mediated multidrug resistance. Taken together, our studies provide a solid basis for further development of these two compounds as anti-cancer remedies.

      Howell, Brian; Lammert, Dawn (2017)
      Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects approximately 1 in 45 people, and is characterized by deficits in social communication and repetitive behaviors. Sequencing advancements have enabled the identification of numerous candidate genes, but precisely how these genes contribute to ASD remains largely unknown. RELNis consistently implicated as a candidate gene for autism. The encoded secreted glycoprotein, Reelin is important for proper brain developmental and postnatal synapse function. Here we examine the molecular and cellular consequences of the de novo RELNmutation R2290C. This mutation falls in a conserved arginine-amino acid-arginine (RXR) motif that is found within the Reelin subrepeat structure. Several other ASD patient mutations fall with in this consensus and all examined reduce Reelin secretion. Based on this we tested two hypothesis: (1) that the mutations reduce Reelin signaling and (2) that they have a gain-of-function consequence, such as ER stress. Using an engineered cell line with a heterozygous RELNR2290C mutation and the RELN Orleans (Orl) mouse line that produces nearly full length Reelin that is defective for secretion, we found evidence for both increased Dab1 and increased PDIA1 expression. Since, like most genes implicated in ASD RELNlikely acts in a multifactorial manner, we investigated whether second site mutations might contribute to ASD-related behaviors. Towards this end we crossed the heterozygous Orl and Shank3b mice to model two hits that are present in at least one ASD proband. We found that the resulting double heterozygousmice had impaired socialization and altered ultrasonic vocalizations. Furthermore, forebrain and cerebellar lysates showed increased PSD-95, identifying a potentially common mechanism and therapeutic target for ASD. These studies are the first to investigate the biological relevance of RELNcoding mutations in ASD.
    • A matter of life and death: human cytomegalovirus induction of monocyte survival and differentiation into macrophages through manipulation of the PI3K/Akt pathway

      Chan, Gary; Cojohari, Olesea (2017)
      Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a ubiquitous β-herpesvirus infecting up to 80% of the US population and reaching 100% seroprevalence in many parts of the world. In mostindividuals HCMV infection is usually asymptomatic. In contrast, in immunodeficient or immunonaive people, such as transplant recipients and the developing fetus, the virus is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. During a primary infection, HCMVcan spread very effectively in the body infecting many organ types and monocytes are believed to be the principal cell type responsible for HCMV dissemination throughout the body. Monocytes, however, are naturally programmed to undergo apoptosis after 48h in the circulation and are not permissive for viral replication. Our lab has shown that in order to combat these biological hurdles, HCMV promotes survival of these short-lived cells past their 48h “viability gate”. Besides inducing survival, the virus also mediates the differentiation of monocytes into macrophages skewed towards an M1 pro-inflammatory phenotype with select M2 anti-inflammatory features, which are long-lived cells, permissive for viral replication. However, the mechanisms used by HCMV to concomitantly induce survival and macrophage differentiation -two linked but separate processes, are not fully understood. The studies in this thesis reveal that upon binding and entry, HCMV initiates a survival program in monocytes by inducing a rapid and sustained activation of the PI3K/Akt pathway, which isdifferent from that induced by myeloid growth factors. Moreover, after inducing cellular survival across the 48-h viability gate, the virus also employsthe PI3K/Akt pathway to regulate caspase 3 activation which mediatesthe atypical M1/M2 polarization. Our work suggests that virus not only makes use of the PI3K/Akt pathway, but manipulates it at multiple levels toallow for viral-specific downstream functional changes.Deciphering how the virus uniquely maneuvers signaling pathways in monocytes to drive their survival and differentiation might allow us to develop new treatments targeting HCMV-infected monocytes and preventing viral spread and disease.
    • Post Outbreak Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar) Egg Mass Survey in Northern New York

      Imm, Kaila; Garneau, Danielle (2021-05)
      Gypsy moths (Lymantria dispar) are an invasive species whose initial spread centered in Massachusetts and quickly advanced throughout the Northeast before reaching the mid-Atlantic, Michigan, and Wisconsin. These large-scale defoliators serve as a cyclical wave of disturbance with varying annual intensity and periodic peak years. Gypsy moth management is stage-specific, so understanding the life cycle is essential in order to facilitate the best management practices. In spring 2021, I surveyed gypsy moth egg mass densities in forested areas within Clinton and Essex County New York to determine if pest outbreak thresholds were met in the region. Across nine sites, which included local landowner properties, state parks, and wildlife management areas, I followed the NYS DEC egg mass sampling protocol. At each site, four plots were established and metrics collected included tree species, tree diameter, bark texture, and egg mass abundance and vertical distribution. Threshold infestation levels were met in five of the nine sites and Wickham Marsh forest was the most heavily infested. The most impacted trees were eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) and northern red oak (Quercus rubrum), specifically those individuals with an average diameter of 44.7 cm and vertically cracked bark. The data collected in this survey will inform regional biologists of more heavily damaged forests and land owners in order for them to develop a management plan for gypsy moths in the North Country.
    • "Alexa, Alert Me When the Revolution Comes": Gender, Affect, and Labor in the Age of Home-Based Artificial Intelligence

      Schiller, Amy; McMahon, John (2019)
      The fantasy of automation is one of liberation from alienating tasks. Today, domestic artificial intelligence (AI) enacts this dream of frictionlessly offloading monotony. This article deploys theories of Marxist feminism, affective labor to interrogate domestic AI’s unprecedented promise of absorbing forms of labor we hardly acknowledged that we did. While these devices make the reproductive labor of the household legible as labor, we interrogate their quasi-emancipatory promise. We argue that devices such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home elide and reproduce the gendered and racialized dimensions of domestic labor, streamline this labor for capture by capital, and heighten the very affective dynamics they promise to ameliorate. Only critical political theories of work can illuminate the unfulfilled transformations and ongoing dominations of gender, race, and affect that saturate labor with domestic AI – expressed, we contend, by re-articulating the framework of the “social factory” to that of the “social server.”
    • Producing Political Knowledge: Students as Podcasters in the Political Science Classroom

      McMahon, John (Journal of Political Science Education, 2019)
      Given the increasing prevalence of podcast listening, especially among young adults with college education, it is important to consider how student-produced podcasts can impact the student experience in the classroom, contribute to a more participatory course, and help achieve learning objectives. To engage these issues, this article reflects on the podcast assignment completed by five courses of students, three introductory American Politics classes and two Political Ideologies classes. This article seeks to examine how podcasts can work as a tool for students to research, analyze, synthesize, and present political information in a specific pedagogical and rhetorical setting; in the course of doing so, students become actively engaged with the audio public political sphere. I focus on assignment design, learning objectives, and my own pedagogical reflections in order to reach some tentative ideas about the pedagogical potential of podcasts in the political science classroom.
    • Program proposal: outdoor music therapy

      Goldberg, Daniel (2021-05)
      The program I am proposing involves taking music psychotherapy outdoors along a hiking trail. Musical experiences are widely believed to be vehicles for emotions and experiences. Hiking adventures can serve a similar purpose, as they are literal journeys with ups and downs, challenges, and rewards. These can be related to internal journeys with the same facets. These journeys afford the client and therapist time to talk, solve problems together, and experience silence together. The still and secluded environment that one can find deep in the woods can greatly enhance the musical experience and provide freedom and safety in self-expression. Alternatively, taking time to make music in the woods gives the client a chance to focus on the details of their environment, process the emotions and interactions that occur throughout the journey, and be present in the moment.
    • People-pleasing animals: mediating factors in attachment style difference between dog people and cat people

      Link, Jennifer (2021-05)
      Pets are more ubiquitous now than ever; with more and more couples opting to adopt dogs instead of having children, there’s never been a better time to attempt to discern the ways that people view these animals and what makes some people more likely to adopt one animal over another. Though past research has aimed to examine the ways that dog and cat people differ in terms of personality, little research has attempted to assess the role of attachment in the preference that individuals have towards one animal or another. The present research aimed to assess the ways that attribution of theory of mind and attachment style impact the preference that individuals have for cats or dogs. Findings suggest that, on average, participants attributed more theory of mind to dogs than to cats overall. Study 2 also indicates that pet preference, as well as attachment style, appear to partly influence the amount of theory of mind an individual attributes to dogs in particular. The results of this research may begin to unravel the ways that individuals attribute different traits to their pets based on species, and hopefully will contribute to the broader literature on the way that personality and individual differences factor into the preferences that individuals have for different animals as pets.
    • Implicit bias and moral responsibility: does ingroup membership matter?

      Greiser, Melissa (2021-05)
      Implicit bias seems to be at the heart of a number of pressing societal problems. Efforts have been made to reduce bias through spreading information about implicit attitudes and implementing bias training programs. To adequately address these issues, though, greater attention needs to be given to how individuals process and respond to information about implicit bias. The current study explored moral judgments of behaviors stemming from implicit bias judgments, with a focus on gender-based discrimination. We also considered how ingroup status (sharing the same gender as the perpetrator) may affect these judgments. Participants read a short scenario about a man or woman who exhibited either implicit or explicit bias toward the opposite gender; participants then reported their judgments of the perpetrator’s moral responsibility. Results revealed that less responsibility was attributed to behavior stemming from implicit (relative to explicit) bias. Implicit bias reduced responsibility regardless of whether or not the perpetrator was an ingroup member (same gender as the participant). Additionally, both male and female participants held the male perpetrator more responsible for his actions than the female perpetrator. This research provides a clearer picture of how people evaluate implicit bias, which is central to understanding why implicitly biased behaviors often result in minor consequences for the perpetrators. Future research should seek to more fully understand how individuals process and respond to information regarding implicit bias in an effort to reduce any potential negative consequences of spreading such information and construct the most effective methods for reducing bias.
    • Patriarchy poisons religion: an in-depth analysis of religion and systems of power in Who Fears Death and the Parables duology

      Dawkins, Claire (2021-05)
      In their groundbreaking feminist dystopian novels, Nnedi Okorafor and Octavia Butler redefine what it means to be religious. Okorafor’s novel, Who Fears Death and Butler’s novels, Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents use the dystopian genre to expose how patriarchy and Christianity have benefited one another for a millennium. Patriarchy is built into the framework of Christianity, but it becomes only more powerful as language gets muddled and confused. When this happens, men are able to abuse and subjugate women under the pretense that it is religious, when it is not. But Butler and Okorafor do not leave us with this dire image. Instead, their protagonists, Lauren and Onyesonwu take harrowing journeys to overthrow the corrupt Christian religions in their respective texts with a new non-patriarchal religion. Unlike many feminist science fiction authors of recent, Butler and Okorafor are presenting the corruption that lives in Christianity, and as an alternative they offer a new religion.