Below I have included a selection of my works from class assignments, personal research, and various opportunities over the years.



Ocean Sciences Conference Abstract: The importance of diel vertical migrations of mesozooplankton for supporting a mesopelagic ecosystem: an Inverse Modeling Approach in the California Current

Abstract: We used linear inverse models (LIM) and data from two California Current Ecosystem LTER cruises to model carbon fluxes between the epipelagic and mesopelagic layers in this system. A Linear Inverse Model (LIM) reconstructs possible flux networks based on field observations and metabolic constraints. Measurements constraints on the LIM are: 14C primary productivity, dilution-based protozoan grazing rates, gut pigment-based mesozooplankton grazing rates, 234Th:238U disequilibrium, sediment traps, and metabolic requirements of fish, zooplankton, and bacteria. A likelihood approach (Markov Chain Monte Carlo) was used to determine the most likely structure while also estimating the resulting rate uncertainties from a sample (n=1000) of randomly generated flux networks.

Diel vertical migrations by mesozooplankton transport a significant quantity of carbon to depth, which is both grazed by non-vertically migrating mesopelagic plankton and fish species and respired or excreted at depth as CO2 or DOC. Although no direct flow between small mesozooplankton (SMZ) and large POM exists in the model, SMZ process ~70% of the carbon that eventually flows into the large POM pool, which indicates an important role for SMZ in the biological carbon pump of this ecosystem. Within the mesopelagic layer, bacterial remineralization is ~20% relative to net respiration, whereas remineralization rates in the epipelagic were upwards of 80%, indicative of reduced carbon cycling and a less dynamic food web at depth.

Authors: Thomas B. Kelly, Pete Davison, Michael R. Landry, Mark D. Ohman, Ralf Goericke, Michael R. Stukel


On the Complementation of Saccharomyces Cerevisiae MET16 in Schizzosaccharomyces Pombe


Metabolically active pathways tend to be more highly conserved between ecologically similar relatives than other pathways for their critical role in life-functions. The developmental features of Schizzosaccharomyces pombe and Saccharomyces cerevisiae may be quite divergent, but their ecological niche is still quite similar. Therefore, the functional homology between S. cerevisiae’s MET16p and S. pombe’s was investigated through plasmid insertion and sulfate assimilation capabilities in S. pombe. Although the S. cerevisiae:MET16p was produced, the S. pombe colonies were unable to utilize extracellular sulfate in the synthesis of Methionine. DOI: 10.7287/peerj.preprints.768v1

Paper (preprint)

Developing Cell Lines to Identify Schizophrenia Disease Mechanisms


     Schizophrenia is a serious psychiatric disorder which affects 4.6 out of 1000 people at any given time. Despite decades of research and a wide array of experimental approaches, there is still no comprehensive explanatory model. The recent advance of genomic sequencing studies increasingly supports a combination of rare and common genetic variation in schizophrenia. These developments offer significant potential toward improved understanding of the pathophysiology.  In order to translate these recent insights into a better understanding of the disease mechanism, we propose a repository of induced pluripotent stem cells be assembled from schizophrenic patients. The benefits of this approach are immediately obvious. Instead of waiting for post-mortem brain samples, a researcher will be able to obtain cell cultures already developed from live patients, and use them to characterize the relationship between rare variants, biological pathways, and clinical phenotypes. 

Poster (pdf)


Impact of wolf hunting policy on moose populations in northern Minnesota

An ongoing and politically sensitive aspect of proper ecological stewardship revolves around improving the conditions and health of all of the species in the area of concern including both predator and prey species. Human industrial activities have dramatically reduced the land area available to the native species which has placed stresses and fragility into the ecological web. Maintaining proper ecological dynamics has become a critical aspect of policy initiatives designed to safeguard our natural reserves including the establishment of ecological forests and sanctuaries. Herein we outline our proposal to tackle a central issue in wildlife management: improving our knowledge of predator-prey dynamics that vary both temporally and specially in non-linear ways. By leveraging techniques pioneered in other disciplines in addition to the traditional methods, we aim to drastically improve our understanding of the Moose-Grey Wolf interaction and to develop a system with applicability in other regions and other species. DOI: 10.7287/peerj.preprints.769v1

Paper (preprint)



 Paper to Plastics: An Interdisciplinary Summer Outreach Project in Sustainability


Paper to Plastics (P2P) is an interdisciplinary program that combines chemistry and biology in a research setting. The goal of this project is 2-fold: to engage students in scientific research and to educate them about sustainability and biodegradable materials. The scientific aim of the project is to recycle unwanted office paper to the useful biodegradable polymer poly(lactic acid) (PLA). Through this program, students learn firsthand how chemistry and biology interact to form useful materials from waste. Students combine biological techniques, such as enzymatic digestion and fermentation, with chemical techniques, such as distillation and catalysis, to accomplish the conversion of waste paper into PLA. Through this summer program, students ultimately become familiar with diverse laboratory techniques, while learning how their scientific interests can be used to address important social problems.

Paper (link)

Hoveyda-Grubbs Second Generation Catalyst for Cross Metathesis of Eugenol with cis-2-Butene-1,4-diol


In order to synthesis the natural product (E)-4-(4-Hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)but-2-enol, the starting materials were chosen to be Eugenol and cis-2-butene-1,4-diol. A cross metathesis reaction was then carried out with a 2nd generation Hoveyda-Grubbs catalyst. The reaction product was then isolated and purified before characterization using multiple techniques. While due to issues in crystallization, no purified product was isolated for yield calculations, yet the reaction product was confirmed using a variety of techniques.

Paper (pdf)



Analysis of Mercury and its Relation to Glacial Factors


The mercury cycle describes the flow of mercury through the atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, and biosphere. Mercury is a highly toxic heavy metal with bioaccumulation potential; therefore, a complete description of how the mercury cycle interacts with a change of conditions is crucial. This paper set out to illuminate the effects that decreasing marine ice cover will have on the dynamics of the mercury cycle. Based on the simple model described in this paper, warming temperatures causes marine ice retreat; both ice sheet retreat and a warmer water column will have dramatic effects on the mercury fluxes in the arctic regions.

Paper (pdf)



Catholic & Hindu Science: Ancient and New


Without a doubt science had transformed the world and defined human progress for the past millennia. Coming to maturity only in the last century, science has changed the face of the world and the foundations of human cultures irreversibly. However, where has this change lead us? What new and continuing problems have yet to be addressed by the tensions stemming from the rise of science within a generally religious population? In order to understand and discuss the future, the past must first be understood. Therefore, the science-religious history is explored through time in the hope of a deeper and more useful understanding of this dynamic.

Paper (pdf)


Buddhist Culture – On Education


The religion of Buddhism has its roots in ancient India thousands of years ago (6th Century BCE). Since Buddhism has only the most minimal centralization, the Buddhist culture has been the one link in unifying the religion throughout this time period. Remarkably the essential culture of Buddhism has remained quite consistent while spread out over the Indian subcontinent and the majority of east Asia. With each new generation of Buddhists the culture of the religion changes slightly, but the values, as far as written record can indicate, have stayed the same. Education has—and currently is—well valued in Buddhism culture. Buddhist artwork shows this commitment to education and is the corner stone of symbolism for the religion.