Winning Abstracts

Poster Presentations

Joel E. Fuentes, CROEM High School, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.

Research Advisor: Ms. Elba Sepúlveda, CROEM, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.
Research Mentor: Prof. Pieter Van der Meer, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.
Research Mentor Assistant: Gilberto Jiménez, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.

Cosmic ray muons and antimuons are subatomic particles created during weak interactions between highly energetic cosmic rays, also referred to as energy radiation that strikes Earth from space. The intensity of cosmic radiation is proportional to the increase in altitude, and it consists mostly of charged particles that are affected by the Earth’s magnetic field. The results from the first experiment gave the time dilation in its reference frame, length contraction, lifetime, and speed of the cosmic ray muons that reach sea level, those consecutively being: 5.5 μs, 1641 m, 2.19 μs and .994c. Muons reach the surface of the Earth with typically constant flux, as the approximate expression of equation. Thus, the equation that represents the intensity of penetrating particles at sea level as a function of the zenith angle with the minute conversion into second is expressed as equation. With this function, one may estimate the expected counting rates of the detectors due to the total flux of penetrating particles from all directions. This new addition to last year’s research aims to compare flux data in different latitudes and also search for data needed to measure the Earth’s magnetic field’s influence over cosmic ray muons. For this, the relativistic mass and momentum of the muons was measured with the Lorentz Factor result from last year’s experiment. Finally, the results were compared with experimental data acquired from different latitudes and zenith angles. The data used was from a specific month in Chicago, Illinois, compared to flux data acquired that same month in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico and San Francisco, California. The conclusion of the experiment sought to determine how latitude influences energy radiation from space and to find whether or not muon bundle intensity decreased with the increase of the transverse component of the magnetic field in comparison with calculations performed under uniformity of the flux, the effect becoming more noticeable with the increase of the zenith angle. (Back to Top)

Astrid M. Martínez Peña, Bautista de Puerto Nuevo Academy, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Research Mentor: Dr. Oliva M. Primera-Pedrozo. Universidad Metropolitana, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Quantum dots (QDs) possess great potential for applications in nanomedicine; however, only a few studies are reported with bacteria. Quantum dots are portions of matter whose excision are confined in all spatial dimensions. Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a rod-shaped bacterium that is commonly found in the lower intestine of endotherms. Most E. coli strains are harmless, but some serotypes can cause serious food poisoning in humans, and are occasionally responsible for product recalls due to food contamination. It is found in the lower intestine. It is a grown negative red shape bacteria that is the main cause of food poisoning. This research experiment was conducted to find the effect of the growth of CdSe quantum dots on E. coli. as a cell model. CdSe QDs were synthesized using the following materials: Ultra High Pure Water (UHP H2O), cadnium chloride 1.0 M (CdCl2), selenium powder, sodium Borohydride (NaBH4) and thioglycolic acid (TGA) as a stabilizer. To avoid the presence of Cd ions, the quantum dots were purified at 6000 rpm for one hour using a 50:50 ratio of DMSO as a biological friendly solvent. This research experiment found the effect on growth of CdSe quantum dots on E. coli. as a cell model. The effect of the nanomaterial concentration on the toxicity was evaluated by optical density (OD600) measurements during 3, 8 and 12 days at 37°C and 150 rpm. (Back to Top)

Natalia Amaral, Puertorriqueño de Niñas School, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Student Research Mentor: Luis M. Ortiz Jordan, Universidad Metropolitana, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Student Research Mentor Assistants: Greisha L. Ortiz Hernández, Wilnerys Colberg Hernández, Universidad Metropolitana, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

A Bioinformatics Study of the MECP2 Rett Syndrome is an X linked condition that affects 1 in every 10,000 girls. It is a neurological developmental disorder that causes autistic behavior, severe physical disabilities, and problems with cardiac, digestive, and skeletal systems. Rett Syndrome is caused by a mutation in the MECP2 protein. Although the exact function of this protein is not confirmed, it is thought to have an essential role in neurological communication and the splicing of MRNA. The purpose of this investigation was to use Bioinformatics to analyze the parallel structures between the MECP2 and MBD2, a similar protein. The methodology of this Investigation included the use of the following programs: Blast to indicate the conservation of key amino acids; CLUSTALW, which is necessary to make a multiple alignment; Gene Doc, used for finding the percentage of conservation between the multiple alignments of similar proteins, showing the motifs of the amino acid chain in a protein; Tree View, that shows the phylogenetic tree of the protein; and the Protein Data Bank and VMD, which creates the three dimensional structure of the protein. (Back to Top)

Kathyana P. Santiago Mangual, Puertorriqueño de Niñas School, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico.

Student Research Mentor: Luis M. Ortiz–Jordán, Universidad Metropolitana, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Student Research Mentor Assistant: Greisha L. Ortiz-Hernández, Wilnerys Colberg-Hernández, Universidad Metropolitana, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Manifested 90 percent of the times in women, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease that affects many different organs and organ systems in the human body. It is considered as a rheumatic disease that causes aches and stiffness in many joints, being this the disease’s most common symptom. It may be caused by both environmental factors and an overproduction of the B-lymphocyte stimulator, the immune protein that regulates the process in which white blood cells release inflammatory proteins. Studies have shown that estrogen, a hormone that contributes to the characteristics of the female body, has an important role in this disease. Autoimmunity has certain characteristics such as affecting heritage through genes and estrogen appears to contribute to SLE. Therefore, deeper studies on the estrogen hormone, its effect on the female gender, and the relationship between the B-lymphocyte stimulator proteins and estrogen were essential for the development of this research. Through the use of bioinformatics tools and databases, an analysis of B-lymphocyte stimulator was done. The results demonstrated that certain regions in the protein sequence are highly conserved and that they share evolutionary information through distinct organisms. (Back to Top)

Eduardo Pagán, University Gardens High School, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Student Research Mentor: Natalia C. Santiago Merced, Universidad Metropolitana, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Student Research Mentor Assistants: Anna Flores Maddox, Tatiyanna L. Hughes, Universidad Metropolitana, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Asthma is a long life chronic disease of the lungs that can affect a person every day if it is not treated. Symptoms may include breathlessness, wheezing, coughing and chest tightness and some of these can happen many times in a day. Some common triggers can be mold, smoke, and strong odors, among others. The best way to prevent asthma attacks is to know the triggers and to follow the medicine instructions as directed. The objective to this research was to know the current patterns of asthma attacks in patients around the world. The methodology used in this research consisted on creating modules with free software called VENSIM. The program had many features like sensitive analysis and dynamic functions. With the help of web browsers, information and statistics were obtained. (Back to Top)

Ian Chaar, Christian Nazarene Academy, Levittown, Puerto Rico.

Student Research Mentor: Kamil Suliveres, Universidad Metropolitana, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Student Research Mentor Assistant: Dayanara Lebron, Universidad Metropolitana, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The Elisa (Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) test is a screening test used to determine whether an individual who is asymptomatic has or does not have HIV. The sensitivity of a test is stated as the accuracy of a test to determine if the individual has HIV. 1256 subjects were tested for HIV using a Saliva Test and the Elisa Test, where one third of the subjects tested Positive for the virus. The objective was to calculate the sensitivity and specificity of the Elisa test, and also calculate the proportion in a sample of subjects that were diagnosed with a false positive or a false negative while being tested with the Elisa test to conclude the efficacy of this test. Preliminary Data showed that the when the antibody is present, Elisa is positive with a probability 0.997, and when the antibody is absent, Elisa is negative with a probability 0.985. (Back to Top)

Ricardo Santana, University High School, San Juan,Puerto Rico.
Jonathan Camilo, Bautista de Carolina Academy, Carolina, Puerto Rico.

Research Mentor: Dr. Oliva Primera-Pedrozo, Universidad Metropolitana, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Student Research Mentor Assistant: Ricardo Lorenzana, Universidad Metropolitana, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The nanotechnology field shows very promising results in various types of applications such as medical, bioengineering and electrical applications. Gold nanospheres are some of the most commonly used nanoparticles because of their stability, ability to absorb and scatter light effectively and various biomedical and diagnostic applications. Silver nanospheres, like gold nanospheres, are used for their optical properties and biomedical uses, but they are also good electrical conductors. However, it has been previously reported that silver nanoparticles are not stable and cause the release of silver ions that exhibit strong toxicity to a variety of microorganisms as they bind to DNA and disrupt cell replication. Recently, it has been demonstrated that gold nanoparticles have a partial toxicity. The pH environment could affect both toxicities. Triggered by pH change, the nanoparticle surfaces are engineered to have both positive and negative charges. Electrostatic attractions between the nanoparticles can rapidly form aggregates inside the cells, and the aggregates accumulate as the exocytosis is blocked by the increased size. The specific aim of this research was to evaluate the influences of pH changes on the stability of nanoparticles. The results demonstrated that gold nanoparticles are more stable than silver ones, which promise their use for bio-applications. (Back to Top)

Emanuel Cabrera Jones and Christian Correa Allende, Bautista de Levittown Academy, Toa Baja, Puerto Rico.

Student Research Mentor: Francisco Pérez Laras, University of Puerto Rico, Bayamón, Puerto Rico.
Student Research Mentor Assistant: Cristina Morales, University of Puerto Rico, Bayamón, Puerto Rico.
Student Research Mentor Assistant: Ángel Andino, Universidad Metropolitana, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Since the beginning of apps, there have always been many live score applications, but they are basically the same type of live score application as if it were a protocol. At first, if an individual did not attend a game, he could only know the score of the game by hearing it on the radio. With the advent of television came the live broadcast of a sports. Then came the Internet, where an individual might go to the official website of that particular sports league to know the score of a particular game. Now, there are smart phones where the scores of a game may be seen by just opening an application. A live score application basically shows the live score of a sports game from anywhere. This application will be done for Windows phone because it is better to put an application in a new market since obviously it does not have as many applications as the old markets. This live score application would also show the player’s information and the league table. Since creating such an app for many sports would take a long time, the focus of this project was basketball and the league is the NBA. (Back to Top)

Ricardo Tardí Hernández, Hogar Jesús Maestro School, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Alejandro Aponte Lugo, Home School, Caguas, Puerto Rico.
Alberto Mulero Fernández, Notre Dame School, Caguas, Puerto Rico.

Student Research Mentor: Jonathan Vargas Rodríguez, Universidad del Turabo, Gurabo, Puerto Rico.
Student Research Mentor Assistant: Karielys Ortiz Rosario, Universidad del Turabo, Gurabo, Puerto Rico.

Musicians are generating new compositions every second. One of the main and most important methods for musicians to record their ideas is to write them in the form of musical notation. This process is slow, tedious and sometimes induces the loss of inspiration. The main objective of this project was to create a software that could permit musicians to use their analog instrument to record their ideas and pass them into music notation. This software could not only help users save time, but eventually would help them develop more ideas and share them with a more expanded musical audience. Previous research confirmed that music and math are strongly related. Therefore, this project used this relationship to detect and calculate musical notes using sound frequencies. To achieve this goal, a modified mathematical formula that establishes a pattern between a complete musical scale and sound frequency was implemented. It was implemented in Java, creating an accurate procedure that established the frequencies of an analog instrument’s played notes. (Back to Top)

José Rodríguez Lozano CROEM High School, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.

Research Advisor: Ms. Elba Sepúlveda, CROEM High School, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.
Research Mentor: Prof. Pieter Van der Meer, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.
Research Mentor Assistant: Gilberto Jimenez, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.

This research suggests a permanent arrangement for the expanded trinomials elevated to the n power. The trinomial powers’ terms are organized in a logical order based on the binomial power’s variable order by multiplying trinomial by trinomial. An easier method with the same order is treating the trinomial (a+b+c)n as a binomial (a+(b+c))n. The project also presents a coefficient pattern that shows the coefficients of expanded trinomials in agreement with the trinomial expansion order. This trinomial coefficient pattern is based on Pascal’s Triangle. A method is presented to find the number of terms of an expanded trinomial elevated to the n power. This method is composed of three steps. It will be easier to find the desired term without multiplying many trinomials term by term of. The coefficient will be known and the variables of any term. But first it is important to know the number of terms that the trinomial expansion has in order to decide which term is wanted. To know the expanded terms of (a+b+c)n, the following formula was used: ((n+1)(n+2))/2

By using this method, another process can be applied to find which one is the expanded term. This is possible by just knowing the original trinomial and the expanded term. It is not necessary to know the trinomial power; just the three terms. By knowing these four terms, the number of the expanded term will be known according to the correct order of the trinomial expansion. (Back to Top)

Joshua L. Pupo Morales, Antonio Lucchetti Vocational School, Arecibo, Puerto Rico.
Christian J. Correa, Central de Artes Visuales School, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Research Mentor: Joaquín A. Pockels, Polytechnic University, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Terrain irregularities are a major problem in robotics navigation. Localization is a step of most navigation systems that is heavily affected by these irregularities. The purpose of this project was to determine how much the localization process of Tekkotsu, a robotics framework, is affected by the irregularities while completing a navigation task such as solving a maze. The project's experiment involved the creation of a virtual maze with an irregular terrain by using a robotics simulation tool called Mirage. Tekkotsu's navigation system was used to solve the maze. Since the task was designed for increased navigation difficulty, the robot was expected to sometimes fail; however, the number of occurrences will define the effectiveness. (Back to Top)

Javier Rodríguez Rodríguez, St.Mary’s School, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Felipe Lebrón Bonilla, St.Mary’s School, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Research Mentor: Ramón Cardona, Inter-American University, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

For the development of the robotic behavior for this project, the iRobot Create was chosen and it was implemented with the Tekkotsu framework. Written and maintained by Dr. David S. Touretzky and Ethan Tira-Thompson, the framework is an open source approach to robotics development designed at Carnegie Mellon University. Compared to other known systems, like ROS (Robot Operating System), Tekkotsu uses a high-level of abstraction, reducing the learning curve and widening its accessibility to nonprogrammers. To control the robot's movements, the Tekkotsu's Pilot module was used. The MapBuilder module was integrated to compose the representation of the world perceived through the robot's sensors. Both modules worked in tandem to determine obstacles and define the optimal navigational path. For visual recognition AprilTags were used, which are special markers deeply integrated with the framework. These can be implemented to communicate specific instructions to the Create in order for it to handle certain actions like placing a given object in a predefined colored zone. (Back to Top)