CINQA Seminar Series Fall 2012

John A. Zaia , M.D. - Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Department of Virology
City of Hope
Los Angeles, California

"Gene Therapy for HIV/AIDS: Current Status "


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Seminars are held at 12:10 p.m. in Salazar Hall room 366.


Steven Haddock , Ph.D. - Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Research Scientist
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey, California

"Glowing Jellies: Biodiversity and Biooptics of Gelatinous Zooplankton "

The open ocean and deep-sea are by far the largest habitats on earth, but the diversity and natural history of their inhabitants are rarely studied. Among the most important predators are gelatinous organisms - fragile and unusual jellyfish-like creatures that nevertheless play important roles in oceanic ecosystems. Using a combination of molecular tools and specialized collecting methods, we are examining the phylogenetic relationships of several groups of jellies. Most of these organisms also use light in interesting ways, whether through the expression of bioluminescence or fluorescence, or both. Transcriptomics and chemical analyses reveal how the organisms make light, while behavioral observations give clues as to why these capabilities are so important to them. This seminar will introduce the recent and upcoming results from these ongoing studies.

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Seminars are held at 12:10 p.m. in Salazar Hall room 366.


Imelda Nava-Landeros , Ph.D. - Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Teacher Education Program
University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California

"Supporting Science Discourse Practices in Pre-Service Teachers "

This study examines discourse in pre-service science teacher classrooms by exploring the following, 1) how pre-service teachers enact and interpret discourse in the classroom, 2) how a teacher education program can support pre-service teachers ability to enact discourse practices in urban secondary science classrooms.   I use a classroom observation data, generated by a science classroom observation rubric focused on discourse and a discourse assignment that allows pre-service teachers to engage in specific classroom practices that focus on facilitating discourse and student learning.  Preliminary results from classroom observation data suggest that the prevalence of discourse in the classroom is associated with science instructional task and the positive development of academic language.  Discourse patterns revealed that a heavy emphasis on elicitation and probing for science concepts in K-12 students exists among pre-service teachers.  In the discourse paper reflections, students were challenged by various components of discourse interactions and the conditions that support discourse in the classroom, specifically, lack of academic language development and the lack of a social environment where academic risks are possible.  These observations may suggest a relationship between the practice of discourse in the field and programmatic support of discourse practices in university coursework. Additionally, I explore how teacher education programs can better facilitate and support the development of discourse including a greater emphasis on the quantity and quality of science discourse through peer feedback, and greater modeling and analysis of discourse practices in coursework and field experiences.  In summary, I examine discourse in pre-service science teacher classrooms and how pre-service teachers interpret and facilitate classroom discourse.  Finally, I explore understandings on how teacher education programs can facilitate and support the development of discourse practices. 

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Seminars are held at 12:10 p.m. in Salazar Hall room 366.


John Banks , Ph.D. - Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Environmental Science
University of Washington
Tacoma, Washington

"Risk Assessment in Applied Ecology: A Population Model Approach "

The use of surrogate species is a tool commonly used to predict the effects of toxicants on endangered/threatened or economically important species. While use of surrogate species has been criticized as being overly simplistic, a quantitative measure linking life history traits and population predictions has been sorely missing. I describe here the derivation of a closed-form expression aimed at determining conditions under which sublethal and acute effects of a toxicant on surrogate species population outcomes will reliably predict responses of species of concern. Using a simple Leslie matrix model approach parameterized with life history data, I describe a simple inequality that allows us to compare critical thresholds in fecundity and survivorship reduction across species and thereby pinpoint the level below which surrogate species outcomes indicate a positive population growth, while the listed species actually is driven to extinction. This approach establishes a means of determining conditions under which we might be prone to making a "type II" error in assessing ecological risk using surrogate species. Finally, I use the derived expression to illustrate two cases studies – one in which we are using several fish species as surrogates for endangered salmonids, and the second in which we are comparing the compatibility of a suite of parasitoid wasps with pesticide use.  In both cases I highlight potential pitfalls associated with the use of a “one-size-fits-all” approach to protection of species. Finally, I discuss the ramifications of these findings on risk assessment and resource management.

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Seminars are held at 12:10 p.m. in Salazar Hall room 366.


Liming Wang , Ph.D. - Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Department of Mathematics
California State University, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California

"SAT - A Critical Quantity for Noise Attenuation in Feedback Systems "

Feedback modules, which appear ubiquitously in biological regulations,
are often subject to disturbances from the input, leading to
fluctuations in the output. Why are there multiple feedback loops in
biological systems? What are their functions? Do they affect a
system's noise property? In this talk, we will answer these questions
by introducing a critical quantity: SAT (the signed activation time)
that dictates the noise attenuation capability in feedback systems.
Our findings suggest that the inverse relationship between the noise
amplification rate and the signed activation time could be a general
principle for many biological systems regardless of specific
regulations or feedback loops.

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Seminars are held at 12:10 p.m. in Salazar Hall room 366.