Posted on February 25, 2011 by Tia Lalani

Twice a year, the Outstanding Independent Work Award is granted to a student who presents at a Student Academic Conference.

By Christopher Thrall –

Twice a year, the Outstanding Independent Work Award is granted to a student who presents at a Student Academic Conference. The Fall 2010 conference was held on December 6, and fourth-year Bachelor of Science student Kathryn Stone was selected as the award winner, with honourable mention to fourth-year Bachelor of Arts student Erin Peters.

Kat Stone, cross-country runner and biathlete who just returned from competing at the world student games in Turkey, won for her paper and presentation for AUBIO 318 – Directed Reading, supervised by Dr. Neil Haave. In her presentation, LCAT deficiency: is ‘good’ cholesterol irrelevant?, Kat researched opposing reports on the effect of an inherited disease of cholesterol metabolism on blood cholesterol.

“Kat tried to determine which evidence was the stronger,” says Dr. Haave, who nominated her for the award. “In addition, because the evidence seemed to support something that was counter-intuitive – she found that LCAT deficiency did not seem to increase the risk of heart disease – she surmised that our current model of blood cholesterol transport was incomplete. And then she came up with a reasonable novel hypothesis to explain this. Very impressive,” he added.

Erin Peters’ paper was written for AUENG 401 – Directed Reading I, and supervised by Dr. Roxanne Harde. The title of her presentation was Messages From Beyond: Class and Gender in Spiritualist Fiction. Erin examined how the small, unquiet spirits of children speak to social injustices and class prejudices of the time: the writers of the stories she examined gave children power when they were powerless.

The next Student Academic Conference, featuring papers and presentations from students engaged in independent study this semester, will take place on April 11.

Kathryn Stone abstract:
Atherosclerosis is a chronic, life-threatening disease. At the root of many forms of heart disease, it is the highest singular cause of death within the developed world. Atherosclerosis begins with cholesterol accumulation within macrophages. Cholesterol is transported to cells from the liver by very-low-density lipoproteins (VLDL) and low-density lipoproteins (LDL). High density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) is known as “good cholesterol” for being the cholesterol removed from cells in reverse cholesterol transport (RCT). Lecithin:cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT), which matures HDL by increasing HDL-C through cholesterol esterification, is generally thought to be crucial in RCT. That cholesterol ester is either recycled through the cholesterol transport system by cholesterylester transport protein (CETP) transport to LDL or is excreted by the liver. In theory, atherosclerotic progression should increase whenever macrophage RCT is disrupted. Contrary to expectations, despite extremely low HDL-C, LCAT deficiency is not associated with premature coronary heart disease. The cumulative effects of altered cholesterol flux in LCAT deficiency may not result in elevated macrophage cholesterol, which would prevent premature atherosclerosis. Possible mechanisms by which macrophage cholesterol is not increased in LCAT deficiency include effective cholesterol transport by immature HDL, increased macrophage ABCA-1-mediated cholesterol efflux to HDL and reduced CETP activity.

Erin Peters abstract:
In “The Old Nurse’s Story”, published in Household Words in 1852, British author Elizabeth Gaskell has doors bolted and windows shut fast against a “child crying and mourning”, locking her out in the bitter cold. This appalling scene is not the only case of child abuse or neglect in the short stories of women authors in the nineteenth-century. Particularly interesting are the cases where the young victims return from the grave after the abuse or neglect is carried out to its fatal conclusion. They seek to fulfill in death what was unfulfilled in life: mothering, love, security. And sometimes they seek revenge. The children who haunt these stories are themselves haunted by a lack of identity. They come from a mixed heritage of both upper and lower classes, their mothers having run off with unsuitable men, and as a result are disowned by the patriarchs of their families. Even as they were marginalized in life, they remain in the margins of the spiritual world after death. The children are trapped by their lack of definitive class identity because their mothers are trapped by their place in the patriarchal hegemony. Using Michel Foucault’s writings about power and hegemony to unpack Gaskell’s story as well as a story by Mary Elizabeth Wilkins Freeman, I will examine how the small, unquiet spirits of children speak to social injustice and class prejudice of the times. The writers of these stories gave children power when they were powerless.

Abstracts from other presentations at the December 6 Student Academic Conference can be found here.


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