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Mechanisms of protein aggregation in Parkinson’s disease using zebrafish

Our lab studies the mechanisms that regulate neuron development as well as disease. Parkinson's Disease involves the abnormal aggregation of a protein called alpha-synuclein. In collaboration with Dr. Vivek Unni’s lab at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), we have established a zebrafish model for studying alpha-synuclein function in the living brain. Because zebrafish are transparent during development, we are able to visualize a fluorescence-tagged form of alpha-synuclein in vivo using confocal microscopy.

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An Application of Markov chain: Card shuffling and measuring the randomness of a deck

We investigate the card shuffling problem from a simulation-based approach. We first create a randomness measure for gauging how well-shuffled a deck is. Several hundred thousand random decks are generated to simulate the distribution of the randomness measures of well-shuffled decks. Then we examine the number of shuffles a certain shuffling scheme would take to reach the mean of this simulated distribution.

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Investigating Forest Recovery in River View Natural Area After Removal of Invasive Plant Species

In fall 2011, the city of Portland purchased 146 acres of forest adjacent to the Lewis & Clark College campus, creating the River View Natural Area (RVNA). At that time, RVNA was heavily invaded by non-native plants. The city removed these species by cutting/herbicide. This action created an opportunity to investigate forest recovery after invasive removal. Will native species return without further management? Or will removal of these species lead to new invasions by non-native plants?

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Orego: Artificial Intelligence and the Game of Go

Go (Weiqi), the oldest strategy game in the world, was invented in China thousands of years ago. Its rules are simpler than those of Chess, but its strategies more subtle and profound. Top human Go players, unlike Chess players, can still easily defeat the most powerful computers. The space of possible board configurations is unfathomably vast, many orders of magnitude larger than the number of electrons in the universe. We suspect that human Go strength depends on the ability to decompose the game into local subproblems that are largely, but not quite, independent.

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