Advanced Authentic Research

Projects (2015-16)

View our 2015-16 AAR Student project presentations featured at our annual Celebratory Showcase.

 

Biochemistry

Biofilms are complex, interdependent communities of surface-associated bacteria. The microorganisms are enclosed in an exopolysaccharide matrix that can occur on any surface, in particular aquatic and industrial water systems. Because they often form sessile communities on medical devices and food preparation settings, millions of people in the developed world are affected by diseases such as... Read More

Biochemistry

In this research project we will be developing a refined TGF-beta inhibitor by improving upon current TGF-beta antagonists. TGF-beta is a protein primarily involved in regulating cell proliferation and differentiation. TGF-beta typically stops the cell cycle at G1, preventing additional growth. It also plays a role in apoptosis. Accordingly, many cancers are often accompanied by mutations in... Read More

Biochemistry

The human immune system has means of detecting foreign bodies and defective cells, but some dysfunctional cells, like tumor cells, can avoid an immune response altogether. These cancer cells avoid an immune response by evading T cells (Schreiber, 2011), through the activation of the PD-1 receptor on T cells. PD-1 negatively regulates T cell activity, and this receptor is stimulated by PDL-1 ... Read More

Biochemistry

The object of this project is to design an enzyme inhibitor for the the enzyme TGF-beta 1 (transforming growth factor beta 1). The design of this inhibitor will improve upon those of other TGF-beta 1 inhibitors that have already been developed, and will do so by optimizing the inhibitor’s potency, solubility, cell membrane permeability, and selectivity. TGF-beta 1 is a cytokine that is... Read More

Biology

What is the Effects of Environmental Stress on Metabolite Production in Catnip, Alfalfa, and Green Beans? Secondary metabolites are chemicals often produced by plants in response to environmental stress. Flavonoids, one of the most well known classes metabolites, has been shown to have antiviral, anti- inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and possibly anti-cancer properties. It would be beneficial to... Read More

Biology

This research project utilizes the diverse locations of the two teams of collaborators (Singapore and the US) by comparing plants used in eastern (Chinese) and western (Native American) traditional medicines. The goal is to compare plants from different areas of the world that are used to treat the same symptoms, and see if there is a correlation in the types and quantities of metabolites... Read More

Biology

This project hopes to identify the metabolites in various buckwheat cultivars and address their anti-microbial properties. Buckwheat is an important grain in Asia and Europe. It is noted for its nutritional use and has applications in East Asian medicines. Based on its merit as a medicinal plant, it is hoped that some compound with anti-microbial properties may be discovered. From studies... Read More

Biology

What are the optimal conditions for algal biohydrogen production by Chlamydomonas moewusii? For hundreds of years, mankind has utilized fossil fuels, such as petroleum, coal, and natural gas, to power many facets of its society. For example, most power plants run on coal or natural gas, and most large trucks and airplanes run off kerosene-based fuels or petroleum diesel. However, concerns... Read More

Business

In history, the most money has been typically made by those who capitalize and dominate the fledgling industry. Rockefeller became the richest man in history with his early domination of the early market. At his side are the infamous super capitalist who pounced on new industries to mine untold profits from markets that had not existed five years prior. Carnegie and his steel, Jobs with his... Read More

Business

In recent years, there has been a rise in the amount of large businesses and chains, pushing local businesses out. Though the opening of large stores aims to provide an increase in employment and revenue, in practice this is not the case. In 2009, Loyola University in Chicago studied the effect of opening a Walmart in West Chicago and found that 82 local stores went out of business within two... Read More

Business

Our project is to systematically investigate several business models to effectively diagnose, create a business plan in order to  promote C Magazine and have Palo Alto High School's student run publication C Magazine. Through this process we hope to identify ways to create a website, raise funds, increase readership, and more for C Magazine. This project will also involve learning the process... Read More

Business

The term global citizenship often refers to a person who identifies their citizenship with the global community instead of one specific nation or country. A person who believes in global citizenship lives with the idea that the whole human race is one; that is interdependent and whole. When one lives in a country, they unconsciously soak up knowledge of the culture that they live in. In a... Read More

Business

Every year, hundreds of thousands of high school children go through the labor-intensive college application process that involves showcasing their passions and interests. Students typically spend, in aggregate, hundreds of hours on activities outside of their academic curriculum in order to pursue hobbies and passion projects. These encompass sports activities in or out of school, volunteer... Read More

Business

How can students effectively utilize their time and resources to get the best possible academic aid and support in order to learn or review concepts outside of school? As Palo Alto is an area of high academic stress and competition, how can we best support students so that they are able to learn material taught in classes to the best of their abilities? We are looking to analyze availability... Read More

Business

Access to adequate healthcare is a basic human necessity in the 21st century. Unfortunately, many impoverished places in the world, including areas in rural India, still lack the benefits of basic health services. As part of our research we are developing methods to increase the expansion of mobile health systems using HeMoClo by optimizing communications between healthcare providers and... Read More

Chemistry

Our research involves study of two-dimensional materials which are crystalline structure of single layer of atoms. The aim of the study is to detect thermodynamic properties of these 2D gaseous sensor material at low concentrations as they interact with other molecules. More specifically, the adsorption energies and their influence on the band structure of the material were calculated through... Read More

Chemistry

Are silicene sheets a proper and effective catalyst substitute for the material of platinum (Pt)? This study attempts to computationally identify efficient cathode catalysts in fuel cells, which can lead to deeper understanding of the process of oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). Platninum is one of the most commonly used catalysts used to catalyse ORR in fuel cells. However, in general platinum... Read More

Chemistry

What conditions, such as temperature, pH, access to light, and rainfall, are optimal for cyanobacterial growth and microcystin presence? After conducting preliminary research, we hypothesize that microcystins are likely to be present in bodies of water that are generally warm and exposed to light. Microcystins break down at pHs that are too acidic or too basic, so a near neutral pH will likely... Read More

Chemistry

What type of water properties are optimal for Quagga Mussels? In Southern California bodies of water, do the water properties adversely affect the reproductive viability of the Quagga Mussels? Quagga and Zebra mussels are mainly found in the Great Lakes area, but have made their way to California and Nevada. These mussels invade pipes, boats, docks and can cause damage to water treatment... Read More

Computer Science

Each year, sports franchises waste millions of dollars signing players to huge contracts, betting on them to become their next franchise cornerstone lead the team to victory, but in the end, greatly disappointed. Other teams, however, salvage their franchise player in the 6th round of the draft, wasting little money for a player that brings home a championship, forever embedding the team in... Read More

Computer Science

How can machine learning techniques be utilized to construct educational storybook scenes from plaintext to allow those learning to read to better conceptualize their literature? Throughout history, technology has made a significant impact both inside and outside the classroom. Since the rise of commercially available computers, the ability to access the Internet and other computing resources... Read More

Computer Science

What is the effect of a java produced active noise control program on the sound levels of an individual’s surroundings? Sound can be distracting, irritating, and harmful to one’s health. Many manufacturers utilize a method called “active noise control” to partially, if not fully cancel out unwanted sound. This method involves the intake of existing noise, and the simultaneous playback of a... Read More

Computer Science

Today’s music streaming services do not allow people to listen to music together. I often find myself working with peers in a library, coffee shop, or classroom, faced with the dilemma of whether to work together, and go through the awkward process of splitting headphones, or listening to different music and collaborating less. If you walk through any public workspace, you can observe people... Read More

Computer Science

How can an application that measures emitted brain waves give feedback based on a person’s behavior? Brainwaves are vibrations emitted from the brain when neurons communicate with each other. When we are tired, slow, sleeping, or dreaming, we are emitting oscillations with low frequencies. When we are awake or alert, we emit oscillations with higher frequencies. Modern-day scientists use a... Read More

Computer Science

How do video games affect memory? Does it matter what kind of video game or do they all have the same effect? With the development of technology and the growing importance of it in our lives, we have to ask ourselves how it affects us--particularly games. Kids start playing video games at a young age and some continue to play it until they’re adults and even when they’re parents. Video games... Read More

Computer Science

Given the voice samples of a group of individuals, how can we program a computer using machine learning to identify each individual solely based on their voice? In this research question, we are exploring the area of voice recognition, the identification of a person from the characteristics of his or her voice. Voice recognition in this research project is distinguished from speech recognition... Read More

Engineering

Through the use of nuclear reactors, carbon capture, and other renewable energy sources, is it possible to theoretically convert the US or even the world to renewable and clean energy, both short term and long term? It is well documented that the activities humans have been conducting since the industrial revolution (in terms of energy consumption) have been releasing a large amount of carbon... Read More

Engineering

How does one deal with different types of signal impairments in a 5G wireless communications system? Wireless communications is one of the systems that allows our world to function the way it currently does. Every facet of our world is controlled by computers and the signals that they send and receive. Yet very few people understand how these systems work. In a basic communications system,... Read More

Engineering

Winglets, which are the little fins found on aircraft wingtips, can be found on many of today's aircraft. The sheer variety of winglet shapes suggest that each has its own unique aerodynamic properties and effects. Perhaps one shape increases cruising speed while another shape reduces fuel consumption. However, it's interesting to note that jet fighters do not have winglets. It's possible that... Read More

Engineering

How have technological advancements in sports increased the performance potential of runners? Over the past few centuries, sports technology has vastly increased the potential of runners all around the world. From tighter uniforms and better diets, to improved track surfaces, modern athletes are possessing more and more of the copious amounts of equipment and enhancements necessary for them to... Read More

English

How do fiction and storytelling help us derive meaning from scientific and technological advancements? Science, technology and mathematics have significantly changed the way people think and live in our society, particularly within the past century. Medical advancements, space travel, the advent of the atomic bomb and the proliferation of cellular phones are all examples of technological... Read More

English

Stores use words like "now" and "announcing" in their advertisements to create a sense of urgency in customers. Words are incredibly important in persuading customers both to peruse and buy, and just one word can make or break a sale. Retailers spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year in marketing and product design and statistical analysis, all to make sure that their goods sell. But are... Read More

Environmental Science

When thinking of helping the environment we jump to the big things, such as solar panels and electric vehicles which are effective but expensive means to help the environment. People often believe that cars are the worst source of greenhouse gas pollution when it’s the big commercial buildings that are the number one cause of pollution. There admissions come from heating/air conditioning and... Read More

Film

This study will gather and analyze data related to the roots of my ancestry in the Qing dynasty in China in order to produce a documentary film, which will be narrated by myself. The subject ancestor of my research is a famous general who fought in the Sino-French War who is my great grandfather from 6 generations ago. Interviews in three relevant locations in China will be conducted: Shanghai... Read More

History

How have writing communities shaped the content and aspirations of female Bay Area writers? Female writers, as an original minority in the writing community, have long supported each other in order to bring great visibility and credence to their work: from monastic communities to feminist conventions, women have historically reviewed, critiqued and promoted the work of their fellows. ‘The... Read More

History

How have the ways ethnic groups defined themselves as Americans changed or stayed the same over the past 14-15 years since 9/11? To define oneself as American means to correlate oneself with the larger group of American identity. American identity resides not in concrete criterion or specific tasks on the way to full acceptance — like any other group in the world, a person must feel he or she... Read More

History

How should the US combat al-Qaeda and the Islamic State to protect its own interests and safeguard the principles of democracy and pluralism? The last 15 years of American foreign policy have had one, singular focus: defeating Islamic Terrorism abroad to protect interests at home.  This obsession has plunged the country into two wars and has racked up a tab numbering in the trillions with no,... Read More

Mathematics & Sports

The aim of the study is to analyze the number of incidences evaluated and treated by high school athletic trainers using statistics. In 2014, there was a total of 7.8 million high school students participating in athletics for their respective school according to the National Federation of State High Schools Association). This is an increase of 82,081 from last year, part of a trend which... Read More

Mathematics

The project is centered around the combinatorial game The Princess and the Roses. In this game, there are n heaps which each have some chips in them. On a move, a player may either remove one chip from a heap or two chips from different heaps. There are two players, and the last person to make a move wins. The game has been solved for up to 5 heaps and some cases of the 6 heap problem... Read More

Medicine

This project will evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of a new, simple CPAP device in treating obstructive sleep apnea.  CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, is used to treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) by holding the patient’s airway open with pressurized air. The pressure of the CPAP device keeps the airway from collapsing or experiencing a blockage, allowing the patient to get... Read More

Medicine

The most recent statistics state that there were approximately 230,480 new cases of breast cancer and 39,520 breast cancer deaths in the United States in 2011. Over the years, irregularities have been noticed in the statistics regarding breast cancer occurrences in women of different races and ethnicities. Many other factors come into play, including age, amount of exercise done, weight,... Read More

Medicine

Doxorubicin (DOX) is one of the most effective chemotherapeutic drugs used against cancer. It works by preventing tumor cells from replicating through the inhibition of topoisomerase α (Top2α), an enzyme that regulates the coiling of DNA. However, it has been found that use of the drug has cardiotoxic side effects, increasing the risk of heart disorders such as severe dilated cardiomyopathy (... Read More

Medicine

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disease that affects the Central Nervous System (CNS, formed by the brain, spinal cord and the optic nerves and retina). In our brains, we can find cells called neurons, responsible of sending signals and “messages” throughout the nervous system. The axons, a specific part of the neuron and necessary for sending signals successfully, is covered by a... Read More

Medicine

What is the genetic correlation between local viruses and foreign viruses caused by mosquitoes? Mosquitoes cause more human suffering than any other organism, as more than one million people worldwide die from mosquito-borne diseases on a daily basis. Not only can mosquitoes affect humans, but they can also transmit several diseases and parasites through other animals. The skin’s allergic... Read More

Medicine

How can optimal gene panels be designed for early cancer detection? Cancer has become a popular research topic as more and more people die of cancer and the situation involving it becomes graver. In this study, we will generate effective gene panels that cover the smallest number of mutations and the greatest number of patients. A gene panel is set up so that the mutations found in the... Read More

Medicine

Osteoporosis is a bone disease affecting 70% of white people over 80 years old. It is characterized by a loss in bone mass and thinning bone structures, and is defined as having a bone density of 2.5 standard deviations below that of a normal adult. Normally, white and Asian people are at greater risk, and women have far higher risk of osteoporosis than men. A loss in bone mass causes many... Read More

Medicine

This project will analyze the effect of obesity on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of propofol.  Propofol is the most commonly used intravenous drug for induction of anesthesia.  Currently, all recommended dosing regimens are based upon work done in normal weight subjects.  To data, very little is published on the necessary dose or weight-based scalar to use in bariatric patients.  ... Read More

Music

Western music as we know it today began in the middle ages as a monophonic chant. Since then, it has developed into the classical music we listen to today, as well as the works of new and rising composers. As music evolved, so did the norms and structure of the society in the Western world. There is a reason why music today is different from that of 50 years ago, and when that reason is... Read More

Music

Chinese classical music and Western classical music are always the two poles in the music world which are independent and  affect each other with the  cultural fusion of the global. According to current archeological discoveries, Chinese music dates back 7000 years. Largely based on the pentatonic scale, Chinese music is different from western traditional music, paying more attention to the... Read More

Psychology

What are the differences and similarities between Narcissistic Personality Disorder and the other Cluster B personality disorders (Antisocial, Borderline, and Histrionic) and how can we use those comparisons to better understand the clinical indications for those afflicted with personality disorders and those in the surrounding environment? Additionally, how can we use this information to... Read More

Psychology

We aim to define success at Paly and Gunn and compare the two to understand the different environments and cultures present at the campuses. We intend to gather information from students attending both Palo Alto High School (Paly) as well as Gunn High School (Gunn) through mass surveys and four smaller focus groups. Focus groups would contain students, parents, teachers, as well as... Read More

Social Science

How does a foreign perception of nations’ cultures compare with the reality of each respective culture? What traits of the culture and its perception are similar and different across the board, and how do these perceptions correlate with the state of relations between the nation with a distinct culture and another nation with a certain perception of that culture? When most people assess... Read More

Sound & Physics

What is the series of procedures needed to analyze music recorded and stored in an audio format and yield a machine- and human-readable symbolic representation of the music, and how could these procedures be implemented in computer code (an app)? Music, much like other mediums of expression and communication needs an intelligent and utilizable way to be stored, read, and written by the... Read More

Sound & Physics

How can audio signal analysis techniques be employed to synthesize realistic instrument sounds and performance of music? In this study, we will be focusing specifically on the violin. For the past century, much research has been done on the physics of stringed instruments, to the extent that almost every aspect of stringed instruments are very well understood. More recently, researchers and... Read More