THESISCRAZY 4: To the Gates of Hell

The end is nigh. Some writers have been writing so long that verbal communication confuses them. For others, it’s become like a bad art film where it’s not even about the thesis anymore. Others are making designs on  Johnnie Walker Blue Label.  Who even knows which installment of THESISCRAZY this is?

Now, it’s time to get it over the finish line.

Rhee-Soo Lee ’11, Religion, 4th floor Olin 

Working Title: Constructing Colonial Binaries: French Representation of Religion in Algeria and Morocco

Thesis Topic: The French representation of religion in colonial Africa.

How close is it to being finished? I’m almost done. I’ll probably be done by tomorrow.

What’s your plans for after tomorrow? After tomorrow? Oh my god, I’m going to sleep all day Monday and Tuesday, then go get nachos at La Boca on Tuesday  night and go to the Matisyahu concert.

Matt Bernstein ’11, English, 2nd floor Olin

What’s your topic? It’s on uh, uh, oh man.

Working on it so long you don’t know anymore? I really don’t. It’s about contemporary novels and Walter Benjamin.

Plans for after Tuesday? I can’t really even see that far ahead right now. I’ve got the worst tunnel vision.

Have you been sleeping at all? Minimally, at odd times.

Have you been living in this carrel for the past week? Definitely. It’s great. You can tell there’s food strewn everywhere.

Do you have anything else to add? Just hang in there, thesis people. We’re almost done. It’s the end of an exciting era.

Emmy Levitas ’11, American Studies, 2nd floor Olin 

Thesis Topic: The federal acknowledgement process for Indian tribes.

Thesis Advisor: Kehaulani Kauanui.

How close to done are you? Nearing the end. I’m writing my acknowledgements.

Plans for after Tuesday? I told someone else I was going to drink an entire bottle of Andre and go to Five Guys, but we’ll see about that.

How many paintings do you have in here? Four.

Are they yours? They’re mine. They’re from last semester. I was in Painting 1 and now I’m in Painting 2. So maybe there will be more. But no, we have to move all our stuff out soon. I’ll be sad.

Have you been living here? Sort of.

I see you have an alarm clock. Got a lot of essentials in here. I haven’t been in here too too often. It’s been tolerable.

Darien Combs ’11, Psychology, 2nd floor SciLi

Working Title: Unwillingly Revealed: Registered Sex Offenders’ Attitudes Towards the Sex Offender Registry

Topic: Attitudes towards the Connecticut sex offender registry. I interviewed people who are registered in Middletown.

How’s it going? It’s going well. I’m proofing. Just reading over and over it.

What’s your conclusion? There’s four important findings. One is that when a sex offender’s status as a sex offender is unwillingly revealed through the registry or other means, it’s more stigmatizing and has more negative effects then when they willingly reveal themselves to other people.

Your carrel’s personalized. How long have you been living here for? Since September. Really living here since January.

Michael LeVine ’11, Chemistry, Neuroscience, Biology & Biochemistry, kitchen counter, Fountain Ave 

Which major is your thesis in? It’s in Chemistry, but related to all three.

Title: Conserved Motif in EL4B of NSS Transporters may control Inhibitor Binding

Can you explain that in English?

Can you explain that in English? The way the brain works is that you have brain cells called neurons and they communicate with each other at synapses. One cell will release chemicals onto the other one. They bind and some other event happens which conveys a signal. One cell tells the other cell what’s going on. They do it by these chemical messengers. The problem is that chemicals just sit around. To keep the signal specific you need to be able to take it back. I’m interested in these proteins that are on the cell that take in chemical signalers to get them out from the synapse. They’re called Neurotransmitter: Sodium Symporters. The interesting thing about this class of proteins is that they’re the targets for many drugs. Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Amphetamine, antidepressants, Ritalin all bind to this class of proteins. These proteins modulate central neurotransmitters like dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin. The problem is from proteins you can get crystal structures. You can get x-ray 3D structures of what they look like. To get them, you grow crystals of proteins, you shoot x-rays at them, the x rays diffract and you can go back and look at how they diffracted to determine how the atoms are arranged in 3 dimensional space. For these proteins we’re interested in that all these drugs bind to, no one’s been able to get a crystal of them. They do have this structure of a transporter from a bacteria that is analogous in terms of its sequence. We’ve always thought they must look and work the same way. The best part is that drugs will bind to this transporter, which indicates that the way they bind must be the same. Someone got a structure of this protein bound to antidepressants. The premise of my thesis is to look at how the differences between this transporter and the ones in our brains affect how it binds to these drugs. My premise is that maybe this transporter isn’t a good model for antidepressant binding. I do computational chemistry. It’s all simulations. I made models of all these. The transporter is missing a part important for binding that ours has. I used all these computational methods to study how different they were. I found that it doesn’t change the structure that much, but some of these can’t bind the drug anymore. The way our transporters binds the drug is probably different than the way the bacterial transporter binds drugs.

I pulled an allnighter last night and I’m almost finished. I got my corrections back from my main advisor yesterday. I work in a lab in Pittsburgh at Duquesne University. I have an advisor there and an advisor here who is advising my thesis. The one in Pittsburgh hasn’t gotten back to me on one section, which I have a feeling he’s going to tear apart. I’m preempting the idea that there will be another all nighter tonight or tomorrow or Monday to fix that section.

What are you planning after graduation? I’m going to Cornell next year for a PHD in Biophysics.

How is a nontraditional carrel? It’s interesting. Often, I would be at a kitchen table doing my thesis and people would be playing beer pong right next to me. I have ADD so a little bit of a distraction always helps. So having people partying around makes me more productive.

Plans for Tuesday: I will show you. I’m very excited. [see picture]

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6 thoughts on “THESISCRAZY 4: To the Gates of Hell

    1. Lesanjuan

      Fixed. The audio recording wasn’t great and I was unfamiliar with Walter Benjamin, so I thought it was something else.

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