Graduate Student Seminar on May 6

Peiyun Zhou (Cognitive Science), Boon Chong Goh (Theoretical and Computational Biophysics), and Elizabeth Jones (Autonomous Materials Systems) will present on Wednesday, May 6 at noon in Beckman room 1005 as part of the Graduate Student Seminars. Lunch will be served.

Peiyun Zhou

Improving Reading Comprehension through Auditory Perceptual Simulation 
Reading comprehension is a crucial skill in learning and academic achievement. Notably, 33 percent of young readers and 25 percent of adults have reading comprehension difficulties of some sort. These readers struggle to efficiently and effectively understand, integrate, and retain information obtained from text. A new method, reading with auditory perceptual simulation (APS), is proposed to increase readers’ reading speed and enhance comprehension. APS refers to the phenomenon when readers mentally simulate characteristics of either the voices of the characters depicted in texts or the voices of other speakers, including their own, while they read silently (e.g., imagining Daniel Radcliffe's voice from the Harry Potter films when reading the Harry Potter books). In this talk, I will describe eye-tracking studies (measurement of eye movements) comparing reading aloud, reading with APS, and traditional silent reading in terms of on reading speed and comprehension. Further pedagogical implications will also be discussed.

Boon Chong Goh

Computational Modeling of the Immature Retroviral Lattice
Obtaining an atomic structure of the immature Gag lattice has been elusive for many years. Recent advances in cryo-electron microscopy have yielded high-resolution density maps and, therefore, enabled accurate computational modelings and simulations. Computational modeling offers a unique opportunity to investigate the physical and chemical processes that occur during the replication cycle of a virus. Here we present the first atomic model of an immature Gag lattice, using Rous Sarcoma Virus as the model system. This model was obtained using microsecond-long molecular dynamics simulations and tested by mutagenesis experiments in vitro. In light of our results, we discuss the recently published electron micrograph of the immature capsid of HIV.

Elizabeth Jones

Mechanics of Lithium-Ion Batteries
Lithium-ion batteries are ubiquitous in small, portable electronics where the lifetime of the batteries now exceeds the lifetime of the electronic devices. However, a significant improvement in lifetime and reliability is required for widespread adoption of the batteries in large-scale energy storage devices, such as power sources for electric vehicles. One of the primary factors limiting battery lifetime is mechanical degradation of the electrodes over time. Here, we explore the interplay between electrochemical cycling of batteries and electrode deformation. Studies of electrode mechanics such as these provide key information for the design of more robust electrodes that will push lithium-ion batteries to the next generation.