​Graduate Student Seminar

Seminar | October 30 | 12-1:30 p.m. | 489 Minor Hall

 Thao Yeh; Natalie Stepien

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

Title: Exploring the impact of technology and mode of presentation on reading comprehension in sighted and blind individuals

Presenter: Natalie Stepien-Bernabe (Dr. Deborah Orel-Bixler’s Lab)

Abstract: Technology is growing rapidly, facilitating the electronic distribution of information. Electronic methods of acquiring information are especially prevalent in educational settings. For instance, novels are now available in audiobook format. While this type of format is economical and convenient, it may not be the most beneficial for education. In fact, research has shown that listening rather than reading may lead to more mind wandering and lower comprehension in sighted individuals (Sousa, Carriere, and Smilek, 2013). Although this comparison has been tested in blind individuals, research has not considered the impact of new technology. Testing this impact is of critical importance, because much of this novel technology is used by people who are blind to convey information verbally. The present research investigates how currently used technology impacts reading comprehension of sighted and blind individuals. It also explores potential differences in comprehension between formats across blind and sighted individuals to gain further insight into the general cognitive acts of reading and listening.

Title: Isotretinoin and Hormonal Birth Control as Risk Factors for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

Presenter: Thao Yeh (Dr. Meng Lin’s Lab)

Abstract: Isotretinoin (commonly known as Accutane or 13-cis-retinoic acid) is used to treat severe nodulocystic acne, mostly in adolescent and young adult patients. Isotretinoin has been shown to alter gene expression to inhibit cell growth and increase cell death in the sebaceous and Meibomian glands. Because Meibomian glands are a type of sebaceous gland, we hypothesize that isotretinoin has a similar long-term impact on the meibomian glands as with the sebaceous glands. Important to note is that isotretinoin is a teratogen, so females on treatment are highly encouraged to adopt two forms of birth control, including hormonal birth control (HBC). This study aims to determine (1) the relationship between past-isotretinoin use and severe Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), (2) if HBC is a potential confounder in the relationship between isotretinoin and MGD, and (3) if isotretinoin and HBC may have a causal relationship with MGD in a longitudinal study in which subjects are examined prior to, during, and post-treatment.