May 20, 2005


Understanding the Impact of Perceived Discriminationamong Latino College
Students: An Exploratory InvestigationUtilizing Racial Identity Theory

Jason Lessing, B.A.
California State University, Los Angeles
MBRS-RISE Graduate Student

Abstract:The importance of understanding the psychological impact of racial discrimination cannot be understated. Findings from numerous studies suggest that chronic exposure to racial stressors has a deleterious impact on the physical and mental health of People of Color (i.e., Harrell, 1995; Jackson, Brown, Torres, Sellers & Brown, 1996; Krieger & Sidney, 1996; Surgeon General, 2001). Specifically, among Latinos, self-reported experiences of racial discrimination has been associated with depression, low self-worth, anxiety, and stress (Ruef, Litz, & Schlenger, 2000; Sagado De Snyder, 1987; Szalacha, Erkut, Garcia Coll, Alarcon, Fields, & Ceder, 2003). Yet, in spite of these findings, few studies have systematically investigated the psychological impact of these experiences on the identity development of Latinos.
Thus, one purpose of this exploratory study was to fill this critical gap in the literature. Specifically, the current study seeks to examine the relationship between racial identity attitudes (i.e., conformity, dissonance, resistance, and integrative awareness) and perceived discrimination (i.e., an individual's willingness to appraise a situation as resulting from racial discrimination). Furthermore, the current study attempts to examine the psychological consequences (i.e., psychological symptoms such as anxiety, depression, hyperalertness, and somatic complaints) of perceived racial discrimination, and the degree to which racial identity helps moderate those consequences. Lastly, research and counseling implications will be addressed.

Novel Theta-Defensin, Retrocyclin, elicits antiviral inhibitory activities
in Sendai virus infections, in vitro

Micheal Lipscomb
California State University, Los Angeles
MBRS-RISE Graduate Student

Retrocyclin, a circular, 18 amino acid, mini-defensin peptide exhibits lectin-like, antiviral activities against HIV, Influenza, and Herpes Simplex Viruses (HSV) types 1 and 2. Retrocyclin acts to inhibit viral infection through interactions with carbohydrate residues on cellular receptors and viral ligands. Hypothetically, retrocyclin's antiviral inhibitory activities may act by 1) blocking viral attachment and/or entry into host cells or 2) inducing antiviral immune states upon interaction with viral receptors and/or ligands. Sendai virus, a murine model for studying parainfluenza viruses, is an enveloped RNA virus that attacks the respiratory tract of rodents, causing infections similar to those caused by human parainfluenza type-1 and influenza viruses. The primary goal of this research project is to assess retrocyclin's antiviral inhibitory roles in Sendai virus infections.