Jacob Beck, Junior, Economics/Ecosystem Science & Policy
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Gary Hitchcock, Marine & Atmospheric Science
Colony losses of European honey bees continue to be a problem for beekeepers across the nation, and national efforts such as the Bee Informed Partnership provide insight into the extent of these losses. However, it is difficult to use this data to specifically examine how these losses are impacting non-commercial beekeepers in Florida. For this summer research project, Dr. Hitchcock and I have obtained and used survey data from Florida’s non-commercial beekeepers to interpret the severity of colony losses, as well as study potential correlations in loss rates. A total of 2,331 survey invitations were sent in June 2015, with a response rate of 28.23%. The calculated total loss rate for the year was 32.78%, with a 27.83% total loss rate from June 2014 to December 2014 and a 14.74% total loss rate from December 2014 to June 2015. Average loss rates for each time period were 30.28%, 26.16%, and 11.72% respectively. Total loss rates have also been calculated regionally: the north Florida region experienced a total loss rate of 28.43%, while southern Florida experienced a total loss rate of 37.63% for the year. Among respondents who reported treating for Varroa destructor, the total yearly loss rate was 41.28%, while the total loss rate for those who did not report using Varroa treatments was 15.08%. Florida’s non-commercial beekeeping industry contributes hundreds of thousands of dollars to the economy yearly through the sale of honey, but colony losses threaten these contributions. The results of this project have been provided to the Florida Department of Agriculture, the University of Florida’s Honey Bee Research Lab, the Florida State Beekeeper’s Association, as well as interested survey participants. Results were also presented at the University of Florida’s annual Florida Bee Research Symposium in July. The hope is that the results of this project will help contribute to an understanding of colony loss trends within Florida.
Vivien Chen, Senior, Biochemistry
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Damien Pearse and Dr. Jeffrey Datto, Miami Project to Cure Paralysis
Determining effective treatments to improve locomotor function following spinal cord injury is the key mission of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and other esteemed spinal cord injury research centers. Until this study, no studies have looked into the effect of sensation on locomotor performance in a widely used pre-clinical SCI model. This study, the largest of its kind, involved >150 animals which received the same spinal cord injury and were evaluated through a sensory examination and three locomotor tests to see if sensation has any influence on locomotor performance. The presence of varying levels of sensation could cause behavioral adjustments, affecting locomotor performance. Other possible contributing factors to locomotor performance were also assessed, including weight and age at time of injury. The results of this study will guide how future research interprets motor functional outcomes in this pre-clinical model. Over the summer, I analyzed and interpreted results from two of the locomotor tests, GridWalk and Catwalk. In conducting statistical analysis and creating figures, I worked with my mentors Dr. Pearse and Dr. Datto to complete a manuscript to be submitted in the near future.
Kurt Daum, Junior, Geography
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Justin Stoler, Geography & Regional Studies
As the digital revolution unfolds in the developing world, toxins originating from secondhand electronic goods seep into the lives of both daily wage laborers and innocent civilians alike. Brominated flame-retardants, among other chemical congeners, are released into the environment through primitive metal extraction methods, and little policy regarding the recycling process is currently being enforced. My work thus far with Dr. Justin Stoler has amounted to a database of over 140 scholarly literary pieces that represents an all-encompassing image of the e-waste crisis in the developing world. I placed each work into one of the following compartments: “Human Health”, “Globalization & Trade”, “Environmental Health”, and “Policy Implications”; after compartmentalizing each piece, I threaded together common themes in the literature within each country/region that was written about. The main goal of this research is to provide international policy makers and academics, namely those in nations like China, India, and Ghana, with a completed overview of the crisis in the form of a publishable literature review.
Helen Edelson, Junior, Biomedical Engineering- Electrical
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Suhrud Rajguru, Biomedical Engineering and Otolaryngology and Mr. Weitao Jiang, Graduate Assistant-Research, Biomedical Engineering
For my summer research project, I worked with Dr. Suhrud Rajguru and Mr. Weitao Jiang in the Sensory Electrophysiology Laboratory, a part of the Department of Otolaryngology Ear Institute at the University of Miami. Dr. Rajguru’s laboratory has shown that pulsed infrared radiation (IR) utilizes endogenous sensitivity of cells in the inner ear and produces significant changes in the afferent response. The current project extends the application of IR stimulation of the vestibular stimulation and studies the modulation of heart rate and blood pressure. It is known that the vestibular system sends projections to the brainstem autonomic nuclei, and changes in head position relative to gravity can produce changes in hear rate and blood pressure. I participated in and documented the surgical procedures used to access the vestibular system in a rat model. IR stimulation was achieved with an 1863 nm laser at various parameters and delivered using a 200 µm optical fiber positioned to target the vestibular structures. In addition to the HR and BP, we also recorded the resulting eye movement response, which is indicative of activation of the vestibule-ocular reflex. I first researched a heart rate and blood pressure measurement system to purchase. I then used this system to record the heart rate and mean blood pressure of the animal during intervals of infrared neural stimulation. This data was then used to derive preliminary conclusions about the relationship between the IR vestibular stimulation and heart rate and/or blood pressure. I also hope to continue working with Dr. Rajguru in the future to develop a more accurate and continuous heart rate monitoring system using photoplethysmography as part of my BME senior design project.
Antoinette Farrell, Senior, Microbiology & Immunology/Economics
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Michal Toborek, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
The circadian clock controls daily rhythms in behavior and physiology. Circadian disruption, the disruption of the physiological light cycle, triggers many harmful effects on several organs, including the intestine. The intestine is exposed to a variety of antigens and xenobiotics, including food components, luminal antigens, gut bacteria and their products. The intestinal epithelium forms a barrier to limit the non-specific permeation of luminal toxicants. Tight junctions (TJs) between intestinal epithelial cells are a critical component to maintain intestinal barrier function. TJ disruption induces the translocation of harmful toxins and bacteria from the intestine to the body, causing systemic inflammation and altered immune response. To test the impact of circadian disruption on intestinal barrier function, mice were exposed to constant light for 24 hours to create a disrupted light cycle (LL group) for 4 weeks. A control group (LD) underwent a normal light cycle of 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. Circadian disruption induced a higher population of F4/80 positive macrophages in the ileum and distal colon tissues. Protein levels of ZO-1, ZO-2 and occludin were decreased in the intestines of the LL group compared to those of the LD group without statistically significant changes of those mRNA levels. Therefore, these results indicate that chronic circadian disorganization induces intestinal barrier dysfunction through disruption of tight junctions and increases intestinal inflammation.
Gavin Grieb, Junior, Biomedical Engineering- Premed
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Flavia Fontanesi, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Cytochrome c oxidase (COX) is the fourth enzyme of the mitochondrial electron transport chain, a pathway responsible for most energy production in eukaryotic cells. COX is a multimeric complex embedded in the mitochondrial inner membrane and formed by subunits of dual genetic origin, nuclear and mitochondrial. In humans, COX deficiency leads to encephalomyopathy and therefore a complete understanding of COX biogenesis may contribute to a deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying mitochondrial pathologies in humans. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the mitochondrial protein Cox24 is necessary for the early stages of COX assembly, involving the biogenesis of the mitochondrial encoded COX subunit Cox1. However, the precise role of Cox24 in this process remains uncharacterized.
My research involved determining the sub-mitochondrial localization of Cox24 and its native molecular weight in wild-type mitochondria. Using a protease protection assay and a solubility assay, I established that Cox24 is an extrinsic protein, loosely associated to the mitochondrial inner membrane facing the mitochondrial matrix. Using sucrose gradient-based approaches, I determined that Cox24 co-sediments with the previously identified Cox1 pre-assembly complex as well as a high molecular weight complex most likely containing mitochondrial ribosomes. These preliminary data suggest that Cox24 may play a direct role in Cox1 synthesis. Future experiments designed to test this hypothesis include the analysis of Cox24 physical interactions with newly synthesized Cox1 and mitoribosomes.
Alyce Kuo, Senior, Biology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Stuti Dang, Clinical Medicine; Division of Geriatrics & Gerontology – Department of Medicine
In 2009, President Obama signed into law the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical (HITECH) Act, which aims for the universal adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) in primary care settings and “meaningful use” of this technology. The objectives of “meaningful use” are well defined and executed in stages; one of the objectives of stage 2, beginning in 2014, was implementing a secure messaging system between patients and providers. Secure messaging has been shown to positively affect patients who struggle with managing chronic diseases on a day to day basis. With the guidance of Dr. Dang, I drafted a literature review paper on secure messaging systems tethered to EHRs and their impact on the clinical outcomes of patients diagnosed with diabetes. I intend to continue working with Dr. Dang on her project, My HealtheVet (MHV) for Rural Veterans with Diabetes, which aims to help veterans with limited access to VA facilities manage their diabetes. MHV is the VA’s online patient portal, which allows patients to securely message their healthcare providers, access medical records, refill prescriptions, and more. I have helped Dr. Dang adapt educational materials from the NIH’s Diabetes Prevention Program, which will be sent to the enrolled veterans via secure messaging.
Andrew Langen, Senior, Economics/Mathematics-Statistics
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Daniel Bertoni, Classics
This research project was focused on the anatomical works of Galen, a Greek Physician, more specifically the mistakes he made in regards to the human body. This was done primarily by comparing claims made in his books, most notably On Anatomical Procedures and On the Usefulness of Parts, to those written in a modern anatomy textbook, Gray’s Anatomy. Though there are a sizable number of mistakes, many of them can be explained due to the fact that he had no modern tools, such as microscopes, and could only extrapolate from animal sources, as there was a taboo on dissecting human corpses. Of the mistakes that remain, there is an interesting pattern: In an earlier work, On Anatomical Procedures, there are more mistakes related to the insertion and origin of muscles than a later one, On the Usefulness of Parts, where he suggests that motor nerves are always inserted into the head of the muscle, and pull the muscle towards it. This, along with some other pieces of evidence, suggests that Galen developed his theories on the ways in which motor nerves act in between the creation of the two books. One benefit from knowing this is that it can be useful in identifying the chronology of his works; if a book shows evidence for one way of thinking or the other that can be used to help find out when it was written, relative to his other works.
Kathryn Meyers, Junior, Marketing
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Keri Kettle, Marketing
The way news is distributed and consumed is changing rapidly with advancing technology. News organizations are for-profit businesses, but these technological advances have brought increasing difficulties in generating revenue through news distribution. My goal is to gain a deeper understanding of current news flow and consumption in order to make a recommendation on where news organizations should direct their placement and marketing spend. I developed a survey that would answer the “What, Where, When, How and Why” of news consumption. I also gathered information through observation, work experience in a news organization, and insights from higher-level management to discover how these businesses are adapting to a changing consumer.
Kierin Mukerjee, Senior, Finance/Legal Studies
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Patricia Abril, Business Law
In May 2014, the European Court of Justice handed down a landmark ruling in Google Spain SL v. Agencia Española de Protecciòn de Datos that established the “right to be forgotten” for all European Union citizens. This ruling classified search engines as “controllers” of personal data under the European Union Data Protection Directive and consequently allows EU citizens to request the removal of links to pages that contain information that encroaches on the individuals’ rights laid out in the Directive. This decision raised more questions than it answered and forced search engines to develop a system to process the removal requests. This research focused on the ramifications of the decision. First and foremost, the research focused on the implementation of this decision, specifically by looking at criteria that has been established by both the EU and search engines to determine which removal requests get approved or disproved. The implementation of this decision in the EU has been closely watched by the rest of the world as other countries around the world consider legislation to bring the right to be forgotten to their respective countries. In addition, this research delved into the removal requests received by search engines to better understand what types of links EU citizens are requesting to be removed.
Bai Ou, Senior, Senior, Finance/Accounting
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Tie Su, Finance
Our research revolved around the Volatility of Volatility Index (VVIX) and Volatility Index (VIX) and its predictive capacity on S&P 500 returns. With recent geopolitical news causing volatility to spike, and our continuously evolving electronic trading world, some may wonder what these financial tools can contribute to our knowledge of the markets. Our main goal was to investigate if VVIX index values today could predict the next week or month’s returns. This began with taking previous time series data from both CBOE (Chicago Board Options Exchange) and Yahoo Finance. Using the data obtained from these sources, we ran multiple single-variable regressions using several different criterions. One was the three different time periods (to separate the recession time period), the second was the period of forward returns, and third was using VVIX or VIX as the independent variable. After conducting these regression studies, we moved towards utilizing a single variable model to see how effective it was at predicting future returns. 4 models were developed using the regression models (VVIX and VIX models, predicting the next 5 and 22 trading day returns), and that model was used to predict returns in the next time period following it. That data was then correlated with actual results.
Ashley Park, Senior, Political Science
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Joseph Uscinski, Political Science
I spent my summer researching conspiracy theories with Dr. Uscinski. A significant issue in this field of study regards data replication when different individuals analyze the same set of content. Thus we attempted to create a questionnaire that could be applied to potentially conspiratorial rhetoric that would glean key information, and would render similar results among different researchers. Data collection for this project involved the attendance of anti-GMO foods rallies. The rallies took place both downtown Miami and on Miami Beach. At the rallies, we collected photographs of the posters. In total, 175 unique posters were captured and served as our data for the majority of the research we conducted. We carefully crafted the questions and had two different researchers apply them to the poster content. We then discussed with the researchers the differences in their responses, and gained insight to their thought processes that led to different interpretations of the questions. We went through two revisions of the questions, but we want to further refine them. Dr. Uscinski and I also conducted additional conspiracy theory research in the form of content-analyzing over a thousand Google searches related to conspiracy theories. We found that most conspiracy theories tend to be political and that most websites tend to view conspiracy theories in a negative light.
Jason Pymento, Senior, Accounting/Management/Marketing
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Dr. Harihara Natarajan, Management
Under the mentorship of Dr. Hari Natarajan of the Management Dept. of the School of Business Administration, I have had the opportunity to work with Watsco Inc., the nation’s largest HVAC supplier. The primary focus of my project was to accurately analyze and identify the company’s current inventory status and based on the results of that analysis, construct and compare various models and policies to optimize Watsco’s inventory per branch per product. For the first phase of the project I conducted basic data analysis by looking at the data time frame, how many branches the company has, the array of product items and how they differ in quantities shipped across the branches, to confirm the data’s distribution, trends, and behavior. The next step was to understand and estimate demand for each product per branch which entailed my calculation of the mean lead time demand and the standard deviation lead time demand. I then examined both continuous and periodic review policies integrating the prior calculations into each model, upon which I formed a basis of comparison and used both applications to examine the greater significance, scope, and potential cost savings for the company. The project has extended my classroom knowledge and skill to a tangible, real-world situation and my research at a skeletal level can be applied not only to Watsco but across industries to a variety of other companies for better inventory planning and cost savings.
Jonathan Schening, Senior, Biomedical Engineering-Premed
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ramόn Montero, Biomedical Engineering
My project began by conducting a literature review on medical tourism. Examining existing research, along with data on patient flows and incentive structures set in place through employers and insurance companies, allowed me to acquire a general understanding of medical tourism in the United States and around the globe. My project then evolved to working with The Bascom Palmer Eye Institute towards establishing a sustainable healthcare system in Haiti by implementing a new self-sustaining model of medical volunteerism at the eye clinic at Hospital Bernard Mevs in Port-au-Prince. We are working towards expanding existing ophthalmic services, but more importantly, we intend to train future ophthalmologists capable of maintaining the developed eye care infrastructure. Our ultimate goal is to achieve skills transfer from volunteer surgeons to local physicians so that Haitian ophthalmologists can support the country’s eye care needs on their own, instead of the current model of relying significantly on foreign surgical volunteers and supplies. As part of the project, I drafted a grant proposal and identified local resources in Haiti to support our business model. I am continuing my project into the semester, and plan on taking a trip to Haiti in the near future to get a more accurate sense of what resources we currently have in place, and what others we need to procure. From there we will move into the implementation phase and begin to see our business model materialize.
Somya Sha, Senior, Biomedical Engineering-Premed
Faculty Mentor: Dr. C-Y Charles Huang, Biomedical Engineering
The goal of my research is to try to find a treatment for lower back pain, a problem that affects so many and has huge economic repercussions and is caused by damage to the disks in the spine. Previous research has isolated one possible treatment option, and my research focused on discovering how this treatment affected the cells in the spine. The disks in the spine are composed to two different cells, AF and NP, and I worked with both of them in this experiment. The treatment works by activating one or more of several receptors on the cells, so I blocked these receptors with well-established receptor blocking chemicals one at a time to discover which receptor is responsible for the cell response. However, to accurately model the disks, I first embedded the cells inside a gel that solidifies at body temperature. I treated these gels with first the receptor blockers, and then with the treatment to see the effects of the receptor blockers on the cells. The results we collected show that for the most part the cells are not responsive to the receptor blockers with only one exception for one type of cell. The AF cells were negative affected by only one receptor blocker, so we can isolate the pathway of these cells. The NP cells were not negativity affected, meaning there is some other pathway for the cells to be affected by the treatment.
Kirstie Tandberg, Senior, Marine Science/Microbiology & Immunology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Michael Schmale, Marine Biology and Fisheries
Damselfish (Stegastes partitus) are one of the most common reef fish in Florida and the Caribbean. They are susceptible to a unique cancer called Damselfish Neurofibromatosis, or DNF. Evidence supports that DNF is caused by a virus-like agent found in the mitochondria of tumor cells. The Damselfish virus-like agent, DVLA, does not appear to be related to any known virus families. As such, the full mechanism of its reproduction and lifecycle remain largely unknown. The main focus of the Schmale Lab deals with understanding the full lifecycle of DVLA in vivo and in vitro. This project approached these questions by looking for variations between infected (tumor-derived) and uninfected cell culture. Techniques to accomplish this included a variety of live cell fluorescent stains to evaluate cell and nuclear size and morphology, mitochondrial mass and membrane potential and number and distribution of mitochondrial nucleoids. These approaches showed large cell to cell variation in most of these features within cell lines and few distinct differences between infected and uninfected lines. In addition, these cells were exposed to treatments to induce reactive oxygen species production and apoptosis, both processes heavily integrated with mitochondrial function. Experiments were also conducted to measure metabolic activity with a variety of treatments. To further understand the relationship of DVLA to mitochondrial and cellular functions, cells were exposed to drugs to deplete or completely remove mitochondrial DNA. Exposed cells were monitored for changes in DVLA and mitochondrial DNA levels using qPCR. After sufficient periods of treatments these cells may be completely depleted of mitochondrial and/or DVLA DNA. If successful, this would allow the differences caused by the presence of DVLA in cells to be analyzed more directly, as the DVLA negative and positive cell lines that would be compared are essentially identical except for the removed mitochondrial and/or DLVA DNA. This presents one of the most promising methods for determining these differences which could lead to a deeper understanding of the disease agent of DNF and its lifecycle. These studies are ongoing and will be completed for a senior thesis project.
Raymond Truong, Senior, Health Sector Management and Policy
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Savita Pahwa, Microbiology & Immunology
Progressive loss of CD4 T cells is a hallmark of HIV infection with resulting immunodeficiency accompanied by inflammation and immune activation (IA), which is believed to be a major cause of associated co-morbidities. Circulating microbial products, probably derived from the gastrointestinal tract, are one of the causes of HIV-related systemic IA. Our lab has shown that immune deficiency in HIV infection increases the risk for influenza virus infection, decreases the serologic response to influenza vaccination, and T cell IA is believed to be one of the major reasons for the impairment of immune function. However, the role of innate monocyte activation in immune response to vaccination has not been extensively analyzed. For my research project, I analyzed the correlation between biomarkers of monocyte activation soluble(s) CD14 and sCD163, and antibody response to influenza vaccine antigen H1N1, to determine the role of monocyte activation in immune response to influenza vaccination in cART-treated, virologically suppressed HIV-infected patients and healthy controls.
Connor Verheyen, Senior, Biomedical Engineering – Biomaterial & Tissue
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Alice Tomei, Biomedical Engineering
Type-1 diabetes affects over three million Americans. Reversal of diabetes through islet transplantation has limited duration despite chronic immunosuppression, which is the leading cause of adverse events in patients. Islet encapsulation may allow transplantation without immunosuppression. Yet, despite three decades of research, encapsulation strategies have not found clinical application and the mechanisms that determine the failure or success of encapsulated grafts is poorly understood. We hypothesized that capsule mechanical properties are key determinants of encapsulated islet graft outcome. Traditional alginate (ALG) encapsulation is restrained by its mechanical, physical, and chemical instability, which leads to swelling, increase in permselectivity and rupture, and to the consequent loss of islet immunoisolation. My research investigated the effects of reinforcement of ALG microcapsules with more stable biomaterials. Because unlike ALG, synthetic polyethylene glycol (PEG) hydrogels resist osmotic pressure, we hypothesized that we could increase the in vivo stability of ALG-based capsules by reinforcing ALG hydrogels with PEG, leading to enhanced long term islet functionality. For this project, I participated in experimental design and optimization of experimental protocol, fabricated microcapsules of different compositions, executed experiments comparing ALG-only capsules, PEG-only capsules, and hybrid PEG-ALG capsules (using two different PEG crosslinkers, DTT and PEG-SH 2K), collected data, and analyzed the data to draw conclusions. My data demonstrated that ALG capsules exhibit significantly greater swelling when exposed to osmotic stress as compared to PEG-only capsules and hybrid PEG-ALG capsules. In addition, ALG capsules displayed significantly less recovery after the stress was removed relative to the PEG-only capsules and hybrid PEG-ALG capsules. Finally, the data showed that capsule mechanical properties improved over time for all compositions analyzed, and that the PEG-SH 2K crosslinker resulted in capsules with improved resistance to osmotic stress versus capsules linked with DTT. In conclusion, the PEG-reinforced ALG capsules exhibited superior mechanical properties compared to ALG-only capsules. The capsules displayed hybrid properties between ALG and PEG, resulting in significantly improved resistance to osmotic pressure and significantly decreased viscoelasticity. This work demonstrated that reinforcement results in improved mechanical properties, but future work is needed to determine whether these improved properties will translate into improved stability in vivo and superior graft function.
Hannah Wavering, Senior, Microbiology & Immunology/Public Health
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Roland Jurecic, Microbiology and Immunology
This summer I worked in Dr. Jurecic’s lab testing the drug LA-1 on F6 mice. This drug is a small molecule that interacts with dendritic cells and their ability to present an antigen to T cells. Although the mechanics have yet to be discovered, we can see that the drug causes a decrease in killer T cells and an increase in regulatory T cells. This has huge clinical application in cases of aplastic anemia, where auto reactive killer T cells run rampant and destroy immune stem cells, leaving the patient’s immune system in shambles. In the lab, I helped inject mice with the LA-1 drug and then isolate bone marrow and spleen immune cells to analyze by flow cytometry. During this part of the experiment, we tested the affects on mice without aplastic anemia; however, after analyzing the data, the next steps in this experiment will be to test the effects of the drug on humanized mice with aplastic anemia.
David Young, Senior, Finance/Mathematics
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Andrea Heuson, Finance
Beta, the measure of volatility or risk of an individual stock against the financial market, has been shown in the Fama-French Three-Factor Model (1992, 1993) to be one of the key factors along with small capitalization size firms and value stocks with high book-to-market ratios which drive equity returns higher. The Fama-French Three-Model is built upon the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM), which determines the required rate of return on any investment as well as the investment’s riskiness in comparison to the market. Fama and French found that returns of small capitalization firms were higher when they had a higher beta. However, when the size of the stocks’ firm was kept constant a higher beta did not necessarily imply a higher return as CAPM would intuitively suggest. The beta in this three-factor model is not exactly equal to the beta in the original model because there are two other factors to attribute variation in the returns. represents small-market-capitalization minus big and is for high book-to-market ratio minus low. Together they account for the excess returns of small capitalization firms and value stocks as opposed to growth stocks historically. The two other factors, and , are coefficients calculated by linear regressions of historical diversified portfolios. This study tests the effectiveness of the Fama-French Three-Factor Model in predicting the variation of stock returns in the technology industry. I used multivariate regression on the excess returns of fifty technology stocks in the NASDAQ with the Fama-French benchmark factors of Rm-Rf, SMB, and HML in order to test how effective the model is in explaining the variation of stock returns over the past five years.