Wellness Center at Read Hall (Building 18) - Gymnasium Apr 25, 2019
All Participants 15:00 - 16:00

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  • Education
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  • Comparative Womens Studies, Religious Studies, & Sociology
  • Environmental & Health Sciences
A Comparison of Two Atlanta Built Environments: Do they Offer Equitable Opportunities for Enhancing Physical Health?
03:00 - 04:00

The built environment includes all of the physical parts of where we live and work. This not only includes homes and buildings, but also infrastructure including sidewalks, parks, open space, and green space. The built environment influences physical health to combat obesity and other chronic diseases that may plague urban populations. All built environments, however, aren’t created equal. The purpose of this research is to analyze specific usage levels of the Atlanta Beltline, a loop of multi-use trails and parks that will ultimately span 45 neighborhoods across the City of Atlanta. Built environments similar to the Beltline provide a space for people to engage in free or low-cost physical activities including walking, running, cycling, or other modes of exercise. The Beltline currently spans two demographically diverse parts of Atlanta via the East and Westside Trails. By using an observational method, SOPARC, the System for Observing Play and Active Recreation in Communities, observations will be made that include usage and activity levels from different access points along each trail. Trail amenities and the diversity and quantity of organized health promotion activities will also be assessed to determine if the Beltline provides equitable access to physical activity opportunities across different geographies and populations in Atlanta.

 

Biodiversity and Intra-Genomic Variation of Amoebozoa Based on Small Subunit rDNA (18S)
03:00 - 04:00

Amoebozoa includes unicellular eukaryotic microbes that use pseudopodia to move and to feed. They are diverse, occupying many habitats including freshwater and marine environments as well as parasites affecting humans and other livestock. The biodiversity of Amoebozoa is mostly studied at a molecular level using small subunit (SSU) rDNA 18S; however, the study is biased towards medically important amoebae. Recent work in molecular systematics of Amoebozoa has generated large sequence data, but no study has analyzed a comprehensive phylogeny using the large number of 18S data available. This research project collected and analyzed over 4000 18S sequences to build a phylogenetic tree and examine the intra-genomic variation of 18S in Amoebozoa. The collected information showed that some groups such as Tubulinea are underrepresented when compared to other groups such Discosea and Evosea. To get a more accurate representation of amoeba and their relationship with each other as it pertains to the 18S gene, more data has to be collected on the certain groups of amoebae that are understudied. This study also revealed intragenomic variation of 18S in few amoebae species raning from 0.1-2.6%. While the observed intragenomic variation of 18S is lower than expected, it is worth to consider this variance when building phylogenetic tree and DNA barcoding using this marker.

 

 

 

 

Diabetic Health Disparities: A Pilot Review of Contributing Factors In Cape Town, South Africa
03:00 - 04:00

Diabetes is a major source of morbidity and mortality in South Africa. Epidemiologic studies estimate that 7% of adults aged 21 to 79 (3.85 million people) have diabetes. Economic support for diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV are significant in the region; however, what is not known is whether budgetary disparities exist for diabetes. We sought to determine the financial allocation toward diabetes prevention, diagnosis, and treatment compared to that of other infectious diseases. We hypothesize that if there is a high incidence and prevalence of diabetes in South Africa then there will be a similar percentage of expenditures spent on combatting diabetes. A pilot study was conducted using secondary literature analysis and randomized survey-based study to illicit quantitative and qualitative data on diabetic literacy of South Africans in the industrial city of Cape Town. It was concluded that 100% of the respondents had a family history of diabetes, while only 50% of the respondents had knowledge on the types of diabetes. 60% of respondents had knowledge of what a normal A1C hemoglobin level was.Studies estimate 3.4 billion dollars were spent on diabetes healthcare in 2015, the lowest of any region. Results from this study suggest there is a need to increase money in the areas of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment given the lack of literacy and expenditures.

Analyzing Gender Differences in Life Satisfaction, Job Satisfaction, and Depressive Symptoms
03:00 - 04:00

Secondary data analyses were conducted using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health to determine if there were gender differences in job satisfaction, life satisfaction, and depressive symptoms. The sample was comprised of 4,482 men and women, ages 18-26. The majority of the participants consisted of White (69.4%) individuals and the majority identified with the Baptist denomination (42.7%). Data were collected via in-home interview questionnaires. A multivariate analysis of variance was conducted to determine whether there are gender differences in job satisfaction, life satisfaction, and depressive symptoms. Results indicated significant gender differences in depressive symptoms, specifically, but not job satisfaction or life satisfaction. Consistent with previous research, females reported more depressive symptoms than males. Implications of results will be discussed.

Bioconjugation Analysis of Soft Polymer Microgel Particles for Advanced Biomaterials
03:00 - 04:00

Zero-length crosslinkers are used in reagent systems for bioconjugation.In this project, copolymerized poly-n-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAM) – co – acrylic acid (AAc) [90/10] microgels are the targeted reagent systems for bioconjugation, because of their unique ability to change in size, in direct correlation temperature change. NIPAM-co-AAc microgels, containing 2wt% N,N’methylenebisacrylamide (BIS) crosslinking agent, were synthesized prior via precipitation polymerization. In this work, the carboiimide crosslinking bioconjugation reaction was preformed by crosslinking Alexa Fluro 488 Cadaverine to the carboxylic acid functional groups, on the surface of the microgel particles. The conjugation was initiated by synthesizing 1-ethyl-3-(3-(dimethylamino)propyl)carbodiimide (EDC), followed by stabilizing sulfo-NHS ester. The efficacy of this carbodiimide bioconjugation experiment is further verified by quantifying the measuring the fluorescence intensity, as a function of the reacted flurorphor concentration. The fluorescence intensity values were collected on an optical microscope, using image analysis software. The expected results are that fluoresecne intensity will correspond with the initial concentration of added flurophor; thus, will serve as confirmation for successfully conjugating a biomolecule to the surface of the microgel particles. Future work will include conjugating other biomolecules to the surface of the microgels, to investigate their thermo-reversible behavior on flat substrates in preparation to develop them into biosensors.

 

 

Analyzing the Protein Concentration on Bioconjugated NIPAM Microgel Particles
03:00 - 04:00

Microgels are hydrogel micron-sized particles, that are used in a variety of biologically-related applications. Microgels are hydrogels in particulate form and can be synthesized to be environmentally-responsive. Microgels are most often observed in colloidal suspensions, however in this research, the interest lies in observing their interfacial properties when they are immobilized to a surface. The hypothesis is that surface-functionalized microgels have soft, deformable surfaces that will spread slightly on an adhesive surface. This hypothesis will be verified by measuring the size of surface-functionalized NIPAM microgel particles that were adheared to an adhesive surface. In this work, NIPAM microgels were surface-functionalized prior, by crosslinkng albumin bovine serum (BSA) via EDC/sulfo-NHS chemistry, and the efficacy of the crosslinking reaction was analyzed via MicroBCA assay. This research showed that microgel particles, containing 2% BIS crosslinking agent have some BSA that has been successfully conjugated to the surface of the microgels. According to the data collected from the MicroBCA assay, there is ~ 25% efficacy of BSA conjugation to the microgels. Our lab will use these results to further analyze the interfacial behavior between these soft microgel particles on substrates, with the future intent to develop into a biosensor.

Chick Embryo Development in a Shell-Free Culture
03:00 - 04:00

The purpose of this project was to observe the ex ovo early development of chick embryos. Our goals were to be able to routinely maintain normal development up to embryonic day 10, and to be able to analyze the normality of development by using a skeletal staining technique to observe both cartilage and bone formation. In order to observe chick embryo development outside the shell, we made vessels from acrylic cups and Riken wrap, a Japanese version of Saran Wrap. Fertilized eggs were incubated within their shells for 56 hours, then transferred into the vessels and incubated for a further 7 ½ days at 39°C with high humidity (total time of 10 days). To observe and later compare ex ovo development of chicks, control eggs were left to be incubated within their shells to develop normally. Afterwards, the embryos were removed and fixed in paraformaldehyde, stained with alcian blue and alizarin red, and cleared in glycerin. During incubation the vessels or eggs were rotated or turned at least twice daily to prevent the yolk from sticking to the shell’s surface.

Daddyless Daughters: Exploring the Impact of Father Absence on Young Women at Spelman College
03:00 - 04:00

Absence is the notion that one is nonexistent or has departed from person or place for an extended period of time. In today’s society, the divorce rate has climbed to nearly 50 percent, often resulting in single-parent households led by mothers. In some of these single-parent homes, the relationship between the childern and their fathers is fractured. There is research which asserts that women who have not had a relationship with their father or father figure are more likely to experience issues such as low self-esteem, poverty, unplanned pregnancy, and higher college drop-out rates. In addition, some research suggest that fatherless daughters are more likely to engage in sexually promiscuous behavior. This thesis will explore the research linking father absence to daughter problems, specifically from young women at Spelman College. This research is conducted by interviewing and administering a survey to a convenience sample of "fatherless daughters "- students who have spent most of the life without the presence of their father. Findings from the literature point to the importance of father’s presence in their daughters’ lives. The research will examine both negative and positive impacts of father absence on their daughters lives. 

 

Childhood Lead Poisoning in New York City for the Past 3 Years
03:00 - 04:00

Childhood lead exposure occurs when a child is exposed to excess amounts of lead and tests confirm elevated blood lead levels (at or above 5 mcg/dL). Children under the age of 6 are particularly at high risk for lead poisoning and other adverse effects due to hand-to-mouth activity. With sources of lead exposure being lead-based paint in older homes and drinking water, this problem remains endemic. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of elevated lead levels in school drinking water on children’s health in low-income areas, specifically New York City, over the past two years. Using data from the New York City Department of Health and the New York Department of Education, it was found that there was a decrease in the number of children with elevated blood lead levels from 5,317 in 2017 to 3,807 in September of 2018. The number of schools with at least one contaminated water fixture declined from 83% to 25%. In conclusion, childhood lead exposure rates have declined due to increased testing and Environmental Protection Agency regulations, but the issue is still prevalent.

Comparative Genomics Of An Amoeba Genus Entamoeba: Evaluating The Impact Of Taxonomy In Diagnostics And Conservation
03:00 - 04:00

 

Genomics is the study of the structure, function, evolution, and mapping of genomes. Genomics underwent a major period of transition and progress with the start of the Human Genome Project in 1990. This research spawned several new analysis methods that revolutionized genomics research. This allowed us to question and improve the accuracy of the arbitrary morphological taxonomies used for decades. By identifying appropriate genes, it is easy to build phylogenetic relationships among species. Our research seeks to use a novel computational approach for genome comparison to examine the genus Entamoeba – parasites of humans and other animals. A bioinformatics pipeline is used to align sequences, identify orthologous genes, and calculate the percent similarity between species. Comparsitve genome based on single copy genes showed that there high discrepancies in evolutionary divergences (2-40%) among Entamoeba species. These results demonstrate that classification based on morphology or few genetic markers can undermine the diversity that exists in this group by lumping groups into the same taxonomic ranks. Our findings based on genome scale analysis help in updating the taxonomic classification, so that more accurate information may contribute to conservation biology and the development of targeted medicine used to treat diseases caused by these microorganisms.

Could a Hemolytic Bacterium Affect Yeast Cell Growth?
03:00 - 04:00

Bacteria that break down red blood cells (hemolysis) are usually pathogenic to humans. Some soil bacteria can display hemolytic activity. In this experiment, we sought to isolate soil bacteria with hemolytic activity and study their impact on yeast growth, as a model for eukaryotic cells. The bacterium we isolated displayed beta-hemolytic activity on sheep blood agar plates, and was identified as a Gram positive. The bacteria grew on 10% TSA agar and slightly inhibited the growth of yeast. Hence, 10% TSA provides sufficient nutrients for the growth of the bacterium and yeast, can allows us to further characterize the impact of the bacterium on yeast growth. However, the bacteria were not able to grow on yeast plated on YPD agar and we were not able to characterize the impact of the bacterium on yeast under these conditions. To further characterize the bacterium, future research should involve sequencing and identifying the compound that inhibits yeast growth.

 

Cultural Appropriation: The Effect of Consumerism on the Perception of Hinduism among College Students in the United States of America
03:00 - 04:00

Hinduism is often a victim of cultural appropriation and stereotypical portrayals in American media and markets. This research identifies the effect of these flawed depictions on the perception of Hinduism in the United States by American college students. In this research project, relevant literature was reviewed and written survey responses were solicited from five current students at Spelman College to determine if appropriated Hindu imagery has influenced how non-Hindu Americans perceive and discuss Hinduism. Upon examining the qualitative data, it became clear that appropriated images of Hinduism were emerging as representative of Hinduism while the genuine images in context held little to no significance. In conclusion, there is evidence that American consumerism has made Hinduism neither better understood nor more visible as the appropriated images of Hinduism replace authentic Hindu culture in the minds of American college students.

 

Deformability Analysis of Ultra Soft Microgel Particles on Flat Surfaces
03:00 - 04:00

Microgels, soft hydrogel particles, are of interest for applying in the development of new biological, chemical and technologies, including promoting bacterial adhesion inhibition and organic coatings. The objective of this research project is to analyze the interfacial properties between poly n-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAM) polymer microgel particles on flat surfaces. NIPAM microgel particles were synthesized with varying molar densities of n,n’methylenebisacrylamide (BIS) crosslinking agent, ranging between 0-2%, which caused the particles to display a range of stiffnesses. It is expected that the microgels containing 0% BIS should be the most deformable a flat surface, because they do not contain any additional concentration of BIS crosslinking agent. However the microgels containing 2% BIS are expected to be less deformable, by displaying a change in diameter and height, compared to the 0% BIS particles. This hypothesis was verified by measuring the diameter of the particles and height of the micron-sized particles, using light microscopy and atomic force microscopy (AFM).The experimental results confirmed that our hypothesis was correct such that the diameter of the 0% BIS microgels were larger and flatter than the 2% BIS microgel particles. From these results, the material properties of the microgel particles will help in future applications involving microgels.

Developing a Neonatal Rat Model of Airway Hyperreactivity Associated with Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD)
03:00 - 04:00

Preterm infants in the NICU often require supplemental O2 (ie. Hyperoxia) to ensure healthy oxygen intake. One consequence of supplemental O2 therapy can manifest as airway (AW) hyperreactivity, which is an underlying feature of lung disease (ie. bronchopulmonary dysplasia) and various wheezing disorders. The neonatal mouse exposed to hyperoxia in the early postnatal period is a common animal model used to induce airway hyperreactivity and replicate a preterm infant with BPD. The purpose of this study was to develop a rat model of airway hyperreactivity. Neonatal rats received hyperoxia (40% inspired O2) 24 hours/day for their first five postnatal days (p1-p5). On the sixth day (p6), the rats were sacrificed and AW reactivity to increasing doses of methacholine (0.25μM-8μM) were measured. It was found that 40% O2 increased airway reactivity compared to age-matched rats raised in normoxia. Hyaluronan has previously shown to play a role in AW hyperreactivity seen in other lung disease models. The slices were then tested to determine whether airway hyperreactivity following neonatal hyperoxia is associated with increased hyaluronan signaling. Whole lung mRNA expression revealed increased HAS1 (lung hyaluronan synthase 1) mRNA expression following hyperoxia, which implies increased synthesis of high molecular weight hyaluronan. This suggests hyaluronan may play a role in airway reactivity commonly seen in preterm infants with BPD. Additionally, neonatal rats may also be a viable model of airway reactivity associated with BPD.

DHODH Dependency in Highly Metastatic Breast Cancer
03:00 - 04:00

Metastasis is responsible for the majority of breast cancer-related mortality. Through systematic testing of breast cancer cell lines in vivo, we have identified a strong correlation between metastatic potential and genetic dependency on Dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH), an inter-mitochondrial gene required for de novo pyrimidine biosynthesis. We determined the consequences of pharmacologic inhibition of DHODH in breast cancer. With Brequinar, a small molecule inhibitor of DHODH. During short-term drug treatments, Brequinar decreased cell viability at high concentrations in metastatic cell lines but was insufficient to completely eliminate cells. During long-term drug treatments, we have found Brequinar to be more effective at killing cells at lower concentrations. In addition, we utilized CRISPRi and CRISPR knockout technology to target and regulate the expression of DHODH. By identifying the potential effects of DHODH inhibition, we are working towards a more holistic understanding of the genes that breast cancer is most reliant on and determining potential directions for treatments.

 

Do Mixtures of Bacteria Increase the Antibiotic Production of Each Bacterium?
03:00 - 04:00

Misuse of antibiotics has resulted in antibiotic resistance being at an all time high. Microbiologists are seeking new antibiotics to solve the problem. We tested whether combining antibiotic-producing bacteria increased their antibiotic production. Three uncharacterized bacteria displaying antibiotic production were used andLysobacter antibioticus was used as a control for antibiotic-production. We tested whether the combinations of 2 or 3 antibiotic-producing bacteria were more effective at producing antibiotics than individual bacteria. Isolated bacteria were combined and tested against Bacillus subtilis, a Gram-positive bacterium, and Escherichia coli, a Gram-negative bacterium, by spread-plating E. coli or B. subtilis on nutrient agar plates and spotting the individual or combined bacteria. Plates were incubated overnight at 37C and checked for inhibition of growth of E. coli and B. subtilis. Bacterial growth is inhibited when antibiotics are present, and a zone of inhibition is observed. A zone of inhibition was not observed whether individual or combined bacteria were spotted. The control inhibited the growth of B. subtilis. The combination of the bacteria used was not more efficient than the individual bacteria. Future research could focus on the question "If the control was mixed with these bacteria, would the control have lost its antibiotic production trait?" 

 

 

EFFECTS OF EXPOSURE TO A PSYCHOACTIVE DRUG ON BEHAVIORS IN AN INSECT MODEL SYSTEM
03:00 - 04:00

Pharmaceutical testing on epigenetic effects are very limited. The routine use of vertebrates as preclinical research models is constrained by their long mating and generational times, leading to very low numbers of progeny to test and assess. In contrast, invertebrates such as insects are ethically acceptable, and convenient as a laboratory model because they breed rapidly, and produce plenty of offspring under the right circumstances. Here, we used the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum, as a model to screen for the effect of psychoactive drugs on behavioral traits. We tested environment/diets supplemented with the experimental drug, valproic acid (VPA), which is a histone deacetylase inhibitor, at different concentrations, and a control drug, diphenhydramine. VPA is a commonly prescribed psychoactive drug used in the treatment of migraines, epilepsy etc. VPA is known as a teratogen. The aim of this study was to examine effects on behavior, fecundity, viability and survival from exposure to this drug.

Effects of Kanamycin on the Metal Uptake of Arabidopsis Plants Grown on Media Supplemented with Citrate
03:00 - 04:00

The goal of this research study is to gain an understanding of the mechanism of antibiotic resistance in plants. Previous investigations revealed a link between metal uptake and antibiotic resistance, such as, a decrease in iron uptake in plants exposed to kanamycin. We hypothesize this relationship depends on the presence of citrate in the media. To test our hypothesis in our experiments Control and WBC19 mutant seedlings known to be highly sensitive to kanamycin were used. Citrate was added to all MS media which otherwise contained normal amounts of iron and zinc. Media differed by either the presence or absence of kanamycin. Seedlings were grown for 7 days, 10 days, and 13 days, followed by the collection of plant material for metal analysis. Under our experimental conditions i.e. citrate added to the MS media, we observed a decrease of iron uptake in the control plants. As anticipated, the WBC19 mutants were more sensitive to kanamycin and the overall metal uptake fell considerably. In conclusion our results support our hypothesis that when citrate is present in the media, metal uptake is highly disrupted. Based on these findings, we have developed a model for metal uptake that takes citrate into account.

Exploring the Perception of Local Stakeholders on Climate Change and Extreme Precipitation in Georgia
03:00 - 04:00

Human activity and development over the last century has increased the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, offsetting the natural greenhouse effect and creating drastic changes in daily life. One major effect of this increase in carbon emissions is the increase of extreme weather events. This research explores the perception of local stakeholders on climate change and extreme precipitation in the State of Georgia. Evidence of extreme weather events is particularly relevant in Georgia where increased flooding has become a problem as a result of changes in precipitation trends across the state, inviting the need to question current stormwater management practices. This study aims to gain insight from as many local stakeholders as possible including city managers, directors, and engineers who deal directly with stormwater management in the State of Georgia. The data collected in this study has been obtained through surveying aforementioned stakeholders on their current level of concern related to extreme weather events in their areas, as well as their consideration for climate change information in their stormwater management practices if at all. Our results help to identify the connection between the current state of climate change science and management alternatives to reduce climate risks.

Death feigning as an anti-predator defense in red flour beetles 
03:00 - 04:00

Death feigning or thanatosis is a well-known anti-predator defense seen in the animal kingdom including in the confused flour beetles (Tribolium confusum). We hypothesize that red flour beetles(T. castaneum)like confused flour beetles will feign death in the presence of predators. Adults and larvae will be observed in an experimental habitat, where faux predators such as roaches of different sizes will be used. The frequency and duration of behaviors exhibited by the beetles, including that of death feigning will be measured. We predict that death feigning will occur more frequently and for a longer duration when placed in an arena with a larger predator rather than a smaller sized predator. This study will shed light on relatively less understood aspect of red flour beetle behavior around predators.

Exploring the relationship between self-compassion and agency in young black women
03:00 - 04:00

Self-compassion is defined as offering a nonjudgmental understanding to oneself. Agency refers to the sense of control individuals feel they have over their actions and the consequences of those actions. We hypothesized that some sense of control is required to exhibit self-compassion, yielding a positive correlation between agency and self-compassion in students. Participants were 59 high-achieving young Black women who attended a historically Black college at the time of the study. Participants were asked to complete 4 narratives along with providing answers to personality scales and demographic information. The narratives were coded for agency on a 0-3 scale, with higher scores indicating greater expression of agency. Self-compassion was measured by questions on the Self-Compassion Scale. A Pearson correlations tested associations between narrative agency and self-compassion. There was not a significant association between agency and self-compassion, r = .14, p > .05. Although the current hypothesis was not supported, this research contributes to the field by considering self-compassion in the context of autobiographical experiences with an understudied population of high-performing Black women.

Exploring the Relationships among Socioeconomic Status, Parental Education, and the Behaviors Displayed in African-American Students in a Classroom Setting
03:00 - 04:00

Previous findings have shown that socioeconomic status and parental education has been associated with the behaviors children display in classroom settings. Further research explores the relationship between the behaviors African-American students display in the classroom and their socioeconomic status. The aim of the current research was to examine the relationships among parental education, socioeconomic status of African-American students, and the behaviors displayed and observed by teachers in a classroom setting. Measures included parent report of education and total family income, and teacher report of student behaviors using the Teacher Observation of Classroom Adaption-Checklist (TOCA). It was hypothesized that African-American students whose parents report a low level of education and have a lower socioeconomic status, will exhibit less engagement and more distractive behaviors in the classroom than students whose parents have higher levels of education and a higher socioeconomic status. It was also predicted that socioeconomic status will be the strongest predictor of student’s behavior. Findings will support the ongoing discussion of how socioeconomic status and parental education hinder or support the specific behaviors displayed in African American students. 

Factors Affecting Obesity in High School Students in Georgia
03:00 - 04:00

The CDC defines obesity as a Body Mass Index (BMI) at or above the 85th percentile and below the 95th percentile . A report written by Bell et al., indicates that approximately 12.5 million children between the ages of 3 to 12 have been affected by childhood obesity. According to the state of obesity, the percentage of obese African American children between the ages of 10 to 17 in 2016 was 37.7% and the percentage of obese Caucasian children was 28.9% in Georgia (“The State of Obesity” , 2004). In this project the goal is to determine why obesity is more prevalent in African American high school students than in Caucasian high school students in Georgia during 2005-2016. We hypothesize that if the socioeconomic status is low and there is a lack of physical activity then this will result in high obesity rates in African American children. We will be examining previous studies to do a percentage comparison. Examining study time series and BMI indexes to see how does the obesity rate change over time. Research findings indicate that obesity in African American high school students is attributed to many factors including: lack of physical activity, food availability, labor participation rate, availability of supermarkets, and school environment. 

Faculty and Resident Entrustment in the Operating Room
03:00 - 04:00

 In the operating room, a team is required to effectively perform surgical procedures; part of this team includes a unique duo, an attending and a resident. This dynamic exists due to the nature of teaching hospitals, in which resident autonomy is encouraged. When the dynamic between the two are weakened, the resident, attending, and the patient suffers. A better understanding of how residents and faculty members interact in the operating room will allow for more informed conversations about resident education, graded autonomy, and effective teaching styles. We conducted a prospective observational study in which residents and faculty members were observed in the operating room at the University of Alabama - Birmingham. Entrustment was defined using the validated OpTrust tool either as low, medium, high, or full entrustability. The primary outcome of entrustment was divided between 5 domains: (I) types of questions asked, (II) operative plan, (III) instruction, (IV) problem solving, and (V) leadership by the surgical resident. Due to the continuous enrollment of cases, formal statistical analysis has not been performed. However, if discrepancies are found we will be able to target the persons and/or the procedure, in which those discrepancies are found.

Flagellate ancestry? Gene inventory of flagella related genes in non-flagellate organisms
03:00 - 04:00

 

Flagella are projectile organelles that tell us about the organism’s mechanisms for mobility and sensory structures. Flagella are highly conserved structures among eukaryotes and are found in many microorganisms and cells of multicellular organism including ovaries, sperm, and kidney. Flagella is composed of highly conserved structures including axonemes and dynein regulatory complex. Axonemes are the machinery responsible for the function of the microtubules. The dynein regulatory complex, also known as nexin, is an adaptor for the binding of specific inner-arm dynein isoforms and resists microtubule sliding. [YT1] In this study genes encoding for dynein regulatory complex and axonemes are investigated in 20 organisms including 14 non-flagellates. Significant findings support the presence of axoneme and dynein regulatory complex genes, in non-flagellates as well as the evidence that some functional genes may be specific to flagellate only organisms. It is concluded that the flagellum is indeed a highly conserved structure that in some species has been lost due to the inactivation and/ or loss of functional genes over the course of a species' evolution.

 

 

FRD3 and IREG1: candidate transporters in Arabidopsis involved in metal uptake and inhibited by kanamycin
03:00 - 04:00

 

Plants acquire essential nutrients from the soil through their roots. In the process, they may absorb many antibiotics such as kanamycin that are harmful to plants. Therefore plants such as Arabidopsis have evolved resistance mechanisms that involve the adjustment of metal uptake. We propose a model in which IREG1 is a transporter involved in Fe-citrate loading of the xylem while FRD3 is involved in the transport of citrate. In addition, when plants are exposed to kanamycin, IREG1 is inhibited. To test the model, we analyzed the growth and metal uptake of IREG1 and FRD3 mutants. We predict that if IREG1 is inhibited by kanamycin then there should be little effect of kanamycin on IREG1 mutants. While for FRD3 mutants we would expect a mild effect of kanamycin on growth and iron uptake. Our results showed that IREG1 mutants were severely affected by kanamycin, suggesting that an iron transporter other than IREG1 is inhibited by kanamycin. This finding will lead us to revise our model and identify an additional transporter that affects metal transport in the presence of kanamycin.

Girls' Gaze: A Theorization on the Past, Present and Future of the Feminist Bildungsroman
03:00 - 04:00

Black and brown girlhood has rarely been imagined in terms of the "bildungsroman" which has largely been understood as a genre which chronicles a white male protagonist's psychological maturity from child to adult. As such, these particular femme coming-of-age stories have been relegated to the margins, only in proximity to the more recognized and celebrated masculinist plotlines. This project re-theorizes the bildungsroman from a femme-of-color point of view, using three key films as case studies: Spike Lee's Crooklyn (1994), Crystal Moselle's Skate Kitchen (2018), and Haifaa Al-Mansour's Wadjda (2012). Against a critique of marginality that advocates for mainstream centrality, this project offers feminist and racialized frameworks for developmental homosociality, worldbuilding, and spectatorship. 

Globotriaosyl Ceramide (Gb3) Functions and the Search for Additional Shiga Toxin-like Proteins with Glycolipid-binding Specificity
03:00 - 04:00

 

 

Shiga toxins (STXs) are virulence factors of Escherichia coli and Shigella strains that cause disease in humans. Members of the Shiga toxin family are composed of a pentameric array of glycolipid-binding B-subunits and a single enzymatic A subunit that inhibits ribosomal function. Globotriaosylceramide (Gb3) is the most common glycolipid cell surface receptor for Shiga toxin molecules and the presence of the glycolipid in cell membranes allows the toxins to target cells for protein synthesis inhibition. However, the cellular functions of Gb3 beyond serving as a Shiga-toxin receptor have not been well documented. Shiga-toxin amino acid sequences were used in this research to identify additional proteins that may interact with Gb3 as part of their functions. In some cases amino acid substitutions were allowed in Shiga toxin B-subunit sequences used in BLAST searches to identify potential Gb3-binding sites on additional proteins. Cn3D was used to visualize structures of proteins with pdb files so identified, and the potential presence of Shiga toxin-like Gb3-binding sites on these proteins was evaluated.

 

Hinduism and Traditions Surrounding Menstruation
03:00 - 04:00

 

 

The menstrual cycle has been present in women since early human development. As a result of its everlasting presence, one way humans have tried to explain its existence is through religion. However, as cultures developed and patriarchal societies advanced, menstrual taboos and their resulting practices emerged. Most practices or traditions that directly correlate with menstrual taboos often result in the isolation and restriction of women that is often detrimental to their mental and physical health. In this research project, I investigate how Hinduism’s doctrines and persons of Hindu societies view menstruating women. The question I sought to answer was, what traditions, if any, are menstruating people expected to observe? This investigation was accomplished by reviewing literature about women in Hindu societies and collecting qualitative data by interviewing one participant of Indian and Hindu background.

 

How do social-emotional learning techniques impact self-regulation, academic motivation, and academic performance?
03:00 - 04:00

Data suggest that the United States has experienced a lack of diversity in STEM fields, and it seems that underrepresented minorities are more likely than any other group to change to non-science majors (Tsui, 2007). Clark Atlanta University (CAU) is a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in the southeast, which offers undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees to students of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. The pattern CAU noticed in 2013 was a decline in the academic performance of students in STEM courses who would then change to non-STEM majors. To combat this occurrence, this institution is introducing social-emotional learning strategies into academic settings to support and enhance the undergraduates’ efforts to attain a degree in the STEM fields. Social-emotional learning strategies are designed to help students set positive goals and develop or maintain a growth mindset (Dweck, 2014; Kabasakal, 2013). It is also possible that external factors (e.g., time management, academic stress, and academic motivation) could impact the students’ academic performance in addition to mindset. As such, the goal of this study is to determine if there is a relationship between those factors and academic performance. Participants in this study are undergraduates enrolled in introductory psychology courses. They will respond to a series of questionnaires before and after they complete the social-emotional learning based workshops. The research question being addressed is: How do social-emotional learning techniques impact self-regulation, academic motivation, and academic performance?

Identification of Potential Mammalian Gb3(CD77)-binding Proteins with Similarities to the Shiga Toxin B-subunit
03:00 - 04:00

Globotriaosyl ceramide (Gb3 or CD77) is a glycolipid cell surface recognition receptor for Shiga toxin molecules. Shiga toxins are a family of related bacterial toxins that bind to globotriaosylceramide on various human cell types including germinal center stage B cells, endothelial cells and certain cells of the nervous system. The Gb3 binding site found in Shiga toxin may help provide important clues to elucidate the functions of Gb3 in mammalian cells. Shiga toxin-like amino acid sequences have been found on the human interferon-alpha receptor protein IFNAR-1 and on the B cell protein CD19. Bioinformatics techniques including BLAST searches and the use of Cn3D to visualize protein structures were used to analyze and annotate additional mammalian proteins with sequences similar to the Gb3-binding region of the Shiga toxin B-subunit.The single letter amino acid sequence of the Shiga toxin B-subunit was used in this research to identify potential proteins that could provide information regarding the role of Gb3 in a variety of cell functions including interferon signaling and cell adhesion pathways. A number of protein structures with potential Gb3-binding sites identified by the Blast searches were examined using Cn3D and evaluated for similarities to the Gb3-binding site 3 of Shiga toxins. 

Impact of Body Mass Index on Center of Gravity in College-Age Women
03:00 - 04:00

Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight, and can be used as an indicator of obesity and malnutrition. The morbidity and mortality associated with overweight and obese individuals is independent of age, race, gender, and ethnicity. In addition to the associated cardiovascular and endocrine conditions, high BMI also has an affect on neuromuscular health. There are no studies that investigate high BMI and decreased postural balance in college aged adults. This pilot study seeks to determine the average BMI amongst college-age African American women and the static and dynamic balance. Using two cohorts, we utilized the KoreBalance apparatus to measure and test each participants’ static and dynamic balance. Our findings suggest that there was no significant difference in static and dynamic balance scores with high or low BMI. However, these scores are low for maintenance of balance. In addition, we were able to assess falls risk using a modified survey; more than half indicated visual impairments, as well as history of falls, indicating an increased risk for falls. This study and future studies can further assist with enhancing our understanding of how weight differences can affect postural balance among this population.

Impact of Glucose on Amylin levels in SH-SY5Y Cells
03:00 - 04:00

There is a known link between Diabetes, specifically type two, and the development of Alzheimer's Disease. While studies have not yet been able to determine whether greater amounts of insulin cause Alzheimer’s Disease, the idea that this phenomenon may occur has inspired us to explore how UCP2 affects amylin and insulin secretion. UCP2 has been found to aid in cell signaling in both neuronal and pancreatic beta-cells. The presence of UCP2 in both cells is significant because it indicates the relationship between the pancreas and the brain and aids in the regulation of metabolism and satiety.

Methanol as an apoptosis inducer
03:00 - 04:00

 

Previous studies have shown that red light can prevent apoptosis in human pigmented retinal cells. Researchers are examining the biological pathways of red light to determine if other substances that are nitric oxide donors can induce the same effects. Methanol is an apoptosis inducer. This experiment aims to determine which concentration of methanol would induce apoptosis. Cells were treated with methanol solutions at concentrations of 100%, 60%, 20% and 5%. The Invitrogen Click-iT Tunel Alexa Fluor 488 Imaging Assay was used to identify cells undergoing apoptosis. Results of the experiment showed that methanol at all measured concentrations induced apoptosis. 100% of cells incubated at both 5 min and 15 min underwent apoptosis. This experiment will be repeated for confirmation and future studies will explore if another apoptosis inducer, raptinol, will yield results similar to that of methanol.

 

 

School, Teacher, and Student Factors that Predict Use of Effective Classroom Management Practices
03:00 - 04:00

Teachers’ use of effective classroom management practices (e.g., effective use of rules) is critical to student success (McLeod et al., 2017; Simonson et al., 2009). One practice associated with low rates of disruptive behavior is teacher’s appropriate response to rule violations (Owen et al., 2017, 2018). Multiple factors may facilitate or interfere with teachers’ effective use of classroom management practices (CMP) such as student behavior, teacher stress, and school climate. However, few studies have examined the relative utility of these factors in predicting teacher implementation. This study examined how school climate, teacher stress, student behavioral severity, and the student-teacher relationship predict the use of a CMP. Participants were 39 teachers in a consultation study. Students were identified as target students who were children who displayed symptoms of ADHD or ODD or other which encompassed the general classroom. Analyses revealed that student factors including disruptive behavior and student-teacher relationship were predictive of teacher practices in Month 1, whereas teacher stress was the only significant predictor in Month 2. Results suggest that researchers should explore stress management for teachers when presenting them with interventions. Evaluation of the student-teacher relationship should also take place to prevent biases from interfering with implementation and student outcomes. 

Modeling and simulating metal uptake in Arabidopsis seedlings exposed to kanamycin
03:00 - 04:00

Plants mine the soil to obtain essential nutrients and in so doing, they can take-up several antibiotics produced in the soil by some microorganisms. One such antibiotic is kanamycin. Plants are sensitive to antibiotics therefore appear to have developed different mechanisms of resistance. For example, Arabidopsis plants possess the Atwbc19 gene that confers kanamycin resistance. Arabidopsis plants exposed to kanamycin are known to reduce their iron uptake which might allow them to exhibit resistance. In addition, when citrate is present in the media, iron uptake is drastically reduced. Here, we propose a model that accounts for the relationships between kanamycin, the Atwbc19 gene, citrate and metal uptake. Experimental data was generated to examine the effect of kanamycin on metal uptake in the presence or absence of the citrate. After 7, 10, 13 days of germination, the plants were harvested images captured, dried samples were weighed and sent for metal analysis. As expected, the results confirmed iron uptake deficiency in mutant plants exposed to kanamycin when grown on media with citrate. Our model was built in VCell and simulations and experimental results were compared. This data corroborated the proposed model and allowed us to understand how metal uptake and antibiotic resistance are connected.

Music as it Relates to the Stimulation of Children
03:00 - 04:00

According to research, there is a positive correlation between language and literacy development and music instruction. For example, Ozernov-Palchik (2017) described how musical interventions were used in their study to help children learn how to sound out words. With a consideration for previous research, this study seeks to examine the potential positive impacts music may have on children, along with the methods being used. The participants in this study include students in grades 3 through 12 who are enrolled in an afterschool music program that caters to vocal and music theory training. Data will be collected through the administration of surveys from student participants and the instructors who teach theory and vocal music. A potential implication of this study is to recognize the various ways in which music may benefit students academically and socially.

Potential cancer therapy by licorice constituent through modulation of the prostate tumor microenvironment
03:00 - 04:00

There is recent evidence that suggests that cancer development and progression may be influenced by an interplay between cancer cells and the surrounding tumor microenvironment, which includes extracellular matrix (ECM) components. Understanding changes in human prostate cancer cell progression and ECM protein composition, as well as the overall cytoskeleton when treated with novel therapeutic agents, may represent a potential mechanism for antitumor therapy. Dibenzoylmethane (DBM) is a minor constituent of licorice root, a common ingredient in many sunscreens, and a known neoplasia inhibitor. Our laboratory was the first to report the antineoplastic effects of DBM in prostate cancer cells. Preliminary data shows that β−actin, an important protein involved in adhesion, was decreased in a dose-dependent manner when LNCaP human prostate cancer cells were treated with 50 μM DBM and assessed by western blotting. In this study, we seek to explain why prostate tumors are more vulnerable to drug therapies after being treated with the natural agent DBM by examining changes in the levels of important adhesion proteins. LNCaP cells were treated with 50 μM DBM for 72 hours, and changes in adhesion protein expression were assessed by a chromogenic activity assay. These data suggest that DBM may disrupt ECM homeostasis and cancer cell vulnerability may be linked to the physical properties of the ECM with deregulation of collagen I, fibronectin, laminin, and tenascin by DBM. 

 

Protein Quantification Analysis on Surface-Functionalized Microgel Particles
03:00 - 04:00

Poly N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAM) microgel particles are unique because they are able to change their volume in response to changes in temperature and pH. When co-polymerized with acrylic acid, they may be surface-functionalized with desired biomolecules and used as multi-functional biomaterials. In this research, NIPAM-co-acrylic acid microgel particles were surface-functionalized with albumin bovine serum (BSA) via carboiimide crosslinking chemistry. To verify that the bioconjugation reaction worked, the MicroBSA assay (Invitrogen) was used to quantify concentration of protein molecules that had been crosslinked to the microgel surfaces. The hypothesis for this research is that protein concentration should increase with increasing initial protein concentration. The hypothesis was verified by carrying out the MicroBSA assay and measuring the absorbance of bioconjugated microgel particles against a standard curve of known BSA concentrations. The results of the experiment show some evidence of protein bioconjugation but showed little variation with increasing BSA concentration. The reported results indicate that further conjugation experiments must be carried out, to optimize the results obtained from the MicroBSA assay. Upon completion, the material properties and interfacial properties of the microgel particles on surfaces will be invested, as a part of future work.

Presence of Amylin and Insulin in Alzheimer’s Disease Brain
03:00 - 04:00

Amyloid Beta has been studied for years for its role in Alzheimer disease. Insulin and Amylin are hormones that are co-secreted from pancreatic beta cells and have been known to play a role in creating amyloid plaques in the brain. The normal role of amylin and insulin in the brain are to regulate satiety and gastric emptying. It is unknown as to how amyloid beta grows around the nerve cells in the brain to disrupt brain activity. Studies have shown a link between amyloid beta, blocking insulin and amylin receptors reducing its affinity. The presence of amylin and insulin in Alzheimer’s disease brains will enable the connection that the two proteins have on amyloid plaque development. This study analyzes the protein expression levels of amylin and insulin in Alzheimer’s disease brains. ELISA assays were conducted to detect the presence and activity levels of both amylin and insulin. Knowing the effect of amylin and insulin in the development of amyloid plaques can help to further understand the formation of amyloid plaque in the development of Alzheimer disease.

 

Quantifying the Interfacial Spreading of Deformable and Stiff Polymer Microgels on Flat Surfaces
03:00 - 04:00

 

Microgel particles have use in drug delivery devices, cosmetics, and biosensors. When microgels are crosslinked to a surface, they are expected to spread according to their stiffness, which is tuned by modifying crosslinking agent concentration during synthesis. In this research, the extent of particle spreading of both soft and stiff microgels on flat surfaces was measured and quantified. The stiffness of the microgel particles varied by synthesizing microgels with either 0% n,n’methylenebisacrylamide (BIS) crosslinking agent or 2% BIS, where the 0% BIS microgels are expected to spread more than the 2% BIS particles. Diameter and height are variables that are indicators of particle spreading. Both of these parameters were measured using optical microscopy and atomic force microscopy (AFM). These parameters were extracted and quantified by performing image analysis on AFM and optical microscope images obtained. Computational measurements were made by using an in-house MATLAB script, tailored to extract diameter and height. These quantified results compliment our qualitative analysis, obtained from performing rough estimates of diameter and height, using the tools available on the microscope software. These measurements will aid in our investigation of the interfacial properties between microgels and flat surfaces, for future biosensor design.

 

Reasons for Living and Suicidal Intent Mediated by Racial Identity among African American women
03:00 - 04:00

Suicide is a major concern in the United States (U.S.), and is currently the 10th leading cause of death in U.S. and African Americans account for 5.5% of suicides. Historically, African American women have had some of the lowest suicide rates compared to African American men and women from other ethnic groups. This may be due to protective factors, like caregiving responsibilities and racial pride. Yet, a recent 2016 report indicated that suicide rates have increased for Black women, ages 45-65. Despite these increases for Black women, there is little research on suicidal intent in ethnic minority communities in general and among Black women in particular. This study examines if there is a relationship between reasons for living and suicidal intent -- one’s intentions pertaining to suicidal thoughts and plans – in a sample of 170 low-income, African American women. We also investigate if racial identity mediates the association between reasons for living and suicidal intent. We hypothesize that women’s endorsement of higher levels of reasons for living will be associated with less suicidal intent. We also expect that racial identity will mediate this relationship. We propose future topics of research and implications for clinical work with suicidal African American women.

Raptinol as an Inducer of Apoptosis
03:00 - 04:00

 

Red light is known to inhibit apoptosis, however the underlying mechanisms are unknown. The ultimate goal of this experiment is to determine if red light can reduce the rate of apoptosis in cells treated with the apoptosis-inducer raptinol. However, the first step in that process is determining the concentration of raptinol to use to induce apoptosis. To answer this question, cells will be treated with raptinol and the invitrogen Click-iT Tunel Alexa Fluor 488 Imaging Assay will be used to quanitify cells undergoing apoptosis. Other ongoing studies aim to determine the concentration of another inducer of apoptosis, methanol, suitable to induce apoptosis is retinal pigmented epithelial cells.

Semantic Modeling of New Technologies to Mitigate Climate Change
03:00 - 04:00

 

Cities around the world are facing massive challenges in managing rapid urbanization from ensuring adequate housing and infrastructure to support growing populations, to confronting the environmental impact of urban sprawl, and to reducing vulnerability to disasters. As the world becomes more dependent on technology, it is necessary that new technologies are working to improve these problems. This research specifically focuses on the current technologies used for tracking deforestation and improving urban transport flow. Using Protege, a semantic modeling tool, an ontology was created to model how space technologies and remote sensing are being developed to mitigate these effects of climate change.

The Relationship Between Racial Discrimination and Underfunding of Sickle Cell Disease Research
03:00 - 04:00

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a blood disorder in which an individual inherits an abnormal hemoglobin gene from each parent, altering the shape and functionality of the red blood cells. SCD predominantly affects persons of African descent. One in 365 black Americans are born with sickle cell disease. About 1 in every 13 black Americans who do not suffer from the disease carries the sickle cell trait. Subsequently, there are over 3 million individuals in the United States either suffering from SCD or carrying the trait. Compared to other diseases that primarily affect white Americans, such as cystic fibrosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, sickle cell disease receives significantly less funding for research and the development of better treatment plans. The disproportionate allocation of funds is due to a long-standing history of mistreatment and dehumanization of blacks in the United States. Therefore, this study will examine the potential negative impact of racial discrimination on research and improvement of therapeutic strategies for sickle cell disease.

 

Student Academic Achievement & Persistence to Graduation
03:00 - 04:00

According to research, socioeconomic status has an impact on student’s success and achievement (Gunnar, Frenn, Wewerka, & Van Ryzin, 2009). There are findings that suggest, students who come from low socioeconomic environments are performing lower academically than their counterparts in higher socioeconomic environments (Gunnar, Frenn, Wewerka, & Van Ryzin, 2009). Due to these known contributors of academic success, many school systems release comprehensive school-by-school data that shows families, educators, and the community how schools in the District are performing on a variety of measures of educational equity. Through document analysis, this study focuses on various measures of educational equity (i.e socio-economic status, self efficacy, motivation, and learning preferences) outlined in a large urban school districts’ equity report to examine trends across the district that may or may not contribute to students persistence to graduation. By looking at the various aspects of equity, themes emerged in which the researcher coded into categories. Preliminary results indicate that there are factors that contribute to students academic performance and achievements. It is a hope that this study may serve as a resource to inform district practices and eventual policies around the importance of improving students academics and their success.




Suicidal Behaviors among African American women and Culturally Responsive Mental Health Interventions
03:00 - 04:00

Suicide is a growing public health concern and the 10th leading cause of death in the United States (U.S.) Although African American women generally have the lowest suicide rates, studies have shown that these rates have rise for African American women. Further, African American women have the highest rates of medically treated suicide attempts, which are attempts that require medical intervention due to the severity. One way to reduce these inclines in suicide rates is to provide culturally-responsive mental health interventions aimed to reducing suicidal intent. Culturally relevant interventions are tailored to incorporate cultural characteristics associated with the population being served, and this technique may be beneficial in preventing suicidal behaviors in African American women. The purpose of this study was to examine two questions: (1): Does a 10-week culturally-relevant mental health intervention increase protective factors against suicide (e.g., racial identity, Africultural coping) among low-income African American women with past suicide attempts, and (2) does this intervention decrease risk factors for suicide (e.g., suicide intent) among low-income African American women with past suicide attempts? The results of the study will be discussed along with the limitations. Additionally, suggestions for future clinical work with suicidal African American women will be discussed.

Teacher Approaches to Managing ADHD in the Classroom
03:00 - 04:00

In a quantitative study, Perold, Louw, and Kleynhans (2013) compared teacher’s knowledge in the following areas: general knowledge of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), knowledge of symptoms/diagnosis of ADHD, and knowledge of treatment for ADHD. The results revealed that teachers only had general knowledge on how to identify and diagnose, but not how to actually tend to the academic needs of each individual student. This research will focus on teacher’s perceptions as related to ADHD. In addition, this study will address teacher’s methods for addressing ADHD related behaviors (that may be considered disruptive) in the classroom. This study will take place in an urban, elementary charter school. Through the use of classroom observations and teacher interviews, data will be collected to gain an understanding of teacher’s perceptions and also what behavioral interventions are being used within the classroom. An implication from this research, may result in a greater understanding towards the preparation of teachers in working with students who have ADHD.

 

Teacher perceptions regarding the integration of educational based technology in literacy classrooms
03:00 - 04:00

When developmentally appropriate, educational based technology in classrooms can possess many benefits that can enhance student literacy and academic achievement (Alden, 2011). Often times, technology is avoided in classrooms because teachers’ may struggle finding appropriate ways to incorporate it into the lessons and keep students engaged (Cameron, 2015). This study focuses on teachers’ perceptions on the use of technology based educational programs in early childhood classrooms. This study will also investigate how the programming may be used to support early literacy skills. The participants in this study will include teachers participating in technology related professional development. At the completion of training, the teachers will complete surveys about their perceptions towards implementing technology within the classroom. Implications of this research may include a greater understanding of professional development needs for teachers in the area of educational based technology and how to incorporate it within day-to-day curriculum.

 

The Effect of c-MYC Knockdown on JunD-mediated Cell Proliferation in Prostate Cancer Cells
03:00 - 04:00

Prostate cancer (PCa) is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in American men. PCa begin to form when healthy prostate cells undergo mutations in various genes that regulate the cell cycle. Our lab recently demonstrated that JunD, a transcription factor, controls cell proliferation of PCa cells and JunD-dependent genes required for cell cycle regulation. We also showed that JunD-mediated cell proliferation is mediated through cMYC, an oncogene and a critical player in cell cycle regulation. Many of JunD-dependent genes act upstream and downstream of c-MYC. In this present study, we investigated the effect of c-MYC inhibition on JunD-mediated cell proliferation, cell cycle regulation, and on JunD-dependent genes’ protein levels in PCa cells. JunD overexpressing cells (D1) and DU145 control cells were treated with c-MYC siRNA or control siRNA for 72 hrs. We analyzed cell proliferation using manual cell counting, cell cycle analysis using Flow Cytometry, and the protein levels of JunD-dependent genes using western blot analysis. Based on our results, JunD is a key regulator of cell cycle progression and is mediated through c-MYC signaling pathway. Understanding these mechanisms involved in PCa initiation may provide discoveries of therapeutics to combat this disease.

The Effect of Common Antibiotics on Pseudomonas parafulva Strain A2129
03:00 - 04:00

Antibiotic resistance is a global public health concern caused by the overuse and misuse of antibiotics. An estimated 23,000 patients die annually in the US. The majority of clinically important antibiotics used today are derived from soil bacteria. With the aid of biochemical and molecular tests, we identified antibiotic-producing bacteria and tested their antibiotic production against relatives of bacterial pathogens. Our microorganism was identified as Pseudomonas parafulva strain AJ2129 by comparing its RNA sequence to sequence databases using NCBI tools. MacConkey agar and eosin methylene blue agar test confirmed that the organism is gram-negative. We performed antibiotic susceptibility tests to identify potential bacterial targets and disk diffusion assays to characterize the antibiotic resistance profile of the antibiotic-producing bacteria. We found that the bacterium of interest was most resistant to Streptomycin and Tetracycline, which inhibit protein production by binding to the 30S ribosomal subunit. This information can help us identify resistance mechanisms and classify the antibiotic compounds expressed by the bacterium of interest. Further research on this bacterium could help isolate and characterize the antibiotic compound.

The Effects of Kanamycin on Metal Uptake in Arabidopsis Plants Grown Under Low Iron Conditions
03:00 - 04:00

The purpose of this project is to examine the effects of the antibiotic kanamycin and the chelator citrate on growth and metal uptake of Arabidopsis plants, especially under low iron availability. Previous studies have indicated that metal uptake in the presence of kanamycin was highly modulated by the presence of citrate. However these studies were conducted under normal levels of iron and it is not known to what degree kanamycin would affect plants grown under low levels of iron. In this study control and kanamycin sensitive WBC19 mutant seedlings were grown on MS media that was supplemented with 100 uM citrate and contained half the normal amount of iron. The media either contained no kanamycin or kanamycin at 50 mg/l. Based on our current understanding of metal transport as affected by kanamycin, it is predicted that in the presence of kanamycin, iron uptake would decrease in the control and WBC19 mutant. In addition, zinc uptake in the WBC19 mutant would be severely reduced. Our results would ultimately help us incorporate the effect of iron levels on or understanding of metal uptake.

THE ROLE OF FATTY ACID OXIDATION IN ASTROGLIAL XENOBIOTIC DETOXIFICATION
03:00 - 04:00

The glycolytic astrocyte possesses a high redox and xenobiotic buffering capacity through glutathione (GSH), neutralizing many forms of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and excreting xenobiotics through GSH-xenobiotic adducts back into the blood stream. Astrocytes are the first line of defense against xenobiotic compounds passing through the blood brain barrier, and provide metabolic and synaptic support for neurons, particularly in the uptake and conversion of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate to glutamine. The xenobiotic arsenic is water soluble and readily passes through the blood brain barrier. Arsenic is also prevalent in the Earth’s crust and modern industrial processing, and exposure has been linked to the development of neurological degenerative disorders. Previous experiments in the Franco Lab have illustrated that in vitro exposure of astrocytes to arsenic causes a significant increase in glutamate efflux into the media, and that the entry of carbons from pyruvate and fatty acid oxidation (FAO), but not glutamine, into the mitochondria are vital for astrocyte survival during arsenic exposure. In this study, we seek to both corroborate these findings, and explore the role that fatty acids in particular play in xenobiotic detoxification.

 

 

The Impact of Age and Fall Risk on Dynamic Balance among African American Women
03:00 - 04:00

Balance is primarily controlled by vision, proprioception, and the vestibular system. Deficits in any of these sensorimotor systems can lead to poor dynamic balance. Previous studies revealed that among all racial groups balance declines with age. However, few studies have determined how dynamic balance affects younger populations of people. Therefore, this study aims to identify how factors such as fall risk and age affect dynamic balance among college-aged African American women. A fall risk assessment will determine how impaired vision, history of falls, and body mass index affect dynamic balance. Then, dynamic balance will be analyzed using a korebalance medical equipment. The resulting data will reveal the balance deficiency patterns among the participants.

Understanding the role of spleen glia in neuroimmune responses
03:00 - 04:00

Glia cells are an essential cell type in both the central and peripheral nervous systems. They have many important functions one of which includes eliciting and modulating immune and inflammatory responses in times of stress, such as after a stroke. During these times of stress, there is an increase in sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity, activating our fight or flight response. The SNS is also known to directly communicate with immune cells, through adrenergic signaling, to elicit a neuroimmune response. Neuroimmune responses are defined by direct communication, via neurotransmitters, between nerve and immune cells. We hypothesize that glia in the spleen (spleen glia) will be important in these responses. However, spleen glia have never before been studied so it is not yet known what their role is in the organ. Here we investigate spleen glia with the goal of describing their anatomy and developing tools to define their function. Using immunohistochemistry, we observed that spleen glia expresses two common glial genes (GFAP AND S100b). Furthermore, they associate with tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), expressing nerve fibers with > 99% concordance forming networks of cells and fibers around the vasculature. These networks have a preference to course along white pulp regions, the immunological area in the spleen. Ongoing future studies will define the functional role of spleen glia and mechanisms by which they communicate to nerves and immune cells through transcriptomics.

 

“How Culture and Identity affects the experiences of both nanny and child, when nannies and families come from different cultures.”
03:00 - 04:00

In the field of education and care, nannies are essential individuals for many families. One aspect of research focuses on cultural identity, and those in nanny positions understanding the ideologies they are bringing with them to families and their homes. In turn, families must acknowledge their own culture, understanding of culture, and what is considered important to them as they raise their children. To help foster these relationships agency owners work closely with families. The purpose of this study is to examine the outcomes of placement experiences when nannies and families come from different cultures. The participants in this study included current nannies (n = 2), mother employers (n = 2), and a placement specialist (n = 1). A case study approach was used in this study and involved questionnaires and interviews. Results of the study indicated a common theme-- identity. Culture, religion, discipline practices, level of education and many other pieces of identity must be considered during the placement process. The learning experience for the child is affected by the cultural responsiveness of the nanny. Agencies must provide support, while also educating nannies and families on why it’s important to understand identity. Nannies and families who may not share the same values and beliefs must consider attending diversity workshops led by agency owners, so that children are provided a fun, and an enlightening experience while being with their nanny.

 

Youth with Type 2 Diabetes Score Worse on Behavioral but Not Cognitive Tests Compared to Youth with Obesity Alone
03:00 - 04:00

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) is a chronic disorder that occurs when the body fails to utilize and store glucose properly. Originally known as an adult-onset disorder, there has been an increase in the occurrence of T2DM among youth. Experiments have shown that there are several factors that contribute to the onset of T2DM. One of the main factors include obesity. Both T2DM and obesity increase health complications including metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, but there is little evidence on the effect of these disorders on the brain and neurocognition. Endocrinologists and researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center (CCHMC) conducted a study that showed youth with T2DM had cognitive, behavioral, and academic impairments compared to lean controls. This study sets out to determine whether diabetes or obesity is the cause of these impairments. After conducting a series of psychological and behavioral assessments with obese youth and youth with T2DM, it was found that youth with T2DM scored worse on behavioral not cognitive tests.

Protein Bioconjugation to Ultra-Low Crosslinked Soft Microgel Particles
03:00 - 04:00

Microgels are soft, colloidal hydrogel particles that are used in biological applications,. These gel particles are made of poly-n-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAM) and are capable of changing volume, in response to their environment. The microgel particles can also be copolymerized with acrylic acid (AAC), which provide a means for bioconjugating biomolecules of interest to the surface of the microgel particles. In this work, microgel bioconjugation was explored by using carbodiimide cross linking chemistry to bind a fluorophore, Alexa Flur 488 Cadaverine, to the surface of synthesized NIPAM – co – AAC [90:10] microgel particles. EDC (1-ethyl-3-[3-dimethylaminopropyl]carbodiimide) and sulfo-NHS (N-hydroxysolfosuccinimide) were first added, to initiate the reaction and form stable intermediate compounds. The bioconjugation reaction was completed after the sulfo-NHS functional groups were exchanged for a peptide bond, formed between the microgel particle and the fluorophore. After the bioconjugation experiments, the efficacy of the reaction was ascertained by measuring the intensity values of the fluorescence signal, measured from the bioconjugated microgel particles. The fluorescence intensities were measured on a fluorescence microscope. The results from our experiments will aid in the our future investigation on uncovering the interfacial properties between microgel particles and flat surfaces, with the future intent to develop them into biosensors.


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