Augusta University is involved in nearly 300 different funded research activities and related studies in its Colleges of Allied Health Sciences, Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Medicine and Nursing. Research is carried out in both basic and clinical disciplines.

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Recent Submissions

  • DEVELOPMENT OF TRANSGENIC ZEBRAFISH MODEL FOR INVESTIGATION OF THE FUNCTION OF MICROGLIA

    Sura, Survasha; Department of Biological Sciences; Department of Biochemical and Molecular Biology; Georgia Cancer Center; Rajpurohit, Surendra K; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
    Zebrafish have emerged as a powerful model organism for elucidating the development and function of microglia. Generation of new transgenic reporter lines and imaging tools strengthen the zebrafish model in microglia study�in-vivo. The aim is to develop a novel compound transgenic line to study the inflammatory process mediated by NF-kB in microglia cells. This novel compound transgenic line will establish a new model for microglia study. To generate the novel compound zebrafish transgenic model for microglia, we are crossbreeding microglia transgenic line zebrafish (Tg(mpeg1:mCherry) with the NF-kB Tg(6xNFkB:EGFP) transgenic progeny. We first generate a heterozygous F1 progeny which will be bred to generate an F2 homozygous progeny. Once the F1 progeny of the Microglia-NfkB transgenic line is developed, they will be crossbred to develop the Homozygous compound transgenic line. Fluorescent Microscopy will be used to screen the larvae generated from the breeding events. By developing the compound transgenic line, we are optimizing microglia isolation and sorting methodology by using the related antibodies as the marker. The NF-kB microglia transgenic line will provide a unique platform for drug screening to address microglial based ailments, thus furthering the understanding and treatment of human disease.
  • Race/ethnicity differences in access to opioid agonist treatment (OAT)

    Covington, Katherine; Chung, Yunmi; Johnson, J. Aaron; Krawczyk, Noa; Augusta University; Johns Hopkins University (2018)
  • Narcan (naloxone nasal spray) availability in Georgia retail pharmacies

    Johnson, J. Aaron; Chung, Yunmi; Covington, Katherine; Augusta University (2018)
  • Evaluation of colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy utilization for colorectal cancer screening in Georgia

    Ansa, Benjamin E.; Hoffman, Zachary; Lewis, Nicolette; Johnson, J. Aaron; Augusta University (2018)
  • Evaluation of blood stool test utilization for colorectal cancer screening in Georgia

    Ansa, Benjamin E.; Lewis, Nicolette; Hoffman, Zachary; Johnson, J. Aaron; Augusta University (2018)
  • Global Health Needs Assessment at the Medical College of Georgia

    Tipler, Pam; Wyatt, Tasha R; Medical College of Georgia (Augusta University, 2018-01-19)
  • The role of proinflammatory cytokines on taste function

    Kumarhia, Devaki; Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics (2015)
  • Syphilis rates and trends in the Central Savannah River Area of Georgia and South Carolina

    Stone, Rebecca; Chung, Yunmi; Ansa, Benjamin E.; Augusta University (2017-10)
  • Determinants of adherence to physical activity guidelines among adults with and without diabetes

    Ansa, Benjamin E.; Covington, Katherine; Augusta University (2017-10)
  • An Examination of HPV Vaccine Administration in Georgia

    Denson, Samantha; Holleran, Ericka; Gaffney, Jasmine; Department of Psychological Sciences (2016-09-16)
    HPV is the leading STI in the US and Georgia (CDC, 2016). HPV is the necessary precursor for cervical cancer, other cancers and genital warts (CDC, 2016). Georgia is unique in that it tracks statewide vaccination rates by provider. This data is entered into the Georgia Registry of Immunization Transactions and Services (GRITS). Our goal was to use these data to examine: 1) How do HPV vaccination trends compare to other childhood vaccines? and 2) Are there gender differences in HPV vaccine uptake? Data was extracted from the GRITS database for all Georgia children aged 9-14 who received vaccines between 2009-2014. GRITS data variables were coded and descriptive analyses were conducted to examine vaccine uptake. Specifically, we examined the vaccines: HPV, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, and meningococcal. We also examined HPV vaccination rates by gender. Results: There was a total of 2,457,005 entries into GRITS during 2009-2014. Vaccination rates increased for HPV, meningococcal, and pertussis, but remained relatively low for rubella, mumps, and measles. Although HPV vaccine uptake started low, it had the highest uptake frequency from 2012-2014. In comparison to males, HPV vaccine uptake was higher for females across all years. However, HPV vaccine uptake for males increased more significantly than for females. The rates of childhood vaccine uptake in Georgia were relatively low for rubella, mumps, and measles. Females received the HPV4 vaccine more frequently than males. Learning more about vaccination patterns and provider recommendations will provide the necessary framework for improving HPV vaccine uptake.
  • Dopamine Regulation of Fear Processing and Social Motivation: Implication for Common Psychiatric Comorbidities

    Lee, Jason ChiaTse; Brain and Behavior Discovery Institute (8/3/2017)
    Psychiatric disorders such as post-traumatic disorders and schizophrenia often present with common comorbidities such as increased depression, anxiety, and decreased social motivations. However, the underlying neural circuit that may account for occurrence of multiple psychiatric comorbidities remained unidentified. The dopamine system has been known to play prominent roles regulating emotional states and motivations. We therefore hypothesized that alteration in the dopamine system may lead to comorbidities such as negative mood and social isolation commonly observed in many psychiatric disorders. In this thesis work, we first examined how the dopamine system processes known triggers of psychiatric disorders, such as fear-charged stimuli. We then examined how the dopamine system regulates normal social interactions as well as how an altered dopamine system affects social interactions
  • Questionnaire Design and Responsiveness in a Data Capture Tool for Student Sharing of Experiences of Statewide Clerkship Sites

    Zheng, Stephanie; Behrman, David; Agrawal, Parth; Basco, Brian; Ball, Charlotte; Rose, Jennifer; Miller, Samel; Wood, Elena (2017-03)
    Positive clerkship experiences and student performance in the clinical years has been correlated to perceived quality of education and specialty choice amongst medical students [1-3]. The Medical College of Georgia uses a distributed campus model with more than 250 clerkship rotation sites across the state and beyond, making student clerkship choices imperative to their development as physicians. We developed a survey to collect both quantitative and qualitative data from students during their clerkship years and a system to distribute that information to students. The data allowed us to evaluate the effectiveness of various question formats through responsiveness, the length of responses, and time spent on the survey. In addition to this, we looked at the number of responses per clerkship in order to see whether or not our survey was getting information about all of the 3rd year rotations. We aspire to take these findings and utilize them to expand t he program and improve the questionnaire in order to yield more responsiveness from students.
  • An Investigation of the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program - Assessing CDSMP Facilitators' Perceptions of the Program's Effect

    Hillman, L. M.; Anderson, C.; Stoodt, G.; Department of Medicine; Augusta University (2017-03)
    Chronic conditions are public health threats. The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) is an evidence-based disease management program that addresses personal self-management of chronic conditions. The CDSMP involves peer trainers who instruct and assist with chronic disease preventive measures. Although disease management demonstrates promise to improving patient self-maintenance, previous researchers have not evaluated how the program affects program leaders. The purpose of this study was to discover how self-help leaders feel about the CDSM program. The overarching research question asked about perspectives that self-help leaders had toward the program. Through a narrative qualitative approach, the perceptions of peer leaders were examined to determine if the program was personally beneficial. Guided by the social cognitive theory, a purposeful convenience sample of 20 participants completed the study. The participants were practicing peer trainers in the CDSMP prog ram. Data analysis included hand coding using open and axial coding and content analysis. Study findings included themes surrounding how the CDSMP program benefits health in general as well as the management of facilitators’ own chronic diseases, health behaviors, and increased quality of life. The ability for chronic disease management leaders to experience positive effects of the program they administer may result in positive social change. This awareness can positively affect social change by enhancing an already established evidence-based community health program with stronger and better-equipped leaders.
  • Trends in HIV testing among adults in Georgia: analysis of the 2011-2015 BRFSS data

    Ansa, Benjamin E.; Smith, Selina A.; Chung, Yunmi; White, Sashia; Augusta University (2017-04)
  • Chetomin as a Potent Hsp90 Inhibitor

    Leibou, Stav; Lu, Sumin; Debbab, Abdssamad; Chadli, Ahmed; Georgia Cancer Center (2017-03)
    Molecular chaperones have been the focus of intense research for their important role in cancer cell homeostasis. Heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) promotes metastasis, evasion of apoptosis, and proliferative angiogenesis in tumors through preserving the stability and functionality of its client proteins [1]. While the first generation of Hsp90 inhibitors has proven effective in hindering Hsp90 function, they have shown low clinical efficacy in part due to the induction of anti-apoptotic proteins Hsp27, Hsp40, and Hsp70 [2,3]. It is therefore our objective to develop novel efficacious Hsp90 inhibitors without these detrimental effects. During our screen for novel Hsp90 inhibitors, we found that the natural product, Chetomin, is a potent inhibitor of the Hsp90 machine chaperoning activity. Our in vitro data using human and murine mammary carcinoma cell lines suggest that Chetomin is effective in causing degradation of several known Hsp90 physiological client proteins that are crucial to cancer cell proliferation and survival. While the molecular mechanism by which Chetomin inhibits the Hsp90 function is still unclear, our data suggests that Chetomin is highly efficacious in killing cancer cells without induction of the anti-apoptotic proteins as does the first generation of Hsp90 inhibitors making Chetomin a promising new therapeutic agent.
  • ParaDIME: Genome-wide differential DNA methylation analyses using next generation sequencing

    Pabla, Sarabjot; Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics (12/27/2016)
    Epigenetic modifications are key players in the regulation of a plethora of cellular and physiological processes. DNA methylation is one of the most widely studied epigenetic modification. Genomic abnormalities in DNA methylation have been implicated in various complex diseases including cancer and autoimmunity. With advent of next generation sequencing, investigating DNA methylation patterns at genome-wide scale has become increasingly feasible. However, the pace of developing appropriate statistical methods to analyze large scale DNA methylation data has been slower. This can be attributed to both statistical and computational challenges faced by current methods. In order to overcome these statistical and computational shortcomings, we developed ParaDIME, a web application for differential DNA methylation analysis. ParaDIME tests CpG dinucleotide sites or pre-defined regions of CpG sites for differential DNA methylation using Rao-Scott chi squared test. ParaDIME not only uses a nonparametric test that accounts for differential sequencing coverage but also uses permutation testing to compute exact p values. In order to overcome computation challenges of large amount of permutations, we use parallel computing to share the workload and decrease execution time significantly. To test ParaDIME in-silico, we initially simulated bisulfitesequencing data and tested it against two most widely used methods: MethylSig and MethylKit. It performed equal or better at accurately detecting differentially methylated regions than both the methods. Especially, at important, low differences of percent methylation, ParaDIME performed better than existing tools. In order to test ParaDIME’s ability to detect biologically relevant differentially methylation regions (DMRs), it was then tested on publically available methylation data from chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients. Our method was able to detect previously known and experimentally verified DMR in CLL, especially DMRs located in Nfatc1 and FOXA2 genes. Additionally, it was able to detect other DMRs in genes present in caner related pathways. Due to ParaDIME’s ability to detect biologically relevant DMRs, we employed it in an integrative analysis study to identify epigenetically regulated genes in Sjogren’s syndrome mouse model, B6.NOD aec1/aec2. We performed reduced representation bisulfite sequencing and RNA sequencing on salivary glands of four and eighteen weeks old B6.NOD aec1/aec2 compared to age and gender matched C57BL/6 mice. After removing age and mouse model effect, we discovered 89 differentially expressed as well as differentially methylated genes. Spearman rank order correlation analysis found a significant correlation between DNA methylation and gene expression. Autoimmunity related genes Klf9 and Nfkbid showed significant negative correlation whereas, other genes like Fgf12 and Coll11a2 genes showed significant positive correlation. Subnetwork enrichment using MATISSE showed three jointly active connected subnetworks that were highly enriched in Immune system related pathways, especially, T cell and B cell activation along with cytokine signaling and endocrine system development. Evidence presented in this report presents a novel and a robust differential DNA methylation analysis method with high accuracy to detect disease-relevant DMRs. ParaDIME is a user-friendly and scalable web application with appropriate test statistic to analyze large-scale DNA methylation studies.

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