• Leadership Processes During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Implications for Leadership Preparation and Training

      Bogans, Adrianne Melva; Educational Leadership
      The roles of school leaders have transformed significantly over time, making necessary shifts to place student learning at the core of what principals do. School leadership preparation has also evolved to keep up with the changing responsibilities and challenges that principals encounter. Although effective school leaders are recognized for their character and exemplary practices that contribute to and build collaborative school communities, principals have multiple responsibilities and often experience challenges while leading their schools. The role of the school leader has changed over the course of history. In response to these role shifts, the standards and practices providing the structure for post-secondary preparation and training programs, state certification, and formal evaluation programs have also had to adjust to keep up with societal changes and responsibilities of school leaders. While principals perform their regular responsibilities, with accompanying challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a myriad of new challenges for school leaders around the globe. Although challenges are not new to the principalship, this study seeks to investigate the challenges K-12 school leaders experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, how their leadership preparation and training did or did not prepare them to manage these challenges, and investigate the solutions principals implemented to counter the challenges experienced.
    • Role of ADAM17 and JAM-A/F11R in aging-related arterial wall shear stress mechanosensing and abnormal vascular remodeling

      Tian, Yanna; Biomedical Sciences
      Physiological and pathological vascular remodeling is uniquely driven by mechanical forces from blood flow in which wall shear stress (WSS) mechanosensing by the vascular endothelium plays a pivotal role. This study aimed to determine the novel role for a disintegrin and metalloproteinase 17 (ADAM17) in impaired WSS mechanosensing, which was hypothesized to contribute to aging-associated abnormal vascular remodeling. Without changes in arterial blood pressure and blood flow rate, skeletal muscle resistance arteries of aged mice (30-month old vs. 12-week old) exhibited impaired WSS mechanosensing and displayed inward hypertrophic arterial remodeling. These vascular changes were recapitulated by in vivo confined, AAV9-mediated overexpression of ADAM17 in the resistance arteries of young mice. An aging-related increase in ADAM17 expression reduced the endothelial junction level of its cleavage substrate, junctional adhesion molecule-A/F11 receptor (JAM-A/F11R). In cultured endothelial cells subjected to steady WSS, ADAM17 activation or JAM-A/F11R knockdown inhibited WSS mechanosensing. The ADAM17-activation induced impaired WSS mechanosensing was normalized by overexpression of ADAM17 cleavage resistant, mutated JAM-A/F11RV232Y both in cultured endothelial cells and in resistance arteries of aged mice, in vivo. These data demonstrate a novel role for ADAM17 in JAM-A/F11R cleavage-mediated impaired endothelial WSS mechanosensing and subsequent development of abnormal arterial remodeling in aging. ADAM17 could prove to be a key regulator of WSS mechanosensing, whereby it can also play a role in pathological vascular remodeling in diseases.
    • DEVELOPMENT OF POTENTIAL DRUG CANDIDATES FOR SARS-CoV-2 USING MOLECULAR HYBRIDIZATION APPROACH

      Wyman, Kailey; Biomedical Sciences
      ABSTRACT In December 2019, an unknown viral infection originated from a local fish and wild animal market in Wuhan city, China. Since then, the virus has rapidly spread across mainland China followed by the rest of the world. On February 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO), identified the virus as the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). In March 2020, WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. As of March 2022, SARS-CoV-2 has affected about 500 million people with over 6 million deaths worldwide. Although the world has survived numerous pandemics in the past, this one is an unprecedented global health challenge that has greatly impacted our lives and the socioeconomic of the world. At present therapeutic options for SARS-CoV-2 are very limited. Researchers adopting various approaches to develop new drug candidates for SARS-CoV-2 and the drug repurposing approach is one of them. We adopted the molecular hybridization approach to overcome the limitations of repurposing drugs. We designed and synthesized a new set of small molecules using a quinoline scaffold (from hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine), indole nucleus (from umifenovir), and rhodamine (a very well-investigated medicinally important moiety) via an optimized multistep synthetic route. All the synthesized molecules were characterized by analytical spectral studies. All the synthesized conjugates were screened against the SAR-CoV-2 virus and their cytotoxicity was determined. Computational studies were carried out to validate the biological data. Some synthesized compounds showed promising anti-viral properties against SAR-CoV-2.
    • CHARACTERIZATION OF AN INDUCIBLE p65 KNOCKOUT MOUSE MODEL FOR STUDYING GLIOBLASTOMA

      Trang, Amy; Biomedical Sciences (Augusta University, 2022-05)
      Glioblastoma (GBM) is a malignant primary brain tumor that results in patient death within two years following diagnosis. The GBM tumor microenvironment has an important impact on the formation, progression, and drug resistance of this lethal disease. The GBM tumor microenvironment is composed of a variety of cell types that can support tumor growth like microglia. Microglia are immune cells that can switch from a classical, tumoricidal M1 phenotype to an alternative, tumor-promoting M2 phenotype. However, there are limited studies about the specific effect(s) that microglia have on GBM tumors. Given the importance of the tumor microenvironment to GBM tumor progression, targeting key signaling pathways in tumor-associated cells like microglia could be an effective way to reduce tumor progression. One signaling pathway involved in causing different cancers is the nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) pathway, and it has been implicated in M1 to M2 phenotype polarization. Therefore, this study focuses on the characterization of the p65fl/fl/CX3CR1creER/+ mouse model, which is an inducible p65 knockout mouse model for studying how inhibition of canonical NF-κB signaling in microglia affects GBM tumors. After tamoxifen is administered to the mouse, p65, a transcription factor of the canonical NF-κB pathway, should be deleted in microglia due to the activation of a Cre recombinase (CreER) under the control of the CX3CR1 promoter. Characterization of this mouse model is necessary to determine if the p65 gene is effectively deleted in microglia from these mice. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis has shown that the orally administered tamoxifen was present and quantifiable in the brains of tamoxifen-treated mice to induce recombination. Based on data from PCR and western blots, tamoxifen given to the p65 knockout mice induced partial deletion of the p65 gene in isolated microglia when compared to control groups. Preliminary flow cytometry data suggested that p65 deletion in microglia occurred in p65fl/fl/CX3CR1creER/+ mice that received GBM implantations and tamoxifen treatment compared to a vehicle control group. Overall, the data from this study suggests that the p65 gene is partially deleted in microglia from the tamoxifen-treated p65 knockout mice compared to the vehicle control mice.
    • THE ROLE OF c-JUN IN ENHANCING TCR-T FUNCTION IN TREATMENT OF HEPATOCELLULAR CARCINOMA

      Hussein, Mohamed; Biomedical Sciences (Augusta University, 2022-05)
      Liver cancer is the sixth most common cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death in the world, indicating the treatment gap and the urgent need for novel effective therapies. The majority (90%) of liver cancers are hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), with an overall 5-year survival rate of ~20%. The efficacy of adoptive cell therapy (ACT) targeting malignant tumors has been limited due to lack of T cell activation in vivo with poor expansion and short persistence of tumor-infiltrating T cells. We proposed that engineering T cells to overexpress c-Jun, a transcription factor required for T cell development and activation, would activate T cells and enhance their persistence, function, and anti-tumor efficacy. In this study, using T-cell receptor- engineered T-cells (TCR-Ts) against the HCC-associated antigen Alfa-fetoprotein (AFP), we demonstrated that human TCR-Ts engineered to overexpress c-Jun (TCR-JUN) have better expansion potential in culture with enhanced functional capacity against HepG2 tumor cells. Additionally, TCR-JUN cells were less apoptotic and more resistant to exhaustion after HepG2 tumor stimulation. In HCC xenograft tumor model, c-Jun overexpression enhanced TCR+ T cell expansion and extended overall survival of the tumor bearing mice. Importantly, the TCR-JUN T cells were less exhausted and demonstrated enhanced tumor infiltration, persistence, and functionality. We conclude that engineering T cells to overexpress c-Jun could be a potential approach to enhance the antitumor efficacy of TCR-Ts.
    • *BARRIERS TO DEVELOPING EFFECTIVE MUSIC PROGRAMS IN THE RIVER CITY SCHOOL SYSTEM: AN ANALYSIS OF STAFF PERCEPTIONS

      Baxley, Pamela Marie; Advanced Studies Innovation
      Abstract Participation in healthy music programs has demonstrated positive associations with academic achievement, cognitive abilities, and other socio/affective outcomes. Despite these benefits, music programs often struggle against funding, policy, and high stakes testing and accountability practices - particularly in urban or otherwise diverse populations. The purpose of this case study was to evaluate the health of music programs in the River City School System (RCSS) by studying teachers’ perceptions of limits to their own agency in developing those programs and teachers’ perceptions of barriers to student involvement in music programs. Based on a broad review of literature, researchers studied four hypothesized factors that might act as barriers to teacher agency or student involvement in music programs – culturally responsive pedagogy, scheduling, recruiting, and professional learning & collaboration. This study used a mixed-methods approach employing a survey of all music teachers within the district followed by semistructured interviews for volunteers. Results of the study indicated logistical challenges, relational issues, and philosophical perspectives could act as barriers. From these results and in alignment with extant research, a conceptual map of findings was developed on which to provide recommendations for RCSS and other districts hoping to analyze the health of their own music programs.
    • SUCCEEDING IN INTRODUCTORY STEM COURSES AT COMMUNITY COLLEGES: STEM INSTRUCTORS’ PERCEPTIONS OF ESSENTIAL SKILLS AND BARRIERS TO SUCCESS

      Perkins, Ashlei; Advanced Studies Innovation (Augusta University, 2022-05)
      Community colleges play a key role in providing non-traditional and underrepresented minority students with access to careers in Science, Technology, Education and Math (STEM) fields, which are critical for the economic success of the United States. However, national studies reveal that student persistence in STEM majors is alarmingly low, particularly at community colleges. Therefore, it is important to conduct more studies that contribute to the understanding of STEM course success in college. To that end, this study gathered the following data: 1) instructors’ perceptions of essential skills required to succeed in introductory STEM courses at community colleges; 2) instructors’ perceptions of existing skills students have prior to STEM course instruction at community colleges; and 3) instructors’ perceptions of barriers that may prevent community college students from being successful in introductory STEM courses. This pragmatic, qualitative inquiry included interviews with STEM course instructors at a community college and employed a constant, comparative analysis approach. The study also juxtaposed findings against the literature to determine if there was congruence, in terms of critical STEM skills and knowledge for STEM occupations. Findings showed a significant overlap between essential skills required to succeed in STEM courses and important skills for STEM occupations and that essential skill development is critical but lacking. Keywords: STEM skills, essential STEM course skills, STEM persistence in community colleges, barriers to STEM course success
    • SUCCEEDING IN INTRODUCTORY STEM COURSES AT COMMUNITY COLLEGES: STEM INSTRUCTORS’ PERCEPTIONS OF ESSENTIAL SKILLS AND BARRIERS TO SUCCESS

      Smith, William Pierce; Advanced Studies Innovation (Augusta University, 2022-05)
      Community colleges play a key role in providing non-traditional and underrepresented minority students with access to careers in Science, Technology, Education and Math (STEM) fields, which are critical for the economic success of the United States. However, national studies reveal that student persistence in STEM majors is alarmingly low, particularly at community colleges. Therefore, it is important to conduct more studies that contribute to the understanding of STEM course success in college. To that end, this study gathered the following data: 1) instructors’ perceptions of essential skills required to succeed in introductory STEM courses at community colleges; 2) instructors’ perceptions of existing skills students have prior to STEM course instruction at community colleges; and 3) instructors’ perceptions of barriers that may prevent community college students from being successful in introductory STEM courses. This pragmatic, qualitative inquiry included interviews with STEM course instructors at a community college and employed a constant, comparative analysis approach. The study also juxtaposed findings against the literature to determine if there was congruence, in terms of critical STEM skills and knowledge for STEM occupations. Findings showed a significant overlap between essential skills required to succeed in STEM courses and important skills for STEM occupations and that essential skill development is critical but lacking. Keywords: STEM skills, essential STEM course skills, STEM persistence in community colleges, barriers to STEM course success
    • Succeeding in Introductory STEM Courses at Community Colleges: STEM Instructors' Perceptions of Essential Skills and Barriers to Success

      Payne, Daniela; Advanced Studies Innovation (Augusta University, 2022-05)
      Community colleges play a key role in providing non-traditional and underrepresented minority students with access to careers in Science, Technology, Education and Math (STEM) fields, which are critical for the economic success of the United States. However, national studies reveal that student persistence in STEM majors is alarmingly low, particularly at community colleges. Therefore, it is important to conduct more studies that contribute to the understanding of STEM course success in college. To that end, this study gathered the following data: 1) instructors’ perceptions of essential skills required to succeed in introductory STEM courses at community colleges; 2) instructors’ perceptions of existing skills students have prior to STEM course instruction at community colleges; and 3) instructors’ perceptions of barriers that may prevent community college students from being successful in introductory STEM courses. This pragmatic, qualitative inquiry included interviews with STEM course instructors at a community college and employed a constant, comparative analysis approach. The study also juxtaposed findings against the literature to determine if there was congruence, in terms of critical STEM skills and knowledge for STEM occupations. Findings showed a significant overlap between essential skills required to succeed in STEM courses and important skills for STEM occupations and that essential skill development is critical but lacking. Keywords: STEM skills, essential STEM course skills, STEM persistence in community colleges, barriers to STEM course success
    • AN INACTIVE RECEPTOR-G PROTEIN COMPLEX MAINTAINS THE DYNAMIC RANGE OF AGONIST-INDUCED SIGNALING

      Jang, Wonjo; Biomedical Sciences
      G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are 7-transmembrane (TM) proteins that are targets of one-third of approved drugs. In response to agonist binding, GPCRs adopt active-state conformations that promote their association with G protein heterotrimers. The resulting active-state ternary complex (i.e., agonist-GPCR-G protein complex) is the basis for conventional stimulus-response coupling. However multiple studies have also described GPCR-G protein complexes that form prior to agonist binding. While others have previously proposed that this interaction is thought to promote rapid or specific signaling, the role of such “preassociated” complexes is not well understood, and inactive-state receptors are generally considered unable to interact with heterotrimeric G proteins. Here, we show that preassociation of 5-HT7 serotonin receptors with Gs heterotrimers is necessary for agonist-induced signaling. Because inverse agonists and receptor mutations that favor the inactive state of 5-HT7 receptors promote the formation of preassociated complexes, 5-HT7 receptors in their inactive state preassociate with Gs. Upon agonist binding, 5-HT7 receptors adopt conformations that disfavor the formation of inactive-state 5-HT7–Gs complexes, thus permitting the formation of conventional agonist–5-HT7–Gs ternary complexes. Because Gs variants that cannot form inactive-state 5-HT7-Gs complexes are constitutively activated by 5-HT7 receptors, we conclude that this unconventional inactive-state 5-HT7-Gs complex is critical for the dynamic range of agonist-induced signaling. Thus, our findings provide evidence that agonists can initiate signaling via two distinct mechanisms, by promoting the association of conventional ternary complexes and by disrupting inverse-coupled binary complexes.
    • echanisms of ANG(1-7) mediated control of blood pressure in males and females

      Zimmerman, Margaret A.; Medical College of Georgia (Augusta University, 2014-07)
    • The Role of cyclic-GMP dependent protein kinase II in homeostasis of the colon mucosa

      Wang, Rui; Medical College of Georgia (Augusta University, 2013-09)
    • The Mechanisms underlying VLDL-induced aldosterone production

      Tsai, Ying-Ying; Medical College of Georgia (Augusta University, 2014-03)
    • Blood pressure impacts the renal T cell profile of male and female spontaneously hypertensive rats

      Tipton, Ashlee Joy; Medical College of Georgia (Augusta University, 2014-03)
    • A Key role for BIM in executing ER positive breast cancer cell death and it's potential regulation by RB

      Takhar, Suchreet; Medical College of Georgia (Augusta University, 2013-10)
    • Roles of arginase in oxygen-induced retinopathy

      Suwanpradid, Jutamas; Medical College of Georgia (Augusta University, 2014-03)
    • Identification of novel molecular biomarkers for diagnosis of salivary dysfunction

      Suart, Mary S.; Medical College of Georgia (Augusta University, 2013-10)
    • Toll-like receptor 2 mediates aumented contractility of corpus cavernosum

      Stallmann-Jorgensen, Inger; Medical College of Georgia (Augusta University, 2015-03)
    • Stressful signaling : a role for endoplasmic reticulum stress in aortic stiffening during hypertension

      Spitler, Kathryn Mary; Medical College of Georgia (Augusta University, 2014-03)