• "I'll Take My Artifacts with Tea": Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century British Archaeology

      Young, Rachel; Department of History, Anthropology and Philosophy (Augusta University, 2018-05)
    • Investigating the Interaction between G Proteins and the 5-HT1E and 5-HT2C Serotonin Receptors Using BRET

      Little, Lauren; Department of Biological Sciences (Augusta University, 2019-05)
      G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are important mediators in cellular signaling and are common targets of drug action. GPCRs are responsible for the transduction of extracellular signals into intracellular signals, mediated by G proteins of four subtypes: Gs, Gi, Gq, and G12/13. A thorough understanding of a signaling pathway involves determining which G protein is coupled to a signal-activated GPCR. In this project, a technique called Bioluminescence Resonance Energy Transfer (BRET) was used to measure the interaction between an activated GPCR from the serotonin (or hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) receptor family, and G proteins from each subtype. The cDNA for serotonin receptors 5-HT1E and 5-HT2C was fused with the gene for a luminescent protein called Nanoluciferase (Nluc). Then, the receptor-Nluc DNA along with DNA containing a G protein tagged with a fluorescent protein (Venus) was transfected into mammalian cells for expression. Data from BRET assays suggest that the 5-HT1E receptor couples to the Gi/o subclass of G proteins upon serotonin activation, while the 5-HT2C receptor couples to the Gq subclass of G proteins. Profiling serotonin receptors will deepen our understanding of serotonin receptors, associated diseases, and the drugs that target them.
    • Investigating the requirement of HOB1 on the sensitivity of Schizosaccharomyces pombe after exposure to various DNA damaging agents

      Qureshi, Arman; Department of Biological Sciences (Augusta University, 2019-05)
      DNA encodes the genetic information for the growth and development of living organisms. As such, it is inherently important that when damaged, the DNA is repaired efficiently and accurately. BIN1 encodes a protein that plays a role in genomic stability, specifically in cell cycle regulation, chromatin remodeling, and DNA repair. Previous research has shown that the protein Bin1 exhibits an inhibitory role in the double strand break repair pathway of non-homologous end joining (NHEJ). The homolog of BIN1, HOB1, is found in the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe. To understand the role HOB1 has on yeast survival after damage, two strains of S. pombe, a wild type strain (WT) and a strain without HOB1 (hob1Δ), were exposed to various DNA damaging agents. Each treatment introduced a different type of DNA damage that would require different DNA repair pathways. The treatments included UV radiation, hydrogen peroxide, bleomycin, and cisplatin. After treatment with each respective agent, the % of surviving cells at multiple doses was analyzed and graphed logarithmically. The data collected supports the idea that the presence of HOB1 has a role on the survival of yeast after DNA damage. The WT strains survived better than the hob1Δ counterparts when exposed to hydrogen peroxide or bleomycin. When exposed to UV radiation or cisplatin damage, no significant difference is observed between the strains regarding survival.
    • Investigating the Role of Hob1 In Translesion Synthesis in Schizosaccharomyces pombe

      Walton, Breana R.; Department of Biological Sciences (Augusta University, 2016-05)
      If a cell should need to divide, replication of the DNA is vital. DNA can incur damage that can impede the progression of the replication process. The translesion synthesis (TLS) pathway bypasses damage allowing replication to continue. Research conducted by Sakamuro at the AU Cancer Center indicates that the protein Rev1, a crucial protein involved in the TLS pathway, physically interacts with Bin1, a protein involved in cancer progression in mammalian cells. We hypothesize that the two genes operate in the same pathway in yeast as they do in mammalian cells, and we intend to test this genetically. In our experiment we investigate whether the role of Hob1, the homolog of Bin1 in fission yeast, functions in the same pathway with Rev1 to relieve the stress of DNA damage during replication. To test this hypothesis, we obtained a hob1Δ strain and created a double mutant strain, rev1hob1Δ. To assess whether the two genes HOB1 and REV1 operate in the same pathway, a mutation assay looking for an epistatic relationship was conducted.
    • Investigation of the Effects of Leptin Treatment Towards AlphaAdrenergic Receptor Expression in Mouse Aortic, Renal, and Mesenteric Arteries and Adrenal Glands.

      Momtahan, Mina; Department of Biological Sciences (Augusta University, 2017-12)
      Body weight gain and obesity lead to an elevation in blood pressure (BP) also called hypertension when the level of blood pressure reaches 140 and 90 mmHg for the systolic and diastolic BP respectively. Previous work from this lab demonstrated that the adipocyte-derived hormone leptin, secreted in important amounts in obesity, reduces the ability of the aortic artery to contract in response to adrenergic stimulation, likely mediated by a decreased expression of the aorta alpha-adrenergic receptors. However, it is not known whether leptin decreases the expression of alpha-adrenergic receptors in other arteries such as the mesenteric and renal, as well as the adrenal glands that play a key role in the control of BP. To determine whether leptin decreases alpha-adrenergic receptors expression in these arteries, as it does in the aorta, we infused leptin (10ug/day) by implanting subcutaneous mini-pumps in a total of 10 male C57bl/6 mice and evaluated leptin-mediated changes via alpha-adrenergic receptor expression. Real-time PCR (qPCR) conducted on the arteries revealed fold changes which were not supportive of our hypothesis that leptin- mediated sympatho-activation decreases adrenergic receptor expression.
    • Investigation of the Properties of Stem Loop DNA

      Benny, Reshma; Department of Chemistry and Physics (Augusta University, 2017-05)
      DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid is the genetic material of almost all living organisms and it is a polymer of deoxynucleotide monomers that are linked together by phosphodiester bonds. Each deoxynucleotide consists of a phosphate group and a nitrogen-containing base that are both attached to a 5-carbon sugar known as deoxyribose. The nitrogenous bases found in DNA are adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymine (T). The primary structure of DNA consists of a single DNA strand with two distinct ends. The 5’ end, in most cases, terminates in a phosphate group and the 3’ end terminates in the hydroxyl group on a sugar molecule. When two strands of DNA come together to form a double helix, the strands lie anti-parallel to each other, where the 5’ end of one strand will align with the 3’ end of another strand; this helix depicts the tertiary structure and the most common form of DNA (Figure 1). The two strands of DNA are held together by complementary base pairing which involves the specific interaction of A with T and G with C. These base pairs are stabilized by hydrogen bonds and stacking interactions.[Introduction]
    • Iron, Copper, Nickel, and Zink Ion Concentrations in Rae's Creek

      Bridgers, Aerial; Department of Chemistry and Physics (Augusta University, 2018-12)
    • Iron-Induced Oxidative Stress is Associated with Decreased Brain L-DOPA in Sickle Cell Disease

      Johnson, Dejah; Department of Kinesiology (Augusta University, 2018-05)
      Pain and cognitive decline are characteristic features of patients with sickle cell disease (SCD). Pain arises from the failure of blood to flow freely through blood vessels, thus creating regions of severe ischemia, the lack of blood perfusion. Pain is both a physiological and psychological event. Reflexive pain response arises in the periphery, but pain is perceived in the brain. Thus changes in the brain can modify the experience of pain. The cognitive impairments are also associated with ischemia, increased prevalence of stroke, and the degree of anemia in the patient – the direct result of hemolysis (bursting) of red blood cells in the blood vessels. This hemolysis releases toxic iron containing molecules which then freely circulate in the blood. Iron is potent oxidative stressor and generates the longest lasting radical, the potent OH radical (OH∙). In fact, OH∙ is perhaps the only radical capable of permanently modifying the amino acid tyrosine via shuffling of the side chain. Thus, proteins incorporating the modified amino acid may exhibit a change in function or altered interaction with binding partners. Importantly, tyrosine is the precursor to a host of neurotransmitters, including dopamine via the action of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH). Oxidized forms of tyrosine are no longer substrates for tyrosine hydroxylase, thus generation of dopamine is compromised. In this work, we discovered and quantified the presence of iron in the brains of mice with SCD and those without. We found significantly more iron deposited in the frontal lobe of the brain in the mice with SCD. Interrogation of L-DOPA, the precursor of dopamine, was also reduced. The amount of iron deposited was inversely proportional to the amount of L-DOPA detected in these SCD mice. Thus, these data suggest an overall decrease of dopamine in the brain. Emotion regulation, motor coordination, mood, cognition, learning and memory could all be affected. Furthermore, given the role of dopamine in addiction and reinforcement, our data suggest that patients with SCD are at a lower risk of addiction to pain medication – a primary consideration in the treatment of pain in this illness.
    • Marketing Downtown Augusta: Leader's Perceptions of Safety and Cleanliness in Downtown Augusta

      Long, William; Department of Management (Augusta University, 2017-12)
    • Measuring the Impact of the Community Policing Model in Richmond County

      Wilson, Jacob; Department of Social Science (Augusta University, 2018-05)
    • The Mechanism of Inverse Agonists Binding to G-Protein Coupled Receptors, Histamine Receptor H1 and Histamine Receptor H2

      Patel, Shrey; Department of Biological Sciences (Augusta University, 2019-05)
      The thesis discusses the mechanism of an inverse agonist binding to receptors and how it is different from an agonist binding to the same receptor. The specific receptors that were focused on were histamine receptor H1 (HRH1) and histamine receptor H2 (HRH2) which are types of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCR). It is understood how an agonist binds to a GPCR and activates a signaling pathway within the cell, and that an inverse agonist can bind to the same receptor but elicit an opposite response. The current idea behind the mechanism of an inverse agonist is that it binds to the receptor, and the G-protein is not being recruited to continue the signaling pathway within the cell. The hypothesis was that the G-protein is recruited when the inverse agonist binds to the GPCR, but the G-protein would be in its GDP state or its inactivated state. To test the hypothesis, a luciferase assay was done in different conditions where the bioluminescence absorbance was measured and recorded to see if there was protein-protein activity between the GPCR and the G-protein. From doing multiple trials, it is still believed that the G-protein is not being recruited to elicit the signaling pathway when an inverse agonist binds to the receptors.
    • The Mechanism of Protein Kinase C in regulation of ATPase family AAA-domain Containing Protein 3A in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma

      Chemmalakuzhy, Ron; Department of Biological Sciences (Augusta University, 2018-12)
      One of the most important challenges of cancer treatment is inhibition of the metastasis of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). HNSCC is a form of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) that is localized in the mucosa] linings of the nose, mouth, and throat areas. HNSCC has a mortality rate of 350,000 deaths per year and approximately 630,000 new patients are diagnosed annually. The ATPase family AAA-domain containing protein 3A (ATAD3A) is a nuclear-encoded mitochondrial enzyme that has been identified to be highly expressed and associated with poor survival in I-INSCC patients. ATAD3A is involved in various cellular processes including mitochondrial dynamics, cell growth, cholesterol metabolism, and communication between endoplasmic reticul um and mitochondria. Although ATAD3A has been shown to act as a crucial regulator promoting head and neck cancer cell invasion and metastasis, the precise mechanism by which ATAD3A is upregulated in HNSCC cells is largely unknown. In this study, we elucidate for the first time that Protein Kinase C (PKC) enhances tumor­ promoting activity in HNSCC cells through regulating ATAD3A expression levels. The study uncovers the biological effects of PKC regulation in HNSCC cells, providing a strong rational basis for the design of novel therapeutic regimens by inhibition of ATAD3A in order to eventually increase cure rate in patients diagnosed with HNSCC.
    • Method development and environmental sampling of AVM toxin

      Maron, Nicholas; Department of Biological Sciences (Augusta University, 2018-12)
    • A Modern Approach to Jazz with Eastern Influences

      Holt, Henry; Department of Music (Augusta University, 2019-05)
      Eastern Jazz Suite is a jazz composition emphasizing the use of East Asian and Middle Eastern musical instruments and composition influences in a modern jazz setting. Jazz is an immense genre with many different subgenres and styles. Many artists through time have composed using traditional techniques and from cultures outside of America; however, a considerably smaller amount of compositions include the use of Asian instruments. This composition incorporates these instruments into an unusual genre in an attempt to create an immersive and unique listening experience.
    • Novel Use of Stem-loop DNA in SELEX

      Coe, Genevieve; Department of Chemistry and Physics (Augusta University, 2015-05)
      Aptamers are composed of oligonucleotides and are most recognized for their ability to function much like antibodies. Unlike antibodies, aptamers can be generated in vitro, have a longer shelf life and are potentially faster to synthesize. The current method of aptamer generation is through a cycle known as SELEX, which stands for Systematic Evolution of Ligands through Exponential Enrichment. The SELEX method traditionally uses a library of single-stranded DNA or RNA as a starting material, which is incubated with a target. The nucleotides that bind to the target are separated from the unbound nucleotides, eluted from the target and amplified by PCR. The amplified nucleotides go through several more cycles of SELEX until aptamers with a high binding affinity for the target are produced. Before the double-stranded products from PCR can be used in another cycle they have to be separated into single-strands. The process of regenerating single-stranded DNA from double-stranded DNA is often time consuming and results in a low product yield, decreasing the efficiency of the SELEX process. In order to improve the efficiency of aptamer generation, we explored the use of a novel starting material based on its potential to make SELEX a more automated process. Stem-loop DNA has both double-stranded and single-stranded DNA portions due to its unique secondary structure. It has the ability to retain the single-stranded portion of its special conformation after PCR amplification. After characterization of a specifically designed stem-loop, we incorporated the use of stem-loop DNA as a starting material in SELEX to potentially bypass the regeneration of single-strand DNA in SELEX. The success of this modified approach to SELEX could result in a more efficient method for the generation of aptamers.
    • Operant Responding for Alcohol: A Specially Bred Animal Model of Anxiety and Alcohol Use Disorder

      Berg, Warren S.C.; Department of Psychological Sciences (Augusta University, 2017-05)
      Alcohol abuse and dependence affects a significant portion of the United States population. In America alone, approximately 17 million adults ages 18 and older and an estimated 855,000 adolescents ages 12-meet diagnostic criteria for addiction (National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2016). In order to be diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder (AUD), an individual must meet specific criteria detailed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). According to the most recent edition (DSM–5), a person meeting at least two of 11 criteria during a 12-month period meets the diagnostic criteria for an AUD (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). The severity of an AUD—mild, moderate, or severe—is based on the number of criteria met (see Appendix B for a list of the 11 diagnostic criteria for AUD). Unfortunately, not everyone seeks assistance for their addiction. According to a report published in 2015 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), fewer than 10% of individuals with an AUD received treatment at a specialized facility. Thus, this is a very serious health concern. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that those who do receive treatment will get better. That is, despite extensive research on the etiology of AUD, high incidence, low treatment numbers, and broad treatment methodologies, researchers and clinicians have a tenuous understanding of this disorder at best. [Introduction]
    • Optimizing Isolation and Culture of Primary Microglia

      Doughty, Deanna; Department of Biological Sciences; American Cancer Society -- Institutional Research Grant; Augusta University PILOT Award (Augusta University, 2018-12)
    • The Peloponnesian War: Analyzing the Causes of War through Offense-Defense Theory"

      Frey, Harrison Joseph; Department of Political Science (Augusta University, 2015-05)
      The purpose of this thesis is to determine the probable cause of the Peloponnesian War according to Offensive-Defensive Theory (ODT). This paper argues that Offensive-Defensive Theory, a tool of realism, can explain the causes of war. In the strictest sense, ODT is not actually a theory; it is a variation of structural realism and it is a key component of defensive realism. To an offensive-defensive theorist, the offense-defense balance is the major factor that determines and drives states’ behavior.
    • Physiological Stress Levels on Cognitive Function

      Quon, Jonathan; Department of Kinesiology (Augusta University, 2018-12)
      Regular exercise has been proven to reduce insulin resistance, increase blood flow, release neurotransmitters, and lead to many more health and cognitive benefits. However, studies investigating the immediate effects of a physical stress or on cognitive functioning are limited. In theory, cognitive reactions could speed up immediately following exercise due to enhanced nutrient delivery via increased blood flow, or cognitive reactions could slow down immediately after exercise due to physiological fatigue. These contradicting theories create much interest and concern for those who need to be functioning at their full cognitive potential. For instance, should college students who are studying for large periods of time take breaks to exercise, or would exercise be harmful to their mental functioning? The purpose of my project is to test how cognitive function is affected immediately following exercise. I predict that lower intensity aerobic exercise will boost mental performance, whereas high intensity anaerobic exercise will decrease mental performance.