• 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; Augusta University; Rajpurohit, Surendra K (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.
    • LAVANDULA ANGUSTIFOLIA USE FOR DYSMENORRHEA IN YOUNG WOMEN: A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

      Nelson, Brenda; College of Science and Mathematics; College of Nursing; Augusta University; Langley-Brady, Dawn (2019-02-13)
      Dysmenorrhea effects 20% of women causing missed school and work days and interferes with daily life. Dysmenorrhea is caused by menstrual uterine contractions which may result in pain, nausea, vomiting and headaches. Many women utilize pharmacological symptom management, but experience side effects such as edema, libido reduction and increased symptom severity. Aromatherapy is a holistic non-pharmacological approach to symptom reduction. Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils via inhalation or topical application to relieve pain, stress and more.� The purpose of this project is to review the literature surrounding�Lavandula angustifolia�(lavender) and dysmenorrhea to give a foundation for future research. PubMed, TRIP, and Cochrane Library databases were searched for peer-reviewed journals articles in English and published within the last 10 years with the following keywords: dysmenorrhea, lavender, aromatherapy and human. The literature review resulted in six articles meeting inclusion criteria. These articles established the effectiveness of lavender in reducing dysmenorrhea pain in the first three days of menstruation, through inhalation and abdominal application. Lavender essential oil is also effective in reducing nausea and headaches resulting in an alternative for women experiencing dysmenorrhea. Aromatherapy has fewer risks than pharmacological and surgical approaches to dysmenorrhea management and should be studied further.
    • SYNTHESIS OF COUMARIN-LABELED AMINO ACIDS VIA �CLICK� CHEMISTRY

      Weathers, Angel; Department of Chemistry and Physics; Augusta University; Lebedyeva, Iryna (2019-02-13)
      �Click� Chemistry is a convenient technique often applied during the synthesis of various bioconjugates. Several methods have been developed to administer �click� chemistry. Copper(1)-catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition (CuAAC) reactions usually provide high chemoselectivity under green reaction conditions, and good to great yields. Because of this, CuAAC reactions serve many applications in chemical biology. In copper halide catalyzed reactions copper iodide is frequently used to facilitate transformational changes within the reaction. Copper(1) is combined with salts, metal complexes, or ionic liquids to provide effective catalytic systems for reactions. The use of co-solvent systems such as the one used in this research project, dimethylformamide and water, improves reaction efficiency. The alkyne moiety is an indispensible component of �click� chemistry reactions. Coumarins are the specific class of fluorophores examined in this research project because they are highly sensitive fluorescent laser dyes that have extended spectra range, high emission quantum yields, and better solubility compared to more complex fluorescent tags. Amino acids are often used as building blocks because they are recognized by cell membrane proteins more readily. In this project, a number of amino acids labeled with coumarin tags through CuAAC catalyzed 1,2,3-triazole links have been developed to study their fluorescent properties.
    • 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; Abdulovic-Cui, Amy L (2019-02-13)
      It is inherently important that when damaged, DNA is repaired efficiently and with high accuracy. 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�(hob1?), were exposed to various DNA damaging agents. Each treatment introduced different types of DNA damage that require repair by different DNA repair pathways. These treatments included UV radiation, hydrogen peroxide treatment, Bleomycin treatment, and Cisplatin Treatment. After treatment with each respective agent, the death response of each strain was calculated and the % of surviving cells at multiple doses was graphed logarithmically. The data collected overwhelming support the idea that the presence of�HOB1�has a positive role on the survival of yeast after DNA damage. The WT strains tested survived better than the�hob1?�counterparts.
    • USING YCF1 TO INVESTIGATE THE LADIES' TRESSES ORCHIDS OF AU'S SUMMERVILLE CAMPUS

      Overlie, Benjamin; Saunders-Cummings, William; Department of Biological Sciences; Augusta University; Bates, Christopher; Christy, Charlotte (2019-02-13)
      The Spring Ladies� Tresses orchid (Spiranthes vernalis�Engelmann & A. Gray) is a native wildflower found in the lawns of Augusta University's Summerville campus. The origin of these plants is unknown. Orchids usually grow slowly from seed, leading to lifecycles that can take 5+ years. Despite this, individuals are present in lawns known to be two years old or less. Thus, either these plants are reproducing with unusual speed, or some arrived with landscaping materials such as sod. We are attempting to use chloroplast DNA sequences to determine their degree of relatedness. �For this, a strongly conserved gene,�MATk, and a hypothetical reading frame,�ycf1, were chosen.�YCF1�is considered variable enough to show differences at the population level. Standard techniques for DNA extraction, amplification with PCR, and sequencing are being used. �The data will be used to address two questions: �1) Is�ycf1�variable enough to distinguish among individual plants?; and, if so, 2) Are the campus plants all closely related or do distinctive subpopulations exist?
    • That's On You, Not Me

      Miles, Edgar; Department of Communication; Augusta University; O'Meara, Melanie (2019-02-13)
      �That�s On You, Not Me� is a performance piece that was created in response to an assignment prompt for Dr. Melanie O�Meara�s Voice and Movement class in Spring 2018. The assignment was to write a haiku and perform that haiku using at least 12 individual vocal variations. Gender expression and the ways alternative expressions are received in various social contexts are existing themes in my visual art practice, so I decided to continue that exploration in my performance work for Dr. O�Meara�s class. In doing so, my performance addresses the discomfort that people experience when faced with expression that violates their expectations and whose responsibility it is to mitigate that discomfort. I present to the audience twelve individual characters created through vocal and movement variation. My intention is to open conversations about gender norms, societal expectations, the experience of �othering,� and respect for individual expression. The performance itself lasts only about three minutes, but can be followed by a brief talk about the work and a question-and-answer session.
    • Blurred Lines within the Music Industry: A Different Perspective of Copyright Law and Sampling in the Digital Age

      Wingate, Montrel; Department of History, Anthropology & Philosophy; Augusta University; Turner, Wendy; VanTuyll, Debra; VanTuyll, Hubert (2019-02-13)
      This thesis focuses on the relationship of music and law. Throughout, the debated question is: should the laws of copyright be redefined? The case Williams v. Bridgeport Music, Inc., which focuses on the songs "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke and "Got to Give It Up" by Marvin Gaye is the trial central to this thesis. Following a brief history of sampling, Williams v. Bridgeport Music, Inc. is reexamined, challenging the substantiality of the evidence presented. The court proved that the songs have similarities on the surface, yet there is a notable structural difference among the songs. A proposed solution is given, advocating a revision of copyright laws and a substantive similarity test with emphasis on the expert listener rather than the lay listener.
    • Equilibrium

      Hudson, Destin; Department of Music; Augusta University; Jones, Martin (2019-02-13)
      Equilibrium is a song written and produced by myself under the moniker Arman Hudson. It�s about how quick we are quick to judge people and their actions when we don't even have balance in ourselves yet. It was made with the use of digital technology that I have been teaching myself to use and techniques I've learned while in my concentration of piano.
    • MIRNA AND THEIR EFFECTS ON BONE LOSS IN TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY PATIENTS

      Patel, Chandani; Patel, Reeya; College of Science and Mathematics; Department of Orthopedic Surgery; Augusta University; Fulzele, Sadanand (2019-02-13)
      MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been known to play a key role in bone regulation. Some miRNAs have been observed to increase bone formation via osteoblast formation and others seem to be involved in bone resorption via osteoclast formation. In this study, we aim to observe which miRNA of those secreted by cells during a traumatic brain injury (TBI) are involved in bone formation or bone resorption. Our focus miRNAs were: miRNA-151, miRNA-6991, miRNA-27a, miRNA-92, and miRNA-1224. Using mouse bone marrow monocytes (BMCs), we have induced osteoclast formation by feeding media containing macrophage colony stimulating factor (M-CSF) as well as receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand (RANK-L). After osteoclastogenesis, it has been observed via tartrate resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) staining that miRNA-151 and miRNA-6991 have been up-regulated during osteoclast differentiation. Of the ones examined in our study, miRNA-27a, miRNA-92, and miRNA-1224 have shown an increase during osteoblast differentiation. The observations from this study can contribute insight for creating possible therapeutic methods for osteoporosis related diseases.
    • Design and Manufacture of Low-Cost Real-Time Feedback CPR Manikin

      Sangari, Anish; Sood, Nitish; Department of Chemistry & Physics; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is a life-saving technique used when a person stops breathing or a heart stops beating. Immediate CPR can double or triple survival rates after cardiac arrest. While many CPR training courses use non-electronic CPR manikins, recent literature has shown that training on a real-time feedback CPR manikin improves functional outcomes such as chest compression rate and mean tidal volume. However, current commercially available real-time feedback manikins either only measure metrics on chest compressions or are available at very high prices, making training a class on such manikins infeasible. Accordingly, we have designed, constructed, and tested a low-cost Arduino microcontroller-based CPR manikin that provides real-time feedback to trainees on critical metrics including force of compressions, rate of compressions, hands-off time, percentage of full chest recoils, angle of neck tilt, and other steps in ventilations. Visual and auditory feedback on these metrics is delivered to trainees, allowing them to adjust their performance in real time. Additionally, data from each training session is saved and assigned to a user profile, so that multiple trainees can review their progress throughout their training. Future research will be conducted on the efficacy of training on this manikin compared to commercially available manikins.
    • The Identification of Novel Genes in Normosmic Hypogonadotropic Hypogonadism (nHH)

      Smith, Hannah; College of Education; Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology; Augusta University; Layman, Lawrence (2019-02-13)
      Characterized by delayed or absent sexual development, idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (IHH) is a disorder that includes the deficient production, secretion, or action of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). Producing neurons in the brain, GnRH directly controls sexual development during puberty. Misplacement of the GnRH producing neurons leads to hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, which is divided into two categories: Kallmann syndrome (KS) and normosmic IHH (nHH). While both KS and nIHH, defined as the absence or delay of puberty, low gonadotropins and sex steroids, are similar, KS also includes the absence or impairment of smell. Whole exome sequencing (WES) is used to examine protein-coding regions of the human genome in order to detect genetic variants that could be causative. Sanger sequencing is used to confirm variants identified by WES. Using WES and Sanger sequencing, we were able to identify new genetic variants within the nHH and KS patient populations. In this study, our goal was to identify pathogenic variants in known and novel nHH/KS genes, focusing efforts on rare, loss-of-function variants in: WDR11, GLI2, CTNNA1, ANKHD1, SEMA6A, PRRC2C, EHBP1, and RIF1 genes. This study broadens our understanding of pathogenic variants in known and novel IHH genes that may contribute to the disease phenotype.
    • Design, Synthesis, and Anti-inflammatory Studies of NSAID Hybrid Conjugates

      Honkanadavar, Hitesh; Department of Chemistry & Physics; Augusta University; Panda, Siva (2019-02-13)
      Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are one of the most common drugs administered worldwide as highly effective analgesic, antipyretic and anti-inflammatory agents. The drugs function by inhibiting the COX-2 enzyme system which leads to a decrease in inflammation; however, the drugs also inhibit the COX-1 enzyme system which is critical to normal renal function, gastric mucosal integrity, vascular homeostasis, and the autocrine response to circulating hormones which can lead to gastric ulcers and renal dysfunction. Hybrid conjugates of existing non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have already been synthesized with Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, and amino acids to increase potency and decrease toxicity. Computational chemistry studies of these compounds show that the free phenol moiety in acetaminophen plays a greater role in the inhibition of the COX 2 enzyme system than the amine moiety. The previous compounds utilized the phenol moiety to form the product. New hybrid conjugates of Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen via amino acid linkers have been synthesized, leaving the phenol moiety free. The compounds have been characterized by NMR and IR. Biological studies indicate that some of the synthesized compounds are showing improved potency when compared to Ibuprofen alone. Computational chemistry studies and molecular modeling will be used to support the�in-vivo�biological activity.
    • Investigating the Interaction Between G Proteins and the 5-HT1E and 5-HT2C Serotonin Receptors Using BRET

      Little, Lauren; Department of Biological Sciences; Department of Chemistry & Physics; Augusta University; Spencer, Angela (2019-02-13)
      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 types: 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-HT1Ereceptor couples to the Go and Gi subclasses of G proteins upon serotonin activation while the 5-HT2C�receptor couples to the Gq class of G proteins. Profiling serotonin receptors will deepen our understanding of serotonin receptors, associated diseases, and the drugs that target them.
    • Exploring the minimum flow rate limit in electro co-flow

      Overlie, Benjamin; Department of Biological Sciences; Department of Chemistry & Physics; Augusta University; Millan, Josefa Guerrero (2019-02-13)
      Controlled generation of micron and sub-micron sized drops continues to be of strong interest for the scientific community due to the variety of applications in fields like cosmetics, food industry, and drug delivery among others. By flowing two immiscible liquids into a glass-based microfluidic device, we can make emulsion drops with a minimum size of the order of the tip size. Adding an external electric field, similarly to what it is done in the classical electrospray, allows the generation of droplets with sizes below the smallest geometrical characteristic of the device. In this work, we are focused on the region of small flow rates. There is a minimum flow rate below which a cone-jet cannot be formed regardless of the applied voltage. This limit marks the minimum drop size that could be generated. We study pairs of liquids with different viscosities and conductivities using high speed microscopy and current measurements. With these data we will try to understand this limit and the characteristics of the modes observed in this region.
    • Concentrations of Iron, Copper, Nickel, and Zinc in Rae's Creek

      Bridgers, Aerial; Department of Chemistry & Physics; Augusta University; Klug, Christopher (2019-02-13)
      Heavy metals can enter water systems through a variety of methods, such as through soil run-off, rain, or industrial activity near the system. Many of these heavy metals are toxic to both the wildlife and people around the system if present in high enough concentrations. The aim of this research was to create a model for a local water system, Rae's Creek, outlining the concentrations of iron, copper, nickel, and zinc present throughout a seven-month period. Additionally, this research sought to pinpoint any correlation between increases in metal concentrations and outside events, such as rain or the Master's Tournament held yearly in Augusta. Results indicated that copper and zinc concentrations were well above guidelines set for recreational water quality by the Environmental Protection Agency, while iron and nickel concentrations were generally below the limitations set for their concentrations. While rain had no observed effect on the heavy metal concentrations, there are two specific dates where all four metals had a marked increase in concentration. However, it is inconclusive as to what caused this increase.
    • Transport properties in Graphene Bilayer

      Trowel, Alonte; Department of Chemistry & Physics; Augusta University; Datta, Trinanjan (2019-02-13)
      Graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal pattern. It has many potential technological applications and provides a testbed to verify fundamental concepts in physics. Using quantum mechanical transmission and reflection amplitudes we study the transport properties of bilayer graphene. For the parameter range that We explored we find that the transmission probability is controlled by the applied bias. We also outline how this approach can be utilized to study oligomers and oligoacenes.
    • The Study of 5ht-1d and 5ht-1f Receptor Interactions with Mini G Proteins via Bret Analysis

      Trang, Amy; Department of Chemistry & Physics; Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology; Augusta University; Spencer, Angela; Lambert, Nevin (2019-02-13)
      G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are receptors involved in signal transduction, a process for converting extracellular signals into internal messages to elicit a cellular response. Signal transduction pathways involve activating various G protein subtypes (Gs, Gi/o, Gq/11�and G12/13) which typically lead to second messenger production. Traditionally, second messenger concentration assays are used to identify GPCR coupling with G protein(s), but they are not efficient in profiling GPCRs since they compare the concentrations from different downstream signals. Instead, novel tools, such as Bioluminescence Resonance Energy Transfer (BRET) and mini G (mG) proteins, can be used to profile GPCRs. BRET is a technique that provides quantitative data when protein-protein interaction occurs and requires the proteins of interest to be fused with either a bioluminescent protein or fluorescent protein. In this study, we used mG proteins representing each G protein subtype to identify 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT; serotonin) receptor coupling upon serotonin stimulation. Through BRET assays, we determined that both the 5-HT1D�and 5-HT1F�receptors couple primarily with the mGsiand mGo�classes of mG proteins. This supports previous studies that these receptors couple to Gi/o�proteins and suggests that the use of mG proteins in BRET assays is an effective tool for GPCR profiling.
    • Unconventional Coupling of 5HT7 receptors to Gs heterotrimers

      Adams, Elizabeth; Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology; Augusta University; Lambert, Nevin (2019-02-13)
      GPCRs play a major role in cell signaling through their interactions with heterotrimeric G proteins. In conventional models of GPCR-G protein coupling, agonist binding promotes a conformational change within the receptor, which then associates with G proteins, facilitating the exchange of GDP for GTP. GTP-bound G proteins dissociate from the receptor and exert their effects on downstream signaling molecules. Previous studies suggest that serotonin 5HT7 receptors associate with Gs�heterotrimers prior to agonist binding, and that 5HT7-Gs�complexes dissociate after the G protein is activated. Here we study this unconventional mode of coupling using bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET) between luciferase-tagged 5HT7 receptors and Gs�heterotrimers labeled with Venus. Our results confirm that 5HT7 receptors interact with inactive (GDP-bound) Gs�heterotrimers in the absence of an agonist, and that this interaction is stabilized by the inverse agonist methiothepin. Stimulation with the endogenous agonist serotonin (5HT) decreased BRET between 5HT7 receptors and Gs, indicating that the activation of the receptor leads to 5HT7-Gscomplex dissociation. Interestingly, Gs�activation was not required for complex dissociation. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that 5HT7 receptors couple to Gs�heterotrimers via an unconventional mechanism involving ligand-sensitive complexes of receptors and inactive Gs.
    • Nox 1-Evoked Ros Causes Fibrosis in Caerulein-Induced Chronic Pancreatitis Through the Akt Pathway

      Chakraborty, Ananya; Department of Biological Sciences; Augusta University; Sabbatini, Maria (2019-02-13)
      Chronic pancreatitis (CP) manifests from a long-term inflammation, resulting in significant fibrosis of the pancreatic tissue and permanent organ damage. This occurs due to pro-inflammatory mediators, including reactive oxygen species (ROS). One of the sources of ROS is NADPH oxidase (Nox) enzymes, which transfer electrons across biological membranes to reduce oxygen to superoxide. The rodent genome encodes four Nox enzymes: Nox 1-4. We found that Nox 1 is implicated in pancreatic fibrogenesis in a mouse model of CP. Our next goal was to determine which intracellular pathway mediates the effect of Nox1-derived ROS. Several intracellular pathways are activated following Nox1-derived ROS, including JNK, AKT, and ERK1/2. Each pathway is also activated following caerulein, a cholecystokinin analogue. Our hypothesis was that repetitive administration of caerulein stimulates Nox1-derived ROS, which causes increased oxidative stress, leading to fibrogenesis through phosphorylation of ERK, AKT and JNK. We found the lack of Nox1 impaired the phosphorylation of AKT in a mouse model of CP. In conclusion, Nox1 mediates fibrogenesis through the AKT pathway in mice with CP.
    • AN EXAMINATION OF MORAL PANICS: HOW THE FEAR OF SATANISM AFFECTED TABLETOP ROLE PLAYING

      Williams, Travis; Department of Biological Sciences; Department of Communication; Department of Anthropology & Philosophy; Augusta University; Johnson, Edgar; McClelland-Nugent, Ruth (2019-02-13)
      Moral panics around youth entertainment have been an occurrence as long as culture has been established. As long as youth entertainment has values that can be seen as going against the established values of the preceding generation, a moral panic could take place. The purpose of this research was to analyze how moral panics centered on youth entertainment begin and gain traction. To do this, the research was focused on the 1980s moral panic around tabletop roleplaying games, specifically�Dungeons & Dragons. By tracing the origin of the moral panic to the fear of cults and occult from the 1970s, we can find more context as to why some individuals believed that role playing games could cause adolescents to use the games as a style of dangerous escapism or as a gateway to the occult. To further understand this moral panic, an analysis of some of the major detractors of role playing games was done, as well as researching the role the media played in cultivating the moral panic. With a greater understanding on how moral panics begin and gain traction, this research can be used to compare and contrast other moral panics around youth entertainment.