• A 20 Year Period on The Supreme Court’s Decisions Concerning Search and Seizure

      Augustin, Rudson; Department of Political Science (2016-03)
      My poster presentation will present my Honors Thesis. This thesis evaluates the past rulings of the United States Supreme Court in order to determine whether or not a shift occurred within the area of search and seizure since September 11, 2001. Fifty-six cases are used to evaluate a possible shift—28 cases pre-September 11th and 28 cases post-September 11th. Septem- ber 11th is chosen because that is when the debate between privacy and security began. The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (USA PATRIOT Act) is used to analyze the aesthetics of the ongoing debate. This research examines the directionality of the decisions based on ideology to determine if there is a shift in the court’s rulings after September 11th. A t-test is used in order to evaluate the pre- and post-September 11th cases. The differences between the two time periods indicate that there is no statistically significant difference between pre- and post-September 11th. This result matters because it demonstrates that September 11th has no noticeable effect on the Supreme Court’s rulings regarding search and seizure.
    • A Study of Human Skin Color, a Natural Sunscreen: Physiology, Molecular Evolution, Public Health and Student Learning

      Ayala, Juan; Mukhopadhyay, Soma; Biological Sciences; Mukhopadhayay, Soma; Augusta University (1/30/2020)
      Human skin coloration is a combination of pigmentation, ultraviolet (UV) exposure, gene expression and natural selection. Skin tone is also associated with several physiological processes, such as vitamin D synthesization, calcium homeostasis, maintaining proper blood folate concentration, and the production of serotonin. In recent years, the study of molecular evolution has become very significant not only to understand the human body but also becoming an integral part for understanding public health and other fields of medical science. Our goal of this project was to create an interactive course module for Anatomy and Physiology students to show how skin physiology was driven by evolutionary pressures. Also, the module was intended to show how exposure to some UV radiation is important for certain biological processes and to offer protection against cancer and on the other hand how overexposure might cause damage and lead to cancer. Students were introduced to molecular evolution of skin color and the production of different pigments, eumelanin and pheomelanin to shield DNA from harmful UV light. Additionally, UVAB and UVC irradiance were measured and compared to the UV index which indicates the strength of UV radiation for the day to make people aware of the environmental factors arou
    • Ac3/Ac-Associated Protein 1 Complex Regulates Actin Filament Dynamics In Pancreatic

      Newsome, Ariel; Department of Biological Sciences (2016-03)
      Adenylyl cyclase-associated protein 1 (CAP1) is a scaffolding protein involved in the regulation of actin filament formation and cell motility. CAP1 plays a role in the motility of pancreatic cancer cells. Using co-immunoprecipitation, our data showed an upregulation of adenylyl cyclase 1 and 3, and an association with CAP1 in pancreatic cancer cell lines, HPAC and PANC-1. The goal of this project was to study whether CAP1 links AC1 and AC3 to globular actin in pancreatic cancer cells. AC1 or AC3 was knocked down using small interference RNA. After stimulation with forskolin, a direct stimulator of adenylyl cyclase, HPAC and PANC-1 cells were lysed. Total lysate was rotated with anti-actin antibody followed by complex collection with an immuno- precipitation reagent. The immunocomplexes were probed with anti-CAP1 antibody in western-blotting. The results showed that in scrambled siRNA cells stimulated with forskolin, the association between CAP1 and actin was not affected. The CAP1-actin complex was impaired in AC3-deficient cells, but was not modified in AC-1 deficient cells. In conclusion, CAP1 acts as a scaffolding protein by holding the complex between G-actin and AC3, but not AC1. Funding Source: Center for Undergraduate Research & Scholarship, Department of Biological Sciences, Scholarly Activity Award

      Hassan, Nazeera; Zarzour, Abdalrahman; Department of Biological Sciences; Department of Medicine; College of Allied Health Sciences; Kim, Ha Won; Weintraub, Neal; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      Our group has previously identified histone deacetylase 9 (HDAC9) as a regulator of adipocyte differentiation, and its expression levels were elevated in diet induced obese (DIO) mice.� We also reported that global HDAC9 deletion protected mice against DIO through promoting beige adipogenesis. Here, we hypothesized that adipose HDAC9 correlate with human obesity similar to murine models, and its deletion is sufficient to protect against DIO. To test this hypothesis we crossed HDAC9 floxed mice with adiponectin-cre mice to generate adipose-specific HDAC9 knockout mice (AdipCre-HDAC9), which exhibited 30% less weight gain when fed high fat diet compared to control despite increased food intake, in association with increased energy combustion & O2 consumption, improved insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. However, unlike global HDAC9 deletion, this was not associated with increased beige adipogenesis nor increase in brown adipose tissue function. Interestingly, AdipoCre-HDAC9 mice fed normal chow diet didn�t exhibit altered energy expenditure nor weight differences when compared to littermate controls. These finding suggest that adipose HDAC9 regulate energy expenditure in response to high fat diet and can be a promising therapeutic target to combat obesity.
    • Alone at Home: Alienation in Ragtime

      Quinton, Rachel; Department of English & Foreign Languages (2017-03)
      This analysis looks at E.L. Doctorow's novel, Ragtime. Throughout the work, Doctorow hints at the blurring of belonging in reality in Pre-World War I America, resulting in alienation. Using a Marxist and Postmodernism lens, this essay focuses on alienation that functions on two levels - the dissociation of the individual from social belonging and through a coercive superstructure of media that separates characters from historical reality. The characters in Ragtime, both in the central family and outside, can identify with at least one level of alienation. By observing the characters through these lenses, it becomes apparent how they are shaped by their alienation. In this context the characters within the novel Ragtime serve as an example of alienation manifested through a dissociation from reality and organized by a coercive media beholden to a capital economic pressure. This observation highlights the value of identity and how the media can affect the way others look at "the reality" behind such identities. It also considers the extent of how media integrates itself into daily life and how this influence is controlled by the base of all society: the economy. Doctorow's book suggests there is a separation of truth from media, and reality from identity.
    • Analyzing the Multifaceted Uses of Twitter and YouTube to Influence the Middle-Class Female Vote during the 2012 Presidential Election

      Carter, Sarah; Department of Communications (2016-03)
      Modern social media applications have revolutionized the ways that public relations practitioners perform their work and conduct their research due to the usability, versatility and compatibility of these contemporary technologies. For example, during the 2012 election cycle, both President Barack Obama’s and Politician Mitt Romney’s electoral campaigns extensively employed popular social media outlets, such as Twitter and YouTube, to engage and more effectively encourage their electorate to become more politically involved online. My honors thesis defines several operational definitions and explores how modern social media applications, particularly Twitter and YouTube, were used effectively during the 2012 presidential election to target and critically influence both their general electorate and middle-class females. I briefly mention descriptive statistical research and qualitative data from the 2008 presidential election; however, my paper primarily focuses on data from the 2012 election. In conclusion, my thesis investigates the content and variety of political messages that were relayed through social media (i.e., Twitter and YouTube) by President Barack Obama’s and Politician Mitt Romney’s media strategists during the 2012 presidential election and the channels of communication that were employed throughout the election cycle.
    • Anion Monitoring of Rae's Creek by Ion Chromatography

      Walton, Amberly; Hamilton, Sterling; Myers, Stephanie; Department of Chemistry & Physics (2017-03)
      Golf courses generally require large amounts of fertilizer to maintain their course appearance. Fertilizer is a source of phosphate- and nitrogen- based compounds. These compounds can have negative effects on aquatic life if there are large amounts introduced to the surface water. The effect of a golf course on anion concentrations in Rae’s Creek was studied using ion chromatography. Over the course of one year, the following anions were tracked: nitrate, nitrite, sulfate, phosphate, bromide, and chloride. The concentrations of the anions were high enough to allow quantitative measurements and changes were observed, but the concentrations remained below EPA guidelines for streams.

      Schinder, Sonya; Department of Chemistry and Physics; Panda, Silva; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      Aging is a multifarious natural process, linked with several biochemical and morphological variations in the biological system. Aging not only challenges the increased vulnerability as well as homeostasis network to the cognition and locomotion but also to physical, mental or social activities. Medicinal plants have been used since ancient time to cure and prevent various diseases. Several natural compounds such as isoflavones, anthocyanins, and catechins isolated from plant sources act as a potent antioxidant against ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species).�Antioxidants, especially natural antioxidants are recommended for the prevention of aging. In this study, we utilized an unexplored traditional medicinal plant�Aporosa octandra�(Buch.-Ham. ex D. Don) that�belongs to the family�Euphorbiaceae,�sub-family Phyllanthaceae that is shrub to tree, up to 15 m high and comprises of 50 species, which are distributed throughout Asian regions. This plant is enlisted as a medicinal plant and is used for centuries in the Ayurvedic system. We investigated phytochemical contents of the plant and evaluated the biological activity.
    • Are NFL teams getting the most out of their wins? The Efficiency of Year End Revenues of Ten NFL Teams

      Gonzales, Savanna; Thompson, Mark; Hull College of Business; Thompson, Mark; Hull College of Business; Hoffman, Todd; Department of English and Foreign Languages; Hunt, David; Pamplin College; Augusta University (2018-02-12)
      Major sports have taken over many prominent industries in today's world. With the economic impact of athletics comes its evolution from a spectator event into a business. Each team in the major leagues is now not only pressured to produce winsbut as a business, they must also bring in revenue. This means that efficiencyof funds is a vital goal of team managers and financial specialists. Thisresearch projectexaminesthe effects of various factors on year-end revenues for the top ten most valuable teams in the National Football League. Through the use of a DEA model that analyzes such inputs as income, team record and stand out players we areable to determine how efficiently each team is performing based on their revenues, or the output. Of the 10 teams studied, 5 were deemed efficient while 5 were deemed inefficient.Teams that didnot see successful revenue reports were analyzed based on their weaknesses and offered recommendations on which to improve where efficient teams were used a comparison. Ultimately, the goal of this research is to identify factors to improve revenue efficiency across the league as a whole by looking at the top performing teams (or best practices).
    • Asian Pride & Prejudice: The Relationship Between Ethnic Identity & Mental Illness Stigma

      Fang, Shawn; Department of Psychological Sciences (2017-03)
      As Asian health professionals increasingly diversify the medical workplace, their early upbringing – characterized by acculturation, social identity, and “face” concern – may potentially exert influence on their own perceptions of mental illness. Such perceptions, often stigmatizing against others, could impact provision of medical care to the community at large. This study examines the hypothesized correlation between 1) strength of ethnic identity – as measured by an adapted version of the East Asian Ethnic Identity Scale – and 2) degree of mental illness stigma – as measured by an adapted pre-medical student version of the Mental Illness: Clinician’s Attitudes Scale. Conclusions will stem from statistical analysis of self-report online survey responses from Asian full-time college students enrolled in healthcare-oriented undergraduate studies (i.e. medicine, nursing, physical therapy, etc.). The broad aim of this study is to discern how the influence of ethnic identity could potentially interact with and predict mental illness stigma in the future patient care provided by aspiring Asian healthcare professionals. My presentation will discuss the literature-based premise for studying the intersection of culture and stigma, and I will summarize proposed protocol for the research process.
    • Assessing Blackworms as a Model for Studying AVM

      Frazier, Eric; Wiley, Faith; Department of Biological Sciences (2017-03)
      Avian Vacuolar Myelinopathy (AVM) is a neurological disease that affects certain species of birds within the Southeastern region of the United States. Research suggests that this disease is linked to the consumption of a cyanobacterial species inhabiting hydrilla, an invasive aquatic weed. The objective of this experiment is to assess whether blackworms are a good model for studying AVM. Blackworms are invertebrate organisms usually found in marshes, swamps and ponds. These organisms are commonly used in toxicity testing due to many factors such as having a low level of maintenance and being cost efficient. Blackworms were initially exposed to concentrated extracts of hydrilla/cyanobacteria for a period of five days. There was no difference in mortality between control and treatment worms. Two additional experiments are currently being conducted to examine potential sublethal effects. Regrowth of blackworm body segments and rate of asexual reproduction are being examined in worms exposed to the hydrilla extracts, as well as to water and sediment collected from Lake Thurmond, GA during an AVM event.
    • Assessing Local Parks for their Infrastructure Issues, and Use.

      Shabu, Elizabath; Peritore, Nicole; Kinesiology and Health Science; Peritore, Nicole; Augusta University (1/29/2020)
      This research project assessed public park physical activity infrastructure use in Richmond and Columbia County. Prior research has shown that children not only enjoy outdoor time but also consider parks as a place for socializing. Further, research has shown that playground time positively impacts children imagination. The playground also aids in the physical fitness of children by offering interactive experiences that can add into the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Park assessments were conducted utilizing the Physical Activity Resource Assessment (PARA) Tool and found that overall parks in both counties were well taken care of. Additionally, there was a wide variety of amenities available to utilize. There were some areas of concern in the parks however, which included cigarette buds, alcohol containers, trash and cracked sidewalks. In both counties, parks were observed to see how much children utilized the playground equipment. Observations concluded that the majority of the children utilized the different variety of equipment, with the swings and slides being the most commonly employed. In conclusion, this presentation will describe the diversity of amenities, challenges in maintenance, and the overall use of public parks in Richmond and Columbia Counties.
    • Assessing Medical Students Knowledge in Diagnosis and Initial Treatment of Depression

      Youssef, Nagy A.; Thomas, Andria; Ange, Brittany; Yassa, Mark; Boswell, Elizabeth; Wallach, Paul M.; Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior; Department of Psychological Sciences; Department of Chemistry and Physics; Augusta University (2017-03)
      Depression is one of the leading causes of premature death, and one of the highest burdens of overall disability. Depression rates are around 13% in primary care settings. Depressive episodes are still underdiagnosed and undertreated. Factors that contribute to this include lack of detailed knowledge, lack of confidence in treatments among others. Thus, addressing these gaps would improve patients care. Moreover, bipolar depression can be difficult to distinguish from unipolar; and requires a different treatment. Improving education of students in these areas would improve care for patients. Aims are as follows: 1) assess students’ level of confidence and knowledge in diagnosing and treating depression, and any barriers to gaps in knowledge, 2) assess students’ knowledge in differential diagnosis of depression and any barriers to gaps in knowledge. We are assessing these by an online survey on website used by Medical College of Georgia for student questionnaires, sent to all third-year medical students after internal medicine rotation. The survey is sent through academic affairs office. This will provide valuable knowledge in improving our education and curriculum for the new generation of physicians.

      Kumar, Aria (Arundhati); Appel, Joanna; Wyatt, Tasha; College of Science and Mathematics; Department of Neuroscience & Regenerative Medicine; Appel, Joanna; Augusta University (1/31/2020)
      Neuroanatomy requires students to acquire, assimilate, and apply knowledge of complex neuroanatomical structures. Three-dimensional (3D) physical models and computer-aided digital models are effective in promoting the development of neuroanatomical spatial representations. However, what remains unclear is exactly which tools benefit students the most. This study investigates whether there is a relationship between individuals' spatial abilities and their neuro-spatial knowledge, and to determine whether learning neuroanatomy is enhanced using one of three instructional tools. The spatial aptitude of undergraduate medical students enrolled in neuroanatomy was measured by tests previously validated as predictors of visual-spatial abilities, and a spatial aptitude profile was generated for each student. Students were given a pretest designed to assess critical spatial skills within the context of applied-neuroanatomy. Following the pretest, students attended a learning session where they interacted with one of three learning tools: a) 3D printed neuroanatomical models, b) 3D virtual neuroanatomical models, or c) hands-on deep-brain dissection. Effectiveness of each tool on student learning was evaluated by posttest. Preliminarily, all three instructional tools proved effective when assessing percentage change in pretest:posttest scores. Data is under analysis to determine if there exists an interplay between individual students' spatial abilities and the effectiveness of each learning tool.
    • Assessment of BRET between NanoLuc and Various Fluorescent Dyes

      DuPlain, Holly; Department of Chemistry and Physics (2016-03)
      Bioluminescence is a natural phenomenon whereby light is emitted by a living organism. This light is generated when a sub- strate is reacted upon by enzymes called luciferases. Bioluminescence Resonance Energy Transfer (BRET) is a technique that relies on a luciferase (donor) to transfer energy to a fluorescent molecule (acceptor). If the donor and acceptor are in close proximity and their emission and excitation spectra overlap, the acceptor absorbs energy from the donor and light is emitted at a longer wavelength. This spectral shift can be quantified. One such luciferase is NanoLuc (Nluc), a genetically engineered en- zyme from Oplophorus gracilirostris. In order to explore the use of Nluc as a donor in BRET, we cloned the gene for Nluc into the plasmid vector pET21c(+). Formation of recombinant DNA was verified by agarose gel electrophoresis. After transformation of the recombinant plasmid into E. coli BL21 cells, Nluc protein containing a C-terminal His6 tag was over-expressed and purified using affinity chromatography. Purification yielded a relatively pure protein with a molecular weight of 19 kDa as judged by SDS-PAGE. Activity of the protein was verified by measuring its ability to generate light in the presence of coelenterazine. The ability of Nluc in conjunction with various acceptors, both attached and free at varying concentrations, to perform BRET will be assessed using luminometry and fluorescence spectroscopy. Funding Source: Center for Undergraduate Research Summer Scholars Program and Department of Chemistry and Physics
    • Assisting and Assimilating: How Culturally-Competent Care and Community-Centeredness Impact Quality of Life for Minority Members

      Thompson, Taylor; Department of English and Foreign Languages (2016-03)
      Most Americans are aware that the United States’ population is headed toward a minority-majority. Although demographers expect this shift to take at least another decade, the minority-majority is already a reality among the nation’s children. In 2014, 50.2% of America’s children under the age of five were minority group members. In 2016, the U.S. faces an influx of refugees and changing ethnic distributions, as Mexican immigrants return home in greater numbers while Asian immigrants arrive in greater proportions. In light of these facts, two community efforts are increasingly essential: preparing culturally-competent public servants and promoting resources available to both immigrants and minorities. This presentation will address both of these goals by first presenting a model for culturally-competent job training in The University of Texas at El Paso’s Master of Social Work Program, and then highlighting the services and successes of some of the CSRA’s minority-serving organizations.
    • ATAD3A: a critical driver for head and neck cancer

      Caleb Jensen; Yong Teng; Liwei Lang; Biological Sciences; Yong Teng; Augusta University (1/15/2020)
      For patients with head and neck cancer whose tumors are HPV negative HPV(-), current therapy does not lead to significant longevity and most succumb to loco-regional recurrence of the primary tumor. We discovered that HPV(-) head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) highly expressed ATPase family AAA-domain containing protein 3A (ATAD3A). ATAD3A is the mitochondrial protein, which has been demonstrated as an oncogene in breast and lung cancer. However, nothing has been reported regarding its role in HNSCC. Using the HPV(-) HNSCC cell line HN12 as a cell model, we show here that knockout of ATAD3A expression by CRISPR-CAS9 in HNSCC cells, leading to reduced cell proliferation and decreased the ability of colony formation and anchorage-independent growth in soft agar. Importantly, ATAD3A loss also significantly suppressed HNSCC cells to grow in 3D culture. Together, these findings suggest the potential oncogenic role of ATAD3A in HNSCC cells, and implicate that ATAD3A represents a promising target for better treatment of patients with HPV(-) HNSCC.

      Zimmerman, Matthew; Bennetts, Stacy; Biological Sciences; Bennetts, Stacy; Augusta University (1/31/2020)
      Pediomelum piedmontanum, Dixie Mt. Breadroot, is a rare legume species that was discovered in 2006. Currently, there are only three known populations, which are growing in either serpentine or phyllite soil. Both soil types contain extremely high concentrations of Mg as well as some other heavy metals. Previous experiments have revealed that propagation of P. piedmontanum is unsuccessful in potting soil, with high levels of mortality approximately two months after germination. Since Mg is unusually high in both soil types, it was hypothesized that survivability and growth of seedlings would be greater with Mg enriched soil than in potting soil. In order to test this hypothesis, seedlings from a phyllite population (7 plants/pot with 3 replicate pots/Mg group and 2 pots/control) were transplanted into one of the following potting soil enrichments: 50μM MgSO4, 100μM MgSO4 or controls with no Mg enrichment. During 12 weeks, seedlings in 100μM Mg displayed the greatest survivability and shoot growth, with the lowest survivability in control pots. Atypical Mg requirements have been noted in the literature for some plants adapted to serpentine soil, but this is a unique discovery for a population adapted to phyllite.
    • AU IT Data Management Services and Challenges

      Buenger, Anthony; Information Technology at Augusta University
    • Avatars of Vishnu in Hindu Culture

      Thompson, Celeste; Srivatsa, Abhiram; College of Science and Mathematics; Heckman, Christina; Department of English and Foreign Languages; Rust, Brian; Department of Art; Augusta University (2018-02-12)
      According to the Hindu religion, Vishnu, the God of Preservation, incarnates on earth in times of trouble. Whenever there is a threatening evil, Vishnu comes down to Earth in various forms, or avatars, to defend righteousness by eliminating the evil. Thereare a total of ten major avatars of Vishnu that Hindu tradition focuses on. These avatars are collectively known as the dashavatar, which literally translates to "ten avatars" in the ancient language of Sanskrit. This presentation focuses on three specific incarnations of Vishnu: Matsya, Kurma, and Narasimha. Matsya is a fish-form avatar who saves humanity from devastating floods. Kurma is a giant turtle incarnation who steadies a mountain on his shell. Narasimha is a half-lion half-man avatar who defeats an evil tyrant. This presentation will introduce and then show a video that was made as a Humanities project, which highlights the stories of Matsya, Kurma, and Narasimha. Utilizing Final Cut Pro and incorporating high quality images, the video explains the significance of Vishnu and of these three incarnations in the Hindu religion.