Recent Submissions

  • Complexation Of Holmium With Tributyl Phosphate In Bis (Trifluoromethylsulfonyl)Imide Ionic Liquid Solutions

    Meeker, David; Department of Chemistry and Physics (2016-03)
    A growing area of interest is in the search for significantly safer and more eco-friendly improvements to nuclear fuel reprocessing. One proposal that addresses these issues involves the use of room temperature ionic liquids in the place of tradition- al organic solvents. Unlike the current commonly used solvents, most ionic liquids are nonvolatile and nonflammable, which greatly reduces the risk of industrial accidents and environmental contamination; other potential benefits involve monitoring applications using electrochemistry. The focus of our research involves understanding the coordination behavior of trivalent lanthanide ions (a common byproduct of spent nuclear fuel) in ionic liquids and the extraction behavior of the metal complexes between organic and aqueous phases. The lanthanide, holmium, was dissolved in the super-acid hydrogen bis(trifluoromethyl- sulfonyl)imide, and diluted to form an aqueous solution of known concentration. The holmium solution was then equilibrated with samples of organic ionic liquids, containing the bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide anion, with dissolved tributyl phosphate (TBP, the PUREX extractant) in the ionic liquid phase. Visible absorbance spectroscopy was used to determine partition coefficients of holmium at varied [TBP], and at varied extraction times for kinetics. Results will be presented from the kinetics study and the distribution ratios of holmium in these ionic liquids. Funding Source: Department of Chemistry and Physics
  • Synthesis and Characterization of Novel Nanothermometers

    Baumert, Delphine; George, Larsen; Murph, Simona; Department of Chemistry and Physics (2016-03)
    Nanothermometers enable the measurement of local temperatures at nanoscale dimensions (1-100 nm), which can provide insight into many biological and industrial applications. Previously synthesized nanothermometers are similar to molecular beacons, consisting of fluorescently labeled stem-loop DNA strands linked to gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) via a thiol-gold link- age. The principle behind their operation is that the fluorophore is quenched by the nanoparticle due to the self-binding of the stem-loop DNA at low temperatures. As the nanothermometers are heated, the stem-loop unfolds at its characteristic melting point, and as a result, the fluorophore is no longer in the quenching region of the nanoparticle and a dramatic rise in fluores- cence will occur. The temperature response of the nanothermometer can be selected by optimizing the sequence of the DNA strand. Typically, the AuNPs only serve to quench the fluorophores in these types of nanothermometers. However, by anchoring stem-loop DNA to functional nanoparticles, a new type of system is created, one which can provide tailored functionality and also real-time, local temperature information. For example, AuNPs can be used for their catalytic, plasmonic and visible light properties, Fe2O3 nanoparticles can be used for their magnetic and photocatalytic properties, and Pd can be used for catalysis or hydrogen storage. In an effort to create nanothermometers that also possess these multifunctional properties, we have successfully synthesized a variety of nanothermometers supported by a variety of nanoparticles, including Au, Au-Fe2O3, Pd, Pd-Fe2O3, and Au-Pd-Fe2O3 nanoparticles. The obtained nanothermometers are currently being characterized by fluorescence spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, UV-Vis spectroscopy, and phase analysis light scattering (PALS). Funding Source: Department of Energy
  • 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
  • Cloning, Purification, and Inhibition of the SUV39H2 Histone Methyl Transferase

    Jones, Preston Dimitri; Department of Chemistry and Physics (2016-03)
    The most significant challenge in treating human colorectal cancer (CRC) is metastasis of the cancer. Although the study of colorectal cancer metastasis is still elementary, it is known that silencing of Fas expression is a hallmark of human colorectal cancer metastasis. The Fas protein is a member of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF)- a receptor superfamily that plays a major role in the regulation of programmed cell death. The interaction of Fas with its ligand, Fas L, triggers a signal cascade that ends in apoptosis. Silencing of Fas expression thus allows cancer cells to evade cell death triggered by the immune system. In human CRC patients, the Fas promoter is characterized by high H3K9 trimethylation (H3K9me3). This methylation is primarily caused by histone methyl transferases such as SUV39H2. We hypothesize that inhibiting H3K9 trimethylation is a potential anti-cancer strategy. To study this possibility, the gene for human SUV39H2 was cloned into pET21 and the protein was overexpressed in E.coli BL21- DE3 cells. The activity of the purified protein will be tested against various inhibitors. Funding Source: National Science Foundation
  • Cash Flow Pattern Analysis of Fraud and Non-Fraud Firms: A Comparison and Contrast

    Runger, Shannon; Department of Business Administration (2016-03)
    In the aftermath of the major financial scandals that came to light in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, many researchers have begun looking into fraud detection and prediction. My research seeks to determine whether or not a company’s cash flow pattern is an indicator of fraud. A cash flow pattern consists of either a positive or negative flow of cash in the three categories relating to a company’s cash activities: operational, financial and investment. They are located on the financial report known as the Statement of Cash Flows. To conduct this research, I randomly selected 30 companies from a mixture of over 250 companies. These companies are known to have released fraudulent financial statements in the past few decades according to releases by the Securities and Exchange Commission. I matched these 30 fraud companies with similarly sized companies in the same industry based on assets. From here, I will review the distribution of cash flow patterns based on financial data from one year prior to the fraudulent activity. After running some statistical tests on the data, I will analyze the findings and determine the outcome of the research.
  • Intercultural Praxis: Communicating with Public Art

    Granade, Payton; Department of Communications (2016-03)
    My research is a continuation of a project that began in Dr. Melanie O’Meara’s fall 2015 Intercultural Communication course. The objective of our final project was to design a mock Art the Box that best represented the theory of intercultural praxis as discussed in Kathryn Sorrell’s “Intercultural Communication: Globalization and Social Justice.” Art the Box is a public art campaign to decorate Augusta area traffic boxes. Intercultural praxis is the process of critical analysis, reflection, and action for effective intercultural communication in the context of globalization. My goal is to see how art affects the way individuals communicate and changes points of view without the need for verbal communication. Sometimes we may think we do not see or hear something, but in reality, that something made an internal impression on our life. Creating a design that best communicates intercultural blindness around us will also help achieve this goal. My intention is to complete the box by the end of spring 2016, after I will begin my research on the effects of communication through art.
  • The Rope Method as a Public Relations Process

    White, Ashley; Awalt, Taylor; Steinberg, Aaryn; Woods, Cody; Bowie, Kristen; Department of Communications (2016-03)
    The Department of Communications senior capstone team will execute a public relations campaign for the Phi Kappa Phi Research Conference. The team will start the project by researching our client, looking at details of previous conferences, and identifying the target audiences. The team will survey the Phi Kappa Phi team, along with current and former presenters to provide a greater background about the conference. Objectives for the campaign will be set immediately after research is completed. These objectives will be measurable and attainable with a deadline. They will also act as goals that the team wants to complete in order to be successful in the campaign. The objectives will be put into action during the programming of the campaign. The bulk of the programming will consist of the act of publicizing the event, and the entirety of the event itself. Each component that will be carried out during the conference will be considered part of the programming. This will also include our presentation of the campaign during the conference. During and after the conference our team will evaluate all areas of the event and provide feedback to the Phi Kappa Phi chapter at Augusta University.