• Integration of the Study of Molecular Evolution for Better Understanding of the Human Body

      Judy, Adam; Judy, Adam; Sanyal, Nilabhra M.; Sanyal, Nilabhra M.; Department of Biological Sciences; Department of Biological Sciences (2016-03201)
      Evolution by Natural Selection, proposed by Darwin and Wallace in the nineteenth century was mostly based on the paleontological evidences of animals and the study of the species. The rapid progress in molecular genetics and genomics from the mid-20th century helped us to better understand the molecular basis behind evolution and the link leading to the development of the advanced body mechanisms in humans. DNA is comprised of four bases across all the living species, within prokaryotes and eukaryotes as well as all other extinct species. But one small deviation at the molecular level in copying and translating the sequence can cause dramatic changes to a species over multiple generations, leading to speciation on a large scale. Humans differ by 1.2% genes with their closest ape ancestors, chimpanzees and bonobos. An advanced brain and higher level brain function was a major evolutionary advancement distinguishing Homo sapiens from its relatives. Evidence has also suggested that different illnesses, diseases, and other defects and benefits are linked to the differences in DNA among humans. Integration of the recent discoveries of how the gene sharing affects human bodies with traditional lecture will allow us to better understand the physiology thereby offering improved personalized health care. Funding Source: Department of Biological Sciences
    • Caspase 8 Activation in Colon Carcinoma Cells to Enhance Fasl-Induced Cytotoxicity by Tumor-Specific Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes

      Lovett, Ilene; Plotkin, Alexander; Land, Rachel; Coe, Genevieve; Gontee, Precious; Lee, Jacob; Department of Chemistry and Physics (2016-03)
      Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes (CTLs) are the major effectors of the host cancer immune surveillance. FasL-induced cytotoxicity is one of the two effector mechanisms that CTLs use to kill tumor cells. Fas is the physiological ligand of FasL and its expression and function is often deregulated in cancer cells. Ceramide is a sphingolipid metabolite that mediates Fas function. We aimed at testing the hypothesis that ceramide analogs are effective in modulating Fas function to sensitize colon carcinoma cells to FasL-induced apoptosis by tumor-specific CTLs. We show that Fas is expressed in human colon carcinoma cells. However, hu- man colon carcinoma cells are not sensitive to FasL-induced apoptosis. Based on structures of existing ceramide analogs and ceramidase inhibitors, we used rationale design and synthesized twenty ceramide analogs as putative Fas function modulators. Six of these twenty ceramide analogs, IG1, IG2, IG3, IG4, IG5 and IG6, exhibit potent activity in sensitization of human colon carcinoma cells to FasL-induced apoptosis. In the molecular mechanism level, we observed that all these six ceramide analogs dramatically increased FasL-induced activation of caspase 8, an essential initiator caspase of the Fas receptor-death-inducing signaling complex. Funding Source: Augusta University Research Institute
    • 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.
    • Integration of the Study of Molecular Evolution for Better Understanding of the Human Body

      Judy, Adam; Sanyal, Nilabhra M. (2016-03)
      Evolution by Natural Selection, proposed by Darwin and Wallace in the nineteenth century was mostly based on the paleontological evidences of animals and the study of the species. The rapid progress in molecular genetics and genomics from the mid-20th century helped us to better understand the molecular basis behind evolution and the link leading to the development of the advanced body mechanisms in humans. DNA is comprised of four bases across all the living species, within prokaryotes and eukaryotes, as well as all other extinct species. But one small deviation at the molecular level in copying and translating the sequence can cause dramatic changes to a species over multiple generations, leading to speciation on a large scale. Humans differ from their closest ape ancestors, chimpanzees and bonobos, by 1.2% genes. An advanced brain and higher level brain function was a major evolutionary advancement distinguishing Homo sapiens from its relatives. Evidence has also suggested that different illnesses, diseases, defects and benefits are linked to the differences in DNA among humans. Integration of recent discoveries on how gene sharing affects human bodies with traditional lecture, will allow us to better understand the physiology, thereby offering improved personalized health care.
    • The Effects of Relaxing and Energizing Piano Music on Anxiety when Academically Stressed

      Santiago, Ashley; Department of Psychological Sciences (2016-03)
      The purpose of this study is to determine whether the type of piano music played affects participants’ anxiety levels during a mildly stressful event in an academic setting. For this experiment, relaxing piano music is compared with energizing piano music to investigate which music type has the greatest effect on decreasing symptoms of state anxiety. These two conditions will be compared to a control group of no music. My hypotheses are: 1) Those in the music conditions will have lower anxiety scores at the end of the experiment than those in the control condition; 2) Those in the music conditions will have a smaller increase in pre-post state anxiety scores than those in the control condition, 3) There will an interaction between trait anxiety and music condition on state anxiety scores so that those who are high in trait anxiety and in the control condition will have the highest post-test state anxiety scores; and 4) There will be negative associations between the post-state anxiety scores and participants’ perceptions of how helpful the music was, and how frequently they listen to music when stressed. I do not expect significant differences between the two music conditions on any of the dependent measures.
    • 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.
    • Evaluating the Effects of Plant Oils on Feral Hog Behavior and Populations at Cowden Plantation, Jackson, SC.

      West, Valerie; Hunter, Austin; Minter, Bradford; Department of Biological Sciences (2016-03)
      Our research was conducted on Cowden Plantation, located along the Savannah River in Jackson, SC. In a previous study, it was hypothesized that feral hogs were being repelled by imitation catnip oil scent. This led to the question of whether that effect could be replicated and if other mint oils would have a similar effect. The primary purpose of this study was to observe the effects of a variety of mint oil extracts on the behaviors of the feral hog populations at ten locations on the Plantation. Feral hogs (Sus scrofa) were observed, via camera trapping, responding to the following oil extracts: Imitation Catnip Oil, Peppermint Oil, Eucalyptus Oil, Spearmint Oil, and Pure Catnip Oil. Cuddeback (IR and Black Flash) trail cameras were placed in open and forested habitats to monitor the species appearance and reaction using video clips. Scents were rotated every two weeks at each location, and all sites included two control weeks. A newly saturated scent tab was placed at each location in front of the cameras at the beginning of every week, and image cards were exchanged on those occasions. In summary, each camera went through a fourteen-week rotation with a different scent rotated every other week. Population densities were measured based on the number of images captured with scents compared to images captured without scents. Animal behavior was monitored through video and categorized into four different scent reaction groups: Smelled, Repelled, Rubbed Against, and Tasted. The most feral hog activity and behavioral responses occurred around the mint oils in both habitat areas. Most activity was captured when the ambient temperatures were warmer, and the oils were more aromatic. Funding Source: Center for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship and Department of Biological Sciences