Dojack, Amanda; Schulte, Megahn; Meyers, Amos; Curry-McCoy, Tiana; Department of Kinesiology and Health Science; Department of Radiology; Holland, Angelia; Department of Kinesiology and Health Science; Augusta University (2018-02-12)
      Cognitive function and cardiovascular health often decline with age. Purpose: The relationship between cognitive performance and cardiovascular health in older versus younger men and women was examined. Methods: This cross-sectional study included 13 younger(18-35years old)and 10 older (55-75 years old) individuals. Participants visited the lab fasted and the following occurred in order: informed consent and questionnaires filled out, blood pressure and resting heart rate recorded, triglyceride and cholesterol measured via a fingerprick, anthropometric measures recorded, cognitive performance assessed via tests from the Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metrics, and a modified YMCA 3-minute step test assessed recovery heart rate. Results: No differences between male and female between six different cognitive tests. The older group demonstrated significantly greater scores on five of the six cognitive tests (P<0.01-0.05) and had a higher education level (P<0.001). The younger group had lower systolic (P<0.01) and diastolic (P<0.05) blood pressure while the older group demonstrated a lower resting heart rate (P<0.05). Females demonstrated a greater recovery heart rate (P<0.01) and total cholesterol (P<0.05) than males. There were no differences in age groups for BMI, fitness level, or glucose, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels. Conclusion: Higher education and fitness may negate age-related cognitive declines.
    • Energy Transfer Phenomenon with Nanoluciferase as Energy Donor

      Bailey, Joseph; Department of Chemistry and Physics; Spencer, Angela; Department of Chemistry and Physics; Augusta University (2018-02-12)
      Bioluminescence is a phenomenon that occurs where light is emitted from a chemical reaction that occurs in an organism.An enzyme called a luciferase assists in the catalysis of a reaction that releases the energy of broken bonds as light at a certain wavelength. Bioluminescence Resonance Energy Transfer (BRET) is a technique that utilizes a luciferase as an energy donor, whichemits energy from catalysis of a substrate. Fluorescence by Unbound Excitation from Luminescence (FUEL) deviates fromBRET slightly. FUEL involves an energy donor exciting an energy accepting particle; however, the acceptor and donor are unattached to each other. The luciferase being used as an energy donor is Nanoluciferase (Nluc)that emits light at 454 nm. Nluc beenmodified to expressa His-6 tag. The energy acceptors being used are Alexa 488, 555, and 647 and reemit light at the corresponding wavelength. Each of the Alexa dyes has been modified to include an anti-His antibody, causing attachment between Nluc and the respective Alexa dye.Energy transfer in the form of BRET did occur between Nluc and the Alexa 488 and minimally with Alexa 555. No energy transfer was noted with Alexa 647. Energy transfer was quantified using a fluorometer.
    • Epigenetic modifications in rat pancreas following ethanol abuse.

      Liao, Kristie; Nancy Jhanji; Pruitt, Allison; Patton, Tadd; Hernandez, Caterina; Department of Biological Sciences; College of Nursing; Department of Psychological Sciences; Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences; Sabbatini, Maria Eugenia; et al. (2018-02-12)
      Chronic consumption of alcohol can lead to pancreatitis, which can predispose to pancreatic cancer. Because combinations of histone modifications have been implicated in pancreatic tumorigenesis, our goal is to find histone modifications in pancreatic acinar cell nuclei following by ethanol abuse. As an animal model of alcoholism, alcohol preferring (P) rats and alcohol non-preferring rats (NP) were used. Histones were extracted from rat pancreatic nuclear fractions using 0.4 N sulfuric acid and dialysis. Histone modifications were studied by Western-blotting analysis using the following antibodies: anti-trimethyl-histone H3 at Lys9 (H3K9me3), anti-dimethyl-histone H3 at Lys9, anti-phospho-histone H3 at Ser10, anti-acetyl-histone H3 atLys14, anti-histone H3, anti-acetyl-histone H4, anti-histone H4. We found that alcohol abuse caused a decrease in the phosphorylation of histone H3. This result was observed in pancreatic tumor specimens.Further studies are needed to determine the extentto which both modifications are related and which gene expression is affected.
    • Evaluation of Wild Pig Behavioral Responses To Scent Exposure on Cowden Plantation, Jackson, SC.

      Hitchens, Samantha; Hitchens, Samantha; Saul, Bruce; Department of Biological Sciences; Saul, Bruce; Department of Biological Sciences; Augusta University (2018-02-12)
      Increased numbers of wild pigs (Sus scrofa) cause multi-faceted problems with complex destructive impacts. The worldwide spread has affected many cultures,makingit important to developmanagementmethodssuitable across different locales. Wild pigs areoften hunted with the assistance of dogs, however, this methodis not currently legal in all areas experiencinginvasive pig damage. Combining this with pigs'highly developed sense of smell led to the question: Can a natural scent functionas a satisfactory pig repellant? To investigate this hypothesis, we tested the following scents: dog hair, horseradish extract, cinnamon bark, camphor oil, tea-tree oil, and black pepper oil. Pigs' reactions were observed, via camera trapping,to weekly applications of each of the scents. Trail-cameras were placed atten locations along the Savannah River swamp on aprivate plantation.For three months, scents and dried corn (as an attractant) were rotated at each location. Image totals for each scent werecompared to image totals for controls. Behavior was categorized into threereaction groups: No Interaction, Interaction-Not Repelled, Interaction-Repelled. Pigs were not often repelled bythe scents whilethe attractantwas present. The majority of scent-related activity occurred after the attractants had been consumed.
    • An examination of the morale of Women During the United States Civil War

      Williams, Rebecca; Department of History, Anthropology, & Philosophy; Hayes, John; Department of History, Anthropology, & Philosophy; Augusta University (2018-02-12)
      An examination of the morale of Women During the United States Civil WarThis paper is analysis of morale of women during the American Civil War. In the past, when discussing the Civil War classes covered a majority of battles and events instead of expanding about the people. One main focus covered is the change from women believing political affairs were not their concern to wanting to be involved due to the effects they felt such as separation, lack of protection and the adjustment to new responsibilities. The main focus of the research is class and religion. Comparing the common experiences of women in the upper class to women in lower classes in Georgia is a valuable tool when analysing the Civil war through a socioeconomic lense. It is also valuable to examine the feelings the women had toward god as the war progressed. Thereligious practices of women during the Civil war is reflects the morale of the women in Georgia. This paper offers sociocultural perspective of state history and gender roles.
    • Examining the Effects of Aetokthonos hydrillicola extract on Oxidative Stress in C6 Cells

      Ward, Kayla; College of Science and Mathematics; Wiley, Faith; College of Science and Mathematics; Augusta University (2018-02-12)
      Aetokthonos hydrillicola,a species ofcyanobacteria,has colonized an invasive species of hydrilla in the lakes of the Southeastern United States. This cyanobacterium is suspected to cause Avian Vacuolar Myclinopathy (AVM). AVM is a neurological disease that affect birds. Bald eagles and American coots havebeen primarily studied and known to be affected by AVM. Symptoms of AVM consist of brain lesions, loss of basic motor skills, and the disease often leads to death. Extracts of A. hydrillicolaare toxic to C6 cells, and this cell line is used as a model toexamine the mechanism of toxicity. The aim of this research project is to understand the role of oxidative stress in A. hydrillicolacytotoxicity and determine if antioxidant compounds may protect the cells. Common oxidative stress inhibitors, Gingko bilobaextracts and selenium, have been tested in different concentrations in order to determine if oxidative stress is present and preventable. These compounds did not prevent toxicity in the C6 cells exposed to the cyanobacterial extracts. The presence of oxidative stress in cytotoxicity will be further tested using oxidative stress analysis tests as well as other antioxidant compounds. Various measures of oxidative stress will be used to assess if oxidative damage occurs following exposure to the cyanobacterial extract.
    • Expression and Treatment of Pain-Related Depression of Fixed-Ratio and Progressive-Ratio Food-Maintained Behavior in Rats

      Baker, Frederick; Frazier, Eric; Marshall, Laura; Sinclair, Sequoia; Thakkar, Parth; Department of Psychological Sciences; Miller, Laurence; Department of Psychological Sciences; Augusta University (2018-02-12)
      Increasingly, preclinical studies on the expression, mechanisms, and treatment of pain have been aimed at improving understanding of pain-related interference with behavior. Positively reinforced operant behaviors are sensitive to depression by physiologically relevant pain stimuli. Most studies using operant conditioning procedures to examine pain-related depression of behavior have used fixed-ratio schedules of reinforcement. The primary dependent variable in these studies is the rate of behavior. In contrast, the primary dependent variable in studies using progressive-ratio schedules of reinforcement is breakpoint. Breakpoint is defined as the total number of reinforcers earned, and is thought to be related to the subject's motivation to obtain the reinforcer. This study examined effects of pain and analgesic manipulations on behavior maintained under fixed-ratio and progressive-ratio schedules of behavior. Intraperitoneal injection of dilute lactic acid was more potent at depressing behavior under the fixed-ratio schedule compared to the progressive-ratio schedule. Ketoprofen was equipotent at blocking pain-related depression of behavior maintained under both schedules. These findings support the validity of operant procedures astools to examine candidateanalgesics for the treatment of pain-related depression of behavior. Moreover, the use of diverse schedules of reinforcement may yield important scientific information on the mechanisms underlying pain-related interference with behavior.
    • Expression of Bcl-2 in MCF-7 cells treated with PFOA

      Glenn, Manderrious; Glenn, Manderrious; Gaw, Tori; Cannon, Jennifer; Department of Biological Sciences; Cannon, Jennifer; Department of Biological Sciences; Augusta University (2018-02-12)
      Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), also known as C8, is a man-made chemical that has the ability to repel oil and water. For that reason, it is used to manufacture a number of consumer goods like cookware and clothing. PFOA is an endocrine disruptor as it interferes with normal hormonal processes and proposes a health concern in high concentrations due to its high stability and its persistence in the environment and in our bodies. Previous research in our lab has shown that MCF-7 breast cancer cells treated with 50?M and100?M PFOA for 48h show a 25% decrease in cell viability. A significant decrease in estrogen receptor alpha (ER?) mRNA and protein and the reduction of peroxisome-proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPAR ?) mRNA levels are thought to be associated with apoptosis in these cells. Experiments using the Caspase-Glo® 3/7 Assay (Promega) were used to determine that MCF-7 decreased viability in response to PFOA is in fact due to apoptosis. It is hypothesized that this PFOA-induced apoptosis may be caused by decreased levels of anti-apoptotic factors such as Bcl-2. We are using the Qiagen® RT2Profiler PCR Apoptosis Array and western blotting to determine the levels of Bcl-2 in control and PFOA-treated MCF-7 cells.
    • Forecasting Hotel Occupancy Rates in Augusta: Can Google Trends Improve Forecasts?

      Callison, Jamie; Hull College of Business; Thompson, Mark; Hull College of Business; Augusta University (2018-02-12)
      This project will develop models in an attempt to develop better forecasts of hotel occupancy for the market in Augusta, Georgiaby utilizing historical occupancy data and Google trends data. Using the historical data from the years 2012 through 2015, a series of five univariate modelswill be made with differing forecasting equations to forecast the year 2016. The forecast for theyear 2016 will be compared to actual occupancy data from 2016 to measure for errors. The models will then be re-estimated with additional keywords that will be chosen on the basis that they will be commonly used to search for and book hotels. Some terms will be specific to Augusta and others will be general for booking hotels. With those terms, an index will be created to weigh the terms according to their relevance throughout the year, according to Google trends. With the addition of the keywords, the newforecasts will be compared to actual occupancy data from 2016. Errors of the univariate models and the models utilizing Google trends data will be compared to determine the accuracy of the two forecasting techniques.
    • Geosmin and Methylisoborneol in Drinking Water

      Rocque, Anna; Flite, Oscar; Department of Chemistry and Physics; Klug, Christopher; Department of Chemistry and Physics; Augusta University; Columbia County Water Facility (2018-02-12)
      Geosmin and methylisoborneolare two compounds that affect the smell andtasteof drinking water, and bothcan affect the perceived quality of the water.A possiblemethod for the elimination of geosmin and methylisoborneol (MIB)is theuse of hydrogen peroxide and ultraviolet lightto oxidize the molecules during pre-treatment of drinking water.Samples from a scoping study, and samplesprepared at the Columbia County water treatment plant using a scaled-up method were provided, and the concentrationsof the geosmin and MIB were determinedto test the effectiveness of the treatment method. An Agilent Technologies GC-MS was used for analysis of samples on SPME fibers. Calibration curves were created using an internal standard, and were based on a USGS method. Geosmin was measured at two atomicmass to charge ratios andMIB was measured at one.The lower limits of detection were determined to be14.1 ng/Lfor geosmin and5.12 ng/Lfor MIB. While further tests are needed to validate the proposed method of treatment for these two molecules, some preliminary results will be discussed, and other factors will be addressed.
    • Guidelines for Healthy Food Production in an Urban Brownfield: Is Aquatic Vegetation Safe for Composting?

      Barrera, Bryuanna; Greene, Rhiley; Mondeddu, Sheena; Department of Biological Sciences; Clinical and Digital Health Sciences; Wear, Donna; Department of Biological Sciences; Augusta University (2018-02-12)
      Sibley Mill, located in the community of Harrisburgnear Augusta University, is a designated brownfield. The property was the site of theConfederate Powder Works and later that ofa cotton mill.Soil contaminantsinclude arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium,lead and mercury.There are documented cases of children in this community with elevated blood concentrations of lead. Risks associated with lead poisoning are damage to the brain and nervous system, slowed growth and development, and behavioral problems.The benefits of urban agricultureare wellestablished, but currently there are no guidelines for safe methods of food production in brownfields. Aquatic vegetation is removed weekly from the Augusta Canal to enablehydroelectric powergenerationat Sibley Mill. We are using this vegetationto implementa novel approach for the production of compostfor raised-bed gardening.We measured the concentrations of 14 heavy metals, prior to composting, to establishbaseline data. Concentrations of barium(253.3-962.4 ppm)and lead(4.1-16.5ppm)exceed the guidelines recommended for drinking waterand are the two metals of greatest concern for the productionof safe, usablecompost.
    • High glucose treated cells may lead to cellular senescence effecting function of bladder

      Vincent, Julie; Klee, Nicole; Webb, Clinton; Department of Physiology; College of Education; Klee, Nicole; Department of Physiology; Webb, Clinton; Augusta University (2018-02-12)
      Introduction: Diabetic bladder dysfunctioneffects 30-50% of all diabetespatientsand is characterized by symptoms of overactive and underactive bladder, which greatly effects quality of life.Diabetes is correlated with increased cellular senescence. Senescence is a physiologic phenomenon; however, chronic high levels can lead to tissue dysfunction. Multiple in vitrostudies have shown that high glucose exposure results in an increase in cellular senescent cells.The smooth muscle layer of the bladderis responsible for contraction and relaxation of the bladder; therefore, we hypothesize that primary bladder smooth muscle cells exposed to a high glucose environment will result in an increased number of cellular senescent cells.Methods:Rat primary BSMcells were incubated in normal glucose (4mM), high glucose (22mM), high mannitol (22mM), and bleomycin(+ control). Abeta-galactoside assay was utilized to visualize the presence of senescent cells.Results: Cells treated with high glucose exhibited increased cellular senescent cellscompared to both normal and high mannitol control. Conclusion: We conclude that high glucose exposure increases cellular senescence in primary bladder smooth muscle cells. An increased amount of cellular senescence within the smooth muscle layer of the bladder could contribute to bladder dysfunction as seen with diabetes.

      Brown, Jason; Department of Biological Sciences; Kim, Hyung-Goo; Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology; Augusta University (2018-02-12)
      Intellectual disability (ID) is characterized by substantial limitations in intellectual functioningbefore the age of 18. One of its causes is genetic etiology. Around 300 genesarebelieved to beinvolved in autosomal recessive ID (ARID). It is thought that there are still many more genes as yet undiscovered. Consanguineous families have higher rates of autosomal recessive disorders and so make a good population in which to study ARID. Phenol-chloroform extraction was performed on the bloodof five consanguineous Pakistani families with syndromic and non-syndromic ID to obtain DNA. The DNA wasgenotyped using an SNP microarray and homozygosity mapping was used to analyze the genotyping data to provide candidate regions within the chromosomes likely to contain genes involved in ID. A review of current literaturewasperformed to identify the most likely candidate genes among the identified regions in each family. In the most likely region from each family, 36 genes in total were identified as candidates for involvement with ID, with 17 identified as stronger candidates. This paves the way for future studies to provide more evidence for causation. DNA sequencing could be used to identify potentially causative mutations, which could then be tested in animal models.
    • Innovation in Improving General Chemistry Student Lab Performance

      Jain, Ash; Thompson, Celeste; Wilson, Michael; Department of Biological Sciences; Department of Chemistry and Physics; Wan, Yanjun; Department of Chemistry and Physics; Augusta University (2018-02-12)
      General Chemistry students often struggle with transitioning from high school level to college level chemistry not only in lectures but also in the corresponding labs. The teaching assistant (TA) of one of the General Chemistry I labs in the Fall 2017 semester noticed after the first 3 labs that students really struggled with linking what they had learned in lecture with the labs they were performing, resulting in low understanding and performance in labs. In an attempt to address this issue, the TA started to organize voluntary pre-lab meetings to review relevant concepts from lecture prior to each week's lab.This gradually turned into an undergraduate SoTL research because of the need to assess the effectiveness of and to provide guidance for future directions for such meetings. Despite the small sample size, this pilot study exhibited encouraging initial results that students who frequently attended these pre-lab meetings had outperformed their counterparts not only on the average performance in the latter labs but also in their understanding and performance in lectures. To repeat this study on a larger scale in the Spring 2018 semester, two of the students who had benefited from the pilot study joined this research to make these pre-lab meetings available to more students at various times, in the attempt to better assess and maximize the effectiveness of these meetings. Positive findings from the larger scale study could offer insights for the incorporation of similar practices into other chemistry labs in future.
    • Isolation and Culture of Microglia

      Doughty, Deanna; Venugopal, Natasha; Department of Biological Sciences; Bradford, Jennifer; Department of Biological Sciences; Augusta University (2018-02-12)
      Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most aggressive and common adult brain tumor subtype, with the majority of patients surviving less than one year. The GBM microenvironment is composed of tumor cells as well as non-cancerous cells, such as microglia, a component of the immune system in the brain. To better understand the role of microglia in GBM, we have optimized in vitroculture conditions for primary microglia. Growing microglia in culture is challenging, but this technique is needed for planned future experiments. Microglia were isolated from mouse neuronal tissue by magnetic bead antibody cell separation using the cellular marker CX3CR1. Isolated microglia were then cultured in various culture conditions, and cellular morphology by light microscopy was used to determine cell health, viability, and activation status. It was determined that the primary microglia grow best in neurobasal media in wells coated with poly-D lysine. Future studies aim to isolate a larger number of cells to allow forco-culture of the inactivated microglia with GBM cells. These results will allow us to better understand the role that microglia play in GBM progression.

      Kalra, Aarushi; Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy; LeMosy, Ellen; Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy; Augusta University (2018-02-12)
      Theextracellular matrix (ECM)playsimportant rolesin cell adhesion and communication. We arestudying the localization and function of a small ECMprotein, tubulo-interstitial nephritis antigen-like protein 1 (Tinagl1),in mammalian cell lines. Previous studies conducted in zebrafish suggest that Tinagl1is imperativefor function of motile cilia; however, it is still uncertainas to how this presumed basement membrane protein could regulate cilia, and whether thisfunction has relevance inmammalian cells havingonly primary, non-motile cilia.We will useimmunostaining ofTinagl1 in mouse renal collecting duct epithelial (IMCD3) cellsto determine if it is only on basal side or if it can also be detected on cilia on the apical side. We will establishthe knockdown of tinagl1expression using siRNA methodswith measurements of mRNA andprotein levels. Using appropriate assays, we will examine iftheknockdown of Tinagl1 causes theloss of primary cilia, changes in cell viability and programmed cell death, and/or the detachment of cell-cell or cell-matrix adhesions. Thisproject will showbasic functionsof Tinagl1 in renal epithelial cell behavior, which will eventually give us moreinformation about itsanticipated rolesin cell adhesion, cell survival, and primary cilia homeostasis.
    • Measuring the Influence of the Traffic Noise on Songbird Vocalizations

      Frazier, Eric; VanDeventer, Melissa; Cromer, Robert; Department of Psychological Sciences; Cromer, Robert; Department of Biological Sciences; Augusta University (2018-02-12)
      Songbirds are a group of perching birds from the order, Passeriformesthat possess a uniquely developed syrinx allowing for production of distinctive songs.Research suggests that songbird vocalizations can be influenced by their environment. The objective of this experiment is to test whether traffic noise can alter songbird vocalizations in comparison to songbirds in naturallyless noisy settings, i.e. parks, forests and marshes.Recordings were taken at Pendleton King Park, Brick Pond Park, University Village trail,Phinizy Swampand near the Interstate20. The recordings of both the low-noise natural andhigh-noise interstatesettings were then analyzed using the software Songscope® .We evaluated song interval and frequency and compared experimental groups using a Student's paired T-test.
    • Patient Education of Acid Reducing Medication and Duration of Use

      Lewis, Allison; Autry, Prentiss; Spell, Dan; Rao, Amy; Hampton, Sarah; Department of Biological Sciences; Sein, Michael; Department of Family Medicine; Augusta University; University of Georgia; et al. (2018-02-12)
      Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a physical condition in which acid from the stomach flows into the esophagus. One of the most common symptoms of GERD is heartburn. Morethan 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month, and some studies suggest that more than 15 million Americans experience heartburn symptoms every day1. With Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) being one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the United States2, it is important to understand how patients are using these medications. Limited literature exists concerning a correlation between patient knowledge and duration of heartburn medication usage. This research identifies the demographic characteristics associated with the improper usage of acid reducing medications, specifically in the Southwest Georgia population. The participants of this study are representative of that area, with a majority of population residing in the medically underserved, low-income region of Albany, Georgia3. This information aims to help healthcare providers identify patients that are at a higher risk to misuse heartburn medication and be able to address these concerns.

      Treacy, Corey; Department of Biological Sciences; Christy, Charlotte; Department of Biological Sciences; Augusta University (2018-02-12)
      The genus Sisyrinchium(Iridaceae) is a taxonomically complex group that includes several species that are native to the Eastern United States. Initially, two populations with differing morphologies were observed in areas with contrasting maintenance and mowing regimes. This generated two initial questions: Are these populations the same species, and if so, are the contrasting morphologies due to phenotypic plasticity? Investigations included: surveys for additional populations; whether plants could be transplanted to a common habitat; observation of seedling morphology; simulated mowing to test for plastic responses; germination of seeds; and comparisons of reproductive output and of pigmentation. Results suggest that these populations are the same species but that there are differences in reproductive effort, in pigmentation, and in response to fertilizer application. Further investigations to determine if observed differences are heritable and to characterize the type and extent of genetic differences among populations are planned.
    • Production of a NF-¿B Deficient Microglial Animal Model

      Goodall, Michael; Soni, Karan; Department of Biological Sciences; Bradford, Jennifer; Department of Biological Sciences; Augusta University (2018-02-12)
      Our goal is to determine how the nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-?B) signaling pathway is used in the communication between microglia and the progression of glioblastoma (GBM) cancer cells. The NF-?B signaling pathway is very important in normal immune system function and has been implicated in various types of cancers, including, GBM. GBM is the most common type of adult brain cancer, has altered NF-?B signaling, and is also characterized by a large population of microglia, the immune cell of the central nervous system. Based on our recent studies, we hypothesize that deleting the major transcription factor (p65) of the canonical NF-?B pathway in microglia would slow the progression of GBM. To test this hypothesis, we have developed a p65fl/fl/CX3CR1CreERtransgenic animal, which should lack microglial p65 after exposure to tamoxifen. We currently have heterozygous animals and will soon begin characterizing them to determine p65 deletion efficiency.