• SURVEYING MOSSES FOR FUNGICIDAL ACTIVITY

      Yan, Stephanie; Department of Biological Sciences; Abdulovic-Cui, Amy L; Christy, Charlotte; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      The emergence of resistance to current fungicides is of serious concern because of the widespread diseases caused by fungi. One approach to this problem is to discover new compounds that have antifungal properties. Plants are extensively attacked by fungi and have evolved many defenses. These include fungicides and other defenses, such as a waxy cuticle, that make attack difficult. The mosses (Bryophyta) lack a cuticle. This makes them a likely group to survey for fungicidal activity because they may have additional chemical defenses. In this study, both aqueous and ethanolic extracts were made from crushed mosses and tested for their effect on growth of the yeast�Saccharomyces cerevisiae. �Mosses were collected across a broad geographical range (Georgia, Arkansas, and Alaska) to test the hypothesis that resistance to fungal attack may be higher in mosses adapted to warm and moist environments. Results include the demonstration of fungicidal activity in some, but not most, of the mosses. There was no correlation with geographical origin.� Both solvents seem able to extract compounds that will suppress yeast growth. In addition, we show that fungicidal properties may be lost during drying.� Several mosses showed strong enough antifungal activity that further investigation seems warranted.
    • IS EXERCISE THE BIGGEST INFLUENCER OF HAPPINESS? RESEARCHING HOW INFLUENTIAL EXERCISE IS IN COMPARISON TO OTHER VARIABLES IN DAILY LIFE

      Collins, Megan; Department of Sociology, Criminal Justice & Social Work; Davies, Kim; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      There have been multiple studies that indicate that there is a relationship between exercise and happiness. In this research, I test whether exercise is the strongest factor when compared to other common variables in a person's life for predicting happiness. Using the 2012 General Social Survey (GSS) data, I test several different variables in order to determine which of them has the strongest correlation with a person's general happiness. The 2012 GSS consisted of 4,820 respondents that ranged in age from 18 to 89. Using logistic regression, I compare the variables of sex, marriage, age, frequency of exercise, employment, and income and found that exercise has a positive relationship with a person's general happiness and that is the most strongly correlated variable. Other variables were also found to be significant and will be discussed in the poster.
    • THE SUBLETHAL EFFECTS AND BIOACCUMULATIONS OF 17-ALPHA-ETHNIYL ESTRADIOL IN LUMBRICULUS VARIEGATUS

      Ogun-Semore, Kikelomo; Department of Biological Sciences; Wiley, Faith; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      Freshwater sources are subject to contamination from toxic compounds and other harmful materials through improper sewage cleanup and pollution. Ethinyl estradiol (EE), a synthetic, steroidal estrogen used in contraception, is present in varying concentrations across freshwater sources worldwide. EE is also classified as an endocrine disruptor that is known to interfere with the endocrine system. Endocrine disruptors can create adverse effects on bodily systems and have been found to affect behavioral patterns, enzymatic activity levels, and estrogen receptor levels. Preceding data has found that EE exposure leads to an increase in mortality, a decrease in offspring, and changes in reproductive morphology among freshwater invertebrates. The objective of this study was to observe the sublethal effects and bioaccumulation of ethinyl estradiol in Lumbriculus variegatus. Data collection on experimental endpoints, including reproduction rate, segment regrowth of L. variegatus, have been collected. The bioaccumulation of EE within L. variegatus was observed through sediment testing and an ethinyl estradiol ELISA. The data collected from this experiment contributes to information available on the effects of low-dosage endocrine disruptor concentrations on freshwater organisms. The effects of EE and its bioaccumulation could be extrapolated to include bioaccumulation of EE in organisms of higher trophic levels, including vertebrates.
    • YOUR NEIGHBOR'S APPROACH: LOOKING AT VARIOUS MEDICAL SYSTEMS WITHIN THE AUGUSTA AREA

      Boomer, Houlton; Department of History, Anthropology & Philosophy; Bratton, Angela; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      This research focuses on how the health care system one is used to using effects ones ability to seek and receive care in another System. Specific examples used within the study are the Western Medical System, The Traditional Chinese Medical System, and African American Root medicine. The study was done with interviews to health care providers and with surveys to citizens of the Augusta area. Unfortunately the data collected proved inconclusive with regards to the research question. However it did reveal a great deal of information about the patient population in the area, namely the tendency to remain with a single system with regards to health and the role of financial constraints in choice of healthcare system.
    • LAVANDULA ANGUSTIFOLIA USE FOR DYSMENORRHEA IN YOUNG WOMEN: A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

      Nelson, Brenda; College of Science and Mathematics; College of Nursing; Langley-Brady, Dawn; Augusta University (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; Lebedyeva, Iryna; Augusta University (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.
    • 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; Fulzele, Sadanand; Augusta University (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.
    • CHARACTERIZING THE ROLE OF PANCREATIC STELLATE CELLS IN THE TRANSITION OF CHRONIC PANCREATITIS TO PANCREATIC CANCER

      Godoy, Catalina; Department of Biological Sciences; Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology; Csanyi, Gabor; Sabbatini, Maria; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      Background- Chronic pancreatitis (CP) and pancreatic cancer are two diseases that share a mutual histological feature known as fibrosis produced by pancreatic stellate cells (PaSCs). In response to pancreatic inflammation, PaSCs are activated from quiescent phenotype into myofibroblast-like cells, which express extracellular matrix components. PaSCs are also known to facilitate the migration and invasion of pancreatic cancer cells, which are accompanied by increased matrix metalloprotease (MMP) production and epithelial-to mesenchymal transition (EMT). NADPH oxidase (Nox) is a family of enzymes that catalyze the transfer of an electron from NAD(P)H to oxygen to generate superoxide or hydrogen peroxide. Because Nox1 is expressed in PaSCs, the objective of this study was to assess the extent to which Nox1 in PaSCs facilitates the migration and invasion of pancreatic cancer cells by regulating the expression of MMP and genes involved in EMT. Results/Discussion-We found that the lack of Nox1 lowers the expression of MMP-9 mRNA and the EMT-induced gene Snail in PaSCs. Further studies need to be done in PaSCs from mice with CP and CP-associated oncogenic KRas-driven pancreatic cancer.
    • FLATFISH ASSEMBLAGE AND ABUNDANCE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE SAINT CATHERINES ISLAND AND SATILLA RIVER ESTUARIES

      Bickle, Abigail; Coleman, Alex; Brown, Jason; Thiruvaiyaru, Dharma; Sethuraman, Sankar; Department of Biological Sciences; Department of Mathematics; Reichmuth, Jessica; Saul, Bruce; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      St. Catherines Island is a pristine uninhabited barrier island off of the Georgia coast, and is believed to have experienced less anthropogenic alteration when compared to mainland estuarine habitats. In contrast, the Satilla River estuary has been historically affected by human activity, especially during the construction of navigational "cuts" through the marsh in the early 1900s. These cuts were used to support economic gain no longer in the area. Because of the differences in human influence, we hypothesize the fish assemblages will be different. We compared abundance of various resident flatfish species captured when trawling and using gill nets in these two systems. As benthic species, flatfish may be especially affected by anthropogenic disturbances of the estuarine substrates. This study provides insight into the effects of human disturbances on benthic fish species populations and assemblages. We compared catch-per-unit effort for six flatfish species between data among several sites, seasonally, between 2015 and 2018. We also looked at environmental variables when comparing abundance. The data are reflective of differences that exist in resident flatfish populations, and this condition could be explained by anthropogenic activities.
    • WILLIAMSON ETHER REACTION USING A SOLAR HEAT SOURCE DESIGNED FOR UNDERGRADUATE CHEMISTRY LABORATORIES

      Hammond, Caroline; Wyman, Kailey; Blair, Gregory; Department of Chemistry and Physics; Agee, Brian; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      Since the 1990�s, scientists have been attempting to make chemical synthesis procedures more environmentally friendly.� One area of environmental concern is the amount of electricity required to provide enough energy to complete an experiment. Recently proposed solar reflectors developed from satellite dishes have the ability to be incorporated into student laboratory procedures to eliminate electricity use while demonstrating green chemistry techniques at the same time. As a result, demand to incorporate more green chemistry techniques into student laboratories has increased. An effective means for minimizing the amount of electricity needed to drive chemical reactions to completion is proposed through the use of solar parabolic reflectors. A comparative study was conducted using an electrical and solar heat source on the Williamson Ether synthesis of 2-butoxynaphthalene. This reaction was chosen as the test reaction due to its widespread use among many undergraduate chemistry programs.
    • INVESTIGATING THE REQUIREMENT OF HOB1 ON THE SENSITIVITY OF�SCHIZOSACCHAROMYCES POMBE�AFTER EXPOSURE TO VARIOUS DNA DAMAGING AGENTS

      Qureshi, Arman; Department of Biological Sciences; Abdulovic-Cui, Amy L; Augusta University (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; Bates, Christopher; Christy, Charlotte; Augusta University (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?
    • THE ROLE OF CXCL10 AND NF-KB SIGNALING IN MACROPHAGE INFLUENCE ON BREAST CANCER INVASION

      Mikulsky, Emilee; Department of Biological Sciences; Bradford, Jennifer; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      Breast cancer is the second most deadly cancer with more than 260,000 people being diagnosed, and over 40,900 dying from it annually in the United States. This project focuses on triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), which is very aggressive due to the lack of hormone receptors. TNBC is characterized by an expansive stromal compartment that contains a large percentage of immune system macrophages, which correlates with poor patient prognosis. The Bradford lab has identified that the chemokine CXCL10 was found to be decreased at the mRNA and protein levels in TNBC cells when co-cultured with macrophages. The loss of CXCL10 might result in less destruction of tumors. To better understand the decrease in CXCL10, a cell invasion assay investigating invasion ability of the MDA-MB231 TNBC cell line was completed using macrophage conditioned media, with and without recombinant CXCL10, or a CXCL10 neutralizing antibody. We also investigated whether the NF-kappaB signaling pathway was involved by using primary bone marrow-derived macrophages from a NF-kappaB knockout mouse. The cell invasion assay showed that altering CXCL10 and NF-kappaB signaling in macrophages and/or the MDA-MB231 cells leads to differences in invasion ability.
    • SERUM-C TERMINAL CROSSLINKING TELOPEPTIDE (CTX) AS A PREDICTIVE BIOMARKER OF BISPHOSPHONATE-RELATED OSTEONECROSIS OF JAW (BRONJ): SYSTEMATIC REVIEW AND META-ANALYSIS

      Sun, Christina; Awad, Mohamed E; Jernigan, Joshua; College of Science and Mathematics; Department of Oral Biology; Dental College of Georgia; Elsalanty, Mohammed; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the validity of using preoperative serum C-terminal crosslinking telopeptide (CTX) levels as predictive factor of increased risk of developing medication-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (MRONJ) in patients on bisphosphonate (BP) therapy who undergo invasive dental procedures. A search was conducted through PubMed, MEDLINE, and Web of Science, following PRISMA guidelines and the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. Meta-analysis was conducted on the risk ratio. The methodological index for nonrandomized studies (MINORS) and Quality Appraisal of Reliability Studies (QAREL) checklist were used to assess quality. Eighteen clinical trials, involving 2301 patients were included. Most patients received Alendronate or Risedronate for an average of 62.14 months. The average serum CTX level in BP-treated patients before surgery was 217.67 pg/ml. Meta-analysis demonstrated that the cutoff in CTX level (150 pg/ml) was not predictive of BRONJ risk. The sensitivity of CTX value <150 pg/ml was 34.26% and the specificity was 77.08%. The use of CTX to diagnose BRONJ risk following dental procedures in bisphosphonate-treated patients is not justified. Further studies are needed to develop other reliable biomarkers.
    • THE EFFECTS OF ACUTE AND CHRONIC KETOSIS ON GOLF ACCURACY

      Blume, Grant; Department of Kinesiology and Health Science; Holland, Maleah; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      Ketones, molecules produced as a byproduct of fat breakdown by the body, can be used as an alternate source of energy when glucose supplies are low. Several studies have shown that ketones may help with cognitive recovery and motor learning. This study examined the effects of both acute and chronic ketone supplementation on golf putting accuracy in middle-aged adults to determine if elevated circulating ketone levels improved accuracy. The results demonstrate no significant differences between the putting accuracy of the ketone group or placebo group. Data collection for this study will be continued to determine if a measurable difference can be seen with more data.
    • EFFECTS OF CHRONIC ALOHOL AND GLUCOSE EXPOSURE ON VIABILITY OF ALVEOLAR MACROPHAGES

      Keller, Elizabeth; College of Science and Mathematics; College of Allied Health; Curry-McCoy, Tiana; Thomas, Amanda; Augusta University (2019-02-13)
      The adverse health risks associated with alcohol abuse and obesity are widely known by the general population. Although lesser known, studies have presented the lungs as secondary organs affected by such lifestyle factors. Healthy lungs are protected against infection and harmful airborne particles by macrophages, the working entities of the immune system which fight potential sources of infection. When these immune-responsive cells are compromised and unable to perform their functions, lung health may deteriorate. Therefore, a healthy pulmonary alveolar macrophage population is vital for adequate lung function. Chronic alcohol abuse and obesity have been shown to suppress alveolar macrophage function, thus lowering the lungs� first line of defense. The objective of this study is to determine the effects of exogenous ethanol and increased glucose concentration on macrophage size and viability via an�in vitro�study on NR8383 rat alveolar macrophages. The study measures macrophage viability under treatment conditions.