• Effect of NF-κB Deletion on Bone Marrow Macrophage Respiratory Burst Ability

      Soni, Karan; Bradford, Jennifer; Biological Sciences; Bradford, Jennifer; Augusta University (1/31/2020)
      The nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB) signaling pathway is very important in normal immune system function and is also often aberrantly regulated in many different types of cancers. As many cancers are characterized by elevated numbers of infiltrating monocytes/macrophages, we have developed an animal model that lacks canonical NF-κB signaling in bone-marrow derived macrophages (BMDMs). As BMDMs can infiltrate solid cancers, the aim of this particular study was to assess the functionality of phagocyte oxidase ability in NF-κB deficient BMDMs. A respiratory burst assay involves stimulating the phagocyte oxidase enzyme in macrophages to release reactive oxygen species (ROS) so that they can degrade and combat invading pathogens as well as cancer cells. Based on our recent experiments that showed BMDMs lacking p65 had poor phagocytosis ability and low nitrite production, we hypothesize that BMDMs lacking NF-κB signaling will have a decreased respiratory burst response compared to control BMDMs.
    • Competitive Balance in Women's Collegiate Golf

      Jones, Austin; Medcalfe, Simon; Hull College of Business; Medcalfe, Simon; Augusta University (1/31/2020)
      Since the implementation of title IX in 1972, there has been in increase in the organization and participation of women's collegiate sports teams. In 1982, which is when Women started competing in NCAA golf, participation was numbered at 739 and by 2008, there were a total of 2047 participants. This paper shows how the increase in participation among division 1 women's golf teams has affected the competitive balance in women's collegiate golf. The method of assessing this effect is to compare all the participating scores in past NCAA championships against the increase in participation over time. It is hypothesized that as participation increased, the scores have trended lower and therefore made women's golf more competitive. The division 1 men's golf team is used as a control to see that the effects are unique to the women's team.
    • The Application of Low-Cost, Close-Range Photogrammetry in Dentistry

      Patel, Mohit; Mettenburg, Don; Rueggeberg, Frederick; College of Science and Mathematics; Restorative sciences, School of Dentistry; Rueggeberg, Frederick; Augusta University (1/31/2020)
      Currently, three-dimensional scanning is required by a number of procedures in dentistry: Orthodontics, Prosthodontics, Endodontics, Oral Surgery, and General Restorative Dentistry. Close-Range Photogrammetry is a technique that produces three-dimensional coordinates of points identified from multiple images of an object taken at different angles. This technique may provide a low-cost alternative to expensive intra-oral scanning systems and structured light based 3D scanners. The objective of this proof-of-concept project was to evaluate the accuracy and precision of virtual 3D models created using a low cost 3D-printable, open source, 3D scanner (OpenScan) connected to an Adreno controller, Agisoft Metashape software, and a budget smartphone used as a camera. A 3D printed set of teeth were scanned using the system and were also manually measured for comparison. A Layer of wax was applied to a region on the teeth on the model, and a second scan was obtained. The volume of wax coating was calculated using software and compared to measurements taken by hand. The two values were found to be quite similar, proving these initial attempts at accurately scanning dental models were viable for further development
    • Fast-Track Extubation in Infancy and Early Childhood Following Heart Surgery: outcome analysis and predictors of failure

      Geister, Emma; Esquivel, Raquel; Crethers, Danielle; Weatherholt, Danalynn; Sanchez, Maria Gabriela; Munoz, Gustavo; Polimenakos, Anastasios C.; Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy; Department of Surgery; Polimenakos, Anastasios C.; et al. (1/30/2020)
      Early extubation (EE) has become a critical determinant in perioperative management following congenital heart surgery (CHS) during early childhood. Fast track (FT) strategies and EE, when feasible, can have beneficial effect on clinical outcomes. We sought to determine the impact of EE on clinical outcomes, total hospital costs, identify predictors of failure and suggested criteria for new patients. A retrospective chart review of children ?6 years old (n = 64) who underwent CHS between January-December 2017 was performed. EE was defined as successful removal of the endotracheal tube in the operating room or upon arrival in intensive care unit (ICU). Groups were identified as (A):EE/Fast track and (B):no EE. Determinants for EE failure were assessed, and cost analysis pursued.�We found 39 patients were EE compared to 25 that were not. Children who were EE (mean=6.795 days, sd = 4.250) spend significantly less (p�< 0.0001) overall time in the ICU compared to non-EE patients (mean= 19.960 days, sd= 13.081). We also found that the total hospital stay for patients who were EE (mean= 6.976 days, sd= 4.090) was significantly reduced compared to those who were not (mean=21.783 days, sd=13.450) (p�<0.0001). Furthermore, we found that children who were EE had a significant reduction (p�<0.0001, sd= 23,196.203) in total hospital cost than patients who were not EE. Based on our analysis, we concluded that EE is feasible following CHS during early childhood but requires team approach and thoughtful use of FT protocols.

      Miranda Henderson; Canela, Jenelly; Fischer, Jeff; Reichmuth, Jessica; Biological Sciences; Fischer, Jeff; Reichmuth, Jessica; Augusta University (1/30/2020)
      Microsporidia are spore-forming obligate intracellular parasitic fungi that infect eukaryotic organisms. They are ubiquitous in nature and infections occur worldwide in terrestrial and aquatic hosts. Some species of Microsporidia have been shown to infect the hepatopancreas of shrimp, which may affect their ability to obtain nutrients, stunt their growth, and increase their susceptibility to additional diseases. Microsporidiosis in shrimp has been shown to negatively impact the commercial shrimp industry, resulting in great economic loss specifically to the state of Georgia since this fishery is the largest and most lucrative. This study was conducted to evaluate the prevalence of microsporidia in shrimp from the Satilla River Estuary in Georgia because of man-made cuts that have altered water quality conditions that could affect shrimp health specifically. Shrimp were caught at four collection sites using 6.1m (20ft) otter trawls and cast nets and were transported on ice back to the lab where they were frozen until dissection. Using bright-field light microscopy and a previously established staining technique, microsporidian spores were detected in hepatopancreas� extracts in greater than 30% of the shrimp analyzed.�
    • Salty or Slightly Salty: Is Fish Species Richness affected by an obsolete navigational cut

      Patterson, Rebecca; Matthews, Loren; Reichmuth, Jessica; Saul, Bruce; Mathews, Loren; Biological Sciences; Biology; Reichmuth, Jessica; Augusta University; Georgia Southern University (1/30/2020)
      As rivers flow toward the coast, freshwater mixes with saltwater in estuaries. The mixing here creates a wide range of environments for many organisms. The Satilla River Estuary has been cut eight times, which has altered the salinity gradients that are a result of natural tidal flow. Altered salinity gradients pose a threat to migratory fish species because they are no longer able to pick up on directional cues these gradients provide, ultimately affecting species richness in the estuary. The purpose of this study is to determine if Noyes Cut has affected salinity gradients at five collection sites in Umbrella and Dover Creeks. Experimental gill nets were set one hour before max flood tide and soaked for two hours.� All fish were identified to species with total and fork lengths measured to the nearest centimeter. Noyes Cut and Parsons Creek had the most species richness while River Marsh Landing and Todd Creek experienced the lowest diversity.� We believe these large salinity fluctuations are due to a sediment deposit that blocks water flow as a result of Noyes Cut. When Noyes Cut is closed, we expect fish to redistribute into Umbrella and Dover Creeks as a result of restored salinity gradients.�
    • 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

      Gunby, Kimberly; Sabbatini, Maria E.; College of Science and Mathematics; Biological Sciences; Sabbatini, Maria; Augusta University (1/30/2020)
      My research is aimed at finding the cyclase-associated protein 1 (CAP1) binding domain on human adenylyl cyclase 3 (AC3). Previous studies in our lab show that the interaction between CAP1 and AC3 inhibits migration and invasion of pancreatic cancer cells. The inhibitory mechanism is thought to involve the binding of AC3 and CAP1, causing the inhibition of globular-actin polymerization needed for filopodia formation and cell motility. A better understanding of this interaction will help facilitate the discovery for drugs that inhibit the migration and invasion of pancreatic cancer cells. To locate the binding region, we constructed mutants of WT AC3 plasmid using a Site-Directed Mutagenesis kit. We substituted a highly conserved proline residue at position 307 for an arginine residue (P307R) and a glutamate residue at position 308 for an alanine residue (E308A). The mutations were confirmed by sequencing. We then transfected pancreatic cancer cell line PANC-1 with WT and mutant AC3 plasmids and confirmed the expression using Western-blotting. To test whether the mutated AC3 could still interact with CAP1, we performed co-immunoprecipitation. We found that the residues proline and arginine in AC3 are not required for the interaction with CAP1. Further substitutions of other conserved residues are underway.
    • 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.

      Hammond, Caroline; Agee, Brian M.; Chemistry and Physics; Agee, Brian M; Augusta University (1/29/2020)
      Recently, scientists have attempted to transform traditional synthetic procedures into ones that are more environmentally favorable due to the desire to circumvent the damage being done to our environment. A technique was recently developed in which satellite dishes were repurposed as solar reflectors that are capable of providing a focused source of solar irradiation.� The ability to use the solar reflector as the sole heat source for synthetic reactions has been analyzed for the synthesis of the commercially important polyamide, nylon 6,6.� Commercially, Nylon 6,6 is synthesized using a multi-step procedure, in which nearly all of the steps require the addition of heat in order for the reaction to occur.� Furthermore, the synthesis also incorporates some chemicals/reagents that are not environmentally friendly or consist of elements that are considered endangered and supply are in serious danger.� The exchange of these reagents with more environmentally friendly, sustainable substitutes has been analyzed for the total synthesis of nylon 6,6.� The incorporation of a solar energy heat source and use of environmentally friendly chemicals provides a new synthetic route to nylon6,6 that can be taught in teaching labs as a �green synthesis� experiment or scaled to fit the needs of industrial synthesis.
    • Mindfulness Meditation Through a Mobile App

      Huff, Sabrina; Murray, Cleston-Lee; Restrepo, Leigha; Jones, Shelby; Widner, Sabina; Murray, Cleston - Lee; Psychological Sciences; Widner, Sabina; Augusta University (1/28/2020)
      Personal health is an important aspect of the self. In order to change health, behavior must also be changed. Changing behavior is often effortful and many do not adhere to desired changes. The Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB; Ajzen, 1991) suggests that self-efficacy, attitudes, intention, and subjective norms all play a part in behavior change. This present study examined each of these components as it relates to a particular behavior change, that is, mindfulness meditation. We hypothesized that self-efficacy, attitudes, intention, and subjective norms would positively correlate with the number of minutes spent meditating.� Participants were 144 undergraduates who volunteered for this two-part study. Time One included educating individuals on mindfulness meditation, followed with instructions to meditate for the next six days, log meditation minutes using a mobile app (Smiling Mind), and complete a survey adapted by Azjen (2002) measuring self-efficacy, attitudes, intentions, and subjective norms related to meditating. Time Two consisted of collection of meditation data and another survey on the experience of meditating. Preliminary analyses suggested no relationship between any of the TPB components and meditation, which may cast doubt on the reliability of the TPB constructs to predict behavior change.
    • Roles of Astrocyte-Derived Estrogen in the Brain

      Meyre, Ja; Brann, Darrell; Wang, Jing; Augusta University Honors Thesis Program; Department of Neuroscience & Regenerative Medicine; Department of Neurology; Brann, Darrell; Wang, Jing; Augusta University (1/28/2020)
      The steroid hormone, 17?-estradiol (E2) is an important hormone that regulates many functions in the body. Traditionally, E2 was believed to be produced primarily by the ovaries in females, but a number of studies have shown that brain cells such as neurons and astrocytes can also make significant quantities of E2. The study presented in this thesis examined the role of astrocyte-derived E2 in exerting neuroprotection in the CA1 region of the hippocampus, as well as its ability to regulate two specific pathways implicated in neuroprotection - the LIF and STAT3 pathways. Since the hippocampal CA1 region is known to be highly vulnerable to global cerebral ischemia (GCI), such as occurs after cardiac arrest, we used a mouse GCI model to examine the neuroprotective role of astrocyte-derived E2 in the hippocampal CA1 region. The results of the study indicate that mice that lack the enzyme aromatase in astrocytes and were unable to produce astrocyte-derived E2, have decreased reactive astrocyte activation after GCI, greater neuronal deficits after GCI in both genders, and they have significantly decreased LIF-STAT3 signaling in the hippocampus.
    • Establishing a GFP Marker in Zebrafish to Study the Localization of Tinagl1

      Blackburn, Helena; LeMosy, Ellen; Biological Sciences; Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy; LeMosy, Ellen; Augusta University (1/27/2020)
      Tinagl1 is a secreted protein found in the basement membrane under epithelial cells. The LeMosy lab previously showed that tinagl1 knockdowns resulted in abnormal spinal development and heart orientation during zebrafish development. These data, together with changes in length of motile cilia, suggested that tinagl1 is involved in cilia function during development. The mechanism of this interaction is unknown, and it is unclear whether Tinagl1 is only in basement membranes at the basal side of cells, or if it also localizes to the apical side of cells where most cilia project. A deeper understanding of the localization of Tinagl1 during development is a logical next step in understanding how this protein functions. Zebrafish provide an excellent model for studying this localization as they display strong phenotypic effects that can be easily imaged. The localization of Tinagl1 will be tracked using a Tinagl1-GFP fusion construct developed through PCR and insertion into a Tol2 transposon vector. This construct will be injected into early embryos together with transposase mRNA to create mosaic fish showing Tinagl1-GFP in selected tissues. Successful germline integration of the tinagl1-GFP DNA will lead to the development of a transgenic line of zebrafish allowing imaging of Tinagl1 localization during development.
    • Prehistoric Dinosaurs: An Exploration of Fact vs. Fiction Through the Creation of Comparative Sculptural Forms

      Havens, Krista; Onofrio, Jennifer; Crowther, Thomas; Art and Design; Onofrio, Jennifer; Crowther, Thomas; Augusta University (1/27/2020)
      Prehistoric Dinosaurs: An Exploration of Fact vs. Fiction Through the Creation of Comparative Sculptural Forms, is an art exhibition which displays the differences between how dinosaurs look in film and media verses how they are proposed to have looked based on scientific findings. The impetus for this project was to create a kid friendly educational tool, comprised of three hand-sculpted dinosaurs and three resin cast dinosaurs. The species of dinosaurs created were Carnotaurus, Velociraptor, and Dilophosaurus, some of the most commonly portrayed dinosaurs in the film industry. Each scientifically accurate dinosaur sculpture will be placed next to its film and media representation counterpart, to allow for the viewer to compare and contrast the differences in the physical appearances.

      Duncan, Leslie; Jensen, Caleb; He, Leilei; Lang, Liwei; Teng, Yong; Biological Sciences; Oral Biology and Diagnostic Sciences; Georgia Cancer Center; Teng, Yong; Lang, Liwei; et al. (1/16/2020)
      A promising arsenal of histone deacetylase (HDAC)-targeted treatment has emerged in the past decade, as the abnormal targeting or retention of HDACs to DNA regulatory regions often occurs in many cancers, including head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). However, few has been studied regarding the beneficial role of HDAC inhibition in anti-HNSCC therapy and the underlying molecular mechanisms remain elusive. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is commonly expressed at high levels in HNSCC (more than 90%) and serves as a prime target for new anti-HNSCC therapy. Interestingly, Trichostatin A (TSA), one of HDAC inhibitors, not only inhibits EGFR phosphorylation, but also induces repression of EGFR total protein amount in HNSCC cells. We further show that TSA induces EGFR degradation through the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway in HNSCC cells, which is associated with downregulated AKT and ERK1/2 signaling pathways. The study uncovers that EGFR is one of targets of HDAC-based treatment, providing mechanistic insight into the action of HDAC inhibitors. As there is an increasing interest in using HDAC inhibitors for cancer treatment in the clinic, the outcomes from the present study would be significantly beneficial for the development of new rational HDAC-targeted anticancer modalities.
    • 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.