Now showing items 1-20 of 6427

    • Faculty Senate Newsletter: The Tea with Dr. T (April 2024)

      Curry-McCoy, Tiana (Augusta University, 2024-04)
    • Blinding Crystals: Monosodium Urate Crystals and Diabetic Retinopathy

      Amanamba, Udochukwu; Augusta State University Honors Thesis; Augusta State University Honors Thesis (Augusta University, 2021)
      Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a common complication of diabetes and the main cause of blindness among adults of working age. Previous studies have established that high blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia) promote chronic sub-clinical inflammation which in turn causes retinal tissue injury and development of DR. It has also been shown that increased levels of uric acid, a by-product of the purine metabolism, generates crystals of monosodium urate (MSU) which could contribute to retinal inflammation and to the development of DR. My honors thesis project focused on investigating the molecular basis of inflammation in diabetic retinopathy (DR), specifically how MSU stimulates sterile inflammation in retinal blood vessels cells and in other retinal cells through the induction of the NLRP3-inflammasome. Human retinal endothelial (HuREC) and Human retinal epithelial cells (HuRPE) were treated with clinically relevant doses of MSU (6mg/dL) or high glucose (HG 25mM) or a combination of both. The expression of NLRP3 inflammasome constituents such as IL-1, NLRP3 protein, Toll-like receptor (TLR4), Gasdermin D (GSDMD) and Thioredoxin-interacting protein (TXNIP) were monitored using Western blotting analysis and ELISA assay. Morphometric analysis and ANOVA statistical approaches were employed to analyze the data. The results obtained showed that HuREC are more responsive to MSU alone than HuRPE. However, in all conditions, MSU significantly potentiated the production of inflammatory constituents of the NLRP3 inflammasome. Overall, the results of my studies support MSU as a contributing factor to the pathogenesis of DR. This suggests that uricemia should be monitored in diabetic patients and hypouricemic drugs could be helpful in combating DR and vision loss in diabetic patients.
    • Attitudes About Differential Treatment of Crack and Cocaine in Terms of Legality

      Pollard, Elinita M.; Augusta State University Honors Thesis; Augusta State University Honors Thesis (Augusta University, 2021)
      Attitudes concerning addiction influence how an individual feels about a plethora of issues related to substance abuse. Broadus and Evans (2015) developed an instrument to measure an individual’s attitude toward addiction called the Public Attitudes About Addictions Survey (PAAAS). Their research suggested that an individual’s perception of drug addiction aligns with one of the following models of addiction: the psychological model, sociological model, disease model, nature model, or moral model. Broadus and Evans argue one’s attitude may influence how an individual feels about receiving addiction counseling, drug-related judicial decisions, and formation of drug policy (2015). This study is concerned with whether one’s attitude toward addiction and one’s knowledge about cocaine are related to opinions about sentencing for drug crimes and particularly different sentencing for crack and cocaine offenses.
    • Ray Abundance and Diversity in the Satilla Rive

      Silliman, Brennan; Augusta State University Honors Thesis; Augusta State University Honors Thesis (Augusta University, 2021)
      Over the past 100 years, the Satilla River has been cut several times for logging and navigational purposes. The most notable cut is Noyes Cut, located adjacent to Umbrella and Dover Creeks. Due to changes in local economic pursuits, Noyes Cut is not used except by a few local fishermen and has potentially altered water flow and salinity gradients. Ultimately, this affects habitats of animals, such as rays. The Satilla River is home to 52 different kinds of species of saltwater and freshwater fish. These include sunfish, sharks, catfish, seatrout, and tarpon (Kenakrow, 2020). Rays are found worldwide and are the most diverse of cartilaginous fish; they play a vital role in determining the health of an ecosystem by influencing/controlling where certain fish, mollusk, and crustacean populations are. Rays can indicate if an ecosystem is in distress. Four locations in the Satilla River were sampled using experimental gill nets, otter trawls, and a multi-parameter water quality probe from July 2014 through September 2019. All rays were identified by species with total length and disc width recorded to the nearest centimeter (cm). At least 3 species of rays (possibly more), which include the Atlantic Stingray, the Smooth Butterfly Ray, and the Southern Stingray, call this area home. Additionally, this five year data set will be compared to a creel survey currently being conducted on the Satilla River. We hope to make comparisons between our 2018-2019 sampling year and the 2019-2020 creel survey. Since rays are an indicator species, it may be possible to determine if they’ve been affected by Noyes Cut. Noyes Cut was originally constructed around 1910 as a way for Edward Noyes to float logs to his lumber mill business. He used this waterway until 1933 when the U.S. Army Corps seized it and deepened the cut as an inland waterway. Over several decades, channel sedimentation has gradually affected salinity gradients which ultimately altered the natural water circulation patterns within the estuary.
    • Music Composition Using Romantic and Contemporary Techniques Reflection Paper

      Kenison, Caitlin; Augusta State University Honors Thesis; Augusta State University Honors Thesis (Augusta University, 2021)
    • Does a Negative Emotional State Decrease Plasticity Related Gene Expression in the Hippocampus?

      Amadiz Bonilla, Joselyn; Augusta State University Honors Thesis; Augusta State University Honors Thesis (Augusta University, 2021)
    • Mechanism of Retinal Neovascularization in OIR: Role of ACAT-1

      Santana, Isabella; Augusta State University Honors Thesis; Augusta State University Honors Thesis (Augusta University, 2021)
      According to the National Eye Institute, Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) is the leading cause of vision loss in childhood. About 400–600 infants each year in the US become legally blind from ROP (NIH, 2019). ROP primarily affects premature infants weighing less than 2.75 pounds who are born before thirty-one weeks of gestation (NIH, 2019). Today, with the advances being made in neonatal intensive care, smaller premature infants are being saved. Because these infants are at a much higher risk for ROP, it has become increasingly important to understand ROP. ROP affects the blood vessels in the retina, which is the thin layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye and is responsible for receiving light and converting it into neural signals. Loss of vision occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow and spread throughout the retina and into the vitreous, developing neovascular tufts, causing hemorrhage. Retinal detachment is the main cause of visual impairment and blindness in ROP (NIH, 2019). The primary current treatments are laser therapy and anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), but these therapies have shown negative side effects and complications associated with them being invasive procedures such as intraocular swelling, retinal detachment and infectious endophthalmitis (Dowler, 2003). The mechanism behind retinopathy of prematurity is unclear, however; macrophage proliferation has been found to have a critical role in the development of retinal neovascularization by secreting growth factors and inflammatory cytokines such as VEGF, Interleukin 6 (IL-6), Monocyte colony stimulating factor (MCSF) and trigger receptor expressed on myeloid cells (TREM-1) (Zhou, et al. 2017). The manner in which macrophages are activated for this process is also unknown, however; lipid metabolism is vital for maintaining macrophage Santana 3 homeostasis and function. Lipid loading in macrophages increases intracellular cholesterol esters (CEs), which induce an inflammatory phenotype. Acyl coenzyme A: cholesterol acyltransferase-1 (ACAT-1) is an enzyme localized in macrophage endoplasmic reticulum that is responsible for cholesterol esterification with fatty acids and the formation of CEs. Our preliminary results in wild-type (WT) mice pups treated with intraperitoneal injections (I.P.) of ACAT-1 inhibitor in a model of oxygen-induced retinopathy show significant decrease of retinal neovascularization, avascular area and expression of TREM-1, M-CSF and VEGF. We hypothesize that ACAT-1 activity- derived high cholesterol levels in macrophages during hypoxia induce retinal neovascularization.
    • The Impact of Exercise Intensity and Fatigue on Subjective Time Perception

      Olson, Maddie; Augusta State University Honors Thesis; Augusta State University Honors Thesis (Augusta University, 2021)
    • Investigating the Functions of Tinagl1 in Embryonic Development

      Zwinklis, Brooklyn; Augusta State University Honors Thesis; Augusta State University Honors Thesis (Augusta University, 2020)
      This research project was designed to explore the functions of Tubulointerstitial Nephritis Antigen-Like protein 1 (Tinagl1) in embryonic development. Prior work using morpholino knockdowns in zebrafish suggested that downregulating the tinagl1 gene has profound effects on development, resulting in defects including small eyes, body axis curvature, renal cysts, missing craniofacial cartilages, and reversed heart looping. Several of these defects could result from observed shortening and reduction in the number of motile cilia. However, morpholino knockdown techniques have fallen out of favor in zebrafish research and have been replaced by gene editing methods, such as Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR), to completely remove gene function throughout the embryo permanently. This project seeks to further test the function of tinagl1 on development through two independent and current approaches. The first approach will seek to validate or refute the prior morpholino results by knocking out tinagl1 via a 4-guide CRISPR method as it is described by Wu et al. The second approach will examine if overexpression of an engineered tinagl1 mutant mRNA can result in a dominant-negative effect that causes all the previously mentioned defects with the addition of asymmetrical craniofacial defects. These approaches will help establish Zebrafish animal models for studying functional requirements for Tinagl1 and its interactions with signaling pathways.
    • Does chronic ketone salt supplementation alter blood pressure, complete blood count, or comprehensive metabolic panel results in adults diagnosed with PTSD?

      Locklin, Jordan; Augusta State University Honors Thesis; Augusta State University Honors Thesis (Augusta University, 2021)
      Post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition that is associated with high levels of stress, that can be linked to elevated resting blood pressure and heart rates in those who have it. Ketone bodies are chemicals that the body utilizes as fuel when glucose is not readily available, and have been shown to improve metabolic diseases, as well as decrease systolic blood pressure in healthy populations. The purpose of this study was to determine if chronic ketone salt supplementation alters blood pressure (BP), complete blood count (CBC), or comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) results in adults diagnosed with PTSD. The hypothesis was that 6-weeks of chronic KS consumption will not have any negative effects on the CMP and CBC health markers, and potentially have positive effects on BP in the PTSD population. Participants included males and females between the ages of 21-65 years of age, all of whom had been previously diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The study was randomized, double-blinded, and placebo- controlled. The findings of the study showed that there were no significant interactions, positive or negative, between 6-weeks of chronic KS supplementation and BP, CBC, and CMP in adults with PTSD.
    • Adverse Childhood Experiences and Coping Mechanisms among Undergraduate Nursing Students

      Nicosia, Steven; Augusta State University Honors Thesis; Augusta State University Honors Thesis (Augusta University, 2021)
    • Racial Residential Segregation and COVID-19 Health Outcomes: Evidence from State of Georgia

      Patel, Palak; Augusta State University Honors Thesis; Augusta State University Honors Thesis (Augusta University, 2021)
    • Assessment of Fear Responses to Threatening Images

      Cuevas-Gomez, Kyara; Augusta State University Honors Thesis; Augusta State University Honors Thesis (Augusta University, 2021)
      Anxiety and fear, characterized by physiological symptoms of increased heart rate and sweating, often rely on studies based on picture databases composed of “disturbing” images. These images are utilized to elicit anxiety and fear responses in research participants. Having an abundance of images, provided through the International Affective Picture System (IAPS), allows us to categorize images such as cultural threats and evolutionary threats. Although these images have been normed to elicit fear or neutral emotions, these images might not seem threatening or neutral to all. This study aimed to examine the effect of evolutionarily threatening images and culturally threatening images on the expression of fear. Our measures were electrodermal activity (EDA) and scores on a self report instrument of emotion, the Self-Assessment Mannequin (SAM). We hypothesized that EDA would be higher for threatening images than for neutral images. We also hypothesized that SAM valence ratings would be lower (more unpleasant) for threatening images than for neutral images and SAM arousal ratings would be higher for threatening images than for neutral images. These findings are discussed in the context of providing a greater understanding of cultural factors involved in threat assessment, with the intention that these findings are salient and encourage study reproducibility.
    • Role and Regulation of PFKP in Head and Neck Cancer

      Duncan, Leslie; Augusta State University Honors Thesis; Augusta State University Honors Thesis (Augusta University, 2021)
      Cancer cells reprogram their cellular activities uniquely to support their rapid proliferation and migration and to counteract metabolic and genotoxic stress during cancer progression. One key regulator for cell metabolism is phosphofructokinase (PFK), which is an allosteric enzyme with four subunits. PFK platelet (PFKP) is one of the PFK isoforms which is highly expressed in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) compared with normal tissues. There is a likely possibility that PFKP has the potential to regulate metabolism of HNSCC to sustain tumor growth. This study conducted as a research experiment under the guidance of Dr. Teng was focused on the function and regulation of PFKP in HNSCC metabolism. Towards this end, the PFKP gene was knocked down in HNSCC cell lines by lentiviral-mediated shRNAs and the metabolic signaling and cell proliferation were determined by Western blotting, cell colony formation assays, and MTT assays, respectively. Based on these results, we conclude that PFKP enhances glucose metabolism in HNSCC cells, which in turn increases cell proliferation. Our findings provide new insights into the role of PFKP in HNSCC cells metabolic reprogramming.
    • Exploring Novel Long non-coding RNAs Involved in Alcohol-included Oral Cancer Progression

      Jensen, Caleb; Augusta State University Honors Thesis; Augusta State University Honors Thesis (Augusta University, 2021)
    • Characterizing the NADPH Oxidase 1-evoked Pancreatic Stellate Cell Secretome

      Chakraborty, Ananya; Augusta State University Honors Thesis; Augusta State University Honors Thesis (Augusta University, 2021)
    • Genomic analysis reveals clinical significance of PGK1 in head and neck cancer

      Crystal, Evan; Augusta State University Honors Thesis; Augusta State University Honors Thesis (Augusta University, 2021)
      The underlying abnormality that yields cancer development is the unregulated growth and proliferation of cancer cells. Phosphoglycerate kinase-1 (PGK1) is a key regulator for cell metabolism and is encoded by the gene PGK1. The protein translated by this gene is a glycolytic enzyme that catalyzes the conversion from 1,3-Bisphosphoglyceric acid to 3-Phosphoglyceric acid. This enzyme takes part in the first energy-producing step of glycolysis. High intracellular expression of PGK1 has been linked to tumor cell proliferation, and high PGK1 mRNA expression predicts poor survival in head and neck cancer. Therefore, the role of PGK1 in cancer cell metabolism could potentially display clinical significance in the treatment of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). The study that I will conduct under the advisement of Dr. Teng will investigate the role and importance of PGK1 in HNSCC through bioinformatics analysis with RNA sequencing data. The goal of this project is to reveal the clinical relevance/significance of PGK1 in head and neck cancer. In addition, a goal is to provide a strong rationale for further studying PGK1’s role and molecular regulations in head and neck cancer development and progression.
    • Chaotic Dripping

      Jung Park, Tae; Augusta State University Honors Thesis; Augusta State University Honors Thesis (Augusta University, 2021)
    • Feasibility of Radiochromic Plastics as Reliable and Reusable Dosimeters for Radiotherapy Treatment

      Recht, Maxwell; Augusta State University Honors Thesis; Augusta State University Honors Thesis (Augusta University, 2021)
    • Telehealth in Assisted Reproductive Technology to Improve Disparities in Access to Care in Rural Georgia

      Smith, Hannah; Augusta State University Honors Thesis; Augusta State University Honors Thesis (Augusta University, 2021)
      Background: Infertility, the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected regular intercourse, affects one in six couples of reproductive age in the United States. Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) are often employed to treat infertility among couples. Although ART treatments have been implemented for several decades, there still remains significant disparities, particularly the southeastern United States. Thus, only 60% of women in Georgia are able to proceed with treatment due to the scarcity of fertility specialists, cost, and distance to travel to a fertility clinic. Telehealth is a tool that has been implemented across the United States in multiple specialties that allows patients to meet with their physician remotely; however, it has yet to be utilized in reproductive medicine. This study, a regional telehealth program was implemented to close the gap and improve existing ART access disparities in Georgia and neighboring states. The telehealth program's ART outcomes and patient satisfaction of those living remotely was the primary focus of this research project. Results: A total of 97 patients were identified, of which 57% were younger than 35 years old (y/o), and 43% were older than 35 years old. The overall clinical pregnancy rate was 64% (69% < 35 y/o and 31% > 35 y/o) with an overall live birth rate of 48% (69.77% <35 y/o and 30.23% > 35 y/o). The cohort’s average number of in person appointments was 3 (0.82 +/- SD). The survey response rate was 70/97 (72.2%). Overall, 50% of responders were < 35 y/o and 50% > 35 y/o. The average number of responders' visits was 4.44 (1.54 +/-SD), and the average distance traveled was 143.12 miles (49.21 +/-SD). The clinical pregnancy rate was 32 (76.16%) for surveyors, with a live birth rate of 25 (59.52%). Overall, 56% of patients reported being extremely satisfied with the telehealth service to enhance ART access, and 87.72% of patients stated they would recommend telehealth use for ART to others.