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Tecolote Cinder Cone Ballistics: Volcanic Bomb Formation and Dynamics

Description

Cinder cones are common volcanic structures that occur in fields, and on the flanks of shield volcanoes, stratovolcanoes, and calderas. Because they are common structures, they have a significant possibility of impacting humans and human environments. As such, there is

Cinder cones are common volcanic structures that occur in fields, and on the flanks of shield volcanoes, stratovolcanoes, and calderas. Because they are common structures, they have a significant possibility of impacting humans and human environments. As such, there is a need to analyze cinder cones to get a better understanding of their eruptions and associated hazards. I will approach this analysis by focusing on volcanic bombs and ballistics, which are large clots of lava that are launched from the volcanic vent, follow ballistic trajectories, and can travel meters to a few kilometers from their source (e.g. Fagents and Wilson 1993; Waitt et al. 1995).
Tecolote Volcano in the Pinacate Volcanic Field in Mexico contains multiple vents within a horseshoe-shaped crater that have all produced various ejecta (Zawacki et al. 2019). The objectives of this research are to map ballistic distribution to understand the relationship between the source vent or vents and the bombs and ballistics that litter the region around Tecolote, and interpret the eruption conditions that ejected those bombs by using their distributions, morphologies, and fine-scale textures.
The findings of this work are that these bombs are apparently from the last stages of the eruption, succeeding the final lava flows. The interiors and exteriors of the bombs display different cooling rates which can are indicated by the fabric found within. Using this, certain characteristics of the bombs during eruption were extrapolated. The ‘cow pie’ bombs were determined to be the least viscous or contained a higher gas content at the time of eruption. Whereas the ribbon/rope bombs were determined to be the most viscous or contained a lesser gas content. Looking at the Southern Bomb Field site, it is dominated by large bombs that were during flight were molded into aerodynamic shapes. The Eastern Rim site is dominated by smaller bombs that appeared to be more liquid during the eruption. This difference in the two sites is a probable indication of at least two different eruptive events of different degrees of explosivity. Overall, aerodynamic bombs are more common and extend to greater distances from the presumed vent (up to 800 m), while very fluidal bombs are uncommon beyond 500 meters. Fluidal bombs (‘cow pie’, ‘ribbon’, ‘rope/spindle’) show a clear trend in decreasing size with distance from vent, whereas the size-distance trend is less dramatic for the aerodynamic bombs.

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2020-05

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Synthesis and Characterization of Laser Plasma that Produces Pseudocarbyne Using Laser Pulses

Description

Carbon allotropes are the basis for many exciting advancements in technology. While sp² and sp³ hybridizations are well understood, the sp¹ hybridized carbon has been elusive. However, with recent advances made using a pulsed laser ablation in liquid technique, sp¹

Carbon allotropes are the basis for many exciting advancements in technology. While sp² and sp³ hybridizations are well understood, the sp¹ hybridized carbon has been elusive. However, with recent advances made using a pulsed laser ablation in liquid technique, sp¹ hybridized carbon allotropes have been created. The fabricated carbon chain is composed of sp¹ and sp³ hybridized bonds, but it also incorporates nanoparticles such as gold or possibly silver to stabilize the chain. The polyyne generated in this process is called pseudocarbyne due to its striking resemblance to the theoretical carbyne. The formation of these carbon chains is yet to be fully understood, but significant progress has been made in determining the temperature of the plasma in which the pseudocarbyne is formed. When a 532 nm pulsed laser with a pulsed energy of 250 mJ and pulse length of 10ns is used to ablate a gold target, a peak temperature of 13400 K is measured. When measured using Laser-Induced Breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) the average temperature of the neutral carbon plasma over one second was 4590±172 K. This temperature strongly suggests that the current theoretical model used to describe the temperature at which pseudocarbyne generates is accurate.

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2019-05

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S. Cerevisiae Sul1 and Sul2 Sulfate Transporters in Varying Sulfate Concentrations

Description

The primary objective of this project is to further the knowledge about SCL26 family of anion transporters. The goals of the experiment were to find the lowest sulfate concentration where the yeast without Sulp1 and Sulp2 is able to grow,

The primary objective of this project is to further the knowledge about SCL26 family of anion transporters. The goals of the experiment were to find the lowest sulfate concentration where the yeast without Sulp1 and Sulp2 is able to grow, but it grows very slowly, and to find a higher sulfate concentration where the yeast grows quickly, with or without the sulfate transporters. The lowest sulfate concentration where the yeast without the sulfate transporters is able to grow was determined to be 2-4 mM, however, this range can likely be refined by more quantitative analytical methods. At a sulfate concentration of 20 mM sulfate or higher, the yeast is able to grow quickly without high-affinity sulfate transporters. The next step in the project is to re-introduce the Sulp1 and Sulp2 genes into the yeast, so that growth in low and high sulfate conditions can be compared with and without the Sulp1 and Sulp2 proteins. The long-term goals of the project are to bring experience with yeast to Dr. Nannenga’s structural discovery lab, to determine if yeast sulfate transporters respond in the same way to drug candidates as human sulfate transporters, and to determine the structure of the proteins using cryo-electron microscopy.

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2019-05

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Measuring the Activity of Φ29 DNA Polymerase

Description

The major goal of this large project is to develop a Recognition Tunneling Nanopore (RTP) device that will be used for determining the structure of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). The RTP device is composed of a recognition tunneling junction that is embedded

The major goal of this large project is to develop a Recognition Tunneling Nanopore (RTP) device that will be used for determining the structure of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). The RTP device is composed of a recognition tunneling junction that is embedded in a nanopore. In order to translocate the GAG molecule through the nanopore, researchers have designed a scheme in which the GAG molecule of interest will be attached to the 5’ end of a DNA primer (figure 1) and the DNA primer will be extended by a biotinylated Φ29 DNA polymerase that is anchored in the nanoslit using streptavidin. This research project specifically is part of a larger project with the main goal of comparing the activity of the wild-type Φ29 DNA polymerase which I have expressed and purified with the mutated Φ29 DNA polymerase devoid of 3’ - 5’ exonuclease activity which was made by Dr. Deng.

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2018-05

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Analysis of the Cellular Localization of PANK2 Mutations Using a Yeast Model

Description

Pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration, PKAN, is a neurological disease that is caused by biallelic mutations in the PANK2 gene, which codes for a pantothenate kinase. Some PANK2 mutations that cause PKAN retain enzymatic activity. A possible explanation for the mutations that

Pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration, PKAN, is a neurological disease that is caused by biallelic mutations in the PANK2 gene, which codes for a pantothenate kinase. Some PANK2 mutations that cause PKAN retain enzymatic activity. A possible explanation for the mutations that have residual activity but still cause the disease is that they do not have the correct cellular localization. The localization of PANK2 was studied through cellular fractionation. We found the precursor form of PANK2, pPANK2, appears to be anchored to the inner membrane of the mitochondria, and the mature form, mPANK2, is located in the inter-membrane space, IMS. However, the IMS of the PKAN causing mutants is completely devoid of mPANK2 which suggests some disease-causing mutations may be mislocalized. In addition, PANK2 catalyzes the first and rate limiting step in Coenzyme A biosynthesis, and in other studies, it has been shown that the CoA biosynthesis enzymes form a complex in yeast. Therefore, we also considered the possibility that PKAN-causing mutations that retain activity have altered interactions with the other CoA biosynthesis enzymes. Coimmunoprecipitation of the proteins in the pathway was done to determine if there were any interactions with PANK2. The results indicate that PANK2 does not directly interact with either PPCS or CoASY, the second and final enzymatic activities in the CoA biosynthesis pathway.

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2019-05

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A Case Study in the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease of Two Ancient Andean Agriculturalists

Description

As a child passes through the birth canal, they become inoculated with vital gram positive and gram-negative bacteria, aerobes and anaerobes. Breast milk helps to support this growing microbiome by providing oligosaccharides that support its proliferation. Breast milk can be

As a child passes through the birth canal, they become inoculated with vital gram positive and gram-negative bacteria, aerobes and anaerobes. Breast milk helps to support this growing microbiome by providing oligosaccharides that support its proliferation. Breast milk can be considered the most nutritious source of food available to a growing infant by providing the necessary nutrients, growth hormones and antibodies to promote digestive health, growth, and a strong immune system. The Developmental Origins of Health and Disease Theory (DOHaD) is a theory that suggests a growing fetus and nursing child's nutrients and immune system are dependent on the mother's exposure to nutrients and toxins. Studies have shown a positive correlation between the length of nursing and a child's overall health through life. In addition, consuming an enriched diet after weaning builds a strong immunological and nutritional basis from which the child can grow. This leads to improvements in a child's overall health, which has beneficial long-term effects on morbidity and mortality. This project applied the theory to two Middle Horizon (AD500-1100) individuals from Akapana, Tiwanaku, in the Lake Titicaca Basin, Bolivia. Stable nitrogen and carbon isotope analysis was applied to first molar serial samples of these two individuals to determine weaning age and early childhood diet. Both individuals were male; one male died in adolescence between the age of 9-15 years, and the other died as an elderly adult around the age of 50-59 years. The results showed that the male who died in adulthood was provisioned with supplemental and post-weaning foods high in animal protein, and received breast milk until around 37 months of age. The adolescent male was weaned between 11-12 months and consumed a diet dominated by C4 plants \u2014 most likely maize \u2014 with much less protein. The correlation between prolonged access to breast milk and a healthier and more nutritious childhood diet and longevity are consistent with the theory discussed above.

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2018-12

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Structural Analysis of the Spinach Rubisco Activase AAA+ Domain by Negative Stain Electron Microscopy

Description

Higher plant Rubisco activase (Rca) is a stromal ATPase responsible for reactivating Rubisco. It is a member of the AAA+ protein superfamily and is thought to assemble into closed-ring hexamers like other AAA+ proteins belonging to the classic clade. Progress

Higher plant Rubisco activase (Rca) is a stromal ATPase responsible for reactivating Rubisco. It is a member of the AAA+ protein superfamily and is thought to assemble into closed-ring hexamers like other AAA+ proteins belonging to the classic clade. Progress towards modeling the interaction between Rca and Rubisco has been slow due to limited structural information on Rca. Previous efforts in the lab were directed towards solving the structure of spinach short-form Rca using X-ray crystallography, given that it had notably high thermostability in the presence of ATP-γS, an ATP analog. However, due to disorder within the crystal lattice, an atomic resolution structure could not be obtained, prompting us to move to negative stain electron microscopy (EM), with our long-term goal being the use of cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) for atomic resolution structure determination. Thus far, we have screened different Rca constructs in the presence of ATP-γS, both the full-length β-isoform and truncations containing only the AAA+ domain. Images collected on preparations of the full-length protein were amorphous, whereas images of the AAA+ domain showed well-defined ring-like assemblies under some conditions. Procedural adjustments, such as the use of previously frozen protein samples, rapid dilution, and minimizing thawing time were shown to improve complex assembly. The presence of Mn2+ was also found to improve hexamer formation over Mg2+. Calculated class averages of the AAA+ Rca construct in the presence of ATP-γS indicated a lack of homogeneity in the assemblies, showing both symmetric and asymmetric hexameric rings. To improve structural homogeneity, we tested buffer conditions containing either ADP alone or different ratios of ATP-γS to ADP, though results did not show a significant improvement in homogeneity. Multiple AAA+ domain preparations were evaluated. Because uniform protein assembly is a major requirement for structure solution by cryo-EM, more work needs to be done on screening biochemical conditions to optimize homogeneity.

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2018-05

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Algorithmic Prediction of Binding Sites of TNFα/TNFR2 and PD-1/PD-L1

Description

Predicting the binding sites of proteins has historically relied on the determination of protein structural data. However, the ability to utilize binding data obtained from a simple assay and computationally make the same predictions using only sequence information would be

Predicting the binding sites of proteins has historically relied on the determination of protein structural data. However, the ability to utilize binding data obtained from a simple assay and computationally make the same predictions using only sequence information would be more efficient, both in time and resources. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of an algorithm developed to predict regions of high-binding on proteins as it applies to determining the regions of interaction between binding partners. This approach was applied to tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα), its receptor TNFR2, programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1), and one of its ligand PD-L1. The algorithms applied accurately predicted the binding region between TNFα and TNFR2 in which the interacting residues are sequential on TNFα, however failed to predict discontinuous regions of binding as accurately. The interface of PD-1 and PD-L1 contained continuous residues interacting with each other, however this region was predicted to bind weaker than the regions on the external portions of the molecules. Limitations of this approach include use of a linear search window (resulting in inability to predict discontinuous binding residues), and the use of proteins with unnaturally exposed regions, in the case of PD-1 and PD-L1 (resulting in observed interactions which would not occur normally). However, this method was overall very effective in utilizing the available information to make accurate predictions. The use of the microarray to obtain binding information and a computer algorithm to analyze is a versatile tool capable of being adapted to refine accuracy.

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2018-05

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Dating Deep-Sea Pelagic Clays with Osmium Isotopes to Reconstruct Sources of Iron to the South Pacific Gyre over 90 Million Years

Description

Iron (Fe) scarcity limits biological productivity in high-nutrient low-chlorophyll (HNLC) ocean regions. Thus, the input, output and abundance of Fe in seawater likely played a critical role in shaping the development of modern marine ecosystems and perhaps even contributed to

Iron (Fe) scarcity limits biological productivity in high-nutrient low-chlorophyll (HNLC) ocean regions. Thus, the input, output and abundance of Fe in seawater likely played a critical role in shaping the development of modern marine ecosystems and perhaps even contributed to past changes in Earth’s climate. Three sources of Fe—wind-blown dust, hydrothermal activity, and sediment dissolution—carry distinct Fe isotopic fingerprints, and can therefore be used to track Fe source variability through time. However, establishing the timing of this source variability through Earth’s history remains challenging because the major depocenters for dissolved Fe in the ocean lack well-established chronologies. This is due to the fact that they are difficult to date with traditional techniques such as biostratigraphy and radiometric dating. Here, I develop age models for sediments collected from the International Drilling Program Expedition 329 by measuring the Os (osmium) isotopic composition of the hydrogenous portion of the clays. These extractions enable dating of the clays by aligning the Os isotope patterns observed in the clays to those in a reference curve with absolute age constraints through the Cenozoic. Our preliminary data enable future development of chronologies for three sediment cores from the high-latitude South Pacific and Southern Oceans, and demonstrate a wider utility of this method to establish age constraints on pelagic sediments worldwide. Moreover, the preliminary Os isotopic data provides a critical first step needed to examine the changes in Fe (iron) sources and cycling on millions of years timescales. Fe isotopic analysis was conducted at the same sites in the South Pacific and demonstrates that there are significant changes in the sources of Fe to the Southern Ocean over the last 90 Ma. These results lay the groundwork for the exploration of basin-scale sources to Fe source changes, which will have implications for understanding how biological productivity relates to Fe source variability over geological timescales.

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2018-05

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Why Pigs? An Analysis of the Use of Porcine Over Human-derived Enzymes via Digestion Simulation

Description

Enzyme Replacement Therapy (ERT) is a treatment often used for patients with disorders that affect the production of various enzymes within the body, such as Cystic Fibrosis and Fabry Disease. ERT involves the use of artificially-produced enzymes, which can be

Enzyme Replacement Therapy (ERT) is a treatment often used for patients with disorders that affect the production of various enzymes within the body, such as Cystic Fibrosis and Fabry Disease. ERT involves the use of artificially-produced enzymes, which can be derived from humans, pigs, and bacteria. Generally, enzymes derived from porcine and bacterial sources are much less expensive and more accessible than those derived from a human source. This, and the ethical implications that porcine enzymes carry, make the decision of choosing treatment simple to some and complex to others. Ethically, human-derived enzymes are often considered more ethical, while not conflicting with religious beliefs and practices as porcine-derived enzymes do.
In order to further compare porcine and human-derived enzymes, a determination of the enzyme effectiveness was done via digestion simulation. The digestion for both the human and porcine-derived enzymes consisted of three steps: oral, gastric, and intestinal. After the digestion, the absorbance for each enzyme class as well as a dilution curve of the formula used was read and recorded. Using the standard dilution curve and the absorbance values for each unknown, the formula and thus enzyme concentration that was lost through the reaction was able to be calculated.
The effectiveness of both the human and porcine enzymes, determined by the percent of formula lost, was 18.2% and 19.7%, respectively, with an error of 0.6% from the spectrophotometer, and an error of about 10% from the scale used for measuring the enzymes. This error was likely due to the small mass required of the enzymes and can be prevented in the future by performing the experiment at a larger scale.

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2020-05