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Somatosensory Modulation during Speech Planning

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Previous studies have found that the detection of near-threshold stimuli is decreased immediately before movement and throughout movement production. This has been suggested to occur through the use of the internal forward model processing an efferent copy of the motor

Previous studies have found that the detection of near-threshold stimuli is decreased immediately before movement and throughout movement production. This has been suggested to occur through the use of the internal forward model processing an efferent copy of the motor command and creating a prediction that is used to cancel out the resulting sensory feedback. Currently, there are no published accounts of the perception of tactile signals for motor tasks and contexts related to the lips during both speech planning and production. In this study, we measured the responsiveness of the somatosensory system during speech planning using light electrical stimulation below the lower lip by comparing perception during mixed speaking and silent reading conditions. Participants were asked to judge whether a constant near-threshold electrical stimulation (subject-specific intensity, 85% detected at rest) was present during different time points relative to an initial visual cue. In the speaking condition, participants overtly produced target words shown on a computer monitor. In the reading condition, participants read the same target words silently to themselves without any movement or sound. We found that detection of the stimulus was attenuated during speaking conditions while remaining at a constant level close to the perceptual threshold throughout the silent reading condition. Perceptual modulation was most intense during speech production and showed some attenuation just prior to speech production during the planning period of speech. This demonstrates that there is a significant decrease in the responsiveness of the somatosensory system during speech production as well as milliseconds before speech is even produced which has implications for speech disorders such as stuttering and schizophrenia with pronounced deficits in the somatosensory system.

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2019-05

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Characterization and Optimization of Ion-Sensitive Field Effect Transistors for Rapid Personalized Diagnostics

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The growth of the medical diagnostic industry in the past several decades has largely been due to the creation and iterative optimization of bio sensors. Recent pushes towards value added as well as preventative health care has made point of

The growth of the medical diagnostic industry in the past several decades has largely been due to the creation and iterative optimization of bio sensors. Recent pushes towards value added as well as preventative health care has made point of care devices more attractive to health care providers. Rapid detection for diseases and cancers is done with a bio sensor, which a broad term used to describe an instrument which uses a bio chemical reaction to detect a chemical compound with the use of a bio recognition event in addition to a signal detection event. The bio sensors which are presented in this work are known as ion-sensitive field effects transistors (ISFETs) and are similar in function to a metal oxide field effect transistor (MOSFET). These ISFETs can be used to sense pH or the concentration of protons on the surface of the gate channel. These ISFETs can be used for certain bio recognition events and this work presents the application of these transistors for the quantification of tumor cell proliferation. This includes the development of a signal processing and acquisition system for the long term assessment of cellular metabolism and optimizing the system for use in an incubator. This thesis presents work done towards the optimization and implementation of complementary metal\u2014oxide\u2014semiconductor (CMOS) ISFETs as well as remote gate ISFETs for the continuous assessment of tumor cell extracellular pH. The work addresses the challenges faced with the fabrication and optimization of these sensors, which includes the mitigation of current drift with the use of pulse width modulation in addition to issues encountered with fabrication of electrodes on a quartz substrate. This work culminates in the testing of an autonomous system with mammary tumor cells as well as the assessment of cell viability in an incubator over extended periods. Future applications of this work include the creation of a remote gate ISFET array for multiplexed detection as well as the implementation of ISFETs for bio marker detection via an immunoassay.

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2017-05

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Utilization of Nanoparticles for Identifying Fibrin Deposition in Neural Tissue

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The main objective of this research is to develop and characterize a targeted contrast agent that will recognize acute neural injury pathology (i.e. fibrin) after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Single chain fragment variable antibodies (scFv) that bind specifically to fibrin

The main objective of this research is to develop and characterize a targeted contrast agent that will recognize acute neural injury pathology (i.e. fibrin) after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Single chain fragment variable antibodies (scFv) that bind specifically to fibrin have been produced and purified. DSPE-PEG micelles have been produced and the scFv has been conjugated to the surface of the micelles; this nanoparticle system will be used to overcome limitations in diagnosing TBI. The binding and imaging properties will be analyzed in the future to determine functionality of the nanoparticle system in vivo.

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2014-05

DEVELOPMENT OF A BIOSENSOR FOR RAPID DIAGNOSIS OF NAVAJO NEUROHEPATOPATHY

Description

MPV17-related hepatocerebral mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, previously known as Navajo Neurohepatopathy (NNH), is a rare genetic disease affecting Navajo children of the American Southwest. These children can suffer from several severe symptoms like brain damage and liver disease, and a

MPV17-related hepatocerebral mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, previously known as Navajo Neurohepatopathy (NNH), is a rare genetic disease affecting Navajo children of the American Southwest. These children can suffer from several severe symptoms like brain damage and liver disease, and a diagnosis leads to death by age 10, on average. The only known effective therapy for NNH is a liver transplant. Currently, the disease is diagnosed through a lengthy and expensive process of gene sequencing, but oftentimes patients with the most severe forms of NNH deteriorate quickly; thus a rapid diagnostic would be beneficial to beginning the transplant process as early as possible. Here, Tentacle Probes, a novel technology to detect genetic mutations, were proposed to rapidly and accurately diagnose NNH. Because of Tentacle Probes' double binding site kinetics, they can detect mutations more accurately than other types of genetic probes. Probes specific to the NNH mutation were designed for use with a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) detection platform. Initial synthetic DNA testing of Tentacle Trobes showed capable differentiation between mutated and non-mutated samples. However, experiments to validate those results at Phoenix Children's Hospital before moving to patient samples showed that test viability decreased over time. Efforts to diagnose the issues that led to decreased viability suggested four possible explanations that are as follows (in order of decreasing likelihood): first, undesired products from improper PCR primer design was supported by double bands in DNA gel electrophoresis; second, DNA may have degraded over time or due to repeated cycles of freezing and thawing stock solutions, and this was supported by smeared DNA gel electrophoresis; third, probe degradation, specifically of the fluorescent reporter, is possible; finally, contaminants that inhibit the PCR reaction may have been introduced. A combination of these factors may also have caused the change in assay viability. As a result of these most likely possibilities, new primers were designed and steps suggested to return viability to the assay. Thus, the various limitations and requirements for this Tentacle Probe diagnostic have been identified, and as assay development continues following the promising initial results achieved, we are confident that a rapid method if diagnosing NNH is on its way to help the children afflicted with this devastating disease receive timely access to treatment.

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2016-05

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Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) Modelling of Diagnostics for Pandemic Planning Using JAGS Package in R

Description

Markov Chain Monte-Carlo methods are a Bayesian approach to predictive statistics, which takes advantage of prior beliefs and conditions as well as the existing data to produce posterior distributions of relevant parameters. This approach, implementable through the JAGS packaging in

Markov Chain Monte-Carlo methods are a Bayesian approach to predictive statistics, which takes advantage of prior beliefs and conditions as well as the existing data to produce posterior distributions of relevant parameters. This approach, implementable through the JAGS packaging in R, is promising for its impact on the diagnostics space, which is a critical bottleneck for pandemic planning and rapid response. Specifically, these methods provide the means to optimize diagnostic testing, for example, by determining whether it is best to test individuals in a certain locale once or multiple times. This study compares the expected accuracy of single and double testing under two specific conditions, a general and Icelandic test case, in order to ascertain the validity of MCMC methods in this space and inform decisionmakers and future research in the space. Models based on this platform may eventually be tailored to the priors of specific locales. Additionally, the ability to test multiple regimes of real or simulated data while maintaining uncertainty widens the pool of researchers that can impact the space. In future studies, ensemble methods investigating the full range of parameters and their combinations can be studied.

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2020-05

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Startle-evoked movement in multi-jointed, two-dimensional reaching tasks

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Previous research has shown that a loud acoustic stimulus can trigger an individual's prepared movement plan. This movement response is referred to as a startle-evoked movement (SEM). SEM has been observed in the stroke survivor population where results have shown

Previous research has shown that a loud acoustic stimulus can trigger an individual's prepared movement plan. This movement response is referred to as a startle-evoked movement (SEM). SEM has been observed in the stroke survivor population where results have shown that SEM enhances single joint movements that are usually performed with difficulty. While the presence of SEM in the stroke survivor population advances scientific understanding of movement capabilities following a stroke, published studies using the SEM phenomenon only examined one joint. The ability of SEM to generate multi-jointed movements is understudied and consequently limits SEM as a potential therapy tool. In order to apply SEM as a therapy tool however, the biomechanics of the arm in multi-jointed movement planning and execution must be better understood. Thus, the objective of our study was to evaluate if SEM could elicit multi-joint reaching movements that were accurate in an unrestrained, two-dimensional workspace. Data was collected from ten subjects with no previous neck, arm, or brain injury. Each subject performed a reaching task to five Targets that were equally spaced in a semi-circle to create a two-dimensional workspace. The subject reached to each Target following a sequence of two non-startling acoustic stimuli cues: "Get Ready" and "Go". A loud acoustic stimuli was randomly substituted for the "Go" cue. We hypothesized that SEM is accessible and accurate for unrestricted multi-jointed reaching tasks in a functional workspace and is therefore independent of movement direction. Our results found that SEM is possible in all five Target directions. The probability of evoking SEM and the movement kinematics (i.e. total movement time, linear deviation, average velocity) to each Target are not statistically different. Thus, we conclude that SEM is possible in a functional workspace and is not dependent on where arm stability is maximized. Moreover, coordinated preparation and storage of a multi-jointed movement is indeed possible.

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2016-12

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The Making of a COVID Testing Laboratory: Deconstructing the Saliva Sample Collection Process and Preanalytical Standardization

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This thesis project is the result of close collaboration with the Arizona State University Biodesign Clinical Testing Laboratory (ABCTL) to document the characteristics of saliva as a test sample, preanalytical considerations, and how the ABCTL utilized saliva testing to develo

This thesis project is the result of close collaboration with the Arizona State University Biodesign Clinical Testing Laboratory (ABCTL) to document the characteristics of saliva as a test sample, preanalytical considerations, and how the ABCTL utilized saliva testing to develop swift COVID-19 diagnostic tests for the Arizona community. As of April 2021, there have been over 130 million recorded cases of COVID-19 globally, with the United States taking the lead with approximately 31.5 million cases. Developing highly accurate and timely diagnostics has been an important need of our country that the ABCTL has had tremendous success in delivering. Near the start of the pandemic, the ABCTL utilized saliva as a testing sample rather than nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs that were limited in supply, required highly trained medical personnel, and were generally uncomfortable for participants. Results from literature across the globe showed how saliva performed just as well as the NP swabs (the golden standard) while being an easier test to collect and analyze. Going forward, the ABCTL will continue to develop high quality diagnostic tools and adapt to the ever-evolving needs our communities face regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

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2021-05