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

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

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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

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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

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Investigation of Cu(II) Binding Sites in de Novo Proteins by Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Spectroscopy

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Circular Dichroism (CD) and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) were used to investigate the metal-binding sites of five different four-helix bundles, which have slight differences in the population of their side chains. Of the four-helix bundles, three have central dinuclear metal

Circular Dichroism (CD) and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) were used to investigate the metal-binding sites of five different four-helix bundles, which have slight differences in the population of their side chains. Of the four-helix bundles, three have central dinuclear metal binding sites; two of these three also have outer dinuclear metal binding sites. The other two peptides have two identical, non-central, dinuclear metal binding sites. The CD spectra showed changes in the secondary structure of the peptides, and X-band EPR spectra of these peptides revealed the unique four peak signal of Cu(II). These findings improve our understanding of the metal binding environments of these peptides.

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2016-05

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Exploration of Enzymatic Efficiency in Double-Stranded DNA by Uracil-DNA Glycosylase and Optimization of Glycosylation Reaction of DNA Precursor

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The two chapters of this thesis focus on different aspects of DNA and the properties of nucleic acids as the whole. Chapter 1 focuses on the structure of DNA and its relationship to enzymatic efficiency. Chapter 2 centers itself on

The two chapters of this thesis focus on different aspects of DNA and the properties of nucleic acids as the whole. Chapter 1 focuses on the structure of DNA and its relationship to enzymatic efficiency. Chapter 2 centers itself on threose nucleic acid and optimization of a step in the path to its synthesis. While Chapter 1 discusses DNA and Uracil-DNA Glycosylase with regards to the base excision repair pathway, Chapter 2 focuses on chemical synthesis of an intermediate in the pathway to the synthesis of TNA, an analogous structure with a different saccharide in the sugar-phosphate backbone.
Chapter 1 covers the research under Dr. Levitus. Four oligonucleotides were reacted for zero, five, and thirty minutes with uracil-DNA glycosylase and subsequent addition of piperidine. These oligonucleotides were chosen based on their torsional rigidities as predicted by past research and predictions. The objective was to better understand the relationship between the sequence of DNA surrounding the incorrect base and the enzyme’s ability to remove said base in order to prepare the DNA for the next step of the base excision repair pathway. The first pair of oligonucleotides showed no statistically significant difference in enzymatic efficiency with p values of 0.24 and 0.42, while the second pair had a p value of 0.01 at the five-minute reaction. The second pair is currently being researched at different reaction times to determine at what point the enzyme seems to equilibrate and react semi-equally with all sequences of DNA.
Chapter 2 covers the research conducted under Dr. Chaput. Along the TNA synthesis pathway, the nitrogenous base must be added to the threofuranose sugar. The objective was to optimize the original protocol of Vorbrüggen glycosylation and determine if there were better conditions for the synthesis of the preferred regioisomer. This research showed that toluene and ortho-xylene were more preferable as solvents than the original anhydrous acetonitrile, as the amount of preferred isomer product far outweighed the amount of side product formed, as well as improving total yield overall. The anhydrous acetonitrile reaction had a final yield of 60.61% while the ortho-xylene system had a final yield of 94.66%, an increase of approximately 32%. The crude ratio of preferred isomer to side product was also improved, as it went from 18% undesired in anhydrous acetonitrile to 4% undesired in ortho-xylene, both values normalized to the preferred regioisomer.

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2016-05

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Reduction of Carbon Dioxide with Cobalt and Iron Porphyrins

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The free-base tetra-tolyl-porphyrin and the corresponding cobalt and iron porphyrin complexes were synthesized and characterized to show that this class of compound can be promising, tunable catalysts for carbon dioxide reduction. During cyclic voltammetry experiments, the iron porphyrin showed an

The free-base tetra-tolyl-porphyrin and the corresponding cobalt and iron porphyrin complexes were synthesized and characterized to show that this class of compound can be promising, tunable catalysts for carbon dioxide reduction. During cyclic voltammetry experiments, the iron porphyrin showed an on-set of ‘catalytic current’ at an earlier potential than the cobalt porphyrin’s in organic solutions gassed with carbon dioxide. The cobalt porphyrin yielded larger catalytic currents, but at the same potential as the electrode. This difference, along with the significant changes in the porphyrin’s electronic, optical and redox properties, showed that its capabilities for carbon dioxide reduction can be controlled by metal ions, allotting it unique opportunities for applications in solar fuels catalysis and photochemical reactions.

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2016-05

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Proteomics: The New Beginning to Discovering a Drug Treatment for Schizophrenia

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Though schizophrenia was categorized as a mental illness over 100 years ago, there is a plethora of knowledge that continues to perplex the scientific and medical community alike. This tragic mental disorder affects approximately 1% of the general population, and

Though schizophrenia was categorized as a mental illness over 100 years ago, there is a plethora of knowledge that continues to perplex the scientific and medical community alike. This tragic mental disorder affects approximately 1% of the general population, and many of these individuals are homeless if left untreated. Each schizophrenia patient has a different set of symptoms, so all of these patients experience a variety of positive and negative symptoms. Negative symptoms are called so as they are in absence, and some examples include apathy, anhedonia, lack of motivation, reduced social drive, and reduced cognitive functioning. Positive behavior, on the other hand, is a change in behavior or thoughts such as visual or auditory hallucinations, delusions, confused thoughts, disorganized speech, and trouble concentrating. Because schizophrenia patients do not share the exact same set of symptoms, research in schizophrenia requires a tremendous amount of medical resources. Over the last few years, new studies have started in the field of schizophrenia involving proteomics, or the study of proteins and their function. This new frontier gives doctors and scientists alike a new opportunity to improve the quality of life of schizophrenia patients by providing a potential method through which patients would receive individualized treatment based on their specific symptoms.

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2021-05

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Comparative Analysis between Lab and Novel dataSONDE Measurements in Tempe Town Lake

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Tempe Town Lake is the site of fifteen years’ worth of chemical data collection by ASU researchers. In 2018 the dataSONDE, an instrument capable of measuring different water quality parameters every thirty minutes for a month at a time was

Tempe Town Lake is the site of fifteen years’ worth of chemical data collection by ASU researchers. In 2018 the dataSONDE, an instrument capable of measuring different water quality parameters every thirty minutes for a month at a time was installed in the lake. The SONDE has the potential to completely reduce the need for sampling by hand. Before the SONDE becomes the sole means of gathering data, it is important to verify its accuracy. In this study, the measurements gathered by the SONDE (pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature, conductivity and colored dissolved organic matter) were compared to measurements gathered using the verified methods from the past fifteen years.

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2020-12

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The Effects of Gender on Performance in Undergraduate General Chemistry Courses

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This study seeks to determine whether female and male students in general chemistry courses differ in exam and course-based performance. Using data from previous semesters of CHM 101 (Marks), CHM 101 (Bauer), CHM 114 (Seo, Windman), CHM 113/116 (Cabirac), and

This study seeks to determine whether female and male students in general chemistry courses differ in exam and course-based performance. Using data from previous semesters of CHM 101 (Marks), CHM 101 (Bauer), CHM 114 (Seo, Windman), CHM 113/116 (Cabirac), and CHM 117/118 (Williams) courses taught at Arizona State University, the total exam scores and final course grades for each student were recorded and analyzed. The results of this study differ greatly by course type, as each course corresponded to a different STEM major. While CHM 113/116, the pre-medicinal majors course, saw evidence of stereotype threat via lower female exam performance, the other courses saw no statistical difference between male and female performance on their exam scores or overall course grades. For CHM 101, this was understandable, as the majority of students were nursing majors, who likely did not experience tokenism or feel stereotyped negatively in their science classes. However, CHM 114, the engineering majors course, and CHM 117/118, the research science course, saw parity with respect to male and female student performance. This suggests the possibility that female students face adversity in science and math courses before college that cause only those with high self-efficacy to advance to a career in these fields.

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2016-12

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Mechanistic studies of one-electron reduced bipyridine reactions relevant to carbon dioxide sequestration

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Increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will inevitably lead to long-term changes in climate that can have serious consequences. Controlling anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, however, represents a significant technological challenge. Various chemical approaches have

Increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will inevitably lead to long-term changes in climate that can have serious consequences. Controlling anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, however, represents a significant technological challenge. Various chemical approaches have been suggested, perhaps the most promising of these is based on electrochemical trapping of carbon dioxide using pyridine and derivatives. Optimization of this process requires a detailed understanding of the mechanisms of the reactions of reduced pyridines with carbon dioxide, which are not currently well known. This thesis describes a detailed mechanistic study of the nucleophilic and Bronsted basic properties of the radical anion of bipyridine as a model pyridine derivative, formed by one-electron reduction, with particular emphasis on the reactions with carbon dioxide. A time-resolved spectroscopic method was used to characterize the key intermediates and determine the kinetics of the reactions of the radical anion and its protonated radical form. Using a pulsed nanosecond laser, the bipyridine radical anion could be generated in-situ in less than 100 ns, which allows fast reactions to be monitored in real time. The bipyridine radical anion was found to be a very powerful one-electron donor, Bronsted base and nucleophile. It reacts by addition to the C=O bonds of ketones with a bimolecular rate constant around 1* 107 M-1 s-1. These are among the fastest nucleophilic additions that have been reported in literature. Temperature dependence studies demonstrate very low activation energies and large Arrhenius pre-exponential parameters, consistent with very high reactivity. The kinetics of E2 elimination, where the radical anion acts as a base, and SN2 substitution, where the radical anion acts as a nucleophile, are also characterized by large bimolecular rate constants in the range ca. 106 - 107 M-1 s-1. The pKa of the bipyridine radical anion was measured using a kinetic method and analysis of the data using a Marcus theory model for proton transfer. The bipyridine radical anion is found to have a pKa of 40±5 in DMSO. The reorganization energy for the proton transfer reaction was found to be 70±5 kJ/mol. The bipyridine radical anion was found to react very rapidly with carbon dioxide, with a bimolecular rate constant of 1* 108 M-1 s-1 and a small activation energy, whereas the protonated radical reacted with carbon dioxide with a rate constant that was too small to measure. The kinetic and thermodynamic data obtained in this work can be used to understand the mechanisms of the reactions of pyridines with carbon dioxide under reducing conditions.

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2015