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Frequency response characteristics of respiratory flow-meters

Description

Flow measurement has always been one of the most critical processes in many industrial and clinical applications. The dynamic behavior of flow helps to define the state of a process. An industrial example would be that in an aircraft, where

Flow measurement has always been one of the most critical processes in many industrial and clinical applications. The dynamic behavior of flow helps to define the state of a process. An industrial example would be that in an aircraft, where the rate of airflow passing the aircraft is used to determine the speed of the plane. A clinical example would be that the flow of a patient's breath which could help determine the state of the patient's lungs. This project is focused on the flow-meter that are used for airflow measurement in human lungs. In order to do these measurements, resistive-type flow-meters are commonly used in respiratory measurement systems. This method consists of passing the respiratory flow through a fluid resistive component, while measuring the resulting pressure drop, which is linearly related to volumetric flow rate. These types of flow-meters typically have a low frequency response but are adequate for most applications, including spirometry and respiration monitoring. In the case of lung parameter estimation methods, such as the Quick Obstruction Method, it becomes important to have a higher frequency response in the flow-meter so that the high frequency components in the flow are measurable. The following three types of flow-meters were: a. Capillary type b. Screen Pneumotach type c. Square Edge orifice type To measure the frequency response, a sinusoidal flow is generated with a small speaker and passed through the flow-meter that is connected to a large, rigid container. True flow is proportional to the derivative of the pressure inside the container. True flow is then compared with the measured flow, which is proportional to the pressure drop across the flow-meter. In order to do the characterization, two LabVIEW data acquisition programs have been developed, one for transducer calibration, and another one that records flow and pressure data for frequency response testing of the flow-meter. In addition, a model that explains the behavior exhibited by the flow-meter has been proposed and simulated. This model contains a fluid resistor and inductor in series. The final step in this project was to approximate the frequency response data to the developed model expressed as a transfer function.

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Date Created
2013

Optimizing micro-vortex chamber for living single cell rotation

Description

Single cell phenotypic heterogeneity studies reveal more information about the pathogenesis process than conventional bulk methods. Furthermore, investigation of the individual cellular response mechanism during rapid environmental changes can only be achieved at single cell level. By enabling the study

Single cell phenotypic heterogeneity studies reveal more information about the pathogenesis process than conventional bulk methods. Furthermore, investigation of the individual cellular response mechanism during rapid environmental changes can only be achieved at single cell level. By enabling the study of cellular morphology, a single cell three-dimensional (3D) imaging system can be used to diagnose fatal diseases, such as cancer, at an early stage. One proven method, CellCT, accomplishes 3D imaging by rotating a single cell around a fixed axis. However, some existing cell rotating mechanisms require either intricate microfabrication, and some fail to provide a suitable environment for living cells. This thesis develops a microvorterx chamber that allows living cells to be rotated by hydrodynamic alone while facilitating imaging access. In this thesis work, 1) the new chamber design was developed through numerical simulation. Simulations revealed that in order to form a microvortex in the side chamber, the ratio of the chamber opening to the channel width must be smaller than one. After comparing different chamber designs, the trapezoidal side chamber was selected because it demonstrated controllable circulation and met the imaging requirements. Microvortex properties were not sensitive to the chambers with interface angles ranging from 0.32 to 0.64. A similar trend was observed when chamber heights were larger than chamber opening. 2) Micro-particle image velocimetry was used to characterize microvortices and validate simulation results. Agreement between experimentation and simulation confirmed that numerical simulation was an effective method for chamber design. 3) Finally, cell rotation experiments were performed in the trapezoidal side chamber. The experimental results demonstrated cell rotational rates ranging from 12 to 29 rpm for regular cells. With a volumetric flow rate of 0.5 µL/s, an irregular cell rotated at a mean rate of 97 ± 3 rpm. Rotational rates can be changed by altering inlet flow rates.

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2011

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Application of low frequency focused ultrasound waves ripen the rat cervix during pregnancy

Description

The object of this study is to charac terize the effect of focused ultrasound stimulation (FUS) on the rat ce rvix which has been observed to speed its ripening during pregnancy. Ce rvical ripening is required for successful fetal delivery.

The object of this study is to charac terize the effect of focused ultrasound stimulation (FUS) on the rat ce rvix which has been observed to speed its ripening during pregnancy. Ce rvical ripening is required for successful fetal delivery. Timed-pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats (n=36) were used. On day 14 of gestation, the FUS system was placed on the body surface of the rat over the cervix and ultrasound energy was applied to cervix for variable times up to 1 hour in the control group, the FUS system was placed on rats but no energy was applied. Daily measurement of cervix light-induced florescence (LIF, photon counts of collagen x-bridge fluorescence) were made on days 16 of gestation and daily until spont-aneous delivery (day22) to estimate changes in cervical ripening. We found that pulses of 680 KHz ultrasound at 25 Hertz, 1 millisecond pulse duration at 1W/cm^2 applied for as little as 30 minutes would immediately afterwards show the cervix to hav e ripened to the degree seen just before delivery on day 22. Delivery times, fetal weights and viability were unaffected in the FUS-treated animals.

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2012

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Design of apoferritin-based nanoparticle MRI contrast agents through controlled metal deposition

Description

Sensitivity is a fundamental challenge for in vivo molecular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Here, I improve the sensitivity of metal nanoparticle contrast agents by strategically incorporating pure and doped metal oxides in the nanoparticle core, forming a soluble, monodisperse, contrast

Sensitivity is a fundamental challenge for in vivo molecular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Here, I improve the sensitivity of metal nanoparticle contrast agents by strategically incorporating pure and doped metal oxides in the nanoparticle core, forming a soluble, monodisperse, contrast agent with adjustable T2 or T1 relaxivity (r2 or r1). I first developed a simplified technique to incorporate iron oxides in apoferritin to form "magnetoferritin" for nM-level detection with T2- and T2* weighting. I then explored whether the crystal could be chemically modified to form a particle with high r1. I first adsorbed Mn2+ ions to metal binding sites in the apoferritin pores. The strategic placement of metal ions near sites of water exchange and within the crystal oxide enhance r1, suggesting a mechanism for increasing relaxivity in porous nanoparticle agents. However, the Mn2+ addition was only possible when the particle was simultaneously filled with an iron oxide, resulting in a particle with a high r1 but also a high r2 and making them undetectable with conventional T1-weighting techniques. To solve this problem and decrease the particle r2 for more sensitive detection, I chemically doped the nanoparticles with tungsten to form a disordered W-Fe oxide composite in the apoferritin core. This configuration formed a particle with a r1 of 4,870mM-1s-1 and r2 of 9,076mM-1s-1. These relaxivities allowed the detection of concentrations ranging from 20nM - 400nM in vivo, both passively injected and targeted to the kidney glomerulus. I further developed an MRI acquisition technique to distinguish particles based on r2/r1, and show that three nanoparticles of similar size can be distinguished in vitro and in vivo with MRI. This work forms the basis for a new, highly flexible inorganic approach to design nanoparticle contrast agents for molecular MRI.

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Date Created
2012

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Controlled Epigenetic Silencing and Tandem Histone-Binding Transcriptional Activation

Description

Fusion proteins that specifically interact with biochemical marks on chromosomes represent a new class of synthetic transcriptional regulators that decode cell state information rather than deoxyribose nucleic acid (DNA) sequences. In multicellular organisms, information relevant to cell state, tissue identity,

Fusion proteins that specifically interact with biochemical marks on chromosomes represent a new class of synthetic transcriptional regulators that decode cell state information rather than deoxyribose nucleic acid (DNA) sequences. In multicellular organisms, information relevant to cell state, tissue identity, and oncogenesis is often encoded as biochemical modifications of histones, which are bound to DNA in eukaryotic nuclei and regulate gene expression states. In 2011, Haynes et al. showed that a synthetic regulator called the Polycomb chromatin Transcription Factor (PcTF), a fusion protein that binds methylated histones, reactivated an artificially-silenced luciferase reporter gene. These synthetic transcription activators are derived from the polycomb repressive complex (PRC) and associate with the epigenetic silencing mark H3K27me3 to reactivate the expression of silenced genes. It is demonstrated here that the duration of epigenetic silencing does not perturb reactivation via PcTF fusion proteins. After 96 hours PcTF shows the strongest reactivation activity. A variant called Pc2TF, which has roughly double the affinity for H3K27me3 in vitro, reactivated the silenced luciferase gene by at least 2-fold in living cells.

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Date Created
2019

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A Robust scRNA-seq Data Analysis Pipeline for Measuring Gene Expression Noise

Description

The past decade has seen a drastic increase in collaboration between Computer Science (CS) and Molecular Biology (MB). Current foci in CS such as deep learning require very large amounts of data, and MB research can often be rapidly advanced

The past decade has seen a drastic increase in collaboration between Computer Science (CS) and Molecular Biology (MB). Current foci in CS such as deep learning require very large amounts of data, and MB research can often be rapidly advanced by analysis and models from CS. One of the places where CS could aid MB is during analysis of sequences to find binding sites, prediction of folding patterns of proteins. Maintenance and replication of stem-like cells is possible for long terms as well as differentiation of these cells into various tissue types. These behaviors are possible by controlling the expression of specific genes. These genes then cascade into a network effect by either promoting or repressing downstream gene expression. The expression level of all gene transcripts within a single cell can be analyzed using single cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq). A significant portion of noise in scRNA-seq data are results of extrinsic factors and could only be removed by customized scRNA-seq analysis pipeline. scRNA-seq experiments utilize next-gen sequencing to measure genome scale gene expression levels with single cell resolution.

Almost every step during analysis and quantification requires the use of an often empirically determined threshold, which makes quantification of noise less accurate. In addition, each research group often develops their own data analysis pipeline making it impossible to compare data from different groups. To remedy this problem a streamlined and standardized scRNA-seq data analysis and normalization protocol was designed and developed. After analyzing multiple experiments we identified the possible pipeline stages, and tools needed. Our pipeline is capable of handling data with adapters and barcodes, which was not the case with pipelines from some experiments. Our pipeline can be used to analyze single experiment scRNA-seq data and also to compare scRNA-seq data across experiments. Various processes like data gathering, file conversion, and data merging were automated in the pipeline. The main focus was to standardize and normalize single-cell RNA-seq data to minimize technical noise introduced by disparate platforms.

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2017

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Generation of isogenic pluripotent stem cell lines for study of APOE, an Alzheimer’s risk factor

Description

Alzheimer’s disease (AD), despite over a century of research, does not have a clearly defined pathogenesis for the sporadic form that makes up the majority of disease incidence. A variety of correlative risk factors have been identified, including the three

Alzheimer’s disease (AD), despite over a century of research, does not have a clearly defined pathogenesis for the sporadic form that makes up the majority of disease incidence. A variety of correlative risk factors have been identified, including the three isoforms of apolipoprotein E (ApoE), a cholesterol transport protein in the central nervous system. ApoE ε3 is the wild-type variant with no effect on risk. ApoE ε2, the protective and most rare variant, reduces risk of developing AD by 40%. ApoE ε4, the risk variant, increases risk by 3.2-fold and 14.9-fold for heterozygous and homozygous representation respectively. Study of these isoforms has been historically complex, but the advent of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) provides the means for highly controlled, longitudinal in vitro study. The effect of ApoE variants can be further elucidated using this platform by generating isogenic hiPSC lines through precise genetic modification, the objective of this research. As the difference between alleles is determined by two cytosine-thymine polymorphisms, a specialized CRISPR/Cas9 system for direct base conversion was able to be successfully employed. The base conversion method for transitioning from the ε3 to ε2 allele was first verified using the HEK293 cell line as a model with delivery via electroporation. Following this verification, the transfection method was optimized using two hiPSC lines derived from ε4/ε4 patients, with a lipofection technique ultimately resulting in successful base conversion at the same site verified in the HEK293 model. Additional research performed included characterization of the pre-modification genotype with respect to likely off-target sites and methods of isolating clonal variants.

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2017

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Development of CRISPR-RNA guided recombinases for genome engineering

Description

Recombinases are powerful tools for genome engineering and synthetic biology, however recombinases are limited by a lack of user-programmability and often require complex directed-evolution experiments to retarget specificity. Conversely, CRISPR systems have extreme versatility yet can induce off-target mutations and

Recombinases are powerful tools for genome engineering and synthetic biology, however recombinases are limited by a lack of user-programmability and often require complex directed-evolution experiments to retarget specificity. Conversely, CRISPR systems have extreme versatility yet can induce off-target mutations and karyotypic destabilization. To address these constraints we developed an RNA-guided recombinase protein by fusing a hyperactive mutant resolvase from transposon TN3 to catalytically inactive Cas9. We validated recombinase-Cas9 (rCas9) function in model eukaryote Saccharomyces cerevisiae using a chromosomally integrated fluorescent reporter. Moreover, we demonstrated cooperative targeting by CRISPR RNAs at spacings of 22 or 40bps is necessary for directing recombination. Using PCR and Sanger sequencing, we confirmed rCas9 targets DNA recombination. With further development we envision rCas9 becoming useful in the development of RNA-programmed genetic circuitry as well as high-specificity genome engineering.

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2018

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Construction of gene circuits to control cell behavior

Description

Synthetic biology is a novel method that reengineers functional parts of natural genes of interest to build new biomolecular devices able to express as designed. There is increasing interest in synthetic biology due to wide potential applications in various fields

Synthetic biology is a novel method that reengineers functional parts of natural genes of interest to build new biomolecular devices able to express as designed. There is increasing interest in synthetic biology due to wide potential applications in various fields such as clinics and fuel production. However, there are still many challenges in synthetic biology. For example, many natural biological processes are poorly understood, and these could be more thoroughly studied through model synthetic gene networks. Additionally, since synthetic biology applications may have numerous design constraints, more inducer systems should be developed to satisfy different requirements for genetic design.

This thesis covers two topics. First, I attempt to generate stochastic resonance (SR) in a biological system. Synthetic bistable systems were chosen because the inducer range in which they exhibit bistability can satisfy one of the three requirements of SR: a weak periodic force is unable to make the transition between states happen. I synthesized several different bistable systems, including toggle switches and self-activators, to select systems matching another requirement: the system has a clear threshold between the two energy states. Their bistability was verified and characterized. At the same time, I attempted to figure out the third requirement for SR – an effective noise serving as the stochastic force – through one of the most widespread toggles, the mutual inhibition toggle, in both yeast and E. coli. A mathematic model for SR was written and adjusted.

Secondly, I began work on designing a new genetic system capable of responding to pulsed magnetic fields. The operators responding to pulsed magnetic stimuli in the rpoH promoter were extracted and reorganized. Different versions of the rpoH promoter were generated and tested, and their varying responsiveness to magnetic fields was recorded. In order to improve efficiency and produce better operators, a directed evolution method was applied with the help of a CRISPR-dCas9 nicking system. The best performing promoters thus far show a five-fold difference in gene expression between trials with and without the magnetic field.

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Date Created
2016

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Synthesis of Biological and Mathematical Methods for Gene Network Control

Description

Synthetic biology is an emerging field which melds genetics, molecular biology, network theory, and mathematical systems to understand, build, and predict gene network behavior. As an engineering discipline, developing a mathematical understanding of the genetic circuits being studied is of

Synthetic biology is an emerging field which melds genetics, molecular biology, network theory, and mathematical systems to understand, build, and predict gene network behavior. As an engineering discipline, developing a mathematical understanding of the genetic circuits being studied is of fundamental importance. In this dissertation, mathematical concepts for understanding, predicting, and controlling gene transcriptional networks are presented and applied to two synthetic gene network contexts. First, this engineering approach is used to improve the function of the guide ribonucleic acid (gRNA)-targeted, dCas9-regulated transcriptional cascades through analysis and targeted modification of the RNA transcript. In so doing, a fluorescent guide RNA (fgRNA) is developed to more clearly observe gRNA dynamics and aid design. It is shown that through careful optimization, RNA Polymerase II (Pol II) driven gRNA transcripts can be strong enough to exhibit measurable cascading behavior, previously only shown in RNA Polymerase III (Pol III) circuits. Second, inherent gene expression noise is used to achieve precise fractional differentiation of a population. Mathematical methods are employed to predict and understand the observed behavior, and metrics for analyzing and quantifying similar differentiation kinetics are presented. Through careful mathematical analysis and simulation, coupled with experimental data, two methods for achieving ratio control are presented, with the optimal schema for any application being dependent on the noisiness of the system under study. Together, these studies push the boundaries of gene network control, with potential applications in stem cell differentiation, therapeutics, and bio-production.

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Date Created
2018