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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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2013

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Novel nuclear magnetic resonance coil for magnetic resonance mesoscopy

Description

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is an efficient non-invasive imaging tool widely used in medical field to produce high quality images. The MRI signal is detected with specifically developed radio frequency (RF) systems or "coils". There are several key parameters to

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is an efficient non-invasive imaging tool widely used in medical field to produce high quality images. The MRI signal is detected with specifically developed radio frequency (RF) systems or "coils". There are several key parameters to evaluate the performance of RF coils: signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), homogeneity, quality factor (Q factor), sensitivity, etc. The choice of coil size and configuration depends on the object to be imaged. While surface coils have better sensitivity, volume coils are often employed to image a larger region of interest (ROI) as they display better spatial homogeneity. For the cell labeling and imaging studies using the newly developed siloxane based nanoemulsions as 1H MR reporter probes, the first step is to determine the sensitivity of signal detection under controlled conditions in vitro. In this thesis, a novel designed 7 Tesla RF volume coil was designed and tested for detection of small quantities of siloxane probe as well as for imaging of labeled tumor spheroid. The procedure contains PCB circuit design, RF probe design, test and subsequent modification. In this report, both theory and design methodology will be discussed.

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2014

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Targeting astrogliosis: isolation and characterization of astrocyte specific single chain antibody fragments

Description

Specificity and affinity towards a given ligand/epitope limit target-specific delivery. Companies can spend between $500 million to $2 billion attempting to discover a new drug or therapy; a significant portion of this expense funds high-throughput screening to find the most

Specificity and affinity towards a given ligand/epitope limit target-specific delivery. Companies can spend between $500 million to $2 billion attempting to discover a new drug or therapy; a significant portion of this expense funds high-throughput screening to find the most successful target-specific compound available. A more recent addition to discovering highly specific targets is the application of phage display utilizing single chain variable fragment antibodies (scFv). The aim of this research was to employ phage display to identify pathologies related to traumatic brain injury (TBI), particularly astrogliosis. A unique biopanning method against viable astrocyte cultures activated with TGF-β achieved this aim. Four scFv clones of interest showed varying relative affinities toward astrocytes. One of those four showed the ability to identify reactive astroctyes over basal astrocytes through max signal readings, while another showed a statistical significance in max signal reading toward basal astrocytes. Future studies will include further affinity characterization assays. This work contributes to the development of targeting therapeutics and diagnostics for TBI.

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2013

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Siloxane based cellular labeling: functional applications in 1H MRI

Description

Modern medical conditions, including cancer, traumatic brain injury, and cardiovascular disease, have elicited the need for cell therapies. The ability to non-invasively track cells in vivo in order to evaluate these therapies and explore cell dynamics is necessary. Magnetic Resonance

Modern medical conditions, including cancer, traumatic brain injury, and cardiovascular disease, have elicited the need for cell therapies. The ability to non-invasively track cells in vivo in order to evaluate these therapies and explore cell dynamics is necessary. Magnetic Resonance Imaging provides a platform to track cells as a non-invasive modality with superior resolution and soft tissue contrast. A new methodology for cellular labeling and imaging uses Nile Red doped hexamethyldisiloxane (HMDSO) nanoemulsions as dual modality (Magnetic Resonance Imaging/Fluorescence), dual-functional (oximetry/ detection) nanoprobes. While Gadolinium chelates and super paramagnetic iron oxide-based particles have historically provided contrast enhancement in MRI, newer agents offer additional advantages. A technique using 1H MRI in conjunction with an oxygen reporter molecule is one tool capable of providing these benefits, and can be used in neural progenitor cell and cancer cell studies. Proton Imaging of Siloxanes to Map Tissue Oxygenation Levels (PISTOL) provides the ability to track the polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) labeled cells utilizing the duality of the nanoemulsions. 1H MRI based labeling of neural stem cells and cancer cells was successfully demonstrated. Additionally, fluorescence labeling of the nanoprobes provided validation of the MRI data and could prove useful for quick in vivo verification and ex vivo validation for future studies.

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2014

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A robust vitronectin-derived peptide substrate for the scalable long-term expansion and neuronal differentiation of human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC)-derived neural progenitor cells (hNPCs)

Description

Several debilitating neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, stroke, and spinal cord injury, are characterized by the damage or loss of neuronal cell types in the central nervous system (CNS). Human neural progenitor cells (hNPCs) derived from human pluripotent stem

Several debilitating neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, stroke, and spinal cord injury, are characterized by the damage or loss of neuronal cell types in the central nervous system (CNS). Human neural progenitor cells (hNPCs) derived from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) can proliferate extensively and differentiate into the various neuronal subtypes and supporting cells that comprise the CNS. As such, hNPCs have tremendous potential for disease modeling, drug screening, and regenerative medicine applications. However, the use hNPCs for the study and treatment of neurological diseases requires the development of defined, robust, and scalable methods for their expansion and neuronal differentiation. To that end a rational design process was used to develop a vitronectin-derived peptide (VDP)-based substrate to support the growth and neuronal differentiation of hNPCs in conventional two-dimensional (2-D) culture and large-scale microcarrier (MC)-based suspension culture. Compared to hNPCs cultured on ECMP-based substrates, hNPCs grown on VDP-coated surfaces displayed similar morphologies, growth rates, and high expression levels of hNPC multipotency markers. Furthermore, VDP surfaces supported the directed differentiation of hNPCs to neurons at similar levels to cells differentiated on ECMP substrates. Here it has been demonstrated that VDP is a robust growth and differentiation matrix, as demonstrated by its ability to support the expansions and neuronal differentiation of hNPCs derived from three hESC (H9, HUES9, and HSF4) and one hiPSC (RiPSC) cell lines. Finally, it has been shown that VDP allows for the expansion or neuronal differentiation of hNPCs to quantities (>1010) necessary for drug screening or regenerative medicine purposes. In the future, the use of VDP as a defined culture substrate will significantly advance the clinical application of hNPCs and their derivatives as it will enable the large-scale expansion and neuronal differentiation of hNPCs in quantities necessary for disease modeling, drug screening, and regenerative medicine applications.

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Date Created
2016

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Multi-parametric MRI Study of Brain Insults (Traumatic Brain Injury and Brain Tumor) in Animal Models

Description

The objective of this small animal pre-clinical research project was to study quantitatively the long-term micro- and macro- structural brain changes employing multiparametric MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) techniques. Two separate projects make up the basis of this thesis. The first

The objective of this small animal pre-clinical research project was to study quantitatively the long-term micro- and macro- structural brain changes employing multiparametric MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) techniques. Two separate projects make up the basis of this thesis. The first part focuses on obtaining prognostic information at early stages in the case of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in rat animal model using imaging data acquired at 24-hours and 7-days post injury. The obtained parametric T2 and diffusion values from DTI (Diffusion Tensor Imaging) showed significant deviations in the signal intensities from the control and were potentially useful as an early indicator of the severity of post-traumatic injury damage. DTI was especially critical in distinguishing between the cytotoxic and vasogenic edema and in identification of injury regions resolving to normal control values by day-7. These results indicate the potential of quantitative MRI as a clinical marker in predicting prognosis following TBI. The second part of this thesis focuses on studying the effect of novel therapeutic strategies employing dendritic cell (DC) based vaccinations in mice glioma model. The treatment cohorts included comparing a single dose of Azacytidine drug vs. mice getting three doses of drug per week. Another cohort was used as an untreated control group. The MRI results did not show any significant changes in between the two treated cohorts with no reduction in tumor volumes compared to the control group. The future studies would be focused on issues regarding the optimal dose for the application of DC vaccine. Together, the quantitative MRI plays an important role in the prognosis and diagnosis of the above mentioned pathologies, providing essential information about the anatomical location, micro-structural tissue environment, lesion volume and treatment response.

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2014

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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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Using bioengineering approaches to generate a three-dimensional (3D) human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC)-based model for neurodegenerative diseases

Description

The pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), remain difficult to ascertain in part because animal models fail to fully recapitulate the complex pathophysiology of these diseases. In vitro models of neurodegenerative diseases generated with patient derived human

The pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), remain difficult to ascertain in part because animal models fail to fully recapitulate the complex pathophysiology of these diseases. In vitro models of neurodegenerative diseases generated with patient derived human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) and human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) could provide new insight into disease mechanisms. Although protocols to differentiate hiPSCs and hESCs to neurons have been established, standard practice relies on two dimensional (2D) cell culture systems, which do not accurately mimic the complexity and architecture of the in vivo brain microenvironment.

I have developed protocols to generate 3D cultures of neurons from hiPSCs and hESCs, to provide more accurate models of AD. In the first protocol, hiPSC-derived neural progenitor cells (hNPCs) are plated in a suspension of Matrigel™ prior to terminal differentiation of neurons. In the second protocol, hiPSCs are forced into aggregates called embryoid bodies (EBs) in suspension culture and subsequently directed to the neural lineage through dual SMAD inhibition. Culture conditions are then changed to expand putative hNPC populations and finally differentiated to neuronal spheroids through activation of the tyrosine kinase pathway. The gene expression profiles of the 3D hiPSC-derived neural cultures were compared to fetal brain RNA. Our analysis has revealed that 3D neuronal cultures express high levels of mature pan-neuronal markers (e.g. MAP2, β3T) and neural transmitter subtype specific markers. The 3D neuronal spheroids also showed signs of neural patterning, similar to that observed during embryonic development. These 3D culture systems should provide a platform to probe disease mechanisms of AD and enable to generation of more advanced therapeutics.

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2016

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Opening Chromatin and Improving CRISPR / Cas9 Editing /: How is CRISPR Mediated Editing Influenced by Artificially-Opened Chromatin in Human?

Description

The research question explored in this thesis is how CRISPR mediated editing is influenced by artificially opened chromatin in cells. Closed chromatin poses a barrier to Cas9 binding and editing at target genes. Synthetic pioneer factors (PFs) are a promising

The research question explored in this thesis is how CRISPR mediated editing is influenced by artificially opened chromatin in cells. Closed chromatin poses a barrier to Cas9 binding and editing at target genes. Synthetic pioneer factors (PFs) are a promising new approach to artificially open condensed heterochromatin allowing greater access of target DNA to Cas9. The Haynes lab has constructed fusions of enzymatic chromatin-modifying domains designed to remodel chromatin and increase Cas9 editing efficiency. With a library of PFs available, this research focuses on analyzing the behavior of Cas9 in chromatin that has been artificially opened by PFs. The types and frequency of INDELs (insertions & deletions) were determined after non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) in PF and Cas9-treated cells using quantitative Sanger sequencing and Synthego’s ICE software. Furthermore, NOME-seq analysis was carried out to map nucleosome position in PF and Cas9 treated cells. Although this experiment was unsuccessful, the heat map generated with data obtained from Synthego ICE predicts a possible presence of nucleosome in the vicinity suggesting that perhaps a fully open chromatin state was not achieved. Linear Regression analysis with certain assumptions confirms that with the increase in distance downstream of cut-site, the editing frequency decreases exponentially. Nevertheless, further experimental work should be carried out to investigate this hypothesis.

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Date Created
2019

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Semi-automated calcium imaging analysis: for in-vitro applications

Description

Calcium imaging is a well-established, non-invasive or minimally technique designed to study the electrical signaling neurons. Calcium regulates the release of gliotransmitters in astrocytes. Analyzing astrocytic calcium transients can provide significant insights into mechanisms such as neuroplasticity and neural signal

Calcium imaging is a well-established, non-invasive or minimally technique designed to study the electrical signaling neurons. Calcium regulates the release of gliotransmitters in astrocytes. Analyzing astrocytic calcium transients can provide significant insights into mechanisms such as neuroplasticity and neural signal modulation.

In the past decade, numerous methods have been developed to analyze in-vivo calcium imaging data that involves complex techniques such as overlapping signals segregation and motion artifact correction. The hypothesis used to detect calcium signal is the spatiotemporal sparsity of calcium signal, and these methods are unable to identify the passive cells that are not actively firing during the time frame in the video. Statistics regarding the percentage of cells in each frame of view can be critical for the analysis of calcium imaging data for human induced pluripotent stem cells derived neurons and astrocytes.

The objective of this research is to develop a simple and efficient semi-automated pipeline for analysis of in-vitro calcium imaging data. The region of interest (ROI) based image segmentation is used to extract the data regarding intensity fluctuation caused by calcium concentration changes in each cell. It is achieved by using two approaches: basic image segmentation approach and a machine learning approach. The intensity data is evaluated using a custom-made MATLAB that generates statistical information and graphical representation of the number of spiking cells in each field of view, the number of spikes per cell and spike height.

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Date Created
2019