Matching Items (17)

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The Development of a Plant-Expressed M2e-Based Universal Influenza Vaccine

Description

Influenza is a deadly disease for which effective vaccines are sorely lacking. This is largely due to the phenomena of antigenic shift and drift in the influenza virus's surface proteins, hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA). The ectodomain of the matrix

Influenza is a deadly disease for which effective vaccines are sorely lacking. This is largely due to the phenomena of antigenic shift and drift in the influenza virus's surface proteins, hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA). The ectodomain of the matrix 2 protein (M2e) of influenza A, however, has demonstrated high levels of conservation. On its own it is poorly immunogenic and offers little protection against influenza infections, but by combining it with a potent adjuvant, this limitation may be overcome. Recombinant immune complexes, or antigens fused to antibodies that have been engineered to form incredibly immunogenic complexes with one another, were previously shown to be useful, immunogenic platforms for the presentation of various antigens and could provide the boost in immunogenicity that M2e needs to become a powerful universal influenza A vaccine. In this thesis, genetic constructs containing geminiviral replication proteins and coding for a consensus sequence of dimeric M2e fused to antibodies featuring complimentary epitopes and epitope tags were generated and used to transform Agrobacterium tumefaciens. The transformed bacteria was then used to cause Nicotiana benthamiana to transiently express M2e-RICs at very high levels, with enough RICs being gathered to evaluate their potency in future mouse trials. Future directions and areas for further research are discussed.

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Date Created
2018-05

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Cheminformatic-based characterization of malate and lactate export networks

Description

Fermentative bioproduction is an efficient production avenue for many small organic acids with less greenhouse gas emissions than petrochemical conversion. Export of these organic acids from the cell is proposed to be mediated by networks of transmembrane transport proteins. However

Fermentative bioproduction is an efficient production avenue for many small organic acids with less greenhouse gas emissions than petrochemical conversion. Export of these organic acids from the cell is proposed to be mediated by networks of transmembrane transport proteins. However characterization of full transporter networks or the substrate promiscuity of individual transporters is often incomplete. Here, we used a cheminformatic approach to predict previously unknown native activity of E. coli transporters based on substrate promiscuity. Experimental validation in characterized several major putative malate exporters, whereas others were characterized as weak putative lactate exporters. The lactate export network remains incompletely characterized and might be mediated by a large, evolved network of promiscuous transporters.

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Date Created
2018-12

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Machine Learning Enabled Analytics for Health-Related Demographics: a Case Study Identifying Important Factors in Cardiac Disease

Description

Machine learning for analytics has exponentially increased in the past few years due to its ability to identify hidden insights in data. It also has a plethora of applications in healthcare ranging from improving image recognition in CT scans to

Machine learning for analytics has exponentially increased in the past few years due to its ability to identify hidden insights in data. It also has a plethora of applications in healthcare ranging from improving image recognition in CT scans to extracting semantic meaning from thousands of medical form PDFs. Currently in the BioElectrical Systems and Technology Lab, there is a biosensor in development that retrieves and analyzes data manually. In a proof of concept, this project uses the neural network architecture to automatically parse and classify a cardiac disease data set as well as explore health related factors impacting cardiac disease in patients of all ages.

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Date Created
2018-05

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Photoreactive and Electrochemical Properties of Vesicle Encapsulated Nanoparticles: Implications for Application in Retinal Stimulation

Description

Electrical stimulation has previously been effective in neural cells activation within retinas affected by degenerative retinal disease. However current technology has at most allowed blind individuals to perceive light without significant resolution, as implants are limited by the spatial constraints

Electrical stimulation has previously been effective in neural cells activation within retinas affected by degenerative retinal disease. However current technology has at most allowed blind individuals to perceive light without significant resolution, as implants are limited by the spatial constraints of the eye. Photoreactive nanoparticles may provide a solution to this issue, as their small size would allow for the incorporation of higher numbers of stimulatory elements, thus increasing visual resolution. Semiconductive nanocrystal quantum dots (QDs) and gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) both exhibit photoreactive properties which may result in sufficient electrical stimulation to activate neural cells in the retina. This study investigated the electrochemistry and photoreactivity of QDs and AuNPs encapsulated within the hydrophobic region of small unilamellar lipid vesicles (SUVs) to evaluate their potential for application in retinal stimulation. Absorbance of the constructs was evaluated on the day of fabrication and 24 hours later to determine the ability of the particles to react to light while encapsulated, as well as to evaluate stability of the construct over time. Electrical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) was conducted at both time points to determine the electrochemical character of the bilayer and further evaluate construct stability. Although quantum dots may increase the stability of the bilayer over time and improve its capacitative properties, lipid encapsulation appears to obscure the photoreactive properties of the quantum dots. In the case of gold nanoparticles, the construct is initially stabilized but deteriorates more quickly than those SUVs containing quantum dots, as evidenced by an increase in substrate diffusion. Additionally, although these constructs are more photoreactive than those containing QDs, the increase in absorbance is observed primarily in a range below that of the visible spectrum, a feature which is of limited use for the proposed application. Further studies should investigate alternative methods of nanoparticle capping to improve stability and absorbance in this system.

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2015-05

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Is a putative plant-derived analog of the mammalian proline-rich attachment domain causing a human enzyme expressed in plants to undergo tetramerization?

Description

Variants of human butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) have been designed to have high cocaine hydrolytic activity. These variants have potential pharmacological applications toward treating cocaine overdose and addiction. These enzymes must be stable in the human body over fairly long periods of

Variants of human butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) have been designed to have high cocaine hydrolytic activity. These variants have potential pharmacological applications toward treating cocaine overdose and addiction. These enzymes must be stable in the human body over fairly long periods of time in order to be effective at treating cocaine addiction. Recombinantly expressed BChE, however, tends to be in monomer or dimer oligomeric forms, which are far less stable than the tetramer form of the enzyme. When BChE is transiently expressed in Nicotiana benthamiana, it is produced mainly as monomers and dimers. However, when the protein is expressed through stable transformation, it produces much greater proportions of tetramers. Tetramerization of WT human plasma derived BChE is facilitated by the binding of a proline rich peptide. In this thesis, I investigated if a putative plant-derived analog of the mammalian proline-rich attachment domain caused stably expressed cocaine hydrolase variants of human BChE to undergo tetramerization. I also examined if co-expression of peptides with known proline-rich attachment domains further shifted the monomer-tetramer ratio toward the tetramer.

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Date Created
2015-05

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An Infusion Approach to Optimizing the Mutagenesis of Rhodobacter sphaeroides

Description

Photosynthesis is the process by which plants, algae, and bacteria use light energy to synthesize organic compounds to use as energy. Among these organisms are a kind of purple photosynthetic bacteria called Rhodobacter sphaeroides, a non-sulfur purple bacteria that grows

Photosynthesis is the process by which plants, algae, and bacteria use light energy to synthesize organic compounds to use as energy. Among these organisms are a kind of purple photosynthetic bacteria called Rhodobacter sphaeroides, a non-sulfur purple bacteria that grows aerobically in the dark by respiration. There have been many contributions throughout the history of this group of bacteria. Rhodobacter sphaeroides is metabolically very diverse as it has many different ways to obtain energy--aerobic respiration and anoxygenic photosynthesis being just a couple of the ways to do so. This project is part of a larger ongoing project to study different mutant strains of Rhodobacter and the different ways in which carries out electron transfer/photosynthesis. This thesis focused on the improvements made to protocol (standard procedure of site directed mutagenesis) through a more efficient technique known as infusion.

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Date Created
2014-05

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Anti-Neoplastic Drug Conjugated Aminoglycoside Microbeads for Plasmid DNA Binding

Description

Plasmid DNA (pDNA) purification has been extensively investigated for various biological and biochemical applications such as transfection, polymerase chain reaction and DNA therapeutics. In the previous paper, we have described the synthesis, characterization and evaluation of microbeads (“Amikabeads”) derived from

Plasmid DNA (pDNA) purification has been extensively investigated for various biological and biochemical applications such as transfection, polymerase chain reaction and DNA therapeutics. In the previous paper, we have described the synthesis, characterization and evaluation of microbeads (“Amikabeads”) derived from aminoglycoside amikacin for pDNA binding via anion-exchange chromatography. Here, we investigated the pDNA binding performance of conjugating Amikabeads with two highly specific DNA binding ligands via minor groove hydrophobic interaction. The pDNA maximum binding capacity of doxorubicin drug-conjugated Amikabeads (“doxo-beads”) was found out to be 429 μg pDNA/ mg of doxo-beads with a Langmuir constant of 8.21*10-4 L/mg, whereas the binding performance of berenil drug-conjugated "mikabeads (“berenil-beads”) was 142 μg pDNA/mg of berenil-beads with a adsorption constant of 4.71*10-5 L/mg. In addition, the desorption percentage of doxo-beads and berenil-beads was obtained as 52% and 41%, respectively. Our results indicate that by conjugating with highly specific DNA binding ligands, Amikabeads-drug complex enhances the pDNA binding performance and contains a promising potential for future applications in biotechnology field.

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Date Created
2016-05

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The Gender Gap in Medicine and Biotechnology: An Analysis of the Past Two Decades

Description

Women’s roles in society have changed significantly throughout the years. The movement to support the rights of women has been ongoing throughout the evolution of society but has been especially prevalent in the last century. The 1960s are when women

Women’s roles in society have changed significantly throughout the years. The movement to support the rights of women has been ongoing throughout the evolution of society but has been especially prevalent in the last century. The 1960s are when women began to enter the workforce instead of being limited to presuming roles as homemakers. Since that point in time, women have continued to thrive in the workforce and have pursued a larger variety of positions in various fields. Even though the opportunities for women continue to grow, there still seems to be an underrepresentation of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) related fields. The underrepresentation of women pursuing physician and entrepreneurship roles in STEM will be analyzed and the challenges this group of people specifically encounter will be examined. Our first proposal to encourage women to enter STEM focuses on middle-school initiatives and incubator programs. The second proposal, based on commonalities females face within the workforce, is finding a better work/home life balance with the development of new maternity/paternity leave policies. Through these initiatives, we believe that the gender gap in STEM can be bridged.

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Date Created
2021-05

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The Gender Gap in Medicine and Biotechnology: An Analysis of the Past Two Decades

Description

Women’s roles in society have changed significantly throughout the years. The movement to support the rights of women has been ongoing throughout the evolution of society but has been especially prevalent in the last century. The 1960s are when women

Women’s roles in society have changed significantly throughout the years. The movement to support the rights of women has been ongoing throughout the evolution of society but has been especially prevalent in the last century. The 1960s are when women began to enter the workforce instead of being limited to presuming roles as homemakers. Since that point in time, women have continued to thrive in the workforce and have pursued a larger variety of positions in various fields. Even though the opportunities for women continue to grow, there still seems to be an underrepresentation of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) related fields. The underrepresentation of women pursuing physician and entrepreneurship roles in STEM will be analyzed and the challenges this group of people specifically encounter will be examined. Our first proposal to encourage women to enter STEM focuses on middle-school initiatives and incubator programs. The second proposal, based on commonalities females face within the workforce, is finding a better work/home life balance with the development of new maternity/paternity leave policies. Through these initiatives, we believe that the gender gap in STEM can be bridged.

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Date Created
2021-05

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The Future of Patentability for Biotechnology

Description

Intellectual property law and the controversy surrounding its nuances, loopholes, and obscure definitions have existed and grown since the inception of the original U.S. Constitution. The original idea was to legislate a way so that innovators and inventors of every

Intellectual property law and the controversy surrounding its nuances, loopholes, and obscure definitions have existed and grown since the inception of the original U.S. Constitution. The original idea was to legislate a way so that innovators and inventors of every generation could be incentivised to create new products which could increase the efficiency and productivity in all aspects of American life. However, the generalizations placed in the law, perhaps for the purpose of giving inventors more leeway, has become, over time, a double-edged sword. Because lawsuits and the lucrative settlements that follow were attached to violating intellectual property law, other individuals have mischievously used this to their advantage, namely creating as many random ideas as possible and patenting them so that when someone ingeniously creates an actual product or physical manifestation, those individuals can sue that inventor for supposedly “stealing” their “idea”. These individuals are basically unable to bring their idea to life so they set traps for those who can. So the law, which originally was supposed to motivate Americans to create has now become a weapon that can be used against those true innovators. Our topic then is to look more in-depth at a specific aspect under the broad umbrella of intellectual property law: can intellectual property law apply to biotechnology? We want to look into different forms of biotechnology, medical devices, and pharmaceuticals, observe where patent law has deviated from its original path and where it is going.

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Date Created
2019-05