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Method Comparison for Odor Discrimination in Camponotus floridanus

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Complex animal societies consist of a plethora of interactions between members. To successfully thrive they must be able to recognize members and their kin, and to understand how they do this we need sufficient and reliable methods of testing. Eusocial

Complex animal societies consist of a plethora of interactions between members. To successfully thrive they must be able to recognize members and their kin, and to understand how they do this we need sufficient and reliable methods of testing. Eusocial insects are especially good at recognizing their nestmates, but the exact mechanism or how well they can discriminate is unknown. Ants achieve nestmate recognition by identifying varying proportions of cuticular hydrocarbons. Previous studies have shown ants can be trained to discriminate between pairs of hydrocarbons. This study aims to compare two methodologies previously shown to demonstrate odor learning to identify which one is the most promising to use for future odor learning experiments. The two methods tested were adapted from Sharma et al. (2015) and Guerrieri and d’Ettorre (2010). The results showed that the Guerrieri method demonstrated learning better and was more reliable and faster than the Sharma method. The Guerrieri method should be used in future experiments regarding odor learning discrimination

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2020-05

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Breast Health Seeking Behaviors In Countries With Varying Health Coverage

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There is an enormous unmet need for services, education, and outreach to improve women’s breast health. Healthcare systems and insurance systems vary widely around the world, and this may play an important role in understanding variability in women’s breast health

There is an enormous unmet need for services, education, and outreach to improve women’s breast health. Healthcare systems and insurance systems vary widely around the world, and this may play an important role in understanding variability in women’s breast health knowledge and behavior globally. The goal of this study is to determine how varying healthcare systems in three countries (Japan, Paraguay, US) affect a woman’s likelihood of seeing a physician in regard to their breasts. For example, Japan is a clear example of a region that provides universal health insurance to its citizens. The government takes responsibility in giving accessible and equitable healthcare to its entire population (Zhang & Oyama, 2016). On the other hand, a country such as Paraguay is composed of both public and private sectors. In order for citizens to gain insurance, one would have to either be formally employed or choose to pay out-of-pocket for hospital visits (“Paraguay”, 2017). A country such as the United States does not have universal health insurance. However, it does have a mix of public and private sectors, meaning there is little to no coverage for its citizens. To accommodate for this, the United States came up with the Affordable Care Act, which extends coverage to the uninsured. Although the United States might be a country that spends more on healthcare than any other nation, there are residents that still lack healthcare (De Lew, Greenberg & Kinchen, 1992). This study, then, compares women’s breast health knowledge and behavior in Japan, Paraguay, and the US. Other variables, which are also considered in this study, that might affect this include wealth level, education, having general awareness of breast cancer, having regular health checks, and having some breast education. Using statistical analysis of breast check rates of women in Japan, Paraguay, and the United States, this research found that women sampled in Asunción, Paraguay check their breasts more often than either women sampled from Scottsdale, U.S. or Osaka, Japan. It was also found that women sampled from Paraguay were more confident in detecting changes in their breast compared to women sampled from the Japan or the US. Finally, it was noted that women sampled from Japan were least likely to partake in seeing a doctor in concern of changes in their breasts compared to women sampled from the other two research locations. These findings have relevance for the implementation of advocacy and public education about breast health.

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2020-05

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Effect of Rexinoids on Inducing Effector T Cell Chemotaxis

Description

The retinoid-X receptor (RXR) can form heterodimers with both the retinoic-acid
receptor (RAR) and vitamin D receptor (VDR). The RXR/RAR dimer is activated by ligand all
trans retinoic acid (ATRA), which culminates in gut-specific effector T cell migration. Similarly,

The retinoid-X receptor (RXR) can form heterodimers with both the retinoic-acid
receptor (RAR) and vitamin D receptor (VDR). The RXR/RAR dimer is activated by ligand all
trans retinoic acid (ATRA), which culminates in gut-specific effector T cell migration. Similarly,
the VDR/RXR dimer binds 1,25(OH)2D3 to cause skin-specific effector T cell migration.
Targeted migration is a potent addition to current vaccines, as it would induce activated T cell
trafficking to appropriate areas of the immune system and ensure optimal stimulation (40).
ATRA, while in use clinically, is limited by toxicity and chemical instability. Rexinoids
are stable, synthetically developed ligands specific for the RXR. We have previously shown that
select rexinoids can enhance upregulation of gut tropic CCR9 receptors on effector T cells.
However, it is important to establish whether these cells can actually migrate, to show the
potential of rexinoids as vaccine adjuvants that can cause gut specific T cell migration.
Additionally, since the RXR is a major contributor to VDR-mediated transcription and
epidermotropism (15), it is worth investigating whether these compounds can also function as
adjuvants that promote migration by increasing expression of skin tropic CCR10 receptors on T
cells.
Prior experiments have demonstrated that select rexinoids can induce gut tropic migration
of CD8+ T cells in an in vitro assay and are comparable in effectiveness to ATRA (7). The effect
of rexinoids on CD4+ T cells is unknown however, so the aim of this project was to determine if
rexinoids can cause gut tropic migration in CD4+ T cells to a similar extent. A secondary aim
was to investigate whether varying concentrations in 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 can be linked to
increasing CCR10 upregulation on Jurkat CD4+ T cells, with the future aim to combine 1,25
Dihydroxyvitamin D3 with rexinoids.
These hypotheses were tested using murine splenocytes for the migration experiment, and
human Jurkat CD4+ T cells for the vitamin D experiment. Migration was assessed using a
Transwell chemotaxis assay. Our findings support the potential of rexinoids as compounds
capable of causing gut-tropic migration in murine CD4+ T cells in vitro, like ATRA. We did not
observe conclusive evidence that vitamin D3 causes upregulated CCR10 expression, but this
experiment must be repeated with a human primary T cell line.

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2020-05

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Investigating the Role of the Las and Rhl Quorum Sensing Systems in the Pathogenesis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Description

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic bacterial pathogen commonly associated with increased morbidity and mortality in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. To adapt to the CF lung environment, P. aeruginosa undergoes multiple genetic changes as it moves from an acute to a

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic bacterial pathogen commonly associated with increased morbidity and mortality in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. To adapt to the CF lung environment, P. aeruginosa undergoes multiple genetic changes as it moves from an acute to a chronic infection. The resultant phenotypes have been associated with chronic infection and can provide important information to track the patient’s individualized disease progression. This study examines the link between the accumulation of QS genetic mutations and phenotypic expression in P. aeruginosa laboratory strains and clinical isolates. We utilized several plate-based and colorimetric assays to quantify the production of pyocyanin, rhamnolipids, and protease from paired clinical early- and late-stage chronic infection isolates across 16 patients. Exoproduct production of each isolate was compared to the mean production of pooled isolates to classify high producing (QS-sufficient) and low producing (QS-deficient) isolates. We found that over time P. aeruginosa isolates exhibit a reduction in QS-related phenotypes during chronic infections. Future research of the QS regulatory networks will identify whether reversion of genotype will result in corresponding phenotypic changes in QS-deficient chronic infection isolates.

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2020-05

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Role of Metabolism in Antibiotic Resistance

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Each year, more and more multi-drug resistant bacterial strains emerge, thus complicating treatment and increasing the average stay in the intensive care unit. As antibiotics are being rendered inefficient, there is a need to look into ways of weakening the

Each year, more and more multi-drug resistant bacterial strains emerge, thus complicating treatment and increasing the average stay in the intensive care unit. As antibiotics are being rendered inefficient, there is a need to look into ways of weakening the internal state of bacterial cells to make them more susceptible to antibiotics. For this, we first need to understand what methods bacteria employ to fight against antibiotics. In this work, we have reviewed how bacteria respond to antibiotics. There is a similarity in response to antibiotic exposure and starvation (stringent stress) which changes the metabolic state. We have delineated what metabolism changes take place and how they are associated with oxidative stress. For example, there is a common change in NADH concentration that is tied to both metabolism and oxidative stress. Finally, we have compared the findings in literature with our research on an antibiotic-resistant RNA polymerase mutant that alters the gene expression profile in the general areas of metabolism and oxidative stress. Based on this thesis, we have suggested a couple of strategies to make antibiotics more efficient; however, as antibiotic-mediated killing is very complex, researchers need to delve deeper to understand and manipulate the full cellular response.

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2020-05

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The Effects of Increased Standing and Light Physical Activity in the Workplace on Postprandial Glucose

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This thesis paper examines the effects of increased standing and light physical activity in the workplace on postprandial glucose. Sedentary behavior is detrimental to our health, affecting metabolic risk factors. An easy way to implement change is by decreasing sedentary

This thesis paper examines the effects of increased standing and light physical activity in the workplace on postprandial glucose. Sedentary behavior is detrimental to our health, affecting metabolic risk factors. An easy way to implement change is by decreasing sedentary time in workplaces where sitting is common, such as office workspaces. To consider how postprandial glucose is affected by decreasing sedentary time, participants ate a standardized meal for lunch and were asked to decrease their sitting time by replacing it with standing and light physical activity.

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2020-12

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Oral Microbiome Analysis Reveals Potential for Streamlining Diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Description

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder where the body mistakenly attacks healthy joints. This in turn causes inflammation resulting in pain and swelling. It is very important to get RA accurately diagnosed and treated as early as possible. Similarly,

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder where the body mistakenly attacks healthy joints. This in turn causes inflammation resulting in pain and swelling. It is very important to get RA accurately diagnosed and treated as early as possible. Similarly, with any disease: the longer it is left untreated, the more damage it can cause. RA can cause irreversible joint damage leading to disability. The purpose of this study is to determine if oral microbiome can be used as an additional criterion to aid in diagnosing RA. Several oral microbes have already been identified as biomarkers for RA in saliva. In this study, 10 participants were recruited: 6 diagnosed with RA and 4 Healthy as a control. Two subgroups of RA were done within this study; those diagnose with a positive Rheumatoid Factor (RF) and those diagnose with a negative RF. These subgroups were then compared in order to determine the validity of using certain microbes as biomarkers for RA even when different diagnostic criteria were met. The microbe Parahaemolyticus had the largest measure of effect, showing the greatest potential for statistically significant results with a larger sample size. If we can work narrow to down specific microbes to be undoubtedly higher in abundance with already diagnosed RA patients when comparing to healthy participants, this will be a gamechanger. Not only could we give a higher sense of confidence with the diagnosis of RA, but this could streamline RA diagnosis.

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2020-12

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Kinematics of Soccer Players During a 5-10-5 Agility Drill

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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to observe similarities and differences within soccer players during a 5-10-5 agility drill between the first and second change of direction. Overall body mechanics and center of mass position relative to the feet

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to observe similarities and differences within soccer players during a 5-10-5 agility drill between the first and second change of direction. Overall body mechanics and center of mass position relative to the feet were assessed within players. Methods: A total of 6 soccer players participated in the study. Each player ran through the 5-10-5 agility drill 10 times. All trials were video recorded and oriented to include the whole drill. Data was assessed using the program Kinovea (open-source) for 5 out of the 6 players. One player was excluded due to not meeting the inclusion criteria. The metrics assessed were total time to complete the task, the change of direction time, the time it took for the lag leg to stop moving laterally to the planting of the lead leg, and the leg angle. All tasks, except for total task time, were assessed for both the first and second change of direction. An individual analysis was performed for each player in order to obtain observational differences between the first and second change of direction for players. Results: The total task time determined the order of the players, thus the fastest player became player 1 and the slowest player 5. Players 1, 2, 4, and 5 were all found to have a statistical significance in change of direction time. When statistically significant the change of direction time was faster for the second change of direction. The slower players, player 4 and 5, had a statistically significant difference in leg angle, with the leg angle being larger for the first change of direction. Player 3 had no significant differences between any of the metrics. When looking closer at the faster players an observable difference in center of mass position relative to the feet was observed. The second change of direction showed the center of mass being positioned further anterior to the feet, and better mechanics were used to slow down and prepare to change direction. Discussion: The center of mass position relative to the feet could likely explain why the second change of direction was faster for 4 out of the 5 players. With the current information from the present study it could be adapted to help coaches instruct players to incorporate better mechanics into their change of direction tasks, and possibly improve their agility. This study could be improved by using multiple camera angles, high definition cameras, body markers, and force plates. By using these tools information could be obtained about variables that impact change of direction tasks but were not measured in the current study.

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2020-12

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Prenatal Supplementation Research

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When viewing vitamins and minerals, it is seen that they are essential for human life and vital for pregnancy. When paired with a healthy diet, prenatal supplements can allow for a healthy pregnancy and reduced maternal and infant health problems.

When viewing vitamins and minerals, it is seen that they are essential for human life and vital for pregnancy. When paired with a healthy diet, prenatal supplements can allow for a healthy pregnancy and reduced maternal and infant health problems. Within this thesis, I was able to break down each vitamin and mineral necessary for a healthy pregnancy and birth. Further, I had the opportunity to dive into the addition of Omega-3 Fatty Acid during pregnancy to add more evidence to the study.

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2020-12

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Ants as a Model for Animal Communication: A Study of Ant Cuticular Hydrocarbons

Description

Across the animal kingdom, communication serves a vital purpose. The transfer of information between and among species is often paramount to many behaviors including mating, collaboration, and defense. While research has provided tremendous insight into animal communication and interaction, there

Across the animal kingdom, communication serves a vital purpose. The transfer of information between and among species is often paramount to many behaviors including mating, collaboration, and defense. While research has provided tremendous insight into animal communication and interaction, there is still much that we have yet to understand. Due to their reliance on interactions that maximize efficiency within their complicated colony structure and array of member roles, eusocial insects serve as an excellent model for animal communication. Among eusocial insects, ants are some of the most heavily researched, with a tremendous amount of literature focused on their cuticular hydrocarbons. Along with serving as a waterproofing agent, cuticular hydrocarbons also play a major role in recognition and communication in these insects. By studying the importance of hydrocarbons in ant social structure, their tremendously specialized olfactory system, and the use of learning assays in its study, parallels between communication in ants and other animals are revealed, demonstrating how ants serve as a relevant model for animal communication as a whole.

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2020-12