Matching Items (22)

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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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Created

Date Created
2020-12

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Lyme Disease

Description

A long personal struggle with Lyme disease prompted me to review the current literature to better understand what remains elusive to researchers and physicians. Lyme disease was first discovered in Connecticut in the mid-1970’s, however, in Europe, it was already

A long personal struggle with Lyme disease prompted me to review the current literature to better understand what remains elusive to researchers and physicians. Lyme disease was first discovered in Connecticut in the mid-1970’s, however, in Europe, it was already being treated with antibiotics. The disease is caused by a spirochete bacteria named Borrelia burgdorferi after the scientist who married the European syndromes associated with the microbe to the disease found in the United States. Borrelia burgdorferi is capable of evading the immune system through a variety of methods, some of which are still not clearly understood. Treatment for Lyme disease is effective and involves antibiotics over a variable duration depending on the presentation of the disease. Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS) is the heart of the controversy surrounding this disease as patients continue to have debilitating symptoms with no clear cause.

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Created

Date Created
2020-05

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Treatment for T-Cell Lymphoma Cancer: Synthesis of Analog Compound of Bexarotene

Description

Cancer, a disease which affects many lives, has been the topic of interest for this research. Treatment options are often available to help lessen the effects of the disease and in regards to cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL), no cure currently

Cancer, a disease which affects many lives, has been the topic of interest for this research. Treatment options are often available to help lessen the effects of the disease and in regards to cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL), no cure currently exists. An FDA approved drug by the name of Bexarotene has been developed to provide chemotherapeutic effects within CTCL. Bexarotene has also been used in trials of breast cancer, lung cancer, glioblastoma multiforme and various neurodegenerative diseases. Yet the medication often causes serious side effects including hyperthyroidism, raised triglyceride levels and cutaneous toxicity. The focus of this research is to synthesize a hydroxylated analog compound of Bexarotene in efforts to produce a molecule that provides better chemotherapeutic effects while also lessening the various side effects caused. Synthesis of the molecule followed various organic chemistry techniques and reactions to create the final product. Melting point analysis, NMR and other various characterization data helped to confirm the synthesis of the intended molecule. Preliminary bioassay data results of the analog compound showed similar potency to that of Bexarotene. Further testing, however, will be required to determine the full pharmacokinetic profile of the molecule. Future direction of the research focuses on both further testing of the hydroxylated analog as well synthesizing newer analog compounds to find a molecule that can provide the best effects within cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and the various other diseases as well.

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Created

Date Created
2018-05

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Analysis of Differential Secondary Effects of Novel Rexinoids: Select Rexinoid X Receptor Ligands Demonstrate Differentiated Side Effect Profiles

Description

In order to determine the feasibility of utilizing novel rexinoids for chemotherapeutics and as potential treatments for neurological conditions, we undertook an assessment of the side effect profile of select rexinoid X receptor (RXR) analogs that we reported previously. We

In order to determine the feasibility of utilizing novel rexinoids for chemotherapeutics and as potential treatments for neurological conditions, we undertook an assessment of the side effect profile of select rexinoid X receptor (RXR) analogs that we reported previously. We assessed pharmacokinetic profiles, lipid and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels in rats, and cell culture activity of rexinoids in sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SREBP) induction and thyroid hormone inhibition assays. We also performed RNA sequencing of the brain tissues of rats that had been dosed with the compounds. We show here for the first time that potent rexinoid activity can be uncoupled from drastic lipid changes and thyroid axis variations, and we propose that rexinoids can be developed with improved side effect profiles than the parent compound, bexarotene (1).

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Created

Date Created
2015-03-16

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A Hands-On Activity to Demonstrate the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology Via a Simulated VDJ Recombination Activity

Description

Essential or enduring understandings are often defined as the underlying core concepts or “big ideas” we’d like our students to remember when much of the course content has been forgotten. The central dogma of molecular biology and how cellular information

Essential or enduring understandings are often defined as the underlying core concepts or “big ideas” we’d like our students to remember when much of the course content has been forgotten. The central dogma of molecular biology and how cellular information is stored, used, and conveyed is one of the essential understandings students should retain after a course or unit in molecular biology or genetics. An additional enduring understanding is the relationships between DNA sequence, RNA sequence, mRNA production and processing, and the resulting polypeptide/protein product. A final big idea in molecular biology is the relationship between DNA mutation and polypeptide change. To engage students in these essential understandings in a Genetics course, I have developed a hands-on activity to simulate VDJ recombination. Students use a foldable type activity to splice out regions of a mock kappa light chain gene to generate a DNA sequence for transcription and translation. Students fold the activity several different times in multiple ways to “recombine” and generate several different DNA sequences. They then are asked to construct the corresponding mRNA and polypeptide sequence of each “recombined” DNA sequence and reflect on the products in a write-to-learn activity.

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Created

Date Created
2017-08-11

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Integrating Ethics Into Case Study Assignments

Description

I teach an upper-level writing course, Genes, Race, Gender, and Society, designed for Life Science majors, in which I utilize a case study to expose students to ethical ways of thinking. Students first work through the topical case study and

I teach an upper-level writing course, Genes, Race, Gender, and Society, designed for Life Science majors, in which I utilize a case study to expose students to ethical ways of thinking. Students first work through the topical case study and then are challenged to rethink their responses through the lenses of ethics, taking into account different ethical frameworks. Students then develop their own case study, integrating ethical components. I want to expose my students to this way of thinking because I see technology being driven by the Jurassic Park phenomenon, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should,” and want future physicians grounded in a sense of how their actions relate to the greater good.

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Created

Date Created
2014-12

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From Pipe Cleaners and Pony Beads to Apps and 3D Glasses: Teaching Protein Structure

Description

Students often self-identify as visual learners and prefer to engage with a topic in an active, hands-on way. Indeed, much research has shown that students who actively engage with the material and are engrossed in the topics retain concepts better

Students often self-identify as visual learners and prefer to engage with a topic in an active, hands-on way. Indeed, much research has shown that students who actively engage with the material and are engrossed in the topics retain concepts better than students who are passive receivers of information. However, much of learning life science concepts is still driven by books and static pictures. One concept students have a hard time grasping is how a linear chain of amino acids folds to becomes a 3D protein structure. Adding three dimensional activities to the topic of protein structure and function should allow for a deeper understanding of the primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary structure of proteins and how proteins function in a cell. Here, I review protein folding activities and describe using Apps and 3D visualization to enhance student understanding of protein structure.

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Created

Date Created
2014-12

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Analysis of Retinoid X Receptor (RXR) Homodimerization Driven by RXR Ligands Using Yeast Two-Hybrid

Description

Bexarotene (Targretin®) is an FDA approved drug used to treat cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL), as well as off-label treatments for various cancers and neurodegenerative diseases. Previous research has indicated that bexarotene has a specific affinity for retinoid X receptors

Bexarotene (Targretin®) is an FDA approved drug used to treat cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL), as well as off-label treatments for various cancers and neurodegenerative diseases. Previous research has indicated that bexarotene has a specific affinity for retinoid X receptors (RXR), which allows bexarotene to act as a ligand-activated-transcription factor and in return control cell differentiation and proliferation. Bexarotene targets RXR homodimerization to drive transcription of tumor suppressing genes; however, adverse reactions occur simultaneously when bound to other nuclear receptors. In this study, we used novel bexarotene analogs throughout 5 iterations synthesized in the laboratory of Dr. Wagner to test for their potency and ability to bind RXR. The aim of our study is to quantitatively measure RXR homodimerization driven by bexarotene analogs using a yeast two-hybrid system. Our results suggests there to be several compounds with higher protein activity than bexarotene, particularly in generations 3.0 and 5.0. This higher affinity for RXR homodimers may help scientists identify a compound that will minimize adverse effects and toxicity of bexarotene and serve as a better cancer treatment alternative.

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Created

Date Created
2015-05

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Treatment of Type II Diabetes: Synthesis and Analysis of Five Analogs of Compound NEt-4IB that Target the Retinoid-X-Receptor

Description

This project details the synthesis and analysis of five analogs of model compound NEt-4IB (6-[ethyl(4-isobutoxy-3-isopropylphenyl)amino]nicotinic acid), that target the retinoid-X-receptor (RXR). These molecules were synthesized by substituting, adding, or removing substituents in the nitrogen-containing ring of NEt-4IB. The parent compound

This project details the synthesis and analysis of five analogs of model compound NEt-4IB (6-[ethyl(4-isobutoxy-3-isopropylphenyl)amino]nicotinic acid), that target the retinoid-X-receptor (RXR). These molecules were synthesized by substituting, adding, or removing substituents in the nitrogen-containing ring of NEt-4IB. The parent compound is a RXR partial agonist and has proven to be effective in the treatment of type II diabetes without the unwanted side effects seen with full agonists. Many of the current drugs used to treat type II diabetes are accompanied by adverse effects including increased triglyceride levels, weight gain, and hypoglycemia. Biological evaluation with KK-Ay (obese diabetic) model mice indicates that NEt-4IB may even be more effective than current drugs on the market, like pioglitazone. As a result, it is predicted that due to such structural similarity, the analogs synthesized for this work will perform equally, if not better than, NEt-4IB.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2016-05

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IMMUNE RESPONSE TO TISSUE DAMAGE IN DROSOPHILA MELANOGASTER

Description

In humans, infections, disease, inflammation, and other injuries to specific tissues have been shown to cause delays in the onset of puberty. It is known that steroid hormones and insulin play a role in these delays, yet it is not

In humans, infections, disease, inflammation, and other injuries to specific tissues have been shown to cause delays in the onset of puberty. It is known that steroid hormones and insulin play a role in these delays, yet it is not understood what is happening with the immune system during this response. Similar results have been found in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, in which damage to adult precursor tissues triggers developmental delays. This project addresses the immune component of the injury response in Drosophila. The goal is to identify which immune response genes, if any, show a significant change in expression after injury. The general methodologies used were first inducing injury via a temperature- sensitive expression of cell death genes in wing precursor tissues, then examining changes in gene expression of immune response genes before and after injury using real-time PCR. The results show that injury increases the expression of genes Drs, CecA1, and Def while decreasing expression of Rel, Dpt, PGRP-LE, and Tl. The changes in immune gene expression following injury suggest the possibility of an immune component to the systemic injury response. These results can further be explored by using mutations of the immune genes to examine their direct effects on the systemic injury response. This research can eventually lead to preventative measures to protect against developmental delays due to infections and diseases in humans.

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Created

Date Created
2014-12